The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Matter-of-factly we’re given the moment that the main character’s life changed forever, but as we follow the narration of her life as well as insertions of the titular fictional novel things don’t seem so clear. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is a novel within a novel—with another novel within the first—historical fiction whose multilayered unfolding mystery is peeled away until everything falls into place just as you get to the end of the book.

An elderly Iris Chase Griffin pens her autobiography that also is a biography of her famous sister Laura, whose posthumous novel the titular The Blind Assassin has a cult status in literary circles. While Iris’ biographical narration is the bulk of the novel, Atwood includes faux news articles and insertions from The Blind Assassin. But its these insertions from this novel within the novel begin revealing a different version of history of Laura’s life as well as Iris’ which would have surprised her deceased daughter who had been estranged from her. Atwood’s layered writing of biography, pulp fiction, and newspaper reports with subtle misdirection in the beginning and subtle revealing throughout the book creates a very engaging read that keeps the reader wanting to find out what really happened. Honestly, it was only in research after finishing that I learned of the Canadian history that Atwood wove into the narrative after thinking that the various real life individuals name dropped were fictional thus making me not understand the importance of some of the political talk—thanks to Iris’ politically ambitious husband—that was occurring within the novel.

The Blind Assassin was my first Margaret Atwood work and after finishing it, I can say that it will not be my last.

Werewolves Within

Werewolves Within
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A newcomer arrives at a very small town filled with eccentric residents then suddenly finds themselves trapped in town with a mysterious killer on the loose, but now add comedy to this well-known horror trope. Werewolves Within is directed by Josh Ruben with the screenplay by Mishna Wolf based on the video game of the same name.

Forest ranger Finn Wheeler is assigned to cover Beaverfield, a small town where the residents are divided over a pipeline proposed by businessman Sam Parker. Upon arriving, Finn befriends mail carrier Cecily Moore while also meeting Trisha Anderson and her unfaithful husband Pete, wealthy couple Devon and Joaquim Wolfson, blue collar workers Gwen and Marcus, and isolationist Emerson Flint. That night, a blizzard knocks out all power in Beaverfield, forcing the residents to take refuge in a lodge owned by Jeanine Sherman. The power outage occurs right before Trisha’s dog is killed by an unknown assailant, which increases tensions in the town. Further conflict arises when Finn discovers that all of Beaverfield’s generators were sabotaged, and the body of Jeanine’s missing husband Dave is underneath the lodge’s porch. The residents attempt to barricade themselves in the lodge for safety, but Pete has his hand bitten off by the same unknown assailant. Environmentalist Dr. Jane Ellis, an opponent of the pipeline, concludes that the assailant is a werewolf who is one of the lodge’s current inhabitants. After announcing her findings, Dr. Ellis dies in front of Parker under ambiguous circumstances; Parker claims she committed suicide. Those remaining in the lodge initially consider staying together to force the assailant out of hiding, but ultimately all but Finn and Cecily leave for their homes. However, with tensions having reached a boiling point in Beaverfield, the residents begin to kill each other. After nearly all the townsfolk are killed, Finn is attacked by Parker, who claims Finn is the werewolf because he worked in locations where previous attacks occurred. Finn counters that there is no werewolf and Parker is responsible for the paranoia gripping Beaverfield. Parker gains the upper hand against Finn, but a dying Joaquim manages to kill him. While Finn and Cecily recuperate in the town’s bar, Finn learns that Dave was Beaverfield’s previous mail carrier. He then realizes Cecily is the werewolf. Confronted by Finn, Cecily acknowledges she turned the residents against each other to make feasting on them easier. She subsequently attempts to kill Finn in her werewolf form, but Finn defeats her with the help of Emerson. Still alive, Cecily makes a final effort to attack Finn and Emerson before Jeanine finishes her off with a crossbow.

