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review 2018-09-23 18:39
The best explanation of the hows and whys of the air war in North Vietnam
Clashes: Air Combat Over North Vietnam, 1965-1972 - Marshall L. Michel III

During the eight years of its engagement in the Vietnam War, the airpower of the United States was involved in a bifurcated conflict. In the south American warplanes enjoyed an uncontested dominance of the skies, which they used to deploy American resources and surveil and attack the enemy. Air Force and Navy planes entering North Vietnam airspace, however, found themselves in a much different situation, as they faced an air defense network that grew increasingly sophisticated as the war went on. In his book Marshall Michel analyzes the air war fought over the skies of North Vietnam, detailing its twists and turns as both sides sought an advantage in a key front in the conflict.

 

As Michel notes, given the tactics and technology employed, the air war in North Vietnam "was the one area of the Vietnam War that has military significance in the global balance of power." There both sides deployed planes and weapons designed for a potential war in Europe between the Soviet Union and NATO. For the United States Air Force, this meant using F-105 fighter-bombers designed to strike their enemies quickly, relying upon speed for protection. Armed with heart-seeking and radar-guided missiles, they were designed without cannons in the belief that, in the new age of missiles, dogfighting was obsolete. This was soon proved mistaken, as the smaller and more agile MiG-17s posed a challenge for which the F-105s were poorly equipped. Armed with cannons as well as missiles the Navy's F-8s proved much more capable of meeting the threat, though their pilots were also frustrated by technical problems with the missiles and rules requiring visual confirmation before attacking, which often inhibited the ability to launch their weapons.

 

As the war went on, all sides adapted in response to what they learned. For the North Vietnamese, this involved developing an elaborate ground control interception (GCI) system that employed both North Vietnamese fighters and growing numbers of anti-air cannons and missiles. While both the Air Force and the Navy sought improved weapons and supporting technology, the Air Force's exclusive reliance on technical fixes contrasted with the Navy, which in 1968 established the Topgun School in an effort to improve dogfighting abilities. New aircraft were also introduced — the F-4 for the U.S., the MiG-21 for the North Vietnamese — which also represented an escalation in ability prior to the termination of the North Vietnamese bombing campaign by President Lyndon Johnson in March 1968.

 

When Johnson's successor Richard Nixon resumed the bombing in North Vietnam in 1972, the new lessons were employed in full. The Air Force found themselves launching ever-larger missions to bomb tough North Vietnamese targets, while North Vietnamese pilots adopted new tactics to contest control of the air. By now the superiority of the Navy's approach was becoming more indisputable, reflected as it was in the superior kill ratios of North Vietnamese places to their Air Force counterparts. As a result, once the war ended in 1973 the Air Force moved to establish their own Weapons School to teach the hard-won lessons of the now-concluded conflict and employ them to secure American air superiority in future wars.

 

As a former F-4 pilot who flew in Vietnam, Michel brings a firsthand familiarity to his subject. This he uses to interpret the mass of staff reports, expert assessments, and personal narratives that he draws upon to detail the various airborne engagements that defined the war. This he does dispassionately, favoring analysis over dramatic narrative, yet his book engages the reader with its clearheaded insights and perceptive conclusions. While it suffers from the lopsided nature of his coverage favoring the Americans (understandable, given the relative inaccessibility of North Vietnamese records), this is nonetheless the best history of its subject, one that explains the hows and whys of the air war in North Vietnam better than every other book out there.

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review 2018-09-19 14:43
Safe From Harm by Kate SeRine
Safe from Harm - Kate SeRine

One year after the murder of his best friend, yet another person Gabe Dawson loves is in danger. He barely manages to save Elle McCoy's life and almost dies himself. It looks like the father of his friend's murderer, an anti-government fanatic, is behind the attempted assassination and Gabe knows this is just the beginning...


Another great read in this series.

The cast of characters was once again wonderfully portrayed, especially the Dawson family dynamics and the tight bonds that bind the five men together.

And the romance worked much better in this one as well (no formulaic, pace-stalling sex scenes for Gabe and Elle). I loved the UST-filled bickering at the beginning and though, IMHO, the "conflict" went on a page or two too long, the two resolved their mutual issues rather quickly and satisfyingly.
Gabe and Elle worked very well together in my view. They were strong-willed individuals and they brought that grit into their relationship as well. And I was very happy that Elle was the one who truly brought the real Gabe out in the open. Theirs was a very cute and hot romance.

The suspense angle was different from the one in the previous book. First, there was the major difference in the topic (religious anti-government fanatics instead of human traffickers) and the identity of the villain(s) was known from the start, leaving the characters to grapple with just how to make something stick.
I'm rather miffed the final showdown seemed very déjà-vu-ish. I felt like I read those particular scenes with those particular characters (maybe even with rather similar names) somewhere else.

Still, overall it worked and now I really hope to be able to read the eldest Dawson brother, Tom's story someday (the quirky doctor sounds rather good as a heroine, especially after learning just what was going on in the final days of Tom's marriage). And let's not forget Mac, the patriarch, deserves a second chance at a happy ending as well.

