The White Rose, Alas, Babylon, and War and Grace

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The White Rose By Glen Cook

About 4/5’s of the way through this book, I grew suddenly tired of it. I don’t think this is the authors fault and I still rated the book pretty high on GoodReads, but the style of book doesn’t lend to strong emotional connections, per se. It’s written in a very military straight forward matter with the lead characters being hardened marines. Also, I was reading several more ’emotional’ books at the time.

But, when I finally jumped back in to finish it, I was rewarded with plenty of feelings of loss and the end of something great.

I loved the more fantastical elements of this book as the Black Company hides in the desert: whales that swim the sky and rocks that move and talk! I loved the pulling together of the villains and heroes. I loved that the Lady had just enough light to left in her to want to do what was right.

Yes, the style is a bit dry, but if you enjoy historical narratives and military history, this style will be comfortable to you. You will be able to bring the emotion to the story. Again, I spent a large part of this story chanting something about Raven being alive or being rescued, and with that, I joined Darling in her love and hate of him which is just brilliant writing.

I will always have a special place in my heart for the Black Company and am glad I got to join their adventures.

Rated R: Violence, War, Adult Situations

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Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

What a fun, politically incorrect book! Granted, I haven’t read many post apocalypse books that actually include the apocalypse, but this book gave me chills. When the bombs fell on The Day, the sense of incomprehensible horror and suddenly being cut off from the world felt real. Pat Frank did an excellent job realistically capturing what would happen to a community of survivors, their needs, and how life would break down. He shows how some of us would deny what had happened, some of us would die off quickly, and some of us would band together and keep going.

This book is a bit hard to qualify. It reminds me of an adventure story, plus a bit of horror, and obviously, parts of it read like historical fiction. Either way, this book is close to, if not, the father of the post-apocalyptic genre and a must read!

This would be a great book to read if you were in the middle of studying the Cold War just to get a sense of what the world feared. It does say in the preface that it is a great adventure book for an 11 year old, but a few adult subjects come up and some fairly violent situations, so I’d probably go for someone just a bit older, like 14.

Rate PG-13: Adult subjects, survival of the fittest, end of the world, loss, death.

 

war-and-grace

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This book was far too short. When I got to the end I just wanted to start it over again. Can you think of better praise? Price bought it for me for Christmas and in just a few weeks I devoured it.

War and Grace covers a handful of men and women who were either saved before, during, or after WW1 or WW2 and how the war and their salvation interacted. From pastors who helped save soldiers and Jews, to the chaplain for the Nazis during the Numberg trials, the book is filled with bravery, courage, and salvation.

Don Stephens is, I believe, and Orthodox Presbyterian. Because of this, he isn’t interested in feel good stories, but in genuine salvation. He is careful with his wording, seeks out true professions of faith, and makes sure a health, wealth, and prosperity gospel is nowhere to be found in the men and women he featured. This made the stories all that more encouraging. They aren’t ‘feel good’ stories, but tales of saints living out their lives. I’ll admit, the Numberg trials story brought me to tears. God saves sinners, some of the greatest sinners, humanly speaking, of all time. Mr. Stephens corresponded with the subjects of the book and their families. He also suggest further reading at the end of each biography making my reading list just get longer.

This book could easily be read aloud to children, used in the classroom, or for personal devotions. I can’t recommend this book enough and I know I’ll be reading it again soon. It would also make great Christmas gifts for any history buff or man in your family . . . or wife too. 🙂

Rated PG: war

 

(If you follow the links above they will take you to Amazon where you can purchase these books which will gives me a small tip. Thank you in advance!)

 

 

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The Tethered World by Heather FitzGerald

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(I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.)
This book was an absolute delight to read. It has a little bit of everything: adventure, battles, political intrigue, betrayal, friendships, danger, legendary creatures, dragons, fairies, gnomes and so much more!
I loved that it centers around an eccentric home school family, and, no, not a denim skirt wearing family, just a normal home school family. (NO offense if you wear jean skirts.) The Larcens are fun, relatable, and just a little crazy.
Describing this book is hard because it has so many elements that would normally turn me off from a book: it’s safe, it’s Christian fantasy, it’s safe. LOL. I don’t need to put any sort of warning on it. There is no language. The kids are smart and not rebellious. The romance is sweet, mild, and not acted upon by either party. It has a family that trust the Lord and loves each other. There is nothing here that isn’t good and wholesome. Most books that I can say this about are also boring, badly written, preachy, and trite.
Not The Tethered World.
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Map of the Tethered World.(Supplied by H. FitzGerald.)