First off this was an entertaining way to spend 100 minutes as Sam Richardson and Milana Vayntrub, as Finn Wheeler and Cecily Moore respectfully, lead a very good cast in creating a comedic horror film. Richardson’s Finn, who’s nice guy positivity isn’t overbearing nor annoying—think someone you want to know in your life that’ll pick up your day—is a fun protagonist. Vayntrub—best known as Lily in AT&T ads over the years—makes Cecily as a believable cynical government employee who has deal with the residence of the small town, only to be hiding the fact that she’s the werewolf in disguise whose cynical outlook on life is because of her hidden nature. Honestly, the formulaic plot and the stereotypical secondary characters should have made this a B-list horror film with cringy comedy, but all the supporting actors spin the stereotypes in different ways to make them distinct enough to give them depth and add to the comedy. The Beaverfield resident’s knocking off one another is a great sequence that is capped off with Cecily’s transformation and the final fight, but it worked due to the build up of tension between everyone leading up to it. Frankly, it’s hard to complain about anything.

Werewolves Within is a fun comedic horror that is a balanced blend of both giving the viewer a way to escape life for 100 minutes.

Star Wars Movie and Novelization Rankings

For over 40 years and three trilogies, Star Wars has been one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises. Beginning in August 2021, I began “Project Star Wars” in which I reviewed the franchises’ films then read the novelizations.  I completed “Project Star Wars” in July 2022 and decided to create this post to reveal my personal rankings of the movies and novelizations.

Episodes are listed in order of their star rating, if two share the same rating then they are listed in order of preference (which film I would choose to watch or novelization I would choose to read between the two). If you are interested in why I rated films and novelizations the way I did, check out my Star Wars page (link at the bottom of the post) where all my reviews can be accessed.

Film Rankings
The Empire Strikes Back (5)
A New Hope (4.5)
Rogue One (4)
Revenge of the Sith (3.5)
The Return of the Jedi (3.5)
The Phantom Menace (2.5)
The Force Awakens (2.5)
Attack of the Clones (2)
The Last Jedi (1)
Rise of Skywalker (0.5)

Novelization Rankings
Revenge of the Sith (4)
Rogue One (4)
The Phantom Menace (3.5)
Attack of the Clones (3)
The Empire Strikes Back (3)
Rise of Skywalker (2.5)
Star Wars (2)
The Return of the Jedi (2)
The Last Jedi (1.5)
The Force Awakens (1)*

*=The overall book as given 2 stars, 1 for the novelization and 1 for the two short stories included at the end.

Star Wars

2022 Reading Plan (July Update)

A little frog on an early July morning

Hello

July was another successful reading month as even with my job change, I was able to complete four books thus keeping my monthly average going. Of the four books completed this month, three of them were from my original list thus giving me an outside shot of actually covering this year. Let’s look at the stats.

Overall Total: 32/40 (80%)
Original List: 24/40 (60%)
Total Pages: 14185 (443.3)

The best book of the month was David Grann’s book on 1920s murders of the Osage, a well written book of the systematic murdering of rich Native Americans by whites to get their money. The worst book of the month was no fault of the author, but the novelization of The Rise of Skywalker was almost as bad as the film but Rae Carson did the best she could in the circumstances.

As stated above, I reviewed the final Disney Star Wars film as well as reviewing the final novelization thus completing “Project Star Wars”. I’m thinking of making a post that ranks the films and novelizations for Star Wars and still thinking about doing a Season 1 review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds now that I’m not transitioning from one job to another. I’ve made progress on Durant, I didn’t meet the amount of pages per day I wanted but progress is progress so I’m good.

So as we transition to August, I’ll be continuing to read Margaret Atwood followed up by a history of the Comanche through the biography of it’s most famous chief Quanah. After those two books, I don’t know if I’ll get to another by the end of the month and if I do if it’ll be the third Coldfire book or a paperback that comes out that month. With my new schedule in life I might try to review a film, whether James Bond or an old Godzilla or something random.

That’s all for this month.

