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Title: Grand Avenue
Author: Joy Fielding
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 399
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: Looking back, it seemed like paradise: livesfilled with the blessings of friendship, marriage, children, and career. For twenty years, four friends -- Chris, Barbara, Susan, and Vicki -- shared everything and faced the challenges of life and love head-on. Now, one sits alone to ponder the strange twists of fate and circumstance. Now, she must sift through the past to discover exactly what went wrong, how dreams turned to nightmares as friendships faded and lives were destroyed....

Review: I went into this book thinking it would be something The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney (which I LOVE), and I think that's why I ended up being somewhat disappointed by it. The Saving Graces is a heartwarming, life-reaffirming novel about friendship, Grand Avenue... not so much.

From the very beginning you know that it's going to end badly, but not how or why, which makes for discomforting reading. The label on the back says, "Warning! You won't be able to put this book down till the last page is turned." and that is very true - you HAVE to know what happens next. It's a powerful book, and extremely well written, even if some parts made me want to turn my head away in disgust and/or horror.

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Title: The Last Battle
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: Audiobook, read by Patrick Stewart
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: The last battle is the greatest battle of all. Narnia... where lies breed fear... where loyalty is tested... where all hope seems lost. During the last days of Narnia, the land faces its fiercest challenge - not an invader from without but an enemy from within. Lies and treachery have taken root, and only the king and a small band of loyal followers can prevent the destruction of all they hold dear in this, the magnificent ending to the Chronicles of Narnia.

Review: I love this book for the fact that it makes me feel so homesick for Heaven. The last two chapters moves me every time I read them - especially Aslan's final words to Lucy: "The term is over, the holidays have begun. The dream is ended. This is the morning." It gives me chills just to write them.

The plot is nothing special - probably the weakest of the 7 actually - and it always takes me awhile to get into it, as I don't consider the story as having "started properly" until the kids arrive in Narnia. I'm glad this book shows the return of the Pevensies (Lucy has always been my favourite character), but am always deeply troubled by "The Problem of Susan" - it is beyond me how she who was THERE at the stone table, could deny Narnia like that. It is a comfort to know that it was only Narnia that ended - not our world, and that she may still have another chance.

(If you want to read an excellent fanfic on that topic, I highly recommend The Queen's Return by [livejournal.com profile] honorh.)

Patrick Stewart was mostly a good narrator, but unfortunately he sometimes went overboard in doing voices which could make some of the characters a tad difficult to understand.

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Title: Tonni på tourné (Tonni on Tour)
Author: Estrid Ott
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 141 pages
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: 16-year-old Tonni gets permission to tour the country together with her mother, the famous singer Mrs. Mønster. Her curiosity and zest for life causes her to get involved in all sorts of adventure and meet new friends whereever she goes. Among these are a group of travelling actors, whom she ends up playing a number of pranks on, and the young Otto Birk, who ends up her good friend and knight in shining armour.

Review: A childhood favourite of mine. I know it practically by heart, yet I still get the urge to read it from time to time. It's quickly read (I think it took me an hour - perhaps an hour and a half), but it's time well spent. Tonni is absolutely delightful, and though somewhat unrealistic, it's a captivating plot, and a cosy way to spend an evening.

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Title: The Music Teacher
Author: Barbara Hall
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 291
Date read: April, 2009

Review: I'll say it straight out - this is not your ordinary book. If you come looking for a traditional plot with a climax and a resolution, you'll be disappointed for The Music Teacher has neither. Instead it has characterisations, thoughts, memories and most importantly, atmosphere.

Pearl Swain really wanted to be a professional violinist, but she started taking lessons too late, and thus never moved beyond "pretty good". Instead she works at a music shop, and gives lessons to other hopefuls with the dream of finding at least one student who'll head towards a more successful future. She thinks she has found such a student in Hallie Bolaris – a moody teenager to whom music seems to come as easily as breathing comes to the rest of us – but as Hallie in turns confides in Pearl and then pushes her away, Pearl starts to suspect she is hiding a dreadful secret.

