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stevesbookstuf1

stevesbookstuf1

Joined November 2021

🏳️‍🌈🇺🇸 #Reader, Book Blogger. Nonfiction &SFF are faves. He/Him. Reviews & stuff at http://stevesbookstuff.com
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stevesbookstuf1
System Collapse | Martha Wells
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The latest Murderbot Diaries novel by Martha Wells is out today, and so is my review. I found the story to be an excellent evolution of Murderbot's journey, and a great addition to the series.

Full review: https://bit.ly/Murderbot-7-rvw

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Cat Bohannon‘s Eve will have you rethinking your understanding of what it means to have evolved to be human. The author takes you on an evolutionary journey to modern humans, as viewed through the lens of the female body. It‘s a brilliant book and the best book I‘ve read so are this year. Highly recommended - Whether you were born with a female body or not.

Full review: https://bit.ly/Eve-rvw

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For the First Time, Again | Sylvain Neuvel
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The third book in Neuvel's SFF 'Take Them to the Stars' trilogy. Love his books but this one let me down a bit - some plot holes, and I felt the ending didn't fully satisfy the build up from the first two books. And the hero of this book seemed less fully fleshed out than her predecessors.

Nevertheless a fun read with a fantasy story line tied into real world events. Four Stars.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-first-time

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Lesser Known Monsters | Rory Michaelson
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We're in the 3rd month of 2023 & I've only read 7 books?!?!?! Reading is still a favorite, but life is full of family and travel right now.

Anyway -this has been on my TBR list since it first came out and I've finally read it. A horror and a romance and also a “gay urban fantasy“. In London 3 friends are faced with monsters and maybe the end of the world. Believe it or not that makes for a fun romp!

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-less-monsters

rwmg Sounds intriguing. Wishlisted 13mo
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I don't think I've heard of the Council on Books in Wartime before, but on googling it I've come across it's logo - http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cxWn4c-x21M/UShxFNQoloI/AAAAAAAADeI/DycF8UH-Tqc/s1600/... - and realize I have a few such books in my collection.

Blueberry I read a book "When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II" about that. 1y
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I don't think I've ever heard of The Council on Books in Wartime before, but on googling it I've found it's logo - http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cxWn4c-x21M/UShxFNQoloI/AAAAAAAADeI/DycF8UH-Tqc/s1600/... - and realize I actually have some such books in my collection.

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Logical Family: A Memoir | Armistead Maupin
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Goal met, #100 for the year! I went with the audiobook since time is short. Turned out to be an excellent choice. Narrated by the author. He is pleasant and affirming with his mild Southern drawl - just as his books have always struck me. Highly recommend to any Tales of the City fans. 5 ⭐

Finished the year with 26 History, 15 Lit/Fiction, 20 Sci-Fi/Fantasy, & a mix of Science, Bio, Mystery, YA, Travel and other genres. Happy New Year everyone!

stevesbookstuf1 Just a note - we are back in Australia for a lengthy stay with family, so I lost a day for my goal! For you all back in the US, the date and time on the phone in my picture is correct. As my husband's best friend in Chicago likes to say - we are “in the future“! 1y
Leftcoastzen 👏😁 1y
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I'm one read away from my goal of 100 books for 2022! Book #99 was this fascinating look at the history and geopolitical importance of the computer chip industry. The audiobook just came out in October and it's a timely read. Four stars.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-ChipWar

keithmalek It looks as if China is about to invade Taiwan, largely over this issue. And China's long range missile capabilities have now reached the point where the U.S. might not be able to do anything about it. 1y
stevesbookstuf1 @keithmalek Miller talks a lot in the latter part of the book on China and Taiwan, and has some good insights, including why taking Taiwan for its chip maker TSMC might not work out as China thinks, and the leverage the US has. 1y
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Part travelogue, part history, Northland is a book about the regions around the northern US border - from Maine all the way to Washington state. Porter Fox takes us along on a series of voyages - by canoe, by Great Lakes freighter, and by car across the north of the United States.

stevesbookstuf1 I enjoyed this book as someone who has called northern Michigan my home for the past seven years. I found Fox's journey by Great Lakes freighter journey fascinating. But unfortunately by traveling that way Fox missed the best of the Northland by skipping entirely the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 😕😯 (edited) 1y
stevesbookstuf1 As a fan of History the sections on the history of the border were the best part. The travelogue sections were well written, but missing some of the personal introspection and transformation that makes the best travel books so enjoyable.

Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
(edited) 1y
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Victory: An Island Tale | Joseph Conrad
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I went into this - the last book of my 2022 Modern Library Classics Challenge - not knowing anything about it and thinking I would be disappointed. Boy was I wrong!

It's a slow burn psychological thriller with great characters and expressive, evocative language. Based on Goodreads, people either like it or hate it. I'm in the Like It Camp. Surprised to see only a handful of reviews here on Litsy.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Victory

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I'm late to the party with this one, but I really loved it. Full of humor and pain. It follows a young doctor in his first years post medical school. Dark humor and heartbreaking pain, this is a diary of what it's really like to work eighty to ninety-hour weeks in a stressed medical system. Read it straight through. I will have to check out the TV show.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Hurt

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Panpan

Well, you can't like every book. Despite some early excitement on my part, and quotations that I liked enough to post individually here on Litsy, in the end this quotation collection seems to be just an exercise in supporting a conservative pre-Trump-Republican set of small government, trickle down, anti-abortion values.

Full Review: https://bit.ly/rvw-CiceroSM

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"However we brave it out, we men are a little breed"

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Unknown Book 7535597 | Unknown Unknown
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𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 𝘼𝙘𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙖 - picked this up in a LibraryThing giveaway. Tells the story of a son and his 75 y.o. father who take on the TransAmerica Bike Route as the father starts to experience cognitive decline due to Alzheimer's. Altogether pleasant read. Interspersed with quotes and photos of people they met on their 10-state bike ride.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-convos

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No. 11 in my '22 Modern Classics reads. Haven't read this since high school, and I don't remember it being this long! But I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if by today's standards it's a bit of a muddle. Because of Thanksgiving holiday travel I compromised and listened to parts of the book through Librivox and can highly recommend their version narrated by Stewart Wills. But I think it's best read not listened to.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Moby

SamAnne I‘m halfway through. Had no idea it had so much humor in it! 1y
stevesbookstuf1 Yes, I almost think the humor has aged better than the tragedy. 🤓 1y
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This is a story within a story, and both of the stories are true. Lulu Miller wraps a memoir of a troubled time in her life around a biography of the persistent researcher and scientist named David Starr Jordan. Much more interesting than that sounds with the caveat that, if you are familiar with Jordan's name and his history this story won't work as well for you as if you aren't.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-FishDont

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A fascinating account offering a clear contrast between the heroism of the Captain and the selfish carelessness of the Expedition Leader. Even those who are not typically nonfiction fans will find a lot to like about this book. I‘ve read a diverse set of nonfiction books this year, and this one is near the top of my favorites. Five Stars.

ARC - the book goes on sale Dec. 6.
My full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-IceEmpire

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Unknown Book 7535597 | Unknown Unknown
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Fun Indie Fantasy featuring a set of royal quadruplet siblings in a power struggle set off by their father's death. Told by a young author who is himself a quadruplet. Post-apocalyptic world packed with half understood tech from dead civilizations. The book deals in some serious topics with a sense of humor. Bisexual rep (w/ a bit of kink thrown in). TW for graphic violence and drug use.

4 Stars. Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-FallMercies

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All Systems Red | Martha Wells
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The Murderbot novellas by Martha Wells - FANTASTIC! Four short books that added up to one great big story arc. The plots are pretty standard fare but the fast pace of the action and the snarky, deadly-but-lovable Murderbot (who'd really rather be watching soap operas) put these stories over the top. I did the audiobooks on these - great narration by Kevin R. Free

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-MrdrBot

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Firekeeper's Daughter | Angeline Boulley
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Late to the party on this I know. Was recommended by a friend last year. Maybe because its not my usual type of read it's been on my TBR for the last year, but I have to say I enjoyed it tremendously. It's a mix of Nancy Drew-ish mystery, a romance, a deep dive into Indigenous culture (Anishinaabe), and a great setting right here in Michigan's UP.

YA, but I would say late teens and up given the content. Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-FireDautr

stevesbookstuf1 Back in my favorite reading spot! It's been snowing for the last few days, so reading in the cozy chair near the fire is really the best way to spend the afternoon. 1y
KristiAhlers I loved that story as well. It stuck with me. 1y
stevesbookstuf1 @KristiAhlers She has another book coming out next year with a lot of the same characters. 1y
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KristiAhlers @stevesbookstuf1 I saw that today at work! I‘m totally preordering that one. 1y
jlhammar Looks very cozy! This was a good one. 1y
kspenmoll I really enjoyed this book too. 1y
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We were taught that people first came to the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge. Raff starts her book there and gives a history of the archeology and genetic research into when and from where the Americas were peopled. Signs all still point to “Beringia“, but there are tantalizing clues (genetic and archeological) - that there is more to the story. Well written and not too bogged down with technical detail.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw_Origin

