Posted in Banned Book

Banned Book Week 2015

  

So here is this year’s list for the top ten banned books.

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday) 
  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury Publishing) 
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster)
  • Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)
  • Chinese Handcuffs, by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins) 
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry (HMH Books for Young Readers)
  • The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday) 
  • Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)

I haven’t read any of these.  Come to think about it, I haven’t read any banned books lately.  Hmm.  I guess I need to get back on my evil streak. 

Advertisements
Posted in Liked It, Mystery

The Moonstone Legacy:  The Age of Aquarius

Author: Tony Wild and Diane  de Gunzburg
Genre: Mystery
Rating: LI
Synopsis:

In a sacred caved high in the mountains of northern India, a white-haired hermit sits cross-legeed, and signs his final testament: “George Abercrombie, 1874…”. In present-day England, fourteen years old Lizzy Abercrombie’s mother dies in a tragic accident on the full moon. But was it really an accident? LIzzy discovers that her death may be linked to a mysterious family curse. Determined to solve the mystery, her quest takes her from the doomed Anglo-Indian mansion on the Yorkshire moors to India where she uncovers the terrible truth about her ancestor and a stole inheritance. But her discoveis put her in mortal danger from a ruthless enemy.  

Opinion:  This was the last book of the trilogy.  This part of the book details the actions Lizzie takes to deal with the Moonstone once and for all.  She seems to succeed, but with the Moonstone, you never know what the next adventure will be.  

The second and third books seemed like they belonged together.  The first one, I dunno, seemed more like a set up for the other books.  Although this book was a decent read, it was my least favorite of the three books.  I really liked the first one the best.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Liked It, Loved It

Taming of the Queen

 

by Philippa Gregory
 Author: Philippa Gregory

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

By the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series The White Queen, a riveting new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Kateryn Parr, the first English queen to publish under her own name.
Why would a woman marry a serial killer?
Because she cannot refuse…
Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives—King Henry VIII—commands her to marry him.
Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent.
But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy—the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant…
From an author who has described all of Henry’s queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power, and education at the court of a medieval killer.

Opinion:  You know, I can’t imagine anything more scary than being an attractive, high-born woman during the reign of King Henry VIII.  I think a serial killer is an excellent way to describe Henry.  Not only did he kill wives, he killed anyone that challenged him.  Staying in his favor was a dance that few mastered.  A lot of it was knowing when to beat a hasty retreat to a country estate, although this was not necessarily an option for Kateryn.  We hear a lot about Henry’s first three wives, but we don’t get alot about the last 3.  I suppose because the marriages were so short.  

I think it was really interesting to learn how much Henry’s last queen did to promote the Protestant faith in England.  She was quite the scholar.  

The book was well-written.  It’s amazing because even though I knew Kateryn would survive Henry, I still sat on pins and needles for her as I was reading.  

Anyway, Ms. Gregory has written about the War or Roses and Tudor England. I wonder what there is to tackle next. 

Posted in Biography, Liked It, Non-fiction

Joy

  Author:     Abigail Santamaria

Genre:     Biography 

Rating:    LI

Synopsis:

The first full biography of Joy Davidman, known primarily as C.S. Lewis’s late-in-life bride, but who here receives her much deserved rescue from that shadow.

Opinion: You know for the longest time, I didn’t realize that C. S. Lewis was married.  I loved (and still do) the Chronicles of Narnia.  I’ve also read his space travel trilogy- Out of the Silent Planet.  I’ve known that C. S. Lewis was a born again believer, but I never really thought about his personal life.  

I can’t remember when, but my mom watched that movie Shadowlands.  I think I was in college.  That was the first that I realized that he married.  I didn’t think much about his wife though.  I really never thought to find out who she was.  

I know the author of this book.  We went to the same church for a little bit when we were both in high school.  I remember when she started doing the research for this book.  There wasn’t a lot out there on Joy.  I know Abby traveled to England to do some research for this book.  I remember that she got invited to the movie premier of Prince Caspian.  This book has been years in the making, and I was happy that there was finally a release date.  

Abbie’s writing was great.  There is no doubt about that.  It was easy to read, and not dry and boring (which is one of the reasons I usually don’t read non-fiction).  I think the best thing about this book, is that is changed my opinion of C. S. Lewis.  I’ve read some of his other Christian work like Screwtapes Letters.  Lewis was a devout Christian.  I think what surprised me was that Joy was so, well, not really likeable.  I mean I know that all of us have flaws, but she just didn’t strike me as being the sort of woman that Lewis would like.  I mean for crying out loud, she was still married when she started chasing him!!  I think at the end of the day, it made Lewis seem a lot more like a real man.  

I know this was completely not what the book was about.  The whole point of the book was that the reader was supposed to walk away knowing that Joy was something other thab just Lewis’ wife. And she certainly was.  She was definitely a dynamo.  I mean she was well educated; she joined the Communist party in the US; she seemed to be a prolific poetess.  

It really is a pity that she and Lewis didn’t get to spend the majority of their lives together.  

Posted in Uncategorized

Gettin’ my groove back. 

