Book Connections, Reading challenge, Review

Challenging Reads

This year I am trying to do the Emilie Richard’s Reader challenge that she has on her Facebook page.  It is informal and so I don’t count it as “must do”, but I look each month and see what I can incorporate. It has helped me take three books off my actual shelf and read them and the other two I got at the library.

January: A first responders story or book.
book cover It may be a stretch to count this as a first responders book but because it involved those who were part of a mass shooting in a mosque in Christchurch and Husna responded to those shot around her and then was shot herself I count this as a very first responder’s story.

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February: This book was read in response to a person who changed the world in some way. A biography of Eunice Kennedy. She really did focus on making the world better for those with disabilities and started games that would eventually become world wide for the disabled. An extremely well researched, well written book. Eileen McNamara brings alive Eunice Kennedy, with all her amazing drive and passion and flaws. She was a woman who I think never took no for an answer. She fought for the injustice she saw about her. She worked politically and hands on with those especially with intellectual disabilities and really did change the way these people were treated and seen. She was just so herself. A marriage that seems to have been successful on many plains and children who have travelled on in her spirit with today’s insights incorporated. While I am not sure I would have liked her, I certainly applaud her for all that she achieved. The book itself is so well written, it just draws a reader in

book cover March – a book that was either a diary or a novel that had a diary within it. I chose The Light Over London as a diary is found by Cara in 2017. It takes us back to when Louise Keene a young British women enlisted and became part of a women’s gunner team. It is told well and seamlessly goes between each era. Some secrets, some heartache, lots of courage and second chances. I enjoyed it, although I did find it just a little slow moving.

book coverApril challenge was a book from the Times Magazine all time 100 list or the Guardian 1000 books list.  Well that’s quite a choice, but very few of them were that palatable to me. In the end I went with A Wizard of Earthsea, which is fantasy and I vaguely remember liking many, many years ago. I decided to reread it, and it was like new as I had remembered very little of it. It’s main character is Ged who is involved in a long journey to find out who he is and who his real enemy is. He goes through danger, loss and suffering. And has his victory that is a start. (There are a number more books). My favourite character in this book is Vetch who is a true friend for Ged.

Historical Fiction.

I am sure I read Georgette Heyer before but am not totally sure. I so enjoyed this book set mostly in France. Some of the language and customs were quite foreign to me and it intrigued me. For example the men would “show a leg”. I am guessing it was kind of putting one leg forward and bowing? Leonie was an enormously fun heroine and the Duke of Avon turns from a somewhat notorious gentleman into someone hardly recognised by those close as he falls for Leonie. The dialogue was often witty and there was enough little twists and turns to keep me turning the pages.

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Review

Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet

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Published: Hachette Au/Piatkus
Date: 1st January 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Nightchaser is the first in a new series by Amanda Bouchet. This series is set in the future in outer new galaxies. The world as we know it has imploded and people live in a variety of places in outer space. This “world” is ruled over by a despotic Galactic Overseer, who rules with an iron fist.

However there are pockets of resistance and none more so on board the cargo cruiser Endeavour, captained by Tess Bailey. She has a small crew with her and when we meet them for the first time they also have attached to them a stolen cargo that is going to be central to this book and further on.

Tess is tough, strong, young woman and along with her crew she has escaped the wily and cruel clutches of the Overseer – for the moment. At all costs they need to stay out of the hostile Dark Watch soldiers and do what they know is important. It turns out there are hidden depths to Tess and as the story unfolds much is revealed. I especially liked her total focus on the needs of Starway 8 where orphans live under the care of two amazing women. By the end of the book we and she understands herself more, but yet more is to be learned I suspect.

On board along with the stolen cargo is “big guy” and later when they dock, Shade is introduced. While there is a strong attraction immediately between Shade and Tess, things are rather till unclear about him.

It takes awhile to become acquainted with this world, but once all the details are gathered, I was completely along for the ride. The main and minor characters are interesting and many of them soon started to grow on me. I look forward to seeing how they all develop in the next book.

The story is full of adventure, while at times there are lulls, there is always a sense of danger either right there or just ahead.  The romantic element is strong without being overpowering.

The book leaves us all set up for the next one, the adventure or quest has began but is no means finished or near finished. I certainly will want to read the next one and am waiting eagerly.

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Review

Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

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Published:Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date: 2nd January 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 448
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating 4.5 stars
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Who is Catalia Fisa? With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin’s role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step—reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.

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And so we come to the third book in the KingMaker Chronicles – Heart on Fire. Right from the word go I really enjoyed this book, maybe even a little more than Books 1 and 2 if that’s possible! There is action, love, loss, betrayal, surprise, anguish, and above all family and hope.

There is the usual cast – Cat of course and Griffin, Griffin’s family and team, the gods and some of Cat’s family. Cat and Griffin have fought for and won both Sinta and Tarva and now their mission is to take Fisa under their wing and unite all of Thalyria into one. The one fly in the ointment of course is Fisa is Cat’s home country and the ruler is Cat’s ghastly mother.

I wondered if I should reread the first two books, but the first couple of chapters soon had my mind refreshed as to previous happenings and I was soon caught up in the swing of things, with the skilful recapping of salient points. The book opens at the end of the brutal Agon Games. There they lost on of their fighters – Cassandra and Piers, Griffin’s brother is very displeased about that. So much so it triggers the first major event of the book.

This book is really about Kat truly finding herself, she has to learn to trust herself and to find balance with all the magical powers that she has and combine them with compassionate humanity. So she doesn’t always get it right which at times leads her into the depths, where she has the choice of giving up or finding a way through. Just because she has magical powers doesn’t mean they are there at her finger tips with no effort on her part whatsoever. It was this journey that she undertakes and I think its why I liked this book so much. I liked the inner journey as much as the outer one.

I am not going to discuss anything that happens because to do so would give away the surprises and the plot. Suffice it to say there is a little unsolved mystery by the end, Little Bean is alive and well in Kat’s womb and ready no doubt to challenge her mother when she arrives. I did love that Kat really wants to be a good mother, and with Griffin as a father I think she’ll do well.

Like many other readers I do not want to leave these characters here. I know their mission is complete but there are unfinished stories I want told! May it happen!!