Review: Outlaw Platoon

outlaw platoonOutlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell

Publisher: William Morrow

Ratings: 5 stars

Source: Publisher

At twenty-four years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon, the 10th Mountain Division—a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws. Tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a valley in the Hindu Kush, Parnell assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians until, in May 2006, a routine patrol turned into a brutal ambush. Through sixteen months of combat, the platoon became Parnell’s family. The cost of battle was high for these men. Not all of them made it home, but for those who did, it was the love and faith they found in one another that ultimately kept them alive.

When my friends saw me carrying around Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell they couldn’t help but mention how wide my tastes in books are. One day you can see me carrying around a fun and fluffy chick lit novel and the next day you can see me carrying around a serious war novel. I have to admit after reading Matterhorn (one of my all time favorite books!), my interest in war novels increased greatly. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to review this book I knew I just had to jump on ship for it and boy am I glad I did.

Parnell’s novel is an excellent book that gives you a small taste of what happened during the war in Afghanistan. I guess one of the reasons I have such an interest in reading war books, especially nonfiction war books is because these are the stories that are not told in history books. We all took history growing up and we learned about the wars and the battles and the winners and losers, but we didn’t get the behind the scene story that you get when you read a memoir written by someone who experienced the situation himself.

I love reading these books because it’s the untold story that everyone needs to know. Can you imagine being 24 and leading a whole platoon? Parnell is the same age I am today when he was put in charge and became responsible for 40 men. Every time I read one of these books I’m always shocked and surprised by how young these men are and how mature they are for their age.

As I turned the pages in this book, my appreciation for the armed forces grew larger and larger. My heart broke for them as I read the hardships and obstacles they had to overcome. I was amazed by their determination and willingness to continue to serve their country. Many of these men ignored their own personal injuries and refused to be evacuated because they couldn’t live with the option of leaving their fellow soldiers behind. It was amazing to read about the bonds of brotherhood forged between these men and how they really became a family for one another.

I highly recommend the Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell because it contains all the stories that you won’t get from reading history books or CNN news. Parnell takes you on quite an adventure as he retells his tour in Afghanistan and recounts the bravery, brotherhood, and treachery of war

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Review: A Land More Kind than Home

alandmorekindthanhomeA Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash

Publisher: William Morrow

Ratings: 4.5 stars

Source: Publisher

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when you get caught spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to—an act that will have repercussions. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. He now knows that a new understanding can bring not only danger and evil—but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance.

A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash has all the makings of a perfect southern novel with its mystery, history, and culture. Cash is a wonderful author and I absolutely fell in love with his writing. I’m excited to read his future works.

The mystery in A Land More Kind than Home isn’t quite a mystery and the readers learn quite quickly what has happened, but despite this, the story actually unfolds quite slowly and this gives the book a bit of southern charm in the slow way everything unfolds and is explained. The characters are given a chance to add great depth to the story by providing their own personal history to it. There are plenty of flashbacks that give the readers insight into the actions of the characters and how the narrators became the person they are today.

One of the reasons I really enjoyed reading this book was because of the journey it took me on. I’m sure every reader knew where the story was going within pages of starting this book, but for once, this book wasn’t about the destination, but rather the ride it took the readers on. I was enchanted by the world that Cash created and I was fully immersed in the lives of the characters. I never wanted to stop turning the pages.

A Land More Kind than Home is a book I would recommend to those who are looking for a good Southern novel to read. The pace is slow, but the story and writing are amazing!

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Review: Indiscretion

indiscretionIndiscretion by Charles Dubow

Publisher:  William Morrow

Ratings: 4 stars

Source: Publisher

Harry and Madeleine Winslow have been blessed with talent, money, and charm. Harry is a National Book Award–winning author on the cusp of greatness. Madeleine is a woman of sublime beauty and grace whose elemental goodness and serenity belie a privileged upbringing. Bonded by deep devotion, they share a love that is both envied and admired. The Winslows play host to a coterie of close friends and acolytes eager to bask in their golden radiance, whether they are in their bucolic East Hampton cottage, abroad in Rome thanks to Harry’s writing grant, or in their comfortable Manhattan brownstone.

One weekend at the start of the summer season, Harry and Maddy, who are in their early forties, meet Claire and cannot help but be enchanted by her winsome youth, quiet intelligence, and disarming naivete. Drawn by the Winslows’ inscrutable magnetism, Claire eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But over the course of the summer, her reverence transforms into a dangerous desire. By Labor Day, it is no longer enough to remain one of their hangers-on.

