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text 2017-12-04 01:15
November reading review
A Christmas Cornucopia: The hidden stories behind our Yuletide traditions - Mark Forsyth
The Chosen - Chaim Potok
A Burnable Book - Bruce Holsinger

This has been my slowest reading month all year, with 12 books finished.  November and December have always been a crazy time of year for me, but now I know why the creators of Christmas chose December: in the Northern Hemisphere it's winter and there's nothing else to do.  In the Southern Hemisphere it's spring too, so all the busyness associated with warmer weather is compounded by the upcoming holidays.  Which means I spend November and December throwing a lot of longing looks at my books as I'm rushing past them. 

 

At least the books I did read were all pretty good.  I had two 5 star reads this month, A Christmas Cornucopia: The hidden stories behind our Yuletide traditions by Mark Forsyth  and The Chosen by Chaim Potok  and the rest were all between 3 and 4 stars.

 

I usually only showcase 4.5 and 5 star reads, but I will give a special shoutout to A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger as the most surprising, breakout read for me in November.  I didn't want to like it, and I flinched so often reading it, I likely looked as though I had developed a tic, but I could not put it down.  I had to know how it ended and it didn't disappoint me (in terms of plotting; the language make me want to wash it's mouth out with soap, but the plotting was excellent!). 

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review 2017-11-14 09:45
A Burnable Book
A Burnable Book - Bruce Holsinger

This book was both everything I love and everything I loathe about historical fiction. 

 

Everything I love includes characters pulled straight out of history: Chaucer, Gower, Richard the II, Hawkswood, and plots that involve books and codes and secret symbols.  

 

Everything I loathe is, ironically, everything that makes this a more or less accurate work of historical fiction.  Told from different points of view throughout the book, two of the perspectives are those of prostitutes and there's no sugar coating the language or the profession.  It's raw and graphic and just not what I enjoy reading no matter the setting or the time period.  There are also POVs from mercenaries and the acts they threaten to carry out and ultimately do carry out are disgustingly graphic and inhumane.  Verisimilitude can go too far for my tastes and does so here.

 

But, by far, the things I loved kept me glued to this book, even when the things I loathed would have me DNF it.  It was so well written, I wanted to know what was going to happen to John Gower, and Simon, and Millicent.  And of course, I wanted to know more about the Burnable Book.

 

So, if your tastes are more tolerant than mine, I highly recommend this book.  I'm not at all sorry I read it - it was a great story, I couldn't put down - even when it offended my delicate sensibilities.

 ;-)

 

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text 2017-11-09 06:06
Reading progress update: I've read 65 out of 444 pages.
A Burnable Book - Bruce Holsinger

I am hating this book.  It's the kind of book that kept me away from historical fiction for years and years.  It's entirely too raw and too vulgar for my tastes.

 

And I can't stop reading it.  Even as the descriptive prose makes my skin crawl, I'm compulsively turning the pages.  I bet my face as I read this looks like I'm sucking a lemon, and yet I read on...

 

I chose this book as my Square #2 / Guy Fawkes themed book:

Any book about the English monarchy (any genre), political treason, political thrillers, or where fire is a major theme, or fire is on the cover.

 

This book has all of the above.  But I'm still not sure I won't screw up the fortitude to DNF the thing.

 

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review 2017-03-08 06:38
Recommended for Hist fic lovers who love twists and turns
A Burnable Book - Bruce Holsinger

Definitely not a book to be read in a quick setting. Are you into literary figures? Historical fiction? Historical mystery filled with spies and intrigue? Something that takes place in the Middle Ages? All of the above in one book? Sure! Let’s take it! I’d have to say, there can be no better description of the Middle Ages than in this book. Everything was so visual and well written. The setting itself has good amounts of description, the characters definitely helped as well. They even had the mannerisms and speech of the time. Speaking of characters. Oh Chaucer. No. Just no. I don’t like you. He’s not exactly painted in the most best of light here is he? Manipulative, wife stealer, even with his supposed close friend he’s not upfront and honest with. You definitely have sympathy with Gower here. Even though he has a questionable job and past with his son Simon, he’s still a much more likable character than Chaucer in my opinion. Other characters that I liked; Edgar/Eleanor - the story arc with Millicent and Agnes was a good one. I enjoyed their side of the story with the ‘dregs’ of society. Another character I liked, Hawkwood. Yes he’s an odious villain that oozed all the horrible things you didn’t like. But he was such an awesome villain! Cold, calculating, and not one to trifle with when you get on his bad side and think you can get away with (that poor sod - those who read the book should know what I’m talking about) The plot itself was pretty good. Lots of plot twists and turns. You’re left peeling layer after layer of intrigue and mystery while you get to the bottom of it. Once you had it figured out there’s still more left to figure out. I enjoyed it! There’s something about all the layers of intrigue that makes it a more compelling read. However, a couple of things that made this read a not so easy one. The amount of characters. Quite a few to keep track of. So this isn’t the type of book that you can drop and come back to after a while (I mistakenly did that unfortunately, as life got in the way). You need to take you time, get to know the characters, the plot and how everything comes together. It sometimes can get a little confusing so some extra attention is needed while reading this book. Also, have a dictionary beside you. I suppose to keep with the medieval thing, there’s some medieval terminology that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with. It adds more to the book but I could have done without it. To be on the bright side, my vocabulary has increased with various middle age words. Overall, take the time to read the book and enjoy. The spinning and weaving of the web and trying to find the center spot is fun and always is a treat to read when figuring out a historical mystery. Greatly recommended for Hist-fic fans.

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text 2016-05-01 21:37
April Reading Roundup
Bloodline: Wars of the Roses - Conn Iggulden
The Invention of Fire - Bruce Holsinger
The End of Law: A Novel of Hitler's Germany - Therese Down
To Be a Queen - Annie Whitehead
Night - Marion Wiesel,Elie Wiesel
Blood and Roses - Catherine Hokin
Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Beautiful Mystery - Louise Penny
Lady of Hay - Barbara Erskine

I've still got a few reviews to write, but I got a good amount of reading done this month. Yay me! Now it's time to start some research for a new project.

 

Indie/Small Press Authors:

To Be A Queen

The End of Law

Blood and Roses

 

Audio Books:

Night

Far from the Madding Crowd

The Beautiful Mystery

 

Best Book of the Month:

Bloodline - Book 3 of the Wars of the Roses by Conn Iggulden

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