Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Attenbury Emeralds: The New Lord Peter Wimsey/ Harriet Vane Mystery

The Attenbury Emeralds: 
The New Lord Peter Wimsey/ Harriet Vane Mystery
By Jill Paton Walsh

4.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Complicated...

Ms Walsh has written two other "Whimsey" mysteries with the original Whimsey/Vane" author Dorothy Sayers...this was a great foundation to build on.

In The Attenbury Emeralds: The New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery, this story, she has kept the feeling of mystery and challenge that permeates previous Lord Peter Whimsey stories.

The characters remain true - Bunter, the resourceful and intrepid manservant; Harriet, Lady Peter Whimsey, nee Vane, a mystery writer in her own right; Lord Peter, tenacious, honorable and as intelligent as ever.

The Attenbury emerald (singular) disappears; is replaced with a genuine but slightly different twin; both are stolen and returned or found, but which is which and "whodunit".

The mystery is deliciously complicated and solved in the quiet conversational way of all Whimsey mysteries, causing the reader to puzzle out the clues along with the protagonists. Great read!

Product Description from Amazon:
In 1936, Dorothy L. Sayers abandoned the last Lord Peter Wimsey detective story. Sixty years later, a brown paper parcel containing a copy of the manuscript was discovered in her agent’s safe in London, and award-winning novelist Jill Paton Walsh was commissioned to complete it. The result of the pairing of Dorothy L. Sayers with Walsh was the international bestseller Thrones, Dominations.

Now, following A Presumption of Death, set during World War II, comes a new Sayers-inspired mystery featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, revisiting his very first case. . . . It was 1921 when Lord Peter Wimsey first encountered the Attenbury Emeralds. The recovery of the gems in Lord Attenbury’s dazzling heirloom collection made headlines—and launched a shell-shocked young aristocrat on his career as a detective.
Thirty years later, a happily married Lord Peter has just shared the secrets of that mystery with his wife, the detective novelist Harriet Vane. Suddenly, the new Lord Attenbury—grandson of Lord Peter’s first client—seeks his help to prove who owns the emeralds. As Harriet and Peter contemplate the changes that the war has wrought on English society—and Peter, who always cherished the liberties of a younger son, faces the unwanted prospect of ending up the Duke of Denver after all—Jill Paton Walsh brings us a masterful new chapter in the annals of one of the greatest detectives of all time.

Disclaimer: this book was chosen from the Amazon Vine Program and I received it free of charge  - this does not change a review for me  - however I choose not to post reviews that earn below a 3 star review.

The Poison Diaries...

The Poison Diaries
by MaryRose Wood

4.0 out of 5 stars ...even the most innocent-looking weed can cure...
I loved this book - I picked it up because the whole idea of the ancient art of the Apothecary and Botany are sciences that interest me...but I never expected the magical story this book turn into. 

Based on the The Duchess Of Northumberland, and her famous Poison Gardens at Alnwick Castle, The Poison Diaries (The Poison Diaires) draws you into the world of Jessamine. 

Losing her Mother early, Jessamine is left to herself by a Father who stays busy (and away from home) practicing the healing art of the Apothecary. So Jessamine fills her days among the healing plants in his garden...and then she meets Weed and everything changes. 

The writing in this book is amazing - you become so entrenched in Jessamine's ability to converse with the plants around her that you really want to spend time in the wilderness...this book will seriously change the way you look at the wild life around you. A little slow starting (as is the background building in some books) but it picks up quickly and once Weed comes into the story you won't want to put this down. 

Product Description from Amazon:

In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.

When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Countdown: In the words of a 60's News Anchor...You Are There!

by Deborah Wiles

I don't know about you - but for me - thinking about the era when I was in school as history is a little painful - but in Countdown author Deborah Wiles does just that. 

This is a new genre for the Children's Market - it is being called a Juvenile Documentary Novel. Basically that translates as historical fiction for kids! 

What an interesting decade to look at - Wiles starts her Historical Trilogy in 1962, the heyday of "Camelot" and through her use of song lyrics, news casts, and period locales - puts you in the shoes of 12 year old Franny Chapman...just as the golden boy of that storybook era gets started and makes a huge misstep with the Bay of Pigs crisis. 

Recent history is sometimes not covered in school and the political nature of the Cuban Missile Crisis has made it a tough nut to crack in an unbiased way. Seeing these life changing issues alongside the issues that are important to Franny and her Middle Grade world is a genuinely unique view of the world in the early 60's and Wiles truly put you there. 

The writing style is compelling and drags you into this look at a generation that lived with the noise of angry voices, political songs, the very real threat of Nuclear Attack and Duck & Cover...I look forward to growing with Franny.

