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text 2018-07-19 16:44
The Bloodforged / Erin Lindsey
The Bloodforged: A Bloodbound Novel - Erin Lindsey

As war between Alden and Oridia intensifies, King Erik must defend his kingdom from treachery and enemies on all sides—but the greatest danger lurks closer to home…

When the war began, Lady Alix Black played a minor role, scouting at the edge of the king’s retinue in relative anonymity. Though she’s once again facing an attacking Oridian force determined to destroy all she holds dear, she is now bodyguard to the king and wife to the prince.

Still, she is unprepared for what the revival of the war will mean. Erik is willing to take drastic measures to defend his domain, even if it means sending Prince Liam into a deadly web of intrigue and traveling into the perilous wild lands of Harram himself.

Only the biggest threat to the kingdom might be one that neither Alix nor Erik could have imagined, or prepared for…

 

I know for a fact that I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had read the books in order. Unfortunately, I goofed—I read book 3 before this one and so I already had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. I’m usually a stickler for reading series in order and this experience just reinforces that habit!

I enjoyed this series and I liked the fantasy world that Ms. Lindsey created. Her system of blood magic, in particular, was novel (at least to me) and I thought it was effectively used. I enjoyed having a strong female lead character too. I just wish there had been a little less agonizing over decisions. Lady Alix, her husband Liam, and King Erik all seem to overthink and overanalyze everything and it get tedious after a while. Especially when they are leaders in all other ways.

I suspect that this is Lindsey’s way of letting you know that these characters are “good people.” It seems that good people are unsure and question themselves continuously, while the villains never question their actions or motivations.

I’m glad that I circled back and read book 2 despite that. Now I know the rest of the story, only alluded to in Book 3.

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review 2018-07-19 09:18
The Change Chronicles- Paula Friedman

      This book is dripping with realism, with historic realities, stuffed full of the issues of the then still young baby-boomer generation. We are immersed, near drowning, in the real issues of a student body that feared the bomb: but feared man’s inhumanity to man far more. We are with the issues of the post-war generation that had to make stark individual choices between defying the generally respected government apparatus of their parents and grandparents, by radically opposing neo-colonial war, or joining the ranks of those that might have to kill as soldiers, or certainly by proxy, those fighting for their homes and their innocent children in distant lands.

      As the body-bags and damaged young men, returned from the war in ever greater numbers a social divide split Berkeley, this read’s setting, then West-Coast America, and eventually the ‘free world’. Additionally, the boomer generation were deep in the already progressing struggle against racism and, as the ‘60s progressed, the drive towards sexual equality was gaining a long-dormant momentum. A tsunami of social consciousness grew out of the student Free Speech Movement, the roots of the 60s Counterculture, and swelled out so far and so deep that even today we feel its dissipated pull. Culture has seen fundamental change, despite recent pressures to reset the clocks of history from many right of centre and ‘religious’ groups.

      Nora is at the centre of the social struggle, a child of the ‘50s, a daughter of parent’s born in the ‘20s and ‘30s. The older generation that had suffered the deprivations and often the full horrors of world war and who now struggled to understand the anti-establishmentarianism of so many of their kids. In 1966, the parental generation was as psychologically distant from the lives of their children as any times have seen. But quite naturally, establishment structure and deeply ingrained cultural expectations, hung heavy shadows over even the most progressive. No generation can reject all the expectations of their upbringing. Nora, like those around her, was struggling with her personal place in the world as much as with grand designs. This is so vividly drawn in this story as the young unmarried mother feels little choice but to give up her new-born child. This is a chronicle of change for one women in a social fabric that was constantly melting and reforming around her.

      Friedman’s brilliant writing lets us see how the new sexual permissiveness of late ‘60s youth is overshadowed by old moralities. For example, we see how many men were all-too-ready to enjoy new sexual freedoms but without accepting the fullness of accrued responsibility. We see the young women, who are equally driven by new social permissiveness, but are so often left abandoned to face single parenthood, still then illegal abortion, or cruel adoption. The pill, though a birth control reality from 1960 onwards, was still years away from available to all but a few women; or in many territories and especially among their many religious and cultural groups, any women whatsoever. The 1960s were more about changed expectations than the progress that decade unleashed, just as previous history had paved the groundwork for racial equality, and the ‘70s would soon for the rainbow of sexuality.

      Friedman draws us through every significant thought and fear, not just of the principle character, Nora, but her whole generation of educated, informed, and variably enlightened young activists. She represents a post-war generation that was desperate to change society, rather than just their own fortunes. As always, change brought mixed and shifting actions and conflicting opinions even between those that held aloft the very same flags. This is a book that in an equal universe should find a place as the ‘lighter’ but equally socially enlightening read, complementing iconic works from Weinberg, Ginsberg and so many well-recognised others. This book should be on the shelves, available to all those that seek insight into the social tapestry behind songs of Dylan, Baez and Lennon and so many more. This book is so much part of the essential history of those in my wide generation that fought with the banner, the guitar and the pen, and with the desperate but sadly naive conviction that the world could be made better for all, not just those blessed by God to have the most money and the most destructive guns. Of course, as in all generations the baby-boomers fill all areas of the political spectrum, though for a time there was promise of us really being something different; a truly progressive generation. So incidentally, it’s feels so sadly poignant that our now senior, empowered generation, is making such a mess of its responsibilities to humanity and this planet. But despite abject failings those that marched can at least find some relief in the social earthquake that is still shaking out new and profound chronicles of hopefully sustainable change, across so much of the Earth. Despite everything, the wind of change that blew from Berkeley in the ‘60s has left an indelible footprint on social history, and Friedman’s book gives us a glimpse into the countercultural foundations of our changing social fabric. I feel so fortified when reading Friedman’s deeply woven commentary on the early determined stands of so many of our post-war generation. This goes some small way towards alleviating the sense of shame brought on so many of us by the actions of the aging boomer leadership, which conspires to reverse so very much of what Friedman and her contemporaries achieved. Sad though many aspects of this book are the overall feel is one of positivity, a banner flown for the progressive spirit.

