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- Fallen Angel -- Syl, 16:03:03 01/20/06 Fri
I thought I’d do a review this time! Hope you like it. The author, Kim Wilkins, is actually a friend of my nephew’s in Brisbane, Australia. She’s a really nice girl, and the first time she emailed me, she asked if she could call me Auntie Sylvia!
TITLE: Fallen Angel
AUTHOR: Kim Wilkins
GENRE: Supernatural Fiction
Journalist Sophie Cabrel is desperate for money. She needs to pay the rent, and is sure a story of the occult would be a sure fire winner. She starts off her research with a meeting with the leader of the Lodge of the Seven Stars, Neal Gardiner, who encourages Sophie to join his cult, but with a warning – beware of the Wanderer. Of course, this feeds Sophie’s curiosity and she goes in search of the mysterious woman called the Wanderer.
She finally finds the woman, who has a very intriguing story to tell.
In the seventeenth century live three sisters – all daughters of poet John Milton. Mary, Deborah and Ann, in their curiosity of worldly and unworldly things, call up a guardian angel called Lazodeus.
At first, all is well and they enjoy the angel’s company as a friend. Then things turn more sinister as each sister becomes beguiled and they turn against each other. It’s up to the more sensible youngest sister to avoid tragedy and heartache.
There’s also Milton’s struggle with his blindness while writing his epic poem and how he copes with three young growing daughters and their stepmother, his second wife.
Some of the characters are real in this story – Milton and his wife and daughters – but the rest, even though it’s fiction, takes on a believability.
Even though the story skips backwards and forwards between the 17th century and present day, I never really lost my way. And all the way through the book I kept wondering who exactly the Wanderer was. I also felt slightly sorry for Lazodeus, even though he could be cruel and selfish at times ……… not your average guardian angel, that’s for sure! And then there’s The Curse. I did find there were some slow bits to the book, but I kept going. I think it was worth it. It’s a pretty dark book, but you kind of expect that with the nature of the genre.
I’ve read some of Kim’s other books – Grimoire and The Eternal – also supernatural. They were excellent. Go to: Kim Wilkins to read more about her.
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- Thanks, Syl - sounds like a good one. I'll be sure to check out her website, too. (NT) -- annieo, 16:19:26 01/23/06 Mon
- Sounds like a good one, although I generally don't like this kind of book, but the addtion of Milton makes it tempting. Historical figures always seem to be lost in the dreary past until a writer takes the time to make them real people again. (NT) -- beccabee, 16:53:25 01/24/06 Tue
- KIm Wilkins is the BOMB -- Aroha, 01:25:03 02/20/06 Mon
- I don't know how I missed this review when it was posted, but I picked up one of hers today, called The Autumn Castle, and though I've only just started it, it seems gripping already. (NT) -- Margy, 14:52:54 03/24/06 Fri
- The Wonder Worker -- Syl, 17:07:11 04/23/04 Fri
Here's the latest! I've never read Susan Howatch before, but this looks interesting! Thanks, Gwen, for sending this in!
TITLE: The Wonder Worker, The High Flyer, The Heartbreaker
AUTHOR: Susan Howatch
This is a series of three books whose stories revolve around the healing centre at the City of London church of St Benet's by the Wall. The first two books, A Question of Integrity (The Wonder-worker in the US) and The High Flyer are also excellent books but I think The Heartbreaker was my favourite of the three. The trilogy is a spin off from Susan Howatch’s Starbridge Series which are also fantastic reads but there’s no way I can review the whole lot of them so I’ll stick to these for the time being. Here is a brief description of the three books taken from Amazon.co.uk
A Question of Integrity (UK) The Wonder-Worker (US)
When Alice, shy, dumpy, bored and unhappy with herself, wanders into the City of London during her lunch hour, she stumbles without warning into a situation that will revolutionise her life. Brought up by a strict maiden aunt devoted to rationalism, Alice hardly foresees that she'll be drawn into the mysterious, seemingly irrational world of a healing centre based at a church, where chaos and moral breakdown is an ever-present threat to the off-beat but very human inhabitants who struggle to help others survive the maelstrom of modern life. There's Lewis, the irascible traditionalist, a priest of the old school who has problems dealing with women, homosexuals and the liberal spirit of the age; Rosalind, who appears so glamorous and successful but is in truth unhappy and unfulfilled; Francie, a woman who may or may not be deluded but who burns above all to be loved; Stacy, the naive young trainee searching for the right direction as he becomes increasingly lost; and finally Nicholas, the one-time shady wonder-worker now determined to stay honest - even as he finds himself drawn towards danger, damage and demoralisation.
The High Flyer
WHEN YOU LIVE THE DREAM, YOU LIVE THE CONSEQUENCES... Cool, blonde Carter Graham is a successful lawyer who believes she is well on the way to reaching all the goals listed in her glamorous life plan: first-class job, a stylish flat in the City of London, and marriage to the man of her dreams, Kim Betz. But Carter forgot that sometimes the best laid dreams turn into nightmares. Kim's ex-wife Sophie starts to stalk her and Kim turns from being the self-contained, controlled husband into a man who lies not only about his past but about his present, too. Carter finds herself drawn into an expanding web of deceit, corruption and evil which eventually threatens not only her sanity but her life. What is it that Sophie is trying so hard to tell her? Who is the sinister Mrs Mayfield, who has such a malign influence on Kim? And what is the significance of the other new man in Carter's life, her secretary Eric Tucker? Carter seeks help from the healers of St. Benet’s, the enigmatic Nicholas Darrow, the eccentric Lewis Hall, and the kind, thoughtful Alice but even they cannot save her from a searing ordeal as she struggles to uncover the truth about the tormented man she has married.
The City of London in the 1990s is a dark, adrenaline- charged square mile deep in recession, where sex is just another commodity and keeping one's integrity is a daily struggle. Gavin Blake is riding high. He's up to his neck in money, sex and sleaze, but he's young, and handsome and he's making a lot of money. Carta Graham wants nothing more than to forget her life as a high- flying lawyer, so she's buried herself in a fund-raising project for the City Church of St Benet's. When she meets Gavin, she thinks the only thing they share is a temporary sexual attraction, but she's wrong. They are about to change each other's lives forever. For Gavin comes to see that in order to survive he must escape from the harrowing world he inhabits. His fight for freedom will be hard and fierce, but Carta, searching for her own freedom from the past, is with him every step of the way.
For some reason I am finding it difficult to put into words what a huge impression these books had on me. Not in the normal way but in an immensely spiritual way. I suppose you could say that they give the reader hope; an awareness that there are good people out there and that good can come out of even the most horrible evil. All three of the books are very spiritual and packed with emotion. I’ve even read of people becoming ‘closet Christian’s’ after reading them and I can see why. Don’t be put off by this though, they are not preachy books, far from it. They show that we all have problems and sometimes the lives of the last people you would expect are unravelling as they strive to help others.
Susan Howatch is a very clever writer. Her characters are very real and the books are written in the first person but the story is told from the perspective of two or three characters so you get to see the same story unfolding from different points of view. After reading the first of these books I traipsed around the City of London searching for a City Church with a healing centre in the crypt. Hmm, only time I’ve done anything that stupid before is when I dragged the family to Scotland looking for a red heided six foot Highlander, but then that’s another story.
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- Thanks, Syl, I've been a huge admirer or Ms. Howatch for about 20 years. I loved Cashelmara and The Wheel of Fortune (both volumns) . I read the first in a trilogy that seemed centered in the C of E, but it sounds like she's continued to expand and enlarge her writing skills. (NT) -- Brookita, 00:26:13 04/24/04 Sat
- Way to go, Gwen - that's great! Love the last two lines - hahahahahaha. Hugs! (NT) -- Judie, 00:39:29 04/24/04 Sat
- Thanks Gwen!! These sure sound very interesting and your enthusiasm is a plus too :-)! I'll put her on my list and will certainly try her! (NT) -- Antje, 01:08:44 04/25/04 Sun
- I haven't read Susan Howatch for years. I read her first few books and loved them, then I went off her but it was so long ago that I can't remember the titles of the books which I didn't like. This series sounds really good so I'll have to give her a try again as I did like her early work very much. (NT) -- Kirsten, 13:22:33 04/25/04 Sun
- I havent read these, but wanted to check in since you were checking! Does this mean I should stop looking at hymms in the hymnals and thinking.......oh maybe Jamie would of sang this one! LOL (NT) -- M&M, 20:54:11 04/25/04 Sun
- Thank you, Gwen. They sound great. Don't you love when books have such a personal effect on you? (NT) -- GinC, 05:18:09 04/26/04 Mon
- Alright, I haven't read any of Howatch's work, but it looks as if I'm going looking soon! They sound terrific. Thanks for the review. (NT) -- susancm, 09:55:24 05/19/04 Wed
- Susan Howatch -- Kristen Manning, 04:31:38 12/23/04 Thu
- Susan Howatch -- Dyann S, 09:36:56 02/08/06 Wed
- Inishbream -- Syl, 16:19:17 12/16/05 Fri
Here's another good one sent in by Celtgirl. Thanks, lass!
AUTHOR: Theresa Kishkan
There is a briney magic that imbues the pages of Theresa Kishkan’s slim novella Inishbream, as though the poet has woven a spell of seaweed and salt air into her storyteller’s net. It is a net the reader is happily caught in.
The nameless protagonist of Inishbream is a middle-aged woman from Vancouver Island. Travelling through Ireland she decides to settle for awhile and chooses the isolated and barren island of Inishbream for her stay. Here she moves in amongst the fishermen and stone cottages, and into a way of life that only exists in small pockets on the edges of our electrically lit, centrally heated world. It is a world that is dying away as more and more young people emigrate to the mainland and faraway countries.
