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review 2017-08-10 14:36
Not so seriously.
Socialism . . . Seriously: A Brief Guide... Socialism . . . Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation - Danny Katch

With recent events I wanted to learn more about socialism and why it appeals to so many. It's been years since I had to read 'The Communist Manifesto' and other similar works for school so I knew I was going to need something that was going to be a foundational, basic primer (or close to it). This sounded like a good fit: relatively short, supposedly funny and an approachable read for background.

 

The author takes the reader though what socialism is, what are the failure of capitalism, why capitalism has reached its limits and why we need a revolution for socialism, etc. Or something like that.

 

Honestly, I think this is a book that is for someone who is already very sympathetic or has socialist leanings. I really wanted to know the WHY and HOW. In retrospect, the how is much more difficult and probably not appropriate for this type of book. But the author seemed to spend a little too much time being against capitalism and not enough on being for socialism. There's nothing wrong in pointing out the problems and failures of capitalism for the sake of contrast but I just kept wanting to skip over those parts because I really wanted to know more about the positives of socialism. 

 

I also didn't find the book very funny. As previously mentioned, I really didn't want to read a tedious textbook and knew that something basic was going to be better suited for my current needs. But the snark just didn't work for me.

 

And as an off-shoot regarding tone, the author admits that he may sound like he's romanticizing socialism. He was right. In a chapter called "Revolution!" (which really is titled quite aptly), he talks about events like the Arab Spring and the Russian Revolution but it's not clear if he understands the genuine costs: to human life, to mental health, to emotional well-being, to finances, etc. Revolutions aren't at all pretty and I couldn't help but sigh in exasperation at his sentence of on how "Socialists are hopeless romantics--or at least they should be." (pg 106)

 

Overall, the book didn't seem like all that much more informative than social media posts. Again, I suppose there was only so much in depth he could go for an introductory work but it just ended up frustrating me. I'm not saying there isn't room for hopeless romantics, but I needed something that had more in substance and the practicalities of the processes and hows than not.

 

For the right person, though, this is probably a work that will really speak to them. Just don't think it should be the only work to read, though.

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review 2017-07-25 17:12
Nyxia/Scott Reintgen
Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad) - Scott Reintgen

Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.

 

OHMYGOODNESS this book was 10/10 and I am so in love and I need the sequel now and you need to read it now.

 

It's kind of like Divergent meets Ender's Game, and if anyone loved the Remnants series as much as I did, I have a feeling the sequels could have the same amount of philosophy.

 

And I could not put it down.

 

So nyxia is a substance found on another planet that can be manipulated in many ways, and that gives this book a fantastical element. But a realistically fantastical element. Like sci-fi with a bit of magical realism thrown in. It makes for a really unique plot that, though it incorporated elements of other books I've loved, was different to anything I've read before in many ways.

 

But the characters are really what sell this book. I am in love with each and every character because I feel like I got to know them all and they are all so very human and flawed and perfect and real. And there was such a variety, too! I do wish that some had been fleshed out more, but I felt like there was respect given to each of the different cultures that were represented as well. Even the medics in this book have their own stories and purposes.

 

I was especially enamoured with Morning and with Kaya. Oh, and Bilal--finally, an accurate representation of Middle Eastern culture casually in a book. The least interesting character was Emmett, our main character, but I love him anyway. His self-doubt and self-determination and adoration of his family made him a really easy narrator to follow beside.

 

The book has a futuristic element to it that gives Earth more intrigue too, and I loved elements such as music that were incorporated into it. I loved the commentary on healthcare and on money and on morals.

 

This is an excellent book. If you've ever enjoyed sci-fi or YA, I 100% recommend it. If you haven't, I still recommend it. Though maybe wait until the sequels are out so that you don't have to deal with a cliffhanger! :)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-18 23:25
Regurgitation: Details from books that bother me
The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel - Colson Whitehead
Mermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel) - Colleen Coble

Today is a pain day for me.  FYI: I have Fibromyalgia and RA.  Every day is a pain day to a degree but today it is making it hard for me to concentrate on reading.  This is when I turn to audiobooks or think about the books I have recently read and especially, the things that bothered me about them.  I may seem a little more snarky than usual but that is just another side-effect of being me.  I'll be back to normal later.  

