Lost Bloodlines

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8869598Sandstorm by Christopher Rowe is a stand alone story set deep in the deserts of Calimshan and follows the life of an earth genasi gladitoral slave Cephas as he is rescued from his chains, lead to freedom, then manipulated left right and center before discovering the truth about his past, and in the end, himself.

Overall, this was a very ‘meh’ book for me.  I liked that it was all about the genasi and explored their society a bit more, even though the genasi race is heavily suppressed and in many cases even enslaved in the deserts of Calimshan.  Learned something very interesting too.  All genasi are born with one elemental soul: earth, wind, fire, water, and storm, but genasi can usually manifest more than one.  And while it’s not uncommon for a genasi to have two souls, its even theorized that a genasi can manifest all five souls.

Cephas is one of those dual souled genasi.  He was born with an earth soul but was able to manifest a wind soul, and for me it was kinda cheap how it happened.  He’s being taught by a wind soul genasi on how to manifest a wind soul, and at first it’s all ‘mediate, clear your mind, hear the wind’.  But then the two have sex…like…almost immediately…and it’s all *poof!* wind soul.  Oh no, you didn’t need to meditate, concentrate and actually work to manifest your second soul, you just needed a good fuck.  Ugh.

It was a little confusing to keep track of some of the players here as they tend to have very similar sounding names, and there were a lot of plot devises/rescues that felt just kind of tossed in to move the story along.  And there’s this whole thing about a war between a djinn of the wind and an efreet of fire or something and it’s never really made clear what -if any- bearing it had on the story.

Overall I felt it was a lot of lost potential here.  I would have like Cephas to be like the destined hero to end the war between the djinn and the efreet and be the one genasi to manifest all five souls or something.  Just felt like a lot of info plugged into one book that might have been better spread out among at least 2.

Next up, second book in the Chosen of Nendawen trilogy: Hand of the Hunter is next.

7976938Nendawen the Hunter has accepted Hweilan’s sacrifice and claimed her as one of his. Now she must learn to truly become a hunter so that she may take on the powers of Nendawen and avenge her family. But while Nendawen’s faithful forge the young woman into a brutal killer, the undead forces of Jagen Ghen have found a way into Nendawen’s sanctuary in the Feywild.

WAR! What Is It Good For…

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23848096Butt effin all that’s what.

This was a bittersweet read for me.  I knew it was coming, but I had no idea what it’s effect on me would be.

An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea is officially the tenth book in the Irish Country series by Patrick Taylor.  Here we revisit the town of Ballybucklebo, Kinky nee Kincaid, Barry Laverty, and the still newlywed Mr. and Mrs. O’Reilly as they deal with new upheavals in their loves.  Kinky is settling in to her new married life, Barry is dealing with his sweetheart Sue Nolan off for training or some such thing, while Fingal is faced with some troublesome truths of Kitty’s past; mostly that she met and fell in love with another man when she served in Spain.  A fact that only comes to light when she receives a letter that he had passed.

Fingal dealing with his own emotions when he discovered that Kitty loved another man is the main focus of this story, and I guess as a way to cope with it he begins to remember his past during the war when he lost his first wife Dierdre.

It is no secret that Fingal was married before, or that his first wife died in a bombing raid, but nothing else was really known about her, so this book puts a lot of questions to bed and like a few of the other ones the perspective flips between Fingal’s past and his present. And his past focused on his domestic life, or at least what was leading up to it as there were quite a few hoops Fingal needed to jump through before they could tie the knot and live as man and wife.  The interesting thing for me though was they tried for a baby before Fingal went off to war again after they were married, and that they succeeded.  So not only did Fingal lose his wife in the raid, he also lost his first -and turns out only- child.

That really threw me.  I don’t think anywhere else in the series what it mentioned her pregnancy or ever their attempts at conception before going off to war so that was quite the shock for me.  Otherwise it was a goo book and a lot of new information to take in, both for Fingal and Kitty.

But I think that’s it for the Irish Country series for now.  The next book is out, but only in hardcover so it will be a bit before you see it here.  In the meantime I think you know where I’m going…back to the Realms!  Finishing off Sandstorm by Christopher Rowe.

