Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Good Morning, Mr. Mandela by Zelda la Grange

“In Good Morning, Mr. Mandela, Zelda la Grange recounts her remarkable life at the right hand of the man we both knew and loved. It's a tribute to both of them—to Madiba's eye for talent and his capacity for trust and to Zelda's courage to take on a great challenge and her capacity for growth. This story proves the power of making politics personal and is an important reminder of the lessons Madiba taught us all.” —President Bill Clinton  
“President Nelson Mandela’s choice of the young Afrikaner typist Zelda la Grange as his most trusted aide embodied his commitment to reconciliation in South Africa. She repaid his trust with loyalty and integrity. I have the highest regard for her.” —Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu 

"Zelda la Grange has a singular perspective on Nelson Mandela, having served as his longtime personal aide, confidante and close friend. She is a dear friend to both of us and a touchstone to all of us who loved Madiba. Her story of their journey together demonstrates how a man who transformed an entire nation also had the power to transform the life of one extraordinary woman.” —Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary, actor, producer of Invictus 

A white Afrikaner, Zelda la Grange grew up in segregated South Africa, supporting the regime and the rules of apartheid. Her conservative family referred to the imprisoned Nelson Mandela as “a terrorist.” Yet just a few years after his release and the end of apartheid, she would be traveling the world by Mr. Mandela’s side, having grown to respect and cherish the man she would come to call "Khulu," or “grandfather." 

Good Morning, Mr. Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman’s life, beliefs, prejudices—everything she once believed—were utterly transformed by the man she had been taught was the enemy. It is the incredible journey of an awkward, terrified young secretary in her twenties who rose from a job in a government typing pool to become one of the president’s most loyal and devoted associates. During his presidency she was one of his three private secretaries, and then became an aide-de-camp and spokesperson and managed his office in his retirement. Working and traveling by his side for almost two decades, La Grange found herself negotiating with celebrities and world leaders, all in the cause of supporting and caring for Mr. Mandela in his many roles. 

Here La Grange pays tribute to Nelson Mandela as she knew him—a teacher who gave her the most valuable lessons of her life. The Mr. Mandela we meet in these pages is a man who refused to be defined by his past, who forgave and respected all, but who was also frank, teasing, and direct. As he renewed his country, he also freed La Grange from a closed world of fear and mistrust, giving her life true meaning. “I was fearful of so much twenty years ago—of life, of black people, of this black man and the future of South Africa—and I now was no longer persuaded or influenced by mainstream fears. He not only liberated the black man but the white man, too.” 

This is a book about love and second chances that honors the lasting and inspiring gifts of one of the great men of our time. It offers a rare intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and his remarkable life as well as moving proof of the power we all have to change.

Received for review.

As with most "insider accounts" of celebrities this is another attempt not to show the celebrity's private life but how wonderful the author herself is.  I don't mean to say that Nelson Mandela wasn't a great person but this book isn't really about him, it's about the author and her life.  It's more an autobiography than a memoir of Mandela and as such was rather disappointing.

The author seems to spend the entire book trying to convince you of how wonderful she is for making so many sacrifices to work for Mandela.  She, a well off (white) woman in South Africa, had to defy her parents to go work for him.  Yeah, boo hoo honey.  Get over yourself.  If you were truly that selfless you wouldn't be writing a book about how wonderful you are and pretending it's about Mandela.

Yes, there are some interesting insights into Mandela's life and his personality but they always take second place to her self-aggrandizing.  Even when discussing the man's death she makes it about herself "I often battled with the relentless pressure.".  I often battled with wanting to smack the woman while reading her book.

Overall, this is an extremely skewed view of Mandela's life but it does provide enough tidbits of information that it is saved from complete horrific status.  If you're interested in Mandela's life this is not really the book to read, but if you're interested in the author's life then by all means give this a read.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Author Interview: Casey Carter author of Tie Me Up: A BLACK Series Episode

Casey Carter, author of Tie Me Up: A BLACK Series Episode, stopped by for an interview.