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review 2018-09-18 15:50
different,very different but brilliant!
Five Minutes Longer - Victoria Sue
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted the AUDIO file of this book. Some 30 years ago, children began waking up with a mark on their faces and enhanced abilities: speed, strength, mental abilities. Talon, now given the job of setting up a human/enhanced task force within the FBI, was one of the first. He doesn't want to work with normals on his team, but this task force is his, and the other enhanced team members, last chance at becoming a useful member of society, not just a mark on his face. Finn wanted to join the FBI forever, and worked hard to get to apply, but he is not accepted. Instead he gets a cryptic phone and flies to Florida, and finds himself face to face with several huge enhanced, one of whom makes Finn want that boyfriend he never had. They have four weeks to make this team work, do or, quite possibly, die. Oooooo-eeeee! Loved this! Different, very different and different is always good in my book! The guys on the team really don't want Finn around, but know they gotta put up with him, at least for a little bit, but he grows on them, Talon especially but Talon fights that attraction all the bloody way, and when he finally gives up the fight?? Oh yes ma'am, that boy falls hard and he falls FAST! And when Finn gets caught in the cross fire at a bank robbery?? Talon goes all MAJOR Alpha-Male- Protect-What's-Mine! I loved that not everything is fully revealed about the guys abilities, I think there is quite a bit more to come! Nick J Russo narrates and he does a sterling job! He's a firm favourite of mine, and each and every time I listen to his work, it becomes my NEW favourite! Russo's voices are clear and distinctive, even in multi person conversations. He reading voice is deep and even and I had no trouble, not at all, keeping up. He gets cross all of Finn's emotions and his reactions to the guys, to Talon. His intense dislike of his brother and how his mum was with his dad. Russo gets across all of Talon's fighting, and that boy fights hard, his feelings for Finn, and you get just how much Finn means to him, when he thinks Finn is lost. This is book one, there appears to be an underlying story arc running through these books, and I look forward to watching that unfold, and to watching these guys fall, like dominoes, one by one. Off to listen to book 2, which is a continuation of Finn and Talon's story. 5 stars for the book 5 stars for the narration 5 stars overall **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-09-18 14:08
not an easy read, but a brilliant one!
Savior (415 Ink #2) - Rhys Ford
This is book two in the 415 Ink series, and while not totally necessary, I would recommend that you read book one, Rebel first. Not least because I said so, but it will give you a little bit more understanding of these men and how their family works. When Mace's past comes back into his life, will he let his demons beat him? Or will he finally start to believe that Rob, that HE is worth it? Okay. So! After reading Rebel, I knew Ms Ford was gonna wreck me, but silly me started this book in my lunch break at work and I was woefully unprepared with what Ford was throwing at me! These five men, brothers in all ways but blood, have a strong tight bond but Mace thinks they will disown him when they find out what his father made him do as a child. And those things that he did? No one should have to do those things to survive, let alone a ten year old child. Rob is convinced that Mace hates him, when quite the opposite is true and when they give into the obvious chemistry that has been simmering away?? It boils over in spectacular fashion! Rob has family issues, and I never quite got to grips with what they were but it didn't spoil my reading experience.
 
But Mace? He really did break my heart! This big strong fireman, who needs noise and needs to leave a nightlight on, broke my freaking heart in the way only Ford can do!
 
She is, quite simply, a Master at her craft, and I never know what she is going to throw at me. No matter which way you see a story going, it doesn't. It goes off on it's own sweet way, and you just keep page turning and page turning until, well, until you run out of book and you are left with a little paragraph that throws you into the next book! All these guys have history, there are little snippets and hints thrown in here that makes your brain think about Bear, about Ivo an about Luke. Luke I'm finding the most tight lipped of them all and it's HIS story I want to read next, but Ivo is up first, I think. Bear and Ivo have a tale to tell and I just wonder what Ford is going to throw at us for the remaining three brothers. I just want to read them all, but no matter what you THINK will come out, you know, you jut KNOW that Ford will blow that all out of the window and I will be left a blubbering mess in my lunch break and I will have to face customers with red eyes! And I WILL, and I won't care. Because I simply CANNOT fault this book! 5 stunning and emotional stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-09-18 13:43
a good book, just not one for me!
Inspired by Murder - Audrey J. Cole
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my coy of this book. Jumping straight in here, cos this may not make sense but I'll do my best! Ordinarily, I LOVE getting into the minds of the bad guys. LOVE it, because it happens so rarely. I love being able to follow their twisted convoluted thinking (sometimes, anyway!) and actually being able to follow just WHY they do their thing. Ordinarily. But here? Not so much. I don't know if it is the subject matter, or just the way the author tells her tales (first one I've read of this author) or maybe just Eric himself. I dunno. I just didn't (and this is going to sound like I need some serious help!) connect very well with Eric! He is an aspiring author, but needs the perfect crime. So, why not commit one to get it right?? So he does! He has it all planned out, and carries it off, and then the police start asking questions about his secretary? He is a little thrown off but pulls himself together enough to get justice for her, even if it isn't correct. Stephenson, the detective in charge of solving the murders of a New York Times best selling romance author and his wife, knows Eric did it, he just has to give him enough rope. But Eric has some tricks up his sleeve, and some secrets in his closet that throw the whole thing wide open, world wide open! And I DID like that! The man was three steps ahead of Stephenson every step of the way, and Cole pulls a blinder of a plot twist I did not see coming! I did like the way the story unfolds, the way Eric unravels (sorta) I just don't think THIS particular book did very much for me. So 3 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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