The inhabitants of Inishbream do not at first welcome the strange woman from ‘away’, but she gradually earns their trust with her ability to tell tales of the island she herself comes from. She marries a local man, thinking to make her stay permanent, only to find that she truly is a wanderer at heart. Her restlessness causes her to form a relationship with an Irish gypsy on the mainland, an act that causes her downfall on Inishbream.
Within the tapestry that Kishkan weaves are the glimmers of an enchantment that is uniquely Irish. One smells the peat smoke and damp wool, hears the casual talk of mending nets and the tales of evil fairies told by the fireside.
Kishkan fully captures the poignancy of a world that is dying away and is witness to its own passing.
Inishbream is a swift read, Kishkan carries us along on a ribbon of lovely prose that flows like poetry and envelops us for a short time in a world that will soon be no more than memory.
Theresa Kishkan is the author of six poetry collections and a book of essays. Her first novel, ‘Sisters of Grass’ was widely praised. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband.
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- Celtgirl, this sounds really very good, I'll be adding this to the TBR list. The review is beautifully written as was your review from July the book "No News at Throat Lake" but I think Syl forgot to put your name on it then. I'm a huge fan of books that take place in Ireland. (NT) -- Noelle, 16:30:42 12/16/05 Fri
- Sounds lovely. I'll have to see if I can find it around here. (NT) -- Reilly, 03:09:07 12/18/05 Sun
- What a great review. Thanks! (NT) -- beccabee, 04:06:12 12/18/05 Sun
- Interesting review, thanks (NT) -- Margy, 00:40:37 12/29/05 Thu
- This seems like one I'll enjoy. Thanks for the review. (NT) -- Tracyg, 21:10:51 12/30/05 Fri
- So nicely written, celtgirl. Can't wait to read it! (NT) -- annieo, 20:39:50 01/14/06 Sat
- The Eight -- Syl, 16:25:39 12/02/05 Fri
Again, we have one from Tracy G. Well done, tracy! You done good!
TITLE: The Eight
AUTHOR: Katherine Neville
The Eight takes place in two different time periods,
1972 and 1790, but are connected through the storyline .
The two main female characters are Catherine Velis in
1972 and Mireille de Remy in 1790.
The story revolves around chess and specifically an
ancient chess service owned by Charlemagne in France.
It holds a powerful secret code and if the whole set
falls into evil hands then the world is in trouble.
It must always be kept away from those who want to use
the service's secret for the wrong reasons.
The chess set was buried for thousands of years but had to be
unearthed and the pieces scattered around the world to
protect the secret. The collection and hiding of the
pieces is called the Game and sometimes the players
don't know that they are playing.
Some historical events and figures are entwined
throughout the story. There is suspense, travels
around the globe, thrills, espionage, murder and a
little love that makes solving the puzzle rather
The first half of the book lays the groundwork and at
times I felt very anxious for the story to move on
because I was just dying to know what the secret was.
Obviously the story does move on and I really enjoyed
the latter half of the book.
There is a lot in this book and I struggle with what
to write in this 'musing' because 1) I don't want to
give anything away 2) There is so much to discover
and I want readers to discover it on their own.
I really hope you enjoy The Eight.
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- I read this book last summer and quite liked it. By coincidence the two books I read before The Eight also dealed with chess, so that was a little unfortunate as I got a bit bored with the whole chess intrigue (I don't care for chess...). But I liked the characters and the story. (NT) -- Pat, 17:38:39 12/04/05 Sun
- I think this is one of those "cranial" books that you have to really pay attention with to follow what is going on and how things are connected. I thought it was pretty good with a surprise ending. Interesting book. (NT) -- AngieB, 16:11:34 12/08/05 Thu
- Before I found DG this was among the top 5 of my "alltime favorites" list. It must've been more than 15 years now since I've read it! (NT) -- Antje, 09:31:31 12/15/05 Thu
- Tracy, this sounds awesome!!!!!! (NT) -- Noelle, 19:05:15 12/15/05 Thu
- This sounds fascinating, thanks for the review (sorry I'm so late replying) (NT) -- Margy, 00:37:59 12/29/05 Thu
- I read this book a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it too, Tracyg. Neville has another one out - (big help i am, I can't even recall the title right now) - that is nowhere near as good. (NT) -- annieo, 20:43:01 01/14/06 Sat
- This was a great read that I enjoyed very much a few years ago! I'm so glad you wrote about it cos I had forgotten the exact title ! -- Lolkate, 07:14:55 01/23/06 Mon
- The Year of the Hangman -- Syl, 16:03:14 10/21/05 Fri
Here's an interesting one, sent in by Peggy B. Thanks, Peggy!
TITLE: The Year of the Hangman
AUTHOR: Gary Blackwood
GENRE: Alternate History, young readers
Reading level: Age 10 and up
This novel, by the author of The Shakespeare Stealer,is a terrific read from several angles.
Set in 1777, we follow 15 year-old Creighton Brown, a youth of the English gentry who finds himself shipped to the America’s and deposited in the custody of his uncle, a British Colonel, the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of West Florida.
In this alternate history, the Colonies are losing the battle for independence, and George Washington is imprisoned by the English. Young Creighton falls in with Benjamin Franklin and Benedict Arnold, in a position to spy for the benefit of the English.
Creighton learns much about the Patriot cause, the meaning of honor, and the dark secrets of his own family. This provides much ground for discussion with young readers: American History (separating the facts from the fiction in this book), what if the English had won the war, what you would do if you were Creighton.
I was grabbed by this book from the first few pages. And, as many of us are boning up on the Revolutionary War in anticipation of ABOSAA, the setting is timely!
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- So, if it is alternate history, is Benedict Arnold a good guy? Anyway, sounds like a good read. (NT) -- beccabee, 07:16:01 10/22/05 Sat
- Thanks, Peggy. Sounds like a great book! (NT) -- Judie, 05:25:57 10/23/05 Sun
- This sounds like an interesting book, but I don't know enough of the real facts to handle an alternative I think. Thats one of the really interesting things I've learnt in my time here on LOL, theres just so much I dont know! (NT) -- Margy, 12:42:08 10/25/05 Tue
- NOTE: I was just looking on Amazon, there is another book entitled "Year of the Hangman" but it appears to be a nonfiction history, subtitled: George Washington's Campaign Against The Iroquois, the author is Glenn Williams. I have NOT read this book. If you are looking for the book I reviewed here, make sure the author is: Gary Blackwood. (NT) -- LadyPeggyB, 11:41:26 10/28/05 Fri
- This book was enjoyable. I'll read more by this author. Don't let the fact that it is a children's book turn you away. (NT) -- Jan R., 15:18:05 01/05/06 Thu
- Her Mother's Shadow -- Syl, 15:33:45 06/17/05 Fri
This looks good! Sent in by Beccabee. Thanks, lass!
TITLE: Her Mother's Shadow
AUTHOR: Diane Chamberlain
Paperback edition published January 2005, Hardback edition (2/2004)
still in print
This book was an impulse buy for me, especially as the blurbs on the
back cover read like the kind of inspirational/romance novel that turn
me off completely, but I liked the picture on the cover. Super reason
for buying a book, eh? I ended up really, really liking the story. The
premise is that time and love don't heal all wounds, but will help to
scab them over a little. It doesn't insult one by claiming that a new
boyfriend or whatever will miraculously erase all pain and create a new
Her Mother's Shadow's heroine, twenty-six year old Lacey, has come home
to live with her brother and his wife and small child. Thirteen years
earlier, on Christmas Eve, she and her mother had gone to help serve a
meal at the local battered women's safe house. Lacey's mother is known
around the town for her good works and even has the nickname "St. Anne."
Shortly after the meal begins, an enraged husband (who never revealed
how he found the place) kicked down the door and stalked his wife and
son with a gun. Lacey's mother stepped in front of the woman and boy and
was shot and killed. In the intervening years Lacey had been assuaging
her pain with drugs and sex. Long cured of the drugs, she has come home
to try to learn how not to be a slut. Her welcoming family as well as
the remote North Carolina coast location, a keeper's cottage next to a
ruined lighthouse, have had a soothing impact on her heart. She has a
job she loves in the mornings working with her father in his veterinary
clinic and another job in the afternoons with her aging hippy biological
father as a stained glass artist in his popular studio.
One day soon after the story begins Lacey is shocked by the death of her
childhood best friend, Jessica, thousands of miles away in Arizona.
Jessica had moved to Arizona to be with relatives after becoming
pregnant at age fifteen. Her uppity mother didn't want her anywhere
near. The child, Mackenzie, is now eleven years old and to Lacey's
horror, Jessica has given her sole custody in her will.
Mackenzie and Lacey soon find out they detest each other. Lacey falls
further and further behind at each of her jobs staying home to try to
"bond" with the girl. Nothing she does works and Mackenzie remains a
smart-mouthed nasty preteen nightmare. Added to the mix, Lacey is under a
deadline to prepare a victim's impact statement to keep the man who
killed her mother from gaining parole. Then, the requisite handsome
stranger starts to court her, dark, rich, intelligent, great job,
wonderful listener, all around swell guy. But then Lacey decides to
bring the man who Jessica had confided to her was Mackenzie's father
into the know to see if he can help her to reach the girl. Even though
he had never heard of the child he came right away, an old "friend" from
Lacey's past, a major bad boy, still good looking, rakish and
mysterious. Although he greatly eased her difficulties with the child,
he intensified Lacey's harsh recollections from the time of her mother's
death that had already been stirred by the parole hearing issue.
Wrapped around Lacey's story is the story of the wife of the murderer
and how she structured her life around the need to atone for her
ex-husband's actions. With maturity and a nursing degree at the time of
the tragedy she was able to channel her grief into constructive
pursuits, but still, she doesn't think much of herself.
This all sounds like a mix for a dreadful romance novel with platitudes
aplenty and sappy solutions, but the author did an excellent job of
keeping the story human. Of course, she added some melodrama to propel
the action, but even those situations were not out of the realm of
At the end, most of the problems were eased, not solved,
people were still working toward becoming better at who they were and
the reader was left wishing the best for them.
