Saturday, July 31, 2010

Discussion Questions for The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

1. Women's friendships are central to The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Discuss the shifting alliances, confidences, and conflicts among Bernie, Kate, Aileen, Oona, Moira, and Colleen. Who is a good friend? Why?

2. Lace making has a major role in the novel. What role does the craft take in the women's lives? How does it shape them? Change them?

3. Many small towns experience a tension between the modern world and tradition values. How does this dynamic affect Glenmara?

4. What are the characters' attitudes toward faith and religion? How is Catholicism treated in the novel?

5. To what extent is Father Byrne a villain? Is it possible to sympathize with the motivations and feelings behind his actions?

6. How does Kate's personal history affect her life and the choices she makes in Glenmara?

7. Sibling relationships can be difficult. Discuss what binds Aileen and Moira together, and what drives them apart. How does their relationship change over the course of the novel?

8. What is at the root of the conflicts between Aileen and her daughter, Rosheen? Do they see each other differently by the end of the book? Why?

9. The Lace Makers of Glenmara has a rich cast of minor characters. How do they contribute to the texture of the novel?

10. A spectrum of romantic relationships are portrayed in the book. What keeps Moira in her marriage? What strains and joys are present in the other women's relationships? Who has the best marriage?

11. Who is the happiest character in the novel? The most discontented? Why?

12. What do you imagine happens next between Kate and Sullivan?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Linger" by Maggie Stiefvater [4]

Their eyes, human eyes in wolf skulls,
remind me of water: the clear blue of
water reflecting the spring sky, the brown
of a brook churning with rainfall, the
green of the lake in summer as the algae
begins to bloom, the grey of a snow-choked
river. It used to be only Sam's yellow eyes
that watched me from between the rain-
soaked birches, but now, I feel the weight
of the entire pack's gaze. The weight of
things known, things unsaid.

We last left Sam and Grace facing a possible future together .... Sam has a cure for the werewolf disease and now has too reckon with his werewolf past and Grace is still facing the fear that perhaps it won't last and to make the most of now.
Into the picture comes a new wolf named Cole and he has hurts and issues to deal with in his life, but he wants to become a wolf permanently, to forget any ties he might have had to his human life.
Isabel is still feeling guilty over her brother's death and is struggling to cope with her family life as well as keep the secret of the werewolves. As all their worlds fall apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

I have been absolutely dying to read this next installment to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series...
For those of you that have read my previous review for "Shiver" you might have noticed that my rating was a lot higher ... While I did enjoy reading 'Linger' I just found that this novel had twinges of "Twilight" to it ... what do I mean, well I just started to feel like Grace was becoming moody and winy like Bella from Twilight ... but when I finished the book it all made sense so try and bare with it if you hated that from Twilight. I still love the way that the author has written each chapter or paragraph from who's ever perspective it is coming from. The introduction of a new wolf has some mystery surrounding it and he will probably play a big part in the finally novel "Forever". To me this one wasn't quite as good as the first, but I do look forward to seeing how this series will be finished off. July of 2011 is the release date of "Forever".

I rate this book 4 stars.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jekel loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey (31/2)

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

I purchased this because: Really like the cover and the storyline sounded fascinating ..

Opening Lines: I buried my father the day after my seventeenth birthday. Even the sun was cruel that morning, an obscenely bright but cold January day. The snow that smothered the cemetery glared harshly white, blinding those mourners who couldn't squeeze under the tent that covered Dad's open grave.

I am in two minds about this book .... At the beginning I found that I couldn't stop reading it and didn't want it to end ... And then about 2/3's in I felt it went off base somehow and got really dark with the storyline and Language .... Then it redeemed itself in the end .........

I love how the author based the story around Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde ... It was very cleverly done and you did feel the sinister edge to the story ..... So much so that I really did want to pick up the original book of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' ... You did feel the torment of Tristen Hyde's character which was great but I think for me at one point it did go to far ... I loved the way that each chapter was told from either Jill's or Tristen's view point ... So you are getting a complete picture of how each of the main characters are feeling ...

This book is definitely a older adult theme .... As it touches on adult themes such as violence and suicide ... But as a romance book it is one of those books that even thought they are wrong for each other they are destined to be together .... Will the good girl Jill win the heart of bad boy Tristen ... And will Tristen be able to save and keep Jill out of trouble ...

Favourite lines from the book: 'What I felt holding Jill was almost like surrender. The cutting away of a barrier that I'd put up years ago. A wall that I needed to maintain.' Pg 84

'It's interesting to me' I said with a shrug. ' I like to think about how we can control the smallest things in the universe and get reactions or make new substances.' Pg 88

'Don't try to get revenge,' he cautioned. 'Adding violence to violence .... it's never a good idea.' Pg182

Like I said this book is akinda of a mixed bag for me ....... I loved the concept but felt that it verged off the path for me in some parts which is a shame ...... I would definitely read more of Beth's works .....

I rate this book 31/2 ***

Other books by Beth Fantaskey
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side ( if your a fan of this book you will be interested to go to Beth's site and read the continuation of this story ..... Click here

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

I could hardly grasp the idea of being imprisoned between life and death for thirty years. Everyone he knew would have aged. Many would have died.

