Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Curious Beginning

by Deanna Raybourn

Isn't that a beautiful cover?  I love the coloring.  Need to make a quilt using that color scheme.  The lady walking away piqued my interest - Where is she going?  What is she leaving behind?

I have a couple of books in my library by Deanna Raybourn but I don't believe I've ever read one of her books.  That is about to change.  I will be watching for the next books in this series with anticipation.

I was captured immediately with the character of Veronica Speedwell. She is honest in her feelings and assessment of herself.  She is self-assured in a time when women were supposed to be reliant upon men.  She is intelligent and a keen observer.  I like her a great deal.

Here's the write-up from Ms. Raybourn's beautiful website:
London, 1887.As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to the next installment.  I'm sure that Veronica and Stoker will find mysteries to be solved as they embark on scientific explorations.  

I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pictures of the Past

by Deby Eisenberg

I just about gave up after the first 3 or 4 chapters.  I like books that go back and forth between time periods and/or characters but this one jumped between 3 or more time periods and characters in too close succession.  The fact that it was an unedited ebook probably added to the confusion.  I think the beginning of the book was not the place because it seemed too scrambled.  I need to someplace or character to grab onto.

If this had been a library book I would have returned it unread.  Being it was a free galley I felt like I should give it harder try.  It did get better the further in I got.  And I actually liked it.  The characters were likable and it came together in the end.

I had never heard about the ships that carried the Jews to America but were not permitted to land and had to turn back to Europe.  It was heartbreaking.  And to learn of the propaganda that Hitler had sent on to America and Cuba before the ships sailed to slant their feelings towards the Jews was an interesting part of the book. 

Overall a good book that could have been better.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Two Across

by Jeff Bartsch

This book read like a movie playing in my mind.  It's going to make a great chic flick with all the near misses of the main characters realizing their feelings for each other.

I like a story that isn't a retold variation of an oft repeated theme. Example in point - all the vampire novels floating around.  This is a love story (and I realize those have been around forever) but the setting is new and interesting.

Stanley and Vera first meet at a National Spelling Bee.  They are both precocious and awkward teens.  They meet a few times over the years but still the sparks don't fly.  Stanley's mom has  strong feelings about his future which includes an Harvard education and then a life in politics.  Vera's mom allows more leeway for Vera but there are still plans for an Ivy League school and a math professor.

As high school comes to an end Stanley hatches a plan to bring in some money that he can live without working for awhile and not have to attend school.  He has become sick of studying and determines that he wants no more of it.  So Stanley and Vera pull of a fake marriage.  Quite ingenious, actually but definitely fraudulent.  They never live as husband and wife but they go off to college, supposedly together, to continue the rues.

Stanley does what he loves which is writing crossword puzzles.  Vera starts to realize that she is in love with Stanley and, of course, Stanley has no clue.  Over the years they go their separate ways but discover that they can communicate through their crossword puzzles.  Vera is actually better than Stanley but she's not obsessed with the puzzles like he is.  She uses them solely to get in touch with Stanley.

I really liked this story although it made me sad at times.  If you read it, and I hope you will, don't be surprised when you get hit with the desire to create, or at least do, a crossword puzzle.  

The Complete Francis of Assisi

I've read quotes by Francis of Assissi and heard bits and pieces about his life and philosophy but didn't really know that much about him.  I knew he was a "friend " to the animals but didn't know he despised education.

This lovely book includes a a biography of Francis and a collection of many of his writings.  It's always interesting to me when someone changes their life in drastic ways as did Francis.  I admire the ability to totally leave the old comforts behind and the continued adherence to a more austere life.  I wonder if I would have the strength to do that.  Lucky for me I don't believe the Lord requires that of me.

I downloaded this collection onto my phone so that if I'm waiting somewhere I can reread some of Francis's writings to his followers.