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review 2020-01-17 19:36
War of the Wolf (Saxon Stories #11) by Bernard Cornwell
War of the Wolf - Bernard Cornwell

Uhtred is still Uhtred in all his glory. You can still talk me into reading anything he's involved in. However (and I hate to say this), things are getting a little stale. I think it is time to send Uhtred to Valhalla where he belongs. I would not be opposed to having this continue from his son's point of view. 


Read 1/7/2020-1/17/2020

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text 2020-01-16 20:56
Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
The Twisted Tree - Rachel Burge,Kate Okello

I listened to the first four hours of this on a long drive today. I think it's well done. The writer doesn't rush, avoids melodramatics and creates a plausible seventeen-year-old heroine. 


It's not so much horror as bringing Norse mythology to life in present-day Norway.


It's set in January and I think part of my enjoyment may be because it fed my hunger for mountains and snow. Driving through the daylight-dark, past flooded fields in dismal but unrelenting rain, I'm missing the clean, cold, snow-covered winters of the Swiss Alps.

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review 2020-01-16 04:44
To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker
To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

This book was full. Full of detail. Full of characters. Full of buildings. Full of emotions. Full of bad choices. Full of stupid girls. 


I'm going to veer off course here just a little bit. Every book I have ever read about the French royal court is full of stupid, stupid women. The only exception seems to be Catherine de Medici. And she's not French. She's Italian. I'm going to go back and check out my reviews of past books. I'm pretty confident in this statement. Women at the French court, no matter the era, were stupid and constantly made head banging choices. A prime example is the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy by Sally Christie. I encourage you to check out my reviews. It's some of my best work. I welcome any book suggestions that will counter my personal theory.


Back to this book.I enjoyed the first 30%. Marguerite was an intelligent, hard working woman. She had skills other than bedroom skills and she put them to work. She was not going to take a handout from her rich lover. She understood the importance of being independent. Marguerite had very modern sensibilities. That didn't mean Marguerite didn't make some stupid decisions. She did. In her defense, if I had been forced to live with a woman like Suzanne, I might do some pretty stupid things too. The reader walks through life with Marguerite while she navigates life in the court of the Sun King, has her heart broken, and finds love again. 


At the astounding age of 42, Marguerite gives birth to her daughter, Jasmin. Here the book starts to fall apart. Jasmin is spoiled. While Marguerite wants to keep her only child firmly grounded, papa indulges her. I think we all know how that goes. Jasmin makes bad choice after bad choice. Eventually those choices land her married to a vile, abusive, banished Duc. Jasmin's husband is your typical violent drunk. The only thing the author forgot to give him was a curling mustache. At some point, Jasmin has a daughter of her own who she calls Violette. More bad choices follow. All the while we are suppose to believe that Jasmin is actually an intelligent, caring, compassionate woman who cares deeply for the plight of the French common people. All of those things are true but they become hard to swallow when surrounded by all of the other obviously moronic things Jasmin does.


We never really get a full Violette story. This is perfectly fine. The little bit of Violette we do get is exasperating. Her choices make her mother's look intelligent.  She exists as an avenue to Rose. Rose is Violette's daughter who ends up being raised by Jasmin. Rose enters the book at about 70%. Honestly, if Rose was the only person featured in this book, that would have been enough for me. Rose's story puts the reader in Marie Antoinette's inner circle as the events of the French Revolution unfold around her. It's dramatic. It's emotional. It had me yelling at my husband to find another room to breath in. There is a scene towards the end that follows the execution of Marie Antoinette that had me full on ugly crying. I would read that section of the book again. Not the rest. Just that part. 


I need to veer off course here again. In a time when the average life expectancy of a French citizen was between 25 and 30 years of age, the people in Laker's book managed to live incredibly long lives. Many of the main characters reached at least 70s and in some cases 90s. While I understand that Laker's characters were much better off than most French people of the era, it is incredibly unlikely that so many people would live so long. Smallpox ran wild in France and the vaccination wasn't available until the early 19th century. However, I have seem some evidence that suggests Marie Antoinette introduced the smallpox vaccination to the French court. Some could argue that demographic information from the late 18th century is a little skewed due to the sheer amount of executions that took place during the years of the French Revolution. While that's a valid point, the French government didn't keep accurate data during the Revolution years. Specifically any data pertaining to life expectancy of men. I welcome any thoughts on this. 


