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stevesbookstuf1

stevesbookstuf1

Joined November 2021

🏳️‍🌈🇺🇸 #Reader, Book Blogger. Nonfiction &SFF are faves. He/Him. Reviews & stuff at http://stevesbookstuff.com
review
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Pickpick

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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Pickpick

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. 3w
KristiAhlers I loved that story as well. It stuck with me. 3w
stevesbookstuf1 @KristiAhlers She has another book coming out next year with a lot of the same characters. 3w
See All 6 Comments
KristiAhlers @stevesbookstuf1 I saw that today at work! I‘m totally preordering that one. 3w
jlhammar Looks very cozy! This was a good one. 3w
kspenmoll I really enjoyed this book too. 3w
25 likes6 comments
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Pickpick

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! 3w
stevesbookstuf1 @StaceGhost My favorite chair for reading! 🙂 3w
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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! 4w
30 likes1 comment
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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! 😁 1mo
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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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Panpan

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. 1mo
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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! 2mo
Monica5 Stacked. I love WWII books 2mo
stevesbookstuf1 @Monica5 Then you'll definitely like this one. 2mo
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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! 2mo
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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. 3mo
ManyWordsLater Loved the planned obsolescence while talking about sustainability. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ 3mo
stevesbookstuf1 @ManyWordsLater It's sad but true! 3mo
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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. 3mo
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The Scarlet Letter | Nathaniel Hawthorne
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Mehso-so

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 😃 3mo
stevesbookstuf1 Yes, the US is huge, and we live in a pretty remote corner of it. 🙂 3mo
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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. 3mo
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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. 3mo
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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) 4mo
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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. 4mo
Kenyazero Wow, the premise overview sounds like the opposite of the Sandman comics, featuring a mysterious sleeping illness. 4mo
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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

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The African Queen | C. S. Forester
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Mehso-so

I'm late posting, but I did finish June's book in my personal 2022 Modern Library Challenge. A mixed reaction from me, as the writing style was “British-formal“ and seemed pretty dated. And it's basically a Romance which isn't my typical genre. But I did enjoy it.

I was surprised how well Forester handled the sex - he is franker than I expected while still maintaining his 1930s respectability.

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

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Well written and very accessible, this book is also full of stats and occasional jargon that may challenge the casual reader. Meant for those who have a previous background in tech or tech investing. If that's you, this is a handy reference and a step above a financial analyst's White Paper.

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

It's our last day in Brisbane. Headed to Sydney tomorrow then back to the States. Been a great visit.

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Excellent. Not the in-depth history the subtitle hints at, but more interesting, and more chilling. Delivered with a moral clarity that left me apprehensive about the resurgence of the racist and classist ideas that led to the flowering of eugenics in pre-WWII America. A reminder that the Supreme Court's 1927 ruling that the State has the right to sterilize us, its citizens, has never been overturned.

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

stevesbookstuf1 A great little book - a hardcover about the size of a small paperback, and less than 200 pages. A bit slow to start but once you get a feel for where the author is coming from it moves quickly. Well worth your time. 5mo
stevesbookstuf1 Belt Publishing, by the way, is a Cleveland based indie press. It's founder Anne Trubeck, has a great newsletter on Substack that I really enjoy reading. It's called “Notes from a Small Press“. Part literary musing, part “behind the scenes“ in the publishing world. Also well worth your time. 5mo
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To this American, nothing says “Australia“ more than grocery shopping inside your local mall. Yes, malls are still big here, and yes grocers are anchor stores.

Anyway, here I am with groceries from Woolworths, one of the major grocery chains, at my feet, while the rest of the family is buying more groceries at Coles (the other major chain). Passing the time reading the tagged - the latest off my TBR, whose print size made it an easy one to pack.

marleed I love this post - enjoy your day! 5mo
stevesbookstuf1 Thanks @marleed - enjoy your day too! 5mo
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Umbilical Cord | Hasan Namir
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Rounding out Pride Month: This is a book of free text verse by and about an Iraqi Canadian man, his husband, and their infant son. Surprising that free verse poetry in an audiobook could be this good. The narrator brought just the right emotion to the reading. Poems were deeply personal, heartfelt and compelling. ARC review, audiobook out now.

Adult content: a few poems use frank sexual language.

Full review: https://bit.ly/3Nw5f6u

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Rounding out Pride Month: A Hallmark Movie in a book. Albert Entwistle is a postman in northern England, who has been in the closet since he was a teenager. His pending mandatory retirement at age 65 is the jolt that starts him on a quest to find George, who he once loved, and who loved him. Despite the Hallmark comment, and the fact that it's overlong I really enjoyed it. And, I admit I teared up at the end.

