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review 2018-03-29 03:45
Childhood favorite which came with me to the adulthood
The Mysterious Island - Caleb Carr,Jordan Stump,Jules Verne

Five Union prisoners escape from the siege of Richmond in a balloon, are blown off course and crash on an uncharted island. They must learn to rebuild a society for themselves while awaiting rescue.


Dear readers,

Even after living in the US for two decades, I cannot quite figure out whether Jules Vern is a popular writer here (or in any other country, really). I mean I do see his books occasionally when I walk in the Barnes and Noble, but none of my book buds seem to have him amongst their favorites. So I have no idea, but Jules Verne was quite popular in the Soviet Union when I was growing up. I first read a lot of his stories when I was very young and same as many of my favorite books that I read at that age, “Mysterious Island” traveled with me to my adulthood and I love it today as much as ever.

I love it because my heart went out to all the five men (well four men, and fifteen year old boy – when our story begins) who wanted to escape siege of Richmond and who were ready to risk anything for that and possibly even their lives. And they escaped all right – to the island where nobody else was living, they had to throw in the ocean their meager possessions they managed to take with them before they run, so when they crashed they had nothing with them. They only had their strength, bravery, intelligence and their quickly formed friendship to survive together.

Of course the writer helped them out a lot by making sure the island had a lot of natural resources. A lot of them! However, they literally had to build so many things from scratch and their hard work (and engineering knowledge of the man who became their leader) was a big part of their success.

I have read some answers to the questions and some reviews of the book at Goodreads, because I really was interested in the opinions of those who actually read the book.

First and foremost there are two books that have some characters in common with this book. “In Search of the Castaways” and “Twenty Thousands Leagues Under the Sea” should be read *before* this book regardless of when Verne wrote those two.  These three books connected very loosely, they do not tell you the same continuous story as the normal trilogy would, however, the story of one character from “Search of Castaways” and the story of one character from “Twenty Thousands Leagues” gets satisfying conclusion ( for me) in “Mysterious Island”.

 Some reviews compared the story with “Robinson Cruzo”.  I agree that comparison works – if for no other reason then only because it is also a story of survival at the uninhabited island.  However, I also liked this book so much better than Robinson. I read Robinson but never had any desire to reread it and I think the main reason was because these men had each other, they supported each other, sacrificed for each other and worked together to make the island where they crashed good place to live in.  They had no reason to think that they would ever leave it after all.

Another review of the book I have read basically stated it was boring because there was not much plot. I do not agree with it, however I think I can *see* how somebody else can view this book as boring, because a lot of the plot describes the work men did , be it building the place for the animals they tamed, or making clothing for themselves, or gardening. The work together occupies a lot of page space for sure.

But this is not all our colonists did, not at all! They got to save a life, they had to battle pirates, they kept saving each other from various dangers and they got to discover the secret that their Island had.

I always love a redemption story too and for one of the characters the book told such a story.

I have almost a sentimental attachment to this book. Not all childhood favorites survived the rereads, but this one did and I remember reading this book to my brother before bed when he was four and I was eight, so please understand that even though I am giving it the highest grade, I am aware of the issues the book may have for other readers.

First and foremost there are no women in this story. I was not bothered by that, because it made sense to me, but if you do not want to read the book with only male characters, this is not a book for you.

I also read that Jules Verne did not do a very good job describing the Richmond of 1865, but I would not know one way or another, just something to keep in mind.

Also, one of the characters is a Black guy who was initially a slave. The former owner freed Nab long time ago, but Nab decided to stay and be a free servant because he loved this guy so much. I do not feel qualified to decide if his portrayal was problematic. I do think that Nab is portrayed in the same very sympathetic way as other main characters, but if it bothers you that he chose to stay with his former owner, one more time, just beware.

Grade: A

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review 2018-02-23 06:32
Death on Earth by Jules Howard
Death on Earth: Adventures in Evolution and Mortality - Jules Howard

TITLE:  Death on Earth:  Adventures in Evolution and Mortality


AUTHOR:  Jules Howard




FORMAT:  ebook


ISBN-13:  978-1-4729-1510-8




This book is horribly written (in my opinion) but some-what entertaining.  The author makes a rather poor (and unsuccessful) attempt to explore death in nature.  There is no focus to this book, no thesis or structure - there is just a collection of chapters that briefly discuss whatever random, sometimes  vaguely death related topic the author came across at any given time (I suppose this is the adventure part of the title?).  The book struck me as being more about life and the strange habits of humans rather than death.  Some of these animal stories were interesting, but all were rather superficial.  The writing style is informal, science-lite, overly chatty with too many far too personal anecdotes and opinions.  This is basically a shallow but fairly entertaining book to read if you don't feel like putting too much effort into your reading matter.



