Saturday, September 30, 2006

Get a Free Book!

It's Buy a Friend a Book Week and I would like to give one of my online friends a book. Know that this gift is given for no good reason. If it's your birthday, I don't want to hear about it. Anniversary? Not a chance. This is a no-strings-attached present given just because.

Leave a comment telling me the title of a book you would like (please, under $15*) and I will enter your name for the drawing. I will post the winning name on this site on Oct. 5 in the evening sometime.

BAFAB week is celebrated four times a year, during the first weeks of January, April, July and October. If you're interested in taking part in Buy a Friend a Book Week yourself, visit for the details. Enjoy the read!

Click here for a list of other bloggers participating.

*How about a paperback or a used book in good condition. And if the book you choose is a bit over $15 that will be okay, too.

The China Garden

by Liz Berry (read September 2006) Rating: 3.75/5
When Claire's mother receives a cryptic summons from estranged relatives, she uproots her daughter from urban London to a remote estate in the English countryside. Ravensmere is immediately, disturbingly familiar, and Claire soon realizes that her psychic mother has kept huge secrets, beginning with Claire's own name. Worse, the people of Ravensmere seem to expect something of her, something having to do with Mark, leader of a local motorcycle gang. Though they have little in common, Claire and Mark fall helplessly in love, to the relief of the superstitious villagers who believe the two are destined to be the next Guardians, charged with protecting Ravensmere from destruction. Symbols of nature, healing, and rebirth are everywhere in the formal gardens, classical statues, and labyrinths of the Ravensmere grounds, and are clues to an ancient mystery. Like Persophone, Claire must descend into the bowels of the earth, face the terrors hidden underground, and then find her own way back to the surface.

This is book 5 for my RIP Challenge, however
, I'm enjoying my plunge into the eerie so I've started The Historian for a bonus read.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dragonfly in Amber (Outland#2)

by Diana Gabaldon
(read September 2006)
Rating: 4.5/5
Unfortunately, I find myself hooked on this series. The first book is Outlander and Dragonfly is the second. The reason I say, "Unfortunately I'm hooked" is because each book is so long. These books feature Dr. Claire Randall who travels back in time two hundred years and meets and marries the gallant Jamie Fraser, laird of Lallybroch. Twenty years after her first trip to 1743 Scotland, Claire returns to modern-day Scotland with her daughter where she plans to tell her the truth of her parentage.

The story is mesmerizing with it plot twists and beautiful language. I look forward to reading the next installment The Voyager.

Monday, September 25, 2006


by Neil Gaiman (read September 2006)
Rating 4/5
Neverwhere is a very imaginative, entertaining and well-written fantasy. I enjoy fantasy if I read it sparingly. The reason I say this is because fantasies tend to follow the same general format. An event changes the course of events in an otherwise mundane 'real' life. The protaganist is propelled on a journey of some type where he must overcome obstacles in order to save someone in distress before returning to his mundane life, only to find it's not as appealing as he remembered it. The things that add interest to this repeating theme are the characters (the protaganist, his companions for the journey, those odd characters he meets along the way, and the bad guys), the journey's path and destination, and the obstacles he must overcome.

As I read Neverwhere I kept thinking of other books with similar plots: Stephen King's Talisman, Avi's Crisipin The Cross of Iron, David Eddings Pawn of Prophecy series. Maybe if this had been one of my first fantasy books I would have enjoyed it more. Since it was not, I have to say it was better than some books, but not great.

This is book 4 out of 5 for the Fall RIP Challenge. Since The Golem has not
shown up yet on Interlibrary Loan I am going to read The China Garden instead. It's a Young Adult gothic novel from my shelf. **Pat on the back**

Thursday, September 21, 2006


by Isabel Allende (read September 2006)
Rating: 3.75/5
This was an enjoyable read, but not great. Allende told of Zorro's parentage and boyhood, which help us understand the man behind the mask. I liked that. Even though we know that the sum of his experiences, ideology, and acquaintances helped to shape him into the man who fought injustice, in this novel we were able to see what those were. In fact, this novel was about his youth up to the age of 20-something. Just a mention of his life as an older man.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield (Read September 2006)
Rating: 5/5
The night I finished Dracula I picked up this book to read 1 chapter before going off to sleep. I was captivated. The letter Vida Winters wrote to Margaret Lea asking Lea to write her biography aroused my interest but when I continued reading the next day I began to doubt the grasp of the story. My interest waned as the story became chimerical. I found myself wondering if Vida was hiding behind yet another fantastic story to hide the truth about her veiled past. And yet, why would she summon a biographer if she was not going to reveal the truth. If she was telling the truth then her past was definitely bizarre. I was loosing any previous attraction for the book.

My perserverence to the finish I owe to other bookbloggers' rave reviews. Thank-you for urging me on. Starting on page 172 the story grabbed me again and held me to the end. I am completely in love with the book and look forward to future works by Setterfield. She infuses words with magic and weaves a puzzling mystery. There were several times I thought I should mark a passage but that would mean getting out of the recliner and finding something to mark the page, so I don't have any to add to this review. In the future I will wish I could read over them.

