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Book Reviews

Beacon Street Mourning by Dianne Day

Description: Fiction, Mystery, Historical. Fremont Jones returns to her home town of Boston and is embroiled in a mystery involving her father and his new wife.

Beacon Street Mourning is the latest book in the Fremont Jones mystery series. I had high hopes that Fremont would finally grow up in this book, because her immaturity is the one weakness of this series. The historical details are rendered convincingly (San Francisco shortly before and following the 1906 quake), the supporting characters are unique and interesting, and the mysteries are not bad. Fremont herself is smart, adventurous, and resourceful - just what you want in a heroine. Her only drawback is the childish way she conducts her personal life. In this book (#6 in the series), Fremont and her partner/lover Michael travel to Boston to visit her father who is gravely ill. After her father dies, her suspicions are aroused and Fremont begins to investigate. We get to see Fremont in the intellectual Boston society she fled from years ago. Fremont does grow a bit and develop into a stronger person, but the author stops short of resolving all of her hang-ups. This is bad for Fremont and good for publishing more books. I would highly recommend reading the rest of the series before starting this book, since it is very focused on character development - more so than any of the previous books. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and I'll definitely pick up the next book when it comes out.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. 
A Triumph
by T.E. Lawrence
Description: Non-Fiction, Military History. T.E. Lawrence describes his experiences fighting the Turks in the Middle East Theater during WWI.

I had always avoided reading 7 Pillars because its long, dense, big, long...well you get the idea. But then Karen read it and enjoyed it, and well...Oh, my god, what an incredible book.

It is not only a good book in its own right, filled with fascinating details, adventure, excitement, and introspection. It not only details a period in history which helped create the Modern Middle East. It is not only one of most successful examples of an autobiography that I have ever read.

But it is one of those books. You know the books that authors read. The books that help shape characters, dialog, and plot in other stories. Like a stone falling in a pond, the effect ripples out. I found myself recognizing so many ideas and concepts.

I'd give it five out of five stars. It is a brilliant book and a fascinating read. One word of warning however, a bit like a really large slice of chocolate fudge cake. It is hard to eat in one sitting.

Read a book! Mr. Handy of The Tick

The Warriors Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

Description: Science Fiction, far future. Miles Vorkosigan, the physically disabled son of an important political figure, fails to get into the Barrayaran Imperial military academy and has a series of escalating adventures involving intrigue, mercenaries, worm hole blockades, and a whole lota flim flam.

Lois is one of my favorite authors and WA is one of my favorite books. It may not be as polished as some of her later books, but WA, as the start of Lois' long running Vorkosigan series, makes up for it in sheer power.

There are scenes that make me laugh every time I read them. And there is a scene that I cry every time I read it. Yes, I laughed, I cried, it is way better than Cats,.

Beyond that, this is a good solid adventure story with likable characters. Miles is magnetic. The supporting cast is well developed. 

Quite seriously, I have never encountered an author who does characterization better. 5 out 5 just for creating Miles. (Lois could write a book about Miles sitting by himself in a room for 200 pages and I'd read it.)

Read a book! Mr. Handy of The Tick
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