The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

So far, this is my favorite book for 2019!  P.S. there are DRAGONS in this book!

The legends about the Namsara are what Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past.  But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha lured the dragon with a story.
It was an ancient story, older than the mountains at her back, and Asha had to dredge it up from where it lay deep and dormant inside her.
She hated to do it. Telling such stories was forbidden, dangerous, even deadly.   The old stories drew dragons the way jewels drew men. No dragon could resist one told aloud.  But the stories didn’t just lure dragons.

They made them stronger.
It went like this: where the old stories were spoken aloud, there were dragons; and where there were dragons, there was destruction and betrayal and burning.

Now, I love books with dragons but I don’t like it when there is slaying of them involved, but I ASSURE YOU, it ends better than it starts!  Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, the king who himself has a dark secret. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari to find the truth that has been kept from her.

I highly recommend everyone read this book!  I listened to it via audio book and the narrator was amazing!  Whether you read or listen to Asha’s story, I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

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Watch the video below to find out the story behind The Last Namsara!

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King Rat (Asian Saga: Chronological Order #4) by James Clavell

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

This was our book club pick for January!  It was a good story, although in some spots it seemed to drag on a bit and it took me awhile to get through it.

The story is set in a Japanese POW camp near Singapore in early 1945.  British, Australian and American prisoners are sick, starving and in a dire situation in hopes of being rescued.  All except one American prisoner whom they call “The King”, who somehow manages to eat, live and dress like nothing out of the ordinary while all the others suffer from starvation, skin and bones.

The story revolves around this character, “The King” and his secrets to living as one.  Nearly, everyone depends on the King, though, to make a life-saving trade – a watch for a bowl of rice, $20 for an orange, etc. The King decides to take the unaffected Marlowe under his wing as a sort of junior partner.

The King lets Marlowe in on his adventures and his secrets, something the whole camp would like to know, too.  Soon, the King comes up with a plan to both make money and get revenge on the camp enemies.

I would recommend this book to readers, it’s an interesting story of the length humans will go to survive.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I listened to this story as an audio book and it was an interesting tale!  It is the story about two siblings, Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel in 1945, just after World War II.  They are living in London at the time and suddenly their parents leave them in the care of a mysterious man named “The Moth”, as they head off to Singapore, for reasons that are not told to Nathaniel or Rachel.

They start to think that “The Moth” is a criminal as they dwell under the same roof and his eccentric crew of friends stop by regularly, all who have a shared history of unspecified service during the war.  Each seem to protect and educate the two children, sometimes in odd ways.  But who are these people and why did their parents up and leave them with a stranger?

One day, after many months, their mother returns and without their father.  No explanation, or reasoning.  Many years later Nathaniel begins to uncover the truth of his mother’s hidden agenda and her unexpected role she played during and after the war.

 

The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Wild Inside is set in the Alaskan wilderness where the Petrikoff family lives.  The daughter, Tracy spends all of her time in the woods, tracking animals and running her sled dogs.  She has always felt safe in the woods but she still follows her mother’s rules: Never Lose Sight of the House. Never Come Home with Dirty Hands. And, above all else, Never Make a Person Bleed.

One day she does meet a stranger in the woods who attacks her and knocks her unconscious.  She doesn’t remember what exactly happened when she wakes up, but her knife is bloody.  The next day a man appears in their yard with a knife wound to his gut.

Helping her father cope with her mother’s death and prepare for the approaching Iditarod, she doesn’t have time to think about what she may have done. Then another person appears out of nowhere, looking for a job. Tracy senses that he is hiding something, but she can’t warn her father without explaining about the attack—or why she’s kept it to herself.

Now, if you read any of this books synopsis or even the cover – you would never guess that Tracy herself has a strange secret, one that she only shared with her mother….one that I cannot decide if it is supernatural or medical.  Everything else in the story leads you into a psychological thriller – then you throw THAT into it as well!  Sorry guys, I can’t even explain it to you because I want you to have the same reaction I did while reading it!

If you like psychological thrillers, you HAVE to read this!

The Loop by Nicholas Evans

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I love books about the wilderness and especially if they involve wolves!  I picked this book up at our Friends of the Library Book Sale last year.

The only reason the book didn’t get a full five review was because I’m not a fan of romance in stories, this had just a tad too much BUT I still enjoyed the story as it does keep you turning the pages despite the mushy stuff!

The Loop takes place in Hope, Montana on a ranch, where now faces a conflict as they think wolves are starting to kill their cattle.  Now living in central Nebraska, I do fully understand the unfortunate human/animal conflict that can happen and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to prevent it.

The story unfolds in Hope. In the nearby wilderness, a pack of reintroduced wolves – part of a government effort to restore wolf populations after they had been hunted to near extinction – are on the hunt.  The trouble is, Hope is a community of cattle ranchers, and any threat to their livestock and livelihood is taken seriously.  Into this fiercely self-sufficient little town comes Helen Ross: a wildlife biologist on a mission to track and protect the wolves, and to keep the locals’ growing anger at bay.

Helen also receives help from one of the ranchers sons, who learns of where these wolves have been living.  It becomes part of his daily routine to check on them and keep their location a secret.  He understands both sides of the problem, making it a tough path to choose between what’s right, wrong and what he or anyone has control over.

 

House by Frank E. Peretti, Ted Dekker

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Rating: ♥

Enter House — where you’ll find yourself thrown into a killer’s deadly game in which the only way to win is to lose… and the only way out is in.

The stakes of the game become clear when a tin can is tossed into the house with rules scrawled on it. Rules that only a madman—or worse—could have written. Rules that make no sense yet must be followed.

This was our book club pick for December!  Unfortunately I did not like this book.  I did give it one heart rating for the fast pace story it did hold!

The story to me was very cliche.  A wanna-be scary story that I felt took bits and pieces from other familiar tales I’ve read.  I’ve read one other book by Ted Dekker that I also didn’t really get into.  I gave this one a chance because that’s why I joined book club, to read outside my  normal zones!

After discussing the book at book club, we had a couple members who pointed out the possible significance references to the Bible.  Which, I could see after they described how they portrayed the story.  Where as I just read it as a cheesy wanna-be horror tale.  It did make me realize that in other books I have read, I don’t actually take the time to reflect on the possible second meanings of the stories being told.  I read them how they are, don’t think much about them and move on.  So that will be my ‘take away lesson’ from this one!