“Caught Up In Time” by Paora Panadelo

New book takes a look at usFinal Front Cover_Caught U I Time

TITLE: Caught Up In Time

AUTHOR: Paora Panadelo

A cleverly constructed walk down memory lane spanning four decades – with much of the action obviously involving Wairarapa – promises to appeal to those who like a good, racy story based on actual events.
Although marketed as a work of fiction, the underlying theme of this just-released book is strongly influenced by actual happenings, and actual people.

New author Paora Panadelo, a pen name being used by a former Masterton journalist,  has managed to merge events covering the 1940s to the 1970s into a riveting read for those who don’t mind acquainting themselves with not only the smooth but also the rougher side of life.
The era is the domain of the baby boomers and life in those now far-off days bears little resemblance to what young people believe life to be today.
It can be categorised as a time of far less affluence, a time when our country was not only recovering from the effects of World War II but was trying to find its feet socially.
Panadelo pulls no punches, whether it be chapters that involves poverty, hooligan behaviour, broken  relationships or under-age sex.
The book also has its softer side, a caring side – and looks at issues such as the union movement, the somewhat contentious arrivals of “yankee” servicemen and their impact on New Zealand women.
The author has interlaced the various stories that interlock in the book with verse and song lyrics to match the era, along with an array of photographs that will re-kindle many memories in readers.
All-in-all it’s a good first-up effort and, at 212 pages, is an easy and entertaining read.

REVIEW: Don Farmer, Wairarapa Times-Age
Posted with permission
Caught Up In Time can be purchased at bookshops in NZ featuring Local Books,
or by contacting the author directly.

(paul hyphen baker at xtra dot co dot nz)

Athene’s Prophecy, by Ian J MILLER

The first section of Athene’s Prophecy MILLER_E.J-Athene's Prophecy
will appeal greatly to those interested
in the discussion of philosophies
of the ancient Greeks, or in the military
strategies of the ancient Roman armies.

Athene’s Prophecy, delivered to young Gaius, sets the plot for all three books of the trilogy. Gaius is sent for training and education to prepare him for a military position. Eventually he sees the mechanical toy Athene had foreseen, and determines to find a practical development for it. He is challenged to think and analyse, and military gaming develops his preparedness for the expected position–which he finally gains.

The pace really picks up, and Gaius proves he is more than capable of a leading military role, while coming up against more of Athene’s predictions. I found I was fully engaged in the tale, and wish I’d been able to instantly pick up at book 2 as books two and three will be veering off into science fiction and the futuristic worlds–with aliens taking Gaius with them. A more intriguing mix of historic and science fiction I cannot imagine.

This is Book 1 of the trilogy Gaius Claudius Scaevola

Buy Link  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GYL4HGW

Dictator, by Robert Harris

This was a surprise…out of the blue, Harris_Robert-Dictator -Cicero 3I was sent this. Nowhere in the blurb, cover text or title page did I see any reference to this being the third of a trilogy. If I had known that, I may have been sidetracked by finding & reading
the first two, which I now know are Imperium, and Lustrum. I’m rather glad I did not know–it left me free to approach the novel with mind open and see it for its own merits.

It is told by Tiro, Cicero’s secretary, who in Dictator is given his freedom but chooses to remain at Cicero’s side while he notes Cicero’s days and the events and relationships therein. Cicero himself is writing his philosophies of life, political analysis and recording his interpretations of previous scholars’ works.

Tiro is not an academic, nor a scholar. He is a common man, with both the skill of writing (being an inventor of a type of shorthand) and a steadfast loyalty to his master who pursues the idealism of a truly republican Rome in the face of treachery, deceit, war, espionage and duplicity. Like any human, Cicero has his failings, and Tiro’s recordings of these are poignant and despairing of many of Cicero’s decisions.

In the opening of Dictator–Exile, 58 BC to 47 BC (eleven chapters)–Cicero is fleeing Rome after Clodius Pulcher, tribune, has banished Cicero to beyond four hundred miles from Rome, forcing him to find refuge across the Adriatic Sea. In the meantime, Caesar (Gaius Julius), having appointed Clodius as tribune has left Rome to wage war in Gaul.

Cicero continuously has to remove from one position to another as members of the government are manipulated and swayed from supporting Cicero to decrying him for his views. The public are just as easily manipulated, and they cannot rest easy for long anywhere. Exile ends with Caesar lifting any restrictions on Cicero.

The second part–Redux, 47 BC to 43 BC (three chapters)–follows Cicero’s return to Rome, and his waxing and waning popularity and influence through the final days of Caesar (Gaius Julius), and his replacement by his nephew Octavian (Gaius Julius Caesar). Tiro leaves Cicero’s service, then rejoins him in his new glory days, and remains with him as he discovers Octavian’s duplicity and deceit.

As Cicero’s popularity waxes and wanes, Tiro is with him or thinking of him. Tiro records all the events which enfold back in Rome, letters to and from Cicero, Cicero’s betrayal, his rise to sit as ruler of Rome, war against and the defeat of Mark Antony…

“I do not say that the younger Caesar is like the elder. But I do say that if we make him consul, and in effect give him control of all our forces, then we will betray the very principle for which we fight: the principle that drew me back to Rome when I was on the point of sailing to Greece – that the Roman Republic, with its divisions of powers, its annual free elections for every magistracy, its law courts and its juries, its balance between Senate and people, its liberty of speech and thought, is mankind’s greatest creation, and I would sooner lie choking in my own blood upon the ground than betray the principle on which all this stands – that is, first and last, the rule of law.”

