**spoiler alert** was able to get my hands on an advanced copy of Child of Vengeance by David Kirk, and just in time before the publication of the boo...more**spoiler alert** was able to get my hands on an advanced copy of Child of Vengeance by David Kirk, and just in time before the publication of the book (due out in March), I am able to add this to my bookshelves.
Child of Vengeance has a really strong start and fascinating story, but the end is a little lacking.
The story of a boy named Bennosuke, the supposed son of a samurai warrior in an age where modern society is beginning it’s slow and inevitable encroachment on the ancient and traditional laws of feudal Japanese society. We are introduced to Bennosuke as an abandoned and unwanted child in the village of Miyamoto, before his father returns to reclaim his son and teach him the ways of a samurai.
After the death of his father, we watch Bennosuke grow into a young man of sixteen, and follow him as he travels Japan trying to reconcile the two halves of his soul: the samurai warrior who’s only duty is to fight and die, as well as the peaceful scholar who wants nothing more than to live another day. And in the end, he comes to a stunning realization that I believe sums up the entirety of the reason for the existence of samurai quite nicely.
In time, the events of Bennosuke’s life will be recorded in history under the name he takes to hide from his enemies: Musashi Miyamoto.
I really enjoyed Child of Vengeance. The characters are interesting and you feel connected to them. However the ending leaves something to be desired. For three years Bennosuke has dedicated his life to one goal, and at the completion of it, he walks off into the sunset with no rhyme or reason as to what he will do now or where he will go. And while you rejoice for him in some ways, in others it just feels like a really incomplete ending. Maybe if the author had introduced something for Bennosuke to live for or go to once his mission was complete, it would have been better. But now it just leaves you hanging.(less)
** spoiler alert ** Here we meet Meena, I think one of the youngest of six girls of a single mom who immigrated to Canada with her husband and six dau...more** spoiler alert ** Here we meet Meena, I think one of the youngest of six girls of a single mom who immigrated to Canada with her husband and six daughters when everyone was still very young, too young to remember India or England where they were born/lived respectively.
First off, this is a very powerful book, exploring the generational gap a lot of children have with immigrant parents, the parents often wanting to hold on to old ideas, customs, and traditions, and the children often wanting to break away or feeling stifled in their family dynamic. It is a wonderfully done, beautifully moving book. The only downfalls are that it doesn’t have much of a happy ending, and it seems to enforce all the negative stereotypes of immigrant Middle Eastern families. I know, I know, it is ‘fiction’, but still. All the horror stories you hear about in urban legends and on the news are here in this book so it is a little disconcerting. And here’s why:
For the most part, Meena and her sisters follow their mother’s wishes, marrying young to the sons and nephews of family friends, popping out babies as quickly as possible, and keeping mum about abusive situations at home. I think it’s Meena’s eldest sister who keeps showing up with bruises throughout the story.
One of Meena’s sisters does rebel, and runs away from home, but only after she is raped by some white boys from school and no one will listen to her side of the story. All that happens when she gets home afterwards is she gets in trouble for ‘getting into a van with young boys’, as reported by nosy neighbor ladies, who completely ignore the fact that she’s being forced into the van against her will. Yeah. That’s always fun.
And Meena rebels in her own way too, but it’s not a very healthy way. She gets married like her sisters, changes her name to please her in-laws, and puts up with the ridicule of her in-laws when she can’t have a baby because of her husband’s low sperm count. So how does she deal with the unhappiness at home? She has an affair with her childhood sweetheart, a guy named Liam, gets pregnant by him, and leaves her husband for him but only after husband beats her for her infidelity.
Normally this would be a ‘yay!’, except for the fact that the ex husband kills her lover Liam a few months later at a wedding they’re all attending. Now officially, it was an ‘accident’, but you could view this in the light of ‘honor killings’ which is no end of creepy.
So at the end of it all, after everything she has gone through, at the age of 30/35, Meena has a six month old daughter she needs to raise on her own, her daughter’s father being killed by Meena’s ex husband, and a few years down the road she start having another affair with the cousin of her ex husband. And this is really ironic, it was the wedding of the ex husband’s cousin where Liam was killed.
And she doesn’t seem happy. It’s three years later after Liam’s death, her daughter is growing, she has another man who loves her and she could love in return, but she still seems all kinds of depressed and lonely. Some of it I can understand because she still misses the love of her life, but there is some point where you need to move on and find your own happiness, because if you truly love someone the way that I think Meena and Liam did and one passes first, I don’t think they would want the other left behind to feel like that forever.
A good book, a great read, but I personally have mixed feelings on it. You’ll have to decide for yourself.
