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review 2019-03-24 18:21
Women Warriors by Pamela D. Toler
Women Warriors - Pamela D. Toler

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

In fact, women have always gone to war: fighting to avenge their families, defend their homes (or cities or nation), win independence from a foreign power, expand their kingdom's boundaries, or satisfy their ambition.

 

In 2017, when the “Birka Man”, in fact, turned out to be the “Birka Woman”, I felt like women all over the world shouted a “Yes!” collectively in euphoria and then simmered with rage over how our contributions over time have be left out of the annuals of history. With Women Warriors, Toler delivers a world wide smattering of women fighting at the head of and in the trenches with men.

 

Njinga was forty-two years old when she succeeded her brother as the ngola of Ndongo. In December 1657, when she was nearly seventy-five, she led her army into battle for the last time.

 

While I enjoyed the vastness of time periods, cultures, and geographical places the author touched on and named women warriors for, the organization kept me from fully placing, absorbing, or delving into these women. The first chapter is titled “Don't Mess with Mama” and the second is “Her Father's Daughter”. The women featured in these chapters are essentially categorized by their children, their father, and how that relationship defined their battle cry. This gives a new spin on viewing these women and helps to showcase the vastness of women's contributions but I'm more of a linear and structured reader. I would have enjoyed a more time line driven categorization, this helps with placement and remembering who was where and when. It wasn't until chapter seven, titled “In Disguise” that I thought the chapter had more cohesiveness and I enjoyed how the women were grouped by more interpersonal notes. Although, I still thought this chapter had issues because of the author's decision to relay the women's story but give their individual one line endings grouped together at the end of the chapter.

 

I also found some of the footnotes to be tiresome. The author had a tendency to footnote personal feelings, which brought some humor, but as they became repetitive, they worked to disrupt my reading flow. I felt the page room would have been better served with added factual information given to the women warrior stories.

 

The horror of women in body bags is not a horror of a dead woman. It's that the woman was a warrior, that she is not a victim. American culture does not want to accept that women can be both warriors and mothers...To accept women as warriors means a challenge to patriarchy at its most fundamental level.”

Linda Grant De Pauw

 

As I mentioned, the author did a fantastic job touching on numerous women from numerous cultures, time periods, and continents. I recognized some probably more well known names, the Trung sisters, Emma Edmonds, and the Joshigun, but was also brought to the attention of some maybe lesser known, Pingyang, Ani Pachen, and Aethleflaed. I was particularly touched by the story of the unnamed American Civil War woman solider who not only fought in Fredericksburg but gave birth soon after and we only vaguely know of because of male soldier letters sent home giving mention of her.

 

This reads as more of a primer, whether the reason is lack of research material available, facts, time, space, or personal decision, the author only devotes a couple paragraphs to the majority of the women's stories. It is, however, deeply satisfying to read the evidence of women's contributions to fights, battles, and war, an area women were and are constantly trying to be written out of. This is a “coffee table” book each household should have, as these names deserve to live on in memory. These pages were full of heroic and blood thirsty women, women who fought for country, revenge, adventure, and escape, tactical geniuses, and women simply trying to survive. No matter the time period, circumstances, or historical erasure, women have been right beside men actively living the human experience, this book importantly relays those facts to readers.

 

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review 2019-03-24 16:40
Make it through the first half
Glitter Baby - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

If you can make it through the first half of this, especially the first 15%, you'll enjoy the heroine's story in the second. The first 15% is all about the mother and how the heroine is conceived, it does play an important part in showcasing her mother's personality and the circumstances and players that shape the heroine's existence, but before you see the payoff in the second half, there is definitely a feeling of "what is the point?". 

 

The second half is the redemption and finding her strength for the heroine. A blank canvas of a mother who wants to get her self-worth only from Hollywood stars and an old lecherous father (he is her step-father but not known to heroine until start of second half), emotionally damages Fleur (heroine) enough, that she runs away from her modeling and acting life to live obscurely and in hiding from her step-father, for a couple years. When she matures enough to gain her strength again, she starts to build a life for herself. The last quarter is Fleur building up her business and friendships and I really enjoyed her character and personality; she can be self-depreciating but also witty, strong, sassy, and fearless. 

 

Her wit and sass really shine through in the relationship between her and the hero Jake, her co-star in her first movie. Jake has quite the background story with his PTSD from the Vietnam War but it is just about buried, until the end, in favor of the dramatics involving Fleur's mother and step-father. I loved when Fleur and Jake got to be the center of attention together, they were fun to read but I would guess their romance is only around 30% of this story. Jake was a hero I would have loved to have seen delved into more and given more page time.

 

This was kind of a mish mash of women's fiction and romance and until you read the last half, you can't really appreciate all the lecherous old men wanting adolescent women to make them feel young again, that you had to suffer through to fully understand what shaped Fleur's circumstances and give it emotional heft. Fleur and Jake were a pleasure but I'm not sure I was given enough of them to make up for having to read about Fleur's step-father's (he's around 70ish to her 19) dream of creating a perfect child with her because she was the child of Errol Flynn, his lecherous old friend in arms. 

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review 2019-03-20 23:33
Definitely not a standalone
Six Impossible Things: Rhymes With Love - Elizabeth Boyle

If you want to have an idea of what is going on in this, make sure you've read from #3 and on in this series, this is #6. I read #3 in 2014 and #5 in 2016 and I could barely hang in there as it was in the beginning. 

