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review 2017-03-25 16:41
A Renaissance woman in power
Daughter of Venice: Caterina Corner, Queen of Cyprus and Woman of the Renaissance - Holly S. Hurlburt

In the 15th century Cyprus was an independent kingdom ruled by the descendants of French crusaders. In debt and faced with competing powers all of whom desired control over the strategically important island, in 1468 its king, Jacques II, agreed to marry a teenaged Venetian noblewoman named Caterina Corner. The daughter of a wealthy mercantile family, their union symbolized Venice's ascent in Cypriot politics, and when the then-18 year old traveled to Cyprus in 1572 to marry Jacques in person. Less than two years later, with the tragic deaths of both her husband and infant son, Caterina found herself the ruling queen of the island, which she governed until she was forced to abdicate by the Venetians in 1489.


Caterina's unusual life and unfortunate fate have long attracted the attention of artists and poets as well as scholars. One of the strengths of Holly Hurlburt's book is her ability to draw upon this output to deconstruct how Caterina was seen both in her time and afterward. As her title indicates, Hurlburt sees Caterina's Venetian identity as an indelible part of who she was as both a person and a ruler. Yet while reliant upon Venetian support throughout her reign, Hurlburt demonstrates that Caterina was not their puppet, a fact demonstrated by their deposition of her when the Venetians feared a possible marriage alliance between her and the heir to the throne of their Neapolitan rivals. Though no longer in power, Hurlburt shows how Caterina maintained her dignity afterward, living as the "Lady of Asolo" in northern Venice, where she not only ruled over the community but served as a Renaissance patron and influential personage.


By combining the analysis of art history with historical research, Hurlburt provides readers with an excellent study of a fascinating Renaissance figure. Though she eschews a narrative of Caterina's reign, she provides an overview that encapsulates the problems she faced as a woman performing in a role defined by men. In this her utilization of the artistic portrayals of her subject is a particular strength, one enhanced by the generous supplementing of the text with the illustrations to which she refers. It all makes for a book that should be read by anyone interested in learning about the lives of Renaissance women in power and how they responded to the challenges they encountered.

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review 2017-03-02 22:32
Am I Normal, Yet?
Am I Normal Yet? (The Normal Series) - Holly Bourne

It's YA and I got given the book by a friend who had copies for World Book Night 2016.


Otherwise, I would not have picked it up, because...YA.


If I had read this when I was 15, I would have enjoyed this much more, but as I haven't the book fell a bit flat for me. 


The intention of the book is great, tho: To give readers an insight into how OCD and general anxiety disorder can affect people. It's not something that I as a 15-year-old would have been that familiar with, other than by way of crude jokes. And this is the point of the book - to get people think about the jokes and flippant remarks that are based on mental health issues. 


From that aspect, I really appreciated the book, too.


Where it fell flat for me was in the writing - it was so full of cliches that made it seem quite ironic that the books attempts to look behind the common misconceptions - and cliches - surrounding mental health issues.


And of course the precocious little sister character, just seemed a thinly veiled psychology lecture...

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text 2017-02-17 16:19
To pick up at the library on the way home....
Agent of Change - Sharon Lee,Steve Miller
The Conjoined: A Novel - Jen Sookfong Lee
Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs
Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man - David Fisher,William Shatner
Skinwalker - Faith Hunter
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 3 - Holly Black,Peter S. Beagle,Stephen Baxter,Stephen King,Hannu Rajaniemi,Jeff VanderMeer,Meghan McCarron,Ted Kosmatka,Rachel Swirsky,Ken Scholes,Richard Bowes,Ted Chiang,Robert Reed,Elizabeth Bear,Kij Johnson,Paolo Bacigalupi,M. Rickert,Margo Lanagan,Maure
Spider's Bite - Jennifer Estep
The Fall of the House of Wilde: Oscar Wilde and His Family - Emer O'Sullivan
Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils - Lydia V. Pyne

I will undoubtedly have plenty to read this weekend!  And it is a long weekend, Monday being Family Day here in Alberta.


Happy Friday everyone and enjoy the weekend.



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review 2017-02-15 19:31
How Hard Can Love be? (The Normal Series) - Holly Bourne

Easy to read and interesting most of the time but it struggled to hold my attention all the way through. I suspect it was mostly because I didn't warm to Amber as much as I would have liked. Turning to alcohol to fill a void makes sense since she had an alcoholic mother but I was hoping for her struggle with it to be addressed more and it wasn't. I also wish the ending had been a little more rounded (what's all that walking into the sunset rattle?) but I guess it's part of a series so...we'll see.

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review 2017-02-05 19:13
Short Book Review
Short - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Short is a super cute children's book that I think a lot of kids can relate too. Its funny, has a great theme and perfect for theater kids. The main character, Julia is very short and starts to get mad at the world, especially when her mom makes her try out for the Wizard of Oz and she's cast as a munchkin. Soon Julia realizes how much she can do no matter her size. A quick and enjoyable read.

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