Tag Archives: 2010

Something different: travel from an armchair

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Interested in traveling the world through the written word? Want books about a particular place? Book Lust to Go has you covered.

Librarian Nancy Pearl specializes in knowing books and matching them with readers. (The first entry I wrote for this blog was about a book Nancy Pearl recommended.) Book Lust to Go is from 2010, but filled with good books. Countries, cities, and travelling itself are covered in over 120 quick and interesting entries. Recommendations include travel memoirs, different types of fiction, and more. Book Lust to Go offers fascinating books about places around the world.

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The High Crusade by Poul Anderson

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The Wersgorix thought King Edward III’s England ripe for conquest. Instead, Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville happily beats them back and dares to plot. What fate awaits brave Englishmen among the stars?

Middle Age Englishmen jollily fighting aliens and then fretting is humorous. Sir Roger cunningly uses war tactics and cuthroat political moves, but victory is uncertain. Sir Roger is an interesting blend of cunning, unpolished, brave, and arrogant. Brother Parvus muses on some serious issues while long sufferingly grappling with his duties. The High Crusade offers science fiction, alternate history, adventure, and dashes of humor.

Want more books like The High Crusade?

Grantville, West Virginia is transported to Germany in 1632 and changes history in 1632 by Eric Flint.

A group of 14th century Englishmen abducted by aliens seek their freedom in The Excalibur Alternative by David Weber.

Queen Elizabeth must free England after the Spanish invade it using alien technology in Saint Antony’s Fire by Steve White.

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Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories, #1)

In Regency England beauty and magical skill are the ways to gain a husband. Jane Ellsworth possesses the latter and not the former. Can Jane find someone who values her?

Jane’s expectation of spinsterhood while cautiously hoping for more makes the reader root for her. Shades of Milk and Honey’s characters and message of looking past appearances lightly echo Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Shades of Milk and Honey is a leisurely paced sweet romance. Manners, clothing, and dashes of spelling such as ‘shew’ evoke Regency England. Magic’s use in ‘womanly skills’ and adding prominence makes it fit well in the Regency. Shades of Milk and Honey offers sweet romance, an alternate England, and magic.

Want other books like Shades of Milk and Honey?

Persy Leland is forced to leave books for the London season and finds romance and plots in Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle.

Elizabeth Bennett learns lessons about love and appearances in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

A pair of cousins looks for love and encounters magic in Regency England in Sorcery and Cecilia, Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia Wrede.

 

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Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Matterhorn

Waino Mellas sees Vietnam as a part of a brilliant political plan. He’ll enlist as a Marine, fight, and use his success to gain political glory. Dropped into the chaos of war he’ll face the indifferent jungle, battle, and politics. Can he survive and if he does who will he be?

Jungle rot, resignation towards senseless orders, and battle tension provide a disturbing, bleak, and gruesome picture of the Vietnam War. The politics of manipulative officers, racial tension, and lack of support back home emphasizes a nonromantic view of war. Mellas is a complicated character as selfish political motivations clash with growing empathy for his troops. Other characters such as natural leader Hawke and conflicted China also pull the reader into the story. Matterhorn offers a realistic feeling portrayal of Vietnam, interesting characters, and provokes thought about war (why, how, and its cost).

Want other books like Matterhorn?

A man goes to Vietnam unaware of the danger and perhaps unbearable realities he will encounter in Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam by Paul Clayton.

A Marine platoon struggles to survive the dangers of the Vietnam War in Fields of Fire by James Webb.

Books such as the author’s nonfiction What It Is Like to Go to War provide a look at fighting in war and its effects.

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Sheen on the Silk by Anne Perry

The Sheen on the Silk

In 1273, a woman’s dangerous quest to clear her brother’s name of murder brings her to Constantinople. Anna Zarides, disguised as a eunuch physician, becomes one of a cast of characters that will ensure Constantinople’s survival or its destruction in a Crusade.

The characters have vibrant traits which make them compelling. Anna’ compassion born from painful events is one example. Constantinople, Venice and other locations are portrayed as full of beauty and some cruelty. The plot is a slow building mystery and historical tale that shows the human heart. Perry conveys her tale through details and lyrical descriptions such as as a bowl of apricots being “liquid amber touched from the red of the sun”(p.57). This book is a potential match for those looking for a tale of Constantinople, compelling characters, a slow building tale and/or lyrical writing.

