Friday, February 28, 2014

Mouse's Corner: The Circus, a Movie, and a Book About Monsters

February was a relatively laid back month for Mouse.  She is busy learning to identify her letters by sight and her games of pretend are becoming more elaborate.  Mama and Daddy have to play along, just not at the same time.  When she throws me out of her pink castle tent in favor of bringing her dad in, she always says reassuringly, "It'll be your turn again soon, Mama.  It's daddy's turn now."  We still hide and run from the "monster" or "bear", but also enjoy a pretend picnic, sometimes play doctor and often go on make believe trips.  We even have pretend birthday parties with presents and all.  

Three weeks ago, we were invited by Mouse's best friend to attend the circus which was in a nearby town.  Mouse was so excited--she still talks about it.  It was a lot of fun for both the girls, although it was next to impossible to keep Mouse in her seat.  She was not loud or out of control, but rather just wandered from her dad to me to her own seat which she shared with her friend and then sometimes to the aisle just in front of us. Thank goodness it was a family circus and so Mouse wasn't the only restless child.  There was only one ring, but so much was going on.

Something I hadn't thought of, but fortunately the other girl's mother had, was to take the girls aside before we went into the tent and explain to them that we adults would not be buying them anything sold inside.  So, despite the annoying tactics of the circus vendors of shoving items for sale in the children's faces while looking at the parents, neither girl asked for anything.  Whew.

I had my doubts after that afternoon about taking Mouse to see a movie in a movie theater, but I had talked it up so much, she was not happy when I mentioned to her dad that I didn't know if she was ready.  Of course she was ready! She wanted to see the movie about the two princesses and the snowman!  So, after everyone was back in good health again, this past Sunday, we went to see Frozen in the theater.  Her dad got her a giant tub of popcorn, which we all shared.    I had been warned it might be too scary for Mouse.  The abominable snowman was a fright, and Mouse had to step out for a few minutes until he was gone.  She enjoyed the experience of being in the movie theater overall though, and sat still through the entire production (except when we had to step out).    We followed the movie up with a late lunch at The Spaghetti Factory before heading home for an afternoon of make believe birthday parties.  

We are enjoying a quiet weekend before the whirlwind that will be next week.  Both Marty and I are sick again with colds, wouldn't you know it?  Next week Mouse has a dentist's appointment on Monday (her third--she's an old pro at this now), Disneyland later in the week (a birthday trip with just the three of us), and then two birthday parties (one with her friends and the other with family).  As a result, I will be scarce this next week around the blogosphere.   I am sure you understand.

Maggie and the Monster by Elizabeth Winthrop, illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Putnam Juvenile, 2007
Fiction (Children's); 32 pgs

I could not help but buy a copy of this book for my daughter for Christmas.  I wish I could remember which one of you blogged about this book--but it was thanks to you I found it.  For those who do not know, Mouse's name is Maggie.  She was quite adamant the first time I read her this book that the main character was not Maggie, couldn't be, because she is Maggie.  She pointed out that Maggie's bedroom was not her bedroom.  Immediately after finishing the book the first time, I was told to read it again. During the second reading, suddenly Mouse had decided she was in fact Maggie and the book was about her.

Maggie and the Monster has become one of Mouse's favorite books, and we read it quite often, usually right before bath time.  It's a cute story, about a little girl monster who disturbs Maggie in the night.  Maggie is frustrated, and tries to get the monster to go away.  When the monster won't leave, Maggie finally asks her what she wants.  And then Maggie tries to help the little monster find what she's looking for.  The illustrations are fun and I love the way the artist plays with the shadows and coloring.

We haven't yet looked for any of the other Maggie books, but I imagine I will be soon!

To share your children's book related posts stop by Booking Mama’s feature,
Kid Konnection and leave a comment as well as a link to your posts!

© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book to Movie: Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
William Morrow, 2009
Fiction; 244 pgs

Years ago, I read The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard, which dealt with the 9/11 terror attack.  It was a story about grief and learning to move on, and it was one that touched my heart.  Joyce Maynard is one of those authors I always meant to return to, but never managed to.  Until now. In part, that is due to the recent release of the movie.  I wanted to see the movie, but, like so many others, had this burning desire to read the book first.

Labor Day takes place in Holton Hills, New Hampshire.  For the young narrator and his mother, life is mostly about getting through each day.  Henry is thirteen years old, and in many ways typical.  He has wet dreams and is fascinated by the opposite sex, but is also confused by his feelings and thoughts.  He loves his mother fiercely, however, has spent most of his life trying to make her happy.  She's always so sad and doesn't have much interest in life outside her own house.  She rarely goes out, and does what she can to avoid it as often as possible.  His mother, Adele, hadn't always been depressed.  She once had been a dancer, full of dreams and of life. He loved listening to his mother's stories about her younger days.  Henry has no friends and escapes often in books and television.  His mother and father divorced years before, his father remarrying and starting a new family.  