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore Pg 67

"To Defy a King" by Elizabeth Chadwick [4 1/2]

The privileged daughter of one of the most powerful men in England, Mahelt Marshal's life changes dramatically when her father is suspected of treachery by King John. Her brothers become hostages and Mahelt is married to Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk. Adapting to her new life is hard, but Mahelt comes to love Hugh deeply; however, defying her father-in-law brings disgrace and heartbreak.
When King John sets out to subdue the Bigods, Mahelt faces a heartbreaking battle, fearing neither she, nor her marriage, is likely to survive the outcome ...

First a warning ... this is not a quick read, with just over 500 pages it is one of those novels for when you have plenty of time to read.

This is an amazingly detailed story based on history from England, set in a time when power and greed mean survival of the fittest. King John is one of the most ruthless rulers of his time and the noble barons as well as the ordinary people have had enough, but to depose a King is not a small feat. William Marshal is an extraordinary man who uses his wit and intelligence to bring this tyrant King to his downfall. This story is about his eldest daughter Mahelt and her struggle to find her place in this world, she is sent to the Bigod household as an engaged child of 13 and there learns the ways of what a wife is supposed to do.

This is a stand alone novel on it's own but Chadwick has also written previous novels about William Marshal and also Roger Bigod so those of you who have read some of her other novels will be able to recognized some of the people mentioned in this one. The author's note at the end of the book is worth reading as it gives you factual detail of events mentioned through the novel.
This book is amazing in it's detail, and the characters just leap off the page, the background information entices you into this medieval way of life and before you realize it you think your living it. Totally enjoyed reading this novel.

I rate this book 4 1/2 stars.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Discussion Questions for Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

  1. What character has the most to learn during the course of this novel? Why?
  2. In what ways does immersing herself in Amish culture alter Ellie's perception of the case? Of Katie?
  3. Does the American legal system have the right to govern a group that lives separate from American society?
  4. To what extent is Katie responsible for what happens to the infant?
  5. What role does Hannah's ghost play in forming Katie's actions? Sarah's?
  6. Jacob Fisher and Leda are two characters who bridge diverse worlds in this novel. Are they successful? Explain.
  7. Do the actions of the men in this book aid or detract from the growth of the female characters? Explain.
  8. Was Aaron Fisher justified in cutting Jacob out of the family?
  9. The Amish base much on the concept of Gelassenheit, or humility, and putting others before yourself. What examples support this? In what places in the book does this not happen, and how does it affect the society?
  10. Forgiveness is a basic tenet in the Amish faith. Which Amish character in this book forgives the most? Who is the most unyielding?
  11. What about the Amish culture is similar to “English” culture? What is the most different?
  12. Is the verdict a fair one, in your opinion?
  13. Why would an Amish person accept a punishment without having committed a crime?
  14. What do you think would have happened if the baby had lived?
  15. In your opinion, what occurs after the last page is turned-- to the Fishers, to Katie, to Ellie?
  16. What do you think Ellie will do with the information she learns from Sarah at the end of the book?
  17. Why do we care so much about Katie Fisher? How does her specific situation come to touch upon universal issues like community estrangement and forbidden love?
  18. What kind of a man is Aaron Fisher? As you were reading, what were your reactions to his choices? If you had to, could you make a case for defending his code of life, his propensity to put the community above the individual?
  19. "You know how a mother would do anything, if it meant saving her child,"Sarah tells Ellie. And earlier on, referring to her ability to butcher chickens with remorse, Sarah says to Ellie, "I do what I have to do. You of all people should understand."What is Picoult up to here? Why should Ellie in particular understand this?
  20. "We all have things that come back to haunt us,"Adam Sinclair tells Katie at one point. "Some of us just see them more clearly than others."Discuss the ways in which the ghosts of the past come to haunt the present action in PLAIN TRUTH. Of all the book's characters, who comes to "see"things most clearly? Ellie? Jacob? Sarah? Explain.
  21. What kind of future do you see for Ellie and Coop? For Katie and Samuel? Jacob and his Plain heritage?
  22. Discuss the significance behind the title. Is "Plain Truth"a different sort of truth than "plain truth"?

Discussion Questions for Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

1. Gilbert writes that “the appreciation of pleasure can be the anchor of humanity,” making the argument that America is “an entertainment-seeking nation, not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one.” Is this a fair assessment?

2. After imagining a petition to God for divorce, an exhausted Gilbert answers her phone to news that her husband has finally signed. During a moment of quietude before a Roman fountain, she opens her Louise Glück collection to a verse about a fountain, one reminiscent of the Balinese medicine man’s drawing. After struggling to master a 182-verse daily prayer, she succeeds by focusing on her nephew, who suddenly is free from nightmares. Do these incidents of fortuitous timing signal fate? Cosmic unity? Coincidence?

3. Gilbert hashes out internal debates in a notebook, a place where she can argue with her inner demons and remind herself about the constancy of self-love. When an inner monologue becomes a literal conversation between a divided self, is this a sign of last resort or of self-reliance?

4. When Gilbert finally returns to Bali and seeks out the medicine man who foretold her return to study with him, he doesn’t recognize her. Despite her despair, she persists in her attempts to spark his memory, eventually succeeding. How much of the success of Gilbert’s journey do you attribute to persistence?

5. Prayer and meditation are both things that can be learned and, importantly, improved. In India, Gilbert learns a stoic, ascetic meditation technique. In Bali, she learns an approach based on smiling. Do you think the two can be synergistic? Or is Ketut Liyer right when he describes them as “same-same”?

