The Printed Page
Here is the bounty in books I received/purchased over the past week!
Raucous Royals from Enchanted by Josephine
This entertaining collective biography looks at rumors about a dozen royal figures and presents evidence of each tale’s truth or falsehood. The discussion begins with Prince Dracula (a real vampire?) and Richard III (a hunchback? murdered his nephews?), spotlights five colorful Tudors, then moves on to six later figures, including Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”?) and Catherine the Great (crushed by her horse?). Noting the invention of the printing press in 1440, Beccia draws an intriguing connection between today’s rumor-filled tabloids and fifteenth-century pamphlets smearing Vlad Dracula (aka Vlad the Impaler). Nicely designed and fully illustrated with caricatured digital images sometimes inspired by period portraits, the book looks inviting and the lively text is consistently entertaining. The final section suggests how students can research historical rumors. A bibliography and a few source notes are appended. Though other history books have more substance, choose this one to engage readers in critical thinking about the “facts.” Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan (from Booklist via Amazon)
The Burton Review
In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family's past and remake history.
The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty's royal family - all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl's deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh's aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.
Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family's history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.
Sweeping in scope and meticulous in detail, The Heretic Queen is a novel of passion and power, heartbreak and redemption. (from Fantastic Fiction)
Bookin' with Bingo
Look into the lace... When the eyes begin to fill with tears and the patience is long exhausted, there will appear a glimpse of something not quite seen... In this moment, an image will begin to form... in the space between what is real and what is only imagined. Can you read your future in a piece of lace? All of the Whitney women can. But the last time Towner read, it killed her sister and nearly robbed Towner of her own sanity. Vowing never to read lace again, her resolve is tested when faced with the mysterious, unsolvable disappearance of her beloved Great Aunt Eva, Salem s original Lace Reader. Told from opposing and often unreliable perspectives, the story engages the reader s own beliefs. Should we listen to Towner, who may be losing her mind for the second time? Or should we believe John Rafferty, a no nonsense New York detective, who ran away from the city to a simpler place only to find himself inextricably involved in a psychic tug of war with all three generations of Whitney women? Does either have the whole story? Or does the truth lie somewhere in the swirling pattern of the lace? (from Fantastic Fiction)
A neo-primitive cult, possessing secret government documents filled with terrifying information about global warming, kidnaps a famous fashion model and holds her hostage, forcing her to act as their spokesperson. As time runs out, her estranged daughter allies with a dangerous activist group to rescue her, while battling dark agendas from the government and Big Oil. (from Amazon)
Soul Catcher from Bell Bridge Books (bound galley from BBAW giveaway)
From the gothic eccentricity of Asheville, North Carolina to the terrifying recesses of the Appalachian wilderness, from modern demonology to ancient Cherokee mythology, SOUL CATCHER follows the tormented journey of folk artist Livia Belane, who has been stalked through many lives by a sadistic and vengeful demon.
Livia and her loved ones, including her frontier-era soulmate and husband, Ian, a Soul Hunter, have never beaten the demon before. Now, in this life, he s found them again. (from Amazon)
In The Mail:
-For review...Creeping Shadows from author Brandon Ford
FROM THE PUBLISHER OF SINISTER LANDSCAPES COMES THREE TERRIFYING NOVELLAS Monsters come in many shapes and sizes-from the creature in the shadows to the darkness of the human mind. Join three cutting edge authors as they weave fables of mayhem and murder. ALAN DRAVEN'S VENGEANCE IS MINE London, 1888. Jack the Ripper leaves a trail of mutilated bodies as he terrorizes the district of Whitechapel and baffles the authorities. From beyond death, one of his victims returns to haunt him and shows him the meaning of living in fear. BRANDON FORD'S MERCILESS Kidnapped by a madman, two teenage girls form an instant bond in the back of a speeding SUV. Bound and gagged, they face a night of unspeakable horrors. Inspired by a true story, Merciless is a tale of murder, madness, and survival. JESSICA LYNNE GARDNER'S SUGAR SKULL After the strange murder of her father, Annabel Perez must discover her family's secret to solve an ancient Aztec curse and stop the mass killings. A sinister Mexican sugar skull found in her father's old cigar box might just be the answer-or the means to her death. (from Amazon)
Bestselling diva Michelle McKinney Hammond dishes on her tips for making the most of every day in this sassy "owner's guide" to living the life you want.
Are circumstances of life pushing you around? Are you tired of feeling like a victim? It's time to stand up and live large! In this hands-on owners guide to life, Michelle McKinney Hammond teaches you to take a deep breath, stand tall, and take charge of your situation. Taking a look at readers' innate gifts, Michelle studies the clues to finding our purpose, nurturing our spirits, minds, and bodies, and establishing balance in our many different relationships. Through it all, Michelle gives us a refreshing picture of what life is supposed to look like according to the Manufacturer's design. HOW TO MAKE LIFE WORK includes a fun, high-design interior that makes it a breezy, playful read. (from Amazon)
List of books I purchased at a used book sale during their bag sale...ALL for $5.00!!!
"Powers of the air, be here now. So mote it be."
Nell is a wild child. Conceived on May Morning, she is claimed by the piskies and faeries as a merrybegot, one of their own. She is the village cunning woman's granddaughter: herb gatherer and healer, spell-weaver and midwife...and, some say, a witch.
Grace is a Puritan minister's daughter: beautiful and refined, innocent and sweet-natured...to those who think they know her. But she is hiding a secret -- a secret that will bring everlasting shame to her family should it ever come to light.
A merrybegot and minister's daughter -- two girls who could not have less in common. Yet their fates collide when Grace and her younger sister, Patience, are suddenly spitting pins, struck with fits, and speaking in fevered tongues. The minister is convinced his daughters are the victims of witchcraft. And all signs point to Nell as the source of the trouble.... (from Amazon.com)
A Southern Exposure by Alice Adams
It is 1939, a brief, hopeful moment between the Depression and war. The Baird family--Harry, Cynthia, and their precocious daughter Abby--have escaped the burdens of their Connecticut life to salvage themselves in the sleepy southern town of Pinehill, North Carolina. But the Bairds soon discover that their new home is not quite as idyllic as it seemed up north. And while the family's fondest desire is to be enveloped by the timeless town and its eccentric characters, clouds of war loom darkly, suggesting the possibility of change. But who among them will change, and in what startling ways, remains to be seen. . . . (from Amazon.com)
The Glimpse of the Moon by Edith Wharton
In 1922, two years after winning the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton wrote a novel that was acclaimed by The New York Times and quickly became an international bestseller. Out of print for decades, The Glimpses of the Moon details the romantic misadventures of a 1920's couple with the right connections but no money. (from fantastic fiction)
The Book of Sorrows by Walter Wangerin Jr.
This moving allegory of the Christian life is one of the best Christian fantasies to be found anywhere. It is a sequel to the award-winning "The Book of the Dun Cow".
Walter Wangerin Jr. first came to prominence as the award-winning author of The Book of the Dun Cow. He has since won many other awards and honors for his books, including the best-selling Book of God. Wangerin holds the Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he is writer-in-residence. (from Amazon)
The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff
Baird Colleges Mendenhall echoes with the footsteps of students heading home for Thanksgiving break, and Robin Stone, who wont be going home, swears she can feel the creepy, hundred-year-old residence hall breathe a sigh of relief for its long-awaited solitude. As a massive storm approaches, four other lonely students reveal themselves to Robin: Patrick, a handsome jock; Lisa, a manipulative tease; Cain, a brooding musician; and Martin, a scholarly eccentric. Each has forsaken a long weekend at home for their own secret reasons. The five unlikely companions establish a tentative rapport, but they soon become aware of another presence disturbing the buildings ominous silence. Are they the victims of an elaborate prank, or is the energy evidence of something genuinesomething intent on using them for its own terrifying ends? Together, theyll face three long days and dark nights before the world returns to find out whats become of five students nobody wants and no one will miss. (from Fantastic Fiction)
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (Hardcover Ed. to replace my trade PB)
(note: it has since been determined by the publisher and author that this work is not entirely non-fiction)
Intense, unpredictable, and instantly engaging, A Million Little Pieces is a story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation as it has never been told before. Recounted in visceral, kinetic prose, and crafted with a forthrightness that rejects piety, cynicism, and self-pity, it brings us face-to-face with a provocative new understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery.