A really good read.
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- I like the sound of stories that have "messy" relationships and flawed characters. I'll be looking for this one at the library. (NT) -- Melina, 17:53:47 06/20/05 Mon
- Same here. Thanks Beccabee (NT) -- Marg B, 18:22:55 06/20/05 Mon
- Becca, I find you and I have really similar tastes in books, so if you liked it, it's going on my TBR pile! ;) Thanks for the review! (NT) -- Reid, 18:39:39 06/20/05 Mon
- Sounds like a damn good read beccabee -sigh, another one to add to the list!! (NT) -- SueP, 02:12:30 06/21/05 Tue
- Diane Chamberlaine is a great author....I started reading her on the advice of someone here at this site and ended up reading 12 of her books and enjoyed everyone. Her books have mystery and romance, but they aren't the run of the mill story. They have good plot and character development with a nice style and flow to her words. (NT) -- Jan R., 14:40:06 01/05/06 Thu
- Southern Vampires -- Syl, 16:15:39 02/21/05 Mon
This was sent in by Lady Bluesy. I’ve read the first 3 myself and they are great books! Thanks, lass!
TITLE: Dead until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World - Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampires
AUTHOR: Charlaine Harris
GENRE: Mystery/paranormal romance
Charlaine Harris, a mystery writer for the past twenty years, struck out on
a new path with her Southern Vampire Mystery series (perhaps better known as
the Sookie Stackhouse series). A delightful blend of mystery and paranormal
romance, the four books in the series are light but compelling reading.
You won't find any DG- esque meditations on love or the breathtakingly
beautiful details that bring Outlander to life. Instead, you'll find
laugh-out-loud, quirky humor; a spunky telepathic waitress for a heroine,
two vampires and a few other supernatural creatures for suitors; and Bubba,
a not-so-successful vampire who was known as Elvis while alive. (Hey, that
explains the tabloid sightings, right?)
Luckily, Harris's writing is two steps above many other paranormal romance
novelists', and she keeps the action moving at a good pace throughout the
books. Harris writes at the rate of two books per year (alternating between
this series and another series), unlike some others who churn out three or
four novels with the corresponding lack of quality. That's not to say there
isn't an occasional detail that's slightly off--the most noticeable is one
inconsistency in a character's middle name--but that the characters'
motivations are consistent and believable. Her writing is crisp and concise,
with just enough detail to anchor the stories in the current-day American
South. (For example, Sookie loves to kick back with Buffy the Vampire Slayer
tapes and a Freschetta frozen pizza when she's not busy getting beaten up.)
Each novel is a self-contained mystery, but the relationships among the
characters continue from book to book. For that reason, I recommend starting
from the beginning of the series with Dead Until Dark. (The first
three novels were also published in a book club edition titled Dead in
Dixie.) The relationships are one of the most compelling aspects of
these books, and the mysteries merely provide good places to start and stop
Unlike Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series, to which these books are most
frequently compared, both the violence and the sex are on a PG-13 level. The
violence is integral to the stories, and the sex usually is. Although Harris
does go out of her way to work sexual plotlines into the mysteries--the orgy
club in Living Dead in Dallas is the perfect example--Sookie isn't a
bed-hopper. She's always been a bit of an outcast because of her telepathic
abilities, and it is only among vampires that her mind is blissfully silent.
As a consequence, she is just beginning to dip her toes in the romance pool.
Her naivete is one of her most endearing characteristics, along with her
positive attitude and obsession with Word-a-Day calendars.
This series is one of the few that has me anxiously awaiting the next
installment, currently scheduled for May 2005. Check out Harris's website,
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- I love these books and although Bill is the designated Hero Vamp, I have to say that I find Eric a lot more to my taste. LOL (NT) -- Aislinn, 20:05:45 02/21/05 Mon
- Sometimes I'm in the mood for light reading and I always love quirky humor! Thanks! (NT) -- GinC, 09:46:10 02/22/05 Tue
- Thanks for the review, Lady Bluesy. I'm not a vampire fan, unfortunately. Couldn't get into Hamilton's books, who knows about these ones. But thanks for sharing a book review on them. They SOUND great. (NT) -- Judie, 22:28:28 02/24/05 Thu
- I just finished this book and I loved it, I love the sense of humour of this series, I have yet to read the second book, but I am looking forward to it. If you haven't tried it do so you won't be disappointed. Sookie is such a fun quirky character!! (NT) -- Susan W, 12:46:22 02/28/05 Mon
- Another series-> Lily Bard, same author -- Donna, 09:32:17 03/23/05 Wed
- I love these books....they aren't real deep, but they are an enjoyable and fun read. I hope she writes more books to add to this series. (NT) -- Jan R., 14:31:30 01/05/06 Thu
- The Stone Angel -- Syl, 16:26:52 11/18/05 Fri
This is a good one! Sent in by Tracy G. Thanks, Tracy!
TITLE: The Stone Angel
AUTHOR: By Margaret Laurence
Laurence is a Canadian author and one of my favourites. If you enjoy Canadian literature or are new to it, then perhaps The Stone Angel will be a good invitation for reading more Canadian lit.
Laurence’s books center on strong-willed female characters and The Stone Angel has Hagar Shipley. The story is told through her eyes at the age of ninety.
Hagar reflects upon her life and how it was shaped by the men in it. In childhood, there is her father. In adulthood there is her negligent husband and her two sons – one is flamboyant and one is traditional. As a widow she clings to her independence, to responsibilities and to pride.
Hagar struggles with aging, family relationships, life and her own fate. The story is set in the Canadian prairies in the fictional town of Manawaka. Laurence makes Manawaka the setting for four of her other novels.
I found that every character is connected to the other and it seems as though one character cannot do one thing without it affecting the whole family. I found the emotions and the lives of the characters to be some of the most vividly written.
I hope you enjoy Hagar as I have. The Stone Angel is probably the best known of Laurence’s work followed closely by The Diviners. The Diviners had the ‘honour’ of being banned from some schools in Canada. I was fortunate enough to have an English teacher who loved Laurence and taught us about her and her writing. That’s where my love of her writing began.
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- Sassenach Musings -- Syl, 15:26:41 11/04/05 Fri
This was sent in by Annie O. Thanks, lass! Very interesting sounding book!
A good summer romp. The friend who hosed me gave me this book saying it was delightfully written, with a bit of science fiction thrown in – how could I resist? That's pretty much what she said when she gave me Outlander to read!
TITLE: Sleeping with Schubert – a Novel
AUTHOR: Bonnie Marson
Think about it: a creative genius incredibly talented and driven is cut off from life too soon. What happens to all that energy?
Inhabitation. This book is about inhabitation. One day Liza Durbin, while in the shoe department at Nordstrom, suddenly finds herself inhabited by the spirit of Franz Schubert. Or, rather, she doesn't quite yet know who or what it is, she just knows she astounded herself and everybody else nearby by commandeering the piano in the store's foyer and playing it waaaayyyy beyond her ability. Suddenly she can rip off the most utterly amazing piano riffs anyone has ever heard, and she is able to improve upon traditional Schubert performance so much that she becomes a star.
Her humdrum lawyer life changes completely and immediately, though not all for the better. It takes her a while to come to terms with what is happening. The people around her have no problem admitting that since she was never particularly musical in the past, something wonderful has happened, but not all are ready to accept her explanation of it – when she finally gets around to telling them.
In the process we get to witness Schubert's reaction to present-day society, and Liza gets to witness scenes from Schubert's Austrian past through their very vivid dreams. (Schubert died of syphilis at 31, leaving his final symphony unfinished.)
It's not all serious, though. With shades of the hilarious Lily Tomlin/Steve Martin movie "All of Me," and a woman who channels the 2000 year old spirit of Jesus's miniature dachshund, it's plenty entertaining. And in the process of melding their lives, they meet others like themselves.
This is a book that, like Outlander, allows us to witness a sudden, profound, and miraculous change in a woman's life and compels us to ask, "What if…?"
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- The Innocent -- Syl, 15:25:26 04/29/05 Fri
This one was sent in by Peggy B. Thanks, lass! This is set in one of my fave periods of history!
TITLE: The Innocent
AUTHOR: Posie Graeme-Evans
GENRE: Historical Fiction
This historical fiction takes place on the cusp of the Wars of the Roses in Britain. The story begins with a baby girl born in the forest as her mother’s caravan falls under attack; the mother dies in the birthing, but her serving-lady places the babe with a foster mother, who teaches her the healing arts.
The girl, Anne, grows and is placed as a servant in an important merchant household in London, where her healing skills restore health to the lady of the house––and draw the attention of King Edward IV.
Things really get interesting, for Anne as well as the reader, when Anne is brought to join the royal household, waiting on the Queen, Elizabeth Wydeville. Anne has to walk a precarious tightrope, pleasing the queen, getting along with the other servants, and avoiding the advances of the King. In time, Anne is reunited with the two women who know who she really is, a secret that can save her–or put her at even greater risk!
The Innocent is a page-turner that I had trouble putting down. Romance, political intrigue, and courtly manipulations abound.
This is reportedly the first of a trilogy books, this volume starts in 1450. The sequel, The Exiled, is due for release in the USA in June 2005, UK release in March 2005, and already available in the author’s homeland, Australia. I will definitely be reading the entire series!
