Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday Wrap Up: Week ending April 6, 2014

Please be sure to check out links to reviews for giveaways!

Good day and so pleased you have made your way to our lovely blog. Whether you are a returning or new visitor, it's a great time to come: Spring (or "Breakup" as some of us call it) has arrived and many are cleaning out their homes in anticipation of freshening up and making ready for the open air of beautiful summer.

A time of stretching, airing ourselves out and facing what's ahead with exhilaration and anticipation greets us as well. Here at The Review we have been winding down a bit this week and also looking forward to a short break in which to do this, as well as prepare for what's ahead--and rest assured there are lots of great ideas coming down the pike. As we ready for you, our wonderful readers, we shall be featuring The Best of The Review with favorites picked out for you to enjoy all over again, and perhaps remember some other favorites of your own to pack in your summer stock. This will begin on Tuesday after a special Monday blog, and we'll be back bright eyed and bushy tailed on the 21.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, for this week our reviewers checked out a couple of books that very well may end up on your summer reading list--and both have giveaways so if you're interested to get them into your tote, leave a comment at the appropriate links to enter the draw!

Linda starts us out with her review of Kevin Ashman's "well-constructed, two-plotted tale The Dead Virgins. . . There are two timelines to this novel – one occuring in Britain in 2010 and the other, in Rome and Roman Britannia  during Nero’s reign. . . The reader experiences no confusion in knowing into which storyline he or she has been deposited when there is a change in point of view and setting. . . The  principal Roman characters-- the Vestal Rubria, the centurion and the female slave are believable and I was delighted with Ashman’s development of a love interest that satisfies all three.

In the part of the tale set in modern times, the co-protagonists Brandon and India are at first glance somewhat stereotypical,  he being the undercover operative seeking to recover a missing child, and she being the researcher who is drawn to help him because of the possible existence of an important first century artifact.  Ashman saves them from becoming clones of other writers who use similar combinations of female scholar and male strongman by keeping their relationship professional and their approaches to the issues consistent with their individual biographies." Linda wants to know where these characters go in the sequel and you will, too! See what else she says and see details for the giveaway here.

Simon brings us closer to the magic of summer with more enchanting newness and refreshment: our first poetry review here at The Review! We were all pretty excited about this and Simon delivers in his overview of Bobbie Coelho's Finding the Light. "Perhaps the best way to describe the collection is to acknowledge - as Bobbie does in the poems - that the poet has Parkinson's Disease.  Some of the poems reveal themselves as thoughtful, and sometimes anguished, responses to the condition.  A recurring theme is the need - realised as a result of being diagnosed with and living with infirmity - to seize the moment and to make the most of life. 

But too many poems on that theme would seem trite.  Bobbie never harps on the illness, never wallows in self-pity. The awareness of her own frailty appears to have caused her to see things in a new light - both the things that are around her (flowers in a summer garden, a Remembrance Day parade) and those which rise up out of the memory. And so what emerges is a sort of collage: one image, one idea after another, in no particular order, shards of a lifetime's experience." Perhaps a sort of memoir in poetry? Simon continues: "There is fun to be had in reading through the volume: parents everywhere will agree with the pithy "Teenager" (pleasantly paired with "For Kitty on Her Birthday", which re-establishes the balance), and "Signing Off" is a brilliantly encapsulated statement on married life.  The arrangement of the poems in this neat and carefully copy edited volume means that every page contains a different mood, another emotion recollected in tranquillity." You will definitely want to read the rest of the review, which in turn won't let you go until you read this book. 

Both books have giveaway, but the picking of the names draws closer so see the links above and comment at each to get your name in for a chance to win!

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