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review 2018-06-28 11:32
Vet on a Mission by Gillian Hick
Vet on a Mission - Gillian Hick

NOTE: I received an uncorrected Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Rating 3.5 stars

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From the author of Vet on the Loose and Vet Among the Pigeons comes Vet on a Mission.  This book contains some of the experiences experienced by Vetrinarian Gillian Hick while starting her own small vet clinic in what is essentially her backyard - along with raising 3 small children (with the help of her husband).  The stories are a mix of entertaining, realistic and sad.  The writing is not as good as the James Herriot vet stories (it's a little stiff, too much tell and not enough show).  However, the book still makes for entertaining reading and fans of James Herriot or vet memoirs would enjoy the book.

 

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review 2018-06-13 05:45
The Dark Maidens (book) story by Rikako Akiyoshi, art by Booota, translated by Kristi Fernandez
The Dark Maidens - Rikako Akiyoshi,Booota,Kristi Fernandez

The Dark Maidens is structured like a meeting of the Literature Club at St. Mary's Academy for Girls, a mission school in Japan. It begins with the current club president, Sayuri Sumikawa, opening the meeting by explaining its rules and purpose. This is both one of the club's infamous "mystery stew" meetings and also the first meeting since the club's previous president, Itsumi Shiraishi, either jumped to her death on school grounds or was pushed.

"Mystery stew" meetings are one of the club's traditions. Each member brings an ingredient to add to the stew. At some meetings only edible things are allowed, but at others, such as this one, inedible things may be added, as long as they aren't unsanitary, like bugs or shoes. Each member must eat the stew in darkness until the pot has been completely emptied. While everyone is eating the stew, members take turns telling stories. The theme, this time around, is Itsumi and her death.

I bought this knowing only that it was a mystery and that its author is a woman - my brief check for English-language reviews prior to hitting the "buy" button didn't turn up much. Happily, it turned out to be a quick and interesting read, despite its flaws.

I disliked the format, at first. Sayuri's introductory section was odd and a little awkward, as she described a room the club members she was speaking to should already know and discussed the death of her best and closest friend in what seemed to be a remarkably calm way. Readers were given no sense of what was going on in the room or how Sayuri or the other members were behaving unless Sayuri put those things into words. Fortunately, the stories the club members told were more traditionally written, and I eventually adjusted to Sayuri's parts.

The first character to tell her story was Mirei, one of the school's few scholarship students. After that came Akane, the club member who preferred baking Western-style sweets over reading, then Diana, an international student from a small village in Bulgaria, then Sonoko, a student aiming for medical school who was also Itsumi's academic rival, and then Shiyo, one of the club's first members and the author of an award-winning light novel. The book wrapped up with a story and closing remarks by Sayuri.

The first story, Mirei's, made it crystal clear that this was not going to be a book about female friendship and support. No, these girls were going to verbally tear each other to shreds - apparently in a very neat and orderly manner, since there was never any mention of outbursts and denials in the breaks between stories (I assume there were and it just wasn't included in Sayuri's text, because I cannot imagine a bunch of girls keeping silent as they're each accused of murder).

The second story added an interesting, if not terribly surprising element, as it directly contradicted the first story. From that point on, I started keeping track of details that came up in more than one story, trying to sort the truth from lies. Literally everyone in the room was lying, but what they were lying about and why wasn't always easy to figure out. Also, some stories had more truth to them than I originally assumed.

I can't say whether the translation was very accurate, but it was pretty smooth and readable. I flew through this book like it was nothing, and I appreciated the way the differing styles of some of the stories reflected the characters. For example, Shiyo's story had a very bubbly and conversational style, while Sonoko's was more detached and stiff (at least at the beginning).

As much as I enjoyed attempting to sort out the truth and lies in the girls' stories, this book definitely had a few glaring flaws. The biggest one was the mystery stew. It wasn't believable in the slightest that the club members would willingly eat the stew when they all thought that one of them was a murderer. Heck, one of them even suspected that

another club member had been poisoning Itsumi's snacks! Since the meeting was supposed to be happening in the dark, it would have been easy for the poisoner to refrain from eating, or fake eating, and wait until the soup had done its job.

