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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Confessions of a Bibliophilia

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books.

        The Word Bibliophile means 'lover of books'.  Where did the word bibliophile come from? The word is derived from the Greek word 'Biblio' meaning 'Book' and the suffix 'Philio' meaning 'lover'.  It was first mentioned in 1824. The British Prime minister, William Edwart Gladstone was a notorious bibliophile. The term was mentioned as early as the fourteenth Century to discribe someone who loves books.

           I am a bibliophile.  In my library I recently own 200 books....and I am afraid my library is still growing.   There's something about a book that delights the senses....the texture, the look, the feel...the smell of the printed word! It's an indescribable feeling! I have been reading since I was eight and each time I hold a book in my hand this wonderfully, indescribable sense of euphoria overwhelms if I am rediscovering the joys of reading all over again. No, this madness hasn't altered my sense of well-being.  I am simply a bibliophile...not a bibliomanic..there is a difference, you know.  The latter is an ecentric who is MAD about books and this madness takes over his or her life completely.  This rare creature collects books just for the thrill and sake of collecting them.  His mania takes over his or her persona and transforms him/her into a sort of Jekyll and Hide phantom who stops at nothing to collect books....just for the thrill of it and to feed his mania. The Bibliomanic does not discriminate which book he buys....he merely fills his trolley full of any particular book to feed his frenzy. He/she often neglects his/her health for the sake of collecting books and pouring over them like an alcoholic or addict.  The bibliophile, on the other hand,  is merely a person who loves and collects books (which he/she chooses to collect)....and reads them!   I am currently reading:

Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe 
by Jenny Colgan
Sphere Copyright 2011
ISBN:  9780751544497
496 Pages

Payback's a Witch
by Rachel Astor
Kindle Edition

My True Essence
by Shawneda Marks
SC Creations
ISBN: 978-0615489353

A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan
Knoff Copyright 2010
ISBN: 9780307592835
336 Pages

Something Borrowed
by Emily Griffin
Saint Martin's Griffin Copyright 2005
ISBN: 9780312321192 352 pages

The Devil's Hunt
by PC Doherty
St Martins Press Copyright 1998
ISBN: 9780312180843
247 Pages


Saturday, 9 July 2011

July's Reviews

From Librarything's Early Reviewer's Programme, I won these great books. No Way Out by David Kessler was lovingly signed by the author himself.

Lake Charles
by Ed Lynskey
Wildside Press (17 April 2011)

Lake Charles is the type of story that entertains the reader with powerful descriptions and zany characters. The story is set in 1979 during the Gas crisis. The main Character, Brandon, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Ashleigh whom Brandon found dead next to him at a motel. After being set on bail, Brandon sets out on a fishing trip with his best friend, Cobb and twin sister, Edna.

The plot thickens when his twin sister, Edna goes missing and Brandon and Cobb set on a mission to find her. To their astonishment they uncover a pot plantation in the middle of Lake Charles that might just be behind the murder of Ashleigh and Edna's disappearance. Behind the scenes, Ashleigh's ghost kept creeping into Brandon's conscience encouraging him to catch her true killer.

I found the story dragged a bit in the beginning as the author used highly descriptive words to describe the
Atmosphere but during the middle, as the plot thickened, the story got interesting.

This is a good story if you like a good mystery and detective story.

No Way Out
by David Kessler
ISBN-13: 978-1847561831
David Kessler has written a thriller about a black activist and convicted rapist, Elias Claymore who has been recently found guilty of raping a young white nineteen year old girl, Bethel Newton in California. Elias pleads innocent and hires his best friend and attorney, Alex Sedaka to defend him.

