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review 2019-01-20 16:24
A Long Slog Through Icy Lands
The Kalevala: An Epic Poem after Oral Tradition (World's Classics) - Elias Lönnrot,Keith Bosley

I will write a thing and

Declare what I have done

I have read the Kalevala

49 cantos I have read

50 was the number of the cantos

 

My Mother spoke a thing and declared thus

“You cannot read the Kalevala” she said

“Such a reading is not for you.

Read the books of your home.

Not old tales of northern lands.”

 

 

I replied to her and spoke thus, I said

“I will read the Kalevala,

The great epic of Finland.

I will read the words off the pages,

Read the pages out of the book.”

 

I read one page, I read two pages.

I read steady old Vainamoinen

Old man of calm waters.

I read wanton Lemminkainen

Him the Fair Farmind.

 

I read the forging of the Sampo

By the smith Ilmarinen

The everlasting craftsman.

All the way to Marjatta

And the birth of her child

 

My Mother put this into words and spoke thus,

She declared, she chatted.

“I have spotted a fraud!

You have not read all these pages”

I answered her and spoke thus,

 

“Oh, woe is me, a luckless boy,

I read 67 pages and gave up.

I got as far as young Joukahainen

Shooting Vainamoinen’s horse.

Then I downloaded the book from Audible.

 

Based on oral tradition it was,

So an audio book seemed appropriate.

Read by the translator, Keith Bosley,

It is not bad if Medieval lit you enjoy

Or are curious about Tolkien’s influences.”

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review 2018-12-17 17:38
Let’s consider a little thing called ‘the law of probability’…
A Holiday Tradition - Chrissy Munder

which takes more time to explain than I have so let’s just say that in simple terms it’s the formula that determines the likelihood of something actually happening…so, what do you think the probability is of an attractive 30ish gay man managing a trailer park largely frequented by seniors being the trailer park where another said 20 something gay man ends up with his grandfather for the Christmas holidays would be? I’m betting fairly slim now what do we think the probability of me enjoying said story would be…well, before I read I it, I would have told you the odds were fairly slim. So, all of this just goes to show you that even the best guess is never more than just that…a guess.

 

‘A Holiday Tradition’ was a cute, funny, holiday story about a young man trying his best to earn his father’s approval by being what he thought his father wanted rather than what he truly was and it takes someone who’s already been there to help him see that more important than being what someone else wants, is being who we truly are.

 

Paul Carpenter’s father has his life mapped out and Paul desperately wants his father’s approval so he’s determined to follow that plan even if it includes ‘babysitting’ his grandfather over the holidays. Spending the holidays with a bunch of seniors in a trailer park sounds like the ideal, distraction free location for him to catch up on his studies and complete the paper that’s going to keep him from loosing his year at school. Of course, no one told Paul that the owner/manager of said trailer park wasn’t a senior but smoking hot, gay man only a few years older than Paul.

 

Kevin Lombardo is a sexy, confident man who knows himself and what he wants out of life and one look at Paul and he knows what he wants for Christmas…at the very least.

 

Where this one fell short for me was in relationship to the ending. There was a time gap of about a year between the ending and the epilogue and it gave me a bit of a jolt. What I got as a reader was a few sentences…maybe, 3 or 4, explaining very briefly what transpired during that time and while I’m pretty sure that I didn’t want to relive the entire year I think maybe a little more detail would have kept me from feeling like things were suddenly being rushed along and easily taken my 3.5 stars and turned them into at least a solid 4 star read.

 

Once again, I enjoyed watching these two men get to know each other as they became friends. Paul’s determined to stick to his father’s plan, but Kevin’s equally determined to get to know Paul and to make sure he also has some fun. I enjoyed their conversations and the fact that while there was a definite attraction, they didn’t just fall into bed right away.  While there was definite attraction and a kiss or two, what there wasn’t was any on page sexy times and that’s ok because after all it’s a Christmas story.

 

Chrissy Munder is a new to me author and for me this one held a lot of potential and I’m hoping to see what else this author has to off that I might enjoy as much or more than ‘A Holiday Tradition’.

 

*************************

 

A copy of ‘A Holiday Tradition’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-12 02:04
Tradition is not an excuse
Tradition - Brendan Kiely

This was not really my type of book as I lean more toward fantasy and si-fi. Despite this, I found it very powerful and prominent. 

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review 2018-03-18 20:11
An epic-story, which will make you reconsider what you thought you knew about angels, demons, and everything in between.
The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angels Series) 1 - Vashti Quiroz-Vega

I have seen this book described as “epic” and I agree, not only for its length (it is two books in one) but also for its topic. It does talk about all things in Heaven and Earth, near enough, from the creation of the angels and the battle of good and evil to the fall of the angels and their revenge plans once on Earth (that don’t bode well for humanity).

