The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel & Bret Witter

At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.

It's the book the movie was based on. I really wanted to see the move, but couldn't get past my dislike of movies with George Clooney and/or Matt Damon.
A note about the movie: Among those leaked e-mails from Sony studios was one from Clooney (who directed as well as acted) apologizing for the movie not doing very well. My brother saw it on one of those "entertainment news" shows where they tried to make it seem like it was a bad thing, but my brother said: "If anything, it makes him seem like an even nicer guy than you hear about. that whole "gentleman George" thing,"

The book was interesting, if long & is one of those forgotten stories of World War 2 that more people should know about it. To that end, they have an official site about the real men (& women) behind the story. And there's a monuments men foundation to help preserve art that is in danger from armed conflicts today. they are also looking for info on missing cultural objects from WW2 & other wars.

I've read several books about little known or forgotten people & stories of WW2 & am convinced that if a movie studio just did movies about them, they could put out movies for at least a decade.

marycatelli: (Golden Hair)

The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 2

The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 2 by Christian Gossett

The continuing story -- to the end of the published issues. Spoilers ahead for the earlier volume.

Read more... )
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)

The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 1

The Red Star: Deluxe Edition Volume 1 by Christian Gossett

An alternative, magitech-based USSR and a disastrous battle. . .

Read more... )
Entry tags:

The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks


Captain Kidd has gone down in history as America's most ruthless buccaneer, fabulously rich, burying dozens of treasure chests up and down the eastern seaboard. But it turns out that most everyone, even many respected scholars, have the story all wrong. Captain William Kidd was no career cut-throat; he was a tough, successful New York sea captain who was hired to chase pirates. His three-year odyssey aboard the aptly named Adventure galley pitted him against arrogant Royal Navy commanders, jealous East India Company captains, storms, starvation, angry natives, and, above all, flesh-and-blood pirates.

A really interesting book about the pirate turned pirate hunter who wasn't as ruthless or had as much treasure as people thought.

After his time as a pirate in the Caribbean he settled in New York City, married a wealthy widow & became respectable. Through a chance meeting he is commissioned by William III of England to capture pirates in the Indian Ocean. Run-ins with the English Navy, his crew not being paid because they can't find any pirates & crossing paths with his old shipmate (& mutineer against Kidd) Robert Culliford lead to his eventual downfall.

the painted queen by e. peters & j. hess

sadly this is the last amelia peobody novel as elizabeth peters passed in aug. 2013. also sadly, ms. peters had only started writing the final page at the time of her passing, but left a lot of notes which joan hess used to complete the novel. i don't know if any were on the story or dialogue or just on the background (the discovery & disappearance of the famous bust of queen nefertiti)

it reads like fan fiction. not very good fan fic either. characters are out of character or almost parodies of themselves. there's a pack of assassins running around in almost comical fashion & the peabody/emerson clan's enemy sethos (mater criminal & master of disguise) seems almost shoehorned in. frankly, i'm not sure i really cared for the character anyway.
titles of previous amelia peabody novels were randomly added to conversations for no good reason other than this is the 20th novel in the series. it's kind of like when all of those nods to previous bond movies were in die another day for the franchise's 40th anniversary. i very nearly stopped reading it. but i will bravely plowed though to the end.

i didn't notice a change to the avalon series by marion zimmer bradley after her passing. but maybe it's because; 1. diana l. paxson was her co-author on the last 3 before bradley passed. 2. i had not re-read the series at least twice like i have with the peabody series. 3. was not in the middle of yet another re-read of the series like i am with this one. 4. or a big fan of the avlaon series like i am with the peabody series.

tl;dr only read this novel if you want to complete the series. but it might disappoint fans of the amelia peabody novels.
shanaqui: Kate from Young Avengers as Hawkeye, taking aim. ((KateYA) Hawkeye)
[personal profile] shanaqui2016-02-20 10:29 pm

Book giveaway!

Because I felt guilty about getting a copy that doesn't contribute to first week sales, I'm running a giveaway of V.E. Schwab's A Gathering of Shadows on my blog. Here. There a couple of different options for entering, and none of them should be mandatory (so you could get one entry just by visiting my facebook page).
ljlee: (reading)
[personal profile] ljlee2015-09-07 11:55 pm

The Poppet and the Lune Audiobook Review

the poppet and the lune coverI listened to the complementary review audiobook copy of The Poppet and the Lune (2011) by Madeleine Claire Franklin, narrated by Elizabeth Basalto (2014). The review copy was kindly provided by Lisa ( [personal profile] jeweledeyes ) in a post to this community last year. It took me a while, but here is my review.

A novel in the style of a fairy tale, Poppet has a lot of fantastic elements like witches, werewolves, a patchwork girl, and many different kinds of magic. The book uses these elements to entertaining effect, with original adaptations of old standbys like the boy who cried wolf and gripping plot reversals. The world depicted in the book was charming and colorful, but also dark and mature in places. Ultimately, though, I thought the story undermined its own potentially compelling emotional core and was less powerful than it could have been.

