Friday, June 24, 2011

Bitten by Kelly Armstrong

Our first summer meeting was lovely... I'm so glad our book group talked us into continuing over the summer.  We had many wonderful (and diverse) recommended summer reads, from The Assassin's Apprentice to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with romance thrown in the mix as well, like The Black Hills by Nora Roberts and Twin of Fire/Ice by Jude Deveraux, and many others.  Give us a week or so, and we'll have all those suggestions posted with links to our catalog.

The book we all decided to read for July's meeting was...

Bitten by Kelly ArmstrongBitten by Kelly Armstrong
It's not easy to find a fresh angle for the werewolf theme, but this debut novel from a Canadian writer proves that solid storytelling and confident craftsmanship can rejuvenate one of the hoariest of all horror clich‚s. Elena Michaels is a self-described "mutt," a werewolf who left her secretive pack in upstate New York for a life among humans. In the year since she relocated to Toronto, she's embarked on a career as a journalist and begun a pleasingly mundane relationship with a decent man. All this is jeopardized when she agrees to help her old packmates hunt some troublesome mutts who are converting common criminals to werewolves and leaving a trail of conspicuous carnage. Reunited with her former lycanthrope lover and forced into brutally predatory confrontations, Elena finds the call of the wild subtly reasserting itself. Armstrong prepares readers for her tale's twists with several key revisions of werewolf lore the werewolf taint is mostly hereditary, and werewolves can be killed as easily as any human or wolf. Her true achievement, though, is her depiction of werewolf nature in believably human context. Elena's feral sensibility, like her psychological vulnerabilities, seems a natural outgrowth of her abusive childhood, and her relationship with the pack is that of any prodigal child to a close-knit family. The sensuality of Elena's transformations and the viciousness of her kills mesh perfectly with her tough personality. Filled with romance and supernatural intrigue, this book will surely remind readers of Anne Rice's sophisticated refurbishings of the vampire story.
~Review from Publisher's Weekly
 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Elfland by Freda Warrington

book jacketReview by Jan:

This book first came to my attention in our "Share Your Favorite Sci-fi & Fantasy" page.  It was highly recommended, and though I don't like to be lured by a beautiful cover, once I saw this book and read the teaser on back I had to give it a try. 

I would describe this as a modern faerie tale for adults, rich with compelling characters, all mixed together in dark and gripping family saga.  It is a well crafted spin on Pagan mythology, with faerie-like creatures and Otherworld beliefs.  In Elfland, the magical race are called the Etherials, who live in our world among humans, but every seven years travel into the Spiral to reconnect with their "other" side.   The story begins with the Gatekeeper closing the portal between our world and the Spiral, and centers around Rosie, a daughter of an Etherial, and her turbulent relationship with the Gatekeeper's sons.  I loved how this story followed Rosie's life from childhood to adulthood, with human-like mistakes along the way.      

Although the fantasy elements were very well done, it was the character-driven aspect of the story that kept me thoroughly engrossed.  :o)   It was not a light read, I might add, and I really can't think of an author I would compare Freda Warrington to.  She has an amazing grasp of the English language.  I'm sure my coworkers grew tired of me blurting out beautiful sentences from this book on our breaks in the staff room.  Warrington's writing style is truly beautiful.  However, there are some graphic elements and language some people may find offensive, but I feel those elements added depth to the characters.  They were not perfect, which made their journey all the more compelling. 

It was well worth the read, and will be one of those special books I will remember over others. 

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

Request Elfland from The Bangor Public Library

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Bedwyn Saga by Mary Balogh

book jacketThis is a continuation of my last post about A Summer To Remember by Mary Balogh, a prequel to a wonderful series about the Bedwyn family.  The characters Ms. Balogh created in A Summer To Remember were just too wonderful to be contained within one book.  The Bedwyns were each given their own story, and more characters appear in a later series, the Simply Quartet.

For your convenience I've posted all the books in order.  I've read this entire series and found each story... well... simply unforgettable.  :o)  I don't feel you need to read them in order, but there is such a broad collection of family members, with little nuances and character development you might not want to miss.  So, for sentimental reasons it wouldn't hurt to start from the beginning, but it's not necessary.

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

Bedwyn Saga Prequels
1. One Night For Love
2. A Summer To Remember

The Bedwyn Saga
3. Slightly Married
4. Slightly Wicked
5. Slightly Scandalous
6. Slightly Tempted
7. Slightly Sinful
8. Slightly Dangerous

The Simply Quartet
9. Simply Unforgettable
10. Simply Love
11. Simply Magic
12. Simply Perfect

: :  Request each book from the Bangor Public Library by clicking on the cover  : :

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh

book jacketAs most of our book group members already know, we have been happily persuaded to continue our meetings though the summer, although our meetings will be more relaxed, like a book share and tell.  We want everyone to bring their favorite books and suggestions, and together we will decide what to read for the next meeting on Thursday, June 23th at 5:30.  If it's a nice evening we may even meet outside in the courtyard, surrounded by the library gardens, with a cool drink and something sweet---and, as always, sharing lots of laughs.

One of my favorite books I'm going to suggest we all read is A Summer To Remember by Mary Balogh.  It is a historical romance and the perfect summer read.  I adore this author.  Her stories are rich with family and the small moments in life that seem so simple but are usually the most precious.  Balogh's language is exquisite, having been raised in Wales I'm sure gives her an edge when writing about the regency era; her dialog is not contrived, or forced.  She has a special gift for putting her readers back in time and allowing us to become lost in the emotional journey of her characters.  The story of Kit and Lauren in A Summer To Remember is heart warming and perfect.

In Balogh's own words...
"I can give you a summer to remember," he said.

Hope to see you in our library someday soon---and may we all have a summer to remember!  :o)
Jan