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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

The Midwife's Confession 
Publisher: Mira
ISBN: 0778329860
Pages: 432 pgs
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Rating:

Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound  

   

Summary from publisher:

Dear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry…
The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.
 
My Review:  

 This week has been a mess of random mayhem, good reading and crazy book buying. This was a part of the good reading portion.

I loved this book from start to stop. I haven’t been in the mood for a mystery type book for a long time but when I started reading this one I just couldn’t stop. I wanted to know why Noelle killed herself as much as Tara and Emerson. I almost needed Noelle’s story to be figured out…and I didn’t think I could sleep until I knew—which resulted in another night of no sleeping for Gracie.

Like all Diane Chamberlain books, the writing was excellent. She really knows how to tell a story and make you love and relate to her characters. I love how this story was told through time jumps and changing perspective. The time jumps were perfectly placed and never left me wondering what time frame I was in. I also love how each character gets a chance to tell it from their perspective. Each character’s voice came through extremely well and it definitely helped the pace of the story.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (April 28th)



It’s been another hectic week. And for no apparent reason. Nothing catastrophic happened. Just me making myself insane with the panic and the procrastination. Also when one date gets messed up on the calendar so does all that follow.

On some good news…at least for me…I went on a book buying spree. A crazy one. An insane one. I bought 97 books in one go. I have officially lost my mind.

Cupcake of the week: Cherry Vanilla with a Cherry Vanilla Buttercream

Reviews posted this week:
  1. Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange
  2. Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart
  3. The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzanna Dunn
  4. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  5. The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James
This week's question is:
Q. Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on parajunkee.com, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?
Really, only ten? I’m not even sure I can accomplish that without a mini anxiety attack. Let me think…hmmm
  • Anne of Green Gables Series 1-6, 8
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Persuasion
  • And a nice meaty romance—Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
Book Blogger Hop
This week's question is:
Q. "Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?"

There are so many.  Not so many as I would have thought but still enough to make this girl happy. These are the main ones and they are just the YA (and Sookie) ones because I can't keep up with the romance releases.


Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3) Passion (Fallen)Wolfsbane (Nightshade, Book 2)Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 11)

Review: Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange

Wickham's Diary 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 9781402251863
Pages: 208 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Adaptation/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Rating:

Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound  

   



Summary from publisher:

This prequel to Pride and Prejudice begins with George Wickham at age 12, handsome and charming but also acutely aware that his friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is rich, whilst he is poor. His mother encourages him to exercise his charm on the young Georgiana Darcy and Anne de Bourgh in the hopes of establishing a stable of wealthy social connections.

At university, Darcy and Wickham grow apart. Wickham is always drinking and wenching, whilst Darcy, who apparently has everything, is looking for something he cannot find. Wickham runs through the money Darcy gives him and then takes up with the scandalous Belle, a woman after Wickham's own greedy, black heart.



My Review:  

I like most Austen fans think of Wickham as the epitome of evil. He was mean to Darcy and therefore there can be no rehabilitation of his character. I guess my good opinion once lost is lost forever. Couldn’t resist.


I didn’t think this book would give me any new perspective on Wickham but it did. I found myself commiserating with him. And I felt dirty. I genuinely liked him. And I could definitely understand why he ended up the (terrible) way he did. He played second fiddle to Darcy throughout his youth. I mean who wouldn’t end up the slightest bit badly after being compared to the epitome of awesome their whole life. His mother was also an interesting character. It was like she wrote the playbook that Mrs. Bennet and Lydia life by. She was just as frivolous and social climbing as they are. It’s no wonder that he gravitated towards Lydia. I do get the impression from this book that Wickham is a man that could have been good if he had the proper influences and that somehow he was lost along the way.

I do wish that this book had a bit more meat to it. I wanted it to go further into the Pride and Prejudice story. I wanted to know what was going through Wickham’s head while he was wooing Lizzy, running away with Lydia and being bought off by Darcy. I also wanted to know what happened when Darcy did the hero thing with Georgiana. Wickham’s Diary worked very well as a character study of a man who I have hated for most of my reading life. I feel as if I have learned his motives. I do hope that Grange continues with the villains (maybe even Mr. Collins—hilarious) because the new perspective you gain on them is truly eye-opening. 


