Book: Vivaldi’s Virgins
Author: Barbara Quick
Recommend? Maybe if you are into music…
I picked up this book simply because it sounded interesting to me, knowing the history of the composer. It was an engaging read and the characters were well written. I came away though feeling like quite a bit of the story was missing. Some stories are best told in first person, however I don’t think this was one of them. There was a lot more I wish the writer had shared. Also Vivaldi didn’t feel very dynamic in the story. I was expecting him to take a more pivotal role in the story. Some of the most interesting bits were left out, where great moments of action could have occurred.
This is definitely not one that I would pay full price for. I don’t think people who aren’t familiar with the story of the red priest would find this very engaging. Pick it up at your own risk.
Final rating: library
Book: Shanghai Girls
Author: Lisa See
Recommendation: If you don’t mind being hit over the head with obviousness…
I got this book from the library on my nook. It was among the first books I read using my library feature. I picked out a couple of books that I had heard of before and went from there.
This book follows the tale of two sisters who are both ‘beautiful girls’ in Shanghai right before the outbreak of war. Their father goes broke and sells them both off for marriage to men who they think are rich. The girls attempt to get out of the situation but end up on a journey that will lead them to America illegally.
This story is fairly interesting if you are unfamiliar with the culture and treatment of people during the time period. I would say that the plot leaves much to be desired. I knew what the answer to the ‘big’ secret was going to before girls left Shanghai and so it was a bit of a bore. I won’t ruin it for you but it’s nothing to write home about. The sad thing is that it could have been so much more. The author did most things right, but the elements seemed to come together a bit disjointed and just wrong for the story that was being told. It wasn’t an awful book but definitely not one I would pay to add to my shelves.
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5 books in 1
Book: A Lineage of Grace
Author: Francine Rivers
Recommend: Definitely- it gives a new perspective into some of the most famous women of the Bible
A friend of mine from my church told me that I simply had to read this book. At first I had no interest in reading it. Fictionalizations of Biblical characters can either be really good or just awful. I am pleased to say that this one was excellent. I only decided to read four of the five included books. The last book, having to do with Mary was just not very interesting to me and so I skipped it. The other four were really good and gave me a fresh perspective on some of the women that I had only read about.
The first section is about Tamar who had to trick her father-in-law into doing what was right. She was determined to do what was correct in their culture to keep her dead husband’s lineage alive. She risked everything to learn of God even though she had been raised to worship idols. Due to her influence, Judah (Joseph’s oldest brother) would finally be reconciled with God. Her obedience, no matter the cost placed her in the lineage of the Messiah. I found her tenacity and personality fascinating. It game some reason as to why she acted the way she did. I have never really understood how significant her actions were until I read this.
The second section is the story of Rehab the harlot. It gives us an idea of how she became the woman that she was and why she chose to follow God. It also showed why Salmon chose her to become his wife. Her faith coming out of a life of adultery was an amazing transformation, the likes of which only God could do.
The third book tells the story of Ruth. Of all the women in this book, she was the one I was most familiar with. However, I got new insight into how brave she truly was. Even though it is one writer’s interpretation, it makes the reader think about why she would have chosen Boaz.
The last book that I read told the story of Bathsheba; one of the most misunderstood women of the Bible in my opinion. Everyone knows what David’s choice did to him and his kingdom but very few stop to consider how much choice she would have had and how it would have effected her. She was obviously a woman who loved God because her sons were the only ones of David’s sons that grew up to love God. However, it makes the reader wonder how much of a say she had when David chose to be with her. This story for me had the most impact of any of the ones I read. For a modern culture, where no one seems to value purity and faithfulness, this was a good reminder that there are consequences when you choose not to follow God’s plan.
I found each story engaging and interesting. They made me think. I will be returning my friend’s copy of the book but I think I might have to get a copy of my own.
Buy it new 🙂
Book: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
Author: Syrie James
Recommend? Yes- if you are an Austen fan and like what ifs…
This book is fiction. Let me say it again- THIS BOOK IS FICTION.
Okay there I said it. This book is introduced from the forward on as a work based on recently discovered memoirs of the late Jane Austen. The set up is great because it really pulls the reader into the story line. The author makes it read somewhat like a biography based on memoirs but it isn’t so heavy that you feel distracted from the story. There are footnotes and such through the story as you read but for the most part they are relevant and interesting. I was a bit skeptical but soon was able to forget that it was in fact fiction and bury myself the world of Austen 🙂 This supposes that they have figured out the missing great love of Jane Austen’s life and how it inspired her writing.
It follows Jane in her early thirties considered an old maid at that point when she meets a friend of her brother’s, one Mr. Ashforth. She is smitten but he has to leave before they can meet again. She runs into him again later and they spend weeks together. Then the rest of it follow something that seems like the plot out of one of her books. I don’t want to give too much away but if you’ve read Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, you’ll have the general idea.
It was a fun read, I didn’t feel like I wasted my time but it wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever read. I have found myself drawn to these what if style stories lately though so I didn’t mind reading through it. I am glad that I downloaded it on my nook from the library and didn’t pay for it. I wouldn’t mind owning it but it isn’t something I HAVE to own.
Get it used...
Book: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict and Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Author: Laurie Viera Rigler
Recommend: Definitely- they are both a fun read.
I picked up Confessions at the library after seeing it in the bookstore. It tells the story of a modern girl named Courtney Stone who gets thrust into the eighteen hundreds into the life of Jane Mansfield, an unmarried daughter of a gentleman. She might even get to meet the real Jane Austen, who has not yet come out as the author of her books. I loved the book and kept wondering was happening with the real Jane, trapped in Courtney’s modern world. I was delighted to find Rude Awakenings at the bookstore a few weeks later which of course tells Jane’s side of the story.
These books are both fun fantasy spins. I would suggest reading Confessions first as it was written first and seems to flow better.
Definitely a fun diversion for summer reading, especially if you are an Austen fan.
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Book: The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson
Author: Jerome Charyn
Recommend: Maybe as something to make you sleepy…
A fictionalization of the poet’s life which was more of a bore to read than an actual biography would have been. The author creates unrealistic situations with characters that are completely unbelievable, including Ms. Dickinson herself.
This was a slow, laborious read that I would honestly pass on. The only character that I did like was Domingo because of he actually disappears from her life unlike Tom.
This book is definitely not worth the time you will lose reading it. I would find something else!
Book: Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter
Author: A.E. Moorat
Recommend: It’s a fun read, if you have a strong stomach.
I picked this one up at the library after looking at it while at my favorite bookstore and deciding that while I wanted to read it, I didn’t want to pay for it.
I had expected it to be something like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and was happy to be wrong. This story is much more of a traditional work of fiction, telling a story with all the excitement it deserves. While loosely based on the real time line of Queen Victoria, the demon plot does require some maneuvering of the facts.
Don’t believe a word that the outside of the book tells you however. The plot is much different than I expected.
It does warrant a warning however. This book is rather gory in some places. There are zombies and the like acting the way a zombie should- most of the time. This is definitely not something to read while eating, lets just put it that way 😉
Book: Jane Bites Back
Author: Michael Thomas Ford
Recommend: Absolutely- it’s hilarious
This little book cracked me up, repeatedly. I got it last month and have already read it twice, the second time just because I was in need of a good laugh.
The book asks and answers the following questions:What would happen if Jane Austen were still around? What if she hadn’t died but been turned into a vampire instead? Could she get published?
I don’t want to give too much away with this little gem but Austen isn’t the only author who makes an appearance:)
I definitely recommend this book for any Austen fan who doesn’t take life too seriously. It will make you look at your favorite author in a whole new light 😉
Need more than one copy!!