Contrary to what I originally thought, the story of Hallie isn't the focal point of The Music Teacher, and the lack of a resolution is frustrating. Instead Hallie is used to set the rest of Pearl's life into perspective, and cast a light on some of the choices she makes.

I have a hard time deciding what I think of the book. My first impression wasn't too favourable, as I couldn't figure out what Barbara Hall wanted to convey to her readers. The lack of plot threw me off. But after having thought about it for awhile, I'm beginning to think that this was her intention. This was never meant to be a cut-and-dried tale with a definite beginning and end, but instead a brief look into another person's life – a life we may or may not be able to relate to, but which demands to be noticed. Pearl is fascinated by biographies, and here we are given a few chapters of hers.

The Music Teacher is somewhat out of my comfort zone, as I tend to prefer having my questions answered, but it's undoubtedly a book that will stay with me for awhile – I'm finding it harder to 'shake it' than I thought I would.

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Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer
Genre: Fiction, ww2
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 240
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island--boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Review: This is a comfort book of the best kind. It's cosy, it's funny, it's well-written and the characters are delightful. In atmosphere it reminds me of many of the books by Estrid Ott - one of my favourite Danish authors.

I've always loved reading books made up of letters, so that's an added bonus to this book, and through those letters I fell completely in love with the different characters - especially Juliet and Kit. Also, reading about WW2 has always fascinated me, so learning about a new, and lesser known aspect of the war was very interesting.

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Title: The Silver Chair
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: Audiobook
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: A prince imprisoned - a country in peril. Narnia... where giants wreak havoc.... where evil weaves a spell... where enchantment rules. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, a noble band of friends are sent to rescue a prince held captive. But their mission to Underland brings them face-to-face with an evil more beautiful and more deadly than they ever expected.

Review: I have to admit the narrator here annoyed me a bit (I've forgotten his name - sorry. I'll look it up if anybody's interested), because while good otherwise he kept saying Aslan with a long second a, which just sounded all wrong to me.

Otherwise I loved the book as much as always. There's a lot more frustration and regrets in this one than any of the others, but I absolutely adore Puddleglum :) And the bit on Aslan's mountain at the end it just beautiful.

What struck me as... if not odd, then at least interesting, is that TLTWTW is the only Narnia book where the kids get to stay for any length of time. In all the others, they're sent back to our world almost immediately after having completed their task. It seems a bit too quest like. I could imagine especially the Pensieves would have liked to be back "home" for longer periods of time... even if 1000 years had gone by between the first two times.

...but perhaps that's just my adult sentiments talking.

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Title: Addition
Author: Toni Jordan
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 217
Date read: April, 2009

Summary:Grace Lisa Vandenburg counts.
The letters in her name (19). The steps she takes every morning to the local café (920); the number of poppy seeds on her orange cake, which dictates the number of bites she'll take to finish it. Grace counts everything, because numbers hold the world together.

Seamus Joseph O'Reilly (also a 19, with the sexiest hands Grace has ever seen) thinks she might be better of without the counting. If she could hold down a job, say. Or open her cupboards without conducting an inventory, or make a sandwich containing an unknown number of beansprouts. And if the man she felt closest to wasn't Nikola Tesla, the inventor of electricity.

Grace's problem is that Seamus doesn't count. Her other problem is... he does.

Review: (I kept reading the title as Addiction rather than Addition!) Plotwise a very non-descript novel based on the typical chick-lit idea of "girl meets boy, girl and boy fall in love, girl and boy break up, girl and boy get back together again". I might even have found it rather dull, if it hadn't been for the way Grace counted and calculated... EVERYTHING. I know it was a disabling compulsion, but it was also extremely fascinating to read about.

What annoyed me about the book was that when Grace took the initiative to do something about her compulsion she became even LESS able to function in society, yet nobody seemed to think there was any way wrong with how she was acting, because "at least she wasn't counting any longer". Why must it be so black and white?

Another problem was all the extra information about Nikola Tesla (don't read this book if you watch Mythbusters - she quotes something that's been proved a myth) - at times I wondered if the author really wanted to write a biography, but didn't have quite enough material for it.

Good enough book, but not one I'd rush to recommend.

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Title: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: Audiobook
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: NARNIA... the world of wicked dragons and magic spells, where the very best is brought out of even the worst people, where anything can happen (and most often does)... and where the adventure begins. The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Miraz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan's country at the End of the World.

Review: Next to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, this is my favourite Narnia book. I really like Caspian, and while I miss Peter and Susan, I enjoy following the slow change in Eustace.

For the first time ever I found myself annoyed with the wizard though. It's pretty arrogant of him to leave the Dufflepuds as they are just because he thinks they look better that way. Can't remember ever having been bothered by that before.

The voyage over the eastern-most sea was beautifully described. Made me want to be right there with them.

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Title: The Thirteen Treasures
Author: Michelle Harrison
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 326
Date read: April, 2009

Review: Tanya isn't your average girl - she has the second sight. For as long as she could remember, she had been able to see fairies. Unfortunately it wasn't always pleasant, and some of these fairies were decidedly nasty to her, if they thought she was doing something that might lead to their discovery.

Forced to spend the summer vacation with her grandmother, Tanya's life seems to go from bad to worse. Her grandmother doesn't want her around, and neither does the groundskeeper, whose son, Fabian, is a real pest. To make matters worse, her grandmother's house is absolutely crawling with fairies.

But there is a mystery surrounding the woods around the house. 50 years ago a young girl disappeared in them. Fabian's grandfather was accused of the murder, and now Fabian is determined to prove him innocent - and he needs Tanya's help to do so.

In her debut novel Michelle Harrison goes back to the idea that fairies aren't always the delightful and helpful little creatures Walt Disney would like to have us believe. Instead she goes back to the original folklore where the people of the Unseelie Court can be downright vicious, and humans had to watch out that their children weren't changelings. It's a refreshing change and gives the book a more "realistic" feel than the usual fairytales.

I enjoyed "The Thirteen Treasures" very much, even if the ending did trouble me more than I would have liked. I can see why it had to end that way though, and have great hopes for the sequel.

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Title: House of Stairs
Author: William Sleator
Genre: Horror, Sci-fi, YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 196
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: One by one, five sixteen-year-old orphans are brought to a strange building. It is not a prison, not a hospital; it has no walls, no ceiling, no floor. Nothing but endless flights of stairs leading nowhere -- except back to a strange red machine. The five must learn to love the machine and let it rule their lives. But will they let it kill their souls? This chilling, suspenseful indictment of mind control is a classic of science fiction and will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

Review: A troubling book about an all-too-believable future. It was fascinating and horrifying to see how the five kids reacted to their imprisonment and the conditioning... and frightening to contemplate how I, myself, might have reacted.

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Title: The Innocent Mage
Author: Karen Miller
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 608
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: "The Innocent Mage is come, and we stand at the beginning of the end of everything."

Being a fisherman like his father isn't a bad life, but it's not the one that Asher wants. Despite his humble roots, Asher has grand dreams. And they call him to Dorana, home of princes, beggars'and the warrior mages who have protected the kingdom for generations.

Little does Asher know, however, that his arrival in the city is being closely watched by members of the Circle, people dedicated to preserving an ancient magic.

Asher might have come to the city to make his fortune, but he will find his destiny.

Review: Asher is a refreshing change to the common fantasy hero - he's neither a long-long son of some king somewhere, nor a diamond in the rough. He's merely rough. The unpolished fisherman who travels to the great city to work for a year, in order to earn money for his old dad. He says what he means and means what he says - and doesn't stop to think that perhaps he should occasionally phrase his comments more politely, in order not to ruffle any fancy feathers.

I really enjoyed the book. The relationship between Asher and Prince Gar (half professional, half friendly) was interesting to follow, and rang true, as both realised that no fisherman could truly be a prince's equal, and a friendship would therefore always be lopsided. I liked that Karen Miller didn't let magic constantly "save the day" but allowed the characters and their personalities carry the plot.

