Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess  407 pages

Henrietta Howell can burst into flames.

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend,she's shocked when, instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. 

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one. 

As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city - and the one she loves?

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn - 384 pages

This book contains a second epilogue for each member of the Bridgerton family.  I enjoyed listening to this and revisiting characters I enjoyed reading about in their original books.  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series books.

The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker

The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker-368 pages

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule—namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves

The Seekers by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Seekers by Wanda E. Brunstetter - 448 pages

I would call this a nice story.  A woman decides to hold Amish cooking classes since she's Amish, has no children and looks for extra income.
The folks who show up, Amish and English, are sharing their lives and well as cooking classes.  Good ending for all those involved.

Some Writer!: the Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

Some Writer!: the Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet
176 pages

This juvenile biographical book of the life of E.B. White is written in an engaging scrapbook style.  The photos, drawings and quotes complement the narrative.  A note from his granddaughter, Martha White, confirms that the author accurately portrays his spirit.  He was very independent, enjoying a simple life and refusing to let his writing success define him.

I was unaware of White's works outside of his children's books including his long-time relationship with The New Yorker magazine.  I look forward to reading his many essays and poems.

The interesting, nostalgic style of the book makes it worth skimming through even if you decide not to read it entirely.

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith
240 pages

"Paul Stuart, a renowned food writer, finds himself at loose ends after his longtime girlfriend leaves him for her personal trainer. To cheer him up, Paul’s editor, Gloria, encourages him to finish his latest cookbook on-site in Tuscany, hoping that a change of scenery (plus the occasional truffled pasta and glass of red wine) will offer a cure for both heartache and writer’s block. But upon Paul’s arrival, things don’t quite go as planned. A mishap with his rental-car reservation leaves him stranded, until a newfound friend leads him to an intriguing alternative: a bulldozer.

With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts the offer, and as he journeys (well, slowly trundles) into the idyllic hillside town of Montalcino, he discovers that the bulldozer may be the least of the surprises that await him. What follows is a delightful romp through the lush sights and flavors of the Tuscan countryside, as Paul encounters a rich cast of characters, including a young American woman who awakens in him something unexpected.

A feast for the senses and a poignant meditation on the complexity of human relationships, My Italian Bulldozer is a charming and intensely satisfying love story for anyone who has ever dreamed of a fresh start."  --book jacket

This was a quirky, delightful read that I would highly recommend.  I'm still smiling!

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay
222 pages / 5 hours, 56 minutes

The story is set in Paris, France in the 1860's. By order of Emperor Napoleon III, hundreds of houses are being razed and whole neighborhoods reduced to ashes in order to modernize the city. Rose Bazelet, a fifty-nine-year-old widow, is determined to record her final thoughts and feelings as the destruction goes on around her.

It is a book of reflection and reminiscing that many readers may find a bit dreary.  I'm not entirely sure why it fascinated me.  I enjoyed the historical references and even stopped to read a timeline of 1800's France.  Rose is a strong woman who loves with her whole heart and enjoys the beauty around her.  The house has been her husband's family home for generations and represents the best parts of her life.  She decides she would rather not live without her home, but will she change her mind when the demolition crew arrives?