Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Betrayal" by Gillian Shields [4]

When Evie Johnson started at Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, her life change in ways she couldn't have envisioned: the discovery of her link with Lady Agnes, her special bond with Helen and Sarah, and their sisterhood in the astonishing secrets of the Mystic Way. Above all, Evie's love for Sebastian has turned her world upside down.
Now Evie returns to Wyldcliffe for another term and more danger. Surrounded by enemies, she lives every day in fear that Sebastian will fall into the darkness of servitude to the Unconquered Lords. The Wyldcliffe coven is plotting to destroy Evie and use Sebastian to secure their own immortality. Evie and her sisters must master the power of the Talisman before it is too late. But could it be Sebastian himself who will ultimately betray Evie?
This is the stunning sequel to "Immortal", the story of Evie Johnson who is sent to a private boarding school in the north of England, where she finds she is related to the school's patroness, Lady Agnes. She also discovers that along with her two best friends that they have been given the gifts of the Mystic Way. Evie falls in love with Sebastian Fairfax, but the problem with that is he is dead. Not dead in the true sense but immortal, but in peril of losing his life to the dark side. In this sequel Evie has to find the strength and courage to master her abilities of the Mystic Way if she is going to be able to help Sebastian. Through friendship and love the girls conquer the dark sisters and release Sebastian from his peril.
Filled with romance, mystery, and suspense this companion to Immortal has everything to finish the story off. It is fast paced and beautifully written and has a wonderful conclusion to the story. It is a modern take on the classic Gothic novel and a must read for all teenage girls. First love and eternal friendships are the theme for this series and it is lovely to see the support the girls give to each other through the trials they go through. I also loved the way the past was threaded into the current present. A great series for 14 -15 year olds to read.
I rate this book 4 stars.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance [4]

23 wickedly witty, racily romantic,
and sublimely sensual short stories.
A Rake by any other name is still a rake,
no matter how handsome ... or sexy.
A Duke, on the other hand, an Earl, or a Marquis -
now there's a suitable man to capture a girl's affections. A man and a marriage, that's on the cards, but what to do about all those dashing scoundrels?
Caught between family, intolerable longing, and impossibly tight corsets, the young ladies of the Regency era navigate the fashionable waters of High Society in the name of love and desire. Keeping one eye on their reputations and the other on their fragile hearts, they cavort with devilish rogues who attempt to charm them out of their gowns and into impropriety - will any of them escape with their innocence intact?
For all those lovers of Regency Romance out there this is the book for you. 23 short stories with all the glitz and glamour of the Regency era. I've rated the book overall 4 stars but that doesn't mean that there were good and bad stories within. This is as usual a light read and what I would call a fluff read because it's not to be taken seriously. All the stories were easy to read and I must admit some I wish could of gone on longer so that you knew more about the characters e.t.c but that's not what short stories are about, they give you enough to just tease and tantalize you into wanting more. A fun book you won't put down until you've finished.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Ice" by Sarah Beth Durst [5]

When Cassie was a little girl,
her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother,
who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make -believe.
Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back - if Cassie will agree to be his bride.
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her - until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magically realm of Ice.
This is such a beautiful book and I'm not just talking about the cover ... it is based on a fairy tale from Norway, which I haven't heard of but is really lovely.
So basically Cassie has grown up with her grandmother telling her this fairy tale and in a round about way the death of her mother. As she becomes older she doesn't believe in this fairy tale any more until she actually meets a bear who talks and her world explodes around her. She makes a deal with the Polar Bear King to rescue her mother and then she will wed him. Through spending time with him she starts to fall in love with him, but all doesn't go smoothly and Cassie has to use all her survival skills to rescue the love of her life.
This lovely fairy tale reminds me a little of 'Beauty and the Beast' but with a few slight twist. A beautifully written story about friendship and love and the lengths you would go to rescue those you love. It is a fast moving story and one you can read in just one sitting, flows beautifully and easy to read, Cassie and the Polar Bear King are the main characters and you fall in love with both of them. I loved this novel and hope the author might write a second to continue the story of Cassie and her Polar Bear King. A lovely book for the 13-14 year old range or even us adults. Pick it up for a light read and fall in love with the magic of Ice.
I rate this book 5 stars.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Devil's Kiss" by Sarwat Chadda [4]

