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review 2018-02-25 19:06
Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayer... Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs - Greg King,Penny Wilson

The world loves a good Romeo and Juliet story because the average person tends to forget that Romeo was in love with Rosalind and Juliet was all of 13. Odds are, if they had married, Romeo would have had a mistress and Juliet would have died in childbirth. 
Shakespeare has much blame to bear considering our fascination with star crossed lovers.


This fasciation extends to the Incident at Mayerling, though the name might not be familiar to you. If you have flipped through a catalog from PBS, Acorn or BBC America, you might have seen the ad for a mini-series about Sissi, Empress Elizabeth, or the movie about her son and his lover. That’s the incident at Mayerling. The crown prince of the Habsburg empire killed himself and his lover. 


Unless you want to believe those conspiracy rumors and what not.
The real story isn’t quite film mini-series, and Greg King certainly does not describe Rudolf the Crown Prince, and Mary Vetsera, his lover, as star crossed lovers. She was 16, and King described as a bit spoiled. Rudolf was 30, married with a daughter, and he had transmitted an STD to his wife, Stephane, making her sterile.

 


You feel really sorry for Stephane.


You really don’t feel all that sorry for the Hapsburg, and you feel sorry for Mary in a “she was spoiled but young” type of way.


King shreds the romance from the story and quite righty, places it historical context. He also examines the conflicting stories and rumors as well as describing Vienna as the suicide capital of Europe. Apparently, romanticizing suicide goes way back. King treats all his subjects as fairly as possible. 

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text 2018-02-16 20:18
Reading progress update: I've read 21 out of 319 pages.
Three Act Tragedy - Agatha Christie

„You mean talking about her – and me? With that face? And at her age?”

“She´s probably under fifty.”

“I suppose she is,” Sir Charles considered the matter. “But seriously, Tollie, have you noticed her face? It´s got two eyes, a nose and a mouth, but it´s not what you would call a face – not a female face. The most scandal-loving old cat in the neighbourhood couldn´t seriously connect sexual passion with a face like that.”

 

What a charming guy :-/

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review 2018-02-09 01:40
La loterĂ­a
Duma Key - Stephen King

Had an interesting time listening to this in audio format. I mean, I was sketching and coloring like demon-possessed by the last third in.

 

Characterization-wise, creepy dolls are creepy (though it's a nice zig-zagging there), cool old ladies are awesome, and the friendship aspects were beautiful.

 

That arm-bursting scene! My God *shudder*

 

And it was sad and tragic as all hell. La lotería indeed. But who wants such balls to align as these

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

 

 

(couple of examples)

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review 2018-01-23 22:35
Murder witches, ghosts, and existential angst
The Wicked Deep - Shea Ernshaw

Disclaimer: reviewing unedited digital proof via NetGalley.

 

Sometime in the 1800s or so in Sparrow, OR, three sisters were drowned for being witches (& seducing all the guys). Two centuries later, they still return every summer to possess three girls in town and drown boys in revenge.

 

The lighthouse keeper's daughter is still reeling after the disappearance (and presumed death) of her father. When a strange boy comes to town the day before the drowning season, she offers him a place to stay. That night, she dreams of the sea.

 

This is kind of a hard one to review without spoilers. It does some fascinating things with identity and perspective, and the twists are the kind you anticipate and dread as they creep up on you with slow inevitability. Rich worldbuilding conveys a sense of a smalltown/vacation town on the coast, the uneasy sea, and the tension of belonging and acceptance that becomes especially critical in such a close-knit community. Interesting things happening with sexuality/identity, though this comfortably enjoyable read tends to avoid looking at the ick factor of girls being possessed by the dead and sleeping with the boys in town while under the spell too closely. The story feels fresh, and the style or voice is immediate and engaging. Around midway through, it seemed like it was shaping up to be a romance. Keep in mind that tragedy, horror, and suspense are core to the story and settle in for the ride. As a whole, it feels like a quiet read with strong interiority, rather than a pacy thriller - but on the other hand, I inhaled it in like a day, so it definitely doesn't drag.

 

Spectacularly atmospheric and creeptastic new read that walks the line between dark fantasy and paranormal. It's a really great tone, more quiet and pensive, with a good helping of horror and historic fic snuck in there. You may or may not see the twists coming, but they carry weight regardless. Feels fresh and familiar at the same time. Definitely an author to watch.