My main reason for not giving the book full "marks" is that it ended with a bit too much of a cliff-hanger. Karen Miller pulled no punches... and then left us hanging. It always frustrates me when a book isn't 'self-contained', and that cost it a star... doesn't mean I'm not still eagerly (and impatiently!) awaiting the next instalment in the series though.

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Title: Pirates of the Relentless Desert
Author: Jay Amory
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 396
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: The Groundlings are under attack. Approaching in darkness in huge airships, Airborn pirates are raiding refineries and pillaging Groundling factories - taking by force the supplies which used to be offered as a tribute to the winged 'gods'. And the Groundlings are getting ready to defend themselves.

Above the clouds, Mr Mordadson is dispatched to Redspire, the heart of the piracy, to solve the problems however necessary and put an end to the piracy ...and taking the armed Airship Cerulean - with Az Gabrielson as Captain - with him. But even on the ship there is unrest. Flight Lieutenant Wallimson hates Az, and plots to do whatever he can to undermine the wingless boy.

On the ground, unrest at Redspire is the last thing on Cassie's mind. The family business has been destroyed by contact with the Airborn, and they scrape a precarious living taking Airborn tourists on tours. But as trouble is stirred up between the Groundlings and Airborn things go from bad to worse for Cassie. And then her father goes missing...

Review: I think it's probably because I was ill while reading the first book in the series, and therefore a bit out of it, but I actually thought this was quite a bit better. There was more action, and I found it a lot more difficult to put it down (but the last part is probably especially due to being ill).

I have to admit though, I found Az' story line a LOT more captivating that that of the Grubdollars. They just didn't interest me all that much. Thankfully the focus kept switching back and forth between the plot lines, so I never got bored with either one, but up until they met, it was clear which one of them I preferred.

The one disadvantage of Book Two as compared to Book One is that it's clearly not meant to stand on its own. Whereas Book One was completely self-contained, Book Two obviously makes way for a sequel and leaves a number of threads hanging to be picked up there. Thankfully none that left the book un-concluded (my biggest pet peeve in series), but enough that I wish the third book was actually available.

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Title: Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
Author: Anne Lamott
Genre: Christian non-fiction, memoir
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 288
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: For most writers, the greatest challenge of spiritual writing is to keep it grounded in concrete language. The temptation is to wander off into the clouds of ethereal epiphanies, only to lose readers with woo-woo thinking and sacred-laced clichés. Thankfully, Anne Lamott knows better.

Whether she's writing about airplane turbulence, bulimia, her "feta cheese thighs," or consulting God over how to parent her son, Lamott keeps her spirituality firmly planted in solid scenes and believable metaphors. As a result, this is a richly satisfying armchair-travel experience, highlighting the tender mercies of Lamott's life that nudged her into Christian faith.

Review: This is a difficult book for me to review, because I had no expectations going in, and no real understanding of the authors intentions coming out. As a memoir it was brilliant - interestingly written and engaging. I guess the problem is that I'm too used to Christian non-fiction being meant as books of teaching - that I'm supposed to learn something new about Christianity from them. I didn't here, but that's not because it was badly written or too "simple", but because that simply didn't seem to be the purpose of the book.

It's a great story of one woman's walk with Christ. As it was I couldn't use or recognise too many of her experiences, but if my situation in life had been more like hers, I think it would have been a lot more poignant.

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Title: A Deadly Habit
Author: Andrea Sisco
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 270 pages
Date read: April, 2009

Review: Pen always wanted to be a Catholic as a child, so when she comes to Father Daniel with a really outrageous confession, it doesn't take long for him to a) figure out who she is, and b) assume her confession is as fabricated as they were when she visited his church as a child. Breaking into her soon-to-be- ex' house? Finding him murdered on the floor? Being wanted by the police for that specific reason? Come on, who'd fall for that??

Unfortunately for Pen, this was actually exactly what happened and as the police seem convinced that she's "guilty until proven innocent", Pen needs all the help she can get. Father Daniel helps her get a lawyer, and the three of them, together with Pen's sister (who actually did turn Catholic and become a nun - yes, Pen's sister is a Sister) tries to keep Pen out of jail until the real culprit is found. Unfortunately, Pen believes that the best way to do that is to find the murderer by herself, causing her situation to steadily keep going from bad to worse, as she is almost caught breaking into a judge's house, has her flat broken into and is personally assaulted by - presumably - mug-hired thugs while simultaneously having to put up with her mother-in-law's accusations and trying to avoid her own over-protective mother.

A Deadly Habit is an interesting whodunnit that had me turning pages until the very end. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, and especially fell in love with Pen's devil-may-care attitude, and her father-in-law's desperate attempts to reconcile Pen and his wife.

My main reason for not rating the book higher was that I felt the ending came a bit out of the blue. There were certain clues, but very vague and easily dismissed, both by the reader and by Pen, until it all suddenly came to a head. I would have appreciated a better build-up, so that the ending hadn't felt as such a stroke of luck, but had given the reader a chance to guess as well.

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Title: The Horse And His Boy
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: Audiobook
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: Shasta is a young boy living in Calormene with a cruel man who claims to be his father. One night he overhears his "father" offering to sell him as a slave, so Shasta makes a break and sets out for the North. He meets Bree, a talking horse who becomes his companion. On their way they encounter Aravis, a high-born girl escaping an arranged marriage, and her talking horse. Despite their differences the children and horses learn to work together to reach the freedom they long for. In the meantime, they uncover a Calormene plot to conquer Narnia.

Review: This has always been my least favourite Narnia book, and I therefore hadn't read it in YEARS. I recently got hold of the entire series as audiobooks, and figured it was time to give it a second chance.

Still definitely my least favourite of the books. It just doesn't seem 'right' that so little of the action takes place in Narnia, and Aslan is almost not in it at all. I think I'd love it as a book in its own rights, but as a Narnia chronicle? Nope, not good enough.

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Title: Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading
Author: Maureen Corrigan
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 184
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: As book reviewer for NPR's Fresh Air and contributor to many publications, Maureen Corrigan literally reads for a living. For as long as she can remember, books have been at the center of her life, a never-failing source of astonishment, hard truths, new horizons, and welcome companionship. Now Corrigan has added a volume of her own to the shelf of classics, by reading her life of reading with all the attention to complexity, wit, and intelligence that any good book - or life - deserves.

Review: This is the longest 184-page book I've ever read. I think it took me more than a month to finish, because the writing was just... not captivating is the best way to put it, I guess.

I'd been waiting to get my hands on it for ages, so it was a huge disappointment not to enjoy it, but I just didn't think it was very well written. There was no discernible red thread, and it seemed very random which books Maureen Corrigan chose to write about. I really couldn't figure out what she was trying to say to her readers.

The reasons I did end up finishing it after all was part stubbornness and part research. If I ever should end up writing a book (as highly unlikely as that sounds), it would be something in this genre. Always good to know which pitfalls to stay away from.

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Title: My Swordhand is Singing
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Genre: Paranormal, YA
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 220
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: Tomas and Peter are humble woodcutters, burying themselves in the woodlands outside of Chust, a small town hemmed in by the darkness of the great forest. They share everything in the sparse area, except for the past behind one secret. A long wooden box belonging to Tomas. Peter is never allowed to look within his father's box, but as strange occurrences herald the coming of the winter, the contents prove more important than he ever could have known. A man of Chust is slain... and then another... and then another. In horribly gruesome ways. But no one will acknowledge it as a terrible magic until the coming of the gypsies. Peter and an enigmatic, alluring Gypsy girl enter into several long deep nights of terror and discovery in a story of vampires, night queens, and deep winter.

