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georgenaylor

georgenaylor

Currently reading

Herodotus: The Father of History (The Great Courses)
Progress: 8 %
The Western Literary Canon in Context (The Great Courses): Audio CD set
John M. Bowers
Progress: 8 %
A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex
Chris Jericho
The Great Courses, The Skeptic's Guide to American History
Mark A. Stoler
Progress: 4 %
The Vampire Megapack: 27 Modern and Classic Vampire Stories
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Nina Kiriki Hoffman
The Werewolf Megapack: 22 Classic and Modern Tales of Shape-Shifters!
Jay Lake, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, John Gregory Betancourt
Dracula's Guest and Other Victorian Vampire Stories
Michael Sims
Progress: 4 %
The Captain of the Polestar, and Other Tales
Arthur Conan Doyle
Tales from the Perilous Realm
J.R.R. Tolkien
Progress: 21 %
The Iliad of Homer
Richard Martin, Richmond Lattimore, Homer
Progress: 20 %

Sherlock Holmes and the Essex Werewolf

Sherlock Holmes and the Essex Werewolf - Woodrow W. Walker

The story just really does not hold together well. It's too brief. Watson's voice, which I find so important to appreciating Holmes pastiche, was really off. Holmes does not show his customary skepticism and outright scoffing at paranormal happenings. In fact, he's rather devoid of much personality at all in this story. Everything feels very flat.

It's a pity because I think if the author invested more time in this story, he could turn it into a good one.

Legends of the Ancient World: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Charles Rivers Editors

Legends of the Ancient World: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon - Charles Rivers Editors

There are four good things about these books by Charles Rivers Editors: 1) They are usually brief, 2) They do provide a good overview of a particular topic, 3) They usually have a decent bibliography and 4) They can usually be got for free.

 

This book does a good job of describing what the ancient sources say about the Hanging Gardens. It also details the mystery of what the Gardens looked like and whether or not they actually ever existed. The most fascinating part of the book was the time devoted to the theories of Stephanie Dalley, who has postulated that the Hanging Gardens were mistakenly attributed to the Neo-Babylonian city of Babylon but are more likely to have been in the Assyrian capital of Ninevah. I’d never heard of her research and theories before and thought just the brief outline of them presented in the book was intriguing and made for a compelling case.

Legends of the Ancient World: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Charles Rivers Editors

There are four good things about these books by Charles Rivers Editors: 1) They are usually brief, 2) They do provide a good overview of a particular topic, 3) They usually have a decent bibliography and 4) They can usually be got for free.

 

This book does a good job of describing what the ancient sources say about the Hanging Gardens. It also details the mystery of what the Gardens looked like and whether or not they actually ever existed. The most fascinating part of the book was the time devoted to the theories of Stephanie Dalley, who has postulated that the Hanging Gardens were mistakenly attributed to the Neo-Babylonian city of Babylon but are more likely to have been in the Assyrian capital of Ninevah. I’d never heard of her research and theories before and thought just the brief outline of them presented in the book was intriguing and made for a compelling case.

Legends of the Wild West: The Life and Legacy of Belle Starr by Charles Rivers Editors

Legends of the West: The Life and Legacy of Belle Starr - Charles River Editors

There are four good things about these books by Charles Rivers Editors: 1) They are usually brief, 2) They do provide a good overview of a particular topic, 3) They usually have a decent bibliography and 4) They can usually be got for free.

 

Shorter than usual, this book does lay out pretty well what is historically known about Belle Starr, showing that the reality of the old Wild West figures is usually pretty boring compared to the wild, fanciful tales of popular legend. Starr had hardworking parents and a classical education background. But her various marriages ended up being with men who weren’t the most successful or ambitious of types and who skirted the law more often than keeping it. Starr’s reputation for being an outlaw seems to come mostly from her association with outlaws rather than much criminal activity on her part, although she was convicted several times. The fact that she was the victim of an unsolved murder also undoubtedly fed the legend of her wild ways.

The Time Hunters #1 by Carl Ashmore, a Quick, Engaging Story with Humor, Mystery, and Danger

The Time Hunters - Carl Ashmore

Becky Mellor and her brother Joe are sent to spend the summer at their Uncle Percy’s estate. Expecting boredom, they instead find excitement, mystery, and danger when their eccentric uncle turns out to be a time traveler.

 

I liked this book quite a bit. It moves quickly and is very engaging. The plot has a lot of mystery, danger, and twists and turns, but overall the story has an imaginative, humorous feel. The characters are drawn with enough depth to get one interested in their story and to care about what happens to them. The villains are drawn in such a way that you know they are dangerous and mean business. Yet, the tone of the story isn’t dark or morbid but hopeful and exciting. I also liked the definite British feel of the story.

 

As someone with a degree in history and a deep love of it, time travel is always a fascination. But it’s often hard to find stories on it well done and with plausible reasoning. This book is well done, though, and the theory and mechanics of time travel as put forth so far in the series was reasonable and interesting.

 

To conclude, I can envision reading this book again and again (which is about the highest compliment I can give a book) and I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

The Sartious Mage - B.T. Narro The book was easy and enjoyable. I was drawn in by the story and the characters. It is in many ways the typical fantasy story but done with some likeable characters and some twists.

I especially liked the interaction between the main character, Jek, and the kidnapped princess. The other characters, while not fleshed out as much, still were adequate for the roles they played. The villain, while kind of a melodramatic type, was still able to get my blood boiling at some of the things he did.

The world building seemed pretty consistent and believable. This is the only story by Narro I’ve read so far, but I’m definitely interested in reading the others. All in all, while not a great book, it was still a good, entertaining, engaging read.

The Challenge of K2: A History of the Savage Mountain - Richard Sale 3 and a half stars.
The Chocolatier's Wife - Cindy Lynn Speer 3 and a half stars. It's really a good book. Not as many stars because the conclusion of the book seems rushed.
Scion of Abacus: Part One - Brondt Kamffer 3 and 1/4 stars.
Inside the Hurricane: Face to Face with Nature's Deadliest Storms - Pete Davies Maybe 3 and a quarter stars or 3 & a half stars. Very good in places but kind of dry in others.
The Toymaker - Kay Springsteen 3 and a half stars
Christmas Brides (Three Regency Novellas) - Cheryl Bolen Predictable but good. Candy for the heart.
Troubled Waters - Sharon Shinn 3 and 3/4th stars.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex And Feminism - Carrie L. Lukas 3 and a half stars.
Memento Nora (Memento Nora, #1) - Angie Smibert 3 and a half stars.
For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund Possibly 4 and 3/4ths stars but a fantastic book.