Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Seduction" by M.J. Rose

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  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (May 7, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451621501

Historical fiction is “my thing”, and I have  been a huge fan of M.J. Rose since I first read her book “The Reincarnationist”. I am also a fan of books that deal with the paranormal, time travel, memory travel, ESP etc. No one does this particular genre better than M.J. Rose.

I was thrilled to read her latest book, Seduction”. It did not fail to delight me, and as usual when I read her books, I could not put it down. Last year when I read “ The Book of Lost Fragrances” I did not think that M.J. Rose’s writing could get any better, but she has proven that she has with this, her latest book.

Jac L’Etoile is the main character in this book. She is a mythologist, and she is skeptic who tries to stay grounded in the world of science and reality. Her character will utterly captivate you! Jac has ‘gifts’; she has visions that are often precipitated by scent, visions that speak of memories, and ESP . As a skeptic, Jac has struggled to live with her gifts and she tries to deny her talents, and does not want to acknowledge them. Her family was well know perfumers in times past and scent is the main sensory tool for Jac (more on that in “Fragrances”).  You might consider reading “The Book Of Lost Fragrances”. Reading ‘Fragrances’ might help you to ‘flesh out’ Jac’s character which in turn might make reading “Seduction” even more enjoyable for you. That being said these are truly stand-alone books as well and you will enjoy reading them in what ever sequence you choose.

The plot of “Seduction” moves between the present (on Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands) and the 1840’s during the life of Victor Hugo. Hugo has moved from Paris to Jersey after the death of his beloved daughter, Leopoldine. She had drowned in the Seine River when she was 19. Unable to recover or find any consolation Hugo is introduced to the world of mediums and séances. He spends many years trying to contact Leopoldine through the use of séances, mediums and trances; with Hugo carefully transcribing his ‘conversations’ with the in a series of long lost journals. One of Hugo’s communicants is, perhaps, the most troubling, as well as the darkest. An evil entity who calls himself the “Shadow of The Sepulcher”. He fears he may have gone too far and eschews the mystic world for a time.

Jac, who in the present, is struggling to deal with some of her own personal demons is invited to Jersey by her one time love Theo Gaspard who asks for her assistance as he investigates Jersey’s long lost secrets of an ancient Celtic culture. Additionally, Theo’s grandfather believed that Hugo had been entangled with the dark spirit of  the Shadow of the Sepulcher (aka the devil?). Theo knows of some neolithic monuments and some hidden water side caves that he  believes are important to his research about the Celtic societies and his grandfather’s belief in the dark evil of the ‘the shadow” that, he feels, may have somehow cast a long tinge of shadow over the spirit of  islands.

I think that it is difficult to blend two, nearly separate, stories, as well as expertly blend fact and fiction, and yet Ms. Rose manages it with great aplomb. There were just a few moments in the book when I felt that the stories were a bit too separate, but in mere sentences I felt the continuity once again. Rose has such a talent for superlative story telling! I love how historical facts are expertly interwoven with her fiction. You have to go and review the real history behind her work to understand how factual some of her work really is !

I look forward to each of her books with great anticipation, and her writing seems to just keep on getting better! Her characters are well developed and captivating, her plots are well constructed and beautifully connected. Yes, I really AM a fan and I do believe that this book will appeal to readers who love great fiction in general, historical fiction, paranormal fiction, time travel, and romance.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods; By Leslie Ann Besto

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  • Spiral-bound: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; Spi edition (June 19, 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603427241
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 7 inches

I'm sure that there other, possible larger, books out there that contain cast on and 
bind off techniques, but I really like this one.

I find it to be well organized, well thought out and well illustrated. I have already 
learned a lot about cast-on and bind-off methods - I've even learned some 
new things about my "go to" methods that I had not known before.

Methods are organized into categories . For cast-ons: basic, stretchy, decorative, 
circular, double sided, multi-color, provisional and tubular and mobius;
 for bind-offs: basic, stretchy, decorative and sewn.

I like the size because it's easy to keep in my knitting basket and, as always,
 I really like the fact that it has a spiral binding so it lies nice and flat or folds 
over easily.

For me, this is a very useful book and contains information and instructions 
that I used to have to go searching the web for. It's a definite keeper for me !

Do you knit? Then you really might want to check this book out!
 I bet you too will want to keep it handy!