Today’s Book

I usually participate in a meme of some sort on Thursdays but since Alyce from At Home With Books has ended My Favorite Reads and I don’t do Booking Through Thursday anymore (although I love reading the responses), I’ve been struggling with what to do with Thursdays.  There are tons of memes out there and I like them all but I thought I’d do something a little less memey.  I thought I would simply talk about the book I’m reading today.  Marg over at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader does this every once in a while and I enjoy hearing about what book(s) she’s reading so I thought I would take a page and do something similar.  It won’t be a review or a re-cap.  I may even get lazy a few mornings and post only the cover and leave you wondering.  Mostly it will be my first initial thoughts on a book and whether or not I’m enjoying it.  Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant cuz I’m lazy in the morning and far, far, far from being a morning person.

Today I’m reading The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

I requested this book which is something I don’t normally do (my TBR is big enough without adding promised reviews to the mix) but this made it onto my list a long time ago and when I saw an ad for copies in Shelf Awareness, I asked for one.  Then it sat because I had other things to read and it’s long (672 pages), and while I love long books, I kept putting it off.

Yesterday, I decided it was time.  So, here’s what’s happened so far (I will try to avoid spoilers and since I’m only 144 pages in that should be easy.) —

Edie Burchill is having dinner with her parents when her mother gets a letter that causes her to cry, something her mother never does.  Edie gets her to talk about the letter and she finds out that her mother was a child evacuee during WWII and was taken in by the Blythe sisters at Milderhurst Castle.  A short time later, Edie gets lost on a business trip and finds herself at the castle.  She talks the sisters into giving her a tour, and after a creepy encounter with the youngest sister, she now seems a little obsessed with the castle and the sisters.

If you want general info, the publisher’s website has it.  I don’t want to add more since that’s actually as far as I got in the book last night.  I’m enjoying it but it’s reminding me of another book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and I keep comparing the two in my head and  I need to knock that off or I won’t get through this one.

On another note — and since I’m talking about whatever I want today — I bought The Exile by Diana Gabaldon.  It’s the Outlander graphic novel and, YES, Jamie Fraser looks nothing like the Jamie Fraser in my head but that’s okay.  He’s still a hot Scottish guy in a kilt.  🙂  The Outlander series ranks high on my favorite scale so I had to buy this one since I own all the other books.  It’s told from Jamie’s perspective, and I don’t read many graphic novels which I’m trying to change for the better, and I think a hot Scottish guy in a kilt will get me there.




By Lauren Kate

Delacourte Press

ISBN: 978-0-385-73893-4

3.75 stars

Luce Price isn’t a normal girl, or at least she doesn’t think so. Since she was a child, she has been able to see unexplained shadows that appear before something bad happens. Medication and psychiatrists have not been able to rid of her them and she’s reluctantly learned to live with the shadows. While away at boarding school, she’s involved in the unexplained death of a classmate. She doesn’t remember what happened and can’t explain the fire that killed him and almost took her life.

A judge orders her to reform school, the Sword & Cross, and the day she checks in she’s drawn to one student, Daniel. He isn’t nice to her, doesn’t want anything to do with her, and she can’t leave him alone or get him out of her head. Strange things happen that shouldn’t when she’s around him and the shadows, which have become more direct and daring, begin to frighten her as never before.

Vampires, werewolves, and now angles. Don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away by telling you angels are involved here. The title and the name of the boarding school give it away.

The story starts out slow and stays that way for the first 100 or so pages. Luce is dreary but understandably so. She’s being dropped at another boarding school which is more like a reform school, she’s coping with the death of a boy she thinks she may have killed, her parents act as if they are afraid of her, and now she has to make friends all over again. That’ s a lot for anyone to deal with. Her obsession with Daniel is a bit much for me, I was never one for reading about teen angst, but when things are explained, the attraction and obsession become less annoying. I just wish I knew some of that up front.

The school, the Sword & Cross, is dark, sad, and somehow a good setting. When the story gets moving, it’s interesting to see what side everyone is on. I liked that the religious element was fairly light here. I’m not one for religion in books but here it was handled well — enough to make the point but not overly pronounced. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Fallen will be released December 8, 2009. It is the first is a series.

This book was sent to me by Random House at my request. It is an advanced reader’s copy.

Century: Book 1 The Ring of Fire

Century: Book 1 The Ring of Fire

Century: Book 1 The Ring of Fire

Century: Book 1 The Ring of Fire

By P.D. Baccalario

Random House Children’s Books

ISBN: 978-0-375-85895-6

2.5 stars

According to legend, every 100 years mankind is tested and, in order to be saved, four children must take on the task of saving the world…

On December 29, thanks to a hotel reservation mix up, four children find themselves thrown together in one room in Rome. Elettra, the hotel owner’s daughter, Harvey from New York, Sheng from Shanghai, and Mistral from Paris. In getting to know each other, they find out they are all Leap Year babies. Suddenly, a freak blackout drowns the city in darkness and the kids decide to take the opportunity to explore.

On the streets of Rome, the kids run into a man who gives them a briefcase. Wearily, they take it back to the hotel and open it. Inside they find a series of clues that make no sense to them at first, but soon they find themselves traversing the city in search of an elusive answer, running from a dangerous hit-man, and being drawn deeper into a centuries old mystery.

This book sounded very interesting to me and I was looking forward to it. I tend to like stories where characters are searching for the unknown with a bit of the paranormal/mysterious element thrown in but this one came up short for me. I am usually very good at suspending disbelief when needed, but here I couldn’t buy that these four kids would automatically bond, roam the street of Rome, and get in that much trouble without anyone noticing. For instance, one of the kids gets kidnapped and no one notices and the other kids say nothing. I had trouble with that. Also, I found Harvey to be very unlikable and wondered why these kids would still want him around. He said no to everything, was moody, and generally mean and annoying. Yes, there is always room for the contrarian but he was the epitome and then some.

I will say this — I have been to Rome and I think the author did a good job of describing the city and it’s little quirks. There are many fantastic things in Rome that can make the imagination run wild. I wish more of that was incorporated here but the story was about these four kids and not the city. Also, it did pick up toward the end and had it’s moments. For 12 year-olds (the ages of the children in this book), I can see the draw here — to be in a big city, without parents butting in, and involved in a centuries old mystery, it could be very thrilling.

This is the first book in the Century series. Four others are planned.

This book was sent to me by Random House at my request.

The Devlin Diary


The Devlin Diary

The Devlin Diary

The Devlin Diary

By Christi Phillips

Pocket Books

ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-2739-8

4 stars

In addition to this blog, I also do reviews for The Book Reporter website. Below is a short summary of my review of The Devlin Diary which can be found on their website in full here.

London, 1672, Hannah Devlin is ministering to the sick when she is summoned by an official of the king, to care for King Charles’s mistress. Over 300 years later, historian Claire Donovan, uncovers a decades old diary belonging to Hannah that chronicles a fascinating tale of murder and deceit at court.

Following the lives of two women, one is 1672 London and another in Cambridge in 2008, the reader is taken on a journey of murder, mystery, and English court intrigue in The Devlin Diary.

Phillips takes the reader on a wild chase through London streets, court conspiracies, and the stacks at Trinity College. Her talent lies in the details. She pulls together a rich tale set in 1672 London. One can clearly picture this London, smell the rank Fleet river, and feel sympathy for Hannah and all she has lost. Her descriptions of the inventions of the time and the characters she has assembled are marvelous.

In the end, Phillips delivers a story full of historical suspense. In fact, you’ll wish there were more of her take on the time period which she describes wonderfully.