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Archive for March, 2013

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

 

 

The winner of the book A Light in the Storm by Karen Hesse, a book in the Dear America Series, is:

 

 

Cristina G. (caligirlinor)

 

Congratulations, Cristina! Your new book is on the way to you.

Thank you everyone who posted a comment!

Its Free Book Friday!!

Friday, March 29th, 2013

 

Today’s Free book is A Light in the Storm by Karen Hesse

A book in the Dear America Series

 

 

 

ISBN 9780545242455

Newbery Medal winner Karen Hesse’s Civil War diary, A LIGHT IN THE STORM, is now back in print with a beautiful new cover! In 1861, Amelia Martin’s father is stripped of his post as a ship’s captain when he is caught harboring the leader of a slave rebellion. Now he is an assistant lighthouse keeper on Fenwick Island, off the coast of Delaware — a state wedged between the North and the South, just as Amelia is wedged between her warring parents. Amelia’s mother blames her abolitionist husband for their living conditions, which she claims are taking a toll on her health. Amelia observes her mother’s hate and her father’s admiration for Abraham Lincoln. But slavery is the deeper issue separating the two sides. As the Civil War rages on, Amelia slowly learns that she cannot stop the fighting, but by keeping watch in the lighthouse each day, lighting the lamps, cleaning the glass, and rescuing victims of Atlantic storms, she can still make a difference. Reading Level: Young Adult

 

 

We will choose a winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 12 noon EDT,  to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Romance Review – Lord of Darkness

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Review by Issa S. (Issa-345)

 

This book was hard to rate.  To start out, I loved Thief of Shadows.  Winter Makepeace is my favorite historical hero of all time so I knew this one would not live up to the prior one but I was surprised by how far it fell.

Godric St. John, one of several Ghosts of St. Giles, is blackmailed into marrying Margaret (Megs) who is pregnant with her dead lover’s child.  She loses the baby and lives in the country for two years.  She decides to return to London, with a number of female family members, to seduce her husband because she wants a baby.

Not enamored by Megs and her entourage he rebuffs his wife’s seduction and continues his ghostly duties.  He has yet to get over the loss of his late wife Clara and is committed to his work as the Ghost.

Neither Godric nor Megs was fleshed out well.  Megs has little personality to recommend her and her push to force Godric to give her a child off putting.  Godric is dull.  We learn why he became the Ghost, but the passion we felt with Winter Makepeace is sorely missing.

Megs learns Godric is the Ghost the same way Isabel found out in the previous book so no fresh ideas there.  And by the end of this one, everyone seems to know Godric is the Ghost.  Here I thought the secrecy regarding the Ghost was important.

Godric and Megs’s love story never really grabbed me and in the end I didn’t care if they had their HEA or not.

However, I rated the book a little higher for two things.  I liked the set up for the next book and am very hopeful for that one.  I’m also intrigued with the story of the dragoon captain Trevillion. I hope Hoyt expands what she’s doing with him and makes it better than an simple, obvious conclusion.

This is not a bad book, I still enjoyed reading it but it is one of the weaker books of the series.

 

 

Historical Fiction Review – The Sunne in Splendour

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman

Review by Vicky T. (VickyJo)

 

Early in February of this year, archaeologists made an amazing discovery: a skeleton buried under a parking lot in Leicester, England turned out to be the remains of King Richard III, the last Plantagenet king to rule England.  The skeleton itself was unearthed the previous fall, but finally identified, thanks to DNA testing.

I was all over this story, for several reasons.  I have a degree in physical anthropology, which involves the study and identification of human bones; I love English history, the earlier the better; and like so many others, I was familiar with Richard III and the controversy over his life.  He had a pretty awful reputation as the man who killed his two young nephews in order to become King.  William Shakespeare portrayed him as an evil hunchback with a withered arm and uncontrolled, amoral ambition.

The New York Times as a nice article, photo and a video about the story at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/world/europe/richard-the-third-bones.html?_r=0 for those of you who are interested.  I was fascinated!  First, the spine is definitely shaped like the letter S—a sign of scoliosis.  (His arms look fine, though.  Will Shakespeare must have exaggerated just a bit—yet another fascinating discovery!) His skeleton shows the proof of many wounds; Richard died in battle after ruling England for a short two years.  Plus, the fact that scientists found viable DNA from a 500 year old skeleton was amazing too.  I guess this makes me a Bone Geek, but there it is.