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- As I think I have mentioned Peggy, I have read The Innocent and thought it was quite good. I have to say that I didn't really enjoy the first half of the book, but LOVED the second half of the book! Then again on Amazon I have seen reviews say the opposite, so who knows! I pulled The Exiled off my shelf last night thinking I might read it next! (NT) -- Marg B, 00:40:13 04/30/05 Sat
- Isn't it great to get in on a series at the beginning? Hope you continue to be as enthusiastic as it progresses. (NT) -- beccabee, 15:59:36 04/30/05 Sat
- You guys really made me want to read that book... just ordered it on amazon by the way...LOL (NT) -- emmanuelle, 04:53:12 05/02/05 Mon
- SIDENOTE: The cover art on the US publication is Waterhouse's "The Soul of The Rose" -- a tasteful reference to the setting of the book:
(NT) -- LadyPeggyB, 09:49:46 05/04/05 Wed
- Hey Lady Peggy B! I just finished reading The Exiled, and really enjoyed the whole book! (not just half!). It was a bit uneven, and there were a couple of editing mistakes towards the middle of the book that had me amazed, but other than that it was a pretty good read! Now I just have to wait for the third book I guess! (NT) -- Marg B, 12:39:45 05/04/05 Wed
- This sounded really interesting so I've ordered it and THE EXILED. Thanks for the tip! (NT) -- LaurenG, 11:43:23 10/16/05 Sun
- The Eye of the World -- Syl, 17:39:10 07/02/04 Fri
Here's the latest, sent in by Margy. Another great one, Margy, thanks!
TITLE: The Eye of the World – Book one of The Wheel of Time
AUTHOR: Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
This was the blurb that drew me in to this series, and it is a cracker!
In the Prologue, Dragonmount, we meet Lews Therin Telemon wandering his ruined palace and wondering where his wife has gone. He is mad and unaware that he has slain not only his wife, but all his family and all who loved him. Enter a black clad man who taunts him and makes him remember himself, re-names him Lews Therin Kinslayer and goads him until he channels such power that he breaks the world and causes a mountain to rise where he last stood. And he is named Dragon.....
Now begins the real story, starting with a simple shepherd and his son going to their village to celebrate the spring festival at the local village. On their way, Rand,the son, sees a man that makes him afraid and unable to move, yet when he is distracted by his father, his father cannot see it and there is no trace it ever was there. On reaching the village Rand finds his friend Mat has also encountered this apparition, then Rand and Mat meet a mysterious lady (Morraine) who enlists their help and pays them in a strange gold coin, a coin they feel is so unique they will never spend it. They meet up with their friend Perrin to find he has had similar experiences.
That night the village and outlying farms are attacked by Trollocs, a creature thought mythical, but which is all too real and set on hunting and slaughtering. Rand and his father escape and at the village all is chaos and destruction. Morraine, the mysterious lady and Lan, her Warder and Servant, scare Rand with tales from the past, and eventually Rand, Mat and Perrin leave, in the company of Morraine and Lan, to protect the village, as it seems to be them that the Trollocs are hunting.
And so this fantasy novel begins, and we are only in the first two chapters. This is a gripping and entertaining novel, as the heroes battle evil and good alike, never knowing exactly who is working for their own good, and who is leading them on to their own destruction.
I grew to really like the main characters, they are all flawed in their own ways, but all essentially good.
Along the way they have dreams to battle, as well as very real foes and friends who are not such friends as you may think. All along, we have Morraine and Lan, who are leading them where they must be led, but to what purpose? And weaving throughout is the history revealed in the prologue, and the threat of a possible repeat of such a terrible ending.
The Eye of the World is a really good read, and as suggested in the credits above, one of a series. I have now read the first two, and the second was as good as the first, if not better. If you enjoy fantasy novels, this is a really good read, and I recommend it.
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- I can comment here! Started reading these when book 3 came out---book *10* is waiting on my to be read pile! The series drags a bit in the middle books---rumor has it Jordan planned 8 books and the publishers wanted 12....that said, Jordan is a master at weaving all sorts of bits of interesting myth and folklore tfrom our worlds into his...take the Aiel for instance, lots of tall red heads that have clans and septs.....worth a look see if you like epic fantasy! Thanks for the review Margy! (NT) -- FloraMac, 18:31:39 07/02/04 Fri
- A really great, comprehensive review. Thanks! (NT) -- beccabee, 18:49:25 07/02/04 Fri
- Thanks for posting this Syl. I have read all 10 now, and I'm eagerly awaiting the last two. A Prequel has been published, but I'm not going to bother with that until I've finished the main series, as I don't want to get 'distracted'. (NT) -- Margy, 00:12:48 07/03/04 Sat
- Oh no, another series for me to add to my list of to reads. Sounds just my type of book. Just wish I had more time to read these days. Thanks for that Margy and Syl (NT) -- Gwen, 10:05:42 07/03/04 Sat
- Thanks for a lovely book review, Margy! woo hoo! :D (NT) -- Judie, 16:16:07 07/03/04 Sat
- Interesting! Thanks for the review! (NT) -- Antje, 06:35:03 07/04/04 Sun
- Does anyone know if is there any word on how many more books there will be in the cycle? I started reading this series years ago but it took so long for each succeeding book to come out that I kept forgetting the story, so I gave up and decided I wouldn't return to it until the story was complete. It's a great story, no question, but extremely complex. (NT) -- Shadow, 19:31:55 07/05/04 Mon
- I really loved this series and got just as caught up in these books as i did in DGs...would recommend them highly!! (NT) -- cheribelle, 20:02:04 01/08/05 Sat
- I have read all ten books and the prequel by now and they are really great. But I have to admit, that it´s kind a hard to read a series if you have to read almost half of the next book to pick up all the loose storylines from the last not to mention the clues strewn in all over the rest of the series. When I re-read the book I found things in the first hinting to events in the tenth so it´s really complex. (NT) -- Lady Morilka, 07:33:38 10/16/05 Sun
- Incarnations of Immortality -- Syl, 17:44:54 09/10/04 Fri
This week’s review is kindly submitted by Serena. Very interesting!
TITLE: Incarnations of Immortality
AUTHOR: Piers Anthony
GENRE: Fantasy series
What if Death had human emotions? What if all Time was at your fingertips? What if Fate was your mother, or grandmother? Can War be reasoned with? Is Gaea the heartbeat of Earth? What if Satan was God's Stepfather? Is God a woman?
Let's be honest, these books deal with mildly touchy subject material. They are not presented as irreverent, but as a fantasy tale based on old myths and modern workforce structures. What this series can and will do for you, if you give it the chance, is take you away from the deeply personal aspects of faith and show you what it would be like if Death, Chronos, Fate, War, Gaea, Satan and God were not the entities that we usually tend to believe them to be. It will show you what it might be like if those Offices were just that. Positions held by fallible men and women simply doing their level best to perform a job that is hard and exacting, and has the weight of the human condition resting in the balance.
There are seven books in this series. One dedicated to each of the 7 major offices of Incarnations of Immortality. They are not light reading by any stretch because of the author's uncanny knack of interweaving every aspect of each tale into the thread of it's successors and predecessors. But neither are they heavy handed philosophising either. The challenge of reading the books is more than equal to the enjoyment they give. Can you follow the author's bread crumbs? He does leave enough trails of them for you!
Zane has committed suicide, or has he? By a simple accident of Fate he has become the newest Incarnation of Death. And this job is hard! But with Luna and Death's ever present companion of Mortis, the Death stead, he will learn the job & thwart Satan's latest attempt to corrupt all of mankind.
Norton has loved and lost. In a desperate move he has taken up the Hourglass, the symbol and tool of the Office of Time. Norton is now Chronos, an Incarnation of Immortality. Can he learn how to use this unique and most powerful of tools to stop Satan from killing Luna and owning humanity forever?
Niobe is a simple woman, with a son, daughter and granddaughter destined to foil Satan's greatest plan ever. Will taking up one aspect of the Office of Fate not once, but twice help to ensure their survival? Can an Incarnation of Immortality really stop Satan with nothing but the simple tools of thread and skein?
Mym isn't his real name. He isn't really just a mime with a traveling band of Gypsies either. But when his father's demands tear him from his first love, and he takes up the mantle of Prince of the Realm, his new love and he bring peace to the whole world. In that moment Fate asks him to be the Incarnation of War. Grasping the hilt of the red sword, Mym ensures that Satan will now try everything in his power to corrupt the most vulnerable of all Offices. Can Mym prevent the destruction of the world, or will Satan prevail?
Orb has magic that is beyond measure in her voice. She seeks the ultimate song, the Llano for her use. Unbeknownst to Orb though, Satan is already aware of her movements and he knows that Orb must find the Llano if she will ever be Gaea. And his wife. Can orb find the Llano? Can she use it to stop Satan's latest attempt on the Earthly plane to destroy the world as she knows it?
Parry was a pious man. He attempted to battle evil on each and every front he could imagine. He was a monk. He was a member of the inquisition. He was a man with a mission. Until he was seduced to evil. In Lucifer's control Parry had no recourse but to slip into hell at his death. Except that Lillith loved him better than she loved Lucifer. And Lucifer had become careless. Something that Parry vowed as Satan he would never do. Until he found love again...in his nemesis, another Incarnation of Immortality.
Orlene was doomed. The bastard child of parents she had never known. The bride of a ghost whose prenuptial contract demanded infidelity. The mother of a condemned child. And now a suicide. Surely she was bound for hell. But her soul was in perfect balance. She was now a ghost as well. Her friend Jolie walked her through the ropes, and they tried to find a way to save the soul of her doomed child from Nyx, the one Incarnation of Immortality that was unapproachable. On top of all that...somehow Jolie the ghost lover of Satan, and Orlene the child who didn't know her family's long history with Satan were now enlisted to help find the next officeholder of the position of God.
