Thursday, July 26, 2012
I enjoyed how the familiar tragic story of Lady Jane Grey was told through two new viewpoints. Lady Jane was not always the nicest person and her parents are not shown to be evil people plotting their own rise through the use of the daughter as is often shown in film and book. As I read the book, I realized that no one was safe in Tudor times. The hero of one moment was the villain of the next and sure to find himself on the chopping block literally. It also seemed to be the case of what goes around comes around. If you plotted the downfall of someone, you should always look behind you as you are probably going to be next!
I’ll admit that I didn’t care for the character of Lady Jane herself, but I did really like Frances Grey and Jane Dudley and felt for them when tragedy struck. It was also interesting to read about the early life of Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth’s love.
Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks – Thank-you!!
How it All Began has an interesting premise. Charlotte Rainsford is mugged on the streets of London and this sets off a chain of events that changes the fates of her daughter and various other random people. I have always believed in fate and how one small choice by someone can have a ripple effect across the lives of many others. It was very interesting to see how this played out in the novel, although I did think it tended to be a bit dry at times. I thought Lively did a great job of bringing the tale full circle.
Charlotte’s daughter, Rose, has to leave her job as a personal assistant to Henry, an elderly Historian, to take care of his mother. Henry’s niece Marion has to take Henry to a conference, and cancels her plans with her boyfriend Jeremy. Jeremy’s wife catches the text and their marriage is in turmoil. Charlotte begins teaching her English language learner Anton at home, and soon married Rose and Anton find they have a spark. Henry’s conference does not go well, and he looks for a different avenue for his research.
The characters were all very unique and interesting. I enjoyed reading about them, but mostly about how their lives were all changed by this one event. This was the July FLICKS Book and Movie Club selection. Sadly I missed the meeting, but I was at my sister’s wedding, which was worth it.
Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library
Thursday, July 12, 2012
I loved Mr. Sinclair, but I must admit that the one let down for this novel for me was his big secret. SPOILER ALERT
For those that love Jane Eyre as I do, you know the big reveal is that Mr. Rochester had a mad wife in the attic which prevented his marriage to Jane. It was a tragic circumstance as he couldn’t divorce Bertha or live with her as a husband. In this book, there is not mad wife in the attic and the big reveal was not nearly as shocking as Bertha and didn’t really make sense to me why Gemma would begin her flight.
On that note, there seems to be a lot of confusion on where to put your posts. The standard had previously been to put your posts on the current month, no matter the author. I’m going to change that to put it on the current month and/or on the month of the author you read. You are allowed to post twice.
On to a very brief biography of Oscar Wilde . . . Oscar Wilde was a late Victorian novelist and playwright. Born in Dublin Ireland, Wilde attended college first at Trinity and then at Oxford. He had a romance with Florence Balcomb, but she married Bram Stoker rather than Wilde. Wilde later married Constance Lloyd in 1884 and together they had two sons. Wilde started in literature by publishing poems and working as a journalist. He later became the editor of The Woman’s World magazine. He wrote The Picture of Dorian Grey in 1890 and his seminal play, The Importance of Being Earnest in 1894. Wilde was tried and convicted for being a homosexual in 1895 and imprisoned. Released in 1897 he left Britain forever for France, where he died of cerebral meningitis in 1900.
If you are interested in writing a guest blog about Oscar Wilde or his works, please send me an email at laarlt78(at)Hotmail(dot)com.
Post your July/Oscar Wilde reviews below in the following format (Laura’s Reviews (The Importance of Being Earnest).
Monday, July 9, 2012
Author: John le Carre
Read by: Michael Jayston
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Length: Approximately 13 hours (10 CDs)
Source: Review Copy from Penguin Audiobooks. Thank-you!
George Smiley is the opposite of James Bond. A “fat old man” as he describes himself, he has been let go from “the Circus,” the highest echelon of the British Secret Intelligence Service. His wife Ann has left him for the latest in her string of lovers. Smiley is not feeling so great about himself until one day; he is brought back to investigate a possible mole at the Circus.
Smiley’s boss “Control” has died after being forced out as head of the Circus after a mission to find a mole in the Circus went horribly awry. Ricki Tarr has returned from a mission to Hong Kong with news that a mole does exist. Tarr and others recruit Smiley as he is a brilliant mind now outside the Circus to solve the case that involves betrayal on all levels.