6. Gender roles come up repeatedly in Eat, Pray, Love, be it macho Italian men eating cream puffs after a home team’s soccer loss, or a young Indian’s disdain for the marriage she will be expected to embark upon at age eighteen, or the Balinese healer’s sly approach to male impotence in a society where women are assumed responsible for their childlessness. How relevant is Gilbert’s gender?

7. In what ways is spiritual success similar to other forms of success? How is it different? Can they be so fundamentally different that they’re not comparable?

8. Do you think people are more open to new experiences when they travel? And why?

9. Abstinence in Italy seems extreme, but necessary, for a woman who has repeatedly moved from one man’s arms to another’s. After all, it’s only after Gilbert has found herself that she can share herself fully in love. What does this say about her earlier relationships?

10. Gilbert mentions her ease at making friends, regardless of where she is. At one point at the ashram, she realizes that she is too sociable and decides to embark on a period of silence, to become the Quiet Girl in the Back of the Temple. It is just after making this decision that she is assigned the role of ashram key hostess. What does this say about honing one’s nature rather than trying to escape it? Do you think perceived faults can be transformed into strengths rather than merely repressed?

11. Sitting in an outdoor café in Rome, Gilbert’s friend declares that every city --- and every person --- has a word. Rome’s is “sex,” the Vatican’s “power”; Gilbert declares New York’s to be “achieve,” but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for “one who lives at the border.” What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains its truth for a lifetime?

Thanks to the Reading Group for the questions

Discussion Questions for A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

1. How does Landon's mother play the role of both mother and father? Is her influence enough to make up for his father's absence? Conversely, how does Hegbert play the role of both mother and father? Do you think Hegbert should have remarried when Jamie was younger? Would Jamie have become a different person if he had?

2. Jamie accepts Landon's offer to attend the homecoming dance, and while there, she helps him not only get out of a fight, but cleans up Angela, making for a less than perfect evening. Would Landon have come to love Jamie if the "date" had been nicer? Would Jamie have asked him to be in the Christmas play?

3. Christianity plays a large role in both Jamie and Hegbert's lives. Which one seems to lead more of a Christian life? Should Jamie have been more outspoken about her faith? Was the fact that she didn't tell Landon about her sickness a "sin of omission?"

4. Why did Landon feel both a kinship and a rivalry with Eric? What was it about them that gave them such a special bond?

5. What are the major themes of the novel? How are they related?

6. For a long period, Landon refuses to admit to himself that he might like Jamie. Why does he refuse to admit this -- because of his friends or because of his own fears? Why, if he truly feels this, why does he often act in just the opposite way? When he says he loves her for the very first time, does he? How does his love change as the novel progresses?

7. At the end of the novel, Landon asks Jamie to marry him. Was he acting more to fulfill Jamie's wish than for himself? What does this say about Landon? What does it say about Jamie that she said 'yes'?

8. The Christmas Play was written by Hegbert to symbolize his belief that there was a period where he wasn't a good father, but he redeemed himself through the help of faith. What role does redemption play in the novel and how does faith play into that? How is Landon redeemed? Is Jamie redeemed?

9. What is the significance of the cemetery in the novel? How does that play into the major themes of the novel, faith and redemption?

10. The ending of the novel is purposely ambiguous. What did it mean to you and why? Should the ending have been spelled out more clearly? If you believe Jamie lived, what does that say about the story and themes? If you believe she died, what does that say? How do they differ?

11. How did the orphanage affect the relationship between Jamie and Landon?

Discussion Questions for The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

1. Why does Philippa Gregory choose Mary to narrate the story? Keeping in mind the relationship between the observer and those observed, is Mary a good, trustworthy, narrator? As Mary ages, how is her loss of innocence reflected in her telling of the story?

2. Look at the exchange between Mary and her mother at the end of the first chapter. How does the author foreshadow what is to come? How do the events of the first chapter frame the entire story?

3. Discuss the Boleyn family's scheming and jockeying for favor in the court. In light of these politics, discuss the significance of Mary's explanation that she had "a talent for loving [the king]" (page 119). Is this simply a girl's fantasy? Why does Mary call herself and George "a pair of pleasant snakes" (page 131)?

4. On page 29, Mary professes her love and admiration for Queen Katherine and feels she can't betray her. In what ways are her honorable ideals compromised as she embarks on her adulterous affair with the king? Recount the whirlwind of events preceding Anne's becoming queen. Reading page 352, do you agree that "from start to finish" Mary "had no choice" but to betray Queen Katherine by taking the queen's letter to her uncle?

5. Consider pages 38 and 82. How does the author create sexual tension? How do the narrator's thoughts and feelings communicate the attraction between her and the king? Why is this important to the story of The Other Boleyn Girl?

6. On page 85, Anne tells Mary, "I am happy for the family. I hardly ever think about you." Do you think she's telling the truth? Later, Anne says to her sister, "We'll always be nothing to our family" (page 310). Do you think she believes this, especiallygiven her overwhelming desire to advance her own status?

7. Why does Mary say, "I felt like a parcel..." (page 60)? What happens later to make Mary think she's no longer a "pawn" of the family, but "at the very least, a castle, a player in the game" (page 173)?

