Posts Tagged ‘book reviews’

The strong willed. Free thinkers. Healers, recluses, artists. Women and children. History has not always treated with fairness people who lack power and position, or who have walked away from a life of conformity. If the prevailing social climate is steeped in superstition and intolerance, speaking one’s truth can be dangerous. Salem in the spring of 1692 was a deadly place to question authority

 The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent is a fictionalized account of the witch trials held in colonial Massachusetts. The novel chronicles life in 17th-century New England, from frontier skirmishes with the native Wabanaki, to smallpox, and the religious fervor of the Puritans. The reader is introduced to this world through the eyes of Sarah Carrier, daughter of strict yet loving parents Martha and Thomas. This is a story about family. In fact, Kathleen Kent is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier. It’s the intense relationship between Sarah and Martha, however, which lends weight to the novel’s narrative. Cool and aloof is the manner in which Martha runs her household, yet no one is spared from her biting words and quick intellect. Martha Carrier is a force to be reckoned with and I fell in love with the character. My affinity toward this strong woman is in sharp contrast to the shame and anger Sarah feels about her mother’s outspoken nature. A child’s embarrassment of her mother is one thing. But when Martha stands up for her family refusing to be bullied by land-grabbing neighbors, the scorn of fellow villagers ignites a powder keg. The story takes a sickening turn as town folk make the only logical conclusion for Martha’s behavior. A woman of great passion and fearlessness is surely in league with the devil.

The book tells of a violent period in American history. The young nation was engaged in eradicating the indigenous population, English settlers were dying in droves from the bloody flux and the pox, and the ambitious said anything to gain stature in the emerging New England, no matter how ruthless. Kathleen Kent’s stunning prose captures the atmosphere of ignorance and hysteria that embodied the Salem witch trials. I was disgusted by the hate that clouded people’s judgment, especially the treatment of children as they were imprisoned for witchcraft. In spite of the persecution of the innocent, I was moved to tears by the love and courage that the Carrier’s gave to one another. There is one simple sentence in the novel that Sarah comes to know as her one, undeniable truth: “I am my mother’s daughter.” By reading the story of The Heretic’s Daughter, we all become Martha Carrier’s legacy.

The Wolves of Andover, Kathleen Kent’s new novel and prequel to The Heretic’s Daughter will be released on 8 November 2010.

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I am a big Sci-Fi/Fantasy nerd. When it comes to reading, I can never go too long before delving into a mystical realm or off-planet adventure. Fairly recent literary twists, such as paranormal romance and urban fantasy are also finding their way into my bookcase. Having grabbed a paperback based on the premise of otherworldly creatures invading Ireland (and a large dose of Celtic mythology), I couldn’t resist the temptation. Darkfever is the first installment in the Fever Series by bestselling author Karen Marie Moning. Dark and lusty, the novel follows the trail of a murder mystery set against the backdrop of modern day, supernatural Dublin. Darkfever’s heroine, MacKayla Lane, is a small town Georgia girl with not a care in the world, until a frantic message is left on her cell phone. Hearing the fear in her sister’s voice, and a cryptic warning cut short, MacKayla falls headlong into a nightmare as she resolves to find the man responsible for destroying her family.

Darkfever hits the ground running and it doesn’t take long for the reader to realize that Dublin, the place where the mystery begins, is not the city depicted in travel guides. Something old and wicked is threatening humankind, and the last bastion of defense (maybe?) is an eclectic bookstore hovering on the fringes of the Temple Bar District.

I’m hooked. After reading the last page of Darkfever, with its suspenseful turn of fate, I had to find out more about MacKayla (Mac for short) and the characters she encounters. Who can she trust, and who is out for her blood? I’m very happy to catch up on the story thus far, and will be eagerly awaiting the 5th book in the series, Shadowfever, scheduled to go on sale 18 January 2011.

Theresa Largusa

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The Prince of Mist is Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s debut novel published in 1993. An English translation was released in the U.S. in May of this year. Intended as a work of fiction for young adults, The Prince of Mist is a coming-of-age story filled with magic, mystery, and mayhem. It’s wartime and Max Carver’s family is packing up and starting a new life in a sleepy village by the sea. Max must say goodbye to his friends and to the only home he’s ever known…on the day he’s turning 13. Not having forgotten his son’s birthday, Mr. Carver gives him a pocket watch with the words MAX’S TIME MACHINE engraved on the case. Max wishes his father’s gift really could stop time.

Upon moving into the family’s new home, a series of unexplainable occurrences forces Max to realize his family has left the evils of war behind only to face a more insidious and ancient enemy. The Prince of Mist is a thrilling adventure that will hold readers spellbound. In spite of the malice that rises from the deep, dark places, The Prince of Mist is written with warmth and sensitivity. The language is beautiful and resonant while the rhythm rolls on at a brisk, steady clip. I was in awe of Max’s bravery and resourcefulness, especially when all the things of which I’m fearful make chilling appearances throughout the novel. Without giving too much away, I’m keeping a close eye on any and all clocks, wardrobes, and stray animals.

