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Monday, January 9, 2012

Second Chances, by Dannye Williamsen

I found myself reading Second Chances in a period in which I had precious little time to devote to reading… and after the first few pages I was so hooked that I started carving out every possible moment to go on reading… during meals and even in the bathtub, something I never do for fear of damaging the reader!
Today, I finished the book, and I must confess I did not read the incipit for the following book, Threads that Bind, because I want to be surprised and enchanted again by the dexterity with which Dannye Williamsen manages to bind the reader, both with the plot and with her fluent, rich style, full of beautiful descriptions so well calibrated that they become precious ornaments to the story without suffocating it.
Another gift this book has to offer is the underlying philosophy of the eternal struggle between good and evil, faced here from a new, original perspective, that of two twins, parted at birth and forced by life along totally different paths. Is evil something we are born with? And is there something good even in the most evil person? These are some of the questions Dannye Williamsen addresses in her book, and while she gives, of course, her own answer to them, Second Chances offers the reader the possibility of lingering and pondering on the mystery of ying and yang, present in each of us, but that we often tend to ignore.
Add to all this a plot that verges on horror in a very new way, which reminded me of Dan Simmons’ Carrion Comfort (for Darian has something in common with the “mind vampires” we find there, even if he uses his power in a very self-centered and distorted way) and you have the recipe for the perfect book to keep you company in a long and cold January evening!
A five star book, no doubt!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

For once, this is NOT a review!
Tonight, when I discovered my very good friend Sue Palmer had awarded me this, I felt more than flattered.
My first thought was, "What ever did I do to deserve this?"
My blog is not very elaborate, it does not hold hot discussions about important subjects, it is only what its name says, my reading corner, the place where the impressions, feelings and thoughts evoked by the books I read find their way from my mind and heart to the written page (or should I say to the screen?).
All I want is to share these feelings and thoughts, and maybe show to other people good books that truly deserve to be read, nothing more.
So, what can I say? Just thank you!

Now, they tell me that with the award comes the task of:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post... I do not know how to do that, I admit my absolute ignorance, so I'll try to do it my own way!

2. Share seven things about yourself... okay, this is hard too. Let's see...

a) I love cats, but I suppose all the world knows that, by now.
b) I love horses too, and horseriding, which I've been doing since I was a child... and this is something few people know.
c) I absolutely love weapons, most of all firearms of the Nineteenth century. My dream is to own a Winchester 1873
d) I tried to shoot my ex-husband. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong pistol and it fired only blanks. But he gave me the divorce without any trouble, after that
e) Once I got to ride a mechanichal Brahama bull... I lasted five seconds, at most, but it was fun!
f)I got to meet Clint Eastwood, when I was 14... just five minutes, but worth a life, at least for a teenager!
g) I wrote my first short story when I was 13, and I threw it away when I was 18

3. Pass the award off to 5 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it... again, choosing it's not so easy... let's see...

Well, it seems I did it!!!!
Now, all of you who are so kind as to pay a visit to my quiet reading corner, go and meet these friends too... I'm sure you'll find other very interesting whings awaiting you there!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sweat, glamour and light sins By Alex Cantòn Dutari

This is one of those books I approach with a slight anxiousness, because it doens’t belong to any of the genres I usually read… actually, it is a genre I do not like very much… and I was afraid that might throw a shade on my evaluation of the story.
And I was pleasantly surprised.
The story started just as I expected, with a light tone, light situations… in a few words, it seemed to be nothing more than a way to spend a few pleasant hours reading.
As I went on, however, as I got to know Rhonda, Issi, Jack and all the other characters much better, I gradually became aware of the true value and potential of the book, and of the talent Alex Cantòn has as a writer.
For in this 49 pages there are more different layers and there is more depth than I have found in many more ponderous tomes.
What fashinated me… so gradually it took me a little while to become aware of what was happening… was not only the way Alex delved into the personal history and problems of each character, but also the way he explored the human mind using those characters as models through which to exemplify different situations and the way they overcame their difficulties.
From Issi’s (apparently) silly problem of getting rid of an embarassing name, to Jack’s more serious problem of getting involved into something that might mar his reputation and Marcos way of carving a place in life for himself, the reader travels through a microcosm that in a very subtle way prompts some inner evaluation and bring his/her own problems into perspective.
While somewhat original, the style in which the book is written is brilliant too, and perfectly complements the development of the plot.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Outcome, a novel: there's more than a hurricane coming - by Barbara Ebel

Outcome is a book that is difficult to place in any given genre, because it touches so many aspects of life and of the human soul. My very first impression is that it reminds me of a book I read, and loved, many years ago, The Human Comedy, by William Saroyan.
The setting is quite different, of course, but the elements of tragedy, and of the ability of the human soul to cope with it are the same.
Here we aren’t facing the World One period, but we have a life-threatening situation all the same, with the hurricane Ivan heading toward Florida, and we see how a place so wonderful that it can be considered a piece of heaven on earth can become a deadly trap in a matter of minutes.
A life is lost, another is in the balance, and in between a small dog, Putt-Putt, fights to understand this sudden subversion of his world and to survive.
And around this central tragedy, which is made of despair and hope, of loss and recovery, a whole universe of characters comes to life. People who otherwise would never have met find their way into each other’s life, and this interaction changes their life forever.
Barbara Ebel proves herself to be not only a skilled physician but also a very skilled author. Her medical insight lends a deeper ring of truth to the parts of the story that unfold between the OR and the ICU of the Good Samaritan Hospital, and her skill as an author is proved by the way she weaves the threads of so many lives throughout the book and to the proper end for each of them. Even for Putt-Putt, who is one of the main characters, never far from the heart of the reader.
Decidedly a good reading, a book hard to put down, fully worth a five star review

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thief of Todays and Tomorrows - by Susan Wells Bennett

This book came to me in an “odd” way. Months ago I won a few books through a contest and “Thief of Todays and Tomorrows” was one of the titles I could choose from. I found the unusual title intriguing, and another thing that caught my attention was the fact that it told the story of an Irish woman and her Italian husband… I’m Italian, and my companion is Irish.
It took me a while to get to read it, but once I began I could not put it down. No, this is not the whole truth… I had to put it down, from time to time, because the story was so full of emotion, so tender and sad and true that I found it almost overwhelming.
I have no limits of genre in my choice of books, so I read almost anything, from mainstream to fantasy to thrillers. But I find it difficult to say at what genre this book could belong. In my opinion, as most really good books do, it goes beyond genres and classifications, and reaches that wider, tragic stage that is real life.
Once more, Susan Bennet gives us characters so well defined and with such a strong  personality that they impress themselves in the mind of the reader, to stay there forever. And this is true not only for the main characters, such as Kate or Francis, but also for all the other people that surround them and that for the good or the bad influence their life.
Another thing that I truly loved of the book is the picture it gives of how life was in the US between the end of the Second World War and the Sixties. With a truly masterly hand, Susan Bennet paints a picture of the society of the period, and we could almost consider it another silent character, that slowly evolves and changes throughout the book, creating on one hand the stage on which the personal drama of the characters unfolds, and on the other lending to the book a feeling of “historical” novel, even if it is a rather recent history.
Thief of Todays and Tomorrows is a little masterpiece that carries the reader away to another time and another way of life, not very far removed from our present life but, under some aspects, light years away from it.
Definitely, a book worth reading, that fully deserves a five stars evaluation