Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Madonnas of Leningrad

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

This book jumps around between modern-day in the Seattle area, Leningrad in the early days of World War II, and the voice of a tour guide at The Hermitage.

During World War II, Marina is a young tour guide at the Hermitage. She was raised by her uncle and his wife after her dissident parents are jailed and gone forever. Her best friend Dmitri is in similar circumstances with his father taken away. They bonded together in their youth for support and have stayed best friends ever since. Dmitri is a student now and has joined the Volunteer Army. As Dmitri trains for war, Marina and the other employees of the Hermitage are packing up the paintings and other precious items for shipment someplace safe.

In the current day, Marina and Dmitri are old and getting ready for their grand-daughter's wedding. Marina has problems with her memory and Dmitri has taken on the task of caring for his wife entirely. He is determined to keep the worst of her problems from his children because their son wants to put them in "a home" but Dmitri has promised his wife that won't happen.

The voice of the tour guide crops up periodically taking us through her usual script of various rooms and paintings of the Hermitage. Over the course of the book we find that when Marina's brain checks out of the here and now, The Hermitage before and during the war is where it goes. She gives us an insight into the overwhelming beauty housed at the Hermitage, in itself a stunning building. She also gives us a view into the horrific life led by the people of Leningrad during the siege of the German Army.

I really enjoyed this book! This was a first book for Debra Dean and I would be happy to read more from here especially if it is historical fiction.

The Puzzle

The Puzzle (Samantha Jamison Mystery) by Peggy A Edelheit

This book was a Kindle Single that I bought for $.99. That said, I think I overpaid - especially considering the time I spent reading.

The text of this book was disjointed and jumped from one topic to the next. The main character was a person that I had no empathy for in her blind stupidity and was barely believable.

The mystery factor was disjointed and random. The main character is trying to solve her husband's death/murder and receives random threatening notes. Upon receipt of these notes, she becomes almost catatonic in her hysterical fear but she never speaks to the authorities about anything.

The supporting characters are not well developed in their supposed menace. The final resolution is absurd. Oh, and I have my doubts as to whether this book was actually edited or not.

I don't recommend this book. I will not be seeking out any other book by Peggy A. Edelheit because I can only guess they will be equally pointless.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Wise Man's Fear

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

This is book 2 of the KingKiller Chronicles.

In this book we follow Kvothe in his travels after he leaves the University for the first time. Again we are on a great ride of varying experiences and harrowing intrigue.

The benefits of reading a book about an entirely fictional world is that anything is possible. This is a fun ride and I am thinking that I'll read book 3 next. Of course, A Dance With Dragons is sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read right now too.

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is book 1 in the KingKiller Chronicles.

A famous and infamous wizard tells his own story in this series.
This book covers his youth and his first years at University, the school of magic. This is a high-action story of an orphan living his life on the edge of society and surviving.

This is a wonderfully woven story and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Chronicles.


Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott

This was a fun, fast thriller. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series.

Sam Capra is a CIA agent and soon-to-be-father. In one moment, everyone he works with is dead and his wife and child are taken. He is targeted as a traitor and must fight to prove his innocence.