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review 2018-06-16 19:39
Have you ever wondered...what happens when worlds collide?
Rogue in the Making - T.J. Nichols

'Rogue in the Making' is the follow up to 'Warlock in Training' and the second book in TJ Nichol's series 'Studies in Demonology' and the first thing I want to say is 'If you haven't read 'Warlock in Training' you probably should. I honestly can't say that you can't read this one without having read the first book but having read it and having read this one...I think I can safely say you'll probably find it a whole lot less confusing if you do.  Both the characters and the overall story ARC carry through each book so these are not standalone stories.

 

I absolutely loved the first book in this series as in I devoured it like a demon (tee, hee did you see what I did there?) anyways, I loved it and the second book couldn't come out fast enough and yet, when it did and I was there with my greedy, grubby little hands I jumped in and part way into the story I just came to a screeching halt...like squealing brakes on a rain slick road screeching and honestly I'm not exactly sure why because I kept going back to the story and finally after stopping and reading a couple other books I dove back in and finished it and truthfully I loved it, this one was easily as good as the first book. I think for me it just came down to a case of right book, wrong time because I am so on board for the third and final installment in this series...hell, I was ready for the next  book before the final chapter in this one. Now don't tell me that doesn't speak to a good book when it can take me from "I'm not sure I can do this." to "Sweet  baby jebus can someone give me more."

 

We're back in the worlds of Angus and Saka. The college is still hoarding magic and creating an imbalance in both worlds. The rebels are still fighting it...or are they? Angus is becoming very unsure as to who the bad guys are and who are the good guys? or are there any? Who should he trust? 

 

Saka is faced with acknowledging his feelings for Angus...at least to himself. Things are becoming precarious on demonside and friends are becoming foes. Nothing seems to be what it is and everything is becoming suspect to both Angus and Saka. 

 

As Angus goes back and forth between his world and Saka's he gets answer to questions that don't quite add up and more questions arise while amidst all of this he realizes that he's also developing feelings for Terrence a friend from his days at the college.  As Angus's feelings for Terrence grow people notice and the relationship becomes his weakness...a tool for those who would control Angus to wield against him. 

 

While the relationship growth between Saka and Angus was slow it was also loaded with obstacles not the least of which was human? demon? Need I say more? I've liked the interaction between these two from the first book and while it occasionally felt slow to me there was still lots of interest to keep me reading add in the dynamics of Angus's growing feelings for Terrence and the prospect of his worlds colliding should Terrence and Saka meet, how's it even possible to not be interested? and for those who are wondering...Saka...well, he's got a tail and if you want to know more well then you'll just have to read the books, lol!

 

Ok, back to the books...the plot in this series is hella', hella' good. We're talking about two different worlds here but worlds that are connected and while they are in a way dependent on each other they also require a balance to be maintained but what happens when it's not? Well that's what we're finding out, it's not pretty and the possibilities are frightening because if somebody doesn't find the right solution the only question that will remain to be answered isn't who will survive? it's will anyone survive?

 

Whatever the reason that I struggled with this one I do know it wasn't the book and I am all in for this series...maybe, this one wasn't 5 stars for me, but 4 stars for a book that I had a bit of a struggle says a lot to me and mostly what it says is that I need to read the next book and find out what happens to Saka, Angus, Terrence, Lizzie and Wek. They've already lost some of their band of renegades...friends have died, lives have been sacrificed now what remains to be seen is 'was it worth it? or was it all in vain?' I for one want to know.

 

************************

A copy of 'Rogue in the Making' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2018-04-28 19:34
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Making Arrangements - Rosefox Making Arrangements - Rosefox

I finally finished this. It was my "read while sitting in customer waiting areas" e-book (e-short?), and I spent enough time at a couple car places over the past two days to get through the last half.

 

It was pretty decent for a freebie, but I felt like I didn't get to know Diana and Beatrice well enough to really care about them. Especially Beatrice. The dance scene in the last half was really good but would have been better if I'd been more invested in the characters.

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review 2018-04-28 15:58
The Body in Pain, by Elaine Scarry
The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World - Elaine Scarry

Probably I should officially consider this a DNF, but I did at least skim the last section, so... This was perhaps a case of waiting too long to read a text I became interested in when a graduate student. At that time, I was regularly reading scholarly work either as assigned in class or for projects for those classes. But I graduated in 2012, and my brain as a reader is generally in a different gear.

