Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reading Journal ... Wednesday, 4/30/08

Takeover by Lisa Black, page 60 (no cover image available)

This is a book I received through Early Reviewers at Librarything. It's a debut suspense novel due out in August of this year. So far, so good. She steps right into story and doesn't waste any time before the action starts. If it continues at this pace I'd be willing to read future work by the new author.

I joined a yahoo book group that reads the 1st book in a different cozy mystery series every month. As there are so many cozies out there choose from this takes all the decision making out of my hands and I get an excuse to get a new book every month. I know I wasn't going to buy any more books because I want a Kindle but I'm going through withdrawal. The group link is: Cozyfirstmysteries.

I've spent all day catching up on both blogs. I didn't realize how far I was behind until I started this morning. Now that To Be Continued... is updated it should just be maintenance and not consume as much time. There were things I wanted to do but couldn't with the hours I've been working. It's not only cut into my blog time but definitely cut down on my reading. It's been interesting to start a blog dedicated to a perpetual series reading challenge. It's a bit like re-inventing the wheel as so many other readers have their own series links from their regular blogs but over time I think it will take on a life of it's own. If it doesn't then it will become my own series blog and that's fine too. Actually that's kind of what it has turned out to be right now.

My goal was to read, read, read on these days off I finally have but life gets in the way again. Now it's TV so the DVR doesn't blow up from overload. I guess the books will always be there but the shows won't if the DVR starts deleting to make room for new ones. Having 15+ season passes for a dedicated book reader is way too many.

Predatory Game by Christine Feehan

Predatory Game by Christine Feehan
GhostWalkers #6

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reading Journal ... Sunday, 4/27/08

Predatory Game, page 67

This the only paranormal style series that I read. This isn't my usual genre but I've enjoyed this series because it's grounded in reality with the paranormal mixed in as traits that could be possible in humans today. This series is heavy with sexual content so that might turn off some readers.

Just when I thought I was back on track to reading and writing work got in the way this past week. I'm not making as much progress as I usually do in a month but overall April hasn't been as bad as I thought it might be. I'm on my 5th book this month and moderately respectable 2,000+ pages.

I've finished both my books for Early Reviewers at Librarything and owe my thoughts on each. One fiction and one non-fiction. Franklin and Lucy is a look at the personal relationship of the Roosevelt's and the women in Franklin Roosevelt's orbit. The Venetian Mask is set in Venice in late 1700s and is based on the vendetta between 2 families.

I've been able to make some minor updates to my perpetual reading challenge blog, To Be Continued. I hope to get some more work done on this blog later this week.

The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker

At the Ospedale della Petia, a music school for orphaned girls in Venice, Marietta Fontana and Elena Baccini meet and become like sisters to each other. As they leave their impoverished childhoods behind, their bond grows more complicated - Elena marries a scion of the powerful Celano family, while Marietta weds a wealthy widower who is the sworn enemy of the Celanos. When Elena secretly bears a child, then quickly gives it up to be raised by Marietta, a chain of events is set off that will test the true strength of their friendship and threaten every bit of security each woman has worked so hard to gain.

Overall I enjoyed this book but didn't find anything to set it apart from the wealth of historical fiction on the market today. The story line and the descriptions of the place (Venice) and time (late 1700s) were the things that kept my interest in this book. The writing could have been more polished and cleaned up considering this is a repackaged book originally released in 1993.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Franklin and Lucy by Joseph E. Persico

While Franklin Roosevelt's official circle was predominantly male, it was FDR's relationships with women - in particular with Lucy Rutherfurd - that best reveal the human being beneath this towering statesman. In Franklin and Lucy, Joseph E. Persico explores FDR's long-term romance with Lucy. Persico's provocative conclusions about the relationship are informed by a revealing range of sources, including never-before-published letters and documents from Lucy Rutherfurd's estate that attest to the unrecognized scope of the affair. Persico also takes a meaningful look at the other women in Roosevelt's life, including his wife, Eleanor; his "surrogate spouse," Missy LeHand; and the obscure Margaret "Daisy" Suckley, his close confidante. In focusing on Lucy Rutherfurd and the other women who mattered in Roosevelt's life, Joseph Persico paints a more intimate portrait than we have heretofore had of this enigmatic giant of American history.

