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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-04-24 19:37
Munich by Robert Harris
Munich: A novel - Robert Harris

September 1938, the world is on the brink of war. Hitler has his eyes set on Czechoslovakia, bringing the Sudeten-Germans into the Reich. At the eve of the invasion, Britain's prime minister Chamberlain tries everything to prevent open war. But is peace worth any cost?

 

That's actually the question around which this whole novel revolves. Harris adds 2 young staffers to each side to sort of add the human component to these events, the immediacy of the threat, both of impending war but also of the further unimpeded rise of Hitler. History of course tells us that war broke out nonethess, albeit a year later, after the invasion of yet another country. It also tells us that appeasement only works so far: At some point one has to draw a line, at the latest when the fundamental principles of one's own state and way of life are threatened.

 

So, what would have happened had the world not silently condoned the invasion of Czechoslovakia but intervened then and there? Were the allied forces truely so militarily unprepared in their (re)armaments after WW1, as is indicated here, that they wouldn't have stood a chance if the war had begun in 1938? And what would that have meant for the holocaust: fewer victims? Or even more (after the defeat of the allied forces)? Would Hitler have had the time to surround himself with sycophants and like-minded people if he had been challenged openly (which is the point that Hartmann makes why it's important that Britain doesn't give in to Hitler's demands)?

 

Harris already delved into these what-if scenarios with his excellent "Fatherland" set in a world where Nazi Germany had won the war... and it's still a mind-boggling thought experiment, the change of a single event causing major consequences (or, in this case, the failure of affecting said change). The only downside to this novel is the fact that it takes about 200 pages to really get going, but once you're past that, this is a page-turner.

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review 2019-04-17 02:59
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne M. Harris
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne Harris

The purchase of this book was the product of a perfect storm (or a genius idea). Thor had just hit theaters. Amazon put this book on its daily deals list for under $1. I had to buy it. Fast forward nine years to where I have finally read it.

 

It is hard for me to see this book as a novel. It read more like a collection of short stories narrated by the infamous Loki. Every one of those stories ending with "But I'll get back to that". Loki never gets back to it. 

 

The way the story was put together never gave me a real sense of Loki. Sure he was the Loki that we've all heard about but he was never anything more. I was hoping for a book that's about Loki, we'd get a little depth and personality. Loki is one dimensional. 

 

That being said, I'm intrigued enough to pick up the second book. The way this novel has ended sparks hope that I may get a more fleshed out Loki. 

 

I feel it's important to note, that I have yet to absolutely love an e-book. There is just something about an e-book that doesn't make the connection for me. I've even tried reading my beloved Harry Potter books in e-book format and I just don't feel the same way I do when I'm holding a physical book in my hand. Am I weird? Yes. That's not the point. But honestly, I can't be the only one who feels this way about e-books. Can I? 

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review 2019-04-12 21:13
The Last Orphan by N.W. Harris
The Last Orphans - N.W. Harris

Easy to read, highly addictive, and at times really disturbing. I read it as a horror novel but for others it will probably be an action packed young adult novel. 
The main character, Shane, loses his granny and has a huge fight with his father after the funeral. On his way to his granny's empty house, Shane notices some odd things - the weather is changing and the animals act strangely. A few hours later all the adults are dead and the kids have to find a way to survive in this new dangerous world. Shane and his schoolmates have to band together, make some really tough choices and later live with those. 
The main characters had depth. I liked how they had all those mixed feelings. It made everything more realistic. Also, they didn't always agree to each other, nevertheless these kids found ways to support each other and move on. And they weren't smug at all (look at the book cover), they were dirty, exhausted, numb, and lost. They had doubts but they didn't have the luxury to give up when over 60 kids depended on them.
This book was heartbreaking, gory, and as I wrote before very addictive. 
It is also free on amazon at the moment.

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review 2019-04-01 19:06
Dead Ever After / Charlaine Harris
Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough...

 

2019 Re-Read

I have been heard to say (not seriously, but when having a hissy fit) that when a woman is done with a man, he should die. That would be how he knew that the relationship was over. Now, may I also say that I’ve never enforced this idea of mine, it was temporary insanity after the end of a particularly frustrating pseudo-relationship. But it would seem that Sookie agrees with me:

“In books, the hero was gone after the big blowup. He didn’t stick around in the vicinity doing mysterious shit, sending messages to the heroine by a third party. He hauled his ass into oblivion. And that was the way things should be, as far as I was concerned. Life should imitate romance literature far more often.”


I anticipated this ending practically from the first book. It’s not how I would have ended the series, but I was just the reader, not the writer. I’m proclaiming my undying love for Bill! But that’s just me. When I read this series the first time, I read the last three books in a frantic binge. As a result, I didn’t remember a lot of details, so it was pleasant to read a little slower this time around and soak in the final moments of a pleasurable series. I have absolutely no doubt that I will read this series again at some point, but now I hope to get on with other books, due at the library in a few days.

 

Bill forever, y'all.

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review 2019-04-01 19:05
Deadlocked / Charlaine Harris
Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris

Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie Stackhouse realized early on that there are things she'd rather not know. An now that she's an adult, she also realizes that some things she knows about, she'd rather not see--like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one.

There's a thing or two she'd like to say about that, but she has to keep quiet--Felipe de Castro, the vampire king of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It's the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric's front yard--especially the body of the woman whose blood he just drank.

Now it's up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl's fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who's set out to make Sookie's world come crashing down.

 

2019 Re-Read

Sookie is trying to wish away some aspects of her life and makes the mistake of asking Bill about his favourite fantasy:

“My favorite fantasy? You come down into my daytime resting place stark naked," he said, and I could see the gleam of his teeth as he smiled. "Oh, wait," Bill said. "That's already happened.”
“And that's your fantasy? That I come into your house naked and have sex with you?"
"After that, you tell me that you have sent Eric on his way, that you want to be mine forever, and that to share my life you will permit me to make you a vampire like me."
The silence now was thick, and the fun had drained out of the fantasy.
Then Bill added, "You know what I'd say when you told me this? I'd tell you I would never do such a thing. Because I love you.”


This is where Bill proves to me that he understands Sookie perfectly. He knows that she’s a creature of the sun and would never be happy in the darkness of the undead world. And that he still loves her.

It’s Sookie’s birthday, and she receives a delegation of the undead when darkness falls:

“We came to wish you a happy day,” Eric said. “And I suppose, as usual, Bill will want to express his undying love that surpasses my love, as he’ll tell you—and Pam will want to say something sarcastic and nearly painful, while reminding you that she loves you, too.”
Bill and Pam looked decidedly miffed at Eric’s preemptive strike, but I wasn’t going to let anything dim my mood.
“And what about you, Eric?” I asked on counterattack. “Are you going to tell me that you love me just as much as Bill, but in a practical way, while finding some way to subtly threaten me and simultaneously remind me that you may be leaving with Freyda?”


Once again, Pam is perfect: “Sookie, I brought you something too. I never thought I’d want to spend time with a human, but you’re more tolerable than most.”

There’s also a showdown with Freyda, the Queen who is courting Eric. She visits Sookie to size up her competition. Bubba is perfect as her guide—when she asks what people see in Ms. Stackhouse, the normally addled Bubba speaks right up, telling Freyda that Sookie is kind. And that’s it in a nutshell. She’s kind to everyone who allows it—even when they don’t really deserve it. Forget being a Christian, Sookie, you’re working on being a good Buddhist.

Almost there—I will be free of this re-reading trap with one more book!

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