As the youngest and only female member
of the Knights Templar, Bilqis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a warrior in her order's ancient battle against the unholy.
Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to slide back into Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Mike, who seems to understand her like no one else and effortlessly stakes a claim on her heart.
But the Templars are called to battle before Billi can enjoy the thrilling new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have guarded for almost a thousand years - King Solomon's cursed mirror, a source of unimaginable power. To save the lives of millions, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than she could have imagined.
First a warning ... this novel has religious context in it that has been misconstrued and for those that are not able to read it as just a story you might not want to read at all.
I actually really enjoyed reading this novel in spite of the liberty the author has taken with the religious side of the story. So it's about a young 15 year old girl who has grown up in the Order of the Knights Templar, and they fight the evil unholy, which is what they have been doing for thousands of years. But Billi only being 15 wants a normal life, she is sick of fighting and training and just wants to be like all the other girls her age. Her best friend left for Jerusalem and she hasn't heard from him in a year, her Father doesn't love or care for her like normal Father's and the Knights of the Order don't want her there either. Billi meets Mike and he gets her in every way possible that the others don't and she wants to leave. Things come to a head when an old enemy arrives and everything is thrown into confusion and Billi has to make some life altering decisions.
This novel was actually really well written, it is fast paced so that you don't lose interest in the story, the characters are all very interesting and you get to like them, and there are enough twists in it that keep you reading. It is a dark type of story and deals with the evil side of life, so it's not a novel for young people. The author has twisted the concept of some of the Christian beliefs as well as others but you need to bare in mind that this is just a book and it's not to be taken seriously ... there might be those of you out there that would be offended by this but I think if your strong in your faith it really isn't a problem ... just don't read it if that is the case. I think people get offended over the silliest things, everyone has a right to an opinion, and again it is just a story written in a book. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next installment ... 'Dark Goddess'.
I rate this book 4 stars.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins [5]

I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash
settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table. The bricks
of the chimney, which collapsed in a charred heap, provide
a point of reference for the rest of the house. How else could
I orient myself in this sea of grey?
"If we burn you burn with us"
Katniss Everdeen's final battle has begun ...
This is the final installment in the Hunger Games Triolgy, and definitely
a stunning and terrifying conclusion.
After coming back from her second hunger game Katniss Everdeen is a totally shattered and shell shocked young woman and while the fight with the Capitol is still waging on she doesn't have the strength or willpower to help in any form. This is a side to Katniss that we really haven't seen before as she is usually strong and determined and seeks revenge for those that have died by the Capitol's hands. So it takes a little getting use to this young and vulnerable girl who is trying to piece together her life and that of Peeta being taken hostage.
Katniss is soon put into a position where she has to make the choice of doing something to help with the war, but who does she trust, and how can Peeta ever be rescued. This third book is quite dark and it deals with a lot of terrifying and thought provoking scenes in which torture is invoked. How far would you be willing to go to ensure your outcome to the war, that is the question that Katniss and her friends have to deal with. A fantastic conclusion to the Hunger Games Trilogy.
A warning ... this series is not for young children or perhaps even young teens until they can understand the complex issues in these books. It is something that you might which to discuss with your older children as it is definitely thought provoking. So well written, it leaves you thinking about it days after reading it. It will be very interesting to see how the movie version will be done.
I rate this book 5 stars.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"White Cat" by Holly Black [3 1/2]

Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered.
Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one
at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at
home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker. And now
he is being haunted by a white cat ...
Cassel's family are magic workers. Ever since magic was
prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground
and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their luck,
their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times
have been hard. His grand-dad is a black-fingered death-dealer,
his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one
of their family who can't do magic.
But there is a secret at the center of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrifying and that's the truth.
Finally finished this novel, it has taken me two weeks and I thought I was about to give up on it. Not a good Omen is it.
So the first chapter is totally enthralling and you think wow this book is going to be fantastic, you won't be able to put it down until your done .... sorry but it gets worse before it gets better. I know this is Holly Blacks new series and I get that you need to put in all the background information into the story, but gosh it was just so boring to read, it went on and on and I wanted to throw the book out. Finally close to a 100 pages left and that's where the story and action picked up and then I couldn't put it down.
So the character of Cassel is kind of annoying, to me he seemed like he's whinging all the time and at school he's a little bit of a loser. You do start to understand him a little better as you persist with the story and you actually come to like him. Lila the girl that he killed is an interesting character, she has something to prove and is a gusty girl. The brothers are ... well there is just something about them that just makes you not want to like them at all. The author has done a good job getting all her characters personalities right and this makes the story interesting especially when she rights the next ones.
It is well written, there is some bad language in it and some slight adult concepts so I wouldn't give it to young teenagers or under. Holly Black's style of writing does seem to be a little on the dark side so I wouldn't give this book to younger kids to read. A little slow to start with but it does get better. Look forward to seeing where the story goes.
I rate this book 3 1/2 stars.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Ballad" by Maggie Stiefvater [3 1/2]

James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the faeries are not as harmless. As Halloween - the day of the dead - draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the Dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.
I have so been looking forward to reading this next novel in the Lament series ... well I was just a little disappointed. It took me what seemed forever to get into the story. The first part of the book deals with James and his coming to music school and how Nuala and James meet up. There is a lot of background information that is also setting up the story for you, but it just seemed to take forever to get into the juicy bits. The last 100 pages or so is where all the action picked up and it only took me an hour to finish the book from there. James is an interesting character who has this devil may care sort of attitude and is totally typical of the sarcastic youth of today ... he is quite likable. Nuala is part faerie part human and is a little tortured in her life and for some reason or another has chosen not to make a deal with James but can't seem to leave him alone either. The two of them together make an unusual couple but it does seem to work and you want them to find happiness together. Dee has really only a minor role in this story but it is all about her in the end and how James and Nuala can save themselves and Dee from the Faerie Queen.
I did finally enjoy reading Ballad but for me it wasn't as good as the first book, where you just couldn't put it down until you'd read it all. I do look forward to seeing where the story goes, and there would be some interesting characters to write about. One thing that I do love is the covers of this series, they are unusual but quite pretty too.
I rate this book 3 1/2 stars.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

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 tell him I'm okay,

and there's nothing he can do

because I just buried my boyfriend

and of course I'm really not



Page 54 of I heart you, You haunt me by Lisa Schroeder

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Discussion Questions for The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett by Colleen McCullough

1. Did you get off to a slow start or were you straight in?

2. What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?

3. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?

4. How did your feelings change as you read through the book?

5. How do the ongoing lives of Jane‚ Lydia and Kitty compare to the lives you imagined for them? And how do you think Jane Austen might have felt about these newly created futures?

6. How do you feel about the state of Lizzie and Fitz?s marriage? Is the marriage that Colleen McCullough paints a realistic one?

7. Ned Skinner has a great sense of loyalty to Fitz‚ but also a darker side. After Ned?s actions‚ can there be redemption for him?

8. In what ways do Caroline Bingley?s words affect Charlie and his relationship with his father? How is Fitz and Charlie?s relationship repaired in the book?

9. How realistic is Mary?s quest at the beginning at the book compared to the task she undertakes at the end of the book?

10.. In what ways do the women of this novel exert their independence and to what extent is that independence respected by the men around them?

11. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?

