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review 2018-01-07 15:41
An Eye-Opening Portrait of A Marine's Special Courage
Silent Drums: Adapt, Improvise, Overcome... Silent Drums: Adapt, Improvise, Overcome! - Pam Daniels

Eye-opening, hard-hitting, and an excellent, compelling read; this book will prove hard to put down, cultivating an intense roller coaster of emotions designed to involve readers not just in social or military issues; but in the perspectives of individual lives. 

 

Four years before the Stonewall riots, one Bob LeBlanc informed Marine Corps investigators "you have no right to ask" when they asked if he was homosexual. He did so again a year before Stonewall. In 1975, for the first time in American history, a federal judge issued a restraining order against the U.S. Military to halt the court martial of Bob for allegedly being gay. Bob's final legal fights with the Marines in 1975 and 1976 would fuel the fledgling gay rights movement throughout the U.S., which has evolved into today's LGBTQ Civil Rights movement - and yet until the publication of Silent Drums, these facts themselves were buried. 

 

It can be said that Bob LeBlanc is the Rosa Parks of today's LGBTQ Civil Rights movement. 

 

Silent Drums: Adapt, Improvise, Overcome! is thus a military saga like few others, tackling overcoming adversity at the most unexpected of places: among the Marine Corps ranks. It centers on LBGT rights, gay marriage, and the experiences of one military man who struggled not on the battlefield against enemies, but against his own peers and an establishment which discriminated against gays long before "don't ask/don't tell" policies were enacted. 

 

The biography of Robert Lyle LeBlanc is provided in the form of descriptions that read with the vividness of fiction and the immediacy of a social issues discussion, reaching beyond the usual nonfiction approach to immerse readers in a piece of military history that stems from one man's actions and an organization's changes. It remains true to its research roots, however. Pam Daniels spent three and a half years researching and confirming where Bob LeBlanc was during his two combat tours in Vietnam, before spending four and a half years writing, editing and publishing Silent Drums.

 

The book incorporates scans from actual Marine Corp documents, and even adds some of the reports he dictated to HQ during the fierce battles he was part of. 

 

This is not to say that military action isn't a part of the story. Bob faced battles, struggles, life-changing brushes with death, and, forty years later, a witch-hunt affecting his service as a military policeman that seemed to belay everything he battled for and believed in, in his life. 

 

Bob put his life on the line in Vietnam, serving his country. Now, at home, he puts his heart on the line and faces an enemy even more deadly than the Viet Cong. 

Silent Drums exposes an aspect of military involvement that too commonly is hidden from the eye. Bob's story moves deftly between past and present experience as he faces various challenges in his life both within and outside the military, and as he fights the ban on gays in the military before the policy of "don't ask/don't tell" became established. 

 

Readers who find his story compelling should be aware that the timeline jumps back and forth between different periods in Bob's life, and that his account reads with the third-person drama of fiction as it explores his world, his choices, and their lasting impacts. A thought or emotion can transport him back in time even as he's in his partner's kitchen cooking dinner, for example. Such jumps are nicely done and are not confusing; but they may stymie readers seeking a methodical, linear story line that stays true to its timeline and progression of events. 

 

However, in choosing this special form of delivery, Pam Daniels assures that the connections between past experience and the choices and lives they've affected and created are clearly delivered. Readers also receive visuals which take the form of Marine command incidence reports, journal entries, and logs that support the battles and events that immerse Bob and his comrades in various struggles. 

 

Silent Drums is not a singular story in any respect. It's not straight biography, military history, fiction or social probe; but incorporates all these elements in a powerful, hard-hitting and solid work of journalism designed to give readers much food for thought and insights on a relatively little-known aspect of military history and processes. 

 

The result blends Marine Corp culture with a powerful story of dangers that come from unexpected places. As Bob adapts to and changes from his experiences and faces after-battle health issues that continue to threaten his life, a personal struggle for full equality in the military assumes a life of its own in a story which embraces and reflects the entire timeline of the LGBT civil rights movement. 

 

This story of how a Vietnam Marine fought anti-gay attitudes in the military should be on the reading lists of anyone concerned about gay rights history in general and military culture in particular. It's eye-opening, hard-hitting, and compelling reading that will prove hard to put down, cultivating an intense roller coaster of emotions designed to involve readers not just in social or military issues; but in the perspectives of individual lives. 

 

Very highly recommended, Silent Drums is a portrait of courage operating on more than one level, and deserves a medal for its in-depth research achievements. 