Full review: https://bit.ly/3Nw5f6u

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Hampton Sides' award winning debut nonfiction from 2002. It's the story of the the greatest wartime rescue in American history. In January, 1945, in Cabanatuan, Philippines a combined force of Filipino guerillas, US Army Rangers and Alamo Scouts surprised and fought off the Japanese to rescue 500 POWs, some of the last survivors of the Bataan Death March. Well researched & reported. Great read.

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

stretchkev I read this years ago but have always forgotten the name, was a great read. 5mo
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Three Miles Down | Harry Turtledove
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From the master of alternate history, this book is a story about alien first contact, set in America in the early '70s. If I had to compare this book to any other First Contact work I‘d say that it shares a lot with the 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. As in the movie, the focus is on the impact on a handful of common people more than on the extraterrestrials.

NetGalley ARC - book out 7/26. Full review: https://bit.ly/rvw-3Miles

stevesbookstuf1 Though there isn't anything on NetGalley, or on the publisher's website, to confirm it, this is likely the first book in a series. It ends on a cliffhanger so seems likely there will at least be a sequel. In which case, the extraterrestrials will probably have a lot more to say for themselves... (edited) 5mo
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Unknown Book 7535597 | Unknown Unknown
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Debut, self-published noir-ish space opera. The author contacted me and asked for my review. I have a lot on my TBR so I hesitated even tho I have happily read & reviewed a number of self-published books in the last year. After reading it, I'm glad I said yes. A bit formulaic, but the characters, world building and writing style were really well done. Good escapist summer read. Free on Kindle Unlimited.

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

stevesbookstuf1 Even though I think this is a good summer read, it's actually winter here in Brisbane where we're visiting family - thus the warm cup of tea. It's not like winter in northern Michigan where we live - it's funny seeing people wearing winter coats when the temperature hovers in the 40s. Warm during the day, cool at night - it feels like early fall back home. (edited) 6mo
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I finished Nance‘s book a week before the first hearing of the January 6th Committee. Many (though not all) of the details of events on January 6th that were covered in that first hearing are also here. The value of Nance‘s book is that he digs deep into the white supremacist and QAnon history behind the events of that day. The resulting book is a stark warning of a clear and present danger to our nation.

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

JenniferEgnor I didn‘t know about this one, thank you. I‘m in the process of watching the hearings. What a scary time this is. 6mo
stevesbookstuf1 @JenniferEgnor I read an advanced copy. The book is due out on July 12th. And I agree - these are scary times. 6mo
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I've succumbed to the power of books. That, and the fact that proceeds go to support a crisis support line here in Brisbane. Here is my used book haul from the Lifeline Bookfest. (The Michael Connelly book is my husband's.)

I don't know how, or even if, I'm going to be able to fit these books into my luggage to take them back home to the US. I'll probably leave most of them here with relatives to dig into on our next visit. 📚 😃

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Unknown Book 7535597 | Unknown Unknown
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This is the first place our relatives suggested we go when we got off the plane in Brisbane Australia. They know me so well... 🤓

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Index, A History of the | Dennis Duncan
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The title of this book with its words ordered as they might appear in an index entry, is a hint of the clever and witty writing contained inside. Who knew that the index - that set of pages at the back of books - had such a long and interesting history?

Done with humor and fondness I think it will appeal even if you think you are only marginally interested in the idea at first.

Full review: https://tinyurl.com/2k76ke8t

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Flamer | Mike Curato
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I'm on Australia time! We hosted family in Michigan last month & are visiting them in Brisbane this month. Feels great after not being able to do so for the past couple of years.

Anyway, here's my first book review for Pride Month. It‘s easy to see why this book won the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for the LGBTQ YA category. Full of teenage realism and an almost tragedy, it tugged on my heartstrings.

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

stevesbookstuf1 And yes, it's my second graphic novel ever! I know, such a newb... 6mo
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Pickpick

What a pleasure it was to read these 26 short stories for the first time. Saroyan writes with humor and emotion. He is known for his “free style” of writing, more concerned with conveying an idea, a tone, or an emotion than with the form a story takes.

He may not be as often read today as Steinbeck or Hemingway, but he is a distinct early to mid-20th century American voice who is well worth your time.

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

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stevesbookstuf1
Boys Come First | Aaron Foley
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A lot of us will be traveling this weekend, including my husband and I. Safe and happy travels all!!

Most of my latest book haul - pictured here - is from a recent trip to Toronto to visit family. But the tagged book I ordered direct from the publisher, Belt Press, a small Midwestern independent.