12. Did you feel that the book fulfilled your expectations? Were you disappointed?

13. How did the book compare to other books by the author (or other books in the same genre)?

14. How realistic was the characterization? Would you want to meet any of the characters? Did you like them? Hate them?

15. Were there any bits you would have written differently?

16. Did you like the cover/look of the book? Would you have chosen
to read it, and why (or why not)?

17. As this is a sequel do you think it would be hard to write a sequel to such a well known book?

18. How should the book have ended?

The Lacemakers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling twenty-six-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself.

She arrives on the west coast, in the seaside hamlet of Glenmara. In this charming, fading Gaelic village, Kate quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace-making society: Bernie, alone and yearning for a new purpose since the death of her beloved husband, John; Aileen, plagued by doubt, helplessly watching her teenage daughter grow distant; Moira, caught in a cycle of abuse and denial, stubbornly refusing help from those closest to her; Oona, in remission from breast cancer, secretly harboring misgivings about her marriage; Colleen, the leader of the group, worried about her fisherman husband, missing at sea. And outside this newfound circle is local artist Sullivan Deane, an enigmatic man trying to overcome a tragedy of his own.

Under Glenmara's spell, Kate finds the inspiration that has eluded her, and soon she and the lace makers are creating a line of exquisite lingerie. In their skilled hands, flowers, Celtic dragons, nymphs, fish, saints, kings, and queens come to life, rendered with painterly skill. The circle also offers them something more—the strength to face their long-denied desires and fears. But not everyone welcomes Kate, and a series of unexpected events threatens to unravel everything the women have worked so hard for. . . .

Review by Shaz :)

I really enjoyed this book, It was a easy quick read and I really got into this book.If anything I would love to see more of a relationship between Kate and Sullivan.Simple things like he winks at her, he touches her hand,he pulls her into the brush for a kiss all the flirty exchanges of a new relationship..I love the muffin top new name as a fallen souffle I couldn't stop laughing....just looking at each girl in our reading group..

Sam - creative
Native-rock a good foundation
Kristie- trooper amazing woman and has alot of love for people.
Irish-a person you chill stress..
Tamika(meeks) girl
Shazza(Sharon) compassionate.

Each girl has a wonderful place in the group which we can help each other just like the lacemakers..We are the Fantastic, amazing Book club..

I rate this book

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

Everyone knows the story of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. But what about their sister Mary? At the conclusion of Jane Austen's classic novel, Mary, bookish, awkward, and by all accounts, unmarriageable, is sentenced to a dull, provincial existence in the backwaters of Britain. Now, master storyteller Colleen McCullough rescues Mary from her dreary fate with The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, a page-turning sequel set twenty years after Austen's novel closes. The story begins as the neglected Bennet sister is released from the stultifying duty of caring for her insufferable mother. Though many would call a woman of Mary's age a spinster, she has blossomed into a beauty to rival that of her famed sisters. Her violet eyes and perfect figure bewitch the eligible men in the neighborhood, but though her family urges her to marry, romance and frippery hold no attraction. Instead, she is determined to set off on an adventure of her own. Fired with zeal by the newspaper letters of the mysterious Argus, she resolves to publish a book about the plight of England's poor. Plunging from one predicament into another, Mary finds herself stumbling closer to long-buried secrets, unanticipated dangers, and unlooked-for romance.

Meanwhile, the other dearly loved characters of Pride and Prejudice fret about the missing Mary while they contend with difficulties of their own. Darcy's political ambitions consume his ardor, and he bothers with Elizabeth only when the impropriety of her family seems to threaten his career. Lydia, wild and charming as ever, drinks and philanders her way into dire straits; Kitty, a young widow of means, occupies herself with gossip and shopping; and Jane, naïve and trusting as ever, spends her days ministering to her crop of boys and her adoring, if not entirely faithful, husband. Yet, with the shadowy and mysterious figure of DarcyÕs right-hand man, Ned Skinner, lurking at every corner, it is clear that all is not what it seems at idyllic Pemberley. As the many threads of McCulloughÕs masterful plot come together, shocking truths are revealed, love, both old and new, is tested, and all learn the value of true independence in a novel for every woman who has wanted to leave her mark on the world.

