Friday, July 4, 2014

"The Dreaming; Walks Through The Mist" by Kim Murphy

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  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Coachlight Press, LLC (January 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971679092
  • or as a  Kindle e-book
  • File Size: 573 KB

This book was an unexpected treat, and I am grateful to the author, Kim Murphy, for reaching out to me to suggest that I might like it. I am a pushover for anything 'time travel', and when it combined with historical fiction I am totally  hooked! 

This book, "The Dreaming; Walks Through Mist"" follows the story of Phobe Wynn, aka "Walks Through Mist" and her startling journey from the early 17th century to 21st century Virginia. She is found by the roadside with whip marks across her back and injuries from being hit by a car. She claims to be from the 17th century. She acts the part, and she speaks a native dialect that had been considered 'dead' for some 200 years. Can she be believed?

Phobe / Walks Through Mist, is befriended by the detective who was assigned to case. He himself feels like a stranger in a strange land because he had been adopted by a couple after he was discovered in the woods as a toddler. No one could ever find out where he had come from or who had left as a vulnerable child alone in the woods.

Walks Through The Mist was a cunning woman in her time, and, in an effort to explain how she arrived in the 21st century, and how and why Lee had been deserted in the woods, they venture into "the Dreaming" (a scrying tool used by cunning women). They are aided in their search by Lee's ex-wife, Shae, a psychologist who specializes in regressions and her fiancé Russ.

Will they come to accept that Phobe/ Walks Through Mist really is who she says she is? Can a person from the 17th century simply 'appear' in the 21st? Is this some hoax or is it reality? What is the true story and true identity of the man who was abandoned in the woods at a young age? Can two people from another time and place really find each other again? These questions are all answered in a most unique way. This book is a page turner!

This is an absorbing story. I did not want to put it down. The plot is well organized, the characters are very well developed, and the intertwined stories all flow flawlessly.

This book will have a wide appeal for anyone who loves well turned historical fiction, fiction that highlights early Virginian history, or just excellent fiction in general! Now I am off to find the next Kim Murphy book to read!

"...Witch trials in Virginia? Salem wasn't the first...

Psychologist Shae Howard treats a patient who claims to recall nothing of the current century. Under hypnosis, Phoebe Wynne tells an astonishing tale of an ocean crossing to Colonial Jamestown, followed by near starvation and a daring escape to a nearby Indian tribe.

Although Shae's ex-husband, seasoned police detective Lee Crowley, is intrigued by Phoebe's story, he remains skeptical regarding her claim that she's from the seventeenth century. A Native American himself, he does, however, admit to feeling a kinship with Phoebe. How is it that she seems to understand his pain and anger at being caught between two cultures?

Phoebe shows Lee "the dreaming," which reveals a misty world where the Powhatan people and Colonial Jamestown come to life... and connects him to his own past. Is Phoebe delusional? A witch? Or has she indeed traveled through time? ..."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

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  • Series: Lucy Campion Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (April 22, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250007889

I saw this book at the library and decided to give it a try. I'm very glad that I did! It's a fascinating, mostly historically correct, tale of a murder that occurred just after the great London fire of 1666, they year that many resident's considered the year of the devil. This devastating fire occurred on the heels of the great plague.

A corpse is discovered in a barrel outside of a burned tavern. The tale follows the investigation of the murder by one Emma Campion; maidservant, love to the master's son, printer's apprentice and bookseller as she works with constable Duncan.

Ms. Calkins spins a solid plot with deftly managed twists and turns. I discounted one star for some of what I consider a bit stilted dialogue.Ms. Calkins states in the afterward that she 'modernized' old English. That was a good decision but I felt that some of the dialogue felt strained. That being said I found this to be a very enjoyable read, and I will now be looking forward to reading her fist book and waiting for the third!

ps: I thoroughly enjoyed the afterward to this book which should not be missed. It defines what parts of this novel are straight from the history books and what parts of the history have been fictionally 'massaged' to make the story flow.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"A Triple Knot" by Emma Campion aka Candace Robb

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  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307589293

Oh my! It's been way too long since I have posted ! Sincere apologies. Life just took me away, and the days pass so quickly. I have been reading a lot though and some more reviews t do soon. On to the review of this most excellent read....

I had a hunch that I would like this book when I received it, but one never knows does one! Emma Campion is a pen name for Candace Robb who has a host of earlier historical novels to her credit. As Emma Campion she also penned the excellent, to my mind, noteworthy, novel "The King's Mistress" which is a novel based on the story of Alice Perrers, mistress to King Edward III.

This is the story of Joan of Kent who was the niece of King Edward III. Joan, who was considered quite a beauty in the middle ages, fell in love for all the right reasons with Sir Thomas Holland. He was, unfortunately, much older than she , and he was also below her in rank. This match was challenged and she was forced into a second, loveless marriage to another nobleman who was chosen by the men in her life who used her as a political tool. Her second husband and her cousin, The Black Prince, all refused to allow her to return to Sir Thomas, who was, in reality, her legal husband.