Correct reading order is the one given below::
On A Pale Horse
Bearing An Hourglass
With a Tangled Skein
Wielding A Red Sword
Being a Green Mother
For Love Of Evil
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- These look interesting Serena, I love fantasy series, I'll check these out. Thanks (NT) -- Margy, 01:09:56 09/11/04 Sat
- A thoughtful review of complex themes. Thanks, Serena! (NT) -- beccabee, 15:44:54 09/11/04 Sat
- Thank you Serena! Interesting review! I'm not really into fantasy, but I sometimes pick one up. (NT) -- Antje, 10:48:45 09/13/04 Mon
- Wow, great review, Serena. I am intrigued though when I started reading your review I first felt this would be too heavy a read for me. But as I read more, I think I might give these books a try. Of course that has to be after the 6 other books waiting in line on my bookshelf at the moment *g*. (NT) -- Bandruidh, 19:09:57 09/13/04 Mon
- Read this series years ago...they can be a heavy read...but well worthit....the books have a very interesting concept...Actually just picked up the first one recently to read them again. (NT) -- Lynda J, 21:22:15 09/13/04 Mon
- Wow! Was I suprised to see these here! I would have to say that this series is definitly one of my favorites! A good summertime read! (NT) -- Lady Stormwing, 20:08:43 01/08/05 Sat
- I always thought that there were just five books. I guess I have to look for the two last ones. I hope I find them somewhere. (NT) -- Lady Morilka, 07:24:16 10/16/05 Sun
- The Four Agreements -- Syl, 16:13:46 03/18/05 Fri
This looks like a thought-provoking book, kindly sent in by Bandruidh. Thanks, lass!
TITLE: The Four Agreements
AUTHOR: Don Miguel Ruiz
GENRE: Personal Improvement
The Four Agreements is a practical guide to personal freedom from self – limiting beliefs that can make our lives unhappy and/or unfulfilling. Author Don Miguel Ruiz, an MD and Shaman takes us on an enlightening journey that makes one stop and think about the truth of their own beliefs. Do we really have our own spiritual code of conduct or have we just been programmed to believe what we have been taught since birth?
Based on ancient Toltec Wisdoms this books explains four simple agreements that one makes with themselves in order to lead happier, healthier, more spiritual lives:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
This book is 138 pages of insight and inspiration. While I feel it is not for everyone, those who have an open heart and mind may possibly find it will change their life. Or, at least, the way they look at themselves and how they react to the world around them. I have come to realize since reading the book that I want to follow my own heart and beliefs without guilt or resentment because someone else has impressed their way of thinking on me and I have allowed that to happen. Coming to the realization that “I” am responsible for “MY” Actions and Beliefs and not letting outside opinions compromise that realization has already impacted my life in a positive way. I plan to continue to follow these four simple agreements and do my best on a daily basis.
I must say that at times this book does get a bit deep as in describing “life as a dream where we have all been instilled with others way of thinking”. Sometimes I would re-read a passage just so that I was clear in the meaning as it pertained to me. But the overall message is quite clear and Mr. Ruiz reinforces the agreements with spiritual messages designed for all religious beliefs where the basis is of love and respect for yourself and others. And, as with all life changes, it does require one to work at it – practice makes perfect – so to speak.
I hope this review is helpful to those looking for a guide in order to find happiness within themselves. It definitely impressed me.
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- Royal Scandals -- Syl, 16:20:22 04/18/05 Mon
This was sent in by Heather C, who has just returned to the fold after a long absence. Thanks, lass, and welcome back! I love reading about scandal!
TITLE: A TREASURY OF ROYAL SCANDALS: The Shocking True Stories of History’s Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors
AUTHOR: Michael Farquhar
This popular history of royal behavior includes misdeeds on both a petty and a grand scale, and includes tales of terror, incest, and murder. Includes accounts of the Roman emperors and of popes. It also includes very handy family trees, appendices and timelines so you don’t get your scandals confused!
If you love history, especially scandals and royals then this book is for you. What other book regarding royal history starts out as “Catherine The Great loved horses. She also loved sex. Contrary to popular legend, however, she never managed to unite the two passions.”
This book made me either blush or cover my mouth at times with a “Oh My!”. I cannot believe that human beings especially “ privileged” treated each other in this way! How did children make it growing up?
Here is a description:
From Nero’s nagging mother (who also became his lover) to Catherine’s stable of studs, here is a wickedly delightful look at the most scandalous doings you never learned about in history class.
Gleeful, naughty, sometimes perverted – like so many of the crowned heads themselves – it presents the best (the worst?) of royal misbehavior through the ages. From ancient Rome to Edwardian England and more.
Michael Farquhar also has another book titled: A Treasury of Great American Scandals
Here is the website with all kinds of goodies for those who have enjoyed this book:
Hope you enjoy!
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- Interesting!! The British ones then have not evolved in a thousand years eh, one would assume???!!! (NT) -- Lolkate, 17:32:52 04/18/05 Mon
- This book is wonderful! I read it and then leant it to my dear friend Donna, who is very hard to please. She loved it too. It is so droll and entertaining, even when being totally gross. Thanks for the review, Heather! (NT) -- beccabee, 08:52:50 04/19/05 Tue
- This looks great, its a definite for my birthday list. Thanks HeatherC (NT) -- Margy, 13:09:52 04/20/05 Wed
- I absolutely love this book! It's so entertaining. I, too, had those mouth-gaping "Oh My!" moments while reading it. I've passed this book around and everyone else has loved it too. Makes you feel good about being a normal non-royal. Read it! Michael Farquhar is great at his story-telling. (NT) -- Reilly, 09:37:04 04/21/05 Thu
- Ooooh...I've been meaning to get this book for quite a while. Glad to see it's worth the price. (NT) -- Aislinn, 09:18:36 04/26/05 Tue
- A Treasury Of Royal Scandals -- Michael Farquhar, 21:28:59 05/04/05 Wed
- This was a fun, and interesting read. A dear friend gave it to me, and I really enjoyed it. It's like sherbet between the courses. (NT) -- LaurenG, 08:33:04 10/15/05 Sat
- An Hour before Daylight -- Syl, 15:31:22 09/24/05 Sat
This one was sent in by BGWJ. Thanks, Bev! Looks like an interesting read.
TITLE : An Hour Before Daylight
AUTHOR : President Jimmy Carter
An Hour Before Daylight is a memoir written by the 39th President
of the United States. It is a "must read" for younger people who have no
concept of the Depression years of the early 20th century and how people
Jimmy Carter grew up in the small rural community of Archery
GA, although he is more commonly related to Plains. He grew up and lived
through a time of deprivation that everyone in the U.S. suffered
through. The stock market fell and banks failed. There was hardly any cash
money and people learned to be self-sufficient as much as
possible. People worked hard to eke out a living and put food on the
Jimmy was a farm boy, raised by a father with a love for the land
and a mother who was a compassionate nurse to anyone who needed her. His
father taught him the value of putting your money in land, because land
didn’t leave you. His mother taught him human kindness for his fellowman.
The book only covers his early years with a few glimpses of the man
he was to become. The word painted pictures of life in a simpler place in
time are a treasure to read. Although people worked hard, I don’t think
they had as many worries. We stress over so much today. Then, stress was
just surviving from one day to another with a roof over your head and
food in your belly.
As the economy eased up, people of that generation never forgot the
hard times. My parents raised us with the same principals used to
survive then. They stressed the same values Carter states in his
memoirs. It's important to know how to do things from scratch. It’s
possible that some day the computers will crash, TV dinners won’t be
available, you'll have to make do with what you've got to take care of
Yes, people of Carter's generation suffered, but it built
character....it built men and women. They knew how to survive. His style
of writing is easy to follow and it sounds like he's sitting there
talking to you.
Give it a try. You wont regret it.
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- Although I've not read this one myself, I gave it to my grandfather for Christmas a few years ago after hearing some excerpts on NPR's Radio Reader. What I heard was excellent, and reminded me so much of the stories my grandfather tells of growing up during the Depression. It seems like a lovely book, and I know my grandfather enjoyed it. I guess I need to read it myself now! (NT) -- Lindsey B, 17:14:33 09/25/05 Sun
- Me thinks no body is interested because ABOSAA is out there too. (NT) -- BGWJ, 20:56:12 09/28/05 Wed
- That sounds really interesting BGWJ, sounds like one for my DH, who has a birthday coming up. Thanks (NT) -- Margy, 22:57:54 09/30/05 Fri
- There aren't enough of these types of books out there and remember the saying (paraphrased), he who doesn't remember history is doomed to repeat it. As well as making us aware of what shaped our parents' or grandparents' psyches (close the door, turn out the light, save that 1/2 cup of beans, those few feet of lumber, that rusty lock), people like President Carter bring alive a time that can very easily return - witness the devastation of the land just this year. Thanks for bringing this one to our attention. (NT) -- beccabee, 17:31:54 10/03/05 Mon
- Rosie Dunne/Where Rainbows End -- Syl, 16:27:54 08/26/05 Fri
This was sent in by Jamie’s Mom and reminds me of Maeve Binchy’s excellent stories. Thanks, Jamie’s Mom!
TITLE: ROSIE DUNNE (US) /WHERE RAINBOWS END (UK)
CATEGORY: General Fiction
Rosie and Alex have been best friends since they were five years old; this
novel (told in letters, e-mails and text messages) tells the story of their
lives. We see their giggles over teacher Mrs. Ugly Nose Casey. We see them
bicker over birthday parties and who fell asleep on Santa watch through
first crushes and college. Just as Rosie and Alex decide that they'll leave
Ireland and attend college together in Boston, the unthinkable happens: the
pair is broken up when Alex's father is transferred to the States. Rosie
goes to her prom with a "rebound" date, and gets pregnant.
The book follows Rosie through single motherhood, and her struggles to make
a home for herself and her daughter Katie. We see Katie's adolescence and
her friendship with Toby as a mirror of Rosie's relationship with Alex.
Alex achieves his dream of attending Harvard and becoming a surgeon; Rosie's
dream of working in a luxury hotel seems a dream that will never be
Rosie's and Alex correspondence follows them through the years. We see Rosie
stand by Alex's side as "best woman" at his wedding; watch the birth of his
son, and see Rosie fall in love and marry "what's his name," the banker.
