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Friday, April 24, 2015

Mime Order by Samantha Shannon


The Mime Order   

After reading The Bone Season, I jumped right into Samantha Shannon's next installment.  

Of course, Paige does eventually escape the prison camp of Sheol I, but the escape plan went drastically wrong in some areas, and the escapees are much fewer in number than Paige had hoped.    Even after reaching London, elements of the escape go awry, and the escapees are separated.

Paige tops the Most Wanted list in London; Scion has a new device ready to be released that detects clairvoyants; Paige's efforts to expose the connection between the Rephaim and Scion and the terrible danger they pose are discounted; and Paige's relationship with her mime-lord Jaxon Hall, already a little shaky, is damaged further.

Warden's absence is notable in the first part of the novel, but he does make his appearance later.  Interesting how often he now defers to Paige.  

Intricate plot, engaging characters, an examination of the ways that power corrupts, suspense, murders...  All there.

The book is long and the pacing is sometimes slow, but once again, my ability to set it aside was pretty much nil--house keeping, quilting, the garden--all neglected. A twist at the end is one that I'd considered and discarded a couple of times, and a nice set up for the next in the series.

Samantha Shannon talks about The Bone Season:


Library copy.

SciFi/Fantasy.  2015.  510 pages.




Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

  The Bone Season  

How to categorize this novel....  It is an interesting combination of genres:  science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, futuristic, dystopian, paranormal, political corruption, and underworld crime.

It takes a little while to become settled in the first chapter. The author's attempt to give some background to the world she has created is in the form of an information dump that doesn't always make things clearer.   There are also a lot of terms that need to be explained and although there is a glossary at the back, it would have been nice to have more of them defined in context.  That said, the inclusion of new terms didn't bother me exceedingly, and after the plenitude of sometimes puzzling information, by the second chapter, I was quickly immersed in the world Shannon has created.

Paige Mahoney is a clairvoyant, a class of people feared and hunted by the Scion government.  Just to say one is a "voyant" is only the beginning, however, because one size does not fit all.  There are seven major orders and under each order there are sub-orders.
(for example:  if you were classified as a Guardian, you might be a Binder, a Summoner, a Necromancer, or an Exorcist).

Paige Mahoney is a Jumper, the highest category, and under that umbrella, she is a Dreamwalker, an extremely rare type of clairvoyant.  Since voyants are persecuted by the government, they often join one of the criminal syndicates that protects them, and Paige has a crucial role in the syndicate run by the mime-lord Jaxon Hall.  She is his Dreamwalker and his Mollisher (chosen successor).

When an attempt is made to arrest Paige, she discovers an element of her power that leaves one man dead and another insane.  She escapes the initial confrontation, but is later captured and transferred to a voyant prison run by a powerful alien society known as the Rephaim, who work in conjunction with the Scion government that supplies the voyants.

I found myself engrossed and unable to put the novel down for any length of time--all other projects and activities were set aside.  I already had the second book and dived into it immediately.  

The trailer is a great introduction to the book.

SciFi/Fantasy.  2013.  Print length: 480 pages.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This and That

38 Wonderful Foreign Words We Could Use in English


1. Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
2. Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it? The Georgians feel your pain. This word means, “I accidentally ate the whole thing."
3. Tartle (Scots)
The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can't quite remember.

Those are just the first three on the list.  I wish I knew how to pronounce Shemomedjamo (the second on the list) because I could use that one!  You know, that bag of candy or half gallon of ice cream, or loaf of banana bread...shemomedjamo!  I'm practicing saying it, even if my pronunciation is wrong because it is a concise explanation.  I never intend to eat the whole thing, it is always an accident.

I'm now interested in reading The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre.  Here's why:





The reviews on Goodreads run the full gamut--from DNF to plenty of 5 stars.  Ordinarily, I would not be interested, but the songs by Shane Cavendish that were inspired by the book make me want to know more about the novel.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Inspiration on Monday

I'm linking up again over at Love, Laughter, and Insanity.

Inspiration on Monday

Welcome to the second edition of Inspiration on Monday! Inspiration on Monday is a forum to share things that we’ve created and things that we are doing to help inspire others. Posts about projects in progress, finished projects, tutorials, and how-tos are all welcome. Feel free to share recipes, crafts, lifestyle, organizing, and DIY tips, and any other idea that can spark inspiration.

