Showing posts with label 3 Stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3 Stars. Show all posts

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Historical Thursday - Death By Petticoat


Death by Petticoat: American History Myths DebunkedDeath by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked

By: Mary Miley Theobald
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 3 stars

Summary:
Covering many myths which have become "common knowledge" in America, Theobald sets out to easily set the record straight on 63 American myths.

My thoughts:
First of all, yes I know I am reading non-fiction...it happens occasionally...

I thought this was a perfect level for those who aren't hard-core history buffs but still have an interest in history. it is explains these stories  in a slightly humorous, matter of fact way which makes it very memorable. 

The title comes from the myth that colonial women's second leading cause of death was their skirts catching fire. However, this due to the fact that the cottons, wools and linens of their age are far less flammable than the nylon, rayon and polyesters of ours. 

This has more credibility for me than most of the works like this mainly due to the bibliography in the back which allows for checking of the facts. This book is perfect for what it is and is a fun little thing to have on hand. 

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me a copy in exchange for review. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Misc. Monday - Desired

Desired by Ginger Garrett
Add caption
Desired
by Ginger Garrett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
 Before Samson was an Old Testament legend, he was a prodigal son, an inexperienced suitor, a vengeful husband, and a lost soul driven by his own weakness. This is his story as told by three strong women who loved him—the nagging, manipulative mother who pushed him toward greatness, the hapless Philistine bride whose betrayal propelled him into notoriety, and the emotionally damaged seductress—the famous Delilah—who engineered his downfall and propelled him to his destiny. Desiredcelebrates the God of Israel's to work powerfully in the midst of hopes, fears, desires, and sorrows.


My Review:

I have read stories like this before ([book:Pearl in the Sand|8089607] was amazing) and have really liked them, however this one just wasn't up to par.  I really liked the young women's points of view. Young Amara was nicely characterized and fleshed out, though not particularly dynamic. 


The people I had the most problems with, were 1 Samson and 2 his mother. Samson seemed like a little boy who never grew up. I understand that he was more of side story and the real focus was on both Amara and Delilah but still I would rather have dynamic characters than stagnant ones. He seemed to be unwilling to take true control of his life and that simply irritated me. Also his mother...I don't see her being that nagging of a person. She was probably of the same caliber of Elisabeth and Mary in the New Testament or Hannah and Sarah from the Old Testament. I don't see a nagging, manipulative, prideful woman being called to raise a "chosen one." So her portrayal really made me tune her out throughout the novel. 


The one who made me keep reading this is Delilah. Her story was wonderfully written, her change from a young innocent to the infamous seductress was believable and my favorite part to read. I loved her and how she was humanized and how were actions, which have little to no motivation given in the biblical story found in Judges.

Overall I would say it was ok but not my favorite.

Many thanks to NetGalley for helping me get a copy to read for review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Misc Monday - ...So There


...So There by William O. Wing...So There
by: William O Wing
Genre: Gen. Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:
William O. Wing, a tousled-haired Catholic school boy spots Carmen Maria Bonocelli, a fiery little Italian girl walking in front of his house wearing his favorite football jersey, then proceeds to intercept her stroll and confront her with a healthy dose of male indignation. Carmen, a descendent of a long line of gypsies, has certain magical powers and quickly turns his anger into embarrassment as she temporarily paralyzes his mind and body, a trick some girls can perform even without the benefit of magic. Carmen has recently moved into William’s neighborhood with her five older sisters and robust Sicilian mother, while her father, who is an American bomber pilot, is stationed at an airbase on the outskirts of London. 


My Thoughts:
This was a story which attempted to explore puppy love. It starts with the meeting of William O. and Miss Carmen. These two seem to be made for each other and this novel tries to explore the first chapter of their story together. 


Overall I thought the writing style was quite fun, there was a lot of kid talk - words that your vocabulary drops as you grow up, and a smattering of 1940's lingo. I liked the story line and how it didn't seem to be leading up to some big moment but rather was merely a telling of peoples lives. It was about characters rather than the plot.


HOWEVER...these kids are 11 supposedly and well they weren't given a chance to be merely kids. I feel like they were a little sexualized, especially Carmen which is something that an 11 year old should most definitely not be. Had the story stuck with dancing and football and making sandcastles and the innocence of puppy love I would have loved it. It didn't though so I felt that it lost out on a lot of charm which it could have had. 


