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Reviews 1 to 22 of 22
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Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie (Great Discoveries)
reviewed on + 596 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Disappointing. The subtitle of the book, "The Inner World of Marie Curie" promises insights and information that the book does not deliver. There are very few quotes from Curie in the book, even when it's clear that the material is available. For instance, Marie's love letters to Paul Langevin were published in the tabloids of the day but almost not quoted in this biography. Also we don't get contemporaries' views of her except in minuscule snippets.

Resistance Women
starvinArtist avatar reviewed on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

This is the first Chiaverini book I've read and I would not hesitate to read another. Chiaverini created realistic characters who were ordinary women who joined together to create a resistance cell in opposition of the fascism that was spreading through Berlin prior to and during WW2. It was a realistic glimpse of the destruction of civil liberties and atrocities that eventually led to a totalitarian state.
Very upsetting because of all the similarities between what happened there and what is happening in America now. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it and America seems headed in that direction. Be afraid... be very afraid!

Angus' Trust (Grooms of Honor)
jjares avatar reviewed on + 3149 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Angus is a detective for a railroad company when something terrible happens. One of his schoolmates caught his attention, and robbers chose that moment (while he was distracted) to attack the train. He and Daisy (the old schoolmate) survived but were hurt.

They had to walk many miles for help. Angus was fired from his detective's job. Fortunately, he was on his way home for some R and R. Daisy was touring the Colorado mountains before returning to the same town. She had worked in Chicago, then moved and worked in Denver. After touring, she was preparing to open a pharmacy in her hometown.

This was a wordy book. The characters were interesting, but the author spent way too much time talking about Daisy and Angus getting married. One-fourth of the book could have easily been cut without destroying the story. I sometimes complain that a book ends too quickly. That is not true here; it went on and on ad nauseum. This book was boring and moved at a snail's pace.

Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction
reviewed on + 596 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I don't understand the idea underlying this anthology. Because so many of the selections are excerpts from longer works - without being flagged as such - it's impossible to learn much about structuring short nonfiction pieces from this anthology. You can only learn about style.

In addition, there isn't a huge range of subject matter. A disproportionate number of selections relate to nature and relatively few to relationship issues or social issues.

Making It So: A Memoir
esjro avatar reviewed on + 884 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I adore Patrick Stewart. I had a HUGE crush on him when TNG was on (who am I kidding? I still do!) so pre-ordered his memoir. I enjoyed the chapters about his early childhood, and the latter chapters about TNG, X-Men, and Picard. The middle chapters were about his career in theater, and that period of time (which was in fairness decades of his life) got a lot of space in the book. These chapters dragged for me, but if I were more knowledgable about Shakespeare and theater perhaps this would not have been the case.

He is fairly candid about the struggles in his personal life and how they affected his relationships with his children. That both of his marriages ended with infidelity isn't something I would judge anyone on, but it was a bit disconcerting that in both cases it could be argued that he was in a position of power over his mistresses, which left me somewhat unsettled. Ultimately, he comes across as a talented and very charming person, and I appreciate his honesty in sharing with the reader the good and the bad.

Wilderness, The Gateway To The Soul: Spiritual Enlightenment Through Wilderness
reviewed on + 329 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

A book written by a 46 yr old guy that is still looking for a life of fun without any responsibilities. Occasional comments of value, but a lot of cosmic horseshit about wilderness.

A Safe House (Stone Barrington, Bk 61)
reviewed on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I have come to think that Stuart Woods Barrington series is written more for quantity than quality. The plots have become thinner, with minimal character development. The references to sexual dalliances more frequent and attention getting--ie, a menage-a-trois in this one.

The outcomes of the stories are predicatble. I do not plan to pursue readership of any of the series I have missed.

Starter Villain
Starter Villain
Author: John Scalzi
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book Type: Hardcover
esjro avatar reviewed on + 884 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Fun romp with typing cats and talking dolphins - what more could you want? The dialogue between the human characters is witty, and I laughed out loud several times (which my husband says is unusual for me while reading).

