Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

Butterfly Swords (Tang Dynasty, #1)Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm...this book was okay. I was interested in the beginning when Ai Li escaped from her wedding procession and went on her way home to report her intended's nasty deeds to her father. And it was kind of exciting when she was rescued from her bodyguards by Ryam. It continued to be interesting as they made their way back to Changan, and then on to the mountains on the border. But after she gave herself to him, it became just another predictable love story. I would have appreciated more intrigue or culture and less sex. I hate to say it, but I skipped over some of the last pages just to get to the end.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

The House of the SpiritsThe House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book took a little doing to get into, but in the end it felt as though I read a classic. It's the story of a couple of generations of a family living in an unnamed country in South America. Some of the characters are eccentric to put it mildly. To begin, Rosa has green hair. I have no idea how that could happen. She dies young - before her fiance can come and claim her. When he finally does come, he marries her younger sister, Clara, who communes with spirits and moves objects with her mind. She had been voluntarily mute since her sister Rosa's death until she proclaimed she would marry her fiance. That's only the beginning. Esteban Trueba, the fiance and later husband to Clara, was definitely a rake - albeit an ambitious one. He started several businesses and succeeded in many of them making him a wealthy man eventually. He is the central figure in this book even though it seems as though it is about the women. He ties them all together. It was interesting to read the historical part of the book. It dealt with the country's changing political views - Socialism and Communism - and how the people, peasants and patrons, handled the changes. There were things that happened that were brutal and disgusting, but they told the story of the wildness of Trueba and his political opponents. There were also ribbons of love woven in that showed support and how love lasted through all the tumultuous years. The ending was satisfying and poignant, but not necessarily happy. I really liked it contrary to what some people say I like to read. There was violence, sex, rape, torture and sadness, but it was still a good book. 

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Katherine by Anya Seton

KatherineKatherine by Anya Seton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book as my selection for our book club's "biography" month. What a wonderful love story. I was very impressed with Katherine. Through everything she experienced, to me she seemed true to her self. Even though her love for the Duke was adulterous (what can you do about love?), she seemed in everything else to have a strong desire to do the right thing. She never fell into the courtly traps of plotting against other people, etc. She concerned herself with her children, her friends, and the people who served her - and the Duke, of course. I could feel God's love for her throughout her life, even if she couldn't. She started out so innocent and faithful and, after all her trials, ended up loving and faithful again. She was right to make atonement and realize that everything happened for a purpose. To me she seemed a beautiful, strong woman. I won't spoil the ending by recounting it here, just suffice to say that I was happy that things came around as they did. Now I have to go look her up and place her on the English royal timeline and write up what I will share with my book club.

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