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review 2018-01-10 01:37
Prophets of Eternal Fjord: A Novel - Kim Leine,Martin Aitken

One of the books that was nominated for the Dublin International Prize and a few years ago had won the Norwegian Council's literary prize, which meant that there were several prerequisites to seek and travel with it to the cold northern seas. The latter I do not say it because of some poetic mood, I say it because the element that won me is the author's ability to travel me to the north, to the icy landscapes of Greenland to make me feel like I'm experiencing this wild environment and seeing the ubiquitous frozen sea.

 The beginning of course is somewhat milder as we move to Copenhagen in the late 18th century. There we meet a strange student of theology who enters the relative school somewhat reluctantly to satisfy his religious father without having a particular religious call since his interests are different. In a rather big introduction of our history, we follow his course from the university to the infamous streets and from its encounters with the modest girls to those with the immodest prostitutes. In other words, we know him well enough and we know even more how he is formed internally in the contrast between the strongly-belligerent Danish society and the many temptations that he has no particular willingness to refute. In the end, if this central hero is likeable or not is a question that the answer is in everyone's judgment, the only sure thing is that it is a complicated character that is in a permanent internal conflict and this is apparent in the decisions which then gets. After a long time a combination of a need for atonement from juvenile sins and an even greater need to do something that is truly worthwhile he is abandoning moral and practical obligations to embark on a trip to Greenland where it will take on the role of the priest, with the task of proselytism of indigenous people. And somewhere there we get to the best part of the book.

 In this second part, there are 10 chapters inspired by the 10 commandments that show us in a very vivid way the life in this wild and inhospitable area through the look of different characters, from the Danes who are in control of the situation to the indigenous and mixed people who, from the position of the second-class citizen, are trying to find their place in this new world that is being created. Through these chapters, life is being unraveling in this colony, with the difficulties imposed by the natural landscape, the racial relations, the legal and illegal passions that the inhabitants resort to, and of course the strict religion that greatly determines life, at least on the surface. Interestingly, it's not a story where the Author denounces the violence of colonialism, racism, and all the other evils that have emerged. Of course there are in it to some extent, but the most basic is the depiction of the complex relationship between colonists and indigenous people, with the former wanting to build a copy of their own society, and the latter to be attracted to this way of life but to want at the same time to adapt it to their own needs, which of course is unacceptable to the Danes. Especially in the subject of religion, which is a major part of this book, the prophets of our story essentially create a different Christianity, milder, more tolerant to the passions of the people, and above all joyful, precisely the opposite of the very strict Nordic Protestantism, so questions are emerging about the true nature of Christianity and its deepest essence. Expectingly these two concepts are confronted with a result that is also creating a division between colonists who do not see the violent repression with good eyes, and the toughest, that ignites many of the hidden passions and creates great tensions.

All this involves our hero, the priest, who disagrees with violence by invoking the Christian values, but at the same time makes some decisions that can certainly not be considered compatible with his religion. The result is to make many enemies and to come into conflict with powerful people, even with the royal power itself, which reveals through its actions all the rationale behind the idea of ​​"civilizing" the natives of Greenland, showing us how the Europeans generally perceived all those people who wanted to subdue with the excuse of their cultural improvement and the salvation of their soul. Even here, however, the author refuses to give a disgraceful tone and, in general, throughout the book he does not attempt to show that there was a kind of paradise of indigenous people that the Europeans destroyed him. Of course there is a record of this fact, but the native culture does not appear as angelic as we see its ugly side, but there is no accusation for it as it is emphasized that the very difficult survival in these climatic conditions implies more cruelty. Throughout this, our priest knows the natives better and revisits many of his perceptions.

 All this in a book that does not immediately win the reader, which is difficult and heavy and certainly not pleasant. A book, that is like the wild and difficult environment that dominates most of it, creating a sense of emptiness that brings a weight to the soul and causes a lasting existential anxiety. As you progress, however, all of these elements are ultimately making the book more and more appealing, and in the end you find that it has caused so many thoughts that can make you write a very long review. There are, of course, weaknesses, the epilogue is not the best, some parts seemed a bit big, some a little tedious without offering anything more in our story, and there are several ambiguities. This has made me sometimes not to enjoy reading but after the end of reading, seeing the whole picture I understand that the time I spent in this book was not lost.

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text 2017-12-30 00:43
My Top 10 Reads of 2017!
Theophilus: A Tale of Ancient Rome - Lewis Ben Smith
Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome - Crystal King
Regarding Tiberius: An Epic Tragedy of Mass Murder, Sworn Vengeance, Forbidden Love, Greek Ambition, Persian Honor, & Roman Might in the Ancient Near East - Helena Mithridates Kleopatra,Bartholomew Boge,Raelenne Boge,Rosani Akhtar-Moore
Infinite - Jeremy Robinson
Bread of Angels - Tessa Afshar
Eternal Darkness - Tom Deady,Pete Kahle,Richard Chizmar
The Last Child - John Hart
Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) - Connilyn Cossette
Puzzle Master - J.T. McKenna
Mysterious Kemet - Book I: Intrigue and Drama in Ancient Egypt - S.R. Anand

These are my top 10 reads of the year and as always, most of them are historical fiction, but I loved them all and would recommend them to anyone!


Theophilus by Lewis Ben Smith is the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts is addressed to in the Bible and not much is known about him. The author, however, did a magnificent job in taking this character and building this story around him that coincides with the biblical narrative.


A Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King: This book mainly centers on the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius whose recipes were written down, but according to the author's notes, no cookbook survived but some of his recipes did survive in the writings of other historical figures. Apicius was a very wealthy Roman citizen whose passion for cooking and good food sees him spend a great deal of money to buy a slave named Thrasius to be his cook. His dream is to be the gastronomic advisor to Caesar himself. 