*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Review: Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

Husband and Wife: A Novel 
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780061774478
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Fiction
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Rating:

Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound  

  


Summary from publisher:

Sarah Price has never regretted trading her MFA for a steady job so that her husband, Nathan, could write fiction. But at age thirty-five, her world is turned upside-down by a shocking revelation: Nathan's upcoming novel, Infidelity, is based on fact. Reeling from his betrayal, Sarah is plagued by dark questions. How well does she really know her husband? More important, how well does she know herself?

For answers, Sarah looks back to her artistic twentysomething self to try to understand what exactly has happened to her dreams. And so begins her quest to discover which version of herself is the essential one—the artist, wife, mother, or someone else entirely—an eye-opening journey that leads Sarah hundreds of miles away from her marriage and back to herself.
 
My Review:  

Infidelity in a novel is usually a deal breaker for me. I don’t like it in life and I don’t like it in my books. But this book just appealed to me for some reason.


I have no idea what I would do if I was in Sarah’s shoes and my husband had just confessed to cheating on me. It would probably involve a pair of kitchen shears, a shovel and some bleach. Sarah lost a bit of her self-esteem and self-worth with her husband’s infidelity but she still remained a good and strong mother. I admire her for that. But she does wallow a bit in self-pity where I would have just gotten angry. I also love how Nathan is not demonized. That’s not to say that he didn’t anger me. I mean you cheat on your wife because she is not the same as she used to be. Dude, people change, priorities change—grow up.

If you ever have the opportunity to pick up a Leah Stewart book…Do it! She’s an excellent writer and this book made me feel so much at once. Reading about Sarah and Nathan’s collapsing marriage was a bit uncomfortable, irritating and heartbreaking but I still could not put the book down until I was done. That’s saying something. I usually put the book down as soon as I start to get angry or irritated with the characters or the plot but I simply could not with this one. I was in it until the end.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn

The Confession of Katherine Howard 
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780062011473
Pages: 320 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Rating:

Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound  

   


Summary from publisher:

The tragic, moving, and gripping story of the ascendance and fall of Katherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, and the best friend she nearly dragged down with her.

When twelve-year-old Katherine Howard comes to live in the Duchess of Norfolk’s household she could not be more different than her poor relation, Cat Tilney. Yet, of all their companions, it is Cat, watchful and ambitious, to whom the seemingly frivolous young girl confides. When Katherine is summoned to the royal court at seventeen—to become, months later, the wife of Henry VIII after he casts off his previous queen—she leaves behind an ex-lover, Francis, with whom Cat is soon passionately involved.

But a future that seems assured for the pampered new queen and her maid-in-waiting lasts a brief year and a half, only to be imperiled by improper acts and scandalous allegations of girlhood love affairs. Imprisoned in the Tower and hoping to escape a most terrible fate, a frightened, desperate Katherine relates a version of events that only Cat recognizes as a lie—as more than one life is threatened by what she alone knows to be the truth about Katherine Howard’s past.
 
My Review:  

Apparently with the heat also comes lapses in brain power because I mixed my schedule up on every calendar I have (and I have many).


I have never been very interested in Henry VIII’s many marriages. Quack kings just never appealed to me. But I have acquired passable knowledge from my near obsessive watching of the History and History International channels (and of course, The Tudors). It’s one of those areas of history where I can converse but not fluently. I have more of those areas than I’d like to admit.

Katherine Howard has also never been my favorite of Henry’s wives- that title goes to Anne of Cleves. Katherine Howard was always too flighty and frivolous for me. I always looked down on her and preferred her older, more staid predecessors. But through the eyes of Kat Tilney, our narrator, I was able to get a more clear view of Katherine and I have to say I liked her. She was much smarter than I gave her credit for. I guess when comparing her to Henry’s other wives she did seem more flighty because she was a teenager and had very teenage behaviors.


I do have to say that the language was a bit jarring at first simply because it was so modern. It’s not what I’m used to in terms of historical fiction but it reminded me of that movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. In the movie, the music perfectly clashed with the historical story being told and illustrated the point of Marie’s youth in ways that words never could. The language worked the same way here. It worked very well and definitely illustrated the point. The writing was also top notch and the historical detail was plentiful without being overwhelming. 

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.
 

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