8. Look at the exchange between Mary and Anne about the king on page 72. Do you agree with Anne when she tells Mary that "you can't desire [the king] like an ordinary man and forget the crown on his head." What does this statement reveal about Anne's nature? And what does it reveal about Mary's?

9. In general, what are your impressions of the sisters? Keep in mind Anne and Mary's discussion on page 104: "So who would come after me?...I could make my own way." Also look at page 123, when Anne says, "Hear this, Mary...I will kill you." Why are these statements significant, particularly given their timing?

10. Share some of the characteristics that you like about historical fiction. For you, what aspect of The Other Boleyn Girl stands out the most? How does the book change your impressions of life in King Henry VIII's court? Looking at the letter on page 275, discuss the level of corruption in the court. Does it surprise you? Were you aware of Anne's dogged and exhausting pursuit of the king? Did the way Anne became queen shock you?

11. How do you feel about the idea that a woman had to be married before she could bed the king? What do you think about the king changing the laws to suit his needs? When Anne states that "Nothing will ever be the same for any woman in this country again," examine why she could believe she would be exempt from the same treatment. In other words, why didn't she realize that "when she overthrew a queen that thereafter all queens would be unsteady" (page 519)? Do you think the family realized this but persevered anyway?

12. Discuss Mary's evolution of thinking from when she realizes that after Queen Katherine's departure, "from this time onward no wife...would be safe" with her later thought (on page 468) that "the triumph of Anne, the mistress who had become a wife, was an inspiration to every loose girl in the country." What does this say about Mary's state of mind? Is she being a reliable narrator here?

13. On page 303, George exclaims to Mary, "You cannot really want to be a nobody." Why is this such a revolutionary idea in Henry's court, and for the Boleyns in particular? What should the response have been to Mary's question to Anne (page 330) about the rewards of Anne's impending marriage to the king: "What is there for me?"

14. In King Henry's court, homosexuality was a crime. Why do you think George essentially flaunted his preference? What do you make of the intimate kiss between George and Anne that Mary witnessed? What is the impetus behind George and Anne's relationship? Discuss whether or not you believe that George slept with Anne so that she might have a son, and why.

15. Why do you think George declares that Anne is "the only Boleyn anyone will ever know or remember" (page 410)? Was that true for you before you read The Other Boleyn Girl? What about now?

16. After Anne is arrested, Mary pleads for her by saying, "We did nothing more than that was ordered. We only ever did as we were commanded. Is she to die for being an obedient daughter?" (page 650). What is your reaction to these arguments? Did Henry have no choice but to sentence her to death?

Discussion Questions for The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

1. In The Time Traveler's Wife , the characters meet each other at various times during their lifetime. How does the author keep all the timelines in order and "on time"?

2. Although Henry does the time traveling, Clare is equally impacted. How does she cope with his journeys and does she ultimately accept them?

3. How does the writer introduce the reader to the concept of time travel as a realistic occurrence? Does she succeed?

4. Henry's life is disrupted on multiple levels by spontaneous time travel. How does his career as a librarian offset his tumultuous disappearances? Why does that job appeal to Henry?

5. Henry and Clare know each other for years before they fall in love as adults. How does Clare cope with the knowledge that at a young age she knows that Henry is the man she will eventually marry?

6. The Time Traveler's Wife is ultimately an enduring love story. What trials and tribulations do Henry and Clare face that are the same as or different from other "normal" relationships?

7. How does their desire for a child affect their relationship?

8. The book is told from both Henry and Clare's perspectives. What does this add to the story?

9. Do you think the ending of the novel is satisfactory?

10. Though history there have been dozens of mediums used for time travel in literature. Please cite examples and compare The Time Traveler's Wife to the ones with which you are familiar.

Thanks to The Reading Group for the Questions

Discussion Questions for Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

1. Do you think that Mamah is right to leave her husband and children in order to pursue her personal growth and the relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright? Is she being selfish to put her own happiness and fulfillment first?

2. Why do you think the author, Nancy Horan, gave her novel the title Loving Frank? Does this title work against the feminist message of the novel? Is there a feminist message?

3. Do you think that a woman today who made the choices that Mamah makes would receive a more sympathetic or understanding hearing from the media and the general public?

4. If Mamah were alive today, would she be satisfied with the progress women have achieved or would she believe there was still a long way to go?

5. In Sonnet 116, Shakespeare writes, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments. Love is not love/That alters where it alteration finds. .." How does the relationship of Mamah and Frank bear out the sentiments of Shakespeare’s sonnet? What other famous love matches fill the bill?

6. Is Mamah’s story relevant to the women of today?

7. Is Frank Lloyd Wright an admirable figure in this novel? Would it change your opinion of him to know that he married twice more in his life?

8. What about Edwin Cheney, Mamah’s husband? Did he behave as you might have expected after learning of the affair between his wife and Wright?

9. Edwin’s philosophy of life and love might be summed up in the following words from the novel: "Tell her happiness is just practice. If she acted happy, she would be happy." Do you agree or disagree with this philosophy?

10. "Carved over Wright's fireplace in his Oak Park home are the words "Life is Truth." What do you think these words mean, and do Frank and Mamah live up to them?

