In the latest Dark Victorian tale, author Elizabeth Watasin gives readers a novella about an ice demon. The book starts off with a literal bang, as aIn the latest Dark Victorian tale, author Elizabeth Watasin gives readers a novella about an ice demon. The book starts off with a literal bang, as a ship crashes into a London pier ... and the captain, who is frozen solid, falls off and shatters into pieces while his horrified wife looks on.
Art and Jim Dastard, the heroes of the series are soon called upon to investigate the happenings.
I am a huge fan of this series; Art, the artificial ghost of a London Quaker woman, is intelligent and entertaining. Her "sidekick," the wisecracking skull Jim Dastard, is one of my favorite characters in all of literature. He's got constant and unusual insight into every situation.
"The Truth According to Us" is really two stories: how 12-year-old Willa Romeyn starts snooping through her family's secrets, and how well-to-do Layla"The Truth According to Us" is really two stories: how 12-year-old Willa Romeyn starts snooping through her family's secrets, and how well-to-do Layla Beck gets by on relief as an employer of the WPA's Writers Project during the Depression. Both stories are delightfully told, and make the novel an entertaining reminder of both "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Peyton Place."
The Romeyn family lies in a small West Virginia town, Macedonia, and Layla boards with them when she comes to write the town's history for the WPA. There are scandals and secrets to learn ... many of which the town fathers do not want to come to light. Willa is determined to learn the virtues of "ferocity and devotion," while Layla is determined to learn more about Willa's handsome and mysterious father, Felix. How the two quests intertwine constitutes the majority of the novel, with occasional subplots about Willa's aunt Jottie and why she is still unmarried at age 35 slowly being revealed as well.
The author has created three-dimensional characters, revealed through events and letters shared in the tale. The insight to small-town life during the period demonstrates high levels of storytelling skill and attention to research.
This is not a brief read; it comes in at more than 500 pages. It is, however, one that will keep you entertained. ...more
I always enjoy Lackey's "Elemental Masters" books, and this was no exception. Based slightly on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," "The Serpent's ShaI always enjoy Lackey's "Elemental Masters" books, and this was no exception. Based slightly on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," "The Serpent's Shadow" is the story of Maya, an orphaned Indian half-caste woman living in Edwardian London. She has seven pets who are more than they seem, and who help protect her in her work as a physician in the local charity clinics.
Maya is also an untrained, but instinctive, Earth Master -- who is aided and eventually trained by Captain Peter Scott, a retired Naval officer and Water Master -- who uses sympathetic magic for part of her healing.
Maya's enemy? An angry and jealous aunt who is a devotee of Kali the Destroyer. Magic battles abound, intertwined with a well-researched tale about life for women, physicians, and the lower classes in London during the early part of the 20th century. Highly recommended....more
If you like urban fantasy, you just can't go wrong with one of Charles deLint's Newford novels. In Newford, you never know what will happen.
Imogene isIf you like urban fantasy, you just can't go wrong with one of Charles deLint's Newford novels. In Newford, you never know what will happen.
Imogene is the new girl at school and something of an outsider. She befriends another outsider, Maxine, who seems to be her polar opposite in temperament (studious, conservative). What the two of them find is that they counterbalance one another in positive ways and they become fast friends.
Imogene discovers that she can see a ghost, Adrian, who has haunted the school for a while. When Adrian tells her that there are fairies living in the school as well, that is a little much for her to believe. So, he asks the fairies to help her believe, and they do.
As is often the case in which the Unseelie agree to do something, things do not go well. The first thing that happens is Imogene's imaginary friend from childhood appears to her ... and the adventures begin.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and did not want to put it down until I finished....more
I have become just ridiculously fond of Ben Harper! In this latest Harper Errant book, Ben and his friend Raven are going in and out of time and locatI have become just ridiculously fond of Ben Harper! In this latest Harper Errant book, Ben and his friend Raven are going in and out of time and location to try to help the mermaids and river nymphs -- who are being murdered by a human with a grudge.
