|About me:||I'm a tea-drinking library girl, geocacher, blogger, photographer, scrapbooker and Muse fan.|
|Reading Interests:||Historical fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, romance with real plots, and anything else that catches my eye.|
|Ryner's Book Lists|
|Cooking with Kids (7 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! (21 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 (8 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
|Searching for Tamsen Donner |
by Burton, Gabrielle.
Gabrielle Burton has a bit of an obsession with Tamsen Donner, who was the wife of George Donner and a prominent member of the eponymous and tragic Donner Party of 1846. In 1977, as part of her research for a novel she plans to write, Gabrielle packs her husband and five daughters into their station wagon and sets off from Illinois to retrace the steps of Tamsen Donner on her fateful journey West, passing the same landmarks, sleeping where Tamsen slept, and attempting to view the landscape, over 100 years later, through the eyes of those early pioneers.
I especially enjoyed the Burton family’s own travelogue chapters, reminiscient of some other travel adventure memoirs I’ve read, but I think I wished that it the rest had been fleshed out more, and for that reason I struggled with whether to rate it three or four stars. Regardless, it sounds like Gabrielle Burton has an amazing family dynamic and five strong, confident, incredible, kick-ass daughters. posted Feb 25, 2014 at 12:08PM
|Lewis & Clark |
by Bertozzi, Nick.
In Lewis & Clark, Nick Bertozzi relates the adventures of the renowned Lewis and Clark Expedition in graphic novel format, from Thomas Jefferson’s initial assignment to Meriwether Lewis in Washington, D.C. and the party’s final glimpse of white civilization in St. Louis, to the Pacific Ocean and back again two years later. Their journey, while at its core a scientific endeavor, would also prove invaluable in recording the locations, culture and social codes of the many Native American tribes they encountered and whose lands they traversed.
Lewis and Clark themselves are depicted as refreshingly human -- certainly not the rugged outdoorsmen or supermen one might assume the leaders of such an enterprise must be. Clark is more cautious and rational; Lewis is volatile, emotional and haunted by his own personal demons. The relative success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is kind of amazing seen through 21st-century eyes. Although they encountered their share of hostile situations and bad luck, and were at times low on provisions, it’s incredible that more men were not lost (in stark contrast to the Donner Party tragedy 42 years later). Then there is Sacagawea, the legendary Shoshone woman who served as a guide. It’s important to remember that, although revered today as a heroine and a symbol of female worth and independence, she was by no means a participant by choice. Her scenes are distressing in their likely accuracy. I’m curious now to read the expedition journals myself. posted Jan 31, 2014 at 2:48PM
|The secret Eleanor : a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine |
by Holland, Cecelia
Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful women in European history. The Secret Eleanor is not a life story -- it jumps right in during her unsatisfying (and failed, if producing a male heir is the measurement of success) marriage to King Louis VII of France in the middle of the 12th century. When Henry, son of the Count of Anjou, pays a visit to Louis’ court, Eleanor is smitten by the younger man, attracted to both his appearance and his potential claim to power, the English throne. After a single illicit meeting between the two, Eleanor commences the scheming required to have her marriage to Louis annulled.
I was disappointed by the first few chapters of TSE. The initial scenes read distinctly like bad fanfiction, and I was dubious about being able to stomach the whole book. However, I’d read another of Cecelia Holland’s works and, since I have a hard time abandoning books anyway once begun, I forged ahead and ended up enjoying it better than expected. The story’s biggest weakness is how unlikable several of the main characters are (including Eleanor herself), although since they are based on what we know of actual historical figures, perhaps this can’t be helped. I appreciated the focus on Eleanor’s sister Petronilla, and the way the book’s title could be interpreted in a number of different ways. posted Jan 29, 2014 at 1:44PM
|The heretic’s daughter : a novel |
by Kathleen Kent
9-year-old Sarah Carrier’s tale begins in 1690 as she travels with her family from the town of Billerica to a new home in Andover in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Tragically, in what will ultimately be the root of poor future relations and suspicion in their new community, one of Sarah’s brothers is unknowingly the bearer of disease. Sarah’s mother, Martha Carrier, is bold, irreverent, outspoken and a bit mysterious -- traits that in the late 17th century, on the eve of the Salem Witch Trials, are dangerous for any woman.
I read this book hot on the heels of a fictionalized account of the Donner Party. Since the core facts of both of these events are common knowledge, I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to comment on the sense of foreboding the reader experiences -- people are going to die. The innocent beginnings of the novel, when the true depths of Sarah’s misfortune were yet to be revealed, was somewhat of a mental struggle, but it began to fade as I sunk deeper into the story. The author herself is a descendant of the real Martha Carrier, and the family stories passed down from generation to generation were the inspiration for her research and writing. posted Jan 29, 2014 at 9:54AM
|A million nightingales |
by Susan Straight
As the story begins, Moinette is a 14-year-old slave on a Louisiana plantation. She is "yellow" (i.e., of mixed race), and has always lived with only her mother in le quartier (slave quarters), but is one day moved into the main house to be the personal handmaiden and hairdresser to the owner’s teenage daughter, Céphaline. When Céphaline succumbs to disease, Moinette is only a reminder to her parents of their loss, and without warning Moinette is uprooted from the only life she has known.
Many nights I did not get enough sleep because, while reading in bed, I simply could not stop reading. There are many, many bite-sized sections within each chapter, each tantalizingly entreating, Oh, you know you have time to read just one more tiny, tiny piece! Look how small the next passage is! (repeat 53x) I appreciated the author’s skill at storytelling in such a way that I was unable to guess what was going to happen next -- that I was even conscious of this made me aware of how even original plots are often somewhat transparent. A Million Nightingales is heartbreaking, but Moinette also has her triumphs, small and large. posted Jan 21, 2014 at 9:52AM
|What Ryner is Reading|
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|* some titles may be missing if cover art is unavailable|