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  January / February 2011 Reads  

"Vanishing Ireland" by James Fennell
Those two books are absolutely brilliant. James Fennel and Turtle Bunbury take their readers on a journey into Ireland's past. The portraits from men and woman (the oldest over a hundred years old) that have lived a sometimes not so easy life are inspiring and open a window into a nearly vanished world. The photographs are beautiful and inspiring as well. For all those interested in Ireland those are must have books.

"Sheele-na-Gigs of Ireland and Britain " by Jack Roberts
This one I actually re-read. During a vacation in Ireland I stumbled across this book. And it was the first time I ever heard about Sheela-na-Gigs. Rediscovered around 160 years ago they are still a mystery. But whatever they are - they are most certainly fascinating. Alone in Ireland there are over 110 of those carvings scattered across the country. But not only in Ireland. You can find them in England, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Germany, France and Norway. They can be found on castles and in museums. But the majority of these figures occur in small country churches; the oldest of them dating around 1200 AD. This book is an easy and most interesting read and puts forward some interesting theories on the figures' origins. The end of the book has a catalogue of the Sheela-na-Gigs so far discovered in England, Ireland, Wales & Scotland.'Sheela-na-Gigs of Ireland and Britain' is a good starting point to get introduced to a most interesting subject.

"Briar Rose" by Jane Yolen
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this story. But wow - what a strong story this is. It's not only a 'simple' retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Becca's grandmother Gemma is obsessed with the story of Briar Rose (one of the many names of the old fairy tale 'Sleeping Beauty'). When Gemma dies Becca starts on a journey to find out about her grandmother's past. And finding out she does.... This isn't only a story for young adults. Though it is written in a quiet simplistic language. Jane Yolen managed to create a captivating, believable story around the Polish Holocaust that is still with me several days after reading it.

"Starting from Scratch" by Georgia Beers
This book is written in 1st person point of view - something I usually don't like to read. I still believe that this story could have been even better if Georgia Beers would have allowed Elena to show us more of herself as well. I really would have liked to get to know her better. Anyhow, it is a good story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a fun read and something I desperately needed on a day when everything had been going down the drain - again. I think I'm even going to re-read this one sometime in the future. This story is the equivalent to soul food- in the best possible way.

"Jericho" by Ann McMan
Teaser: Librarian Syd Murphy flees the carnage of a failed marriage by accepting an 18-month position in Jericho, a small town located in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Intending to hide out and heal her wounds, she soon becomes drawn into the daily lives of a quirky cast of local characters and she becomes fast friends with Maddie Stevenson, the enigmatic local physician who has returned to the backcountry community to take over her late father's medical practice. Now, I haven't read any online uber stories for quite some time. And then I stumbled across this story. And thoroughly enjoyed it. Great characters, witty dialogue and yep - character building. I love it when authors take their time with their characters. You can find "Jericho" at The Athenaeum or the Academy of Bards. Go, read it and enjoy.

"The Blade Itself: Book One of the First Law " by Joe Abercrombie
Wonderful fantasy story. Great characters. I had to read the sequel and did.

"Before They Are Hanged: Book Two of the First Law" by Joe Abercrombie
Again, a great fantasy story. And now… sure, I have to read book three.

"Something to believe" by Robbi McCoy
There are stories that are just right for a few hours of entertainment. I enjoy those. I really do. And then there are stories like 'Something to believe'. They touch me somewhere deep inside and won't allow me to forget about their characters for a long time. Robbi Mccoy managed to pull me into the story from page one on. Faith, Lauren and Cassie are charming, interesting, and witty. Neither of them is the bad girl in this story. They are believable and (in the very best way) ordinary characters. People you'd like to get to know and spend some time with. On top of everything else, Robbi Mccoy has done her research about China's history and the whole anthropology background. For me this was a big bonus point. 'Something to believe' is a complex story and not the average romance. It's a beautiful story that I simply loved.

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