The Black God’s War – Moses Siregar III

The Black God’s War (Splendor and Ruin Book 1)
Moses Siregar III
Published by Cup of Gold
Released August 19, 2012

Amazon says:
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One.
Her father-king wants war.
Her messianic brother wants peace.
The black god wants his due.
She suffers all the consequences.
King Vieri is losing his war against the lands of Pawelon. Feeling abandoned by his god, he forces his son Caio, the kingdom’s holy savior, to lead his army. Victory ought to come soon.
To counter Caio’s powers, Pawelon’s prince enters the war. Rao is a gifted sage, a master of spiritual laws. He joins the rajah to defend their citadel against the invaders. But Rao’s ideals soon clash with his army’s general.
The Black One tortures Lucia nightly with visions promising another ten years of bloodshed. She can no longer tell the difference between the waking world and her nightmares. Lucia knows the black god too well. He entered her bed and dreams when she was ten.

The Black One watches, waiting to see Lucia confront an impossible decision over the fates of two men–and two lands.

Adrienne says:
What? That description wasn’t enough to hook you? I loved this book!! I can’t wait for the next one! This book has a Middle Eastern/Indian feel to it (There’s a Rajah! And LIONS. Who doesn’t like lions?!). The writing was beautiful and I was sucked in immediately. Just ask my poor husband who begged me to shut off the light so he could sleep. The characters were well-developed and even if you didn’t like them, you understood them and why they were the way they were. It was one of the few books that I’ve read lately that didn’t make me want to kill the main character. Lucia is a strong, intelligent person, not whiny and helpless and annoying like so many other female characters. There isn’t a clear side to root for, you want both of them to win. Main themes include revenge, faith, loyalty and karma. I’m interested in seeing how relationships between the countries/characters develop (and how the gods meddle!) in the next book. Highly recommended!!

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Frozen – Mary Casanova

Frozen
Mary Casanova
Released September 1, 2012
University of Minnesota Press

Amazon says:
Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose hasn’t said a word in eleven years—ever since the day she was found lying in a snowbank during a howling storm. Like her voice, her memories of her mother and what happened that night were frozen.

Set during the roaring 1920s in the beautiful, wild area on Rainy Lake where Minnesota meets Canada, Frozen tells the remarkable story of Sadie Rose, whose mother died under strange circumstances the same night that Sadie Rose was found, unable to speak, in a snowbank. Sadie Rose doesn’t know her last name and has only fleeting memories of her mother—and the conflicting knowledge that her mother had worked in a brothel. Taken in as a foster child by a corrupt senator, Sadie Rose spends every summer along the shores of Rainy Lake, where her silence is both a prison and a sanctuary.

One day, Sadie Rose stumbles on a half dozen faded, scandalous photographs—pictures, she realizes, of her mother. They release a flood of puzzling memories, and these wisps of the past send her at last into the heart of her own life’s great mystery: who was her mother, and how did she die? Why did her mother work in a brothel—did she have a choice? What really happened that night when a five-year-old girl was found shivering in a snowbank, her voice and identity abruptly shattered?

Sadie Rose’s search for her personal truth is laid against a swirling historical drama—a time of prohibition and women winning the right to vote, political corruption, and a fevered fight over the area’s wilderness between a charismatic, unyielding, powerful industrialist and a quiet man battling to save the wide, wild forests and waters of northernmost Minnesota. Frozen is a suspenseful, moving testimonial to the haves and the have-nots, to the power of family and memory, and to the extraordinary strength of a young woman who has lost her voice in nearly every way—but is utterly determined to find it again.

Adrienne says:
I’m a huge fan of unearthing family skeletons so this really appealed to me. The writing was well done but not OMGTHISISTHEBESTEVER and it had an American Girl feel for the last 1/3 of the book. I later found out that there’s a reason for this. The author has written American Girl books! This is definitely YA level literature but if the reader is much of a prude I wouldn’t suggest it to them. Sadie was an interesting character. She was damaged and then suddenly, she finds her voice. Huzzah! What a nice, Pollyanna-esque turn of events! And another thing. I know that 16 year old girls don’t always have a great track record, but I am Sick And Tired of every. single. teenage girl not being able to have any rational thoughts. Sadie just runs. She doesn’t really think. At all. She just says “Oh I think I’ll get on a boat. I have no idea where I’m going. I’ll get a job there even though I have no experience and no skills besides the piano! La dee da!” The ending bothered me the most though. Like I said, it felt like an American Girl book. You knew that people were going to say sorry (whether they meant it or not) and other people were going to forgive them (or at least continue to mooch off of them).