 

When their parents disappear, the Larcen children have their lives turned upside down and the adventure begins.
The mythological creatures are handled perfectly: just different enough to be interesting and just familiar enough to tie them to other stories. The struggles faced by Sadie as she tackles a world she only wants to leave are real and relatable without being annoying. Sophie is my heart and I love her to death. She spends most of the adventure trying not to have too much fun. Brady grows into a man by fighting and sacrificing himself, and Brock finds his place. (Brock’s story is one of the great joys of this book.)
If you have a kid, boy or girl, who loved Narnia this is the next book for them. It’s written very much with Lewis’ world in mind and has much of the same feel. Danger and struggles are there, but not so detailed or dark that they overwhelm the story.
This is a great book to read to introduce the wide world of fantasy to adults and children alike.
So, I say this story is safe in the same way I would say The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is safe. It has moments of great darkness, but also great joy. It has moments that made me chuckle and laugh while I read, and moments that brought me to tears.
If you are tired of YA books that seem to have far more Adult and not enough Young, if you want a story about kids who aren’t so worried about boyfriends and girlfriends, but about taking care of their family, if you want faith that isn’t preachy, and if you want good fun adventure, check out The Tethered World.
On a personal note, I’ve worked with Heather for a couple years now on her writing and her on mine. She was one of the earliest members of the Manet Writing Group that I founded and a dear friend. The praise I’ve given her book isn’t something I take lightly and isn’t given because I actually know her. Her writing is wonderful and her world is magical. I plan on giving her book as a gift to my nieces this month and can’t wait to talk to them about it.
Join us for a FB Launch Party for the release of The Tethered World this evening! There will be some awesome door prizes given away including a Kindle and gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon. If you join us, make sure you say I sent you! 🙂
(If you follow the link above it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase The Tethered World which will give me a small kick-back. Thank you in advance!)

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Heather L.L. FitzGerald lives in Texas with four someones that call her mom and one special someone that calls her his wife. She homeschooled her children–one of whom is autistic–and teaches ballet at a fine arts school in Forth Worth. Heather is a member of the North Texas Christian Writers, and helps to facilitate the Manet writer’s group in Fort Worth, Texas. She loves drinking ice lattes, cloud watching, and getting lost in a good book.

 

You can connect with Heather on her website/blogFacebook, Pinterest: (Belongs to her main character, Sadie), Character blog: (Sadie’s mom has a blog about legendary creatures.), Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads.

Cora and the Nurse Dragon by H. L. Burke

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(Click on the link to pre-order this book for $0.99. The book comes out January 31st!)

(I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

I love this story. I read it about a month ago and I’m still delighted with it. I think the main reason for my enjoyment is the connection I felt to the main character, Cora. If you put her in a modern setting and gave her a love for horses instead of dragons, she’d be me.

This book had a special kind of magic. From the opening paragraph on, I loved every minute of it. Cora loves dragons and dreams of being a dragon jockey when she grows up. She saves her money up to hatch eggs but generally just gets short-lived mayflies . . . until one day! And her adventures begin.

The other reason I thought this story was super fun was the ‘80/’90’s save-the-animal feeling. You know those movies where a kid finds a wild animal, raises it, falls in love with it, and then tearfully has to . . . well I don’t want to spoil it, but there were tears! Like those fun kid movies, this book wasn’t too heavy handed or preachy about animal rights. It was more about treating animals kindly than denouncing evil humanity. (Sarcasm.)

This makes the book a perfect opening to talk to your kids about how we treat animals, and what is right and wrong about that. Another talking point this book provides is business. Cora and her best friend start their own company and there is some great moments of them trying to figure out how to cover their costs and still make a profit and what to do with that profit.

