Saturday, May 31, 2014

Geist by Phillipa Ballantine

First sentence:

"It was good weather for a riot."


"Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off malevolent hauntings by the geists. . .

Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha Faris, now thrust into a partnership with the novice Deacon Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aid a Priory besieged by a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse.

But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows. Even if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in the hell is she returning to?" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This is a very good urban fantasy, featuring battles between the living and the dead. I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, especially between Sorcha and Merrick. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Spectyr.

Date read: 5/30/2014
Book #: 17
Series: Book of the Order, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0441019617
ISBN-13: 9780441019618
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2010
# of pages: 294
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Redgraves: A Family Epic by Donald Spoto

First sentence:

"During the cold afternoon of Friday, March 20, 1908--in a modest, poorly heated room above a newspaper shop on Horfield Road, in Bristol, England--a twenty-three-year-old actress named Daisy Scudamore Redgrave gave birth to a plump, blond-haired boy."


For more than a century, the Redgraves have defined theater and film while captivating the public eye. Their history is a rich tapestry of singu­larly talented individuals whose influence is felt to this day, yet their story has never before been told. In The Redgraves, bestselling biographer Donald Spoto draws on his close personal relationships with the family and includes both his interviews and unprecedented personal access to them. The result is a groundbreaking account of this extraordinary clan and their circle, including such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Sir Laurence Olivier.

The story began in 1907 with the marriage of actress Daisy Scudamore to matinee idol Roy Red­grave and the birth in 1908 of their son, Michael, who became a famous stage actor and movie star. Michael’s family and wide social circle knew that for decades he was insistently bisexual, notwithstanding his marriage to Rachel Kempson, one of England’s most glamorous and admired actresses.

Their daughter Vanessa, a great and revered per­former, is the only British actress ever to win Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Awards—achievements that have been paralleled by a profound humanitarian commitment even as she tackled difficult and controversial roles.

Vanessa’s sister, Lynn Redgrave, led a triumphant and complex life in her own way, too. From her per­formance in the movie Georgy Girl to her prizewin­ning play about her father and her Oscar-nominated performance in Gods and Monsters, Lynn established herself as a very different Redgrave.

Corin Redgrave, their brother, was known for his acclaimed performances onstage and screen—and he was a tireless and outspoken political radical.

The family tradition of distinction continues with the careers of Joely Richardson and Jemma Red­grave and reached a high point in the life and career of Vanessa’s daughter, Natasha Richardson, who earned a Tony Award for her role as Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret. Natasha’s sudden death after a skiing les­son in 2009 shocked and saddened admirers of her work and graceful spirit.

The product of more than thirty years of research, The Redgraves recounts the epic saga of a family that has extended the possibilities for actors on stage, screen, and television in Britain, America, and around the world. -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

This was a very interesting biography of a fascinating family. I enjoyed learning about the Redgraves and their accomplishments and disappointments both in their career and in their personal lives.

Date read: 5/17/2014
Book #: 15
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Biography

ISBN-10: 0307720144
ISBN-13: 9780307720146
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Year: 2012
# of pages: 309
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page                                                                                                                      

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart

First sentence:

"I woke up sweaty and shaking."


"William 'Dead' Kennedy has problems.

He's haunted by family, by dead people with unfinished business, and by those perfect pop songs that you can't get out of your head. He's a 32-year-old Texan still in love with his ex-wife. He just lost his job at Petco for eating cat food. His air-conditioning in broken, there's no good music on the radio, and he's been dreaming about ghost roads.

When Will's cousin ('My dad married your Aunt Dot's half-sister') calls in the middle of the night about a dead girl haunting his garage, helping him out seems an easy way to make a thousand dollars.

But nothing is ever that simple, especially when family is involved. Will's mother is planning a family reunion of epic proportions. Will's ex-wife is married to a former Marine who knows Will is bad news. Will's 12-year-old daughter, Megan, thinks he needs someone to look after him.

And recently his dead relatives seem to want something from him.

Sometimes a guy is haunted for a really good reason." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book about hauntings both seen and unseen. I especially liked the characters' interactions, notably between Will and his daughter Meghan, and between Will and the ghosts he encounters.

Date read: 5/3/2014
Book #: 15
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN-10: 1931520119
ISBN-13: 9781931520119
Publisher: Small Beer Press
Year: 2004
# of pages: 243
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page