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Topic: March -Spring!!!! What are you reading -HF

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Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Subject: March -Spring!!!! What are you reading -HF
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,340
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What is veryone reading in March????



Last Edited on: 3/1/11 8:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,340
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Good morning everyone and welcome March. NO more snow!!!

I just started a book for the It's up to you challenge, Proud to be American. I am reading

The Tory Widow:: Christine Blevins

It is set in 1775 NY. Story is around Tories and Sons of Liberty. Quite interseting so far.

If anyone is looking for a change of pace I just finished a really cute mystery   

Anteater of Death:: Betty Webb It was quite entertaining

Of course I can always hook you up with a good vampire or werewolf book.

Happy reading.

Alice

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
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I just started Mistress of the Art of Death by Arianna Franklin last night. So far so good. It will count in my Big Loser challenge and the new Historical Mystery Challenge.

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 10:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
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Currently reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson for the Classics Challenge...

CR

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
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I've just stared The Forgotten Garden and then an audiobook of The English Patient. I've barely gotten going with both of them, so I haven't formed an opinion yet. I read mostly HF in February, and so now I have a little catching up to do on other genres and my "for fun" stuff. I'll probably sneak some more HF in anyway though. cool

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Reading the Edge Of Night by Joan Wolf about King Alfred the Great  I am having a problem getting into this one for some reason just not grabbing my attention.



Last Edited on: 3/1/11 11:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 11:17 AM ET
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The Tapestry Shop, a book that I won on gr for Shiny and New.  The author's credentials sound  impeccable.  A teacher by background, she left teaching to write full-time, beginning with non-fiction historical nonfiction, later a historical romance which won a RPLA award, and now writes historical novels ranging from ancient Rome to Early Modern Venice.  Conservatory trained, that background is evident in this book  (somewhat edited from the book cover flyleaf).     Were I looking for a historical romance I would choose The Tapestry Shop.  It's a good read!

Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford:  A group of scam artists  help a man whose young daughter has disappeared - FREE!  Even free help has problems as more murders occur.  Finished!  Very good read!   The author did very nice research including the activity of the Ku Klux Klan in the Long Island area, the role of scam artists and spiritualists during the 1930s, the Repatriation of Mexicans during the depression and other topics.  The story was original and exciting.  I commend Jeffrey Ford for a job well done and recommend this read to anyone interested in this period of history in our country.

Distant Hours by Kate Morton:  Just finished reading this one out of curiosity.  The story is complex with surprises at every turn.   I particularly liked Edith Burchill, known as Edie,  who is the narrator, because she is so real.  The three spinster sisters - Juniper, Saffy and Percy - have a strange, haunted background.  Sheltered from life by their isolation in Milderhurst Castle and cherished by a doting wealthy father, they find themselves unable to live the lives they have dreamed with the loves of their lives.  Why they cannot do so is what this story is all about.  My only concern is that I'm not sure even life could deal any such combination of circumstances which occur again and again and again but this is fiction after all, isn't it?

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott:  A fantasy read just for fun.  When I saw that one of my favorite fantasy authors had developed a new series beginning with this novel, I had to read it.  As inventive as she was for the Crown of Stars series, Elliott proves once again how prodigious and creative she can be.  The narrator is Catherine, known as Cat, whose adventures begin with her removal from the home of her "uncle and aunt."  The plot thickens when her betrothed discovers that she is not who either of them believe she is.   He is ordered to execute her so he can be free to marry the real daughter, Cat's best friend, Beatrice.  As Cat escapes again and again from those who would end her life she finds kin allies in the spirit world where she finds a brother who exists as a saber tooth cat.  I truly enjoyed this read and look forward to its sequel, Cold Fire.  