The Fields (Riley Fisher, Bk 1)
reviewed on + 3063 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Very slow moving
Too many descriptions of everything especially corn fields
Too many addicts and drunks
Too much politics
Too much dwelling on the past etc

Just not a very well written book for me

The Children's Blizzard
confuzzledbooks avatar reviewed on + 481 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

On an unusual day in the Dakota territories in January of 1888 a blizzard strikes. Two teenage sisters who are also school teachers in different towns are tested beyond their measures to keep their students safe. One will succeed and one does not. Another young woman, a servant, hopes for love to reign in the disaster. All based on a sad true story that has betrayal, death, and hope.

I love Melanie Benjamin's historical fiction because she seems to be able to jump into each character's mind so easily. The characters' emotions feel true and their reactions to things that happen just make sense.

This book did jump around to the 3 or 4 characters often. I did get confused about which sister was which. I think that is just me. I have horrible short-term memory and names don't stick in my head.

I will continue to read Mrs. Benjamin's books because I love them. She has a new one called California Golden either out now or soon. I look forward to it and future releases.

The Messenger's Mischief (Wells Fargo West Series)
jjares avatar reviewed on + 3149 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I have a bone to pick about this story. How does a devout Christian tap her toes ten times or pinch her hankie? Either she believes God will take care of her or superstitious tics will ward off trouble -- but not both.

I won't be reading any more books by this author because the main character stops the story's action to pray umpteen times per page. God helps those who help themselves. Constant prayer was overkill for me. There is a way to convey the profoundly religious convictions of the character in other ways. The author successfully did this by having other characters comment on her religious feelings. While reading this book, I became irritated with the constant stop of the story to pray.

MURDER AMONG FRIENDS a totally gripping crime thriller full of twists (Warwick & Bell Crime Mysteries)
jjares avatar reviewed on + 3149 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

After a terrific earlier series (Ava Merry and Jim Neal), Janice Frost has lost her way. The main character, Stephanie Warwick, is thoroughly unlikable. Her partner is a non-person; besides playing a Shakespearean character in a play (in the story), he is unimportant. To show how rude she was, when they ordered coffee at Starbucks and were asked their names, Warwick said "Watson and Holmes." When the drinks came to the wrong person, she made a point of putting down her confederate.

I just don't see this making into a series. Warwick puts down Jane Bell, a retired school teacher. I won't be reading any more of this series -- not even to learn more about Cal. Overall score = 2.5 stars.

Warwick and Bell
** 1. Murder Among Friends (2020)
2. Murder Across the Lines (2021)
3. Murder Against the Odds (2023)

Bright Young Women
esjro avatar reviewed on + 884 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I struggled with this book. I really wanted to enjoy it more than I did. I love that the focus is on the survivors and victims rather than the perpetrator of the crimes. The author has a lot to say about how the fascination with serial killers and true crime often results in glamorizing the criminals and protraying them as complete people while the victims are pretty much anonymous and treated as peripheral characters in the killer's story. By only referring to the killer in this book as "The Defendant" the author reverses the usual unhealthy approach.

My problem was with the story. I just wasn't that invested in any of the characters and not a lot seemed to happen. Mostly talking and driving around and stopping to get something to eat.

The Housemaid (Housemaid, Bk 1)
Bonnie avatar reviewed on + 415 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Not my genre, as we frequently hear. But oh, I couldn't stop reading until finished. Short, snappy chapters, twists and turns I never saw coming. I really loved this book and have already ordered the sequel.

Blood Sisters
Ichabod avatar reviewed on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Listening for the Voices

We are blind. We are deaf. Thousands of Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls call out and those voices are lost in the wind. Genocide is being perpetrated and we are oblivious. Make the victim one close to your heart and the issue would burn.

Syd Walker is a Cherokee archeologist working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Rhode Island. While studying the remains of a murder victim, she is called back to her home in Pincer, Oklahoma, where a skull has been discovered containing an old ID tag of hers. Someone is sending her a message and it has to do with a traumatic episode in her past in which five people died... including her friend, Luna, and one of the "devils' Syd shot and killed. Her sister, Emma Lou, survived the attack but was never the same, spiraling into drug addiction. Syd remains haunted by survivor's guilt and the ever-present spirit of Luna.

