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Joelline (United States)

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LIGHTNING THAT LINGERS
LIGHTNING THAT LINGERS
by Sharon Curtis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Still One of the Best, July 7 2004
This was one of the first romance novels I ever read, and these many years later (and after many, many re-reads), it is still one of the funniest and sweetest of all the romances! Tom and Sharon had a winning team and I can honestly recommend all of their books--buy them if you can--but this was my "first love" and still has the power to enchant and entrance!

The Rose of York: Love & War
The Rose of York: Love & War
by Sandra Worth
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.54
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.44

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book--not a great one!, June 21 2004
Essentially, I agree with the previous reviewers that this is a good read, a (relatively) accurate and completely sympathetic portrayal of the early years of Richard III.
I do think, in her effort to make Richard more sympathetic, Sandra Worth also succeeds in making him weaker, both mentally and phyically, than he probably was. Worth's young Richard is almost always depicted as being terrified, martially inept, and subject to panic attacks, and so the reader has some difficulties in understanding how he developed both the prowess and the courage for which he became renowned (the modern idea of overcompensation just doesn't seem to work for me).
But my bottom line is this: If you give this book 5 stars, what on earth can you give Sharon Kay Penman's brilliant "The Sunne in Splendour"--a far superior and much richer work?
If you are a Richard III enthusiast, you'll like this book (and I do recommend it), but read it before you read the Sunne in Splendour--so you won't feel that this one is anticlimactic.

Falling into You
Falling into You
52 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Universal appeal, June 17 2004
This review is from: Falling into You (Audio CD)
I admit I got burned on a couple of Celine's earliest albums--where only one song was really good. But this has to be Celine's best album--every single song is great! Put it on, chill out and enjoy!
What's also interesting is that the 3rd most popular song in France of the last 15 years (Pour que tu m'aimes encore) is on this album as "Whatever it Takes" (It's got a slightly different slant, but it's just as good in French! If you'd like to hear the French version, it's on the "French Album" here at Amazon.com--USA, and it's on the original album, called "D'eux" at Amazon.com.fr.)
Bottom line: Whether she sings in English or French, whether the listener is American, Canadian, French, Swiss, Belgian, or whatever, Celine has universal appeal!

Nun of This and Nun of That: Book One: Beginnings
Nun of This and Nun of That: Book One: Beginnings
by Mary Hilaire Tavenner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 24.25
14 used & new from CDN$ 15.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Immature account of convent life, June 21 2003
This book is an emotionally and artistically immature account of convent life. The writer confuses anecdote and analysis (and strings anecdotes together as if she were copying out her teen-age diary). The work is supposedly a "fictious" account of three women who enter a convent; the problem is that the characters are adolescents who (even for the time period) are emotionally immature, religiously ignorant (asking questions like "what's the point of all these rosaries"), and full of raging hormones but no common sense. Having such characters in a novel is no crime (witness Mark Twain!), but when the narrator is as clueless as the characters, you've got a big problem--and this (theoretically omniscient) narrator is truly incapable of any kind of deep psychological analysis or comprehension. In addition, Dr. Tavenner's ignorance of the ways of academe are embarassing; this (self-advertised) Ph.D doesn't seem to know that Phi Beta Kappa doesn't induct students who have only associate degrees!
This book is an amazingly immature viewpoint of convent life. If the topic interests you, however, I can highly recommend "Through the Narrow Gate" by Karen Armstrong--beautifully, even hauntingly written ... If you want to read an excellent book about a nun who didn't leave the convent, do try "A Right to Be Merry" by Mother Mary Francis.

A Right to Be Merry
A Right to Be Merry
by Mother Mary Francis
Edition: Paperback
11 used & new from CDN$ 67.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Way They Were (and some still are), May 21 2003
This review is from: A Right to Be Merry (Paperback)
This book was actually published first in 1961; I discovered it in the early 70's and have enjoyed it time and again since then. For anyone who wants to know what life was like in every Poor Clare monastery before Vatican II and the decimation of the religious life, this is undoubtedly the book to read. The lifestyle still persists in a few monasteries and you might want to visit their websites. If you enjoy this book, Sr. Mary Francis has written others as well (though none is quite as good as this one!).

By the Rivers of Babylon
By the Rivers of Babylon
by Nelson DeMille
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.55
96 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars What a great movie this novel would make!, Dec 14 2002
I've just discovered Nelson Demille (having read "Charm School" first) and what a marvellous discovery he is! BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON is a timely story that feels more like news than fiction. I was overwhelmed with anger, rage, pity, fear, compassion while reading this book: I hated for it to end (and plan to read it again). It's an incredibly moving story that should remind us all which side we're on since 9/11!
Even after visiting the Demille homepage, the only thing I can't figure out is how one man can know so much about flying, bombs, weapons, war strategy, terrorist organizations, the Israeli government, and human beings. Demille's prose is so authoritative and convincing--even in the minute details.
I plan to read as many Demille novels as I can get my hands on.

