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Display Name: Ryner
About me: I'm a tea-drinking library girl, geocacher, blogger, photographer, scrapbooker and Muse fan.
Reading Interests: Historical fiction, fantasy, science, skepticism, romance with real plots, and anything else that catches my eye.

Ryner's Book Lists
Cooking with Kids (7 titles)
Cookbooks with kid-friendly recipes, designed to get your little one interested in how meals are created in the kitchen
Just thaw and enjoy! (23 titles)
Cookbooks designed for the make-ahead or freezer cook
Larger than life: legendary characters (4 titles)
Books I've read and enjoyed about the lives of gods, heroes of folklore and other legendary characters

Another recommended title not available at the library
* In Camelot's Shadow (Zettel)
Across the fabric of time (9 titles)
Books I've read and enjoyed in which time-travel plays a role
Wartime fiction and nonfiction (15 titles)
Books I've read and enjoyed that are set during wartime
Show all 9 booklists by Ryner

Ryner's Comments    
Cover ArtWritten in my own heart’s blood : a novel
by Diana Gabaldon
Where to begin? Having waited five years since the previous book in the Outlander series, I was admittedly lost during the first 20-30 pages. The story lines slowly came trickling back into memory -- and they are many! Smack dab in the middle of the American Revolution, Jamie Fraser has just returned to Philadelphia to find that, thinking him drowned during a voyage from Scotland, his wife Claire had married Lord John Grey (for her own protection, of course, but very soap-opera-like, that). Before the three can resolve their personal issues, the war tugs them in various directions. Meanwhile, back(?) in 1980, Brianna is on the hunt for her kidnapped son while her husband Roger, also searching, somehow ends up in 1739 and discovers something he didn’t think he was looking for.

Diana Gabaldon is a genius storyteller. The depth and breadth of her characters and the detail surrounding their lives, never ceases to leave me in awe. I don’t know how she keeps it all straight in her head -- I gave up trying to keep track of the numerous peripheral military characters and to which faction they belonged, and thankfully it in no way detracted from the story. The delicate scenes in which Jamie confronts the unusual circumstances surrounding John and Claire’s marriage were exceptionally memorable. I wonder again at this conclusion of this book, as I have with the others, will John ever find happiness? I’m not sure I can wait another five years to learn what happens next.   posted Jul 26, 2014 at 10:25AM

Cover ArtThe shadowy horses
by Kearsley, Susanna
Accepting an invitation to work on an archaeology dig sight unseen, Verity Grey heads up to Eyemouth, a small village in southern Scotland, where she is introduced to a number of other people with varying interests in the dig: Peter Quinnell, an eccentric owner of the estate and an archaeologist himself, convinced despite any concrete evidence that his property was the site of an ancient Roman military camp; Adrian Sutton-Clarke, a surveyor whom Verity had dated some time ago; Peter’s attractive but unfriendly granddaughter Fabia; David Fortune, another archaeologist from the local university who immediately catches Verity’s eye; and the mysterious young boy Robbie from a nearby cottage. When she begins to hear the sound of phantom horses’ hooves outside her window at night, Verity realizes that this is going to be no ordinary dig.

I love the subtle but satisfying way in which the author connected The Firebird to this book, but I’m afraid that if I weren’t already interested in archaeology myself I’m not sure how much interest it would have held. The characters were sort of disappointingly predictable, and I also found myself wishing that the sentry had ultimately played a more prominent role, as the element of magical realism is what has drawn me to Kearsley’s books up until now. Overall, worth reading, but not one of her best.   posted Jul 23, 2014 at 11:54AM

Cover ArtSplendor
by Anna Godbersen
As this final book in the Luxe series begins, Henry Schoonmaker has joined the army but due to his father’s far-reaching influence, and to his frustration, he finds himself safely out of harm’s way in untroubled Cuba. He is unaware that Diana Holland has liberated herself from the constraints of New York society life and followed him, earning her keep by engaging as a barmaid. Back home, Elizabeth (née Holland) Cairns is finding that the security and promise of happiness she believed to finally have found are being threatened by evidence of something shady and unfathomable. And when Henry’s wife Penelope discovers back in New York City that she has attracted the attentions of a visiting European prince, she finds that she isn’t so bothered that Henry has abandoned her after all.

Hardly anyone lives happily ever after, but this was a decent and appropriate conclusion to the series. My instincts felt somewhat vindicated upon reading of Elizabeth’s troubles -- something hadn’t seemed quite right, but I was for some reason doubtful that the author was going to go in that direction. I appreciated how the author ultimately treated Diana and Henry’s relationship -- realistic if not satisfying. Penelope’s comeuppance was brilliant.   posted Jul 8, 2014 at 11:31AM

Cover ArtThe impossible lives of Greta Wells
by Andrew Sean Greer
Following her twin brother Felix’s death and her split with Nathan, her partner of ten years, Greta’s physician suggests electroconvulsive therapy to combat her feelings of depression and loneliness. What Greta doesn’t expect, however, is that each of the sessions somehow transports her into other versions of herself in one of several alternate time periods, including Greta of 1918 and Greta of 1941. In each of these separate realities, her close family and friends remain consistent, but their lives have played out differently, and Greta gets the feeling that her counterparts are trading places with her and living her 1985 life just as she is spending time in theirs. What happens when the twenty-five procedures have concluded?

I really relish stories about time travel, although I suppose Greta’s experience is something more like dimension travel. I wondered constantly about the other Gretas and what they were thinking and feeling. I was sort of expecting them leave notes for one another or otherwise attempt to communicate in some way, if only to share the feeling of "WOW! Isn’t this crazy what is happening to us?" I enjoyed the book, though it fell a little short of "unputdownable."   posted Jul 2, 2014 at 12:17PM

Cover ArtHotel Transylvania : a novel of forbidden love
by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Having grown up in the country, young Madelaine de Montalia arrives in 18th-century Paris to be introduced to society while living in her aunt’s opulent household. She is immediately whisked from event to lavish event, all the while catching the attentions of numerous eligible men, including some with potentially sinister intentions. She finds she is inexplicably drawn to the charming, kind Comte de Saint Germain, who seems vastly different in some way from all of the others.

I’d never heard of this title (or series) before picking up this book, and yet I can’t imagine it wouldn’t have been at least somewhat popular when it was published in 1978. It has it all: intrigue, deception, romance, violence, treachery, forbidden fruits, elegance. And vampires -- not the sparkly, beautiful, tormented vampires of contemporary literature, but a vampire who is, other than being sophisticated and wealthy, just trying to get through the live(s) fate has dealt him, in reality an incredibly lonely existence.   posted Jun 29, 2014 at 2:49PM

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