In summary, this book is a clean, fun adventure that has a few dark moments, but ends well with the added bonus of providing some great opportunities for conversation between readers.

I can’t wait to share this book with my two twelve-year-old nieces!

Rated: PG: I only say this because there are mistreated animals and the kids get tangled up with some bad people. There is no language, sex, or gratuitous violence. Again, think Dumbo Drop or something like that.

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The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock

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This book sat on my book shelf for several months. A friend, who I should have trusted, loaned it to me, but the cover looked like a Christian romance novel. The blurb on the back made it sound like a Christian romance novel. I put of reading it for a long time.

One day, bored with my book selection and with out the energy to work on my own story, I picked up this book. It grabbed me from the opening sentence. And it is not a Christian romance novel. Not at all.

It’s hard to write a review for this book.

It’s so studded with beautiful hidden gems. I won’t say it’s theologically sound. There were moments when I wanted to yell about the simplicity of God and such, but there was a great human beauty and some deep theological truths shown through suffering.

The first two books were written with the current Melissa being told the stories passed from Melissa to Melissa generation after generation. Several reviewers didn’t seem to enjoy that element of the story, but oral storytelling is an impressive art and it was enjoyable to see it showcased. The third book dropped Melissa and her mother completely. While the story lost none of it’s power, I missed that element.

As I neared the end of this book, I stopped reading it. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it. Quite the opposite. It was because I knew it would be painful to compete it. I wasn’t wrong. Lots of tears.

The only book I can think of to compare this one to is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. They both have a beautiful way with words, description, and capture the human spirit.

The monastic setting of the story was far more enjoyable than I suspected lending the book an otherworldly feel without becoming a fantasy novel. The friendship, heartache, longing, sufferings, and failings of these men drives the story forward in a soft poetic beauty that is both rending and calming.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Ignore the cover and the synopsis. They have almost nothing to do with the actual story.

Read this book and in many ways your soul will be blessed and fed.

(If you click on the link it will take you to amazon. If you purchase the book from there I get a small kick-back. So thanks!)

Theology and The Black Company

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The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace: More Than a Memory
By Richard C. Barcellos

In this book you will find a comprehensive study of the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace and encouragement to view it with a past, present, and future perspective. (Though I tend to want to yell “The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future” every time I think about this. My problem, not yours.)
While this book was a fairly quick read, I think large portions of it went over my head especially in the middle. Even with that it was a valuable and encouraging read. I have felt convicted for a while now about my lack of understanding of the Lord’s Supper and the practical chapters at the end were very helpful to me. I plan on re-reading this book again in the future and recommend it even for the layman. If you are struggling to understand the Lord’s Supper, or the means of grace, you need to add this to your list.

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The Black Company

By Glen Cook

I’ve read this book twice and absolutely loved it both times. I love the writing style, though you should be warned, it takes some getting used to. I tend to get into an author’s cadence pretty quickly, but even the second time through, it took me almost half the book to feel in the flow. Cook writes with a very clipped vocabulary which does turn some people off of the story.
The Black Company is basically a military book in a fantasy setting. It’s gritty, bloody, rough, ragged, and wonderful all at the same time. The characters are fun and interesting. The world is well developed. I really enjoyed this story. I loved seeing the hardened men softened by a little girl. I love how the mercenaries try to find the lines of right and wrong. I love how Cook breaks so many of the fantasy rules, even rules I love, to make a very down to earth story.
I think this is one of my favorites in the fantasy genre. I would put it next to Starship Troopers as far as military fantasy goes.
Rated R: war, adult situations, language

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Shadows Linger

By Glen Cook

This is one of those books I read in one day… granted I was sick and had nothing better to do. Cook’s voice seemed to change quite a bit from book 1 to book 2. All the force of the story was there, but the clipped nature of his writing seems to have mellowed. Many who struggled through book 1 will enjoy book 2 more.
I really like how the pace didn’t slow down from one book to the next even though the events are very different.
I spent most of the book screaming about Raven and his lack of life or death. He’s my favorite character.
Ultimately this is a redemption story and I enjoy that element of it quite a bit. It wasn’t a “Christian” redemption, but a very human redemption which I always view as a shadow of what God did even when an unbeliever expresses it. Even they can’t escape this beautiful element of story telling. I really enjoyed the villain in this story. It was very creepy and unique. (I’m being vague for spoilers sake.) And I enjoyed the violent, redemptive, resentful end as well, though I was sad for all that happened to the Black Company.
I did feel like this book was a bit earthier than the last one, still very good.

