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Monthly Archives: May 2014

What is Memorial Day to Me

At this time I aFlagm usually getting ready to post the follow up questions from a book review. Well, you get to wait a few more days for that to be posted as it is Memorial Day in the United States and I wanted to put a short post out regarding the day.

 

Today is Memorial Day. A day we are to remember those who have gone before us in the service of this great country, The United States. If you turned on television, the radio, or looked at the news there were not a lot of stories about this day. In fact many are talking about the unofficial start of Summer, the weather, the idiotic Kardashians, or anything but the truth of this day.

If I was to ask when Memorial Day truly started not many would know. They may guess and get it right but in truth it was the Civil War that brought this holiday to our minds. It isn’t hard to believe when you look at the number of dead and wounded during that period. It was a war that brought family against family and the death toll was over six hundred thousand. As it was so many generations ago it like many other conflicts has left the conscious of many.

The same can be said for those who died in World War I and II, Korea, and dare I say Vietnam. There are those who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam that are still with us. If you ask them they will undoubtedly remember their friends they left behind.

In war, in conflict, and even in peace there are service men, and women, who are dying wrapped in a piece of fabric called a uniform. They are all fighting for each other, their lives, their family and their country. Their lives ripped from them earlier than all can fathom. These are people who could have done so much with their lives but went and followed the orders they were given. It is why we have a Memorial Day. It is a day to remember those who we have lost, those who fought for what we believe in.

To give an idea of the cost of live and the families impacted the below graphic will show what has happened in some of the major wars the US has fought. This is just a small listing as there are events all over this world that have cost a life of a US soldier. To all of them and their families I hope a simple day of remembrance helps, but in truth they will always be in the heart of those who thank them.

 

Major U.S. War Casualties U.S. Deaths Wounded Date
Iraq War 4,800 31,965 2003 – 2011
Afghanistan 2,229 18,675 2001 – Present
Gulf War 258 849 1990 – 1991
Vietnam War 58,209 153,303 1955 – 1975
Korean War 36,516 92,134 1950 – 1953
World War II 405,399 670,846 1941 – 1945
World War I 116,516 204,002 1917 – 1918
Civil War 625,000 281,881 1861 – 1865
American Revolutionary War 25,000 25,000 1775 – 1783
Statistic Verification  
Source: Washington Post Database of U.S. Service-Member Casualties, McGavock Confederate Cemetery  

Graph from: www.statisticbrain.com/u-s-war-death-statistics/

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Personal

 

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Shaman The Awakening by VR McCoy

ShamanDreams are something most of us have in life. They can be scary, thought provoking, warnings, and sometimes erotic in nature. They are often something we keep private unless we feel like sharing with others.  They are something we have the ability to control, well so we think.

There are stories in Native American folklore of those who can walk within dreams. These individuals are able to implant themselves into a dream and control what happens. They could fill your dream with so much fear it literally scares you to death. There is then the flipside to that coin in which the dream is so sensual you are filled with great emotions. The question then becomes what to do with such a gift if you happen to be one of these people.

This is the question that is asked as you read the book, Shaman – The Awakening, by author VR McCoy.

The book introduces the reader to an inmate of a mental hospital, one Christian Sands. A former contractor for the FBI that had some falling out with his bosses which landed him in this hospital. Christian begins to tell his story after a brief background on who he is.

You will learn that when he first learned about his “gift” he eventually made himself the target of the affection of many women. He just had to dreamscape with them and plant the seed of how great it would be to be with him. These women would bring themselves to him, but after a time he realized what he was doing wasn’t right. It was the start of a progress of growing up for the character that would lead to his job with the FBI.

A job that would put him into the middle of a case that would lead him to further discovery of his roots, and what his gift can really do. A case that will not only test his will, but of those he works with from the harden team leader, Steve, to the burgeoning romance with co-worker Dianne. A case in which women are being kidnapped and as they will find out murdered in a ritualistic way.

