Daily Archives: December 18, 2014

And the Children Shall Lead (The Knight Cycle #4) by Michael J. Bowler

23205951The campaign to save California’s children was only the beginning. Now King Arthur and his Round Table of teenaged knights set their sights on fixing something even bigger – the entire country. How? By targeting America’s most sacred document – The Constitution.

Native American teens Kai and Dakota, despite harboring secrets of their own, join the team, and swear undying loyalty to Lance. They carry the hope of their people that the crusade will better the lives of Indian children, who are the most neglected by government. This new campaign will take the young people to The White House, the halls of Congress, and beyond in their quest to change the prevailing opinion that children are property, rather than human beings in their own right.

But an unseen nemesis stalks Lance and Arthur, and ratchets up the attacks on New Camelot, promising to kill them and destroy all that the king has put in place. Lance, Ricky, Kai, and Dakota become the enemy’s favorite targets, and barely escape with their lives on more than one occasion. Who is this mysterious stalker, and what is the motive for these attacks? Lance has no idea, especially since he’s never intentionally hurt anyone.

“You were right, little boy, death is coming for you, but slowly, and only after it takes out the people you love.” That chilling promise haunts Lance, but also strengthens his determination to protect the people he loves at all costs. Or die trying.

The Knight Cycle continues…

Kimi’s thoughts:

This is one of those series that you see kicking about and then one day, decide, “I keep seeing this about, winning awards and what not, but it doesn’t seem to be that huge. I’m gonna check it out and see what the deal is.” So you pick it up, and read the first volume. It makes you stop and think. It challenges you, and you see something that you never maybe really saw before. You rad the next one, right away, never mind the book’s length.

You think, Holy cow, I’m not sure about some of their ideas, but man, this is one compelling read. Then you come to understand that you were not supposed to necessarily side the way you assumed. Also, that the issues being dealt with are a lot more complex than you had possibly wanted to know. But what has been seen cannot be unseen, so now, moving pell mell onto volume three, you have to face it head on.

You find you object to issues you had thought you stood firmly on the other side for, perhaps. You find that if you stood against what they fought, your ideals  do not match up with what actually needs doing. You see the youth you dismiss as thuggish as who he is, inside. It’s disquietening. It also makes you feel great joy as you see the power of hope and personal effort.

Then you come to this volume. The Constitution? Really? But while this is fantasy, it again makes you give pause. The rights of children, these are things we’ve al fought for, in one way or another The right for children to go to school. the right for them not to slave away in factories and sweat shops. Basic human rights. And all through this, there is an exciting action adventure with modern Knights of the Roundtable, male and female alike, righting wrongs, helping the needy, and fighting back against those who wish to do evil.

It’s a great read, and I’m going to say this once, if you have kids, 11 or older, buy them these books. Gay, straight, bi, white, black, Latino, male, female, young old…they are ALL in this book and they are ALL heroes. It’s a nice self affirming read for youth, and the subplot with young Lance coming to accept his orientation is beautiful.

Rating: 4.5

Buy from Amazon 

kimisig

Krampusz by Lou Harper

Dreamspinner Presents: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5835

KrampuszBlurb

In Budapest, Brian might find himself in the arms of Krampusz, who punishes bad boys.

Freshly out of college, shy and introverted Brian Preston travels from LA to Budapest to teach English, ready to embrace life and spread his wings. It’s early December, and the air is heavy with the scent of roasting chestnuts. Getting involved with his new roommate, native Hungarian Zoli Park, promises to be the adventure Brian always wanted. But all is not as it seems, and Brian might find himself in the arms of Krampusz, demonic companion to St. Nick, who punishes bad boys.

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Review

This holiday story shows us a bit of Hungarian tradition and we meet two “new adults” ready to tackle the world. Brian and his Hungarian/American roommate, Zoli flirt a bit and when it looks like they might just be ready to take things to the next level, Zoli remembers something from the past that might keep them apart.

I enjoyed learning about another holiday custom and really enjoyed Lou Harper’s character building but I was a bit confused by the direction the story went at the end.

