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Evil

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I really had a hard time with this book. Now it is intended for a young adult audience of which I am decidedly not. I had a hard time following the plot which seemed to write the main character into a corner, then he mysteriously escapes. Yeah it's that type of story but ,c'mon! And the local priest knows about his 'hobby' of conjuring a demon and using it to discover, among other things, that God doesn't think being gay is wrong. WOW!If taken at face value and just read as fluff, it still comes across as incredibly formulaic. I wouldn't reccomend this book to anyone!
Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The military origins of everyday words and phrases

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Interesting read. Probably meant more for browsing more than reading thru A-Z. But you know what I found? Along with the usual word derivation information through a military and historical lens, the author spends no small amount of time discrediting inaccuracies and misconceptions. A few of my favorites include Jeep (from the cartoon Popeye in the 1920's) , cold shoulder (from the 1700's hospitality courtesy), and concentration camp (19th century Cuba). In reality the entries all have some thing to capture even the most casual reader. In other words, you don't need to be a linguist or etymologist to find something of interest here. Give it a try!
The Prince of Fenway Park

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A book intended for ten to fifteen year old readers brings to life the underworld of the Curse of the Bambino; fairies, two headed annoncers, the smoker, weasel man and the pooka among others. They are the fans if you will of the curse. They have always only known it existed so they come to trust in it. Enter 12 year old Oscar, a mixed race boy who is dropped off on his secretive Dad, without notice to Dad or even Oscar. Oscar learns who his Dad really is, the part he plays in the curse and that he too lives in Fwnway Park. Full of many true to life details, including the Red Sox' notoriously anti integration stance, that bordered on outright racism. The 'N' word is even used several times but within believable historical context. History isn't always sanitized and pretty. Oscar takes a ride with the mysterious pooka and finds out what he needs to do to break the curse. Get the magic baseball that has been stitched together with red string by Babe Ruth himself! Oscar learns to be proud of his heratige, his family especially his Dad, and his place in the history of the curse and it's demise.Throw in a winner take all game of the good vs evil teams of Red Sox past and present, but as twelve year olds! It takes place in Fenway Park during the Red Sox ployoff series win over arch rival New York Yankees, in which the Sox overcame a 0-3 games deficit and went on to win their first World Sweeries in 86 years, or since 1918.Part fact, part fiction, liberally dosed with fantasy to help keep young readers glued to a sometimes difficult history of the Boston Red Sox.Reccomended for Red Sox fans of all ages, and baseball fans in general, it will prompt honest discussion of some of the more negative history of the Red Sox, while celebrating the end of the Curse of the Bambino.
Lone Assassin: The Epic True Story of the Man Who Almost Killed Hilter

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This book is chilling!I didn't know much more than the title going in, but I was intrigued. Just translated for the first time ever into English, this book tells a unique story in the history of the Nazi Party.Here is Georg Elser, a quiet, introspective, almost apolitical citizen of Nazi Germany from its start to almost its end. With barely a grade school education this man saw the Nazi reich for what it was, through the propoganda and determined how poorly German citizens had fared under their rule. In an effort to remedy this intolerable system. he takes action. Meticulously planning, building and finally detonating an explosive device in an attempt to wipe out the top leaders of the Nazi government in hopes that a less radical group would take over and finally fulfill some of the promises made to the German people.He is not a 'hero'. He sought no personal glory. He championed no particular cause. Simply a man who determined to do what he believed necessary. On November 8th 1939 he took a step that history tells us would have changed the course of world events in inconceivable ways. To eliminate Hitler almost at the start of his rise, along with other Nazi leaders and save the world from six years and millions of lives extinguished, erasing the horrors of the Holocaust and the terrible events that transpired during WWII.Now much like the man himself, the book sneaks up on you. I was tempted to not finish or at least skim some of the background information to get to the 'good stuff'. Boy am I glad I didn't! I learned just how truly this man is a common man who acted on his conscience and almost was lost in the horrible morass of Nazi history. It touched my heart, mind and made me somewhat introspective about what I might have done in similar circumstances. I doubt I would have been as brave and directed to even think of doing what Georg Elser did.I'm truly grateful that this unknown man, Georg Elser is finally getting his due as what he was, a true 'hero'.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Vampire Hunter

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First off, let's get somethjing straight, upfront. Abraham Lincoln was NOT a vampire hunter...never happened.That being said, I was only looking to this as a fluff read. You know, so bad it's good somehow?What I got however was a fast paced read mixing one of America's iconic leaders with vampires. Care was taken to make the story plausible, which is all I could hope for. Were there slow parts, or parts that were just underdeveloped? Yes. But throughout I found the book to be a colorful read, that kept me turning pages throughhout. The actual history in the book was treated fairly. Lincoln's early years; as a settler and merchant; his political career, winning the Presidency; the Civil War; and his assassination were covered. Also the turbulent and often tragic relationship with Mary Todd, the birth of three sons, having to bury two at an early age and Mary's break under the intense satrain of their life, were trated fairly. So a few vampires dropped bhy. No biggie! It was challenging to figure out where exactly the next plot twist was to come from But let's not treat this as a story of a larger than life man, which Abe still is. Let's remember to allow ourselves to laugh, and have fun with this rollicking good tale. I know I did!!
Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers

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Travel. What does it mean? Is it going to the National Parks in the rear of my parent's station wagon? Well. yeah... What about sunny Hawaii? Yes again.. What about a job in Antarctica? Yes again!In reality the concept of travel encompasses so much more than just 'vacation' that we look forward to two weeks out of every year. Each of the over thirty stories that make up this book explore destination as varied as an ice bound camp in Alaska to Tahiti. You travel along with the travel guides (instead of writers) who bring you along as a passenger on their jaunts.The stories are incredibly different as befits the idea of travel. You might not love every place you visit.You need a sense of adventure to travel You don't just want the same old thing. But it's still fun to go.Experience the unexpected. I'm glad I did!
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