I’m sure a lot of you have noticed that my posting book reviews has dropped significantly over the past couple of years.  Life has been complicated.  Between trying cases and moving, and some other things, I have not been able to post much of anything.  

I think things will finally start settling down in November.  So hopefully, I can make up for some lost time.  It’s not that I haven’t been reading a lot.  I just don’t have time to sit down and write reviews the way I used to do.

So instead of writing those long in-depth (and by in-depth I mean pages long) reviews.  I’m going to keep them short, sweet, and to the point.

I’m working on one for tomorrow, so stay tuned. 

Posted in Loved It, Mystery

Malice at the Palace

 

Author:     Rhys Bowen

Genre:       Mystery

Rating:       L

Synopsis:
From the New York Times betselling author of Queen of Hearts comes another mystery for “fans of P.G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing.” (Publishers Weekly) Lady Georgiana Rannoch won’t deny that being thirty-fifth in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately, money isn’t one of them. And sometimes making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing. While my beau Darcy is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the Queen—especially one that includes lodging. The King’s youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace. My duties are simple: help Marina acclimate to English life, show her the best of London and, above all, dispel any rumors about George’s libertine history. Perhaps that last bit isn’t so simple. George is known for his many affairs with women as well as men—including the great songwriter Noel Coward. But things truly get complicated when I search the Palace for a supposed ghost only to encounter an actual dead person: a society beauty said to have been one of Prince George’s mistresses. Nothing spoils a royal wedding more than murder, and the Queen wants the whole matter hushed. But as the investigation unfolds—and Darcy, as always, turns up in the most unlikely of places—the investigation brings us precariously close to the prince himself.

Opinion:  I really liked the fact that this story really starts to progress the series.  I mean from the standpoint of character development.  One thing I will say about the previous books is that the characters really didn’t seem to change much.  Well, this book is completely different.  Georgie’s older brother changes in that he makes it more clear that Georgie has a home with him.  Belinda changes because she gets herself into an interesting predicament for a woman during that time; and there will be repurcussions for quite some time.  Then there is Georgie’s mother who finally takes note of the fact that her daughter is penniless and tells her to ask if she ever needs anything.  (I personally think she should just give her daughter an allowance, but that’s me).  Lastly there is Georgie and Darcy.  They’ve been playing the we-are-engaged-but-some-times-it’s-not-so-clear dance for ages.  It’s finally nice to see some closure to that.  There was an interesting supernatural element to the story that has not been present in the previous books.  What I particularly liked was the fact that most of the story took place at Kensington Palace where Prince William and Duchess Kate have the 1A apartment.  The mystery didn’t take place in that particular apartment though.  

Another great read by the author.  I cannot wait to see what she does with Darcy and Georgie in the next book.  

Posted in Uncategorized

The Moonstone Legacy- Dreamtime

Author:  Tonly Wild and Diane de Gunzburg

Genre:  Mystery

Rating:  LI

Synopsis:

In a sacred caved high in the mountains of northern India, a white-haired hermit sits cross-legeed, and signs his final testament: “George Abercrombie, 1874…”.  In present-day England, fourteen years old Lizzy Abercrombie’s mother dies in a tragic accident on the full moon.  But was it really an accident?  LIzzy discovers that her death may be linked to a mysterious family curse.  Determined to solve the mystery, her quest takes her from the doomed Anglo-Indian mansion on the Yorkshire moors to India  where she uncovers the terrible truth about her ancestor and a stole inheritance.  But her discoveis put her in mortal danger from a ruthless enemy.  

Opinion:  Just when you thoght that all was well with the Moonstone, it is stolen from the temple in a bloody massacre. This is how the story opens.  Lizzie isn’t sure how the Moonstone ended up being stolen as she and her family are the only ones who know that the real Moonstone was returned.  She feels responsible for the deaths.  Things go from back to worse with LIzzy.  The reversal in the family fortunes causes a lot of problems for her aunt, uncle, and cousins.  Then her father dies in a mysterious fire.  Rather than let this break her, Lizzy returns from grieving determined to find the Moonstone.  

In this installement, we learn more about the Moonstone itself.  Namely that it is an uncut diamond that has an unsual crystalline shape- a shape that indicates that this is a meteoric diamond.  We also learn, that of all the people in the Abercrombie family that supposedly died from the Moonstone curse, only one has actually died on a full moon- Lizzy’s mother.  

In my opinion, it doesn’t appear that the MOonstone is really cursed.  It is a fantastically rare object of immense value.  These type of objects attract trouble the way pollen attracts bees.  The Moonstone has some interesting religious implications that were starting to be explored in this book.  Everything comes to a head in book 3, which wil be reviewed later.  

I have to say, that I was really impressed with Lizzy.  She showed remarkable strength of character for someone who has lost their last remaining parent.  I also have to say that I don’t really trust the step-mother Rose.  Something about the relationship between Lizzy’s father and Rose seemed off. IT isn’t until the end that we understand why.  

The second book ends on a cliffhanger.  I won’t tell you what happens.  You’ll have to read it for yourself.