Thank to The Bookplex for the chance to read this book for review.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Historical Thrusday - Lone Star Trail

Lone Star Trail (The Texas Trail Series)Lone Star Trail
by: Darlene Franklin
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 stars


Summary From Goodreads:
Judson (Jud) Morgan's father died for Texas freedom during the war for independence. So when the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas (the Verein) attempts to colonize a New Germany in his country, he takes a stand against them. 

After Wande Fleischer's fiance marries someone else, the young fraulein determines to make new life for herself in Texas. With the help of Jud's sister Marion, Wande learns English and becomes a trusted friend to the entire Morgan family. As much as Jud dislikes the German invasion, he can't help admiring Wande. She is sweet and cheerful as she serves the Lord and all those around her. 

I like reading about new parts of history, I had no idea that the Germans started immigrating to Texas and it was fun to learn about that and the new German words as well, I have been developing an interest in that language and so this was really fun to read. 

I liked Jud, I could understand why he angry about the Germans coming in and seemingly taking over what he deemed to be his his land, I also liked how he was hard working and down to earth. 
Wande, (I still don't entirely know how to pronounce that name) was wonderful, though somewhat one dimensional. She was strong happy and seemed to learn english at an alarming rate.
Overall I thought it was a cute fresh setting on an old plot. It was a wonderful way to relax and get away from the terrors that are finals.  


Thanks to Moody Publishing for letting me read this book for review.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

YA Wed - The Merchant's Daughter

The Merchant's Daughter
by: Melanie Dickerson


Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.


I really liked the premise for this novel. It was a nice take on the Beauty and the Beast story which happens to be my favorite fairy tale. I also liked the setting with the feudal system in place and the middle class it provided. Yet I feel like it felt short of what it could have been.



I did like Annabel. She managed to be pious without being overbearing, that is a delicate balance which Christian writers everywhere struggle and Dickerson, I feel, did a good job with her. Not so for Ranulf however. He was too dramatic for my taste. And Annabel's family was completely one dimensional - and it was a dimension that I didn't like at all. All characters should have some depth to them I believe and her family was entirely flat.  


Many thanks to  Zondervan for giving me a book for reviewing purposes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Misc. Monday - The Blue Enchantress

The Blue Enchantress
By: M. L. Tyndall

Genre: Christian Romance
Rating: 3 stars

Summary:
After sacrificing everything to follow what she thought was love, Hope finds her freedom and life in jeopardy with Nathaniel Mason as her last resort.

Nathaniel Mason wants nothing to do with the girl who had scorned him and yet finds himself selling his ship in order to save the girl that he begrudgingly loves.

Now all that is left to do is get home in one piece...and with hurricanes, pirates and a bitter lord in their way that is far easier said than done.

I have really been into the escapism lately and this works ok in that department. It follows the rules of the chick-lit genre to the letter along with obeying the rules of Christian Romance. There is the "I-can't-love-them" followed with "we're-in-love" followed by "tragic miscommunication." Truth be told I probably won't remember this one in a few months. Don't get me wrong it works perfectly for it's genre. It just isn't that memorable.

The side characters held more appeal to me than did the leads so if you do read this, read it for the supporting actors not the leading lady.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Misc. Monday - Hannah's Journey

Hannah's Journey
by Anna Schmidt


Genre: Christian Romance
Rating: 3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
In 1928 a young fatherless Amish boy from Florida runs away with the circus. His mother, Hannah, meets the owner of the circus, Levi, and pleads with him to help her find her son. This leads to a journey with her father-in-law and sister-in-law on a train to Wisconsin. Will she find love again and will Levi's past become a part of his present?
This is a quick read. It is interesting to learn about how a circus traveled in the 1920's. The best theme of the novel is how Amish traditions of family and faith comforts and challenges people to do the right thing. 



If you can't tell, my summer was spent reading as much fluff as I could cram in. I spend my semesters working my way through Homer, Milton, Dante and Hume, so I feel like I should give my brain a bit of a rest from all of the heavy reading I am forcing upon it. (Currently it's Joyce and Plato with some other textbooks scattered in there as well.)  This one was just as fluffy as others. I promise that I am running out of the fluff and hopefully by this time next month I will just be reviewing materials with a little more substance. 


