Waterloo: The True Story of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

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Review by: fealtytokhorne
This post is a review of the book: Waterloo: The True Story of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles, by Bernard Cornwell. The book is a summary of the events of the Battle of Waterloo, as well as some of the events after it. In order to summarize the battle, Cornwell uses several witness accounts, piecing them together to find what exactly happened during the momentous battle. This can be rather difficult at times, as the witness accounts often contradict each other. Throughout the book, he also examines the tactics used by each army, and explains why the armies efforts either failed or succeeded. This results in a book that is perfect for those who are just starting to get into the subject of the Napoleonic wars, or those who only have a passing interest in the subject.

However, there are still some problems with the book. For example, the witness accounts feel rather disjointed at times, forcing the reader to go back and look at previous chapters. Cornwell also makes it look as if Wellington, the British commander, was simply superior to the other commanders mentioned within the book. This may be the case when compared with some of the other leaders, such as Slender Billy, who made several horrible mistakes which cost many lives, but it may not necessarily be true for the others. As a result of this, I rate this book 4/5 stars.

The Island on Bird Street

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Review by: Lilley629

Alex is eleven, but lives a very different life than the other children his age. In The Island on Bird Street, written by Uri Orlev, Alex is the main character and lives in the Warsaw Ghetto since his family is Jewish. His mother left their apartment one day and never returned, so it has only been Alex and his father trying to stay alive from the Nazis. Snow, Alex’s pet mouse and longest companion, is also in the picture. He keeps Alex company when there is no one else and serves as his good luck charm. Alex, his father, and even Snow have adapted very well to their living conditions.

In the Ghetto, there was an early curfew that all the Jews had to follow. However, Alex and his father worked around it by discovering secret passageways between the buildings. His father also made friends with a man he worked with at the rope factory, Boruch. Alex and his father trusted him very much. They invited him over for dinner and played a homemade version of checkers. During work hours, Boruch helped watch Alex and hide him since children weren’t allowed in the factory. Alex learned everything he knew from his father and Boruch.

The day they had prepared for had finally come while Alex, his father, and Boruch were at the rope factory. The three of them hid behind a lot of rope so they couldn’t be seen. However, the police found them and escorted them to where all the other Jews were being rounded up. On the walk down Alex’s father and Boruch were trying to settle on who Alex would go with. They thought this was just another selection, but one of the policemen informed them that this time they were clearing the Ghetto and taking all the Jews away. This meant that Alex’s father and Boruch would have to think fast to make a plan to save Alex.

Once the police started making all of the Jews in the first group walk to be transported, Boruch started briefing Alex on the plan. His father was in the other group because he was stopped to be checked by an officer. Boruch told Alex that once he pushes him he should run to the destroyed house, Number 78 on Bird Street, and enter it from the tiny opening. Then he should go in as far as possible and wait for as long as it takes for his father to meet him there. Once it was time and Boruch pushed him and told him quietly to start running, Alex took off exactly like Boruch had told him to do. A policeman ran after him, and Boruch ran after the policeman. Boruch tripped the officer and then once Alex reached the opening he heard gunshots. Alex went inside as far as he could and was not found by the policemen. He remained hidden and was determined the stay there until his father returned, no matter how long.

Overall this book was exciting and very fun to read. I was always looking forward to keep reading, even though the plot can be predictable at times. From the beginning when you learn they’re in the Warsaw Ghetto, you have a good idea of what’s going to happen since this is historical fiction. It was also touching to know that this story was based off of the author’s own experiences. Knowing that makes the book feel more real, even though the characters are made up. Since the author is also very credible, the book was very historically accurate. Since Uri Orlev was born in Warsaw and hid in the ghetto for three years, he experienced first-hand the kinds of things Alex experienced in his novel. The treatment of Jews from the Nazis and the living conditions in the ghetto seem very accurate. In addition to remaining historically correct, Orlev also had a very genuine purpose for writing this book. I would genuinely recommend it!

Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Review by: shipperprincess52

Stars- 5/5

Summary- Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome.

Thoughts- This book was AMAZING!!! I couldn’t put it down. After I finished it, Stalking Jack the Ripper was all I could think about. I read this book almost two months ago and I still spend hours at thinking about this book and Jack the Ripper. I highly suggest it for everyone!
Age- 12+

The Hidden Oracle

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Review by: shipperprincess52

How do you punish an immortal?
By making him human.
After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.
But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

The Hidden Oracle takes place after The Blood of Olympus and around the same time as The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book #1). It’s a really good book and it’s interesting to read a book written from a god’s point of view instead of a demigod’s. If you haven’t already read Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and Magnus Chase , I highly suggest reading them before you read The Hidden Oracle.  Rick Riordan is an amazing author and The Hidden Oracle is just as good as all of his other books.

