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review 2018-07-16 03:12
A Meeting at Corvallis
A Meeting at Corvallis - S.M. Stirling

I am done with this series.  

 

A Meeting at Corvallis, the third book in first Emberverse trilogy, unfortunately didn't return to the magic of the 1st in this series.  Too much battle info-dumping, not enough people behaving believably.

 

That said, I did cry

 

at the death of Mike Havel

(spoiler show)

 

 

But I'm just done.  If I want the minutia of military campaigns and what people ate, I'll go read some L.E. Modesitt Jr. At least his villains aren't such caricatures. 

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review 2018-07-15 01:54
ARC Review: Falling Awake II: Revenant by Kristoffer Gair
Falling Awake II: Revenant - Kristoffer Gair

I sat on this review for a few days, hoping I would have the words.

I don't have the words. Sorry, Kristoffer.

But I promised a review, so I'll do my best to somewhat coherently tell you about this book. First off, this is not a romance. This is a thriller/mystery/paranormal/horror kind of book, and a prequel of sorts to the first book, Falling Awake. If you've read that first one, this second book will give you the background information that you wanted but didn't need for the first book. 

When Andrew O'Connell was ten years old, he went to the fair with his friend Thomas, also ten. The night after they went, Thomas was abducted from his house in the middle of night, his parents slain in their bed. Thomas was found dead a few days later in an abandoned house. And for fourteen years, Andrew has felt unimaginably guilty, because he believes that what happened to Thomas was his fault. He has nightmares nearly every night, and he will not stop until he can figure out what really happened to Thomas, and find the men who so brutally killed his friend. 

Andrew now works for OSHA, tasked with travelling to areas where an accident has occurred to find out what really happened, to smoke out the truth, always one step behind the elusive person responsible. At the same time, Andrew tries to gather more information on the incident that took his childhood friend, and he's not afraid to use whatever means he has to just to get the answers he needs. Andrew is not always a good man, he's not always a nice guy - he uses people even though he feels guilty doing so - because what matters is that he finds the perpetrators of that heinous crime and stops them before they can kill again. 

The book is set in the early 1970s, when Andrew is 24, which means the original crime took place in 1958. The author did a fine job on the research to ensure the references to historical facts are accurate. There was but one inaccuracy, which I'm not going to tell you about - let's see if you can spot it yourself. 

The writing is vivid, drawing you in from the get-go. Andrew's nightmares are visualized, and I was more often than not on the edge of my seat while reading this book. The author doesn't spare us the horrors perpetrated upon Thomas, though they are doled out in smaller doses so as to not overwhelm the reader. It's difficult on occasion to read about the violence that little boy endured, and there were tears in my eyes plenty of times as well. 

Evil is real, and it will corrupt and claim a person's soul. But there is goodness too, there is light, and we have to believe that the light will prevail if only you have heart. The book is aptly named "Revenant" - one that returns. 

There is no happy ending - there really couldn't be. And the ending was unexpected and also not - there actually was no other imaginable way of ending the book. 

It is a prequel, of sorts. Keep that in mind when you read this. And read this, you should. Because it's different and it's fantastic, and it will haunt you and make you think. 

I'm told the author is currently working on the third book, which I would assume will pick up where the first book ended. 

I can hardly wait to read it.



** I received a free copy of this book from its author in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-07-14 23:03
And I Darken (and snore): DNF at 50%
And I Darken - Kiersten White

I have been listening to this for almost 7 hours and absolutely nothing has happened. Nothing. A lot of Lada being an absolute bitch to anyone and everyone and her brother being an obviously homosexual wannabe Muslim and everyone else is out to kill them. I am so over this mess. I hate Lada. She is nasty and vindictive and rude. Everything she does "out of love" is manipulative. I kept on listening, praying for this to pick up, but it never did. All battles were skipped, which is such a Twilight move. Any time a fight scene might come up, the chapter ends, the next begins and everything is over. It's just lazy writing. A lot of fluff and filler. Boring. 

 

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review 2018-07-13 15:47
Bog Child / Siobhan Dowd
Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd

Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she’s been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him—his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what—a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls.

Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.

 

A charming YA novel. It combined two things that I love to read about—Ireland and those archaeological wonders, the bog bodies. Fergus, the main character, is out early one morning surreptitiously digging peat with his Uncle Tally when they discover the peat-stained body of a young girl. When it is determined that she is an Iron Age body, not a modern murder victim, Fergus is encouraged by the archaeologist in charge of the dig to stay interested & involved. As she has a charming daughter, Fergus is only too happy to assist them.

