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Search tags: low-to-no-steam
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review 2019-03-05 03:47
Third Man Out (Donald Strachey #4)
Third Man Out - Richard Stevenson

This book has a more serious tone than the previous books in the series thus far and Donald is far less snarky. Stevenson used real-day events to craft the storylines that his series took place in, and this was written at a time when public figures were being outed in the media. It would be controversial now to force someone out of the closet, and it was even more so then.

 

John Rutka is a "journalist" who collects secrets on high ranking public figures and outs them in his paper. Naturally, he's not well-liked. When someone threatens to kill him, he comes to Donald for help. Mild-mannered Timmy loathes Rutka and doesn't want Donald to take the job, and while Don's no fan of Rutka's either, he does it anyway because he wants a peek at Rutka's files. What follows is an ever-unfolding plot. 

 

We get arguments from both sides of the debate, the right to privacy vs the obligation of those with power to use that power to advance gay rights rather than oppose them. Rutka's an exhausting character, ever unaware of his own hypocrisy. 

 

In the previous book, Don got pulled into a scheme and ends up acting in ways that seemed contrary to him. That happens again here, and I hope this isn't going to continue to be the case. It makes him come across as gullible, rather than the skeptical smart ass he's supposed to be. He does like to bunk authority though, so at least that part's consistent. Still, I didn't like that

he let Rutka get away with faking his own death, framing an innocent man and then committing insurance fraud to flee the country. At least the innocent man was freed on lack of evidence, and he did tell the police chief what happened, so eventually Rutka's sister will learn the truth, so it could be worse.

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2019-02-03 23:05
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White,Garth Williams,Rosemary Wells

Charlotte's Web is a beloved classic. It is a tale of truth, friendship, and preserving. These are qualities that are important from children to understand. Wilbur defies the odds and becomes the most famous pig ever and he could not have done it without the help of his friends. This book uses words in a great educational way and helps children develop the skills needed to understand the meaning. A great activity to reinforce the vocabulary in the book is to have students create a spider web word wall. As a class, we will discuss the unfamiliar and intriguing words in the book and display them on our spider web. Another activity is to have students create their own parachutes to carry away their spider babies. This is a great way to incorporate STEAM into the lesson. This activity will depend on the grade level but students can work together to figure out the best design.

 

Lexile 680L

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text 2019-02-01 13:17
A Dream of Steam by James W. Barry
A Dream of Steam - James W. Barry

As the autumn shipping season draws to a close, Captain Thomas McGrath steps ashore to help his ambitious brother William rebuild the family sawmill. Despite Thomas’s aversion to debt, William convinces him to borrow heavily so they might convert their ailing, water-powered mill to steam. While adapting to the new technology, Thomas finds himself navigating between ax-wielding log pirates, hostile longshoremen, and his brother’s obsession with finding his estranged wife. 

The newly retooled mill is ramping up lumber production when the winds of fortune turn. Thomas has set sail again when a financial crisis hits, running the brothers afoul of John Fitzpatrick, a crooked bank officer employed by their lender. Fitzpatrick’s crimes push the McGrath Brothers Lumber Company to the edge of ruin, forcing Thomas to consider a high risk proposal if he wants to save their livelihood and get out of debt.

Set in 1890s Michigan, A Dream of Steam is a story of sailing ships and lumberjacks, hope and disappointment, love and heartbreak, peopled by men and women who take control of their destinies in an era of rapid change.

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2019/02/01/A-Dream-of-Steam-by-James-W-Barry
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review 2019-01-07 04:57
Ice Blues (Donald Strachey #3)
Ice Blues - Richard Stevenson

I do love a snarky bastard, and Don Strachey is up there with the best of them. <3 He's not always easy to love - like when he's bemoaning his forced monogamy due to the AIDS crisis - but he keeps Detective Newman and the bad guys on their toes. Even when they think they have him where they want him, he's always one step ahead, if only just. Timmy is way too good for Donald. I honestly don't know why he puts up with half the stunts Don pulls in this one. He has way more patience than I would.

 

The case is kookier than ever, as Don finds himself unexpectedly neck deep in political intrigue, possible dope dealers and millions gone missing - all thanks to some dude he met once at a party. Which really is all the more reason not to go to parties and stay home with a good book, if you ask me. Poor Timmy is put through the wringer in this one, but I think I felt most sorry for the anonymous men and women at Don's call service. You know they gossip about him during their lunch hour! Watching Don scrambling to stay ahead of the game, and the ease with which he lies and schemes and snarks his way through one scene after another was a treat. 

 

There were a bit more typos than I could put up with, especially in the last third of the book where "he" and "be" were constantly mixed up. There was also some punctuation misuse and so on. 

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text 2019-01-05 13:03
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