What do you do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m spending time with my kids and family. When I don’t want to get out of the bed, I veg-out on reality tv. And when I’m really taking a break, I travel. Traveling is a great way to expand the imagination.

When did your first start writing?

I’ve been writing since elementary school. I can remember writing poetry and short stories to pass the time when I couldn’t go out to play. In high school, I loved literature and creative writing.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I am a huge lover of Shakespeare. His use of words is eloquent and thought provoking. His plots are filled with twists and turns and edge of your seat thrills. Call me crazy, but I love his writing style.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

In my own relationships, I realized I wasn’t being satisfied and I began writing about what I thought would give me a fuller experience. Once I started writing, I realized I wasn’t going to get what I wanted if I couldn’t communicate it to my partner. So the stories began as a way of being able to tell my partner what I wanted and evolved into a way for me to engage others in conversation about what they really want and how to get it.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Believe it or not, even though the story is about Beverly, John is the character I love working with. In “Murder,” the first Episode between Beverly and John, you get a sense that there is more to John than meets the eye and in “Tie Me Up,” your suspicions are confirmed. John brings out who Beverly really is and celebrates that woman.

What is best writing advice you can give?

The best advice I can give is to write from your heart. Someone once said to me write, “Write for yourself and you’ll find that you’re not alone.” That advice proved to be true, so no matter how different or out there you may think your writing is, there is someone who will enjoy it as much as you.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

“Tie Me Up” is the second story about Beverly and John. John has become so popular, I’m in the process of drafting an Episode to dig deeper into who he is and I look forward to that because I suspect I’ll discover things about myself I didn’t know existed.

About the book:

Suffering from a case of writer’s block, Beverly needs something to get her creative juices flowing.

She tries everything to break the monotony that is dulling her senses. Nothing seems to work until finally, Beverly enlists the help of John.

At that point, Beverly wishes she hadn’t. What she experiences is just the tip of the “Black” iceberg.

While it frees her mind, it also opens her to a world she can’t resist.

About the author:

Since childhood, Casey Carter has had a love for reading and writing but it was the heartbreaking demise of her marraige that reignited her creativity. In trying to understand what went wrong and the why of it all, she began journaling her feelings. She revisited her dreams and goals and realized that what initially seemed like a mistake was really a date with destiny.

The breakup caused Casey to not only reawaken the dreams and goals she locked away, but it also set her on a journey of self-exploration. If she was now free to be who she always wanted to be and achieve her heart's desires, exactly who is that woman and how would she go about becoming her? Of Casey's many realizations and "a-ha" moments, one became very loud and clear. She was a highly sexual being and while many differences -- education, socio-economics, life goals -- made her incompatible with some men, this specific issue was one she not only wouldn't admit was a problem but she suppressed.

Now she writes to be free and to free other women. Casey hopes to encourage other women to feel free to explore their colors and live a life that includes pleasures beyond their wildest dreams.

Review: The Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky

A lovely small-trim edition of the award-winning Atlas of Remote Islands 

The Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky’s beautiful and deeply personal account of the islands that have held a place in her heart throughout her lifelong love of cartography, has captured the imaginations of readers everywhere. Using historic events and scientific reports as a springboard, she creates a story around each island: fantastical, inscrutable stories, mixtures of fact and imagination that produce worlds for the reader to explore. 

Gorgeously illustrated and with new, vibrant colors for the Pocket edition, the atlas shows all fifty islands on the same scale, in order of the oceans they are found. Schalansky lures us to fifty remote destinations—from Tristan da Cunha to Clipperton Atoll, from Christmas Island to Easter Island—and proves that the most adventurous journeys still take place in the mind, with one finger pointing at a map.

Received for review.

Alternately amusing and depressing this was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The stories are all short and can be read in a matter of minutes but I foung it best to read just two or three stories at a time to give myself an opportunity to really appreciate their beauty and horror.  While each is interesting in its own right I found the most amusing story was about Christmas Island and the most depressing was about Deception Island.

