A Wicked Thing – Rhiannon Thomas

a wicked thingThis story of Sleeping Beauty picks up when Princess Aurora is awakened by her true love and thrust into the “care” of the current brutal monarchy.  The land has changed in 100 years and not for the better.  The commoners are planning rebellion and the king murders at will.  Prince Roderick, who awakens Aurora, is not like his father.  He is kind and thoughtful which is rather odd considering his cold mother the queen.  Tired of being confined again, Aurora slips out and meets Tristan at a local tavern and gets a fleeting feel of freedom only to find that perhaps Tristan plans to use her.

This is the first book in a series and very well executed.  Poor Aurora has led such an isolated and sheltered life and now she is being pulled in every direction.  The queen, first seemed so very proper and rather icy really is dealing with the reality the best she can and protecting her children.  I look forward to seeing what Aurora does as she comes into her power, literally.  Highly recommend

eGalley review       Publication date 02.24.15

Posted in fantasy, folklore, highly recommend, Uncategorized | Tagged

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Red QueenThe ruling class elite have silver blood and special powers (think X-men).  The working class with red blood are oppressed and downtrodden.  Mare Barrow is one of the red blooded downtrodden who will soon have to leave her family and life as a pick-pocket when she will be drafted as an expendable soldier at the front.  Through a twist of fate, Mare lands a job as a servant for the royal family.  During her first night on the job, after a dangerous mishap, she and the ruling elite are shocked (literally) when her electrifying powers are revealed.  How can this be?  A red blood with powers?  The royal family hides her in plain site by giving her a new identity and betrothing her to prince #2.

Rebellion is the running theme.  Rebellion by the oppressed red bloods and rebellion within the royal family.  Back-stabbing, duplicitous, power-laden nobles all perfectly content to hurt others . . . almost all.  Who is the good prince and who is the bad prince or is everyone a shade of gray?  This first book in the series features a flawed but resourceful heroine and two dashing princes and a perfect eye-catching cover!  Highly recommend.

eGalley review         Publication date 2.10.15

Posted in dystopian, fantasy, highly recommend

Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers: A 44 Scotland Street Novel (9) – Alexander McCall Smith

Bertie's Guide to Life and MothersIt was good to return to Scotland Street and catch up on the happenings.The triplets have overwhelmed Matthew, so he offers one of the boys to Big Lou.  But surely he wasn’t serious, was he?

Angus and Domenica, settling into married life, must contend with an unsettling visit from Antonia.  She is accompanied by Sister Maria-Fiore dei Fiori di Montagna, a nun from the convent where Antonia has been staying. And Bertie becomes seven and finally gains some freedom from his smothering mother.

I can never get enough of Alexander McCall Smith’s wonderful characters and gentle philosophy.  The books leave me feeling soothed, comforted, smiling.  Although this is book nine in the series, it can stand alone and is highly recommended for all ages.

eGalley review        Publication date 02.17.15

Posted in adult, realistic fiction | Tagged

A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler

Spool of Blue ThreadAbby and Red Whitshanks had four children. Denny was the best looking and caused the most problems, always doing the unexpected, always stirring up things, looking to upset everyone.  He was the one teachers called about, the one who dropped out of college.  The two older girls, Amanda and Jeannie, and Stem, the younger son, tolerated Denny.  They expected him to behave badly and he didn’t disappoint.

Three generations of Whitshanks have lived in the large Baltimore house.  As their stories gradually unfold we are taken into the lives of an ordinary family that isn’t quite so ordinary, people with quirks and secrets, people trying to make sense of life, sometimes making mistakes, sometimes doing good things.   These are people whom we want to love, flaws and all.

Ann Tyler is a master storyteller.  I have loved all of her books, and this is no exception.  The book came to an end far too soon because there was so much more I wanted to know about the Whitshanks.  Recommended for adults and older teens.

eGalley review      Publication date 02.10.15

Posted in adult, realistic fiction, Uncategorized

The Country of Ice Cream Star – Sandra Newman

Country of Ice Cream Star“My name be Ice Cream Fifteen Star.  My brother be Driver Eighteen Star, and my ghost brother Mo-Jacques Five Star . . . .”    “We Sengles be a wandering sort . . . be thieves, and brave to hunt.”  So begins a strange, dystopian journey in an American landscape ravaged by plague.  It’s a society where all die before twenty of the posy sickness; a society peopled by children.  When Ice Cream Star learns her beloved brother is dying of the posies, she sets out to find a cure and takes the reader on a bizarre adventure.

The book is written in dialect that was laborious to read at first and I almost gave up.  But after a few chapters, I realized that I was reading the dialect easily.  (Well, maybe not easily, but it was okay.)  I’m glad I stayed with it because this dystopian novel stands out.  It was funny and chilling at the same time.  I loved and hated Ice Cream Star.  She could be brilliant and incredibly stupid, kind and brutal.  The people around her were just as complex and the world in which they lived was surreal.

I recommend the book with caution.  It’s very long, and the dialect could be a real problem.  But if you’re up for a new experience, go for it.

eGalley review                  Publication date 02.10.15

Posted in adult, dystopian

Amherst – William Nicholson

AmherstEmily Dickinson never left her house, never saw anyone except her sister Vinnie and her brother, Austin. The townspeople referred to her as the Myth.  Vinnie cared for her daily physical needs, Austin for her emotional needs.  She lived her life through him, and so, wanted him to be happy. Unfortunately Austin was trapped in a loveless marriage.  A new young woman in town might prove to be the answer.  Mabel Todd was pretty, vivacious and Austin soon came to love her.  That they were both married caused great difficulties but Emily sought to ease things by encouraging the lovers to meet in her house.

Alice Dickinson (no relation) is doing research about the affair in order to write a screenplay.  Coming from England, she needed a contact in Amherst and Nick Crocker, a professor at Amherst College, is suggested.  He’s older, very sexy and  Alice is attracted to him.

The stories of the 19th century love affair and the 21st century love affair are told in alternating chapters.  The historical part was well researched and stayed true to the period.  I could relate to these people, could care about their lives.  The book is sprinkled with Emily’s poetry which gave some insight into her feelings.  I enjoyed that part of the book.  The contemporary part, not so much.  The characters seemed to be just paper cutouts.  I really couldn’t care about what happened to them.   That said, the historical part is good enough for me to recommend the book.

eGalley review        Publication date 02.10.15

Posted in adult | Tagged

The Chessmen: The Lewis Trilogy – Peter May

ChessmenFin couldn’t believe his eyes.  The loch was gone, truly gone.  The water had disappeared overnight.  Whistler’s theory was of a bog burst, a phenomenon that can happen after a heavy rain.  But Fin wasn’t  listening.  He was focused on an object lying on the loch bottom – a small plane that looked far too familiar.  And so Fin is again involved in an investigation that leads to past secrets.

I love being transported to the Isle of Lewis.  Peter May’s descriptive passages are lyrical. The rugged  landscape and the equally rugged characters are vivid.  Solving the mystery seems less important to me than just soaking in the atmosphere.  This is the final book in the trilogy, and can be read as a stand alone.  I recommend it highly.

eGalley review         Publication date 02.03.15

Posted in adult, mystery | Tagged ,