The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson

Synopsis: Subtitled “A Plot to Kill the Child King–A Nonfiction Thriller,” this book weaves together the discovery of King Tut’s tomb with his reign as Pharaoh in order to show that he may have been murdered. Review: In The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson turns history into potboiler, but I was less than thrilled. The characterizations were cliched and cardboard, and the writing lacked beauty. I was hoping for something along the lines of John Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, but James Patterson…

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The Crow by Alison Croggon (The Third Book of Pellinor)

Synopsis: Young Bard-in-training Hem finds himself in the midst of a war, recruited into a vicious army of children enslaved by evil magic. Review: The Crow got off to a very slow start, but once it got going I was enthralled by the uniqueness of the world and the beauty of the writing. I fell in love with Hem, a deep thinker whose life has been marred by tragedy, and his friend Zelika, an impetuous girl who is the last of her family. The war…

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The Riddle by Alison Croggon (The Second Book of Pellinor)

Synopsis: Maerad of Pellinor heads north in pursuit of the Treesong as the Winter King threatens her at every turn. Review: I was so glad to see Alison Croggon leave her Tolkien influences behind in The Riddle, the second book in her well-told story of Pellinor, which started out as just your typical fantasy country beseiged by the coming of the dark. Fortunately, Croggon brings in some non-medieval elements in her construction of the mythology of her world. I really liked some of the harsher…

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The Naming by Alison Croggon (The First Book of Pellinor)

Synopsis: A slave discovers that she is The One prophesied by the mystical race of Bards. Review: It really is all about execution when it comes to epic fantasy. I mean, that one sentence synopsis of The Gift could pretty much describe about a zillion other books, many of them truly dreadful. In fact, I was listening the audiobook of Mistborn at the same time, which has basically the same premise! So far, Alison Croggon is delivering a fine, fine tale. She admits to being…

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Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi

Synopsis: While investigating paranormal reports for Scientific American in the 1920s, a grad student falls in love with a woman claiming to be a spirit medium. Review: I picked up Inamorata at a recent swap meet I hosted for my babysitting coop. How could I pass it up? Set in the 1920s, featuring spirit mediums that may be faking, and the dust jacket alluded to a shady gynecologist and a passionate love affair. And it’s based on true events! The book more than delivered, and…

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The Devil’s Queen by Jeanne Kalogridis

Synopsis: A fictional exploration of the life of Catherine de Medici. Review: The Devil’s Queen is a richly imagined, evocative, sexy, thrilling piece of historical fiction. Honestly, it was not really my cup of tea, but I had to check it out because the publisher created such a cool online promo book: Open publication – Free publishing – More spells Share on Facebook

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Cooking For Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser

Synopsis: A food writer tells her own love story through vignettes of the wonderful meals she had during her courtship and engagement with a man who nearly lost her by putting Equal in his latte. Review: Amanda Hesser is so charming! Cooking for Mr. Latte was both romantic and mouthwatering, filled with funny, honest, and delightful anecdotes about food, dining, relationships, and love. Each chapter offers recipes that seem accessible and sound absolutely delicious. You bet I will be making her Kadjemoula (North African Lamb…

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Christianish: What If We’re Not Really Following Jesus at All? by Mark Steele

Synopsis: An examination of a bunch of different ways that Christians get Christianity wrong. Review: Mark Steele’s heart is firmly in the right place, and he’s a fantastic writer, making for two excellent reasons to check out Christianish. He uses funny and insightful anecdotes from his own life to show the different ways that Christians allow their practice of faith to turn sinful. He speaks eloquently about arrogance, greed (what he calls Christian obesity) and worldliness, among others. His critique is right on. I do…

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Ms. Harris’s Book of Green Household Management by Caroline Harris

Synopsis: Subtitled “The Essential Thrift Bible,” covers all the ways you can go green without spending a fortune. Review: I’ve browsed through quite a few books on green housekeeping, in my quest to keep Superfast Toddler’s home environment as non-toxic as possible. I haven’t blogged about them, because they’re pretty dry and I’ve mainly just skimmed them as you would a recipe book (another genre I read prodigiously and don’t blog about). Come to think of it, I’ve also left off blogging about some parenting…

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