As Alex's marriage begins to crumble, he realizes that he's been in love
with his best friend all this time, but now, when he's free, Rosie is not.
A bittersweet novel, alternately funny and melancholy, it's a stream of bad
timing and missed opportunities. What do you do when you realize that you've
fallen in love with your best friend, and that he/she loves someone else?
In some ways, Rosie is reminiscent of Bridget Jones- sweet, feisty, and a
chronic case of bad timing and foot in mouth disease. The letter-style of
the book also bears a resemblance to Bridget's diary entries. If you like
BJD, I think you'll love Rosie, too.
A sample audio chapter is available at
As with Diana's books, this novel has two titles- depending upon which side
of the Atlantic you're on: Rosie Dunne (in the US) or WHERE RAINBOWS END (in
This is author Cecelia Ahern's second book. I can also recommend her first
novel PS, I LOVE YOU.
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- Q&A -- Syl, 16:31:03 09/09/05 Fri
Here’s a very interesting one, sent in by Astrokath! Thanks, cobber! *G*
TITLE: Q & A
AUTHOR : Vikas Swarup
The hero of this book is an eighteen year old illiterate Indian waiter who wins the TV show ‘Who Will Win a Billion?’ (we’re talking rupees here *g*). Because the producers of the show cannot believe that he won without cheating, he is arrested for fraud.
He then proceeds to tell his lawyer how he answered the questions, and in doing so we get a glimpse into his life. His multi-religion name, Ram Mohammed Thomas, is due to his being an orphan, and his foster parent not being sure of his ancestry. Throughout the book he thinks of his mother, and this has some bearing on the story.
The book gives an idea of what life in a Indian slum might be like, but Ram is always optimistic and makes the most of his opportunities, meeting along the way characters like an ageing Bollywood actress, an Australian diplomat and his family (and I have to add here that the Aussie ‘accent’ is the best I have read by a non-Aussie author) and Indian train robbers.
Ram’s short life is full of interesting and sometimes scary incidents, and the author has done a great job of showing some of Indian life and educating us a bit too. The end of the book ties up some loose ends and has a couple of surprises that no-one in my family guessed.
The book was written by an Indian diplomat who was left at a bit of a loose end in London when his family had returned to India but he had to stay for another six weeks. I have had the pleasure of meeting him and he is a very shy, self effacing man.
I can thoroughly recommend this book as an interesting and enjoyable read.
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- Sunshine -- Syl, 16:22:23 08/05/05 Fri
I love vampires and weres!!! This is a good one sent in by Laura E. Thanks, lass!
AUTHOR: Robin McKinley
Anyone who has read Robin McKinley’s books about Damar knows she is a master at creating settings and characters that feel real in all the details. In “Sunshine”, she uses this talent to make the concept of vampires and weres at the local diner seem like everyday events that take place in our everyday world, but with a twist.
The main character, Sunshine Blaise, barely made it through high school and works as the baker at a local restaurant. She has annoying younger brothers, a biker boyfriend, and a touchy relationship with her mother.
Feeling the need for some space, she takes a drive out to the lake, and just happens to be kidnapped by a gang of vampires.
McKinley’s “voice” in this book is very different from her previous light, fairy-tale formality.
Instead, the main character is just chatting to the reader about a couple of extraordinarily bad days she had, using slang terms that are new but immediately recognizable. Familiar place names are mixed with unfamiliar, and the humans we’re used to are sometimes just a little more than meets the eye.
The reality and the fantasy are blended so smoothly that the story will draw you in even if vampires aren’t a topic you’d normally choose, and the characters are funny and smart, sexy and real.
The first chapter of “Sunshine” is available in an excerpt at robinmckinley.com.
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- Thanks LauraE, sounds like a good book to post about on the FFF board too. (NT) -- Margy, 07:30:49 08/06/05 Sat
- Thanks for the review LauraE! (NT) -- Judie, 09:42:29 08/06/05 Sat
- Thanks Laura E, I'm not into vampires but I think I'll give this a shot. Thanks Syl for keeping this board going. (NT) -- Noelle, 10:26:16 08/06/05 Sat
- Sounds interesting, LauraE. I'll check it out (NT) -- Caitlin, 17:26:49 08/06/05 Sat
- She's a baker? With a biker boyfriend? Are these like, redneck, white socks & blue ribbon blood vampires? (NT) -- beccabee, 19:30:39 08/06/05 Sat
- I can't do scary, but bakers and bikers....this might be possible even for me! Thanks! (NT) -- Nancy V, 05:36:21 08/07/05 Sun
- I loved "Sunshine", but it seems to be (from what I've read, as I haven't actually met anyone in RL who's read it) a book that either you love or hate, even (especially?) those who are McKinley fans. It has the same sort of feel as a McKinley book, I think, but it's definitely a departure from her previous books (all of which I also highly recommend, if you do or don't like "Sunshine" *g*). (NT) -- Erica, 16:32:06 08/07/05 Sun
- I liked this one alot- although as a HUGE RMcKinley fan, I did feel like it was a "new direction" for her...hopefully there will be more to the story... BTW- her 2 versions of Beauty & the Beast make for a good comparison. One was written in college, the other as an older adult. the contrasts/similarities/emphasis shifts are interesting to see... (NT) -- shellb, 16:09:42 09/11/05 Sun
- I loved "Sunshine" and am hoping Robin will do a follow up niovel. (NT) -- ANNA, 04:15:36 09/12/05 Mon
- No News at Throat Lake -- Syl, 16:24:02 07/16/05 Sat
TITLE: No News at Throat Lake
AUTHOR: Lawrence Donegan
Lawrence Donegan’s No News at Throat Lake is a refreshing twist on the many ‘bought a villa in Europe, and had adventure with quirky locals on an unlimited budget,’ travel memoirs that have graced bookstore shelves in recent years.
No News at Throat Lake is Donegan’s account of his year spent in Donegal, Ireland. The house he lives in is a down at the heel, mildew and rat infested cottage in a country where it rains ten out of every eleven days. And yet, the unique charms of a small Irish village are evident on every page.
During his sojourn in Creeslough (Irish Gaelic for Throat Lake), Donegan dabbles in local cattle farming, which he dubs ‘Quentin Tarantino’s All Creatures Great and Small’. Finding farming a bit too bloody for his tastes, he lands a job writing at the local paper- the Tirconnail Tribune, where there is libel aplenty and an editor who takes pride in the fact that he ‘never apologizes’ for anything that appears in his paper.
There are plenty of quirky locals as well, many found on the football pitch when Mr. Donegan joins the local Gaelic football team- his dreams of glory on the field, which never quite materialize, provide a winsome thread throughout the book.
In Creeslough Donegan has a brush with fame in the form of Meryl Streep, goes on pilgrimage to Knock with a busful of pious women, finds out the true story of Bernard Lafferty- Doris Duke’s infamous butler and a native son of Creeslough- and discovers that he is related to the Donegal Donegans- ‘the worst family in Donegal’ according to local lore.
It is also the story of a big city hack’s love affair with a small town paper, as he writes stories that range from covering Newt Gingrich’s visit to Donegal ‘in search of his Irish roots’ to a poignant meeting with the ‘last Donegan in Letterkenny’ in a rundown caravan.
No News at Throat Lake is a funny, angry, sad and bittersweet account of life in an Irish village in the late 20th century. It is also Donegan’s love song, equal parts sharp observances and wistful musings, to a small corner of the world that is both wildly beautiful and wonderfully human.
Lawrence Donegan was born in Scotland in 1961. He has been, in previous incarnations, a popstar, a journalist for the Guardian and is the acclaimed author of ‘Maybe It Should Have Been a Three Iron’, which was named the best book of the year by the US Golf Association.
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- City of Dreams -- Syl, 16:21:59 06/03/05 Fri
This one was sent in by Angie B. Sounds like my kind of book!
TITLE: City of Dreams
AUTHOR: Beverly Swerling
GENRE: Historical fiction
The setting of this novel is early Manhattan, when it was called Nieuw Amsterdam by the Dutch settlers. Our story follows the stories of a family from these beginnings through the Revolution and their feud that splits the family in two.
It is 1661 and Lucas Turner and his sister Sally have just arrived in Nieuw Amsterdam from Holland. Lucas is a barber, a profession with a blade that during this time sometimes translated in the use of the blade for surgery, a very controversial treatment at a time when blood letting and treatment of the humors was considered mainstream. Lucas starts his clinic in a corner of Nieuw Amsterdam near the Wall, a tall wooden wall surrounding the city to protect it from Indian attacks.
Lucas is overly protective of his sister, who is an apothecary and runs their household. Sally ventures out of the Wall without telling Lucas, once with disastrous results as she is raped by an Indian. Lucas about this time is introduced to Jacob Van der Vries, a new immigrant and a physician who shuns the ideas of surgeons but has an eye for Sally. They compete for the governor’s approval and sanction. Add to this mix an affair between Lucas and a married woman, Marit, with an abusive husband. All things come to a head when Lucas, trying to figure out what to do about Sally being dishonored and now pregnant by an Indian, is offered money by Jacob Van der Vries, whom he and Sally both despise, to marry Sally at the same time that he is trying to find money for Marit’s increasingly abusive husband, who put a price on leaving her. Lucas finally accepts the money and Sally never forgives him for essentially selling her.
The subsequent generations carry their legacies, both of hate and of medicine, as Lucas’ grandson, Christopher, becomes an accomplished surgeon with theories of transfusion and Sally’s daughter with Jacob, Bess, becomes a skilled apothecary with a deep hate for Lucas’ posterity. Bess’ father and son-in-law are both physicians and also are very critical of the surgeons.
