Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Friday, February 27, 2009

Finished Another One...And Requested More

Just popping in briefly to say I finished The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen. Though it's for review for HNS (, so I really can't say much about it here, I will say it's going to be a positive review. Next up is Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly, also a review book for HNS.

But I do have a problem. I seem to be accumulating books (and particularly review books, whether for HNS, Amazon Vine, or Simon and Schuster) at an alarming rate, especially given the fact that my reading progresses in fits and sputters lately. I truly do want to read everything I request (or get sent) but I've got to learn a bit more restraint. Patiently awaiting me after I finish Galway Bay:
  • Honolulu by Alan Brennert
  • Figures in Silk by Vanora Bennett
  • Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas
  • Un Lun Din by China Mieville
  • Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

And one other that for the life of me I can't recall. With all this in mind, what did I do this afternoon? Yep, order another review book from Amazon Vine: Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean.

I confess: I'm a bookaholic and I have a problem.


Saturday, February 21, 2009


What a delightful guilty pleasure the Luxe books by Anna Godbersen are! Set in New York in 1900, they are a young adult soap opera, filled with the rich, the beautiful, and the star-crossed. I can picture a sort of Titanic atmosphere; the rich are the privileged, and those who aren't rich are constantly striving to become so (unless love intervenes, of course). Envy, the third book in the series, is no less intriguing than the first two, and I had to force myself to slow down to keep from inhaling these terrific characters. If you're looking for great historical fiction (as in lots of facts about the time period), this series isn't for you; but if you are looking for a series that encompasses not only the time period but the people inhabiting it, you can't go wrong with these books. In fact, as I was reading, I kept thinking that these books should appeal to all those who've read and loved the Twilight series. There are definitely more twists and turns, and true love doesn't always triumph. Good stuff.
For more details, follow the link to my amazon review:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

I hadn't read Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees even though it had come highly recommended from several people. I don't really know why, other than sometimes I feel overloaded with tales of Civil Rights and southerners, or perhaps I just wasn't interested in yet another coming of age book. But when our Sunday School Literature Class chose this novel as our next read, I figured I might as well give it a go, espcially after my friend Donna started raving about it.
I wish I could state as eloquently as the author why this book succeeds. There were moments when reading that I'd stop and be pulled out of the book simply by the beauty of the writing. For example, the author describes the moon pulling the darkness of night across the sky; I know I will never look at a summer moon rising just after dusk quite the same way again.
Beyond the beauty of the language, the relationships between the characters have so much depth that I think I could reread this book several times and not quite get to the bottom of it all. It could easily have slipped into that conundrum of "black people=good, white people=evil", and yet, the love encompassed so much more than skin tone. Truth is an underlying theme throughout with the idea that you can't go forward without looking back.
I loved this book and I'm so glad I read it. I haven't watched the movie yet, and I hear mixed reviews from my friends on that one. However, this book got inside me in such a good, profound way, I don't know if I even want to watch the movie. All I can say is, read this one. You won't be sorry.
My amazon review, in case you're inclined to visit and vote, can be found at

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Historical Fiction Conundrum

I read a lot of historical fiction; it's always fascinated me. I remember reading Little Women in fifth grade--I hid it inside my desk and read while the rest of the class droned through social studies' read aloud time(I figured out what paragraph would be mine to read aloud since it was round robin style reading, marked it, and was able to get back to Jo and her sisters). I also loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond and probably several others whose names are escaping me right now. But it was really Jean Plaidy and her numerous tomes on British history that pulled me during junior and senior high. She was the mark against which I measured other historical fiction for years. God bless Jean Plaidy.

As an adult, I discovered Sharon Kay Penman when I read When Christ and His Saints Slept. From there, I never looked back as I made my way through just about anything and everything historical. My current favorite author is Elizabeth Chadwick. She's the one who brings history to life in a way that sizzles. I can picture myself in the midst of any story she's written. The woman deserves a much, much wider audience. She's soooo good. Her research and accuracy drive the stories she writes, and it shows.

With all that said, I've gotten increasingly pickier the older I've gotten. It just bugs me to no end when someone is historically inaccurate. Small liberties don't bother me, such as moving an incident in time a bit to make it fit with the author's overall vision. But when things are blatantly wrong, it just floors me that an editor lets it slide. It's one thing to put your interpretation on an event based in fact, and quite another to not have done your research well enough to get names and places correct. A book I've read recently has some glaringly bad anachronisms in it, and I feel as though the author is deceiving her audience, most of whom probably don't know British history as well as I do. I think many will swallow her ideas hook, line, and sinker. Granted, I don't think the author probably knows she's made such glaring mistakes, but isn't that her responsibility? Or does she and the editor believe that it's okay to not fully research the facts just because they want to publish a book?

So, now here comes the hard part--when I do reviews, does it matter enough to point out the historically inaccurate things so that others aren't taken in by ignorance? Or should I just go for the overall feel of the book? I review on, and I know most people reading reviews there aren't as picky as I am about accuracy. But shouldn't they be? Because if the author is sloppy enough to give sons to a well known Duke who obviously didn't have any, or play fast and loose with births and deaths, doesn't that give all historical fiction a poor name if it eventually comes to light? Or am I too maniacal about all this?

I respect authors who have spent time thoroughly researching their subjects because I believe it comes through in their writing. The sad thing is, a good deal of those authors aren't quite as popular as some who either deliberately spin the facts or just don't give a damn about getting it all straight. It bothers me to think that a lot of people take Philippa Gregory's novels as truth, for example. She's a great writer, but her accuracy could be questioned on several points. But is it worth pointing out the inaccuracies? Does anyone even care? Or is it just about the tale?


Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Boss!

There's a reason why he's called The Boss...the man rocks!
Doesn't he just get better with age? Man, oh man.