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Showing posts from April, 2012

Book Review of Bury Me Deep by Christopher Pike

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Name of Book: Bury Me Deep

Author: Christopher Pike

ISBN: 0-671-69057-4

Publisher: Archway paperback

Type of book: Hawaii, vacations, past ghosts, 1990

Year it was published: August 1991

Summary:


Jean is on her way to Hawaii for a week of fun in the sun. But the vacation gets off to a gruesome start. The boy sitting beside her on the plan suddenly chokes and dies. Jean tries to push the incident out of her mind when she arrives on the island, but finds it impossible.

Part of the reason is because Mike keeps coming back to her in her dreams. Horrible dreams filled with cold blood.

Two of Jean's friends are waiting for her in Hawaii—Mandy and Michele. They have already made friends with two young men who teach scuba diving at the hotel, Dave and Johnny. Jean and Johnny quickly become friends. But there are problems in paradise. Dave and Johnny have recently lost a partner in the ocean. No one knows how he died. No one can find his body. But then Jean finds Mike's body. It isn't wh…

Book Review of Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos DeLaclos

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Name of Book: Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons)

Author: Choderlos DeLaclos

ISBN: 0-14-044116-6

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Type of book: Epistolary novel, 1700s, aristocrats, ancien regime, darkness, France, pick up artists, naivety

Year it was published: 1782 (version I have 1988)

Summary:

'If this book burns' proclaimed Baudelaire, 'it burns as only ice can burn.'

Marie-Antoinette kept a bound copy of this notorious study of sexual intrigue in her private library; and it was condemned by a criminal court forty years after its publication in 1782 and publicly incinerated. The satanic hero and heroine of this greatest of eighteenth-century novels- a pair of depraved aristocrats- plot and achieve the seduction of a young convent girl with the calm detachment of mathematicians solving an algebraic formula.

Honest to the point of cynicism, this is a fascinating exposure of an aristocracy shortly to perish in the French Revolution.

Characters:

Through the letters, eac…

Book Review of #3 A House Divided by Pearl Buck

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Name of Book: A House Divided

Author: Pearl Buck

ISBN: 1559210346  (671-78797-7 Version I have)

Publisher: Pocket Books

Part of a Series: House of Earth series: The Good Earth, Sons prequels

Type of book: China, revolution, international student, 1900s, Former AM/WF

Year it was published: 1935 (version I have 1975)

Summary:

The epic of China begins with soil, and with the simple peasants like Wang Lung whose story was told in The Good Earth. It rises and swells on the fortunes of the warlords and merchants, men like the Sons of Wang Lung. It surges anew in modern China- Communist China- in the third generation of the House of Wang. A House Divided brings Wang's grandson to America, where troubled and alone, he must choose between the old values and the new, between two generations- one dead, one powerless to be born.

Characters:

The characters are well rounded and understnadable to some extent. In this part, Pearl Buck attempts to explore Wang Yuan's personality; grandson of O-Lan and…

Book Review of #4 The Patmans of Sweet Valley by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: The Patmans of Sweet Valley

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-57023-4

Publisher: Bantam Lark

Part of a Series: Sweet valley Saga

Type of book: 1825-1972, potted American history,  Sweet Valley, wealth

Year it was published: 1997

Summary:

In 1825, sixteen year old Sophie, the Duchess of Edmonton, falls in love with Henry Patman, a dashing stable hand. But Sophie's sister, Melanie, has also fallen for Henry's rugged charm. And Melanie will do anything to keep Sophie and Henry apart.

John Patman loses his heart to London actress Katherine Richmond. He's too poor to ask for her hand in marriage, so he swears he'll strike it rich in the oil fields of Texas. But how long will Katherine wait?

Dr. Cassandra Vanderhorn meets wounded soldier Spencer Light in a World War II veterans' hospital. After he recovers, they marry, and he returns to the front. Then Cassandra receives a telegram bearing terrible news...

Marie Vanderhorn has found her soul mate in Hank Patman.…

Book Review of #3 The Fowlers of Sweet Valley by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: The Fowlers of Sweet Valley

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-57003-X

Publisher: Bantam books

Part of a Series: The Sweet Valley Saga

Type of book: 1773-1989, France, multi-generational saga, SV

Year it was published: 1996

Summary:

Discover the sweeping, romantic history of the men and women who made Lila Fowler who she is today!

Beautiful sixteen-year-old Lili de Beautemps is rescued from guillotine during the French Revolution by a dashing young man--but he disappears before she can even thank him. Will Lili ever see him again?

While working as a maid in the Marquis de Bocage's chateau, Celeste Chardin unexpectedly wins the love of the Marquis's son, Marc. Will Marc give up his family riches to be with her?

