Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind --by Yuval Noah Harari

Nonfiction / History
464 pages
3 Stars

I will give the writing 4 stars. The sole reason I gave the book 3 stars was his use of end-notes. Footnotes would have been a godsend.

This is a broad history, the fine bloodlines of kings, queens, &c are not here. If that's what you want, please go elsewhere.

The writing is accessible, and often downright fun. This was my bedtime book, and I finally had to get a pen to start marking the good parts that I might want to go back to. I also finally took it to the other room and sat down to finish.

Because I write fiction, often of a historical nature, I marked a lot of things. One of my favorites is: "If a time traveller popped up in a medieval village and asked a passerby, 'What year is this?' the villager would be as bewildered by the question as by the stranger's ridiculous clothing." Nothing was said about the time traveller's or villager's odd, incomprehensible, speech.

A book of this breadth and scope is bound to contain contradictions, but then so is life. I didn't mind them, the ones that I noticed, I thought about, and came to my own conclusions.

If you're a curious person, and if you aren't afraid to have your mind stretched by ideas, perhaps even challenged by some, this may be a book for you. There are times when, admittedly, I rolled an eyeball, but perhaps because I read it before dropping off to sleep, I missed something? I enjoyed the writing, and a lot of the one-liners. I learned a lot of things I'll probably never use, but it was fun stretching the gray matter.

Silence Fallen (A Mercy Thompson Novel) --by Patricia Briggs

(Available March 7, 2017)

Fiction / Urban Fantasy
384 Pages
5 Stars

Legalities first: I received an Advance Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I admit, I began this book with trepidation. It doesn't take place in the Tri-Cities. It takes place in Prague (and a bit in Milan). Oh me of little faith.

It begins in the Tri-Cities, when Mercy is kidnapped, wounded, drugged, and secreted to the Milan castle home of Iocopo Bonarata, the Lord of Night, the Chief Vampire of Vampires. And, of course, Mercy hates vampires.

And, of course, the bonds she has with Adam and the Pack, are sundered, and when, as a coyote, she escapes, she is truly on her own. She makes it to Prague, is seen as a coyote, and as a coyote, working with the Prague Pack, is captured by the evil and rogue Vampire who has taken over the local seethe.

Caged in the basement of the old castle, she manages to awaken many of the ghosts, which she can see, others cannot. As a coyote, she is warm, but in order to talk and communicate as a human, she must change, and freeze. One of her stronger allies is the Golem of Prague—at least for a while.

Adam, of course, is not taking any of this lightly, has traced her to Milan, and then to Prague, and of course, because this is a fantasy, well, all's well that ends well.

But it is different from the regular Mercy books. Some chapters are in Mercy's point of view (POV) and some are in Adam's POV. The timeline is a little off (Ms. Briggs warns us about that) but not enough to cause the reader any problem.

As much as I 'trepped' about having the story take place in Europe, that particular 'dation' did not come about. I loved the story, enjoyed the characters, feel I got to know a couple of the other regulars a bit better, and all in all, had a marvelous romp.

A strong believer in the adage that to be forewarned it to be forearmed, I tell you: It's a one-sit read. If you start it in bed, be prepared to get little, if any, sleep, and to be late for work the next day!

Moonshadow (Moonshadow Book 1) --by Thea Harrison

Fiction / Urban Fantasy
335 pages / 3751 KB
5 Stars

Legalities first: I received an Advance Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I must begin this review with a very serious warning: It is a one-sit read! Do not start unless you know you're going to forego dishes, diapers, and drudgery for a romp on the wild side.

Sophie has problems. Among them, she is an orphan, and can't find out anything about her birth parents. She receives a communication from a woman on the other coast, in New York, and after putting her off, decides to meet, face to face. The woman can give her some information, just not what she wants, but she also tells Sophie, she has inherited a cottage, and an annual stipend, in England. The only catch is (admit it, you knew there would be a catch) she has to send proof she's actually gotten inside the house. Key in hand, Sophie sets out on her adventure.

One of Sophie's problems is that she shuts off electrical motors (fortunately, not jet engines), and just a few miles from her new home, if she can claim it, her car dies. While walking down the road, toward the village near her cottage, she rescues a 'dog' who is filthy, starving, and near choked with a silver collar. Because she is also a magical being, the silver burns her hands, but she removes the collar, shares her water, saves the dog and runs into people who would steal the dog, do her harm, oh, and along the way she runs smack dab into romance.

The dog, obviously, is not a dog, but another magical being, and is wanted by those who would rescue it, and those who would enslave it. The 'cursed' cottage sits on a bit of a time shift, which is why people can't get into it. The fairies she meets are stuck in this realm, because the ways home have been blocked and lost.

There are the now and then f-bombs, some sex, some violence. None of it is gratuitous, all if it fits, but if any of those bother you, you may want to pass. Of course, you'll be missing a fun read, but it's your choice. If you're a fan of Trish Owens, Anne Bishop, or Patricia Briggs, check this book out. I can hardly wait for the next installment.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Tangled Line --by Tod Marshall

Nonfiction / Literary /  Poetry 

63 pages
5 Stars

The three parts of this book flow within their parts, and when taken as a whole, they flow one into the other in seamless beauty. These are poems of fathers, sons, and separation; poems of love, loss, and reunification.

Do I have a favorite poem or two? Most assuredly. Am I going to tell you which I loved the most on the first time through? No. I want you to read these poems, and choose your own, not read one and wonder why I loved it over the others; besides, the next time I read it, I will be in a different space in my life, and the one loved last week, may not be the one loved the next time.

If you wonder why people are chosen to be the poet laureates of their state, reading this book will answer your question! I highly recommend this book if you are a lover of poetry and the way an expert strings words together to evoke beauty, emotion, even life itself.

Roget's Illusion --by Linda Bierds

Nonfiction / Literary / Poetry
112 Pages
5 Stars

This is a book to be read and read again. Read it first for the pure joy and beauty as the words dance upon the page. Read it again and again for the stories the words weave.

Each time you make your world famous dinner, you tweak it just a bit. It is always the same, and yet continually new. Each time you read these poems, the words are always the same, yet each time you will bring something new to the table, and find new and delightful flavors and images to savor and enjoy.

If you love poetry, if you love words, you will love this book.