Tag: War/Military (page 2 of 2)

BOOK REVIEW – Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1) by Tracy Banghart

BOOK REVIEW – Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1) by Tracy BanghartRebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
by Tracy Banghart
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.

Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet--the thing she loves most, aside from Calix--feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she's recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she'll be stationed near Calix. But there's a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.

Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she's fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier--and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She's determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.

Review:

Rebel Wing was spellbinding, intricately crafted, and I became completely addicted.  A rich picture of countries at war was painted, and I found myself being pulled in by the moments of hope, betrayal, torture, alliances, and friendships.  While the twists that played out where surprising or hopefully expected, they had me jumping up and down!  And don’t even get me started on the dangerous butterflies that danced around in my stomach.  I can’t wait to see how the rest of this series proceeds!

But she’d never given up, never backed away from a challenge.
Aris straightened her shoulders.
And I won’t this time either.

As the story unfolded, we got to hear the tale in three voices.  While Aris Haan is the main person we follow, the other two are integral for learning the politics and the events surrounding the war.  Usually I’m not a huge fan of multiple perspectives, unless it’s a couple and we hear their alternating voices, but I actually loved the way this story was told.  Being able to see from the town’s people, military, and government views made for such a well-rounded story.  I found myself becoming as invested in the politics and back story as I was in Aris’ life.  The two other people who you’ll follow and won me over are Ward Nekos Pryalus, who is Atalanta’s current leader where Aris resides, and Ward Galena Vadim who is the current leader of the neighboring country Ruslana.

But she wasn’t a hero. She was a romantic. A foolish one, probably, giving up everything for the boy she loved.
But you’re a flyer too, a voice whispered deep inside.

Aris quickly became a favorite heroine of mine.  She takes challenges head on, was tenacious and brave while having a huge heart and I loved that she grows up as the story proceeds.  When we first meet Aris, she laughs off being recruited to fly for war, since women aren’t allowed in the military.  She’s one of the best pilots in her town, yet she truly doesn’t see that as an option until her boyfriend is sent to war.  The boyfriend whom she was supposed to be Promised to.  So she enters the military, disguised as man, in hopes of being able to be closer to her boyfriend.  To be honest, I struggled with Aris giving up everything to be near her boyfriend, Calix Pavlos.  There was so little time of them together that I never felt a connection to their relationship or Aris’ plight.  But have faith, because as the story progressed, things started to click into place.  And the path that was taken was perfection.  I wish I could say more…..

“I don’t care what anyone says. I want to believe things will work out. I’ll be with Calix. You’ll find your brother—”
“We’ll win this war.” Dysis voice was quiet, her face serious.

Another thing that was perfect in my eyes, was the strong female friendship.  Aris meets Dysis down the road, and it was so refreshing to see two women support one another!  They trusted one another, helped each other, and when push came to shove they could count on the other to have their back.  But one aspect I did struggle with was the names.  We got introduced to a lot of characters with unique names in the beginning of Rebel Wing, and it took me to 30% to have a good grasp on the secondary characters.  I am horrible with names at times, so this definitely could be my issue alone.  Also, while the very beginning was a tad slow, it quickly picked up its pace and held for the rest of the book, yay.

Now I am off to start Storm Fall!  I can’t wait to see how all of the pieces fall into place!

*ARC kindly provided by Author via a Facebook Giveaway in exchange for an honest review*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & Book Depository (click on book #)
Rebel Wing by Tracy Banghart
Rebel Wing #1
Review:

Jen
Storm Fall by Tracy Banghart Rebel Wing Series
Storm Fall #2
Review:
Jen
Torn Sky Rebel Wing Tracy Banghart
Torn Sky #3
Review:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW – In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

BOOK REVIEW – In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat WintersIn the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

What an original little gem : this brilliant tale, served by a beautiful writing and a haunting atmosphere, is like nothing I’ve read before.

From page one I felt connected to every one of these characters, first of all Mary Shelley, a strong and clever heroine I instantly loved (I wish there were more YA leads like her, to be honest). In my opinion Cat Winters perfectly nailed the characterization, making me care for characters even before meeting them : how is that even possible? Before I knew it my heart was in my throat, my belly in knots, afraid to follow Mary on her journey.

