February 19th, 2012



The Wolves of Time by Brian Horwood.
Another animal fantasy adventure, this one about wolves obviously. This is by the author of Duncton Wood, so I was expecting great thing. Unfortunately I ended up hating it. 

It starts off with a great premise. The last of the wolves in Europe heed the call and band together to find the 'wolfways'. As it turns out , the god of wolves (Wulf) royally messed up, so he was re-incarnated as a mortal wolf, and would continue to do so until he realized that he was the actual god somehow. His lover decided to give up her immortality as well and follow him through time, as it were. 

Then we come to the human characters. There are only two major ones, a bad guy and a good guy. One wants to help the wolves,the other wants to exterminate them. they are not characters, they are exaggerations. The good guy is a nature lover who wants to run on all fours and smell flowers and run with his 'wolf brothers.' 
The bad guy works for a chemical company that poluutes the lake and also he test his chemicals on people he kidnaps and then dump the bodies in the woods. His hobby is of course shooting wolves and also molesting them. Then he has sex with his wife imagining it is his daughter.  This is not an exaggeration at all. One of the alpha females decides to align herself with the bad guy and allows the bad guy to uh..do things to her. It is all very disturbing. Besides that, a lot of the book is talking about pollution and wht humans do to the environment...which is a given I suppose when you are writing about wildlife, but it just seems too heavy handed here. 

This is a very long book, around 600 pages, but it is all setup for the next two books in the trilogy. You mostly are getting the backstory and the personality off all the main characters, and how they reached the goal. (but it looks like Horwood is never going to write the final book. maybe the second one wrapped it up nicely.)

Therefore it is really hard to judge this book, as it is merely setup for another story. I'll have to read it and see how the journey unfolds. However, i wouldn't recommend it. If you really want a story about the last surviving wolves trying to find a holy land, I suggest Wolf's Rain.

6.5/10 stars


By Andree Grau

Another juvenile non-fiction from the DK Eyewitness series. I love the series but it always takes me so long to read one of their books. Again there are lots of beautiful pictures and some really high quality information. I picked up this book with a general background in things dance related some interest in ballet and a lot of interest and experience in ballroom dancing. There were a couple of things about the ballroom I didn't really agree with as it was a poor choice of wording but overall I found the book interesting. I definitely learned some new things and I was happy to see so many images and blurbs relating to Asian dance forms I was less familiar with. I would love to see this series branch out and do more specific books towards ballet/tap/jazz, ballroom, folk dances and Asian dance forms. I may need to do some more research and see if I can find other books that may be better.
Dead Dog Cat


I got my hands on a copy of Osprey New Vanguard #183: Warships of the Anglo-Dutch Wars 1652 - 74 and read it this morning. This war was the precursor for the Napoleonic Wars in their naval component. There's some pretty good graphic material here.
books with tea

Book #2: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Yes, I know my original plan was to read all the Sherlock Holmes stories in order since I haven't actually done that and by reading this one I took quite a large step forward, but I was leaving for England and had to make an executive decision. I hadn't ever read THotB because I grew up thinking it was a terrifying story and scary stories are not really for me. However, it was a brilliant novel and I think everyone should read it!

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books with tea

Book #3: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb

I have quite a soft sport for J.D. Robb's [Nora Roberts] In Death series. I really think the whole idea is wonderful. It's really quite refreshing to see a woman who is incredibly strong still show a few weaknesses. I normally have a problem with female characters because they are either too masculine or too feminine and no one is willing to try and give them a middle ground. But J.D. Robb does just that. 

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book and cup

#21 Fenny - Lettice Cooper (1953)

“Fenny (first published in 1953), is the story of a young English school teacher who, after the death of her mother, for whom she was the sole carer, decides to take the opportunity to travel to Florence for a six month post as governess to an English family and their only daughter. At Villa Meridiana Fenny’s world temporarily expands but can she grow with it? The backdrop of the Tuscan landscape, the Italian character, the growth of fascism and the threat of war are all interwoven in this simpatico portrait of a gradually emerging self-awareness”
“Fenny” is a deeply charming, enormously readable novel, which opens with the Fenny of the title (Ellen Fenwick) a young English school teacher coming to Italy as a governess to the granddaughter of an actress that she admires. The Fenny who arrives at Villa Meridiana in the summer of 1933 having recently lost her mother, has endured seven years teaching at a Yorkshire high school and is ripe for change. For a while Ellen – who soon becomes Fenny -finds acceptance and peace in the beauty of her surroundings. However Fenny must soon face emotions which are completely new to her, as she falls in love and finds that the relationships of people around her are not always what they seem. Fenny and Juliet the child to whom she is governess, very quickly develop a close and touching relationship, but there are changes and upheavals for the family and they leave Italy. Fenny deciding to stay in Italy pledges to keep in touch with young Juliet. Three years later Ellen is working for another family she had first encountered while working at Villa Meridiana. She is drawn to wanting to help Shand, the teenage son of her employer whose deep unhappiness and longing to get back to America concerns her. The backdrop to the story of Fenny and the families she works for is the terrifying rise of fascism in Italy and the coming of war. There comes a time when Fenny must really face up to what is happening, and make decisions about her own safety.
Fenny’s relationship with her two charges continues over many years. While she herself faces hardship and fear during the war years, she learns things about life which she can pass to the adult children she loves so deeply. In the course of the novel we see Fenny develop from an inexperienced young woman with much to learn, into a strong mature woman who survived the turbulent war years in Italy.
The novel spans the years of 1933 to 1949 and through these years we see the changes that occur in Italy as the fascist party takes firmer hold, and war looms on the horizon. There is one particular short scene – witnessed by Fenny and young Shand - of a middle aged clerk being dragged off by a group of black shirts that I thought was beautifully and frighteningly described. Throughout the novel it is easy to see the affection that Lettice Cooper had for Italy and for Florence in particular. For me this was the perfect reading experience, I loved the setting, the characters are marvellous creations – although two of the Italian women Fenny encounters are horribly selfish and manipulative – but fascinating for all that. Fenny is a real joy of a read.