Encyclopedia Of The Middle Ages
Encyclopedia Of The Middle Ages
by Norman Cantor
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 8.30

1.0 out of 5 stars Not a reliable sourcebook for the Middle Ages, June 26 2002
Supposedly, this book was put together by some of the "world's most distinguished medievalists"! One hopes not! In addition to the glaring errors of taste and judgment pointed out by some of the other reviewers, the factual errors are astonishing! One of the most egregious errors occurs on p. 138: "Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of two kings, Philip I of France and Henry I of England"!!!!! Eleanor, of course, was the wife of Louis VII of France and of Henry II of England! This kind of sloppiness is simply not acceptable in a book that purports to be by "someof the world's best medieval historians" (fronticepiece). The pictures are pretty; some of the articles are acceptable (but hardly noteworthy), but the book should be avoided at all costs by serious (or would-be) students of the Medieval Period.

Penguin Classics Sir Gawain And The Green Knight
Penguin Classics Sir Gawain And The Green Knight
by Raffel Burton
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.69
90 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Modern English Translation of This Masterpiece, May 6 2002
I know that the Marie Borroff translation is much praised, but this one is far better for the undergraduate classroom. While both translations share some characteristics (both are in poetry, both try to maintain the alliteration), you need only compare/contrast the "bob and wheel" (last 5 lines of each stanza) to see that Stone has managed to maintain "the sting in the tail" so typical of the original Middle English version--wherein a significant or surprising part of the stanza often appears in the bob and wheel--start with Fitt I, stanzas 4 and 7. Stone also maintains the "alliterative signaling" oral tradition: when possible he tries to alliterate only key words (Boroff seems happy when she can alliterate anything in the line, regardless of its significance to theme or motif!). As a medievalist, I am truly sorry to see so many of my colleagues jumping on the Borroff bandwagon when this superior, alternative translation is so readily available.

Time And Chance
Time And Chance
by Sharon Penman
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from CDN$ 2.38

3.0 out of 5 stars The Trap of Historical Minutiae, March 2 2002
This review is from: Time And Chance (Hardcover)
I am an avid fan of ALL of Penman's works (yes, even those "medieval lite" mysteries--I like them for what they are). But, I'm saddened to say that Penman has fallen into the trap of history with this one. In her previous books, few of us really knew that much about her topics. Other than medievalists, who knew much about Maud, King Stephen, Llewelyn of Wales, Joanna (King John's illegitimate daughter), Simon de Monfort, etc.? But most of us have read or seen "Becket" and "The Lion in Winter"; and any medieval fan knows a great deal about Eleanor and Henry and Beckett! So we were looking for Penman's viewpoint of this familiar material--some satisfying psychological motivations and explanantions for the oftimes incomprehensible behavior of Becket, for example--and Henry, too, for that matter. We were looking for the sort of "alternative understanding" of Richard III that appeared in Sunne in Splendour, for example. But Penman gets so bogged down in the excruciatingly minute details of the church vs. state dispute between Becket and Henry II that the rest of the story suffers greatly. The whole pace is off, here!
It is true that the minutiae are sometimes lightened by glimpses into the (still) fascinating relationship between Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry (though I learned nothing new about them), but then it bogs down again--over and over this pattern repeats itself. It's wonderful to find (again) Penman's fictional Ranulf and his blind wife, Rhiannon; it's fascinating to get a glimpse into the ancestors of Llewelyn and the English-Welsh hostilities. But, despite these moments, this book moves far more slowly, loses its focus more readily that her previous works. Worse, I don't feel that I understand Becket or Henry now any better than I had before--we see both men almost totally from the outside. All she really has to tell us about Becket is that he is a "chamelon" while Henry is "stubborn"!
Perhaps I was too eager to read this novel--and set myself up for a disappointment? I know that I'm glad I bought it (and yes, I'll buy the last part of the triology, too), but not with the same enthusiasm as in the past. Sorry, Sharon, but I really got bored about half-way through, and had a hard time getting back into the rest of the story! I really wanted to give this book a 2 and 1/2 star rating, but pushed it up to three for Wales!

Henry VIII: The King and His Court
Henry VIII: The King and His Court
by Alison Weir
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from CDN$ 4.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Social History at its Best, Feb. 12 2002
Unlike some of the reviewers, I have been disappointed in some of Ms. Weir's books (especially those dealing with Richard III, where she skews the facts to fit her prejudice). But this one is a gem. WARNING: It is NOT a biography of Henry VIII (nor does it claim to be). It is a wonderful portrait of a court and an age. If the details of everyday life enchant you, you will love this book: you'll learn what Henry's court ate, drank, wore; how they ate, how they drank, and when they wore what! You'll get details about the various royal (and non-royal) residences that are very difficult to find elsewhere: how they were furnished, financed, run, used. And this time, Weir is scrupulous in citing her sources and in using them well. Where there are disputed facts, she indicates this. When she is hypothesizing, she indicates this as well. It is true that she appears to be quite fond of old Henry, but not as he became. Rather, I think, she admires the potential that was in the young king, the goodness, basic decency that could have made him England's best (if not greatest) king. The potential for selfishness, greed, paranoia, and self-delusion was also there--unfortunately, the bad side won! After reading Weir's book, I now share both Weir's semi-nostalgic admiration and her regret.

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