The book was intriguing. I can definitely say that the characters within The Beauty of Humanity Movement are supremely well developed. One can very ea...moreThe book was intriguing. I can definitely say that the characters within The Beauty of Humanity Movement are supremely well developed. One can very easily imagine the characters existing in real life from the broad, almost stereotypical personas right down to the subtle nuances that separate the characters from those same stereotypes. These nuances give them depth and add a solid level of believe-ability to them.
The story is also fascinating. Unraveling the life of Old Man Huang takes you on a long journey covering the gambit of human emotions. One wants to spend the time thinking about how his life has evolved, but as you do, another twist is added which only deepens the confusion that is his life. Luckily, however, all becomes clear in the end through his interactions with Maggie and Tu.
I would highly recommend people read this book, the journey was fantastic.
Note: I did receive this book via Goodreads First Reads. However, receiving the book through the program has not affected my feelings towards it or biased my review in any perceptible way; at least I would like to think it hasn't. It really was a very pleasant and interesting read.(less)
Fiddler's Green, sequel to the Fiddler's Gun, is an elaborate tale which concludes the adventures of orphan turned pirate, Fin Button. For the first b...moreFiddler's Green, sequel to the Fiddler's Gun, is an elaborate tale which concludes the adventures of orphan turned pirate, Fin Button. For the first book, I found the story engaging but the character development to be lacking and the plot seemed to be too speedy at times as he set the stage for this second book.
The Fiddler's Green, however, quiets my complaints of the first book. The depth of the characters, I found, was extremely well developed as we gained further insight into their lives aboard the "Rattlesnake" and beyond. While the characters don't stray from their personas in the first book, the range of emotions and feelings they reveal are far greater in the sequel. The story itself takes the reader on a ride with numerous twists and turns with little surprises around each bend. A.S. Peterson weaves a tale that drew me in, emotionally, and locked my eyes to the page while my rear sat firmly planted at the brink of the sofa cushion. The ending was fabulously gratifying, though entirely unpredicted, I must say I loved it.
Fun, adventurous and emotional, I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history, pirates or generally awesome adventures. Oh, and you get to meet Ben Franklin, what more could you ask for? So get off your rear and go pick up the book... in fact, go pick up the series.
Note: I received this book through the Firstreads program, here on Goodreads.com, from the author, conveniently packaged with the first book in the series.(less)
Pirates. The craze never seemed to catch on with me, so going into this book I was entirely too skeptical that the book could have been anything but b...morePirates. The craze never seemed to catch on with me, so going into this book I was entirely too skeptical that the book could have been anything but bad. Spurred on by the claim of being historical fiction, I gave it a shot and I must admit I am glad I did. The book is not about your typical swashbuckling pirates out for buried treasure, propelled by a spot marked by an 'X' on secret treasure map.
While some of the classic pirate traits exist (enter treasure map), the story is vaguely about the hunt for treasure, but instead focuses on the hardships endured by a young girl, Fin Button, who longs only to belong and to be able to choose her own destiny. Most of the book was extremely well written and very enjoyable, especially thanks to some of the characters you end up meeting (thanks Knut!) and made for a story that was hard to put down near the end.
I must say, though, that I found some parts of the story to be quite cliché and rather predictable. The romantic aspect of the whole story felt unimaginative and idealized... no conflict or tension, just unbridled love that overcomes everything and anything, no matter the situation. Other than the romance, I found some of the characters to be entirely one dimensional and some further character development tended towards the predictable: strong first-mate, loyal to his captain and crew who has a tender soft-side when no one is looking; mad captain hell-bent on his own personal vendetta; orphanage sister who seemingly takes pleasure and being strict with the children; just to name a few.
Despite the shortcomings listed, it by-all-means did not stop me from finishing the book or recommending it to others. It's a fun story with a couple good twists tossed in just to keep you on your toes and to keep the book from being entirely predictable. I think it's worth a read if you are a fan of action, adventure, historical fiction, or pirates; you're bound to have fun with the story and have a few good laughs as well.
