Several of my siblings LOVE Brandon Sanderson (yes, love in all caps). Several people in my writer's group too. So last time I was visiting my familySeveral of my siblings LOVE Brandon Sanderson (yes, love in all caps). Several people in my writer's group too. So last time I was visiting my family and the siblings found out I still hadn't read any Brandon Sanderson, my sister took my computer, bookmarked this story on the publisher's website (http://www.tor.com/stories/2008/12/fi...), and told me to read it.
It's a short story, and I often have a hard time getting into short stories. I'm also not a big sci-fi reader, but this was enjoyable. I liked the main character, Dennison, and his growth throughout the story. I also liked Sanderson's writing and the way the story ended, so yes, I will probably be picking up some of his novels soon. (And my siblings will rejoice.)...more
I have a huge admiration for the Poles and the sacrifices they made during WWII, and a huge amount of sympathy for all the horrible things that happenI have a huge admiration for the Poles and the sacrifices they made during WWII, and a huge amount of sympathy for all the horrible things that happened to them during the war and the forty (plus) years of Communist rule they endured after such a heroic struggle. This book added significantly to my knowledge of their efforts and it’s a good place to start for someone interested in learning more about Poland during WWII. I felt most of the chapters covered topics that would make for interesting reading if expanded into book. No Greater Ally was kind of the CliffsNotes version.
The book was written with a lot of emotion and passion for the subject . . . and a few examples and statistics that felt skewed. One that sticks out was (view spoiler)[comparing the number of hours Polish pilots had (total hours) to the number of hours in fighters British pilots had (just hours in fighters). Of course total hours would be higher, so the statistics didn’t tell me anything, but felt manipulative. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I felt the author looked for sources that supported his view, instead of trying to write an unbiased account.
I’d rate this book 3 or maybe 3.5 stars. It wasn’t bad, and I don’t mind a little flag-waving, but I felt Polish valor would have shone more brightly in a more objective account. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was a fun series. It’s kind of like an Indian Jones adventure, but without Harrison Ford, and set in the 1860s. Isabelle Webb and her friends seaThis was a fun series. It’s kind of like an Indian Jones adventure, but without Harrison Ford, and set in the 1860s. Isabelle Webb and her friends search for three mystic jewels, determined to keep them out of the wrong hands. Their quest leads them to India, Egypt, and then, in this book, to Greece.
I’d recommend starting with the first book in the series. I’d also recommend against the audio book if you’re going to be on a road trip and your children are going to be interrupting you every 30 seconds to tell you what’s happening in their cartoon. The third book has a lot of characters, so you kind of have pay attention.
I think the second book was my favorite of the three (it was also the first one I read). Anyway, if it sounds like your type of fiction, the whole series will probably be worth your time....more
This book is organized into seventeen chapters, each one telling the story of a British SOE or SAS hero whose WWII adventures included work in Italy.This book is organized into seventeen chapters, each one telling the story of a British SOE or SAS hero whose WWII adventures included work in Italy. Most chapters contain maps, photographs, and citations for the awards the men received. Most of the men were involved in organizing Italian partisans during the last year of the war, many of them had escaped from POW camps, and for most of them, Italy was but one (or two) mission(s) in a very full military career.
A book like this certainly has its place, but I would have preferred more information about each of the men. The book is full of sentences like this: (view spoiler)[After an adventurous few days during which Macpherson killed a large Dobermann guard dog with his commando knife and stole bread loaves from inside a tent full of Germans, they were captured by a patrol of twenty Italian cyclists but not before wrecking an enemy telephone exchange for the fun of it.(hide spoiler)] which left me wanting details. (view spoiler)[How exactly did he steal the bread? Was he mistreated when he was captured? How big was the telephone exchange? (hide spoiler)]
The men were all brave and most of their stories could have been turned into wonderful full-length books. Instead, each chapter read like a wikipedia article or a detailed obituary. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book did an impressive job of covering the air war in Europe, focusing on the US Eighth Air Force, based in England. The parts I most enjoyed werThis book did an impressive job of covering the air war in Europe, focusing on the US Eighth Air Force, based in England. The parts I most enjoyed were the experiences of the bomber crews, but he also covered strategic air theory going into the war, the debates and decisions of those higher up, American/British relationships, and the view from the German side.
Miller showed the ugly side of war—the results of fire-bombing, the intense mental strain the men were under, mistreatment of POWs and internees, and the huge cost of the air campaign. The statistic that most stood out to me was that the Eighth Air Force endured more fatalities than the entire US Marine Corp during the war. Miller also devoted time to questions of precision-bombing (well, trying to be precise) vs carpet bombing and the morality of bombing non-combatants.