Not knowing more about the Roosevelts than both are great figures in American history I found this book interesting and very readable. It gives readers an inside look at the relationship between Franklin and Eleanor and how with it many twists and turns it allowed them each to become the great leaders they were. Their relationship, overall, appears to be one of two very strong minded individuals who came together not out of love but out of mutual respect and forged a relationship that allowed them to move beyond the confines of the traditional, conventional relationship of their time.

While a book of this type, is to some degree, based on conjecture as we weren't there and intimately involved with the subjects this isn't a gossipy tell all. The author has incorporated many well researched sources from family members to personal confidantes. It's a well written, fact-based biography citing conversations, journal entries, memoirs and letters between Franklin and Eleanor and their close circle.

Reading Journal ... Sunday, 4/20/08

The Venetian Mask, page 51

I'm reading this for Early Reviewers at Librarything though I have to admit it really shouldn't be considered an Early Reviewers book when it was originally published in 1993! I just finished Franklin and Lucy, also for Early Reviewers at Librarything. I've had so little time to read with working double shifts at work that I've only managed 2 books in April. That's a disgrace for me but it can't be helped when one works 70 hour weeks.

I jumped in both feet first today and decided to host a perpetual reading challenge for series lovers. It's called To Be Continued... and can be found at This is a 1st for me so we'll see how it goes.

I canceled my f2f book club this month. I'm so overwhelmed and busy. Besides, it doesn't make much sense to meet when the host hasn't even read the book! Oh well life should be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith

The two brothers circled each other cautiously, both heads covered in chain mail with bucklers on their left arms. Their swords glinted in the morning sun, and their armor clanked as they moved. Clarence suddenly charged and attempted to strike the first blow, but Richard's sword went up and parried it neatly. Clarence was stepping back to regain his footing when Richard sprang forward and delivered a thrust that caught Clarence's shield with a loud clang. Clarence laughed affably. "Nicely done, Dickon. I see you are no longer just my little brother, but I believe I must teach you a lesson." ~ A Rose for the Crown, page 322 ~

As Kate Haute moves from her peasant roots to the luxurious palaces of England, her path is inextricably intertwined with that of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III. Although they could never marry, their young passion grows into a love that sustains them through war, personal tragedy, and the dangerous heights of political triumph.

This was a new-to-me author the book cover and title having caught my eye while browsing in Target one day. It was a enjoyable story though maybe a bit long at 632 pages. The author does a credible job of bringing to life the complex story of Richard III and the mystery woman who bore him 3 bastards. Her name and story do not appear anywhere in archives yet the author takes what little is recorded and creates her lead character, Kate Haute. The story spans Kate's childhood, starting at age 9, up to Richard's death approximately 32 years later. The author spent many years researching her work and it shows in the writing style. The story is very descriptive of time and place. I would recommend this book to those who like reading historical fiction.

The Appeal by John Grisham

At 11:00am, Tony moved the show south to McComb, the eleventh-largest city in the district. (Brookhaven ranked fourteenth with a population of 10,800.) Traveling in a newly leased Chevrolet Suburban, with a volunteer named Guy at the wheel, with his new but already indispensable first assistant, Monte, in the front seat and on the phone, and with Doreen sitting by his side on the rather spacious middle bench of the SUV, Ron Fisk smiled smugly at the countryside flying by him. It was a moment to be savored. His first foray into politics, and in such grand style. All those supporters, their enthusiasm, the press and the cameras, the heady challenge of the job ahead, the thrill of winning, all in just the first two hours of the campaign. The strong rush of adrenaline was only a sample of what was coming. He imagined a great victory in November. He could see himself springing from the mundane anonymity of a small-town law practice to the prestige of the supreme court. It all lay before him. ~ The Appeal, page 199 ~

The latest from John Grisham is all about buying the election of a supreme court justice. In this case big business throws huge dollar amounts around, they pick a unknown candidate to put up against an unsuspecting sitting supreme court justice, they spread lots misleading campaign information at the general public all in an attempt to buy themselves a verdict. This isn't a book full of fast paced action, there aren't any chase scenes, no big bad guys in black brandishing guns. This is a thinking book. It's about everyday people, you and me, doing something we know is right and hoping and praying that those we've elected, in the end, will also do the right thing.

While many have complained that Mr. Grisham writes for the masses and his work is formalistic I still enjoy his books. He never fails to entertain me and, really, bottom line that's what it's all about. He writes about the relevant topics of the day, brings them into our lives and lays them at our feet. I enjoyed it and I''m looking forward to his next book.