Having been convicted in the past for raping six women and for escaping jail, Claymore is up against all hope for the Prosecution has strong DNA evidence to prove that Elias is Bethel's rapist. Alex has a hell of a defence case to win; with DNA evidence stacked against Claymore he has a fat chance in hell to be acquitted. In hopes of winning the case, Alex hires a young attorney appointed by his insurance company named Andromeda Phoenix whose same sex partner Gene works at the Rape Crisis Centre as co-counsel. The Judge throws an injunction against Andromeda's partner not to get involved with the victim. Then Andromeda starts getting anonymous threats through her E-mails telling her to get off the case. To add a twist to this page-turning court drama, Alex's own off-again-on-again partner, Martine, a journalist, is covering this case and has already received hate mail. Is there really no way out for Elias?

The book throws reference to the infamous OJ Simpson trial and has slight racial undertones but purely to point out how prejudice people can be and how it can destroy lives.

David writes in the same style as James Patterson and John Grisham--two of my favourite suspense novelists. I enjoyed this highly suspenseful court drama which kept me on the edge of my seat. The chapters were short but full of intrigue and ends in cliff-hangers; This allowed me to get to the end quickly without loosing the plot (excuse the pun).

The author sent me a free signed copy of his book in exchange for a review. I wasn't obliged to give a favourable review. I found this book hard to put down and suspenseful. I truly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of crime fiction and thriller/suspense novels.

David Kessler is the author of Mercy, Who Really Killed Rachel, A Fool for a Client, Tarnished Heroes, Reckless Justice and The other Victim . A British Author, David Kessler was born in London. It wasn't until he was 15 that he wanted to become a writer.

A Modern Witch
by Debora Geary

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 867 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Fireweed Publishing (12 Mar 2011)

I enjoyed Debbie Geary's book, A Modern Witch. This was a well-written, funny, and original book about one of my favourite topics.......witches. I have always had a fascination for witches and their craft, especially on Halloween. Not that I am a witch, of course, but I have always loved stories about witches since I was a child and read Hansel and Gretel, Baba Yaga and the Wizard of Oz. Who can resist the Wicked Witch of the West? Geary presents the witch in a thoroughly modern light. Gone are the pointy hats and broomsticks. Gone are the visions of old hags in front of a cauldron stirring eyes of newt. Witches live amongst us...they are everywhere. Just log into a supermarket and into the ice-cream section and Zap--there you'll be transported to witch central. That's exactly what happened to Lauren, a great Realtor in Chicago who ran out of ice-cream and decided to tap into an online supermarket unbeknownst that this site had a spell that would track witches and link them all to a witches' chat moderated by three witches, Sophie, Moira, and Nell.

Lauren doesn't believe she is a witch. How can she be? She doesn't do magick. She doesn't even own a broomstick or a cauldron. Nell employs her brother, Jamie, a witch trainer, to work with Lauren and try to assess her powers and convince her she really is a witch. To her surprise, Lauren is a mind-witch. Well, isn't it obvious when she has a knack of matching clients with their ideal homes? This is a talent that she has dismissed for ages until Jamie convinces her that she has mind powers beyond her control. With his help, Lauren learns how to harness her powers and control the voices in her head, teaching her how to fine tune the many thoughts coming from other people's minds. Geary writes about the lighter side of witchcraft and weaves a story about camaraderie and community; about the relationship and bond of friendship and family within the witching community.

This is not the kind of book to get into if you're looking for gory spells or cannibalistic rituals or black magick witches . There is nothing scary in this book....this is the kind of book to read for fun. It has humour; it has a bit of romance, and plenty of witches. The book is witty, light, and leaves one in the mood for the fun side of Halloween. I commend the author on such a delightful read or write, for that matter. Thanks for crafting such a good book! I am looking forward to read more of this author's many spellbinding books.

Hunting Elf
by Dave Donelson
Publisher: (17 Nov 2006 2006)
ISBN: 978-143031554

Hunting Elf is a delightful tale about a silky terrier named Elf who is dog napped by breeders in a dog show.   I can imagine the lead character, Dan McCoy, played by Ed Rooney, the principal in Ferris Buller Day Off.  What would make the book even  better would be some illustrations.   This is a children's book, no doubt.   The font is large enough for any child to read it.    Elf isn't just a tiny, silky Terrier, though...he's the son of a famous Dog Show winner.  I enjoyed this book very much.   This is a book to read at any age.

