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Witch Wraith

Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks.

Series: The Dark Legacy of Shannara
Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345523547

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For centuries the Four Lands enjoyed freedom from its demon-haunted past, protected by magic-enhanced borders from the dark dimension known as the Forbidding and the profound evil imprisoned there. But now the unthinkable is happening: The ancient wards securing the barrier between order and mayhem have begun to erode—and generations of bloodthirsty, monstrous creatures, fueled by a rage thousands of years in the making, are poised to spill forth, seeking revenge for what was done to them.
Young Elf Arling Elessedil possesses the enchanted means to close the breach and once more seal the denizens of the Forbidding in their prison. But when she falls into the hands of the powerful Federation’s diabolical Prime Minister, her efforts may be doomed. Only her determined sister, Aphen, who bears the Elfstones and commands their magic, has any hope of saving Arling from the hideous fate her captor has in store.
Meanwhile, Railing Ohmsford—desperate to save his imprisoned brother—seeks to discover if his famed but ill-fated ancestor Grianne is still alive and willing to help him save the world . . . no matter the odds or the consequences.

As always Terry Brooks ramps up his last book of the trilogy so that you tend to read it faster then the first two books! 

Of the 3 books I enjoyed this one the best.  Usually it is the first book because it grabs you and makes you start reading it… but he did a lot in this last book to give you things you didn’t expect.  Or if you did expect it.. it didn’t happen the way you thought it would.  So.. three cheers for yet another trilogy concerning the original Shannara books..   oh.. and I see a new book has just come out!  Obviously this man will write until his hand is a “stub” like his pencils!… oh wait, writers use computers.. until his fingers are “nubs” from typing!

Thank you Mr. Brooks.. I do like returning to Shannara with new reads now and then.

Bloodfire Quest

Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks.

Series: The Dark Legacy of Shannara
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Del Rey(March 12, 2013)
ISBN-10: 9780345523501

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The adventure that started in Wards of Faerie takes a thrilling new turn, in the second novel of Terry Brooks’s brand-new trilogy—The Dark Legacy of Shannara!
The quest for the long-lost Elfstones has drawn the leader of the Druid order and her followers into the hellish dimension known as the Forbidding, where the most dangerous creatures banished from the Four Lands are imprisoned. Now the hunt for the powerful talismans that can save their world has become a series of great challenges: a desperate search for kidnapped comrades, a relentless battle against unspeakable predators, and a grim race to escape the Forbidding alive. But though freedom is closer than they know, it may come at a terrifying price.
Back in the village of Arborlon, the mystical, sentient tree that maintains the barrier between the Four Lands and the Forbidding is dying. And with each passing day, as the breach between the two worlds grows larger, the threat of the evil eager to spill forth and wreak havoc grows more dire. The only hope lies with a young Druid, faced with a staggering choice: cling to the life she cherishes or combat an army of darkness by making the ultimate sacrifice.

And so I finish book two of the trilogy! 

Terry Brooks has been one of those constant writers that seem to pop into my life every now and then, and even if you think, “hmmm I’ve read something like this before” he continually puts in these little gems that you are sure you never heard of before in any other book.  Bits that tell you Terry Brooks is not done creating! 

You know I don’t do good “reviews” which is why I always use the one from Amazon.  But I do like to say if I am enjoying the books or not (seldom “not” because if I am not I don’t finish the book!).   I sometimes fine it hard to read long series of books because the “main characters” in the first books are gone and replaced with new characters.  So then the new ones better be well defined and a good story for them to keep my interest. 

That being said… it’s time to move on to book 3!

Wards of Faerie

Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks.

Series: The Dark Legacy of Shannara
Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Del Rey;(February 26, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345523482

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Seven years after the conclusion of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks at last revisits one of the most popular eras in the legendary epic fantasy series that has spellbound readers for more than three decades.
Tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. The dwindling Druid order is threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones, which once warded the lands and kept evil at bay. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous—as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins. Yet there can be no turning back from the road to which fate has steered her. Whoever captures the Elfstones and their untold powers will surely hold the advantage in the devastating clash to come.

I have followed the Shannara series from the beginning, and like many long running series I still feel the first trilogy was the best.  That might well be because of how character driven I am and I really liked the characters in those books.  Now many new characters appear but live in the “same land” and have many adventures surrounding familiar things:  re: the Elfstones.  Having familiarity helps you want to stay with the series and his adventure writing and land building is of high quality.

