Mystical and incredible. There is surely something in here that will inspire you (likely, many, many things), and surely something in here that will cMystical and incredible. There is surely something in here that will inspire you (likely, many, many things), and surely something in here that will change the way you view your life. ...more
By the end of the story, I would have happily killed for someone to finally refer to Falconridge properly - either by his title or "Your Grace" dependBy the end of the story, I would have happily killed for someone to finally refer to Falconridge properly - either by his title or "Your Grace" depending on who was speaking - since he'd been referred to and named incorrectly for the entire go, but seriously, this story is awesome. Stop reading this review and go check it out.
Reread in May 2013: I love this book so much....more
I'm always a big fan of critical AND practical analysis of Jane Austen's oeuvre, and this was well done and engaging. However, the writing - that is,I'm always a big fan of critical AND practical analysis of Jane Austen's oeuvre, and this was well done and engaging. However, the writing - that is, the syntax, the sentence structure- was often sloppy and I felt it would have benefited greatly from better editing. ...more
"When Buddhists Attack" is an excellent examination of the complex relationship between different forms of Buddhism, focusing on the more mainstream a"When Buddhists Attack" is an excellent examination of the complex relationship between different forms of Buddhism, focusing on the more mainstream and accessible "Zen Buddhism" and martial arts.
Naturally, this is a rather esoteric subject, and one might expect that this book is geared toward an audience that is already at least somewhat familiar with the subjects of either Buddhism or martial arts. Not so. Mann and McCarthy do a wonderful job of laying a thick, solid foundation for his readers. The author explains his own connection to the topic, which is something I've always felt goes a long way in making an informative, nonfiction book engaging and accessible, adding a personal touch that readers can appreciate. He discusses the basics of Buddhism, and then the different forms it takes, from the conservative Buddhist forms to the more commercial, accessible and easily recognized Zen Buddhism (and how it differs from our common social perception of it, what with $19.99 Zen gardens with motorized fountains that you can buy at Target).
He delves deeper into his chosen subject, Zen Buddhism, and explains it in detail, including quotes and stories from its main texts and most revered practitioners, as well as his own experiences in Buddhist monasteries, studying, for example, the fine art of sitting. (I'm entirely serious, and not at all mocking him or the concept - the discussion on sitting was one of my favorite parts in the book because I never really appreciated just how much went into the simple act.)
And then the author delves into his thesis: the complex, intricate relationship between Zen and the martial arts. It's a thorough examination of the intersection of two seemingly contradictory ideologies, but upon reading the book, it becomes quite clear that they actually fit together in a seamless way that may seem counterintuitive at first glance.
When Buddhists Attack is an excellent examination of the relationship between one of the world's most popular ideologies, and martial arts. McCarthy and Mann have crafted an engaging, accessible, and yet still thoroughly scholarly work. ...more
I just finished the part about the Sahabah (R), but didn't see it listed so I'm using. This listing. These are beautiful stories about thesahabah (R),I just finished the part about the Sahabah (R), but didn't see it listed so I'm using. This listing. These are beautiful stories about thesahabah (R), and the author laces his commentary with misogyny, so that's always fun. Look for such gems as, "Everyone knows the love of women for money and colors." Ugh. Also, this book/author repeats the misconception that Aisha married Muhammad (S) when she was 9, which is not true and easily refuted by surviving, authenticated Hadith. ...more
Awkward and choppy, not enough investment in character set up, and the pacing is off. Don't bother with this one. Read her other short stories - partiAwkward and choppy, not enough investment in character set up, and the pacing is off. Don't bother with this one. Read her other short stories - particularly The Lesson Plan, which is fabulous. ...more
I absolutely adored this story, which is an anthology of three novellas (three and a half novellas?) that all flow together so seamlessly that it feelI absolutely adored this story, which is an anthology of three novellas (three and a half novellas?) that all flow together so seamlessly that it feels like one cohesive narrative. And what a narrative, too! All three (technically four) couples are intricate and intriguing, and I found this story lively, engaging, and wonderfully fun from the first page to the last. And when it comes to anthologies, that kind of reaction is rather rare. I might like a few anthologies, but it is rare that I love one, from start to finish, as much as I did this one.
The story begins with Byron and Robin's mildly senile uncle kidnapping four young ladies (and the dozing Duke of Bretton) from a party thrown by one of the ladies' parents. The four young women, none of them particularly bewildered but rather frustrated and annoyed, are deposited at Uncle Taran's castle, where reactions to the abduction vary. Byron, Lord Oakley, is horrified and stumbles over himself offering apologies. The Duke of Bretton, who had been dozing in his carriage when it was hijacked by the laird and his insane henchmen, is furious beyond belief. Robin, a half-French comte, almost falls over laughing. And Uncle Taran is, naturally, wildly pleased with himself.
Each story is as good as the last, and I was held riveted as these engaging, complex characters sorted themselves out into neat little pairs - after all, that is the point of a romantic anthology, is it not?
