I knew Robert was a gifted historical author upon reading his first novel, Virgin and the Crab. He graciously sent me a copy of The Arrow Chest to reaI knew Robert was a gifted historical author upon reading his first novel, Virgin and the Crab. He graciously sent me a copy of The Arrow Chest to read and review and it too me eons to get around to it. Well, I hosted a lovely event at Castle Macabre in last month, Gothic September, and The Arrow Chest read-a-long was the star of the show. I am so glad I finally got around to reading it. I feel it would be a shame for anyone to miss out on reading this wonderful book.
If you have any love for the Tudors, you will enjoy this book because Robert takes his 19th century characters and creates them at a parallel with such illustrious Tudor figures as Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Cromwell, Thomas Wyatt (the poet) and Jane Parker Boleyn. Mix this element with a genuine Gothic feel with the settings and ghosts and this book is a delight to read.
What if Marilyn Monroe did not die that day in 1962? What if someone close to her happened to stop by and saved her? And what if Marilyn decided she dWhat if Marilyn Monroe did not die that day in 1962? What if someone close to her happened to stop by and saved her? And what if Marilyn decided she didn't want to be Marilyn anymore and let (almost) everyone believe she was dead and started a new life? This scenario is what Gelles-Cole explores in her 'fictionalized autobiography' of Marilyn. Not only does she start over, but she starts over again and again, learning from various mistakes along the way. The author has given us an inside look at what it would have been like for Marilyn, had she lived, to overcome her total dependence on alcohol and chemical substances while taking on a new identity and seeking a new life. Most people have a difficult time overcoming addiction while remaining who they are in their lives. In the book, what Marilyn accomplishes is remarkable, although she does stumble along the way. The book really is a story of a woman's self-discovery and rebirth. A woman that was so manipulated and, at times, maligned in her life that for her to have accomplished what she did in this fictional tale would have been a miracle. If only it could be true. In the book, 'Marilyn' sets straight just how she climbed to the top in Hollywood, she comes clean regarding the truth about her marriages to Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio, and she debunks the whole conspiracy theory surrounding her death in connection with the Kennedy family.
I enjoyed this book, although at times the jumping back and forth had me a bit confused. I think 'what if' novels are so interesting, especially when it takes a famous person or event and turns it on its ear. I mean, how many of us have wished that a beloved celebrity really wasn't dead and had just staged their death to escape the public life. That's why there are so many reports of Elvis sightings or of Jim Morrison being alive and living in France. Heck, I've even wished this about Heath Ledger! Gelles-Cole has taken our wish (especially for Marilyn fans) and breathed it to life. She has made us think about what might have been....more
Eromenos is a perfect example of why historical fiction is important. Having never heard of Antinous, even in my self-induced and dedicated study of aEromenos is a perfect example of why historical fiction is important. Having never heard of Antinous, even in my self-induced and dedicated study of all things historical, I learned of an intimate aspect of the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian. And so the crucial aspect of historical fiction is fulfilled. Attracting lay persons (although I wouldn't consider myself a lay person by any means) to history and historical subjects. Not only was the very fact of Antinous's existence in history brought to my attention, but also the ritual of the October Horse and the study of lycanthropy, the former of which I had heard in passing and the latter, of which I had no idea its study extended as far back as antiquity. This, in my opinion, is the unique responsibility of historical fiction. To interest the reader in the further investigation of a time, place, and persons in history.
Not only do we get the fulfillment mentioned above in Eromenos, but we also get an idea of the culture of ancient Rome. Homosexuality was known and accepted, although it seemed tolerated among the patricians, yet frowned upon among the lower classes. I refer to Antinous's passing encounter with a farm boy who seems to judge Antinous's lifestyle disdainfully with one knowing glance. What I found most interesting in the story of Antinous was the fact that, despite his high status as Hadrian's 'favorite', he always had to keep in the back of his mind that one day he would be put aside for someone new, someone younger. Quite sad was that, upon losing his inheritance, he knew he would have no options in society after his favored status was lost. He did not believe truly that Hadrian loved him and, in truth had very ambiguous feelings toward Hadrian himself. A sad realization for us to find out that Hadrian would mourn him so fervently after his death. Perhaps Hadrian would not have put him aside, if we look at his grief as evidence of his true love for Antinous.
Eromenos gives us the tragic story of a boy who was not given much choice in life. We see the fact that once the Emperor sets his favor upon a person, then he must obey, as this royal favor is considered an honor and the knowledge of this is taught early on. A refusal would bring dishonor to the person's family and this was unacceptable in Roman society. In the end, Antinous takes control of his destiny. The result leaves a feeling of sadness and yet, elation for his triumph. In this short book, Ms. McDonald has succeeded in telling us an engaging story while whetting the appetite for historical investigation....more
Kenny Luck was a young man who felt such an affinity toward Thoreau that he spent months studying Thoreau's works from a devotional point of view. HeKenny Luck was a young man who felt such an affinity toward Thoreau that he spent months studying Thoreau's works from a devotional point of view. He began collecting Thoreau's quotes and soon found that the quotes had relevance to many aspects of life. He decided to compile the quotes into a book to share with others. The book is divided into sections. The sections are Society and Government, Spirituality and Nature, and Love. Kenny also includes an index which enables the reader to quickly locate quotes pertaining to subjects they are interested in such as: war, truth, mankind, sympathy, etc.
