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Search tags: jr-smith
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review 2018-01-22 21:24
I am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith
I Am Livia - Phyllis T. Smith

I am reading books at a rapid pace right now. I've more or less been stuck on a couch with a pair of recovering five year olds for the last four days in addition to being hit with a terrible bout of sudden insomnia. At least I have plenty of books. 

 

To start, I have a minimal knowledge of Ancient Rome. I know what I've been taught in school. I know what my boyfriend Gordianus has taught me with his adventures. However, Gordianus (to this point) only brings me through Julius Caesar. Livia's tale begins with the death of Julius Caesar. However, my minimal knowledge of Caesar Augustus and his quarrels with one Mark Antony was enough to get me through this book without too much help from Wikipedia. 

 

I think my minimal knowledge actually worked in this case. I know about Livia and Nero and Claudius. I know who they are but not necessarily where they came from. While this book doesn't go into much detail about Nero or Claudius, it gives the reader an excellent glimpse into the life of the family's real power, matriarch Livia Drusilla. This Livia is not the scheming, poisoning, and manipulative woman we have been told about before. This Livia is slightly manipulative but not in the power mad way you think. At no point does the author lead you to think Livia's actions are meant to benefit anyone but Rome. This author does an excellent job making Livia human. She is a wife who cares for her husband. She is a mother who wants what is best for her children. She is a citizen who cares for her country. She is a woman who is constantly working to keep these three things in harmony even if it requires a personal sacrifice. 

 

I would have liked to have seen more of Livia later in life. I would have like to seen Livia during Nero. I would have liked to have seen Livia during Claudius even though the glimpses of Claudius we are given suggest that Livia wasn't exactly a fan. 

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review 2018-01-21 12:44
More well-done HATE
Chronicles of Hate Volume 2 - Adrian Smith

Chronicles of Hate, Volume 2 (Chronicles of Hate, #2)Chronicles of Hate, Volume 2 by Adrian Smith

S.E. rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

This is a sequel to Chronicles of Hate, which I reviewed earlier.

 

In short, this follows suit. New readers should start with Vol .1. Also, readers need to be comfortable "reading" visual images sans words. Of course, they must also like gritty, mature drawings of scantily clad women and undead warriors.

 

This sequel has the same style as the first: very dark & contrasty monochrome drawings, very small word count (~ 1 word per page). Adrian Smith leaves visual clues that identify the various clans. These can be subtle, but they are there. For instance, those aligned with the Mother Earth crew wear crescent moon ornaments. Many of the bad-guy clans are harder to distinguish, except for the Tyrant.

 

The story progresses very well and delivers on our hero "Worm" attempting to revive Mother Earth. Prior purchasing, I was worried that the story may not develop enough. But this was satisfying.

 

The culture of thee world develops more. It is more clear that each clan has a leader and a champion. Adrian Smith's illustrations are generally splendid. If you ever looked into any Warhammer/Games Workshop art (which Adrian has made many) and wished you could immerse yourself in a similar world (this is not part of Warhammer's TM Olde World), this is your chance.

 

Currently, there is a Kickstarter Campaign (by CMON with Adrian Smith) to realize this HATE-full world into a competitive board game. Pitched as an exclusive KS order, it may be difficult to get later (this runs thru mid-Feb 2018). This did inspire me to get Vol.2 and back the KS. The world of HATE evolves!

 

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Source: www.selindberg.com/2018/01/chronicles-of-hate-vol-2-review-by-se.html
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review 2018-01-20 18:21
The Stuff of Legend: Book 1: The Dark - Brian Smith, Mike Raicht, Charles Wilson (Illustrator)

For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

This story works perfectly as a graphic novel. I love the contrast in characters' appearances in the "real world" vs. The Dark. The artwork is amazing. It is such an interesting contrast between childhood play and actual war.

The plot itself is very interesting. It's kind of like Toy Story if Buzz and Woody went on a murderous rampage to save Andy from a nightmare incarnate. Awesome stuff. 

Cool beginning to the series. I am looking forward to reading the next book. 

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review 2018-01-20 15:00
The First Person and Other Stories
The First Person and Other Stories - Ali Smith

I find it incredibly hard to rate a short story collection, since the stories tend to be either a hit or miss or for me. And the same is the case with Ali Smiths short stories. Some of the stories were a miss for me not because they were badly written, but because I didn´t get the point of these stories or I simply couldn´t relate to the topics in them. So I´m not afraid to admit that Ali Smith at times might be too smart for me or it might be that I´m lacking certain life experiences to enjoy this collection to the fullest.

 

I´m glad that I read this collection, though. I loved the story with the baby, who suddenly appears in the shopping trolley of a woman and no one believes her that this isn´t her baby. And it´s been great to dip my toes into Ali Smiths writing. I´m definitely intrigued enough to check out one of her novels in the future.

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review 2018-01-14 02:25
Audio Book Review: Biscuit Witch
The Biscuit Witch: The Macbrides (The Macbrides: Crossroads Cafe) (Volume 1) - Deborah Smith

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This is my first book with Misty Gray narrating. I found her interesting because we start with Delta who wrote the letter and get a Southern accent, then we get a section from Douglas with a Scottish accent. We end with chapter one from Tallulah's voice, which is different than the previous two. I was struck with these different accents and taken by them. Misty was clear and clean throughout the book, nothing to distract from the words of the story.

Delta feels like a strong woman with solid beliefs of all around her from her letter we read in the prologue. She sounds like a kind person based on that first line. From that letter, it feels that family is important to Delta. She keeps track of the family line as though it's important, and uses it. However, we only meet Delta at the beginning in the letter and at the end by phone.

For listening, the book is broken up strange and, at times, it's hard to pick up on. There are sections in each chapter with sub-titles instead of a new chapter. For audiobook, it doesn't always translate well because we don't see these titles, and sometimes sound to be part of the story. I did adapt and knew to keep an ear open for them.

Okay, in the beginning I wasn't sure where the story was going. We get Delta's letter then Doug's account with the sheep. I thought I knew where the story was going, but then we get into chapter one that's Tal's reminiscing about her family past. This felt like it was a huge info dump without leading us on the story. It was about her parents - who related to, who died, and what they did and how they died. Then we end the chapter right where Doug ended up with the sheep. The story took off from there.

The story is good. But it's not my style of writing and format. I like Tallulah and her story. She's on the go, trying to get away from the father of her child as he's not a good person or the lifestyle she wants for her daughter. She makes her way to the home town of her family roots. And here she finds a good man and good people. Tal even learns about her family heritage, which she didn't know with losing her mama so young.

The romance... Tal does find a man. But the relationship between her and him and him and her daughter seems to happen so fast. Like in two days fast. Okay, maybe three? I know it's a novella and looking past the quickness, it made for a sweet story.

The story has a few different angles to it. There is a sweet love that blossoms, of course. But we also see more here. Tal has a daughter and some troubles she's running from. Tal gets a solution to those problems and grows as a character too. We also see the thread that will connect the stories in this series - Free Wheeler, a small town. There is a history here that Tal starts to dig into and learns.

As for the cooking reference, I was expecting more "magic" in the baking. There is love backed in those biscuits, and people love them but I thought there would be some spark related to the baking. It wasn't as much of a tie as I thought there would be, but that's okay.

It's a sweet story with Tal who's drawn to bake all sorts of goodies with heart and memories. Family and friends are everything, and will help you when you are in need.

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