The weekend before school is to start, Labor Day weekend, on a rare excursion to the store, Henry and his mother are approached by a man looking for a ride, preferably to their house where he can tend to his wounds and clean himself up.  Instinctively trusting the man, they allow him to come home with them.  Frank is a convicted murderer who has just escaped from custody.  He is upfront about who he is and his intentions, promising he means Adele and Henry no harm.

The novel takes place over the course of a week, the week in which Frank is with the family.  Frank reawakens something long lost in both Henry and Adele, and none of their lives will be the same after.

There is nothing rushed about this novel.  At least in terms of the writing or story.  There is great sadness in the novel, and my heart ached for Henry and his mother, Adele.  

Perhaps because of what I do for a living, I was less inclined to buy Frank's story at face value.  I wanted to trust him and like him just as Adele and Henry did, but I was always wary of him.  It is clear that Adele is deeply troubled.  What kind of mother brings a convicted murderer into her home willingly? The way Maynard built her characters and her story, I almost believed it could happen.  But only just almost.

I loved Maynard's writing in The Usual Rules and I love it in Labor Day.  I also liked the care she took in crafting her characters, how real they became as I read the novel, and how much reflection went into their thoughts and actions.  Henry, as the narrator, of course, is at the heart of the novel and he definitely stole mine.  I could feel is uncertainty and frustration throughout the novel, and also his joy at having someone take such an interest in him--and not having to care for his mother for a short while.  What a relief that must have been.

After reading the book, I was excited about seeing the movie.  Kate Winslet was a wonderful choice to play Adele.  She was very believable as a woman suffering from Depression and social anxiety.  I enjoyed the movie for the most part.  The pacing seemed in line with the book.  It isn't a fast paced story, even given the subject matter.  It's less a suspense novel/movie as it is a more character driven one.  That isn't to say there is no suspense, however.  There's always that concern that Frank's hiding place will be discovered.

I liked that the movie built in more a sense of menace at the beginning of the film, making it more believable that Adele and Henry would take someone like Frank home.  There's an implied threat that I did not get from Frank's character in the book.

What I did not like about the movie, however, were the flashback scenes. Frank's story is mostly told in flashbacks, and for some reason, the movie makers decided to break those flashbacks into fragments, not necessarily revealing those fragments in order.  It made it confusing, even to someone who had read the book before hand.  I also felt not enough emphasis was given to Adele's past, the reason she was the way she was.  It's mentioned in the movie, but it seemed more like an after thought.

I am still glad I went to see the film, and even more so that I read the book. 

Rating of Book: * (Good +)

You can learn more about Joyce Maynard and her books on the author's website.

Source: I purchased the e-copy version of this book for my own reading pleasure.  I also purchased my own ticket to see the movie in a local theater.

© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Where Is Your Bookmark? (02/25/2014)

I have been out of the boot since around Valentine's Day.  Hooray!  It's such a relief not to have that extra weight on my leg.  My ankle seems to have healed fairly well.  It is still a bit sensitive and will be for awhile as it strengthens, from what the doctor says.  His biggest advice was to "go slow" and "take it easy."  I wonder if he actually believes that's possible because I am pretty sure it is not.

I am on a Michael Robotham binge at the moment.  I currently am reading my third book by him, this one called Say You're Sorry.  He writes crime fiction novels set in London, one of my favorite settings.I hadn't realized when I started reading the books that they featured some of the same characters.  Fortunately, the books read very much like stand alones, and so I do not feel lost or like I am beginning the series in the middle.

I am starting to get excited about my March reading plans.  I usually do not like to plan too far in advance, with the exception of the occasional tour.  My mood often dictates the direction my reading will go.  As I have mentioned before, Veronica Roth's Divergent is on the calendar for next month as is Ann Patchett's State of Wonder for Carrie of Books and Movies' "I've Always Meant to Read That Book!" Challenge, among others.

I commented on Twitter last week that I have been craving a book with that "wow" factor.  I seem to be reading fair to good books these days.  Good is great.  There's nothing wrong with good books.  But sometimes I want more from my reading, you know?  Andi of Estella's Revenge recommended The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, a book I had started once before, but couldn't get into.  It's gotten high praise from so many. I think this may be the year to try again.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it something you would recommend?

Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosts 
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where  
participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a 
book they are reading or thinking about reading soon.