What has happened to Sally’s Indian baby was a very tightly guarded secret that isn’t discovered for over 50 years, but when it does and the implications it has to the families is realized, any progress the two families have made in healing old rifts is completely torn apart. This affects most directly one of Lucas’ descendants, Jennet, whose life takes a very unexpected turn toward a man named Solomon DaSilva and the lifestyle he introduces her to.
By the time we reach the Revolutionary War, the two families are fighting on different sides of the battlefront, Patriot versus Tory, surgeon versus physician, both vying for control of the city hospital, later to become Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
This book is completely engrossing. The New York history is very interesting, but the early surgery descriptions are both fascinating and horrifying. Swerling writes some terrific characters. Jennet in particular is such a strong character that it is hard to decide whether to hate her or feel sorry for her. The book can be very graphic in language, surgery, and sexual content. Sometimes the story goes toward a head-on collision that you don’t want to see but can’t look away.
It is broken into several different sections, focusing on different generations. When one ends it will drive you crazy because you want to know more, but the next generation’s story is just as good.
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- Random Acts -- Syl, 16:19:12 05/20/05 Fri
This one was sent in by Margy. Looks thrilling! Thanks, lass!
Title: Random Acts
Author: Taylor Smith
This is the 4th book of Taylor Smith’s that I've read, and I've enjoyed each one.
In this book, the central character is Claire Gillespie, a crime reporter for a New York news magazine.
The story begins with Claire receiving a call from her boss trying to persuade her to go to California to cover the emerging story of the Southland Slayer, who is kidnapping babies, and has just kidnapped baby number 3.
Claire won't go, mainly because she is already absorbed on tracking down the killer of her lover, an FBI undercover agent who was infiltrating a Russian gang when his car was blown up and her world was turned upside down.
Unfortunately, no-one knows that Claire and the FBI agent (Michael) were involved, and now no-one can know, because Claire discovered at his funeral that he was married. After meeting with the Russian mobster, Claire is convinced that Michael was not killed by the Russians, but by the FBI, perhaps even his wife and her alleged lover, Gar Doucet.
In California, Michael’s widow, Laurel Madden, is working on the Southland Slayer case, profiling the kidnapper. When Claire sees Laurel on the news, just after she has been confronted by Gar, and her flat has been ransacked and all her hard-earned research stolen, Claire decides to go to California to follow up on Michael’s death, and the Southland Slayer case also.
This is a fast paced action thriller, with some predictable and other not so predictable twists and turns. I really enjoy Taylor Smiths style of writing, and will be looking out for her other books to full the gaps in those I've collected so far.
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- Sassenach Musings -- Syl, 16:29:07 03/04/05 Fri
This week's review was sent in by Peegy B. Thanks, lass!
TITLE: The Birth of Venus
AUTHOR: Sarah Dunant
GENRE: Historical Fiction
For me, a "good" novel is one that I don’t want to end, and a "good" historical novel is one that makes me seek out more information about the setting. The Birth of Venus scores on both counts.
Set in late 15th century Florence Italy, the plot follows an intelligent and talented girl, on the verge of womanhood. Alessandra Cecchi is the daughter of a prosperous cloth merchant. Alessandra must balance her intelligence, passion, and artistic aspirations with the relatively cloistered life of a daughter of means.
This may be the renaissance, but Alessandra is, after all, a young woman. This balancing act is greatly challenged when her father brings home a young artist from northern Europe to paint the family’s chapel.
The intrigue of the Painter, her sister’s marriage, and her own coming of age collide with the death of Lorenzo de Medici, the invasion of Florence by France, and the rise of the prior Girolama Savonarola. Florence, and life, as Alessandra knows it are changing, and her fate is caught up in events when she is wed to a wealthy acquaintance of the family.
Dunant weaves a well paced story with interesting characters. I was struck by the restrictions placed on women of this time; good thing for Claire Randall that she didn’t TT to the Florentine Renaissance!! Little plot twists that emerge keep the reader guessing about everyone’s little secrets. The end of the book sent me right back for an immediate reread of the prologue, and wishing for a sequel.
For more information on Sarah Dunant:
For information on the Medici family:
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- Sorry for the mistake in the header! Should read The Birth of Venus (NT) -- Syl, 16:30:14 03/04/05 Fri
- I also loved this book and would thoroughly recommend it. (NT) -- astrokath, 20:10:13 03/04/05 Fri
- I'm glad you liked it Peggy. Does anything icky happen? (NT) -- beccabee, 14:39:17 03/05/05 Sat
- Oh, thanks for the review! I love historical fiction and will definitely put this on my list. (NT) -- GinC, 09:46:36 03/06/05 Sun
- Cannot be true! -- Margit, 23:28:46 03/06/05 Sun
- This was one of my favourite books I read last year. I read a lot of books but this one stood out, I really enjoyed it. The funny thing is I ended up visiting Florence a few months after I'd read it. I will be revisiting the city and the book for years to come I think*G* (NT) -- Nic, 13:46:58 03/07/05 Mon
- Thanks for the review, Peggy - I missed this one! :D (NT) -- Judie, 16:31:59 03/18/05 Fri
- I've also just finished this book and loved it. I also want to add that the descriptions of Florence are wonderful. I was just there in February and it felt like I was time travelling as I read this book! I could picture where she was describing and felt like I was there! Great Read! (NT) -- Emily, 09:27:41 05/15/05 Sun
- Prodigal Summer -- Syl, 15:28:35 04/01/05 Fri
This was sent in by Melva T. Thanks, lass!
Title: Prodigal Summer
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
This is Barbara Kingslover’s fifth novel and I’ve not read any of her others. Prodigal Summer was loaned to me by another hoser and from the first page I was entwined and enthralled with this captivating world.
The story takes place in the mountains and farms of the southern Appalachia. It revolves around three key characters whose lives are unknowingly woven together. Starting with the spring and closing with the fall, the tale spreads over the meaning of life, forming a circle that encloses these characters into a visible world of nature that most people have never noticed before.
BK does a stunning, absorbing job of weaving the human dilemma and supremacy over nature and environment into a constructive form of wisdom and entertainment. You’ll come away with your social conscience enlightened and your heart full of tenderness, humor, and an earthy spirituality.
I stole most of that off the reviews on the book cover. For my personal opinion: this is a must read. BK has done her research and done it very well. The story is open and truthful about environmental issues without being tree hugging-preachy.
It’s real, with truth and feeling on every page.
You are instantly sucked into these character’s lives and their world.
You’ll laugh, cry and sigh; but you’ll also learn how every living thing has its own place on earth.
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- I've loved everything of Kingsolver's I've ever read, and will go out and get this one immediately. Thanks for the terrific review! (NT) -- annieo, 16:59:39 04/01/05 Fri
- What time frame is it Melva? Is it contemporary? (NT) -- beccabee, 08:12:15 04/02/05 Sat
- I'm not Melva, but, yes, contemporary. Great book! After the gutwrenching Poisonwood Bible this one was like an Appalachian springtime -- MacPudel, 14:46:43 04/04/05 Mon
- True, not everything in the book is sunshine and roses, but the circle of life is completed in this story. I really loved the concept of everything and everyone having an intended purpose. You'll like it beccabee. :-) (NT) -- MelvaT, 00:27:14 04/06/05 Wed
- I love Barbara Kingsolver and I LOVED this book. The 3 story lines seem so disparate at first, then about half way through, you realize they are starting to connect. I felt like as though the stories became braided together, loosely at first, then tighter and tighter as the book progressed. Just wonderful, luminous writing. BK also lives in Arizona (as does DG), I think Tucson. (NT) -- JulieQ, 21:16:23 04/06/05 Wed
- I loved, loved, loved this book, and the comments so far are dead on in describing it. But don't forget a pretty hot romance! Thank you for the excellent review, even if you borrowed some of it. (NT) -- Brookita, 23:07:53 04/06/05 Wed
- This sounds like a great one - right up my alley. I will have to add it to my list! (NT) -- Bandruidh, 15:51:44 04/12/05 Tue
- I too loved this book, partly because it adds another to dimenion to the breadth of Kingsolver's writings. Her early books read almost like fables, and I personally believe that The Poisonwood Bible will be included in the canon of literature a century from now. But Prodigal Summer is a fascinating combination of ecology and sensuality -- which frankly, is pretty rare! In addition to the enchanting characters in this book, I also enjoyed learning so much about wolves and chestnut trees. Who knew? (NT) -- Lindsey B, 13:12:08 04/17/05 Sun
- Deep in the Valley -- Syl, 16:39:01 02/04/05 Fri
This one was sent in by Aislinn. Looks good! Thanks, Aislinn!
TITLE: Deep In The Valley
AUTHOR: Robyn Carr
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction
DEEP IN THE VALLEY shares the day to day happenings of the Grace Valley inhabitants who can count among their townsfolk those who are loopily odd and charmingly eccentric, those who are pillars of the community and irreplaceable, and those who are bottom-of-the-barrel bad, so bad even prayer is wasted on them.
The story focuses on June, a doctor born and brought up in Grace Valley, and the people who live there. The busy practice soon becomes very busy, and so she hires another doctor, John Stone, as her partner.
I felt drawn into the town of Grace Valley and it was a wonderful experience.
I thought that too many characters would make it hard to keep track of who was who but it did not happen. It made it all the more real. I would recommend this book as a heart warming story that will touch you and maybe think about moving to a small town like Grace Valley.