StaceGhost So cozy! 1y
stevesbookstuf1 @StaceGhost My favorite chair for reading! 🙂 1y
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Mehso-so

Pretty dry and a bit of a slog through the first half of the book, but it picks up. I liked the second half a lot more than the first. If you are interested in the Egyptians and ancient history, your patience will be rewarded if you stick with it. I gave it two stars for the first half and almost a four for the last two sections, for a three overall. But I realize it won't be for everyone.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-GoldCpl

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This is #10 in my personal Classics challenge for the year. I know many people find this book depressing or gloomy, but I found it very realistic, and some of the stories quite touching. I've seen Anderson described as a “gentle“ writer, and I think there is something to that. If you've not read it, or it's been a while, it's worth a read (or re-read).

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Winesb

Bklover I bought this several years ago and then couldn‘t remember why I bought it so it is still sitting on my shelf. I may have to dig it out! 1y
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Book Mail - These came today from Belt Publishing. They're having a sale on their complete Revivals Series, and I couldn't resist. There's some good stuff here - The Marrow of Tradition for example is a novel based on the 1898 white supremacist mob violence in WIlmington, while The Artificial Man is a short story collection from one of the few early female science fiction writers. Well, my TBR pile is really getting out of control now!

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Finna | Nino Cipri
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Two audiobooks set in Fall - the tagged and its sequel DEFEKT make up the fun LitenVerse fantasy novella set. Here wormholes to other universes are commonplace at an Ikea-like big box home store. One of the CWs for the 2nd novella is “graphic violence against anthropomorphic furniture“ which should give you an idea of their quirky humor. #Trans & #lgbt representation.

Tagged was a 2021 Hugo Finalist. Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Finna

stevesbookstuf1 I guess I should confess that the fact they are set in fall doesn't really play a big role in the storylines. But it did inspire me to create a bit of graphic art! 😁 1y
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Unlike my last book I loved this! It's got history, cool technology (turn of the 20th C biplanes) and a race across the continent - clearly my kind of book! John Lancaster spent years doing research and it shows, as he resurrects the story of this all-but-forgotten 1919 transcontinental air race put on by the Army Air Service. What a great read!

I read an advance copy - the book releases Nov. 15. Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Air-Race

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It's been a while since I've read a book that I really can't recommend. I liked parts of this book, but not nearly enough of it. It's a problem of expectations - I expected something different than Brunner delivers. Here he tells stories of outsiders to the North, and what “the North“ meant to their cultures, and its particularly Eurocentric. I was expecting an exploration of the cultures of Northern peoples.

Full review: https://bit.ly/3sxezyH

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Cyrano de Bergerac | Edmond Rostand
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The 9th in my Modern Library Classics Challenge for the year (I'm a month behind). I'd not read the play before but of course know the story - who doesn't? I wasn't prepared for just how excellent the language was, and how captivating it would be. Sorry I waited so long to read it. My copy is 93 years old and in pretty delicate shape. I read a few pages, then turned to an online copy to finish it.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Cyrano

psalva This is a favorite of mine which I would really like to revisit. The history of the translation which you write about is interesting. Finally, I got a copy of Cyrano de Bergerac‘s Voyage to the Moon last year which I‘m curious about reading. 1y
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Malcolm Gladwell turns to history and does a pretty darn good job. Definitely do the audiobook on this one. It's got archival interviews from some of the key players and sound clips from WWII, and Gladwell's podcasting experience shines through. As a fan of books on history I found it to be a great refresher as well as a unique look at the air war in WWII.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-BomberMafia

jlhammar This was really interesting. Agree, audio is definitely the way to go! 2y
Monica5 Stacked. I love WWII books 2y
stevesbookstuf1 @Monica5 Then you'll definitely like this one. 2y
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Mehso-so

Time travel book. The 1st half has much more going on than necessary. But when Caesar arrives in the 1990s LA science lab it really takes off - what with bad guys chasing him (and Cassandra, linguist and reformed escort) from LA to Vegas and back. I liked it enough to forgive that it's a 13 hour audiobook that should have been 8 and had a few plot holes. A good editor could have made this great.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Coin

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Mehso-so

Inventive, immersive time travel story. Overly long and slow first half - LA based scientists work to transport Julius Caesar to their 1990s lab. They hope to spend 4 days (for some reason Caesar HAS to be returned to 44 BC by that time) in study and research with Caesar, but he thinks he's been kidnapped and escapes their lab. THEN the fun really takes off. Loved the second half.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Coin

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Mehso-so

The Time Manipulator‘s Son is a richly inventive fantasy tale. Rohini Singh creates a complete world and peoples it with a fascinating set of characters. It‘s a fun read even if the author goes a bit overboard in detailing her fantasy world. But the fairy tale style of storytelling lets her get away with a lot more “telling rather than showing“ than I usually have patience for.