But what won me over was the unexpected quality of the plot (especially because I didn’t read the blurb, which gives away too much in my opinion). More than once did I find myself clasping my hand over my mouth, widening my eyes and giggling out of surprise : it was fabulous.

Do you believe in ghosts? Because I don’t. Not that it stops them from creeping the hell out of me. See, my mum used to tell everyone that I channeled spirits because of that time when I told her that someone was dead without nobody knowing it yet. I was 4. As far as I’m concerned, it was only a sad and creepy coincidence, but my mother never really saw it that way, and it became the story every one of my friends religiously heard her recall over the years. Since then I’ve been afraid of spirits, even knowing how irrational my fear is. All this because I once was a spoiled child who said something mean. Payback is a bitch.

That’s why I couldn’t shake off the impression that someone was watching me while I was reading, not to mention that the pictures freaked the hell out of me. Trust me, if someone told me that they could capture spirits’ soul in pictures, I would brush it off laughing and rolling my eyes, as Mary did. Yet some passages made my blood run cold, so much that I couldn’t breathe. Perhaps I’m a chicken. I don’t care. I. Was. Scared. Fucking bird. *shivers*

“Lives were being traded for other lives.
The line between right and wrong blurred into a haze.”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about the darkest times my country lived : contrary to what some stupid people think, not being blind about France’s faults in History doesn’t mean that we don’t love our country, but actually the opposite. I strongly believe that historical knowledge is needed to stop making the same mistakes again : it’s far from enough, but that’s a start, isn’t it? Obviously I read a lot of books about both World Wars because literature is really prolific about them in France. Yet In the Shadow of Blackbirds is the only US insight I’ve come across since Dos Passos, and it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve read The 42nd Parallel. As we follow Mary’s story, we get to see how dark and dangerous this period was : if USA weren’t where fighting was taking place, it doesn’t mean that no battle were fought there. Between the flu and the prevailing paranoia, Mary’s world is shredded into pieces.

Mary’s father was taken into custody as a traitor because he proved himself to be against USA’s participation in that war. If my knowledge about the way US citizens dealt with WW1 is close to zero, here are some facts about the Great War (I do know that I simplify some of them, but it is neither the place nor the time to write an History paper. Yet this book, and the November 11th anniversary coming this week made me want to talk about it). There’s something to say about a book that makes you want to revisit your History. In my opinion anyway.

As that’s the case with most wars, every country involved spread hate and misinformation through propaganda. This poster, published in 1918 in France, chills the air around me so much it reminds me of those Mary sees everywhere : (view spoiler) As Mary and her aunt points it, WW1 started due to a deadly game of alliances combined with the ambition to be the most influent, powerful, wealthy European country, and not really out of threat. Look how good it worked, you stupid.

During Winter 1915, some French and German soldiers ‘celebrated’ Christmas together, many of them (on both sides) struggling to understand why the hell they were fighting to death in these awful conditions. Between 1914 and 1918, hundred, if not thousands French soldiers were sentenced to death by their hierarchy because they refused to carry on fighting. For those of you who speak French, I strongly recommend reading Paroles de Poilus: Lettres et carnets du front 1914-1918, a chilling collection of letters sent by French soldiers during WW1 : they’re as unsettling as though-provoking, and Stephen’s experience made way more sense knowing that.

The way Cat Winters captured the oppressive atmosphere during this year was brilliantly done, and added so much more depth to the story. Rarely struggles moved me as much as Mary’s and Stephen’s did.

“Oh, you silly, naive men.” I shook my weary head and genuinely pitied their ignorance. “You’ve clearly never been a sixteen-year-old girl in the fall of 1918.”

Moreover, I loved how Cat Winters tackled women’s emancipation issue : as it played out for Mary’s aunt, WW1 brought many French women to work in factories and other ‘men’ jobs for the first time, creating a growing awareness of the need to give more rights to women – Don’t hold your breath, though. In France the fight for women’s suffrage ended in 1944, and women earn the right to work without their father/husband’s permission in 1965 only. If France’s always been the country of humans rights, it takes its time to acknowledge that women deserved them too. All of that is to say that I really appreciated reading about how women were dealing with war overseas, especially through such strong yet realistic characters.

► All in all, a book that I won’t forget anytime soon. Strongly recommended.

I found the crow to make my pict here.

