In the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, courtier’s flock to Versailles for many varying reasons. For many it is the prestige and power gained by bein...moreIn the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, courtier’s flock to Versailles for many varying reasons. For many it is the prestige and power gained by being a participating member of the court, for other’s it is for their love of the King and his Queen, for many it is a paradise. But for some courtiers like Jeanne Mas du Bois, life in the court is a pretty but unpleasant prison.
Jeanne, is recently returned to life at court after living in a convent for the past ten years. An independent and spirited young woman, Jeanne has a love for history and chafes at the restrictions placed upon her sex. Her uneasiness with her life chafes her spirit, and more than once she finds herself facing her father’s wrath over imagined and real slights to his image of noble courtier. However Jeanne’s cherished uncle, Jules Du Mas, one of the king’s fencing partner’s, encourages her spirited independence while secretly teaching her how to fence
It is during one of these secret lessons, that Jeanne and her uncle save the lives of two musketeers. Jeanne, mistaken for male, is admitted into the circle of friends who are all members of the King’s Musketeers. It is in their company, disguised as the young man Jean-Luc that Jeanne learns of a plot to kill the Queen. Jeanne soon finds herself in a precarious position as she tries to navigate the tangled web of court intrigue. As Jean-Luc she has the freedom that she yearns for, and the honor and respect of the four musketeers. But as Jeanne, female courtier, she is plagued with an impending forced marriage to a boy she care nothing for, a growing love for the musketeer Henri, and the trials of trying to help put an end to the villains trying to kill her beloved queen.
The Courtier’s Secret is Donna Russo Morin’s debut book, and it is a wonderfully spun gem of a story. I found myself transported back to 17th century France, and life in Versailles. I find myself looking forward to reading this author’s books in the future. (less)
On the celebratory night of New Years Eve, four colleagues- academics all – welcome in the new year of 1346. Their leader Titus Mack has invited them...moreOn the celebratory night of New Years Eve, four colleagues- academics all – welcome in the new year of 1346. Their leader Titus Mack has invited them to his home in the observatory outside of the outskirts in unprotected land with an arm of the colony coming up from the depths nearby.
Titus, begins to show and tell the trio of academics about the information that he has researched with the help of his advanced computing program Solomon over the past year since any of them had seen him last. His revelations show them a past history that has been erased from the history books, that the actual date is 2509 rather than 1346. He starts to show them why their world is strongly atheist with little religion at all. During his lecture, the perimeter of the Observatory is breeched my members of the colony, and the men are abducted and taken down into the depths of the underground colony.
The men find themselves in a strange world where nothing is what they know. Religion leads these people. In the years that they have been shuttered underground it has evolved into a society ruled by rituals and rules like nothing the four men have encountered before. The men are taken to meet the judgment of Mama and the ‘Postle, and nothing they do will let them escape this fate that has been handed to them.
I had a little bit of a hard time getting into this book. I found the first twenty or so pages slow reading. However I am glad that I pushed past and kept reading. Signature is an intellectual thrill ride that makes you think. It explores topics like what would happen if religion was segregated from the everyday world, and what would the world be like if its history was erased and restarted. This book was short, but really made me think while I was reading it. While I can see it not being something that everyone would enjoy, I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I originally thought that I would.(less)
Have you ever gone to dinner and had a bad experience? Maybe your food wasn’t cooked right, or you found something that shouldn’t be there in your sou...moreHave you ever gone to dinner and had a bad experience? Maybe your food wasn’t cooked right, or you found something that shouldn’t be there in your soup bowl. Perhaps you were witness to one of your fellow patrons being extremely rude and pushy. However, what do you do if you are the chef, and the customer’s complaint is just too off the wall for you to handle?
If you are Chef Tom Schaudel, you write a book about those customers. Tom writes in his introduction: “By my math, I have fed over two million Long Islanders in the last forty years. One million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and fifteen have been wonderful; eighty five have made this book.” Playing with fire introduces readers to these most memorable characters that Tom and the staff of his four restaurants have met over the last forty years of being in the business.
From the moment I saw the table of contents which is laid out to look like a menu and the illustrations beginning each chapter, I knew I was in for a treat with this book. Chef and author Tom Schaudel shares these humorous “horror” stories of some of his best worst behaved customers. From the woman who tried to walk out of the restraint with a Christmas tree attached to her pocket, a grandma who likes to flip the bird at everyone in the place when not helped fast enough, the awkward situations of the woman on a date who is so drunk she is passed out on the ladies bathroom floor, and the young married couple who tried to redeem a counterfeit gift certificate given them as a wedding gift. The stories are told in a light hearted way that make the reader see how sometimes the wait and kitchen staff just have to have a good sense of humor to survive the night. I appreciated the recipes scattered through the pages, and while I don’t cook a lot of seafood myself I did see one or two that I would like to try some night for dinner.
