Eternal Wars: Armies of Saints, from Livio Gambarini

Hi, there! Good morning and welcome to a very different book review 🙂 Today’s star, Eternal Wars: Armies of Saints, from Livio Gambarini, was received from the publisher in exchange of an honest review 😀 A special thanks to Samuel Marolla, who contacted me on behalf of Acheron Books

The moment arrived, so let’s go!

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The Story

(Goodreads’ blurb)

In 13th century Florence, the war between the Guelphs and Ghibellines is destroying entire families. Every corner of Tuscany has been drawn into the conflict, but little do the two sides realise their war is but a pale reflection of a battle between the mysterious inhabitants of the spirit world, lasting a thousand years.
The spirit that guides the Cavalcanti family, Kabal, uses every any means at his disposal to make sure his family is not torn to shreds and eventually comes out on top. The true ace up his sleeve is the new head of his family, the warrior and poet Guido Cavalcanti. Guido is driven to seek an impossible peace as he strives to save his city and marry the girl he loves. He is helped by a young, exceptionally shy poet known as Dante Alighieri…
It is a story of war, betrayal, intrigue and magic that is woven skilfully together to create a wondrous combination of historical accuracy and the fantastic world that lies behind human endeavour. “The Eternal War – Armies of Saints” is an innovative historical fantasy set against the backdrop of the Florence of the Divine Comedy. It has already conquered Italy and now, with the English translation, it is set to take the world.

 

The Analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

I was highly intrigued by this novel when Samuel contacted me. I have a weakness for Italy – in special, Florence, as I mentioned on this post – and I couldn’t wait to see what Eternal Wars was about. The thing is that it wasn’t exactly what I expected. It was a really different and enchanting story (so much that I read it on a single sitting), but I got highly confused in the beginning thanks to the narrative style and I couldn’t really relate to any of the characters. That’s why it is a three stars book for me: satisfactory and entertaining, but my heart ended the book intact.

The narrative style was my biggest in the book – and no, it wasn’t first person styled. Stop haunting me. It was third person styled with switching point of views. So far, so good? Wonderful, this is my favorite kind. The problem is that there are too many main characters and two distinct sets of narrative points of view: the “real” world and the spiritual world. I personally am really bad with names – I have to take notes in books like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (judge me) and Game of Thrones. I wasn’t expecting to have to take notes on Eternal Wars as well, but oh well.

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The switching between worlds and main characters and time passages drove me nuts, as I was always lots and didn’t really like Kabal, the spirit that protected the main-main-main family.

The plot was very complex and developed, full of action and mystery, on both worlds. It was interesting to see Gambarini’s descriptions of war, cities and of the spiritual ways. How the saints manipulated everything, for good and bad. Usually, I don’t like books that contain too much religion and are not didactic (for example, a book telling the history of an x religion), but this worked to Gambarini’s advantage, as it was an interesting historical fiction 🙂

I really liked how the characters were built, but I couldn’t relate to any of them. I mean, Cavalcante had an awesome quote in the beginning that had me laughing out loud and I made a point of writing it down on my quote notebook:

“ (…) life is like disease. As long as you have it, at least enjoy the bed!”

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HONESTLY, THIS IS JUST BRILLIANT!

Ahem, back to the characters.

I liked Guido and Bice, they were a cute couple. Also, it was cool that Guido was a poet – if a good-looking guy said that I looked like an angel, I would be taken just as Bice was, haha! I can’t deny that all Gambarini’s characters are really real (haha), but I just couldn’t connect, I don’t know. Oh, and I enjoyed far more the “real” world than the spiritual parts. I felt them massively unnecessary on the big picture 😦

Bonus point: Cavalcante. Yes, you read it correctly. He was brilliantly built and positioned. His ways made his son Guido decide to not be a typical middle-aged man in 13th century Italy. All the vices, the traumas, fornication and sodomy YASSSS and drugs. It was fairly common for men from certain social positions on that time to overindulge in all the pleasures of life. As if many things had changed.

Overall, I really enjoyed the battle scenes and Guido’s adulthood, as he was an interesting man. If you like medieval set stories, specially Italian ones, full of action and mind-blowing ends, you should pick up Eternal Wars!

3star

That’s it, thank you for reading! And, once again, thanks to Acheron Books for sending me this book 😀

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Book author: Meg Cabot

Hello! Today we have the first post in my new section, Authors from my Heart <3, that will talk about a book author! Last time, I talked about a manga author and now we open the book author section with Meg Cabot!

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(x) Writer’s royalty member

The first time I’ve read a book by Meg Cabot, I was just a kid. I knew her from The Princess Diaries movies and, of course, wanted to read the books as well. I ran to the bookstore with my mom (I was about 8 or 9) and the first book in the collection was sold out on that particularly place. On that fateful day, my mom couldn’t take me anywhere else and I was so sad that I would have to wait a few more weeks to get it… I don’t remember why, but my mom wouldn’t be able to take me to another bookstore anytime soon. Then, feeling my pain, the bookshop seller said that I could take home a different Meg Cabot series while I waited for The Princess Diaries to be back on stock. That’s when I met The Mediator series ❤ I held the first book with its oh-so-ugly cover in my hands and wanted to cry. My mom insisted that I take it, along with volume 2 in The Princess Diaries series (which had a beautiful cover), so I did it. THANKS, MR. BOOKSHOP SELLER, THANKS, MOM!