All of this fascinating news led me to pick up the novel The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman.  It tells the story of Richard III from his early childhood until his death in 1485.  Penman does her research; this is beautifully written and at almost 1,000 pages, very thorough in scope.  I happen to own a first edition hardcover of this book, but believe me, I was very tempted to spend $10 and buy it for my Kindle, just to save my poor wrists!  Penman tells us the potentially confusing story of the War of the Roses, a battle between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for the throne of England.  She does a terrific job of helping the reader keep all the characters and the events straight.  It was a complicated time politically, and Penman outlines how alliances and loyalties might have been created, changed and abandoned.  I think any author that writes of this time takes a stand, and leads the reader to take one as well: either you believe Richard did make his nephews “disappear” from the Tower in order to take the crown, or you believe he was innocent and wrongly maligned by his political enemies.  Penman is solidly on Richard’s side.

The problem with reading historical fiction is that I know how this story is going to end.  Richard will die on the battle field of Bosworth, but first, he will lose his young son and heir, and his wife, Queen Anne.  I’m almost on page 800, so it’s coming soon, and it’s incredible how sad I’m feeling, knowing these characters that I’ve come to love will soon perish.  But I have to say that, knowing now where his remains are makes it a little easier to reach the end of this wonderful novel.  The story hasn’t ended yet, for there is another great battle brewing: where to bury his remains now that the lost King has been found.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Monday Mystery Review – The Case of the Glamorous Ghost

Monday, March 25th, 2013

The Case of the Glamorous Ghost by Erle Stanley Gardner

 

 

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

Daughter of a rich father whom she totally buffaloes, Eleanor Corbin goes on rampages in high society and low, causing outrage over her escapades. Then she blames her recurring amnesia and lies low in a private sanitarium.

But as this novel opens, her latest toying with scandal – romping about a lover’s lane in nothing but a filmy frilly thing – has gotten her older half-sister Olga worried about the family reputation. Olga also agonizes that the semi-nude antics are a cover for wanton or even illegal activities. Olga hires lawyer Perry Mason to deal with the press and police while Olga persuades Eleanor to come clean about what she’s been up to. Eleanor claims her darn amnesia is preventing her from recalling anything of the last couple of weeks but a collision with another car.

The murder victim is Eleanor’s fortune-hunter and drifter of a husband – or boyfriend, whatever he was. Eleanor had a gun of the same caliber with which the victim was shot. Getting Eleanor off the hook of Lt. Tragg and DA Burger seems particularly impossible in light of the tight skein of circumstantial evidence wound around her. The brilliant trial sequence is over 100 pages long, one of the longest in the 82-book canon.

As usual in a Mason novel, the murder investigation uncovers many more nefarious goings-on.

There is also vandalism, narks, smuggling, blackmail, narcotics, impersonation, and secret bugging devices. In a strong scene between Perry and his lying client, Perry blunts warns her to be straight with the facts since she’s facing her own execution by cyanide poisoning for first-degree murder.

Gardner treats the subject of sex with more frankness than usual. In the Mason novels, sex hardly comes up as a topic or motive. Still, Perry sends Della to act a decoy in a high class hotel, whose safe has received the “glittering assortment of gems.” Perry asks about her defenses against the predatory males on the prowl at the hotel. She replies:

Adequate, but not impregnable. I didn’t give them the impression that they were storming the Maginot Line. I let them feel that the territory might be invaded, conquered and occupied but definitely not as the result of one skirmish. In other words, I was sophisticated, amused and — I didn’t slam any doors.

Yeah, it’s so Fifties, but still — whoa. While in Gardner’s novels starring Bertha Cool and Donald Lam, it’s assumed that normal healthy adults who aren’t married go off for fun-filled weekends together, spicy talk and easy-going attitudes are rare in a Mason novel. Anyway, this novel, the 46th one and published in 1955, is worth reading for the both fan and novice.

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winners!

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

The Winners of Wolven by Di Toft are:

 

Judith K. (thekaps)

 

Erin H. (quen)

Congratulations, Judith and Erin ! Your books are on the way!

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you everyone who commented on the Blog!

 

Free Book Friday! Wolven

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

 

Today’s free book is  Wolven by Di Toft

 

 

 

 

 

The madcap debut adventure of a boy and his pet werewolf! Snaggly teeth, patchy white fur, glowing orange eyes: Woody is a far “cry” from cute. Yet Nat is strangely drawn to the rough mutt that howls at the moon. And before long, Nat learns that Woody’s not a dog at all — he’s a WOLVEN: the last of a noble breed of lycan, a shape-shifter that changes from beast to boy without much warning! But Nat’s not the only one wise to Woody’s secret: Rogue government agents have picked up his scent. They’re on the hunt to trap him and turn him into a hairy new breed of bioweapon! To battle a mad scientist and his mutant werewolf goons, Nat and Woody have to use their brains…and their brawn!

Reading Level: Ages 9-12

We are giving away 2 copies,

The first copy is a Hardcover, ISBN 9780545171090

The second copy is a Trade Size Paperback, ISBN 9780545171106

 

 

 

 

We will choose two winners at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12 noon EDT,  to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!