The author’s writing style in this book is reminiscent of the Bible, although the story is told from quite a different point of view, and it deviates from the narrative most Christians are familiar with (I am intrigued to know how the story will resonate with readers not familiar with the Christian tradition, although the world building is detailed enough for anybody to be able to follow the events). I am not a bit Fantasy reader, mostly because I am not that fond of lengthy descriptions (I admire authors who do it well), although this story has the added interest of providing a major variation on a story many of us are familiar with. As typical of the genre, there is plenty of telling (in fact, all the characters are storytellers, and we get to hear the angels’ voices often, narrating their own adventures, or even fictional ones, like a fascinating story Lilith narrates in book 1), and beautiful descriptions of Floraison, the part of Heaven inhabited by the angels, of the angels, and also of the creation of Earth, and of Earth itself in book 2. We follow the story in a chronological order, from the time when the angels are quite young, growing up and learning about their powers (this part reminded me of YA books set up in special schools for young people with special abilities, and also of parts of The Hunger Games, when the characters had to train for the battle ahead), through to the battle between good and evil and their fall to Earth. Although the story is narrated in the third person, we follow the points of views of a variety of angels, mainly Lilith, the main character, but also most of the others at some point.

These angels reminded me of the Greek gods. They are not the celestial beings many of us imagine, but more human than human. They have their personalities, their peculiar characters, their flaws, their desires, and they are far from goodie-goodie-two-shoes. Even the good angels have faults… (Oh Gabriel…). We get to know Lilith’s cunning and devious nature better than that of others (she is rebellious, proud, has a superiority complex, and does not seem to feel true affection for anybody, even her supposed friends), but we see that Lucifer is proud and is not a good looser from early on (when he is following the rules), and some of the other angels are weak, easily manipulated, and only worried about their own well-being and interests. The God of this story does not tolerate rebellion or deceit, and he severely punishes his children for their misdeeds. The author excels at writing the punishments and tortures the angels are subject to, and these parts of the book are not for the faint-hearted. I know she writes horror too, and this is quite evident in her penchant for devising monstrous characters and pretty cruel and sadistic tortures.

As is often the case, the bad characters are more interesting than the good ones (that we mostly lose sight of in book 2, apart from some brief appearances). I would not say any of the characters are very sympathetic. Lilith is put to the test and punished for being what she is (and considering angels are given free-will, that seems quite cruel), but she displays psychopathic traits from the beginning and it is difficult to blame her nasty personality on her experiences. She is strong and determined, but she abandons her friends, is manipulative, and goes to extremes that make her exceedingly unlikeable. I have no problem with having a truly horrible character as the main voice of a book, although I missed something that helped me connect with her (there are moments when she hints at a weakness or hurt, but I did not feel they were particularly convincing. Perhaps a sense of humour, no matter how dark, would have helped, but other than some instances of silly behaviour very early on, there are moments of wonder but not many laughs). Gadreel is perhaps the easiest character to empathise with, and she grows and develops during book 2 (to begin with she is constantly complaining and moaning, but she gets more confident, although she is not traditionally good either). Satan does horrible things, especially to Lilith (who is not blameless by a long stretch, not that such abuse could be ever justified in real life), but he is an interesting character and quite loyal to his friends. And he also does much of what he does out of love, however misguided. I don’t know what that says about me, but I really like Dracul, Satan and Lilith’s child. He is described as quite an ugly thing, but I find him cute. There you have it.

For me, book 2 is more dynamic and moves faster than book 1. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the adventures of the fallen angels on Earth allow us to read about their first impressions of the world as it would appear to somebody who had never been here, a totally brand new place. Such estrangement and sense of wonder are fascinating and the writing captures it well. The fact that the fallen angels find themselves in a hostile environment and have to learn to work together to survive adds to the interest. Of course, Lilith has her own plans, and she makes sure she convinces others to follow.

The character of Lilith reminded me of the typical figure of the femme fatale in film noir (or the spider woman, or… well, I’m sure you can think of many epithets such females have received over the years), who is powerful but her power consists in manipulating and deceiving males, convincing them that they are in charge, while she pulls the invisible strings. I do admire such characters, especially when the circumstances are dire and that seems to be the only option to get ahead. There is always a difficult balance to maintain between creating a strong negative female character that can hold her own and ensuring it does not reinforce the usual story tropes that blame women for all of world’s ills from the beginning of times.

This book made me wonder once more about the well-known narrative (and let me tell you, there are some twists that will keep readers on their toes) of events, which amounts to a civil war in Heaven, where there is no reconciliation and no possible redress or forgiveness for those who rebelled against the established order and lost. I also had to wonder about the rules imposed in Floraison and what seems to be a bias against LGBT (sex is bad, but same-sex sex is worse and is more severely punished), which has always been an issue that has caused much religious debate.

This book is a tour-de-force that I’d recommend to readers who love to be challenged by narratives that push the limits of well-known stories and make us rethink and reconsider the stories we have been told. And one for those who love strong and wicked female characters. And baby demons…

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review 2018-01-24 14:49
The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) - Jaroslav Pelikan
In the first of five volumes, Pelikan describes the intellectual environment of early Christianity, including the role heterodoxy played in shaping orthodox doctrine.
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