Tag Archives: 3 Stars

My Sixty Years on the Plains by William Thomas Hamilton

Written in 1905 when he was 82, My Sixty Years on the Plains is mostly about the skirmishes with Indians that the author was involved in. It’s pretty rambly, much as you might expect from a grandpa reminiscing. Whoever transferred it from print to digital did a pretty bad job (for example, Santa Fe was rendered multiple times as Santa F6). I recommend this book if you want to read a firsthand account of one of the earliest white men to head out west.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 32
Pages Read in 2019: 8794
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Women Under the Knife by Ann Dally

Surgery was pretty crazy in the 1800s and early 1900s and Women Under the Knife discusses cases and opinions related to it. I’m not sure if the author was trying to make the point that surgeons operated on both men and women so it really wasn’t significant that women underwent more surgeries than men (the majority of the additional surgeries were gynecological) or that men, and particularly male surgeons, were misogynists and so operated so much on women for that reason. Sometimes it felt like she was making one of those points and sometimes the other and that she didn’t really make either point in the end. It was often dreadfully boring and read like someone’s doctoral thesis. When she was discussing case studies, however, it was fabulous and very interesting. She really should have stuck more to those. I don’t really recommend or not recommend this book either way. It would probably be best skimmed to just read about the surgical cases.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 24
Pages Read in 2019: 7024
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Candy Bombers by Robert Elmer

Candy Bombers is a middle grade historical fiction book about the Berlin Airlift and dropping candy for the children in the Soviet sector at the beginning of the Cold War. The story is very simple and doesn’t really focus much on the candy bombing (it’s more of a backdrop). The transitions from one scene to the next very often are difficult to follow (could be an issue with how the book ended up when it was made into an ebook as there are some formatting issues). It’s an okay book, but there are better out there set in the same time period.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 20
Pages Read in 2019: 5982
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Giggleswick: The Amadan Map by Matthew Mainster

The Amad├ín Map is the first book in the Giggleswick trilogy. It started out very interesting with a mysterious man looking for just the right family to invite to a hidden island. And then it kind of fizzled. It often dragged along and got downright boring, rehashing the same stuff over and over. My 10- and 12-year-old sons had no interest in continuing to read the books in the trilogy, so we will end our Giggleswick reading with this one. It’s not a horrible book, but it’s not one I’d really recommend either.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 15
Pages Read in 2019: 3813
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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: LitHub Bingo

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

When April May stumbles across a giant sculpture in the middle of the night she has no idea how crazy her life is about to get. She is catapulted to the heights of internet fame and thrown right into the mystery of the Carls.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a very strange, yet very engrossing book. I was completely sucked in rather quickly and it thoroughly kept my attention if only because I really wasn’t sure where in the world the story was going. It kept springing crazy things on me that I wasn’t expecting. So that’s really good. But then there were the negatives. The first tenth of the book contains so many cuss words. After the first tenth, the number dramatically decreases, though when the storyline gets a bit thin the f-words and s-words appear in large numbers again. I kind of felt like the author was trying to capture people’s interest through overuse of the f-word (totally unnecessary as the story itself captures interest and, at least for me, the ridiculous number of cuss words made me less interested in continuing to read). The end is a cliffhanger and it really annoys me when books end like that. Almost like the author is saying, “ha, ha, now you get to buy another book when I write it.” Will I buy it and read it? Yup. Because, while it was super weird, I did like the book. I recommend it to late teens and up who like to read weird sci-fi.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 119
Pages Read in 2018: 30,948
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Filed under Reason: It sounded interesting, Science Fiction

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

When Pagford Councilman Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly, the town is left dealing with the shock and the open Council seat. There are many secrets and old wounds in Pagford and some are about to get blown wide open.

There are a whole lot of characters in The Casual Vacancy and it was hard to keep them straight for the first third or so of the book. Some of them I cared about more than others so the writing style of focusing on one set of characters at a time for a short section of the chapter before moving on to another set was good. If it was a storyline I didn’t enjoy as much, I knew it would switch to another shortly. The character development is amazing. Nearly everyone was fleshed out completely. They pretty much all, however, had serious issues and the whole thing was just rather depressing. The end was extremely depressing (though with a couple sweet, hopeful notes) and, when I finished the book, I was left feeling kind of down. The language was also pretty bad (many, many uses of the f-word and s-word). I don’t regret reading it, but it’s not a book I’d go out of my way to read.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 100
Pages Read in 2018: 23,393
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: I Like the Author

The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog by Douglas Kaine McKelvey

People seem to love The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog, but I’m just kind of meh about it. It was a relatively sweet story, but I never really cared much about what happened to any of the characters. The angel part was very anti-climactic. It’s very short, so if you want to read it, it’s not much of a time investment, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 94
Pages Read in 2018: 21,841
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys