Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: The Wicked Day by Mary Stewart

The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4)The Wicked Day by Mary Stewart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I like this part of the book, "You and I, Emrys,"she had said, giving him the boyhood name Merlin had used for him,"have let ourselves be blinded by prophecy. We have lived under the edge of doom, and feel ourselves now facing the long-threatened fate. But hear this, Emrys: fate is made by men not gods. Our own follies, not the gods, foredoom us. The gods are spirits, they work by men's hands, and there are men who are brave enough to stand up and say; "I am a man; I will not."

All throughout the book, it has been mentioned that Mordred will be Arthur's bane and that has plagued them and haunted them. What I like is that even with these foreseen, Arthur and his queen still loved and accepted him. What's sad is that even if Mordred was totally loyal to Arthur, because of this prophecy, he was seen only to be Arthur's bane and nothing more.

I was touched by the line I quoted above because if only they have not thought of Mordred as that, then the ending of Arthur's kingdom might have been different.

Personally, I really don't believe in prophecies or fortune tellers to be exact. I believe in just living your life with faith in the real living God. I think that is all one needs to be able to live a full and contented life.

View all my reviews

All About the Book
Now, the spellbinding, final chapter of King Arthur's reign, where Mordred, sired by incest and reared in secrecy, ingratiates himself at court, and sets in motion the Fates and the end of Arthur....

About the Author

Lady Mary Stewart is a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years, but has now retired.

She is one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she is admired for both her contemporary stories of romantic suspense and her historical novels. Born in England, she has lived for many years in Scotland.

Read more!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell

Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta, #8)Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Don't let jealousy bite you because it can destroy you. Be content.

This is the first Patricia Cornwell book I've read and I somewhat like it. I love the main character's attitude, namely Dr. Kay Scarpetta. I like that she's firm with a lot of gentleness and kindness to people who needs it.

I hate Ring, too bad the book doesn't say if he's been punished. Maybe that will be in the next Cornwell book.

I just don't like how the book ended. It's like it's cut short and I had no inkling whodunit because if memory serves me right there was no mention of Dr. Phyllis Crowder. Maybe I'm used to other books like this where they give clues as to whodunit and you have to make a choice only to be proved wrong in the end.

No matter, I am still going to read other Cornwell books. That's definite.

View all my reviews

Book Summary
Virginia Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has a bloody puzzle on her hands: five headless, limbless cadavers in Ireland, plus four similar victims in a landfill back home. Is a serial butcher loose in Virginia? That's what the panicked public thinks, thanks to a local TV reporter who got the leaked news from her boyfriend, Scarpetta's vile rival, Investigator Percy Ring. But the butchered bodies are so many red herrings intended to throw idiots like Ring off the track. Instead of a run-of-the-mill serial killer, we're dealing with a shadowy figure who has plans involving mutant smallpox, mass murder, and messing with Scarpetta's mind by e-mailing her gory photos of the murder scenes, along with cryptic AOL chat-room messages. The coolest innovation: Scarpetta's gorgeous genius niece, Lucy, equips her with a DataGlove and a VPL Eyephone, and she takes a creepy virtual tour of the e-mailed crime scene.

Unnatural Exposure boasts brisk storytelling, crackling dialogue, evocative prose about forensic-science sleuthing, and crisp character sketches, both of familiar characters like Scarpetta's gruff partner Pete Marino and bit players like the landfill employee falsely accused by Ring. Plus, let's face it: serial killers are old hat. Cornwell's most vivid villains are highly plausible backstabbing colleagues like Ring, who plots to destroy Lucy's FBI career by outing her as a lesbian. Some readers object to the rather abrupt ending, but, hey, it's less jarring than Hannibal's, and it's the logical culmination of Cornwell's philosophy about human nature. To illuminate the novel's finale, read Cornwell's remarks on paranoia in her interview. --Tim Appelo (from

About the Author
Patricia Cornwell ’s first novel, Postmortem, is the only novel to have won the Edgar, John Creasey, Anthony and MacAvity awards, and the Prix du Roman d’Adventure in one year. Her second and third novels, Body of Evidence and All That Remains, attracted equal critical acclaim and became international best-sellers, establishing the author as one of the top crime writers. She received the Gold Dagger Award for her fourth, Cruel and Unusual.

A former award-winning reporter for the Charlotte Observer, Patricia D. Cornwell worked for over six years as a computer analyst in the chief medical examiner’s office in Virginia, where she witnessed hundreds of autopsies. This experience inspired her to create Dr Kay Scarpetta, the tenacious, intelligent and compassionate Chief Medical Examiner.

