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review 2017-11-06 07:04
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard by David A. Goodman
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard - David A. Goodman

This is a somewhat bland novel that is supposed to be an autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard, but reads more like a Vulcan student's summary of the life of Captain Picard in which his human school mate wrote the first third dealing with Picard's childhood. Nothing particularly new or exciting to read here.


I recommend the Star Gazer novels by Michael Jan Friedman and Buried Age by Christopher L. Bennett for anyone wanting to know more about Jean-Luc Picard.

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review 2017-10-23 20:19
The Widow's House by Carol Goodman
The Widow's House: A Novel - Carol Goodman

This chilling novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages blends the gothic allure of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca and the crazed undertones of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper with the twisty, contemporary edge of A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife—a harrowing tale of psychological suspense set in New York’s Hudson Valley.

When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess's writing career.

They take a caretaker's job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their twenties. It's been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare's hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.

But their new life isn't all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night, and sees strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is—this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate—it seems to be after Clare next…


I read The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman a couple of years ago and was deeply impressed with the book. After that, did I read The Ghost Orchid and The Sonnet Lover and was not as impressed (not bad books, just not as good as The Lake of Dead Languages). So, when I saw this book and read the description did I immediately want to read it. I love old mysterious houses and the description of this book, about a couple moving there as caretakers made me think of The Shining. Especially since the husband is a writer.

I quite enjoyed reading The Widow's House, the story is good, and I felt that the characters are complex and there is something very weird going on. Clare Martin has had problems in the past, for instance, a miscarriage when she was in college and her childhood was a hard one. And, now at the house, is she experiencing things that make her wonder if the house is haunted or if she is losing it.

One thing I truly loved about the book is how not everything is at it seems, Clare's husband Jess didn't make a good first impression on me, and although the book did I feel that he was a self-centered son of a bitch. But, the ending, without wanting to give anything away, I love how Carol Goodman decided to write an ending that just turned everything around.

The Widow's House kept my interest up from the beginning until the end. I've been a bit tired of reading psychological thrillers with a woman in center trying to solve a mystery, but this book felt refreshing to read. I felt that I connected with the story and its characters and I was eager to learn the truth about the house.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

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text 2017-09-28 22:13
Which to choose?
What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist--the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century England - Daniel Pool
How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life - Ruth Goodman

In my ongoing effort to pare down my shelves, I've decided to confront what has been the glaring coexistence of two books on my shelf: Daniel Pool's What Jane Austen Ate, What Charles Dickens Knew and Ruth Goodman's How to be a Victorian. Both are similar, yet they may not be similar enough


Pool's book has been taking space on my shelf for over two decades. His goal in writing it was to explain Victorian life as it's represented in its most enduring cultural artifacts: the many novels of its age. Have you ever been confused by various English legal courts chronicled in Dickens's novels, or the different types of servants mentioned in Trollope's works? If so, then this is an ideal book to have.


Goodman's book is more recent. and her approach is different. in it, she dissects Victorian life by describing its daily routines, from sunup until bedtime. This is not just the product of documentary research, though, as Goodman adopts an archaeological approach by describing her firsthand observations of the physical objects (such as clothing) and other artifacts now preserved in museums and other collections. It's not always an idea approach, but in the case of this book it works well.


As you can see there is considerable overlap between the two books, yet at the same time the differences are not so great as to easily justify getting rid of both. So I'm trying to decide what to do. Do I get rid of one of them? If so, which one? Any suggestions you might have, especially if you've read one or both of these books, would be greatly appreciated.

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review 2017-09-11 03:34
The Finishing School
The Finishing School - Joanna Goodman

The Lycée is celebrating its 100th anniversary and not only has Kersti Kuusk been invited back to the elite boarding school in Switzerland where she spent four years of her life, she has been selected as one of their "One Hundred Women of the Lycée." But for Kersti this opens up an old wound. Almost twenty years ago Kersti's best friend, Cressida, fell from her fourth-floor balcony just before graduation. This was quickly deemed an accident and the whole thing was over and done with before any publicity. But Kersti can't help but dig around especially with the anniversary coming up and after receiving a letter from an old friend of theirs from Lycée. Kersti never forgot Cressida's obsession with a secret club that was banned years before their arrival, a secret club that had two of its members expelled from the school - something that had never happened before or since. Kersti is determined to get answers about the club and about what happened to her best friend that night long ago.


I could not get enough of this book! I love reading about boarding schools. The chapters go back and forth between past and present and I did enjoy both, but there's always something about the past that makes me like it just a little bit more. I loved the setting - the beautiful mountains, the crisp air, the light powdery snow. I liked the twists and turns, the friendships and the suspense.

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review 2017-09-11 00:49
Book Review: Ravencliffe
Ravencliffe - Carol Goodman

Book: Ravencliffe


Author: Carol Goodman


Genre: Teen/Fantasy Fiction/Romance/Sequel


Summary: Avaline Hall is no ordinary girl. She's a student at the Blythewood Academy, an elite boarding school that trains young women to defend human society from the shadowy forces that live among us. After the devastating events of her first year at Blythewood, Ava is eager to reunite with her friends - and with Raven, the compelling but elusive winged boy who makes her pulse race. She soon discovers, though, that the sinister Judicus van Drood hasn't finished wreaking havoc on Blythewood - and wants to use Ava and her classmates to attack a much bigger target. Ava's the only one with any hope of stopping van Drood. But to scuttle his plans, she must reveal her deepest secret to everyone at Blythewood. What's she willing to sacrifice to do what's right: Her school? Her love? Or her life? -Viking/Penguin, 2014.


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