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With so many fantastic genres and authors, how can one person choose the perfect book to match their specific tastes and moods? Here we are happy to help, providing novel descriptions and firsthand reviews on many new and classics along with must reads for any book lover, young and old!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Brides Quartet series by Nora Roberts

Book Descriptions

Vision in White

Mackensie Mac Elliot loves capturing happy and playful moments with her camera, but her own life is all about work—until she meets English teacher Carter Maguire. He's escorting his bride-to-be sister to a meeting with the Vows team and recognizes Mac as the girl he crushed out on in high school. Funny sparks fly: he's a geeky guy who quotes Shakespeare, she's a trendy workaholic who loves shoes. He's crazy about her, which makes him verbally clumsy and, to Mac, charming, though she's saddled with a needy mother, an absent father and difficulties with both that make falling in love complicated.

Bed of Roses

In the second installment of the series, florist Emma wonders if she can find true love with old friend Jack Cooke, who is also very close to Emma's associates. When Emma kisses Jack, her spark-o-meter melts from the blazing heat, but their romance's setbacks are smoothed out with a little help from their friends.

Fine Printings' Review

I discovered The Brides Quartet series just this month and LOVED it! Nora Roberts has always produced enjoyable reads, however, this series is a step away from her typical thriller/love stories. Just looking at the covers of these books makes any woman gushy and happy. Who doesn't love a good wedding. Now these books may not be for the boys, but I can guarantee any woman who loves a good romance to get a thrill from these two books! Vision in White kicks off this series with the energetic and fiery Mac, who is so lovable you do not want the story to end. Her fight against the pull of love is enjoyable and you will find yourself laughing at all the antics she and her friends go through. Then move on to Bed of Roses, a bit more "mushy" than the first (I prefer less sappiness and more humor, but was definitely enjoyable) and find yourself swept away with Emma and her constant hunt to find true love. There is no disappointment with these two books, and the preview of the third book at the end of Bed of Roses will certainly strain your patience waiting for its release!

Be sure to look for Savor the Moment, the continuation with Laurel's story on April 27, 2010.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Book Description

The Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao Zedong altered Chinese history in the 1960s and '70s, forcibly sending hundreds of thousands of Chinese intellectuals to peasant villages for "re-education." This moving, often wrenching short novel by a writer who was himself re-educated in the '70s tells how two young men weather years of banishment, emphasizing the power of literature to free the mind. Sijie's unnamed 17-year-old protagonist and his best friend, Luo, are bourgeois doctors' sons, and so condemned to serve four years in a remote mountain village, carrying pails of excrement daily up a hill. Only their ingenuity helps them to survive. The two friends are good at storytelling, and the village headman commands them to put on "oral cinema shows" for the villagers, reciting the plots and dialogue of movies. When another city boy leaves the mountains, the friends steal a suitcase full of forbidden books he has been hiding, knowing he will be afraid to call the authorities. Enchanted by the prose of a host of European writers, they dare to tell the story of The Count of Monte Cristo to the village tailor and to read Balzac to his shy and beautiful young daughter. Luo, who adores the Little Seamstress, dreams of transforming her from a simple country girl into a sophisticated lover with his foreign tales.

Fine Printings' Review

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress was certainly NOT a favorite of mine. Fellow readers who expressed an interest in this novel and pointed my nose in its direction were led to believe this a tale of a young woman, a coming of age story. I did not find that so. In all actuality, the tale is that of two teenage boys (narrated by one), working among the mountains in communist China. The story documents their own struggles, trials and the discovery of new friends, and of new enemies. On top of all this, the plotline seemed inadequately developed. And more often than not it was tedious and a trial to read through. Though this novel is only a couple hundred pages (short compared to most) it took me twice as long as it normally would to read due to lackluster writing. Of course, this is my opinion and the book did receive a lot of press, and as it is originally written in French, some of the prose could be lost in translation. I will leave it up to the readers to decide. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson and Martin Dugard

Book Description

A secret buried for centuries

Thrust onto Egypt's most powerful throne at the age of nine, King Tut's reign was fiercely debated from the outset. Behind the palace's veil of prosperity, bitter rivalries and jealousy flourished among the Boy King's most trusted advisors, and after only nine years, King Tut suddenly perished, his name purged from Egyptian history. To this day, his death remains shrouded in controversy. 

The keys to an unsolved mystery

Enchanted by the ruler's tragic story and hoping to unlock the answers to the 3,000 year-old mystery, Howard Carter made it his life's mission to uncover the pharaoh's hidden tomb. He began his search in 1907, but encountered countless setbacks and dead-ends before he finally, uncovered the long-lost crypt. 

The clues point to murder

Now, in The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson and Martin Dugard dig through stacks of evidence--X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues, and stories told through the ages--to arrive at their own account of King Tut's life and death. The result is an exhilarating true crime tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal that casts fresh light on the oldest mystery of all.

Fine Printings’ Review

For the most part, I am not a fan of non-fiction novels. Not to say that occasionally one stumbles across my desk that has been quite enjoyable, however, I do not go out in search of one to read. This novel has certainly helped change my feelings on the matter, and opened my eyes to the glorious possibility that a real story can certainly hold a reader in its grip, making them wonder, what will happen next?

The story, or at the very least to say, the man called King Tut is not unknown. For almost a century our world has known of this great pharoh, a child king, from over thousands of years ago. Though never has his story been so richly told. Leave it to author James Patterson to make this historical story one into a richly believed one of betrayal, passion and murder.

His novel, The Murder of King Tut—The Plot to Kill the Child King, takes place in three different eras, surrounding the lives of three very different people: Tuthmosis, Howard Carter and James Patterson. The reader is welcomed into a story woven back in 3000 B.C., another in early 1900s, and in Present Day, all three piece together the story, the research, blood and sweat to unearth one of history’s most fascinating stories. Now, was King Tut truly murdered? James Patterson and Martin Dugard really believe so, and after the facts, perhaps they’re right. Though, with history as old as this, who can ever be one hundred percent sure? One thing we can be one hundred percent sure of, however, is that no matter what genre you enjoy, or whether your preference is fiction or non-fiction, this is a book no-one can resist. Once again James Patterson proves to be a force a nature, not only with his fantastic detective fictions, or heartbreaking love stories, but now also in taking real life drama and bringing it to life in modern day writing!