This book covers the prolonged, political battle that is waged in order to support her claim that her marriage to Sir Thomas should be legally upheld. The struggles that Joan and Sir Thomas had in maintaining their love throughout their struggle is well depicted and the characters in this book are well developed. The dialogue flows smoothly between characters and scenes.The political forces of the time are highlighted and the daily life in medieval times is well presented and is quite historically correct.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and had to read it straight through. I look forward to more books under this pen name, and I can recommend this book to all lovers of historical fiction - or fiction in general!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Nails: The Story Of The Modern Manicure" by Suzanne E. Shapiro

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  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel (April 25, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791348353
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.9 x 0.6 inches

I have so many reviews to get done at this point, but this book struck a note with me and so here it is. I used to have acrylic nails but had them removed 25 years ago when I moved to my rural island. Now, at  gently riper age, I am more intrigued than ever with nails, nail art and color,color, color on my nails. I am a wee bit obsessed I think, but hey, nails can be nice at any age!

Why a review on a nail book, when I have novels and non-fiction and craft books to review? Well, this book fits better than you may think with my passions. It's HISTORY! The history of nails and manicures. Aside from enjoying my nails I am always curious about my passion - history. This book reinforces that the more we change the more we all remain the same.  I love the art and vintage advertisements that wreathe the pages of this lovely, well done book.

First let me say that I am astounded that I have bought a book about nails, much less that, at a ripe older age, my nails are in the best shape that they have ever been, and I have been enjoying nail art, and vibrant nail lacquers tremendously. 

This book appeared at the perfect moment for me to want to grab. It is the only nail/manicure book that I have ever bought, and most likely, that I may ever buy, but I love this book! This book is a delight! It combines my enduring love, that of history, with a new love, artful manicures. 

The book traces the history of manicures and nail colorants through the ages. It has really only been since the 1920's, 1929 more specifically, that the use of bolder nail shades has been popular. It makes me wonder if I would have been a shy bloom or a bold vixen back then!

This is a richly illustrated book with wonderful images of paintings and advertisements  from past decades. It's a beautifully done, well researched and historically accurate book (not that I am an expert on this sort of history mind you).  I think that it will hold wide appeal for anyone who loves manicures and nail art of course, but it should also bring a smile to history buffs like me who always want to know how a fad, or style, came to become so popular. I am tickled pink...​make that neon pink....with this book!

Well done Ms. Shapiro!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"The Mountain: My Time On Everest" by Ed Viesturs

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  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Second Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451694734

Although not exactly in my normally preferred reading genres, mountaineering has always intrigued me. I had vague aspirations in my younger year of climbing mountains, but as age advanced, my hopes to ever actually do it became fainter and fainter - eventually evaporating as a cloud on a summer's day. I do still enjoy reading about climbing though. I stopped for awhile after the 1996 tragedy. I have to agree with the Sherpas that were there at that time - mountains have spirits and become displeased with men/women and their ambitions at times. Perhaps that has something to do with my own Buddhist beliefs.

As well as a gifted mountaineer and one of the most celebrated high a;altitude climbers in the world, , Ed Viesturs is also a rather good writer, and I am finding that I am enjoying reading more of his books after I finished reading this book. 

He writes with clarity;  his words are economical, but they mange to convey the lure and the threats that climbing this legendary mountain exerts on it's acolytes. He does mention the tragedies of the 1996 season, but not in detail as there have been so many books written about that sad time by both himself and other members of the teams. Perhaps it is Jon Krackauer's "Into Thin Air" that most people seem to have read abut that pre-monsoon climbing season.

What I admire most about Mr. Viesturs is his pragmatism and his unalterable , fundamental, belief that that summiting is only half the journey. You have to have enough juice left in you to get back down.  I think he says that summiting is optional, getting down is mandatory. Best of all he follows his own rules, which has probably been what has always brought him home to his family. I have respect for his will, his abilities, and for his "sticking" to his own mountaineering philosophy.

This book provides a lot of background on high altitude climbing on Everest from time of Mallory in 1924. You will learn a lot abut the great high altitude mountaineers that stretched their endurance and climbed Mount Everest by almost unimaginably difficult alternate routes, men who challenged the mountain in an unheard of winter ascent and received little more for this feat that a footnote in Everest lore. This book is inspiring, and it goes a long way to explaining why this particular mountain consumes the drams of the ambitious and saps the reason from the most reasonable of minds. I did not want to stop reading - but I am now reading Ed Viesturs book about K2 with equal enthusiasm. Well done! 

I wonder what effect this year's (2014) April 27th avalanche disaster on Mt. Everest will have on future climbing excursions. Will it change the way people climb this goddess mountain at all?