Catriona's story was up first, and I loved how she stood out from the other women as the only one who was taken by mistake since she was impoverished and thus wasn't considered a marriageable option for either of Taran's nephews (or the Duke, since he'd been accidentally added to the fray). Furthermore, she was different in temperament, classified as practical (although one could hardly argue that Cecily or Fiona were somehow lacking in that respect). In order to make this distinction apparent, Catriona was frequently played against the flighty, rather forward Marilla, who doggedly pursued the Duke, much to his horror. Their love story was quite sweet, and blended seamlessly into the next one.
I loved the character of Byron, Lord Oakley. I loved how he was set up to be stuffy and so socially conscious, and I loved the reasons for it as they were slowly made clear to the reader. Fiona's backstory was the most compelling of the bunch, and I found myself loving her for it. That was why her happily ever after with Oakley was so satisfying - she triumphed over a very unfair set of circumstances, and Oakley decided to finally live his own life and do what made him happy. The character growth for each one was marked and rewarding.
Next up was Robin, Oakley's devil-may-care younger cousin with a deeply seated inferiority complex, and the lovely Lady Cecily. I just adored Cecily. There's always something so admirable about a woman that is frank and direct and honest, and I loved watching Robin try to hold himself back, convinced that he was too far beneath her. I admit, I'm a total sucker for stories of that angle. I loved every moment of their story.
And the last couple, I won't spoil it, even though the process of elimination makes it fairly obvious. (Sorry!)
I enjoyed this book thoroughly from the first page to the last. The biggest challenge with writing an anthology is that it's difficult to combine three or four authors, each with their own tone and ideas, and get their voices to remotely resemble one another enough to pull off a cohesive story. This anthology accomplished that - and it was flawless. It felt like one author had written four novellas, each one slipping seamlessly into the next. It was engaging and warm and funny, and I loved it all. Hats off to all three of these ladies. It's a must read for any fan of Quinn, James, or Brockaway.
Many thanks to Avon Books, Harper Collins, and Edelweiss for the review copy! ...more
"Three Schemes and a Scandal" is a Writing Girls novella by Maya Rodale, a tangential break from this warm, fun series. It stars Charlotte, the sister"Three Schemes and a Scandal" is a Writing Girls novella by Maya Rodale, a tangential break from this warm, fun series. It stars Charlotte, the sister-in-law of Writing Girl Sophie, Derek Knightley's resident Duchess.
Charlotte and James used to be best friends throughout their childhood, until age, education, vastly divergent social roles - and the unfortunate discovery of her childhood pet roasting on his 'friend's' spit - drove them apart.
But James is back now, and Charlotte is all grown up, but still childish at heart, enacting one wild scheme after another. James gets roped into her plans when she decides she'd like to see him marry one of her friends. That scheme goes awry and ends with the two of them nearly being found in a compromising situation ... and discovering that, despite their many years apart, they're still drawn to each other, albeit in a different way now than when they were children.
Thanks to Charlotte's schemes, they're thrown together repeatedly throughout the story, until James realizes there's no point in fighting it - nor does he particularly want to.
This is a sweet, short novella about two childhood friends who realize they're as perfectly suited to each other now as they were as children, featuring a supporting cast of some rather troublesome animals.
I gave it a 3.5 star rating because while it is fun and very sweet, the hero and heroine never really grew on me the way I'd hoped. The heroine is rather immature, which usually turns me off, and the hero, while perfectly nice in his own way, felt rather ... boring.
Still, this was a fun read, and I really did think it was quite adorable. Well done, Ms. Rodale.
Many thanks to Avon Books, Harper Collins, and Edelweiss for the review copy. ...more
I guess, overall, this is a decent enough book if you know absolutely nothing about fasting. However, if you do, and particularly if you are familiarI guess, overall, this is a decent enough book if you know absolutely nothing about fasting. However, if you do, and particularly if you are familiar with the intricacies of the madhab you follow, if you follow a specific madhab, you might not gain that much from it. You'd already know the basics, and as for the specifics, your madhab might very well vary in its teachings.
Also, I always laugh when male scholars discuss the fiqh of feminine issues when it's clear the barely have a grasp of feminine biology and/or physiology. At one point, the author mentioned a white fluid that is secreted at end of menstruation to let a woman know her periods over. LOL! That's cute. Like a little receipt from your body: thank you for choosing to have your flow with us; installation of anew uterine lining is complete. LOL. Yeah, I've been menstruating for 10+ years and have never seen this supposed white fluid. More commonly, at the conclusion of the period, women see a slightly more clotted brown flow. This is the last of the uterine lining seeping out; it has turned brown due to oxidization.
So, yeah, I always laugh when men talk about women's issues with 100% certainty and with the(dubious) understanding that all women experience the same thing with regard to their bodies. Jeez. ...more