When Syd arrives back home, she discovers Emma Lou has disappeared. Pincer is now beset with major drug dealings, multiple body discoveries, shady land grabs, and an environment poisoned in the aftermath of mining. She is driven to find her sister, unwilling to allow her to be lumped into the thousands of missing Native women. After a few stumbles, the action picks up, there is a shocking twist revealed, and distractions are pushed aside as you make time to rush to the conclusion.

The character of Syd Walker possesses the potential to lead an important series. An independent Cherokee archeologist - investigator who is also lesbianâ you just do not hear that voice much in literature. Fighting to change the culture of the BIA, "...created to control and, in many cases, eliminate Native peoples' relationship with the land," she is looked down upon by many of her own as working for the enemy.

This is a promising time for Native voices. Tony Hillerman's Navajo novels have been retooled by Native artists in "Dark Winds." The FX series, "Reservation Dogs" has also produced some incredible work, screening realistic, three-dimensional people. On the literary front, authors such as Morgan Talty, Tommy Orange, and Mona Susan Power are just a few recently breaking down preconceived notions and increasing awareness of past and present realities.

A very enjoyable read, as Vanessa Lillie succeeds in delivering an engrossing mystery, bringing out important issues without preaching a heavy-handed sermon. I hope to see the world through Syd Walker lens in the near future.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII
hardtack avatar reviewed on + 2468 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Chester Nez was a Marine code talker during World War II. As a former Marine myself, I laud his service as a Marine, his courage and his sense of duty to a country which didn't always treat him fairly. I was especially impressed by his acknowledgement that his forced instruction to learn English at a severe boarding school later allowed him and others to serve as code talkers. What they did during the war cannot be understated.

The U.S. wasn't the only country which tried its best to beat native inhabitants out of their culture. For example, Australia, my mother's country, did the same to its aborigines. Fortunately, both countries have admitted their mistakes and attempted to atone for them.

However, I do have a problem with some of Nez's memories. The author states in her introduction that when Nez's memories differed with official documentation, she went with his memories. I wondered about this at the time. Later, I came to believe she was trying to alert us to the fact this elderly man might have some problems with his memories.

For example, Nez relates how in November, 1942, when he, with the 2nd Marine Division, landed on Guadalcanal to relieve the 1st Marine Division, there was extensive fighting on the beachhead. He recalls Japanese bullets coming close and wading through American and Japanese bodies and parts of bodies in the surf. Never happened. Perhaps the elderly Nez was recalling another island assault. By November, 1942, the U.S. had control of the waters in and around Guadalcanal during the day. This is when the 2nd Marine Division and some U.S. Army units came ashore. There was no resistance to that landing as the Japanese Navy only ventured into those waters at night, and the Japanese army had been pushed well back from the Henderson airfield beachhead.

Nez also mentions throughout the book that he and other Navajo code talkers were not allowed to even tell their families of their role in the war until the 1960s. Yet on page 215 he 'remembers' that soon after World War II ended a Japanese newspaper revealed the role of the Navajo Marines.

I'm glad Nez and other surviving code talkers finally received awards and praise. Aside from some of his memory problems, this is a interesting book about some wonderful Marines. During the war, the Marine Corps realized these valuable men needed to spend all their time transmitting messages, so they were assigned Marine bodyguards. A Hollywood movie about these men leads viewers to believe the bodyguards were also suppose to kill any code talkers about to be captured by the Japanese. Nez states in the book the Corps never denied this. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that story, especially as a few code talkers were captured.

Trust the Plan: The Rise of QAnon and the Conspiracy That Unhinged America
esjro avatar reviewed on + 884 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I've read a few books about QAnon and found this one to be the most interesting. Other books devote a lot of space to speculating about the person or people responsible for the Q posts, whereas this one only spends a chapter on that. (Spoiler alert if you are not a fan of The 1975: its some dude in the Philippines.) The author instead focuses on how QAnon changes the lives of its members and the consequences to their families and our democracy.

Night (Night, Bk 1)
reviewed on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I love the book and have read it many times. Sad but realistic for the time. Ordered this copy for my grand-daughter.

jjares avatar reviewed on + 3149 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

This is a great overview of Serbia, its struggle for independence, and the difficult fight within the country while seeking that independence. It took a couple of tries to get through this book; perhaps I wasn't ready to read it earlier.