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review 2018-02-08 05:00
The Puritan Pirate (Pirates of Port Royal #1) by Jules Radcliffe
The Puritan Pirate - Jules Radcliffe

3.5 stars I think is a fairer rating. 

Everything goes oh too well for our characters. Even the most evil event leaves (physically) only bruises and sore muscles. Not that I am complaining, mind you. 

Another minus for me is the unfinished business. Killjoy, Chacal, Spanish in general - those are still loose ends. I almost wish there was less talk and love making.... oh, who am I kidding!

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review 2018-01-06 00:00
Taming the Texan
Taming the Texan - Jules Bennett Taming the Texan takes a look at love from all sides. From the heartache and grief that shadows loss to the fear, guilt and inspiration that finding new love can bring. What begins as a meeting between strangers morphs into a merging of souls. Hayes and Alexa have both struggled with survivor's guilt. Alexa has had two tragic loses in her young life and is slowly bouncing back from the most recent one. Hayes is a man haunted by events of war and comrades lost. Can a twist of fate not only help them heal, but create a family? Jules Bennett comes at love from a different angle and delivers moments that are priceless.
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review 2017-10-31 14:41
Winter Wishes by Fern Michaels, Susan Fox, Jules Bennett, Leah Marie Brown Christmas Kisses by Fern Michaels Meredith is on her way to Nashville, KS after having left Las Vegas.... She was a dancer but there was always another younger one waiting to take
Winter Wishes - Fern Michaels,Susan Fox,Jules Bennett,Leah Marie Brown

Winter Wishes by Fern Michaels, Susan Fox, Jules Bennett, Leah Marie Brown Christmas Kisses by Fern Michaels Meredith is on her way to Nashville, KS after having left Las Vegas.... She was a dancer but there was always another younger one waiting to take over, especially after injuries. She meets Noah who she might be buying his grandmother's house from. She hopes to get a job and then she'd be able to afford the house. She asks what is next as he found her a house, job was marriage next? She'll take the temp job. She selects his name for the secret santa gift and everybody goes to the town party. They spend time together and she discovers what it is she wants to do with her life. Silly children's books, they'd be a hit. So many misunderstandings...predictable for the rest of the book... . Blue Moon Harbor Christmas by Susan Fox Michael, an architect had a baby with Jillian and he sent her support payments as she was going to get an abortion. 8 years later, Ontario and she's a pilot on the island. He had never seen the baby and 8 years later he wants to learn about him and maybe try to bond. They were just a party couple in college and got caught up with her pregnancy. Michael arrives and spends the holidays with the family as he stays at the inn nearby. He learns so much about not only his son Cole but his wife and her parents that they live with. He sees himself and Jillian in the child and hopes to find toys for his interests. They try to work things out as they still like one another, very much... He won't be staying long as the new year will bring him back home, to work.... Second Chance Christmas by Jules Bennett Ruby has agreed to go on a blind date-she knows him-Knox. She was a nurse in charge of the terminal illness ward and his wife was her patient. She got transferred after her passing. They agree to go ahead with the date and catch up another up to date. He wants to make her Christmas a great holiday as she had lost her father last Christmas Eve and he decorates her house for her. He is a pilot and he had joined the Navy so he's always on the move. Sex scenes that help her understand how much he cares for her. Predictable ending, bit of a twist. Plans for new series is included. . Finding Colin by Leah Marie Brown Grace is an advertisement writer and she also writes romance. Her boss Roberta needs to discipline her as she is using the computer during business hours for personal use. 3 week unpaid leave, now she has time to write her book. She is persuaded to go to Ireland and meet Colin-the main she is writing about in her book. Liked the travel and places she gets to visit... Colin, she does meet him, but there are many with the same name. Travel tips at the end. . Author bios at the end along with a featured book by each author. Received a review copy from Netgalley via Kensington Books and this is my honest opinion.

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