Trish said old posts were fine and these are pics from an old post on my other blog.  I made crowns for my grandchildren. 


Max was loving a book about Skippy John Jones 
(and some dinosaur bones) at the time.

Mila was loving pink.

Bryce Eleanor's initials are B.E., 
and she is often called Bee.

And I made me one, too!
side view above
Some days I just put mine on for a while
and behave regally.


The Fall by John Lescroart

The Fall

I've been reading Lescroart's Dismas Hardy series for years. Lescroart's characters are the main reason I continue reading; they are always well-developed and complex.  His ensemble cast includes Dismas Hardy, Abe Glitsky, Wes Farrell, Wyatt Hunt, Gina Roark and others. In different novels, different characters take precedence, but the network of friendships, intertwining careers, and cases keep the semblance of a real world with all of its interconnectedness, alliances, and collaborations.

Over the years, characters have changed, career paths have altered, and children have grown up.  This novel may indicate an important change because Rebecca ("the Beck"), Dismas Hardy's daughter now grown and an associate at Hardy's law firm, takes a prominent role.  Because Lescroart has allowed his characters to age and change as if they were real people, we may be seeing the initial steps in the changing of the guard.  

Plot:  The death of a young African-American woman adds to the increasing media pressure in San Francisco concerning failures in the arrest and conviction in African-American homicides.  There is plenty of incentive to solve the case quickly and avoid the media glare and the accusations of those with a political agendas.  The struggle between swift and thorough is felt throughout the investigation.  

Rebecca Hardy ends up defending Greg Treadway, middle-school teacher and CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Victim Advocate) for the victim's brother.  He had dinner with the victim shortly before her death.  Did the rush to find the killer cause the arrest of an innocent man?  

I admit that the reference to John Milton (especially since the title of the book is The Fall) clued me in on the killer early in the book, but I like that kind of thing.

Despite the fact that I love all the back stories of the various characters and having that feeling of reuniting with old friends each time, these books all function perfectly well as stand alones.  This isn't my favorite, but maybe I'm not quite ready for the changing of the guard, not ready to let my older friends in the series to begin taking a back seat to the younger generation.

Read in February; blog post scheduled for April 2o.

NetGalley/Atria Books

Mystery/Legal Thriller.  May 5, 2015.  Print length:  320 pages.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Of Interest to Me

Reading Is Fundamental

One example of some wonderful pics...
photo by Debbie Treloar 

Media Influence on our kids.

Pretty scary!  This also is a problem with some YA books.  Believe me, I don't want to go back to puritan standards by any means, but when the content of the media that reaches so many children presents these messages, the results can be devastating.  

Holy Angels Residential Facility  (much more positive!)




My daughter is involved with Holy Angels
 and whenever she talks about it, her face brightens. 




Quote

We are here on earth to do good for others.  What the others are here for, I do not know.  
 --W.H. Auden

Love this one!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Danger of Little Free Libraries

You may remember my infatuation with the library in the home of some old friends.



I've posted on both of my blogs about Teresa and Ricky's library and wonderful old home.   They are both talented, creative people, active in artistic and civic organizations.  

In recent months, they have had the most unusual and ridiculous problems with the Metropolitan Planning Commission in Shreveport.

Ricky built a Little Free Library, and the fun began when the MPC sent a notification telling the Edgertons to close the LFL down as it was a commercial venture.  (The notification contained two misspelled words...) 

The MPC looked pretty foolish when the Facebook posts went viral and newspapers and television (local and national) picked up the story.  For a while it seemed the problem was resolved, and then it would get silly all over again.  Now one more problem has arisen; it would be funny if it weren't so petty and nonsensical.

You can read more about it on Teresa's blog.

Just one example of the amazing coverage this event has received:
Louisiana City Government Squashed Renegade Free Book Exchange  (article in The Washington Post)


The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

The Shattered Court

Listed as fantasy, but perhaps should have been listed as sexual fantasy.  

The novel has royal witches, portals, and magic, and these elements could have carried an interesting fantasy novel.  Instead the novel reads as if the plot's purpose is to make opportunities for sexual encounters. Most are short, but a couple are waaaayyy too long and detailed, and none were needed at all..unless that is why you are reading the book.

Take out the sex, and the novel feels like a YA fantasy.

I love fantasy, but my preference is for high adventure, so this novel didn't work for me.

Read in March.  Blog post scheduled for April 18.

NetGalley/Penguin Group

Fantasy.  April 28, 2015.  Print length:  336 pages.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

National Poetry Month

A murmuration of starlings!  

I've seen other amazing videos like this, but since seeing the birds always reminds me of John Updike's poem, and it is National Poetry Month...

The Great Scarf of Birds -- John Updike

Playing golf on Cape Ann in October,
I saw something to remember.

Ripe apples were caught like red fish in the nets
of their branches. The maples
were colored like apples,
part orange and red, part green.
The elms, already transparent trees,
seemed swaying vases full of sky. The sky
was dramatic with great straggling V’s
of geese streaming south, mare’s-tails above them.
Their trumpeting made us look up and around.
The course sloped into salt marshes,
and this seemed to cause the abundance of birds.

As if out of the Bible
or science fiction,
a cloud appeared, a cloud of dots
like iron fillings which a magnet
underneath the paper undulates.
It dartingly darkened in spots,
paled, pulsed, compressed, distended, yet
held an identity firm: a flock
of starlings, as much one thing as a rock.
One will moved above the tress
the liquid and hesitant drift.

Come nearer, it became less marvelous,
more legible, and merely huge.
“I never saw so many birds!” my friend exclaimed.
We returned our eyes to the game.
Later, as Lot’s wife must have done,
in a pause of walking, not thinking
of calling down a consequence,
I lazily looked around.

The rise of the fairway above was tinted,
so evenly tinted I might not have noticed
but that at the rim of the delicate shadow
the starlings were thicker and outlined the flock
as an inkstain in drying pronounces its edges.
The gradual rise of green was vastly covered;
I had thought nothing in nature could be so broad
but grass.

And as
I watched, one bird,
prompted by accident or will to lead,
ceased resting; and, lifting in a casual billow,
the flock ascended as a lady’s scarf,
transparent, of gray, might be twitched
by one corner, drawn upward and then,
decided against, negligently tossed toward a chair:
the southward cloud withdrew into the air.

Long had it been since my heart
Had been lifted as it was by the lifting of that great
scarf.

And another video of a starling murmuration....


-------
I'm continuing to work on fidget quilts.  I'm hand quilting # 8, which is taking forever, but these quilts are as much for me as for the eventual recipients, so I do what I enjoy doing.

Fidget quilt #7 was machine quilted and took little time and saved my finger tips from the frequent punctures of hand quilting.  Raw edges will ravel and add a little texture as well.
Some manipulative details



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

She Shall Have Murder by Delano Ames

Written in 1948, shortly after WWII, this is a funny mystery that gives an interesting view of postwar Britain and introduces two characters that Ames liked well enough to continue through a total of twelve books.  And I liked well enough to know that I want more of Dagobert (!) and Jane.

from the Book Description:  Dagobert Brown’s always got a new hobby. He's been through Gregorian chant, wildflowers, sixteenth-century French poetry . . . But his latest hobby is murder—or at least, the murder mystery he wants Jane Hamish to write. 
Jane is the practical one. She only has one weakness: Dagobert, who exasperates her and intrigues her in equal parts. “Dagobert is my hero,” she says, “but he persistently refuses to act like one.”   

I have to admit that this book surprised me with its humor and modern edge, and I'm eager to read more of this amateur detective series!  

NetGalley/Manor Minor Press

Mystery/Detective Fiction.  1948; 2014.  Print length:  299 pages.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Michael J. McCann and a New Series

First, I'm going to backtrack a little and mention that I really like McCann's series featuring Donaghue & Stainer.  The characters are well-fleshed out, both the main characters and the secondary characters, and McCann manages to get the reader involved in their lives and their compelling cases.

My two favorites in that series are Blood Passage and The Fregoli Delusion because each had such an interesting premise.

From my review of Blood Passage:

"What makes this book so interesting is the past life aspect and the information concerning Chinese Triads.  McCann has done his homework on both and his sources are listed.  The University of Virginia has done extensive study of the past life phenomenon, and McCann lists Dr. Jim Tucker's book Life Before Life:  A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives as his inspiration for the story."

  The Fregoli Delusion is the eponymous title for the real, but rare disorder:


 The Fregoli delusion, or the delusion of doubles, is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise. The syndrome may be related to a brain lesion[citation needed] and is often of a paranoid nature, with the delusional person believing themselves persecuted by the person they believe is in disguise.     (Wikipedia)  

Once again, McCann's research developed into a great mystery, and I learned something about a strange and fascinating disorder. 


When NetGalley offered McCann's newest book, I was surprised to discover that it is the first in a new series.  Sorrow Lake has Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police called in to manage the investigation into an execution style murder. She is assisted by Detective Constable Kevin Walker, who is eager to work with Ellie.  Her strong reputation as an investigator and previous success doesn't carry weight with everyone, however; there are still those who resent having a woman in charge.

The strength of this novel is that it is a genuine police procedural.  No grisly and disturbed serial killer, no gory descriptions or torture.  The plot is involved with how the police go about solving the crime.


On the down-side, although March and Walker stand out as individuals complete with human flaws, they are treated with a kind of distance.  Unlike Hank Donaghue and Karen Stainer, who are so vivid they take over the plot, Ellie March and Kevin Walker lack the 
same liveliness and intensity... but then, they are different characters, not the same characters with new names.

This is the first novel in the series, and it is very good.  I liked the emphasis on the aspects of the investigation and the way it proceeded.  March and Walker have time to become more of a duo in future installments, and in time, I hope to like them as much as I like Hank Donaghue and Karen Stainer.


NetGalley/The Plaid Racoon Press

Police Procedural.  March, 2015.  Print length:  299 pages.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K. Host

I mentioned Stray, the first in the Touchstone trilogy, in an earlier post.  Admittedly, I wasn't expecting much as I've not had the best of luck with YA books recently, but Stray hooked my attention and kept it.  


Young Cassandra Devlin has just taken her final exams and is thinking about university as she heads home one afternoon; she suddenly finds herself alone, lost, and confused.  Somehow, she has ended up on another planet, passed through some kind of portal to another world.

It takes Cassandra a while to come to terms with her situation, to admit that she isn't "lost" in the typical sense, but when she does, she takes stock of the few items she has in her backpack, determined to survive.  A diary, bought as a birthday gift for a friend, turns out to be a perfect way for her to record and sort through her emotions and experiences on the uninhabited world in which she finds herself.  The diary provides a way to process her thoughts and her goals; it becomes a companion.

At first, the plot appears to be a sort of Robinson Crusoe adventure, and I'm fond of this kind of plot about how people survive when they find themselves in isolated circumstances without modern technology.  Cass has to find fresh water, discover what plants are edible, and survive in an unfamiliar environment.  Trekking through the landscape, Cass comes up with ways to cope.  She hopes for rescue, but finds no evidence of human occupation, even when she comes to a town that has been long abandoned. Aware that her solitary situation may be permanent, Cass is grateful to at least have shelter and devotes herself to preparation for a long stay.

Eventually, however, Cassandra is rescued by Setari (a group with strong psychic talents that defends the world of Tare); the Setari squad have come to check out threats on the planet Muina.  They take Cass back to their home planet, and the plot begins to turn into the experiences of a refugee or displaced person in another world, an alien (but human) society. Another interesting plot line, the idea of being a foreigner in a strange new world, but then...

another twist. Cassandra isn't a typical "stray."  She has an ability to alter some of the psychic powers of that the society possesses, enhancing some and distorting others.  She becomes a lab rat (her term), but one that is mostly treated benignly as the scientists try to understand her influence.

Cass  is a wonderful character.  She whines some, but always gets on with the situation. She is no super-hero, although she is being trained by what she calls "psychic ninjas"; she is homesick and lonely, but realizes that she must get on with her life as well as she can for the time being.  The secondary characters begin to come alive as well, and  I found myself adjusting pretty quickly to the unusual names.  

The world building is exceptionally well done for the most part, although I had to take certain things on a vague faith.  The "near spaces" and gates were never quite clear, but all else in the world(s) Cassandra must occupy feel remarkably real.

