Friday, 23 December 2016

A Beautiful Glittering Lie - J.D.R. Hawkins

                A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a historical fiction novel set during the American Civil War. Not being from the States, I have bare bones knowledge of this event in history so I found the author’s detailed telling of events and way of life during this time to be very interesting. The book provides both historical facts and a look at the conditions that both the soldiers and the citizens lived in during the Civil War. I found that some of the facts became rather dry and dragged the story down, although I do realize that they are essential to the story. For the most part, the story is told from the side of the Confederates. I’ve really only ever read information from the other side so I found it very interesting to read the alternate viewpoint. I can’t say I have changed my mind about which side I would have supported during the war but it did open my eyes as to why the Confederates felt the way they did. I found the pace of the book quite slow and I struggled to stay interested but for anyone who is a Civil War buff, this book would make for some entertaining reading. The characters are well developed and realistically written. I enjoyed the variety of personalities in the book, such as David who just wants to be like his dad and fight, and his dad, tough as nails even in horrible conditions. It can be difficult to have a lot of characters and make each one a worthwhile part of a book but the author manages to do this well throughout the whole story. For me, the pace was a bit slow but I realize the author had to do this in order to keep the realism of the story. Sometimes action sequences have to be sacrificed. Overall, I did learn a lot from this book, even with it being fiction, and I will look for more books by this author.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

When Darkness Comes - John Anthony Miller

When Darkness Comes is a historical thriller set during the German occupation of Paris in 1942. Jewish people were being exterminated at increasing rates in what was to become the most horrific genocide in the history of mankind. Mr. Mille takes the reader into the lives of a group of people who helped the Jews escape before being sent to almost certain death in concentration camps. The book opens with a look into the events and traumas in these people's lives that brought them together to work for the Resistance. Nobody is ever quite who they seem and the phrase "Never trust anyone" is never truer than in this story. I can usually predict character twists but there are a few here that I definitely wasn't expecting. I wasn't sure how the story was going to unfold as I started to read this book and I wasn't really taken in with the style of writing. As I kept reading, I found myself caring for the characters and becoming more engrossed in the various twists and turns of the story. It almost seemed like the author settled into the story and the writing style smoothed out and became really good. The characters are well developed and realistic in their actions and dialogue. The intensity of their situations and surroundings was vivid and made me realize just how touch-and-go life was for people during World War Two. Mr. Mille wrote every character so well that even the vilest Nazi was given a certain amount of humanity. The story is fast-paced and told through multiple viewpoints so the reader is never left bored with one character. There is a satisfying ending that, unfortunately, makes it clear that there won't be a sequel, although the author writes about the future for everyone...that is, those that make it to the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book. It's perfect for anyone with an interest in the human side of the War and those people that saved so many lives, not just the facts and dates. I read this on my ereader and it formatted well with good editing. The cover gives a hint to what the story is about and enticed me to choose this as a book I wanted to read. An excellent and enjoyable book!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Korian and Lucy Short Story Part II

                This short story is part two in the Cult of the Cat Short Story series that is a precursor to the book Daughter of the Sun. As the author tells the reader at the beginning of the story, it is very imported to read the Daughter of the Sun first and then Part One of the short story series because otherwise nothing read will make sense. This short story is a very quick read and, in my opinion, I’d rather read all of these short stories together in one large book. I read Part One quite a while ago and have forgotten much of what happened. It is essential to remember what happened in the first one in order to appreciate the story continuity in the second one so this was a problem for me until I remembered the first story.
                This short story continues the love story of Korian and Lucy as they struggle to be together and overcome not only their disapproving families but also the curse hanging over Lucy’s head regarding anyone she falls in love with. It is a well written story with interesting characters and relationships that are believable and realistic. I always enjoy Zoe Kalo’s writing and this short story is no exception. My only qualm is that I wish all of these great stories were combined into one novel.