Tag Archives: The Coward

WWW Wednesday, 6-August-2014

6 Aug

I’m proud to say I made the progress I promised for MizB’s WWW meme. All the books are progressing nicely; hopefully there will be progress next week, too.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My husband is off of work this week and my progress on  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien has slowed as well. We’re talking during breakfast, which is when I mainly read this. So maybe another 5% by next week? My carpool buddy and I are getting along nicely on Looking for Alaska by John Green. I think we’re on disk 4 of 6 and we’ll probably finish that one tonight! While I wait for my next audiobook to get in, I’m listening to Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Soon this one will go on the back burner, but I did a lot of baking last week so I’m about half way done. My work book club chose Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn from my massive pile. I couldn’t be happier. I’m half way done and this book is reading super fast! It’s a book lovers dream of a book and I’m happy to get it off the top of my pile!

Recently finished: Two this week! The first is  The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen. I was disappointed in this book, but I still sped through it. It was well written, but not much happened! The other book was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs which I listed to on audio with my husband. It was interesting to do a very visual novel on audio, but the PDF of pictures made it doable and enjoyable. I think it had too much exposition, but I’ll get to that in my review.

I was able to post just one review this past week; The Coward by Kyle R. Bullock. Please go check it out!

Reading Next:  I’ve put three things on hold at the library: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio, Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors, and Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. The Follett is a personal challenge and the Shors and Horan is for my When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’d really like to tackle ‘Pillars’ but whoever has it checked out from the library is already two weeks overdue and I don’t see myself getting it back any time soon.

I’ll probably finish ‘Ella’ this week; maybe ‘Alaska.’ How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: The Coward by Kyle R. Bullock (3/5). Walking the line of cowardice and bravery.

5 Aug

My final ARC is complete! I’m really excited to have no more on my shelf only because it makes me feel pressured to read quickly and I don’t enjoy it as much when I feel that pressure. I had actually cut myself off to ARCs, but when Kyle sent me a private Facebook message, asking if I could read his book, I buckled. I really appreciated the targeted and personal message he sent me.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Cover image via Goodreads.com

The Coward by Kyle R. Bullock

Lieutenant John Burke joined the Army on the dawn of World War II. He didn’t have much holding him back and was willing to quickly leave his alcoholic mother and degrading job to train as an Air Force pilot in the Pacific. When his fellow soldiers start dying, something is shaken inside Burke. When it’s his plane that goes down over Japan, he starts to lose direction. After being captured by the Japanese and held for almost a year as a POW, Burke and two other prisoners escape and run to the coast. Burke meets a young boy and his mother who yank at his heartstrings and Burke sees that these people, the enemy, are still people. Burke, faced with the possibility of rescue on the water, decides to stay in Japan. He’s more afraid of what’s waiting for him back in the US than what could happen to him behind enemy lines. He saves the boy, Kioshi, and his mother during a bomb raid but is again captured by the Japanese. Burke comes to realize that this might not be the worst thing in the world.

I liked this book. It had a solid story line and I enjoyed that it jumped between Burke’s time in WWII and him as an old man. It felt appropriate. My biggest overall complaint is that I didn’t feel that the title matched the book. I didn’t really see Burke as a coward but I did see how one cowardly moment defined him. When he couldn’t leave the beach to sail away from Japan, it was fear that kept him on the sand, and that decision led him to a closer relationship with Kioshi and a compassion for the Japanese people. I’m not sure what a more fitting title would be; titles are very hard for me. Maybe The Decision to Stay?

I loved the way the Japanese characters were portrayed in this book. It seems obvious that Bullock is very familiar with Japanese culture or really did his research. I adored the little story about ‘wave’ having two meanings and the confusion that caused the soldiers. Kioshi and his mom were my favorites and what happened to them in the end really made me tear up. The only bad thing about a WWII setting in Japan is that we all know what happens to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Because I’ve never been a soldier, I couldn’t sympathize with Burke during the war. I don’t know what I would do if I were faced with the same decisions he stared down. I might have jumped in the boat to flee, I might have been too afraid to go. I liked his decisions because they seemed as lost and muddled as a person can be in war. I could relate to the older Burke better, which seems odd. I liked that he was happy, but still lived with regret. I think most of us are like that, even if our regret isn’t what happened to a boy in Japan, there’s something we all wish could have been different in our pasts.

