Debbie E. (debbieae) - Reviews

1 to 19 of 19
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Book 3)
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Book 3)
Author: Philip Pullman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 351
Review Date: 9/7/2011


Third in a series, be sure to read the others first or it will not make much sense.

This is the most blatant anti-religious of the three books. Oddly the argument against religion seems to be against some religion's supression of sexuality. We have a former nun who left the church after her first encounter with desire. (really, seriously? someone devotes their life to God and the Church only because they never felt sexual desire until it was a done deal? I like her as a character, but think the church was well rid of such a weak spiritual leader.)

Oddly for a series that tears down religion on the basis of supressing sexuality, the book simultaneously shows the dangers of sexuality without restraint. Lyra's parents cause havoc with their unrestrained desire that leads to her conception. Lyra herself is forced to choose between the safety of the world and access to the boy she has fallen in love with. Making the unselfish choice is the moment Lyra makes her "Eve" descision. It is a rather flat ending in my opinion, and rather unravels the whole argument against supressing sexual desire that half permeates the book. I guess the author is going for an approach to sex that involves restraint without denial, but truthfully must religions teach that. Only a few preach complete denial, and the largest, the Catholic church only prescribes it for their spiritual leaders. One can be a good Catholic and have a healthy sex life, so I am not sure where the author is going here.

As I put in another review, the only other anti-religious arguments involve buying into the author's fantasy as reality. God is a senile figurehead who proclaimed himself greatest in the distant past. All dead souls are tormented and must be released into nothingness. All purely unsupported fantasy, I beleive in Unicorns a little more.


At the King's Command (Tudor Rose, Bk 1)
At the King's Command (Tudor Rose, Bk 1)
Author: Susan Wiggs
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 148
Review Date: 8/21/2009
Helpful Score: 10


Blast from the past.

I was a little dissapointed to find that this is actually a revised version of Circle in the Water, rather than a new novel. However, this reworked version has held the good parts of the original, while making the story even better. If you have never read Circle in the Water, definitely choose this one instead. Still a pretty good read for those who originally read this before too.

Very good Tudor era romance filled with lots of intrigue and Henry VIII at his despotic worst.


Fledgling
Fledgling
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 71
Review Date: 7/11/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Octavia Butler always keeps me reading and thinking. An interesting take on how vampires could be real, yet not so destructive they kill all humans or convert them to vampires.

Also a truly interesting take on bigotry. The back made me think that it was human bigotry against vampires, but that was really not it at all. When you depend on beings, but you undoubtedly control and protect them, the relationship can easily lead to the slave - master mentalities within humans themselves. Are they just as worthy of respect, or more tools to be used.


The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1)
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1)
Author: Philip Pullman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 459
Review Date: 9/7/2011


First book in a series, a good young adult reader. Takes a few to orient to the rules of this world, but I enjoy that. This book really has no ending and the three books do not stand alone by any means. That is where the trouble lies... the remaining books are not as good and do a poor job of trying to tear down religion. Not a difficult argument to discount for a critical reader, but those with religious convictions will want to at a minimum make sure that pre-teen readers see the shortcomings in the author's anti-religious stories in the later books.


His Secret Duchess (Harlequin Historical, No 393)
His Secret Duchess (Harlequin Historical, No 393)
Author: Gayle Wilson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 48
Review Date: 11/19/2008
Helpful Score: 2


This is the book that started my Gayle Wilson addiction. The title was a bit hokey, but I picked it up anyhow. The story of young lovers separated by bad luck and misunderstanding for years and many trials for them both. Their only hope for her freedom is his claim of a not quite legal secret marriage. Once they are together, the trials do not stop. Their son is legally another man's child.

Wildly improbable chain of events, but as entrtaining as it is improbable.


Kindred
Kindred
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 121
Review Date: 1/8/2009
Helpful Score: 6


My second reading was even better than the first. One of Octavia Butler's best works of some really stellar stuff. Probably the best if not only way a modern person can close to understand the horror and contradictions of slavery. Impossible to put down.


Life Mask
Life Mask
Author: Emma Donoghue
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 3/8/2009
Helpful Score: 1


A dense read with historical people at its center. One of the more interesting things I discovered was the alternate panic and elation that swept through England in response to France's bloody revolution. So much of what I read has focused on regency England and the war with Bonaparte, it was good to get a better understanding of what led up to it.


Mind Guest (Diana Santee, Bk 1)
Mind Guest (Diana Santee, Bk 1)
Author: Sharon Green
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 11/25/2008


I had high hopes. A strong independent woman as a main character and a swashbuckling sci fi adventure with the promise of romance. What I got was to my mind a rape fantasy. My stomach turned. How many times could every woman in the story get raped? How much could they be conditioned to enjoy it? How could a society like this survive?


Mine Till Midnight (Hathaways, Bk 1)
Mine Till Midnight (Hathaways, Bk 1)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 786
Review Date: 11/25/2008


Very nice light romance that has some of the wallflowers as periphery characters.


Only You (Onyx Fiction, Je 606)
Only You (Onyx Fiction, Je 606)
Author: Cynthia Victor
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 5/8/2010


One of the best examples of true love tested by circumstance. It managed to avoid the formula reasons from romances for tearing true love apart while making the circumstances feel totally believable and relatively unavoidable. There were some villains, and their actions affected the love story at the center, but the only villainous attempt to pry the lovers apart was pathetic and cemented them together. It was a good story with love truly triumphing at the end, but a lot of life getting in the way in the meantime. Realistic enough to make you believe that love can triumph over the worst adversity for real.


