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review 2017-05-26 18:10
Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Steve West
Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman,Steve West

 

Featuring some of the craziest scenes I've ever read, I don't know how this author has escaped my attentions until recently.

 

I checked out this audio from my library, immediately after finishing THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER.  I knew nothing about it, except that it was written by Christopher Buehlman. I'm glad that I went into it that way, because otherwise I might have passed on this story altogether.

 

I feel I should warn people that no religion is free from mockery here, while at the same time, I feel like this is a religious, or at least a spiritual story. Being agnostic, I'm fine with that, but what I enjoyed most were the scenes of extremely imaginative horror-most times coming unexpectedly out of nowhere. I know I will be thinking about those scenes for some time to come.

 

Highly recommended, especially the audio version, narrated by Steve West. He and this book were both amazing!

 

*Thanks to my local public library for being awesome.*

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review 2017-05-25 19:22
The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting - Anne Trubek  
The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting - Anne Trubek

After a slow couple of months my reading has picked up again: I'm finishing more, and I'm enjoying what I'm reading. The sad aspect of this is that I keep finishing books that I want everyone else to pick up, and mostly no one does.

This is an exception. It belongs on the odd shelf I don't have specifically, but can't resist reading from, called "History of a Thing". While it isn't funny exactly, there is a lightness of tone that makes this a pleasant break from heavier reading, like say, about Nixon and Mao, to pick a topic out of thin air and not off the cover of another book lying around the house. It's fascinating to learn at some depth about a very narrow topic. Not surprisingly, this book is a distillation of a topic Trubek has been teaching in college for years. Specialization is awesome: I've never thought about all the different kinds of writing together until now.

I love this post-book feeling of erudition. Two days after I finished the book I can't recall anything specific that I learned, which isn't really the point. I've grasped the gestalt. I've placed my own flirtation with calligraphy (highly recommended as a means to achieving a legible handwriting) into the appropriate context.

There are a number of people worried about the fact that schools aren't teaching cursive. I'm not bothered. I've done my share of handwriting and it hurts and it's slow, and I'm one of only two people I know who can write a cursive others can read. Admittedly, the time spent learning keyboarding will no doubt also become wasted time at some point in the Offspring's lives, in favor of something newer and easier for more people. That's fine.

Favorite bit: seeing all the different types of clerks/scribes/copyists there were a fairly short time ago. Poor Bartleby and Bob Cratchit!

Library copy

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url 2017-05-08 04:18
Rainbow Snippets: A Shared Love

Coridan leaned forward and Theron's arm slid from his shoulders. When Coridan set his bowl on the ground for Ictis, Theron noticed numerous scars on his forearm ranging from red to almost white. The thin jagged seams marred him from wrist to elbow.

How did I miss them?

Theron stroked his left wrist, fingers circling similar marks there. After every helot he'd killed, he'd marked himself. Practicing for what he would do after he slew Andreas.

For more Rainbow Snippets stop by the FaceBook Group.

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review 2017-04-30 23:45
Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King
Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome - Crystal King

Synopsis:

Set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family, Crystal King’s seminal debut features the man who inspired the world’s oldest cookbook and the ambition that led to his destruction.

On a blistering day in the twenty-sixth year of Augustus Caesar’s reign, a young chef, Thrasius, is acquired for the exorbitant price of twenty thousand denarii. His purchaser is the infamous gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicius, wealthy beyond measure, obsessed with a taste for fine meals from exotic places, and a singular ambition: to serve as culinary advisor to Caesar, an honor that will cement his legacy as Rome's leading epicure.

Apicius rightfully believes that Thrasius is the key to his culinary success, and with Thrasius’s help he soon becomes known for his lavish parties and fantastic meals. Thrasius finds a family in Apicius’s household, his daughter Apicata, his wife Aelia, and her handmaiden, Passia whom Thrasius quickly falls in love with. But as Apicius draws closer to his ultimate goal, his reckless disregard for any who might get in his way takes a dangerous turn that threatens his young family and places his entire household at the mercy of the most powerful forces in Rome.

 

Wow! This book was quite impressive for a debut author! At first I thought most of the book would center mostly on the cooking and foods from the era, and as I don't like to cook, I thought it would get boring. Boy, was I wrong.

 

This book mainly centers on the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius whose recipes were written down, but according to the author's notes, no cookbook survived, but some of his recipes did survive in the writings of other historical figures. Apicius was a very wealthy Roman citizen whose passion for cooking and good food sees him spend a great deal of money to buy a slave named Thrasius to be his cook. His dream is to be the gastronomic advisor to Caesar himself.

 

He throws huge, very extravagant parties hoping to get noticed. But the thing he doesn't realize is that to draw ever closer to Caesar's circle is to also potentially put yourself and family at greater risk. Set at the time of Caesar Augustus and going to the reign of Tiberius and his evil praetorian prefect, Sejanus, Apicius does not seem to realize the dangers that he risks in his quest for greatness.

 

I loved this book and all of the characters, even the vile ones, because it made this period in history really come alive for me. It has all the court intrigues, manipulations and dangers, but also the very human stories of a man who just wanted to be famous and the consequences in the life of his family and slaves. It also did have recipes from that time, and I could do with not eating a lot of it. Flamingo tongues?, cow udders?...no thanks.

 

Kudos to Crystal King for an amazing read and for a debut book! I read this one in less than a day. Keeping her on my list for future reads.

 

5 stars and a favorite.

Highly recommended!

 

 

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review 2017-04-28 02:59
Palatine: The Four Emperors Series- Book 1 by L.J. Trafford
Palatine: The Four Emperors Series, Book I (The Karnac Library) - L. J. Trafford

I enjoyed this book so much mainly because you get to witness the era of Nero, his downfall and the beginning of the year of four emperors through the eyes of several characters including a stuffy praetorian prefect, several lowly slaves who dwell in the background, but see plenty, Nero, Sporus, the guards, and several nobles. Looking forward to see what happens with Philo, one of my favorite characters in the book. Very entertaining, so much so, I flew through this book and can't wait to read the second one.
Recommended!

 

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