11. Why do you think Horan chose to give her novel the epigraph from Goethe, "One lives but once in the world."?

12. When Mamah confesses her affair to her friend Mattie, Mattie demands, "What about duty? What about honor?" Discuss some of the different meanings that characters in the novel attach to these two words.

13. In analyzing the failure of the women’s movement to make more progress, Mamah says, "Yet women are part of the problem. We plan dinner parties and make flowers out of crepe paper. Too many of us make small lives for ourselves." Was this a valid criticism at the time, and is it one today?

14. Why does seeing a performance of the opera Mefistofele affect Mamah so strongly?

15. Why is Mamah's friendship with Else Lasker Schuler important in the book?

16. Ellen Key, the Swedish feminist whose work so profoundly influences Mamah, states at one point, "The very legitimate right of a free love can never be acceptable if it is enjoyed at the expense of maternal love." Do you agree?

17. Another of Ellen Key’s beliefs was that motherhood should be recompensed by the state. Do you think an idea like this could ever catch on in America? Why or why not?

18. Is there anything that Frank and Mamah could have done differently after their return to America that would have ameliorated the harsh welcome they received from the press? Have things changed very much in that regard today?

19. What part did racism play in Julian Carlton’s crime? Were his actions the product of pure insanity, or was he goaded into violence?

Discussion Questions for The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

1. True life is elsewhere
One French critic called The Elegance of the Hedgehog “the ultimate celebration of every person’s invisible part.” How common is the feeling that a part of oneself is invisible to or
ignored by others? How much does this “message” contribute to the book’s popularity? Why is it sometimes difficult to show people what we really are and to have them appreciate us for it?

2. This book will save your life
The Elegance of the Hedgehog has been described as “a toolbox one can look into to resolve life’s problems,” a “life-transforming read,” and a “life-affirming book.” Do you feel this is an accurate characterization of the novel? If so, what makes it thus: the story told, the characters and their ruminations, something else? Can things like style, handsome prose, well-turned phrases, etc. add up to a life-affirming book independently of the story told? To put it another way—Renée Michel’s way—can an encounter with pure beauty change our lives?

3. —a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet. Both Renée and Paloma use stereotypes to their benefit, hiding behind the perceptions others have of their roles. Our understanding and appreciation of people is often limited to a superficial acknowledgement of their assigned roles, their social monikers—single mother, used car salesman, jock, investment banker, senior citizen, cashier… While we are accustomed to thinking of people as victims of stereotypes, is it possible that sometimes stereotypes can be useful? When, under what circumstances, and why, might we welcome an interpretation based on stereotypes of our actions or of who we are? Have you ever created a mise en place that conforms to some stereotype in order to hide a part of yourself?

4. “One of the strengths I derive from my class background is that I am accustomed to contempt.” (Dorothy Allison)
Some critics call this novel a book about class. Barbery herself called Renée Michel, among other things, a vehicle for social criticism. Yet for many other readers and reviewers this aspect is marginal. In your reading, how integral is social critique to the novel? What kind of critique is made? Many pundits were doubtful about the book’s prospects in the US for this very reason: a critique of French class-based society, however charming it may be, cannot succeed in a classless society. Is the US really a classless society? Are class prejudices and class boundaries less pronounced in the US than in other countries? Are the social critique elements in the book relevant to American society?

5. Hope I die before I get old
Paloma, the book’s young protagonist, tells us that she plans to commit suicide on the day of her thirteenth birthday. She cannot tolerate the idea of becoming an adult, when, she feels, one inevitably renounces ideals and subjugates passions and principles to pragmatism. Must we make compromises, renounce our ideals, and betray our youthful principles when we become adults? If so, why? Do these compromises and apostasies necessarily make us hypocrites? At the end of the book, has Paloma re-evaluated her opinion of the adult world or confirmed it?

6. Kigo: the 500 season words
Famously, the Japanese language counts twelve distinct seasons during the year, and in traditional Japanese poetry there are five hundred words to characterize different stages and attributes assigned to the seasons. As evidenced in its literature, art, and film, Japanese culture gives great attention to detail, subtle changes, and nuances. How essential is Kakuro’s being Japanese to his role as the character that reveals others’ hidden affinities? Or is it simply his fact of being an outsider that matters? Could he hail from Tasmania and have the same impact on the story?

7. Circumstances maketh the woman
Adolescent children and the poor are perhaps those social groups most prone to feel themselves trapped in situations that they cannot get out of, that they did not choose, and that condition their entire outlook. Some readers have baulked at the inverse snobbery with which the main characters in The Elegance of the Hedgehog initially seem to view the world around them and the people who inhabit it. Is this disdain genuine or a well-honed defence mechanism provoked by their circumstances? If the later, can it therefore be justified? Do Renée’s and Paloma’s views of the world and the people who surround them change throughout the book? Would Paloma and Renée be more prone to fraternal feelings if their
circumstances were different?

8. “Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book.” (Edward Gibbon)
In one of the book’s early chapters, Renée describes what it is like to be an autodidact. “There are days when I feel I have been able to grasp all there is to know in one single gaze, as if invisible branches suddenly spring out of nowhere, weaving together all the disparate strands of my reading—and then suddenly the meaning escapes, the essence evaporates, and no matter how often I reread the same lines, they seem to flee ever further with each subsequent reading, and I see myself as some mad old fool who thinks her stomach is full because she’s been attentively reading the menu. Apparently this combination of ability and blindness is a symptom exclusive to the autodidact.” How accurately does this describe sensations common to autodidacts? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being self-taught?

