The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

The Heretic Queen

Title: The Heretic Queen
Author: Michelle Moran
Published: September 2008
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780307381767
Source: Library

Description: In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history. 
The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.  Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

I Give This Book 4 Stars!

I’ve always loved the history of ancient civilizations.  But, history class is just facts.  It does not make you feel like you are there.  It does not give you a taste of what life might have been like.   Michelle Moran does.  I can not imagine the research that goes into her work.  The minute you open the cover of one of her novels, you are there.  I love the settings, the characters, and the story itself.  I like how she takes what is known and weaves into her story, so in the end you are not sure if the book was fact or fiction.  I also enjoyed that in both books I’ve read, she has included biblical references.  And, I’ve completely missed them until I’ve read the author notes in the back.  Michelle Moran leaves me talking about her books long after I’ve read them!

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Son of a Witch (Wicked Years #2) by Gregory MaGuire

Son of a Witch: A Novel (Wicked Years, #2)

Title: Son of a Witch
Author: Gregory MaGuire
Published: October 2006 by Regan Books
Pages: 337
ISBN: 9780060747220
Source: personal copy

Description:  Ten years after the publication of Wicked, beloved novelist Gregory Maguire returns at last to the land of Oz. There he introduces us to Liir, an adolescent boy last seen hiding in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully, Liir is shattered in spirit as well as in form. But he is tended to at the Cloister of Saint Glinda by the silent novice called Candle, who wills him back to life with her musical gifts. What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba’s son? He has her broom and her cape—but what of her powers? Can he find his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in the forbidding prison, Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz that, since the Wizard’s departure, is under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up?

I Give This Book 3 Stars!

I will admit that I was not an instant fan of Wicked.  It took the second reading for me to be fully engaged in it and not completely confused.  Maybe that’s the case here as well.  Nothing about this book felt similar to the first.  It was even more confusing.  The characters don’t feel the same nor does the land of OZ (but then there is no Wizard…).   The first half to 2/3 of the book drag on.  All the action occurs in the end, and then it’s over.  I didn’t particularly like Liir.  He was a wishy-washy character, and never firmly stood his ground on anything.  In the end, he seemed to develop some character.  But, it was too little too late.  I will probably read the latest in the series A Lion Among Men, but only because the library has it.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Title: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Diaz
Published: September 2007 by Riverhead
Pages: 340
ISBN: 9781594489587

Description: Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku – the curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

I Give This Book 3.5 Stars

I’m still not sure what makes this book a literary genius.  First off I dislike fiction stories that include footnotes.  Although, I know they are there to state facts, I still found myself not reading them.  There is an interesting history trapped in these pages.  And that I did enjoy.  I liked the story involving Oscar’s heritage and the history of the Dominican.  He’s mother’s story was particularly harrowing.  But, the story of Oscar himself bordered on vulgar at times.  I felt like it was 340 pages of a man’s desire to have sex for the first time.  I finished it (and it took me longer than most books this size do), but I don’t feel I learned anything from it.

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster

600 Hours of Edward

Title: 600 Hours of Edward 
Author: Craig Lancaster
Published: November 2009 by Riverbend Publishing
Pages: 278

ISBN: 9781606390139

Description: Edward Stanton is a man hurtling headlong toward middle age. His mental illness has led him to be sequestered in his small house in a small city, where he keeps his distance from the outside world and the parents from whom he is largely estranged. For the most part, Edward sticks to things he can count on…and things he can count. But over the course of 25 days (or 600 hours, as Edward prefers to look at it) several events puncture the walls Edward has built around himself. In the end, he faces a choice: Open his life to experience and deal with the joys and heartaches that come with it, or remain behind his closed-door, a solitary soul.

I Give This Book 5 Stars!

