Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Tower of Ravens

This book by Australian author Kate Forsyth is the first volume in the series Rhiannon's Ride. Some years ago a friend introduced me to the Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy which I enjoyed and recently a library patron recommended, when we were discussing fantasy, the books of Kate Forsyth.

One Horn's daughter is unlike the other satryicorns. Her father was human and she had not grown horns, important distinguishing features for satryicorns. She knows that she needs to escape the herd if she is to live so she captures a winging horse and manages to flee the mountains to a new life. This is just the beginning of the adventure as she joins a caravan of witches and apprentice witches as they head to the Tower of Two Moons. During the journey a decision is made to travel via a shorter route via the remnants of the Tower of Ravens, a dangerous area haunted by the dead and the nearby castle lauded over by the Laird Malvern MacFerris and his sister-in-law lady Evaline. With Lewen's help Rhiannon manages to survive the journey and discovers that she too has special powers, not only over horses but the ability to use stronger magic.

I look forward to reading the other two books in this series and also the books in the earlier series - the Witches of Eileanan.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Upside down inside out

When Eva Kennedy has the chance to visit her friend Lainey in Australia she does not realise how much this holiday will change her life. Eva exchanged studies at Art School and singing with a cover band  to work in her Uncle's Dublin delicatessen. Before leaving for Australia her uncle told of his plans to retire and that he wanted her to take over the business. She could think about it on her holidays. Joseph Wheeler, a successful London designer and businessman, is also in Australia to attend a conference followed by a holiday. His life is also dramatically changed by his Australian adventure.

Lainey decides to boost her friend's self esteem by creating a new identity for her when they attend a party but the story grows and Eva is left wondering if people accept her because of who she is or because of who people think she is. When Joe is mistaken as a backpacker he also lets the story run.As the relationship between Eva and Joe develops, when and how should the truth be disclosed.

Monica McInerney has written an amusing story of love and honesty and the need for discovering the what a person realy wants to do with their life.

The look is separate from but connected to two other books by Monica McInerney - A taste for it when the Eva and Joe visit the Lorikeet Winery and Spin the bottle (Greetings from somewhere else) where the story of Lainey, Adam, Eva and Joe continues.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A taste for it

Chef, Maura Carmody, spends a month in Ireland promoting Australian wine and Australian food. The trials and tribulations of the trip are recounted in this romantic comedy, Monica McInerney's first book. An enjoyable read.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Shelly Beach Writers' Group

Gina finds herself at Shelly Beach on a six month stint as house/dog sitter for Adrian Fraser who is overseas. Her husband has left her for his younger personal assistant, the family company is being dissolved and the publication of her first novel was cancelled when the publishing company ran into difficulties. Without money and without a job Gina sees the stay at Shelly Beach as an opportunity to restart her life. Her contract with Adrian only involved looking after the house and the dog, or so she thought. Within a short time Gina becomes actively involved in the life of the small community and with the people living there.

In an interview Australian author, June Loves, describes her book not as 'chick lit' but 'hen lit'. A number of other books have been written on similar themes but the protagonist is often a woman in her late twenties or early thirties not a woman in her early fifties as in this book. A number of issues are pertinent to many Baby Boomers including relationships with adult children and the advent of grandchildren.

One of Gina's tasks is to convene the Shelly Beach Writers' Club and the themes talked about in the classes (the use of flashbacks or build up of sexual tension for example) can be found replicated in the book. Throughout the book Gina expresses her thoughts about events to the Dog who becomes a major character as does the Bossy Child who lives next door and constantly provides advice as to how to survive in Shelly Beach. I enjoyed this amusing account of the life of a sea-changer in a small community and I would not be surprised to see a sequel in the future.