For this week's Tuesday Teaser and First Chapter /Paragraph exercises, I grabbed a book recently added to the stack of books on my desk waiting to be read.  This is one I am particularly excited about.  Three Janie Chang's Souls is a historical fiction novel set in China, following the life of Leiyin as she reviews her life after death. In order to pass into the afterlife, she must make amends with her past.  The publisher describes the novel: "Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom."  Here is a taste of what's inside the cover:
We have three souls.  Or So I'd been told.
 But only in death could I confirm this.
The moment the priest spoke the last prayer and sealed my coffin, I awoke and floated upward in a slow drift of incense smoke, until I could travel no farther.  I settled in the rafters of the small temple, a sleepy wraith perched in the roof beams.  I had knowledge, but no memory.  My first thoughts were confused, for clearly this was the real world.  But surely I no longer belonged there.  When would I take my journey to the afterlife?
Would you continue reading?

Hosted by MizB Should Be Reading

© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bookish Thoughts: Ripper by Isabel Allende

"Mom is still alive, but she's going to be murdered at midnight on Good Friday, " Amanda Martin told the deputy chief, who didn't even think to question the girl; sh'ed already proved she knew more than he and all his colleagues in the Homicide put together. ~ First Sentence of Ripper

Ripper by Isabel Allende
Harper, 2014
Crime Fiction; 496 pgs

From the Publisher:
The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Yet, while their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda's father, she's reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her-Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco's elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL. 
While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature, like her father, the SFPD's Deputy Chief of Homicide. Brilliant and introverted, the MIT-bound high school senior is a natural-born sleuth addicted to crime novels and Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world.  
 When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, discovering, before the police do, that the deaths may be connected. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother's disappearance be linked to the serial killer? Now, with her mother's life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she's ever faced before it's too late.

Ripper was my first experience with Isabel Allende, and, as I understand it, her first foray into crime fiction.  I knew going in this would be a slower paced mystery/thriller type novel, and that is okay. I can appreciate a book that takes its time, one that spends a lot of time developing the characters, and setting up the story. Ripper opens with a rather heinous murder that is brought to the attention of a group of online role players, led by Amanda Martin, with her grandfather acting as her henchman who have decided to try their hand at solving real life crimes instead of their own make believe ones.  It's an interesting premise to say the least.  

The real story, however, lies with Indiana, Amanda, Martin, and Amanda's grandfather, with Indiana always at the center.  It makes sense given she is targeted by the killer--something revealed to the reader up front. What the reader doesn't know is why or how.  And so, Isabel Allende's novel, Ripper, unfolds.

The author spends much time describing Indiana's life and the people she encounters.  Each of those people play an important role in events to come, and I have to say, I appreciated the depth the author went into with each character, including the more eccentric and mysterious ones.  I especially liked how the author breathed life into her characters.  I really came to care for Amanda and her mother, Indiana.  Both were very different in terms of personality, but they are strong female leads, nonetheless.  I also really liked Amanda's grandfather--even though I did have to wonder at times how easily led by Amanda he was.

Ryan, the former Navy SEAL and his dog, were such interesting characters, especially given Ryan's past and the obstacles he had to overcome after losing his leg in battle.  The emotional turmoil he went through was palatable, especially given the psychological aspects of what he'd been through--and done. And the dog, a war hero in her own right. Atilla's own story was very moving.  I loved that dog.

I wish the author had allowed the reader to spend more time with the Ripper group in general.  They were an interesting group of kids, misfits really, each bringing their own knowledge and skills to the table.

At times I felt as if the author threw just about everything, including the kitchen sink, she could into this novel--and, somehow, it worked, mostly.  Allende is clearly a gifted storyteller.  Just about everything she includes in this novel has a purpose.  And while some threads of the story were stronger than others, some more necessary than others, it made for an interesting and entertaining novel.

It took a while for the mystery to unravel, and very little happens over the first half of the novel in terms of the actual solving of the crime.  I did wish the story hadn't meandered quite as much in the middle as it did. Nothing a tightening of the plot couldn't resolve.  The biggest trouble I had with the book, at it was a big one for me, was near the end.  Not the end itself, mind you, but the way the author revealed the who and why of the mystery.  The suspense was intense and the edge of your seat kind.  I did not mind the slow down as the point of view changed from the good guys to the bad.  Writing devices like that only increase the suspense. What bothered me was the repetition.  As the good guys uncovered major bits of the mystery, the view would shift to the killer, who would then go over the same information without much more insight than I, as the reader, had already been given. It happened again and again, enough the throw me out of the story.  Still, the ending is, like I said, intense and quite a ride.  It was a fitting ending to the novel overall.