This secret Serbian society used terrorist methods to achieve its aims. They wanted the liberation of Serbs outside Serbia (under Habsburg or Ottoman rule). This is an interesting story about the frustrations and difficulties this band of Serbian brothers had while trying to bring about change in Serbia.

We tend to hear about the successes of a group; this story told more about their frustrations and failures while the Black Hand was trying to find (and kill) a political figure. It was surprising to see how many military officers, government officials, lawyers, and radicals banded together as an anti-Austria-Hungary terrorist group.

The photos offered were great; I would have liked to understand the hierarchy of the Austrian-Hungary regime better.

The Warsaw Sisters: A Novel of WWII Poland
VolunteerVal avatar reviewed on + 547 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

"Grief was a blade, slicing deep, cutting your heart to shreds. With time, the blade grew dull, your heart numb. But you still bled."
- The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt

Readers seeking a powerful story of love, loss, resistance, and resilience will appreciate The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt. It worked its way into my heart, broke it, gently held the pieces, and then healed it, although not completely so I'd be mindful of all it experienced.

This World War II story set in Poland features two sisters, Antonina and Helena, from 1939 to 1945. It's a bit slow to start as we become acquainted with them, but the pace accelerates as first one and then the other sister become involved in resistance efforts against the horrors of German occupation. The plot includes actual events (the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Polish Home Army Uprising) when Polish citizens with incredibly meager resources fought against staggering odds.

"Sometimes I wondered how it was possible to go on while hundreds of thousands of human beings languished on the other side of the wall and death proved without mercy. Still I did. I didn't know what else to do."
- The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt

At times, this was difficult to read due to its honest description of the circumstances Polish citizens endured. The eloquent writing so fully immersed me in time and place, I had to take a moment to leave the setting and re-enter reality after each reading session. The book was thoroughly researched but never felt like an information dump; the author's notes are very informative and share that Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who saved thousands of children in Warsaw during the WWII occupation, inspired the actions of one of her characters. This was the first of Ms. Barratt's novels I've read, and I'll definitely check out her backlist.

My husband is first-generation Polish American and his Polish heritage is very important to him, and to me through marriage. I had hopes that I would connect strongly with this story, given its Poland setting. The bond began when I 'met' a character with the same name as my husband's sister (Basia, Barb in English) in an early chapter, and continued as I read more Polish words, food, and traditions I've become familiar with through my husband, his family, and his friends. This novel made me realize how much these Polish influences have enriched my life and the depth of my connection to them.

Thank you to Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy of this powerful novel. It was especially emotional to read it at a time when Jewish people are sadly once again facing danger and persecution for simply living their lives.

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me
reviewed on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

My oh my! This was a great book! One of those I couldn't wait to get back to reading; I finished it in a couple of days. Not a lot of characters (to confuse me!); told by different characters; just a good read!

They Called Us Enemy
sphinx avatar reviewed on + 97 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

This book is an important record of a shameful period of US history, where many thousands of US citizens and legal residents were imprisoned and deprived of their property for no other reason than racism (how many times has this happened in the US so far...?).

You didn't learn about the internment camps for Japanese Americans if you were "educated" in US public schools, so pick up this well-written graphic novel to learn about what happened from the point of view of a man who was there and lived through it with his family when he was a child.

If you're thinking the author's name sounds familiar, you're right: this is the same George Takei who famously appears in Star Trek as Sulu. It's fortunate he had such strong and supportive parents, or the trauma he and his family went through could have destroyed his creative capabilities and deprived the world of a great actor and, later, activist. As it was, those hard times strengthened him and helped make him an admirable person.

The book offers several perspectives on the events of the 1940s: George's own childhood memories, the memories shared with him when he was older by his parents, and a broader perspective from news archives of those difficult times. This paints an immersive story for the reader, helping bring history vividly to life. George does not hesitate to name names of those who either stood up for justice or who behaved badly at the time, and I personally really appreciate his frankness in that regard. People who wield power should be publicly acknowledged and held accountable for their actions, whether they use it for good or evil.

Very remarkable to me is George's unswerving faith in the possibility of a just political system in the United States, even after all he witnessed in his life demonstrating enormous corruption and failure in that very system. George comes across as a true patriot and his book is well worth a read for anyone who wishes to avoid repeating the pain and suffering of the past.

4.5 stars.

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