 

This pretty much follows the mystery set up in the books I mentioned, one of the bigger villains is pretty much already dealt with but while the other books dispatched of him, they also hinted at someone else behind the scenes, this is all about the hunt for that someone behind the scenes. 

 

I feel like I've been complaining about this a lot lately, just my string of luck with picking stories I guess, but our hero and heroine had a childhood friendship, we get no scenes of it. Basically, she already has found him sexy and wanted him, while he is waking up to the fact that he, too, has always wanted her. I missed watching and experiencing the development of attraction. 

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review 2019-03-19 17:21
Hot to the Touch by Jaci Burton
Hot to the Touch (Brotherhood by Fire) - Jaci Burton

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

The first in a new series following three firefighting brothers, Hot to the Touch was a steamy fast paced read. After his parents were killed in a car accident, Jackson was sent into the system, only to become a teenager living on the streets. He finds himself a sort of leader trying to take care of kids younger than him but really bonds with two other boys, Rafe and Kal. When a firefighter ends up rescuing them one night, they finally find themselves adopted and in a happy home but Jackson still bears the scars of those early years.

 

Rebecca “Becks” had a crush on Jackson when they were homeless kids and missed him when he and his “brothers” disappeared. When fate brings them back together, she finds herself attracted to the man. With some matchmaking brothers, healing old wounds, and sexual tension, two former homeless kids may just get their happily ever after.

 

I enjoyed the set-up of Jackson and his brothers being rescued by a firefighter only to be adopted by him and grow up to work along side him. In order to create some tension between Jackson and Becks, the author had him being unnecessarily rude and short to her. His poking at her for cleaning and cooking while she stayed at their home (she loses hers after a fire) was forced and had him coming off more of a jerk than grumpy teddy bear. His supposed reluctance to love anyone (he seems to have no problem loving his brothers and parents) was dragged through the whole story and only overcame/worked through at the very, very end (90ish%). I'm not even sure I understand the big deal about him not wanting to discuss and/or wallow about his past as a homeless kid.

 

Becks was a positive character with her raising herself up to become a business owner. However, I felt like her character was never really delved into. She ended up being adopted by a good family but there's no foundation felt from that and her journey from doodling artist to tattoo business owner delivers no emotional impact. She still visits her old stomping grounds and brings essentials to homeless kids but they are such short scenes that they never fully make an impact.

 

The romance between the two definitely had their steamy moments but since the emotional components weren't fully there for me, I had a hard time connecting. I got from both of them that they found the other sexually attractive and some emotional carryover from Becks' childhood crush but I was never able to feel their connection. Jackson's “don't ever want to talk about the past” dominated the story and it kind of felt like we were spinning our wheels for the majority.

 

The writing style had a lot of short sentences, which I think hurt the flow for me. The characters also felt very surface, their issues are stated but never expanded on, delved into, or flushed out, making this feel a little dry. There was also an inclusion of a secondary character that is probably being set-up to be a heroine in a future book and her actions felt over-the-top and forced to try and create some friction. The outline and character issues were there but the depth behind them wasn't, this was a fast read but not particularly engaging.

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review 2019-03-19 01:33
Ch6 and Conclusion
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher,Matin Durrani

If the cuckoo egg hatches first, the early-bird chick pushes its rival eggs out of the nest. Now it can catch the worm – it’s won the undivided attention of its new foster-parents. And if the cuckoo emerges after the host bird’s chicks, it shoves its step-brothers and sisters over the edge to their death.

 

I had no idea the cuckoo was so hardcore, dang. 

 

the strike rate of one species is more than 94 per cent.

 

I thought the experiment of seeing if the fish is born with the ability or has to practice was interesting but then saying they only did it once and then ran out of funding kind of gives it a flat ending. 

 

And if your diving buddy is pale, you’ll have noticed their face turn green and their lips blacken as you sink deeper.

 

Yeah, this is creeeeeepy!

 

This is one of the disturbing things about doing underwater research, Johnsen says: something can be the size of a 747 Jumbo Jet and only 3m (10ft) away, yet it’s impossible to see. ‘That’s true underwater all the time,’ he adds. ‘Even if the water seems quite clear, you’re never going to see more than about 100m [330ft].

 

Reading about the depths that some of these creatures live in the ocean (up to 3,300ft for octopus) is a great reminder for how vast ocean life is and how much we do not know about it. I feel like I need to watch the movie Abyss again, lol. 

 

I don't know, I thought this last chapter was the least interesting of all. Maybe light refracting is just not as interesting to me but I felt like there was some whiffing on details and depth. The first half was vastly better to me than this latter half. I thought there was some fascinating information in here but I found myself furthering my research from other sources because this didn't provide enough. However, like I mentioned, I am a visual learner so, I'm naturally more inclined to get more out of YouTube and other videos. Definitely wasn't to technical and would worked great as a baseline informational read. I still can't help feeling the last two to three chapters lost the energy of the first. 

 

Updates with comments and quotes:

 

Intro & Ch 1

 

Ch 2 & 3

 

Ch 4 & 5

 

Thanks to Flat Book Society for letting me hop into another buddy read!

 

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