Wild and reckless Rose de Bocage grew up with Pierre Oiseleur in the turbulent 1890s. But when Pierre declares his everlasting love for Rose, she tells him she'll never settle down. Will she regret that decision forever?

Isabelle Eastman thought her true love…

Book Review of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

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Name of Book: Number the Stars

Author: Lois Lowry

ISBN: 0-440-40327-8

Publisher: Yearling

Type of book: World War 2, resistance, bravery, 1943, secrets, Germans, Jews, Denmark

Year it was published: 1989

Summary:

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think about life before the war. But it's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching in their town.

The Nazis won't stop. The Jews of Denmark are being "relocated" so Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be part of the family.

Then Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission. Somehow she must find the strength and courage to save her best friend's life. There's no turning back now.

Characters:

The Danish, Johansens in particular, are portrayed as a loving and well rounded family, along with others. I checked a history book I had, whether or not this book might kind of like apologist Holocaust literature (som…

Book Review of East Wind, West Wind by Pearl Buck

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Name of Book: East Wind, West Wind

Author: Pearl Buck

ISBN:  1559210869

Publisher: The World Publishing Company

Type of book: 1920s, China, East, West, values, interracial relationship, Asian male/ White female, struggles, duty, obligation

Year it was published: 1930 (Version I have January 1944)

Summary:

East Wind: West Wind is told from the eyes of a traditional Chinese girl, Kwei-lan, married to a Chinese medical doctor, educated abroad. The story follows Kwei-lan as she begins to accept different points of view from the western world, and re-discovers her sense of self through this coming-of-age narrative.

Characters:

I'm not sure how I could describe the characters, except they all change throughout the novel; Kwei-lan changes into someone who disliked and was unhappy with Western culture into someone who does accept Western traditions and values. She also looks up to her husband all the time, one attitude that she doesn't change at all. Kwei-Lan's husband remains completely…

Book Challenge A-Z #2 Fall Into Darkness by Christopher Pike

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Fulfilling the requirement:

"F" Requirement, title alphabetically.

Summary:

The trail is for murder. Ann Rice is dead. Her best friend, Sharon McKay, stands accused. But there is no body. And the three witnesses to the crime only heard what happened, and did not see it. Nevertheless, the prosecution is almost certain of victory. Ann was alone in the dark with Sharon on top of the cliff when Ann fell the 500 feet into the torrential river that claimed her life. There was only one route leading to the cliff, and all the witnesses can remember hearing the girls arguing before the fall occurred. Sharon's only defense is that Ann committed suicide. But everyone who knew Ann, including Sharon, said she was not the suicidal type.

And they were right.

Ann was much more than suicidal.

She was obsessed.

Lesson learned:

One doesn't really know what the human beings are capable of.


Link to review:Click here

Book Review of The Eternal Enemy by Christopher Pike

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Name of Book: The Eternal Enemy

Author: Christopher Pike

ISBN: 0-671-74509-3

Publisher: Archway paperback

Type of book: time travel, 1990s, origin of the universe, robots, future, sacrifice

Year it was published: May 1993

Summary:

A VCR that could tape tommorrow's news.

Rela has just bought herself a new VCR. She sets the machine to tape a movie she plans to show at a party she is throwing. But instead of the movie she gets the news -- tomorrow's news.

Soon Rela is regularly recording next week's news, even what is to happen in the far future. It's fun, at first, until she sees herself on the news. And learns that there is no future for her.

But can she change destiny?

Can Rela survive what is meant to be?

Characters:

There's is something endearing and sweet about Rela, something that caused me to like her strongly. I think of all the Pike's female heroines, she is the strongest and the most vulnerable. Rela lives in Pasadena with her adopted father, Rev. Lindquis…

Book Challenge A-Z #1 Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Fulfilling the requirement:

"P" Requirement, title alphabetically

Summary:

In Persuasion, her last novel, Jane Austen reveals her most mature dissection of people, place and social setting.

Like the earlier works Persuasion is a tale of love and marriage, told with the irony, insight and just evaluation of human conduct which sets her novels apart. But the heroine - like the author - is more mature; the tone of the writing more sombre. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth have met and separated years before. Their reunion forces a recognition of the false values that drove them apart. The characters who embody those values are the subjects of some of the most withering satire that Jane Austen ever wrote.

Lesson learned:

There are second chances in life, so take them if you can.

