Monday, April 17, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

You know something? I look at that list there and realize just how old All Booked Up is sometimes. I started doing this meme back in the days when It's Monday! What Are You Reading? was hosted at J Kaye's Book Blog.

Anyway, I'm back in the game after a couple of months on hiatus (again). These days I'm somewhat sporadic with All Booked Up despite my best intentions. But, after a few months of struggling with one book, I've finished reading it, and I'm on to other books.

Books I finished reading last week:

Europe: Chained By History - Larry J. HiltonEurope: Chained By History
Larry J. Hilton
Newport Publishing
Copyright Date: December 2015
978-0996786119

The amazon.com product description:

A Plea for Europe to form a United States of Europe
Europe: Chained by History is a groundbreaking book that uses history to make a compelling case for Europe to form a United States of Europe--or risk seeing the European Union come apart individually.
Using the history of Vienna from its inception to 1938, readers are invited to observe Western Europe from within this ancient city.
  • Where did historic rivalries among European nations begin?
  • How did the Enlightenment affect Europe and the United States?
  • What persistent darkness allowed Hitler to lead the word in to a second devastating world war?
  • What will it take for today's European Union to survive?
Author Larry J. Hilton explores these questions, and more, by using fascinating details about what it was really like to live in Vienna from the the first century through the days of hyper-inflation after World War 1.
Thought provoking and well researched, Europe: Chained by History radiates hope even as it details the formidable political obstacles to European unity. In the end, a banking or ISIS crisis will force the issue.
An excerpt from my review:
It's rather interesting to see history as not just a case of "here's what happened" but also as a set of expectations for the future - thus the chains of his title. Definitely a different perspective of the past, and one that provokes a fair bit of thought. I think that I'm going to be digesting this book for a while.

I'm currently reading:

The Perfect Horse - Elizabeth LettsThe Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission To Rescue The Priceless Stallions Kidnapped By The Nazis
Elizabeth Letts
Ballantine Books
Copyright Date: August 2016
978-0345544803

The amazon.com product description:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II

In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.

With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.

Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.

A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

Praise for The Perfect Horse

“Winningly readable . . . Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton. . . . The right director could make a Hollywood classic out of this fairy tale.”The Christian Science Monitor

“Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses.”Kirkus ReviewsThe Perfect Horse raises the narrative bar. Applying her skills as a researcher, storyteller and horsewoman, Letts provides context that makes this account spellbinding.”Culturess

The Perfect Horse is an enthralling and moving story that I could not put down. This is a riveting and unique perspective on World War II.”—Molly Guptill Manning, author of When Books Went to War

“Passionately told and dazzling in scope, The Perfect Horse charges headlong into an unforgettable tale of World War II, when good men were given a final mission—to save beloved horses—at an hour when no one wanted to die. In Elizabeth Letts, the saga of World War II’s white stallions has found its perfect guardian.”—Adam Makos, author of A Higher Call

“Elizabeth Letts’s beautiful prose, woven together with meticulous research, takes you for a ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.”—Robin Hutton, author of Sgt. Reckless
I'm really enjoying the read - currently about half way through the book. As I noted in my previous post mentioning The Perfect Horse, I'm at least vaguely familiar with parts of the story, but there's so much I didn't know about too. I have to admit though that I'll be happy to be finished with this read simply to get away from the topic of the Second World War. Two books in a row on the subject (Europe Chained By History had a lot on World War Two and the lead-up to it) are a bit much I'm finding.

I'm planning to read at least one of the following:

Cold Welcome (Vatta's Peace) - Elizabeth MoonCold Welcome (Vatta's Peace)
Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey
Copyright Date: April 11, 2017
978-1101887318

The Amazon.com product description:

Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with a thrilling series featuring Kylara Vatta, the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

After nearly a decade away, Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this installment in a thrilling new series featuring the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.

Praise for Elizabeth Moon

Trading in Danger
“A mix of space opera, military science fiction and human drama, this is an exciting and often touching novel.”RT Book Reviews

Marque and Reprisal
“Excellent plotting and characters support the utterly realistic action sequences: swift, jolting, confusing, and merciless. It’s a corker!”Kirkus Reviews

Engaging the Enemy
“Moon has created a richly imagined universe of different cultures, replete with intriguing characters and the sense of unlimited possibility that characterizes the most appealing science fiction.”School Library Journal

Command Decision
“One of scifi’s best military space series . . . confirms Moon’s place with Lois McMaster Bujold and David Weber in the top tier of turn-of-the-millennium military SF writers.”—Syfy

Victory Conditions
“Rip-roaring action and intriguing science and tactics distinguish Nebula winner Moon’s fifth and final Vatta’s War installment. . . . A fine and fitting conclusion to Moon’s grand space opera tour de force.”Publishers Weekly

Tempest: All New Tales of Valdemar
Ed. Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: 2016

The amazon.com product description:

Twenty-four authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages—and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents—combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more—make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now, twenty-three authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

Join Elizabeth Vaughan, Fiona Patton, Jennifer Brozek, Brenda Cooper, Rosemary Edghill, and others in twenty-two original stories, including a brand-new novella by Mercedes Lackey, to Valdemar, where:

A Herald must crack an ancient code in a historic tapestry in order to arbitrate a dispute over land and lineage…

A Healer’s daughter flees the noble family that has trapped and enslaved her mother, and must seek help to free her mother…

A young woman who hides her clairvoyant powers from her town’s Karsite priests ForeSees a threat, and must risk revealing her Gift to save her community…

A Herald finds his assistant has been abducted by a man upon whom he had levied a heavy fine, and must foil the kidnapper’s plans to save his charge…
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