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Friday, September 30, 2016

The Secret Chord - Geraldine Brooks

King David, slayer of the giant Goliath, the poet, the songwriter, one of the most beloved figures in the Bible. Natan (Nathan) his best friend and adviser requests to interview those who knows David best so he can write a biography, so others may know of King David as a real person and not just as the inspirational leader. He learns of David's tragic childhood as the unwanted son, the terrible relationship with Betheseba his wife, of the tragic betrayals he's endured, and the awful events that occurred to his family.

King David's entire life comes together in a jilted narrative as Natan includes his own experiences intermingled with those of the interviewees.

I enjoyed the imaginative first hand accounts of what may have been, each filled with pain, joy, and love. While I liked the fact that the author used the Hebrew names, those who read a translated version may have difficulty following the story because of it. There are also some ideas that readers may be uncomfortable with, such as David being in love with Jonathan, which is a well-known theory. I would recommend readers to have some familiarity with the Tanakh or the Bible before reading this piece.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Bourne Identity - Robert Ludlum

Found with bullet wounds when he was dragged from the sea, the man knows he has a sordid past but no memory of who he is. His only clue is a clue found beneath his skin and ramblings during his fever.

With these few leads, Jason Bourne begins his hunt to discover his identity and finds himself hunted, as well. Now he needs to figure out what is going on and escape those who chase him, or he may die without any answers.

I had tried to watch the movie adaption years ago and didn't enjoy it. I hoped the book may change my mind, but it hasn't. The plot is terribly paced. The third person limited point of view swaps between characters at some of the strangest places and most of those swaps up until the end don't seem to do much to advance the plot. The relationship between himself and the woman who falls in love with him doesn't even make sense. In the end the characters who know flat-out explain it all, almost like the author just gave up even trying to make any sense of what he wrote throughout the book. I definitely do not recommend this.

Books in the Series
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Ultimatum

Movie Adaption:
The Bourne Identity

Recommended Reads:
The Manchurian Candidate - Richard Condon
Jumper - Steven Gould

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Mermaid's Madness - Jim C. Hines

Danielle (Cinderella), Snow (White), and Talia (Sleeping Beauty) band together on yet another mission when the undine/mermaid princess, Lirea, goes crazy and attacks not only humans but others of her own kind. The situation only becomes more dire when Lirea attacks the queen, leaving her seriously wounded.

Without the guidance of their queen, the young women must find a solution to stopping the crazed undine, saving the kingdom, and reviving their sovereign. Danielle struggles in the relationship with her prince, Talia seeks to hide her feelings, and Snow must come to terms with her own. Danger and drama all come together in this imaginative novel that brings fairy tale characters together in a world of magic.

One of my friends suggested this series to me originally. Although I wasn't interested in the first novel of the series, I read it knowing that I would need its background to read this second novel. While I found the first novel entertaining, it wasn't a satisfying read. With this second novel, I didn't feel much better. I enjoyed the reimagining of Lirea's predicament, the interactions between the main characters with the quips between close friends, and the new fairy creatures. Yet there's something in Hines writing that just doesn't fill me.

Books in the Series:
The Stepsister Scheme
Red Hood's Revenge
The Snow Queen's Shadow

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Secret World of Hildegard - Jonah Wintr

Hildegard was born with a special gift to see things that were not there. In fact, when she was a child she dreamed of the color of a calf before it was born. Winter's children's book tells Hildegard's story of being sent to a cloister, learning about God, and how she became head of the convent. Here she was able to share her gifts freely by recording her visions in both words and paintings. She also wrote songs and even a play for them to perform. But it didn't end there, she shared her gift with the Pope and many other leaders of Europe.

With beautiful and colorful illustrations by Jeannette Winter, this book tells the story of one of the most beloved Saint and Doctor of the Catholic Church. Children will appreciate the simple storytelling and parents will enjoy the age-appropriate explanation of her life and work.