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text 2020-07-18 10:53
Reading progress update: I've read 11%.
No Fixed Line - Dana Stabenow,Marguerite Gavin

It brings me comfort to be back in Kate Shugak land. That's odd really as Dana Stabenow doesn't write cosy mysteries. Her books have very bad people in them. She confronts hate, corruption, misogyny, racism, greed and a hunger for violence. She looks at Alaska and sees both its beauty and its lethal indifference. She doesn't whitewash politics or history and she understands that even the people who think of themselves as the good guys sometimes betray themselves and the things they believe in.

 

So why does reading a Kate Shugak story bring me comfort?

 

Because, at the heart of almost all of the stories, there is a refusal to abandon hope, to find the courage to persist and a determination not to look away. There's also friendship, community, love, independence and honesty. It's a home I'd like to have. A home I'd like to be able to live up to even though I know I'd probably fail.

 

So, after a prologue and two chapters where am I?

 

Firstly, it looks like Dana Stabenow is going to dig in to the human consequences of one of the worst evils Trump has created, one that I think the rest of the world looks at and wonders why the rest of America allows it: the separation of children from their parents at the border. Keeping children in cages, sleeping on concrete floors.  Destroying family by dispersing children across America without documenting where they went or who their parents were. All of it overseen by ICE, troops own SS.

 

Of course, that's my, entirely political neutral and totally objective, summary, not Stabelnow's. She's a more 'show don't tell' writer, so her proluge deal with two children, a brother and a sister, separated from their mother, kept in cages and then sold on to human traffickers.  Then she gives me a chapter showing the fast, instinctive response of two young people who face a fierce ice storm to rescue any survivors of a  plane crash, followed by a chapter with Kate at home, cooking and discussing the merits of college and the problems with the State defunding education. 

 

So, I know I'm home. I know things are going to get fraught. And I know I'm going to have to exercise control not to snarf the whole book down in a day, like a Labrador with fresh meat.

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review 2020-03-25 00:34
A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison
A Fistful of Charms - Marguerite Gavin,Kim Harrison

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

I had such a good time with this book. I read the first few books in this series years ago and didn't continue for one reason or another. Most of the series probably hadn't been written at that point. A couple of years ago, I decided to start working my way through the series again by listening to the audiobooks. I think that this might have been the first time that I read this book and I really enjoyed it.

This book picks up shortly after the events of the previous book. Rachel learns that Jenks's son Jax might be in trouble along with her ex-boyfriend, Nick, and she feels compelled to help. Rachel enlists the help of Jenks as backup and with the aid of a couple of demon curses, they head off to rescue the pair and things get interesting very quickly.

I really enjoyed the way that Rachel and Jenks worked together in this book. Jenks is such a great character and I tend to enjoy the scenes that he appears in and he was in the bulk of this book. I really appreciated the changes that Jenks went through in this story and I think that we really got to know him a lot better. I also found the developments in Rachel's relationship with Ivy to be intriguing and look forward to seeing how things play out later in the series.

This story was really exciting. There were some pretty intense scenes where I was a bit worried about the fate of Rachel, Jenks, Ivy, and the rest of the group. I wasn't sure how they would get themselves out of some of the situations in this book. I also felt like there were some pretty pivotal moments in the characters' personal lives and there were a few rather surprising revelations.

Marguerite Gavin did a fantastic job with the narration of this book. I think that she is the perfect narrator for this series. She handled all of the different character voices wonderfully and added a lot of life to each of the characters. I love how much emotion and excitement she is able to express with her reading. I feel like her narration added to my overall enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this series to others. This series is full of wonderful characters facing some pretty exciting situations. This is a series that you will want to read in order but that shouldn't be a hardship since all of the earlier books are just as good as this one.

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book! I was in the mood to get back to this series and I am glad I did. The narration did feel a little fast to me so I slowed it down just a bit so that it sounded more natural. I know, everyone else is speeding up their audiobooks and I am over here slowing mine down! I stalled after the third book the first time I tried the series and when I started again with the audiobooks a few years ago. This book worked well for me. I liked Jenks a lot in this story and I liked some of the changes in relationships. The premise was well done with plenty of excitement. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series!

Book source: purchased

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review 2018-07-26 13:02
"The Privilege Of Peace - Peacekeeper #3" by Tanya Huff - highly recommended
The Privilege Of Peace - Tanya Huff,Marguerite Gavin

 

Tanya Huff says that "The Privilege of Peace" will be the last Torin Kerr book, I've followed Torin Kerr through the five Confederation novels, which I think are some of the best and most innovative military SF novels ever written and then on to the three Peacekeeper novels, which show how Torin, having helped end a galactic war hundreds of years long, handles the peace.

 

"The Privilege of Peace" was the perfect goodbye to the series. It moved the story arc on, engaging most of my favourite characters but didn't make the mistake of tidying everything up.

 

As I left the book, I could see that Torin had grown and, in the process, had helped me understand how much more difficult the maintenance of peace can be than the fighting of a war.

 

I'd love there to be another Torin Kerr book, but if there isn't I'll look on this as nine great novels, set in a universe I believe in, with people I care about, which never took the most obvious path and always placed accountability above expedience. I real life was like that, I'd enjoy living there. It isn't, but at least I have Tanya Huff to show me that it could be.

 

Margurite Gavin's narration has always increased my enjoyment of the Torin Kerr books.   Her voices are so well thought through that I could immediately recognise who was speaking, regardless of sex or species.