Kioshi was my favorite. He was happy during a time when a lot of things could have made him sad. His father had passed and the men of his village were gone. I suspect he was afraid that he would have to go. But he still had his childhood innocence and that made him infinitely likable. He was a very stark contrast to the war going on around him.

Kyle R. Bullock Image courtesy of the author.

Kyle R. Bullock
Image courtesy of the author

I liked the time Burke spent as a prisoner after the nuclear attack. It felt very real to me that he would help the Japanese, even though he was an American soldier, after what he’d experienced. His previous time as a prisoner was in isolation from the Japanese and he didn’t relate to his captors. His time in the hospital and his relationship with Kioshi and his mother made him significantly more sympathetic to the Japanese the second time around. I loved how natural it felt.

The one part of the book that seemed ‘off’ to me was when Burke and his fell soldiers were escaping from the first prison in a Jeep. They stopped in Kioshi’s little village to ask for directions and seemed to be welcomed with open arms by the villagers. This seemed strange to me. Why would the women whose sons and husband were (presumably) off fighting the Americans, be welcoming them with open arms? Wouldn’t they try to hurt or attack the Americans? This seemed off to me, but it became very integral to the plot at a later point, so I understand why it was there, but it felt a little forced.

The overall message I got from this book was forgiveness. Burke had to forgive himself for what he though of as his cowardice and for having Kioshi and the villagers leave. For Burke, forgiving himself was a lifetime event that it seemed he never completely came to terms with.

The other theme I noticed was a sense of humanity. Burke was able to look past the side of the war the villagers fell on and see them as human beings, worthy of having their lives saved. He looked down on those trying to kill him. When his captors didn’t seem bent on killing him, he wasn’t as set on fighting back. He was a survivor and I don’t think there’s any shame in that.

Writer’s Takeaway: I liked the time setting that Bullock used to tell his story. Using Burke in modern-day looking back on his time in Japan helped create tension. The reader wanted to know how he came to have the flag and could feel the answer creeping but it doesn’t come until the end.

Overall, good, but I’m not a huge fan of war stories. I hope to see more from Bullock going forward and maybe see how he handles a different time period. Three out of five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review + Excerpt: The Coward by Kyle R. Bullock | Brittsbookandlifeblog
Promo Video for “The Coward” by Kyle R. Bullock | Hamil Bros Studios
Author’s Website

WWW Wednesday, 23-July-2014

23 Jul

I was so determined to finish a book for MizB’s WWW meme. I’m going on an audio binge for the next week or so, so I was glad to finish a physical book!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’m making steady progress through  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien on my phone. I’ve had a lot more time to read eBooks this past week than I thought I would. On audio, I started The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe and I’ve made decent progress over the last week, which means I’m spending a lot of time alone in my car even though it was an Ozone Day on Monday (but I carpool so often!) Speaking of, my carpool buddy and I started Looking for Alaska by John Green and she is loving it, as am I. I hope we can finish it before it’s due back at the library! I started  The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen as I’d hoped to. I’m really loving it and forgot how much I enjoy books about royal courts. Yes, I do love Philippa Gregory. And because I love having more stories going than I can keep straight, I started an audiobook on my phone, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. I’ll listed to this while I’m cleaning and cooking around the house. I think that’s enough books to be in at once!

Recently finished: I finished The Coward by Kyle R Bullock over the weekend. I enjoyed it and I’ll have a review up soon, as I promised Kyle I would by the end of the summer, which sadly is fast approaching! I posted a review for The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson if you want to check that out.

Reading Next:  My husband and I are road tripping to New York this weekend, so I’ve got Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs on audio for us to enjoy. We’ll likely finish it on the way home, but if not we’re going camping the weekend after and will have another two hours in the car each way. I’m so lucky my husband loves stories as much as I do!