The reason I chose this book was because of one of my all time favourite books, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I was curious to see what happened to Miss Mary Bennet.

I was rather taken back when I was reading this book to find that the novel I have enjoyed for many years was torn apart. The romantic story of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy did not continue,, but rather the opposite.

Lizzie was unhappy in her marriage, Darcy is ambitious and controlling, Mr. Darcy's father was evil, Jane is weak and cries a lot, the list goes on......... even Charles Bingley got a bit of a rap. At least Mary went from an unassuming ugly duckling into a strong willed beautiful swan.
I had difficulty reading this book, to continue I had to divorce the two books from each other.
So I had to pretend the Bennet sisters and Mr. Darcy of Pride & Prejudice were not the characters referred to in this book, It did help that Mr. Darcy was often called Fitz.

I feel the author Colleen McCullough used the traits of each character in the novel Pride & Prejudice and showed them in a different light to write her book.

This book does have witty conversation, drama, comical moments, mystery, and murder. I might have enjoyed reading this book, if it didn't try and destroy the book I love. But then again I may not have picked it up if it wasn't for the title The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet.

At least it all ended on a good note.

I am sorry to say there is language, which I am sure Jane Austen would not be impressed with. There are a few pages with rather bad language, Please beware of pages 149/150. there is a word we don't hear often or if at all. I was rather surprised, I didn't expect any bad language.

I am not objective enough at the moment to rate this book, maybe after we discuss it at book club, I may see it in a different light.

I have been having a quick read of my old faithful Pride & Prejudice.
Now to clear my head, I think I will get myself a carton of chocolate milk and some snack food, and put on the BBC movie of Pride & Prejudice and lose myself in the romantic story for a short while and spend some time with some old friends Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and of course (Colin Firth).

Free Book Give-Away - Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

Well this is the book that is our next read ........ And we thought we would give it away to some lucky reader so you can read along with us ............

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode

The Rules are simple .....

#1 - Anyone can enter but you need to be a follower of our Book Blog so join up

#2 Leave a comment below .......

#3 The comment needs to be about which book you have loved that has been set in a different country .....

#4 Make sure you make the comment before the deadline of 25th September 2010

Good Luck Everyone :) ..........

Closing Date 25th September 2010

That time of year again ..

Can you believe that it is September aready ...... CRAZY .........

Well it is that time of year again that we are thinking about our choices for Bookclub next year ... So here is what we have picked so you can read along with us ..........

Leg's Picks

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

My Name is Mary Sutton by Robin Oliveira

In this stunning historical novel, Mary Sutter is a brilliant, headstrong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine—and eager to run away from her recent heartbreak—Mary leaves home and travels to Washington, D.C. to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of William Stipp and James Blevens—two surgeons who fall unwittingly in love with Mary’s courage, will, and stubbornness in the face of suffering—and resisting her mother’s pleas to return home to help with the birth of her twin sister’s baby, Mary pursues her medical career in the desperately overwhelmed hospitals of the capital.
Like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Robert Hicks’s The Widow of the South, My Name Is Mary Sutter powerfully evokes the atmosphere of the period. Rich with historical detail (including marvelous depictions of Lincoln, Dorothea Dix, General McClelland, and John Hay among others), and full of the tragedies and challenges of wartime, My Name Is Mary Sutter is an exceptional novel. And, in Mary herself, Robin Oliveira has created a truly unforgettable heroine whose unwavering determination and vulnerability will resonate with readers everywhere.

Irish's Picks

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

A true story as powerful as Schindler's List in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.
When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.
With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.