All I can say is Wow, what a wonderful book!  While a number of books lately have emerged me in a fantasy world, this one grips you into today’s world.  It was a great change of pace.  Edward could be anybody, and I think that’s one thing that makes this story so fascinating.  From the first page, you get a very intense view of what life is like for Edward.  You feel slightly sorry for him, but you begin to understand why it is this way.  And then those small little problems that so often happen in life begin to disrupt the perfect little system that Edward has built around himself.  I was so impressed with the way the author wrote how Edward handled all of this.  It was such a moving story from beginning to end.  I felt so connected to Edward, and had a wide range of emotion throughout the story.  While the story ended nicely, I wanted more of it.  There was just enough at the end that made me wonder if a sequel could be in the works.   Overall, I would recommend this to anybody who would enjoy a human interest story.  

* A special thanks to the author, Craig Lancaster, for sending me this book to review! 

Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 8:00 am  Comments (1)  

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shield

The Stone Diaries

Title: The Stone Diaries
Author: Carol Shields
Publication: April 1995 by Penguin
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780140233131

Description: This fictionalized autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett, captured in Daisy’s vivacious yet reflective voice, has been winning over readers since its publication in 1995, when it won the Pulitzer Prize. After a youth marked by sudden death and loss, Daisy escapes into conventionality as a middle-class wife and mother. Years later she becomes a successful garden columnist and experiences the kind of awakening that thousands of her contemporaries in mid-century yearned for but missed in alcoholism, marital infidelity and bridge clubs. The events of Daisy’s life, however, are less compelling than her rich, vividly described inner life–from her memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death.

I Give This Book 3 Stars!

I’m not sure really what to think of this book.  The description makes it sound like it is told from Daisy’s point of view, but really it is not.  It almost like an outsider wrote it that knew everything about Daisy.  While I liked the book, I felt next to nothing for Daisy herself.  I found those surrounding her to be far more interesting.  They gave the story life.  Thankfully you get a few clips of the story told from varying viewpoints.  I got the most from the letters, etc that are throughout the story.   I kept hoping the Daisy would eventually find something to tie her to this world.  Most people I think go through life trying to make their mark, something that says they were here long after they’re gone.  With Daisy it was like she knew she would never been remembered, so why try.  She even felt her children and grandchildren would eventually forget about her.  She was content to just exist for the moment.  It was not depressing, I just felt sorry for her.  Still, not a bad story.  And it was much more enjoyable than the 2 of the 3 books I’ve read for my Pulitzer Prize winners challenge.

 

 

 

Published in: on October 23, 2009 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins

   Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2)

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins         
Published:  Sept. 1, 2009 by Scholastic Press
Pages: Hardcover 391
ISBN: 0439023491

 Description: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta.  But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

I Give This Book 4.5 Stars!

I had high hopes for Catching Fire, and it did not disappoint. But, I did not feel it was as exciting and fast paced as The Hunger Games. I still love Katniss and her courage and strength. She is a wonderful lead character and shows much more development that a lot of stories out there. I am more team Peeta than I was after The Hunger Games.  He is amazingly self sacrificing.  But, I would love to have more knowledge of Gale.  He seems much more important to the story than the author indicates.  I was still instantly pulled into the story which is what I was hoping for. I was not expecting the turn of events that took place at the hands of the capital.  Although, I should not have been surprised given the knowledge of how cruel the capital can be.  The theories about district 13 were especially intriguing!  The ending confused me a little and I had to reread to make sure I understood what happened. It left a great cliffhanger to this story that has me eagerly awaiting book 3!

Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (Study, #1)

I Give this book 4.5 Stars!

Description: Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.  About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.   And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.   As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.

This book was so close to being worthy of 5 stars!  I loved it.  I found myself having to read it at odd times just because I wanted to know what happened (I read while I was cooking dinner even lol).   I really enjoyed Yelena’s character.  I thought she was well developed and made the story interesting.  The circumstances in the story were intriguing.  The only reason it didn’t get 5 stars, is because I figured out some of the events before they happened.  Not a big deal, but one of them I wish I would have felt the suprise of it instead of figuring it out way before.  I will pick up the next in the series and continue on!

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm  Comments (2)  
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