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review 2017-08-21 18:27
The Chocolatier's Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer
The Chocolatier's Wife - Cindy Lynn Speer

This was a very enjoyable book for me to read. Lately I have been having a stale feeling to most of the books I have been reading. Not that those books were bad in any way, they just seemed to pretty much the same story with different people and in different places. This book had a whole new story and has refreshed me. I think Cindy Lynn Speer has done a great job with this book. I like how she gave great descriptions but did not babble on. You got enough to understand where the story was taking place, or enough to figure out the person's reasoning, and things like that but there wasn't 3 pages over nonsense that had nothing to do with the story.  The book was not over romanced either, actually there really was very little romance since where these characters live Love does not really come into the emotional play like in our world. 

 

In the kingdom of Berengeny when children are born they are taken to the Wise Woman who casts a spell to choose the child's future spouse. One of the main characters William was taken to the Wise Woman and no face appeared to her. He was taken back each year with no results until his 7th birthday, when finally the face appeared. The Wise Woman then holds a brass plumb-bob over a map to see where the spouse lives. To his families dismay she lived in the North part of the Kingdom. The North and South parts of the Kingdom have been fighting for over 500 years. 

 

William does not take this badly and sends a letter to his intended Tasmin Bey. She is still a baby at this time. William continues to send letters and gifts over the years to Tasmin. They become friends through these letters and are actually excited about finally meeting each other face to face. Even though both sets of parents do not wish for this marriage to ever take place. 

 

Finally Tasmin turns 18 and is sure William will send for her. But he does not. He has been a sea captain and decided it was time to return home open a Chocolate shop and send for Tasmin as soon has his business is making a decent profit.  But then he is accused of murder. He is arrested for killing the local Bishop with poisoned chocolates from his shop. 

 

William writes tasmin to let her know she is off the ook to marry him an accused murderer and that he is innocent. Tasmin goes to William to try and help clear his name. you will have to read the book to find out what happens next. 

 

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text 2017-08-21 14:03
Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 286 pages.
God's War - Kameron Hurley

Humans have colonized the backwater planet Umayma. For reasons that aren't clear, two main factions, Nasheen and Chenja, are at war and pretty much everyone able-bodied gets sent to the Front (except for a few specialists and other exceptions). Nasheen is run by women since men over the age of sixteen or so get sent to Front and very few make it to forty to come back. Chenja seems to keep back a few men to run things but otherwise it's pretty much the same story.

 

Nyx spent time at the Front and is now a bel dame, a kind of government-sanctioned bounty hunter (as opposed to a regular bounty hunter that isn't employed by the government) who hunts down deserters from the Front among others but she spends some of her time as a regular bounty hunter and gets involved in some illegal stuff that gets her sent to prison. Oh yeah, and she's supposed to cut off her target's head as proof, so I'm guessing that's what's supposed to be wrapped in the bundle she's cradling on the cover.

 

It's definitely gritty.

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text 2017-08-21 13:29
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Children of Neptune (Volume 1) - Makenna... Children of Neptune (Volume 1) - Makenna Snow

Awesome book. Review to come after I decide what I want to say in my review.

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review 2017-08-21 11:20
On her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service (Royal Spyness, #11)
On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service - Rhys Bowen

There is no getting around that these books are the very definition of cozy; they're also charming in a way that endears them to even a thoroughly unromantic soul such as mine.  And while the focus of the series is an overall sweetness and innocence, Bowen occasionally slips edgier tragedies in that makes them all the more heartbreaking.  I think Bowen manages to capture perfectly a certain naiveté at a time in history when the world was at a tipping point, before everyone found out how truly evil humanity can be.

 

This eleventh book is a good example of this, even though the mystery itself wasn't quite as finely crafted as some of her others.  Anyone who has read the series will be thoroughly at home with Georgie and Belinda (another one!), Darcy and Fig.  And Queenie was left behind in this one - YAY!  This time Georgie is in Mussolini's Italy and there are dodgy goings-on at a house party the Queen has sent Georgie to, in order to spy on her son and that hussy Wallis Simpson.

 

I guessed the murderer early on (too much page time) but the story never failed to keep me amused, and there was a scene between Georgie and a German soldier that purely broke my heart for it's sweetness and naiveté.  

 

The ending for Belinda's story line was just way too convenient, in the way these story lines always are, but in spite of that, I'm happy to see it wrapped up and I'm looking forward to the next book - may the fates keep Bowen from turning it into a wedding-in-peril story.

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review 2017-08-21 09:50
Barbarians to Angels by Peter S. Wells
Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered - Peter S. Wells

TITLE:  Barbarians to Angels:  The Dark Ages Reconsidered

 

AUTHOR:  Peter S. Wells

 

DATE PUBLISHED: 2008

 

FORMAT: e-book

 

ISBN:  9780393069372

 

_________________________________________

 

In Barbarians to Angels, Wells discusses his basic thesis that the “Dark Ages” weren’t quite so dark. That the barbarians “invading” the Roman Empire, adapted,  integrated and modified the Roman government institutions, but also retained a great deal of their own complex culture and institutions after the collapse of the Roman Empire.  Wells decides to focus his attention on the examination of archaeological materials to construct a picture of barbarian society in northern Europe.

 

In my opinion, Wells’ argument may well be correct, but he doesn’t convey this adequately (in this book) due to poor argumentation and the questionable interpretation and use of evidence.  The author continually states that the Dark Ages were a time of brilliant cultural activity, but fails to show this.  He keeps going back to the archaeological evidence and ignores any other type of evidence.  While Wells describes the archaeological features in detail, he fails to place these objects in a wider context or compare them with similar findings in the rest of Europe.  Wells’ also tends to focus on sites on the edge of the Roman Empire or even beyond its borders.  There is rarely any discussion of sites within what once was the Western Roman Empire.  There is also a lack of information of how his findings compare to what was happening in the area before the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.  The author does present some interesting information about the evidence for trade and culture and wealth that refutes the common misconception of savage barbarians plundering cities, ravished populations and empty landscapes.  But he doesn’t provide enough information to compare economic complexity during the Roman period and the post-Roman period.  For example, Wells demonstrates that Dark Age Europeans were capable of creating sophisticated goods and distributing them, but the why, how, and its relation to the earlier Roman period is not explained.

 

In general, this book is rather basic and bland and may well be intended as an introduction to the early Middle Ages or as a limited survey to the subject.  The writing style is easy to read with many photographs and maps, however, the argument is weak and unsatisfactory.

 

OTHER BOOKS:

 

~Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages by Frances Gies, Joseph Gies

 

~Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe by Peter Heather

 

~The Celts by Alice Roberts

 

~A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons: The Beginnings of the English Nation by Geoffrey Hindley

 

~Terry Jones' Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History by Terry Jones, Alan Ereira

 

~The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000 by Chris Wickham

 

~Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800 by Chris Wickham

 

~The World of Late Antiquity 150-750 by Peter R.L. Brown

 

~Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World by Patrick J. Geary

 

~In Search of the Dark Ages by Michael Wood

 

~The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph & Diversity 200–1000 by Peter R.L. Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

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