Thursday, February 28, 2008

Return to Promise by Debbie Macomber

Nicole Nelson likes dating married men and she moved to Promise, Texas with a plan destined to shake up the grapevine and the lives of many people. Her previous roommate had been engaged to Cal Patterson before he met and married Dr. Texas. Now Nicole wants to date Cal and her plan is to cause friction between Cal and his wife. Jane's father was having serious health problems which drew his daughter and grandchildren to California for a visit. Nicole used that time to be helpful to Cal and let the grapevine spread that news. One of the hallmarks of Promise is the friendships which are formed and forged through the years. Nicole Nelson was unaware of this strength shared by Cal, Jane and their friends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

This slender edition may not be the best Bill Bryson has ever written and is definitely not a book to base a thesis on. But for someone, like myself, who knows the name Shakespeare (never spelt the same way twice!) from his plays and Sonnets this book is an interesting read with the usual touch of Bryson wit.

Bryson expand on the little we know of Shakespeare, remarking that he is “at once the best known and least known of figures”. We don’t even know what he looked like as the three likenesses we have are so different. Even so, Bryson records everything that is known about the Bard, from the earliest scholars to the esteemed ones today, including the scholars like Delia Bacon, who tried to prove some one other than Shakespeare wrote his works.

Also he gives us a setting for the man – Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Although Shakespeare is usually associated with the Elizabethan period, Bill Bryson points out that the majority of his play writing career takes place after her death. We learn about the theatrical scene and the culture in London at the time.

Bryson deftly weaves humor and scant facts to tell Shakespeare's story that began in the sixteenth century and is still playing out today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Joshua: A Parable for Today by Joseph F. Girzone

Joshua moved to a small town called Auburn, renting a house on the outskirts. There he enjoyed his simple lifestyle in peace and quiet and spent time filling orders in his woodworking shop. That was his only source of income and he enjoyed making for people everything from statues to furniture. Word spread of a man who lived alone, made amazing things out of wood and had a deep understanding of God and religion. Most adults and children enjoyed being with Joshua and having conversations with him. Some of the clergy in Auburn became wary of him because of what they thought he was teaching their parishioners. Even when some ministers became agitated in their comments Joshua remained calm and gave thorough explanations of his beliefs. He visited several churches in town and the nearby synagogue when invited by members. His simple life became busier and complicated and He remained the same calm person, always ready to help someone in need.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tairen Soul

Lord of the Fading Lands
Lady of Light and Shadows

By C.L. Wilson

These are the first two books in a fantasy romance series called Tairen Soul. Supposedly they are about the Fey. Fey usually meaning Fairies, the Tuatha de Dannan, Titiana and Oberon, etc. Well, not in these books. The author tacks the name Fey onto a “magical” race that is entirely of her own creation, with no real connection to the rich folklore of our fantastical creatures.

I wish I could say this mix of two genres produced something new and fresh, but it didn’t. In part, because the author used generic plots and characters from both genres in a mostly generic manner. Set in a pseudo medieval fantasy world, handsome, powerful, but with a tortured past, king of the Fey finds his truemate in a pretty, good hearted, but possessed by demons, woodcarver’s daughter. Except, of course, she’s not really of such humble origins. Dark times are on the horizon, as the Eld, evil magic users, are secretly gathering their forces to strike at a human kingdom that doesn’t want to believe the threat is all that bad.

There were some interesting characterizations that were never followed up. For example, our hero lost his first wife in a war with the Eld, and literally went crazy with grief. Ostensibly, his feelings still remain, but now he’s truemated to someone he knows nothing of. This gets mentioned a couple of times, but usually as an excuse for the heroine to beat herself up for not being worthy, instead of exploring the hero’s emotional changes and this new relationship.

And I found any number of the secondary characters more interesting. One of the heroine’s Fey guards, Belliard vel Jelani, who is one step away from going over to the dark side. Gaelen vel Serranis, a legendary Fey warrior who’s gone over to the dark side. Granted, the dark side isn’t all that dark, as it’s more about banishment, than doing evil deeds. The few human border lords siding with the Fae against the Eld. Or the poor Fey who finds his truemate, only to find she’s married to someone else.

But then there are the Tairen. Another magical race, which are somehow bonded? with the Fey to the point that some of the Fey have Tairen souls? and can shapeshift into these creatures. Yes, I find them confusing. And despite reading two books, I still can’t figure out WHY they are in the books at all. Other than the author thought giant winged cats would be cool.

All that said, I did read both books. They aren’t bad; they just didn’t live up to my expectations. If you like Christine Feehan or Sherrilyn Kenyon (aka Kinley MacGregor), or romance books about soulmates, and want to branch out to books with more world building of the fantasy nature, you will probably enjoy these books.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber Cedar Cove series book one

Cecilia and Ian Randall have been married a year and she is filing for a divorce. When their child was born prematurely Ian was on submarine duty under the polar cap. The child had died and was buried before Ian learned what had happened. His response to the news was not what Cecilia needed. Judge Olivia Lockhart listened to the attorneys for Cecilia and Ian, considered carefully what they wanted from her and then gave her ruling. She declined to dissolve their marriage. Her recommendation was counseling and possibly reconciliation.
Judge Lockhart's mother, Charlotte Jefferson, befriended a stroke victim who is unable to talk. Certainly she had no idea how this friendship would impact her life.
Charlotte also became friends with the newspaper editor who is dating her daughter, the family court judge. When Jack decides to attract the senior readers in Cedar Cove, Charlotte is the natural choice to write the column.
The town librarian, Grace Sherman, is devastated when her thirty-four year marriage seems to crumble and then her husband, Dan, disappeared.
At the same time, Olivia's daughter Justine is dating a man old enough to be her father. Is it a relationship of convenience or is there really romance involved? Olivia doesn't know. Neither does Justine.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wizard Wrockers FREE SHOW - songs based on the seven Harry Potter books!

Wizard Wrockers
Tuesday, February 12th at 6pm at our library!

Free all-ages show! Join us in welcoming The Whomping Willows, Catchlove, and Justin Finch-Fletchly and the Sugar Quills to the Homewood Public Library.

These indie all ages rock bands write and sing songs based on the seven Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling.

This is their only Alabama show, so don't miss out! Call Ms. Heather 205.332.6621 for more information.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Swimming to Catalina A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods

When Vance Calder's wife was kidnapped he did not want to involve the police and he did not want any publicity. So he called Stone in New York. After Stone arrived in L.A. he was given a part in a movie which effectively took his time and kept him from ivestigating the whereabouts of Arrington Calder. After he finished with the movie he was quickly told all was well and he should return to New York. Since he felt that somthing was most certainly not right he decided to stay until such time as he had proof that Arrington was home. As he learned more about the actors, directors and financial backers in L.A. he realized the seriousness of what was going on. Stone contacted an LAPD officer who contacted someone with the FBI and IRS. They were all interested in the business dealings of key players. When Stone realized someone had been in his hotel room when he wasn't there he decided to move to another hotel. When he was invited to a party but was thrown overboard on the way there he really started to get mad. Of course, in Hollywood people aren't always who they appear to be. That even goes for bankers and restaurant owners.