She has written a total of 18 novels featuring Dr Scarpetta, as well as 3 police procedurals set in North Carolina; 2 cookbooks and 1 children's book.

She lives in Richmond, Virginia and New York. (from

Read more!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review: Not That Sort of Girl by Mary Wesley

Not That Sort of Girl (King Penguin)Not That Sort of Girl by Mary Wesley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the book! It focuses mainly on extra marital affairs, which I do not condone. But the author wrote it in a manner that's light and I like that. I think this situation is happening in reality wherein people would not end up marrying the people they love but chose to be practical and chose financial security. The heroine in this book however was pushed because of pressure form those around her. I like that Milo and her weer given the chance to be together happily in the end. And that was a long wait. At least, there's still true love in this book and it still won in the end.

View all my reviews

At the age of 18, Rose met Mylo at a party, and the two fell instantly in love. But only a year later, Rose married the wealthy, secure Ned. Now 50 years later, Ned has died, and Rose is looking back on her two relationships.(from

About the Author
Mary Wesley, CBE (24 June 1912 – 30 December 2002) was a English novelist. She reportedly worked in MI5 during World War II.[citation needed]During her career, she became one of Britain's most successful novelists, selling three million copies of her books, including 10 best-sellers in the last 20 years of her life.

She wrote three children's books, Speaking Terms and The Sixth Seal (both 1969) and Haphazard House (1983), before publishing adult fiction. Since her first adult novel was published only in 1983, when she was 71, she may be regarded as a late bloomer. The publication of Jumping the Queue in 1983 was the beginning of an intensely creative period of Wesley's life. From 1982 to 1991, she wrote and delivered seven novels. While she aged from 70 to 79 she still showed the focus and drive of a young person.
Her best known book, The Camomile Lawn, set on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall, was turned into a television series, and is an account of the intertwining lives of three families in rural England during World War II. After The Camomile Lawn (1984) came Harnessing Peacocks (1985 and as TV film in 1992), The Vacillations of Poppy Carew (1986 and filmed in 1995), Not That Sort of Girl (1987), Second Fiddle (1988), A Sensible Life (1990), A Dubious Legacy (1993), An Imaginative Experience (1994) and Part of the Furniture (1997). A book about the West Country with photographer Kim Sayer, Part of the Scenery, was published in 2001. Asked why she had stopped writing fiction at the age of 84, she replied: "If you haven't got anything to say, don't say it.

Read more!

Read free novels online: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie (1900) is a novel by Theodore Dreiser about a young country girl who moves to the big city where she starts realizing her own American Dream by first becoming a mistress to men that she perceives as superior and later as a famous actress. It has been called the "greatest of all American urban novels. (from

About the Author
Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser (August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945) was an American novelist and journalist. He pioneered the naturalist school and is known for portraying characters whose value lies not in their moral code, but in their persistence against all obstacles, and literary situations that more closely resemble studies of nature than tales of choice and agency. (from

