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Thursday, August 5, 2010



Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her not-so-innocent past in Glasgow, Bessy Buckley—a wide-eyed and feisty young Irish girl—takes a job as a maid in a big house outside Edinburgh working for the beautiful Arabella—the "missus." Bessy lacks the necessary scullery skills for her new position, but as she finds out, it is her ability to read and write that makes her such a desirable property. Bessy is intrigued by her new employer but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests and her insistence that Bessy keep a journal of her mundane chores and most intimate thoughts. And it seems that the missus has a few secrets of her own, including her near- obsessive affection for Nora, a former maid who died in mysterious circumstances.

Giving in to her curiosity, Bessy makes an infuriating discovery and, out of jealousy, concocts a childish prank that backfires and threatens to jeopardize all that she has come to hold dear. Yet even when caught up in a tangle of madness, ghosts, sex, and lies, she remains devoted to Arabella. But who is really responsible for what happened to her predecessor Nora? As her past threatens to catch up with her and raise the stakes even further, Bessy begins to realize that she has not quite landed on her feet.

The Observations is a brilliantly original, endlessly intriguing story of one woman’s journey from a difficult past into an even more disturbing present, narrated by one of the most vividly imagined heroines in recent fiction. This powerful story of secrets and suspicions, hidden histories and mysterious disappearances is at once compelling and heart-warming, showing the redemptive power of loyalty and friendship. A hugely assured and darkly funny debut, The Observations is certain to establish Jane Harris as a significant new literary talent.


I'm not sure how to set this book. It is indeed an historical novel occurred in the Victorian era, but it has many elements of thriller, mystery and even satirical humor. What I can say is that this book is unique and is sure to please a very large audience, it has a bit of everything for everyone.
The narrator of this story is the fantastic and unusual Bessy, a teenager who escapes from the mother, a woman with no scruples that sold her for sexual exploitation. The girl eventually finds employment in a degraded rural mansion as a maid to the beautiful and eccentric Arabella that studies the maid as guinea pigs and has her record her conclusions in a small book called Observations. The history of the book is set all around the relationship between the two with a few brief references to the past of Bessy.
The narrative point of view of the character is lovable, sometimes joyful, sometimes sad, sometimes childish, sometimes lucid. The two main characters have many facets that are richly explored throughout the book, making it a historical novel so different from usual.
I also quite liked the satirical side of the book through the character of Bessy that caricatures the moral values, customs and hierarchy of Victorian society.
This book will, for all its qualities and its diversity, to please all readers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010



At a New Englandboarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape.

A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.


This book has a very controversial issue and when we start reading we are, definitely, left without knowing exactly what can come out of a book with a plot so bold.
In an elite school where appearances and reputation of the students are valued, for the repoutation of the School depends on theirs, an orgy occurs between Sienna a 14 years old girl and three young boys. Everything would have gone by as a mere sexual experience (although a bit extreme) would it not had been shot and taken to the Director and then have been disseminated via the Internet.
Young boys participating in the orgy with Sienna are held accountable despite claiming that she had provoked them, the case is considered sexual abuse of a minor by the other three youngsters are already mayors of age.
Thus a situation that could be an almost innocuous experience will not only cause a hurricane on the lives of young people who took part in it, but for their familes, as well as the small community they belong to.
The innovative in this book, beyond the daring of its theme, is the story is told by various points of view, not just for the young people involved but also their parents and part of the community. This constant change of perspective has contributed to the enrichment of the story, it allows us to understand the various sides of the story in a much broader and the disastrous consequences that will have the discovery of this orgy.
The book is extremely well written and is of great boldness and daring, giving the reader an addictive reading, which admits no long pauses.

Friday, July 30, 2010



Every once in a while I come across a book that I love, a book that I could read again and again, a book that I want everyone I know to read. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is one of those books. By far the best book I read in 2008 (and I read a lot), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a delightful piece of historical fiction that will make you laugh, cry and remember the transformational power of literature.


I must confess that the title of this book left me very curious. And I thought, "but who in his sanity will give this name to a book?".
Because usually the books have small and flashy titles. I soon realized that this was a book unlike any other, who wore a title like this to leave the reader curious to see what's behind it, and the synopsis is a real good help.
This book is partly posthumous because the writer was writing before she died and could not finish it. So was her niece who had to finish it, thus becoming co-author of the book. However the writing is fairly uniform and natural it is impossible to notice where an author started and where he ended another, which often happens in similar books, which could affect the quality of the story.
Another peculiarity of this book is that it is written in epistolary form, in the form of letters of the main character Juliet, for the inhabitants of an island near Guernsey Channel called to her friends and her brother. This format allows easy, quick and addictive reading.
This story is set in the period after the Second World War and tells how the inhabitants of the island of Guernsey faced the war with the help of this curious society. Because the book is set in a particularly difficult time it would be expected that the book became sad and heavy. What surprisingly it does not because the book is light and candid and puts in a smile even when talking about matters as serious as those.
This book also makes any lover of literature to identify with the characters in the book, because it is their love of books that allows them to remain united and overcome the most traumatic moments, it is perhaps what makes the characters in this book so palpable and real in the eyes of the reader,
In three words: I loved it!

Monday, July 26, 2010



To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.

Includes an exclusive sneak peek of the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series: City of Fallen Angels! And don't miss the teaser from Clockwork Angel, the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy, the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series.


