Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Book Beginnings

Friday Book Beginnings

Thanks to Rose City Reader who hosts this meme every Friday. Click here to go there:

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
This is book 2 in the All Souls Trilogy

We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.

I just finished this book last night and haven't yet started something new. This was an enjoyable sequel to A Discovery of Witches, although there was a lot that didn't work for me and it seems I'm not the only one who had trouble with certain aspects of it. I read a whole lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads.  I will be putting up a review soon so I won't say too much more here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Book Beginnings

Thanks to Rose City Reader who hosts this meme every Friday. Click here to go there:

Share the first sentence or sentences of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else.
Leave a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.

"I first saw the house in the summer of my fifth birthday".

Title: Mariana
Author: Susanna Kearsley

From the back cover:

Julia Beckett believes in destiny.  Settling into her rustic new home, Julia encounters haunting remnants of a beautiful young woman who lived and loved there centuries ago. 
It seems Mariana has been waiting for Julia.

I literally just turned the final page of this book about 20 minutes ago.  And it has left me with quite a few questions.  I loved this book up until the very end.  I don't want to give anything away so I will be vague.  I wanted so much to believe the ending but the entire story just didn't convince me of it. It's a romantic story, dappled with some interesting bits of English history post Cromwell.  I recommend this book to anyone who finds the premise interesting:
A young London illustrator moves to the English countryside, and buys an old house that she has been drawn to all her life.  The past seems to be coming for her as she soon starts to have visions, travelling back in time as the reincarnation of Mariana.

I did truly enjoy this book and will go on reading other books by this author as I enjoy her style and find I can not put them down.  But I was just completely thrown by this ending, although I have to say, early on I wondered if it could be but then all of the action in the book convinced me that it could not be...I guess that is why the ending just didn't work for me.
Spoiler alert: Please don't read further if you haven't read this book and intend to.

I went back to re-read the scenes with Ian, and nothing, apart from his willingness to help her with her garden, convinced me that he was trying to mask something deeper.  He helps everyone with their gardens and seems to simply enjoy being outdoors.  The book of poems he borrows from Tom? His softening of his expression every time he speaks with Vivien could be just friendship but it seems the author was deliberately misleading us by throwing those details in.  And why does Julia feel nothing for him aside from a calmness in his presence.  Surely, something more could have hinted at the truth. And why did Geoffrey de Mornay have to be his exact likeness?  If anyone else has read this, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Book Beginnings

Friday Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Go here to add your link and see what others are reading.

Title: The Winter Sea
Author: Susanna Kearsley

It wasn't chance.  There wasn't any part of it that happened just by chance.

I just finished reading this book a few days ago. It had been on my TBR list for at least a couple of years.  It drew my attention initially due to the historical setting which is Scotland right before the failed Jacobite uprising of 1708, which is apparently, according to the author, an often overlooked part of Jacobite history as it's eclipsed by the much more tragic Battle of Culloden in 1746.
I really enjoyed it and I have just ordered Mariana, which is another book by the same author.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Book Beginnings

Friday Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Go here to add your link and see what others are reading.

Pride and Prejudice, again

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The first line of my all-time favorite book.  I read it in my teens, and I loved it.  I have just re-read The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen annotated and edited by David M. Shapard.  The annotations were extremely interesting and informative and though much of the explanations of certain customs and word usage of the period were no longer new to me as I've since read many novels that take place in the early 19th century, I still enjoyed reading them and did not skip over any of the annotations.
I didn't think it was possible to enjoy this book more the second time, but I actually did.  It is the only novel that I have ever read twice.  I have always thought that with all of the books out there to be read, I couldn't possibly find the time to read the same one twice.  But I am so happy that I did. I will probably go on to read it many more times now that I've realized that it gets even better.  I didn't realize how much humour was in the book the first time around because I was so busy deciphering the meaning of certain phrases.  But when the language is no longer unfamiliar, or seemingly awkward, this story flows like nothing else I've ever read.  I could go on and on lauding this book, but I won't.  I know this is a favorite of many so my adoration is nothing new.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Book Beginnings

This Meme is hosted by A Few More Pages and will be up all week.
Post the first line or first few lines of your current read.

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon

"Roger Wakefield stood in the center of the room, feeling surrounded."

Oh, don't worry. He's not in danger. He's only surrounded by books.
So far, I'm enjoying Dragonfly in Amber, admittedly not as much as the first book in this series, Outlander, but nevertheless, it's very good.
Any fans of Outlander out there?

Reading Update

I have been completely negligent since January. My excuse is that I have an ancient laptop and despite a very, potentially fast Internet connection, getting online is similar to the olden days of dial-up, watching the little AOL man dashing in stages while you waited for that last bing-bing sound and lo! You were ONLINE! Only it's slower. Much slower. So I avoid turning the computer on, and I loathe to write here on my iPhone.
But it's my only option until I bite the bullet and get a new computer.
For the record, I don't know how to put titles in italics with this phone, so be forewarned: book titles will not be italicized.

I recently read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I came across it by chance and loved it and went on to discover it has legions of fans. People are completely devoted to the main characters. Just google "James Fraser" or "Jaime and Claire". Lots of people speculating when a movie will come out and who will play the part of their favorite kilt-wearing, highland warrior James Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser and his beautiful, fiery, intelligent love, Claire.
I loved this time travelling story. And I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel, Dragonfly in Amber, but my local bookshop didn't have a copy so I ordered from the library and it came in a few days. I'm slowly making my way through it. It's very good but has not completely captured me and that could have something to do with 1 or 3 things. The first being that I have an idea of what's to come at tè end of the story and I'm loathe to see it happen, and also because I purchased The Wolf Gift, the new Ann Rice novel, and I couldn't have it in the house with me and not read it. I really truly enjoyed it but unfortunately it did not have the same mysterious effect on me as that of Interview with a Vampire and The Witching Hour. I read these books so very long ago that, possibly, this one is just as good, but that I have changed. Don't get me wrong, it's a great story and I recommend it highly. I loved so many things about it. But one particular important character was lacking for me and that's the wolf's love interest. I hesitate to write anything more because I really don't want my disappointment with this aspect of the novel to sway anyone else's take on it.
Despite that disappointment, I eagerly await a sequel. There's got to be one! It's Anne Rice after all.

In the midst of my reading Dragonfly in Amber, I overheard an interview on NPR with the Scottish author, Margot Livesey, who has written a new novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, that is a re-telling of sorts of Jane Eyre. The premise of the story, it's nod to Jane Eyre, and the connection to the author's own past, made this a 'must read immediately' for me. So, I ordered a copy at my local book shop. In the meantime, I read Eva Moves the Furniture, a book by the very same author, which I read in one day, and cried my eyes out at the end. A beautiful story it surely is but beware Faint of Heart! (or especially new mothers of very young children-or scratch that--mothers in general).

So, here I am having just finished The Wolf Gift, knowing I should get back to Jaime and Claire in Dragonfly in Amber, but with the story of Gemma Hardy calling to me from it's new spot on the shelf.