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Guest Review: Black Hills by Dan Simmons

The week takes us to South Dakota with Black Hills by Dan Simmons (audio book narrated by Erik Davies and Michael McConnohie)

Entertainment Weekly says – “Black Hills breathes life into the tale of a Sioux warrior believed General Custer’s ghost entered him at Little Big Horn.”

Review by Laura of 125Pages

three-half-stars  3.5 Stars

Black Hills was a very interesting listen. It follows Paha Sapa a 10 year-old Sioux boy as he rides through the aftermath of the battle of Little Big Horn, to his time working on the construction of Mt. Rushmore, to his last days. Now interesting doesn’t necessarily mean good or bad, it was different. The first thing to note is the time line of the story. It begins when he is 10 then the next chapter he is in his late 60’s, then he is a man in his 20’s. It took a few chapters to figure out the time line and honestly it would have made an easier time of it if the tale had not jumped back and forth as it did. The second thing to note is that Paha Sapa believes that the ghost of General Custer enters him at the battle and he spends his life listening to the voice in his head. Okay…. that happened. It actually detracted from the main story and the letters from Custer to his wife were pretty graphic and not in a good way. I’m not sure if they were included to add some spice to the tale, but I don’t need to hear about Custer’s sex life and manhood *shudder*. Item three, was the immense length. The audio book was well over 20 hours and at times I grew frustrated with the needless antidotes and facts ( the Chicago’s World Fair had lots of stuff and you will hear about it all). Now on to the good things, the world building was superb and the images the story created were vivid. Paha Sapa is a character that felt deeply and I loved the emotion in him.

Black Hills is a book to read if you have a lot of time and are okay with being bogged down by details. The lush scenery it evoked was superb and I truly felt a part of Paha Sapa’s life. At the end I really did enjoy it, but a good 1/3 of the book was unnecessary to get the heart of the story across.

Favorite lines – Then the young men, streaming blood on their painted chests and backs, would stand and begin their dancing and chanting, leaning back from or toward the sacred tree so that their bodies were often suspended totally by the rawhide and horn under their muscles. And always they stared at the sun as they danced and chanted.

Mailbox Monday #142

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  This month our host is Amused by Books.  Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.  Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  My God, What Have We Done? by Susan V. Weiss for a TLC Book Tour at the end of September.

2. Devil Sent the Rain by Tom Piazza for review.

Books I purchased:

3. Black Hills by Dan Simmons

4. The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries: Origins by L.J. Smith

5. The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries: Bloodlust by L.J. Smith

6. The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries: The Craving by L.J. Smith

7. The Phantom of Pemberley by Regina Jeffers

8. Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory

9. Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman for my mom.

10. Blue Bloods: Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz

11. Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

What did you receive this week?

Drood by Dan Simmons

I recently received Drood by Dan Simmons for a Hachette Group Early Birds Blog Tour. Unfortunately, I have not finished this 775-page novel. However, I did want to share with you some information about this engaging work. Longer novels take me a long while to finish, but this is one that has me in suspense, and I’m eager to see it to its conclusion. There is one scene in particular that keeps haunting me, and it comes very close to the beginning. Moreover, this novel has peeked my interest in reading Charles Dickins’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Check out the giveaway instructions below.

From Hachette Group, about the book:

On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens–at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world–hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.

Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?

Check out this fantastic Q&A with Dan Simmons, here.

Check out this Video of Dan Simmons talking about his book:

About the Author:

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional “Elm Haven” in 1991’s SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002’s A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years — 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York — one year as a specially trained BOCES “resource teacher” and another as a sixth-grade teacher — and 14 years in Colorado.

My favorite part from Dan Simmons’ Web site is the photo of his workspace, check this out:

Giveaway: (Part of the BookRoom Reviews Giveaway Carnival)

Hachette Group is offering 3 copies of Drood to 3 lucky winners from U.S. and Canada, no P.O. boxes.

Leave me a comment here, other than “pick me” and “enter me”

You have until March 6, Midnight EST!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!

Here’s the other bloggers on the tour:

http://jennsbookshelf.blogspot.com/
http://hiddenplace.wordpress.com/
http://book-thirty.blogspot.com/
http://bermudaonion.wordpress.com
http://www.writeforareader.blogspot.com
http://thebookczar.blogspot.com
http://luanne-abookwormsworld.blogspot.com
http://www.thetometraveller.blogspot.com/
http://www.bookthoughtsbylisa.blogspot.com
http://AllisonsAtticBlog.blogspot.com
http://www.chikune.com/blog
http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/
http://readingtoolate.net
http://www.myfriendamysblog.com
http://ABlogofBooks.blogspot.com
http://Cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com
http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com
http://www.savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com
http://bestbookihavenotread.wordpress.com
http://www.bookishruth.com/
http://www.bookingmama.blogspot.com/
http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com
http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/darbyscloset