January
William Pitt the Younger by William Hague
Attack of the Clones (Star Wars Episode II) by R.A. Salvatore
Celtic Empire (Dirk Pitt #25) by Clive and Dirk Cussler
Bobby Kennedy by Larry Tye
February
Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars Episode III) by Matthew Stover
Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell
The Baker’s Boy (Book of Words #1) by J.V. Jones
Dawnshard (The Stormlight Archive #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson+
March
Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty by John M. Barry
Slaying the Dragon by Ben Riggs#
The Force Awakens (Star Wars Episode VII) by Alan Dean Foster
In These Last Days: The Message of Hebrews by Felix H. Cortez^
Exploring Hebrews by George R. Knight^
First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen
April
A Man Betrayed (Book of Words #2) by J.V. Jones
A Theologico-Political Treatise and A Political Treatise by Benedict de Spinoza*
A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke*
May
The War of the Revolution by Christopher Ward
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
The Dead Hand Book: Stories From Gravesend Cemetery by Sara Richard+
The War of Wars by Robert Harvey
June
Master and Fool (Book of Words #3) by J.V. Jones
The Last Jedi (Star Wars Episode VIII) by Jason Fry
Fatal North by Bruce Henderson
Two Treatise of Government by John Locke*
Black Sun Rising (Coldfire #1) by C.S. Friedman
Genesis by Jacques B. Doukhan^
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara+
Gettysburg: An Alternate History by Peter G. Tsouras+
The Rise of Skywalker (Star Wars Episode IX) by Rae Carson
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
When True Night Falls (Coldfire #2) by C.S. Friedman
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Empire of the Summer Sun by S.C. Gwynne
Crown of Shadows (Coldfire #3) by C.S. Friedman
Shogun by James Clavell
Richard III by Charles Ross
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson
Claudius the God by Robert Graves
Decision in Philadelphia by James Lincoln Collier
Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson
Lincoln by Gore Vidal
Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin

Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization, Vol 1) by Will Durant
The Fall of Troy by Quintus of Smyrna

*= Original Home Read
^= Home Read
+= Random Insertion
#= Giveaway

When True Night Falls (Coldfire #2)

When True Night Falls by C.S. Friedman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Following the events in the Rahklands, the three survivors of the previous book head to the mysterious East to find the power behind their defeated opponent only to discover things are more complicated than they could have imagined. When True Night Falls is the middle installment of C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy as a priest, a native rakh, and an antihero sorcerer find a continent on the verge of a secret war.

After harrowing journey to the East, Damien Vryce, Gerald Tarrant, and Hesseth find the descendants of a few of colonizing expeditions along with the Church that Vryce serves though it’s structure with female leadership that Vryce isn’t bothered with. However, Tarrant and Hesseth ruin Vryce brief bout with happiness when they figure out the truth of the very unchurch like things this eastern version of the Church does as well as the fact that the women in charge are undercover Rakh manipulating humanity. These undercover Rakh are the tip of an invasion that’s second phase is taking on the guises of political leaders, including the father of Jenseny who can use the Rakh magical system thus showing that Erna is beginning to ‘evolve’ humans instead of being evolved by humans. Eventually the four meet up and journey to the south of the eastern continent where the Undying Prince reigns over a realm of humans and Rakh. Yet it turns out that there is a bigger game being played out that is only discovered after the climax of the book and the horrific fallout is witnessed. While the last hundred pages of the book, the climax, were excellent writing but the almost 500 pages to get there got to be a bit tiring with another travelogue though Friedman tried to liven things up by showing the all the undercover Rakh action. Though it’s hard to really write a good child character, but Jenseny came out well on paper and especially given how she figures into the book’s endgame.

When True Night Falls is an interesting middle installment of a trilogy, though by the end it reveals the larger game going on it does suffer from ‘middle book syndrome’ a tad. C.S. Friedman’s blend of science fiction and fantasy continues to be engaging and the ending of the book makes the reader want to see how the trilogy concludes.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

They survived the breaking of treaties, a migration from their original lands to a new home to the south in what is today Oklahoma, but after securing the rights to anything of value under their land could they survive the greed of white men again? Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann exposes how the richest people per capital in the world were targeted for death by their neighbors that nearly all got away with.

Grann frames his narrative non-fiction account of “Reign of Terror” around Mollie Burkhart, whose family was systematically murdered to gain the possession of all their oil headrights planned by her white uncle-in-law, William Hale and abetted by her own husband Ernest. The circumstances of smart Osage negotiating for mineral rights to their lands, the finding of oil, and Congressional “concern”—aka white lobbying—that the Osage couldn’t manage their newfound wealth thus creating “guardians” among local whites to manage people’s lives created the right environment for not only the planned murders of Mollie Burkhart’s family but nearly 60 total Osage in a ten-year period. Though the “Reign” officially ended in 1925 when Hale and his surviving co-conspirators were convicted thanks to the investigation by FBI agents led by Tom White, Grann reveals that Osage deaths continued into the 1930s thanks to white county and state government officials looking the other way for white guardians whose charges died “accidentally”. Whatever satisfaction the reader might feel seeing the guilty jailed is by the end of the book deflated by the affect this period had on the Osage as a whole.