Last, the cover is just so bad. They really really need to re-design it. Please don’t judge this book by it’s horrible cover art.
Rated R: violence, language, earthiness.

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Living in the Hope of Glory: A New Translation of a Spiritual Classic
By Adolph Monod

I think out of all the books I’ve read this year, this one is my favorite. Mike Gaydosh over at Solid Ground Publishing suggested it at our church’s conference this fall and I knew I wanted to read it right away. It is a collection of sermons preached by Monod a few months before he passed away. Every Sunday as he lay dying he would have a handful of fellow Christians over and they would enjoy the Lord’s Supper together and he would preach a small sermon. What a blessing to get to see this dear brother’s heart only months before he met the Lord. What riches and truth we can share in due to the hard work of the translator.
I was blessed over and over again by this brother who has gone before me. His perspective on life was convicting. His thoughts on affliction were so encouraging, and his last sermon on God’s love brought tears to my eyes as I thought of it being the last sermon he preached.
I can’t put into words how thankful I am for this book. It’s going to be hard not to just start it right over again. If you are looking for something to feed your soul and compliment what your pastors preach on Sunday, this is my suggestion. Read this book!

(If you click on the links, it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase the book. Bonus! I get a tiny kickback. 🙂 Thank you!)

 

 

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (A short review)

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

By Jeremiah Burroughs

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I started reading this book, providentially, at the same time I faced chronic health issues that sapped my energy and forced me to be house bound and mostly couch bound. What a blessing from the Lord! This book challenged me to keep my heart in the right place, trust the Lord, and seek the spiritual growth that comes from affliction.

This is an excellent, easy-to-read, manual for every believer on the importance of contentment and keeping a pre-ash, treasure in heaven mentality. He covers health issues, money issues, and many many heart issues poking in deep to help you root out a complaining heart.

This book isn’t without a small handful of doctrinal issues. At one point Burroughs declares that God is more interested in your private bible study than He is with your church attendance. There aren’t so many that value can’t be gleaned, but don’t read this book blindly. Keep your theology cap firmly in place.

I can see myself reading this book again, or referencing particular parts of it during times of struggle. God has taken care of His church through good times and bad, down through the ages, by giving us pastors and teachers. We are fortunate to get to read the shepherds of the past.

(If you follow the link above, it will take you to Amazon where you can order the book for $0.99 on your Kindle.)

 

Shatterworld by Lelia Rose Foreman

(From Google)

(From Google)

Shatterworld by Lela Rose Foreman

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I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I was pretty excited about that because it was the first time that had happened for me. J I’d seen other bloggers get books for free to review, but I’d never gotten one before. Exciting.

Shatterworld is Christian science-fiction. It is the perfect example of good writing taking something that probably sounded odd/dumb/crazy and making it engaging. I think anything well-written and developed will be enjoyable regardless of how silly or cliché it might be. This book is proof that I’m right. J

This is the story of a young girl who’s is part of a fundamentalist, theonomist religious group who flees persecution on Earth to form their own society on a new planet. Yes, my brain kept thinking Amish in space. The book begins just as they select a planet and details out the establishment of their colony. Conflict comes when Rejoice’s love of astronomy goes against the rural and agriculturally focused life the Elders have planned. How does star-gazing help grow crops?

Now, before some of you give up on this story based on the ‘Amish in space’ part, hear me out.

This book has hexacrabs.

It is amazing the way Foreman makes everything feel logical, real, and well-developed. But, the beauty comes in her alien race, because *Spoilers* the humans aren’t alone. The hexacrabs are fascinating. Their culture, language, and characteristics are appealing even as they are foreign. I relished every interaction with them. They are the element that keeps this story from being preachy or underdeveloped. Foreman has a gift with cultures, a real gift.