A story of love, lust, deception, and betrayal as seen through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter, a narrator akin to Nick Carraway in The Great GatsbyIndiscretion is a juicy, richly textured novel filled with fascinating, true-to-life characters—an irresistibly sensual page-turner that explores having it all and the consequences of wanting more.

Wow! Indiscretion by Charles Dubow was not what I was expecting at all when I signed up to be a part of this book tour, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. I was first interested in reading this book because of the comparisons it was drawing from The Great Gatsby, a book that I love and adore.

Indiscretion follows a group of friends who seem to have it all until one of them succumbs to temptation and all of their lives go spiraling out of control. The book wonderfully portrays how one mistake can affect so many lives and how profound the consequences of that mistake can be. It depicts how we deal with relationship, friendship, betrayal, deceit, and love.

Harry and Maddy seem to be the perfect couple who are happily married and completely in love with one another. That is until Claire enters the picture and is immediately drawn to the charisma that surrounds the happy couple. To round out the fourth wheel, is Walter, the narrator of the story, who is in love with Maddy, but is content to just adopt Harry and Maddy’s family as his own. It was quite interesting to have the story told from Walter’s point of view rather than the characters that were involved in the affair.

Dubow does a wonderful job of fleshing out these characters and truly making them come off the pages in the story. Their flaws were clearly visible for all to see, but at the same time you couldn’t help but become attached to these characters and drawn to their actions. These aren’t people that you would want to be, but their story was so attracting and I just couldn’t put the book down.

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow is a book that I would highly recommend! It was amazing and entertaining and the writing was brilliant. I couldn’t believe this was his debut novel and I’m excited to see what he has in store for us. I’m definitely looking forward to his future novels.

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Tooth and Mail (20)

Tooth and Mail is just like In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi and Mailbox Monday hosted by Marcia with a little twist to the name to match my blog. Mailbox Monday is currently on tour and Lori at Lori’s Reading Corner is hosting it this month. It’s basically a meme that allows bloggers to share with one another the books we have acquired during the week.

imm

Damn Few: Making the Modern Seal Warrior by Rorke Denver

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

Ever since I finished reading Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes, I’ve been on a quest to read more war novels.

Review: The Death of Bees

Death_of_BeesThe Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Publisher:  Harper Collins

Ratings: 4 stars

Source: Publisher

Hazlehurst housing estate, Glasgow, Christmas Eve 2010. Fifteen-year-old Marnie and her little sister Nelly have just finished burying their parents in the back garden. Only Marnie and Nelly know how they got there. Lennie, the old guy next door, has taken a sudden interest in his two young neighbours and is keeping a close eye on them. He soon realises that the girls are all alone, and need his help – or does he need theirs?

As the year ends and another begins, the sisters’ friends, their neighbours, and the authorities – not to mention the local drug dealer, who’s been sniffing around for their father – gradually start to ask questions. And as one lie leads to another, darker secrets about Marnie’s family come to light, making things even more complicated.

I had to let The Death of Bees sit with me for a couple of days before I could review it just because I really didn’t know what to say about it. I still don’t know what to say about it or how to describe the various emotions I went through while reading this book.

Lisa O’Donnell doesn’t waste any time starting her book. Within seconds of starting the book, we discover that Marnie and Nelly’s parents are dead and they can’t tell anyone about it. They’re used to living on their own though because their parents were terrible along with being drug users. They’ve gone missing before and have abandon Marnie and Nelly before. As they girls tried to figure out a way to live on their own, their next door neighbor Lennie, notices that the parents are missing and steps in to take care of them.

What follows is a heartwarming yet gloomy and dark story as Marnie, Nelly, and Lennie form their own dysfunctional family. The story is told from three different point of view—Marnie, Nelly, and Lennie—and O’Donnell did a wonderful job of creating three distinct voices and giving each character their own personality. It’s really difficult to describe the book because it was humorous at times, yet the situation would be so bleak and dark that I wasn’t exactly sure how I was suppose to react to it.

The Death of Bees is a fascinating and interesting book that really shows you that family can come to you in unexpected places and that it takes more than just sharing the same blood and flesh to truly be called a family. It’s definitely one that I would highly recommend and I was left with this uplifting feeling when I was done with it.

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