BOOK REVIEW – Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay Crownover

BOOK REVIEW – Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay CrownoverRome (Marked Men #3)
by Jay Crownover
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed "bad boy" friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won't let herself get burned again. She's waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He's stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he's returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome's used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he's just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.  Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .

Review:

There’s something about the Marked Men series that makes it so easy to slip back into their world.  To re-join this group of friends and watch all of their dynamics and interactions unfold was so much fun.  I have missed them!  Cora and Rome were the perfect couple to drag me back into this series!  Their story was adorable and fierce.  They both burned bright, so when they were together their interactions were intense, sexy and heartfelt.  Now I have to finish this series!

“We can go as many rounds as you want, Captain No-Fun, you don’t scare me.”
………..
He blinked his eyes at me and we had a stare-down, for a second I wasn’t sure if he was going to scoop me up or push me down. Instead he just shook his head and whispered so quietly that I thought it could have been my imagination had I not seen his lips move, “That’s good, because most of the time I’m fucking scared shitless of myself.” – Cora

Ohhh, we get to step right back into that scene, at the end of Jet and Ayden’s story, where the whole gang is having a bbq at Rule and Shaw’s new house.  And Cora dumps a beer on Rome’s head.  What a hilarious and perfect way for Cora and Rome’s interactions to being!  You see, Rome is Rule’s older brother who is back from war.  He was injured while stationed overseas and has just left the military.  He is lost, grumpy and the huge looming horrible mood at all of their shindigs.  Cora works at the shop with Rule and the rest of the guys.  She cares for all of them deeply, but she can’t keep her mouth shut, doesn’t take crap from anyone and is protective of her friends.  So when Cora stands up to Rome, it is fiery and fun!  And I loved how she called him Captain No-Fun, ha!  But neither of them can deny their intense chemistry, and that chemistry is about to make them embark on a journey they never thought they would!

I got used to everyone needing me, to them relying on me , and now that I wasn’t needed anymore I simply just didn’t know what to do with myself. That honestly terrified me more than any war zone or bar brawl with armed bikers ever could. – Rome

I adored Rome in Rule’s book.  He was the big brother, the one who tried to help set Rule straight, helped give Shaw ‘big brother’ advice, he was everyone’s rock.  And now he’s just a shell of himself.  He is lost, confused, unsure of where to go and what to do with his life.  My heart hurt for him.  Clearly both of the Archer’s brothers have tons of baggage in common. But on top of that, he suffers from PSTD.  It was beyond horrifying.  I could feel him spiraling down while being suffocated from his confusion, hurt and suffering.  But when Cora stepped into his life, he could finally find a tiny bit of light.

Rome was not on my agenda, he was not what I was looking for, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him and all his imperfections. That wasn’t good. – Cora

I always liked Cora in Rule and Jet’s story.  She was a great friend to everyone and was always no-nonsense.  She called it like it was and was someone that you knew where you stood and would have your back in the blink of an eye.  In this book, I got an even clearer picture of how intense and feisty she was!  And while she suffers from her own baggage from a broken engagement and refusing to settle down with anyone who is short of perfect, I loved how she tried her hardest to pull Rome out from his downward spiral.  Together, they were imperfectly perfect for each other, as Shaw said.

What if he’s your imperfect Mr. Perfect? – Shaw

So while I still love Rule and Shaw’s book the most so far, Rome and Cora’s story was charming and enjoyable.  While I guessed how some events played out, I never would have guessed how hard one of them impacted me.  That I would be trying my hardest not to bawl my eyes out.  That I would be biting my lip so hard in hopes that I would get my chin to stop quivering.  Wow, those last few chapters blew me away!  Now I can’t wait to finish the rest of the Marked Men’s stories!

P.S. I love how we get to watch the female friendships and male friendships take place.  They felt real, heartfelt and I loved how they weren’t filled in drama and betrayal.  They were just honest to goodness close friends.

