Elizabeth Clansham by Catherine E. Chapman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In pursuit of fulfilling her literary promise, Elizabeth Clansham moves from London to Scotland, seeking the quiet solitude of the croft to motivate her to write her novel. Teaching English to both a group of students by day and older folk by night, Elizabeth finds herself among yet apart from the townsfolk.
The adage “write what you know” plays a cruel trick on Elizabeth – she finds she doesn’t “know” anything worth writing about, since she hasn’t experienced anything worth noting. It’s not until she finally admits to herself that she must reach out of her comfort zone to find experiences that would give her novel substance, she casts aside her stiff demeanor and simply starts Trying.
The author does a fine job of using dialog to bring her characters to life, yet Elizabeth is still a mystery for most of the story. Other characters, including Andrew, Lauren and Dorothy, provide valuable insight into the character of Elizabeth. While the ages of the characters are largely unknown, since the British school systems and customs differ from the American, the reader can still follow along with the complexities of youth. Elizabeth Clansham is a finely-crafted tale of social interactions, of love and of finding yourself, all tied up into small-town life in the croft.
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
The snowflake lazily floating down, the clouds grey and swollen. Storefronts hasten to decorate, putting up mini pine trees with tiny colored lights. The tinsel hanging from every available surface and then some.
The lights, the glitter, the music wafting out of everywhere, homes and businesses alike. The toys, the cries of children as they make their lists and check them twice. People calling hellos as they shovel their walks, thick jackets and thoughts of fresh coffee to keep them warm.
The lights, inside and out, spiraling up towards the tip-top of the tallest and smallest trees, blinking secret codes or steadily glowing in the night. Candles and fireplaces blaze, lighting the way home and sheltering from the cold. Headlights bursting from the darkness, guiding the way like an albino Rudolph. The warmth and cheer of people around a table, laughing, smiling.
It’s the happiest season of all.
So why is it I’m so sad?
I had a brilliant idea!
So, since I want to add reviews to my site, I put an ad up on Goodreads that I would review books for authors. I got a great response! So I am knee-deep in books to review, along with books to read for fun. Oh, and updating my blog. And that pesty thing called work.
Naturally, I also had another brilliant idea!
One of the writing/reading groups I follow is doing a charity anthology for Christmas. It’s going benefit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and be made up entirely of authors within this group. Since it’s a good cause, and I’m new to the group, of course I felt the need to help out. So I kind of offered to write a story.
In a month.
That’s right! The stories are all due Oct. 15th. So, with this in mind, please bear with me through the next few weeks, as I will probably post ideas for said story. Thankfully, I do have an idea and it doesn’t have to be terribly long. Since it’s a Christmas story anthology, I’m going to keep it light and go with a short romance novel. Probably with some cheesy name.
Wish me luck!
P.S. If anyone is interested in this group, please feel free to check out the Creative Reviews page.
Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe: by Jeremy Greenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the author that brought you Sorry I Peed on You comes the follow-up, the aptly-named Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe. Adorable doggies show their good side as they try to explain why they ate the bacon off the table or why they bark at the vacuum cleaner.
Though short, the book does pack a punch and leaves you laughing. The pictures capture the “voice” of each of the dog, and the author does a good job of bringing that voice to life.
Full of stories from the canine perspective, often times subtly commenting on the things we human owners do to our beloved pooches, Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe is sure to delight any dog lover.
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The Measure of the Magic by Terry Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Take the staff.
Those words haunt Panterra Qu at the end of Bearers of the Black Staff. Alone, surrounded by enemies both known and unknown, and doubtful, Panterra finds it within himself to take up the black staff from the fallen Sider Ament. Faced with the task of learning how to use the staff to save his people, Panterra travels from his village to the Elves to the outside of the valley to seek out and eliminate the threats that close upon the Hawk’s heirs.
Meanwhile, Prue Liss is far from safe at home. Trapped in the ruins of Deladion Inch’s hideout, Prue finds herself not only a target for the trolls outside, but also for the ragpicker, a demon hunting the black staff. In her desperation to return to and help Panterra, she makes a bargain with a reoccurring Shannara character, and gives up more than she bargained for.
Picking up where Bearers ended, The Measure of the Magic concludes the duology of the Legends of Shannara in true Brooks-fashion: innocent youth struggling to cope with and rise above challenges that the unbelieving adults cannot surmount. The characters of Pan and Prue are finely crafted, bringing them to light in a way the reader grips the pages and can’t let go.
He stepped out of the shadows, dark cloak hiding his face and hands. He walked slowly towards the little girl, her blonde curls still springy in the summer heat. She began to tremble, backing as far away from the man as her tiny hiding place in the store room would let her, pressing her back to the women behind her.
Kinley took the young girls’ head, stroking her blonde curls back from her face. She didn’t know the girls’ name. She would have liked to know, to mentally be able to keep track of every such instance such as this. Such beautiful curls, such a calm face, to know such suffering.
Kinley looked up at the man in the dark robe. No, she couldn’t let this man take this child. Couldn’t bear the pain of this small girl growing up to be used by this withered man, no matter how much potential she had shown.
Kinley stated to chant under her breath, hoping the old man was too intent on his apparent capture of his new ‘apprentice’ to pay attention to his old one. As he reached forward, the girl screamed, Kinley stood and gripped the old man’s arm, and his memory was gone.