(spoiler show)

 
I also had trouble believing that the girls would have been as open about some things as they were. For example, one girl shared that she'd been in love with Itsumi, while another girl admitted that she'd lied to Shiyo about having read her book. Several girls said things they had to have known that others in the group would recognize as lies. Why didn't they worry about being called out for it?

Another problem was that Akiyoshi seemed to have trouble keeping certain details straight, or perhaps hadn't thought them through very well. For example, Sayuri said that the usual rule for "mystery stew" meetings was that club members could only bring edible ingredients and that the rule had been changed for this particular meeting, and yet only a few paragraphs later it was clear that inedible items had been allowed in the past. Also, club members were supposed to eat the soup "in total darkness," and yet the room had 1-2 lit candles in it (one by Sayuri, to allow her to put ingredients in the pot, and one by the spot where members were supposed to read their stories). There was enough light for Sayuri to notice that one girl's face had paled, even after she'd left the storytelling spot - hardly "total darkness."

Despite the book's problems, I had a lot of fun with it and could see myself rereading it in the future. Next time, I think I'll start with the final two chapters and then go back to the beginning, just to see if everything really does fit together.

Extras:

Several black-and-white illustrations. One of them shows all the girls at once. When I tried to attach names to faces, I realized that there wasn't enough descriptive information in the text to do that. I know what Sayuri and Itsumi looked like, because they were both introduced with illustrations, but, as far as I can tell, most of the others were never described.

 

Rating Note:

 

I feel like I'm probably giving this too high of a rating, because, oof, some of those flaws. But I really did have a lot of fun, especially during the last couple chapters, and I decided to reflect that in my rating.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-06-02 18:36
Organizing for Mission and Growth: The Development of the Adventist Church Structure (Adventist Heritage Series)
Organizing for Mission and Growth: The Development of Adventist Church Structure - George R. Knight

Throughout the history of the Seventh-day Adventist history there has been a constant question “To organize or not to organize, and if so how?”  Organizing for Mission and Growth is the third book of the Adventist Heritage Series written by Adventist historian George R. Knight.  In covering over 170 years in fewer than 190 pages, the book covers the struggles to first organize then restructuring and then reinvigorating the church so as to achieve its mission to spread its end time message.

 

The Sabbatarian Adventists out of the Millerite movement were small and disorganized across New York and New England, but their former denominational experiences and theological beliefs in the evils of organization forces the rising leaders of the group to do much of the work themselves particularly James White.  While White himself initially was against organizing and “making a name”, the essential one-man operation that he was preforming led him to reexamine scripture and rethinking his anti-organizational ideas becoming a strong advocate for the organizing of the denomination so much so that he refused to become its first president.  But as the decades past and the church grew, the strengths for church structure for a small number of believers over the breath of half a nation became detriments as membership grew and expanded worldwide leading to crisis that brought about restructuring at the beginning of the 20th Century.  However, the divide in ideas about how to restructure causes nearly a decade of drama before it was resolved.  Yet throughout the 20th Century the organization of the church was tweaked and reinvigorated with innovation on several levels but in the 21st Century many have begun questioning the extent of how much administration is needed compared to the previous 100 years.

 

Unlike what he was able to cover in A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists, Knight goes in-depth on how Seventh-day Adventists got their name and how they structured their denomination’s organization and the debates for and against as well as how it innovated.  Knight does not go in-depth over the entire course of the 155 year history of the General Conference, but he focuses on what needs to be in-depth like James White’s struggle to found the denomination and later the 1901-3 restructuring of the denomination by A.G. Daniels and others against the efforts by A.T. Jones and others who wanted a much decentralized organization (congregationalism).  Yet the events of 1901-3 also had a theological element that while touched upon was discussed more in A Search for Identity, another Adventist Heritage Series book focused on the development of Seventh-day Adventist theology.  This limited focus created a very strong book that gave the reader a clear history of its topic without going down various rabbit holes.