Chapter I: The Magnet Attracting--A Waif Amid Forces
Chapter II: What Poverty Threatened--Of Granite And Brass
Chapter III: Wee Question Of Fortune--Four-Fifty A Week
Chapter IV: The Spendings Of Fancy--Facts Answer With Sneers
Chapter V: A Glittering Night Flower--The Use Of A Name
Chapter VI: The Machine And The Maiden--A Knight Of To-Day
Chapter VII: The Lure Of The Material--Beauty Speaks For Itself
Chapter VIII: Intimations By Winter--An Ambassador Summoned
Chapter IX: Convention's Own Tinder-Box--The Eye That Is Green
Chapter X: The Counsel Of Winter--Fortune's Ambassador Calls
Chapter XI: The Persuasion Of Fashion--Feeling Guards O'er Its Own
Chapter XII: Of The Lamps Of The Mansions--The Ambassador Plea
Chapter XIII: His Credentials Accepted--A Babel Of Tongues
Chapter XIV: With Eyes And Not Seeing--One Influence Wanes
Chapter XV: The Irk Of The Old Ties--The Magic Of Youth
Chapter XVI: A Witless Aladdin--The Gate To The World
Chapter XVII: A Glimpse Through The Gateway--Hope Lightens The Eye
Chapter XVIII: Just Over The Border--A Hail And Farewell
Chapter XIX: An Hour In Elfland--A Clamour Half Heard
Chapter XX: The Lure Of The Spirit--The Flesh In Pursuit
Chapter XXI: The Lure Of The Spirit--The Flesh In Pursuit
Chapter XXII: The Blaze Of The Tinder--Flesh Wars With The Flesh
Chapter XXIII: A Spirit In Travail--One Rung Put Behind
Chapter XXIV: Ashes Of Tinder--A Face At The Window
Chapter XXV: Ashes Of Tinder--The Loosing Of Stays
Chapter XXVI: The Ambassador Fallen--A Search For The Gate
Chapter XXVII: When Waters Engulf Us We Reach For A Star
Chapter XXVIII: A Pilgrim, An Outlaw--The Spirit Detained
Chapter XXIX: The Solace Of Travel--The Boats Of The Sea
Chapter XXX: The Kingdom Of Greatness--The Pilgrim A Dream
Chapter XXXI: A Pet Of Good Fortune--Broadway Flaunts Its Joys
Chapter XXXII: The Feast Of Belshazzar--A Seer To Translate
Chapter XXXIII: Without The Walled City--The Slope Of The Years
Chapter XXXIV: The Grind Of The Millstones--A Sample Of Chaff
Chapter XXXV: The Passing Of Effort--The Visage Of Care
Chapter XXXVI: A Grim Retrogression--The Phantom Of Chance
Chapter XXXVII: The Spirit Awakens--New Search For The Gate
Chapter XXXVIII: In Elf Land Disporting--The Grim World Without
Chapter XXXIX: Of Lights And Of Shadows--The Parting Of Worlds
Chapter XL: A Public Dissension--A Final Appeal
Chapter XLI: The Strike
Chapter XLII: A Touch Of Spring--The Empty Shell
Chapter XLIII: The World Turns Flatterer--An Eye In The Dark
Chapter XLIV: And This Is Not Elf Land--What Gold Will Not Buy
Chapter XLV: Curious Shifts Of The Poor
Chapter XLVI: Stirring Troubled Waters
Chapter XLVII: The Way Of The Beaten--A Harp In The Wind

Read more!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Read free novels online: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

The story tells of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Although Conrad does not give the name of the river, at the time, Congo Free State, the location of the large and important Congo River was a private colony of Belgium's King Leopold II. Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver. However, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization, in a cover-up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region. This symbolic story is a story within a story or frame narrative. It follows Marlow as he recounts from dusk through to late night, to a group of men aboard a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary his Congolese adventure. The passage of time and the darkening sky during the fictitious narrative-within-the-narrative parallel the atmosphere of the story. (from

About the Author
Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard British ships, learning English from his shipmates. He was made a Master Mariner, and served more than sixteen years before an event inspired him to try his hand at writing.

He was hired to take a steamship into Africa, and according to Conrad, the experience of seeing firsthand the horrors of colonial rule left him a changed man. His introspective need to come to terms with his experience lead to Heart of Darkness, which was followed by other fictionalized explorations of his life.

He has been lauded as one of the most powerful, insightful, and disturbing novelists in the English canon despite coming to English later in life, which allowed him to combine it with the sensibilities of French, Russian, and Polish literature.

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III

Read more!

Book Review: A Million Little Pieces

A Million Little PiecesA Million Little Pieces by James Frey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I chose to read this book because it's interesting. I would like to have a closer look inside the life of an addict and how one is freed from the bondage of addiction.

I was already in the middle part of the book when I read that the book is not all true. It's kind of disappointing and I feel duped by the author. But, I read it to the end anyway.

It's impressive that he has been able to overcome addiction by his own means and not through the help of a higher power. However I still secretly hope that he would find it in his heart to believe in God maybe not today but in the future.

My favorite part is the love that blossomed between him and Lilly. Love is really a beautiful thing and it can conquer all. Too bad Lilly was not able to wait for James.

I will not be proud to recommend this book because it's not all true.

View all my reviews

James Frey's memoir of drug addition and recovery was a bestseller even before Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club in 2005, but the subsequent revelations about discrepancies between the story and the author's real life touched off a national debate about the line between fact and fiction.

Filled with graphic scenes of epic substance abuse and the torments of withdrawal, A Million Little Pieces was widely heralded upon its publication as a harrowing, self-lacerating, and courageously confessional autobiography. It received many admiring critical reviews, carried cover endorsements from noted literati, and was selected by Barnes & Noble as a 2003 Discover pick. (Our reviewer called Frey prodigiously talented, poetic, and unflinchingly honest).