3 1/2 stars.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-TimeSon

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The Spirit Phone | Arthur Shattuck O'Keefe
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Looking spooky in the full moon, this is the debut alt history/fantasy by Arthur Shattuck O‘Keefe. O‘Keefe starts from the true story that Thomas Edison publicly stated his intent to build a device that would allow us to speak with the dead. Well written, with plenty of twists, though some seem a bit forced. Loved the characters, the dialog, & the author's sense of humor.

ARC review. Book due 11/15

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-SpiritPhone

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This is part memoir, part critique of the current state of journalism, and part message to the next generation of journalists. I found Margaret Sullivan's book to be fast paced and enjoyable as well as informative. Like her WaPo columns she brings a plain-spoken clarity and just a bit of levity to these stories from her four-decade career in journalism. Four stars.

ARC review. Book due out Oct. 18th.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-NewsConf

stevesbookstuf1 And just like that it's Fall here in the north Michigan woods. The colors have really come out this week! 2y
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A history book that's not a history book. Matyszak asks “What would it be like to spend a day in ancient Rome?“ The book allows you to step into the shoes of 24 (one for each hour of the day) Roman citizens and experience the world from their perspective. As entertaining as it is enlightening, and better, I think, as an audiobook than it would have been on paper.

Rather short review for this one: https://bit.ly/rvw-24-in-Rome

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Boys Come First | Aaron Foley
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Been a busy month. I have been reading - though not as much as usual - just not reviewing and posting. Sigh. Here's a debut about three black gay men in Detroit. The city is as big a character as the three men. I was pretty excited at the prospect of a story of gay friendship with a Michigan setting (my home state). I wasn't disappointed. Funny, honest and raunchy (sometimes really raunchy).

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Boys-1st

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From an MIT PhD and energy industry consultant. One of the best insights in this book is the potential for cost savings from renewable energy, not just for energy producers but for you and me. Turns out a green future could be a cheaper future. Hopeful, and educational, it will get you excited & while it doesn't give a detailed roadmap, it will point you in the right direction.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-CleanNRG
#libby

stevesbookstuf1 BTW, the ebook reader / tablet in the picture is the original Kindle Fire. I bought it in 2011, and it's still going strong. I got notified recently that I can't buy books on it anymore, which is okay because I haven't actually bought a book on it in ages. I can still download books to it from Libby or from purchases on other devices. It's been a good reader (not so great a tablet). I've held on to it longer than any other ereader or tablet. 2y
ManyWordsLater Loved the planned obsolescence while talking about sustainability. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ 2y
stevesbookstuf1 @ManyWordsLater It's sad but true! 2y
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Sneaking one more into August. Great stories on a such wide range of subjects that have been influenced by the science of thermodynamics. In this history of science book Sen gets the mix just right - heavier on the history with enough science so that you understand but don't get overwhelmed. I've hit a streak of 4 and 5 ⭐ books this month. This was definitely a 5 for me. Great way to end the month.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Hot-n-Cold

stevesbookstuf1 Paul Sen, by the way, has a long history of storytelling around science and technology as a filmmaker. This is his first book, and he's knocked it out of the park. 2y
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The Scarlet Letter | Nathaniel Hawthorne
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The latest book in my Classics Challenge. Just an ok read. I find the overt moral judgement and the tendency to “tell rather than show“ detractions. The book's clunky sentences and remote setting / circumstances continue to make it the bane of Lit classes to this day. But it's a quick read that manages to still make “Best Novel“ lists. May be worth it for its dry Pilgrim takedown, but I'm not a big fan.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-RedA

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Next up from my TBR pile. I'm a couple of chapters in already. This is the kind of book I tend not to be able to walk out of a bookstore without a copy of - as it combines two of my favorite genres, history and science/technology. I got this from my “local“ bookstore - which is about 90 miles away. (We recently have had couple of bookstores open closer to home. They sell both new and used books, but I haven't had a chance to check them out yet.)

