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review 2019-06-16 11:29
A must for researchers and a fascinating book for anybody interested in the topic.
The Sniper Encyclopaedia: An A–Z Guide to World Sniping - John Walter

I thank Rosie Croft from Pen & Sword for providing me a hardback review copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Let me be clear about this: I know next to nothing about weapons in general, and I only know about snipers and their weapons of choice what I’ve picked up in TV series and documentaries, movies, and books. So this is not an expert’s review, rather the opposite.

You’ll probably ask why I was interested in this boo. Partly, because I’ve watched movies and news items about snipers (both modern and historical), and it’s impossible not to recall certain events and think about the people and the weapons behind them. Also, because I’m a writer, and I know how important it is to have reliable sources to research topics we want to write about. I’m also a translator, and after dedicating a fair amount of my time to working on books by other writers, I’ve discovered how complicated it can be to find the right word or term to refer to an object or device you know little about, and how complex it can get to describe an action that might come natural to an expert on the field, but is anything but for somebody totally new to it. Of course, you also have to think that not all readers are going to be experts either. How do you explain something that you don’t understand yourself? After trying to make sure a fight scene in a petrol tanker sounded accurate without having any idea what it looks like inside, I can tell you it’s not easy.

So, beyond my personal curiosity, (and yes, I must confess I’ve always wondered about the kind of training and personality required for somebody to be able to focus on such a task and not think… well, you know what I mean), I thought this sounded like a great resource for researchers and writers, and the reviews from people who knew about the subject reassured me that it wouldn’t disappoint.

And it didn’t. The book is fascinating and, as you can imagine, packed with information. The author explains his methodology, and clearly states that although he has tried to include as much information as possible, the sheer numbers of people and weapons made it necessary to scale down the size of the project. The availability of data was another difficulty. The book refers mostly to USA, UK, German and Russian snipers, and mostly those in the military (Simo Häyhä, a Finnish sniper credited with somewhere between 505 and 542 kills, depending on the sources, and who proved to be a nightmare for the Russians, who called him ‘the White Ghost’, is also included, and his memoir, called The White Sniper, sounds fascinating, I must say) and/or security forces, and Walter explains that in some cases (for example when having to choose weapons and manufacturers), his personal taste has played a part. He has also included more detailed entries about snipers whose biographies have been published, as people can easily access more information. (There have been, and are, many snippers in the armies of other countries, but their details are not available to outside researchers).

The author includes a page on bibliography and sources, dividing it into general studies, genealogical details, weapons and equipment, and tactics and training. Those include online resources and books that will delight people keen on digging deeper into the topic.

The encyclopaedia is, of course, organized in alphabetic order and full of illustrations, mostly photographs, but also drawings with details of sights and weapons. There are also lists of snipers, some about specific conflicts (WWI, for example), or even battles (Leningrad snipers is one of those), but also lists of male and female top snipers (they are both Russians, as it seems the Russian army uses snipers far more than any others). As an outsider it is a bit strange to think of what these numbers actually mean (the top male “scorer” has over 700 “scores”) and reading this book one’s mind boggles at times. I was fascinated, at the same time, by the female snippers, their pictures, and their stories. Among them, one that will stay with me is the story of Nataliya, or Natasha, Kovshova who fought during WWII and died with Mariya Polivanova after being badly injured, by pulling the pin of a grenade and taking some of the enemies with them. They were made Heroes of the Soviet Union posthumously and, although it seems there have been some questions as to what exactly happened, the basic facts are correct.

As I said, there is especial attention given to snipers who have written books about their experiences or have had books written about them, and that makes this encyclopaedia interesting to those trying to explore or find personal accounts on the topic, as it provides biographical information and also information about the content of the book, if available in English. As the back cover summarises, this book includes: 750 standard entries, 100 extended features and ‘top 20’ lists, over 400 biographies and 200 illustrations, and I recommend it to anybody who wants to gain a solid basis in the knowledge about sniping, the people involved and their weapons. Another great book by Pen & Sword.

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review 2019-05-22 21:45
Sniper's Pride by Megan Crane
Sniper's Pride - Megan Crane

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

After being sent to the hospital twice over her shellfish allergy, Mariah is starting to think there is something nefarious going on. She's in the middle of getting a divorce from her emotionally abusive husband who doesn't want the embarrassment of a divorce as he is gearing up to run for office. Her late night YouTube surfing has led her to contact a group of men who call themselves Alaska Force.