 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

 

Thinking back on this book I wonder about the part (Chapter/section) about the doctor that was digging up graves to dissect for his medical school requirements.  I thought that seemed to stick out like a sore thumb.  I am not a writer but it seems to me like that part of the book did not belong in the story, at least not in the way it was added.  It was like if you were talking to someone about something that happened at work and then suddenly switched to talking about how you sometimes like to climb into a bathtub filled with jello and roll around it in totally naked, and then went right back to talking about work again.  After that, there was only one small mention of that doctor's name near the end.  

 

Is that a super secret writing technique?  

 

I know grave robbing was something that was done then and I guess he really wanted to include it.  I think he should have made it a larger part of the book and maybe connected it with the main characters somehow.  I was waiting for him to dig up Mabel.  

 

I also read (in random history stuff) about doctors who performed experimental surgeries on slaves and children.  One poor woman had to go through over 30 surgeries before she died.  That is a horrible thing that I can't even fathom and he could have used that to make this section seem more worthy of inclusion.  

 

Okay, another book I recently read and really liked is Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble.  I was mulling over some of the details from that book and one thing really stands out and makes me want to ask Colleen on which planet that would happen. This is in the exciting part of the book when... 

Hailey has been kidnapped and Mallory is going back to her house in Bangor, Maine as per the kidnapper's demands. The Sheriff there has arranged for deputies to be at the house to protect her and hopefully be able to get Hailey back safely.  Only, one of the deputies had to go pee. He must have drunk a gallon of coffee with his donuts and really had to go bad.  So bad, in fact, that he left his post to go next door to go pee and let the bad guy sneak in and grab the mom and haul her off, lock her in the creepy basement of some house and then set it on fire.  Why Colleen, why?  Couldn't he have requested someone else to take his place or put a crimp in it?  Seriously!

(spoiler show)

 

 

Why don't the spoiler code tags work for this post?  I know it says "Spoiler" at the top but the code tags in the text do not appear to be working.  

 

Thanks to Debbie for telling me how to fix the spoiler tags.  She said, "Sometimes with the spoiler tags you need to delete them, then highlight the spoiler text and click the "sp" spoiler icon again."  That worked!  

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review 2017-02-21 19:31
Seriously Shifted
Seriously Shifted - Tina Connolly

I really love the premise of this series! In the world of Seriously Shifted, witches are not good. Not all of them are evil, but there is a defined since of superiority that allows them to live by rules of their own. But Camellia is determined to change that. Her mother is on the borderline between good and bad, mostly bad, but Cam wants more than that for herself. And she is learning that there s a fine line sometimes between good and evil. And that is the underlying message of the novel.

 

The adventures in this book really force Cam to think about what it means to be a good witch. How far is too far to go in the name of "helping" someone? Do the ends justify the means? And then there is the whole pesky concept of free will. The book is quirky and mostly light-hearted, but it asks some important questions.

 

Overall: I really enjoy this series. It is a lot more light-hearted than I usually read, but it's fun. It's a YA novel, but it reads more like a middle-grade.

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12615
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review 2017-02-02 21:59
Seriously Wicked
Seriously Wicked - Tina Connolly

I ran across Seriously Wicked on the e-library site for my local Army library and fell in love with the cover. But they didn't own the book. I recommended it, and the next in the series, for purchase and, much to my delight, the library purchased both of them.

 

It is a quirky, quirky novel, which is something I appreciated! Camellia Hendrix is not your normal 15 year old high school girl. Instead, she is the apprentice/slave to Sarmine, whom she refers to only as "the witch." How she came to be under the control of Sarmine is sketchy at best and doesn't help the already rocky relationship between the two. To say that the witch is not maternal would be a vast understatement. Her idea of punishment is to turn Cam's hand into noodles, wrap her in vines, turn into a statue, and much worse. Clearly a case for child protective services, but the witch insists the punishments teach lessons and are character-building. Cam's best friend is quirky in her own way, smart and accepting of Cam's secrets. And then there is Devon, whose character went through all kinds of mayhem.

 

The characters, even if you hated them, were interesting and well-developed. Because the novel was fairly short, each one of the characters played a significant role in the story. Kelvin, Jenah, even her teacher... each one of them was significant to the plot. Cam's character was fantastic, a strong female personality without any of the emo-angst I hate. Instead, she met diversity with a smile and a quip. She adapted to her circumstances and found a way to make the best of it. I loved the fact that no matter how much she was oppressed, and she was, she still made it her mission to protect others. And there were plenty of unexpected moments along the way.

 

Overall: The book is marketed as a YA novel, but although I enjoyed it, I felt like the tone of it was a probably bit younger than that. Seriously Wicked is fun, light-hearted, and quirky read full of witches and magic.

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12557
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