Maggie Secara's impeccable research brings rich detail to both history and legend, and her characters are a delight to read. From period music and poetry to political intrigue, she's got it all between the covers of her novels.
This is one of the books that made the "put it in our luggage" cut when we went to Paris two years ago. The current edition is a very nice update, feaThis is one of the books that made the "put it in our luggage" cut when we went to Paris two years ago. The current edition is a very nice update, featuring different restaurants and such from the previous one. It also discusses which areas are thoroughly pedestrianized now (for example Republique was in the process of building the new plaza and fountains when we were there, but that construction is now done).
The book includes an outstanding pull-out map that has the city on one side and the Metro system on the other. It makes it very easy to get around a city that is more complicated in some areas than others ... and also not as large as one might believe.
My one complaint remains that the arrondissements are not identified in the discussion of different locations. A native or frequent visitor might understand the neighborhood names, but not identifying the administrative district can make it hard to pinpoint locations on a map....more
Had this book not been assigned to me for a course, I most likely would not have picked it up. And that, my friends, would be a sorrow and a pity; I wHad this book not been assigned to me for a course, I most likely would not have picked it up. And that, my friends, would be a sorrow and a pity; I would have missed out on something brilliant.
Author Jane Alison has created one of the most lyrical novels I've ever read. Her book imagines Ovid as he writes his "Medea" (only two lines of which survive), inspired by two women in his life: Xenia and Julia.
One of the things I found most interesting about this book is how little dialogue was used. Alison shows us what the three main characters are thinking and feeling, while creating an impression that they seldom speak about those feelings or the decisions that result from them. From the moment Ovid meets Xenia in the Caucasus to the time that they part company, we have a picture of Ovid's Rome (and Xenia's disturbing visions of its future), with all of the politics and violence that were at play during his time. We also see three people steeped in their own needs and not caring that they use others around them as pawns.
The prose in this book is nothing short of gorgeous. Fans of literary and historical fiction will both find much to like here....more
Grandin uses her unique ability as an autistic woman to see things from the perspective of animals. Her humor and knowledge shine through on the page as she talks about how animals learn and what motivates them. Not only does Grandin employ documentable science (the book contains numerous pages of endnotes), but she also shares entertaining anecdotes from her work in agriculture.
I particularly enjoyed the stories of animals who learned things not expected of them, such as Alex the parrot. Alex had an extensive vocabulary, and was being taught the sounds various letters made by his owner. She used magnetic fridge letters in the process and he learned them phonetically. (view spoiler)[One day, when she was showing off his progress, he kept asking for his favored reward but was not receiving it. In frustration, he said "Want nut. Nuh. Uhh. Tuhh." No one expected that he would learn to spell. (hide spoiler)]
Grandin also talks about how animal's different thought processes can apply to people living with autism, such as herself. This book was very insightful on numerous levels and I highly recommend it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It's been a long time since I read a Stephen King novel, and I might not have read this one if it had not turned up on our office's paperback swap sheIt's been a long time since I read a Stephen King novel, and I might not have read this one if it had not turned up on our office's paperback swap shelf. I'd already seen the film, despite not being a Tom Hanks fan (so sue me), so I thought I knew the story.
As is so often the case, the book is significantly better than the film. This seems to be particularly true when it comes to Stephen King. There is so much subtle backstory that is lost in translation when creating screen plays.
Anyway, this is a first-person tale told from the perspective of Paul Edgecombe, the supervisor of Cold Mountain Penitentiary's death row in Georgia during the 1930s. He talks not only about his colleagues, but also about some of the prisoners -- John Coffey in particular. John is an African-American man accused of killing two Caucasian girls -- which is pretty much an "open-and-shut" case in the segregated South.
Over the course of time, Paul and his colleagues come to realize that John is more than what he appears to be (to say more would be to deliver spoilers).
This is an entertaining book about redemption, and I enjoyed it thoroughly....more