Omnia Adel Adel itibaren Orlovo, Orlovskaya oblast', Rusya, 303817
Tekrar okuma: Kasım 2012.
What a delightful read! I came across this book due to comparisons with I Capture the Castle, another wonderful coming-of-age book and a favorite of mine. Invitation to the Waltz is told from the POV of Olivia, 17 year old protagonist, who has been invited to her first dance. The first half covers the morning of her birthday, and the preparations for the dance. The second half is the dance itself. This book is definitely not for those who like plot-driven, action-packed or fast-paced novels. In fact, plot-wise hardly anything happens. So why the 5 stars? The characters, that's why. They are the most vibtant and memorable set of characters I have come across in any book. Though this book is mostly from Olivia's POV, we are also given a glimpse into Kate's - Olivia's beautiful older sister - POV as well. I loved Olivia! Overshadowed by her sister, Olivia often lacks confidence, is sometimes naive, and sometines extraordinarily mature for her age. The authors gives her readers a chance to see the world from Olivia's eyes. We experience her hopes, fears, sadness. I loved how Olivia is so awkward and scared about her first dance. She is often childish and then admonishes herself for being so. There are no end to the humourous moments. The experiences of our lovable heroine before and after the dance, and her often awkward encounters with different people are laced with hilarious moments. The author's beautiful prose makes these encounters and the people come alive. The best part of the book is the dance itself. We get to see each new acquaintance through Olivia's eyes. Each meeting is described in detail, and each person leaves something to ponder upon, both for Olivia as well as the readers. Maurice, who is so kind; Archie, who is so charming yet snubs her; Peter, the overly sensitive poet; the handsome, enigmatic Rollo Spencer and so on. At the end of the dance, Olivia looks upon everything with a new maturity and insight. The naive young girl grows up. The ending is a hopeful yet sad one, as Olivia realizes that one dance has changed everthing. Kate is no longer the same, and neither is she. One night has changed the dynamics of their relationship completely. Invitation to the Waltz is a deeply satisfying read, recommended for fans of Jane Austen, Dodie Smith and Nancy Mitford.
Alex Berenson is an author new to me. The Secret Soldier is the 5th book in Berenson's successful John Wells series. In The Secret Soldier, Wells has left the CIA and is now working freelance. When he receives a call about a prospective employer willing to pay big bucks for his expertise, he accepts. The employer just happens to be the King of Saudi Arabia. The King's family is conspiring against him and colluding with terrorists. Overthrowing the King is not enough, they also want war with the West, namely the USA. As someone new to this character, I was initially quite taken with John Wells. His sense of loyalty, justice and honour created a mental image of a strong character. And he is, but...as the book went on, I wasn't as enamoured as I was in the first half. Wells has converted to the Muslim religion, but I found many of his actions inconsistent with the teachings of his chosen faith. The plot has lots of twists and turns and is non stop action packed. Some of the plot machinations seem a bit implausible - once you can get over the King of Saudi Arabia asking for one ex CIA operative to save his kingdom it really does move along quickly. It was an okay read for me, but....my co worker Michelle was jumping up and down when her hold for this title came in. I asked her why she was so enamoured of this series and author. " I love spy novels. Berenson's writing is current - we've left the Cold War era and Al Qaeda is the new enemy. In this latest book, Berenson shows more knowledge of the religions he's writing about. John Wells has more understanding of who he's fighting now that he's converted. I enjoy the conflict in John Wells - he's at war with his past and past actions but wants to make the world safer. And ...I've read them all!" Thanks Michelle - so between her 5 and my 3, The Secret Soldier gets a 4 on A Bookworm's World. Fans of the television series 24 or of author Vince Flynn or Christopher Reichs would enjoy this series.
I just loved this book and couldn’t put it down even after trying several times to make tea in between chapters, BUT...the story won out every time! Five years ago the Furey’s eldest son, Hugh, disappeared without a trace. His parents are naturally grief stricken and trying hard to put this senseless tragedy behind them. Hugh’s mother has an emotional breakdown and hunkers down in her bed rarely getting up. This leaves Hugh’s father to care for their two youngest children, Owen 10 and Lena 15 but due to his own grief, this is a half-hearted effort often leaving Owen and Lena to fend for themselves. Their father, once a theology professor has completely lost his faith and has seemingly left his job and for awhile, tries to put his energy into his two young children but falls far short of the goal. Owen and Lena are trying to hold onto Hugh’s memory as neither parent will even so much as say his name. For Lena especially, Hugh becomes more than just a brother disappeared. She sets out to find out what really happened to him and meets Sebastien, a rough and tumble drug addict. Through this meeting, Lena ends up experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, and as a result, ends up having sex for the first time. Owen, in the meantime, becomes involved with Danny, a bad boy who introduces Owen to masturbation which they begin experimenting with. Danny eventually turns on Owen, making up stories about him at school and now the entire school is calling him horrible names and chasing him down. Terrified, Owen keeps two thermometers in his room to fool his mother with so he can stay home from school on the pretense that he is just too sick to go with such a high fever. By now, his mother has recovered from her mental breakdown and is training as a nurse. The thermometer game works gloriously well for Owen until one night he sneaks out and is trapped in the cemetery by Danny, who has a gun, and couple of his friends. What transpires in that cemetery will devastate Owen for the rest of his life. Finally, this totally dysfunctional, damaged and grieving family are forced into counselling to try and repair their shattered lives.