Book Review: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Book Cover Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Matthew Desmond
Non-Fiction
Broadway Books / Penguin House
March 1, 2016
432

About Evicted

WINNER OF THE 2017 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

In Evicted, Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” (The Nation), “vivid and unsettling” (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

Book Review:  Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Review by Dawn Thomas

422 Pages

Publisher: Broadway Books / Penguin House

Non-fiction, Social issues

Matthew describes himself as an enthographer. Being white and living with the poor in Milwaukee, opened some doors but closed others. People were suspicious of him and the reason he gave for being there. While working on his PhD, he moved to a mobile home park, which had a high eviction rate. He was very interested in the effects of poverty especially the impact on single mothers.

The project follows the lives of some tenants and landlords. From the beginning of the book, I found myself drawn into their lives. I could not put the book down and for two days, I was immersed in their stories. In the landlords, I saw their good and bad sides. When Serrena delivered groceries, I saw her as sympathetic with Arleen and her boys. Later, when she was giving 5-day eviction notices, I saw her as a shrewd businesswoman.

This book has stayed with me since I finished reading it last month. I think about these people’s situations and felt for them. At the end of the book is a reader’s guide with questions and topics for discussion. The book definitely made me more aware of the shortage for affordable housing. Although it was written around the city of Milwaukee, the stories could have come from other places in the country. This book should be mandatory reading for high school and/or college students. I believe if people were aware of these situations, there may be more empathy in the world.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Book Review: Arachne’s Challenge by Edita Petrick

Book Review: Arachne’s Challenge by Edita Petrick
Review by Dawn Thomas

297 Pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women Sleuths, Fantasy, Mythology

FBI Agent Saunders is investigating a car theft and smuggling ring but it goes deeper than it appears. Meanwhile, Carter planned a European excursion to celebrate his and Stella’s first wedding anniversary. Since a Jeep with an exotic paint was recently stolen and shipped to a car rental company in France, Saunders convinces Carter to help him on the investigation.

Stella is thrilled with the trip, which is a combination of research and vacation. At one of the border checkpoints in France, a guard tells Stella about a historical church. When Carter and Stella arrive at the site, it is little more than ruins. Carter accidently kicks a rock, which turns out to be more than it seems. With little choice, he accepts Arachne’s challenge that starts a chain of events that could cost them their lives.

This is the fourth book in the Stella Hunter mystery series. The book is written in third person and present tense. The characters are well developed and the storyline moves quickly. Although there is a central story which carries from book to book, the books can be read as stand alones since backstory information is in each book. I enjoyed this book as much as the first three and hope the author continues the series. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys mysteries or mythology.

Book Review: The Byzantium Connection by Edita Patrick

Book Review: The Byzantium Connection by Edita Patrick
Review by Dawn Thomas

328 Pages
Publisher; Amazon Digital Services

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women Sleuths, Fantasy, Mythology

In the first two books, we followed Carter and Dr. Stella Hunter as they found and tried to neutralize the curse of the Peacetaker. The story begins with Cater waiting in a church while Stella is doing research. Also in the church is an older couple. As they walk towards to Carter, they are growing younger with each step. He thinks he is just seeing things and does not say anything to Stella.

Set’s emissary has been released. Carter and Stella need to find the nine judges before the emissary activates them. If not, it will begin a chain of events that cannot be stopped. Tanis, a woman we met in earlier books, kidnaps Carter and Stella. She is determined to create more chaos and bring an end of the world, as we know it. There are elaborate plots and strange disappearances that cannot easily be explained to the public.

This is the third book in the Stella Hunter mystery series. Like the previous books, it is written in third person and in the present tense. Several of the characters appeared in the previous books and we learn a little bit more of them in this book. They are well developed and the story is fast paced. When I finished the book, I could not wait to start the next one.