And can I just add how much I loved the setting of the novel?  San Francisco is one of my favorite cities.  I am always happy to spend time there, in person or in a book.

There was much I liked about this book even as there were some aspects I had trouble with.  I am curious about Allende's other books and hope to one day try something else by her.  So many others love her writing.  I want to too, but this wasn't a book that won be over.

Rating:   (Fair +)

To learn more about Isabel Allende and her books, please visit the author's website

I hope you will check out what others had to say about Ripper on the TLC Book Tours route!

Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. The publisher provided an e-copy of the book for review.

© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where Is Your Bookmark? (02/18/2014)

My household was struck down by illness again last week.  I felt especially bad for Mouse because she missed out on two birthday parties and her soccer class, which she loves.  Except for her lingering cough, she is feeling much better, as are my husband and I.  I am hoping we will all stay healthy from here on out, especially as Mouse's 3rd birthday approaches next month.  I'm in high planning mode at the moment, as you can imagine.  Mouse has wanted a pirate themed party for months now.  Then just the other day she announced that she is going to have a princess cake.  That's my girl for you.  I can't believe March is just around the corner!

At the moment I am reading a crime fiction novel by Michael Robotham called Bombproof.  It is a fast paced thriller about one very unlucky man on the run from authorities.  I picked it up to read after finally finishing Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale, which, by the way, I finished just in time to see the movie on opening day.  Whew.  I needed a more quick read to balance out the slower one.

I am not sure what I will read next.  I am eager to read A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby, another book recently translated to film.  The movie comes out in early March.  I also want to read Divergent by Veronica Roth, but I admit I am feeling a little gun shy of young adult fantasy type novels at the moment.  Still, with the movie deadline approaching next month, I am hoping to fit it in soon.  Since I seem to be doing less re-discovery of old favorite authors and more book to movie reads so far this year, maybe I should change my reading goal for the year.  On second thought, it is still early in the year.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it something you would recommend?

Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosts 
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where  
participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a 
book they are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Bombproof by Michael Robotham is proving to be quite a roller coaster ride.  Here's a look at the opening of the novel:
Some days are diamonds.  Some days are stones.  John Denver used to sing that before he crashed his plane into Monterey Bay.  It wasn't a diamond day for him.
Sami Macbeth's day has been nothing but stones.  Emerging from Oxford Circus Underground, he blinks into the sunlight and coughs so hard it feels as if he sphincter is coming up through his lungs looking for clean air.  His clothes are torn and bloody.  His face is streaked with sweat.  his skin is coated in dust. 

Would you continue reading?

Hosted by MizB Should Be Reading

And a little teaser from the same book (last sentence of the first chapter):
Three days ago he walked out of prison and swore he'd never go back.  Thirty-six hours ago he was shagging Kate Tierney, the woman of his wet dreams, in a suite at the Savoy thinking life was looking up.  Now he's carrying a rucksack that could send him to prison for the rest of his life through the West End of London and he's turned himself into the most wanted man in Britain.

© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Bookish Thoughts: The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley

Birthdays are supposed to be happy occasions, so Eve plans a party.  ~ Opening to The Deepest Secret

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley
Bantam, 2014
Crime Fiction; 448 pgs

From the Publisher:
Diagnosed with XP, a rare medical condition which makes him lethally sensitive to light, Tyler is a thirteen-year-old who desperately wants just one thing: to be normal. His mother Eve also wants just one thing: to protect her son. As Tyler begins roaming their cul-de-sac at night, cloaked in the safety of the darkness, he peers into the lives of the other families on the street-looking in on the things they most want hidden. Then, the young daughter of a neighbor suddenly vanishes, and Tyler may be the only one who can make sense of her disappearance…but what will happen when everyone's secrets are exposed to the light?
I did not know much about Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) going into this novel, nor how limiting survival with this genetic defect could be.  Not only does Tyler have to stay indoors during the daylight hours, but certain types of light, including from car headlights, can be detrimental to his health.  Extreme care must be taken for Tyler to get to doctor's appointments and the like. His mother, Eve, has gone out of her way to make life as comfortable and safe for her son as possible.  She's gotten most of the neighbors on their cul de sac to avoid halogen bulbs and advocated to get the street lights in their vicinity turned off.  She will take no chances at keeping her son safe--and alive.  

The Deepest Secret is an engrossing novel that takes the reader into the life of Tyler's family.  Tyler dreams of being a photographer, and often ventures out into the night without his family's knowledge to capture photographs of nature and life.  He peeks into the windows of his neighbors, and probably knows more about what goes on behind closed doors than anyone else.  His older sister, Melissa, is the "perfect" child.  The one without the genetic defect.  Her own life has begun to spiral out of control, something her mother doesn't at first realize.  Eve's attention and concern has always mostly fallen on Tyler.  She's had to play the role of father more often than not too, her husband living and working in another city, only coming home on the weekends or when he can.  