I know this makes it sound like I hated it, it was terrible, but really, I’d give it a 3.5 of 5. I feel like the end was wrapped up too quickly with everything in a nice little bow but with a lot of unanswered questions. It would have been nice to have more character building so we have a chance to care about all of the side characters. I’d recommend this but I suggest you get it from a library unless you know you’ll love it.

*I received this for free from NetGalley for review*

The Genealogist’s Internet – Peter Christian

The Genealogist’s Internet: The Essential Guide to Researching Your Family History Online
– Peter Christian
$25.45 for paperback via Amazon, $15.39 for Kindle. For things that I need to reference I prefer print.
Planned release date is September 15, 2012.

I received the e-galley through NetGalley.

The Genealogist's Internet: The Essential Guide to Researching Your Family History OnlineI got a bit over excited when I requested this and didn’t realize that it was aimed at UK genealogists. Whoops. That’s alright though.

Why did I request this book?
Here’s where you get a bit of background on me. My first love is history and one of my degrees is in history. My grandpa got me interested in family history when I was very young by telling me stories about his great-grandfather who had 20 kids (he wasn’t exaggerating) and some of them fought for the North and some fought for the South and one of them stayed out of the whole mess and farmed on an island in the middle of a river in Tennessee. I’ve been doing genealogy for over 10 years and it was one of the things I did at one of my jobs. I loved that job. I still occassionally take on clients (this is not a plug, I’m a bit too busy to take on anyone right now.) and I really enjoy getting to know them and seeing them get excited over random things that I find. I am hoping to become a CG (certified genealogist) in the next 10 years or so. The preparation for that looked like it would take longer than a master’s degree, so I got the master’s first.

I digress. Let’s get back to the book. Just looking at the index I can see that this book as been arranged with sense and care. When I taught Intro to Genealogy classes I advised people to start looking in two places- the census and vital (birth, marriage, death) records. This is exactly what they start with. They do have a small section on how to get started but this is not a book for the newest newbie.

We are an instant gratification society, and some people expect that they can just type in a name and some magical program returns every little bit of information about that person down the their favorite color. Not so, friends. “The fact is that if you are only beginning your family tree, you will have plenty to do ofline before you cantake full advantage of what is online.” ARC p2. True that!! So many things are *not* digitized or transcribed. Just recently I was looking for a relative in a cemetery and he wasn’t appearing on any indexes but that cemetery was the one listed on his death certificate. I contacted the diocese in charge of that cemetery and they mailed me the information on everyone with that last name in any of their cemeteries in that city. It was lovely of them and just goes to show you that just because you can’t find something online doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

This is a large book about about 430 pages, so I’m just going to highlight some cool things that I discovered while reading this.

  • There is a link for those of us unfamiliar with the administrative subdivision of Britain. <www.jimella.me.uk/counties.cfm>
  • The British Archives has podcasts going back to 2006! This will be something for me to listen to on long drives.
  • There is a Family Search Wiki that has lists of genealogical words in 20 European languages. I do a lot of German research and even though I know a little, I still run into words that I can’t decipher.
  • I already knew about this one, but the Griffith’s Valuation is a vital resource for those searching in Ireland because of the destruction of the census records.
  • I like that there are a lot of screenshots, showing the site in action. Some genealogical sites are uh, not very user-friendly. A vast number of family historians are older and are less comfortable with technology. Screenshots can really go a long way to help them.
  • If someone is interested in a particular subject, say sailors or ethnic Welsh, this book provides the location of many listservs to join.
  • Although things living on the internet can have a very short life span I was pleased to see that all of the links I checked still work!
  • I found the chapter on photographs to be very informative and I’m pleased that it included information on preservation. People, don’t store your photos in the basement/attic! Use sleeves!!!

I think this is a great resource for researchers in the UK/Ireland. Some of the information is more generalized and can be used by anyone but the specific resources that Christian talks about make this a handy desk reference for intermediate to advanced genealogists.