I enjoyed this book. I have long been a fan of Thoreau's writings and I liked the way this book touched on many of his most brilliant quotes, at least in my opinion. The only downside was reading the eBook on my Sony Reader, which is not color. The book is purported to have beautiful illustrations and, unfortunately, I was unable to experience them as I was reading. In the end though, the words are what matter and here are some of the quotes that I found most meaningful....
One of the oldest quests in history...the quest for the secret of eternal life. This is the root of The Egyptian. This is a first-rate thriller with eOne of the oldest quests in history...the quest for the secret of eternal life. This is the root of The Egyptian. This is a first-rate thriller with elements of history, martial arts, and just the right amount of spy games and conspiracy theories. Think The DaVinci Code or Angels and Demons without all the religious symbolism. All of this is enough in itself, but what I really like about it is that the writing is terrific and the characters are interesting and engaging. Dominic Grey would be a great movie character and I couldn't help wondering who would play him in a film adaptation. Speaking of which, this book would make an excellent film. I see it translating well to the screen, much in the way Tom Clancy's Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger did. Dominic Grey could be the next Jack Ryan...well, sans the family anyway. If you're looking for a book that grabs you from the start and keeps you interested throughout, then this is the book for you. Oh, and there is a nice homage to a certain horror film that adds a measure of creepiness to the story. Looking forward to Mr. Green's future offerings. ...more
Jessica has written a book that deals with the two major fears of most adolescents. The fear of what is out to get them in their room when they go toJessica has written a book that deals with the two major fears of most adolescents. The fear of what is out to get them in their room when they go to bed and the fear of being bullied at school. Danny Marble is a kid who is constantly plagued by fear. He can't sleep because of it and it's taking a toll on his life. All he wants is to get rid of the fear and he'll do anything to do it. Where he goes to accomplish this is when we start getting into a sort of Greek mythology theme in the book. Danny crosses a body of water in a gondola with a gondolier who is dressed in a black hooded robe. Sound familiar? He must deliver his 'application' to the Oneiroi, a god of the underworld. The application is almost like an employment application, but it explains why he needs the fear to be gone. Basically, the application turns out to be a contract with the Oneiroi and there are dire consequences if he breaks the contract, but it also turns out to be bad for Danny to be utterly without fear.
I liked this book not only because it was a great story, but also because of the various themes it touched on. Danny had lost both of his parents. His mom became terminally ill and his father left them. Jessica touches on how children who feel as though they were abandoned can be gripped by fear and this can also lead to problems in school and becoming a target for bullies. There is also the old adage of "be careful what you wish for" as Danny learns that sometimes fear can be a good thing. Fear can protect us from dangerous situations and some fears...like the fear of being on your first date with a girl...can be a good kind of fear. This is an excellent story for the middle grade/young adult audience with some genuinely creepy crawliness thrown in. Not only is it entertaining, but the underlying themes teach important lessons. There are also some wonderful black and white illustrations (by Dave McHugh) throughout the book that add a fun visual aspect to the book. I will definitely be letting my sons read it, if I can trust them with my e-reader! ...more
The first thing I have to say about this book is that Michelle's world building is amazing. Her description of the Haanta, a proud race of giants, andThe first thing I have to say about this book is that Michelle's world building is amazing. Her description of the Haanta, a proud race of giants, and their lands is so vivid and detailed. While reading, I almost felt I was walking along beside the characters. Like I said, the Haanta are a proud race and can be very stern and austere. Their customs are quite constraining and rigid, down to the way they live and the food they eat. When Rautu, a captive of the Frewyn, is enlisted by Commander Boudicca MacDaede to fight along side her in the war, it is very hard for her to win him over. But despite his outward view of women as warriors (not their place and all that chauvinistic viewpoint), we find him secretly admiring the Commander and a budding romance ensues, although Rautu tries to fight his feelings with all his might. An interesting aside, you know the old adage, "food is the way to a man's heart," well, as Rautu is accustomed to very bland fare, I think the Commander wins him over in a small way with her delicious pork and chocolate. He loves both so much that he greedily stockpiles it for himself. Too funny!
Michelle's books have been touted as romance, but I didn't really feel that it was the main focus. Yes, sure there is a romance between Boudicca and Rautu. However, what I also gleaned from the story was a message of justice, that perhaps the Haanta could learn more humane practices from the Frewyn. The Haanta seemed to be an intolerant people, especially in their treatment of their mages, many who are mere children. I think that the developing relationship between the Commander and Rautu, of Rautu becoming more tolerant of her and the customs of her land, it a parallel to a future tolerance among the Haanta. I guess I will have to read the rest of the books to find out.
Michelle has definitely written an intricate fantasy novel. Despite some instances of words being overused (simpered comes to mind), it is well-written in its descriptive prose and I enjoyed it. ...more