8869598The genasi control almost all of Calimshan for their djinn overlords—all but a few outposts like the floating Island of the Free, where escaped slaves from Calimport’s coliseum run their own brutal games. There, Cephas, a genasi with no memories of his past has spent his entire life fighting But one day a circus of misfits, lead by the crowlike Corvus Nightfeather appear and free Cephas—and for the first time Cephas can harness his inborn powers and control the stones and dirt beneath his feet.

Thirteen Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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23847996I DUDDITS!  Reached my goal of 13 books for Ja No Read Mo 2017!  Now let’s hope I can reach my goal of 70 books for the year.

Here we have An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War, the tenth book in the Irish Country series, and I swear I am loving this series more with every book.

It’s a little bit hard to explain everything that happens in this one as the time is split between two very different eras.  First it’s between the ‘current’ time in Ballybucklebo where we finally see our miss Kinky Kinkaid remarry and move out of Number One Main street, leaving her old rooms open for Barry coming back to the practise.  Young doctor Jenny is running a women’s clinic, Mr. and Mrs. O’Reilly are fast approaching their one year anniversary and Kitty has a heartbreaking secret for Fingal, Sue is still with Barry and is trying to make a positive different in the lives of the children of Ballybucklebo.

The other side of it is Fingal O’Reilly’s time in the war, or at least parts of it.  This side of the story begins just as he asks a woman named Dierdre Mawhinney to marry him and she agrees.  Then he is called out of naval reserve status and assigned to the battleship Warspite for the first few years of the war, learning much about doctoring and surgery, and too much about the cost of war.  It doesn’t take us all the way to the end of the war and Fingal returning to Ballybucklebo after the death of Dierdre, but I feel that’s coming in the next one.

But that will have to wait for a bit, as I am going to try and squeeze one more out of Ja No Read Mo 2017.  I honestly don’t think I will be able to make it, but there’s no harm in trying is there?  Either way you slice it, we’ll be (FINALLY!) looking at Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code next, but will it be the 14th book for Ja No Read Mo 2017?  Stay tuned….

6314618An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe. An astonishing truth concealed for centuries . . . unveiled at last.

While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call in the dead of the night. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Even more startling, the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci—and he guarded a breathtaking historical secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle—while avoiding the faceless adversary who shadows their every move—the explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever.

Twelve Down for Ja No read Mo 2017

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2769328So close…to…goal!

I was actually really disappointed in this book.  I had actually purchased the second book, Tyrant Storm of Arrows from a clearance bin years ago because it interested me.  And I finally got around recently to getting the first book because as we all know you can’t very well read book 2 without reading book 1 first.

The storyline when you look at it as a whole was very meh.  The begining and middle engaged me as the characters were actually doing things, but I would up skimming the entire last third of the book because it was just that boring to me.  Not sure I’ll be reading the second one after this…

Anywhoodle, this is the story of an Athenian calvary officer who is turned mercenary after being dismissed from the army of Alexander the Great and is hired by the tyrant of a small city to train their calvary force and all along the way the main character Kineas has to fight an uphill battel against politics, noblemen who dislike and distrust him, as well as new recruits who think they’re too good to serve in the calvary.

Now as I said in the beginning the first two thirds were interesting.  It was all about Kineas’ past in the army, gathering his mercenary group together, riding forth to the town, training the troops, and finally girding for war when it comes to them.  But then that final third…war is engaged and for the most part nothing happens.  At least nothing that keeps me interested in reading word for word.

There was a bit of a love story in there, but they made the female character so standoffish and their whole courtship so convoluted and complex I just didn’t see the point of it in the end.

Ah well.  Maybe I will read the second one someday, and maybe it will be better.

But now, that moment you have all been waiting for.  The final (?) book for Ja No Read Mo 2017! Ladies an gentlemen may I introduce the 13th book for this month and this year: An Irish Doctor in Love and At Sea by Patrick Taylor.