Housewife in Trouble
by Alison Penton Harper
Publisher:  Pan Publishing
Copyright 2010
ISBN: 978-0330461566

truly enjoyed reading House Wife Up and House Wife in Trouble and am looking forward to read Harper's other books in the series.

House Wife in Trouble is the fifth book by author Alison Penton Harper. Her third book, House Wife on Top wasn't just your average yuletide read--it was a zany farce full of holiday cheer and mishaps. I fell in love with Helen Robbins, a divorcee employed by Rick Wilton as his personal secretary. The book, House Wife on Top, featured many well-rounded and neurotic characters including Helen's highly neurotic friend, Leoni whose nerves are so frazzled by all this yuletide mayhem and three kids not including her husband, Marcus. Leoni swears she is about to do her husband in by subjecting him to a high cholesterol diet. In steps Aunt Helen, committed to help her friend give her family a no-holds barred family Christmas so her frazzled friend can relax. Trouble is, Rick has commended Helen with the task of organizing his Christmas; and to top it all off, her Sister Julia is in the middle of a marital crisis. Helen meets Rick's Russian Housekeeper, Helga who doesn't know a word of English and gives Helen a fright of her life.

In House Wife in Trouble, the gang is all there routing each other on. Helen, now Mrs Rick Wilton, is finding marriage a bit surreal. She misses her old apartment and her gay neighbours Sally and Paul. Leoni is her usual neurotic self and Julia, Helen's sister has a few surprises up her sleeves. I really enjoyed these two novels and am contemplating on reading the author's first two novels and House Wife in Love .

If you really want a good laugh as you are downing your third glass of Pimms or red wine spritzer, I recommend these light-hearted novels. Alison Penton Harper knows how to weave a good English farce. The author lives in Northamptonshire with her husband and two daughters. Before her first Novel, House Wife Down, she was down with the flu and saw an episode of Richard and Judy which featured a 'How to get Published' competition which Amanda Ross, Cactus TV's executive Producer ran with Pan McMillan Publishers. Alison entered the competition with her first Novel, House Wife Down and was one of the five finalist. The novel was published in 2005. It was then she took to writing professionally.

I'm currently reading Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan and A Visit from the Boon Squad by Jennifer Egan amongst other books. Yes....I am a bookworm!

The Bookworm's Niche

Copyright 2010-2011 by Mary Aris

The Bookworm's corner is my little corner of the world where I sit and read, review and discuss books. I'm such an avid reader. I am also a writer. I've written three poetry books, two children's books, one young adult book and a Gothic novel. I am a member of Goodreads and Librarything. I have an extensive library and love to read all sorts of books.

Here are a few of the recent books I've read and a short review

The Angel's Game
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
• 978-0297855545
• Weidenfeld & Nicolson; First Edition (1 Jun 2009)

City of the Damned

In 'The Angel's Game', Author Carlos Ruiz Zafon writes a Gothic tale set in a turbulent Barcelona of the 1920's and takes the reader through a labyrinth of winding side-streets, book shops and creaky mansions of Barcelona. 'The Angel's Game tells the story of young David, a Spanish youth of Barcelona who finds solace in books and who spends his nights writing baroque tales in his house. Coming from a troubled childhood, the 17 year old David is taken under by a mentor, Pedro Vidal who works at the local newspaper, 'La Voz de La Industria'. An aspiring writer, David is called on by the editor to write 'The Mysteries of Barcelona'...a baroque tale in instalments about the city's underworld. The novel doesn't sell well and David is disappointed, but soon discovers a letter by a mysterious Frenchman named Andreas Corelli who challenge him to write a novel that will change hearts and minds in exchange for fame and fortune. He accepts and rents a huge but old mansion where he begins to write his next novel, a series in monthly instalments called 'City of the Damned'. But the house holds secrets and has a mind of its own. Within this house David finds letters belonging to the house's previous owner and uncovers secrets of a haunting past.

