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review 2018-06-15 04:03
1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change - Susan Campbell Bartoletti,Marc Aronson

I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. 

 

1968 was a fascinating year. This book was not. 

 

I was really looking forward to reading this book because I wanted to learn more about this pivotal year in history. So many important events happened in that year and I was hoping to find some interesting insight into them. Unfortunately, the book left much to be desired.

 

The book consists of essays from different authors. None of the essays resonated with me. I kept waiting for one to really hit me, but it never happened. Even the ones about the topics I was especially interested in (ex. Kennedy assassination and Mexico City Olympics), didn’t leave much of an impression on me. 

 

There were a few things I liked. One was that the last essay did provide a conclusion to the book. Sometimes with nonfiction books, there’s no wrap up at the end when I feel like there should be one. Luckily, this book did provide some closure.

 

I also liked the Nightly News segment at the beginning of each section. Those were one of the more interesting pieces to read. 

 

Lastly, the parallels the book made comparing 1968 to 2018 were very interesting and thought provoking.

 

Overall, the book provides a good baseline to the events of 1968, but ultimately did not manage to do it in an engaging way. 

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review 2018-06-06 01:55
The Oracle Year by Charle Soule
The Oracle Year : A Novel - Charles Soule

Will Dando is an accomplished bassist making ends meet at various gigs and studio sessions, heck he's even working on some original material that goes over well at the open mic! Yeah! Then he wakes up after a vivid dream and writes down 108 predictions spaced out over a year.

Those predictions range from seemingly inconsequential to life-changing, and they're all coming true. Will sets out to release some of these predictions while protecting his identity, enlisting his friend Hamza to find out how to create a secure website and make a ton of money.

Dando cannot escape the conviction that there is some kind of logic behind these predictions, some kind of higher plan that was set in motion the moment the first prophecy was released into the world. Dando finds he's made powerful enemies, and that events are spinning beyond his control.

This was a great slice of sf and techno-thriller. I read it as pure entertainment, the satire not really cutting deep enough to work on that level. There was some good characterization here, but the ultimate depth of their relationships left something to be desired. Very much worth checking out though.

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review 2018-05-14 14:25
Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Next Year in Havana - Chanel Cleeton

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Next Year in Havana is a gorgeous book. Chanel Cleeton’s writing is lush and lyrical and her love of Cuba and its people shines through on every page.

Next Year in Havana travels back and forth between past and present, the story told through the eyes of Elisa and her granddaughter Marisol. In 1958 Elisa is part of the Havana elite, the daughter of a wealthy sugar baron. She’s kind, smart, and far stronger than many would give her credit for. Elisa isn’t flawless; she’s young, passionate, and makes mistakes, but she’s got a good heart. Through her eyes we see the multiple sides of a Cuba rapidly being torn apart. Not only is Elisa’s brother, Alejandro, part of a student revolutionary group working for a democratic Cuba, Elisa falls in love with Pablo, a revolutionary with close ties to Castro. As her world begins to crumble around her, Elisa’s eyes are opened and she begins to question everything. Her journey is beautiful and sad, but also hopeful. I admit I only have a passing knowledge of Cuban history and politics, and I really enjoyed learning more (and being lead to research more) as I read this story. Ms. Cleeton does a fantastic job of weaving fact and fiction.

In 2017, Elisa’s granddaughter Marisol travels to Cuba to spread her grandmother’s ashes. Marisol’s journey is both similar and different to Elisa’s and I was equally captivated by both. Marisol is a journalist who is eager to see the Cuba she’s heard of in her grandmother’s tales. Life in post-revolutionary Cuba is a culture shock for the Florida-raised Marisol. She learns what Cuban life is really like for everyday people and I enjoyed watching her start to question her own beliefs and become invested in the welfare of Cuban people as she never had been before. Marisol is a genuinely lovely heroine and a great stand-in for an American reader. The revolution, its aftermath, and the effects both positive and negative politics has had on the Cuban people is an important subject and it’s important to note that Ms. Cleeton treats these real-life matters with the weight and respect they deserve.

Internal and external conflicts abound in Next Year in Havana, but the book has a smooth, lovely flow to it. The characters are all well-developed and I cared about Elisa and Marisol’s friends and loved ones. It would be remiss of me not to mention the love stories, because the Elisa/Pablo and Marisol/Luis romances were captivating. All in all, I highly recommend this book. Chanel Cleeton’s writing is phenomenal and I cannot wait to read about Elisa’s sister, Beatriz, in When We Left Cuba.


FTC Disclosure: I received the ebook/paperback editions of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/05/review-next-year-in-havana-by-chanel.html
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review 2018-05-12 17:37
Next Year in Havana
Next Year in Havana - Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton picks up on the recent political climate of Cuba and also goes back to the beginning of the Castro regime. As often in historical fiction, this book follows the story of two individuals in two time periods. As with books of this structure, the story one time period and one character has a stronger pull. In this case, it is definitely the story of the 1950s, not just Eliza but the entire Perez family. Eliza's story keeps me reading until the final page.


Reviewed for NetGalley

Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/05/next-year-in-havana.html
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review 2018-05-07 08:00
The Battersea Barricades
The Battersea Barricades - Jodi Taylor

Having only just finished An Argumentation of Historians (the ninth book in the series), this short story was already published two weeks later. And it was completely not what I expected.

It is different from the rest in A) there is no 'investigating major/minor historical events in contemporary time' and B) the usual main characters almost play no role at all. Sure, Max is there drinking wine but not doing much more.

It was nice to have a background story for the supporting cast of the series, but it was a weird kind of story. As you might recall, Max travelled to a parallel dimension somewhere around book three/four (I honestly don't recall) and has been living since in a world with the Time Police. Some other things are also different, but just how different it was always difficult to tell because Max, and the reader by extension, is very ignorant of her surroundings and little important things like who is king/prime minister or what year it is. Tea, I can tell, is still plentiful, which is the only thing that counts.

So we are thrown into a civil war (simply called THE civil war for confusion) in this timeline, and while I would love to know more about this alternative reality, I would have liked to see some more introduction because sure, they were rebels of some kind. But that was about it. Now I left wondering about the details, and also if we will get more like this in the future.

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