Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August Mini Book Reviews

The Last Sherlock Holmes StoryThe Last Sherlock Holmes Story by Michael Dibdin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so suspenseful, it caused me some degree of anxiety. It was worth it. This story is quite the opposite of boring; it is a thrilling tale, well told. John Watson is somewhat unreliable as a narrator, but not nearly as unreliable as...he...could be. (That's about all I can say without spoiling the whole thing.) It's fascinating and horrifying and I'm glad it's non-canonical.

I checked out this audio book from my local library and was not obligated in any way to review it.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's BerlinIn the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chilling.

William E. Dodd never set out to be an ambassador, yet he ended up representing the U.S. in Hitler's Germany from 1933 to 1937. He tried to warn America of the horrors to come, but very few listened to him.

I have one remaining question: What happened to Dodd's unfinished history of the Southern U.S., titled 'The Old South?' I hope someone preserved it somewhere, even though it was nowhere near to being finished.

I purchased this hardcover book with my own funds (secondhand) and was not obligated in any way to review it.

Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of Our Nation's LeadersDead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of Our Nation's Leaders by Brady Carlson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is really fun if you like U.S. history and presidential trivia. Who knew that Teddy Roosevelt's oldest daughter Alice had a pet garter snake named Emily Spinach? Or that Franklin Pierce, when he didn't get re-elected, responded with "The only thing left to do is get drunk?" I do, now.

My only caveat is that if you have a very weak stomach as concerns the remains of the dead, there are a few passages that may make you wince. On the whole, though, this fascinating slice of Americana is more about the presidents' lives than their deaths.

I have been to Mount Rushmore Rapid City, South Dakota, but not since 1989. I never saw the presidential statues. Now I'll have to go back one of these days. Put it on my bucket list.

I checked this digital audio book out through HooplaDigital.com and was not obligated in any way to review it.

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

#CursedChild No-Spoiler Mini Review

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So it's not exactly an 8th Harry Potter book - but so what? We still get a deep dive into Harry and Ginny's married life and the next generation, focusing on the middle Weasley-Potter child, Scorpius Malfoy (son of Draco and his wife Astoria Greengrass), and, to a lesser extent, Rose Granger-Weasley.

Remember when J.K. Rowling said she wished she hadn't paired Ron and Hermione? Well, she seems to have jettisoned that thought, because clearly, Romione is meant to be in every alternative universe.

And maybe Rainbow Rowell ruined me on this, but I can't help but think Scorpius's crush on Rose is only temporary, and that eventually, Scorpius and Albus end up together. I kept waiting for them to kiss. But hey, I won't rush them. Let them figure it out in their own time.

Major Voldemort bombshell? Oh, yes! Major, major, major. I won't spoil it.

This play gave me a lot of good feelings, and some bad ones. (There's mention of Molly Weasley, but not Arthur. Jo, did you kill Arthur?) It's well worth the read, since we can't all get to London's West End. Just read it.

Look, there it is on my night stand. Photo by me.
View all my reviews on Goodreads