Perfume (The story of a murderer ) by Patrick Suskind

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift-an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"-the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

Kristie's Pick

Room by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It's where he was born, where he and his Ma eat and play and learn. At night, Ma puts him safely to sleep in the wardrobe, in case Old Nick comes.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she's been held for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for her son. But Jack's curiosity is building alongside Ma's desperation -- and she knows Room cannot contain either indefinitely. ...
Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

Native's Picks

Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage by Raquel Welch

Part autobiography, part personal philosophy, and full of practical advice for women of all ages, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage is a book that skimps neither on entertainment nor on good plain advice.
She didn't hatch out of a an eagle's nest, circa One Million Years B.C., clad in a skimpy fur bikini. She didn't aspire to fame as a sex symbol. Yet, for many years after making her Hollywood entrance as every man's fantasy, Raquel Welch was best known for her beauty and sex appeal. A private person, she allowed people to draw their own conclusions from her public image. Now, Raquel Welch is ready to speak her mind. And, with the luxury of hindsight and the benefit of experience, she has plenty to share about the art of being a woman--even men will find it enlightening to read about what makes her tick.
In Beyond the Cleavage, Raquel Welch talks, woman to woman, about her views on all that comes with being a member of the female sex--love, sex, style, health, body image, career, family, forgiveness, aging, and coming of age. Looking back on her life, she lets women in on her childhood, dominated by a volatile father; her first love, marriage, and divorce; her early struggles as a single working mother in Hollywood; her battles for roles and respect as an actress; and her daring decision never to lie about her age. Looking forward, she offers women a compass to guide them at every crossroad of life, from menopause through the empty nest years, to dating younger men and beyond. Along with bringing baby boomers into her confidence--she offers essential tips for staying motivated and positive past fifty, as well as divulging her secrets for fabulous hair and makeup--she even talks to today's younger generation of women about the importance of carrying themselves with dignity and self-respect.
With warmth, humor, conviction, and honesty, Raquel reveals her approach to preventative aging, her life-changing commitment to yoga, her recipe for eating right, her skincare regimen, her flair for fashion, and much more. Deeply personal (Welch wrote every word herself--no ghostwriter), Beyond the Cleavage is Raquel Welch's gift to every woman who longs to look and feel her best, and be at peace with herself.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.

Shaz's Picks

Sam's Picks

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

 Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

A gorgeously written fantasy about the friendship between a princess and her Pegasus.
Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.
But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.
New York Times bestselling Robin McKinley weaves an unforgettable tale of unbreakable friendship, mythical creatures and courtly drama destined to become a classic.

Interview with Heather Barbieri

Well as a book club we just finished The Lacemakers of Glenmarra and we where truely excited when Heather agreed to an interview with us .... Because we just loved the novel :) ......

1) Being from Ireland myself I really loved the book and could relate to the characters .... Before this novel had you had any experience with lace-making or sewing?
Oh, one of you is from Ireland? Whereabouts? I don’t have experience with lace-making, but I was an avid seamstress (I was going to write “sewer”—ha!) when I was younger. (I won the McCall’s Learn to Sew for Fun sewing/modeling national competition when I was 14; little did they know I’m only 5’2”!) When I was in college, I especially liked to rework vintage pieces and fabrics.

2) Did you have an idea of a defining role for each of the women in the novel when you where writing the story?
For some of them, yes (especially Bernie, Aileen & Kate). Others showed up as I went along.

3) There was a little bit of romance in the novel but the story stayed with the lives of the woman .... Was that on purpose? As one of our girls really wanted more romance scenes with Kate and Sullivan ... lol ...
Yes, it’s really a novel about women’s friendships. The romance was secondary. So many novels put the romance front and center, I thought it would be fun to change things up and give the women center stage.

4) When did you decide to become an author?
I’ve always been interested in writing and acting and was a journalist before turning to fiction. (I flirted w/ the idea of going to law school as an undergrad, but my dad, who’s a judge, plunked one of his voluminous legal opinions down in front of me and asked if that was really the kind of writing I wanted to do. He thought it would be a waste of my creativity, though he said I’d be good at it if a legal career was truly what I wanted. I’m eternally grateful to him for helping me look into my own heart and consider what I really wanted. Most parents would probably have encouraged going with the more traditional, higher-salaried, profession.)