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton:  HF mini mystery while traveling.  Obtained this one from the library, too, in an attempt to keep the WL at lower levels. Morton's approach in this novel is quite different from Distant Hours.  Nevertheless, I do like this technique where she goes back and forth in time with different story tellers.  Having searched for ancesters myself, I understand Cassandra's fascination for solving the mystery of her grandmother's background.   The story is told by so many voices but the author has such talent that the tale seems to flow flawlessly.   At the age of four Nell was abandoned on a ship heading for Australia.   Who was she?   Who were her parents?  Where was her family?  While she grows up in loving family when she discovers that abandonment she searches her memories and whatever clues she can find to discover who she is.   Why did her mother leave her alone on this ship?    Didn't her mother care about her?   Nell unearths part of the secret but the rest remains for her granddaughter, Cassandra, to unravel after Nell's death.   Cassandra, her grandmother Nell and Eliza told their portions with such deep emotion.  Unraveling the mystery is at last completed by Cassandra who follows her grandmother's footsteps to uncover her true identity.    The truth is strange indeed.   What a wonderful story!

The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen (Around the World in 80 Days - Asia):  I find stories about strong women inspiring.  This one has a basis in history as the author based the book on her grandmother, fictionalizing parts to make the story flow better.  Barbara marries a doctor (Harvey) whom she loves with all her heart.  She gives up a potential musical career to join him on his journeys to Siam.  However, she finds herself resenting that decision and, after having two children, goes to Europe to study music leaving Harvey (her husband) immersed in his medical career.  The two continue their separate lives and Barbara discovers that the dream she had can still be.  Her voice teacher tells her she may well be able to sing opera.  Such dedication means the end of her marriage and she must make a difficult choice.  Which is the right choice for her?  

Shackleton's Valiant Voyage:  It seems like a miracle that Shackleton's entire party survived their ordeal against such daunting odds and extreme weather - frigid temperatures, gale force winds, rain, sea water, and ice. The story of their experiences is inspiring from start to finish.   While I remember much about the expedition from history I decided to read this condensed version for a firsthand view of the voyage. Stranded on the ice and watching their ship, Endurance, crushed by the ice pack must have been disheartening.   Imagine living on ice for a third of a year.  Somehow when the food supply dwindles almost to nothing something occurs to give them more.   When they almost lose two members of the group due to deteriorating ice they launch the three boats hoping to reach land and safety. The trip is filled with gales, rain, snow and ice that needs to be chipped from the boats time and again. The chances of reaching a small island in the vast ocean is daunting but they have to try. It's the only way to survive.

In the boats they are trying to reach land over deadly waters with a cross current. No longer can they camp on ice especially after they almost lose two members of the party when the ice floes split. The boats are in open water using makeshift sails and oars . The groups launches boats hoping to reach land and safety. The trip is filled with gale force winds, rain, snow and ice that needs to be chipped from the boats time and time again. The chances of reaching a small island in the vast ocean is daunting but they have to try. It's the only way to survive. The final trek over St. George's unknown rugged interior to the whaling station by three members of the party is another unbelievable effort. 

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent:  While I have not scheduled this read for a challenge I wanted to report it here.  It is a very good read.  The story is sensitive, sad and soul stirring.  It takes one to the days of witch trials where anyone who had a grudge against another, disliked them or felt wronged by them could accuse that person.  How could people be deceived by such lies is hard to understand but superstition ran rampant, particularly in those long desolate lonely winters.  Even though I passed up this read many times it because I did not want to read about witch trials, I recommend that this as a choice for anyone who hopes to learn more about our past.  The author does an excellent job of helping one understand life during these days.  The unlikely fact event of a dessert made from wild rhubarb growing at that time does not detract from this haunting tale.  (Rhubarb is an imported cultivated plant from China).
 