I loved the internet language, the comments about television shows and movies and book characters, and the contemporary and historic Earth references Cassandra makes as she tries to explain things to herself.  There is humor, danger, suspense, relationship-building, and more.  Character-driven with lots of strong female characters and great fun!  And free on Amazon.  Try it!

Unable to wait, I had to get Lab Rat immediately.  The adventures continue, the characters develop, and I couldn't leave this world if I tried--figuratively speaking.  Cass's abilities increase and her dream sequences become dangerous.  The re-opening of Muina and all that exploring and re-settling a world entails kept getting more interesting.  

As soon as I finished, I ordered Caszandra, which was both longer and slower than the first two books.  The final book, while I wouldn't have missed it, is actually the weakest in the series.  The additional length would have been fine, but the pacing was off.  

I certainly want to read more of Host's work because this series succeeded in so many ways and was a pleasure to read.

Science Fiction.  2011.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Inspiration Mondays

Love, Laughter, and a Little Insanity has started a new forum:
Inspiration on MondayWelcome to the first edition of Inspiration on Monday! Inspiration on Monday is a forum to share things that we’ve created and things that we are doing to help inspire others. Posts about projects in progress, finished projects, tutorials, and how-tos are all welcome. Feel free to share recipes, crafts, lifestyle, organizing, and DIY tips, and any other idea that can spark inspiration.

link-up rules:1. Link up your post(s) below. This can be a recent post or an old post, but please do not re-submit a post you’ve already submitted for Inspiration on Monday.2. Please link back to Inspiration on Monday or my blog somewhere in the post you are submitting3. If applicable, please share the source that inspired you in your post. Credit where credit is due.4. Try to comment on at least one other participant’s post. Encouragement can be so inspiring!
Check it out Trish's blog.

I'm eager to see what other book bloggers are doing!  From gardening to bookbinding, there are so many of you have creative pursuits to share.


I've continued working on my fidget quilts for AD/dementia patients.  I get side-tracked frequently, however, working out various possible embellishments.   

"Ribbon Pull" is f.q. #5.    

 At least it isn't raining, but I wish we could have a little sun.
The ribbons have knots in the end that prevent them 
from pulling all the way out.
I was so excited when I found this idea!
(more on that below)


I got the idea for the ribbon pull here:

  And Next Comes L-- Dyan made a ribbon pulling quiet book page, and the idea was perfect for a fidget quilt.
 Dyan got the idea from The Imagination Tree (which had several great ideas for homemade  manipulatives).



Several of you have asked about what fidget quilts are--so I'm including a couple of links, but the idea works for anyone that needs sensory or manipulative activities--toddlers, disabled, autistic disorders, kinesthetic learners, anyone who needs sensory integration, not just those who suffer from AD or dementia.


fidget quilts help soothe  


Dementia quilts  - "A dementia quilt is a small lap quilt that includes things that might trigger something from a dementia patient's senses. Sometimes they are called "Fidget Quilts" because they inspire the patient to interact and fidget with the quilt."  (excerpt from post)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Poem in Your Pocket Day



Wow!  What a great day with so many people involved!  Love the restaurant that included a poem with each day and the school children who participated!  Kudos to the Charlottesville library that initiated this event.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

National Poetry Month

Two by Ann Cleeland

I read Murder in Thrall in 2013, and when NetGalley offered Murder in Hindsight, I requested it. But I had missed the second in the series, Murder in Retribution, so I decided to order it.  Mind you, my opinion of the first novel was mixed because of a certain element of obsessive behavior.  Yet, I found Murder in Thrall interesting in all other ways...except for that one element.



Murder in Retribution 

I don't know.  There are parts I like, but the characters are really kind of creepy and obsessed with sex.  Acton is a kind of Heathcliff character and Kathleen is a willing Kathy.

Kathleen's pious Catholic upbringing and remarks about right and wrong contrast with her acceptance of her husband's behavior.  The two have a weird co-dependent relationship that requires Kathleen to be willing to have sex anywhere, any time.  Ugh.

Yet, the crime plot about a turf war is interesting.  If the author would only stick to that.   I also like Kathleen's ability to spot lies.

Read in February.  Delayed review because I couldn't decide what to say about the creep factor, which is much worse in this one than in the first one.