Overall, this is an entertaining, thought provoking read and I highly recommend it.  It would also make a lovely gift for any armchair traveller. 

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Featured Book: Dark Lord Rising: The Dark Passage Chronicles by Raven R. Worthington

About the book:

Following the King’s murder in the land of Elysium, two foreigners arrive to Castle Elysium wishing to have the soldiers who ambushed the slain King’s men for an experiment. Confidus Seaton, next in line for the throne, and his council agree to the request, stipulating that the prisoners’ bodies must soon be returned. At the Seaton palace, Melina, who will soon be wed to Confidus’ son Caprius worries over how to tell her beloved that she will never conceive a child. She consults Felicia – the Golden Fleece, who informs the young woman that she is in fact already carrying a child, and it is the child of the prophecy foretold. At the same time, Caprius’ two brothers, Dragus and Andromin, journey to the city of Koriston where they unravel the mystery of vampires trying to overtake the city. Hordes of the undead rise to kill them, but the knights are victorious. Meanwhile the time arrives for Confidus and his army to collect the dead soldiers’ bodies in Plaphorius. Once there, however, they see they have been tricked into partaking in a ritual of blood exchange and evil worship. There is a fight, and the army escapes with few casualties- one of them Dragus who became infected with vampire blood during the battle. To save him, the four companions make haste to Petoshine; there they will ask Grongone the great wizard to help Dragus. In Plaphorius, when Melina awakens, she finds herself lying in a casket beside Clore in a large cave beneath the castle. Clore tells her to accept her new life as a member of the undead, and soon, as his wife. While he is en route to Plaphorius, Andromin stumbles upon a female warrior being tortured. Andromin fights off her attackers and asks her to join his army in their quest to destroy the vampire cult. Calista accepts, while holding on to a dark secret: she is Andromin’s Bramonian sister. She knows Confidus had had her father hanged many years before for raping Confidus’ wife and impregnating her with Andromin. In the war’s aftermath, noting Calista’s bravery during the battle, and ignorant of her history, Confidus offers her a brand new life with his people in Elysium. She is happy to accept, but once in Elysium, she is haunted by the spirit of her father, who begs her to kill Confidus Seaton. With the war finally behind them, Caprius stands on the balcony watching over the kingdom. Melina is troubled over their uncertain future; she and Caprius wonder how and when they will tell Andromin he is not a true Seaton. Now reunited, she and Caprius watch moonlight over the bay of Begonia.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Book: Raven and Wolf by Lee Savino

About the book:

When a mysterious evil slaughters a village in old Norway, a warrior vows to protect the innocent woman who witnessed the murders. 

But can he help her stop the killers while hiding his own dark secret?

About the author:

Lee Savino has been telling tales since she was young. While she was studying creative writing at Hollins University, her first manuscript won the Hollins Fiction Prize. She loves writing books about strong women and the sexy men who love them.

Review: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches. 

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

Received for review.

Having read and enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy I approached this with some hesitation, hoping that it would fulfill my hopes and provide a satisfying resolution to the story.  Thankfully the author delivered beautifully on everything that had been promised in previous books.  This was a genuinely satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

Despite having close to six hundred pages and weighing enough to cause a serious bruise if you drop it on your toe this was a nicely paced read.  The action and desire to see how it all ended had me flipping the pages as fast as I could read them.  

As with the first two books this was beautifully written.  Fans of the series should find this just as enjoyable.  I certainly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Book: The Quest For The Jasper Oracle - Rift in Time by Christopher Craft

About the book:

For Honor and The King - The Obsidian Knights Adventures!

An action packed fantasy with the Obsidian Knights! This Adventure will have your heart pounding and keep you guessing as Cor Vos' goes on an exciting and dangerous quest.

It will take you into an alternate reality and let your imagination run wild with Dragons,Sorcery,and intense battle scenes.