      This is quality writing that lets one breath in the winds of change that may have lost its acute direction, but whose influence is felt in so many aspects of the world today, including currently in hashtag metoo, in the wider struggles for social justice, human rights and for our basic freedom of speech. We have hopefully passed onto our children enough social conscience to bring down the new savage capitalism and currently growing fascist tendencies. This is a book about some of the ordinary voices in an extraordinary movement, in the chronicles of change. This read is an intimate look behind the placards and politics of a generation that once dared to march, not for themselves, but for a better world.

AMAZON LINK

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review 2018-07-19 05:40
The Lion and the Lamb - Charles Causey
 

THE LION AND THE LAMB

Charles Causey

paperback, 288 pages

Published November 17th 2016 by WestBow Press

ISBN: 1512761095 (ISBN13: 9781512761092)

also available in Hardcover and Kindle

 

 

 

I had read Corrie Ten Boom's a while ago, so seeing her story side by side one of Hitler's top aides, was an interesting choice. Causey writes this as a novel, but his research on the historical detail is amazing. He alternates chapters between Ten Boom and Albert Speer. Both deal with betrayal, both starting off as innocent or naive. Who is the lamb? Who is the lion? Something for each reader to discern on their own. It took me a while to read this novel. Not because I didn't like it. I did like it. The subject matter, and seeing part of WWll Germany from Speer's side, was difficult at times.

****This book was received from the author, Charles Causey, through a Goodreads giveaway. ****

 

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text 2018-07-19 01:33
Reading progress update: I've read 151 out of 288 pages.
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

I've been stalling on finishing this one; sad times ahead - but it's going to get as read as I'm willing to read by the end of today.

 

Anyone else still reading this?  How are you going?  Have you hugged your cat today?

 

You want your book?  Well, I want some PETS!!!

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review 2018-07-18 22:24
Book Review of Splinter (Book Three of the Sentinel Trilogy) by Joshua Winning
Splinter - Joshua Winning

'All who stand against us shall perish'

 

The critically acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion in this final instalment of the dark fantasy series.

 

The world is falling apart around Nicholas Hallow. Amid rumours that the Dark Prophets have returned, a deathly gloom pollutes England, unleashing a savage hoard of nightmare creatures. Fighting the tide of evil, Nicholas returns home to Cambridge, where an old ally helps him seek out the mysterious Skurkwife, who could help Nicholas stop Malika and the Prophets for good.

 

Meanwhile, Sam Wilkins unites the Sentinels against the forces of darkness, but with Jessica's sanity slipping, and Isabel suspicious of her shadowy past, it's a battle that could cost the Sentinels everything.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and final book in the Sentinel Trilogy. I loved it!

 

Nicholas Hallow is a fantastic character. I liked him very much when I first met him in Sentinel, the first book of the trilogy. He has dealt with tragedy and faced danger which has destroyed his world with more bravery than even I would have in the same situation. I love how he's grown emotionally throughout the trilogy. He's been forged in fire and gained maturity through adversity. He has been chosen by the Trinity to help protect the Sentinels, but as danger threatens, he finds himself making some difficult decisions.

 

The story continues from the end of the second book and sees Nicholas dealing with his world being torn apart by the malevolent Malika. As he tries to pick up the pieces, his life receives several more blows. There are secrets revealed, and the nightmare surrounding the impending return of the Dark Prophets grows. Nicholas will have to dig deep to resurrect the Trinity. However, the sacrifices may be too difficult.

 

This story has been eagerly awaited by myself for some considerable time; it's been three long years, but it was worth it. Due to the length of time between the release of books, I decided to read the first two books before tackling this one. I'm glad I did that because it reminded me of things I'd forgotten. I found myself hooked from the first page, and I loved meeting the characters once more; Dawn, Sam, Rae, Merlyn, Jessica and Isabel. I even missed Malika, as she's a character I loved to hate.

 

This book is told from Nicholas's point of view and is just as fast-paced and exciting as the other two. There are several twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming, but they just added to an utterly enthralling read! I found myself on an emotional roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I had to wipe a few tears during this book, so keep hankies or a tissue handy, just in case. Speaking of the end, I love how all the loose ends from the previous books were tied up. I will not say more on that due to spoilers. But, I will say that I will miss these characters. A lot. However, I can now visit them whenever I get the urge.

 

Joshua Winning has written a fantastic end to his debut series. I love his fast-paced writing style, and the story flowed beautifully. This author is one to watch. He is one of only a handful of male authors that I have added to my favourite author's list, and I can't wait to see what he will come up with in the future.

 

As this book is a Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend this book (and series) to young readers aged 12+ and to adults who love YA stories filled with witches, demons, supernatural beings, danger and adventure! - Lynn Worton

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