Tag Archives: novel

Book Review: The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard

the library of shadows

After the mysterious death of Luca Campelli, the owner of an antique bookstore Libre de Luca, his son John inherits the beloved bookstore. John hasn’t seen or been in contact with his father in fifteen years. The two had a falling out after John’s mother died. John is greeted at his father’s funeral by Iverson, his father’s closest friend and business partner. John is surprised at how many people attended his father’s funeral; he didn’t realize how well the antique book selling was going for his father. After the funeral John, Inverson, and a red-haired woman who helped at the bookshop, by the name of Katherine, returned to the empty Libre de Luca. Iverson then begins to tell John about the Lectors and the receivers

In Mikkel Birkegaard’s debut novel there are two types of readers, Lectors and receivers. Lectors are those who can captivate listeners by simply reading aloud. They can influence the text by enhancing the author’s words. Only the best Lectors can actually change the visions listeners see in their head. They can also charge the books that they read. Charged books can be felt as soon as a person touches them, almost like an electric shock. On the other hand, receivers can actually enhance the mood of the reader. They can hear what readers are reading and to a small extent they can actually see what other people are reading.

. Understandably he has a difficult time believing everything. Iverson than explains that since Luca was a powerful Lector, John probably had extraordinary powers as well. However, these powers could only be harnessed by performing an activation ceremony. It was up to John whether he wanted to be activated or not. After a series of add events such as: an attack on the shop, John being pressured to sell the shop, and then he loses his job as a respected lawyer, he decides to become activated. During his activation it becomes clear that he is extremely powerful. Not only be he influence the text to whatever his liking, but sparks of electricity emit from his body if he goes too far. In some situations these surges can be deadly.

Once John is completely immersed in this new life, a life that his father was deeply involved with, members of this close knit community start being murdered. Iverson fears that the murders are being done by the Shadow Organization, an organization of Lectors and receivers looking to abuse their power. John soon discovers that the Shadow Organization has influenced many political and public figures throughout history to gain more power. Once they get word of John’s extraordinary powers, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes their next target. John must uncover the secrets of the Shadow Organization in order to save his new friends, even if it means deciphering whether or not his parent’s deaths were in fact, murders.

The plot in The Library of Shadows flows very nicely. The first chapter catches the reader’s attention and leaves them wanting to find out what happens next. Shortly after John attends his father’s funeral an air of suspense becomes the prominent feeling. Along with John, the reader discovers that there’s a traitor within the Lectors who is feeding information to the Shadow Organization. The traitor is fairly simple to determine, but their motives aren’t fully discovered until closer to the end of the novel. The novel’s biggest shortcoming is the ending. There is the classic cliché of good vs evil where the villain becomes completely over the top. This change of character came on suddenly and seems dot of place considering the antagonist had been working in the shadows throughout the majority of the novel. The ending comes abruptly after the final confrontation leaving the reader to wander what happens next, especially since there seemed to be some plot points that hadn’t been completed.

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Book Review: Roses by Lelia Meacham

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4/5

Roses is an enthralling novel that tells the story of how a piece of land can tear a family apart for generations. Mary Toliver DuMont begins the novel as an old woman on a mission. Aware of the cancer rapidly deteriorating her otherwise commanding, proud frame, she makes one last trip to her lawyer. Her lawyer, Amos, is an old friend and he is completely shocked at the desired changes Mary is making to her will. Although dazed at her revelations, Amos is resigned to obey her wishes. After returning home, Mary prepares for her unannounced trip to her niece, Rachel. It is imperative that Mary explains to Rachel the changes she has made to her will. She is prepared for Rache’s hurt and anger that were sure to come from the news, but Mary is determined on not allowing Rachel to make the same mistake she did; loving the Toliver farm, Somerset, more than anyone else in the world. Despite the balmy Texas heat, Mary sits on her veranda with a glass of champagne while the past creeps up on her.

The reader is then transported back to the early 1900s when Mary, at the tender age of 15, inherits all of Somerset after her father’s death. Believing in a Toliver curse, Mary’s father bequeathed everything to his young daughter hoping that his wife and son would understand. Unfortunately, Mary becomes ostracized by her mother and brother, but that doesn’t stop her from taking the reins of the large cotton plantation. As a strong-minded, independent young woman, Mary’s dedication to her family’s land and loyalty to her father allows her to focus entirely on Somerset.

