Under The Covers and Reading

August 20, 2011

Miss Timmins School for Girls Takes Me Back to the 70’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — by underthecoversandreading @ 2:37 pm

I received this book from Library Thing earlier in the summer and have been slow to review it, although I read it immediately and thought this was a fantastic first novel– well written and executed. If this is Currimbhoy’s first attempt, I can’t wait to read her next.!

The story was compelling– a who-done-it set in 1970’s small town India at a private English run boarding school– and well drawn. The characters are numerous but intriguing. I did not expect to like the 1970’s time period but it was compelling as well.

The main character, Charu, is a new teacher away from home for the first time, who becomes involved with some shady locals (hippies) and an increasingly unpopular rebel English teacher, Miss Prince,  from the school. Charu’s taste for love and adventure expands beyond anything she ever imagined but she finds herself torn apart after the death of her lover, Miss Prince. There is an array of suspects from the school and community and yet no easy or particularly obvious answer.

I savored this book. It’s an unexpected gem! A 4 star book for sure.

What Twilight Should Have Been…At Least for Grownups

Filed under: Uncategorized — by underthecoversandreading @ 2:35 pm

If you haven’t already read (and I’m betting you haven’t due to it’s too steep cover price– more on that later) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness then hie thee over to a library or used bookstore and find yourself a copy.  It’s about an intelligent (read Academic) adult female witch and her journey of self discovery.  Yale professor Diana Bishop resists her powerful and highly regarded magical lineage to pursue a career as  an academic.  When the book opens Professor Bishop is working in Oxford’s Bodliean Library studying the history of Alchemy.  To her surprise she encounters a dashing and slightly scary Vampire , Professor Matthew Clairmont, after her discovery of an extremely old manuscript that everyone in the magical world seems to want– Mathew included.  The only problem is that Diana doesn’t understand the ramifications of her discovery nor does she have any interest in other-worldly rivalries.

While Diana is an intelligent and accessible character, Matthew is one of the sexiest male characters I’ve ever read.  He makes the whole “Team Edward” thing a joke–especially for readers over the age of 14!  He’s gorgeous, witty, brilliant, and can’t keep away from Diana (even and especially since Witches are forbidden fruit to vampires).

Truly this book is Twilight but better for adults (it’s the first in a series, to boot!).  The characters are in their 30’s (unless you count vampire years) and it’s not all sparkles and repressed sexuality.  The dialogue is intelligent and even witty.  There is intrigue, history, wine, travel, adventure, family issues, and plenty of romance.  The European settings are to die for.   I can’t say enough good things about this intelligent page turner.  I await book two!!

An addendum….

Dr. Harkness has written a fantastic book and deserves all praise and royalties, but I think her publisher is doing her book a grave disservice by pricing the Kindle version at $14.99.   In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I won’t buy an e-book over $9.99 on principle so I got my hands on this book via the public library (God Bless them!).  I think I was the first in my community to get it and I had to speed read through it to finish in time (no renewal).  No problem!  I am recommending it to everyone I meet.  I could sell hundreds more if it were just cheaper.  The paperback may help drop the price a bit (it comes out in December), but I fear they will only drop the e-book to $12.99 ten.  This book could totally be on the best seller list if it was just a bit cheaper!  Please, publishers, don’t be so stupid!  The book’s been translated in several languages already….perhaps it will be NEXT summer’s big book! Sigh.

A Cozy but Wicked Autumn

Filed under: Uncategorized — by underthecoversandreading @ 2:09 pm

I received Malliet’s book, Wicked Autumn through my friends at Library Thing. I have not read any of her previous works, but am a recent convert to the cozy mystery genre (I especially enjoy Louise Penny’s books).   I’m still not 100% convinced I know what a “Cozy Mystery” is, but apparently this fits the bill– a murder without gore and blood and the focus not on the crime itself so much as the personalities involved.

Mailliet’s book is the first in a new series she’s developing about a former MI5 agent turned Anglican priest, Max Tudor. We learn from the book that Max has sought out the priesthood for honorable reasons but some nagging issues about his work for MI5 and he remains guarded about interpersonal relationships. He wants an uncomplicated life and has moved to a very remote area to be the village Vicar. When the much-feared head of the local Women’s Institute is murdered, Max appears destined to help local law enforcement solve the crime.

It was an enjoyable read with a compelling cast of female and male characters. I have to admit I enjoyed the supporting cast of female characters even more than Max. I can’t say I had a really strong attraction to him despite his description as being handsome and intelligent. He presents as a man of intellect, honesty, and faith, but I found him oddly aloof for one who has committed his life to the service of God and community (residue from MI%, no doubt). I suspect Malliet is holding things back to see how he develops as the series progresses. I’d definitely read another book (or even re-read this one!) to learn more. We are certain to learn more about Max and his MI5 past. ( )

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