The Obsidian Knights are marching in the Wildhoof Mountains on a simple training exercise when they witness a strange event. A green light has filled the sky near the small village of Bor’Un. From above on the ridge the Knights are unable to help as they see the village overrun by a strange band of unknown raiders entering through the portal that has just opened..

The Commander calls the men to action and they charge the village in hopes of stopping the raiders. Cor’Vos steps up to lead the men in this trying situation as a chain of events is set in motion that will lead the Obsidian Knights in quest of an ancient Jasper oracle and reveal important truths about Cor’Vos’ past.

Lose yourself in a wonderful world of Fantasy and Excitement!

You don't want to Miss Out! Travel With Cor Vos' and Allaire and the other Obsidian Knights as they battle evil!

You will soon be a fan of the ALL The Obsidian Knight Adventures!

So What Are You Waiting For? Download This Exciting Adventure Story Today!

About the author:

Christopher Craft began playing Minecraft, League, Clash of Clans and Yes.. many bouts of Angry Birds with his kids. Then Minecraft turned into an obsession. Clash of Clans took over his free time. And League, let's not go there....  

His books are inspired by the countless times he couldn't find a book that would catch and keep his children's attention while reading to them before bed. So he started making up adventures that kept his kids up to late. Well at least mom says he did. 

SO BE-HOLD! Adventure books with PAZAZZZ! Craft's adventure books take readers on daring raids, dangerous expeditions, and thrilling chases in worlds that span a gamer's imagination. 

If you want to be in the adventure, check out some of Craft's adventure books today.

Review: My Family and Other Hazards by June Melby

A funny, heartwarming memoir about saying goodbye to your childhood home, in this case a quirky, one-of-a-kind, family-run miniature golf course in the woods of Wisconsin

When June Melby was ten years old, her parents decided on a whim to buy the miniature golf course in the small Wisconsin town where they vacationed every summer. Without any business experience or outside employees, the family sets out to open Tom Thumb Miniature Golf to the public. Naturally, there are bumps along the way. In My Family and Other Hazards, Melby recreates all the squabbling, confusion, and ultimately triumph, of one family’s quest to build something together, and brings to life the joys of one of America’s favorite pastimes. In sharp, funny prose, we get the hazards that taunted players at each hole, and the dedication and hard work that went into each one’s creation. All the familiar delights of summer are here—snowcones and popcorn and long days spent with people you love. 

Melby’s relationship with the course is love-hate from the beginning, given the summer’s freedom it robs her of, but when her parents decide to sell the course years later, her panicked reaction surprises even her. Now an adult living in Hollywood, having flown the Midwest long ago, she flies back to the course to help run it before the sale goes through, wondering if she should try to stop it. As the clock ticks, she reflects on what the course meant to her both as a child and an adult, the simpler era that it represents, and the particular pains of losing your childhood home, even years after you’ve left it.

Received for review.

I wasn't sure what to expect at first but this sounded like an amusing read and it was, but that was about it.

This wasn't really a memoir either.  It was more of a collection of stories about her family running their miniature golf course.  The family seemed like nice people but there was nothing special or particularly interesting about them besides their business.  

The stories were amusing but they were presented in such a way that they didn't fulfill their potential.  At one point the author's sister is covered in paint and there's a bland explanation of how it happened, how it was removed, and the aftermath (the sister got extra dinner and cake that night).  There was no real feeling to any of it.

Overall, this is a light, fast read that is perfect for those who want something fluffy and fun.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Author Interview: Kase Johnstun author of Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis

Kase Johnstun, author of Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis, stopped by for an interview.

What made you want too write this book?

When I first found out we were going to have a son, I was overjoyed, but, as the days got closer to his birth, I began to worry that he would be afflicted with Craniosynostosis — the birth defect I was born with in 1975 and had skull surgery to correct at eight weeks old — so I started to do research about the plausibility of passing it on to him and of putting my wife through the same emotional pain my mother had to tackle. What I found was that there was no book available that spanned the spectrum between memoir and medical research. After three years of research, traveling across the country, interviewing other families and the best craniofacial surgeons in the country, and finally pulling my mother’s story from her purposefully shelved memory, I wrote the book I wished was available when I looked into the birth defect initially. Now other families will have it.