 

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url 2017-12-25 16:34
Free Kindle Editions (headed down the black hole of amazon freebies ...)
Requiem's Song - Daniel Arenson
Pride and Precipitation (Chick Flick Clique Romantic Comedy Novella #1) - Heather Horrocks
Legions of Orion - Michael G. Thomas
Moth - Daniel Arenson
Ouroboros - Odette C. Bell
Immortal Vegas Series Box Set Volume 1: Books 0-3 - Jenn Stark
Seer of Souls (The Spirit Shield Saga Book 1) - Susan Faw
A Lying Witch - Odette C. Bell
Sora's Quest - T.L. Shreffler
Forbidden The Stars - Valmore Daniels

Heck of a thread over in one of my goodreads groups (Serious Overload of Series) with some freebies.

 

'Tis the day for internet browsing ... warn me if you see me shelving something you know is awful or is by one of those authors who interact weirdly/negatively with reviews.

 

*sigh* the turkey is cooking in the oven and starting to make the house smell so appetizing -- but it takes so long ...

Source: www.goodreads.com/topic/show/449475-book-freebies-kindle-nook-author-pub-other?page=169
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review 2017-12-20 03:09
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5) - Renée Raudman,Ilona Andrews

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book. This was a re-read for me and I had a lot of fun re-visiting this book since I know what will happen to these wonderful characters as the series moves forward. I do remember being slightly disappointed when this book was first published simply because I wanted another book featuring Kate and Curran and I got Andrea instead. I ended up loving the book though. 

Andrea and Kate are best friends so their lives overlap in a lot of areas but Andrea does have her own story to tell and I am glad that Ilona Andrews made the decision to let her do just that in this book. Andrea is not in a great place as this book opens. Her relationship with Raphael is over and she has lost her job with the Order. Both of these things meant the world to her and helped shaped her identity. 

Andrea is working with Kate at their new agency, Cutting Edge, when she gets a call about a new case. This new case just happens to be tied to Raphael which only proves to make things more interesting. Throw in some strange snake people and a complex mystery and you have plenty of excitement. All the action is nicely balanced with a bit of humor and romance.

I really enjoyed seeing Kate, Curran, and all of the other characters from a different perspective. I think that Andrea is in a unique position to give that perspective because she is close to a lot of the key characters but she still feels and acts like an outsider. Andrea grows a lot as a character over the course of this book and the insight into her background really helps with understanding some of the ways that she looks at the world.

Renee Raudman does a fabulous job with this series. It is funny that I didn't really care for her narration for the first couple of books in the series but now I couldn't imagine anyone else. She really is able to perform a wide range of characters very well and with a lot of emotion. She has a very pleasant voice that is easy to listen to for hours at a time.

I highly recommend this series to others. This is a series that you do need to read in order since each book builds on the last. This is a very important book in the overall story arc and should not be missed. I can't wait to continue with my re-read of this wonderful series.

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed watching Andrea figure out her place in the world. There were some really exciting moments. All of the characters that I know and love played an important role but Andrea still isn't Kate. 

Source: Audible purchase

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review 2017-10-31 11:32
Why Not Mindy
Why Not Me? - B.J. Novak,Greg Daniels,Mindy Kaling

 

 

If you like the idea of Mindy Kaling accompanying you on walks, runs, errands, etc., keeping you entertained with funny stories, you'll enjoy this audiobook.  I particularly enjoyed learning about why she and BJ Novak are "soup snakes."

 

Some bits of the book felt a bit filler-ish, but even those portions entertained me.  Mindy could probably read the Yellow Pages or classified ads to me and make me laugh.

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review 2017-10-29 21:01
Dare
Dare: The 9th installment in Chloe Daniels (Chloe Daniels Mysteries) - Deidra D. S. Green

Title:  Dare

Author:  Deidra D. S. Green

Publisher: Rathsi Publishing Presents

Series: The 9th installment in Chloe Daniels (Chloe Daniels Mysteries)

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean 

Rating: Five

Review:

 

"Dare" by Deidra D. S. Green

 

My Thoughts.....

 

As this 9th installment in the Chloe Daniels Mysteries we get some more new characters featuring Shane Budrow and James Summers.  All that is left to say is from that race someone was left dead.  'Was this a accident or something more."  As in all of the former series this author lets us visit with a group of pass characters that will catch the reader up to some of what has now happened to them.  You will have to read the earlier series to find out more about there situations as the story continues on.  Question like...Will Drake be able to make it out of this mess he is in with Carmen?  Will Anna Black and Lenora's situation finally be found out? What about Major and Mayven...are they alive?  How was Addison able to stop what was going on in her life with that stalker? Has Addison found love with Canaan? As for Michael and Chloe are they about to go to another level as they seem to be falling in love?  I am sure these questions and so much more will be discussed as you read through this series of  'Dare.' I guess we will have to go to the next series... Michael and Chloe:  Chloe Daniels Surprise (Chloe Daniels Mysteries Book 10) to find out what next especially for these two.

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