(Cicero’s last speech in the forum.)

There is a coincidental link of the theme with another book I am reviewing: Athene’s Prophecy – Book 1 of trilogy: Gaius Claudius Scaevola, by author Ian J. Miller. It is a fiction based on ancient Greek philosophy and roman military strategy. (Books 2 & 3 evolve into futuristic science fiction!)

Publisher: Hutchinson, London, 2015 for

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All Involved – Ryan GATTIS

All_InvolvedGattis presents, from the points of view of many residents of differing ethnic groups,the actions of gangs and individuals in the area which took advantage of the enraged riot in Los Angeles 1991, to battle as they fought to take revenge, or increase their territory. This new angle gives a gut-wrenching reveal of the gang mentality with its flimsy loyalty, arrogance, and intimidation of members  and public alike.

The book comprises six sections – one for each day of the riots. Within each day, Gatttis lets us see the connections and interactions between seventeen individuals involved – gang members, their partners, wanna-bes, and fire fighters, nurses, law enforcers.

Each section allows the reader to feel the social pressure the individual is under – whether gang or relationship pressure – to conform, to meet demands, to follow the rules and expectations. Horrific consequences face those who go against a gang or gang leader (their own or another). Drugs and pimping are commonplace (though the latter is only briefly included).

We hear their street language. We sweat with the nervous. We tremble with rage at the atrocities. We gulp at the helplessness of those ensnared in this life style. We sympathise. We are in suspense awaiting foretold attacks.
We feel hope for Freer, who makes his escape from the city to try to be “freer”, elsewhere.

(For those of us who’s only knowledge of the Mexican/Hispanic LA community comes from TV shows, there is a Glossary of terms appended to the book.)

The factual background:
On 1991 Monday 29th April, four white officers were acquitted by an all-white jury of ten of all charges laid after they had (sixty-seven days earlier) been caught in an 89-second amateur video, beating the unarmed, intoxicated and uncooperative African-American Rodney King, following a car chase.
Within hours, South-Central Los Angeles exploded in riots, fighting, arson and looting, by folk enraged by the racially biased beating, trial and acquittals Six days of murder and mayhem followed.
(refer http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/riots-erupt-in-los-angeles for further details)
© Even Skrederstu

Evan Skrederstu’s realisation of Freer’s final LA tag, in memory of Ernie
© Even Skrederstu
(cropped by Red-Penn)

For an extensive examination of the novel’s back ground,
visit http://www.lariotsallinvolved.com/

Picador for  Pan MacMillan
Publisher Picador for
Pan MacMillan

ISBN: 978-1-4472-8318-8 paperback

Locate your Booksellers NZ outlet here
Click logo to locate your Booksellers NZ outlet here

TE RAKAU WHAKAPAPA – The Generation Stick – a story of courage

Te Rakau Whakapapa – The Generation Stick – a story of courage

Author Wikitoria Dansey

Te Rakau Whakapapa is a multi generational story of historical fiction, set in what is now known as the Bay of Plenty NZ, home of the Arawa and Mataatua peoples, depicts events typical of tikanga Māori, especially of te Arawa related and visiting tribes.
Each generation experiences the cycles of life (birth, marriage, death), crops and food gathering, illness and traditional remedies, intertribal war or trade, and interaction by later generations with European explorers, missionaries or settlers.
Ms Dansey has worked meticulously to balance fiction with accuracy when writing of people, customs, sonngs, rites of passage – while interspersing te Rēo Māori within the text. She has woven a story of a family line’s world of home, war, trade, trickery and love.
It is a literary piece, not light reading, but is comfortable to read, and fascinating to follow the family’s generations. I imagine readers of te Rēo, younger generation of tangata whenua, students of Māori literature and legend and those of Te Arawa and Mataatua finding this as a tāonga.

Published September 2013, Printer Dudfield Bryce, Rotorua New Zealand
ISBN 978-0-473-25602-9 (paperback)

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Haere ra…

The Education of Little Tree by Asa Carter / pen name Forrest Carter

My first reading of this ethnic fiction was as a bowdlerised version within a Readers’ Digest compilation of novels. At the time, I did no research into the reader or its back ground, taking it at face vlue – the account of a child of Cherokee heritage growing up in backwoods Tennessee during the Depression.
I would read it aloud, serial style, to my classes, who were always moved, and hung on every word.
I later found the full book, which contained one chapter omitted by Readers’ Digest.

The book comes up in a blogger here at Best Hoaxes.blogspot.com. The Hoax being the author’s reality was being a white, racist, Ku Klux Klan man. Disappointing. The revelation caused dear Oprah to pull it from her web list of recommended reading, although before the reveal she had acknowledged its spiritul element.

I can separate the author’s fakeness, as separate from his work. If not for this book I would never have known of the fate of the Cherokee people, the “trail of tears”, and their dignity among such losses.

I would still enjoy having a copy on my book shelf for grandchildren to read, and yes, I’d return to it too.