Interesting concept. The silent character in Homer's Iliad (I think it was the Iliad...) is finally given a voice here, and tells us the story of her...moreInteresting concept. The silent character in Homer's Iliad (I think it was the Iliad...) is finally given a voice here, and tells us the story of her life in her own words.
I liked it. It was a bit drawn out at parts, but the story was interesting and that's really the only thing that matters in the end.
The biggest concern was that you don't really connect with the characters. Any of them. Not even Lavinia. I think it's because she's so clinical in the narration of her life. You don't get any of the passion or emotions that some of these events would normally provoke in a person, even in a retelling.
Worth borrowing from the library or a friend if your interested. Otherwise, let Lavinia remain silent.(less)
Not what I was expecting from Barbe Hendee considering I love the Noble Dead saga she writes with J.C. Hendee. It makes me think that J.C. is the real...moreNot what I was expecting from Barbe Hendee considering I love the Noble Dead saga she writes with J.C. Hendee. It makes me think that J.C. is the real force behind the Noble Dead.(less)
I only liked the first half of this book, as it was high fantasy. Mythical medival king with a Dragon for a spirit brother looking for his queen kind...moreI only liked the first half of this book, as it was high fantasy. Mythical medival king with a Dragon for a spirit brother looking for his queen kind of thing. Very up my alley. What surprised me however was how quickly it gets into the raunchy sex scenes, and how many there are. I'm not one to embarass easily, but these scenes made me blush.
The second story I could not get into. Found myself flipping from page to page just to be done, mostly because this one was all sci-fi futuristic space cowboy finds his cowgirl kind of thing. not my style. But hey, if its someone elses, knock yourself out.(less)
I loved this book. It is well worth picking up for anyone interested in Mississauga's history as well as those interested in the supernatural. Any boo...moreI loved this book. It is well worth picking up for anyone interested in Mississauga's history as well as those interested in the supernatural. Any books by Terry Boyle are worth checking out really...(less)
I’m sure this is a great book. I’m sure it’s a very powerful, moving story. How can it not be, when it’s the story of a family looking for their mothe...moreI’m sure this is a great book. I’m sure it’s a very powerful, moving story. How can it not be, when it’s the story of a family looking for their mother who got lost coming to visit them in the big city from the country?
The only problem is, I can’t say for sure because I never finished the book.
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin is probably the hardest book I’d had to read in a long time in terms of narration and writing style.
To be blunt, I couldn’t stand it.
Everything is second person narration. “You feel this, You see that, You think this is not cool, You went here, You were going there”. I think I got-if I’m lucky-a thrid of the way through the story before I couldn’t take it anymore.
So I’m afraid that’s all I really have to say on this one. Like I said, I’m sure it’s an awesome book, how can it not be with a premise like that? But I just couldn’t finish it. Maybe one of you will have better luck than me.(less)
The story of King Richard III, last of the Plantagenet kings. Or more accurately, the imagined life of his mysterious mistress. I liked it because the...moreThe story of King Richard III, last of the Plantagenet kings. Or more accurately, the imagined life of his mysterious mistress. I liked it because the characters were lifelike and very believable, however she was a little long winded.
I read up on Richard the III, and most of the events in the book and the timeline are historically accurate, which I quite like. The only real fiction was the name and appearance of his paramour.
Historically, no one refutes the fact that King Richard had at least one mistress as he publicly acknowledged two illegitimate children, while a third claimed parentage shortly before his death. The big question is more who was this mysterious woman, and Ann Easter Smith plays off this and spins a wonderful story around the known facts and supposed maybes.
While a good read, it was a bit on the heavy side so I'm not sure if I'll pick her up again anytime soon.(less)
The fascinating story of the wife of one of history's most infamous men.
This is also an interesting look to see how the French became so free with fas...moreThe fascinating story of the wife of one of history's most infamous men.
This is also an interesting look to see how the French became so free with fashion and love in all its forms. This book gives the impression that those who survived the bloody time of the French Revolution wanted to live life to the fullest, to really LIVE. Before it seems like they were all prim and proper like the British, but that was thrown out the window after all the blood was washed out of the street.
We travel the world with Napoleon and his army, getting a first row seat to all his charisma, paranoia, his quirks and his foibles.(less)
This book has been all the rage lately, and I can see why. Normally I am not into suspense or mystery books, but this one was able to catch my interes...moreThis book has been all the rage lately, and I can see why. Normally I am not into suspense or mystery books, but this one was able to catch my interest and keep me going through most of the book.
Most of the characters are well developed, especially the main female Lisbeth Salander. A troubled and troubling young woman, Lisbeth is the top PI for a security firm with a photographic memory and her own moral compass. We see her evolve through the book, through both mundane and traumatic events, from a sullen young woman who is a veritable social outcast with no care for the rules or conventions of polite society into a woman who might be capable of redemption.
