Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Victory

Title: Victory
Author: Susan Cooper
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult/MG
Pub Date: December 2007, Simon & Schuster Children's
Paperback, 224 pages
Book Source: Purchased from



Sam Robbins is a farm boy, kidnapped to serve on HMS Victory, the ship on which Lord Nelson will die a hero's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Molly Jennings is a twenty-first-century English girl transplanted to the United States by her stepfather's job, who's fighting her own battle against loss and loneliness.

Two lives that couldn't be more different, two hundred years apart, are linked by a tiny scrap of fraying cloth, tucked into an old book. It draws Molly into Sam's world, to a moment in time that changed history — a frightening shared moment that holds the key to secrets from the past and hope for the future.

My Thoughts

A light and easy read, Victory is a book I know I would have enjoyed had I read it at the age Cooper intended the book for.  The story is told in alternating points of view, going back and forth between Sam Robbins and Molly Jennings, which tends to keep things moving pretty quickly.

While there are obvious connections between these two characters, the more you read, the more you want to know just why their lives would be connected.  In the end, while I suspected what was coming, no matter how improbable it may have been, I really enjoyed how Cooper laid everything out and revealed all of the pieces of the puzzle.  It was also interesting to have a glimpse of the history of Lord Nelson, even though it came in a fictionalized setting.

I think readers young and old could appreciate this story not only for its plot and setting, but also for the cast of characters.  If you are looking for an adventure that won't bog you down but will keep you entertained, I definitely recommend Victory.

My Rating: 4 stars

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Mystery Mondays: Review: Pushing Up Daisies

Title: Pushing Up Daisies
Author: Rosemary Harris
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pub Date: February 2008, St. Martin's Press
Book Source: Received my copy from the author for review


Thirtyish former television exec Paula Holliday relocates from New York City to sleepy Springfield, CT, determined to turn her passion for gardening into a new, less stressful career.

When an eccentric spinster dies, her landmark property is left to the local Historical Society, and Paula sees the garden’s restoration as a way to get her fledgling business off the ground. She’s prepared for everything, but not for the mummified baby she digs up her first day on the job. After a cursory investigation, the local police decide it’s an old secret, not a recent crime, so they drop the matter, but . . . Paula’s not so sure.

Casual snooping turns serious when someone is impaled on a garden tool and one of Paula’s helpers is arrested for the crime. Aided by the still-hot aging rocker who owns the local greasy spoon, a Shakespeare-quoting massage therapist, and a handsome Mexican laborer with a few secrets of his own, Paula unearths more dirt the suburban town has kept buried.

Rounding out the cast, and among the suspects, a randy Congressman and his gin-swigging mother, an amoral newspaper reporter, an octogenarian ladies’ man, childhood sweethearts reunited after 50 years, and a tattooed lady you wouldn’t want to mess with.

My Thoughts

Have you been looking for a fun, cozy mystery to read?  Then I would urge you to try out Rosemary Harris' Dirty Business mystery series!  Quirky and entertaining, Pushing Up Daisies is a very worthy debut in the world of cozy mysteries.

While the overall story and mystery might have benefited from a bit more fleshing out, this book remains a winner.  With a wide array of characters, most of whom are quite likeable, you can't help but expect some interesting events to occur, and Harris certainly takes us for a winding ride on the way to solving the puzzle.  In the end, since everyone in town seems to have a secret to hide, there's more than one mystery that needs to be solved, which adds a bit of spice to the story.

Yes, there's also a bit of potential romance in the air with this book--two eligible bachelors are introduced, in fact.  So now, not only do I look forward to trying out another of Harris' mysteries, I am anxious to see who Paula Holliday ends up falling for.  Again, many thanks to Rosemary Harris for sending me Pushing Up Daisies for review!

My Rating: 4 stars

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