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Showing posts from August, 2011

Three Junes=Best Book I've Read in 2011!

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Julia Glass' Three Junes is by far, hands down the BEST book I've read this year.  It was the 2002 winner for the National Book Award for Fiction and definitely deserved it.  I picked this book up for my scattered Edinburgh bookclub and I can honestly say that it's my favorite of all that we have read in the past nearly three years (ugh).  It makes you laugh, cry, smile, and think.  That's what makes this book so good.

The story centers around the McLeod family, natives of Scotland, and follows members across continents, years, relationships, sexuality, heartache, anguish, and happiness.  It's told in sections from the perspective of the patriarch, Paul, his oldest son, Fenno, and Fern, a woman who manages to weave herself into the lives of these two men without much effort and who, after the first section of this book, the reader does not really think about again.

We first meet Paul in 1989 and are welcomed into his personal anguish over the death of his wife.  He…

Never Let Me Go (Book #12)

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I finished Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go a few days ago and have not had the time to write about it until now.  I read this book for one of my online book clubs and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  The novel centers around Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy; three people who have been friends since they were small children.  It is through Kathy that the reader travels through the lives of these three and experiences the many ups and downs that each character goes through. 

Having read the synopsis, you are not given much detail about the plot of the novel.  Really, the only thing the reader knows is that they're going to be exploring the characters through flashbacks narrated by Kathy.  You don't know much about the characters except that they are "special" in some way and how they cope with what they learn as they grow up.

Ishiguro really makes an effort to flesh out all three characters, but he does the best with his narrator.  Obviously we get to "know&quo…

Smokin' Seventeen Fizzles

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Having just finished Janet Evanovich's Smokin' Seventeen I have to say that I was disappointed.  Yes, it's better than the last book in the Stephanie Plum series, but they've just gone downhill for the past seven or eight books.  I hate to say that because I loved the first few, but after a while you just have to make a decision.  The love triangle is getting old, the skips all sound the same, the characters don't evolve.  It's monotonous!

This book finds Stephanie, yet again, attempting to catch skips with her sidekick Lula, going back and forth between cop Morelli and security system designer Ranger, and being hunted down by a couple of people who want her dead.  It's entertaining at times (mainly when Lula is involved) and has some good scenes sprinkled throughout, but overall it's rather hum-drum.  The book does end on a nice cliffhanger that leaves the reader wondering who she is going to take with her on vacation and hints at a final decision made…

She-Wolves and Ruling the World

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Who knew that reading about Medieval queens could be so interesting!  I just finished Helen Castor's She-Wolves:  The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Castor, a historian from the UK, writes this history book with a real narrative flair that draws the reader in and presents true accounts without being boring or humdrum as so many historical books are.  The readability makes this nearly 500 page book a rather quick read and keeps you interested the entire time.

As the title suggests, Castor focuses the book on four prominent ruling queens prior to that of Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  She starts the book with Mathilda, only surviving child of Henry I and eventual Empress of England, and chronicles her struggle to maintain order in the kingdom that she ruled for a few short months after her father's death.  She then jumps forward and examines Eleanor of Aquitaine, who lived to a ripe age of …