The premise is that a disgraced financial reporter is called upon by an aging, wealthy business tycoon to look into the dissapearance and supposed murder of his neice over a decade ago. We follow the reporter Mickal for one year of his life as he looks into the past and trys to discover what happened to the young woman Harriet, and he makes some pretty gruesome discoveries about the family along the way while he befriends the young Lisbeth.
Lisbeth was the best thing about this book for me though. I just love her character.
Incredibly well written, its the type of book where even though you've hit a stale point story wise, the imagery and the writing style sustain you until the story picks up again.
I was really looking forward to reading this anthology as I am a large fan of Kim Harrison. However about halfway through the book I had to give up, m...moreI was really looking forward to reading this anthology as I am a large fan of Kim Harrison. However about halfway through the book I had to give up, mostly because the stories were not making a lot of sense.
The first short story was ok. But then it was followed up by a story about the Greek goddess Artemis and her nymphs who have awakened in today's world and gone eco-terrorist on some oil barons and mining tycoons. Normally this would be awesome as what Artemis does is turn them into stags and kill them. Brilliant! What I did not enjoy was the fact that a Navy Seals type group was sent after her thinking her and her nymphs were human terrorists, the Seals being captured, and Artemis and her nymphs throwing away millennia-old vows of celibacy and chastity to get it on with sed Seals because Artemis wants to fade into memory with the other Olympian gods and none of them think the vow is 'necessary' in today's world.
I mean, what?!?! All of a sudden you're going to toss your vow and panties aside because you wake up in a strange world and some hot military buff guys are hunting you in the forest? Please.
And then following right on the heels of this Artemis gem is the tale of a woman named Caitlin who has been used and abused by men and retreats to Mexico for a little R&R. What happens? She falls for a handsome stranger and swiftly into his bed. Only problem is, handsome stranger was a Spanish invader 500yrs ago and was cursed by his Native American wife to spend his days as a stallion and nights as a man until on of her line forgives him after his people destroyed her village. And guess who that descendant is? Caitlin.
But instead of explaining any of this to Caitlin, he beds her and tricks her into forgiving him. She figures it out and reverses it in time so he's still cursed because he used her and she's P.O'd about it. Oh but it's ok because she turns around and forgives him for real a day later. So she essentially forgives a man who used and abused her within 24hrs after men have used and abused her for years. Ugh.
Its stories like these two that remind me why I stayed away from Romance for so long. Contradicting characters and throwing logic out the window when it gets in the way of the characters making out.
I am sure the rest of the book is fine, but I gave up after these two, because they were the first three of seven stories. I'll probably go back to read Kim Harrison's tale, and I'm sure it will be golden as usual, but yeah. I need to wash my brain in some good story and plot lines before I think about picking this one up again.(less)
I can tell this is a wonderful book. It's beautifully written, but there are several very violent scenes that are hard for a big old softie like me to...moreI can tell this is a wonderful book. It's beautifully written, but there are several very violent scenes that are hard for a big old softie like me to read and accept, especially since they happen to young, defenseless wolf cubs.
I understand the reasoning behind the acts that are depicted in the book, its an attempt to keep balance between the wolf population on the Mongolian plain and the nomadic shepherds who live upon it. Its an attempt to keep balance in a fragile eco system, but animal lovers and wolf fans will find this a very difficult book to read.
I do recommend this book, because it is a beautiful book and worth the read for those with the stomach for it. The ending is depressing with the extinction of the Mongolian wolves, I simply am not in the place to read it from start to finish right now.(less)
Really trying to get out of the anthology thing right now, but this one wasn't half bad. Loved the Charlaine Harris one about Dracula's birthday. it w...moreReally trying to get out of the anthology thing right now, but this one wasn't half bad. Loved the Charlaine Harris one about Dracula's birthday. it was a hoot.
Jim Butcher's tale of Dresden's birthday was pretty good as well. But then again I like all his work.
This was just a fun little collection of stories all dealing with birthdays that I really enjoyed. Nothing made me really want to chase down some new authors, but still a book worth recomending.(less)
The Alchemist is a touching story about a young shepherd boy who dreams of more than his lot in life, and discovers a map to a treasure and so heads o...moreThe Alchemist is a touching story about a young shepherd boy who dreams of more than his lot in life, and discovers a map to a treasure and so heads off on the journey of a lifetime to find it.
He travels from Spain to Egypt, and sees the great pyramids. He meets all kinds of interesting people along the way, including an Alchemist who teaches the boy to listen to his heart and speak to the desert wind.
