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review 2018-02-19 05:49
The Birth of the West by Paul Collins
The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in the Tenth Century - Paul Collins

TITLE:  The Birth of the West:  Rome, Germany, and the Creation of Europe in the Tenth Century


AUTHOR:  Paul Collins




FORMAT:  Paperback


ISBN-13:  978-1-61039-368-3



Tenth century Europe may have been a chaotic mess, but Paul Collins believes that the process which ended in the Renaissance and Enlightenment had its beginnings in the tenth century Europe.  Collins attempts to show how various individuals (e.g. the 3 Ottos and Gerbert d'Aurillac/Pope Sylvester II) injected vigour into the Holy Roman Empire, reorganised the Church and bring some semblance of order to the State.

The book (briefly) covers the breakup of Charlemagne's Empire in the mid-800's; the development of France under Viking invasions and settlement into a large number of smaller semi-independent regions; and the solidification of a Germanic Holy Roman Empire during the 10th century under the Saxon kings Otto I, II, III.  It also follows the development of Roman Catholicism and the Papacy.  There is also a fairly decent description of monastic life, as well as the role of monasteries and religion in the lives of ordinary people.

Collins weaves a sometimes convoluted narrative, starting somewhere in the middle, going back to the beginning, discussing historical events, then focusing on individuals in a biographical manner, hopping around different regions in Europe from Spain and Britain to Byzantium.  The first chapter was a bit tedious but the pace of the narrative picked up by the second chapter and the story became more interesting.  There are a few maps in the book but I would have preferred a few more.  I would also have found a timeline useful.  A more structured approach would also have been more useful as well as more analysis.  The author dropped the ball a few times by failing to connect his various chapters to the main thesis of the book, making this something of a collection of juicy facts but failing to show how they relate to the birth of the west.

I would not recommend this book to the history novice but it may prove interesting to someone who has some familiarity with events after Charlamagne.

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review 2018-02-02 04:04
A Darker Shade of Sorcery. (The Realmers Series- Book 1) - William Collins

This was action story of tropic proportions! There were a bevy of creatures, and realms and beasties...OH My! It is a coming of age trope-fest featuring 2 Earth (?) kids with magic (unbeknownst to them) who are forcefully enrolled in a special school with other (diverse and special) kids/creatures. Here they train to hopefully access and use their magic (and other skills) to fight The Good Fight...you know...kill all the "Bad Guys"...the Evil, malignant, dastardly demons and their evil Archlords.


The writing was nothing special. The world development was at times confusingly info-dumpy (just nod and move on please, this portion of the sentence is under construction) while other times just plain old confusing. The Character development was sloooooow to fruition but what the book lacked in those departments, it made up for with pure imagination. Will I move on to future installments? Most likely No BUT it was a fun read while it lasted.

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review 2018-01-29 18:16
A very strong heroine!
Wallflower Most Wanted - Manda Collins
This isn't my preferred genre, but I think I went in with an open mind. I do enjoy historicals and it was a nice change of pace for me. I also learned several new words!
The thing I liked most about Wallflower Most Wanted had to be the heroine. She, as well as the other heiresses in the book, was an in control, take charge, brilliant, not to be put down woman. She knew what she was about, what she wanted and that no one was going to get in her way. That's why it was so charming when Sophie injured herself and the vicar, Ben, swept her up into his arms and carried her back to the house. Just as charming, was the fact that Ben was quite out of breath from the exertion and his muscles were later very fatigued.
This book had mystery, murder, romance, sex and love, patrons of the arts and just an overall fun relationship between the man and woman. I really enjoyed it!
I received this book via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.


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review 2018-01-22 01:14
It's All in the Brushstrokes!
Wallflower Most Wanted - Manda Collins

Add a beautiful young painter and a handsome vicar who's a duke's son, throw in a dash of murder, and a sprinkle of art forgery, a Trumpian faux populist character, and there you have it.

This was enjoyable with clever writing and likable characters, but I felt like I had to keep putting it down. Could be me, with everything going on. I am looking forward to Gemma's story.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine: http://affairedecoeur.com.

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quote 2018-01-21 15:15
Przetrwać - Gino nauczył ją, że nie ma nic ważniejszego i dobrze tą lekcję opanowała
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