Link to review:Click Here

Book Review of #2 The Wakefield Legacy The Untold Story by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: The Wakefield Legacy, the Untold Story

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-29794-5

Publisher: Bantam Skylark

Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Saga

Type of book: 1866-1970s, immigration, potted American history, journeys, Sweet Valley

Year it was published: 1992

Summary:

Follow the compelling stories of the women and men who came before Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield:

Frontiersman Theodore Wakefield thought he'd lost his heart forever; will Dancing Wind make him love again?

Turn -of-the-century beauty Sarah Wakefield marries against her father's wishes — only to become the mother of a fatherless child.

Betrayed by his true love, Ted Wakefield must forget his past to find happiness with brilliant journalist Julia Marks.

During World War II Robert Wakefield receives vital radio messages from P.O.W. Hannah Weiss and vows to find her when the war ends.

Ned Wakefield struggles against injustice In the idealistic sixties, then fights for the heart of beautiful Alice Robertson.

Book Review of Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

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Name of Book: Summer of My German Soldier

Author: Bette Greene

ISBN: 0-439-23872-2

Publisher: Scholastic

Type of book: 1940s, South, World War II, Judaism, German, reform school, society, abuse

Year it was published: 1973 (version I have 2000)

Summary:

The summer that Patty Bergen turns twelve is a summer that will haunt her forever. When her small hometown in Arkansas becomes the site of a camp housing German prisoners during World War II, Patty learns what it means to open her heart. Even though she's Jewish, she begins to see a prison escapee, Anton, not as a Nazi- but as a lonely, frightened young man with feelings not unlike her own, who understands and appreciates her in a way her parents never will. And Patty is willing to risk losing family, friends- even her freedom- for what has quickly become the most important part of her life.

Characters:

The characters are well rounded and likable to some extent, aside from the parents obviously. I wish I could have understood more of why t…

Book Review of #2 Sons by Pearl Buck

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Name of Book: Sons

Author: Pearl Buck

ISBN:  0786274948

Publisher: World Publishing Company

Part of a Series: House of earth series

Type of book: China, late 1800s? to 1900s, family saga, wars, warlord, merchant, desire

Year it was published: 1932 (version I have 1945)

Summary:

Second in the trilogy that began with The Good Earth, Buck's classic and starkly real tale of sons rising against their honored fathers tells of the bitter struggle to the death between the old and the new in China. Revolutions sweep the vast nation, leaving destruction and death in their wake, yet also promising emancipation to China's oppressed millions who are groping for a way to survive in a modern age.

Characters:

One might remember the eldest son, the one that's lusty, restless and a real lord's son, the one that spends money without thought and concocted the idea of addicting a cousin's parents to opium. In this book he remains the same, except that he gains a lot more weight (I swear I alwa…

Book Review of #1 The Wakefields of Sweet Valley by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: The Wakefields of Sweet Valley

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-29278-1

Publisher: Bantam Books

Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Saga

Type of book: 1866-1973, immigration, potted version of American history, lost love, unrequited love, soul mates

Year it was published: 1991

Summary:

Follow the riveting stories of the women who came before Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield:

Alice Larson, a bold sixteen year old from Sweden, arrives alone in America to start a new life- but with a broken heart.

Headstrong frontier tomboy Jessamyn runs away to join the circus, leading her sensitive twin Elisabeth, into a desperate search that ends in tragedy.

Spirited twins and rivals Samantha and Amanda battle for the love of the same boy during the glamorous Roaring Twenties.

Marjorie, stranded in France during Word War II, becomes a heroine of the Resistance.

Alice Robertson, child of the tumultuous sixties, makes a painful romantic choice she will hide forever- even from her twin daughters, Eli…

Book Review of Tender Assault by Anne Mather

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Name of Book: Tender Assault

Author: Anne Mather

ISBN: 0-373-11649-7

Publisher: Harlequin

Type of book: romance, tragedy, love, adult novel, alpha male, island, cougar love

Year it was published: 1993

Summary:

India had been thirteen when Nathan Kittrick was banished from Pelican Island. Now, shrouded, in scandal, he'd come home, heir to his father's multi million-dollar holiday resort- a man determined to claim what was rightfully his.

Nathan's return brought back bitter memories, and India greeted him with angry accusations of the past. And this time he had to listen, because she was no longer a child, nor his once faithful shadow. In fact, India had been managing the luxury hotel since his father's death.

India was also a woman determined not to let her former trust for this man be rekindled. But she hadn't expected Nathan's assault on her senses to be quite so tender. And she hadn't expected her desire for him to be quite so strong...