I really liked the ending of this book. In the end the boy does not find the treasure he was seeking buried under the pyramids as he believed. But rather the treasure he had spent all that time searching for was right back where he started. He never had to go searching for it halfway across the world, for it was in his own backyard the whole time.
I feel this speaks to a lot of us in these times. We always seems to be searching beyond our boarders for that which would make us most happy in life, and often we are blind to the happiness that can be found at home.(less)
I liked the concept of this book. Set in the Tombstone of the old west, in the days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, Territory meshes magic with histor...moreI liked the concept of this book. Set in the Tombstone of the old west, in the days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, Territory meshes magic with history.
In this account Wyatt is a scorcerer using black magic with good intentions: keeping his family and the boom town of Tombstone safe. Doc Holliday is a central character in the book, as well as Jesse Fox, another scorcerer, and Mildred Benjamen, a widowed lady reporter whose investigative journalism shows her more than she needed to know.
The only problem is that the author plays hide and seek with the magic in the book. Its very subtle and not very well explained until almost the end, so you're kinda kept guessing as to what is really going on in Tombstone.
It's pretty accurate historically speaking. The day to day life of boom town Tombstone is wonderfully described and detailed. Also everyone connected to Wyatt Earp is there, as well as the famous bandit gang he had the shootout with at the O.K. Corral, although that gunfight is not shown here so it does make for an interesting read.
I hope the author has another book in her, because I'm interested to see where she'll take the characters next, and what happens between Mildred and Jesse.(less)
Honestly, when I picked this book up, I was expecting something along the lines of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, a cross between biography and ficti...moreHonestly, when I picked this book up, I was expecting something along the lines of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, a cross between biography and fiction. I was plesantly surprised.
The author, as they put it, "plays fast and loose" with the historical timeline but does try to keep some basic events true, such as the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Albert.
The gist of this story is that there is a shadow war going on between humans and demons, of which a very few humans are chosen, trained, and appointed to proect the royal family against the demon threat. Never before as a monarch taken part in their own protection, and the Protektors and in for a surprise when they bring a young Queen Elizabeth into the fold, as she refuses to take a passive role in the protection of herself or the realm, even more so when her beloved is kidnapped by the demons she has sworn to destroy.
I loved one of the main characters, a Protektor named Maggie Brown. She's a tough talking butt-whuppin Scot and one of the most colorful and fun characters in the story, with Queen Elizabeth coming a close second. The other characters are either not around enough or unmemorable and two dimensional, so we cannot really form an opinion on them.
The cover is a bit misleading, as at first glance it leads you to belive that this is another zombie story, but in fact while zombies do play an imprtant role in one part of the story, for the most part they take a back burner through most of the book. Turns out they're the result of the chemical experimentation of a duke of some sort.
What I enjoyed most was the origin story of the demons. Apparently when Lucifer was thrown out of heaven, he partied on earth for a bit with his lieutenants before decending into hell. When he left he told his right hand man Bhaal to continue his work on earth, and it is the descendants of Bhaal that are the demons plaguing the realm. They can take on human form and integrate themselves into all parts of society, as well as breed with humans.
I liked that part, the fact that the demons are not all powerful, that they can grow old and die like humans lends a balance to the story. And the best part was how they tied in the Royal Families of England with the decendants of Bhaal. That was really fun.
Evenly paced, with some fun gory bits to keep us entertained when it otherwise might become boring. Not a book to be taken seriously, but rather an overall fun read.(less)
Ending was a let down, but i sitll enjoyed the book. I mean, all the major Greek gods living in a London flat pretending to be mortal and sucking at i...moreEnding was a let down, but i sitll enjoyed the book. I mean, all the major Greek gods living in a London flat pretending to be mortal and sucking at it. Artemis is a dog walker, Aphrodite is a phone sex operator, Apollo's a tv psychic, and as for the other gods...well you'll need to find that out for yourself....enjoy!(less)
Funky little book. Beautiful illustrations, cute story, but it seems incomplete.
This story follows a mother Unicorn as she prepares for the birth of h...moreFunky little book. Beautiful illustrations, cute story, but it seems incomplete.
This story follows a mother Unicorn as she prepares for the birth of her first foal. Its really cute as I said, the mother unicorn travels through the woods, speaking with the animals and enlisting the aid of some for her upcoming birth. Then once the baby is born, we follow mother and child as the babe takes it first steps and begins to learn about the world aroujnd her. At least for a little while.
There is a sudden halt to the story, it ends abruptly when the baby unicorn Uma is five months old. There is no clear closure to the story, and if you are halfway interested in the story, you want to know what happens as she gets older.
Cute, but not something I am glad I purchased or would be interested in reading again.(less)