Showing posts from April, 2013

Review--Whispers Underground

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful, well-written series combining crime detection, a touch of pathos, and laugh-out-loud humor. I can't wait until the next adventure!

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Review--River of Stars

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best epic fantasy I've read in years, and one of Guy Gavriel Kay's best novels.  I hadn't read G.G. Kay for a while but the reviews of River of Stars were so glowing that I gave this one a try, and it was a good choice.

River is set in Kitai, a fantasy China, and as so many Kay novels do, deals with personal honor pitted against politics and corruption. There's also a love story woven through it, amazing world building, exquisite plotting and an ending that kept me turning pages late into the night. I debated between four and five stars, and finally went with five because I'm still thinking about the intricate details of River now that I've closed the covers, and that's a sign this book will be on my "keeper" shelf.

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"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds."

“You are dwelling on this deception business far too much,” St. Armand told the governess over breakfast. “I am paying well for staying here, Miss Burke.  Now, finish your bacon so we can get on the road again.”
            He picked up a well-polished spoon and paused, distracted by his own reflection.
            “You are like a magpie, Captain. Stop admiring yourself in bright, shiny objects and tell me where we are going!” she snapped. --WIP [working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby, aka The Pirate's Governess 

I'm fortunate to have a lovely yard that is bordered by woods and undeveloped property. My favorite room in our house is the screen porch that faces the yard. I eat lunch here everyday and enjoy the antics of the birds flocking to my feeders and birdbath. The hummingbirds are back and sucking down nectar like it's their personal juice bar. The cardinals are pleased that I cleaned my fountain, because cardinals love splashing in running water. F…

Review--Without A Summer

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been enjoying Robinette Kowal's "Glamour" books set in an alternate Regency Universe. As much as I love Naomi Novik's dragon books set during the Napoleonic Wars, I think R. Kowal's worldbuilding holds up better under scrutiny.

Sir David Vincent and Jane, Lady Vincent, are back in England after the Battle of Waterloo. They've taken on a valuable commission, but one that brings them back into contact with Vincent's estranged family and brings Jane's family into involvement as well.

Regency fans will enjoy the scenes in familiar London settings, and lovely descriptions of clothing, Almack's (of course) and other venues. Fantasy fans will find R. Kowal's worldbuilding satisfying, and her use of "glamour" to show a society quite different, yet also quite familiar.

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Review--Her Hesitant Heart

Her Hesitant Heart by Carla Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been a huge fan of Carla Kelly's Western stories ever since I tracked down her collection Here's to the Ladies: Stories of the Frontier Army. While she's best known for her Regency romances, Kelly truly shines when writing about a subject she knows very well, the US Army in the Old West.

Now she brings that era and the people to life in a new romance set at an army post, and it's got everything Kelly fans could desire: tons of angst (have your hankies ready), love, and most importantly, ordinary people being good.

That last point is important. Kelly's mostly moved away from writing about lords and ladies, and writes about people who appear average, and sometimes are not drop-dead gorgeous--Major Joseph Randolph is described as a "big, comfortable looking man", hardly a description to make a maiden swoon. Susanna Hopkins is described as a blonde who has one eye that appears sunken due to …

Tutoring tales

The young lady I tutored moved away over Spring Break, which left me greatly saddened. This was a child who desperately needed help if she was going to catch up with her age group and be ready for the third grade, and I hope wherever she goes to school for the remainder of the year she'll get additional help.

I wasn't sure if I'd be assigned another pupil with the school year winding down, but yesterday I had my first session with my new Reading Pal, Katie. She's a third-grader who hadn't had her own Pal before this. She had to share a volunteer in a group setting, so we were both happy to have one-on-one opportunities. We met in the school library, and I spent part of the hour getting a feel for what she likes to read. To my delight, Katie picked Alice in Wonderland as the novel she wants us to read together.

I'm optimistic, and I look forward  to weeks of quality reading time with Katie before summer. It's really boosted my spirits to know I'll contin…