Does anyone else get really excited over road trips because of the audiobook potential? Or is it just me? What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 16-July-2014

16 Jul

Almost in reaction to last week’s progress, I’ve got almost nothing to report for MizB’s WWW meme. I guess that’s what happens when you do a 120 mile bike tour over the weekend. So there is that, right?!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’m about halfway through The Coward by Kyle R Bullock. I’ve taken a bit of a break from it to work through the huge pile of Cosmo magazine on my bedside table but I’ll start it again tonight.  I’m making slow progress through  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien on my phone. It seems so familiar I think I’ve read it, but i don’t remember it enough to stop. On audio, I just started is reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, but I’m embarrassingly still on the first disk! I haven’t been doing a lot of driving besides to and from work and I need to step up my game. My carpool buddy and I started Looking for Alaska by John Green and she is loving it, as am I. We’re almost through the first disk and I think we’ll keep moving well on it.

Recently finished: Nothing finished, unfortunately. Not even much progress on the books I’m reading, really. I did write a review for A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers, so you can check that out.

Reading Next:  I’m still hoping to start The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen soon. This will fulfill the 1500s time period of my When Are You Reading? Challenge. We’ll see after that.

I’ve got a bit more time at home this weekend so I can do some reading. I’m making ‘The Coward’ my goal for the week. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 9-July-2014

9 Jul

Progress, progress, progress! At least, it feels like it. Consider joining in MizB’s WWW meme if you haven’t before!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’m about halfway through The Coward by Kyle R Bullock. This is the last ARC off my shelf and I’m enjoying it so far. It’s strange to be reading this at the same time as The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I’ve got to keep World War II and Vietnam separate in my mind! On audio, I just started is reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, my next book club selection. It’s too early to tell how I’ll feel about this one.

Recently finished: I finally finished The Maze Runner by James Dashner Monday night. I wanted to throw the book at the wall. I get frustrated when a series doesn’t have good stopping points between books and this one sure didn’t! I can’t decide if I want to read the sequels or not. I also finished Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser on Monday (a big day for me). It was informative, well written, but not as captivating as I’d hoped for.

A big week for reviews as well! I covered O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn as well as The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.

Reading Next:  Still a good number. Looking for Alaska by John Green has yet to come in at the library so I hope to get that soon. And I want to start The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen soon. This will fulfill the 1500s time period of my When Are You Reading? Challenge. We’ll see after that.

The hubby and I are doing a massive bike tour this weekend so I hope to get something read before then! What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 2-July-2014

2 Jul

A bit of progress for MizB’s WWW. Enough that it’s respectable.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’m at the final stopping point of The Maze Runner by James Dashner and I plan on plowing through it come July 5th. I’m so excited to finish this one. On audiobook I’m half way through Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and I’m hoping to make more progress soon. I’ve been driving a lot this week (vacation!) and getting through it well. I picked the final ARC off my shelf, The Coward by Kyle R Bullock. I just finished Part I but I’ve slowed down a bit to finish ‘Orphan Master.’

Recently finished: I soared through A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. I can’t put my finger on what was so awesome about it, but I really really loved this book. I’m excited to discuss it with my book club in August. Last night I finished off The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. This had a solid ending, I really enjoyed it.

Reading Next:  There are a few. My book club is reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe which I have on hold for audio. Hopefully I can start that soon. I put Looking for Alaska by John Green on hold for my carpool buddy and I to listen to so that should be started soon. And I want to start The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen soon. This will fulfill the 1500s time period of my When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’ve also put the eBook for The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien on hold to fulfill the 1950-1969 time period.

I hope to finish at least one for next week but I’ll be out-of-town for the 4th. My cousin is getting married! What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 25-June-2014

25 Jun

As expected, not much to report for MizB’s WWW though I’ve been progressing nicely!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’ve slowed down just a bit onThe Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. It’s good, but not so gripping that I can’t put it down.. I’m at the final stopping point of The Maze Runner by James Dashner and I’ll remain there until after the 4th of July holiday so don’t expect any movement there. And please be a dear (unlike Nicole) and don’t tell me who dies at the end. On audiobook I started Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser but I’m still on the first disk. I guess I haven’t driven anywhere alone in a while. My carpool buddy and I are almost done with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Final disk! I’m getting close to finishing A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. It’s very unlike his other book that I’ve read but I’m really enjoying it so far!