 

Although Knight intended Organizing for Mission and Growth to be the third of a seven book series related to Adventist heritage, however for over a decade it has been the last he has written.  This fact does not take away how important this and other Adventist Heritage Series books for Seventh-day Adventists who are interested in the history of their denomination, it’s theological beliefs, and it’s organizational structure as they are the primary readers Knight aims for.

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review 2018-04-20 21:42
Historical Romance
The Husband Mission (The Spy Matchmaker ... The Husband Mission (The Spy Matchmaker Book 1) - Regina Scott

The Husband Mission by Regina Scott is a fabulous historical romance.  Ms. Scott has delivered a well-written book.  Alexander, Viscount Borin, thinks he'd make a fine spy.  Katherine and her helpers have targeted Alexander to become her sister's husband before her birthday so she doesn't lose her inheritance.  Alexander and Katherine's story is full of drama, secrets, humor, spice and outstanding characters.  I enjoyed reading The Husband Mission and look forward to reading more from Regina Scott soon.  The Husband Mission is book 1 of The Spy Matchmaker Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete story, not a cliff-hanger.

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review 2018-04-04 10:00
New Release Review! Blood Veil (Mission #2) Megan Erickson!
Blood Veil - Megan Erickson

 

 

In the midst of supernatural chaos, worlds and hearts collide.

Celia: Having never known my parents, I’ve always felt like an orphan. All I want is a normal life. But after I’m attacked in my bedroom by one vampire—and rescued by another—it’s about time to give up on “normal” once and for all. Idris, the second in command of the Gregorie vampire clan, has come to my aid, but his motives for saving me are unclear. And what surprises me most is my attraction to his heated gaze. . . .


Idris: Terror. Curiosity. Arousal. These are the natural impulses of a human female, not the spawn of the ruthless Valarian king. Is it possible that Celia is unaware of her bloodline—and the power coursing through her veins? As the daughter of my archenemy, she was supposed to be my ransom. But how quickly the heat of desire changes everything. Now the family Celia has always craved is trying to kill her, and it’s up to me to save her again—when all I really want to do is make her mine.

Megan Erickson’s thrilling Mission novels can be read together or separately:
BLOOD GUARD | BLOOD VEIL

 

 

Blood Veil is a thrilling read with some sexy characters that will take your breath away!

 

First, let me tell you that I have not read the 1st book in the series as I somehow missed it (I will be rectifying that asap) and I still really enjoyed Blood Veil but I think that Blood Guard should probably been read first to achieve maximum understanding of Megan Erickson’s very intriguing world. But like I said, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book without reading it, I just think that the events leading up to this character’s book would have helped to get a more complete picture the world and to fully understand what drives the characters.

 

Now on to my opinion of Blood Veil – Celia and Idris are strong, captivating characters with sizzling chemistry and a heavy-duty attraction that readers can practically feel vibrating from every page, their romance rocky due to some seemingly unresolvable issues and of course the fear of the unknown which draws readers in and keeps them focused on the events throughout the book. The fast paced plot keeps readers on the edge of their seats throughout the book with suspense and thrills and surprising twists that keeps readers guessing and the supporting characters are lively and compelling with some bad guys that makes readers want to shoot them themselves.

 

Megan Erickson brings her very intriguing world of vampires to life with vivid imagery, fascinating characters and some unique elements that add spice and intrigue to her world which means that I will definitely be coming back for more as I was completely enthralled with this Mission novel.

 

 

 

Blood Veil is the 2nd book in the Mission series.

 

The prequel Bite the Hand That Bleeds is free at InstaFreebie if you sign up for Megan Erickson’s Newsletter.

 

Blood Veil is available in ebook at:

Amazon   B&N    iBooks   Kobo   GPlay

 

Megan Erickson can be found at:

Website   Goodreads   BookBub   Facebook   Amazon   Pintrest  

Instagram   Twitter

 

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