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Sunday, August 28

Book Review: Time and Regret by MK Tod


Author: MK Tod
Title: Time and Regret
Genre: Historical Fiction and Mystery
Pages: ebook
First Published: August 16th 2016 
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for an honest and unbiased review)

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.




Oooooh WWI. Such a bloody, bloody war. So many people lost their lives! I'm glad this story shared Martin's tale as well Grace's. It showed his journey as well as Grace's. The author did an amazing job with showing the true brutality of the war and the survivor's guilt. Beautiful job.

Normally I prefer one POV over the other, but for this one, I really liked both. Both had me hooked and I couldn't wait for the continuation of both. The author did a good job with the switching between WWI and the 1990s. Kuddos. It can be tough transitioning. 

So many secrets and so many regrets on all sides! Lies, blackmail, secrets, stealing, killing, and so much more! Poor Grace! LOLLL 

Poor Martin. :( He really did have a hard time. However, he was a clever man and taught Grace well on how to decipher the secrets he had. 

Now, the culprit at the end surprised me for sure. Yes, I did suspect that person....but everyone was on my radar. However, as the story progressed I did have my money on someone else. The culprit did make me sad. I really had hoped it wouldn't be that person. Super bummer....but it did make a lot of sense honestly. 

Why was Grandmama/Cynthia was such a B! But I don't understand it fully. Why would Martin stay with her or put up with her being so mean to Grace? You can't help who you love, but he should have put his foot down and told her off. I think she needed a reminder that you can't be a B whenever you wanted. Yes, it did make the story interesting and make it harder for Grace to solve the mystery....but yeah. Not cool. 

My only real complaint was the ending after the reveal and whatnot. It did seem to drag on and on. It felt like it was never going to end and I expected more to be revealed, but nothing was. 

Pierre was meh to me. He was nice and I'm glad Grace found him....but I guess I wasn't taken in by his charm. 

I was utterly hooked from page one. The characters were interesting and I was very involved with both of their stories. I will admit...I teared up a couple of times during Martin's story! THE FEELS DAMMIT! THE FEELS! War is such a nasty, nasty thing especially WWI. WWI was the beginning of the shift of how warfare was done. It was a nasty transition that caused so many people to die on all sides. Super sad. The mystery was good and the culprit surprised me. 

I also LOVE THE COVER! Beautiful. 

In the end, I highly recommend this for everyone. Yes, there is some historical parts involved, but the author does a good job making it feel real and alive. The mystery and finding out all the secrets was for sure good. The ending did drag on a bit, but the rest of the of the story was fun. I shall stamp this with 4 stars. 




















Saturday, August 27

Saturday Scribbling Challenge #6: Poetry Edition




This is a fun little writing challenge that Blodeuedd and I have come up with! We each challenge each other with the selected theme. 

We had such fun last month with the poetry, we decided to do another poetry edition. :D


First....Blodeuedd's poem:



The Fallen
WWI inspired fantasy poem; continuation from last month's poem
by Blodeuedd
Ravens in the distance
A dark cloud of despair
Blood, rivers of red running by
Crying, screaming, dying
The Day of the Fallen
Last breath of the brave
She walks like a ghost
Searching, aching, wanting
She cries as she stumbles
Limbs, broken bodies, rotting 
A shield, blue and golden
A sword glimmering in the sun
Help me
A whisper in the wind
Moving forward
Blood in the mud
There he lies
There her heart breaks
She falls down
His face so sweet
Heart breaking
Soul dying
One last embrace
No more, she says
No More
Last cry of the Fallen
Last day of the Brave
Move on, she hears
Move on, they say
New battles
More death
No More, she cries
No More
There she sits
As the sun sets
As Night comes
 A new Day enters
More, they say

More.




Now, my poem:


How I Missed This Feeling
Inspired by 'Criminal Minds'
by Carole Rae

A welcoming serene smile
A light touch. 
He gently places a kiss
On my lips.
My nerves racing. 
Heart pounding. 
How I have missed
This feeling. 
The room is spinning,
We are alone. 
Should I dare
Ask for more? 
He leads me to the bed
And kisses me gently. 
I feel my cheeks burning
And heart beating.
He sits next to me and
Tangles his hand in my hair.
As he kisses me again
A swell of pain
Raises in my stomach.
I look down
And blood is pouring. 
I look up and gasp.
His once gentle smile
Is now evil
And menacing. 
He cackles as my sight blurs.
He whispers,
“How I missed this feeling.”
And then my world goes black. 