By the time he entered a drug and alcohol treatment facility, James Frey had taken his addictions to near-deadly extremes. He had so thoroughly ravaged his body that the facilityís doctors were shocked he was still alive. The ensuing torments of detoxification and withdrawal, and the never-ending urge to use chemicals, are captured with a vitality and directness that recalls the seminal eye-opening power of William Burroughsís Junky.
But A Million Little Pieces refuses to fit any mold of drug literature. Inside the clinic, James is surrounded by patients as troubled as he is -- including a judge, a mobster, a one-time world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute to whom he is not allowed to speak ó but their friendship and advice strikes James as stronger and truer than the clinicís droning dogma of How to Recover. James refuses to consider himself a victim of anything but his own bad decisions, and insists on accepting sole accountability for the person he has been and the person he may become--which runs directly counter to his counselors' recipes for recovery.
James has to fight to find his own way to confront the consequences of the life he has lived so far, and to determine what future, if any, he holds. It is this fight, told with the charismatic energy and power of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, that is at the heart of A Million Little Pieces: the fight between one young manís will and the ever-tempting chemical trip to oblivion, the fight to survive on his own terms, for reasons close to his own heart. (from Fantastic Fiction except note)
Lambrusco by Ellen Cooney
The extraordinary Resistance movement of the Italian people in the Second World War is brought to life in a captivating, deeply moving story of a mother's search for her son, by the author of the widely acclaimed A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies.
The year is 1943. Nazis have invaded Italy; American troops have landed. At Aldo's restaurant on the Adriatic coast, Lucia Fantini, wife of the late Aldo, entertained customers for years with her marvelous opera singing, but normal operations have ceased; the restaurant has been seized by nazifascisti, and a resistance squad of waiters and tradesmen has been formed, led by Lucia's son Beppino. When he disappears after acting on his own to destroy a German truck, Lucia asks, 'What kind of a partisan are you, blowing something up without telling your mother?' and sets off to look for him.
Lucia is aided in her efforts by a richly drawn cast of characters, including Annmarie Malone, the American Army Intelligence officer who's a professional golfer back home; Tito Roncuzzi, the butcher who taught neighborhood dogs to pee on Fascists' boots, Etto Renzetti, the factory owner who scoffs at Dante, and Ugo Fantini, Aldo's physician cousin, who has reasons of his own for wanting to be near Lucia.
Lucia's journey across a war-devastated Italy is operatic in its scope and intensity. Ellen Cooney has drawn on her heritage as a third-generation Italian-American to invoke not only a country in crisis but also its literature, its moods, and, most of all, its music. This is a tale told with lyrical grace and an effervescent comic spirit to match the wine that nourishes them all--Lambrusco. (from Fantastic Fiction)
The Bonfire of the Vanities is a masterpiece, a riotous, exuberant and passionate epic that captures the greed and corruption of eighties New York and examines it under the microscope of Wolfe's famed satiric wit. Sherman McCoy, Wall Street wunderkind, seems to have it all; a salary like a telephone number, a home on Park Avenue, a beautiful wife and child, a mistress, a Mercedes. He is a Master of the Universel But then he gets lost one dark night in the Bronx, and his mercedes hits something. That something turns out to be Henry Lamb, a young black man who is now in a coma; for Sherman meanwhile, everything is about to unravel so fast he will hardly have time to change his thousand dollar suit... (from Fantastic Fiction)
Upon a Midnight Clear-Collection of Holiday Stories by Jude Deveraux, Linda Howard and others
In a collection of holiday romances by contributors Jude Deveraux, Linda Howard, Margaret Allison, Stef Ann Holm, and Mariah Stewart, love is found in early America, at a berry-picking contest, and in the middle of a snowstorm. (from Fantastic Fiction)
So what did you get that was divine this past week?