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review 2018-10-31 17:25
Historic fiction about Politics in Columbia
La forma de las ruinas / The Shape of Ru... La forma de las ruinas / The Shape of Ruins - Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The Shape of Ruins: A Novel, Juan Gabriel Vasquez, author; Sheldon Romero, narrator

After listening to almost half of the book, I finally gave up. It just never grabbed or held my attention. It never called me back to its pages, although I made several attempts to reengage with the story.

From what I read, it is about the history and unrest in Columbia. Its politics and corruption are explored. The research is thorough, but the story travels in too many different directions that I found hard to reconnect as the novel continued. Characters appeared and reappeared, and I would have to struggle to remember what their place was  in the narrative.

It is historic fiction, peppered with a great deal of information. The author is playing the role of the main character who is telling the story. When it begins, the reader learns of a man who was arrested for trying to steal the bullet-ridden suit of candidate Jorge Gaitan who was murdered in 1948. Through the memories of Juan Vasquez, the story is told. The reader learns of the reason that brought Vasquez to Columbia. He and his wife were visiting relatives. His wife, pregnant with twins, had to be hospitalized there for a lengthy period because of complications from her high risk pregnancy. While there, Vasquez reunites with people like, Dr. Francisco Benavides, the son of the medical examiner who handled Gaitan’s body. He also learns more about, and meets, Carlos Carballo, the man was being accused of trying to steal the damaged suit belonging to Guitan.

In the course of conversations about possible conspiracies surrounding Guitans murder, Vasquez learns about the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Twin Towers attack on 9/11. The similarities are explored. Was the murdered Roa Sierra the real murderer of Guitan? Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone? Who really engineered the terror attack on the Twin Towers?

Carballo, who tried to steal Guitan’s suit, wants Vasquez to write the true story of Gaitan’s death, as he sees it. He has all the information prepared. Presumably, he had wanted another author to write it, the renowned R.H., but he died before he was able to fulfill the task. It was at that author’s funeral that Vasquez was approached by Carballo. Vasquez refuses and when the twins are born, they all return to Spain. Years later, he is again in Columbia and tries to contact Dr. Benavides to apologize for his behavior. He had been really disrespectful to him when they last saw each other, with Vasquez misinterpreting the doctor’s  effort to help as interference and tainted in some way, Often the character Vasquez is rude and arrogant, making him a bit unlikable.

To enhance the narrative, ordinary occasions and events, that we all may experience, like funerals, births, are introduced. The reader feels drawn to consider their own reactions, along with the characters’ reactions, at those times. Unfortunately, it sometimes felt drawn out and tedious. There was an overarching philosophy introduced in the narrative. “The future of the babies being born was in their hands. The dead were no longer involved, nor were they capable of feeling or showing love”. The history was influencing the future.

Mixing fact and fiction, the author weaves a story that I found confusing, but fact-filled, which was its most redeeming feature.


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review 2018-10-19 10:11
A dreary and meandering story
life ruins - Danuta Kot

A story set in Yorkshire around the towns of Whitby, Bridlington and the village of Kettleness with coastal cliffs, hidden coves and unexplored tunnels. Into this setting enters Jared a troubled young man with an acute back injury resulting in an addiction to painkillers, Becca leaving her university course for an uncertain life, and fostered periodically by the recently widowed Kay struggling to come to terms with life after the death of her beloved Matt. I was hoping that both the setting, and the somewhat damaged characters, would be the basis for an exciting adventure especially after the discovery of a body hidden deep underground and the emergence of some shady characters most notably Greaseball Harry affectionately known as GBH. Unfortunately my initial enthusiasm was not realized as the story quickly developed into an unremarkable meandering and at best mediocre tale. I was not impressed with the author and her style of writing, not even the untamed bleak Yorkshire coastal landscape could save this sorry tale. Many thanks to the good people at netgalley for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written

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text 2018-08-29 12:35
Blog Tour: Ruins on Stone Hill by F. P. Spirit with Excerpt and Giveaway


Today’s stop is for F. P. Spirit’s Ruins on Stone Hill . We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 



It has been one hundred and fifty years since the end of the Thrall Wars, when the four dread Thrall Masters rained destruction down on the land of Thac. The world has been relatively quiet since, but dark things have started to rise around the little town of Ravenford.

The town's only hope lay in four newcomers: a fearless young warrior with blades of fire, an elven wizard as deadly to his friends as his enemies, a cynical halfling who might be an assassin, and a quiet gnome whose very touch can heal. Together they set out to face the creatures of darkness. Yet they soon find they are facing more than just a few rogue monsters, for a greater force lurks behind them all.

From eerie woods to underground caves to haunted ruins, they encounter terrifying monsters, creatures of the night, and demonic sorcery. Can the young heroes stand against the forces of darkness, or will they too fall prey to the evil that threatens to destroy Ravenford?