To read more about this book, go to:
This is also the first of a series DEEP IN THE VALLEY being the first, then JUST OVER THE MOUNTAIN followed by DOWN BY THE RIVER
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- Thanks for posting this Sylvia. I'd forgotten that I submitted and since we don't actually use the email where you sent the notice, I only saw it two days ago. I know this book isn't all that exciting but I enjoyed the quirkiness of the small towns inhabitants. Hopefully someone else will as well. (NT) -- Aislinn, 16:59:57 02/11/05 Fri
- I tried to get this from the library today, but no joy. I swear our library is 'so pants!' I had a list of 7 books, from this board and the Rec Reading board, and they didn't have any, but they had the 2nd or third of various series. grrrr. Okay rant over, thanks for the review, I'll keep looking out for this. (NT) -- Margy, 10:08:04 02/16/05 Wed
- Sounds great! I'll add it to my list. Thanks, Aislinn! (NT) -- GinC, 09:44:34 02/22/05 Tue
- I read these three books and enjoyed them very much. It got me on a Robyn Carr kick so I also read everything my library system had of her books...about 13 books. She also writes good historical type romance books, but from an earlier era than Outlander...these are mostly the Restoration period after Cromwell's death and this is a very interesting time. It makes the 1740s seem almost modern in comparison. (NT) -- Jan R, 17:13:16 04/19/05 Tue
- The DaVinci Code -- Syl, 16:41:29 10/23/04 Sat
I decided to do this one myself because I've just finished reading it and was totally gripped!
TITLE: The DaVinci Code
AUTHOR: Dan Brown
Professor Robert Langdon, of Harvard University, is on a business trip in Paris when he receives an urgent phone call late at night, telling him of the murder of the curator of the Louvre museum. Why was he phoned? Because being a symbologist, the local police need his expertise to solve puzzling codes scrawled in blood by the body. As he ponders on the codes’ meaning, enter Sophie Neveu – a very talented cryptologist – who subsequently helps Langdon solve these codes, plus a plethora of riddles. She is unwittingly very connected to the case through the murder victim.
The codes point to the works of Leonardo DaVinci and eventually lead to one of the greatest prizes in history. But Langdon and Sophie face great danger, not least from the police, as they follow the trail to the treasure through the streets of Paris, the French countryside and eventually Scotland. Two secret societies, both deeply embedded within the Catholic Church, also show an unhealthy interest in the couple’s movements. It’s a race against time to solve the puzzles before the treasure falls into the wrong hands and more murders are committed. There are other characters joining in the chase, among them a fanatical albino monk who is into self punishment and an archbishop who is taking a very unhealthy interest in events.
I’ve just read this book and loved it! Every time I finished a section (I read in bed before going to sleep) I couldn’t wait to get back to the next part. Every page has more excitement, more clues to solve, more facts to learn. There is so much in this book and it moves along pretty fast and smoothly! The descriptions of the Louvre make you feel you are actually there! There were clues pointed out in DaVinci’s paintings, so I had to look at them on the ‘net and there they were. The two secret societies named in the book do actually exist and with the knowledge of them and the theory attached to the consequences of finding the treasure, it makes you wonder just what is fact and what is fiction. I was particulary interested in the final part of the chase in Scotland. Roslin is only about 20 miles from where I live and I’ve never been to visit it. I will definitely do so in the spring.
Dan Brown has done an excellent job with this book and the story highlights how ahead of his time DaVinci was. Brown’s speculation of the why the Church was involved sounds believable and you sometimes forget this is a work of fiction. I read it and got sucked in. Give it a try!
Take a look at Brown’s website and you’ll see details of the featured paintings and some interesting information. www.danbrown.com
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- There's been a lot of pro & con discussion of this book over on the Reading Recommendation Board, but not such a great synopsis of the plot. Thanks Syl! (NT) -- beccabee, 05:39:29 10/24/04 Sun
- Hi Syl, I've got that one in my tbr since ages!! I doN#t know when I'll get to it. It looks like - if loved or hated- this book is one of those modern classics already that everyone at least has heard about already, be it in Europe or in North America. Thanks for posting the synopsis! (NT) -- Antje, 06:12:35 10/24/04 Sun
- Syl - this sounds GREAT! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy. :D (NT) -- Judie, 16:24:20 10/24/04 Sun
- I have read this and it is great, as was Angels and Demons also by Dan Brown. (NT) -- LadyFrey, 17:17:11 10/24/04 Sun
- I've read it too, and can't recommend it high enough. It was great. Chris/Ruby-there's also another book, well actually two, by Dan Brown. Deception Point and Digital Fortress which are both good. I really liked Angels and Demons as well. (NT) -- Keira, 17:34:57 10/24/04 Sun
- You're right,it is a great read.And even though its fiction,theres a lot of truth behind the facts.Just pick up an art history book on the Renaissance.A lot of symbolism went into the making of every oil painting.And during the dark ages too.Artists had to paint by rules set up by the church and patrons(who were usually the church or high ranking officials closely linked to the church).There were always tidbits painted into portraits and themed paintings.Since there ws no tv then,that was entertainment! Leonardo was a pretty intelligent fellow.Supposingly he's painted himself into all his works.And he was a member of a secret society thats still in existance today.The Masonic temple goes way back to the Knights Templar.A lot of colonial political figures were members.One of my uncles was a Mason,but was real secret about it. (NT) -- BGWJ, 18:08:08 10/24/04 Sun
- It's a really quick read (you can't put it down) - read it when you have a couple of days available!! DS#1 had the same HS English teacher as Dan Brown (though Brown is about a decade older i think), and I keep asking DS if he has a best-seller floating around in his head!! C'mon, boy!!! (NT) -- annieo, 18:59:26 10/24/04 Sun
- I've had this one in my TBR pile since I picked it up at Costco for $23. I'm really looking forward to reading it now after your synopsis. Thanks (NT) -- Aislinn, 19:05:03 10/24/04 Sun
- I totally enjoyed this book. I'd like to meet Dan Brown to shake his hand. (NT) -- Cherie, 09:54:45 10/27/04 Wed
- I loved this book!!!!!! (NT) -- Amy Girl, 11:35:35 10/28/04 Thu
- Syl, sorry to be so late to the party! I too have read this and I enjoyed it so much I went and bought the rest of his books and read those too. No higher recommendation so far as I'm concerned. Thanks for the great review. (NT) -- Margy, 14:16:49 11/01/04 Mon
- I read Angels & Demons first (actually it is the first one in chronological order, but you can read them separately, no problem), so this was the one that really knocked me off my feet. Wow!!!! The surprise effect wasn't there anymore for Da Vinci, as I'd read A&D, but I guess it's just the same the other way round. Great books, he's an excellent writer. A few French hosers are now reading "Da Vinci code decrypted", and I've heard that there are guided tours of Paris and the Louvre based on that book. There also seems to be a tour that points out all the errors Dan Brown made - could be fun, too. *g* (NT) -- Pat, 08:22:07 11/05/04 Fri
- I too enjoyed this book, and Angels & Demons. According to Amazon, the next sequel will the The Solomon Key (but, according to DG, they sometimes get this wrong). I just bought the new illustrated version of DC at Costco, collector types might be interested in that edition. (NT) -- LadyPeggyB, 08:15:20 11/20/04 Sat
- How I Paid for College ............ -- Syl, 16:43:08 01/22/05 Sat
TITLE: How I Paid for College : A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical
AUTHOR: Marc Acito
One of the zaniest books I've read in a long while--- think of a cross
between Stephanie Plum and Holden Caulfield, with Broadway show tunes thrown
in, and you'll come close.
Edward Zanni is a high school senior in small-town Wallingford, NJ, with
plans to head for Juilliard to study acting. We see him hanging around with
his fellow "Play People"- sexy girlfriend Kelly, football jock Doug and
dweeb Nathan, pulling pranks to relieve the summer boredom. For example,
they find a Buddha statue on someone's lawn, and make regular visits to
dress it up- with garlands, booze bottles, etc.
Come the fall Edward is shocked when his father Al marries the Teutonic
photographer Dagmar, and all Edward's Juilliard plans fall apart when Dad
(prodded by Dagmar) flatly refuses to pay the Juilliard tuition because
acting isn't a secure profession. Al wants Edward to study business, but
Edward wants to be an "Actor", so he declares financial independence and
tries to support himself through a succession of minimum wage jobs.
Then Nathan the geek comes up with the perfect plan to get the tuition fees
without Al's knowledge and the fun really begins .........
Madcap hijinks are the least that goes on here. If you were a "Play Person"
in school, you'll adore this book.
You can see a video excerpt from the book, by going to Marc's website at
www.marcacito.com. Click on the VidLit button. Or if you prefer, you may
read a sample from Chapter One.
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- Daughter of the Forest -- Syl, 17:01:59 12/03/04 Fri
This one was sent in by Elizabeth F. Thanks, Elizabeth!
TITLE: Daughter of the Forest
AUTHOR: Juliette Marillier
Daughter of the Forest is a wonderful book that takes place in...well I'm not really sure when it takes place because it doesn't specify, however the time period is like way before The Outlander series. It is a magical forest, and Sorcha is the daughter of Lord Colum who is waging a war against the Britons because they took over the three islands (which are three islands that are most treasured by their people because they hold magical powers)
Sorcha is the youngest of seven and she is the only girl, her mother died after giving birth to Sorcha. She has six older brothers, who look after her and protect her. Her brothers are her life and she loves each and every one of them dearly.
The story really takes off after a witch/sorceress casts a spell on her father (Lord Colum) and her brothers. Miraculously Sorcha escapes the spell unharmed, and she is confronted by the Lady of the forest (the fairy queen) who tells her the tasks that must be completed in order to break the spell and set her brothers and her father free. Meanwhile she meets a man who happens to be a Briton (her enemy) who takes her away to his home (where countless horrible things happen) to help keep her safe from the witch/sorceress with a promise to take her back home when she is ready. Awful thing upon awful thing keeps happening to poor Sorcha as she tries to break the spell.
There are tons of twists and turns and much, much more to the story only I can't say much more without giving a lot of it away. It's a very short read compared to DG's books but a very interesting read. And if you like fairies and romance and spells and magic, you'll love this book.
The best part about it is that it is the first book in a trilogy, Called the Seven Waters trilogy. I have yet to read Son of Shadows which is the next book , however I am anxiously awaiting for it to be checked back into the library so I can go snag it.
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