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Imagine this. A few kids in Louisiana decided to re-shoot the movie 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'! Not a remake, but a faithful shot by shot homage to their favorite action film. Scouting locations, finding (and in some cases building) props, designing realistic special effects, casting and story boarding each shot in painstaking detail. A summer project that started in their early teens and lasted seven years! Doggedly pursuing their goal thru relationships beginning and ending, breakups, drug use, boarding school, ever changing parental support (sometimes interference), local laws, weather and more could not stop them. Best friends who became enemies and some relationships that deepened, turning into life long friendships.Of course as they began this incredible task, sometimes the production is saved by a sudden flash of brilliance (the rolling boulder scene) or sabotaged from the most unlikely places (trying to get permission to film a scene on a submarine). Even parents Trying to keep the insanity under some control refusing permission to shoot the burning bar scene in the basement of one of the guys home (what do you mean we can't set him on fire? C'mon!)These kids, local neighborhood friends (some just acquaintances) struggled on til the labor of love is complete. And then what? Just stick it in a closet and forget it? I won't go into any of the delicious detail that keeps you entrapped in this story. I think it's just as good as watching the film itself. Let your inner kid out to enjoy themselves. It's worth it!!
Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir

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An amazing memoir of the author's youth and adolescence and her relationship with her friend, the pedophile. That's right. FRIEND! In this book Ms Fragoso does the unthinkable. She brings us inside her relationship with Paul, a friend to Margaux's mother and herself, who groomed her from age eight to become a sexual partner for himself at the time almoast 60!Probably the most chilling aspect is that Paul is not your drooling, raincoat wearing, pervert. He places himself in the path of this family, an abusive father, mentally ill mother and fragile Margaux herself. She wants love from an adult she can depend on. What she gets is a form of attention, which she experiences as love that Paul insinuates himself in her life to the point Margaux believes in their mutual love, that an uncaring world would never understand and so must be kept secret. Mom, Dad and just about every adult in this story seems not to see (or acknowledge) the terrible things happening to Margaux. Yes of course the sex games, but also Margaux's depression, confused self image and ultimate belief that she will marry Paul and live happily ever after!But like almost any relationship built upon lies and deception, it begins to unravel. And Margaux remains a dedicated friend to Paul until the climax where she becomes painfully aware of the awful truth of the relationship.Margaux writes this tale in brutal first person remembrance. No one is spared, no detail is too gruesome as to be avoided. Eventually she comes to terms with her past and starts building a life of her own, college, husband and family. But there is never the day of reckoning for the pedophile. He sickly, slickly gets away without societal judgement and sanction of his acts. There is no big payoff. No conclusion. And that only makes this scarier ans more plausible still.
The Sixth Form

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A story of two boys from very different upbringings, who meet at Berkley boarding schhol in Massachusetts for their senior year. One worldly, confident, seemingly sure of himself; the other shy, introverted, wanting to belong. As the boys become friends and interact in each others lives they learn their own truths of who and what they are and will grow to become.I enjoyed the story and found it an engaging read. My big problem was including this as a 'gay interest' novel. While the boys stories startb out equally Ethan's story quickly overtakes Todd's soon becoming the sole point of view in the book. Now I did enjoy Ethan's story, but I felt Todd got the short end of the bargain. Ethan's tale goes into quite some detail about what is happening and what Ethan feels about his new life exoperiences. Todd kisses Ethan early on in the tale and realizes his feelins are unrequited. What happens next? Todd becomes a person seen through Ethan's story. What does he do to help his friend. How does he see the situation. But precious little as his story is mired in self doubt, fear of being found out, and finally some hastily concieved action at the end where he meets a person who might be of some interest, earlier revealed to be the only openly gay student character, who gets physically assaulted several times during the story and basically remains alone throughout. When does Todd explore his desires? Once in a quick tryst with the gay friend of Hannah (Ethan's love interest) and once later on at the antique shop of one of his Mom's gay friends partners in a non sexual encounter). That's it.Ethan goes through some major life experiences and starts to realize what his adult life might become. Todd? Much less time is spent developing that story. I felt cheated as the story marched along and Todd became an afterthought. I don't know why that happened. Could the author not have developed Todd's storyline ang bring his character into some form of equitabile plot line(s). Guess not.All that being said, I really enjoyed the book. I deducted a star in rating due to the inequity of the storylines. Not a book I'd reccommend to YA gay or questioning readers.
Shatter Me

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Amazing! Engrossing! Captivating!These are but a few of the comments I can make about this debut novel from author Tahereh Mafi. A YA novel, that starts in jail in the mind of a mysterious young woman,who considers herself a monster. Like peeling away the layers of an onion the story unravels its tale. Slowly we begin to see the emergence of a woman who is not monstrous at all, but thru being alone, with no hope of comfort from others by either the touch of conversation or physical contact blames herself for matters that really were out of her control.I would also like to compliment the author on the exquisite use of language, the turn of a phrase. Many times I was engrossed in the story and suddenly found myself going "wait a minute..." in response to the author's descriptive language. I was amazed at the craftsmanship shown in not only the storytelling, but also in the way the words and phrases used helped add to the mental images illuminating the story, crafting my involvement and emotional response to both characters and plot.I will be watching eagerly for more from this talented new author You should give her a try. You won't be disappointed!
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