Purchased.

Crime.  2014.  Print length:  304 pages.


Murder in Hindsight   

Kathleen reviews cold cases and suspects a serial killer is acting as a vigilante.  There is a conspiracy against Acton that Kathleen unwittingly contributes to.

More "romance."  More creepy obsession and over-protectiveness by Acton.

Whew.  I wish the author had not decided to focus on the weird relationship so wholeheartedly.  The police procedural elements and essential plot are interesting, but....
I am distinctly uncomfortable with Acton's "condition" and the freaky nature of the relationship.

I checked reviews of the novels and found that most of those reviewing the books, loved them.  

Read in February.

NetGalley/Kensington Books

Crime.  April 1, 2015.  Print length:  352 pages.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Once Upon a Time

If you are participating in Carl's challenge, you might appreciate this flash sale (today only , through April 7) of Intisar Khanani's Thorne.  Only 99 cents and the profits go to a great cause:

All proceeds from this sale will go towards helping a good friend cover the cost of international adoption of a pair of biological brothers with Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome--a condition that results in brain damage unless treated. Evan (age 7) and Raymond (age 9) were each given up at birth, and were unable to receive treatment for their condition. They have been in an orphanage in Eastern Europe since birth. You can find out more about the boys and Jamie, and link to their blog, here:http://reecesrainbow.org/83163/sponsorallison-3




I read Thorn and Sunbolt (Amazon links) last year and loved them both.
  You can read my reviews here and here. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

I've been reading Top Ten Tuesday posts and have decided to play.


  1. An Exaggerated Murder by Josh Cook.  Saw this one on Iliana's list and loved the description.
  2. White Cat (Curse  Workers series) by Holly Black
  3. Jackaby by William Ritter
  4. Atlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig
  5. The Impersonator by Mary Miley
  6. A Thousand Shards of Glass: There Is Another America by Michael Katakis
  7. A Spy by Nature by Charles Cummings.  Saw this one this morning on Shelf Love.
  8. Quilt as You Go Made Modern by Jera Branvig
  9. The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler
  10. The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu (via Lynn's Book Blog)









I continue working on fidget quilts and am doing a lot of experimenting with technique and concepts.  Thought I might give "quilt as you go" a try.
------------
What I'm reading now...

Actually, I have several books started, but when I began reading Stray (which was free, by the way), I became so involved that all others went pretty much by the wayside.  As soon as I finished, I ordered Lab Rat One, the second in the series, and on finishing that one this morning, ordered Caszandra.  

O.K. -- so the covers are a little lacking in originality.  The books are not.  Lacking, that is.  And although the covers look the same at a glance, there are differences. Will review soon, but I already know that I will be reading more by Andrea K. Host.




Stray was recommended by Intisar Khanani.
I've read Thorn and Sunbolt by Intisar,
and loved them both.
They would be perfect for Once Upon a Time reading.



Monday, March 30, 2015

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler (Once Upon a Time)

The Thousand Names is the first in the Shadow Campaigns series.  It is a military fantasy (or a flintlock fantasy---new term for me), and since I have a tendency to like military strategy in science fiction, reading a military fantasy kept me engaged.

But it isn't all about battles and strategy, The Thousand Names has well-realized characters, gender-bending, intrigue, and magic, too.  

The prologue at the beginning seems a little out of place and a kind of misdirection, but once I got to Part One and Winter's pov, I became more and more involved with this epic fantasy.  

I liked both Winter and Captain Marcus d'Ivoire's characters and especially liked the information they provide about the third major character--Colonel Janus bet Vahlnick, the strange, brilliant, and enigmatic new arrival who takes command.  Marcus, who has more direct contact with Janus, is disconcerted and puzzled by the man, and no one expects the direction in which Janus takes the Colonials.

Secondary characters are also well-developed, and I especially liked a couple of these, but won't tell you which ones because they are important in several ways and figuring this out is part of the fun.

I was engrossed throughout and can't wait to see if the library has the second book, but must warn prospective readers that this will appeal mostly to those who enjoy military fiction.  Even if you don't, however, this book may change your mind.

Once Upon a Time Challenge

Library copy.

Military Fantasy.  2013.  528 pages.