9. The Philosopher’s Stone
Much has been made of the book’s philosophical bent. Some feel that the author’s taste for philosophy and her having woven philosophical musings into her characters’ ruminations, particularly those of Renée, hampers the plot; others seem to feel that it is one of the book’s most appealing attributes. What effect did the philosophical elements in this book have on you and your reading? Can you think of other novels that make such overt philosophical references? Which, and how does Hedgehog resemble or differ from them?

10. A Bridge across Generations
Renée is fifty-four years old. Paloma, the book’s other main character, is twelve. Yet much of the book deals with these two ostensibly different people discovering their elective affinities. How much is this book about the possibilities of communication across generations? And what significance might the fact that Renée is slightly too old to be Paloma’s mother, and slightly too young to be her grandmother have on this question of intergenerational communication?

11. Some stories are universal
The Elegance of the Hedgehog has been published in thirty-five languages, in over twenty-five countries. It has been a bestseller in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, South Korea, and America. In many other countries, while it may not have made the bestseller lists, it nonetheless has enjoyed considerable success. In the majority of these cases, success has come despite modest marketing, despite the author’s reticence to appear too often in public, and her refusal to appear in television, and despite relatively limited critical response. The novel has reached millions of readers largely thanks to word-of-mouth. What, in your opinion, makes this book so appealing to people? And why, even when compared to other beloved and successful books, is this one a book that people so frequently talk about, recommend to their friends, and give as gifts? And what, if anything, does the book’s international success say about the universality of fictional stories today?

12. “…a text written above all to be read and to arouse emotions in the reader.”
In a related question, The Elegance of the Hedgehog has been described as a “book for readers” as opposed to a book for critics, reviewers, and professors. What do you think is meant by this? And, if the idea is that it is a book that pleases readers but not critics, do you think this could be true? If so, why?

Thanks to LitLovers for the questions!

Discussion Questions for The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

1. At the start of his journey, when Santiago asks a gypsy woman to interpret his dream about a treasure in the Egyptian pyramids, she asks for one tenth of the treasure in return. When Santiago asks the old man to show him the path to the treasure, the old man requests one tenth of his flock as "payment." Both payments represent a different price we have to pay to fulfill a dream; however, only one will yield a true result. Which payment represents false hope? Can you think of examples from your own life when you had to give up something to meet a goal and found the price too high?

2. Paulo Coelho once said that alchemy is all about pursuing our spiritual quest in the physical world as it was given to us. It is the art of transmuting the reality into something sacred, of mixing the sacred and the profane. With this in mind, can you define your Personal Legend? At what time in your life were you first able to act on it? What was your "beginner's luck"? Did anything prevent you from following it to conclusion? Having read The Alchemist, do you know what inner resources you need to continue the journey?

3. One of the first major diversions from Santiago's journey was the theft of his money in Tangiers, which forced him into taking a menial job with the crystal merchant. There, Santiago learned many lessons on everything from the art of business to the art of patience. Of all these, which lessons were the most crucial to the pursuit of his Personal Legend?

4. When he talked about the pilgrimage to Mecca, the crystal merchant argued that having a dream is more important than fulfilling it, which is what Santiago was trying to do. Do you agree with Santiago's rationale or crystal merchant's?

5. The Englishman, whom Santiago meets when he joins the caravan to the Egyptian pyramids, is searching for "a universal language, understood by everybody." What is that language? According to the Englishman, what are the parallels between reading and alchemy? How does the Englishman's search for the alchemist compares to Santiago's search for a treasure? How did the Englishman and Santiago feel about each other?

6. The alchemist tells Santiago "you don't have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation." With this in mind, why do you think the alchemist chose to befriend Santiago, though he knew that the Englishman was the one looking for him? What is the meaning of two dead hawks and the falcon in the oasis? At one point the alchemist explains to Santiago the secret of successfully turning metal into gold. How does this process compare to finding a Personal Legend?

7. Why did Santiago have to go through the dangers of tribal wars on the outskirts of the oasis in order to reach the pyramids? At the very end of the journey, why did the alchemist leave Santiago alone to complete it?

8. Earlier in the story, the alchemist told Santiago "when you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed." At the end of the story, how did this simple lesson save Santiago's life? How did it lead him back to the treasure he was looking for?

Thanks to the Reading Group for the Questions !!

In the mail

Don't you just love the sight of new books turning up at your door ...........

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.
At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.
Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war.
Described as creepy and full of romance .... How could I resist ... And it is gorgeous in Hardback as well .... Yeah !!!

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir.
Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.
Cannot wait to read this one .... and it is again another series .....

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (5)

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

I purchased this book because: Just look at the cover !!!!! and the story line sounded great !!

Opening Lines: A Fairy Tale, Seven Years Ago ... Strangers never walk down this road, the sisters though in unison as the man trudged towards them. Certainly not strangers in business suits - there was just no reason for them to be out here in the middle of nowhere.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end .... Just have to wait now for the 2 companion books that go with this series .... grrrrr .....

The story has a little bit of the Red Riding Hood Twist on it which is just great. Except it is set in modern times ... It did make me what to go out and buy myself a lovely red Cape .. There seems to be alot of books out there at the moment that are putting their own twist on Fairy Tales and I am loving it ....