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That’s how I got to know my all-time favorite series from Meg and how I discovered that I only liked when Meg wrote supernatural stories. I read the second book in TPD series, believing that I didn’t need book 1 as I had seen the movie and hated everything, haha! Point for the ugly covered book 🙂

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from my Instagram

In order of appearance in my life:

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I love the movies with all my heart, but those books weren’t for me, simply like that. I used to have the Brazilian Edition in the picture, but I gave it away to my school’s library, as it was clear I would never read it again or continue reading…

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also from my Instagram o/

Oh those covers. Honestly, they were so ugly that the next Brazilian edition had it changed to this:

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despite the inconstancy of Suzannah’s looks through those covers, they are still better than the ones I have home.

The sad part is to see that the original covers also sucked hard. Still, ugly covers or not, I love this series. Jesse was one of my first bookish boyfriends and he played a very important part in my life, as he was almost a cowboy and I have been fascinated by those since I’m a toddler that watched my dad reading Tex’s adventures (a cowboy with a yellow shirt, any bells ringing?). But I’m babbling and the important thing is: WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER BOOK IN THIS SERIES NEXT YEAR!

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Instagram ❤

This book shouldn’t be a standalone, Meg! Please, stop writing lame books and revisit this series, please! But, again: BRAZIL, WHY DO WE HAVE SUCH AN AWFUL COVER?!

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I was so happy with The Mediator and Jinx that I forgot how big of a flop that TPD was for me and borrowed The Boy Next Door from a friend. Awful mistake. I’m still not into those kind of books :/ I don’t even remember if I was able to finish it or not, haha!

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I actually love the Brazilian Portuguese edition ❤

This book features several authors, including Stephenie Meyer, but Meg Cabot’s short story was my second favorite ❤ Stephenie’s one was awful.

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I had a true State of Grace when I started this series, as I was on a big hiatus from Meg (her fault, as she made it so hard for me to buy her historical romances and impossible for me to like her regular teen books). I read it slowly, savoring each chapter, because I knew it all ended in three books. And it did and I cried because I was once again orphan from her. And still am, btw. I plan on starting the 1-800-Where-R-You series, but I have no guarantees that I shall like it, so I’m delaying this moment, haha!

Oh, and by the way. 1-800-Where-R-You also has awful covers. Meg, you should sue most of your your graphic designers team. Just a friend’s advice, seriously.

That’s it! Thanks for reading ❤ Do you like Meg Cabot? Which is your favorite book? HAVE YOU READ 1-800-Where-R-You SERIES?! I need to know if I won’t have my heart broken, haha!

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The Tutor, from Bonnie Dee

Hello, everyone! Some days ago, I received a book called The Tutor, from Bonnie Dee, to review. It’s her newest release and I got pretty excited to read it, as I’m a big fan of Bonnie. This work was a standalone solo from Bonnie – she and Summer Devon write many books together, but they also publish alone 🙂 Thanks again, Bonnie Dee!

From my Instagram account :)
From my Instagram account 🙂

Let’s head to the story: Graham Cowrie is a poor guy from London that is desperate for a scenario change as the winter approaches and his house is not even remotely close of being prepared to endure extreme weathers. After applying for a position at Yorkshire, as a tutor for two 9-year-old twin boys and making his résumé way prettier than it actually was, Graham reads to the country, hoping only for a roof over his head and food inside his belly.

However, as soon as he lay eyes on Allinson Hall, his future winter home, he’s mortified. The house looked like a depressing asylum and has an awful aura about it. The house staff is also intimidating and far from welcome. Graham soon learns that his employer, Sir Richard Allison, lost his wife about a year ago and that the loss was hard for the children, as the circumstances of Lavinia Allinson death were pretty obscure.

Whitney and Clive Allison, Graham’s charges, prove to be elusive and smart boys, but Graham knew how to deal with children despite his résumé lies and soon wins, at least, their respect. Soon, he learns that the twins are different as day and night, despite being completely devoted to each other. Whitney is easy going and talkative, open to his tutor, while Clive completely muted after their mother’s death, being shy and suspicious all the time. Graham also learns that Sir Richard Allison, their father, is a smoking hot man and a burning desire grows between the two men.

As Graham fights to earn Whit and Clive’s trust and to attract Richard’s attention to physical matters – all the while maintaining his own part in place -, weird accidents start to happen and Graham discovers that not believing something doesn’t mean that it is not there.

“Play the part. Become the tutor.”

