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review 2017-11-24 16:26
Unresolved conflict
Ghost Waltz: A Family Memoir - Ingeborg Day

I read Ghost Waltz: A Family Memoir by Ingeborg Day on recommendation from a patron. She assured me that I would love it and that it was right up my alley as it was a nonfiction book that covered events from WWII. What hooked me into reading it was that it was covering the events of WWII from the perspective of someone who was on the 'other side' aka the Nazi perspective (as opposed to the 3rd person nonfiction narrative or survivor memoir). Ingeborg wanted to uncover the secrets of her father's past and hopefully work out exactly what his role was as a member of the Nazi Party and SS. She revisited old memories of times spent living in shared accommodation with other families, rationing, and the charged silence around the dinner table. She continually reiterated that she had no memories of her parents ever saying anything about Jewish people or showing any violence whatsoever toward anyone...and yet the undertones of the book were very anti-Semitic. I honestly found this a very uncomfortable book to read especially considering that she seemed to vacillate on her own beliefs and feelings towards those who were slaughtered en masse while her father served as a member of the Nazi party. (Her conflicting beliefs made this a very disjointed read.) For those interested in knowing just what his role was and his innermost beliefs, you will be sorely disappointed. There is no clear cut conclusion to be found among the pages of Ghost Waltz. The author herself couldn't seem to work out her own feelings much less those of a man who she had no contact with as an adult (there was an event after she left home which led to a rift). This wasn't my favorite read of the year for multiple reasons but mostly for those stated above: anti-Semitic sentiment and unsatisfactory conclusion. It's a 2/10 for me. :-/

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-11-23 19:57
Adult Coloring Book
New York Street Style: A Coloring Book - Zoe de las Cases

Description:

 

Adult coloring gets a makeover with charming, fashion-forward illustrations from the city that never sleeps. 
Wherever you're off to, take New York Street Style with you. Transport yourself to bustling New York, and give life to the city. Beautifully detailed outfits, accessories, and hairstyles complement iconic skylines and intricate street scenes. Embellish whimsical, full-page patterns with your own touch and window shop the elegant stores of New York while you make your way through an iconic city. 
This sleek, high-end package has an elastic closure and a satin ribbon marker so you can dip in and dip out of your own New York fashion week. With nothing more than some colored pencils, you'll be on your way to a perfect New York day.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I like coloring books for big people, but I usually go for the geometric designs, or ones that are a coloring adventure based on my favorite books. My girls like this. The minute it came in the house they were bickering over who got to claim it. It is a very nicely made book: bright white paper, elastic band to keep it closed, thicker cover, and uniquely sized. My main complaint is I feel there isn't enough content on each page. My girls solved this by adding their own backrounds and patterns. Definitely made them become more creative. My Thoughts are that I feel teen girls will enjoy this more than adults.

 

Amazon US

 

Review copy received from Blogging for Books.

 

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review 2017-11-22 18:45
Podcast #78 is up!
Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 - Mike Wallace

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview historian Mike Wallace about the second volume of his monumental history of New York City (which I reviewed here). Enjoy!

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review 2017-11-21 00:09
Very Cute Story
A French Girl in New York - Anna Adams

This is another book I got as part of Nook's Free Fridays program. Unlike the last Free Friday book I tried and failed to read, this one was actually decent.

 

First, having a non-white protagonist who was described rather ambiguously instead of using the classic, hit-you-over-the-head language to obviate a character's ethnicity was a breath of fresh air. Maude, the main character, was also written to where she was relatable even if I don't see much of myself in her image, proof positive that non-white characters have a certain relatability to those who do not share the character's ethnicity.

 

The grammar in it was pretty clearly marked by a non-native English speaker's pen. It wasn't overly distracting from the story, but it was obvious. The lack of commas in particular made for an occasional challenge in reading.

 

Finally, the plot was good. The standard rags to riches story was spliced with a coming of age story, a dash of mystery, and a bit of romance. All of this led to a highly unique story that only left me knowing the ending within the last 20 or so pages.

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review 2017-11-20 15:20
New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
New York to Dallas (In Death) - J.D. Robb

A ghost from the past is back...

Isaac McQueen, a dangerous pedophile Eve arrested mere months out of the Academy, has escaped from prison and wants to continue the work she'd interrupted twelve years ago. He also wants revenge on the cop that put him in a cage...And the confrontation will force Eve to face her own past as more ghosts appear.


Oh, wow. That's pretty much all I can say at this point, having just finished the book.

It was everything I came to expect from a book in this amazing series; suspenseful, dramatic, intriguing, intense, with strong whiffs of danger, and tugging at all possible heartstrings.
The story was an emotional experience for the heroine and for the reader as we all experience it alongside her, feel her pain, her fear, the confusion of a child still buried in her psyche, and understand just what Roarke is going through.
It was raw, it was painful, even heart-rendering at times...And it showed us that some people will stand, pick themselves up, dust themselves off and go on, no matter what.

I loved the way the story was structured, the way Eve at the beginning felt like a fish out of water since she was out of her usual environment, without her usual "entourage", but slowly got her game back on and hit her stride, one big metaphor for how she acted in the case, echoed in her behavior, her thinking patterns, and her investigative skills.
At first, she was lost, a little shaky in her confidence, got a lot more shaky with everything that surfaced during the investigation, but in the end rose above it, put what happened to her to rest (as much as it is even possible), and conquered her subconscious fears to finish what she started, almost where she started with the big showdown almost bringing her life full circle.

It was weird not having the usual gang present, beyond a few 'link contacts, creating that sense of isolation, of displacement Eve felt, in the reader as well. But she had Roarke there through it all, the one person in the world who truly understands her, who gets her, and who stick no matter what crap she throws at him. It was nice seeing them alone together with all the hiccups, the fights, the emotional baggage that's been toned down in the recent books, and it was, as usual, amazing observing their relationship, the ever-growing and ever-strengthening bond between them.

Yes, the suspense aspect, the villain, the motive, the gruesome things he did and thought, were intense and gripping, but the real center of the plot were the characters, their interactions and especially the relationship between Eve and Roarke.

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