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson:   Did not realize that this novel that I have for some time qualified for historical fiction (1900s - 1960).   It's such a good read!   This novel is about a Japanese man accused of the murder of a childhood friend.  To complicate the plot the local newsman is still in love with his wife.  The death and resulting trial occur ten years after the war.  Both fought the Japanese after Pearl Harbor was bombed and returned as different men because the horrors of war haunt their dreams.  There are many themes running through this novel including discrimination because another's skin and culture is different; how tragedy of war changes those who survive; how man survives life's experiences and the human heart copes with it all.  If you enjoy novels, you would find this a rewarding read.
 
The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas:  A most creative story and I liked it very much.  Taking place in the late 1800s, it depicts the stomy of a young girl who can absorb information at astonishing rate and put information into patterns that affect the future of the country in which she finds herself living when her father dies in an explosion.  Traumatized by this event she finds herself cared for by her father's good friend.  She is set to reading the works of many classical thinkers and philosophers.  The story is simple, magical and delightful.  This author is so talented that I hope to read more of his work!  
 
The Queen's Man by Sharon Kay Penman (gallows for HF mini mystery challenge):  A light and enjoyable little read.  I particularly liked Justin, cool hero, and his buddy, Luke, the undersheriff.  The Queen and Nell are wonderful role models for the time.  
 
Cruel as the Grave by Sharon Kay Penman (All Locked Up - any book involving the imprisonment of one of the characters):  Another light and enjoyable mystery by Penman.  Justin's romance with Claudine is rocky.  He seeks the murderer of Melangell, the pretty daughter of the peddler.  The nephews of the woman who nursed Justin when he was injured are accused of the deed but did one or both of them do it?  And, Prince John is moving to take the crown of his imprisoned brother, occupying the castle at Windsor.
 
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:   This is a prequel to the Mortal Instruments Series which takes place in Victorian London.  The story line features Will, an independent young Shadwohunter with a chip on his shoulder, Jem (James) whose illness will eventually lead to his death and Tess, an American who discovers that she is a shape-changer.   Is she even human?   Lured to London by her brother, Nate who sends her tickets and letters, she is pursued by demons who appear to answer to someone knon as Magister.  Strange automatons attack mundanes and Shadowhunters alike in pursuit of Tess.  The story unfolds in ways the reader cannot guess and Tess finds herself face-to-face with Magister.  This is a most intriguing tale with new twists from the imaginative Cassandra Clare whose fertile imagination once again leads the reader into an entertaining reading experience.  Well done, Ms. Clare!
 
Others read:  The Miracle on the 17th Green by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge and The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne, Lovelock by Orson Scott Card and Kathryn H. Kidd, Cold Magic by Kate Elliott, The Case of the Reluctant Model by Erle Stanley Gardner, Out of Dust by Karen Hesse, Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barber, I, Claudius by Robert Graves, The Heretic's Daighter by Kathleen Kent, The Pearl by John Steinbeck, The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman, The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout.   In process:  Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage, a story of a couple who took an around the wold bicycle trip, Major Pettigsrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson and Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.


Last Edited on: 5/12/11 7:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 72
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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I'm still re-reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss as the second book should be on the way to me soon.  This is fantasy not h/f but wonderful anyway.  Valli, how about that read along for March for A Wiseman's Fear?

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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Posting this before I duck out again for months. LOL

Reading Lily Cigar, a fat chunkster about an Irish orphan girl who works her way up the maid ladder in a Fifth Avenue mansion and eventually becomes the madam in a glitzy brothel in 1850s San Francisco. It's awesome, and is extremely well-written IMO. It's not a messy epic, but really focused. Fast becoming a favorite.

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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 I finished "The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake yesterday.  Since I'm going to offer it to my HF buddies first, I probably shouldn't diss it, but it was absolutely awful. It has great promise, but doesn't go anywhere.

I started "Hearts and Bones" this morning by Margaret Lawrence. I thought it would fit for the "our country" spot, but I think it's just a touch too late.  Having said that, it was definitely recommended from here, so I'll use it in that spot.

