Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Funny You Should Ask (Life Without a Field Guide Book 1) --by Lill Hawkins

Nonfiction / Essays

128 pages / 2868 KB
Footnotes/Endnotes: None
Illustrations: None
Suitable for eReaders: Yes
5 Stars

I was asked to read this, and write an honest review. The book was free.

WARNING: This is a one-sit book. It brought to mind The Adventures of Stout Mama by Sibyl James, and Revenge of the Paste Eaters and Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs by Cheryl Peck.

A collection of short and humorous essays by a woman who holds a love-hate relationship with Maine (she loves the people, the weather can be iffy depending on the date), who home-schooled her children as a secularist (they are now in college, so she obviously did a good job), who lives with a husband as afraid of spiders as I am (she thinks they are nice and moves them to safe places away from him), and writes about some of the laugh-out-loud people and or experiences she and her family have had.

The title comes from the fact she home-schooled her children and often took Son and Daughter out during the day, and was forever being pelted with questions about why weren't they in school?

For a good time, don't call—buy this book! If you're thinking of home-schooling your kids, use this book as a primer on how to do it to get the best possible results. There are two more books out by Lill Hawkins in this series, which are now downloaded to my Kindle, so excuse me for cutting this short. I need a few more laughs today!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Crown of Renewal (Legend of Paksenarrion Book 5) --by Elizabeth Moon

Fiction / Fantasy
529 pages / 5040 KB
5 Stars

WARNING! If you haven't read the previous books, do not start here!

I found this book a satisfying conclusion to the series – and, yes, I noticed a few open ends by the ending. (Those open ends are not major plot points.) Perhaps another book? Another series? Dare I hope?

Truly, I was sad to leave the world of Paks. Moon does such a marvelous job of creating worlds, and their populations, I felt as if most of the good guys and gals were long lost friends I had just met again, and now they are gone again. But those open ends give me hope they have only left a while, and soon we'll be reunited.

I have consistently given Moon 5 stars for this series. One reason is I read them all in one fell swoop, and couldn't remember certain details from one to the next. Yes, some books were better than others, and parts of some books were better or worser (that's a word, trust me) than other parts. But over all, I could not put the series down until finished at some un-Girdish hour of the morning.

And I really, truly, hope Moon is going to give us another romp through the world of Paksenarrion. But if she doesn't, I am grateful for the romp I just completed. Thank you, Elizabeth Moon, for many hours of enjoyment and escape from the mundane features of my life.

Limits of Power (Legend of Paksenarrion Book 4) --by Elizabeth Moon

Fiction / Fantasy
505 pages / 4655 KB
5 Stars

If you're looking for a good read, and haven't already read Books 1, 2, and 3, do not, repeat, DO NOT start here. There is too much history between the characters, and you'll be lost, frustrated, and possibly angry. Start with #1 and read in order.

I faced this book with a wee bit of trepidation. I love the series, the people, the stories, and I knew before I picked the book up that the next book would be the end of the series. Although the stories would have to end, I wasn't all that positive I wanted them to. Yes, I wanted to know how they ended, but....

A subtitle for this book might have been: The Book of Change. There are many changes the characters go through as we turn the pages. And turn the pages you will.  After years of absence, magic is reappearing in families without warning or explanation. Fanatics go on a killing rampage, hell bent for leather to stamp out all magic and magery—killing men, women, and the children who possess it. Dark Elves kill The Lady of the Forest, leaving her grandson, the king, in the lurch. The world is not a pleasant place at the moment. Turn the page.

Knowing this is a five-book series, don't expect a neat, pat ending. Moon sets us up for the big conclusion in Book Five.

Moon draws on her time of active duty in the USMC to give us a realistic picture of what it's like to be a ground pounder, and what they must know in order to stay alive. (Can you cook? Can you darn your socks? Can you follow orders without question?)

Moon has been compared to George RR Martin and Robin Hobb. Frankly, I like Moon better. She doesn't kill everyone off and her series has an ending. And for me, it isn't quite as dark. I think Martin and Hobb should be compared to Moon.

Echoes of Betrayal: Paladin's Legacy (Legend of Paksenarrion Book 3) --by Elizabeth Moon

Fiction / Fantasy
466 pages / 4071 KB
5 Stars

We have now reached the middle book of the five-book series. Not the place to start, trust me. Start with Book 1 and read in order.

Arvid, the Master Thief, becomes a major character in this book. Or, perhaps, I should say his story is told, as he's been a major character since he rescued Paks way back when. His story is very interesting, and he became one of my most favorite people. He's a thief, an assassin, and suddenly a god starts speaking to him, and always at inopportune times. Well, mostly inopportune times.

Dorrin must deal with the evil of her family, and the distrust of the other nobles in the king's court. A crown that speaks to her doesn't seem to help, either. King Kieri must deal with betrayal, dragon fire, and a less than helpful grandmother.

I strongly suggest you have book four on your pile of books before you finish this one, as the story only gets more intense and exciting.

Kings of the North --by Elizabeth Moon

Fiction / Fantasy
491 pages / 4504 KB
5 Stars

Kings of the North is the second of five books in this series. Whereas I don't think it necessary to have read the earlier five books about Paks, I think this series needs to be read in order, as the ending of one book leads directly into the beginning of the next book.

I learned many years ago not to get hooked in series (if I could help it) until the series was complete and I could buy all the books if I wanted, and not have to wait a year or so between stories, I bought all these books in fast order. I read them in fast order.

Moon creates marvelous worlds, and populates them with believable characters. An ex Marine, she knows how to write about the military, a horsewoman, she knows how to write about horses. Although these books are fantasy, they are believable fantasy. She establishes rules for her realms, and then sticks to those rules.

Kieri Phelan is no longer a mercenary—he's a king! Talk about career advancement. Dorrin Verrakai has also moved up in the world, and is now Duke Verrakai. Magic abounds within realistic limits, and we are introduced to dwarves, gnomes, and even a dragon.

While I don't think it is necessary to have read the earlier Paks books from 20 years or so ago, it is assumed you are somewhat familiar with the characters. If you're a fantasy aficionado, you shouldn't have any trouble fitting, and playing, in this world.  Just be sure the next book is close at hand before you finish this one.