The Prince of Mist shifts from good-natured fun to terror, sometimes all within the same page. The story has a unique timelessness (or perhaps a sense of being outside of time) that lends a startling realism to the eerie sequence of events. When one reaches the end of this tale, there is the suggestion that life is returning to normal for the Carver family. However, I turned the last page with the distinct feeling that the story was by no means over. This should prove a good thing for those who can’t get enough of the secrets Zafón has hidden in the mist. 


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I told Karin I’d write a book report (just like in school!) after reading the novels she so kindly mailed to me this spring. Karin selected three titles that she felt were good examples of Swedish literature by how they capture and describe contemporary Swedish life, regardless of the circumstances in which the books’ characters find themselves. One title immediately jumped out as I ripped open the parcel. I have a fondness for bloodsuckers. Let The Right One In was not unknown to me since I’d heard about the novel and seen clips of the film adaptation on the Internet. I was extremely pleased to finally get a chance to read the book. As it so happens, Let The Right One In is featured during August’s book circle discussions. Thanks to the blog and Karin’s recommendations, I want to explore more of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s writing.

 Love Finds a Way

 I know how much people are enamored of Twilight’s Bella and Edward. Without question, theirs is the most popular vampire love story to hit bookshelves and the silver screen. Truth be told, I’m more of a Buffy and Spike  girl. However, there is a new couple in vampiredom that has sunk sharp little teeth into my heart. They have hijacked my imagination and infiltrated my dreams. One is a killer. The other is a killer in the making. One a monster, the other a mama’s boy. They’re both 12 and each has been dealt horrific circumstances in life. The pair that I can’t get enough of is Oskar and Eli.

 Not every reader is going to fall under the spell of these two. Oskar and Eli are the central characters in the novel Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. The story takes place in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden in 1981. Oskar is a bullied schoolboy who lives with his mother in a bleak tenement inhabited by bleaker people. Although the reader is introduced to an array of characters in the telling of this tale, one is hard pressed to let any of them in. The people in Oskar’s world are chronic alcoholics, glue sniffing, electronics burgling teenagers, disinterested parents, cruel boys who torment Oskar for not fitting in, and men who do unconscionable, despicable things to children. Not a friend in sight in the stark frozen landscape of Oskar’s reality. That all changes one frigid evening when Oskar spies a shadow perched atop the jungle gym at his apartment’s playground.

 Let The Right One In is a story of monsters human and supernatural. It is also a story of redemption and salvation. This is what I keep returning to when Oskar and Eli enter my thoughts. Eli is terrifying. There is no sparkling beauty in the demon Eli must become in order to survive. Oskar is a damaged soul and is capable of mayhem. As individuals, each child is frightening. Together, they create a strange and powerful bond that outshines any relationship described in the novel. Their friendship grows out of the fact that neither one belongs. Neither one is accepted for what they are. Neither can continue to exist as they have been. Each a puzzle only the other can solve. They were meant to be together in spite of the grotesque and unimaginable obstacles in their way. Love wins out in this horror story, albeit through violent and deadly means. When one befriends a vampire this is more often than not the nature of things. Alive or otherwise, it’s an overwhelming experience to find love staring back at you when you least expect it.

Theresa Largusa

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Jag har fått en till recensent på bloggen, och det är Theresa Largusa. Hon bor i USA och vi har faktiskt lärt känna varandra över bloggsfären. Vi har också träffats i höstas då Theresa var i Sverige på besök. Och nu till hösten ska jag och  min äldsta son hälsa på henne och hennes familj i Texas. 

Theresa har  ett gediget intresse för böcker, litteratur och det skrivna ordet. Därför kommer det att bli roligt och intressant att få ha henne som recensent här på Enbokcirkelföralla. Thersesa kommer att recensera böcker, ge små boktips och skriva om amerikanska författare. Det här är ett sätt att nå ut även till bokintresserade läsare i engelsktalande länder såklart, men också för de som i Sverige läser böcker på engelska och har engelska som ett av sina språk.

Theresa kommer  att skriva ett inlägg om sig själv och vilka böcker hon gillar och vad hon har tänkt skriva om här på bloggen. Jag ser verkligen fram emot det här samarbetet mellan mig i  lilla Sverige och Theresa i stora Amerika. Och när hon väl skriver inlägg, så kan  ni kommentera på svenska eftersom hon använder ett översättningsvertyg för att kunna läsa dem. Det funkar inte så bra alla gånger, men för kommentarer så går det bra med översättningsverktyget.

Välkommen Theresa!

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