Without spoiling the story for you, I also loved how Rejoice is challenge throughout the story to be herself and yet weigh her own selfishness in that. I love how not only does Rejoice grow and change, but everyone does: parents, teachers, elders, siblings, friends, and hexacrabs. The world feels very rich because no one is static. They are all affected by what they believe, why they came here, the choices they made, and the world around them. This book, while simple in many ways, was a great example of the idea that side characters should all think they’re the main character.

I enjoyed the moment when disaster strikes and Rejoice waits to hear from God to see how she should proceed. At first, I worried she might actually hear God, instead she applies her God-given gifts to the situation and heroically save the day with the help of her autistic brother Makepeace. A perfect example of God using means within his sovereignty.

While I obviously don’t agree with all the theology because it’s a story about a fundamentalist/theonomist space travelers, the story never becomes preachy and the flaws within that belief system are easily seen. I think some good conversations could be had with your children as they read this book about the nature of sin, selfishness, gifts, family, church authority, and so much more.

If I was to nitpick this book, my only complaint would be the huge amount of characters to keep up with complicated by the names of some of them. This wasn’t a big deal to me, but I can see it being a minor hang up for some people.

Overall, this book is a wonderful adventure for both boys and girls, clean, with a strong family structure and plenty of opportunities for discussion. Plus, as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

100 Cupboards, Serapion on the Holy Spirit, Ella Enchanted

 

 

I’m sorry all these reviews are so short. These books deserve better, but I got behind and am to tired to do more than say if I liked them or not.

100Cupboards-cover100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson

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I was very excited to get my hands on this book my Wilson after reading his thoughts on children’s literature. This book has some very cute elements and I particularly loved the family that the MC moves in with. The setting is also delightful. The story balances just the right amount of humor and fear. I look forward to reading the rest of his work. This would be a great book to read aloud as a family, and both boys and girls will enjoy it.
Rated G: scary witch, magic.

 

22917423._UY200_Serapion on the Holy Spirit by Athanasius of Alexandria

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I’m going to just admit up front that I got more out of this book when I read it aloud with my husband. We read the first letter, and then I read the other three on my own. It is a rich and theologically deep book, but still applicable today. I found it amazing to read the work of a saint from so long ago.

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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I thought this was a great book. It proves that there are creative and fun children’s stories still being written. Any girl who enjoys fairy tales will love this version of Cinderella with a twist. In fact, the twist made me nervous for the author. It seemed so challenging, but she handled it perfectly. The book does a good job having a lead female character without destroying all the male characters. The prince is brave and good. I recommend this book for any young lady!
Rated G: magic, step-mothers, fairies

 

Atonement, The Raven Boys, Briar Rose, and The Lantern Bearers,

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Atonement by Ian McEwan

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While this book does have an inappropriate scene, and all the conflict comes about through inappropriate means, the book is beautifully written, and hauntingly sad. It is one of the few well done book-to-movie adaptations. It tells a story of star-crossed lovers, but is really a story about a women spending her whole life in search for forgiveness and redemption against those she wronged as a foolish little girl. I can’t say enough about the prose of this book. It was wonderful. Plus, it can count as a WW2 historical fiction because it gives you a wonderful sense of the retreat of the British early on in the war, and the hospitals and staff life of the time. This book is sadly beautiful and I wanted to share as a Quote of the Weekend every other paragraph.
Rated R: Sex and Adult Situations

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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This book caught me off guard. The idea of seeing the one you love, or the one you will kill snagged me, but the characters are what held me fast. The best way I can describe this book is like Veronica Mars with magic. It follows a girl named Blue who is poor and tied to magic as she meets four wealthy boys and joins them on their adventure. At first I wanted to groan out loud. It was so cliché. She’s poor and hates the boys that go to the wealthy school, but then ends up dating one of them and helping them. Been there, read that, watched that. This is a story that gets told over and over and over. Yet, I kept reading because the four rich boys are so interesting. Their characters are really well developed, their friendship is so well done, and Blue getting thrown in the mix works well.
This book is proof that it is not the idea but how you go about telling it that’s important. Cliché isn’t bad as long as it is done well. I’m excited to read the rest of the series.