Buy Link


Lloyd followed Seth’s finger and saw a strange sight. The bottom half of a skeleton stood in the middle of the path. He watched curiously as Brundon rushed up behind it and kicked it with his boot. The creature whirled around and began chasing him, but Brundon dodged and ended up behind it. The tracker kicked it and dodged again. It was like watching a strange dance. A familiar voice came from behind him. “He sure is stubborn.” Lloyd turned in time to see Titan walk up beside him, a thin smile across her lips. “I guess we should go help him.” Lloyd fell in beside her. They walked up the trail together as the crazy fight continued. They stopped a few feet away, watching as Brundon dodged the skeleton again. Titan chuckled softly. “Would you like a hand?” Brundon glanced their way and shook his head. “No, I got this.” Titan glanced at Lloyd and shrugged. “Like I said, stubborn.” Lloyd had a sudden idea. He held out his hammer and called over to the tracker. “Hey, Brundon, care to try it out?” Brundon had just swung behind the skeleton again. He glanced over at Lloyd and his eyes fell on the proffered weapon. A broad smile spread across his face. “Don’t mind if I do.” “Sure, accept his help and not mine,” Titan said with mock disappointment. Brundon backed away from the sightless skeleton. “Only his weapon, love, only his weapon. Of course, if you want to hand me your mace…” “No, no. I’d like to see you wield that hammer.” “Suit yourself.” Brundon reached the two of them and accepted the hammer from Lloyd, attempting to heft it with one hand. Without warning, the head of the hammer dipped and began to fall. Brundon swiftly grasped it with his other hand, catching it just before it hit the ground. A short laugh escaped Titan’s lips. “Having some trouble there?” “I’m…just…fine…” Brundon grunted. Slowly but surely, he lifted the hammer back up. He grasped it firmly with both hands, and after a few test swings was able to effectively wield the weapon. “See, piece of cake.” Titan chuckled under her breath. “Yeah, sure it is.” Brundon ignored her, turning and rushing the roving skeleton. In a couple of minutes he reduced it to a pile of cracked bones. Brundon stood over the pile with a grim look of satisfaction on his face. “Well?” he said, glaring defiantly at Titan. “Oh yes, all hail Sir Brundon, the skeleton slayer.” Sharp snorts of laughter broke out from down the trail. Lloyd turned around in time to see Seth roll off the skeleton he had been sitting on and fall onto the ground. He lay there laughing until he couldn’t breathe. Titan taunted him further. “Well, Sir Brundon, there’s another skeleton waiting to meet its end via your mighty mallet.” Brundon fixed his partner with an acid stare. It quickly faded though, replaced with a half-twisted smile. “Why not.” He shrugged, then strode down the trail to finish off the last skeleton. While Brundon joyfully hammered away, Lloyd and Titan rejoined the others.





F.P. Spirit has always loved fantasy. From the moment he received his very first copy of Lord of the Rings back in high school, he was hooked. Today, somewhere between work and family, F. P. manages to write sword and sorcery fantasy fiction.
His novels,Ruins on Stone Hill, Serpent Cult, Dark Monolith, and Princess of Lanfor are the first four books in the series Heroes of Ravenford. The series chronicles the adventures of a band of young heroes in the dangerous world of Thac. F.P. is currently working on the fifth book in the Heroes of Ravenford series, The Baron's Heart, to be released in 2018.

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/08/29/blog-tour-ruins-on-stone-hill-by-f-p-spirit-with-excerpt-and-giveaway
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review 2018-08-16 00:57
Keeps Getting Better
Empire of Ruins - Arthur Slade

***Possible spoilers you’ve been warned***


This series is so consistent and does not disappoint. So we covered the city, we covered the sea in the second book. Now it’s time to go into the deep jungles and go on an exciting adventure that involves natives, flying ships, an Egyptian temple placed in Australia (I know right?), which results in an Indiana Jones type of adventure but involves secret agents, spies, and horrible clockwork falcons that can kill.


You can’t get more exciting than this. It starts off at a good pace and it’s steady. I enjoyed how during the ‘down times’ there is focus on Modo and Octavia’s character development. Modo still has some childish characteristics in him but as the novel progresses he slowly gets over that and the change stands out. You really do feel for him as his appearance starts to affect him, especially with his relationship with Octavia. His encounter with the natives help him to be comfortable in his own skin and I think because of this he starts acting more headstrong and does the talk back to Mr Socrates (which was a great scene to read. Wowwweee Modo, you do that clap back because Mr Socrates sure can’t take it haha)


I felt for Modo when he reveals his true likeness to Octavia. I get where she’s coming from though. She had this mental picture of Modo and it was nothing like the real thing so of course she wouldn’t know how to react. It hurt to read though. I couldn’t even imagine how crush Modo would have felt considering how much he feels for Octavia.


The plot in itself was super good and filled with action during the last half of the novel. The bad guys run with their tail between their legs in this one (enjoyable to read no doubt) but they come back with a vengeance towards the end. I rather expected the temple to be a little more of a challenge to go through (more traps please) but then perhaps that would prolong the adventure just a little too much.


I’m wanting to know what’s going to happen between Modo and Mr Socrates considering they had a falling out in the novel. This is going to get good and I hope the fourth and final novel will close this on a good note. Greatly recommend this series so far, pick it up and enjoy! It’s a great adventure!


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review 2018-04-17 00:00
A Shout in the Ruins
A Shout in the Ruins - Kevin Powers This book is great. The writing is superb, painted a great picture. The concept of the intimacy of violence was a really interesting one.

I think what most impressed me was the empathy employed by Powers in the telling. This empathy along with the intimacy helped to illustrate the true consequences of violence and in civility. These consequences seemed to transcend the physical world in some instances, in other instances it obliterated their world. This often set off a chain reaction leading to tragedy.

Tragically, a number of the characters seemed to bear the burden of cruelty despite their better natures, all of them dealing with this in their own ways.

It was a bit difficult to keep track of the characters at times, but it is worth sticking with. Powers painted a terribly compelling picture of the casual cruelty of oppression and managed to do so beautifully.
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