Book Review: The Harmony Scroll by Edita Petrick

Book Review: The Harmony Scroll by Edita Petrick
Review by Dawn Thomas

376 Pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women Sleuths, Fantasy, Mythology

In the first book, we met Carter and Dr. Stella Hunter. They found the Peacetaker, a young boy named Gabriel. Now they need to find a way to neutralize the effects. Stella has read about the harmony scroll but does not know what it is or where to find it.

During their scavenger hunt, they travel to France where they met Kanata, a Russian-ex-KGB-turned-French-entrepreneur. Together, they work to uncover the harmony scroll in the hopes of removing the curse from Gabriel.

This is the second book in the Stella Hunter mystery series. It is written in third person and in the present tense. The characters are well developed and the story is fast paced. When I finished the book, I could not wait to start the next one.

Book Review: Ribbons of Death by Edita A. Petrick

Book Review: Ribbons of Death by Edita A. Petrick
Review by Dawn Thomas

372 Pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women Sleuths, Fantasy, Mythology

Dr. Fineas Gahji is the Assistant Direct of the Cairo Museum of Antiquities. He has tried for ten years to get close to Nicola Moses, an international financier. He convinced a waiter to give Moses a note with a cartouche drawn on it. When Moses saw the cartouche, he summoned Gahji. The powerful amulet could release the Peacetaker, a creature capable of creating chaos.

Pascal Girous, a French reporter, invites Carter, an American hired mercenary to attend a women’s peace march in Cairo. This was an important event since the American Ambassador’s wife and three daughters were participating. The march turns violent for no obvious reason. Carter sustained severe injuries to his face, neck and shoulders but his friend Pascal died.

When information about an amulet surfaced, Carter looked for an expert. He found Stella Hunter who wrote a book on the subject. The two of them travel across the United States speaking with experts. After a few of the experts died unexpectedly in what appear to be accidental deaths, Carter and Stella realize they are working against the clock. They have to solve the puzzle and stop the Peacetaker before they become accidental statistics too.

This is the first book in the Stella Hunter mystery series. It is written in third person and in the present tense. The characters are well developed and the story is fast paced. The story is a great start for the series. When I finished the book, I could not wait to start the next one. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys mysteries or mythology.

Book Review Organisational Anatomy by Oleg Konovalov

Book Review Organisational Anatomy by Oleg Konovalov
Review by Dawn Thomas

167 Pages
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Non-Fiction, Business, Entrepreneurs

In 2011, I went back to school to finish my undergraduate degree in business administration. Some of the textbooks were dry and difficult to read. In this book, the author does an excellent job of discussing what constitutes an organization and how it matures. After graduations, I began a soapmaking business. As a business student, I found information in the book easy to follow. It built on topics I learned in college classes but laid out in an easy to follow format. The chapters are listed below.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: How the organisation nourishes itself
Chapter 3: Three different types of organisations
Chapter 4: Organisations get older too
Chapter 5: Getting organized: central or internal system cognition control
Chapter 6: Making sense of the world around us: peripheral nervous system strong
Chapter 7: Developing sensitivity and receptiveness
Chapter 8: Metabolism and structure
Chapter 9: Synergy of functions
Chapter 10: The world around and external forces
Chapter 11: Decisions and diagnosis

As you can tell by the chapter headings, the author relates businesses as if he was describing human anatomy. This method makes it easier to understand organizational functions. I highly recommend this book to business students or anyone considering starting a business.

Book Review: The Witch’s Athame by Jason Mankey

Book Review: The Witch’s Athame by Jason Mankey
Review by Dawn Thomas

153 Pages
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

Religion & Spirituality

This book is part of the Llewellyn’s Witch’s Tools series. The author explains his reluctance with athames when he first began his path in witchcraft. The word athame came into print in 1949. It is a knife dedicated to magical purposes. It is great that he gives pronunciation tips and possible origins of the word. I love the story about witches finding their athame. The history of athames is very extensive and includes superstitions.