5) Have you ever been involved in a group before ( eg. Bookclub, Craft etc ) where women have got together?
Yes, I’ve been in a book club. Currently, I’m in a gardening group that meets to swap plants, garden, and attend gardening shows—and, of course share meals, laughs and conversation in the process. I’m also in a hiking group—there’s nothing like getting out and adventuring (and mis-adventuring!) with a group of friends.

6) What inspires you to write?
Oh, anything can strike me, really. A newspaper article. A conversation. I try to be a sponge and take everything in, then let it percolate and see what emerges. Once it comes time to getting the words down on the page and setting a writing schedule, the true work—and fun—begin.

7) What's your favourite part of 'The Lacemakers of Glenmara'?
I like the whole thing (ha!--I would say that, wouldn’t I?), but the section where Denny is defending Oona and the other where Bernie is thinking about the loss of her husband are particular favorites.

8) Do you have a favouirte author?
I’m an avid reader and have many favorite books. Recently, I’ve enjoyed Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk and Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon. I’m also a big fan of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, The Woman in White, and pretty much anything by William Trevor and Edna O’Brien.

9) If you were writing a book about yourself what would the title be?
Oh, heavens, I don’t know. Her Children Are Driving Her Crazy. (Kidding! Well, most of the time.) Little Woman. (Remember, I said I’m short?) . . . .

10) What are your current projects and can you share anything with us? I’m batting around ideas for a third book with my editor and am chomping at the bit to get writing. Autumn always spurs me into a flurry of activity.

Thanks Heather and looking forward to reading your future works .... The Exclusively Girls xx

Dear John by Nicolas Sparks (4)

John joins the army to change his life. When he was on leave he meets beautiful

While spending allot of time with Savannah they become very close, he soon tell her that he loves her.

But John has to go back to the army. During the time he is away they write to each other.

Until one day John receives a "DEAR JOHN".

I truly love the book but I really loved the movie too.

I rate this book 4 ****

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beloved Emma by Lori E Woodland and Illustrated by Liz Lemon Swindle (41/2)

Revered as “an elect lady” and denounced as a “damned liar,” Emma Hale Smith had a life full of contradictions — trials and triumphs, sorrows and strength, fears and faith. Raised in a well-respected family, she gave up everything to marry a poor, uneducated farm boy. Her unwavering support of the Prophet Joseph through intense persecution and suffering is legendary, and although she lived in relative comfort and security in her later years, Emma’s life continued to be laced with tragedy and heartache.

This well-documented narrative provides a personal glimpse into the life of a woman who remains one of the most mysterious and misunderstood women in Church history today. With beautiful full-color illustrations by renowned artist Liz Lemon Swindle, the story is told using many first-person accounts. Readers will gain valuable insights into the remarkable life and character of Emma Hale Smith.

This is a Beautiful book about a pioneer woman who lived in the 1800s. She was an elect women who live through trails, and happy times.She had so much faith in her god, and a great love for her Husband.

Emma endured so much in her life she Endure the miscarriages and death of her children.

Emma had alot of love for People, she would open her door to so many people. She also moved many times thoughtout her life with her family to find peace and safety.
Emma and her family life was in Danger so many times. She also had a good family that helped her..

The thing I have learnt from this book is to be compassionate and endure to the end..

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

Book Club read for September
Everyone knows the story of Elizabeth and Jane Bennett in
Pride and Prejudice. But what about their sister, Mary?
So far on in time, each of Mary's sisters is settled in her own way.
Then events transpire that free Mary from her family obligations and
dangle the allurement of independence before her hungry gaze.
Fired with zeal by the newspaper letters of the mystery man Argus,
she resolves to publish a book about the plight of England's poor.
Plunging from one predicament into another, Mary embarks upon a mission
of investigation that eventually leads her into mortal danger and reveals
the surprising identity of Argus.

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