Rated PG-13: Fairly clean of sex, just hand holding and mild crushes, but does have some cussing and some of the boys have some pretty intense problems. Good for the middle to higher end of YA. Not a Christian story by any means, but does have some interesting historical fiction elements.

 

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Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765342308/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0765342308&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=7E6UMUPF5SAAGSRL

This is one of those books that I would argue against labeling as YA. Mostly, because I feel like the story and the themes, as an armchair WWII historian, speak to all ages. This book is not just for teens. It is  well written and deep. I think any adult will enjoy it, especially if you enjoy WWII oriented stories.
Using the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty and the history of the Holocaust creates a haunting and beautiful story. It’s also just plain clever. I love the familiarity of both things being brought together. This story held me in suspense every step of the way.
But, I think for the majority of my readers and audience this book would only qualify as the oldest of YA literature. A large section of the story is narrated by a homosexual man who talks, not in great detail, about his string of lovers over the years before he’s thrown in a Nazi work camp. I don’t think this is a part of history that should be ignored or whitewashed, but I do think parents should know about it going into it. So… now you know.
This is a story any adult can read and enjoy. I think it is well written and well told. If you enjoy sad love stories, or just sad stories in general, you should read this book. If you love anything WWII related, you should read this book. It’s not very long, and is worth your time.
Rated PG-13: Holocaust, Homosexuality, Brutality

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The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312644302/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0312644302&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=IMOSFMLUCPCEZXJM

Oh, how I loved this book.

It was interesting to read it after having spent the earlier part of the year working through the first half of Bernard Cornwall’s Saxon series, as this book covers the Britons being attacked by the Saxons. It was like switching sides in the middle of a football game.

This book was so beautiful.
Because it’s an older book, it does a lot more telling and less showing like more modern stories. It is more like reading say the Silmarillian than the Lord of the Rings. But, since it tracks only one young man’s life, it’s not as long or confusing as the Silmarillian. It just tells you there was a battle instead of shows you there was a battle.
It took me a while to get into the book. I didn’t read it all in one day, but every time I picked it up, I fell in love with it. Sutcliff’s descriptions were short but beautiful. Her characters are powerful and honorable and full of struggles. The war is long and heroes are lost. Foes come. Friends betray friends. Love is found. It is one of those great stories.
This is a true young adult book amongst young adult books and I wish we read things like this in our schools today. I think young men would especially enjoy it since the hero is a man going off to war.
As is true for most tales in this time period, families are ripped apart, love comes slow, death is found in the shield wall. But, much of that is shown in the right way, not in a bathe-in-sin sort of way.
I truly can’t speak highly enough of this book. Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again. I hope to share it with my nephews when they get a little older.
This would also be a great book to read if you’re studying the history of England, the Saxons, or Vikings.
Rated PG: Adult themes and war

All The War Books (Deanna just skip this post): The Warrior, On Combat, Helmet for my Pillow, Dead Six

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0670019615/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0670019615&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=LZFPK27Y24DP5FOB

The Warrior: A Mother’s Story of a Son at War

By Frances Richey

A short book of poignant poems written by mother who’s son has gone to war. I found this book to be very unique and heartfelt. While I’m not anti-war myself, and while my mother took a very God-centered approach to my brother joining the military, it was still touchingly beautiful to read of a mother’s heartache. Isn’t this the great beauty to books? Sharing in the experiences of others which are unlike our own?

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0964920549/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0964920549&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=LBKP4XT3PUYM2CCO

On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace

By Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen

I read this book for two reasons: 1) Because I love warrior stories and was interested in expanding my understanding of warriors. 2) Research for the warrior stories I’m writing.
As research, this book might be a bit dense, in that I found I couldn’t incorporate fully everything I had learned about what a warrior endures in the style of books that I write at one time. But, since I write warrior stories, I’m sure I’ll use everything I gleaned. If you’re just looking for a basic introduction to warriors than pick and choose your chapters.

I found this book to be very informative, interesting, heart-felt, and a great way for a citizen to understand and support the warriors in their community.

