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review 2018-12-15 13:17
The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone - Jaclyn Moriarty 
The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of... The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone - Jaclyn Moriarty

So much win.  It's kind of amazing how much I love Moriarty's books. I really liked how it all came together. Interesting universe with so many pirates and dragons and water sprites, but also committees and dull trips and people being late to pick one up at the station. I only had two tiny quibbles: it's weird to read about a girl living in a more-or-less-contemporaneous setting who wears dresses or skirts all the time. It's just a slight thing, but it pulls me just the tiniest bit out of the story every time a dress or skirt is mentioned because I so rarely see girls or women in them anymore. And also, this is a very white world. Not that everyone is explicitly called white, but because no one isn't. The illustrations reinforce the white-is-default impression. It's a good thing that I've become so accustomed to reading books with a diverse cast that I can't stop noticing when there aren't any other characters.

 

Despite those two issues, I loved the book. It's my favorite middle grade in I don't know how long. Highly recommended for white readers.

 

Library copy

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review 2018-12-14 18:30
WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell, narrated by Emma Galvin
Winter's Bone: A Novel (Audio) - Daniel Woodrell,Emma Galvin

I'm not feeling like a full review today so I'll limit this to only a few comments.

 

*The Ozarks in which this book takes place seem to have nothing in common with the OZARK Netflix show.

 

*I have no doubt in my mind that life in some areas of the Ozarks is as brutal as it's depicted in this book. Poverty, drug use, tight family units, and long-held multi-generational grudges are just part of the miserable lives examined here.

 

*I couldn't help but feel for 16 year old Ree who just wanted to join the army and get the hell out of there. Due to her mother's mental illness and her two young siblings, her hands were tied. It's hard to escape family.

 

*I thought this book was savage with sharp, vivid prose-sometimes so sharp it stabbed me right in the heart.

 

*I enjoyed WINTER'S BONE, as much as one can enjoy a story this violent and merciless. I look forward to sampling more of Daniel Woodrell's work in the future.

 

*Recommended for those with the wherewithal to stomach the brutalities of this rural, mountain life. You have been warned!

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review 2018-12-14 07:55
The Well-Tempered City by Jonathan F.P. Rose
The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life - Jonathan Rose

TITLE:   The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life

 

AUTHOR:  Jonathan F.P. Rose

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2016

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9780062234728

 

_______________________

DESCRIPTION:

"In the vein of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century.

Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity—and the home of eighty percent of the world’s population by 2050. As the 21st century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migrations, education and health disparities, among many others.

 In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—the man who “repairs the fabric of cities”—distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity. Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament” as a way to achieve harmony, Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, well-being, and the ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. These goals may never be fully achieved, but our cities will be richer and happier if we aspire to them, and if we infuse our every plan and constructive step with this intention.

A celebration of the city and an impassioned argument for its role in addressing the important issues in these volatile times, The Well-Tempered City is a reasoned, hopeful blueprint for a thriving metropolis—and the future.
"

________________________

This is an interesting introductory text to what townplanners and city management should be aiming for in dealing with city planning and management.  However, I found the book too superficial and would have liked more detailed information, especially in terms of engineering specifics where some examples were used. The author also has a rather simplistic view of politics and human nature.

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review 2018-12-13 18:37
Oh It Was Terrible
Unearthed - Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner

1.5 stars. Audiobook. Narration 2.5 stars- Quick thought: A bad remake of Indiana Jones and The temple of Doom.
Long, long and mostly boring inner dialog that made me tune out. This was a book where I just wanted the characters to stop talking, yeh not good. The female MC was so irritating, she had this uncanny ability to do stupid stuff and then talk herself into thinking it was brilliant. She's a cliche in all ways, a street rat trying to save her sister from slavery, a school drop out who is actually a mathematical genius, perfect because the male MC isn't at all and they need it to save their lives. It's not that she's smart that bugged me it was how it suddenly came up and then became her crown, and her old persona was forgotten. The male MC was the son of a famous notorious man who is on a mission to prove his daddy right. He's English, and unprepared for this planet. yes they are on another planet. So we have a street wise scavenger and rich college grad, to save them all. There is an uncomfortable bit of romance going on that does not fit in the story at all.
The adventure is them trying to solve an ancient mystery left by an alien race filled with booby traps. Oh and yes they are also being chased by evil villains armed with guns. Very Indiana Jones with out the fun entertaining parts. They are able to solve puzzles and escape traps, amazing right ? Then when danger is nearest they rest/sleep and get caught. So they out smart, dumb down and out smart back and forth till finally at the end we see what the real deal is. The doom that only these two misfit kids could figure out and just when you think things might resolve, they get caught again.
Stupid

 

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review 2018-12-13 07:12
Ranting Thoughts: Midnight Sacrifice
Midnight Sacrifice - Melinda Leigh

Midnight Sacrifice

by Melinda Leigh
Book 2 of Midnight

 

 

One by one, people are mysteriously disappearing from a small Maine town.  Four months ago, a ruthless murderer killed two people and kidnapped three more, including Danny Sullivan's sister, who barely escaped.  Unfortunately so did the killer, vanishing without a trace into the vast wilderness.  When the police fail to find his sister's captor, Danny returns to Maine to hunt him down.  He begins his search with another survivor, bed and breakfast owner Mandy Brown, but her refusal to cooperate raises Danny's suspicions.