Characters:

I couldn'…

Book Review of Fall Into Darkness by Christopher Pike

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Name of Book: Fall Into Darkness

Author: Christopher Pike

ISBN: 0-671-67655-5

Publisher: Archway Paperback

Type of book: 1990s, murder, revenge, mystery, insanity, trial, young adult

Year it was published: February 1990

Summary:

The trail is for murder. Ann Rice is dead. Her best friend, Sharon McKay, stands accused. But there is no body. And the three witnesses to the crime only heard what happened, and did not see it. Nevertheless, the prosecution is almost certain of victory. Ann was alone in the dark with Sharon on top of the cliff when Ann fell the 500 feet into the torrential river that claimed her life. There was only one route leading to the cliff, and all the witnesses can remember hearing the girls arguing before the fall occurred. Sharon's only defense is that Ann committed suicide. But everyone who knew Ann, including Sharon, said she was not the suicidal type.

And they were right.

Ann was much more than suicidal.

She was obsessed.

Characters:

The characters are far more inte…

Planned Books

Books I need to review:
Sons- Pearl Buck
A House Divided- Pearl Buck
Summer of my German soldier- Bette Greene
Tender Assault- Anne Mather
The Wakefields of Sweet Valley- Francine Pascal
The Wakefield Legacy the untold story- Francine Pascal
The Fowlers of Sweet Valley- Francine Pascal
Fall Into Darkness- Christopher Pike

Books I'm Reading:
Emma- Jane Austen 16/448
Jacob the Liar- Jurek Becker 18/266
East Wind, West Wind- Pearl Buck 93/277
Les Liasons Dangereuses- Choderlos DeLaclos 333/396
Homeland- John Jakes 550/1174
Number the Stars- Lois Lowry 18/132
Gone with the Wind- Margaret Mitchell 93/1037
Bury Me Deep- Christopher Pike 100/211
The Eternal Enemy- Christopher Pike 63/180
Heavy Sand- Anatoli Rybakov 43/381
Ivanhoe- Sir Walter Scott 36/405
The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton 245/362

Series
The Story of the Stone- Xueqin Cao
4. The Debt of Tears 94/384
The First Native American Series- W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
3. People of the Earth 83/587
The Storyteller …

Book Review of Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Name of Book: Persuasion

Author: Jane Austen

ISBN: 0-14-043005-9

Publisher: Penguin Classic

Type of book: mature, 1814-1816? England, poetry, parody, second chance, marriage novel

Year it was published: 1818 (version I have 1985)

Summary:

In Persuasion, her last novel, Jane Austen reveals her most mature dissection of people, place and social setting.

Like the earlier works Persuasion is a tale of love and marriage, told with the irony, insight and just evaluation of human conduct which sets her novels apart. But the heroine - like the author - is more mature; the tone of the writing more sombre. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth have met and separated years before. Their reunion forces a recognition of the false values that drove them apart. The characters who embody those values are the subjects of some of the most withering satire that Jane Austen ever wrote.

Characters:

The best way to describe the main characters are repressed and for the most part hardly visible. While one can remember…

Book Review of Having the Billionaire's Baby by Sandra Hyatt

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Name of Book: Having the Billionaire's Baby

Author: Sandra Hyatt

ISBN: 978-0-373-76956-8

Publisher: Silhouette Desire

Type of book: Adult, romance, business, predictions, pregnancy

Year it was published: 2009

Summary:

That business card couldn't be right. Callie Jamieson had just spent one impulsive, passionate night in the arms of the hottest, most irresistible stranger she'd ever met. And morning's light revealed her lover to be new PR client, billionaire Nick Brunicadi...

One sizzling night of passion, then she was gone. Undaunted, Nick was determined to find and have his fill of his mysterious seductress... a seductress, he discovered, who was carrying his heir!

Characters:

The characters can both be described as workaholics and are suitable for one another. While Calypso, or Callie as she is called in the book, tends to be a somewhat sympathetic character to me, I had a difficult time figuring her and the motivations out. Neither she nor Nick are memorable for me, that i…

Book Review of #13 Elizabeth's First Kiss by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: Elizabeth's first kiss

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-15835-x

Publisher: Bantam Skylark

Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Twins and Friends

Type of book: Sweet Valley, California, 1985, boys, growing up

Year it was published: 1990

Summary:

Elizabeth Wakefield has known Todd Wilkins since kindergarten, but she's never noticed how cute he really is, until she sees him dancing with her sister, Jessica. Now Elizabeth cant' stop thinking about him- and everywhere she goes, Todd turns up, to. Could he actually like her as much as she likes him? Elizabeth wishes she knew more about boys. But when she finally asks her twin for some advice on the subject, she makes a terrible discovery: Jessica has a crush on Todd, too!

How can Elizabeth fall for a boy that her sister already likes? There's only one honorable thing to do: forget Todd and never let Jessica know she cares. But that's not going to be such an easy thing to do...