Note on my review: I received this book through the First Reads program here on Goodreads along with the sequel, "The Fiddler's Green" which I plan to set out reading soon. Thanks to the author for supplying the first book in the series in order to facilitate the reading of the second.
The Father of Us All by Victor Davis Hanson takes a look at a subject that pervades human history: War. The main premise is that war is, essentially,...moreThe Father of Us All by Victor Davis Hanson takes a look at a subject that pervades human history: War. The main premise is that war is, essentially, human nature and while we may wish to will war away, it will inevitably remain. His approach can be off-putting to many, since his "realistic" view of war comes across as a very conservative view. If you are not open-minded and get immediately furious with anyone who does not agree with you 100%, do not read this book. If you are willing to read through some well posed arguments in order to understand his stance, then please, I urge you to read this. I think people from both sides of the aisle can gain a fair bit of knowledge from this book and add to intelligent debate.
Hanson, from the beginning, attempts to link, quite successfully, historical and modern wars. Ancient Greece, in particular Athens, is used as the foundation for most all of his arguments since they were a strong democratic society which took part in war quite frequently. Much of the first two parts of the book do a fair job of comparing more modern wars with those of Ancient Greece, pointing out qualities of each that were present in both cases. I felt this is where the book lacked in detail. He seemingly proposed many connections and then quickly provided an example and moved on instead of expounding in detail about the similarities and the differences. While expounding may have lead to a tome of a book, I would have preferred to read elaborations on his topics. They were quite interesting and thought-provoking.
The last part of the book dealt more with modern war, namely the late 20th and 21st century. I found his arguments to be more concrete in the later chapters. I also felt this is where all of the connections he was drawing together earlier really came to fruition as one begins to realize that many of the "unique" things we perceive to be happening in the wars of the past couple generations aren't unique at all. Public outcry, the firing of generals and the like have happened in past wars, not just Iraq and Afghanistan. While Hanson really pours on the "conservative" view in this section of the book, this is also where his arguments begin to solidify and he provides clear examples. He provides ample support for his arguments by elaborating much more so than he did in the first 2/3 of the book.
Overall, I felt that this book should be read in order to understand the nature of war. As Hanson alludes to in the book, if we do not understand the history of war, then we cannot start to understand the future of war. No matter your stance on war, if we hope to stop it in the future, we must learn and understand how wars begin and how they end. Knowledge of both are integral if we hope to mitigate war in future generations.
A Note: This book came to me via Bloomsbury Publishing through the First Reads program here on Goodreads.com.(less)
When I first picked up American Terroir, I had a feeling it was going to be about a food snob pressing his views on the reader. While Rowan Jacobsen i...moreWhen I first picked up American Terroir, I had a feeling it was going to be about a food snob pressing his views on the reader. While Rowan Jacobsen is well-versed in the subtleties of tasting food, he writes the book in such as a way as to bring you with him in his travels to find food that best represents the land the produces it. He doesn't preach, he teaches and informs as he learns, himself.
Even after the first chapter, I set the book down (reluctantly) with a new view of the food and drink I was consuming. I also gained a greater appreciation for the farmers that make this consumption possible. This book is for anyone who considers themselves a "foodie", anyone who appreciates local food, and anyone who just enjoys good food.
"American Terroir" came my way via the Goodreads Firstreads program and Bloomsbury Publishers.(less)
The Neptune File recounts the discovery of the outer planets, Uranus and Neptune, in dramatic fashion. Standage brings the controversies surrounding t...moreThe Neptune File recounts the discovery of the outer planets, Uranus and Neptune, in dramatic fashion. Standage brings the controversies surrounding the discovery of Neptune to light, bringing the characters to life, giving the reader a true sense of the personalities behind the pens and telescopes. I must say, a majority of the book was captivating and a delight to read while the last few chapters, devoted to the discovery of Pluto as well as the first exoplanets, was quite dry and lacked the dimension that the rest of the book contained.(less)