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text 2017-12-30 00:43
My Top 10 Reads of 2017!
Theophilus: A Tale of Ancient Rome - Lewis Ben Smith
Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome - Crystal King
Regarding Tiberius: An Epic Tragedy of Mass Murder, Sworn Vengeance, Forbidden Love, Greek Ambition, Persian Honor, & Roman Might in the Ancient Near East - Helena Mithridates Kleopatra,Bartholomew Boge,Raelenne Boge,Rosani Akhtar-Moore
Infinite - Jeremy Robinson
Bread of Angels - Tessa Afshar
Eternal Darkness - Tom Deady,Pete Kahle,Richard Chizmar
The Last Child - John Hart
Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) - Connilyn Cossette
Puzzle Master - J.T. McKenna
Mysterious Kemet - Book I: Intrigue and Drama in Ancient Egypt - S.R. Anand

These are my top 10 reads of the year and as always, most of them are historical fiction, but I loved them all and would recommend them to anyone!

 

Theophilus by Lewis Ben Smith is the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts is addressed to in the Bible and not much is known about him. The author, however, did a magnificent job in taking this character and building this story around him that coincides with the biblical narrative.

 

A Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King: This book mainly centers on the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius whose recipes were written down, but according to the author's notes, no cookbook survived but some of his recipes did survive in the writings of other historical figures. Apicius was a very wealthy Roman citizen whose passion for cooking and good food sees him spend a great deal of money to buy a slave named Thrasius to be his cook. His dream is to be the gastronomic advisor to Caesar himself. 

 

Regarding Tiberius by Helena Mithrtdates Kleopatra is the novelization of a series of ancient scrolls recently discovered in the ruins of famed Roman commander Scipio Africanus' seaside villa (near Naples, Italy). Written in the First Century by a young woman of Persian and Ethiopian ancestry, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, they comprise an account of how her life and destiny were forever altered by her chance meeting with Tiberius, the son of a prominent Roman senator.

 

Infinte by Jeremy Robinson- Earth is no longer habitable and a crew of 50 scientists and engineers aboard a spacecraft head to a new planet that will hopefully be hospitable. After ten years in a failed cryogenic bed--body asleep, mind awake--William Chanokh's torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him...by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart.

This is one of my favorite authors, and this book was awesome!

 

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- quickly becoming a favorite author. This one takes the character of Lydia from the Book of Acts in the Bible and tells her story while staying true to the biblical account.

 

Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady- I just discovered this author this year when I read his book, Haven. I enjoyed it so much that I got this one, which is a coming of age story about vampires, and enjoyed it even more. He will also be writing a sequel to it. Lots of fun.

 

The Last Child by Jon Hart- I loved this coming of age, mystery!
Don't get me wrong though...this book is dark, but the characterization is excellent, especially of the main character, Johnny. This kid carries a heavy burden, with his twin sister having disappeared a year before, his father leaving, and his mother- who is a ghost of her former self. A sequel is supposed to be out next year, and I am looking forward to it!

 

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette - Set during the time of the Great Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and follows a slave girl, Kiya, who escapes the bonds of slavery and joins the Hebrews as they flee.

The whole 3 book series was excellent!

 

Puzzle Master by T.J. McKenna: It' s the year 2022 and all religion has been banned and every sort of vice is condoned. Enter a history professor, Cephas, who not only loves puzzles, but is known as the Cult Hunter...famous for breaking the codes that leads the government to track down "hidden Christians". Now in order to stop them once and for all, Cephas is given the chance to go back in time to prove, once and for all, that Jesus was not the Messiah and did not come back from the dead.

 

Mysterious Kemet by S.R. Anand- is a collection of 5 novelettes set during the times of Imhotep, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Intef the Third, and Ankhtifi. Tempered in the fire of greed, revenge, lust, and ambition, this collection tells the following five riveting tales from Ancient Egypt.

I think this is the first time I had a collection as one of my top 10, but I really enjoyed this one!

 

My honorable mention is one that I have read before, and re-read this year, but I can't say enough about this series. The Voice in the Wind series by Francine Rivers will always be in the top 10 books of all time for me. I always come away a changed person from reading it. It is Christian fiction and many people would find it "preachy", but it comes with my highest recommendation!

 

  

 

So that's it! Hope everyone has a fantastic New Year full of new discoveries in books and authors!

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