Building a Random World. Part 4: System. By Yasadu De Silva

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Hello all,

As you know, the world I am creating is for a tabletop RPG (see Part 1 if you don’t know what a tabletop RPG is). Thus, I need to decide what tabletop RPG (or system) I’m going to use to play the world. The system is important because the character options and rules can dictate the setting. For example, the world’s most popular RPG, Dungeons and Dragons, is a RPG of high fantasy with flashy explosive spells. If I use D&D in my world with no modifications, my world will eventually become something closer to high fantasy, which is not what I want. So before I do anything else, I will decide my system. Below is a list of systems I considered, and their pros and cons.

Name Pros Cons
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying: 2nd Edition WFRP2 has a grim feel, which is good for low fantasy. In addition, it has many rules, including optional rules for armor layers and hit location (stab the torso or the right arm, etc.). It uses a d100, which I’m familiar with. WFRP2 assumes that you are using the Old World setting, which affects some of the rules (equipment, races, monsters, etc.)
Harnmaster  Harnmaster is a low fantasy RPG. It also has detailed rules for armor layers and hit locations, which are more detailed than WFRP2. It has low magic, being near-mundane. It uses a d100, which I’m familiar with. The complexity is mostly in character creation, but it might scare my friends away from playing. In addition, the only races are human, dwarf, and elf.
Runequest 6  It uses the same basic engine as another RPG, Call of Cthulhu, which is one of my favorites. One of my friends and his group is also familiar with CoC, so they might like RQ6. Has rules for health per hit location. Apparently, this book is poorly organized. For example, sprinting is mentioned on page 58, but finally elaborated upon on page 438.

After deliberating, I have chosen to use WFRP2.

Thank you,

Yasadu De Silva

Building a Random World. Part 3: Sociology: Races. By Yasadu De Silva

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By: Yasadu De Silva

Hello all,

I’ve recently begun building a world for a tabletop RPG. To see what a tabletop RPG is and what I will use to create the world, look at my Part 1 post.

Sociology is important because it is the people and races that inhabit the world. Without it, my world would literally have no sentient life, which isn’t good for the RPG I want to play (it may be interesting to play non-sentient life in a rules-light system though). To develop sociology in my world, I followed these steps.

First, I need to decide what races inhabit my world, and which ones are major, minor, and dominant. I need to roll a d3 (or d6 divided by two) and subtract 1 (d3-1 in short form). I get two. Then, I roll for major races. Rolling d4+2 gets me four. Finally, I roll for minor races. Rolling 4d4 gives me four minor races. Then I need to roll d100s to find out which races are in my world. I get: giants and humans as dominant; elves, halflings (hobbits but without copyright), lizard men, and gnolls (hyena people) as major; and hsing-sing mammals (here: http://www.lomion.de/cmm/hsingsin.php), doppelgangers, arakocra (bird people), and dwarves as minor. Now, I need to create subcultures for some of the races. Let’s pick: humans, lizard men, giants, and elves. After rolling, I find that: giants have 3 seperate subcultures, humans have 4, elves have 3, and lizard people have 2. I will flesh out these subcultures later. But first, I should decide where these races live. After rolling, I find that: giants tend to the mountains, humans to the forests, elves to rivers, halflings to the northeast, lizardmen to the southwest, gnolls to subtropical regions, hsing-sing mammals to the jungles, doppelgangers go wherever, aracockra to the southeast, and dwarfs to the grasslands.

Next time, I will be taking a look at a system, then I will be returning to Sociology for kingdoms.

Thank you for reading,

Yasadu De Silva

Building a Random World. Part 2: Geography and Seismology. By Yasadu De Silva

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By: Yasadu De Silva

Hello all,

I’ve recently begun building a world for a tabletop RPG. To see what a tabletop RPG is and what I will use to create the world, look at my previous post.

Geography is important in a world because it can shape civilizations. For example, the first settlements were built near water sources. Land formations such as mountains can make a nation difficult to invade. The steps below show my process in fleshing out the geography for my world.

I need to create a map of the world. For this map, I am using the free version of a program called Hexographer. The map is divided into 20 triangles, called regions. First, I need to decide my world shape. To make it simple, I’ll choose sphere. Then, I must find my world size. Rolling a 100 sided die (referred to as a d100. Six sided die are referred to as a d6, Four sided as a d4, etc.) I get a 39. If you don’t have the necessary fancy gamer dice, use this dice roller: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm. The 39 gets me a 4800 mile diameter (For reference,  Earth has a 8000 mile diameter). It also means that one hex on the world map equals 300 square miles. After finding the world size,  I need to find how much water there is. Rolling a d100, I get 71. Looking at the table, that means that the world is 80% water. I begin to add in the amount of land needed. Then I roll 4 d4s, or 4d4, to find the number of plates. Rolling a d6 for each plate size, I get: 5, 2, 1, 1, 6, 2, and 3. Adjusting for the inaccuracy of drawing, I get this: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1lnBRWcjbSBN2puOUVGYnExVkk/view?usp=sharing. Then, I roll for plate movements and earthquakes/volcanic islands. I get this:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1lnBRWcjbSBN3ZuZFpmeVFneEk/view?usp=sharing.

Next time, I will be looking at political geography, or the various races and kingdoms that inhabit my planet.

Thank you for reading,                                                                                                                         Yasadu De Silva