The Professor’s Assassin by Matthew Pearl is a prequel to his latest novel The Technologists. The regular reader of Pearl will know that he does not d...moreThe Professor’s Assassin by Matthew Pearl is a prequel to his latest novel The Technologists. The regular reader of Pearl will know that he does not disappoint the reader looking for an engaging historical fiction novel. His short story about a professor who is determined to find out the identity of a murderer at the University of Virginia and bring him to justice is no exception. Pearl’s talent for tantalizing the reader with thrilling tales shines through once again. William Barton Rogers (later to be the founder and president of MIT) is the science professor at the University of Virginia and is startled to discover that the riots of campus “volunteers” have turned deadly. Rogers is the first to want justice when one of his colleague’s is slain in the street at the hand of a student and volunteer. With his prodigious knowledge of the area and the help of other students Rogers goes on the hunt for the person responsible so he cannot kill again.
Pearl, as in his novels, creates a character in Rogers that makes the reader want to follow him into the darkest alley to find out who has committed the crime and bring that man to justice. From the first page we, the reader, are captured and cannot leave until the thrilling end.
The short story is riveting and leaves the reader wanting more. The short story also includes sample chapters from Pearl’s upcoming novel, The Technologists, which if the sample is any indication of the rest of the novel is going to be phenomenal. Trust me readers of historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers… you will not be disappointed with The Professor’s Assassin.
“William Barton Roger’s eyes tracked the bursts of light in the darkness outside. The other men in the room kept away from the window, as though there was somewhere to hide.” (Kindle Location 33-36).
“Jack would not be so limited forever. Nor would Rogers. More choices would come-they must.” (Kindle Location 944-49) (less)
Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection by Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton , HelenKay Dimon, Alison Kent and Angela James (Editor) is a collection of...moreHoliday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection by Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton , HelenKay Dimon, Alison Kent and Angela James (Editor) is a collection of short romance tales all with the theme of Christmas. The first story is “This Time Next Year” is one of a woman who finds herself stranded on the side of the road on the way to visit her grandmother for Christmas. Just at her moment of need a cowboy comes riding to the rescue, pulls her to safety and together they find out just what it means to have someone they love at Christmas.
The second story, “A Rare Gift” is about a man who has no interest in women after a disastrous marriage that is why it takes him by surprise when his ex-wife’s younger sister begins to grow on him during a work project. Now with the holidays approaching he finds himself asking whether or not he can put his trust in love a second time.
The third story, “It’s Not Christmas Without You,” is about a woman who breaks up with her boyfriend in order to accept her dream job in the city. Still in love with her boyfriend she cannot bring herself to go home for Christmas. When her boyfriend, who is also still in love, discovers this he is determined to bring Christmas to her in the city in hopes that after Christmas she will come home with him and resume their love story.
The last story in this romance short story collection is, “Mistletoe and Margaritas.” Two years after losing her husband a woman still finds herself not quite ready to move on. However, she still believes in love and is not surprised when her needs start to manifest themselves in her dreams. What surprises her however are the feelings that she has begun to develop about her best friend, Justin. As it turns out he has always had affection for her and when they find themselves at a holiday party together they are no longer able to conceal their true feelings for one another.
I have to admit there are few times when I rate a romance novel higher than 3 stars. This collection started off with great promise the first short story actually engaged me in it’s story line before moving on to the “romance” part of the novel (read here the lusty love scenes). For short stories they actually did take their time letting their characters fall in love and all of them stuck true to the holiday theme. What made this book dip below the typical 3 stars I will give a romance novel is the graphicness of the love scenes. Call me a prude but I have read many Sandra Brown novels with some pretty intense love scenes that did not make me say, “Well now THAT is just going too far,” this collection made me say that more than once. I am sure there are many readers out there that enjoy those type of love scene but for this reader it bordered on erotic fiction and outside the taste of this reader.
People who enjoy romance novels however will more than likely enjoy this collection, as mentioned earlier the contributors do take their time to develop a story between their characters and many of them are enjoyable page turners, the only real problem with this collection is that according to the taste of this reader some of the love scenes were just a little too much.
Lahiri wrote a collection of short stories in 1999 called “Interpreter of Maladies” that blew me away. It was emotional... with a range of emotion not...moreLahiri wrote a collection of short stories in 1999 called “Interpreter of Maladies” that blew me away. It was emotional... with a range of emotion not just sorrow and heartache, and it was a nice insight into Indian culture. When I saw “Unaccustomed Earth” at the bookstore I picked it up thinking that it too would be a delight to read. In no way is this review going to be a bad review. Lahiri did indeed write a collection that was full of emotion, but this time “Unaccustomed Earth” did not sit within a spectrum of emotion but instead it was full of disappoint, sorrow and heartache. It was hard to read and not become glum. Some of the stories ended with deaths and unrequited love, others ended without hope.
The language, as you would expect from Lahiri was vivid and poignant. Some stories are better written than others. The namesake of the collection is by far my favorite. A father travels to his daughter’s house after many years of not seeing her to tell his daughter of his new relationship. The time they spend together is a relief to the daughter Ruma but the father never tells his daughter what he traveled so far for, instead he spends his time with his grandson. During his visit he writes a postcard to the new love in his life and meant to send it the next day but could not find it again. After he left Ruma finds the postcard written in Bengali. Unsure of whom the woman is and what the card says Ruma contemplates the postcard before putting a stamp on it and placing it in the mailbox. I absolutely loved the ending of this story. When Ruma finds the postcard there is so much confusion and emotion there and the acceptance of her father’s ability to move on after her mother’s death was a beautiful way to end the story.
I gave “Unaccustomed Earth” 3 out of 5 because there were two stories that really moved me in this collection; Unaccustomed Earth and Hema and Kaushik (a collection of three). The others were good but not fantastic. I do recommend it to other readers, but beware it is a collection of gloomy stories. (less)
I read this book in a one sitting and after I sat there speechless. DeLillo created such emotion with this novel. Not only do you see the woman's grie...moreI read this book in a one sitting and after I sat there speechless. DeLillo created such emotion with this novel. Not only do you see the woman's grief at times I felt it. (less)