Review: I had no clue what to expect upon starting this book, yet for some reason I'd gotten the idea that I wouldn't be impressed by it. I think it must have been a mixture of the cover, the lack of a blurb on the back of the book, and just the general 'feel' of the book in my hand. I'm not saying it makes sense, I'm just saying that that's how I went into the book. After the first couple of chapters I was ready to give up on it as a lost cause, but as I'd been asked to read it with an eye on translating it to Danish, I figured I owed it to my boss to stick it out for a bit longer.

I did, and I'm glad. Before I knew it I was sucked deeply into the story, and couldn't put it down until the last page was turned. It's a different take on the vampire legend, but a lot closer to the original of Dracula than most of the YA novels having been published lately. Marcus Sedgwick kept a distance to his characters - something which usually frustrates me, because it means I can't feel sympathetic to them, but here it added to the feeling of eeriness and the sinister atmosphere, and therefore worked really well.

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Title: Insomnia
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 539
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: Ralph Roberts hasn't been sleeping well lately. Every morning he wakes just a little bit earlier until pretty soon, he isn't sleeping at all. It wouldn't be so bad if not for the strange hallucinations--and the nightmares that keep coming to life.

Review: The best Stephen King book I've read so far, and I totally wasn't expecting that. I'd stumbled across it on my SIL's shelves, but as I'd never actually heard of it before (it's not one of the books most often mentioned when talking about SK), I wasn't expecting it to blow me away. To my great surprise I ended up being unable to put it down, which is definitely a first for a SK novel.

The plot was good, the characters interesting, and the ending satisfying. That's basically all I ask for in a book :-)

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Title: The Tea House on Mulberry Street
Author: Sharon Owen
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 357
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: Muldoon's Tea Rooms, beloved for the cozy atmosphere and luscious desserts, has started looking a bit outdated-and the same could be said about the proprietors, Penny and Daniel Stanley. After seventeen years, their marriage has started to wear a little thin, even as their old shop bustles with the energy of the customers who seek refuge from their particular dilemmas, including a perpetually dieting housewife escaping her husband's betrayal; a starstruck, struggling artist; and a mysterious woman returning after twenty years abroad to search for a long-lost someone.

Behind the chocolate cappuccinos are the stirrings of a revolution that will redefine lives, heal troubled hearts, and rock the very foundation of the humble tea house-and through it all, Penny and Daniel manage to discover what truly matters in life... and in love.

Review: I was in need of some light Sunday-afternoon reading, and this fit the bill perfectly. It's nothing special plot-wise, but good for a cozy afternoon, where you just want to disappear into a book for a couple of hours with no special effort needed.

In style, the book is very similar to a lot of Maeve Binchy's work, although Sharon Owen doesn't possess quite the same charm and freshness as is so typical for Binchy's books. Some of the plot-lines had a bit too much 'tell' and a bit too little 'show', and I therefore felt less sympathetic to those characters than some of the others.

It's obviously not meant as great literature, but as a feel-good novel to while a couple of hours away

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Title: Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye
Author: Kaza Kingsley
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 343
Date read: April, 2009

Summary: Enter Alypium, a hidden world within our own where our old knowledge of magic is kept and strange and fantastical creatures abound. It is a beautiful and mystical place, but things are caving in. The king is hypnotized and his castle turned on its side. The very Substance that holds things together has gone awry, and whispers tell of evil plans to destroy everything. Twelve year old Erec Rex has been yanked out of the world as we know it and thrown unwillingly into this mess. As he learns how to get by in this strange world he also discovers some truths about himself ... and must learn the power of trust and love in order to save his mother, and all of Alypium.

Review: Charming YA fantasy that in style seems very much like an alternative Harry Potter with a lot of Terry Pratchett humour thrown in. Actually it was the last part that made it loose a couple of marks for me. I'm not too big a fan of Terry Prachett's style because he tends to try to cram too much humour into too little text, and it therefore becomes disruptive to the plot. I found the same to be the case in the beginning of this book, but it may just have been Kaza Kingsley introducing the universe and "getting into her stride", because it improved greatly the further I got into the novel.

It was obviously meant as the first book in a series, as there were a lot of questions left unanswered, but thankfully no major cliff-hangers (my main pet peeve in series).

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