Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Burning Up with a new Dragon Kin Book

Feel the Burn (Dragon Kin, #8)Feel the Burn by G.A. Aiken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

As the eighth book in the Dragon Kin series, "Feel the Burn" could easily read as a formula-generated book. But the author, G. A. Aiken, manages to make this book read as well as any standalone, actually better than some. I have only read the first book in this series so far, but I never felt like I missed a thing while reading "Feel the Burn". Of course, I do plan on reading the other books now that I've read this book.

"Feel the Burn" thoroughly introduces us to Gaius, the One-Eyed Rebel Dragon King, and Kacka, a Daughter of the Steppes and a warrior woman who makes the Amazons look like wannabes. Gaius currently travels around, locating and killing treacherous family members. But Kachka is safely ensconced at Annwyl's palace and bored - BORED I tell you - out of her mind. Queen Annwyl solves her boredom by asking Kacka to track down a cult that's running around her territory, torturing and killing people.

The story includes a love story between Gaius and Kacka, but there is so much more than that. Both protagonists learn about themselves and want they truly want, all the while saving the various kingdoms and killing cousins. In fact, I think Gaius and Kacka are apart more than they are together, but it never feels artificial.

The plot, action, and dialogue are up to Ms. Aiken's high standards. She also manages to create fully developed characters, the main characters as well as several secondary characters. And as usual, I ran into no spelling or grammatical errors.

Overall, I recommend this book to everyone who loves dragons, fantasy, and kicking butt.

I give this book four out of five stars.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Victims of ISIS

Everyone's talking about the attacks on Paris.  About 129 people have already died, and I don't know if that number is stable or if more people are sitting in hospitals on the edge of death.  But this is not the first attack perpetrated by ISIS.  A Russian airline downed, bombs in Ankara, Turkey, and the attacks on Lebanon and Tunisia  - ISIS has made a clear statement through their actions.  They are not afraid of killing people to achieve their goals.

But ISIS is not the Muslim religion.  I fear for Muslims when I read quotes and articles that act as if what ISIS is doing reflects the majority of Muslims.  I fear for the refugees who now have to face prejudice because of actions by the group they are running away from, because some people now think all Muslims are potential terrorists.

But calling all Muslims potential terrorists because of ISIS is like saying all Christians are potential terrorists because of the KKK.  Both ISIS and the KKK are fringe organizations that have nothing to do with the majority of believers.  And for those who would argue that the KKK isn't a religious organization, what about the Army of God?  The Phineas Priesthood?  The Lord's Resistance Army? All of these are supposedly Christian organization that are violent, promote kidnapping and murder, and are in no way representative of the vast majority of Christians.

We need to stop assuming all Muslims are like those in ISIS.  We need to stop looking at all the refugees like their are guilty because of their religion.  I believe that people are good, regardless of their religion.

We cannot save the dead.  They are beyond our help.  But we can save the living, and we can help those in need.  We need to keep helping the refugees because they have nowhere left to go.  If we don't, if we let fear and uncertainty taint our responses, then the refugees become victims of ISIS again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Desert Wolf" by Heather Long

Desert Wolf (Wolves of Willow Bend, #8)Desert Wolf by Heather Long
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Desert Wolf" by Heather Long is a rare kind of book. The blurb on the back cover explains quite succinctly the lead up to this book, and also describes what happens in about 85% of the plot. Cassius needs an Omega to unify his pack. He asks Sovvan to come. It took her several months, but she decided to help. Now Cassius is traveling to the New Mexico-Texas border to meet Sovvan and her guardian, Faust.

I love how Ms. Long takes what might have been a page of narration and stretches it across several chapters. As a reader, I learned about the hell Cassius has endured to become alpha and hold the position. I also learn how much he wants to help his pack become better. I also learn what an Omega is, and who Sovvan is. She is gentle and strong, curious and calm, and exactly what Cassius needs.

Ms. Long includes mayhem, betrayal, playfulness, love, hate, and more into this one book than I have seen in a long time. The characters pop out, and you care about what happens to them. From the youngest child to the supposedly unflappable alpha, you want the best for everyone. The action seems real; the pacing of the story almost perfect. Every fight scene had me cringing at the punches, and torn between wanting to read more to find out what happened and wanting to put down the book because I hated when characters I cared about got hurt.

One of my favorite parts of this book is the creation story of Cassius' pack, the Sutter Butte pack. First, you hear it from an outsider's point of view and you wonder what Sovvan is getting herself into. Then you hear it from an insider's point of view, and though it is basically the same story, your heart will go out to the people of Sutter Butte.

For the record, I never read any of the other book in the Wolves of Willow Bend series, but I never felt as if I needed to for this book. That in itself is the sign of an amazing author. Though I must admit, I will be getting the rest of the series now because I want to know what happened before.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story, who loves fantasy books, who loves werewolves, and who likes a good old-fashioned love story.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

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