Along with the ugly side of war and the hard questions, he also showed amazing examples of cooperation between crew-members, endurance during difficult circumstances, and tremendous bravery as the men still flying got into their planes again and again and again.
One of the questions raised is “was it worth it?” Early Air Corp leaders thought they could bomb Germany into submission, without an invasion. That theory was proved wrong, but I think it is fairly clear that the air war contributed significantly to the war’s end. It inhibited Germany’s ability to wage war, diverted German manpower and resources that would have otherwise been used elsewhere, and it’s doubtful D-day could have been pulled off if the Allies hadn’t achieved air superiority by June 1944.
Miller bounced around a bit—chronologically and up and down the command chain. For the most part, he did a good job with this, but there were a few times when I thought it was a little jarring. But even with that, this was the most comprehensive WWII ETO air war book I’ve ever read (not that I’ve read a ton on the subject, but this wasn’t my first air war book). If it’s a subject you’re interested in, this book is well worth picking up....more
This is a screenwriting book, and I don't write screenplays, I write novels, but I had several writer friends recommend it. Actually, they over-recommThis is a screenwriting book, and I don't write screenplays, I write novels, but I had several writer friends recommend it. Actually, they over-recommended it. I was expecting the greatest book on writing ever. And it’s good, and I’ll probably read parts of it again, and I’d recommend it to others who like to write screenplays or novels, but it’s not the only good writing book out there....more
This was an informative book about an unpleasant subject. Some parts were more interesting than others, but I definitely learned a few new things. It’This was an informative book about an unpleasant subject. Some parts were more interesting than others, but I definitely learned a few new things. It’s a good place to go if you’re interested in some of the main villains of WWII but don’t want to read separate biographies on each of them. It also covered organizational issues, Nazi rivalries, and of course their crimes.
I was struck with how quickly the Nazis were able to take over. I’ve read other histories of Nazi Germany (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, for example), but this book really hit home how fast and how completely Hitler, Himmler, Goering, and their associates turned Germany into a police state. It’s frightening.
The book was written by a Frenchman, and so it discusses the Gestapo and the SS in France more than it covers Holland or Belgium or Czechoslovakia. It had decent coverage of Poland and the Soviet Union.
Probably 3.5 stars. The writing (a translation from French) was competent if not elegant. There were a few typos in the electronic version, but they weren’t too distracting. The kindle version is only $1.99....more
This was a sweet Christmas book (and this is coming from a reader who usually doesn't like Christmas books all that much). It had a good message, I diThis was a sweet Christmas book (and this is coming from a reader who usually doesn't like Christmas books all that much). It had a good message, I didn't feel like the tear-jerker scenes were manipulative, and I liked Zach's change from a troubled, obnoxious teenager to a caring older brother....more
So there I am, in the middle of my Whitney reading, thinking maybe general fiction isn’t my thing, and then, three pages in, there's a dead body.
DeadSo there I am, in the middle of my Whitney reading, thinking maybe general fiction isn’t my thing, and then, three pages in, there's a dead body.
Dead bodies, in my opinion, always add interest to a novel.
A Night on Moon Hill isn’t a mystery (though it has some elements of mystery). The body is quickly discovered to be a suicide, one of the main character’s college students, and also (view spoiler)[her biological son who she gave up for adoption when she was 15 or 16 (hide spoiler)]. He had a terminal illness, and had just seen his biological father suffer and die from it, so he knew what was coming. The dead man was also caring for his half-brother, a ten-year old with Asperger’s syndrome, and wanted our protagonist, Daphne, to take care of the boy when he was gone.
(Mild spoiler warning.) Daphne does end up taking care of Eric, the boy with Asperger’s, at least for a while, and seeing how their lives are changed is the bulk of the novel. The book also includes some tense, high-risk scenes and a touching, satisfying wrap-up.
Highly recommended, as long as you can handle a main character who doesn’t start out very warm and fuzzy. Part of the book’s charm is watching her overcome her fears and weaknesses to change for the better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Especially liked the articles by Elder Dallin H. Oaks on "Balancing Truth and Tolerance" and by Elder Tad R. Callister on "Integrity: Foundation of aEspecially liked the articles by Elder Dallin H. Oaks on "Balancing Truth and Tolerance" and by Elder Tad R. Callister on "Integrity: Foundation of a Christlike Life."