Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Freebies and Festivals!

A Walk Through Time!

16 FREE historical fiction books, but only for a limited time!
Just click
Plus, a $25 gift card.  You don't want to miss this!

Upcoming event:

A day-long celebration of BOOKS!

Per the book festival site: The Twin Cities Book Festival—brought to you by Rain Taxi—is not only the largest and most important literary gathering in the Upper Midwest, it is the annual get-together for the Twin Cities’ devoted literary community. This FREE, day-long festival brings people together to celebrate our vibrant literary culture. The festival welcomes ‘rock star’ authors, local literary heroes, publishers, magazines, booksellers—all of whom connect over great books and conversations.
My group, the Rochester Fantastical Women will be there!  So if you're close by, I'd highly recommend stopping by.  Here are a list of exhibitors I'll be rubbing elbows with on Saturday, October 14: Exhibitor List.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Blogging - Recent Reads and Reviews

Thought I'd share some thoughts on books I've read recently.  I will include links to my Goodreads posts, as these will be shorter summaries of the books. 

Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars - The Last Jedi)
"We hate the Empire’s cruelty and violence. How can we claim to be morally superior when we stoop to violence ourselves?”
Mon Mothma answered him. “There comes a time when refusing to stop violence can no longer be called nonviolence. We cease to be objectors and become bystanders. At some point, morality must be wedded to action, or else it’s no more than mere…vanity.”

Leia's fierce determination and big heart comes across as empathetic strengths for the developing teenager. The plot moves steadily along as we discover secrets both within the Empire and the Rebellion. We also get added depth to familiar characters like Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, discover old/unexplored characters like Breha Organa, and meet a "The Last Jedi" character, Amilyn Holdo. Gray balances these dynamics well and gives excellent insight into the feelings and experiences these characters went through.

I would have liked a little more differentiation with references. For instance, everyone seems to drink tea, but what kind of tea? The constant being-served-tea scenes got a bit bland because (as a tea snob myself) there is so much variety in tea that could give subtle hints at people's characters. This was underutilized.

Unlike the books preceding "The Force Awakens," I could really feel the movies alive in this book.  This was a well-drawn expanded-universe story that enriches the characters we love, most particularly after the passing of Carrie Fisher.  Gray has delivered a solid and emotional story that does the original characters credit and is strong in the Force.

See full review here: Goodreads full review

For The Most Beautiful (Golden Apple Trilogy #1)
What I love about this book is how it illustrates that historical women were able to accomplish great things despite constraints of time and place. Despite being slaves, two women helped the city of Troy in significant ways. They defied the odds, dealt with their loss at the hands of the Greek invaders, and changed their fate despite when and where they lived. This is the type of historical fiction I love. 
Hauser does a beautiful job between her three unique narrations. There are two women who voice chapters, then there are chapters about the fickle Greek gods. Surprisingly, the god chapters are written in the present tense while the mortals' chapters are written in past tense. This can come across as confusing the first few times, but it is also a smart way to delineate the completely different worlds these two groups of beings exist and perfectly highlights the differences of lifespan and the urgency felt on the shores of Troy versus on Mt. Ida.

Hauser has penned a beautiful new exploration of the Iliad and is a strong, lovely new voice in historical fiction. A stirring book with great characters moving within a fast-paced narrative and a beautiful setting, making this one of my favorite reads of 2017!

See full review here: Goodreads full review

The Vessel of Ra (The Klaereon Scroll #1)

The Vessel of Ra is a unique blend of dark fantasy and historical fiction with plenty of surprises. Seriously, buckle your seatbelt because the speed of this plot is breakneck.

What I loved about the book was the blend of myth with fantasy elements. I thought the story was very unique. There wasn’t another book I could really compare this too, which is great. Schaff-Stump weaves a terrifically complex storyline with varied characters and diverse settings. I loved seeing the Egyptian gods and elements of Biblical fiction blended in an entertaining way.

Schaff-Stump has a very intriguing and page-turning story. I was impressed where the story went. My only wish is that Schaff-Stump would have been a bit more time with her characters sitting in the emotions of a moment. Otherwise, recommend!

I received an advance review copy from publisher, Curiosity Quills. A HUGE thank you to for this opportunity to read and review. My opinions are unbiased.

See full review here: Goodreads full review

Thanks for reading!  As you can see, I have eclectic tastes though my favorite is ancient historical fiction.  You can find more book recommendations on my Goodreads profile, which is linked on the side bars of this blog. 

Enjoy your weekend.  I know I'll be busy picking my next book to read!  Its the deciding part that's difficult!
What a problem to have, right?