Killers of the Flower Moon is a 100-year-old ripped from headlines true story of money and murder, ‘cowboys and indians’, and “white man’s burden” that David Grann puts into a narrative frame that engages the reader. If you’re into narrative non-fiction, read this book.

The Rise of Skywalker (Novelization)

The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition by Rae Carson
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

The novelization of the last film of the Disney sequel trilogy The Rise of Skywalker hit shelves four months after the film’s premiere in theaters, written by fantasy writer Rae Carson based on the screenplays written by Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams, and Colin Trevorrow.

Faithfully following the Terrio-Abrams shotting script with elements from Trevorrow’s script tacked on where they could fit the narrative, Carson was able to add the inner thoughts of various characters to help improve the story and attempt to add details to justify the retcons and the Force power creep that just appears in this Episode of the saga. Unfortunately, Carson couldn’t figure out a way to better handle Palpatine’s return nor why he first wanted Rey dead only for her to kill him nor why he didn’t realize Rey and Ben were a dyad when he was so powerful to be a voice in Kylo/Ben’s head but not read his thoughts or understand his connection with Rey. Poe’s Force sensitivity was hinted at throughout before everyone acknowledged it at the very end which didn’t make much sense. Yet even with these negatives, Carson was able to make a better story than the film itself which to be honest wasn’t hard, but much appreciated.

The Rise of Skywalker novelization is better than the film but couldn’t answer the plot holes created by the retcons introduced in the film even though Rae Carson did her best.

Star Wars

Gettysburg: An Alternate History

Gettysburg: An Alternate History by Peter G. Tsouras
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The decisions and actions that led to and occurred during one of the most famous battles in American history has garnered attention from historians and armchair generals. Gettysburg: An Alternate History by Peter G. Tsouras changes the movement of troops and the tactics of the commanders to refight one of the most consequential battles in history.

Tsouras goes with three points-of-divergence, with the first being a night attack by Ewell on Cemetery Hill that gets into the rear of the Union but is beaten back. The second is Stuart arriving in time for the second day of the battle, which changes the Confederate angle of attack on the right. Yet after brutal fight that includes Dan Sickles foolish decision to advance off the line and almost ruining the Union—again—the day ends with both sides essentially ending at their historic lines. The previous two scenarios allow Tsouras to set up a massive version of Pickett’s Charge that is barely able to break through a stretched thin, battered Union line only to be steamrolled by a Union counterattack ordered by Hancock that shatters the Army of Northern Virginia into fragments that are defeated in detail within the coming weeks. One can credit Tsouras with doing an alternate Gettysburg that goes with an overwhelming Union victory, yet how he gets there and in doing so with historical actors is a bit ham-handed that he tries to hide with mixed results. The level of detail to the battlefield is great, but unless you are an aficionado on the detailed geography of the battlefield you are guessing where the action is taking place if it’s not one of the historical major locations. The fictional footnotes very early give away the end of the battle but are a unique touch to the book.

Gettysburg: An Alternate History is a very good book for those interested in a battle narrative as well as a counterfactual occurrence from the historical outcome. Peter G. Tsouras is noted for his alternate historical writing, and he delivers in this book.

The Rise of Skywalker (Star Wars Episode IX)

The Rise of Skywalker
My rating: .5 out of 5 stars

The final film of the Disney sequel trilogy The Rise of Skywalker attempted to salvage any story the three films could have told only to make things even worse.  The film was directed by J.J. Abrams who along with Chris Terrio wrote the screenplay based on the story the duo wrote along with Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow.