The novel actually starts with the story of the mysterious Jim Prideaux a crippled teacher at an all boys’ boarding school. His students wonder at his secret past, and for once their musings are true, Prideaux was a spy that was double-crossed. His fate sealed that of Control’s and Smiley’s as well. He was helping to bring down Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy . . . the code names that Control gave to officials within the Circus that he suspected of being double-agents.
I thought this book was masterfully written. It was a bit slow at times, but it all worked with Smiley’s methodical personality. He showed that spying is not always the latest gadgets and hottest women as in the world of James Bond, but sometimes it is the work of painstaking records research and hard hitting interviews. One of my favorite scenes was when a member of the team, Peter Guillam, manages to sneak a secret file out of the circus to take back for Smiley to review. It made me nervous as Guillam was stopped by people going to and fro the file room and you just knew he was going to be captured. My second favorite scene was when Smiley waited barefoot with a gun for the spy to make himself known at a meeting with the Russian informant. He has moments of self-doubt, but he does his duty.
I really liked that through it all, there was a love story between Smiley and Ann. Ann was never “seen” in the novel, but Smiley often thought of her and his friends always asked of her. It was generally known that she carried on affairs, but Smiley seems to have always forgiven her. I really want to know if they end back up together. Will Smiley go to her as he envisioned or will he move on with life? How will he get the Circus back into shape? I can’t wait to listen to the next book to find out.
I thought that Michael Jayston was an excellent narrator and really was the voice of Smiley for me. I always love to listen to a British accent!
I haven’t watched the movie that came out around Christmas or the old 1970’s mini-series, but I feel inspired to watch it now.
Overall, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy is an excellent spy novel set in the 1970’s – at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. I loved the plot and the characters, and can’t wait to read more about them in the next books!
Thank-you to Penguin Audio for allowing me to host this giveway. I will have another audiobook giveway soon so stay tuned for more great audiobooks!!
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Readers of this blog know that I have an addiction to many different types of books, and young adult post-apocalyptic novels are among my favorites. I read a review of Legend by Marie Lu in Entertainment Weekly sometime last year around December or so and I put it on my “must” list of books to read.
The United States has been divided after natural disasters volcanic in nature with the Republic controlling the Western United States and perpetually at war with the Eastern Colonies.
Two different plucky teens have grown up in the this world and dare to challenge it. June is a fifteen year old military protégé with a perfect score at her Trials, and a member of one of the wealthiest districts. When the unthinkable happens to her brother, she sets up to track down the culprit, fifteen year old Day. Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal and grew up in the poorest part of town. Meeting Day and living life in the poor part of town, June starts to realize that the truth has she has been taught by the Republic, is anything but the truth.
Legend is told in first person in alternating chapters by June and Day. I liked this format, although I didn’t like the gold font used in the book for Day. I could have figured out what character I was reading without the font. I really enjoyed this book, it was action packed and good for those, like me that enjoys a young adult post-apocalyptic adventure. Was it as good as the Hunger Games? No, but it was good enough that I will eagerly read the next book when it is published. I would knock it down a star from The Hunger Games as I was able to guess a lot of the action and actually the world reminded me a lot of the evil future government of The Hunger Games or of Matched.
Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library
Interested in this book? Don't miss the great author guestblog by Sarah Healy "On Chick Lit." I know I really enjoyed this novel.
Thank-you to all that entered, to Sarah Healy for the great guestblog, and to Penguin Books for allowing me to review the book, host Sarah Healy, and have this giveaway.
I still have one giveaway of several audiobooks currently ongoing (but ending tomorrow night at midnight). See my right sidebar for more details!
Tonya was chosen using random.org. Thank-you to all that entered the giveaway and left great comments. I loved Sea Change - it was a wonderful book. I hope that you will be able to experience the book as well. I know I'm looking forward to reading more Karen White novels. Thank-you to Penguin Books for allowing me tor review Sea Change and to provide this giveaway.
I still have one giveaway currently ongoing - a June audiobook giveaway that ends at midnight tomorrow night. Check out the right sidebar for more information.