Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two books: Undercover War and Child Philosophy

I have two good books for you today. One is an oldie, first published in the United States in 1975. The second is a SciFi Romance (Yes, I know, I don't read Romances but...) newly published. Both are good reads though meant for totally different audiences. I hope one will be just right for you.

SciFi Saturday and Sensual Sunday all rolled into one with a new book from  K. S. Augustin.  War Games is a SciFi same sex Romance (with a capital R), that has a decent plot and graphic 
sexual encounters.

The other is a simple, charming book about a small child's love of life, her philosophy of all things around her including sex, God, church, relationships, and math.  This nonfiction is endearing.

War Games
By K. S, Augustin
Publisher: Sandal Press

From Amazon
What can you do when you start falling in love with the woman you’re meant to kill?
War Games and other fun stuff!

Laisen Carros is a covert agent of the Fusion, sent undercover to infiltrate the Perlim Empire. However, the years she’s spent as Cheloi Sie fighting Menon rebels on an alien battleground are starting to exhaust her.

To Lith Yinalña, Cheloi Sie is nothing but a war criminal and she considers it her personal mission to kill her.

Unfortunately for Laisen/Cheloi, the Empire and an idealistic assassin aren’t the only things she needs to worry about. A treacherous subordinate—the ambitious Koul Grakal-Ski—is looking for any chance to grab control of the territory. When Laisen and Lith start falling in love, it’s only a matter of time before Koul notices. And acts.

About the book:
As the book opens, we meet Colonel Cheloi Sie through the eyes of Koul as she orders a town to be destroyed, civilians and all. It is this act, along with so many done before this one, that brings out Lith Yinalña and her friends to plot the assassination of the Colonel. Koul is Cheloi Sie's second in command and was passed over for the position Chelio Sie now holds. Koul is not a bad man, and indeed, simply wishes to return home to his wife's family as a hero, proving his worth to them. He, however, plots against Cheloi Sie, feeling she is the wrong person to be in the position she holds and knowing he must take over that role if he is to ever return to his wife. We can empathize with each of the main characters to some extent, knowing what is driving them.

When Koul brings Lith to the Colonel, the first thing the Colonel feels is suspicion but the second thing she feels in deep attraction to the young Lith. The kind of attraction that is instantaneous and hits you so hard you almost fall over. She doesn't know if Lith feels the same. 

We learn Cheloi is an undercover agent for the Fusion and that Lith, is also an agent but of a Fusion breakaway group. As the reader, we know who both are and are drawn along wondering how they are going to find out about each other's true role before one of them is hurt or killed.

My Take:

I enjoyed the book but it is still a Romance which means the Romance aspect is thick in the book and there are some pretty graphic sex scenes. My readers should be aware this is a same sex Romance, though, if you are like me, by the time the third sexual encounter comes along, you will forget that aspect and see the characters as friends who you are rooting for. (For the record, I don't like any graphic sex scenes usually.)

The hard hitting attraction that sets the stage for the book is intense from the moment the women's eyes meet. Some might say this kind  attraction doesn't exist. It does exists.  I felt it once, across a crowed room. I know it exists but does it ever work out? The person  I felt it for was someone I would never seriously date. (My head tends to rule.)

There is plenty of action in the book but it does take some time to appear. I, for one, like  good back stories and excellent foundations so this didn't concern me at all. This is more of an informational note. And trust me, the action is worth the time spent with the foundation.

The main characters are well done, complete with back stories and internal conflicts I identified with completely. Knowing something is dangerously wrong and yet your heart and soul are telling you to do it might be something every reader can identify with. Knowing your duty and yet feeling it is wrong but not knowing what to do about it is something many of us have faced. Wanting two different, mutually exclusive things and being torn up trying to decide which to choose is not new to any of us. These are some of the conflicts affecting the three main characters in War Games. Augustin does a great job of not only giving her characters internal conflicts but also of setting up those conflicts so they are understandable and very real to the reader.

I did find it was hard to keep the politics clear until I was close to halfway through the book. This might be because it wasn't laid out well enough or might be because I wasn't able to read this straight through as I usually do. Once the penny had dropped, though, the book was fascinating.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for adventurous Romance, especially with a straightforward SciFi bent. This is a serious, well done tale.


One note to authors everywhere. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. Please, please think about giving your main characters names that start with different letters. For those of us who do not read word for word, it tends to drop us out of the story when we have to think about which character we are reading about. 

Nonfiction Friday:

I want to introduce you to a book I loved, loved, loved when I first read it in the late 1970's. It is one of those books that stays with you for decades. 

by Fynn

This charming book was written in the 1970's about an incident that took place forty years earlier. 

From Amazon:

From the Inside Flap


Anna was only four years old when Fynn found her on London's fog-shrouded docks. He took her back to his mother's home, and from that first moment, their times together were filled with delight and discovery. Anna had an astonishing ability to ask--and to answer--life's largest questions. Her total openness and honesty amazed all who knew her. She seemed to understand with uncanny certainty the purpose of being, the essence of feeling, the beauty of love. You see, Anna had a very special friendship with Mister God. . . .

About the book:
A NOTE: I have a copy from the 1970's which does not have this inside flap. Something to know in case you search for the book in the used bookstore.

The book allows us to meet Anna, a precocious child of four years. She has run away from home and makes a life with Fynn and his mum. During her short life, Anna develops a refined way of looking at almost everything around her and manages to teach twenty year old Fynn a thing or two about life. From the moment Anna refused to tell anyone where her parents lived to the moment of her death, Anna manages to control her environment and those around her, although her control is a loving, gentle control.

Anna treats Fynn  with her special philosophy  of church, God, sex, and numbers. The reader is taken along for this wonderful ride.

My Take:
This is a short book I want everyone to read, though there are some who will find it too simple to enjoy. I loved Anna and her many ideas. One of my favorites is when Anna realized she knew the answer to a squillion (the biggest number Anna could think of) questions. Just when Fynn thinks he is going to set her right, she proves she is already right: How much is 4 take away 1? How much is 2 plus 1? How much is 5 take away 2? By now you must have figured out we could go on all day with this line of reasoning. Indeed, Anna taught Fynn that it is the questions that are truly important. Even beyond that, it is the circumstance of the question that is important. Saying yes to the offer of a drink of water may be drastically different  depending on if you are three days into the desert or just newly arrived at the restaurant.

There are some who say this child could not have just come to live with this family, It did happen in the 1930's and having little children run the streets was not unheard of. There are some who may say no child could ever do or think what Anna did but I am here to tell you, I personally know of at least one. And don't forget Mozart wrote music at this same age and played his sister's violin without being taught at this same age or younger.

I highly recommend this little treasure!

Another reviewer's take can be found here.

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