In January 2006, the author acknowledged the truth of charges that many details in the book were embellished or fabricated. In a note to readers that was prepared for subsequent printings, he apologized to those who felt they had been misled and explained why he wrote the book the way he did. Reactions to these revelations included soul-searching by publishers about their responsibilities for ensuring accuracy, ruminations by critics on the line between fact and fiction in modern culture, and spirited defenses of the author by readers who maintained that the book's inspirational message was of primary importance. One thing seems certain: A Million Little Pieces is a book that promises to have a long-lasting impact.(from

About the Author
James Christopher Frey is an American writer. He graduated from Denison University and also attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His first memoir, A Million Little Pieces, was published by Nan Talese/Doubleday in spring 2003. Its follow-up, My Friend Leonard (also a memoir) was published by Riverhead in summer 2005. Both books became New York Times #1 bestsellers. In late 2005 and early 2006, The Smoking Gun and other investigators discovered that elements of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces, were untrue. Frey, along with his wife and daughter, currently resides in New York City. He is also one of the authors that share the pseudonym Pittacus Lore, author of the Lorien Legacies.

Read more!

Read free novels online: Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

Sons and Lovers is a 1913 novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. The modern library placed in ninth on their list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.

The third published novel of D. H. Lawrence, taken by many to be his earliest masterpiece, tells the story of Paul Morel, a young man and budding artist. Richard Aldington explains the semi-autobiographical nature of this masterpiece:

When you have experienced Sons and Lovers you have lived through the agonies of the young Lawrence striving to win free from his old life. Generally, it is not only considered as an evocative portrayal of working-class life in a mining community, but also an intense study of family, class and early sexual relationships.[citation needed]

The original 1913 edition was heavily edited by Edward Garnett who removed 80 passages, roughly a tenth of the text. The novel is dedicated to Garnett. Garnett, as the literary advisor to the publishing firm Duckworth, was an important figure in leading Lawrence further into the London literary world during the years 1911 and 1912. It was not until the 1992 Cambridge University Press edition was released that the missing text was restored.

Lawrence began working on the novel in the period of his mother's illness, and often expresses this sense of his mother's wasted life through his female protagonist Gertrude Morel. Letters written around the time of its development clearly demonstrate the admiration he felt for his mother - viewing her as a 'clever, ironical, delicately moulded woman' - and her apparently unfortunate marriage to his coal mining father, a man of 'sanguine temperament' and instability. He believed that his mother had married below her class status. Rather interestingly, Lydia Lawrence wasn't born into the middle-class.[clarification needed] This personal family conflict experienced by Lawrence provided him with the impetus for the first half of his novel - in which both William, the older brother, and Paul Morel become increasingly contemptuous of their father - and the subsequent exploration of Paul Morel's antagonizing relationships with both his lovers, which are both invariably affected by his allegiance to his mother.

The first draft of Lawrence's novel is now lost and was never completed, which seems to be directly due to his mother's illness. He did not return to the novel for three months, at which point it was titled 'Paul Morel'. The penultimate draft of the novel coincided with a remarkable change in Lawrence's life, as his health was thrown into tumult and he resigned his teaching job in order to spend time in Germany. This plan was never followed, however, as he met and married the German minor aristocrat, Frieda Weekley. According to Frieda's account of their first meeting, she and Lawrence talked about Oedipus and the effects of early childhood on later life within twenty minutes of meeting.

The third draft of 'Paul Morel' was sent to the publishing house Heinemann, which was repulsively responded to by William Heinemann himself. His reaction captures the shock and newness of Lawrence's novel, 'the degradation of the mother [as explored in this novel], supposed to be of gentler birth, is almost inconceivable', and encouraged Lawrence to redraft the novel one more time. In addition to altering the title to a more thematic 'Sons and Lovers', Heinemann's response had reinvigorated Lawrence into vehemently defending his novel and its themes as a coherent work of art. In order to justify its form Lawrence explains, in letters to Garnett, that it is a 'great tragedy' and a 'great book', one that mirrors the 'tragedy of thousands of young men in England'.

Lawrence rewrote the work four times until he was happy with it. Although before publication the work was usually called Paul Morel, Lawrence finally settled on Sons and Lovers. Just as the new title makes the work less focused on a central character, many of the later additions broadened the scope of the work, thereby making the work less autobiographical. While some of the edits by Garnett were on the grounds of propriety or style, others would once more narrow the emphasis back upon Paul.

Part I:

The refined daughter of a "good old burgher family," Gertrude Coppard meets a rough-hewn miner at a Christmas dance and falls into a whirlwind romance. But soon after her marriage to Walter Morel, she realizes the difficulties of living off his meagre salary in a rented house. The couple fight and drift apart and Walter retreats to the pub after work each day. Gradually, Mrs. Morel's affections shift to her sons beginning with the oldest, William.

