It's summer. It's summer and life is chaotic. So my reviews have suffered. Here are some brief thoughts about the books I've read recently:
The Sunflower House By Sharon Lovejoy. This book was a gift to me from a dear woman that has always been wonderful to me and my family. I'm ashamed to admit that this was the first time I'd really looked at the book since she gave it to us many many months ago. I love to garden. It's a passion of mine. Well, this book set fire to that passion. I find myself wishing I had acres and acres of land to work with to create magnificent gardens that my children and I could roam and dream in. If you have a place in your heart for gardening or children in your life, I highly recommend this book. It is full of wonderful things to dream about.
The Knights of the Black and White by Jack Whyte. I've owned this book for a while. It's home has been my enormous "to be read" shelf and I'm very pleased that I finally took it down. The time of the Crusades fascinates me. I love reading both fiction and non-fiction from all sides of the "conflict." The places depicted are always the hardest for me to come out of when I set the book down. Damascus, Jaffa, Acre. These places are as real to me as any I visit in the flesh. I hadn't realized at the time that this book was the first of a trilogy. I look forward to reading them. This book begins with Hugh de Payens and sidetracks eventually to focus on Stephen St. Clair. It took me a while to accept that Hugh was no longer the focal point, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I was especially tickled that Hasan and the "Assassins" were mentioned. They are another of my strange fascinations.
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. Let me start with this: I love Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy books. Love them. Immensely. So when I realized she had written a new and different novel, I pounced. Who knew I would be disappointed? The story has real potential. The plot isn't exactly new (though it mirrors recent events a little too closely for my comfort - it was creepy), but it was executed well. I couldn't get over the feeling of "this is a Young Adult book" though. Perhaps because the main characters were kids? Maybe I'm just getting too old. The story built up, got you interested, sucked you in, and then ended in a huge convenient rush. I'd still recommend it, but not as fervently as some of her other works.
Speaking of Jacqueline Carey, I just received a copy of Naamah's Kiss from the library. I've only read about half of one page, though. Also from the library, I have The Sign by Raymond Khoury to look forward to. And then, Ally from Simon & Schuster UK sent me a copy of The Medusa Project: The Set Up by Sophie McKenzie. My reading plate is full! And company is coming, which means I'm unlikely to get much reading done. Ah, well.