23847996Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plan to marry sweetheart. Deirdre Mawhinney, and settle down. But those dreams are complicated by the Second World War and the call of duty. Assigned to the HMS Warspite, a formidable thirty-thousand-ton battleship, Surgeon Lieutenant O’Reilly soon finds himself face-to-face with the horrors of war, tending to the dreadnought’s crew of twelve hundred as well as the many casualties brought aboard. Also a struggle: remaining true to his beloved Deirdre despite temptations abroad…

Over two decades later, life in Ballybucklebo is far cry from the strife of war, but O’Reilly and young colleagues still have plenty of challenges on their hands, from an outbreak of German measles, the odd tropical disease, a hard-fought pie-baking contest, and a local father whose muleheaded adherence to tradition is standing in the way of his son’s future. Now older and wiser, O’Reilly has prescriptions of whatever ails … until a secret from the past threatens to unravel his own peace of mind.

Shifting deftly between two very different eras, Patrick Taylor’s latest Irish Country novel reveals more about O’Reilly’s tumultuous past, even as Ballybucklebo faces the future in its own singular fashion.

Eleven Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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17910148The Wiley O’Reilly is the ninth book in the Irish Country series, and it’s something I did not expect in the beginning.

Apparently Patrick Taylor began this series as short stories in the local paper and has collected those original short stories here, 9 books later.

Honestly, when I realized what it was, I was concerned I would not like it, as short story collections tend to go either way with me.  I either love it or I hate it.  But damn if this book isn’t funny as all hell.

Not to say that there weren’t a few issues.  I found a lot of the stories to be very wordy.  Almost needlessly so.  Some of them were very funny I wound up laughing out loud, but I am a beleiver in efficient writing.  Use as many words as you need to in order to convey what you want when you write, but don’t go overboard.  Don’t use twenty words when ten would do kinds of thing. And since a lot of the stories were really blown up language wise, it made reading them a bit difficult.

But the end game here is that I loved this book despite all that.  Especially the end story about O’Reilly coming home from the war.

And moving right along, I’m so close to my 2017 Ja No Read Mo goal of 13 books I can almost taste it!  Book 12 is next, Tyrant by Christian Cameron.

2769328Glory. Death. Well-born Athenian cavalry officer, Kineas, fought shoulder to shoulder with Alexander in his epic battles against the Persian hordes. But on his return from the east to his native city, he finds not glory but shame – and exile.

With nothing to his name but his military skills, Kineas agrees to lead a band of veterans to the city of Olbia, where the Tyrant is offering good money to train the city’s elite cavalry. But soon Kineas and his men find they have stumbled into a deadly maze of intrigue and conspiracy as the Tyrant plots to use them as pawns in the increasingly complex power games between his own citizens, and the dread military might of Macedon.

Caught between his duty to the Tyrant, his loyalty to his men and a forbidden love affair with a charismatic Scythian noblewoman, Kineas must call on all his Athenian guile, his flair on the battlefield, and even – he is convinced – the intervention of the gods, to survive.

Ten Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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30166717Sixth in the Egypt series by Wilbur Smith, I was really looking forward to reading Pharaoh and for the most part I was not disappointed.

We rejoin Taita at least a decade after the events of River God.  Pharaoh Tamose is making one last mighty push to free Egypt at last from the Hyskos who invaded decades ago.  Alas, he does not live long enough to see his armies to victory, so it lies to Taita and an old friend in a new guise to win the day.

We see the return of the young princesses from River God, now grown, married, with children of their own and rulers along with their husbands of a new kingdom.  A kingdom which Taita and Ramses (the first I think?) must take refuse in when Tamose’ eldest son proves to be madder than a hatter and tries to have them both killed.

So Taita and Ramses flee to this new kingdom before being forced to return when the mad god king kidnaps Ramses’ betrothed and sparks a war between the two nations.  Of course Taita and Ramses win the day and Ramses becomes pharaoh along with this new queen, Cleopatra.

Dun dun DUUUUUUUUN!!

Wonder what the seventh book will be about.