Kylo Ren obtains a Sith wayfinder that leads to the planet Exegol where he finds a resurrected Emperor Palpatine, who reveals that he created Snoke to rule the First Order and lure Kylo to the dark side. Palpatine unveils the Final Order—a secret armada of superlaser-equipped Star Destroyers—and tells Kylo to find and kill Rey, who is continuing her Jedi training under Resistance leader Leia Organa. Poe Dameron and Finn deliver intelligence from a spy that Palpatine is on Exegol; Rey reads in Luke Skywalker’s notes that a Sith wayfinder can lead them there. Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, BB-8, and C-3PO depart in the Millennium Falcon to Pasaana, to find a hidden clue leading to a wayfinder.  Kylo initiates a Force bond with Rey to discover her location. He travels to Pasaana with his warrior subordinates, the Knights of Ren. With Lando Calrissian’s help, Rey and her friends find the clue—a dagger inscribed with Sith text, which C-3PO’s programming forbids him from interpreting—and the remains of a Jedi hunter named Ochi and his ship. Rey senses Kylo nearby and faces him. The First Order capture the Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger. Attempting to save Chewbacca, Rey accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. Believing Chewbacca is dead, the group escape on Ochi’s ship.  They travel to Kijimi, where a droidsmith extracts the Sith text from C-3PO’s memory, revealing coordinates to a wayfinder. Rey senses Chewbacca is alive, and the group mount a rescue mission to Kylo’s Star Destroyer. Rey recovers the dagger and has visions of Ochi killing her parents. Kylo informs her that she is Palpatine’s granddaughter; Palpatine had ordered Ochi to recover the young Rey, but her parents hid her on Jakku. General Hux saves Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca from execution, revealing himself as the spy. After allowing the group to escape, Hux is discovered and executed by Allegiant General Pryde. The group fly the Falcon to the wayfinder’s coordinates on a moon in the Endor system.  Rey retrieves the wayfinder from the crashed second Death Star, but she is met by Kylo, who destroys the wayfinder and duels her. In a dying act, Leia calls to Kylo through the Force, distracting him as Rey impales him. Sensing Leia’s death, Rey is overcome by guilt. She heals Kylo and takes his TIE fighter to exile herself on Ahch-To. There, Luke’s Force spirit encourages Rey to face Palpatine and gives her Leia’s lightsaber. Rey leaves for Exegol in Luke’s X-wing fighter, using the wayfinder from Kylo’s ship. Meanwhile, Kylo converses with a memory of his father, Han Solo. He throws away his lightsaber and reclaims his identity as Ben Solo. Sensing Leia’s death and Ben’s redemption, Palpatine sends a Star Destroyer to destroy Kijimi as a show of force.  Rey transmits her coordinates to R2-D2, allowing the Resistance—now led by Poe and Finn—to follow her to Exegol. There, she confronts Palpatine. He demands she kill him to allow his spirit to pass into her. The Resistance launch an attack on the Star Destroyers and Lando arrives with reinforcements from across the galaxy. Ben overpowers the Knights of Ren and joins Rey, but Palpatine drains their power to rejuvenate himself. He incapacitates Ben and attacks the Resistance fleet with Force lightning. Weakened, Rey hears the voices of past Jedi, who give her strength. Palpatine attacks her with lightning, but Rey deflects it using Luke and Leia’s lightsabers, killing Palpatine before dying herself. Ben uses the Force to revive Rey and they kiss before he dies. The Resistance defeats Palpatine’s remaining forces, while people across the galaxy revolt against the First Order.  The Resistance celebrate their victory. Rey visits Luke’s abandoned homestead on Tatooine and buries Luke and Leia’s lightsabers. A passerby asks her name; seeing Luke and Leia’s Force spirits nearby, she responds, “Rey Skywalker”.

John Williams’ score is once again the highlight of the film that not only featured new themes for the film but also brought back previous ones for the saga’s finale.  Like the previous film, the visuals that are featured throughout the film standout amongst the franchise.  These few positives of the film are a drop in the bucket to all the retconning and course correction that J.J. Abrams and all the other writers connected with the film had to deal with while making a coherent installment in the franchise.  The first problem was the return of Palpatine that effectively negated Anakin Skywalker’s redemption arc and that the former Emperor’s return was announced in crawl instead of a surprise return within the film itself.  With the former Emperor’s return, it undermines Kylo Ren’s ascension and intwines Rey into this new arc as her paternal grandfather who apparently can’t decide between killing her or having her kill him before learning he could drain their power to rejuvenate himself physically.  The expansion of the Force abilities in this film is just amazing in face of making the story work as well as the apparent short time this all took place.  With these issues the sequel trilogies for main actors—Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac—and the returning Ian McDiarmid can only do so much to make this story presentable on screen.  After the misplaced backlash of the previous film Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico is barely seen and replaced by another character as Finn’s counterweight, Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux is killed off like a punk by Richard E. Grant’s more competent Pryde.  The special appearances of Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford essentially showed the failure of their previous use in this trilogy and it’s hard to grade the CGI use of Carrie Fisher as Leia because there was only so much, she could be in the film.  Honestly, it’s hard to give a balanced review of this film because it’s the culmination of the mistakes Disney made throughout the entire process of creating this trilogy and frankly it’s just a bad film and awful installment in the franchise.