Griffin isn't a fan of prissy blonde women after he found his wife and bestfriend were cheating on him. He's days as a Marine sniper have given a particular set of skills but have also made him think he shouldn't be around civilians. When Mariah shows up looking for help, his guard is instantly up.

While Alaska Force tries to determine is Mariah is really in danger, Griffin fights his own battle against falling for the client.

 

They were men without ties. Some without pasts.

 

The Alaska Force is made up of former military men, second in the series Sniper's Pride, focuses on Griffin. I have not read the first in the series but I had no problem jumping in here as the author gives sufficient background on the group and how everyone ties in together. Our heroine Mariah is a new character and has the grace and backbone of a girl who grew-up on the wrong side of the tracks and had to survive the snake pit of high society.

 

Griffin came off a bit harsh with Mariah in the beginning, he was making her pay for the pain his ex-wife cost him, I'm not sure I fully forgave him for his attitude. It was also excessively pushed how he felt he couldn't be around civilians. I read a good amount of romantic suspense, so maybe I'm just worn on this trope but I felt there wasn't enough given of Griffin's personality for me to believe in why he felt this way. Griffin says it over and over, the telling me all the time but not showing which leads me to not feeling.

 

Mariah was the stronger of the two characters, her admitting that she married to escape her family and poverty, to building up enough self-esteem to leave her marriage, and standing up to Griffin. Her character was sweet, strong, and funny. The chemistry between the two wasn't as strong as I would have liked, a lot of my issues was due to how rude Griffin could be to her at times. Their first sex scene felt a bit out of nowhere and their “I love yous” seemed very quick.

 

We get to see a couple of the other members of the Alaska Force, a teased romance between the founder and a grumpy cafe owner, but I would have liked to have seen more scenes between all the guys or Griffin's friendship with them, I think it would have filled out his character more.

 

All in all, this was basic line romantic suspense, Griffin was a bit cardboard cut-out alpha male, the villain was kind of fantastical, and the danger had the heroine needing to be rescued. Tropes that rom suspense readers look for, they just weren't given a fresh feel or much umph behind them.

 

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text 2019-05-14 20:26
Reading Update: 15%
Sniper's Pride - Megan Crane

A Cinderella tale gone wrong, a mysterious group of former military men, and a vegan sandwich 

 

Sniper's Pride by Megan Crane purchase link

Ultimate Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich recipe

 

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review 2019-04-25 05:14
Lots of action and danger, some laughs and heat, plenty to keep one interested.
Sniper (Reed Security #13) - Giulia Lagomarsino

Another story in the Reed Security series with lots of action, some laughs, some heat. Sniper is the beginning of a three-book story, and I cannot wait for the next one to come out. Morgan was determined to find her daughter no matter what. Instead she found Chance. They were instant heat but both had a history of hurt and loss of trust. There were times I wanted to smack Chance upside his head or shake Morgan to see what was going on around her. I look forward to seeing how it all ends.

I received a copy of this story through Enticing Journey Book Promotions, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-12-28 16:45
A Sniper's Devotion (Cuffs, Collars, and Love #4) by Christa Tomlinson Review
A Sniper's Devotion - Christa Tomlinson

Officer Hector Castillo, a sniper on Houston’s elite SWAT team, is content living alone as a perpetual bachelor. But when he opens up his small apartment to a friend in need, their close quarters awaken long suppressed desires Hector can’t help but acknowledge.

Miguel Delgado’s unfortunate detour down a road he never intended to travel ends in a big wake up call, but he vows to get himself back on track. Though he’s always looked up to Hector, Miguel isn’t a kid with hero-worship anymore, and his schoolyard protector has matured into a strong and caring man – who happens to look damn sexy in his SWAT uniform. 

Though their physical attraction to each other is undeniable, Hector and Miguel try hard to resist and protect their friendship. Until one night changes everything… 

A Sniper’s Devotion is a loving and sexy, friends to lovers m/m romance. Hector and Miguel’s story is part of the Cuffs, Collars and Love series, but it is a stand-alone novel. If you love romance that is epic, emotional and erotic, you’ll want to give this series a read!

 

Review

 

I enjoyed this sweet romance between childhood friends all grown up. The fun element is that their families are close and they both have great moms. 

Miguel gets back on his feet pretty quickly after leaving his abusive ex and I would have preferred he get some therapy. Hector is kind and does pretty well admitting to his bisexuality after suppressing it for so long. 

A feel good romance.

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