This got a little longer than I intended it to but I had a lot of book to deal with. 


Read from 12/23/2019-1/16/2020

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review 2020-01-15 23:53
"The Shepherd's Crown -Discworld #41" by Terry Pratchett
The Shepherd's Crown - Terry Pratchett

"The Shepherd's Crown" was the last novel Terry Pratchett completed before his death, except, he didn't really get the time to finish it. The whole story is there from end to end but the book fades as it goes along.


Reading it was like starting with a fully finished movie where the lighting, music, script, and acting have been edited into something richly textured and powerful and starting to be presented with the unedited rushes. Each scene is there but Terry Pratchett's usual magic, his ability to make the prose sing, to deliver huge ideas at a scale that gives them meaning to us mere mortals, his ability to make me believe in the supernatural and care about the people, isn't there.


I'm glad I read the book. I wouldn't have missed the start for anything. I cried when I lost Granny Weatherwax early in the book. It may seem extreme to cry over the death of a fictional character but I've known Granny Weatherwax for more than thirty years and Terry Pratchett made her death real to me. Of course, my tears weren't just for her. They were what happens when you fall through a trap door and are immersed in past grief that doesn't accept that it's past.


This ability to link Discworld to real-life experience has always been part of the power of Terry Pratchett's writing. He reminds us of our humanity, of our loves and our losses, of our bravery and our cowardice and he helps us accept ourselves and each other for what we are.


Yet as I got further through the book, I begin to feel the story losing its grip on my imagination. It's a good story but reading gave me an experience broadly equivalent to when you see actors doing a first read-through of a script, everything is there except it isn't living up to its potential.


Reading this almost-but-not-quite-finished book gave me pleasure but it also made me aware of just how much I miss Terry Pratchett.



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review 2020-01-15 13:24
Review: Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher
Blood Rites - Jim Butcher


For Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, there have been worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Dodging flaming monkey poo, for instance. Or going toe-to-leaf with a walking plant monster. Still, there is something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film's producer believes he's the target of a sinister entropy curse, but it's the women around him who are dying, in increasingly spectacular ways.

Harry is doubly frustrated because he got involved with this bizarre mystery only as a favor to Thomas, his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can't quite figure out, until his investigation leads him straight to Thomas' oversexed vampire family. Harry is about to discover that Thomas' family tree has been hiding a shocking secret; a revelation that will change Harry's life forever.





Wow, what a ride…… a long, fun, shocking, entertaining but also a bit confusing ride this book was.

I love this series but this book felt huge and often a bit confusing. There are so many things happening that often it is hard to keep track of it all, not just the current book but all previous books and groups and people we’ve met so far.

I still enjoyed this book very much, we learn a lot new things, things we’ve been waiting for since book one.  I love Harry and how he adepts to things so fast and how he no matter what is there for his friends and family, no matter what the cost. He made that clear all the books. He learns some rather shocking and surprising and also interesting things in this book. Some that will change his life forever. He also had some rough moments in this book, where I just wanted to hug him and tell him it will be okay…… okay maybe I just want to hug him lol.

His friendship to Murphy is still one of my favorite things in this series, right along with Bob. We also learn more about Murphy and even get to meet her family, which was hilarious and yet a bit sad at the same time, but it really helped us to understand Murphy better,

I really missed Susan this book, she is mentioned but not really there but I have hopes to see her again. I also hope to see more of Michael again, we didn’t see him much either and I really like him in the series.

We might or might not lose some people…. There are definitely moments of loss in this book, just not always death or people.

Overall, while a bit confusing and a bit all over the place, I still loved this book, it kept me on my toes and kept bringing on the surprise after surprise. We get much laughter, but also some tears and heartbreak.

I’m looking forward to the next book, because some things are definitely going to change.

I rate this book 4 ★







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