 

I read some of Scarry's other works in my program but was specifically interested in The Body in Pain because I read the opening pages and was drawn in by the discussion of the inexpressibility of pain. I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm a migraineur, so I tend to take note of topics related to pain. Then as a writer I'm naturally also fascinated by works addressing communication and creativity.

 

Earlier sections on torture, making, and unmaking were worth the tough read, but the second section delves into biblical and Marxist texts, neither of which are in my wheelhouse. I gave myself permission to skim as, let's face it, I'm not likely to end up writing a scholarly paper on the topic.

 

I thought it unfair to rate what I essentially DNF. I'll say that Scarry's work in general can be unique, surprising, and compelling, but I don't always buy her premises.

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text 2018-04-21 05:04
Eco-Fi: Writing as a moral act

"True art is moral. We recognize true art by its' careful, thoroughly honest search for an analysis of values. It is not didactic because, instead of teaching by authority and force, it explores, open-mindedly, to learn what it should teach. It clarifies like an experiment in a chemistry lab, and confirms."

- John Gardner, On Moral Fiction, 1978

 

Okay, so this is a bit high-minded, but still it's something I aspire to in my writing.

 

I've tried to write strictly commercial fiction, but my characters and plots won't let me. At some point they tell me, "Hey, I'm not that shallow, superficial person and I won't let you portray me as such." At this point the vapid story I've been writing takes an unexpected direction and everything gets out of control and I'm back dealing with three dimensional characters in complicated situations that test their integrity.

 

Or at least I'm trying to.

 

How then does a writer, if so inclined, build their fiction on strong, ethical ground?

 

I subscribe to the method suggested by Carol Bly, Author of The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart’s Truth into Literature. She suggests that even before beginning to write a story, consider composing a “Values Listing,” a written record of the things that are most important to you.

 

Then, throughout the writing process ensure these values continue to be identified in your work. That means these values are present in the issues and conflicts your characters confront and that they themselves are grounded in or address these same principles.

 

Here's the Value's Listing Questions. My answers are in capitals

 

VALUE’S LISTING:

 

1. Two goals or values which make life good or bearable or would if they were in operation. PRESERVING ENVIRONMENT/ ENCOURAGING THE HUMAN SPIRIT

 

2. Two goals or values which cause injustice and suffering or lessening of joy. WEALTH/MATERIALISM and the NEED TO CONTROL

 

3. Two missing goals or behaviors. As a child, you thought grown-up life would have these. Now that you are an adult you don’t see them around. HONESTY/INTEGRITY and RESPONSIBILITY/CREDIBILITY

 

4. Two injustices you see about you and should keep an eye on, even on your wedding day. RACISM/DISCRIMINATION and DESTRUCTION OF WILDERNESS

 

Considering my the list of my values, it's not surprising four of my novels could be categorized as Environmental Fiction, interpreted as a story of any genre; romance, mystery, literary, etc., with a subplot that addresses an important environmental issue.

 

In writing ECO-FI my hope is readers will be entertained by all the elements of a good story and will also come away a little more wiser about the environmental issues important to me and that effect us all.

 

ECO-FI TITLES:

SAVING SPIRIT BEAR - What Price Success?

LOVING THE TERRORIST - Risking it All

MAD MAGGIE - And the Wisdom of the Ancients

FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend

 

This stand-alone series will be part of my back-list promotion throughout 2018 and 2019 that will include upcoming FREE book days on Amazon. To be included in free offers of my existing books or the opportunity to receive Advance Reading Copies on new work, consider joining my ADVANCE READING TEAM at http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

Buy links for these books include:

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com

Draft2Digital - https://www.draft2digital.com

 

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review 2018-04-16 23:06
Review of Washington's Revolution by Robert Middlekauff
Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader - Robert Middlekauff

A deeper look at George Washington and his leadership and vision from his early years through the end of the Revolutionary War.  This was an academic look at how Washington was able to always view the big picture throughout his life and while was not perfect, he was able to keep above the immediate issues of the day to outlast and outperform everyone else.  There were parts of this book that were a bit dry, but overall I enjoyed the read and developed more of an appreciation for Washington.  Oddly, I loved the chapter early in the book that looked at Washington's years as a planter after his experiences in the French and Indian War but before the issues with Britain.  The challenges of trying to run the plantation and make money through the economic system of using British agents was fascinating and not an area I had read much about.  I would recommend this book only for those that already have a solid background in the life of Washington.

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