Wednesday, September 16, 2009

books in the mail

I got 2 books this week.

From Amazon I bought The Merlot Murders

and I won Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins: Book Cover
from Julie Peterson of Booking Mama. I was probably the most surprised winner she has ever had. She's a very nice lady who loves books and you really should go visit her site sometime.

I may have forgotten some i got last week but you all understand, it was a bit of a strange week at the yellow brick house.

Book Review: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber: Book Cover
If you have followed me for very long, you know how antsy I was to read this book! And I am sure you want to know if it lived up to my expectations. IT DID IT DID IT DID IT DID!!! and now for my review:

The language felt right for the time with well defined characters.

The time is 1888. The place is London, England. Percy, an orphan brought up in a convent, has come to Athens Academy to further her education. Her albino coloring gives her the appearance of the one of the ghosts she sees, hears, and can talk to. While she is our main character, there are plenty of interesting others.

There is the Guard made up of Rebecca, the head mistress of the Academy. Alexi, the mathematics professor. Elijah, a Lord with great wealth, Josephine, of French extraction, owner of the establishment where the Guard meet. Michael, a man of the cloth. Jane, an Irish lass, who is a bit of a loner.

What do they guard? And Why?

There is Marianna, a fellow student from Germany who becomes Percy's best live friend.

Lucille, a beautiful, raven haired woman who seems to been in need to protection.

There is the Ripper. Is he man or something else?

Who is theSeventh? Why is the Seventh so important?

London (The Smoke) is also a character, with her well known ghosts and dark atmosphere, and darker alleys.

If you are well versed in mythology, you will love how it is woven into the story as are the Shakespherian references.

Leanna Renee Hieber, who is also a working actress, has wrapped this tale up with great dramatic effect. While she has two more books in store for the me based on these characters, I am pleased to report this one can be read as a stand alone. (I do so hate to be left dangling with floppy, sloppy ending.)

I do hope you have as much fun reading this as i!

UPDATE!!! I just found out the next book will be out in May, 2010.

UPDATE: Book Review: Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind by Phillip Done

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, I get to review Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind" by Phillip Done. The following is their description of the book:

A twenty-year veteran of the classroom, elementary school teacher Phillip Done takes readers through a lively and hilarious year in the classroom. Starting with the relative calm before the storm of buying school supplies and posting class lists, he shares the distinct personalities of grades K-4, what he learned from two professional trick or treating 8-year-old boys, the art of learning cursive and letter-writing, how kindergartners try to trap leprechauns, and what every child should experience before he or she grows up.

These charming, sweet, and funny tales of Mr. Done's trials and triumphs as an award-winning schoolteacher will touch readers' hearts and remind them of the true joys of childhood. We all have that one special, favorite grade school teacher whom we fondly remember throughout our adult lives - and every teacher also has students whom they will never forget. This is the perfect book for teachers, parents, and anyone else who is looking for a lighthearted, nostalgic read.

My thoughts:

After reading a Gothic, ghostly tale and two Civil War themed books, i was having much trouble getting into a A Separate Country, another book stemming from the Civil War. That was when I picked up "Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind" by Phillip Done.

What a joyous read for anyone who can remember being a third grader, parents of a third grader, teachers, would be teachers ….oh, just anyone who enjoys young kids. I think it was Bennet Surf that wrote the book "Never Get Personal with a Chicken" (WRONG: Don't Get Perconal with a Chicken by H. Allen Smith) who first taught me the joys of the minds of young ones. Mr. Done has done a grand job continuing that legacy. What a grand teacher he must be! I would wish him on every third grader!

I am so glad i got to read this book for all the joy it gave me. I feel lighter than air and ready to hug all teachers and read to a bunch of little kids one of my favorite children's books.

Book Review Shades of Grey by Jessica James

What drew me to the novel? The title which suggests a willingness to give the reader an unbiased view of the conflict? The cover? The fact that General Lee was from Virginia? Maybe I was influenced by my southern heritage with both parents being deeply routed there. I can only rejoice that i was drawn to the novel.

You are not taken from one blood battle to the next, rather you are taken through the war by the conflicts of two people, both Southerns, but one strongly for the rights of the stare and one strongly for keeping the states united. As they battle each other with their wits, as they dutifully do their assigned tasks to end the conflict, the reader is exposed to more of the war's complexities.

The book starts with a chase during the beginning of the war. Confederates chasing a small farmer boy on a big black charger. The Federals suddenly appear causing the Confederates to split up…except for their leader who is intent on his youthful prey.

As the reader, it was the start of a fast moving junket that did no slow down. I could see each character, hear their voices, understand their emotions.

Who do i think should read Shades of Gray? Civil War buffs. Lovers of historical fiction. History lovers. Anyone who just wants a really good read.

Book Review Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke

I must thank Hachette first for letting me review this book!

This is the story of Sewing Annie who is put under the tutelage of Knitting Annie to learn her skills on the Ridley Plantation. When Knitting Annie dies, Sewing Annie takes up the the black smith by whom she has a boy, Gabriel, and a girl, Ellen. By teaching them her skills, she hopes to save her children from the fields. At 10, Gabriel is sent to Washington DC to apprentice to a tailor. The tailor moves on after selling the shop to the Master. The Master's nephew is put in charge of the store with Gabriel, Sewing Annie, and Ellen running the business.

This is the story of the strength and love of family from before and through the Civil War and after. It is heartwarming and gut wrenching and well worth the read.

The rhythm of the language threw me for a bit from time to time but did not stop me wanting to find out what would happen to this family.

I could feel most of the characters and understand their motivations and enjoyed their growth. The novel is portal into time period well known but from a different vantage. It is so well worth the read.

houston, we have power

yes, i'm back. i know, it was only supposed to take a couple of days BUT when the electric company does not show up between 8 and 8:30 like they said that they would and it takes 5 phone calls to get someone who will respond so you don't get the power off until after 5, you know this portends of things to come. ..and it did.

i did tell you that we decided the guys that wired this house were drunk and on drugs? from what dh told me, i think they shared some with the inspector! besides things being wired incorrectly, they weren't up to code. i mean they weren't up to code when the house was built.

oh, and it wasn't grounded.

and if getting the power turned off was a pain, getting it turned back on was just about as easy. talk about left hands and right hands not talking! we were cleared to have the power turned on before took lots of phone calls to get it turned back on...after 5pm mind you. AND i got a call this morning to see if we were ready to have it turned back on.

but everything seems about right now and i have computer access so i am a happy camper....well, except for over 2000 emails!

but i have most of that fixed.