 

If you haven't read this series yet, you have a lot of pleasure ahead of you. Take a look at my reviews below

confederation 1 - 3The first three books in the Confederation series were fast-moving, trope-twisting, emotionally taxing military SF novels that established the Confederation universe from Torin's point of view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

valor-s-trial"Valor's Trial"(every time I see these titles, I want to add a U) was the game changer for me. The universe expanded and Torin became someone even more interesting.Va

There's a lot of sadness and a lot of hope in this book. It's probably the most anti-war pro-soldier military SF book I've read.

 

 

 

 

 

the-truth-of-valor

"The Truth of Valor" brought the Confederation series to an end in an unexpected but enjoyable way and I thought it was the last I'd see of Torin Kerr.

 

What more could be asked of her?

 

Well, it turns out that she was going to be asked the question: "What do non-violent Elder Races do with the we've-been-fighting-a-war-for-so-long-it's-all-we-know Younger Races?"

 

 

 

 

 

An Ancient PeaceWhen Torin considered that question, she did what she always does. She set about bringing her people home. She also started to rethink what everyone thought the knew about the Elder Races.

 

"An Ancient Peace", the first Peacekeeper novel had Torin in transition, no longer in the Corps but not really equipped to be a civilian and kept me guessing all the way through to the surprising outcome. 

 

It reset the situation completely, especially with regard to the Elder Races

 

 

 

 

 

a peace divided

In "A Peace Divided" Torin leads a Peace Keeper Strike Force, dealing with violent people churning through civilian space in the wake of an unexpected peace. Torin’s not a soldier anymore. Winning now involved more than getting in, killing the enemy and getting her people home. Now she has to uphold the law and make sure as few people as possible, on either side, die while she’s doing it.

 

She also starts to question how the Confederacy she's always defended, works and whether she might have to find a way of changing it to protect her people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-02-09 18:31
Virtually Perfect by Paige Roberts
Virtually Perfect - Paige Roberts,Marguerite Gavin

I add the randomist of books to my Overdrive queue. This is another that I added for whatever reason and by the time it came around to me I had no idea why I requested it. Sometimes it works out, other times notsomuch. This was one of the notsomuch times.

 

Lizzie was once a Food Network star but was fired for some reason I don’t think they ever revealed. I think I would've caught that because I was hoping it was embarrassing but I could’ve missed it because I might’ve dozed off a time or two. She’s since been making a living taking whatever job comes her way, mostly cooking for rich people. When she’s offered a full time gig cooking for a wealthy family at their luxurious summer home at the beach she takes it.

 

What follows is a modern day chick lit story of a woman who puts up with all sorts of crap to keep her job which is something most of us can probably relate to. We do need to eat and sometimes it pays to keep your big mouth shut. But this changes a little later in the story when she begins to make a few unprofessional moves and remarks that weren’t at all thought through. I mean I get it, a girl can only take so much, but it’s never a good idea to talk crap about the family who pays you to another family member that you barely know just because you think he’s the black sheep of the family. Even I know that! During the daily dramas that enfold she’s also attempting to patch things up with a friend she left behind for fame (snooze) and learns her mother has been hiding a big secret which she might’ve discovered sooner if she’d tried harder to get in touch with her mom.

 

This book gets mostly good reviews so perhaps it just wasn’t a story meant for me. I thought it might be light and entertaining and though it is very descriptive with the food and I enjoyed that bit, it started to aggravate me midway and never recovered. The plot was nothing special, nothing new, nothing that wasn’t predictable and basically bored me. None of the characters were all that likable, even Lizzy. The wealthy socialite who NEVER shuts up and all but one of her family members and friends were horrible people who the reader gets to spend way too much with. Imagine being stuck in a room with no hope of escape with loud, drunk, shallow, wealthy people who think of no one but themselves and their pleasure. I’d rather have toothpicks jammed under my nails than suffer through that. And their presence makes up much of this story. That’s not my idea of a good time but who knows maybe it’s yours?

 

On the positive side, the narrator has one of those musical and lively voices that’ll keep you going even when you know you should probably quit. Yep, it’s her fault not mine that I did not DNF.

 

This one gets a two because if I’m being honest I just did not like it very much.

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review 2016-09-05 00:00
Every Which Way But Dead
Every Which Way But Dead - Marguerite Gavin,Kim Harrison This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I liked this audiobook but it was bit of a disappointment after absolutely loving the first two books in the series. This was a re-read for me but I actually didn't remember anything about it from my initial read years ago. I am actually pretty sure that this is the book that I stopped on when I started the series the first time. It was a good book but it wasn't anywhere near as entertaining as the first two in the series were for me.

This book started out really strong with Rachel having to deal with Big Al. Things looked pretty bad for her and I had no idea how she was going to outsmart him. She ends up getting a bit of help from his familiar and a werewolf insurance agent. It was a close call for Rachel and while she is trying to recover a secret slips out and Jenks ends up mad...and leaves. I missed Jenks constant presence in this book.

This book really seemed a bit more focused on the character relationships. I can't say that I really liked all of the developments in this installment. Nick can't handle being near Rachel so he leaves town. Rachel starts dating Kisten and while they have chemistry it seemed to happen way too fast. Ivy is having her own struggles with Piscary and staying in control. Jenks needs some time away to cool down. This felt like more of a transitional book that may be laying the framework for future books.

I did enjoy the narration in this audiobook. Marguerite Gavin is really the perfect narrator for this series. She is Rachel in my mind but she also performs all of the different voices very well. I never have any trouble understanding who is speaking and her delivery really keeps my focus on the story.

I would recommend this book to others. This is the third book in the series and I really do think that this series needs to be read in order since everything builds from the earlier books. Readers who try to read this as a stand alone will most likely be quite lost. I am looking forward to starting the next audiobook in this series very soon!

Initial Thoughts
I liked this one but not as much as I did the previous one in the series. It felt like more of a transitional book in some ways.
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