Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda

Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda was my book club's latest pick.  It was a mystery, and that genre is usually not my favorite, but I did enjoy this one.  This starts out in France during World War I.  Jade was an American serving as an ambulance driver.  David is a pilot from England and has just proposed to her, but she has declined him.  As he flies over her to flight the Germans his plane crashes, and she rushes to his side as he is dying.  He has a last request of her.  He has just found out about a brother he never knew he had in Africa, and he feels his father's death there was not an accident.  He asks her to find his brother and resolve what happened to his father.  Haunted by David's request and her memories of war, Jade heads to Africa under the guise of being a reporter for a magazine.  She makes new friends, gets reunited with old, and encounters many dangerous animals including the human kind in her quest to honor David's last request.  A good mystery read with lots of information about Africa.  There are six in this Jade Del Cameron series thus far, and I would like to read the rest.

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz was a very interesting read.  It was one modern man's take on 6 of Jane Austen's novels and what he learned from them.  William Deresiewicz was a graduate student and reading Austen for his classes and his dissertation.  He dissects each book and tells what he learned about life from Austen.  From Emma he learns that everyday things matter--the small and simple things and people make the difference.  From Pride and Prejudice he learns about growing up.  Learning to learn is the lesson from Northanger Abbey.   Mansfield Park is about being good.  Persuasion teaches him about true friends, and Sense and Sensibility is about falling in love.  He applies these to his life at the time and not only tells Austen's story, but his own.  Being a huge Austen fan, I enjoyed this non-fiction book. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale is the second book by Hale about the imaginary Austenland.  A place in England that Austen fans can go and spend 2 weeks in Austen's time--the clothes, the manners, the etiquette, the romance.  I liked her original Austenland, but is wasn't my absolute favorite.  I liked this one much better.  The main character is Charlotte--a divorced mother of 2 who is trying to come to grips with what happened to her fairytale life.  Why did her husband leave her?  Why didn't she see it coming?  What is she now and where does she belong?  Well, she discovered that one of her goals was to read Jane Austen, and she never has.  She checks out the books and becomes hooked.  She wants to go to England--get away from it all and see where Jane Austen wrote and lived.  Her travel agent goes a step farther and recommends Pembrook Park where Charlotte can live like Emma or Elizabeth would have for 2 weeks.  There are actors set up for each women visiting, their own version of Mr. Darcy, but things do not appear as they seem (dead bodies in the attic?), and not everything turns out as it should, maybe it turns out better.  A Jane Austen type mystery that is hard to put down. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, Ranger's Apprentice #10 by John Flanagan

So I just finished the last book in the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan.  The Emperor of Nihon-Ja is book 10 in the series.  I was sad to see this series end, but Flanagan came out with another book about the series The Ranger's Apprentice:  The Lost Stories which my kids have read and tell me it is very good.  That is next on my list to read.  I have loved this series.  It was exciting, clean, interesting, with a tiny touch of romance, funny, and very entertaining.  My husband, and my 14, 11, and 9 year old girls have read the whole series also and all give glowing reports.  I can't' wait until my little boy is old enough to read them because I would really say this is a good series for boys, and I know he will love them too.