Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction, tagged Angel Time, Anne Rice, book, Catholicism, Fiction, Judaism, Medieval, novel on October 23, 2009 |
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“Angel Time” was well written with some interesting and well developed characters. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was nothing close to a vampire novel or anything of that whimsy.
This book is a story within a story. Our protagonist is the ironic Toby O’Dare: a cold and calculating hitman/well read theologian with a penchant for playing the lute. Of course, Toby has a past, a back-story that tries to explain how he came to be the man he is…and from there things get a bit supernatural, but not in a contrived way. The rest of the book is set in medieval Europe and focuses on a family tragedy with far reaching consequences that reads much like a biblical story. Toby is involved in this journey as an act of contrition evocative of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.
The book references a fair bit of Catholicism of which I only have a rudimentary understanding, it did not impede me from enjoying the story, but I’m sure would be useful knowledge to have when reading. For example the story line includes saints and the whole hierarchy of angels (pretty exclusive to Catholicism as far as I know). It briefly illustrates a conflict of religions, this one being Catholicism vs. Judaism; and the terrible things people do to each other in the name of their beliefs.
I enjoyed it on the surface as a well told fictional story but at the same time I don’t think I’d rush out to read the sequel if there were one. I don’t think the book was bad by any means, it was just not my cup of tea.
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Fans of the HBO miniseries “Rome” will delight in Michelle Moran’s latest historical fiction offering “Cleopatra’s Daughter” because it pretty much picks up where that series was canceled. ..but that’s certainly not a prerequisite to enjoy this engaging novel.
This book was exciting, fascinating and a wonderfully educational escape right from page one. Told from the perspective of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony’s daughter, Kleopatra Selene, “Cleopatra’s Daughter” offers us a unique glimpse of imperialist Rome through the eyes of an outsider. It was easy for the author to weave facts and informative tidbits into the storyline because of that fresh perspective.
At the age of ten, Selene and her twin brother Alexander are taken to Rome as spoils of war and lovingly raised by Cesar’s (Augustus) sister Octavia. They are trapped in a world of privilege and riches, yet they are also prisoners and know that by their birth alone they are a threat and could be eliminated at whim. Selene is determined to keep the last of the Ptolemy family together and is most concerned with making herself and Alexander indispensable to Cesar. Selene is often shocked at how barbaric Rome can be (particularly concerning slaves and the corruption of government); and the plight of slaves is a big sub-theme in the book.
It is obvious that Michelle Moran did her research and outside of getting the history right, she has crafted a very well told story and brought these figures vibrantly back to life. Cleopatra’s Daughter was a joy to read and also very informative. I highly recommend giving this one a look.
Newsflash: I even got my husband to read this book. He has read 2 books for pleasure in the past 9 years.
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Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction, tagged Allison Burnett, Amazon Vine, blog, book, Fiction, Katie Kampenfelt, movie, novel, promiscuity, random house, teen, teen sex, undiscovered girl, undiscovered gyrl, Vine Voice, vintage books, YA, youth on July 25, 2009 |
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When I was reading this, I kept thinking to myself: if it were possible for a book and a film to have a torrid love affair (J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s Party Girl, respectively), their offspring might look something like Undiscovered Gyrl. I was completely engrossed from page one devoured this book in one sitting. It thrilled me, shocked me, captivated me, and made me laugh—often and out loud! I have a hunch this book is going to be very, very successful and I sure hope Allison Burnett is adapting it for a screenplay.
The voice of Katie Kampenfelt is so absolutely authentic that it is hard to believe this book is a work of fiction…and that’s a good thing. Katie is impulsive, witty, naïve, wanton, intelligent and unapologetic. She decides to defer college for a year to “discover her bliss” and documents that time in a blog…an anonymous blog. The result is a hauntingly, painfully honest (and hysterically sarcastic) window into her soul.
There’s a broad appeal to Undiscovered Gyrl, it is enjoyable on the surface as YA fiction and yet profound enough to become classic coming of age literature. This book is funny and entertaining, relatable and relevant. It flawlessly captures the usual struggles of youth magnified today by the internet, texting, and the other “always available” technologies of this generation. At a deeper level, it is frank and inadvertently cautionary without being preachy or artificial in any way. There is one thing that bothered me about this book that unfortunately I cannot discuss without being a spoiler. I will just say that without that one part, the book is superb, and with it, it’s still a great read with one unfortunate and annoying blemish. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book it is supremely clever and extremely readable. Bravo, Allison Burnett!
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Posted in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, tagged book, Dear Success Seeker, inspirational, Michele R. Wright, Michele Wright, success, wisdom, women on July 12, 2009 |
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This book is a compilation of letters written to the “success seeker” by many prominent, powerful and thriving women. The letters are short and simple and are less “a map of how I got to where I am” and more full-of-clichés like: “believe in yourself” “stick to it” and “have faith.” It’s not that the clichés are bad advice but they are cliché, so if you’re looking for some profound insight, keep looking.
There is also an overarching theme of Christianity (not from every contributor but from way more than a few) and that can be a bit grating if you don’t happen to be a Christian because it’s not obvious from the title or synopsis but the book does have a heavy slant of Christianity.
It’s not the type of book you read cover to cover but more like a nightstand stack book or one you pick up and read for a minute or two if you need some motivation or encouragement. I prefer the books of SARK for a quick pick me up, but this book is charming in its own way. If nothing else, it’s nice just to see the names of so many contemporary successful women.
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