David writes the 'City of the Damn...a novel that promises him fame and fortune; But soon David discovers that there is more to this Andreas Corelli than meets the eye and finds himself involved in intrigue, secrets, danger and adventure. Zafon has written a book within a book that takes the reader through the alleyways and secret passages through the winding streets of 1920's Barcelona up through the old creaky mansions and book shops that lead to the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books'....a mysterious underground burial ground for forgotten books underneath the streets of Barcelona...where people come to bury their books. For each book buried there, the reader must take one out to protect and treasure for life. David chooses an ancient book, 'The Lux Aetema', written by a mysterious D.M whose typewriter David finds abandoned in a room within the mansion that he buys.

'The Angel's Game' is a sequel to Zafon's 'Shadows of the Wind'. I found this book very interesting and a page-turner. I couldn't put it down. Being a lover of books and an Independent writer myself I was drawn to this novel by the fact that it was narrated by an aspiring young author thirsty for becoming a successful author. The book opens with these words, '

"A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that will surely outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price." (The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

Zafon uses references to Dickens's Great Expectations in this book as an allegory to his own life and aspirations. It is both a love story and a Ghost Story wrapped up in one intriguing novel that leaves one in suspense to the very end.

The book was translated to English from Spanish by poet Robert Grave's grand-daughter, Lucia Graves.
Zafon, a Spanish Author was born in Barcelona and is lived in Los Angeles. He has published several books, 'Las Luces de Septiembre', 'El Principe de la Niebla (The Prince in the Mist), 'Shadows in the Wind' (The sequel to 'The Angel's Game). Zafon has been influenced by the Classics such as Dickens, Tolstoy, Dumas and Hugo.

What I found in this book was more than just a love of books and the desire to write....I found a book that was hard to put down. I must admit that I am not normally spooked by what I read, but this story spooked me in places and I was moved by Zafon's style of suspense and straight forward narrative. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves books, writing and adventure

French Fried: One man's Move to France
by Chris Dolley

Book View Cafe (2010), Kindle Edition

French Fried is the zanily funny story about one man's odyssey when he decides to sell his farm in Devon, England and move to rural France with his wife, Shelagh and all their animals, two horses, three cats, including a large constipated dog named Gypsy and a horse that stubbornly refuses to go anywhere near a Horsebox. To add insult to this misadventurous chaos, Chris's identity is stolen, his bank account empty to the last penny, and Chris discovers to his dismay that somebody opens a bank account under his name in Ireland and someone cashes in on this bank account in Spain. Chris is caught in an international dilemma but the police in four countries can't help him as they each argue that the case is under each countries' jurisdiction. The French government says that it is a matter of to be dealt by English authorities as the correspondence came from England. The British authorities wash their hands of the case, even if British Passports were forged to open the account in Ireland. Another account under Chris' name is opened in Spain. This is where the money was drawn out from. The Spanish authorities are on holiday and won't contemplate to investigate the matter until they're back from holiday. Alarmed and angered, Chris decides to take matters into his own hands and becomes a sleuth himself to get to the bottom of this caper. He is no Sherlock Holmes....Chris undertakes matters in his own hands with his trusty 80 year old mother-in-law and 'excitable' puppy.

The Author writes his own account of his move to France in 1995. This is a true story. The story is told in the first person. The author, Chris is the Narrator. It was originally titled, Nous sommes Anglais. I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh in places. My favourite scene was the bit where the Horse, Rhiannon, didn't want to go into the Horse Box. No matter how much they cajoled him and bribed him with apples and polo mints, the Horse would be immovable and refuse to mount the plank to get into the Horsebox. Shelagh managed to cajole him to mount the ramp at some point, but then the horse kicked its heels and climbed out. But when Chris and Shelagh were about to give in, Rhiannon clambered up inside the Horse box with no qualms as if to say 'I'll give 'em hell first, then show 'em who is boss!' It would be interesting if this book were to be made into a movie. I'd certainly watch it. This book is a great read and makes a light read to take on holiday with you.