Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beatrice's Goat on Bookstore People

Heifer International is one of my favorite charity's - the idea is that you can give someone a gift that can earn them a living and in time gives back to their entire village!!!

Today on the "Bookstore People" Blog is a review of Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier, illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter
From their post:
Beatrice’s Goat, written by Page McBrier and illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter, is the true story of ordinary people chipping in to make a big impact on the lives of others. One goat gave Beatrice Biira a chance at an education. I’ve written about my love for Heifer International, an organization that provides livestock to families to help them feed their family and earn money to lift their family out of poverty. Heifer gave 12 goats to 12 families in Kisinga, Uganda and the Biira family received one of them. Prior to owning the goat, Beatrice begged her parents to let her attend school, but the school required the students to pay for their books and uniform. Beatrice’s family did not have the money to pay for her supplies. After receiving the Heifer goat, it gave enough milk for Beatrice’s family and extra to sell, thereby providing the funds for school. ...for more go to:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vanished Smile - Scotti Does It Again...

I picked this book up expecting it to be a bit dry - but - once again R.A. Scotti pulled me into the story as if it were fictionalized.

Very few people who visit the Louvre realize that the Mona Lisa was stolen at one time - people used to come to view the empty space - they were in such disbelief that anyone could commit such a crime!

Vanished Smile is the story of that theft and the involvement of the creative luminaries of that era in the crime!

Although this is a non-fiction accounting of the "crime of the century" I have to admit it is as riveting as a well crafted thriller.

Scotti has the ability to weave facts with her keen observances of the times. Her depictions of the guard at the Louvre, the poet Appollinaire, the painter Picasso and Paris in 1911 are nothing short of brilliant.

In reading through the complete and detailed bibliography I can see that that her use of the newspapers of the day would give a special tone and insight that studying books can not. BRAVO SCOTTI!!!

Book Description from Amazon
In Paris at the start of a radically new century, the most famous face in the history of art stepped out of her frame and into a sensational mystery.

On August 21, 1911, the unfathomable happened--Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa vanished from the Louvre. More than twenty-four hours passed before museum officials realized she was gone. The prime suspects were as shocking as the crime: Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, young provocateurs of a new art. As French detectives using the latest methods of criminology, including fingerprinting, tried to trace the thieves, a burgeoning international media hyped news of the heist.

No story captured the imagination of the world quite like this one. Thousands flocked to the Louvre to see the empty space where the painting had hung. They mourned as if Mona Lisa were a lost loved one, left flowers and notes, and set new attendance records. For more than two years, Mona Lisa’s absence haunted the art world, provoking the question: Was she lost forever? A century later, questions still linger.

Part love story, part mystery, Vanished Smile reopens the case of the most audacious and perplexing art theft ever committed. R. A. Scotti’s riveting, ingeniously realized account is itself a masterly portrait of a world in transition. Combining her skills as a historian and a novelist, Scotti turns the tantalizing clues into a story of the painting’s transformation into the most familiar and lasting icon of all time.

R.A. Scotti on Vanished Smile
Mona Lisa is the most famous face in the world, yet few among the thousands who flock to the Louvre to see her every day know that she was ever stolen. Who pinched Mona Lisa--and why?

The most surprising facts in the case:

1. 98 years ago, Mona Lisa vanished from the wall of the Louvre Museum.

2. No one noticed for more that 24 hours.

3. Pablo Picasso was a prime suspect in the theft.

4. Her mysterious disappearance made Mona Lisa the most famous wanted woman in the world.

4. Mona Lisa remained missing for more than 2 years and was presumed lost forever.

5. A letter signed “Leonardo” led police to the lost painting.

6. Almost 100 years later, the brazen crime remains unsolved. --R.A. Scotti

Monday, April 13, 2009

Deadlock - great "beach" read...

by Iris Johansen

This book would make an excellent "beach read" or to take with you on vacation. It moves well and holds your interest without taking alot of concentration.

Iris Johansen has always written about strong women and this book is no exception. Emily Hudson is an archaeologist who with her assistant Joel Levy go into war torn countries to rescue art & artifacts from their museums before they become rubble.

There are the usual CIA Agents, bad guys and paid off officials...there is also a good guy. Well I suppose I should qualify that - a bad guy turned good guy - in John Garret. Garrett amassed a fortune as a smuggler and other less honorable jobs...but has used that wealth to make a difference in his own small way.

The plot centers around the story of the Romanovs and Rasputin - this information seems to be well researched and then expanded to fit her telling of it. This along with Emily's constant struggle with her need for vengeance versus the need to follow this to this top makes Deadlock an entertaining book.

I think my real criticism of this book is that the character development could have been better and that there is too much romance, not enough tension. But on a whole it is a fun read with some really good moments and great locales.

From the Product Description
Emily Hudson is an archaeologist who travels the world in search of priceless artifacts from war-torn countries and other hot spots. Her best friend and partner, Joel Levy, is always at her side—until one day, her entire crew is massacred and Joel and Emily are held captive. Victims of one of the most ruthless and evil human beings on earth. For two weeks they try to survive, until Emily is the unwitting instrument in Joel’s demise.

John Garrett has worked for the CIA, MI6, and whoever else needed his services. Now, the CIA comes calling with a desperate mission for him: save Emily Hudson. But their may be more to this job than they let him know. And soon, his connection to Emily has him questioning everything he thought to be true. Emily has vengeance on her mind. Will Garrett aid her in getting revenge? Can Emily help him get to the truth behind a bigger conspiracy? Or will they both die trying…With lightning-fast pacing, plot twists and shocking betrayals, Iris Johansen is at the top of her game in this latest thriller.


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