Tag Archives: book review

History and Medicine Combine in The Butchering Art – A Nonfiction Review

As children, we are molded by our parents. not just our beliefs and morals, but our habits and hobbies. My dad has been a reader for a long as I can remember. There were always magazine subscriptions and best-selling novels piled up by his favorite chair in the living room. When I was a teenager, I became addicted to reading The Smithsonian Magazine, often stalking the mailbox after school so that I could read it before Dad. (Sorry Dad, but not sorry…) This lead to snagging the novels, and discovering a love of both nonfiction and historical fiction.

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  • Title: The Butchering ArtAuthor:Lindsey Fitzharris
    Narrator:Ralph Lister
    Publisher:Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
    Audible Studios
    Released:October 17, 2017 /October 31,2017
    Language:English
    Pages:304
    Hours:7 hrs and 54 mins
    Format:Paperback / Audiobook

I came by The Butchering Art through happenstance. I was reading a Facebook post by the Ravenmaster, who mentioned being at a book signing with Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris. I followed the links and found a post by Dr. Fitzharris about her book, The Butchering Art. I was absolutely fascinated by the premise of the book, a biography written in a storytelling style. I searched my local libraries, but to no avail. When I was out of options, I reached out to Lindsey on her Facebook page. She was amazingly supportive and gracious; she reached out to her publishing company to send me a copy.

I took my time reading The Butchering Art, there is such a depth of detail and colorful characters.  The timeline consists of the entirety of Joseph Lister’s schooling and medical career. While I tend to avoid biographies, preferring to focus on moments in history, rather than individuals; this book combines the two. Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris’s storytelling is captivating! She tells the story of a quiet, modest man who had a scientific mind and an obsession with ending the scourge of hospital-borne illnesses. Lister’s explorations in germ theory and antisepsis made me incredibly aware of how very lucky I am that Lister succeeded in educating the medical community about these issues. I’ve survived pneumonia, influenza, strep and a major surgery. If not for Dr. Lister, I may not have.

I then listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Ralph Lister, himself a distant relation of Joseph Lister. The Butchering Art, as an audiobook, is a delight to listen to. Mr. Lister’s narration is dynamic and captivating, with accents that bring life to the various personalities quoted. I found his slightly raspy voice engaging and impossible to ignore.

I can definitely recommend The Butchering Art for anyone who enjoys history, nonfiction, medicine, or has a strong stomach. Dr. Fitzharris doesn’t gloss over the horrors that was medicine in the Victorian Era, nor does she shirk from the details. This book is a journey from the dark ages of ignorance into the bright beginnings of scientific medicine.

About the Author:

Dr.
Photo Copyright of Adrian Teal

 

Lindsey Fitzharris has a PhD in the history of science and medicine from the University of Oxford. She is the creator of the popular website The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice, and is the writer and presenter of the YouTube series Under the Knife. She writes for The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Lancet, and New Scientist. Visit her website at www.drlindseyfitzharris.com, follow her on Twitter at @DrLindseyFitz, and find her on Instagram at @drlindseyfitzharris.

 

 

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Reviewing Scourge and Vengance by Gail Z. Martin: Blog Tour and Giveaway

It’s nearly Halloween and when I was asked if I was interested in participating in another Blog Tour, this time about a series with Monster Hunting brothers, I jumped on it! I hadn’t read any of Gail Z. Martin’s books before, and the premise of her Darkhurst series sounded interesting.

Time for a disclaimer; I’m given things (books, puzzles, coloring books) to review. The companies would like a good or glowing review, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Book reviews are especially tricky, as each reader experiences a book differently. Sadly, I did not enjoy reading either Scourge or Vengeance. Let me break it down for you, but remember, this is just my opinion, and your mileage may vary!

Scourge

 

 

Scourge

A Darkhurst Novel

In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

It sounds great, right? However, I found that of the 550 some-odd pages, over 300 were repetitive world building that only barely advanced the plot. I read epic fantasy to escape the fact that our world currently is being run by oligarchs who think nothing of sacrificing those that do not directly bring them profits. I found myself gloriously depressed reading Scourge, as to me, it paralleled reality a little too closely for comfort. That and I found the seemingly endless cycle of battling mindless monsters and Rigan(the mage-brother) nearly draining himself to death reminded me of a roleplaying campaign I played in college. Honestly, if you like a good dungeon-crawl rpg or reading George R.R. Martin or Robert Jordan, you might enjoy this book.

VengenceL

 

Vengeance (Winner of the Manly Wade Wellman Award!)

A Darkhurst Novel (Book 2)

Fighting the monsters that killed their family and friends cost undertaker brothers Corran and Rigan Valmonde their home and livelihood and made them wanted men—but the worst is yet to come.

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and the best trading terms. Ambitious and ruthless leaders use betrayal and assassination to gain their ends. Blood magic conjures monsters to further the goals of the ruling class, and the price of stolen power is paid for by the deaths of commoners. Now, the fate of Ravenwood hangs in the balance as rival city-states maneuver to gain advantage.

When Corran and Rigan and their friends became outlaw monster hunters and fled beyond the walls of Ravenwood City, they thought they had defeated the source of the abominations that killed so many of their friends and loved ones. But the more successful they become at destroying the creatures, the more they realize a greater evil is at work – larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…

I’ll admit to liking Vengeance a bit better than Scourge. The characters have personality and verve. The dialogue isn’t as stilted and while the monster hunts are still ongoing, the monsters are more interesting and dangerous. The world has expanded somewhat with the characters now being outlaws, but the rules and overall villainy remains. There appears to be a third book in the series, but it has not yet been announced.

While I didn’t enjoy this particular series, I am interested in the steampunk one she wrote with her husband, Larry N Martin. Every author deserves a second chance, as each series and book is different. Give the Darkhurst series a try, you might like it.  My opinion is just that, mine. Yours may be different, and that’s why our world is full of amazing books.

Giveaway: 

Win a Kindle copy of both Scourge and Vengeance! Contest runs October 15th thru the 29th. Rafflecopter code is below:
Rafflecopter link: Giveaway

About the Author:

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Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The SwornThe Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden AdventuresThe Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.

You can also find Gail on: Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartinand free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.
Disclosure: I received complimentary ebooks from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own.

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