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
***Each book can be read as a standalone, but best enjoyed in order.***
Rule by Jay Crownover
Rule #1
Reviews:
Jen
jet jay crownover
Jet #2
Reviews:
Jen
rome jay crownover
Rome #3
Reviews:

Jen
nash jay crownover
Nash #4
Reviews:
Jen
Rowdy by Jay Crownover
Rowdy #5
Reviews:
Jen
asa jay crownover
Asa #6
Reviews:
Jen

BOOK REVIEW – Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

BOOK REVIEW – Champion (Legend #3) by Marie LuChampion (Legend #3)
by Marie Lu
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

*5 Emotionally Charged Stars*

“You’re the scariest, most clever, bravest person I know, and sometimes I can’t catch my breath because I am trying so hard to keep up. There will never be another like you. You realize that, don’t you?” I tilt my face up to see him. His eyes reflect the faint lights from the JumboTrons, a rainbow of evening colors. “Billions of people will come and go in this world,” he says softly, “but there will never be another like you.

Wow. Just wow. I must admit I was skeptical about this final installment. I had enjoyed the first two books and had planned on continuing the series after that bomb that Lu dropped on us at the end of book two, but as days and months passed, I grew less and less interested. There are so many new releases in the month of November that I had on my list to read, so the idea of putting other books on hold to finish this series started to sound less appealing than I had earlier imagined. But as November fifth came and went, I decided to pick up Champion and give this series one last chance to blow my mind….and boy was I impressed.

Another long, ominous pause. It fills me with dread so icy cold that I feel like my fingers are turning numb. The plague. It’s happening. It’s all come full circle.-Day

I don’t even know where to begin. Every character has had such an impact on the story, and yet they are all equally marked for death. Every single second is a ticking clock for Day, and June is none the wiser. Having gone their seperate ways at the end of book two, among other things, June is finishing her training and Day is leading people in a totally different area than she, until one day when fate brings them back together because of a virus outbreak that the Republic can’t control…and Day holds the missing piece.

No matter what happens in the future, no matter where our paths take us, this moment will be ours.

One aspect of these stories I have never touched on is the alternating POVs. A method Lu has implemented since book one, we have grown accustom to the necessary switch that has always let us know what’s going on for each extreme-the poor sectors and the rebellious side that Day leads, and the Republic government and military side where June has always resided. What I loved most about the alternating POVs, aside from what I mentioned above, is the seamless way that Lu transitioned from character to character, building up the suspense with each switch of views. Every new chapter had a purpose, a reason we were in one or the other’s head, making for the most emotionally advantageous scenario. It wasn’t always a dramatic switch, but that made it all the more alarming when something shock-worthy happened and the chapter faded out to the other character, leaving us hanging and wondering what happened.

I gaze back at her, slowly falling-as I always seem to do-back under her pull. Don’t make me do this, please. I don’t want to say it out loud to her; it might mean that it’s actually true. But she looks so sad and fearful that I can’t keep it in. I let out my breath, then run a hand through my hair and lower my head.-Day

Over the course of this series, I have had difficulty 100% connecting with June and even sometimes Day, but in Champion, June became one of the coolest, most memorable female leads I have come across in a while. Such a strong, remarkable, and significant character, June fights for her country and grapples with what is right and wrong and ultimately what she would do in each person’s situation. I loved her strong personality and inspiring method of deducing every scene, proving to be intelligent beyond her years and able to put her feelings into perspective…and when faced with a difficult decision, will she be able to make the right choice, even at the cost of her own happiness?

There’s love in her tragic words, in the folds of that thin metal ring. Isn’t there?-Day
Can one mistake really destroy a lifetime together?-Day

And then there is Day-fierce, the people’s champion. Compassionate, loyal, caring, and humble, but most of all, he will fight until the bitter end for the people he loves. Once coined the name ‘Day’ because he walks in the sun and is grateful for each new day that he lives, I think that nickname is perfect for this final installment where every battle might mean that it is his final day, both on the battlefield and with his own personal medical issues.

No matter how much money the Republic throws at me, I will forever be the boy from the streets.
And I’d forgotten that a boy from the streets is no match for the future Princeps.

A beautiful ending that both stumped me and took my breath away, I found myself crying happy, sad, and hopeful tears that left me speechless for this stunning conclusion-an ending that was in the stars and completely unexpected. While I walked into this story with no hope of a happy ending whatsoever, I am thrilled to say that it was always supposed to end this way and I couldn’t be happier. I finally fell in love with Day AND June, and finally felt invested in the fight for their lives in a world where none of them were safe. I can’t say I loved every single book in this trilogy, but I loved Champion, and this will be the book I look back on and remember in the future with fond memories.

Purchase on Amazon or iBooks

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