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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-25 07:05
Strengthening the bonds of Family...
On the Sickle's Edge - Neville Frankel

"Suspense... Powerful and thought provoking.... Horrifyingly accurate.... History may hide the truth, but it can never fully erase the past."

On the Sickle's Edge follows the history of the Shtein family. We follow them from Latvia, to South Africa, back to Latvia and beyond. As we intertwine through the lives of the three main protagonists, Lena, Darya and Steven, the story and history of this family bind them together stronger than most. Secrets that could tear the family apart are lurking beneath the surface, but stronger still is the will to survive, persevere and overcome.

As tensions mount in the USSR, one man is desperate to do whatever he has to to keep his family safe. Having already deserted the army, and left the country, Issak Shtein is no stranger to the ups and downs that life can bring. He arrived in South Africa looking for his brother, only to find that his brother had passed away shortly before he arrived. Saving money and bringing the rest of his family to South Africa, he does his best to make a decent living and provide for his growing family. After the death of his wife in childbirth, Issak makes the fateful decision to take most of his children, leave South Africa and return to Russia. There he can find another wife, and then return to his two sons. But he cannot foretell the horrors which are fixing to be unleashed throughout the world, and the best of intentions soon turn to disappointments.
As the world erupts into war, their small village is razed to the ground, and Issak, Esther and their children are on the move. They are doing their best to stay out view of the soldiers. As they travel through the countryside, Esther and Issak are at odds as to the best way to proceed. They know they must get to Moscow as they will have the best chance to find work. By working they can save the money they need to get back to South Africa, and the two young boys that were left behind. Esther knows that they must hide the fact that they are Jewish if they wish to find good jobs, and have a chance at a better life.
But even this is not enough to keep them completely out of harms way. Having already lost one child soon after returning to Latvia, Issak is about to lose another. As they are attacked one afternoon by young men from the village they just left, Avrom who was only six years old, does his best to defend his step-mother, but in the process, he is killed. While the family mourns his loss, no one feels it more than Lena. Avrom and Lena were twins. They were brought into the world in joy and sorrow, and they were parted in the same way. As Lena grows up in Moscow, she is withdrawn and adrift. Her stepmother notices and takes her with her to the library every afternoon. There she sees a painting, one that will stay with her throughout her entire life. As she grows, she remains faithful to the Ivanov. In the shadow of this painting, she meets the man who will become her husband.
As the years pass, things do not get easier, but now the fear is that one will disappear. Everyone has been affected by the sudden arrests, but when it happens to Lena she falls apart. After Vasily, she floats through her days, to the detriment of her young daughter. Klara leaves home as soon as she can and gets a job far away from where her mother is. Lena keeps herself thrown into work, and she travels quite a bit with the railway job that she has. After returning from one of her trips, she gets a message that she needs to go to the Youth Ministry. Once she arrives, she finds that her daughter and son in law were killed in an explosion at the munition plant where they worked. Lena is now responsible for her young granddaughter Darya.
As Darya grows, she follows the strict Communist party line that has been taught and pounded in their heads from childhood. As she becomes a young woman, she is noticed by Grigory Yanov. While he comes across as charming, Lena dislikes him immediately and tries to get Darya to forget him. However, its to late. Grigory has gotten to her. Darya likes the lifestyle that he can give her, but he is far from being the charmer that he portrays. He enjoys the slow torture, the mind games where one never knows exactly where they stand with him. Darya thinks that she has outsmarted him throughout the many years of their marriage, and has been questioning the lines that she is feeding to the rest of the world on her travels. She begins to listen to the dissenters, and imagine what might be. When she meets her distant cousin Steven, she dares to love him, knowing that she is putting herself and her children in terrible danger. Without knowing it, she has walked into the trap that Grigory was waiting for, and now he is ready to spring, and he knows exactly which buttons to push.
Steven is reeling from the first blushes of love that he is feeling. After his first visit to Russia, he cannot get Darya out of his mind. They meet when they can in secluded places during her travels, but he dreams of more more. He wants more from her, but she is not free to give it. He is content for a while to take what she offers.When he gets a frantic letter begging for help, he knows that he cannot just leave her to whatever fate her husband might have in store for her. So he heads off to Russia for a final confrontation that has no certain ending....