These are the chapters within the book.
Chapter 1: A short history
Chapter 2: The other athame
Chapter 3: Making an athame yours
Chapter 4: Preparing the athame for ritual
Chapter 5: Athame in ritual
Chapter 6: The bowline and the white handled knife
Chapter 7: The athame in the kitchen
Chapter 8: The sword
Chapter 9: Divination, ritual, and the spell work with the athame
Chapter 10: The knife in traditional witchcraft

In chapter 2, the author describes the difference materials used for athames. I was very interested in learning how to make an athame from wood. In chapter 3, he discusses the challenges and limitations to making your own athame. In the fourth chapter, the author gives various ways to clean an athame. One description is to bury the blade on a full moon. I think this is a wonderful way to remove negative energies.

He includes several ideas for cleansing and consecrating an athame. There are many details listing the differences an athame and a bowline. The chapter on the sword includes references from William Wallace to Harry Potter. Before reading this book, I was unaware of using an athame for scrying or using it in candle magic. There is a beautiful initiation ritual, which can be adapted for a specific tradition. The last chapter is dedicated to identifying different traditions in witchcraft.

This was the first book I have read by this author. I liked his writing style. It was very easy to read and understand. The chapters flow nicely from each topic. I also liked that he gave many examples throughout the book. If you are interested in learning about athames, I highly recommend this book.

Book Review: The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman

Book Review: The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman
Review by Dawn Thomas

317 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press / Thomas Dunne Books

Women’s Fiction

When I started this book, I was not sure where it would take me. What surprised me the most was how fast I was swept away. This is the story of Don and Mattie Tice. Mattie is suffering with ALS and Don needs help taking care of her. Rose, a single parent, arrives at the Tice home for interview. Unfortunately, she was not able to leave her young daughter, Jeri with a sitter so she brings her along and has her waiting in the car. Mattie was looking out the window when they arrived and told Rose to bring the girl in the house. Jeri, like most children, does not have a filter. She asks pointed questions and in the process steals Mattie’s heart.

Mattie’s parents gave her the hope chest when she was a young girl and she begins sharing stories about the items in the box. With each item, the bond between the two families grows stronger. Rose seems to be a daughter Mattie and Don never had. What started out as a job for Rose turns into a personal relationship.

The book is well written in third person and bounces back in forth from Mattie’s recollections to the present time. The characters are well developed as we learn about them through their stories. There are a few religious references but they only reinforce the Tice’s faith in family. I really enjoyed this story. It definitely is an emotional roller coaster. This would be a good choice for fans of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

Book Review: The Kill Sign by Nichole Christoff

Book Review: The Kill Sign by Nichole Christoff
Review by Dawn Thomas

277 Pages
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Alibi

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women Sleuths

Jamie Sinclair is visiting her man, Adam Barrett, on base in Mississippi. Her first evening goes downhill very fast when a riverboat explodes from a dirty bomb. Eddy Jepson a man she and her mentor Ray caught preying on women, is responsible for placing the bomb on the riverboat. After the explosion, she and Barrett are taken to an underground bunker and debriefed. Jamie vows she will find out why Eddy put the bomb on the riverboat. What she did not plan on was the arrival of DEA Agent Marc Sandoval.

Federal Agent, April Callahan, is a little too chummy with Barrett during the investigation of a possible domestic terrorist attack. Jamie does not believe Eddy is a domestic and wants to find out the person pulling Eddy’s strings. Enter Hunch Nevis, a businessman who operates a high risk gambling house. Jamie goes undercover to get an invitation to Hunch’s house. She is caught in a restricted area of the house and Hunch’s muscle tries to take her out. Clues lead her to investigate Bran, Ray’s latest protégé. After seeing Bran and Ray’s wife Corrine in a compromising position, she thinks there is more to their relationship.

This is the fourth book in the Jamie Sinclair series. It is written in first person and in present tense. The author does an excellent job with the complex plot which keeps the story flowing at a fast pace. The characters are well developed and I found myself sharing their emotions. If you like strong women characters, like Lindsay Boxer from James Patterson or Jane Rizzoli from Tess Gerritsen, you will enjoy this book.