There are some interesting juxtapositions—Fergus’ brother is on hunger strike in prison and Cora, the archaeologist’s daughter, is struggling with an eating disorder. [As an aside, I remember listening to the news regularly in 1981 to hear about the fates of those Irish hunger strikers, especially Bobby Sands.] Fergus is a runner and is pressured into moving envelopes during his runs which presumably have something to do with IRA explosions, but he has also befriended a young Welshman stationed at the village to guard against such things. Both are seeking escape, Fergus from rural Ireland and the young solider from the coal mines of Wales. During all these pushes and pulls, between family and community, law and anarchy, Fergus must pass his final exams with at least three B marks in order to enter University at the end of the summer, to achieve his way out.

We also get some flashbacks to the life of the Bog Child, with some choices of her own to make. I went to a museum display of Bog Bodies that visited my city years ago—there was a large photo of Tollund Man who was found in Denmark and my sister & I both thought that he looked very much like our Danish grandfather, also from Jutland. What a link to the past!

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review 2018-07-11 19:09
Unfortunately this one didn’t exactly have me holding my breath…
Like Breathing - Tia Fielding

Devin Rice may not have gotten off to a great start in this world but sometimes Karma can be kind for him it was. He’s got a set of awesome adoptive parents and a brother who he loves and who loves him…enough that they live as roommates. He works for his dad’s video company as a coder and all in all things are pretty good. But Devin also has some issues he’s got a bit of social anxiety going on and his romance life is pretty much non-existent, at the moment, but that’s all about to change when Devin agrees to deliver an assignment for his brother to his mentor and professor…Seth Kent.

 

Seth is older but he’s also brilliant and gorgeous and pushes more buttons than even Seth knew he had and he’s also in a relationship with…an older man…enter Leaf, yep, that’s his name ‘Leaf’ like the things you find on trees. So awkward moment, right? Nope, because Leaf’s all good with Seth’s attraction and when he meets Dev…well he not only understands the attraction, he quickly comes to realize that he shares his partner’s attraction to Devin. Thanks to his work with rescue dogs Leaf’s frequently gone from their home and while Dev had the good fortune to be adopted by a loving couple who gave him a wonderful childhood and home…Leaf, not so much and while he survived his childhood and all things considered turned out to be pretty awesome, it left him with a bit of a different outlook no life where some things are concerned.

 

I have to admit I was more than a little intrigued by the blurb and willing to venture into the story and things started out not to badly. I liked the first part of the book things between Dev and Seth started out fairly well and held a lot of promise and then we met Leaf…and that’s where the story fell apart for me. Don’t get me wrong I liked the characters all 7 of them…wait, what? 7 you say? Where did we get the number 7 from? Oh that’s easy…sit back and I’ll explain…

 

Ok, so you know who 3 of the characters are right? Devin, Seth and Leaf but somewhere early on…as in right around the time we meet Leaf we also meet…Husky, Grace and Missy and later on we meet Weasley (and any good Harry Potter fan will get this name and why he has it) and that makes lucky number 7…do you see where I’m going here? Because if you don’t than let me spell this out for you…I love dogs, hell I have one. He’s my fur-baby and I love cats I don’t have any right now but that’s not a reflection of how I feel…trust me on that one. Anyways back to the story and how things went sideways for me. Shortly after Leaf came into the picture I announced to my hubby… “It’s a little weird that I’m starting to feel like I know more about the animals in this story than a dog that I’ve lived with for 6 years.” so yeah, that was my first clue that we were heading sideways and unfortunately it became an ongoing problem for the remainder of the story. Pretty much without fail whatever was happening events consistently drifted back around to the dogs and one unfortunate little ginger kitten.

 

Ultimately there was a lot about this story that I like or could have potentially liked if I could have had more people time and less rescue dog story. It’s not that I didn’t like the dogs not even close I just needed them not to be in the foreground of the story so much and more a part of the background that helped to flesh out the main story which should have been about the relationship development between Dev and Seth and Dev and Leaf and ultimately between Dev, Seth and Leaf and for me when something else in a story keeps pulling my focus away from what’s suppose to be the core of the story than well…it’s a distraction and not an enhancement of what I thought I was going to be reading about and honestly, it eventually becomes a bit annoying.

 

At the end of it all what should have been a story about two men in a relationship (Seth & Leaf) meeting and taking a third man (Dev) into their lives and their hearts got overshadowed by 3 dogs and a cat and at times started to feel like a PSA for rescue dogs. So, if you like dogs…I mean really, really, really like dogs you’ll probably like that, but for me, while I do like dogs, it just became distracting and a little bit annoying.

 

************************

 

An ARC of “Like Breathing” was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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