VR McCoy will take the reader from snowy Washington D.C, to the plains of the West. The reader will get to visit places in New Mexico, and learn much about the Native American tribes that inhabit the land. You will learn through Christian’s telling of his story how that tribal land can be a beautiful place, but at the same time dangerous. It is land that the natives will protect and do not welcome government employees.

The story will bring you into a team of FBI agents that are much like those you see on popular television shows. They investigate the crimes that other agents are unable to solve and this case will become very personal to all involved. Christian’s gift of dream walking will be put to a full test and often he must deliver the bad news from what he sees, or does not see, to the team. The case will bring a spotlight to the team as things do not follow their normal path and will get more attention than any could have thought.

The story makes great use of the places mentioned in the book and will take the reader into a well-developed land and people. The characters are also well crafted and described so that you get a feel of who they all are.  There is some inter team relationships taking place but when you work with someone so long is it that farfetched it may happen?

VR McCoy also crafts a great villain within the pages of the book.  There are a few twists that the reader should find themselves enjoying. The big thing about this book is how you are kept on your toes, figuratively through McCoy’s writing style. It’s use of modern investigation tactics and the Native American lore makes for a great read.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

StormdancerJapan is a country that many in the west have some type of fascination with. It could be from the technology they unleash on the world, the animation, the cars, but to many it’s the Samurai and the Feudal past of the country. The images of men in heavy armor decorated with dragons, flowers and holding the Katana that will get a person’s attention.

Author Jay Kristoff takes some of the best of that Feudal period and places it in a steampunk world. A world with large airships, men incased in hard armor and powerful tools all running on a lotus type of plant. A plant that just doesn’t run the weapons of war but may also be changing the world around it. You see that plant must be grown but the fields used will die after a few seasons and the exhaust it creates is just as harmful to man and woman a like.

This is the world the reader will find in the book Stormdancer by author Jay Kristoff. The book will introduce the reader to a young girl, of about 16, who accompanies her father on a task ordered by the shogun. The task to find a mythical creature that does not just fly through the air but can bring lighting. A creature many will call a griffin, and for some will find out that this creature is not so mythical. It is however just as deadly as feared.

Kristoff shapes his world masterfully, as he uses his words to paint a broad picture that will formulate in the mind. Skies no longer blue due to the plants burned to give the massive airships their propulsion. You will read about the beggars on the street and the feudal soldiers of the Shogun and their weaponry described in great detail, along with the people found within the pages of the book.

Yukiko is that 16 year old girl and she is not just her father’s daughter, but as the book will show in away his caretaker. The first introduction to her father will make you wonder about the man but as the book progresses you learn so much more about him, and Yukiko. Their arguments will lead to deep understanding and a father’s love will be shown. The one thing Yukiko has that she has yet to really discover is a gift that will aid her when she comes across Buruu, the griffin.  Buruu the creature her father is ordered to capture after rumors of one being alive reaches the shoguns ears.

Stormdancer will show how Yukiko forms a unique bond with Buruu and how the two will become intertwined with not just each other but the politics of the country. They will each grow to have much hatred for Shogun Yoritomo and both for the right reasons. The book will give the reader not just a unique world but a great story. The book is a story of survival in a world that is slowly dying and needs a spark to unite the people, and shake the status of power from the Shogun on down.

As the reader follows the story Kristoff will continue to introduce some great characters. There are none that are just comic relief, or there for no reason, they all have a part to play. The way the story unfolds and how young Yukiko is thrust into situation after situation, and must survive each shows this young girl to be wiser than her age. Her life may not have been easy to the point we meet her in the book and it will not get any easier. There are Oni, Demons, that will come into play and she will find that even those she may care may not feel the same.

Jay Kristoff does a great job of bringing these different worlds of steampunk and feudal Japan together in the pages of Stormdancer. The book is the beginning as it is part one of the Lotus War series and if the story continues as well as this first offering it should be a great series to read.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Reviews

 

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