The novel is told from alternating viewpoints, giving the reader multiple perspectives into the lives of the Lattimore family.  The author takes her time setting up the story, making sure the reader has a clear and in-depth picture of the players involved.  As a result, The Deepest Secret is not a fast paced novel.  However, it was difficult to put down.  I became so invested in the characters, in their lives, and in their fate.  I felt for Eve's friend whose daughter was missing, and I felt for Eve and her family, who seemed to be at the center of it all.

I often forgot as I read just how young Tyler is--only 14.  At times he seemed older, and then he would do or say something that would remind me just how young and innocent he is.  I can't imagine living like he does, how lonely an existence he has, even with his few friends.  And to know that your life could be cut short any day . . .

I did not warm to Eve, Tyler's mother, right away.  It's easy to see why the neighbors and outsiders might have a poor attitude about her, given her obsession with keeping her son safe.  She often has to be assertive and sometimes even aggressive about it.  As annoying as that might be, it's a necessary evil.  Wouldn't any of us do the same in most situations, knowing our child's life depends on it?

I felt from the start for not only Tyler, but also his sister, Melissa.  She too has been impacted by the shut in life her brother has had to lead.  In many ways, she has been shut in too.  It is no wonder she has begun to act out.

As for the father, David, well, I have mixed feelings about him even now.  He was so often absent, and when he began to realize just how much he didn't know or understand about his own family, his first reaction was to run away.  I know that people cope in different ways, but I often found his reactions disappointing.  At the same time, I did feel for him on some level, knowing it was not easy on him either.  And I felt that Eve could have been more flexible in some things than she was. Honestly though, I cannot imagine it was easy on any of them.

The way the story unfolds, the fate of the missing girl, and the roles the Lattimores and their neighbors play make this thrilling novel all the more intriguing.  This is one of those books I am having difficulty reviewing for risk of spoiling any part of it.  It's such a good book on many levels, one I enjoyed thoroughly--and one that left me wondering what I would have done in the same situation. Or, at least, understanding why certain choices were made, even if I did not quite agree with them.  I am still thinking of this book weeks after finishing it.

Recommendation: Read it!

Rating:  * (Very Good)

You can learn more about Carla Buckley and her books on the author's website.

Source: E-copy of the book provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Where is Your Bookmark? (02/04/2014)

Winter has arrived!  At least the cold weather.  I left my jacket in the office yesterday evening and regretted it as soon as I stepped outside.  I was already running late to pick up Mouse from daycare and so decided to leave it.  Only to regret it again this morning.  I can see snow on the mountains in the distance, one of my favorite winter sights.  There isn't much, I'm afraid.  I am still waiting for that promised rain.  I even washed my car in hopes that would spur Mother Nature on.

Reading time has been scarce these past couple weeks.  Especially time where I can sit down and read in big gulps, which is how I get the most out of Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin.  I enjoy the book immensely while I am reading it.  Unfortunately, I find myself easily distracted at those times I am debating whether to read or do something else.  In this case, I don't think it is book related, but rather just my state of mind and just how busy I have been, both at work and at home.

I may have to dive into The Husband's Wife by Liane Moriarty before I finish Helprin's novel.  Moriarity's book is next up for discussion in the online reading group I belong to.  I am really excited about reading the book given how much others I know have enjoyed it.  Hopefully my expectations aren't too high.

I am still listening to Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.  I am on the second part of three at the moment and still enjoying it when I get to listen to it.  I have not been listening on my way to work in the mornings like I should, instead tuning into the news.  Hopefully I will be able to finish it by the end of February.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it something you would recommend?

Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosts 
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where  
participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a 
book they are reading or thinking about reading soon.

The book I am currently reading is rich in description and quite an eccentric cast of characters.  It's a fantasy novel, a love story, and an adventure tale rolled into one.  Here is the opening paragraph from  Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale:

A great city is nothing more than a portrait of itself, and yet when all is said and done, its arsenals of scenes and images are part of a deeply moving plan.  As a book in which to read this plan, New York is unsurpassed.  For the whole world has poured its heart into the city by the Palisades, and made it far better than it ever had any right to be.

Hosted by MizB Should Be Reading

And a little teaser from the same book:
The shelf was filled with books that were hard to read, that could devastate and remake one's soul, and that, when they were finished, had a kick like a mule.

Would you continue reading?

© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.