It’s hard to recommend this trilogy (beginning book 2 right now) only because so much has come before, and it’s hard for many people to come into a series knowing that it’s almost “never ending” lol.  So my strong recommendation is, if you think this is a series you might like… begin at the beginning with: The Sword of Shannara, The Wishsong of Shannara, and the Elfstones of Shannara.

I intend to finish this trilogy and …not surprisingly.. Terry Brooks just had a new Shannara book released last month called: The High Druid’s Blade: The Defenders of Shannara .

This whole series carries a likeness to the Lord of the Rings.. that sort of adventure along with some very nasty looking vile villains…  nuff said.     Ok, that’s it for now… off to begin book 2!!

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 9, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0743298039

(guess what I just finished reading… again!)

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Amazon.com Review

Settle down to enjoy a rousing good ghost story with Diane Setterfield’s debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale. Setterfield has rejuvenated the genre with this closely plotted, clever foray into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths. She never cheats by pulling a rabbit out of a hat; this atmospheric story hangs together perfectly.

There are two heroines here: Vida Winter, a famous author, whose life story is coming to an end, and Margaret Lea, a young, unworldly, bookish girl who is a bookseller in her father’s shop. Vida has been confounding her biographers and fans for years by giving everybody a different version of her life, each time swearing it’s the truth. Because of a biography that Margaret has written about brothers, Vida chooses Margaret to tell her story, all of it, for the first time. At their initial meeting, the conversation begins:

"You have given nineteen different versions of your life story to journalists in the last two years alone."

She [Vida] shrugged. "It’s my profession. I’m a storyteller."

"I am a biographer, I work with facts."

The game is afoot and Margaret must spend some time sorting out whether or not Vida is actually ready to tell the whole truth. There is more here of Margaret discovering than of Vida cooperating wholeheartedly, but that is part of Vida’s plan. The transformative power of truth informs the lives of both women by story’s end, and The Thirteenth Tale is finally and convincingly told. –Valerie Ryan

So… I felt the need to reread something that I know I liked so that I really didn’t have to be “spot on” with my comprehension as I already knew what happened.   This is my fourth reading of The Thirteenth Tale.

Since it has been at least 2 years since I last read the book I knew there would be some things I hadn’t remembered.  Not long ago Diane Setterfield came out with a second book called Bellman and Black.  I think I was expecting something along the lines of Thirteenth Tale, which it was not, and so I was disappointed in her second book, but if she puts out a third one day I will certainly read it.

This book is the type I like for mysteries.  Vida Winter asks Margaret Lea to write her biography.  She comes to  learn that there are many family secrets to discover. Many she gets told by Vida (slowly) and some she stumbles upon and manages to find for herself. 

Of course, unless you are extremely sharp, the end has a bit of a twist…which I did start to figure out, but still came as a surprise. (well ok.. not a surprise since I have read it before).   Setterfield’s writing in this book is just fabulous.  No matter how many times I’ve read it, I figured it would be a slow go for me they way I have been lately with my reading. But, she hooked me good and even with my problems I could never let the book lie for very long without picking it up again for yet another chapter.. or two… or three. (short chapters!!)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… if you want a creepy, try to figure it out mystery… this is a book you should read!

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt.

Series: Quality Paperbacks Series
Paperback: 504 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press(February 2000)
ISBN-10: 030680476X

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The long and eventful life of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was full of rich experiences and courageous actions. The niece of Theodore Roosevelt, she married a distant relative and Columbia University law student named Franklin Delano Roosevelt; he gradually ascended throughout the world of New York politics to reach the U.S. presidency in 1932. Throughout his three terms, Eleanor Roosevelt was not only intimately involved in FDR’s personal and political life, but led women’s organizations and youth movements and fought for consumer welfare, civil rights, and improved housing. During World War II she traveled with her husband to meet leaders of many powerful nations; after his death in 1945 she worked as a UN delegate, chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, newspaper columnist, Democratic party activist, world-traveler, and diplomat. By the end of her life, Eleanor Roosevelt was recognized throughout the world for her fortitude and commitment to the ideals of liberty and human rights. Her autobiography constitutes a self-portrait no biography can match for its candor and liveliness, its wisdom, tolerance, and breadth of view—a self-portrait of one of the greatest American humanitarians of our time.

So………

July turned into a month of doctors, tests, and not feeling well..so the fact that this one book even got read is a small miracle!

I am sure I would have read this a lot faster had it not been for the things mentioned above and then add to it that I have read numerous books on Eleanor Roosevelt and I have to admit that this book didn’t have anything I didn’t already know.