Each Chapter tells the story from one of the two sisters point of view ..... Scarlett who is the strong and fiercely determined fighter and so not afraid of the big bad wolf ... And Rosie the younger sister who is struggling to find her path in life ...... And of course you gotta have some hunky boy action which is where Silas comes into play :) ....

Lovin the werewolves and there are great action scenes throughout the novel .......

Some of my favourite quotes are: 'By jumping on me? Your apology sucks.' Pg 39

'So, Schatzi, who made the wiser choice? John, who refuse to believe in the sunshine because it was strange and new, or Mary, who let her eyes get used to the light?' Pg 42

'The microfilm room is freezing, as though book lovers don't heat this space out of loyalty to real pages.' Pg 151

I am really excited to see what the next two books are going to be like and was really impressed with this one :) ........ And it did me think .... Do we actually really live our lives the way we want or do we live our lives to please other people? ......

So bring on the werewolves because I know that the Girls can handle themselves ...... This book is universal because boys and girls can read it ...... The girls for the romance and the boys for the action scenes ...

There are going to be two companion books to this novel .... SWEETLY a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and FATHOMLESS a modernization of The Little Mermaid ... cannot wait ...

I rate this book 5 *****

Here is a wee taste of the book .... Enjoy :)

Books in the Series in order:
1) Sisters Red
2) Sweetly

Friday, July 23, 2010

"The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe [3 1/2]

While clearing out her grandmother's cottage for sale, Connie Goodwin finds a parchment inscribed with the name Deliverance Dane. So begins the hunt to uncover the woman behind the name, a hunt that takes her back to Salem in 1692 ... and the infamous witchcraft trials.
But nothing is entirely as it seems and when Connie unearths the existence of Deliverance's spell book, The Physick Book, the situation takes on a menacing edge as interested parties reveal their desperation to find this precious artifact at any cost.
What secrets does The Physick Book contain? What magic is scrawled across its parchment pages? Connie must race to answer these questions - and reveal the truth about Salem's condemned women - before an ancient family curse once more fulfils its dark and devastating prophecy ...
This novel sounded so engrossing when I read the write up from the back cover ... sorry to say I was a little disappointed with it. It starts very slowly ... to the point when you think how exciting can uni life be and what more do we need to know about it.
So the story does pick up once Connie gets to her grandmothers old house and she starts to clean up and finds the name of Deliverance Dane in an old Bible. From there she begins to do some research into the name and this is where the novel gets engrossing. I loved the way the author flashes back into 1692 and tells the story of Deliverance and her daughter and through a couple of generations. I just wished there was a little bit more of that as it was very interesting.
The plot with Connie does become predicable and very soon you realize where the story is heading and how it will turn out ... that is what is disappointing about it. I did like the way the author has taken the line of what if witchcraft was real, it puts a slightly different twist to the novel. A must read is the author's postscript at the end of the novel, it gives some very interesting insight into the 1690's and what was going on in Salem and a little of her family history and how she is related to one of the condemned women back then.
An interesting read, did enjoy it eventually.
I rate this book 3 1/2 stars.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Fallen Grace" by Mary Hooper [4]

The train roared, shook and swayed as it rounded a corner, and Grace grasped the window frame and waited until it straightened on it's course. Then she pushed open the door to the van containing the coffins and went in ...
London, 1861. Grace Parkes, a pale but determined figure, clutches a precious bundle closely to her as she travels on the train to the famed Brookwood Cemetery. Grace has a heartbreaking duty to carry out.
What a truly beautiful cover this is and of course I just had to have it and in hardback too! I have previously read Mary Hooper's the 'secret magician' series and it was very much a teen read, so I was a little apprehensive about reading this one.
This has truly been a wonderful story. It's set in London in 1861 which is right in the Victorian era and this is a very interesting time in history ... lots of very unusual traditions and the poverty in England at the time was amazing. Our author has totally swept you straight into the novel and your heart breaks as you get to know Mary and her sister Lily and what their story is all about. The details and background of the novel is so well written that you are just immersed into it and it feels like you are with the two girls experiencing what they are going through. While Mary is a fragile young girl she has had to grow up very quickly and be the main stay of their lives because Lily is a little slow and not able to take on the role as big sister. Mary though is a strong girl and she is put through a series of life changing experiences that make her even stronger and more determined to make their lives better. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and I would recommend it too anyone for an insight into the Victorian era and as an historical read.
I rate this book 4 stars.

The Hollow by Jessica Verday (31/2)

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey has never felt so desperately alone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

I Purchased this book because: Saw it ages ago being reviewed and loved the storyline ...

Opening Lines: They said she killed herself. Everyone was saying it. What started out as a rumor, quietly whispered among small gatherings of polite people, quickly grew into something that was openly discussed in large gatherings of impolite people. I was so sick of hearing them talk about it.

This is the first installment of a series called 'The Hollow' and it is being described as a spine-tingling paranormal romance set in the legendary town of 'Sleepy Hollow' where you have the ghostly figure of the 'Headless Horseman' was made famous ..... Sounds great and I couldn't wait to dive in ....