The chapters aren’t long, aren’t full of psychological terminology and thus incomprehensible, and aren’t boring. Everything here is interesting, challenging, and has enriched my life. I’m glad I read it.

Two things, I had a hard time with Grossman blaming much of the violence in our society on video games and violent movies even though he says that kids who are disciplined either by parents or who participate in organized sports and are taught discipline don’t tend to react the same way to the violence as kids who are undisciplined. I felt like his argument pointed to the need for strong families more than the need for getting rid of action films. I must admit, I skipped the last half of the chapter on violent games and movies.
I also think there is an inherent flaw in his sheepdog/sheep analogy. While I strongly sympathize with it, I think it leaves open a great pride in the sheepdog and, humans being humans, a situation of abuse by the sheepdogs. It is very easy if you’re a sheepdog to look down on the sheep as weak and dumb and then only a short step from that to bulling the sheep. I think his illustration works better if you have a shepherd in charge of the sheep and the sheepdog to make sure everything is kept working properly. Obviously, I’m seeing this from a Christian World view with the idea of Christ as our shepherd. I also know from personal experience that it is very easy for the sheepdog to turn on and devour the very sheep it was supposed to protect.

Other than those two things, great book.

Rated PG-13: subject is battle and it’s effects on people. Can strongly influence readers to want to be warriors.

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553593315/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0553593315&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=GS2MNU3Q6IOJAY4G

Helmet for My Pillow

By Robert Leckie

What a beautiful and well written memoir from WWII. I found Leckie’s style to be very intelligent, insightful and touching. I stumbled on this book after watching the Pacific. Honestly, I thought the Pacific did a horrible job with Leckie. They made him far more morose than he came across in the book. In the book he was a trouble maker, a fighter, a fellow brothers in arms and a Marine. I found the same thing in With the Old Breed. These guys were Marines and proud of it. In the movie, I felt like both Leckie and Sledge were painted one-dimensionally and with too much modern “sensibility”. Band of Brothers found beauty in battle within the brotherhood and all the guys who kept coming back and who stuck together after the war. In that, they may have been rare. You don’t see as many men reuniting year after year as you do the 101st Airborne. But, when you read Helmet for my Pillow and With the Old Breed, you get the same sense of brotherhood and I think it short changed these guys heroics in the field to not show that better. They also didn’t show the pride these men had in being Marines.

Like many other’s of it’s kind, this book doesn’t focus much on the battles, but on what happened between the battles. When I first started reading WWII memoirs I found this trait to be very frustration. “Tell me about the battles, man!” I kept thinking. But know, I find it very fitting, humbling, and authentic. I don’t know why those men would want to think about the battles and their point of view on them is probably very snap shorted out. The times between the battles was what they want to tell about. And, it’s not like there is no description of the battles, they just aren’t played out in full Hollywood detail.

I found it very interesting that Leckie mentioned a couple of times that America sent it’s boys off to war with no war songs and how demoralizing that was. Very interesting insight.

All in all, a must for any and all.

I’d say age range is late high school, just due to some adult themes.

Rated PG-13: Not nearly as graphic as The Pacific. War and Adult Situations.

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451637586/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1451637586&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=GHMNUO3KG2F4272U

Dead Six (Dead Six #1)

By Larry Correa and Mike Kupari

It took me a while to get into this book. Granted, I was listening to it on audio book at a time when I could only listen a few minutes a week, so it wasn’t like I was getting to really soak in this book.
But still, the first 2/3 of the book were good but not great. The last third was awesome and well worth the wait.

The story is fairly predictable: two enemies duke it out until they realize they are fighting the same enemy and then they team up at the end and everything works out great.

If you enjoy action flicks you’re pretty used to the repackaging and retelling of these types of stores. They’ve been told and told and retold since before the Vikings and they’re as good now with guns and terrorists as they were in dragon ships and shield walls, cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers. Just good stories.

As always, Correa doesn’t hold back on the violence and the guns. He also doesn’t hold back on the fun and had me giggling at times and sad at times. His books are my favorite “weekend” reads.

Rated R: Language and Violence with some Adult Situations hinted at.