Friday, August 26

Book Review: The Egypt of Cleopatra by TD van Basten


Author: T.D. van Basten
Title: The Egypt of Cleopatra
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: November 29th 2015
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Amazon Freebie)

Cleopatra VII (69 BC - 30 BC), the last Pharaoh of Egypt, was a very educated, crafty, ambitious and clever woman. Her intellect and charisma – far greater than her beauty and sexuality - allowed her to keep the power for nearly twenty years by fighting against – and allying with - the greatest power at the time, Rome. Although her history was written by who defeated her and, therefore, modified according conveniences of them, there have been found, in recent archaeology researches, evidences of her intellect and achievements that portrayed her beyond her beauty and sexual power. She captivated the two greatest Romans of her time, and destroyed herself. Cleopatra was representing everything that the Romans didn't like. Not only was she a woman, but she was a woman with power. 

Cleopatra, one of the most famous of all of Egypt's illustrious Pharaohs, has become an indelible part of our understanding of ancient Egypt. What is less well known is the context of her reign - the cultural and political climate at the time of her birth, rule, and death. As a leader, Cleopatra was much more than just a seductive, beautiful temptress. She was a young woman brought to power during a tumultuous time in the history of her country, as well as during the rise of what would become one of the biggest and most powerful Empires in the history of the world: Rome. 



I have always had a huge interest in Ancient times, especially with Ancient Egypt. I took a class about the Ancient World. We spent a good deal on Ancient Egypt, but we really didn't spend ANY time on Cleopatra who was the last and most famous of Pharaohs. Isn't it funny how the last is always the best? The first and the last are the most remembered in many situations. 

I like Cleopatra for many reasons. However, I think people give her too much credit. Yes, she was beautiful and smart and charismatic. She got the throne and held onto it longer than someone else might have. The fact remains though....she lost in the end. She lost everything, so she wasn't the best Pharaoh. Sure...she gave a hell of fight, but she was the last and lost it to Rome. 

The question, now, remains. Was it hopeless the moment she got the throne? Was she doomed to fail? Or was there something else she could have done to save her throne? After reading this, I am leaning more towards the hopeless at the beginning. Egypt was in bed with Rome and Greece for a LONG time. I feel her ancestors set her up to fail ultimately. However, I do feel she made her bed too. Getting with two Romans of power didn't help matters. Especially with Antony....the man had a Roman wife who was sisters with Augustus. Yes, yes, you damn romantics...I agree you can't help who you fall in love with. BUT IT WAS FOOLISH!!!! It was truly dooming her to love Antony. 

Anyways. This was a quick read that shared more background knowledge of the Egypt Cleopatra was walking into. I truly wasn't that aware that her ancestors set her up to fail in many ways. They had caused such friction inside the country and set up too many ties with the Greeks and Romans for comfort.

Now, my only real complaint with the book were the repeats. He repeated himself a few times about the same thing. I get it. Please don't repeat. I understand trying to drive the point home, but it was tiresome at some points.

I do wish there was a small section about the clothing style of the day. I'm probably biased, but understanding the fashion choices of a time period helps understand the mindset and personality of the historical figures. 

Overall, though, this was a simplistic read even for those that do not have a great love of reading history books. This would be a good read for someone in college who wanted a quick summary. 

I shall stamp this with 3 stars. 

















Monday, August 22

B's Monday Review: Proxima by Stephen Baxter

The very far future: The galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, and chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a long-gone age when a more compact universe was full of light... The 27th century: Proxima Centauri, an undistinguished red dwarf star, is the nearest star to our sun. How would it be to live on such a world? 

My thoughts:
The beginning was a bit slow, but I kept thinking it's Baxter and it got better. I think the problem was that there was this other POV that showed up, not often, not that long, but I just did not care. I was all about the settlers. Oh those were fascinating.

It's a race between China and the rest, and to beat China settlers are sent to Proxima. It takes 4 years for a message to get from there home, and the settlers are really left to fend for themselves. On a strange new world, and well there are So many more things I want to say, but honestly it's just spoilers spoilers.

Proxima is an interesting planet, and there are secrets, and the end, omg, that was freaky! I really need to read part two to see how it all plays out. There are some good secrets in here for sure.

The book is about Yuri who gets sent to Proxima (and stuff goes down and I so want to talk about but I can not.) I loved learning more about the planet and the struggle for the settlers.

The POv of whatever was boring, and I am glad when it showed up it was a few chapters and I skimmed it. I did not really see the point of it. Our solar system is boring.

Conclusion:
In the end, Baxter is a great sci-fi writers and he always comes up with such cool concepts. I need book 2 then.

Cover
ok

Hardcover, 456 pages
Published September 19th 2013 by Gollancz
Proxima #1
Sci.fi
Library