Now, let’s go to the analysis! Just wanted to remind that this is my opinion of the book and my impressions while reading it 🙂

This book left me so hangover. It’s a fast read: the book has 184 pages and you can read it on a sitting (it took me two days to finish it because I’m already back to college classes and this is my last semester, so I have to write my dissertation and all, haha!). But, when I finished it, I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Every element of the story was so good… I do have some critics, but, overall, the book is 5 starts worth!

The story narrator is Graham himself and he is a very fun and optimistic character. He’s that kind of person that always seems to notice everything around him and can tell other people’s sentiments just by looking at them. He truly has an inside light that can melt any heart – ask Sir Richard to see if I’m lying 😉

It’s not uncommon for me to have issues with narrator-characters; they usually annoy me with their actions and I get frustrated. This didn’t happen with The Tutor. Graham had me with him since the first sentence. What I really liked about him is that he is no martyr or self-centered: he has his moments just like you and me. Sometimes, he gets cocky and thinks that he’s awesome, other times he loafs himself and his lies. He can be honest even when he lies – how one does that?! He also is very describing, I dreamed with Allinson Hall the other night thanks to him… And it was creepy as hell, haha!

That leads us to the describing part. All the scenarios and characters are vivid in the readers mind. Dee mixes Graham’s thoughts with the book events in such a perfect harmony that it’s easy to feel like you are reading, that it’s not real and happening in front of you. One of the things that I liked more in this section was when Graham describes Richard’s first real and happy smile. My eyes got moist in that scene ❤

In characters matters, overall, I liked how Dee constructed one type of person for each personality and social role without falling into stereotypes. The twins were adorable, each in one kind of way, Richard was a prince of his own, Tom was a sweeting, the staff was cold, resentful and impatient (what was totally understandable, as they worked in a house with death reminders in every corner and wall). I just got a little disappointed with Richard, thanks to his behavior towards his children even after some key events in the book that should have put him into action to connect with his boys. And that’s why he won’t be featured on my vast bookish boyfriends list (but Graham is, haha! And no, it does not matter that they are both gay characters and I’m a girl, lol). I mean, he has a good heart, good actions, but he can’t make a move into two nine year olds? Come on!

The plot wasn’t overly complicated and was very obvious, but I’m not the kind of person who gets bothered by that. I don’t mind knowing where the story is going and how it is going to end; I like to see the details. I want to know how things happen. I get annoyed when I can even predict how events will turn in a book, you know? Not the case. I already read some books by Dee in the past to know what to wait of the plot, but not even one scene came out as I imagined. It was always better. But I guess that’s mostly Graham’s fault, as he was a very surprising character and his actions were also never obvious.

One thing that disappointed me in the book were the sex scenes – or the lack of them. As I said, I already read some previous works from Dee (all of them in her partnership with Summer Devon) and I was expecting more. The scenes from the book are good, but they are so few and there were many bedroom subjects to cover and justify the increase of such passages in the plot. Graham and Richard’s first time is very nice, but it’s all the actual sex we get. Everything else is just foreplay or Graham’s fantasies. The funny thing is that a solo work from Summer Devon disappointed me earlier this year for the very same reason: the sex scenes. I know their potential, so I guess Dee and Devon are soul writing mates, haha! They complete each other to make better scenes 😀

The supernatural element of the book, the very heart of the book problem, was a bit bipolar as well. In the beginning and in the middle, it was very good. Made me shiver and look twice at every shadow that I spotted. But, in the end, the problem was solved in a silly way. The answer itself was beautiful and it’s message is awesome, but I don’t know, I felt like it could have been harder. The ghost marketing didn’t matched his product, for say, haha!

Oh, bonus point, haha! I’m that kind of reader that collects quotes. I have a notebook full of them from pretty much all the parts of my life: movies, tv shows, celebrities, books, my friends, my family, my own… It’s a nice quote? I probably will write it down there. And this book had some amazing ones! This is very subjective, I know, but I’ll leave the best ones among the ones that I took note here (I’m sorry, I forgot to mark the pages’ numbers…):

“He would believe my lies only if I believed them myself.”

“What does every boy know and every man forget? That having fun is the prime purpose of life.”

“It was my nature to try to fix things and offer comfort where I could.”

“I was determinate to out-kiss a man I’d ever met (…)”

That’s it, guys! Thanks for reading and thanks again to Bonnie Dee, for sending me this! I loved The Tutor and it was one of my best reads of the year ❤

And I want to also share some news from Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon’s partnerships! They entered the Kindle Scout program with the book The Merchant and the Clergyman (you can read the blurb and chapter one on the page of the program, here).

The cover is beautiful <3
The cover is beautiful ❤

That means that US residents with an Amazon account can vote on the book for it to be published by Amazon! I sadly couldn’t vote for them, as I live in Brazil, but I’m determinate to spread the world and get this amazing authors published everywhere they see fit. If you could spare a moment, don’t forget to vote! You’ll win a copy of their book if it gets chosen for publishing!

And their last news is that their new book together, The Shepherd and the Solicitor, will be out in September!

And here it is!
And here it is!

Meaning, next freaking month!! *–* Don’t forget to check this book out too!

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