 

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,215
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Reading The Conscience of the King by Martin Stephen - another Henry Gresham book (sigh). Mad because I just don't seem to have more time to read - gotta get off this PC! This promises to be another wonderful, historic mystery which I think I will use in the mini challenge. I just have to find my way clear to get the next book because I know I'm going to want it!

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Just started the classic Katherine, by Anya Seton--loving it!

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,891
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Reading the new Jules Watson book still.  I like it so far but its taking me forever because for the last 5 days or so I've just had no desire to read at all. 

What is wrong with me? smiley

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Mimi,

Sorry to hear that about the Postmistress. I just picked that up at a thrift store and i thought it looked promising.

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I am having a problem getting into this one for some reason just not grabbing my attention.

Diagnosis: Too much Uhtred. Cure: Go back to Uhtred. LOL!

Hey Karla! It's good to hear from you. Don't be a stranger.

Mimi, I enjoyed Hearts and Bones, but the sequel didn't live up to it, IMO. Just curious what you mean by it's "a touch too late."

I'm still working my  way through the sequel to Maledicte, titled Kings and Assassins. It's OK, but it just doesn't have the same suspense and intrigue as Maledicte. Also, the character development isn't as interesting. Maledicte was a really unique character, so s/he would be hard to follow, I suppose.

I'll then go back to Kushiel's Chosen, hopefully with more interest.

I think I'm getting Spring Fever, or something.

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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Towards the end of The Circling Years by Janice Young Brooks and then going to join Karla in Lily Cigar as soon as the library copy shows at my branch. It sounds like we might have a long lost treasure on our hands thanks to Karla.

Mary (mepom) -
Subject: Holly and Genie
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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SPRING FEVER IS HERE

read outside

Mary

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
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Having just finished A Place Beyond Courage and To Defy a King, I'm staying in Chadwickland since it's such a nice place to be -- now reading The Love Knot.

Date Posted: 3/1/2011 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Mimi, I enjoyed Hearts and Bones, but the sequel didn't live up to it, IMO. Just curious what you mean by it's "a touch too late."

Oooh, good to hear.

My comment was referencing the HF Challenge.  For the "Proud to be an American" category, I was under the impression it was during or before the Revolutionary War.  I think that H&B is set just after the war ends.

Mary (mepom) -
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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I am reading THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES BY Stef Penney. It is set in snowy Canada with lots of suspense and beauty. The author has a degree in philosophy and theology. She is a screenwriter and this is her first novel. It is set in late 1800. The book was  2006 Costa Book of the Year Winner. I want her to write more books

I started this book in FEB, so I hope this is not repetitive info. One of us here at PBS recommended this book. It is wonderful, so far, but I am only 1/2 finished. If I could quit the computer, I might finish a book.blush

Mary



Last Edited on: 3/2/11 10:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/1/2011 11:23 PM ET
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Finishing up Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower.  So far I have mixed feelings about it.

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 12:12 AM ET
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Mary - I read The Tendernessof Wolves about a year or more ago and I loved it. After posting it, I had to go and get myself another copy. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've done that in my life!

BTW, I'm having the same dilemma between reading and the computer!!! lol!

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 7:36 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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I think that H&B is set just after the war ends.

I believe you're right. Watch out for the wet noodle. wink

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 7:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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I started Mr. Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald last night.  I'm not too far into it, yet, but I like what I've read.  The main character is a young boy who will eventually go on the Beagle with Darwin and be his specimen collector and assistant/servant.  I was going to use this for  my South America book, but right now the kid's in Australia!!  I hope enough of the action takes place in South America for it to qualify, or I'll be looking for a new book.  

 

See?  I'm being good.  Keep looking at Mimi and her choices, O Benevolent One....

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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For the "Proud to be an American" category, I was under the impression it was during or before the Revolutionary War.  I think that H&B is set just after the war ends.

The category goes through 1791 when the Bill of Rights was signed.  So, Mimi, if H&B is literally right after the Rev. War, you should be okay.

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