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Reviews Written by
Kelly Monaghan "intrepidtraveler.com" RSS Feed (Branford, CT USA)
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Fractured Eden
Fractured Eden
Price: $2.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspense, mystery, action . . . and something more, December 22, 2015
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This review is from: Fractured Eden (Kindle Edition)
A fascinating twist on the usual conventions of thrillers and suspense novels. There's murder and mayhem aplenty in this tale of a doctor accused of malpractice seeking a new life and maybe redemption in a small East Texas town, but the struggles and confrontations between good and evil are more spiritual than physical. I loved the way that Gossington weaves in supernatural elements that the central characters either dismiss as the colorful delusions of the mentally ill or miss altogether. Is that fleetingly glimpsed white haired woman a ghost? Maybe the dead wife of a fellow who befriends the dco? And is that guy perhaps a ghost himself? Or an angel? Beyond the entertainment value -- and there's plenty of that -- the book seems to be asking us to consider the unseen forces that shape our lives. And it was refreshing to see a love story that dispensed with the bodice and boxer ripping so prevalent these days to depict a growing meeting of kindred adult souls.


The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures
The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures
by Christine Kenneally
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.53
89 used & new from $2.02

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating survey of the current state of the art, November 6, 2014
The field of genetics and genomic investigation is advancing so rapidly that this book may already be in need of an update, but for now it will serve as an excellent overview of the field for any non-specialist interested in the question of where they came from.

I wish the book had provided some maps, graphs, and other visual aids to help the reader wrap his/her mind around some rather abstruse concepts.

I take issue with her stance on race. While she is careful to point out that there is something we call race (she prefers the term "ancestry"), she seems to side with those who maintain there is no such thing as "biological race" and that what most people call race is a "cultural contract." The basis for this view is that all humans differ very little genomically and the genes that determine "racial" traits amount to a tenth of a percent (if I am remembering correctly). Yet since we know that just 3 percent of our genes separate Scarlett Johansen from a chimpanzee, it seems to me that the real lesson to be learned is that very small differences in genes can create major observable differences in individuals. And those differences, however illusory we would like to think they are, have major impacts on our society.

I think it would be more accurate to say that race, while an extremely fluid phenomenon, is a biological fact and that hatred, prejudice, and discrimination based on race is the real cultural construct. France officially does not recognize race and doesn't categorize its citizens by race as the US does. As a result, it has been hobbled in its attempts to deal with the "racial" problems it faces.

This is more an observation than a quibble. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject. Just expect to buy another a year or so down the road, because the field will have expanded by then.


13 Ways to Hack Facebook Ads: A Digital Marketer Hack Guide
13 Ways to Hack Facebook Ads: A Digital Marketer Hack Guide
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultra distilled and actionable, June 26, 2014
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Deiss and Pittman have boiled down the insider secrets to maximizing Facebook ads in a breezy "just the facts ma'am" way. There is literally zero fluff here. Best of all, this is stuff you can put into action instantly.

They assume you know the basics and have mastered the lingo, so if you're completely new to FB ads you might have to do a little remedial work to bring yourself up to speed and get full value out of this, but if you've tried and failed with advertising on FB (like me!) this short book will be a godsend.


Mr Foote's Other Leg
Mr Foote's Other Leg
by Ian Kelly
Edition: Hardcover
7 used & new from $8.50

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Topic Poorly Served, October 15, 2012
This review is from: Mr Foote's Other Leg (Hardcover)
Samuel Foote was quite a guy but, despite obviously prodigious research, Ian Kelly fails to bring him fully to life.

A major stumbling block is Kelly's awkward and convoluted prose style and his odd way of laying out his story and introducing new characters. Oh, for an editor of fire!

Too bad, because he has some interesting points to make -- Foote as the first stand-up, the birth of celebrity culture, Georgian London as a harbinger of the modern media age, and so forth. I especially enjoyed his observation that a penchant for cross-dressing and transvestism is not necessarily a sign of homosexuality but merely of "Britishness."

I found the backmatter annoyingly fragmented and don't look to the footnotes for an amplification of an interesting point. They are strictly book and page references, which require further digging through several bibliographies. Then, too, some sources mentioned in the text are absent from the backmatter.

In spite of it all, I kept reading because Foote and his era are so fascinating. Devotees of Georgian literature and social history will find much of interest here, but theatre buffs, like myself, looking for a sprightly recounting of an offbeat life may find it heavy going.


Life Insurance Made Easy: A Quick Guide - Whole Life Insurance Policy and Term Life Insurance Coverage Questions Answered
Life Insurance Made Easy: A Quick Guide - Whole Life Insurance Policy and Term Life Insurance Coverage Questions Answered
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done! Short, sweet, and to the point., September 17, 2012
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This was an eye-opener for me. I thought I knew a bit about life insurance and what was right for me. Boy was I wrong.