However, I did notice a few things.  Like has Taita always been this bloody arrogant?  He is rich, brilliant, attracive, and favored by many and he knows it.  It seems like he has no humility but acts humble as a way to manipulate people.  And for an Egyptian books, where the main characters are all Egyptian born and bred, but they focus a lot on the Greek gods.  Granted most of the book doesn’t take place in Egypt, but you would think two of her native sons who still call it home would refer to her gods more than the gods of a foreign nation.

Other than that, I enjoyed Pharaoh, and despite of that it was a good book.

Onwards fearless readers!  Moving on to yet another of the Irish Country books by Patrick Taylor: The Wiley O’Reilly.

17910148Long before Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly made most readers’ acquaintance in Patrick Taylor’s bestselling novel An Irish Country Doctor, he appeared in a series of humorous columns originally published in Stitches: The Journal of Medical Humour. These warm and wryly amusing vignettes provide an early glimpse at the redoubtable Dr. O’Reilly as he tends to the colourful and eccentric residents of Ballybucklebo, a cozy Ulster village nestled in the bygone years of the early sixties.

Those seminal columns have been collected in The Wily O’Reilly: Irish Country Stories. In this convenient volume, Patrick Taylor’s legions of devoted fans can savor the enchanting origins of the Irish Country series . . . and newcomers to Ballybucklebo can meet O’Reilly for the very first time.
An ex-Navy boxing champion, classical scholar, crypto-philanthropist, widower, and hard-working general practitioner, Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly is crafty and cantankerous in these charming slices of rural Irish life. Whether he’s educating a naive man of the cloth in the facts of life, dealing with chronic hypochondriacs and malingerers, clashing with pigheaded colleagues, or raising a pint in the neighborhood pub, the wily O’Reilly knows a doctor’s work is never done, even if some of his “cures” can’t be found in any medical text!

Nine Down For Ja No Read Mo 2017

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17332281See?  Told you I wouldn’t stay away so long.

Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor is the 8th book in the Irish Country series.  It’s been three weeks since the events of Irish Country Wedding, and Dr. O’Reilly and the new Mrs. O’Reilly have returned home from their honeymoon to some new changes.

Mrs Kinky Kinkaid, at the end of the previous book, finally decided to let the ghost of her long drowned husband rest and start her love life over again with a local man.  And it seems that there might be another Irish country wedding in the near future.  Also, with Barry leaving to try his hand at specialization in gynecology (also at the end of the previous book) O’Reilly had to find a replacement, even if it was only temporary.  So he hired on a lovely young lady doctor Laura I think?  To fill Barry’s shoes for a wee bit until Barry decides if he wants to come back or not. 

And while the arrangement works splendidly for the household at Number One Main, it doesn’t go over so well at first with some of the residents, most notably the ratty councilor Bertie Bishops, who develops heart issues and put his own life at risk with his refusal to allow a female doctor to attend him.

The story of this installment is actually split between O’Reilly’s past and the events of his present.  As he goes about with these new changes in his life, he remembers back to when he was just starting his career as a general practitioner out in Belfast, and how he first courted and lost Kitty 30 years ago.

Believe it or not, I was actually more interested in the past than the present.  Like, I know everything will work out for the characters, they always do.  But what I was really craving was how all the characters came to be.  We already know Barry’s story as the first few books seemed to focus more on him than O’Reilly, and we know the basics of O’Reilly’s past, but this fleshes out his tale and his character more, and I just loved it.

The next and 9th in this series is The Wiley O’Reilly, and I cannot wait to see what that one has in store.  But before we move on to book 9 if the Irish Country series, let’s move on to book 9 of Ja No Read Mo 2017! Pharaoh by Wilbur Smith is next.

30166717EGYPT IS UNDER ATTACK.
Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost.

Taita, advisor to the Pharaoh, prepares for the enemy’s final, fatal push. The ex-slave, now general of Tamose’s armies, is never more ingenious than when all hope is dashed. And this is Egypt’s most desperate hour.

With the timely arrival of an old ally, the tide is turned and the Egyptian army feasts upon its retreating foe. But upon his victorious return to Luxor, Taita is seized and branded a traitor. Tamose is dead and a poisonous new era has begun. The new Pharaoh has risen — and he must be stopped…

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