I must confess that my expectations for this book were very high. From what I had already read on the other two, I was starved for the answers to all mysteries that seemed never to arrive...
Well, they finally arrived with this fantastic third volume!
I do not know about you but for me the saga was getting better with each passing volume.
In thie one the author finally unveils the mysteries that haunted us during the two previous volumes in phenomenal shape, and finally allows us to conclude a mental puzzle with the main points of the plot, giving us a more global view of the fantastic world of the Shadow Hunters.
I loved the character development and the perfect outcome for Jace and Clary. I fully agree with the author when she says that this book is the most romantic of all, has heartbreaking moments that really lead us to tears, but the happy ending of Jace and Clary made them worth it.
I would like to highlight Clary that became in this book definitely my favorite, from a girl seemingly fragile she became a heroine full of guts and courage that can even be an example for the young readers of the author and not the only... Alongside it, also the secondary characters were very well developed, but undoubtedly another highlight must go to the approach to the character of Magus ans his hilarious personality...
As in the other books the action moves with a cinemitical speed, and the final battle is truly epic.
The ending was just perfect. I could not ask more of this book. I can only say that I will miss these characters.

Saturday, July 24, 2010



The New York Times bestseller — from Margaret George, author of Mary, Called Magdalene

With her amazing ability to summon the voices of historical characters, Margaret George in Helen of Troy tells the story of the woman whose face "launched a thousand ships." Laden with doom, yet surprising in its moments of innocence and beauty, this is a beautifully told story of a legendary woman and her times. An exquisite page-turner with a cast of irresistible characters—Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, as well as Helen and Paris themselves—and a wealth of material that reproduces the Age of Bronze in all its glory, Helen of Troy brings to life a war that we have all learned about but never before experienced.


Margaret George is an author I already knew from the books Memoirs of Cleopatra and already from those books she had become one of my favorite authors at the level of historical fiction.
Firstly I have to admire an author who with her international fame within the historical novel has had the audacity to pick up the myth of Helen of Troy since Helen is a character somewhat obscure, we do not know for sure if she really existed, and until very recently we were not even sure that the city of Troy actually existed.
The author has done a remarkable job with this book . Of course she had to take great creative freedoms, since most of this story is a myth, but these artistic liberties resulted very well giving the story a very realistic appearance. What actually surprised me a lot in this book was that the author with her writing almost magically is able to give life and meaning to characters and mythological creatures and gods, all very well portrayed according to Greek mythology, which demonstrates that there was a profound work of historical research and the author did not simply "invent".
I particularly liked the personalities of the gods, and according to Greek mythology, who despite being the most beautiful beings and superior to humans, have an insidious nature and are loaded with human feelings like jealousy, pride and even love.
The character of Helen, who narrates her own story, is beautifully constructed, with a strong personality, intelligent and decisive. Removing us the idea of a submissive character and selfish view that she allowed herself to be married to someone she does not want, and was then kidnapped lost by her own beauty. This is not the case with this Helen that justifies very well all her choices and accepts the consequences.
I also found very important that the book does not focus only on the Trojan War, but also in the childhood and youth of Helen and the reasons for which she fled with Paris and giving rise to the famous war.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010



The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants - from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys - except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down - along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy - if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom - or with each other.


This book is wonderful from beginning to end. It is a very easy and fast reading, because we can't stop reading the book even for a minute.
Claire is a seemingly ordinary girl who works at a catering service. So far nothing special, was it not for the fact that she has a magic apple tree in her yard and an elderly aunt with an eccentric personality.
However, the solitary life and routine Claire will undergo a 360 degree turn as her sister Sydney, whom she hadn't seen for ten years, returns and her daughter, Bay. From this moment the novel gains a greater tension and mystery which involves Sydneys' motivation to escape and return with her little daughter.
The whole book is full of magic and excitement from start to finish. All the characters are very well built and some of them are lovely and poignant as Evanelle and Bay.
My favorite is undoubtedly Evanelle, the old aunt of the two elderly sisters, who is considered mad by half of the population and all through her life offers all these strange and mysterious things whose utility is understood only in the future; and the mysterious apple tree that comes to life making pranks to the characters of the story.
As a bonus, at the beginning of the book cooking and recipes are present in an intense way that reminds us a little book called Chocolate.

Saturday, July 17, 2010



Sure, love is hell. But it's totally worth it.

In these supernatural stories by five of today's hottest writers—Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Specials), Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness), Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue is for Nightmares)—love may be twisted and turned around, but it's more potent than ever on its quest to conquer all.

From two students who let the power of attraction guide them to break the hard-and-fast rules of their world to the girl who falls hard for a good-looking ghost with a score to settle, the clever, quirky characters in this exciting collection will break your heart, then leave you believing in love more than ever.


This book is a collection of short stories. In this case the assumption is joining a series of tales with fantasy as a starting point for love with a supernatural being or that love itself has a supernatural aspect.
In general I liked a lot of stories that, despite being short with about 50 pages, were very well structured and written with a dynamic and accessible writing. The book is clearly for a young audience looking for effective entertainment.
Although I enjoyed all the stories, I feel that one does not fulfill the premise of the book!
Specials is a science fiction tale dissonant enough because has, indeed, nothing supernatural.
Rather, I highlight two tales for their simple beauty reminded me of the ancient legends. In one a young girl becomes involved with a Selkie and in the other a young woman falls for a fairy boy.
The only penalty I have is that the stories were so short because I think they had much more to offer as part of a complete book.