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pontalba's place

Discussion in 'Member Book Reviews/Journals/Blogs' started by pontalba, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    Ooo, must read that!
     
  2. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Polly, if you enjoy Flags in the Dust, go back and read The Unvanquished. It's about the same family and takes place during our Civil War. It will explain some of the relationships in Flags. But it is not necessary to read TU first.
     
  3. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough 5/5

    An absolutely riveting telling of Gaius Marius, a "New Man", who became The First Man in Rome. He is the leader, with a capital L that drove back the Germanic Tribes that threatened to overrun Rome. He was Consul of Rome an unprecedented 7 times. Not told in scholarly tones, it is set forth in up to date vernacular. It calls to the modern reader, and makes the Roman world come alive to us. We hear all the back room political gossip, the undermining of fellow Senators and Generals. We learn of the prejudices and undertones of the aristocracy. The battles are told of in a manner that I can understand easily, and appreciate. We see the reasons why Rome was great, and why she fell. We experience the underbelly of Rome in all it's gritty realism.

    This is the beginning of a 7 book series that will continue through "the" Julius Caesar, and through Antony and Cleopatra's demise. McCullough's attention to detail is fascinating, her research impeccable. She helps us see what made Rome tick, and it isn't much different from what makes the "modern" governments tick. Fascinating.

    Highly recommended.


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    Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke 5/5

    Vintage Burke. If noir married beautiful prose, and was couched in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, you'd have James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux detective series.

    This 7th in the series finds Dave Robicheaux battling both the bad guys and the corrupt police. Everyone seems to be after a sunken Nazi submarine off the Louisiana coast. What does it carry, and why do so many polar opposite types want it? And, why are they all converging on Dave?

    Robicheaux has to defend his life and his wife's life and sanity in this complicated tale.

    Recommended
     
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  4. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    O, thanks for the tip.

    I will look into it when I'm back home and I've got my Kindle back on the wifi (I'm in Dublin just now).
     
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  5. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    The Son by Jo Nesbo 5/5

    Blood Vendetta.

    Sonny Lofthus has been in prison for almost half of his life, he has been convicted of two murders. He is a heroin addict, and really doesn't care if he ever sees the light of freedom again. Until, that is, he learns the truth about his policeman father's suicide. Then all hell breaks loose. But is it the truth, and if so, whose truth is it? His magnificently implemented escape from prison enables him to track down the people he feels are responsible in one way or another for his father's death, and deal with them in a language they can understand.

    Many of the well drawn characters are not what they seem to be, and Sonny and the policeman that is attempting to track him play a game of tag, pirouetting between truth and fiction. But, again, whose truth? What is the truth and what is the lie? The navigation between is perilous to say the least and leads everyone, police, criminals and Sonny himself down the garden path. To what end? Will the truth come out, or not. I was unsure, until the end.

    This Nesbo offering is dark, yes. But it isn't quite as horrifically, terrifyingly dark as some of the later Harry Hole series. Thankfully. It is a well done, perhaps a bit of an old-fashioned mystery that has it's roots in the oldest of sins. Jealousy.

    Recommended.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
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  6. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    I'm not writing a proper review for Written In My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon. Mostly because it is very much only a repetitive continuation of her previous books in the series. If you've read them, this is not a lot different. Rehash, IOW.

    I discovered this series a little more than 20 years ago, by accident, and have followed it since. It is entirely possible I'm tiring of it. This is the 8th in the series. I can't say I'm terribly impressed. Considering readers had a 5 year wait in-between I'd have thought there would be something new. There isn't.
    Dramatic angst tends to be the unifying theme. It's difficult to enumerate, as that would mean spoilers, and there are a couple of very interesting twists along the way, discoveries made that make the book more interesting.
    I'm a bit put off by all the procrastinations and postponements that the releasing of this entry of Outlander have gone through. In one of Gabaldon's "explanations", (on her website) she said something about taking the book back, and "making it better". Well, shouldn't that have been done before she sent it to the publishers? I am afraid that she didn't work on it enough, and the book is a bit mish-mash.
    I really got the impression from her website that Gabaldon has started to believe her own press and it's all gone a bit to her head. If the quality of the books had remained on a more even keel, I wouldn't care about that, And, frankly, I don't care. Much. It's just that little bee buzzing around my head, know what I mean? [​IMG]
    Recommended, if you are a die hard Outlander fan. [​IMG] I've rated it an ambiguous 3/5.
     
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  7. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Blood Rites by Jim Butcher. 3/5

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only advertised Wizard has managed to antagonize everyone in the magical world, and has at least three very powerful entities after him. It seems only a matter of time before one of them get him. It's an interesting entry in the Dresden world, Harry's relationships are becoming more and more complex, and one wonders when he will see what is right before his eyes.
    It's a fun series, and I recommend it.
     
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