Playing with Fire is a lighthearted romp through the restaurant industry and those nightmare customers who frequent it, as seen by the man behind the scenes.(less)
Have you ever wondered what drives the health industry in touting what is correct to eat for a good healthy lifestyle? Have you ever wondered why comm...moreHave you ever wondered what drives the health industry in touting what is correct to eat for a good healthy lifestyle? Have you ever wondered why common knowledge tells us that fat is bad, carbohydrates are good, and that to have a healthy weight you should eat less and exercise more? In Good Calories, Bad Calories, author Gary Taubes tried to give answers to these questions, as well as showing how this advice may not be right.
The book is divided into three parts:
—Part one, The Fat-Cholesterol Hypothesis, looks at the effects of reducing fat, as well as the role the rise of awareness of cholesterol and heart disease has played on diet in the last few decades.
—Part Two, The Carbohydrate Hypotheses, shows readers how the Western diet slowly moved from one with more meat and fat in the late nineteenth century to one with more of an emphasis on breads and other carbohydrates. In this section, the author discusses the rise of refined carbohydrate use in meals, and how those are causing problems with both a rise in diabetes and obesity.
—Part Three: Obesity and the Regulation of Weight, talks about hunger, different diets, and how they work or don’t with a person’s metabolism to help them lose weight or to hinder weight loss.
As a layperson, I had a hard time with this book because author Gary Taubes gives his readers a lot of (sometimes it felt like too much) information on food, on nutrition, on different health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and the rise in obesity. His background as a science writer shows with the completeness of the information given. I did find that the information given aimed at a lower hypoglycemic diet with its higher protein and less refined carbohydrates very interesting, as well as the fact that diets promoting such eating habits were not new in the sixties when Dr. Atkins first started promoting his diet.
I believe this would be an excellent book for anyone interested in finding out more about the various diet trends and advice given through the past decades.(less)
Levar Burton's books have been the source of much book angst over the years every time we see them in the bookstore. I've picked this off the shelves...moreLevar Burton's books have been the source of much book angst over the years every time we see them in the bookstore. I've picked this off the shelves and put it back so many times rather than be disappointed like some of the other sci-fi books written by Star Trek stars *coughWilliamShattnercough*
I'm glad that I finally got a chance to read this one. It is very reminiscent to the directions that our world has been leaning. The recent economic crisis, on top of the vote next week to see if the country will have its first African-American President, and even the earthquake that happened this spring on the Madrid Fault here in the Mid-West (while not at the scale in this story it was a wake up call that bad things could happen) all popped into my mind while reading through the intro to the story. However, I have faith that discord such as this won't happen in the here and now for the same reasons.
It was a very dark look at the way the world could change just like *snaps* that. While I didn't find it as strong of a story as Octavia Butler's Parable of a Sower it was a very good book. I finished it in two bus trips to and from school and work.
I'm glad to say that this was a good famous author experience and I'm really glad to have read this. Now to see what else he has written *grin*(less)
Beneath the Mask picks up after the events in Escape the Mask. Coriko, Pippa and their friends have found life after escaping the Spears to be not qu...more Beneath the Mask picks up after the events in Escape the Mask. Coriko, Pippa and their friends have found life after escaping the Spears to be not quite what they had imagined. They have spent their days working on a way to escape the Grassland. However, their nights are filled with trying to avoid falling into the grasps of the Strays – the escaped children who have become wild and feral in their freedom. The night they attempt to escape the grasslands once and for all, they find their plans thwarted. The Spears, whom they thought all dead are in fact not.
Once again captured, the four friends face the trial of Separation. Coriko, separated from his love Pippa finds exactly who is underneath the masks of the Spears. The life he is forced into leaves Coriko cold. In order to protect Pippa and keep her alive, he must do unspeakable deeds. But by doing these things, he runs the risk of losing Pippa’s love and trust. Coriko is faced with a challenge. He needs to find out what he truly values in his life, and find a way to make that happen. Even if it means finally getting free of the Grassland.
I loved having the world we were introduced to in Escape the Mask expanded. Beneath the Mask shows us who the Spears are as a culture. The book delved deeper into the struggles that Pippa Coriko, Bran, and Tia find themselves thrown into. Where the first book showed us the changes happening in the lives of the children, this book focuses on the struggles they have to make the correct choice for their continued happiness. In Beneath the Mask author David Ward has strengthened the story of Coriko, Pippa and their friends. I look forward to the third book and seeing where their adventures lead them to, and if they will finally find a home of their own.
Beneath the Mask is an adventure packed, action filled journey of discovery that once again brings some very weighty topics to the reader’s attention. (less)