As for the narration, Lisa said this was her sister's first audiobook narration and it showed. Ms. Basalto's voice is nice and the delivery earnest, but I noticed some technical flaws and tics that I don't see with more experienced narrators. Still, I thought the voice and story were a good match, and wish Ms. Basalto well in her narration career.

For a longer and more detailed review with story details including spoilers, see my journal entry.
jeweledeyes: Go ADPi! (Alphie reads)

Anyone interested in reviewing an audiobook?

My sister works as a narrator for ACX.com. She just finished her first audiobook, The Poppet and the Lune, by Madeline Claire Franklin, and ACX gave her 25 free download credits to give to book reviewers. She doesn't really know any reviewers and didn't know where to start, so I wanted to ask here and see if there are any bloggers who might be interested in a free copy of the audiobook for review? Or any recommendations of bloggers who might be interested?

Behind the cut, audiobook trailer, book description and Goodreads link for anyone who wants to know more )
sigyns: (Default)
[personal profile] sigyns2014-07-29 07:02 am

Reviews: Third Daughter / The Fall of Lady Grace



Over at Bibliodaze I have reviews up for THIRD DAUGHTER by Susan Kaye Quinn and THE FALL OF LADY GRACE by Julia London!
sigyns: ([ouat] a beauty but a funny girl)
[personal profile] sigyns2014-06-11 11:51 am
Entry tags:

Review: The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst



Summary: Lost your way?

Your dreams?

Yourself?

Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost...well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible....

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore.


The Lost is a mixed bag that I still ended up enjoying. Although I think Durst’s transition to adult made her feel as if she needed to strip down her writing style (a lot of the sentences are very short) otherwise I think her first foray into adult fiction was a successful one.

Read the review at Bibliodaze!
jeweledeyes: Sailor Venus thinks you're a loser (Jesse x Suze)

New books from Meg Cabot

If any of you are fans of Meg Cabot's books, she posted a huge announcement today: both The Princess Diaries series and The Mediator series (both YA) are getting adult spin-off series, with the first installments of each being published next year. The Princess Diaries is also getting a middle-grade spin-off: From the Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess.

The Mediator spin-off follows protagonist Suze Simon starting her first job after graduating college, and solving an ancient murder with her now-fiancé Dr. Jesse de Silva. (*fangirl shrieks*) Oh, and Paul Slater is going to be in it, too. (*fangirl boos and hisses*)

Both Princess Diaries spin-offs tie into each other: the adult book, Royal Wedding, follows Princess Mia Thermopolis as she plans her wedding to Michael Moscovitz and discovers she has a long-lost half-sister. The middle-grade series is told from this sister's perspective. It's also worth nothing that Mia's half-sister is biracial! It will be interesting to see how that's explored.

Any fans of these series? What do you think about these series getting spin-offs? I knew a seventh Mediator book was on the way because she mentioned it at a book signing I attended a couple of years ago, but I definitely wasn't expecting an adult series*! The Princess Diaries was also a huge shock. She definitely kept those updates under her hat!

*I am infinitely pleased about this—when the books first came out, I was the "same age" as Suze. It's exciting to see that Suze and Jesse have essentially grown up with me XD

Anyway, if anyone's interested, I'll be posting updates about the new Mediator book(s)—cover, publication dates, etc.—as well as the upcoming TV series over at [community profile] mediatorfans :-)
angel_negra: Aiba's checking his notes. (Aiba_Read)

Review: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

To Say Nothing of the Dog is a time travel story and I think one of my favourite things about this book was how time travel was approached. While it's certainly a big part of the plot, time travel in this book is an academic thing. There's no big bad or great hero risking it all to travel back and change some key point in history, no great lovers torn apart by time, no horrible dystopian future or present in need of fixing. There is, however, a missing cat.

Very mild spoilers follow )
ed_rex: (ace)
[personal profile] ed_rex2014-03-03 01:40 am

Review: The Departure, by Neal Asher

'Steaming like raw meat dropped onto a hot stove'

Image: Cover of The Departure, by Neal Asher

It's not news that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I have a soft spot for space opera; I confess, the big space base (which I initially mistook for a starship of some sort) adorning the cover of Neal Asher's novel, The Departure, helped sell me on it.

As it turned out though, The Departure hardly qualifies as space-opera and only squeaks by as science fiction pretty much the way Superman does: on technicalities only.

Though it's set in the future and some of the action takes place in orbit and on Mars, the book is really just a narrated first-person shooter dressed up in some SF tropes — a corrupt and incompetent world government, artificial intelligence, robotic weapons and a transhuman genesis.

But all that is only window-dressing. That spectacular cover is a gateway to lugubrious dialogue, sophomoric libertarian philosophy, hackneyed world-building and, especially, to one pornographic blood-bath after another.

