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LoisAnn's Reading List - 2011

Keep track of your reading for 2011 here! One thread per member, please.
Posts: 54
Joined: August 2008
Location: Marlow, Oklahoma

LoisAnn's Reading List - 2011

Post by LoisAnn » Wed February 2nd, 2011, 5:13 pm


Scandalmonger, William Saffire ... 5/5 ... Fictional treatment of some of the real-life scandals plaguing some of Founding Fathers and how they were covered in the press during the 1790's. Fascinating, well-researched, well-documented.


Song of Troy, Colleen McCullough ... 5/5 ... Loved this book. Each chapter is told by a different character - a trick that McCullough carries off with true grace & aplomb. Story of the seige & subsequent fall of Troy. Possible anachronisms may be a problem for some, but not knowing how people actually talked in 1184 BC, as long as no one was saying "groovy" or "right on!" I was okay.

Death at Rottingdean, Robin Paige ... 4/5 ... Another Charles & Kate Sheridan novel - this one set in the English seaside town of Rottingdean & features Rudyard Kipling as a secondary character. Very enjoyable!

Tears of Pearl, Tasha Alexander ... 3/5 ... Very disappointed. The plot was implausable, plot development was weak, and the whole "honeymoon / each glance is meaningful / each touch is electric" was carried way too far. First person narrative did not work for this book - in fact, probably worked against it. I'm done with Lady Emily; Colin is on his own!

Fire from Heaven, Mary Renault ... 4.5/5 ... Really enjoyed this book about the early life of Alexander the Great. It follows Alexander's life from boyhood until his father's assassination. Slight markdown because of the complicated storylines, characters, backstories, etc. Access to the internet is almost mandatory to fully understand this book. But, very much worth the effort!


Dark Road to Darjeeling, Deanna Raybourn ... 4.5/5 ... Love Lady Julia; love Nicholas Brisbane. Love the way Deanna Raybourn uses Julia's siblings, her settings, other secondary characters and delicious well-thought out plots to give her books depth and life. This - the 4th book in the series - is as good as they have all been & I'm already looking forward to Book No. 5. In this one, Brisbane & Julia are looking into the mysterious death of Freddie Cavendish in a small valley at the foot of the Himalayas.

My Name is Mary Sutter, Robin Oliviera ... 5/5 ... young midwife from Albany becomes a nurse in Washington DC as the Civil War breaks out - driven by her ambition to become a surgeon. Well written, well researched. I really liked this book.

The Widow's War, Mary Mackey ... 4/5 ... another Civil War era book - this one set in Kansas before the official start of the Civil War. Details the struggles as Kansas tried to choose to become a free or slave state. The book was interesting, but nothing overly spectacular. Written in present tense which was a little different.

Hood, Stephen Lawhead ... 5/5 ... 1st in the trilogy, a well-researched, very enjoyable version of Robin Hood!

Dawn on a Distant Shore, Sara Donati ... 5/5 ... 2nd in the "Wildnerness" series, featuring the wonderful Nathaniel & Elizabeth! In this one, they travel to Scotland where Hawkeye & Nathaniel meet and come to an understanding about their Scottish ancestry. Looking forward to the next one in the series!


Queen of Swords,, Judith Tarr ... 5/5 ... Really enjoyed this book set in Outremer, specifically Jerusalem, during the early to mid 12th century. Story focuses on the real life Queen Melisande and the fictional Lady Richildis. Well researched, well written - very good book!

Scarlet, Stephen Lawhead ... 5/5 ... 2nd in the King Raven trilogy, this book focuses on Will Scarlet - who he is, how he comes to be in Bran's service, etc. Really, really liked this book - so cleverly written!

Tuck, Stephen Lawhead ... 5/5 ... 3rd in the King Raven (Hood) trilogy, this book brings us closure on Lawhead's version & theory on the real Robin Hood. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful trilogy!

Hand of Isis, Jo Graham ... 5/5 ... Story of Cleopatra & her two handmaidens (& half-sisters) Charmain & Isis from a more sympathetic, Egyptian point of view. Book was very well-written.


Antony & Cleopatra, Colleen McCullough ... 4/5 ... I just don't think this one rose to the same levels of greatness as the other books in this series. There was very little to like in McCullough's portrayal of either Antony or Cleopatra. And, if the real truth were known, I think she was perhaps a little too sympathetic to Octavius (Augustus).


Dreaming the Eagle, Manda Scott ... 4.5/5 ... The first in this author's series about Boudica, the woman warrior who stood up against the Roman occupation in 60-61AD. Very little is actually known about her, so writing her 'history' is wide open for authors & for the most part, Manda Scott did a great job. Small, minor deducts for a little contrivance, especially where Boudica's brother is concerned. I will read the rest of this series (4 books in all).

Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay ... 4.5/5 ... two stories - one set in WW II dealing with the round-up, captivity and ultimate execution of Parisian Jews; the other of a current day journalist researching the story & in particular, the fate of one of the children, Sarah. I enjoyed this book & would recommend it to others.

Dreaming The Bull, Manda Scott ... 5/5 ... The 2nd book in the series. I think this book is even better than the first one. This one was more evenly divided between Boudica's story & her brother who turned his back on his people to embrace Roman ways & Roman gods. It is easy to think about America's Native Americans: some negotiated with and tried to appease & learn the customs of the invaders & conquerors, some fought until their last breath. The story of Britain's early native tribes is no different in spite of the hundreds and hundreds of years separating the two stories.


Dreaming the Hound, Manda Scott ... 5/5 ... 3rd book in this series. I am really enjoying these books & think Manda Scott does a wonderful job of bringing the iron tribes of Britain to life.

Lake of the Clouds, Sara Donati ... 5/5 ... this is a wonderful series that stands on its own merit without any gushing from me! This particular book focuses more on Hannah & also covers an outbreak of scarlet fever. Very interesting.

Murder on Lexington Ave, Victoria Thompson ... 4/5 ... the Sarah Brandt cozies are very good - they are well-written, keep my attention and keep me interested enough to want to read the next one.


The Angel of Darkness, Caleb Carr ... 4/5 ... This book wasn't as good as the first one (The Alienist). The plot was well-developed, story line was chilling, but there was a wee bit too much psychoanalysis and parts of the story development and the dialog seemed a bit forced and contrived. I would not be inclined to read another book in this series, nor would I necessarily recommend this book to anyone.

Shadowbrook, Beverly Swerling ... 5/5 ... Loved this book! Set primarily in upstate NY with secondary settings in the Ohio valley & Ontario, Canada in the mid 1750's. I knew so little about the French & Indian War that the book was particularly interesting. Characters, research, story lines - all excellent!

Midnight Palace, Carlos Ruiz Zafon ... 4/5 ... Story of evil personified in the soul of the father of twins separated at birth in Calcutta. Book is set in the early 1930's, with flashbacks to 1916. Interesting book, well-written & beautifully translated - just as one expects from Zafon. But, demonic subject matter is not my usual cup of tea & I may have to let this author go.


Dreaming the Serpent Spear, Manda Scott ... 5/5 ... 4th & final book in the Boudica quadrilogy. The editing was a bit sloppy in this book, but other than that, it was as compelling & wonderful in its own way as the other books were. Love this series & am not interested in reading another author's interpretation of the Boudica legend!
Last edited by LoisAnn on Sun September 11th, 2011, 1:42 pm, edited 14 times in total.
I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. ~ Charles de Secondat


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