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Daggerspell (2003, Tandem Library) 4 stars

In a world beyond physical reality, Nevyn, the wandering and mysterious sorcerer who relinquished a …

Terrific gritty Celtic fantasy

5 stars

Kerr is among the best at fantasy storytelling and world-building. This book is the first of her Deverry cycle, in which she follows a group of souls through various incarnations in an early Celtic-type world. The story centers around a group of mercenaries called "silver daggers" for the distinctive weapon each fighter carries, obtainable only after being sworn to the band.

Other characters include a wizard, Nevyn; the young daughter (Jill) of one of the silver daggers. Adventure, magic, politics...they're all here in abundance and well-told. Highest recommendation!

Mystery of the Haunted Mine (Paperback, Scholastic Book Services) No rating

The Espectros...The Haunted Mountains! Somewhere in these canyons is a treasure...thousands of dollars worth of …

Fun YA mystery

No rating

Fun, suspenseful story of a group of teenage friends in the US southwest in the 1950s/1960s. Many times over the years they've heard the local rumors about hidden treasure in an abandoned mountain mine. It's reported to be guarded, however, by a mysterious character called "Asesino"( "Assassin"). Should they go looking for it?

I read this book several times as a young teen and loved it. My older brother had it around and I picked it up one day. Wish I could find it again at a reasonable price as I'd love to reread it! The author was good at creating a feeling of being in the US southwest and exploring old mountain mines. Great suspense!

Reading Lolita in Tehran (2004, Random House) 5 stars

Prof. Nafisi resigned from her job as professor of English Literature at a university in …

Review of 'Reading Lolita in Tehran' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I enjoyed this book. I've been trying to read more non-fiction and I thought this one would be good to get me back into the genre. It was! It's worth considering for any readers who like thoughtful conversations about culture, history, literature, or interpersonal relationships.

The book is structured as a memoir describing a group of young women studying Lolita together with Ms. Nafisi in 1990s Tehran. As the women met to discuss the novel, their exploration of its themes formed a framework for talk about their lives and how the politics and culture of Iran affected them.

I read Lolita a long time ago, so I'd forgotten a lot. Ms. Nafisi's memoir would give any reader a valuable literary analysis of Lolita, but it was also a truly rich depiction of women struggling with oppression on a personal level (Lolita and the book group members) and on a …

Ethan Frome (Paperback, 2015, Collins Classics) 5 stars

Ethan Frome toils at his New Enoland farm while struggling to maintain a bearable existence …

Review of 'Ethan Frome' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I expected to like this book because I loved the 1993 film with Liam Neeson and Patricia Arquette. The story a study of marriage and human nature with both great joy and great sadness.

Wharton is known for her commentaries on society. This book is a good starting place if you're looking to explore her writing, because it's not very long. She is fairly wordy with descriptions of feelings/emotions, so it's worth spending some time and not rushing through it, so you get to savor her beautiful prose. There are also some audiobook versions which are around 4 hours for the unabridged book.

This Tender Land (Hardcover, 2019, Atria Books) 5 stars

Review of 'This Tender Land' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Fantastic coming-of-age story in a historical setting. At first I wasn't sure I'd like it because I usually prefer books with female protagonists. This book featured mostly boys but the first few pages drew me in, and at that point it became unimportant whether the main character was male or female, because he was simply a beautifully-drawn human being.

To sum up, I'd say it's a little bit of a Huck Finn story around the time of the Great Depression in the US (1920s-30s) but with a darker angle. This angle is timely given the 2021 news stories about abuse of indigenous children in group homes and church-run schools in the US and Canada.

The main characters are two teenage boys who are White orphans in such a home (a fictional one). When a young girl on a neighboring farm gets pulled into the story through a tragedy, things take …

Review of 'Knife Children' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Another wonderful entry in The Sharing Knife series. Oleana stands with Middle-Earth, Earthsea, Deverry, and The Seven Kingdoms on my list of prime fantasy world destinations.

This story is shorter than previous series entries, and Fawn and Dag are mentioned only when affectionately remembered by the main character, Lakewalker mage Barr. He's a decade or so older than when we met him in earlier book [b:Passage|2112904|Passage (The Sharing Knife, #3)|Lois McMaster Bujold||2118314] [bc:Passage|2112904|Passage (The Sharing Knife, #3)|Lois McMaster Bujold||2118314] and as the title suggests, Knife Children takes us further into the nomadic world of Lakewalkers to learn about the outcome of Barr's earlier entanglement with a farmer woman.

Knife Children doesn't sacrifice depth or interest despite its relative brevity. Bujold continues to skillfully balance farmer and Lakewalker perspectives while relating the sagas of a well-constructed, engaging world.

If you liked the earlier books, you'll like this …

Vicki summers in Istanbul with her father and befriends an orphan named Adria, and the …

Review of 'Mystery of the Golden Horn' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I first read this book (and many of Ms. Whitney's) as a teenager and reread it recently as an adult. I wasn't disappointed - it was as great as I remembered! I wish these books were still easy to find for young girls now. Minus the internet and smartphones, the stories are still so relevant with themes of friendship, growing up, taking responsibility, and knowing oneself.

Among many beloved girlhood authors I especially like Ms. Whitney's writing because (like two other favorites, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Maud Hart Lovelace) she works so many aspects of world culture into the stories. Years later because of this book I remembered a portion of Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry and some geography of Istanbul and culture of Turkey. Indulging in a great story while becoming a slightly more well-rounded, culturally literate person - it doesn't get any better :-)

Leaving the seraglio and haremlik …