The Departure is one of the worst books I have read in a very long time. More boring than Atlas Shrugged (which I reviewed a while back), it drips with just as much contempt for ordinary human beings. Unlike Rand's John Galt though, Asher's superman does much of his killing at first-hand.

Does this novel have any redeeming qualities? The short answer is "no". The long answer lives behind this link.

othercat: (aion: set a bad example)
[personal profile] othercat2014-02-18 01:05 pm

Book Review: Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt Jr.


In Imager’s Battalion, Quaeryt continues to further his goals in between leading imagers in battle against Bovaria and playing military chaplain. Since a part of his goal is to find ways to make imaging useful (which it is not, given that very little is known about the ability), the war gives him plenty of opportunity to do science. He also makes a few discoveries about a previous civilization that used imagers more extensively than his society, and learns more folklore related to Pharsi “lost ones.” He does not however discover why the locals are so superstitious about “black rabbits.” (As an aside, every time someone mentioned a black rabbit I’d fill in with “of Inlé,” for which I blame Watership Down.)

Read this review on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances on Blogger.

Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.
 
othercat: (aion: set a bad example)
[personal profile] othercat2014-02-10 11:31 am

Reading: Godstalk, by P.C. Hodgell, Part Three


Though Godstalk is generally believed by fans to be the best book in the series, it does have some flaws. The biggest being the sudden shifts in pov at certain points. Very few fans will point this out however, though they tend to be more critical of later books. (I did not actually spot many of the problems until after I had read the book a few times.)
 
Even with taking the flaws into account, Godstalk’s is one of my favorite novels because of the rich prose, surreal background and the engaging main character.

Read the rest on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances on Blogger.

Read the rest on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.
othercat: (ciel: evol mastermind!)
[personal profile] othercat2014-02-06 12:32 pm

Book Review: Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear

Shattered Pillars is a very transitional book that mostly continues the plot points introduced in Range of Ghosts, with additional complications as the bad guys and good guys play Spy vs. Spy. Temur continues his quest to rescue his lover Edene, unaware that she has already escaped. Edene in turn is unaware at first that she was actually allowed to escape. (Nor, when she finds out, is she able to do very much about it.) He also continues his plan become Khagan.


Read this review on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances on Blogger

Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.
othercat: (aion: set a bad example)
[personal profile] othercat2014-02-03 01:38 pm

Review: The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter


I am not entirely sure whether or not I liked The Long War. At least, it didn’t hold the same level of interest for me that The Long Earth did. The story begins when the death of a troll attempting to protect her child and snowballs into a conflict between Datum Earth and the various colonies, which are beginning to have thoughts of independence. What we have here is a perfect storm of civil rights and state rights as Datum Earth attempts to maintain control and the various colonies attempt to break free of the control.


Read this review on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances on Blogger

Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.
othercat: (aion: set a bad example)
[personal profile] othercat2014-01-30 02:14 pm

Book Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Written in Red manages to make supernatural predators that are actually predators. This is not something I ever thought I’d say about a fantasy novel by Anne Bishop. This is because even when Bishop is trying to write “dark” she is also writing “fluffy.” It should be noted that while I would normally fully support dark fiction that also has silly and humorous moments, Bishop does not have the knack for pulling it off. (But she tries, oh my god how she tries.)

Read this review on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstance on Blogger.

Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.





othercat: (nausicaa: kickass pacifist)
[personal profile] othercat2014-01-23 11:38 am

Book Review: Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

 
Range of Ghosts has some fascinating world building wrapped up in an intriguing plot full of adventure and politics. The novel is set along “the Celadon Highway” a kind of analog to the historical Silk Road that linked most of Asia together with much of Europe in trade during the 12th and 13th centuries. An especially interesting aspect of the world building is that each empire or polity in Range of Ghosts has its own sky with radically different astronomical features. (As an example, the sky in Re Temur’s homeland has about a hundred tiny moons that each represents one of the male heirs of the Khagan, or “khan of khans.”) 
 
Our protagonist is a young man named Re Temur who is caught in the middle of a succession crisis between his brother and his cousin.

Read this review on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstance on Blogger.

Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.
othercat: (harper: sooper genius)
[personal profile] othercat2014-01-16 11:51 am

Reading: Survivor by Octavia Butler Part One


Survivor is technically a part of Butler’s Patternist sequence, except Butler disowned it. She also referred to it as her “Star Trek novel” for reasons which may soon become clear. I acquired Survivor via slightly sneaky means, in this case a pdf. file that I downloaded. The copy has a lot of typos and in general is kind of cruddy but still readable.
Here is an overview of the Patternist series. Once upon a time there was a powerful telepath named Doro and a powerful shape changer named Anyanwu. They got along like a literal house on fire by which I mean there was screaming and dead bodies.

Read the rest on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances on Blogger.

Read the rest on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.