Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book of the Week - Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty

Serafina was adopted as a baby by the man who keeps the mechanical parts of the the lavish Biltmore Estate running in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina  This is the Gilded Age, the late 1890s. In the third book, just out, Serafina wakes up to find herself lying down in a wooden box with no memory of how she got there. She uses all her senses to try to figure out what is going on and discovers she's been buried alive. Figuring our a way to free herself she extricates herself only to discover a storm is raging and streams are flooding. When she makes her way home she discovers nobody can see her and she has little to no effect on being able to move objects. She finds her best friend Braeden but he is not the same. There is something very wrong in the world and she is the only one that can stop it but unable to communicate or get help from anyone will she be able to? Mysterious, horrifying, and eerie, this is a great story for kids grades 5-7 who like to read. While it stands on its own some readers will want to read the first two installments in the series but I hadn't read them and was enthralled. 

When the first book, Serafina and the Black Cloak, came out I had a thirteen-year-old who read it and said " I loved the brave and fantastic heroine, Serafina, who is just a bit different than everyone else. And maybe the residents of Biltmore Estate need someone who is different to save them from a mysterious and deadly fiend. If you love the bizarre, and want an interesting cast of characters that will surprise you, then this is the book for you!"

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Set in the waning days of the Regency Era, this unusual romance starts with a beautiful woman going to Parliament to demand a divorce from her husband, a duke. Serephina is one of the Dangerous Daughters sometimes called the Soiled Ss. Their father made a fortune in coal and was awarded a title, but the Daughters are looked at askance by the ton. Serefina landed a Duke and then disappeared. But now, three years later she's come back from America with her male business partner to open a tavern that the laws say she can't own because she is married. She needs the divorce. Moving back and forth between the aftermath of the divorce petition and when they first met, Serephina and Malcolm may have had a great love but has that chance been destroyed by outside forces and their own inability of share their feelings? MacLean's storytelling style is unusual for this genre and adds a freshness and vibrancy to this enthralling romance.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The One-Eyed Judge by Michael Ponsor

Judge Ponsor's second novel featuring western Massachusetts  federal judge David Norcross delves into the trial of an Amherst professor, Sidney Cranmer, who is charged with obtaining and possessing child pornography. Cranmer's scholarly passion is Charles Dodgson, who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland using the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll and was rumored to be a pedophile. Claire Lindemann, Norcross's love interest and a collegue of Cranmer is sure he has been wrongly accused and she works with the professor's student intern whose own love life may have a bearing on the case. While the case drags on, David's life is complicated by a family tragedy that brings his two young nieces into his household. The great appeal in Ponsor's legal thrillers is not action but rather the examination of law and how it is administered (a very timely topic). His sympathetic characters are thoughtful and examine ethics as well as law. All in all this is an entertaining and thought provoking read.