What is the beautiful innkeeper hiding?  Mandy Brown has a secret.  But sexy Danny Sullivan, his relentless questions, and the desire that simmers between them threaten to expose the truth.  A revelation that puts her family in danger. As more people disappear, it becomes clear the killer is planning another ritual--and that he's circling in on Mandy.



I seem to be in the minority about this book (and maybe the series overall).

In a nutshell, this book was too long for the material it presented, with our heroine rehashing her own "woe is me" story on repeat several times.  Mandy probably could have been a better character to relate with if she'd just get over herself.  She was a great independent and strong type, with resources and skills that many women would kill for.  But her unwillingness to speak up about the threats she'd been getting from the antagonist, Nathan was what bugged me the most.  What she knew, and the fact that she'd been getting threats, might have been helpful--after all, everyone thought that Nathan might be out of the area or dead, so the manhunt had been called to a temporary halt.

Instead, she spent the entire book moping about how her life had turned out, about how she and her family are now in danger from a crazy man out to make human sacrifices, about how she'd do anything to protect her family... and yet when she's questioned, she adamantly denies the fact that Nathan could still be alive.  I guess I just didn't understand her logic, because allowing someone to know that her family might be in danger would have gotten her more protection.  Accepting help from someone who could keep an eye on her property and her family could have kept her brother safer.

Giving the authorities, or even our main hero, the information necessary to help find Nathan is probably a better way to make sure her family stays safe.  Because no matter what she was thinking, the fact that her brother was already on Nathan's radar meant that nothing she could do, including keeping silent, would ensure her brother's safety--as is ultimately proven by the end of the book.

But she decided to go the stubborn, independent, stupid route of, "I can take care of myself and my own."  Except that she wasn't equipped to do any of that, nor did she possess the skills necessary to combat a half-maniacal, determined psycho killer.

But anyway... in the end, it was all a moot point.  It didn't even seem like anything Mandy knew about Nathan could have done much to help capture him--simply it would have proven that there was a chance that random hikers disappearing wasn't just another case of "hikers disappear in the mountains all the time," due to getting lost or eaten by a bear or whatever.  But the whole "if we find Nathan's secret girlfriend, then we can find Nathan" thing was a waste of story line, because it went nowhere.

Which brings me to how laughable the entire law enforcement investigations turned out.  As Danny kept bringing up, over and over again, the last time a couple hikers/campers disappeared, it wasn't by accident or due to nature.  So the fact that every cop so readily dismissed a second set of campers disappearing, only months after the first incident involving disappearing campers and ritualistic sacrifice of living humans...  It occurred to me that everyone in this book was in denial except for Danny and Jed.  It seemed like there had been no effort put into the entire investigation, whether on the side of the manhunt to find Nathan, or even about the disappearance of the campers.

And while we might say that the entire town only had one cop who wasn't exactly top notch police material, there was also the state police that kept being referred to.  There was no talk about what they were even doing.

And when the first set of campers disappeared, I was actually quite surprised that a full scale Search and Rescue wasn't launched--especially when a child was involved.  This just reeked of poor outlining, to be honest.  Everyone was all, "They probably just fell in the river, got carried downstream.  We'll see them surface at some point."  But... what if they hadn't fallen into the river?  What if, psycho kidnapping for ritual sacrifice aside, they'd gotten lost?  We're just going to leave it to presumption that they probably just fell in the river?  The apparently quite shallow river?  And got carried downstream?

Is nobody going to even consider the possibility that they might be wandering lost?  Even if we don't want to contemplate the fact that there's a kidnapper out there, already running from a statewide manhunt?  Why would we take the chance that they could be lost and not send a team in to look for them?

And what if they DID just "fall into the river?"  Why are we still NOT looking for them?  What if they are still alive in the river?  What if they did just "get carried downstream" and managed to climb out of said supposed river scenario?  What if a child is shivering to death after being soaked in a river?

And nobody thinks it's worth it to further investigate?  Or send SAR out to find this child?

But anyway...

Meanwhile, Danny was pushy and one-dimensional.  He was the only person with sense in this book, but he let his emotions and his dick lead his actions.  But otherwise, he didn't really stand out much.

Every other character was also quite one-dimensional, truth be told.

I liked Mandy's brother, Bill.  And I liked the dogs.  There should have been more about dogs.  I have a hard time believing that someone who made a living out of training dogs didn't at least train a few for Search and Rescue.  Especially in a town where there are mountains and woods, and apparently campers and hikers get lost on a regular basis, and just fall into rivers and hypothetically get carried downstream, just waiting to be discovered later.

The logic holes in this book are insulting.

That's probably about it.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/12/ranting-thoughts-midnight-sacrifice.html
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