Regarding Tiberius by Helena Mithrtdates Kleopatra is the novelization of a series of ancient scrolls recently discovered in the ruins of famed Roman commander Scipio Africanus' seaside villa (near Naples, Italy). Written in the First Century by a young woman of Persian and Ethiopian ancestry, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, they comprise an account of how her life and destiny were forever altered by her chance meeting with Tiberius, the son of a prominent Roman senator.


Infinte by Jeremy Robinson- Earth is no longer habitable and a crew of 50 scientists and engineers aboard a spacecraft head to a new planet that will hopefully be hospitable. After ten years in a failed cryogenic bed--body asleep, mind awake--William Chanokh's torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him...by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart.

This is one of my favorite authors, and this book was awesome!


Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- quickly becoming a favorite author. This one takes the character of Lydia from the Book of Acts in the Bible and tells her story while staying true to the biblical account.


Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady- I just discovered this author this year when I read his book, Haven. I enjoyed it so much that I got this one, which is a coming of age story about vampires, and enjoyed it even more. He will also be writing a sequel to it. Lots of fun.


The Last Child by Jon Hart- I loved this coming of age, mystery!
Don't get me wrong though...this book is dark, but the characterization is excellent, especially of the main character, Johnny. This kid carries a heavy burden, with his twin sister having disappeared a year before, his father leaving, and his mother- who is a ghost of her former self. A sequel is supposed to be out next year, and I am looking forward to it!


Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette - Set during the time of the Great Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and follows a slave girl, Kiya, who escapes the bonds of slavery and joins the Hebrews as they flee.

The whole 3 book series was excellent!


Puzzle Master by T.J. McKenna: It' s the year 2022 and all religion has been banned and every sort of vice is condoned. Enter a history professor, Cephas, who not only loves puzzles, but is known as the Cult Hunter...famous for breaking the codes that leads the government to track down "hidden Christians". Now in order to stop them once and for all, Cephas is given the chance to go back in time to prove, once and for all, that Jesus was not the Messiah and did not come back from the dead.


Mysterious Kemet by S.R. Anand- is a collection of 5 novelettes set during the times of Imhotep, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Intef the Third, and Ankhtifi. Tempered in the fire of greed, revenge, lust, and ambition, this collection tells the following five riveting tales from Ancient Egypt.

I think this is the first time I had a collection as one of my top 10, but I really enjoyed this one!


My honorable mention is one that I have read before, and re-read this year, but I can't say enough about this series. The Voice in the Wind series by Francine Rivers will always be in the top 10 books of all time for me. I always come away a changed person from reading it. It is Christian fiction and many people would find it "preachy", but it comes with my highest recommendation!




So that's it! Hope everyone has a fantastic New Year full of new discoveries in books and authors!

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review 2017-10-19 17:31
Eternal (Carolina Beach) by Cecy Robson
Eternal: A Carolina Beach Novel - Cecy Robson


Romance resonates with people, because the key element is love. Love is a universal language, we all speak but sometimes forget to feel. Eternal is a conversation of the soul. The feelings are deep. Emotions are clear and the characters are as identifiable to you and me as the soothing sound of the breeze through the trees. There is no need for more than the beauty of the words, the bountiful feelings and the irresistible characters to make for an unforgettably timeless work of heart. Ms. Robson raises the bar and the sets the standard with Eternal.

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review 2017-10-09 04:05
Scribbles in the Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books
Scribbles in the Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books - Daniel Gray

As the author states at the beginning the book's purpose is to give the reader reasons to be joyful, or at least smile.  As such, this is a book of 50 short essays about the different joys of books: owning them, reading them, giving them, shelving them.  Defacing Writing in them.


The writing is a bit flowery - think G.K. Chesterton lite - but still (or because of, depending on your feelings about Chesterton's style) a joy to read.  My personal favourite was "Sneaking new books past loved ones" as I found that one a tiny bit more relevant than the others.  ;-)

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review 2017-10-08 14:45
Hunted: An Eternal Guardians Novella - Elisabeth Naughton

If I ever doubted that I need to read this series, now I don't.

I loved that this book explores the ruthless side of the ancient gods, something that I've missed reading about, to be honest. I liked the fact that Zeus is portrayed as a bad guy, and I'm super excited to see how that will play out in future stories.

Erebus is pretty much a mystery for the entire story. I didn't feel like we get to know him well enough, but that is appropriate, since he doesn't know himself all that much. He doesn't remember his past, he doesn't know much beyond being a slave to the gods, and that makes him hard to understand to be honest. I would have wanted to see that side explored a bit more, but since this is a novella I kind of get why his story remains a mystery. All I know is that he is pretty sexy.

Sera is a good heroine. I spent a lot of time wondering about her, but once the full story was revealed, I understood why she ran away, why she stole something precious to Zeus, and why she tried everything in her power to keep the god from getting the object back. I truly felt sorry for her, especially once her past was revealed. I also couldn't help but admire how stubborn she was, even though it made no sense at the time.

I got to the end of this book and, I'll be honest, I was a bit miffed that it ended as fast as it did. I wanted to read more, which I'll definitely do, because all this mystery surrounding the war between Zeus and everybody else is making me curious. Also, I love how Sirens are portrayed in these books, like they're the ultimate army that Zeus has. Or does he?

The book is pretty sexy, and Erebus and Sera have a ton of chemistry *fans self*. I also like how they eventually allow themselves to be vulnerable around each other. I'm only sorry we didn't get to see more than a glimpse into their past as trainer and trainee. I bet that was fun. The book is really fast paced and I finished it pretty quickly. The ending was surprising, especially by how simple it all turned out to be, which I loved.

As I said before, I'll definitely be reading the entire series in the future, because I'm truly curious to see how it all started and also what it all means.

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