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review 2017-10-08 02:24
Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography
Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography - Dacia Palmerino

I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

 

The life of Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, has been written about for centuries yet now it can not only be written about but visualized as well.  Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography by Andrea Grosso Ciponte and Dacia Palmerino is exactly what its title says about the man who sparked a change in history.

 

Depicting the life of Luther from his childhood to his death, the biography focuses on his time as a monk led up to and through his break with Rome.  At 153 pages there is only so much that can be covered and only so much context as well through sometimes the visual aspect of the graphic novel does come in handy.  While the short length of the book obviously foreshadowed only the barest minimum that could be covered on his life, yet the graphic novel aspect seemed to offer a way to enhance the chronicling of Luther’s life.  Unfortunately the artwork looks like screen caps of a video game with so-so graphics with only a few great pages of art, usually at the beginning of each chapter.

 

The overall quality of the biographical and artwork content of Renegade is a mixed bag of a passable chronicle on Luther’s life and so-so artwork.  While some younger readers than myself might find it a very good read and hopefully make them want to know more about Martin Luther and the Reformation, I found it a tad underwhelming.

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review 2017-06-02 16:13
Review: The Wicked by James Newman
The Wicked - James R. Newman

 

I received a free copy of The Wicked via LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

 

Well, that was a lot of fun. The Wicked is everything that I loved about the good old fashion trashy horror novels of the 80's. It's a bit of a car crash. It's cheesy, it's gruesome, it's fast paced, it's your stereotypical good vs evil horror, but that's why it's so good. It's a roller-coaster ride that blasts through the doors of every ghost train and haunted house in the park without allowing you to catch your breath in between. There's no fancy prose, no heavy wordy detail, no pages and pages of world building or character building. It's straight up horror, no bells or whistles and I had a blast reading it.

 

Definitely one I would recommend.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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You can also follow me on Bloglovin

 

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review 2017-05-07 19:10
Review: Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley
Beautiful Sorrows - Mercedes M. Yardley


I received a copy of Beautiful Sorrow through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

 

I don't often read short story collections and when I do I tend to read them one story at a time in-between reading other books, but in this case, I was so captivated by the individual stories that I read them one after the other. They were all enjoyable but my favourite has to be The Boy Who Hung the Stars.

 

Beautiful Sorrows is the first of Mercedes M. Yardley that I have read and I have to say her writing is truly beautiful. It has a wonderful peculiar and ethereal quality to it. In fact, many words came to mind while reading: poetic, haunting, mystical, melancholy, surreal, to name a few. Her style truly is unique. I've never read anything quite like it before. Not only were her stories beautiful but they were also heartbreaking, chilling, and dark, all at the same time.

 

Reading Beautiful Sorrows was like experiencing the wonder and beauty of fairytales for the first time as a child, but in grown up form.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
Facebook | Twitter | G+ | BookLikes | LibraryThing

You can also follow me on Bloglovin

 

 

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review 2016-11-02 23:16
Who Travels with the Doctor?
Who Travels With the Doctor?: Essays on the Companions of Doctor Who - Gillian I. Leitch,Sherry Ginn

I received this book for free though LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

 

Since Doctor Who took to the air over 50 years ago, his companions have been the audiences view into his adventures.  In the 10 essay collection Who Travels with the Doctor? the role of the companion is examined from various viewpoints as a character, as a mirror on the Doctor, as a reflection on the audience, gender roles, and many more ways. 

 

In the introduction the book’s editors by Gillian I. Leitch and Sherry Ginn, who also contributed, conceded that the most studied companions in the volume were from the “New Who” era than “Classic Who” but many of the more famous or infamous were included as well.  The essays early in the book look at companions as a group before really focusing on individual companions.  While getting an overall sense of the makeup of companions and their collective reactions to the Doctor is an important facet of examining them, the early essays came off as dry and laborious without really engaging the reader.  Studies on gender roles—in which one acknowledges the debate surrounding Steven Moffatt’s alleged misogyny—are then the focus and only really click when making case studies of characters.  It’s when the essays turn to studying companions themselves that the writing and arguments seems to make an impression.  Essays about Sarah Jane Smith & Jo Grant, Rory Williams, and River Song are three of the strongest in the book.  The last two essays of the book about “the companions who weren’t” and “companions in print” finish off the book on a strong note.

 

With the admitted focus on “New Who” companions as well as current showrunner Steven Moffatt as a result, the essays in which these factored heavily did not fully address the current state—as of 2014—of the show itself.  As a fan and watcher of Doctor Who, one of things I found increasingly irritating and impacting my experience in viewing is the lack of a coherent narrative over the course of a season (series in UK).  While this complaint would be an essay itself, to me the biggest factor in how current companions are viewed is not only how they are written but the quality of stories they are in.  To me this was a missing dimension in the early essays in the book when they discussed the Moffatt era in particular and why I found early essays laborious, they weren’t address a key issue.

 

However my thoughts about the issues in the first third of the book; the latter two-thirds is where this book of essays takes off and makes the reader think.  Yet even without a good fundamental grounding when look at companions on a whole, the study of them individually is undermined.

 

 

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review 2016-09-14 17:27
Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit that Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War
Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War - Ben Macintyre

I received this book for free though LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

 

During World War II many military strategies and tactics that are today standard around the world were first pioneer, including behind-the-lines special operation as done by the British Special Air Service (SAS).  Ben Macintyre in Rogue Heroes relates the birth and evolution of the SAS from an ‘independent’ army in the North African theater to an integral part the Allied campaigns in Europe against Nazi Germany.

 

Macintyre’s history of the SAS begins with the man whose idea it was and who shaped it during its first years in existence, David Stirling who used his connections and his desire to actively participate in battling the Germans.  Early on Stirling and his brigade went through several phases of evolution of tactics before fully becoming what Stirling had conceived in mid-1941.  However, after Stirling’s capture in January 1943 and the change in theater, the SAS temporarily became a regular commando unit in the invasion of Italy before returning to their behind-the-line Special Forces status original purpose later in the Italian campaign and on the Western Front during and after D-Day.

 

The decision by Macintyre to not focus on all of the missions of the SAS, but only those that influenced and impacted the development of the Special Forces unit as well as to reduce repetitiveness in the book was a good one.  The decision help keep the book at a readable length for the general reader, however other choices by the author didn’t make for a smooth read.  While Macintyre did his best to cover the efforts of the various SAS squadrons across several theaters and locations within each once as well over the course of the war, at times the division and abrupt changing from one situation to the next made for stilted reading.  Another important decision by Macintyre was who within the SAS to highlight and follow over the course of the brigade’s service in World War II.  And for the most part, Macintyre did a good job on putting the focus on who needed it but some of the soldiers highlighted seemed to just add flavor for no real purpose than to seemingly check off a list of possible people this book could appeal to.

 

Overall, Ben Macintyre did a very good job in relating the history of the SAS.  Unlike writing a biography or a specific event, a history of a military unit with its change of personnel and changing theaters of battle make it harder to write as the author has to decide who to follow in the unit’s development.  Rogue Heroes if anything gives the reader at least a general history and career of the World War II-era SAS, for some it will be enough and for others it’ll be a wetting of the appetite.  I would recommend this book to those interested in military history or in World War II over than just the general reader as a whole.

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