This little book, which took me just a short time to read, is definitely going to save me some money and worry when I go insurance shopping.


The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog:A Peace Corps Volunteer's Years in Korea
The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog:A Peace Corps Volunteer's Years in Korea
Price: $9.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Late 60s Nostalgia, Daegu Korea Edition, November 14, 2011
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Charles Hobbie has produced an almost day by day account of his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) in Daegu (or Taegu as I always remember it), Korea from 1968 to 1970. I was there for 13 months of that period and, as a GI, my experience differed quite a bit from Hobbie's. Even so, I found his memoir brought back many fond memories of my time in the Land of the Morning Calm, reminding me of Korean words and experiences I had long forgotten.

Hobbie seems to have been very fortunate in his assignment and his Korean family. Other PCVs were not so lucky, as he points out, and a large percentage of his group of PVCs bailed out or washed out early for a variety of reasons, which he unfortunately doesn't elucidate in any detail. Even if Hobbie was luckier than most, his posting was no bed of roses, since all PCVs lived on a pittance and forsook most Western comforts. Hobbie describes it all in telling detail.

I was fortunate to become friendly with several PCVs Hobbie mentions and through them I got to experience sides of Korean life that would otherwise have been closed to me. I don't recall ever crossing paths with Hobbie. He tells us he made a point of avoiding contact with the military to the extent possible, although he couldn't resist and invitation to see "M.A.S.H." at Camp Henry. It was the perfect place and time to screen that film. I was there and Hobbie's description is spot on.

I would highly recommend this book to PCVs (obviously), anyone interested in the depth and breadth of the Peace Corps experience, and anyone who was in Korea, in any capacity, at that time. It was, as Hobbie points out quite deftly, the very beginning of a time of dizzying change for Korea. Hobbie takes us to a Korea that has long since disappeared. I found it an enlightening journey.


Crazy Girls (Kindle Single)
Crazy Girls (Kindle Single)
Price: $0.99

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This one brought back memories, July 15, 2011
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I gather Lance is in his twenties and it may be the kiss of death for his literary fortunes to know that this mini-memoir resonates with those of us in the coveted 65-to-death demographic, but that's life.

Lance is a fearless writer who is not afraid to reveal himself "warts and all," so much so that one hopes his parents are no longer living. His tales of dates from hell are the kind of thing that no parent would want to read, but that every parent (or at least, every father) will recognize from his own past.

Nice to know that for all the much-vaunted changes wrought by that long-ago "sexual revolution" the mating game is still as painful and hilarious as I remember it.


Stone's Fall: A Novel
Stone's Fall: A Novel
by Iain Pears
Edition: Hardcover
108 used & new from $0.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Pears, May 12, 2009
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This review is from: Stone's Fall: A Novel (Hardcover)
"An Instance of the Fingerpost" was a stunner. Now, after the disappointment of "Dream of Scipio" and the forgettable "The Portrait," Pears is back on form with a humdinger that's in the "Fingerpost" league.

Like "Fingerpost," it has three parts and three narrators and Pears' trademark fascination with the many ways in which observed reality never quite lets us see what's really happening.

The settings are less exotic than "Fingerpost," but the thesis that global politics runs on finance, rather than military might or the force of personality of state actors is fascinating and surprisingly prescient given today's headlines.

In short, if you liked "Fingerpost," you'll enjoy "Stone's Fall."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2009 2:30 PM PDT


Return To Eden
Return To Eden
by Tucker Smallwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.95
32 used & new from $10.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A Warrior's Tale Told With Grace, April 27, 2009
This review is from: Return To Eden (Paperback)
Tucker Smallwood tells the story of a harrowing tour of duty with charm, modesty and an understatement that is utterly disarming. He wears his valor lightly whether telling of brutal living conditions, the recreational water skiing that made him an inviting VC target, or the nightmare attack that ended his war.

He writes with grace and more than one passage brought a lump to my throat. His descriptions of his recovery and his growing awareness of how deeply the war had affected him are particularly moving.

This book will remind you that America's greatest resource is young men like Smallwood who will serve with honor and humanity when called upon. Let's not squander them.


Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
by Joel Comm
Edition: Hardcover
139 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Destined to become THE guide for serious Twitterers, February 28, 2009
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Whenever I get involved in something new, I like to get the definitive source of information to make sure I do it right.

"Twitter Power" certainly fits the bill on that score. Lucid and well-written, the book will be my Baedeker as I navigate the world of Twitter and social media.

I only wish Comm had spent a little more time on the most basic of basics -- deciphering the Twitter interface and Twitter conventions, for example. It took me a while to figure some of that stuff out and I'm still learning.

He should also yell at his publisher for the sloppy editing job they did. Comm deserves better.

But these are minor carps. The book is a must for anyone who wants to get started with Twitter the right way and it is highly recommended.


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