As a boy, William is so attached to his mother that he doesn't enjoy the fair without her. As he grows older, he defends her against his father's occasional violence. Eventually, he leaves their Nottinghamshire home for a job in London, where he begins to rise up into the middle class. He is engaged, but he detests the girl's superficiality. He dies and Mrs. Morel is heartbroken, but when Paul catches pneumonia she rediscovers her love for her second son.

Part II:

Both repulsed by and drawn to his mother, Paul is afraid to leave her but wants to go out on his own, and needs to experience love. Gradually, he falls into a relationship with Miriam, a farm girl who attends his church. The two take long walks and have intellectual conversations about books but Paul resists, in part because his mother looks down on her. At work, Paul meets Clara Dawes who has separated from her husband, Baxter.

Paul leaves Miriam behind as he grows more intimate with Clara, but even she cannot hold him and he returns to his mother. When his mother dies soon after, he is alone.

Lawrence summarized the plot in a letter to Edward Garnett on 12 November 1912:

It follows this idea: a woman of character and refinement goes into the lower class, and has no satisfaction in her own life. She has had a passion for her husband, so her children are born of passion, and have heaps of vitality. But as her sons grow up she selects them as lovers — first the eldest, then the second. These sons are urged into life by their reciprocal love of their mother — urged on and on. But when they come to manhood, they can't love, because their mother is the strongest power in their lives, and holds them. It's rather like Goethe and his mother and Frau von Stein and Christiana — As soon as the young men come into contact with women, there's a split. William gives his sex to a fribble, and his mother holds his soul. But the split kills him, because he doesn't know where he is. The next son gets a woman who fights for his soul — fights his mother. The son loves his mother — all the sons hate and are jealous of the father. The battle goes on between the mother and the girl, with the son as object. The mother gradually proves stronger, because of the ties of blood. The son decides to leave his soul in his mother's hands, and, like his elder brother go for passion. He gets passion. Then the split begins to tell again. But, almost unconsciously, the mother realizes what is the matter, and begins to die. The son casts off his mistress, attends to his mother dying. He is left in the end naked of everything, with the drift towards death. (from wikipedia)

About the Author
David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English writer of the 20th century, whose prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, literary criticism and personal letters. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, human sexuality and instinct.

Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his "savage pilgrimage." At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation." Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical "great tradition" of the English novel. He is now generally valued as a visionary thinker and a significant representative of modernism in English literature, although some feminists object to the attitudes toward women and sexuality found in his works. (from Goodreads)

Part One
Chapter I. The Early Married Life of the Morels
Chapter II. The Birth of Paul, and Another Battle
Chapter III. The Casting Off of Morel--The Taking on of William
Chapter IV. The Young Life of Paul
Chapter V. Paul Launches into Life
Chapter VI. Death in the Family
Part Two
Chapter VII. Lad-and-Girl Love
Chapter VIII. Strife in Love
Chapter IX. Defeat of Miriam
Chapter X. Clara
Chapter XI. The Test on Miriam
Chapter XII. Passion
Chapter XIII. Baxter Dawes
Chapter XIV. The Release
Chapter XV. Derelict

Read more!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: The Mercy of Thin Air

The Mercy of Thin AirThe Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is different from all the books I've read since it's about the experiences of a spirit or a ghost per se. I find it interesting and I kind of liked to read that love transcends all even the after life. It is a good read.

View all my reviews

In 1920s New Orleans, smart and fearless Raziela Nolan is in the throes of a magnificent love affair when she suddenly dies in a tragic accident. Immediately after her death, she chooses to stay between - a realm that exists after life and before whatever lies beyond it. From this remarkable vantage point, Razi narrates the story of her lost love, as well as the relationship of Amy and Scott, a young couple whose house she haunts seventy years later. Their trials finally compel Razi to slowly unravel the mystery of what happened to her first and only love, Andrew, and to confront a long-hidden secret." The Mercy of Thin Air entwines two tragic and redemptive love stories that echo across three generations and culminates in a startling finish that will leave readers breathless. From plucky, forward-thinking Razi, who illegally slips birth control guides into library books, to hip Web designer Amy, who begins to fall off the edge of grief, to Eugenia, caught between since the Civil War, the characters in this ambitious and original debut sing with life, as well as Southern flair. (from

About the Author:
Ronlyn Domingue's debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, received critical acclaim and was acquired in 11 other countries. Currently, she's working on her second book and writing nonfiction for the online magazine, The Nervous Breakdown. Her short stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Delta Review, The Independent (UK), Shambhala Sun, and (from

Read more!


Related Posts with Thumbnails