This tale of two women--or, rather, a woman and a girl--is indeed masterful. Each is not as she might appear on the surface, and the appreciation each has for the world in which she finds herself is wry and delightful. Fascinating to see the apparently dumpy concierge finally showing her true plumage as an unusual romance comes her way, while the child finds herself finally coming to appreciate the life given her as she finds herself caught up in her new friend's life.
Seeing these two each blossoming in the heart of a Parisian apartment complex is indeed a joy.
Eff struggles to find her place while seeking to limit the damage she might cause, what with being the thirteenth child born to her family and the older twin to her brother Lan, a seventh son of a seventh son. Everyone knows, after all, that Double Sevens are both lucky and powerful natural magicians, while thirteenth children are bad luck to have around and certain to go bad. But in trying to control the curse she fears lies on her, is Eff likely to destroy her own considerable magic power?
Far from the prejudice shown by her father's family back east, Eff finds Mill City on the Mammoth River to offer far more acceptance than she'd known as a small child. And as she grows she becomes increasingly fascinated by the lands west of the Great Divide where a powerful magic boundary runs along the river, keeping creatures such as mammoths and wooly rhinos, sphinxes and ice dragons west of the mixed spells set up to protect the settled lands. In this alternate United States, after all, magic is a real source of power; and it is both respected and necessary for those who wish to settle in the plains west of the river. Or, is it as necessary as is commonly believed?
Patricia Wrede has written a fascinating first volume in what promises to be an entertaining and thought-provoking series of a girl growing up on the leading edge of a growing nation in which magic is a common feature of life. Perhaps inspired equally by Laura Ingals Wilder, J.K. Rowling, and Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series. Narration is good, but could be better, I think.
Of all the books I've read lately, this grabbed me fastest and has influenced me most. Told from the point of view of Peekay, a child of British breeding in South Africa, we see the roiling struggle for dominance and rule between the Boers and the British and the accompanying struggle for survival and dignity of the many native tribes and clans that made up the black majority in the region. How did a small but brilliant boy from a poor white family come to inspire the clans to unite and reach for the hope they know is there as much for them as for anyone else?
The story is gripping, the characters sympathetic, the time period fascinating, and the narration superb. Definitely not a book to ignore!
Sex kitten Lisa Dean is most men's dream as a possible sexual partner, but not for Travis McGee, who is more attracted to Ms. Dean's private secretary. Too bad that this secretary is considered the Ice Queen, for he's instructed to work with the woman to find some damning photos taken at an impromptu swinging house party and see them destroyed.
Who killed the photographer, though, and appears willing to do anything possible to keep McGee and his female companion from completing their commission?
I last read this book shortly after it was first published, back in the sixties, as my older brother and I "borrowed" it from our dad's collection to read it for ourselves. John D. MacDonald founded the genre of the thriller as far as I'm concerned, and his books are as readable now as they were when they were first released.
The daughter of a professor and a scholar of medieval literature and languages in her own right, Rosalind Hawkins is uncertain as to what her future holds when her father dies unexpectedly and she learns his creditors intend to take everything he'd ever owned. The offer to become a governess to two children living in an isolated home north of San Francisco sounds almost too good to be true. When she learns that the children do not exist, but instead her new employer wishes her to read to him through a speaking tube she's not certain what to think.
Whom should she believe--her new employer's private secretary, who characterizes the master of the place as depraved, or the horse gifted to their employer who obviously finds the secretary less than trustworthy? And just what does she think about all the esoteric volumes she's expected to read?
Not a bad story, but the depiction of the lady's near-sightedness had me shaking my head with disgust. As one who's endured myopia most of my life, I'm here to tell you that we just ain't all that helpless without our glasses! Not the best in the series, but not the worst, either, and the narration is fine. Also, Lackey has used the Beauty and the Beast scenario before in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series with the same man-beast combination, and I think that she did better there than here.
When I was a child and ill, I'd lie on the couch wrapped in sheet blankets and warm blankies where Mom could keep an eye on me with a stack of books at hand, and the Doctor Dolittle books were among my favorites. Ah, to read that first adventure once again as John Dolittle makes the transition from people to animal doctor and finds himself called off to Africa to nurse monkeys back to health was a joy.
Do be advised that this book was written over half a century ago, and not all of its language is now seen as politically correct. In spite of it, I enjoyed reading the interaction of Dr. Dolittle and his animal family as they interact with the people of Jollinki. And, as is noted in the afterword, the animals, in spite of being able to converse easily with Dr. Doolittle, are still the animals they are and not anthropomorphised.
Still as fun to read as it was in the fifties!
I love this story of the relationship between Joey and Albert, and the narration is indeed superb. Now I hope I can find a DVD of the movie adaptation. Definitely an audiobook I recommend.
Am not given to vampire stories, although I have found a few exceptions, including this one. Henry FitzRoy is not exactly your everyday vampire, after all, having been in his short lifetime the illegitimate son of an all too (in)famous king. He's managed to survive for four hundred fifty or so years as a vampire, and he doesn't intend to know destruction now that a variety of victims are being found strewn about Toronto in a pattern apparently intended to free a major demon lord into the world of the living. But without the help of a former homicide detective who is now turned private detective, there's a strong chance that he or a fellow vampire will be blamed for the gruesome deaths.
A fun, light read, and the description of the detective's retinitis pigmentosa is, for a refreshing change, spot on. So many writers trying to describe what visually disabled individuals experience haven't a clue as to what they'd really perceive!
The narrator's reading is a bit throaty for my taste, but works okay.
Growing up in as insular a region as he did, Dave Robicheaux knew both Buford and Karyn LaRose at least from their college days. Buford has managed to use his inherited wealth and his book on the Crown case to promote himself in his run to become Governor of the state of Louisiana, but Karyn seems intent on reawakening a relationship with Dave he'd much rather let lie thirty years in the past.
Did Aaron Crown kill an NAACP worker twenty years ago, and if so, what was his motive? That is the question nagging Dave. But now a mob hitman appears to have a particular vendetta against Dave and all close to him, and it's a question as to who will and who won't survive the LaRose campaign.
As is common in this series, those who inherited their wealth are far from worthy of their fortunes, and the females are at least as deadly as any mob button man.
When Dave Robicheaux made the mistake of letting people know he had an idea as to where a World War Two U-boat sunk in the Caribbean might be found, suddenly he has too many people wanting him to lead them to it, including a man calling himself Will Buchalter. With informants dying on him left and right and apparently Bootsie intending to enter the alcoholic state he's fought so hard to put behind him, Dave doesn't know quite whom to trust--and with reason.
Action packed as usual. Although I realized in this one I was perhaps quicker on the uptake and even less trusting than Dave himself, as I had the accomplice pegged pretty quickly on while Dave was still trying to sort out his feelings toward the individual.
Alexander McCall Smith has an uncanny knack for depicting quirky characters in a perfectly charming manner, and he does it again in this series, which I want to explore more thoroughly as time and money permit. Following the lives of the denizens of the apartment block known as Corduroy Mansions is fascinating, illuminating, and delicious. And I am totally in love with Freddy de le Hay!
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