Want other books like The Sheen on the Silk?

Seraglio, by Janet Wallach, is another richly detailed tale of a woman navigating a dangerous world. In the 18th century, a woman kidnapped and taken into the sultan’s harem in Istanbul undergoes trials and danger to rise to the powerful position of valide sultan.

Shadow Princess, by Indu Sundaresan, is another slow building historical fiction tale with richly detailed and lyrical style as well as interesting characters. Princess Juhanara, and her siblings, strive for power in the shadow of the construction of the Taj Mahal. (Click here for my blog entry on Shadow Princess.)

Books such as Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium, by Jonathan Harris, provide more information on Constantinople’s past and what happened to the city after the events of The Sheen on the Silk.

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January 31, 2014 · 4:39 pm

Shadow Princess by Indu Sundaresan

Shadow Princess (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #3)

The Taj Mahal stands as a monument to an emperor’s love for his wife. In the shadows of the Taj Mahal’s story is that of the emperor’s daughter Princess Juhanara: a determined woman who helped rule her father’s empire, dared forbidden love and saw the disintegration of her family lead to the next emperor…

Shadow Princess immerses the reader in a tempestuous time and place: where an Emperor holds absolute power and a family is undone by its individual members’ certainty in their own supremacy. Sundaresan draws the reader in with descriptions which involve the senses. For example, “to fill the cups to their brims, thousands of henna leaves had been harvested when they had just unfurled at the break of dawn, dewdrops still glittering like crystals on the young green” (129). Her characters, especially Juhanara and her brother Prince Aurangzeb, interest the reader. Juhanara is intelligent, devoted and sure of herself. Prince Aurangzeb has a gift for court diplomacy, fights not be overshadowed by his complacent brother Prince Dara and is a mixture of devotion and intolerance. The two stories, the Taj Mahal’s construction and the fate of the royal family, provide an interesting look at India in this time in its history. Shadow Princess is a good match for readers wanting lush detail, to spend time with engaging characters and/or learn more about India.

Want other books like Shadow Princess which transport the reader to India?

A teenager with an incurable disease offers a unique look at India before, during and after independence in Shree Ghage’s Brahma’s Dream.

An Indian couple marries for love but their happiness, and survival, are threatened by the upheaval in India following World War II in Shona Patel’s Teatime for the Firefly.

Books such as Eraly Abraham’s The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India’s Great Emperors provide more information on the Mughal royals and their actions.

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The Silent Places by James Patrick Hunt

The Silent Places

Lt. George Hastings takes the heat for one of his men and gets assigned to protecting would-be presidential candidate Senator Preston. It’s not a walk in the park: convicted ex-CIA agent Reese wants Preston dead. Caught between Reese’s vendetta and Preston’s secrets, Hastings has to stand for justice…

Hastings is a good thriller hero: he speaks his mind, is loyal and doesn’t hold back from a fight. Reese is a conflicted character who has a sense of decency but is faced with the “sordid, empty promise of vengeance” (pg. 299). The Silent Places offers riveting plot elements: a look into police politics, debate of the concept of justice and a politician with a dirty past. Hunt’s writing style is sparse without being too concise. (Hunt’s writing style, the moral conflicts and Reese’s contact with a good woman could make this book a good choice for western fans.) The Silent Spaces is a good read for its fast pace, multi-faceted plot and interesting characters.

Want more reads like The Silent Spaces?

Want another political thriller involving a spy out for vengeance? Day of Reckoning by Jack Higgins features an ex-FBI agent determined to punish his ex-wife’s killer…

Interested in another tale involving a potential presidential candidate with secrets? House Secrets by Michael Lawson involves a detective who works for the Speaker of the House investigating if and why a presidential candidate had a reporter murdered…

Potomac Fever by Henry Horrock is another tale of police versus political secrets. A pair of Washington D.C. police detectives’ determination to solve a case causes them to run afoul of various powerful people, including some in the White House…

 

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