Our crew said good-bye to the last of October by going local for treats:
The four of us only covered about half of the cul-de-sacs, but even this 10 block span was bountiful of sugar much to the delight of this tween Cleopatra and young leopard.
Welcome eleventh month of 2015:
November is the pearl-grey month, the changeling between warm crimson October and cold white December, the month when the leaves fall in slow drifting whirls, and the shapes of the trees are revealed, when the earth imperceptibly wakes, and stretches her bare limbs and displays her stubborn unconquerable strength before she settles uneasily into winter. November is secret and silent. – Alison Uttley
SUMMARY: The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love.
French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens…
After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.
Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.
Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.
THE VERDICT: This fractured version by the author is grown up. Court life is not unicorns and rainbows. I felt the catty claws of competition among those who vied for the king’s undivided attention. The king is of course all about his pleasures and who has the forbidding power to persecute those of another religion or those who are suspected of witchcraft. There is the weight of duty to marry well so image can be maintained. I also felt the struggles and sorrows of those in poverty, the powerless who are at the mercy of others and who had to suffer brutality under them.
I was impressed by Kate Forsyth’s work. I was immersed in this world through her descriptive writing, viewing each woman’s world through her eyes. Like the summary says this book is a braid of three women’s lives whose stories overlap until they come to the end as one. Four stars.
SUMMARY: When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.
Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.
THE VERDICT: I was lucky to have found this series as a Goodreads recommendation after reading the first installment of Dr. Dody McCleland. And like I wrote last week, it’s blunt, first person narration totally got my attention:
“My name is India Black. I am a whore” (pg. 1).
“…there’s a natural affinity between politicians and whores, having, as they do, certain similarities that breed a type of professional courtesy, if you will. For example, we share the same line of work: we each provide a service in exchange for something else” (pg. 3).
” ‘Clara, my dear, there’s a lot you must learn. Tell Tubby [Clara’s customer] the pineapples cost two and six. Keep a shilling for yourself, and bring the rest to me.’
Clara’s eyes were the size of my tea saucer. ‘Oh ma’am, that’s genius, that is.’
You can see why I’m the abbess and Clara’s the bint. She’s a nice girl, Clara, but as thick as two planks, which is one of the reasons I employ her.’ ” (pg. 13)
Do you see why I was hooked from the start? This book is actually considered a historical mystery. I felt it was like an 1800’s Mission Impossible with the covert spying, plans to infiltrate places, and fighting going on. 3.5 stars. I would definitely continue this series.
Yesterday, I just finished this Kindle book:
SUMMARY: All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party … and to feed.
Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining — and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized.
A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead … or undead.
THE VERDICT: When I started this book, it almost went to my incomplete shelf because the ball rolled slowly to get this introduction to Rachel’s world going. But I soldiered on a bit, telling myself if I didn’t like it at least one-quarter in, I would stop. Well I ended up getting pulled to 28% and started enjoying the read, staying up the past few nights to read two chapters before bedtime.
I like being somewhat surprised at how authors come up with different ways to handle the supernatural, especially vampires and witches which are the most common. I liked the hard and soft aspects of Rachel and her partner, Ivy. The inclusion of Jenks, the handsome and mouthy pixie, was a fun addition to the character list. Action was front and center in a Street Fighter way. 3.5 stars because of the slow start, but I look forward to reading book two.
Okay, one more review. You hangin’ in there?
While getting some knitting done this week, I was inspired by many of you to listen to an audiobook. I know Roald Dahl is a popular author and wrote many books. I’ve only read his two Charlie Bucket books and James and the Giant Peach. I’ve also seen before the 1996 “Matilda” movie. I was too lazy to get up and grab Harry Potter 4 so I went on Youtube and found Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’s not stated on the site who reads it but I love the way the narrator creates different voices for each character as I’ve been spoiled by Jim Dale in the HP series. It was enjoyable to hear this story while my needles clacked away.
I laughed at the three farmers bent on revenge. I rooted for Mr. Fox as he was trying to save his family. And it was heartwarming to hear about the coming together of animal community. This audio was all told in a little over an hour which was perfect!
Well I must bid you adieu. I hope you got in some good reading this past week and have an intriguing stack awaiting you. Happy reading/listening!