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review 2017-01-06 12:32
Breath of Earth
Breath of Earth - Beth Cato

The premise and outline for the story was fascinating, I always wanted to know what happened next which is sadly the only reason I manged to finish this book. Unfortunately for me the characters felt flat, especially the main character. A big problem for me was that I was repeatedly told how incredibly intelligent she was (especially for a female -_-) and yet based on everything I read in this book I have zero proof that she is anything above dumb, which is truly sad. I don't mind dumb characters except when I'm constantly told that they're not (Drives me bonkers!) and in circumstances like these (where men look down on women as the weaker sex) I would much prefer the character to be more than just a special snow flake.

 

2.5 stars. I won't be reading any more of this series.

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review 2017-01-01 14:17
Chronicles from Pre-Celtic Europe by Alewyn J Raubenheimer
Chronicles from pre-Celtic Europe: (Survivors of the Great Tsunami) - Alewyn J Raubenheimer

Chronicles from Pre-Celtic Europe takes a look at the contents of the Oera Lind Book and matches this up with modern archaeological, paleoclimatological, linguistical and genetic findings.  The book is well written and extremely interesting.  It provides food for thought and hopefully some additional research.

 

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review 2016-04-07 16:27
Wolf By Wolf - Ryan Graudin

WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin tells the story of Yael who lives in a world where the Nazis won the Second World War, and she is part of the resistance. A decade after their victory, when Yael is seventeen she is given the mission to kill Hitler.

WOLF BY WOLF is a really fast paced read; once I began reading I fell straight into the story, and struggled to put the book down. The setting and the plot of the novel were brilliantly thought out, and I had to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Graudin creates an intense and very real world, where the stakes are high. As the story unfolds you find yourself hoping that Yael will succeed at her goal.

It’s impossible to talk about WOLF BY WOLF without acknowledging the fact that it’s an alternative history, and one that, to me at least, seems fairly plausible. That in itself is one of the things that I really enjoy about this book – it seems like it could have been a very real possibility, and a scary one at that.

Yael is an intriguing main character; she is at once both alive and tangible on the page, whilst also being like a ghost. It is, I think, part of her charm. Yael and her struggles felt very real to me, and I found myself rooting for her from the beginning. I liked the fact that although Yael is shown to be a very competent and confident young woman, Graudin allows us to see through the cracks in her armour.

Characterization is one of the things that really Graudin really does well in this book. Not just with Yael, but with the other characters that appear in the book. Interesting characters populate the book; although the narrative focuses on Yael, the people she interacts with and watches feel believable. As such, the world of WOLF BY WOLF feels very vibrant and genuine.

WOLF BY WOLF is narrated in the third person, with the narrative moving between now and then. I think that this style worked very well, as it allowed Graudin to slowly paint a picture of what the world is like and to show us who Yael is. It also works because when we learn about Yael’s past it never feels like information dumps; instead it just feels like the next turn in the story.

Although the narrative of WOLF BY WOLF is very much an alternative history, there’s also just a touch of magic to the story. WOLF BY WOLF is the first book of a duology (I think) and as such, the world building is superbly done. As soon as I picked up the book I just powered straight through it, and was breathless by the end. I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on BLOOD FOR BLOOD.

Originally posted on The Flutterby Room.

Source: theflutterbyroom.com/2016/04/07/review-wolf-by-wolf-by-ryan-graudin
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text 2015-11-15 00:27
Question

Has anyone ever read Harry Turtledove's books before? Are they any good?

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review 2015-08-10 23:40
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

This is Karen Memery’s story. She’s a prostitute, an orphan, a loyal friend, a fair shot, an excellent horsewoman, and a fair seamstress. Set in the western town of Rapid City in the late 1800s on the west coast of the US, most likely Washington territory, there’s plenty of little steampunk touches to keep me happy. However this story is mostly about the people, and I was not disappointed one bit.

This tale is told in a first person manner as if you were reading Karen’s journal front to back like a printed novel. I instantly liked Karen. She wasn’t raised with much schooling though she has some common sense she learned from working with horses before she was orphaned. That common sense lead her to the bordello run by Madame Damnable, who has a peg leg and runs a respectable and clean establishment. She’s been saving up to move on once she is ready. But things go awry one night when Merry Li shows up with an indentured Indian (from India) woman named Priya. Both are in bad shape and the bordello ladies immediately have to face down Peter Bantle and a few of his men. It wasn’t easy.

So starts some of the toughest days of Karen’s life. Street walkers are turning up dead and dumped in places they will be found. Marshall Bass Reeves plays a prominent role in this novel (hooray!). Here’s my little confession – until last year, I was completely oblivious to the historical figure Bass Reeves, the first black US Marshall west of the Mississippi. He made an excellent character in this novel. He’s hunting a serial killer that may somehow be connected to the mess in Rapid City.

I’ve long been a fan of Elizabeth Bear’s work because she has such a variety of characters in her novels. This book is no exception. We have folks from so many backgrounds. Russian, Indian, Chinese, Native American, African American, French, and probably some others are all represented in this novel. Most of them are multi-dimensional. Now to add to that, this story has folks of various sexual orientation. Hooray! SFF in general needs more of this. There’s a touch of romance and it was very sweet to see through Karen’s eyes.

Then we have all the awesome tech. It’s there, it just doesn’t eclipse the kickass characters and the plot. There was a submersible, a few dirigibles, a very fancy Singer sewing machine, and a mind control device that is put to nefarious deeds. There were references to more things, like mad scientist duels, and such. These steampunk touches were enough to add to the scenery but not enough to become the focus and take away from the plot and characters.

I have to talk about the horses. These are important to Karen and since I have donkeys, I really connected with what she felt towards the horses Bass Reeves and his posse man (Sky) brought with them. Karen grew up with horses and had several ‘friends’ among the horses. When she was orphaned, she had to give all that up and it was terribly hard. Now she finds herself around these horses and so many feelings she had kept under lock and key come to the surface. Tear-jerking scenes folks! As Karen says, once you’ve made a friend of a horse, your life will never be the same again.

The plot had some unexpected turns. I simply didn’t want to put this book down.  It started off with this parlor showdown between Madame Damnable’s ladies and Bantle and his men and the tension was kept going throughout, though there were plenty of scenes that were more intense. At first, there’s simply this immediate problem to deal with, but that leads to a bigger issue and then that one leads to yet a bigger issue. It was very well done. This story left me feeling highly satisfied. Yet I can’t but hope for another story set in the same world, or even another Karen Memery story.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher (via Audiobook Jukebox) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Jennifer Grace did a most excellent job with this book. Most of the book is in Karen’s voice, but Grace had a range of accents and voices for all the other characters. Her male voices were quite believable. I especially liked her voice for Priya and her voice for Bass Reeves. 

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