Recently finished: Nothing finished. This gives me a sad face because I’ve made so much progress with all of my books! I did review Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan which you can enjoy.

Reading Next:  I have  The Coward by Kyle R Bullock next on my shelf. After that I’m going to seriously attack my When Are You Reading? Challenge and try to knock out the remaining time periods as fast as I can! I’m starting to get nervous on this one.

I should have some progress to report next week! Possibly two books. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Recently Added to my To-Read Shelf

19 Jun

So it’s been a while since I wrote one of these posts. Over two months actually. And in that time I’ve added nine books to my shelf. And in the same time period, I’ve read 11. So, a net loss of 2 books per two months or one book per month. That means that at this pace, it will take me 112 months or 9 years and 4 months to clear out my shelf. Yikes. So with that sobering fact, I bring you a list of books I want to read badly enough to lengthen my list. Enjoy!

  1.  Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan: I added this solely because a librarian said I might like it. I figured that’s a good enough reason. It’s a literary wives story, this time with Robert Louis Stevenson.
  2. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: I think saying ‘I haven’t read this yet and I’m sorry’ should suffice.
  3. Misterio de La Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie: A co-worker of mine visiting from Mexico gave this to me as a parting gift. It’s the Spanish translation of The A.B.C. Murders and I’m excited to read it! I haven’t read Christie before.
  4. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: I went to a massive used book sale called ‘Bookstock’ and this was one I couldn’t pass up. Lahiri has gotten a lot of attention lately for her books and I wanted to jump on the fan train. This book is about a family emigrating from India to America.
  5. A Widow for One Year by John Irving: Have I said enough yet about how I love John Irving? No? Well, I’ll say it again here. I adore him. I don’t even know what this book’s about and I don’t care. But I can bet there will be a life-long obsession with something, wrestling, bears, tragedy, and strange characters. And I’m excited.
  6. The Coward by Kyle R Bullock: Kyle was the first author to send me a request to read on my author’s page. So of course, I said yes. This trend will likely not continue in the future but Kyle is my lucky #1. The story is about a cowardly pilot during World War II.
  7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: I’ve been hearing great things bout this one for ages. And this is available as an audiobook at my library so it was an easy decision to add. Winning.
  8. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris: I went to meet the author on 11 June and needed something for him to sign. I picked this up in a second-hand store and now it’s priceless to me!
  9. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine: This is totally Katherine’s fault. She read it because it has fairy tales and knew I’d like it because it’s set in the 20s. Done.

And that’s it! Hopefully I don’t come back in two months with even more books! I know it’s a day early, but check out MizB’s ‘Friday Finds’ for more posts like this one.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 18-June-2014

18 Jun

Thanks to MizB’s WWW, I’ve been motivated to power through some books!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m slowly continuing The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. Still not sure if I’ll finish it before it’s due, but I’m at 70% now and making decent progress forward. I finished the next section of The Maze Runner by James Dashner so no new progress there. On audiobook I started Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I’ve been told it will make me never eat fast food again. Yay? My carpool buddy is back so we’re still working on  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I started a new book last night; A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. I enjoyed the other Eggers book I read and this one sounds really interesting. It’s for my book club that doesn’t meet again until August so I’ll have some time to take it leisurely.

Recently finished: Two! I finished two! The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian was an audiobook and I really enjoyed it. I met Bohjalian a few weeks ago and found him inspiring. I’m glad I got to read this gem so soon. I also just finished O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn which was an ARC I won on First Reads. I wasn’t a huge fan, to be honest, but enjoyed the setting. I’ll work on a review in the next week or so. Also, I posted a review for The Language of Flowers which I’m sure will have a Book Club Reflection coming soon!

Reading Next:  I have one more ARC on my shelf to clear off which is The Coward by Kyle R Bullock. Kyle contacted me on my Facebook Fan Page and I’m so honored that he was the first to do so! I’ll be glad to get his book read this summer.

I’m hoping there will be some progress next week, too! What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!