Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble is a young adult entry into the Salem Witch Trials genre. It's a fast, easy read; I picked it up and finished it within a day. There are bits about it that bug me, most of which have to do with giving the narrator a modern penchant for speaking up and breaking the rules. Why on earth do authors do this? Do they think we won't read more realistically written stories?
That being said, however, I really enjoyed this fast-moving story and I liked especially that Abigail, our heroine, was based on an actual ancestor of the author's. I feel that the author achieved her purpose, which was to introduce the Salem Witch Trials to the pre-teen (not young adult) set in such a way that leaves no doubt as to the helplessness and hysteria of the times. I've reviewed it at amazon at
Next up is a book I need to review for Amazon Vine, and hopefully it'll be a fast read. I've finally returned to enough time to read, so I'm set to find some books that truly engage.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Companions of the Night Review

I finally finished another book, Companions of the Night by Vivian Van Velde. It's a vampire story (well, it is close to Halloween!) and it's very well done. Definitely a different take than Twilight, but good nonetheless. You can read my amazon review at

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 Review

My review at of A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick is up. I'm pleased with it! Here's the link:


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Place Beyond Courage Review

Because it sometimes takes a few days for reviews to be posted to, I decided I would go ahead and copy and paste my review here so I could get the word out about this absorbing, superb (insert more gushing here) historical novel by Elizabethe Chadwick. I can't say enough good things about it! I do believe I'm slightly (okay, rabidly) in love with John Marshal. Do yourself a favor and seek this one out at You won't be sorry. I swear.

~taminator40 (Review posted below)

Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels never fail to engage from the first word, and A Place Beyond Courage is yet another excellent example of first-rate history brought to life. The story of The Greatest Knight's father, John Marshal, A Place Beyond Courage treats us to the equally full and engaging life of a man who knew his own mind and lived his life with gusto and fortitude.

Ms. Chadwick begins her tale with John's early years as Marshal to Henry I, King of England, and follows him through the tumultuous period of warring factions for the crown after the king's death. John is shown to be very adept at achieving his goals and maintaining his own fortunes as he switches sides between Henry's daughter Matilda and Henry's nephew, Stephen; his personal life, however, leaves him feeling cold as his marriage to the mouse Aline dwindles into random meetings in the hall. Enter Sybilla, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury, and equal in fire and spirit to John; the hapless Aline is set aside as a love of deep understanding and desire develops between the two. Chadwick does an outstanding job of balancing the romantic aspect with the historical; never once does the novel steep into the vein of overblown romance as she shows the commitment between the two.

Following the steps of John Marshal through history is as well-told by Chadwick as it can possibly be. As I finished the predecessor to this novel, The Scarlet Lion, I'd thought I loved William Marshal. If that was the case, I'm now in love with John Marshal. Don't miss out on one of the best historical novels I've read in a very long time. It just doesn't get better than this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Carol Update

A quick little update on my friend Carol, who is battling lung cancer. We knew the tumor on her eye was improving because her vision is so much better; she's even gotten behind the wheel of her huge white Cadillac again! (Which, as I've often told her, isn't necessarily a good thing--Carol's a bit of an agressive (read "scary") driver). But the best news came from her doctor today...her lung tumors are definitely shrinking so the chemo is doing what it's supposed to do! We are all so overjoyed. I strongly feel that she's in excellent hands with the doctor she's seeing, and the fact that so many people, many of whom do not even know this remarkable woman, are praying for her recovery has to have something to do with her progress. She's mid-cycle of chemo right now, and then the doctor will move on to another form of treatment that he feels will continue to cause the tumors to shrink.

So for all of you wonderful people who have wondered, the news is good...and keep the faith that it'll stay that way. We all deserve a friend like Carol in our lives.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cougar Critiques

One of our teachers at school has helped a small group of students launch a blog for critiquing books they are reading. I am so happy to see middle schoolers enjoying reading anything, and to see this group so enthusiastic as to want to keep up a blog dedicated to them makes my heart sing! With that in mind, I would be remiss if I didn't give them a plug of recognition. The blog can be found at:

To keep it safe, the kids are only using their initials in reviews at this point. But they would be beyond thrilled to think others had taken the time to stop by and comment. For middle schoolers, they're doing a great job and I'm happy to reinforce the love of reading in their lives. Please stop by and do the same.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon is the second entry in the series featuring one of the minor characters from Gabaldon's Outlander series. In this one, Lord John is striving to find out the secret behind his father's "suicide"--which Lord John knows for a fact was a murder. His quest to discover the truth takes a roundabout journey through friends, family, and the military and along the way, a romance develops for John despite the fact that his heart belongs to another.

Lord John is a fascinating character. He's complex, he has integrity, and he's deliberately deceitful when the circumstances warrant. He is also a homosexual in a time when just the thought of such unnatural love would banish a man into exile and possibly even cost him his life. Gabaldon gives Lord John a well-rounded personality so that his homosexuality is not what defines him; it's what complicates him. Well-written and intriguing, this is a good addition to the series and a nice companion to the Outlander stories.

The reviews at Amazon range from the gushing to the digusted, and many of those who are disgusted seem to be most offended by the graphic sex scenes. I tend to believe that if the sex was heterosexual rather than homosexual, there would be more praise for the novel as a whole than cries of depravity. I admit to feeling as though I didn't really need all the information I was given, but I do feel it made me understand Lord John the person better and it did make a gut-wrenching betrayal even more poignant. As I state in my own review, more puzzling to me was a scene between Jamie Fraser and Lord John late in the book; I'm still unclear why Lord John felt the need to say what he did, though I do understand his need to speak frankly and honestly to someone who could be objective.

My own amazon review can be found at I hope you'll take a look and decide for yourself if you like it. I can recommend this one, but I'd advise anyone who is at all squeamish when dealing with homosexuality to take a pass.


Monday, October 01, 2007

On Going Bump in the Night

If you know me, you know I'm fairly interested in the paranormal. I'm not exactly sure what fueled my initial interest, but I can say that some odd stuff has happened to me in my life and as I age, I am much more open to the idea that there's something else out there.
I'm a huge fan of the Sci-Fi television show, Ghost Hunters. I love their scientific approach to the paranormal; they believe 80% of what people term as "haunted" can actually be rationally explained, and that's what they set out to do. It's the other 20% that cannot be explained that becomes evidence for ghosties and their activity.
When I learned that Jason Hawes of Ghost Hunters was publishing a book on his ghost hunting experiences, I was eager to snatch it up when it was published. I sped through it almost as soon as it arrived, and found that it's a very credible retelling of many of the episodes of the show, as well as a few other experiences that haven't been shared via t.v. The book is a fast read, and fun as well. Jason's ironic, grumpy but loveable tone comes through and I enjoyed hearing his take on many of the paranormal investigations he's been on. And while Grant is secretly my favorite of the two main ghost hunters, I did love this book. My review at Amazon can be found at
My reading has screeched to a halt with band season and school. I'm still reading Diana Gabaldon's Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. The excellent news is up next after that is Elizabeth Chadwick's A Place Beyond Courage. I cannot wait to sink into that one--made all the more special by Susan having sent me a copy herself ! Through reading her notes on John Marshall, I'm fairly certain I'm going to be in love soon.