I will say though that as a writer you had the feeling that you were sitting down with Eleanor and listening to her talk.  Very relaxing and very “I feel I know you”.

A small disappointment is that she actually had a good part of this book talking of Franklin and his Presidential choices and decisions.  Again, I had already read a number of books on them both and I was ready for “just Eleanor”.

I will always wish I had written to her when I was in High School, since she passed after I graduated. Such a fabulous lady. Such empathy. More people should be like her.

If you would like to read about her there are many books out there.. but if you want to “hear her voice” then this would be a good book.  (It’s also much shorter then most books on the Roosevelts!!)

I know history is not for everyone.  And it took me until maybe 2 yrs ago before it interested me.  But I think my next “history” book will be on someone else. Not sure who yet  :)

The Bookman’s Tale

The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books(May 27, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0143125389

 

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From Booklist

Antiquarian bookseller Peter Byerly immerses himself in his trade to overcome grief from the loss of his beloved wife a few months earlier. Now plying his trade in England’s Cotswolds instead of the North Carolina site of his tragedy, Byerly happens across a small watercolor portrait of a woman who looks startlingly like his late wife. And so begins an obsessive hunt to find out the origins of this painting. Lovett shifts his narrative around in both time and setting, recounting the lovers’ first meeting, in the library at a southern college, and the blossoming of their seemingly improbable love affair: he a bookish, repressed teen, and she an heiress. Byerly discovers the portrait’s Victorian provenance, and then the author moves his story even further back, to the time of Shakespeare. Fans of mysteries, of love stories, and of rare books will all find moments in Lovett’s novel to treasure. –Mark Knoblauch

A person obsessed with the authenticity of old books and documents…  how could this NOT be a good read?  The answer is:  it’s a good read.

It jumped around a bit and I wasn’t sure I could keep straight where I was when, but I did manage and that alone says it couldn’t have been too hard because one of my favorite words is :  huh?.  

This was a good incorporation of a mystery, murder and love…not much left when you have all that!

I can’t say I have any big interest in “first editions” or “authenticity” of things..but this book absolutely kept me opening it over and over.  I was also glad it had short chapter, which is another thing that makes me read more, and more often.

Happily this is my 4th book for June and seeing as how badly my reading has dropped off due to “doctors” and such, I feel quite accomplished that the four books were interesting enough to keep me reading!

My books for June were:

Get Happy…………………….Gerald Clarke………(528 pgs)(Judy Garland)
This Time Together…………….Carol Burnett………(288 pgs)
The Devil’s Workshop…………..Alex Grecian………(386 pgs)(Scotland Yard Murder Squad)
The Bookman’s Tale…………….Charlie Lovett……..(384 pgs)

The Devil’s Workshop

The Devil’s Workshop by Alex Grecian.

Series: Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad (Book 3)

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult (May 20, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0399166432

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They thought he was gone, but they were wrong. Jack the Ripper is loose in London once more.
Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad faces the most shocking case of its existence, in the extraordinary new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestsellers The Yard and The Black Country.
London, 1890. A small group of the city’s elite, fed up with the murder rate, have made it their business to capture violent criminals and mete out their own terrible brand of retribution. Now they are taking it a step further: They have arranged for four murderers to escape from prison, and into the group’s hands.
But the plan goes wrong. The killers elude them, and now it is up to Walter Day, Nevil Hammersmith, and the rest of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad to hunt the convicts down before they can resume their bloody spree. But the Murder Squad may already be too late. The killers have retribution in mind, and one of them is heading straight toward a member of the Murder Squad, and his family.
And that isn’t even the worst of it. During the escape, one of the killers has stumbled upon the location of another notorious murderer, one thought gone for good, but who is now prepared to join forces with them.
And Saucy Jack has learned some new tricks while he’s been away.

This is the 3rd book by Alex Grecian about Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad that I’ve read.

I have to say I’ve liked ALL the books and glad to know there will be more along the way!

However, having said that I have enjoyed this latest book, I will say that it may not be to everyone’s liking, even if they have read the first 2 books.  This book (since the evil character is “maybe” Jack the Ripper) is  a lot more descriptive in the murders and what is done to the bodies.  

And having said that… if you’ve ever read anything on Jack the Ripper before then the descriptions in this book are no worse then any other.   Surprisingly, I may have said a mental “ewww” here and there but it didn’t stop me from reading every word of the book.

I like this “murder squad” Grecian has created.  I think it’s created lol, it may have been true for all I know!  Walter Day and Nevil Hammersmith are excellent characters for this type of book… and I look forward to the next edition…whenever that may be!

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