The Other Boleyn Girl
The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 2784
Review Date: 1/8/2009
Helpful Score: 3


Philippa Gregory is one of my newest favorite authors and this is one of her best. A telling of the story of Henry VIII from the perspective of Mary, Anne Boleyn's younger sister. A really fascinating story that was glossed over in other historys so I did not understand it. How did Henry go from Mary as his mistress to Anne as his wife? How did Anne keep the mercurial Henry on one course long enough to get him to the altar?
The best was the fleshing out of Mary who barely gets mentioned in most historys. Not an unfaithful wife and social climbing slut, but a teenage girl awestruck by the handsome and magnetic king, then heartbroken by her sister taking her place and more.


The Other Queen
The Other Queen
Author: Philippa Gregory
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 156
Review Date: 10/3/2011


Well, I have been reading lots of Philippa Gregory over the past year, and have discovered a different Queen Elizabeth than I thought I knew. I am realizing that she got more credit than she was due in revisionist history in her old age and following her death. I am also getting the distinct impression that Philippa Gregory really does not like her at all. Revisionist history or no, could she really be this weak and easilly led by Cecil and be considered anything other than a failure by history?

I think I have really gotten a much better view of many historical figures through her books that give a better idea of who they really are, not just the legend. I find the treatment of Mary Queen of Scots very interesting. Great twist on her relationship with Bothwell that supports the rape allegation while explaining her documented affection and reliance on Bothwell.

It is apparent as little as the author likes Elizabeth, she has a great deal of sympathy for Mary. The Shrewsberrys were a real revelation though. I never gave much thought to Mary's jailers, but their story is fascinating. The Earl sympathetic and enchanted by Mary, the Countess a devotee of the protestant faith and supporter of Cecil more hostile. Their story is probably the best of the bunch.


The Silver Snare
The Silver Snare
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz (Writing as Stephanie James)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 7/20/2009


These are 2 people who should never have considered becoming a couple. I don't know what Jayne Anne Krentz aka Stephanie James was thinking here. Most of her books are enjoyable, a few are inspired, this one was creepy. This couple enjoys one upping each other and seeing who will be in charge. She tries to put a leash on him and he responds by basically stalking her.


The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Bk 2)
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Bk 2)
Author: Philip Pullman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 240
Review Date: 9/7/2011


This is the second book in the series and does not stand alone so read The Golden Compass first. This is still a good read, but not as good as the first book.

There is some interesting stuff in here about wars in heaven and how angels came to be. There is a promise of a really interesting revelation. Lyra's father has upset the balance of the world in the first book and there are lots of references to Lyra being the Eve of the remaking of the world.

There are some anti-religious references, but the speculation is confined to fantasy. You must believe the fantasy the author creates to truly find this a reasonable argument against God.


To Catch a Countess
To Catch a Countess
Author: Patricia Grasso
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 11/25/2008
Helpful Score: 2


The heroine is supposed to be dyslexic, but the author does such a poor job, she ends up to my mind just being stupid. I have dyslexia (although far milder a case than my mother and sister) and I found myself completely confused by the author's description of dyslexic problems. They would start fine, but degenerate into stupidity because there were none of the strengths that often give dyslexics the ability to cope with information and getting places even if they never learn to read or tell their left from right. I could literally not name a single admirable or endearing quality in the heroine other than beauty. The only sympathy I had was rooting for the underdog.

The hero was no better. Misunderstanding and a false sense of betrayal are staples of many romances, but this "hero" was nastier than most and persisted in his nastiness long after he knew his bride was actually innocent. I could not muster a shred of sympathy for him and by the end of the book I just hoped that the heroine would leave him and find someone worthier of her.


The Virgin's Lover
The Virgin's Lover
Author: Philippa Gregory
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 678
Review Date: 2/20/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I enjoyed this book as I have all of Philippa Gregory's books. I know Elizabeth became queen at a very young age, but I have a hard time reconciling the the dithering lovesick fool of this book with the woman who ruled as long as she did and brought a country into prosperity from the brink of bankruptcy. I also think that she could be impulsive enough to promise marriage to Dudley in such an irrevokable way on a whim, but to allow him to order her around seems odd. I am ready to read something of the transformation to her adult power. Cecil could save her from folly only so long.


The Wanton
The Wanton
Author: Rosemary Rogers
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 11/25/2008
Helpful Score: 3


This novel took several jumps that left me confused. There were several major changes in the heroine's life and they happened so abruptly, I never quite figured out why or how the changes occurred. This is also not for fans of happily ever after. These are complicated people with messed up relationships. I was also turned off by the herione's multiple rapes. Some people prefer this genre, but it leaves me cold and wondering how these people fall in love.


Wideacre (Wideacre, Bk 1)
Wideacre (Wideacre, Bk 1)
Author: Philippa Gregory
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 412
Review Date: 8/13/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Reading this book is a little like watching a train wreck. Beatrice loves the land her family owns, but during the age she was born, she is destined to be sent away eventually. This is not good enough for her, so she schemes to stay. Nothing is sacred in her quest, but because nothing is sacred, she destroys her family, her connection with the land and ultimately, herself.
A grand tragedy of a strong woman.


Wine, Tarts  &  Sex
Wine, Tarts & Sex
Author: Susan Johnson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 52
Review Date: 1/17/2009


Sexy in spades as expected from Susan Johnson. Not one of the most stellar of her stories in my opinion though.


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