Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review--Ashes of Honor

Ashes of Honor (October Daye, #6)Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If Ms. McGuire chose to stop writing October Daye stories today, I'd be satisfied. This sixth book brought much of Toby's personal life to a great place, and keep the pages turning with a storyline that revealed much, and didn't leave people's lives dangling.


October finally acknowledged what the readers have known all along: She was meant to be with Tybalt, the King of Cats. In addition, her personal life, while still full of danger, has progressed to the point where she has a place and a role in the Fae world.

I do look forward to more stories in the October Daye universe, but Ashes of Honor was what we needed to see in terms of Toby's character development and personal growth.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review--Assassin's Gambit

Assassin's Gambit (Hearts and Thrones, #1)Assassin's Gambit by Amy Raby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the rating indicates, I really enjoyed this debut paranormal/fantasy. The faux Roman setting was different than the usual medieval trappings, the heroine was intelligent, resourceful and not TSTL, and the hero was cunning and brave without being larger-than-life. In fact, as an amputee many sell him short thinking he can no longer be a warrior, but he proves a warrior's greatest asset can be his mind.

The other thing I liked about the book was it passed the Bechdel Test ( The two assassins, Ista and Vitala, have a complicated relationship that does not have a man at the center of it.  I liked that, a lot.

I'm looking forward to the next book in Ms. Raby's Hearts and Thrones series.

TRIGGER WARNING--discussion of and scenes of sexual assault may be difficult for some readers.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day

     “‘Walk the plank’? Wherever did you get that idea, child?”
     "Mama told me stories of the buccaneers and the pirates who live in the islands. She said my Papa was the fiercest pirate of all!”
     He wasn’t about to deny such a sterling character reference.
     “Fiercest of all, am I? Hmmm…it occurs to me that if you are going to join the crew of my ship we need to give you a pirate name.”
      She stopped skipping and looked up at him, and one would think he’d just handed her the moon on a platter.
     “A pirate name! Oh yes, please, Papa!”
     They resumed walking and he thought about it, swinging her valise as he walked. She began skipping again.
     “Not that there is anything wrong with Mathilde,” he assured her. “It is a perfectly lovely name for a young lady. It strikes me though as not being piratical. Women who are pirates have names that are simple, but do not detract from their fierceness. Girls like Anne Bonny and Mary Read.”
     “There are girl pirates?” If she looked happy before, now he feared she would explode with excitement.
     “Yes, indeed there are. I will show you Captain Johnson’s book of pirates when we’re aboard the Prodigal. So. What shall your name be?”
     “What is your pirate name, Papa?”
     “I find being Captain St. Armand is sufficient in the course of a day’s work,” he said dryly. “For you…what about Tilly?”
     She thought about this, her steps slowing as she tried the name out.
     “No, Papa, not Tilly. If you give me that name, people might call me ‘Silly Tilly’ and that would not be a good pirate name.”
     “An excellent point,” he said. They were now in town and people called out greetings to them, some even fit for the ears of an impressionable child. He ignored most of it and concentrated on the task at hand.
     “I have it!” he snapped his fingers and looked at her. “Mattie! You will be Mattie! How does sound? Marauding Mattie, scourge of the West Indies!”

--WIP [working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby, aka The Pirate's Governess

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially the ones who understand little girls who long to be pirates.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flag Day

“You underestimate the will of the American people, Doctor,” he poked his finger in the air for emphasis. “When you push us, we push back. Hard. John Bull cannot bully America into surrendering now any more than you could 40 years ago. Have you already forgotten the lesson of Fort McHenry?”

He rummaged in his desk and pulled out a tattered newspaper, much folded and creased.

“My mother sent this to me with the letters, a newspaper from home. A Mr. Key wrote a poem about the battle, Doctor, titled ‘The Defence of Fort McHenry’. Look here–‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’. That’s America, Charley!"


June 14 is #FlagDay, the day the United States honors our nation's star spangled banner.  If you've got a flag, fly it proudly!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review--The Speckled Monster

The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling the Smallpox EpidemicThe Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling the Smallpox Epidemic by Jennifer Lee Carrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some of us are old enough to remember lining up at school for polio vaccine. It's hard to convey what it meant to our parents to know this childhood terror could be prevented with a simple oral dose of medicine (bless you, Dr. Salk).

In the 17th & 18th C., smallpox destroyed populations, upset the balance of power in European courts as it killed rulers and heirs, and terrified communities at the first sign of the distinctive pox. Prior to Edward Jenner making the connection between cowpox and smallpox vaccination, two brave individuals, a Boston physician named Zabdiel Boylston and an English aristocrat, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, risked ridicule, censure and even death threats to spread the idea of inoculation against smallpox. They didn't fully understand the disease, but they did see how people in Turkey, and African slaves, exposed themselves to the disease through subcutaneous methods and gained immunity. To save their children, Boylston and Lady Mary risked all and inoculated them against "the speckled monster".

If you like medical histories, you'll enjoy this book. The author writes in an easy, novelistic style that brings the characters to life and makes it read like a mystery. The research is wonderful, but be forewarned--it contains photos of smallpox victims in the terminal stages of the illness that are not for the faint of heart.

Smallpox ceased to be a threat in the 1970s. Other diseases have cropped up to concern us, but none of them have the impact of what smallpox did in its time.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Review--The Sword Dancer

The Sword Dancer (Sword Dancer, #1)The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It's for fans of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", Jackie Chan movies, great love stories, and historical romance. I really enjoyed how the characters were drawn, their relationship developing in a thoughtful fashion with true issues and problems, not fake or spurious conflict. It was a real page turner, and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Lin.

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