30 August 2008

Review: The Song of a Dark Angel | Paul Doherty, P.C. Doherty

It's 1302 and Hugh Corbett, King Edward I's Keeper of the Secret Seal, is sent to Norfolk to investigate a series of murders. Again, this novel is based on fact and has been well researched.

The Pastoureaux (or Shepherds Movement) of France are part of the plot, and the Children's Crusade is also mentioned. A dark but fascinating part of history I wasn't aware of prior to reading this book and was inspired to research afterwards.

The loss of King Johns treasure at the Wash in 1216 is also a large part of the plot, as rumours and myths surrounding the treasure are rife and some characters devote their lives to searching to uncovering the mystery.

Overall, another satisfying medieval mystery. I thought I was close to the end of the series, but just learned that there are another 8 in the series, so I'm really only half way.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

25 August 2008

Review: Christ the Lord - The Road to Cana | Anne Rice

To all those who know me, it goes without saying that I'm a huge Anne Rice fan and simply must read any new book she publishes. This series however couldn't be further from the Vampire Chronicles or the Mayfair Witch stories.

Rice has meticulously researched the life of Christ, and this is the second in her series bringing to life Yeshua Bar Joseph. I found her first book in the series Christ the Lord Out of Egypt difficult to get into, as it was quite heavy going. However I thoroughly enjoyed the second installation in the series, and the story is really picking up pace now. I was still a little overwhelmed by all the family members, and how they were all related, but persisted through it all!

I'm really looking forward to the next book, although it will probably be another 12 months in the making. It's also difficult to know if this will be the last in the series.

I probably wouldn't recommend this book to Anne Rice fans, as it's nothing like her other works. However if you enjoy historical fiction and have an interest in religion then this is a great book.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

18 August 2008

Review: The Assassin in the Greenwood | Paul Doherty, P.C Doherty

This is another of the medieval mysteries featuring Hugh Corbett and I'm happy to say the books are improving as the series progresses.

This one is set in 1302 and includes a plot featuring Robin Hood. In the acknowledgements the author clarifies the true events the book is based on, and his research appears to be extremely thorough, referencing Folio Numbers from the British Library and records from the Public Office. His level of research and detail is precisely the reason I'm enjoying this historical fiction series so much.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

16 August 2008

Review: Behind the Bestsellers | Jenny Bond & Chris Sheedy

This non-fiction book was published in Australia, and provides an insight into 50 well-known books. It was really interesting to read the history behind some very famous books and learn about the struggle their authors often faced in their lives or in writing their novels.

This book also includes some non-fiction books and overall was an insightful and rewarding read.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who loves writing or reading and also to those who want a brief overview of the classics without having to read them in full.

My rating = *****

That's my four bucks!

Facelift

I thought it was time to give my blog a facelift, so hope you all like the new template!!!

I'm certainly in the mood for change and I love it!

That's my four bucks!

14 August 2008

Review: Second Chance | Jane Green

This book was recommended to be by someone at work, and I'm not looking forward to telling her I hated it! 

Second Chance was essentially about the following: a group of school friends lose touch, two of them marry the wrong man, one of the friends in the group dies prompting a get together. They all are having a mid life crisis of some kind, one of which involves adultery, one of which involves alcoholism, another involving an accidental pregnancy and another a divorce. At the end of the book, all the main characters have a happy ending and the book is all neatly tied up. Hardly realistic, and definitely not my sort of book. I don't enjoy romance books (elements of that here), I don't enjoy books where the character commits adultery (tick), and I don't enjoy books about regular people living their lives but having a nice happy ending written for them. Boring!

Having said all of that, I've noticed that Jane Green is a 'best selling author' and what I have gained from reading this book is the knowledge that I don't like her style and won't be picking up another of her books.

My rating = * (half a star)

Carpe Librum!

Review: The Chronicles of Narnia | C.S. Lewis

I received this book as a Christmas gift several years ago, and I've always wanted to read it, so why has it taken me so long to pick it up? Well for a start, it's quite big, as it contains all 7 books in the Narnia series, including The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. The second reason is that I assumed that being a children's classic, it would be difficult to read, in the same way that I found Lord of the Rings difficult.

Well, I decided it was a perfect book to take on the honeymoon, given I would have two weeks to get stuck into the story. Wow, what a shock!! I was hooked from the very first page, and enchanted by the author's writing style and the introduction of Narnia. It's very difficult not to compare it to the Harry Potter series, because the simple language and easy writing style is great for kids, and the imagination of the author is really sublime.

I was totally immersed in the story and enjoyed all the adventures. I realised after reading it that the religious undercurrent that this book is renowned for is there for the reader if they wish to delve deep, however they form part of the story and I very much doubt younger readers would even notice. In the same way that The Simpsons contains jokes for adults that can often go right over the head of children, so it is with the religious references in this classic.

Each of the 7 adventures incorporates a battle of good (usually in the name of Aslan the Lion who created Narnia) and evil, and it is really only at the end of the series that the religious overtones become quite obvious. I was quite moved at the end of the last book when I realised that the characters weren't in a new world, they were in Heaven, and the process that got them there was fascinating. The message I gained from Lewis was that if you lead a good life then your actions are in the name of the 'Good God' you will be accepted in Heaven regardless of whether you have worshipped that God in life.

You really have to read it to understand, but ultimately I can see why this book is a classic, and I can definitely see why it has captivated so many readers, children and adults alike.

I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough to any reader.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

10 August 2008

Review: Murder Wears a Cowl | Paul Doherty, P.C. Doherty

I did a fair bit of reading on the honeymoon, and managed to finish off another of the Hugh Corbett medieval mysteries. This story was set in 1302 and based on real events at Westminster Abbey. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the character development of Ranulf, Corbett's manservant.

I'm about half way through this series now, and looking forward to reading the next one.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!