However, Mary’s heart is torn with the blossoming love she feels for one of her brother’s best friends, Percy Warwick. As the heir to a successful lumbering legacy the marriage between Percy and Mary would bring together the two most powerful businesses in the town of Howbutker, Texas. Despite all of her attempts, Mary can’t help but fall for the handsome Percy. These two young lovers plan their marriage, but although her love for Percy is strong, Mary’s love for Somerset is stronger. She decides to postpone their wedding until after the cotton harvest. Fed up with being put second to a stretch of land, Percy flees to Canada to clear his mind and try to forget about Mary Toliver.

Percy and Mary remain closer throughout the rest of their lives even though they married different people. It takes many years for Mary to understand the Toliver curse her father tried to save her from When she finally takes Somerset out of her primary focus, it’s too late. She had already lost all that she loved which is why she is so determined to save her niece from the same fate.

Roses are an important symbolism throughout the novel. When the fictional town of Howbutke rwas founded, the two powerful families, the Tolivers and Warwicks, had panted large rose garden on their estates. These rose gardens represented their ancestors who fought in the historic War of the Roses. In Roses, the color of the flower is extremely important. A red rose is used to ask forgiveness. A white signifies forgiveness and a pink rose states un-forgiveness.

Book Review: Titanic by Tony Aspler

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Rating: 3/5

I purchased this novel from a used book store a couple of years ago. While not one of my favorite finds, the title intrigued me. I love anything about the Titanic.

Mystery…murder…money on board the world’s most famous and tragic ship.

This fictional story is centered around Henry Blexill, an English butler who was plucked from his life long place of work in London by a rich American banker. Accustomed to being treated like family from his previous employer, Henry is treated very differently at his new place of service. His boss, Thaddeus Tarr, is a brutish man intent on making even more money to add to his substantial wealth. One of the things that he stresses to Henry is loyalty. Anyone working for Thaddeus Tarr must be loyal to him and only him.

Henry soon realizes that not only is Tarr the most greedy man he has ever met, but also the most ruthless. Tarr becomes furious when people have things that he doesn’t; a characteristic that hurts his reputation more than he knows. He is intent on matching the wealth of his main competitor, J.P. Morgan.

Despite Tarr’s insistent rules of royalty, Henry is fired for breaking this key rule. Henry flees from the Tarr’s summer residence after being caught in bed with Tarr’s mistress. Before leaving the grounds, Henry discovers a bloodied fire poker and realizes that Tarr has blood on his hands. Fearing for his life, Henry returns to New York and snags a job as a wine steward with the White Star Line.

Not long after joining the White Star Line, Henry is able to secure a job on the company’s newest ship, the Titanic. The Titanic was said to be the biggest and grandest ship that had ever been built. There were even rumors that the man-made ship was unsinkable, not even God Himself could sink that ship. Naturally, Thaddeus Tarr and his family were sailing on Titanic’s maiden voyage. However, Tarr isn’t looking to enjoy rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s wealthiest, he’s looking to uphold his position as a wealthy businessman despite the fact that he is losing millions because of his falling stocks. Despite the dangers that surround Tarr and his unsavory way of business, he can’t escape his pursuers even in the middle of the Atlantic.

When Henry realizes that his previous employer is on the ship he becomes obsessed with bringing Tarr to justice for the crimes he has committed. He attempts to find out who has followed Tarr on the Titanic with the intent on murder. Although he discovers the identity of the assailant, it’s too late. The Titanic had already struck the deadly iceberg and was sinking head first into the Atlantic ocean.

Even though Titanic has an intriguing plot, the storyline doesn’t bring many results. Some scenes tend to become a bit dry and even seem out of place. One particular example was the emphasis on Henry’s relationship with a woman named Kittie. They meet after Henry becomes a wine steward for the White Star Line. The explanation of their relationship is short, but Henry secures a position for her on the Titanic as a second class stewardess. The last we read of her occurs when the crew is desperately trying to board passengers on life boats. With one last kiss and the promise to meet up in New York, Kittie is places on a life boat and lowered into the frigid Atlantic. The novel ends abruptly with Henry being hoisted out of the ocean not long after the ship is completely submerged. We never find out if he makes it to New York to start a happy life with Kittie.