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Display Name: Ryner
About me: I'm a tea-drinking library girl, geocacher, blogger, photographer, scrapbooker and Muse fan.
Reading Interests: Historical fiction, fantasy, science, skepticism, romance with real plots, and anything else that catches my eye.

Ryner's Book Lists
Cooking with Kids (8 titles)
Cookbooks with kid-friendly recipes, designed to get your little one interested in how meals are created in the kitchen
Just thaw and enjoy! (23 titles)
Cookbooks designed for the make-ahead or freezer cook
Larger than life: legendary characters (4 titles)
Books I've read and enjoyed about the lives of gods, heroes of folklore and other legendary characters

Another recommended title not available at the library
* In Camelot's Shadow (Zettel)
Across the fabric of time (9 titles)
Books I've read and enjoyed in which time-travel plays a role
Wartime fiction and nonfiction (15 titles)
Books I've read and enjoyed that are set during wartime
Show all 9 booklists by Ryner

Ryner's Comments    
Cover ArtThe Splendour Falls
by Kearsley, Susanna
Emily arrives in Chinon, France, enthusiastic about a holiday with her offbeat cousin Harry, and checks in to the Hotel de France. Within the first few days she becomes acquainted with a number of the establishment’s eclectic collection of lodgers -- the Whitakers, a wealthy American couple from the South; youthful brothers Paul and Simon, pausing in Chinon on an adventure around the world; Thierry, the bartender and nephew of the hotel proprietors; and Neil, a professional English violinist. Harry, however, is nowhere to be found, and his absence is starting to become worrisome.

I delayed for several weeks writing a review of this book, so the memory of some detail may be fading, but my own dawdling also tells me a little something about my enjoyment -- i.e., if it took me this long to get around to composing my thoughts, it’s probably safe to conclude that it wasn’t one of my favorites. As a thriller it was passable, and I admit I did enjoy the sense of place evoked by Kearsley’s prose. However, the romantic angle seemed forced and awkwardly tacked on as an afterthought. Worth reading for fans of Kearsley’s writing, but nothing to shout about.   posted Aug 24, 2014 at 11:03AM

Cover ArtThe sixth extinction : an unnatural history
by Elizabeth Kolbert
Part origins of paleontology and part in-depth news report on the state of life on the planet today, Kolbert lays out the case for mankind being the catalyst for what will ultimately be the sixth devastating extinction in Earth’s history, from the first mastodon teeth found in New York to the millions of bats and amphibians dropping dead at our feet today.

I found the first four chapters that deal with the history of human understanding of paleontology and extinction to be immensely fascinating -- from the light bulb moment that there could possibly be species that once existed but are no longer alive today (previously unthinkable!), to the gradual refinement of the very idea of extinction and its causes. Subsequent chapters were equally riveting, highly depressing and more than a little infuriating -- like Silent Spring, it’s the kind of book that could serve as a wake-up call and effect change, but undoubtedly won’t be read by sort of folks in a position to do so.   posted Aug 7, 2014 at 3:56PM

Cover ArtWritten in my own heart’s blood : a novel
by Diana Gabaldon
Where to begin? Having waited five years since the previous book in the Outlander series, I was admittedly lost during the first 20-30 pages. The story lines slowly came trickling back into memory -- and they are many! Smack dab in the middle of the American Revolution, Jamie Fraser has just returned to Philadelphia to find that, thinking him drowned during a voyage from Scotland, his wife Claire had married Lord John Grey (for her own protection, of course, but very soap-opera-like, that). Before the three can resolve their personal issues, the war tugs them in various directions. Meanwhile, back(?) in 1980, Brianna is on the hunt for her kidnapped son while her husband Roger, also searching, somehow ends up in 1739 and discovers something he didn’t think he was looking for.

Diana Gabaldon is a genius storyteller. The depth and breadth of her characters and the detail surrounding their lives, never ceases to leave me in awe. I don’t know how she keeps it all straight in her head -- I gave up trying to keep track of the numerous peripheral military characters and to which faction they belonged, and thankfully it in no way detracted from the story. The delicate scenes in which Jamie confronts the unusual circumstances surrounding John and Claire’s marriage were exceptionally memorable. I wonder again at this conclusion of this book, as I have with the others, will John ever find happiness? I’m not sure I can wait another five years to learn what happens next.   posted Jul 26, 2014 at 10:25AM

Cover ArtThe shadowy horses
by Kearsley, Susanna
Accepting an invitation to work on an archaeology dig sight unseen, Verity Grey heads up to Eyemouth, a small village in southern Scotland, where she is introduced to a number of other people with varying interests in the dig: Peter Quinnell, an eccentric owner of the estate and an archaeologist himself, convinced despite any concrete evidence that his property was the site of an ancient Roman military camp; Adrian Sutton-Clarke, a surveyor whom Verity had dated some time ago; Peter’s attractive but unfriendly granddaughter Fabia; David Fortune, another archaeologist from the local university who immediately catches Verity’s eye; and the mysterious young boy Robbie from a nearby cottage. When she begins to hear the sound of phantom horses’ hooves outside her window at night, Verity realizes that this is going to be no ordinary dig.

I love the subtle but satisfying way in which the author connected The Firebird to this book, but I’m afraid that if I weren’t already interested in archaeology myself I’m not sure how much interest it would have held. The characters were sort of disappointingly predictable, and I also found myself wishing that the sentry had ultimately played a more prominent role, as the element of magical realism is what has drawn me to Kearsley’s books up until now. Overall, worth reading, but not one of her best.   posted Jul 23, 2014 at 11:54AM

Cover ArtSplendor
by Anna Godbersen
As this final book in the Luxe series begins, Henry Schoonmaker has joined the army but due to his father’s far-reaching influence, and to his frustration, he finds himself safely out of harm’s way in untroubled Cuba. He is unaware that Diana Holland has liberated herself from the constraints of New York society life and followed him, earning her keep by engaging as a barmaid. Back home, Elizabeth (née Holland) Cairns is finding that the security and promise of happiness she believed to finally have found are being threatened by evidence of something shady and unfathomable. And when Henry’s wife Penelope discovers back in New York City that she has attracted the attentions of a visiting European prince, she finds that she isn’t so bothered that Henry has abandoned her after all.

Hardly anyone lives happily ever after, but this was a decent and appropriate conclusion to the series. My instincts felt somewhat vindicated upon reading of Elizabeth’s troubles -- something hadn’t seemed quite right, but I was for some reason doubtful that the author was going to go in that direction. I appreciated how the author ultimately treated Diana and Henry’s relationship -- realistic if not satisfying. Penelope’s comeuppance was brilliant.   posted Jul 8, 2014 at 11:31AM

Show all 219 comments by Ryner

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