This was a plot line that required some serious emotional investment into the characters in order to enjoy the plot. Sadly the character who I liked the most was on of the sub-plot people who really didn't do anything throughout the story. The Amish plight put in here wasn't nearly as well done as in others I have read and well Hannah and Levi just weren't cutting it for me. 


I did like the circus aspect, not something I have read about for a very long time...if ever...now that I think about it this was my first circus read though there are plenty out there I am sure. That part intrigued me and is what helped save the story from being too straight-forward of a love story. Overall, you can pass on this one, there is better Amish fiction out there if that is what you are looking for.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

YA Wednesday- Steel

Steel
by: Carrie Vaughn


Genre: YA
Rating:3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. 
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.


In theory this is a pretty awesome book. Fencing is a sport which is generally not written about so that was refreshing. Jill was your standard teenager who after losing seems to think the world is over, but we have all been there so I forgive her. I also liked how the pirate's world was portrayed. None of the romanticizing found in the Pirates of the Caribbean  franchise, I felt that she had really done her research in that regard.


What made me not like it...the writing was juvenile. There was the relationship which seems mandatory in YA novels which was rushed and I felt unnecessary to the whole thing. Henry was ok on his own but the way that Vaughn tried to get the two of them together seemed awkward and contrived. Then there was the magic aspect...and the ending. I just felt confused and dissatisfied with the whole thing by the time I was done with it. 


My overall reaction was "Meh" **shrug of the shoulders**  I didn't feel like I really wasted my time but it is one that I won't remember by next semester.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Historical Thursday - A Constant Heart

A Constant Heart
by Siri Mitchell


Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Born with the face of an angel, Marget Barnardsen is blessed. Her father is a knight, and now she is to be married to the Earl of Lytham. her destiny is guaranteed...at least, it would seem so. But when her introduction to court goes awry and Queen Elizabeth despises her, Marget fears she's lost her husband forever. Desperate to win him back, she'll do whatever it takes to discover how she failed and capture again the love of a man bound to the queen.


As an authors first foray into the world of historical fiction I would say that she did a neat job of it all. You could tell that she did her research in regards to the lifestyle of the period thoroughly and represented the era well. She took a different stance on her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth though one I am coming across more often. Rather than the benevolent and nearly perfect being that we are  taught of in our school years she depicts a demanding, vain and fearful  woman competing to remain the "fairest of them all." I find her going a little too over the top in creating the "wicked step-mother" for dramatic emphasis rather than showing Elizabeth as a real person. Though this did open the door to show the make-up practices of the time which were in no way FDA approved.


Now as to the story, it is written in alternating POV between Marget and her husband, sometimes too abruptly for my taste though since I didn't get confused I forgive Mitchell for it. I pitied Marget in the beginning of the novel but by the end of it I was tired of her lack of backbone and willingness to let everyone run her life. The same applies for the dear Earl. The love story was cute and seemed genuine enough but there there is all of this doubting going on that I kind of got bored with it all.


It concludes nicely and plausibly, wrapped in a neat bow and not hinting at a sequel (I really hate books that do that - leave plot lines open in case the book becomes popular and they want to make more money.) It is full of angst so if you are in the mood for that it's a good choice, but on the whole, I won't tell you not to read it because it's a very nice historical novel. On the other hand, I won't tell you to run to your nearest bookstore.  It was...respectable.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fluffy Friday


Courting Miss Amsel
by: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Genre: Chick-Lit
Rating: 3 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Edythe Amsel loves her first teaching assignment - a one room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. She has big plans for her students and intends on their receiving a fully rounded education. Unfortunately her ideas just may be too much for this town to handle
 Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer.

I liked Edythe as a character, her love of teaching and of children was obvious and her creativity in regards to teaching methods was fun to read about. Also learning about her less than happy family life and how it affects her throughout the novel was a nice little part of it as well.

The plot was a bit predictable and I wasn't entirely hooked on the characters change of attitude at the end of the novel but it was good for its genre. This novel is exactly what you expect it to be. It's light and sweet with little bits of history thrown in here and there good for a day when you want a good story without having to think too hard.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Historical Thursday



The Bad Queen
by: Carolyn Meyer

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads
From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. She tried to please everyone—courtiers, her young husband, the king, the French people—but often fell short of their expectations. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can’t help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and unimaginable luxuries. But as Marie-Antoinette’s lifestyle gets ever-more recklessly extravagant, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty—and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay.