The Rise of Skywalker exists, unfortunately.

Star Wars

2022 Reading Plan (June Update)

Hello

June was an amazingly successful month as I completed seven books, five of which were on my original list. This month’s spectacular results pushed me ever closer to my overall goal but also over half of my original reads. Let’s look at the stats.

Overall Total: 28/40 (70%)
Original List: 21/40 (53%)
Total Pages: 12501 (446.5)

Three of the books I read this month could equally claim to be “the best of the month” and because they are from different genres it’s hard to choose. So I’m declaring a three-way tie between Bruce Henderson’s Fatal North (history), C.S. Friedman’s Black Sun Rising (sci-fi/fantasy), and Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels (historical fiction). The worst book of the month goes unquestioningly to Jason Fry’s The Last Jedi, not because of Fry’s writing but that he was adapting an awful script that there was no way to improve.

My home reading went well as I completed my second Locke book, Two Treatise, as well the supplementary book connected to my Adult Sabbath School class’ quarterly. As I result of finishing Locke, I picked up my pace on Durant and will attempt to achieve a set number of pages per day starting in July. As will be explained down below I didn’t watch any films this past month, which affected my reading list.

So early in the month I got the opportunity to interview for a new job which would result in more money, closer to home, but also a different schedule. Well this week was my orientation for that new job, resulting in a lot of my off time getting ready to transition to this new job. Tonight will be the first day on the actual job and I don’t know how my reading will go this coming month at work as I figure things out.  Beyond I don’t have a plan for this upcoming month with all the changes that happening, so might be a slow blogging month.

That’s all for now.

January
William Pitt the Younger by William Hague
Attack of the Clones (Star Wars Episode II) by R.A. Salvatore
Celtic Empire (Dirk Pitt #25) by Clive and Dirk Cussler
Bobby Kennedy by Larry Tye
February
Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars Episode III) by Matthew Stover
Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell
The Baker’s Boy (Book of Words #1) by J.V. Jones
Dawnshard (The Stormlight Archive #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson+
March
Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty by John M. Barry
Slaying the Dragon by Ben Riggs#
The Force Awakens (Star Wars Episode VII) by Alan Dean Foster
In These Last Days: The Message of Hebrews by Felix H. Cortez^
Exploring Hebrews by George R. Knight^
First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen
April
A Man Betrayed (Book of Words #2) by J.V. Jones
A Theologico-Political Treatise and A Political Treatise by Benedict de Spinoza*
A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke*
May
The War of the Revolution by Christopher Ward
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
The Dead Hand Book: Stories From Gravesend Cemetery by Sara Richard+
The War of Wars by Robert Harvey
Master and Fool (Book of Words #3) by J.V. Jones
The Last Jedi (Star Wars Episode VIII) by Jason Fry
Fatal North by Bruce Henderson
Two Treatise of Government by John Locke*
Black Sun Rising (Coldfire #1) by C.S. Friedman
Genesis by Jacques B. Doukhan^
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara+
The Rise of Skywalker (Star Wars Episode IX) by Rae Carson
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
When True Night Falls (Coldfire #2) by C.S. Friedman
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Empire of the Summer Sun by S.C. Gwynne
Crown of Shadows (Coldfire #3) by C.S. Friedman
Shogun by James Clavell
Richard III by Charles Ross
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson
Claudius the God by Robert Graves
Decision in Philadelphia by James Lincoln Collier
Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson
Lincoln by Gore Vidal
Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin

Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization, Vol 1) by Will Durant
The Fall of Troy by Quintus of Smyrna

*= Original Home Read
^= Home Read
+= Random Insertion
#= Giveaway