Oh my goodness! What can I say!? I was blown away with this book! At a time when many families were torn apart, one family stood together, no matter the amount of distance that came between them. It is a story of hope, survival and renewal. Love and loss. Grief. Diving into a subject that for so long has been hidden. Neville Frankel brings life to the characters, lifting their story from more than just words on a page. Add this to your summer must read list! It will not disappoint!
**Recommend for adult audience due to some graphic scenes in the book**

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review 2017-04-18 19:15
On the Edge / Ilona Andrews
On the Edge - Ilona Andrews

Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).

But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it.

 

This is probably my least favourite Ilona Andrews offering to date, but I still really enjoyed it. I feel like I am reading historical background to books 2 and 3 of the Innkeeper Chronicles, learning the backstory of the arbiter, George. I can also see this particular book as a blue-print for Burn for Me, which is, in my opinion, a stronger offering (and both BfM and OtE tip further into the paranormal romance direction than the Kate Daniels series did).

There is at least one obvious fairy-tale element here—Declan can win Rose’s hand by performing three difficult tasks. Plus, she is living in poverty and working a minimum wage job, evoking Cinderella comparisons. Also obvious is a fairly standard romance trope—reluctant allies developing genuine feelings for one another. Add in a Romeo-and-Juliet type angle, with Rose and Declan being from extremely different family backgrounds, and how can you miss? There are built-in communication problems to confound the couple as they try to navigate their relationship.

Another solid offering from the Andrews writing team. I will definitely read book two and I’ve already picked up books three and four second hand, so they are a foregone conclusion. I am worried that I am almost caught up-to-date on their published works—rereading will be my solution until more are published!

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text 2017-02-28 14:25
Month in Review: February
Guapa - Saleem Haddad,Andreas Diesel
The Semester of Our Discontent - Cynthia Kuhn
Lagoon - Nnedi Okorafor
On the Edge of Gone - Corinne Duyvis
Young Blood - Stephanie von Harrach,Sifiso Mzobe
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Der Susan-Effekt - Peter Urban-Halle,Peter Høeg

February brought grim winter weather and some solid novel reading, helped along by slow times at work. I was also ill for a week and didn't get much of anything done, so progress on my bigger reads stalled. Adorno and Le Guin are still stuck in my Currently Reading queue, there's some reviews I need to catch up on, but overall I'm quite happy with my first full month on BookLikes. 

 

 

4.5 star reads: 

 

Saleem Haddad: Guapa

Corinne Duyvis: On the Edge of Gone

 

4 star reads: 

 

Nnedi Okorafor: Lagoon

Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

 

2.5 star reads: 

 

Cynthia Kuhn: The Semester of Our Discontent

Sifiso Mzobe: Young Blood

Peter Høeg: Der Susan-Effekt

 

 

Looks like 2.5 stars are my go-to rating when I didn't quite enjoy a book but didn't hate it either. And I need to write more reviews of novels I do enjoy! 

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text 2017-02-14 18:15
Reading progress update: I've read 240 out of 464 pages.
On the Edge of Gone - Corinne Duyvis

Halfway through this book, and it's amazing so far. It's more speculative fiction than sci-fi, and it's not so much about the apocalypse—a comet's about to crash into Earth—but about what happens after. A bit dark, but not grim, and written from the perspective of an autistic teenager determined to find her sister. 

 

Since I'm enjoying it so much, it'd be remiss not to point out that the ebook is still on sale worldwide for $1,29, or 0,96 € if that's your currency of choice.

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text 2017-01-19 10:52
Entire Charley Davidson Series on Sale!!
Second Grave on the Left - Darynda Jones
Sixth Grave on the Edge - Darynda Jones
Eighth Grave After Dark - Darynda Jones
The Dirt on Ninth Grave - Darynda Jones
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet - Darynda Jones

All of the series is on sale for $2.99 or under.

 

I've bought up to the fifth book, just wondering if I should pick up any more since they're on sale. Any thoughts???

 

Link here - Charley Davidson Series

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