Product Description from Amazon:
It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Twelve-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, DC, during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amidst the pervasive threat of nuclear war, Franny must face the tension between herself and her younger brother, figure out where she fits in with her family, and look beyond outward appearances. For Franny, as for all Americans, it's going to be a formative year.

Insatiable: Why couldn't she escape stupid vampires?

by Meg Cabot

With a teaser that blatantly says - "Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper." - how could I resist...add that it is from the all time Queen of ChickLit, Meg Cabot and you have the perfect "beach read"! know the book that you just sit down and devour! 

From the description I thought that this was going to be "Sex & the City" meets "Twilight", but Meena Harper is no Carrie Bradshaw. Meena is the script writer for a popular soap opera looking to up it's ratings by adding a "vampire storyline" to cash in on the huge new trend! ...not something Meena is looking forward to. 

When you open Insatiable you get the television studio, behind the scenes glamour, the crazy neighboor, a dark and brooding prince and you have the basic ingredients - but this is Meg Cabot! Not content to simply bring you yet another tale of Vampires living among us, Cabot throughout pokes fun at and makes reference to the other books and TV shows of this ilk. But this vampire romance has a MUCH different outcome...pick this up and take it on your next vacation. 

Older teens and young adults will love this.

Product Description:
Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them.
Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die. (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.)
But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It's a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.
The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able look into her own.
And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.
Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future. . . .
If she even has one.

Poison...Renaissance Poisoner as Heroine

Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance 
by Sara Poole

The whole idea of "Poisoner" as heroine...begs the comparisons to the like-able serial killer Dexter. But in the Renaissance Era, the setting for this debut novel from Sara Poole, that is a legitimate profession. 

Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance begins as our heroine, Francesca Giordano, takes over her father's job as head poisoner for the Borgia family (YES - those Borgias'). Cardinal Borgia wants to become pope, so this could be a deadly position that Francesca finds herself in. With her father recently killed under mysterious circumstances...threats to the Borgias' are numerous (meals and clothing must be routinely checked for poison planted by rival families). Francesca turns out to be one of the greatest poisoners in what was perhaps the most dangerous and corrupt eras, the late-fifteenth-century Rome. 

Poole weaves history and fiction in a tale that will satisfy even the most discriminating follower of renaissance history...if you are a fan of Mistress of the Art of Death this should be right up your alley!

Product Description

In the simmering hot summer of 1492, a monstrous evil is stirring within the Eternal City of Rome. The brutal murder of an alchemist sets off a desperate race to uncover the plot that threatens to extinguish the light of the Renaissance and plunge Europe back into medieval darkness.
Determined to avenge the killing of her father, Francesca Giordano defies all convention to claim for herself the position of poisoner serving Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, head of the most notorious and dangerous family in Italy. She becomes the confidante of Lucrezia Borgia and the lover of Cesare Borgia. At the same time, she is drawn to the young renegade monk who yearns to save her life and her soul.
Navigating a web of treachery and deceit, Francesca pursues her father’s killer from the depths of Rome’s Jewish ghetto to the heights of the Vatican itself. In so doing, she sets the stage for the ultimate confrontation with ancient forces that will seek to use her darkest desires to achieve their own catastrophic ends.

The Cowgirl Way - Women in the Wild West....

Middle Grade & Young Teens will love The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off to America's Women of the is a wonderful use of old photos and illustration to bring life to stories of women on horseback!

Kids will love this book and will not even realize that they are learning. That is due to author Holly George-Warren's brilliant mix of story telling and visuals.

What I loved was that the author didn't present these women as "also rans". You know, where their story is more about how they worked with their more popular male partner.

This brief telling of the stories and in some cases legends of women who were riders, wranglers, ranchers, showgirls, rebels and even outlaws are just enough information to send students to their libraries and computers to learn more.

...and at this age isn't that the goal - little snip its of story that tantalize and incite curiosity?

BTW - take a minute to check out the fabulous photos posted by the author of famous cowgirls!

Product Description from Amazon:

The 1840s ushered in the beginning of the largest migration in US history. People in crowded Eastern cities and Missouri River towns were feeling the pull of the Western frontier. It was the dawn of a new era of expansion, and over the next few decades, the making of a new kind of pioneer. It was the birth of the cowgirl!

Welcome to the world of nimble equestriennes, hawkeyed sharpshooters, sly outlaws, eloquent legislators, expert wranglers and talented performers who made eyes pop and jaws drop with their skills, savvy and bravery. In this fascinating account of an ever-evolving American icon, Holly George-Warren invites readers to saddle up with a host of these trailblazers who helped settle the West and define the cowgirl spirit.


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