How common are cranial defects in children?

While I can’t speak for other cranial defects, as there are many that are syndromic in nature, meaning that the defect may be tied to another syndrome, but for non-syndromic craniosynostosis, which is most common, I have found that the numbers range from 1-1,650 to 1-2,000. What frustrates me, a little, is that none of the most popular baby books even mention it. They all mention plagiocephaly (flat-head syndrome), and I believe it wouldn’t be difficult to say something like, “Ask your pediatrician to check to make sure the fontanelles and cranial sutures are wide open.” Because, unfortunately, some pediatricians still miss the diagnosis.

What treatment options are available?

From my research, I believe, and this is backed by most of the medical community, that surgery to release the fused suture is really the only option for treatment for all the sutures except the metopic suture, which is the only suture that has a grey area because it naturally closes within two years after birth — that said, many metopic sutures do need to be opened up if they close to early; this decision should be addressed by a craniofacial team made up of a neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon before a decision is made. Currently, there are two main options for surgery, and these vary in technique based on the surgeon. The first is Cranial Reconstructive Surgery (CVR): the craniofacial team, typically, removes the skull from just above the ear, breaks the skull into multiple pieces, and then reconstructs the skull with all the sutures in place, giving the brain enough room to grow outward over the next 20 years of the child’s life — there are many different techniques to do this, and much discussion about what technique is the best, but there are more than 250 surgeons in the country that are very qualified to perform surgery for craniosynostosis.

The second option is the endoscopic release of the fused suture: this is much less invasive, as the doctors make two tiny slits in the skull and then remove the fused bone, creating a suture, through those slits. Following this procedure, most babies will have to wear a shaping, protective helmet for up to a year. There is no need for a helmet with the CVR because the doctors already shaped the skull. Both of these techniques have their benefits, and which technique is used depends on the child: when he/she is diagnosed, what suture needs to be released, etc. The craniofacial team will give parents the best possible option.

How can families support parents of “cranio kids?"

They can listen and learn. The more families that know about this birth defect, the better the parents will feel less alone.

About the book:

Part memoir and part medical study, the book touches on the modern medical history of cranial sutures, as well as ancient treatments dating to the time of Hippocrates as well as surgical techniques used today to allow the brain to grow naturally. It is with great care that Johnstun chronicles the experiences of American families affected by Craniosynostosis. Each entry demonstrates the uniqueness of that case, the chosen treatment, and its result. A true testament to a second coming of age, Johnstun, now in his thirties, encapsulates a rite of passage that everyone will be able to relate to. Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis highlight’s one man’s quest for information, the internal conflict that arises, and the desire to break down the enormity of a situation into smaller manageable pieces to regain a sense of control.

About the author:

Kase Johnstun is an award-winning essayist. He is the co-editor/co-author of Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front (History Press). His work has appeared nationally and internationally in journals and magazines such as Creative Nonfiction Magazine, The Chronicle Review, Label Me Latina/o, Prime Number, and as a regular contribution to The Good Men Project. He has an MA and an MFA in Creative Writing, and his set of essays Tortillas for Honkies and “Other” Essays was recently named a finalist for the Autumn House Press 2013 Award in Creative Nonfiction. He is a full-time lecturer in English at Utah State University. Learn more about Kase on his blog or on Facebook.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

A historical novel based on the life of Mary Rowlandson “An authentic drama of Indian captivity…A compelling, emotionally gripping tale.”—Eliot Pattison, author of the Mystery of Colonial America series.

She suspects that she has changed too much to ever fit easily into English society again. The wilderness has now become her home. She can interpret the cries of birds. She has seen vistas that have stolen away her breath. She has learned to live in a new, free way.... 

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her. 

Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meanings of freedom, faith, and acceptance.

Received for review.

I wanted to dislike this from the start since Mary was such a miserable human being but I just couldn't which is a testament to the quality of the author's writing.  She made even such a disgusting person as Mary not quite sympathetic, but at least tolerable enough to finish the book.  I did have many times when I wished I could smack the woman though.  I realize this is set in the 1600s but she's just such a horrible person even for the wacko Puritans that I was truly shocked.  Her behavior was simply unacceptable in many instances and I actually found myself hoping that she'd get sick and die.  I, of course, didn't want the Native Americans to kill her because I didn't want them to be punished but I held out hope that she would be shunned by her Puritan community upon her return and starve or freeze to death.  No, really, she was that despicable of a human being.  She had simply no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  What is possibly even more disturbing is that this was a kinder, gentler representation of her and in real life she was actually, if possible, even worse.

If you can manage to get past your disgust for Mary the story is actually quite informative and interesting.  The interactions between the natives and the invading Puritans were well illustrated and clearly had a strong level of historical accuracy.  I've never been a big fan of the Puritans and this book made my dislike for them even more intense.  

Overall this is a solid read and I certainly recommend it but be prepared for some intense emotions as you accompany Mary on her journey.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Love and Friendship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen

Austen’s hilarious early stories and sketches—complete with her delightfully quirky spelling habits—now collected in one gorgeous clothbound volume 

Jane Austen’s earliest writing dates from when she was just eleven-years-old, and already shows the hallmarks of her mature work. But it is also a product of the times in which she grew up—dark, grotesque, often surprisingly bawdy, and a far cry from the polished, sparkling novels of manners for which she became famous. Drunken heroines, babies who bite off their mothers’ fingers, and a letter-writer who has murdered her whole family all feature in these highly spirited pieces. This edition includes all of Austen’s juvenilia, including her “History of England” and the novella Lady Susan, in which the anti-heroine schemes and cheats her way through high society. With a title that captures a young Austen’s original idiosyncratic spelling habits and an introduction by Christine Alexander that shows how Austen was self-consciously fashioning herself as a writer from an early age, this is a must-have for any Austen lover.

Received for review.

Admittedly, I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan to begin with so this clearly did not carry the same joy for me that true fans would enjoy but it was entertaining if a bit difficult to make my way through.  I did enjoy the letters as they seemed to flow a bit better than the rest and made for convenient pausing points in the rather dense text which covers over three hundred pages (thankfully, the final hundred or so pages are full of footnotes).

What really drew me to this though was the beautiful binding.  I just could not pass up the lovely ivory fabric with shoes printed on it and the burgundy endpapers.  Dedicated Jane Austen fans will find this a gorgeous addition to their collections.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Review: The Accident by Chris Pavone

From the author of the New York Times-bestselling and Edgar Award-winning The Expats.

As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder. 

Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril. The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became. 

The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried. 

Gripping, sophisticated, layered, and impossible to put down, The Accident proves once again that Chris Pavone is a true master of suspense.

Received for review.

I thoroughly enjoyed the author's first book The Expats so I knew this would be equally good and it was everything I'd hoped for and more.

The story was immediately engaging and left me wondering until the ultimate reveal about the identity of the mysterious author.  The revelation was brilliant, absolutely brilliant and left me actually saying "Wow!" out loud. It was that good.

It was interesting to follow the story from the various character perspectives and see how things developed for each of them.  While I never really liked Isabel as a person she was a brilliant character and very well written.  

The level of suspense was consistent and had me hardly blinking as I read.  I felt every bit of the mysterious author's anxiety as events unfolded and it made the story that much more intense.  The manuscript tidbits sprinkled throughout were delicious little bread crumbs to follow as the story progressed and I couldn't wait until the next one appeared so I could learn more of the story.

Overall, this was a brilliant and a must read for those who enjoy suspense.  Fans of Steve Berry will thoroughly enjoy this.  I highly, highly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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