Characters:

The characters stay the same …

Book Review of #12 Jessica's Secret by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: Jessica's Secret

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-15824-4

Publisher: Bantam skylark

Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Twins and Friends

Type of book: 1985, teens, menstruation, California,  growing up

Year it was published: 1990

Summary:

Jessica Wakefield has always prided herself on being the more sophisticated twin, but suddeny it's her sister, Elizabeth, who's blossoming. Overnight, something wonderful has happened to turn Elizabeth into a young woman. And now Jessica's sure that if anyone- especially her sister- finds out that it hasn't happened to her, she'll die of humiliation.

Then the twins get permission to travel to San Diego by themselves to visit their cousin Robin. It's the perfect opportunity for Jessica to prove just how grown-up she really is. But will acting older than hera ge get Jessica into more trouble than she can handle?

Characters:

The characters, although they had to learn the lessons from their misadventures, most likely stay…

Book Review of #5 Lila's Secret Valentine by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: Lila's Secret Valentine

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-48280-7

Publisher: Skylark

Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Twins and Friends specials

Type of book: Specials, valentines, intensity, emotions, California, Sweet Valley, 1985

Year it was published: 1995

Summary:

 Lila Fowler is dreading Valentines Day. She has no valentine, and she's determined not to let her friends in the exclusive Unicorn Club know. So she tells everyone that she does have a boyfriend and sends herself flowers and candy to prove it. Her valentine's name is Gray Williams, and he's rich, cute, and completely made up.

The Unicorns are totally impressed, and Lila is thrilled- until her friends pressure her into bringing Gray to the Valentine's dance. How can she bring a date that doesn't exist?

Characters:

This book explores more about Lila, although Elizabeth and Jessica are also thrown in. I can't imagine the characters changing in any shape or form or even learning from anyth…

Book Review of #4 The Unicorns Go Hawaiian by Francine Pascal

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Name of Book: The Unicorns go Hawaiian

Author: Francine Pascal

ISBN: 0-553-15948-8

Publisher: Skylark

Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Twins and Friends specials

Type of book: Sweet Valley twins, California, curses, unicorn club, secrets, 1985

Year it was published: 1991

Summary:

Just when Jessica Wakefield becomes bored with Sweet Valley, she wins a trip to Hawaii! She brings five of her best friends from the exclusive Unicorn Club, and they're ready to have the time of their lives.

But things don't turn out the way they had planed: Jessica has a streak of bad luck, Janet Howell is convinced that she is a Hawaiian Princess, and Mandy Miller, Mary Wallace, and Ellen Riteman find out a secret that they must keep from Lila Fowler.

The girls don't understand why their trip to paradise is turning out to be the worst vacation ever...until they discover the curse of the Hawaiian volcano goddess!

Characters:

The characters are very naive and absurd. Janet, one of the Unicorns actually beli…

Part XVIII: Little House Series' criticism

Possible Spoilers from:

Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the prairie
Farmer Boy
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
The Long Winter
Little Town on the Prairie
These Happy Golden Years
The First Four Years

I'm sure that all Americans have heard or at least are familiar with Little House series, a story about a girl in late 19th century who was a pioneer along with her family. The books portray her struggles and lessons that she learns about growing up. We the readers also go through numerous problems that they go through, witnessing the solidarity between family members as well as community. Most of us wish that if there was something to survive from the past, it would be the quintessential and romanticized version of the pioneer life that Laura and her family experienced.

While reading the nine novels and witnessing Laura growing up and struggling with different problems, I couldn't help but be curious about the makeup of the towns portrayed al…

Happy Passover!

I know its a little late, but for those who are celebrating the holiday, Happy Passover and Easter as well!

Book Review of The Seventh Stone by Nancy Freedman

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Name of Book: The Seventh Stone

Author: Nancy Freedman

ISBN: 0-525-93424-3

Publisher: Dutton, published by Penguin

Type of book: Japan, 1940s- 1990s, power, wealth, effects, revenge, tradition, liberality

Year it was published: 1992

Summary:

A young man dies a hero in the Pacific in the closing months of World War II. His name is Noboru. His mission: that of a Kamikaze pilot. It is his lasting legacy that shadows this magnificent multi-generational saga spanning fifty years of war and peace- from Japan's grim wartime defeat to its stunning economic world triumph today.

Nancy Freedman, bestselling author of the unforgettable Mrs Mike, has written her crowning achievement in this richly textured novel about three generations of a Japanese family whose story crosses all cultural boundaries and geographical borders between East and West. At its heart is Momoko, Noboru's young widow, whose personal metamorphosis mirrors the changing face of Japan itself. Her courage and spirit are put to…