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review 2014-12-11 10:47
A Family Christmas by Glenice Crossland
A Family Christmas - Glenice Crossland


Description: Lucy Gabbitas has just left school and is excited about joining her sisters at the local umbrella factory. But then her beloved father dies of lung disease leaving Lucy and her brothers and sisters broken-hearted. With barely enough to make ends meet, the family receive no sympathy from their tyrannical mother, Annie, and their first Christmas without him holds little comfort and joy. Things seem to be looking brighter for Lucy when she meets John Grey and falls in love. That is until Annie becomes seriously ill and dies, and Lucy is forced to put her family first. But despite their continued hardship and despair, Lucy resolves to turn their home into a happy one for her brothers and sisters, and for the family of her own she dearly hopes for. And she is determined to make Christmas a joyous occasion for them all once more.

Dedication - For my husband and family, with love, as always.

Opening - Lucy opened her eyes and peered into the darkness.

A pedestrian also-ran that had nowt to do with the title. Next!
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review 2014-01-24 13:09
For All the Tea in China
For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink - Sarah Rose

bookshelves: nonfiction, autumn-2012, history, published-2009, biography, colonial-overlords, victorian, recreational-drugs, war, fraudio, china, india, gardening, pirates-smugglers-wreckers

Read on November 05, 2012

Read by the author herself.

Blurb - A dramatic historical narrative of the man who stole the secret of tea from China.

In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China's territory forbidden to foreigners,to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea horticulture and manufacturing. For All the Tea in China is the remarkable account of Fortune's journeys into China; a thrilling narrative that combines history, geography, botany, natural science, and old-fashioned adventure.

Disguised in Mandarin robes, Fortune ventured deep into the country, confronting pirates, hostile climate, and his own untrustworthy men as he made his way to the epicenter of tea production, the remote Wu Yi Shan hills. One of the most daring acts of corporate espionage in history, Fortune's pursuit of China's ancient secret makes for a classic nineteenth-century adventure tale, one in which the fate of empires hinges on the feats of one extraordinary man.

Camellia sinensis:

Robert Fortune, the tea thief. From wiki: Robert Fortune (16 September 1812 – 13 April 1880) was a Scottish botanist, plant hunter and traveller, best known for introducing tea plants from China to India. Robert Fortune was born in Britain on 16 September 1812, at Kelloe, Berwickshire.

This does have the tang of 'must publish my dissertation or bust', feeling; the author delivers this in rather a dramatic and staccato'd fashion.

Can't fault the historical research and it is enjoyable enough for a solid 3*

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review 2013-11-27 06:28
Review: Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: October 1st 2009
Format: Hardcover, 266 pages


What is Laini Taylor but a genius? Lips Touch: Three Times was beautifully written with descriptions that weren't too much or too little, interesting characters I would enjoy in a full-length novel, and such vivid imagination. I was first introduced to Laini Taylor through Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and wasn't sure if Lips Touch would be as fulfilling for me, but I should know by now that Laini doesn't disappoint. I was hooked after reading just the first page:

There is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave. You could walk across a high school campus and point them out: not her, not her, her. The pert, lovely ones with butterfly tattoos in secret places, sitting on their boyfriends' laps? No, not them. The girls watching the lovely ones sitting on their boyfriends' laps? Yes.


The goblins want girls who dream so hard about being pretty their yearning leaves a palpable trail, a scent goblin can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood. The girls with hungry eyes who pray each night to wake up as someone else. Urgent, unkissed, wishful girls.

Like Kizzy.

The book consists of three short stories based on Irish, Hindu, and Zoroastrian folklore. The Zoroastrian-based story, Hatchling, was by far the most intricate and my favorite. Laini Taylor has the kind of imagination that makes the writer in my green with envy. Each story is about how a kiss can change a life, for better or worse. Preceding each short story were illustrations that gave nothing away. I enjoyed reading the stories and figuring out how the illustrations fit in with moments of the plot. My favorite thing about Laini Taylor's writing would have to be how she doesn't info dump, but instead weaves the past in with the present through flashbacks that don't feel like they've been suddenly placed with no rhyme or reason. They make sense, they flow. It was superb. The only part about Lips Touch that I didn't like was that the stories were so short. I would have loved to keep reading about these characters I came to love in such a short time. But I suppose that's the point of short stories, so I'm satisfied and without complaint.

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