Bookwomble Local bookstore 90 miles away! 🤯 USA is huge 😃 2y
stevesbookstuf1 Yes, the US is huge, and we live in a pretty remote corner of it. 🙂 2y
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In this 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner, author Zucchino peels away years of lies & half-truths to tell the story of the white supremacists who terrorized & disenfranchised local Blacks, launched a race war, killed 60 African Americans, & overthrew the municipal government of Wilmington, NC, setting the stage for the rise of Jim Crow.

Frustrating, infuriating and, sadly, still relevant.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Wil-Lie

stevesbookstuf1 One hundred and twenty odd years after Wilmington, the rhetoric and the tone of the arguments has not changed. The stated aim of the white supremacists of 1898 to take control by the “ballot or the bullet or both” sounds eerily similar to the calls of the Trumpist so-called patriots who stormed our nation‘s capital in 2020. 2y
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This was a very interesting, and eye-opening look at how junk science in our criminal justice system continues to be used to convict the innocent. It will leave you frustrated at the state of our justice system. I liked the way the book was put together - how Fabricant lays out the history of junk science while taking you through three Innocence Project cases.

Full Review: https://bit.ly/rvw-JunkSci

stevesbookstuf1 Junk science, by the way, refers to many of those “CSI“ techniques that unfortunately have little scientific basis and are likely doing more harm than good. 2y
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A frank and honest account of one young man's life that doesn't shy away from the darkness and the pain. I can‘t put my finger on exactly why, but I got the feeling as I read this book that Leon, even as he revealed so much to us readers, was still holding back so as not to let us get in over our heads. TWs for rape, sexual abuse, racism, prostitution, drug use and more.

ARC read. Book due 8/23. Full Review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Broken

stevesbookstuf1 LGBTQ+, and BIPOC (Latino) representation. A brutal, yet hopeful memoir. I don't usually give TWs, but this book definitely warrants them. It can be tough to read about some of his experiences at a very young age. (edited) 2y
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Maraniss' latest. What you expect from a book by David Maraniss is a good story, thoroughly told, with thoughtfulness and a touch of humanity. This latest book does not disappoint. The book takes it's name from a translation of Jim Thorpe's Indian name, Wa-tho-huk, which refers to the lightning storm gathering outside as he and his twin brother Charlie were born.

ARC Review, book released today.

Full Review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Thorpe

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Forsyth, known for his wit, brings his A game to this light read. Maybe he doesn't get all the facts quite right, but it's a fun ride nonetheless. Listened to the audiobook from 2018 after seeing a rave review on (I think) Bookstagram. Happy to add my recommendation.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-ShortDrunk

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Panpan

Sorry to say I found my latest Modern Classics Challenge book a disappointment. Lots of 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads, but it's not one I can recommend. The language is dated, and the book assumes more knowledge about Disraeli's career, and how British politics works, than I have. Maurois paints a clear picture of the man & what motivates and moves him, but I struggled to find a reason to care.

Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-Disraeli

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Mehso-so

Sarah Vowell brings her trademark snark and wit, and her inimitable voice to this audiobook. She does a great job on his contributions to the Revolution, and while I did get a kick out of the audiobook and found myself smiling more than once, ultimately I ended up disappointed that a book named after Lafayette wasn‘t more enlightening about the man himself.

Features Nick Offerman as George Washington.

Full Review: https://bit.ly/rev-LaFayte

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The Sleepless | Victor Manibo
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The Sleepless is Victor Manibo‘s debut novel, a smart noir mystery set in a near-future Manhattan where a segment of the population have lost the ability to sleep, thru a pandemic of unknown origin. With tech reminiscent of 𝘔𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘙𝘦𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 & peopled like 𝘙𝘶𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘢𝘯 𝘋𝘰𝘭𝘭 it's a fascinating world. The mystery is a slow burn that bogs down a bit in the middle. Still, it gets ⭐⭐⭐⭐ from me.

Full Review: https://bit.ly/rvw-slplss

stevesbookstuf1 ARC Review. The book is due out August 23rd. 2y
Kenyazero Wow, the premise overview sounds like the opposite of the Sandman comics, featuring a mysterious sleeping illness. 2y
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The Days of Bluegrass Love | Edward van de Vendel
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Newly translated to English, this 1999 YA novel from the Netherlands is about two young men who fall in love. Not a “meet cute“ LGBT romance, this is a realistic story of first love, coming out and coming of age. Tycho and Oliver are not perfect. They act like teenagers and sometimes do dumb things. Beautifully written and translated, and the audiobook narration was perfect. Liked it a lot - ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Full Review: https://bit.ly/rvw-blueluv