Everyone who has learned anything about the life of Marie Antoinette knows the entire plot of this novel. It covers her difficulties in conceiving, to her lavish parties, to the night her husband was killed, everything. What set it apart for me was the fact that the reason Marie was what she was is that she was simply doing what she was told to do. She was following orders and traditions on almost all counts and if she had been instructed better who knows what would have happened.

But if Meyer was trying to make me like Antoinette she failed miserably. All I saw was a whiny child who lacked all self-discipline, and showed no interest in anything other than herself. It was quite irritating actually to have to listen to how she hates to read and can’t write and can’t keep up with the current events of the country she is supposed to be running.

This book is great if you want to know the life of Marie Antoinette and haven’t gone in-depth yet but if you already know her life story I feel like you can pass on it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Historical Thursday


My Name is Marry Sutter
by: Robin Oliveira

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Mary Sutter is a brilliant young midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Eager to run away from recent heartbreak, Mary travels to Washington, D.C., to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of two surgeons, who both fall unwittingly in love with her, and resisting her mother's pleas to return home to help with the difficult birth of her twin sister's baby, Mary pursues her medical career against all odds. It is a novel rich with historical detail-including cameo appearances by Abraham Lincoln and Dorothea Dix.
This was a book that I listened to while driving and I must say that it was really well done for a book on tape. I really enjoyed the premise of this novel. There are many accounts of the lives of the soldiers in the Civil War, and we do hear about Clara Barton (who makes a cameo appearance) but the rest of the medical side of the war really isn’t much known to us. This book offered a glimpse into exactly what was faced in the surgeries on the battle fields.

Oliveira did her research, there is a lot of medicine and surgery information in there and mention of the pioneering nurses of the time – the well known Clara Barton of course but Dorothea Dix takes the foreground here. There are also some interaction and parts from the point of view of President Lincoln showing exactly how nurses got to be allowed to help in the army and on the battle field and also offering a glimpse into the unpreparedness of the North.

It is an amazing idea that I really wanted to fall in love with, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t connect to the characters or really pity Mary’s heartbreak. Mary seemed a little cold to me which made me wonder why there were two men fighting for her. And about those two men I really didn’t care which one won. And if you don’t care about who the leading lady ends up with you don’t care about the leading lady. For me that is a bad sign. On another note there are bits of profanity that I didn’t feel were needed.

But I don’t want to leave on a terrible note because it wasn’t a terrible book. I liked how it emphasized the medical and historical aspects rather than dwell on the romantic. And I liked the writing style for the most part. It is one I would recommend to Civil War buffs- especially now as it is the sesquicentennial year of the start of the Civil War.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Daughters of Lancaster County

Image taken from Goodreads.com
Another set of Amish stories from Wanda E. Brunstetter, this series follows the Fisher and Weaver family in Lancaster County.

Starting with the story of Naomi Fisher who has taken over the care of her family after her mothers death, this series is centered on the tragedy that befalls her in a moment of distraction.

Continuing with the life of Abby Miller who seems to have the picture perfect life with her successful quilt shop and charming fiancĂ© in Ohio. Everything is shattered when she leaves to help her pregnant mother. She must figure out how to continue on when everything she cares about seems to be taken from her.

Finishing off with Leona Weaver, a school teacher who has lost her fiancĂ© in a horse accident. Life seems to become increasingly difficult with her father's accident and the growing attraction she is fighting to an Englishman.

Well, what to say...
Overall it was a sweet story, peppered with lots of Pennsylvanian Dutch and information about the Amish way of life. It is told from many different points of view which is something I generally like in a narrative if it is done well, and Brunstetter did a good job in the continuity and clarity of her narrative.

However, Christian Literature is something that is very difficult to write without coming across as preachy. And I felt while reading it that it crossed the line in a couple of points. Not only were there a lot of repetitive phrases but also the characters felt a little flat and too perfect in their dialogue - not real at all.

I would classify this as a fluff read. Fun to read once but I bet I will have forgotten it in a matter of weeks.