Unfortunately for me I thought it was abit slow ... It started out great and then it just plodded along ... It is a little over 500 pages and even though it is a big print it did take me a few days to read it .... Not that I didn't enjoy it just that it did drag for me ... I really wanted the story to really grab me and pull me in which it really didn't do until the last 50 pages of the book ... I understand that this is the first installment and you need to set up the characters but I still prefer the story to have some meat in it so I can really sink my teeth into it ... And is difficult for me to rate this book because I like it but just didn't love it .... And there are so many different questions that have still been left unanswered ...

I loved the way the author used quotes from 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' at the beginning of each chapter and how it fitted perfectly with the story line ... If anything it has make me want to go out and purchased the book that Washington Irving imagined ... That and watching the movie .... Who am I kidding ....To be honest I really don't need a reason to watch Johnny Depp lol .....

There is alot of weird things that are happening in the small town of Sleepy Hollow ... And Abbey is smack in the middle of it all .... I do like her character ... She is gusty which I love and not afraid to search for the truth ...

Some of my favourite quotes: 'Thank you for your help today, Abbey, and try to remember the good memories. They will help the sad ones'. Pg 79

'I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration' The legend of Sleepy Hollow pg 92

'I never thought about it that way, Abbey. I always pictured it as Dickens's way of portraying how a single moment can affect our lives so profoundly.' Pg 103

'The kiss suddenly turned harder, and more desperate. I tasted the urgency in it and thought that I would die from the pleasure. Would they lock up the library for the night and find us dead in each other's arms? Perished from pleasure? That thought send delicious goose bumps travelling over my entire body. Pg233

'His notable little wife, too, had enough to do to attend to her housekeeping and manage her poultry, for as she sagely observed, ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be looked after, but girls can take care of themselves'. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow pg 301

I am going to rate this book around 3 1/2 stars mainly because I did love the storyline but it was abit slow for me to get started .... Then sped up in the last 50 pages or so so now you are left waiting for the next installment .... grrrrr ... So really you either really love this book or you don't and so that is why it is great everyone is different and you should pick up a copy and see what you think .... But I am excited to get my hands on the next novel ...

I rate this book 3 1/2 *** ( sigh .... wish I could have rated it better :( ... )

You can check out the lovely Johnny Depp ...

Books in 'The Hollow' Series in order

1) The Hollow

2) The Haunting ( released in Hardback on the 31st August 2010 and Paperback 2 September 2010)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Glimmerglass" by Jenna Black [3 1/2]

Dana Hathaway doesn't know it yet, but she's in big trouble. When her mother, an alcoholic, shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she's had enough of playing the role of her mother's keeper, so she packs her bags and travels to see her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. Dana is a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds. She has always known that her father is a big-deal Fae, but what she doesn't realize is that she could be the key to his rise to power. When she arrives in Avalon, Dana finds herself a pawn in the game of magical politics. Avalon is a place where both magic and technology work, and humans and Fae coexist in something resembling peace. How can she change the winds of fate, find a boyfriend, and make new friends when she's not sure who, if anyone, can be trusted?

Of course it was the cover that first drew me to this book, and then reading the review on the back it sounded quite interesting ... The story certainly has a slightly different take on all the other faerie novels that I've read. In this one it seems that the world is aware that faerie's exist and we have a common place where we can interacted with each other to a degree. It does take a little while to get into the story but once you have what's going on sorted out it does become interesting. The writing style is very easy to read and the story does move along fairly quickly.

The characters are appealing and you become absorbed in their plights. This book will appeal to the teens ... it has intrigued, romance, a determined female lead and hot young fae boys ... what more could you wish for. I'm interested to see where this series will go. "SHADOWSPELL" is the next in the series and will be release in 2011.

I rate this book 3 1/2 stars.

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

We'd dreamed of the mythical figures buried down below in the Old Dutch section and scared each other silly with ghost stories involving the Headless Horseman. And on more than one occasion spilled our secrets to a storyteller who had been gone for so long yet still fascinated us with his words.

Pg72,73 The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Monday, July 19, 2010

In the mail

Look what I got in the Mail ..............

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

Just love, Love , Love the cover to this that I had to get hardback .... Couldn't help myself ... Excited to read this one ...

Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper

Anne Green can't move a muscle, can't open her eyes, can't scream. She lies paralyzed in absolute darkness, terrified by her final memory - being hanged. Is she in purgatory? Hell? Was she buried alive? An innocent woman caught up in a nightmare, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events - and the man - that led her to the scaffold.

Meanwhile, a shy young medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange as the doctors prepare their tools...Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive?

Haunting, thrilling, and impossible to put down, Newes from the Dead is based on the true story of the real Anne Green, a servant who survived a hanging in 1650 England only to awaken on the dissection table. Newes from the Dead concludes with an excerpt from an original 1651 document that recounts this chilling medical phenomenon.

Cannot tell you how lovely this wee book is .... I got it in hardback and the details inside the book are gorgeous ......

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic.

Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s now facing three Examiners, and her grueling all-day Examination has just begun. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society.

But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And that the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.

In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim?

Outstanding and original, Beckett’s dramatic narrative comes to a stunning close. This perfect combination of thrilling page-turner and provocative novel of ideas demands to be read again and again.

Lovin my covers at the moment ... And seem to be going through an apocalyptic phase at the moment .... lol ...

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

OK ... Just how pretty is this cover and in hardback as well ......... There are soooo many new series that are starting at the moment ..... But excited about this one ....

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