This is book 3 out of the 5 I've chosen for the Fall RIP Challenge. My copy of 'Neverwhere' by Neil Gaiman came a couple of days ago, so I'll be starting it this evening. **rubbing hands together** Hope the library gets my copy of 'The Golem' in soon. If not, I'm thinking about 'Death in the Garden' from Jenclair's review or 'China Garden', a book from my shelves. Wow! What a smart idea that. I'll just have to see what my penchant is when the time comes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


by Bram Stoker (read September 2006) Rating: 4.5/5
This is a book I don't think I would have ever read without a challenge. Carl's Autumn RIP Challenge was just the impetus I needed. I don't have a vast experience with thrillers, but this one rates right up there with Dean Koontz. There were a couple of slow points, but generally I was turning the pages as fast as I could go. I didn't give it a rating of 5 because I thought the ending was anti-climatic. I'm glad to have read this book and to understand the tale of Dracula and vampires better.

There were several pages midway through where the Professor is talking to John that I took interest in, I think because of my science training. Here's part:
". . . you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear. . . it is the fault of our science to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain." And a few pages past the professor says, "Let not a little bit of truth check the rush of a big truth." And John answers, "Then you want me not to let some previous conviction injure the receptivity of my mind with regard to some strange matter."
Earlier the professor told John, "Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker."

Another quote is one Mina writes in her journal that I think expresses a good reason for keeping a journal. "I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here; it is like whispering to one's self and listening at the same time."

Book two in my list for the RIP challenge!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein)

by Dean Koontz (Read September 2006) Rating 4.5/5
I absolutely love Koont'z fast-paced thrillers. I have been saving his Frankenstein series until all three books were released because I've watched the anquish experienced by my husband and sister in having to wait for book 3. I'd have been successful except for the R.I.P. Challenge. The temptation to add this to my list of 5 eerie tales was too much. If one of the books I have on order doesn't show up by the end of Sep. I will go ahead and read City of Night for the R.I.P. challenge as well.

Dr. Frankenstein has survived into the 21st century, masquerading as biotech tycoon Victor Helios. Helios wants to replace flawed humanity with his New Race, people born and fermented in tanks, their personalities programmed by him, their imperfections removed in the lab. But at least one of his creations has become a serial killer, trying to assemble the perfect woman from parts of many. Deuchalion, Frankenstein's first attempt at creating life, leaves the tranquility of a monastery and moves to New Orleans to help a likeable cop team uncover the mysteries lying behind the bizarre murders.

Koontz weaves together a great modern-day Frankenstein story that keeps you turning the pages. The characters are so well-defined. I love the cops, Carson and Michael, and want to continue reading about them. Also, the autistic teenager created by Helios. I will need to wait until book 2 to learn what will be his fate. And Deuchalion is very likeable. It seems as Dr. Frankenstein (Helios) becomes more bizarre, that Deuchalion becomes more human like.
I really liked this book. I love Koontz. While reading about some of the bizarre characters, I had to ask myself, Why?! Why do I like this stuff? I guess that even though the circumstance of a modern day Frankenstein is highly unlikely, Koontz makes it seem plausible. And the suspense is great. And maybe I'm crazy?! Anyway, it was a perfect R.I.P. Challenge book.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Five Foods You Really Must Try

Lotus Reads tagged me with a fun meme. I posted mine at my other blog, In Season. Come by and visit.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Absence of Nectar

by Kathy Hepinstall (read August 2006) Rating: 3.75/5
This book is one in a three part theme-read I'm doing. My nephew lent me Nectar in a Sieve and I own Nectar from a Stone. It just seemed to me if I was going to read 2 books with the word 'nectar' in the title, then I should round it out and read 3, so I checked out Absence of Nectar from the library. The books themselves are not related in any way except they all contain the word 'nectar' in their titles. Three just seemed to be the satisfying, mystical , correct number if I was going to do a theme read. Two is not enough, four would be okay I guess, but three seems "just right". How's that for logic?

The Absence of Nectar is about a 12-yr-old girl, Alice, and her 14-y-old brother, Boone, who believe their religiously zealous step-father is trying to poison them. Their mother is emotionally weak with a great need for approval from her husband, so she turns a blind eye to her children's plight. To add to the weirdness of their lives, Boone writes letters to a teenage girl committed to a mental hospital for killing her parents.

I enjoyed this book, but don't think it's a must read. I wouldn't mind reading something else by this author.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Imm*rt*l *n D**th

by (someone I'm not going to name because I don't want adds for her books on my site. (read Aug 2006) Rating 2/5
I don't know why I bothered to finish this book! Yes, I do - I'd read reveiws ofher work that encouraged me to keep reading because it was bound to get better. There was too much language and vulgarity and some steamy sex. I like somethings to be hinted at and left up to the imagination. I suspect the mystery was okay, but it was obliterated by waste. I didn't like any of the characters, except for R**rk*, but what is he doing with Detective D*ll*s? Needless to say I won't be reading anymore books by her or any that are published using her pseudonym. Too many quality books to waste time on this trash. I'm not even going to post a picture for this one.