Overall, I give it 3.5 of 5 hearts.

3.5

Neighbors by Emma Wilson

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5843

NeighborsBlurb
With some help from friends, Eric and Rhys might finally move beyond watching each other through their windows.
Ever since he moved to London, shy editor Eric has been watching his neighbor, Crooked Smile, jog every morning. Aspiring restaranteur Rhys eats breakfast by the window so he can see his neighbor, Bed Head, help the old woman downstairs clean off her car. When Eric’s roommate unexpectedly returns home for the holidays, she realizes their idiocy and, with the help of Rhys’s business partner, Andreas, tries to help both men see there might be more in their futures than they’re seeing through their windows.

Review

Eric has been spying on his super cute neighbor, but afraid to talk to him because he thinks he’s in a relationship. Instead, he stares at him blankly every time they come across one another and feels lonely.
At Christmas, they are forced together with the help of their friends and they realize they both had been crushing on the other all along.
Very sweet, light holiday story. My only wish is that we’d gotten to see them together – if only for a little bit.

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3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

Knitter in His Natural Habitat: Granby Knitting Series, Book 4 Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Phillip Alces

Dreamspinner Presents  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5937

knitter habitBlurb

Stanley’s life took a left turn at a knitting shop and hit a dead end. The closest thing he’s had to a relationship breaks things off to date a “nice boy,” and none of the pretty young things in Boulder’s limited gay scene do it for Stanley. He needs to reevaluate whether working as a floor designer for a series of craft stores is really where he wants to be.
Then Stanley does a peculiar thing: he starts to live the life he fell into. Stitch by stitch, he knits his life into something meaningful. Just when he does, Johnny, the store’s new delivery boy, walks in.
Johnny is like no one Stanley has ever met: he doesn’t believe in quickies in the bathroom and has a soft spot for theater and opera. There has to be a catch. When Johnny’s dark past comes back to haunt them, Stanley realizes how much he loves his cushy life in the yarn store – but he’ll give it all up to keep the man who makes his ordinary life extraordinary.

Review
Depending on your ordering system this is either book 3 or 4 of the knitter’s series. This is one of the more intense books in the series. Stanley is an aging “bottom boy” and Johnny is in the Witness Protection Program after ratting out the mob. Johnny is also the guy who saved Jeremy from being killed in mob related activities.

After Craw “dumps” Stanley for Ben, Stanley is forced to re-evaluate his life and he comes to the conclusion that he has a full, if somewhat lonely, life and that he values himself too much to continue to “give away” his body in back rooms as before. He turns to knitting and friendship to fill the gaps.

One day Johnny makes a delivery to Stanley’s shop and the two are instantly attracted to one another. Johnny is nothing but sincere and almost immediately in it for the long haul.  They begin with a date.  *sigh

Stanley takes some convincing, but after a couple of proper “dates” he’s convinced Johnny might be “the one”.

Of course Amy can’t leave us with a simple, happy love story like that. Oh, no. She has to add in mob violence and danger and the worst thing imaginable happens and the mob comes calling, threatening Stanley’s life and those on Craw’s farm.

When the dust settles, we are left with Stanley and Johnny hoping to make a go of it and Jeremy and Aidan now facing a long road to recovery. (The lead in to the next book.)
**

I had forgotten how intense this book was. I love older characters and Amy tends to write mostly about the younger men in early adult hood. This proves her immense talent and flexibility in that these guys are just as rich, deep, loveable, flawed and easy to root for as her younger characters.

Though I would have rather nothing bad happen to anyone, I can see what the violence did for Jeremy, Aidan, Stanley and Johnny and it was amazing. It also helped cement the bond between Stanley’s family and Craw’s in a way that is irrevocable.

Audio:
This was Philip Alces’ best yet! His Johnny interpretation was fantastic but he excelled with the swishy yet cranky Stanley. This is his range, as it were, at its best.

I really enjoyed this audiobook (by far the best of the series) and highly recommend it.

5 of 5 hearts for both book and audiobook.

5

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