Sunday, 27 April 2014

Sunday Wrap Up: Week ending April 27, 2014

Please note this is another week in which every review has a giveaway~so be sure to follow each link to their respective reviews and comment for your chance to win! 

Weeeeeeeeeee're back! The Review Group have been having a spot of relaxation before last week and here we are again to greet you with a wrap up of what you've missed or reviews you'd love to re-visit, and posts that are sure to take their rightful places amongst many other favorites. 


To welcome you to kick back and enjoy the tales told, here's our own Louise Rule to give you a glimpse of life with the Grahams.

Anna Belfrage continues her on-going Graham Saga with Serpents in the Garden, after which we are promised at least three more books in this exciting series.

"In Serpents in the Garden, book five in The Graham Saga, we are back following Alex Lind from the 20th century and her husband, Matthew, from the 17th century, thrown together through a rift in time, carrying on their adventures in the New World. Maryland is where they have settled since fleeing their beloved Hillview in Scotland because of Matthew's religious convictions. Now they are settled in their new home which has been named Graham's Garden.

What a book this is! There is more mayhem, more fighting, and Anna certainly doesn't give her readers any respite from the drama of living in 17th century Maryland. There are the old adversaries, and there are also some new and disturbing ones."

Will the Grahams ever find any peace and quiet? Why not find out? It's not too late to add to your summer reading (especially you northerners out there who are still kicking away the last snow berms), and what better way to get started than to win a free copy!? Check out the rest of Louise's fab review for details as to getting in on the action!


"Feud," Emma assures us, "is one of those books that makes reading (and reviewing) so worthwhile and downright enjoyable.  From the striking cover that hints at what lies within, to the last cliffhanger of a sentence, the reader is taken on an enthralling, action-packed and absolutely riveting adventure." That's the hook part; next she goes for reeling in the line: "A violent, emotional and long-standing argument between two land-owning families against the backdrop of the opening era of the Wars of the Roses, Feud gives us an insight to how life must have been. Survival of the fittest - both in mind and body - was the key.  The opening paragraph in this book is where the action starts: no build-up, no hint of what’s coming, just boom!  And the reader is in the thick of it. The author cleverly portrays the transition of the feud from fathers to sons within these opening paragraphs whilst maintaining the constant environment of the war. It is at this point so early on in the novel, that I must say this book is not for the squeamish. The reader is never allowed to forget the era, the trials and tribulations and the constant struggles faced by the characters." Now is that a whammy, or what? This spectacular-sounding book also has a giveaway, and your name just might be the one drawn from the helmet~you know there's only one way to find out!


Lisl keeps the historical fiction pattern going with her review of a book set in Great War South Australia, scene of some unloveliness. "Opening with “Magpies and Mendelssohn,” we see Neddy approaching a music hall from which come voices singing God Save the King, accompanied by piano. Though initially shooed away, he makes his way inside to warn Elsie Fischer, whose family later Anglicise their names, the better to fit in, of danger to her father. Misunderstood by many, Neddy is referred to as the “dull-witted child.” Indeed, he cannot communicate in typical fashion and uses his singing voice to reach Elsie.

[H]is voice utter[ed] a wordless succession of shrill cries. She gaped at him. His voice was so clear, so sure. It uttered just two notes and she could see them as if written. First a crotchet, then an accentuated minim; together making an interval of a rising augmented fifth. A call of alarm!"

"As the individuals’ stories proceed and make connections, readers are given a greater understanding of the war mentality and how it drives otherwise peaceful citizens to harass some of their neighbors to such an extent that lives, careers and futures are destroyed. Using the language of music to convey some of his most lyrical passages, Crabbe guides readers through a story that matures, much like its characters, who themselves act almost as part of an opera, engaging us in the history of a young nation seeking its identity." Join Lisl in exploring this poignant set of novellas, and look for your chance at a freebie by commenting at the review. 


Last but not in any way the least, Simon rounds out the week with his ongoing celebration of the birth of William Shakespeare~~poet, playwright, actor, subject of great mystery! Get ready to re-examine everything you have ever been taught about this fascinating figure: "[M]uch of what we think we know (or what we think we don't know) about Shakespeare comes from a period many years after Shakespeare lived. Between 1769, when the actor-manager David Garrick hosted his farcical "Jubilee" for Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon, and 1785, when Rev. James Wilmot, a clergyman who had retired to a village near Stratford, first suggested that Will Shakespeare could not have written his own plays, all our notions about Shakespeare changed.

It was during that very period that the Warwickshire lad became "the god of our Idolatry". At the same time as Will Shakespeare became a kind of national figurehead - the secular patron saint of England - we forgot who he actually was. A scholar named George Steevens whittled the known facts of Shakespeare's biography down to a few notes. We know that he was born, got married, had children, went to London, wrote some plays, and then he went home. And that's all we know."

When you think about it that way, pretty heady stuff!

1 comment:

  1. What a week that was in The Review. Good books, great comments (when you follow the links) and free giveaways! The weekly wrap-up is a brilliant way of catching up!