Sticks and Stones and Vampire Bones (Reviews)

Okay, I let my fingers do the talking on the headline – no vampire reviews here – although the only vampire books I feel worthy of my time are Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse ones. I actually believe she has a new one coming one soon?

Book Reviews are first up…

Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay is a book I came across totally by accident, I hate to admit. I was looking for another book by Titania Hardie, who wrote The Rose Labyrinth, which I love! The joy of getting old, I couldn’t remember the author’s exact name, so I input Tatiana, and came up with Sarah’s Key. I am very glad I did.  Several friends and reviewers have commented about the ending, which I will try not to divulge for the sake of preventing spoilers.

I love history, and am always fascinated when I come across tidbits of history that were not commonly known. Sarah’s Key presents one such blot on the Allied escutcheon, or rather, the escutcheon of the French. In Paris, July 1942, the French Police, went door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Entire families, some 10,000 souls, were rounded up and assembled for shipment to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and other Nazi horror camps. This book is a novel, the tragic and moving story of a young ten-year old girl, Sarah, whose Jewish family is taken; all but her young brother Michael, hidden away in their Paris apartment. The event was called the Velodrome d’Hiver roundup. (Vel d’Hiv’) and was an event that the French neglected to address for many years, until 1995 when an official apology was tendered.

The story alternates between Sarah’s story, in 1942, and Julia’s in 2002. I often don’t do well with books and movies that share space, but are involved in different times, but in this instance it was easy to follow, and interesting to read the unfolding of both Sarah and Julia’s stories.  The author is French, and a fan of Daphne du Maurier  (Rebecca) and the psychological suspense such as that du Maurier rendered in her works. I believe that Ms. De Rosnay used that same kind of psychological mystique in Sarah’s Key. I will admit that the ending was romanticized AND simplified, but to me, it felt right, because it is so hard to come away from a book (or movie) which involves the reader (viewer) in drama, tragedy and a very close look at the horrors of war, prisoner of war camps, and the untimely death of millions, especially young, impressionable children without carrying away feelings that are hard to cope with. It needed a light touch at the end, an attempt to reassure the reader that, at least for some, there is a happily ever after. We KNOW that it isn’t often the case, but it isn’t always easy for an author to come to terms with difficult topics in a way that pleases all readers. I recommend the book – and understand there is a movie coming up with Kristin Scott Thomas as Julia.  Have you read the book? Please, leave comments or remarks below. No spoilers please!

Other books on the docket this month that I have really enjoyed:

The Power of Ceremony: Restoring the Sacred in Our Selves, Our families, Our Community, by Linda Neale

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies, by Susan Wittig Albert

Levi’s and Lace – Arizona Women who Made History, by Jan Cleere

Radio Waves – Life and Revolution on the FM Dial, by Jim Ladd

The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion, by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo

Movies Reviews are next!

We watch a lot of DVDs – along with reading it is pretty much all we do for entertainment out here in the desert. Giving them One to FIVE ***** you will be able to see at a glance if we liked a movie, and I tried to give a brief storyline of each as well.

The Source Code ****1/2 – Very unusual movie! The protagonist is trying to solve a terrorist bombing outside of Chicago – BEFORE it happens! As the plot unfolds, you become aware of the underlying story, and its “source code.”  It is one of those movies that is intellectually satisfying, as well as having pleasing special effects and a thriller in the background!

The Eagle **** I am (see previous remarks about history!) enthralled by the legacy of the Roman Legion, particularly the “Lost” Legion – The Ninth Legion. One of my long time favorite books (one of the often re-read kind) is Susanna Kearsley’s Shadowy Horses, about a archeological dig in Scotland that may uncover the Ninth. This movie is also about the Ninth. A young Legionnaire is sent home to recover from grievous wounds received while being the Captain of the Third Legion. His father was the head of the mysteriously lost Ninth, and since he is unable to return to duty, he decides to try to find out what happened to the Ninth, and restore his family’s reputation, and find the Golden Eagle that was the Ninth’s standard. Great costumes and enchanting plot with Romans, Britons and natives all getting to have a rumble or two!

The Adjustment Bureau ***** Wow. I really loved this movie. Along with Defending your Life, I found this movie clever, provocative and innovative. Starts like a typical romance, Boy meets Girl, Boy and Girl fall for one another, Boy and Girl are separated by fate. Or are they? No, it isn’t fate, it is the mysterious, magical and interfering souls at The Adjustment Bureau that are keeping them apart. Good laughs, a lovely ending, and well worth a summer evening to watch!

Also Ran in the movie category: The Lincoln Lawyer, **** LOVE Matthew McConaughey. He was great as the shyster lawyer who finds his conscience. Season of the Witch ***1/2 Great special effects, about the Catholic church’s crusades and the plague and witches and demons.  Rango **** Yet another “kids” movie that I think was way over the heads of most of the kids I know! VERY funny, clever and with a biting humor – make a night of it and watch Rango first, followed by one of my other recommendations! 🙂

Great Websites (last but not least…)

Like Crafts? Check these out!

  • CraftGossip GREAT ideas, GREAT giveaways, and always something new and unusual to try out.
  • Go HERE to find a fantastic tutorial on making awesome flowers with zippers!
  • This Blog has some wonderful ideas, and is a fun read! Maureen Cracknell Handmade.
  • Last but not least, I have to admit this crafter got my attention because of the name of her site! Check out Crap I’ve Made – sometimes it’s amazing and sometimes it’s just crap!

Hope life is treating you all well – Tell me what YOU like in the way of books, movies and websites, and I might review them here!


About ReaderWoman

Professional reader and researcher for writers - Reviewer and Editor for online book review sites - AVID reader (well, duh!) writer, crafter (sewing, jewelry, fiber art) photographer, herb gardener, love to learn new things - Married 3842 years, 2 "kids" (now 34 and 36) and two grands (13 and 15) Born and raised California Girl, with stints in Tennessee, learning to speak Southern, and Arizona, learning that living in a trailer is NOT fun! Enjoy conversations with wine and chocolate, long walks and being with hubby and family. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Life is What Happens..., Personal Ramblings, ~ Review ~. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sticks and Stones and Vampire Bones (Reviews)

  1. Laura Hodge says:

    I, too, stumbled upon Sarah’s Key, the same way I find all of my books — by browsing the shelves at Goodwill (my apologies to published authors) because I have a very tight budget and I have a strange affinity to used books. I hated the story. I loved the way it was told. The intrigue, suspense, and pathos were presented in perfect doses. And, evidently like some others, I had trouble with the ending. In fact, I did not retain what happened at the end because it just did not fit the story for me. I recall many fascinating details that unfolded in the telling, but eschewed any familiarity with the way she ended it. I am not as kind as Laura because I find it a little harder to forgive the author. I had the same reaction when I finished The DaVinci Code: Hurried, crammed in there, and disjointed. However, well worth the read. It is a piece of history that should be told again and again. I look forward to other writers tackling the topic of Vel’d’Hiv’ from different angles.

  2. ReaderWoman says:

    I agree, I’d like to see the topic from different angles… and I assume that the book was selected by the film makers because of the topic – which has been swept under the carpet a bit. I really liked it though – I want to read another by the same author to see how I feel about another book from the same pen!

    • Laura Hodge says:

      And, I agree. I will gladly read more books from the same author. I suspect she had a problem ending this story and I would really like to see how that changes in other books. (I stumbled across another book that I really want to recommend to you, but I gave it to my sister and I cannot remember the title or the author. Ack!. It is a fascinating novel about a woman who is writing her life’s story, weaving her version of the history of the world through her own story. I really liked it and I will send you the pertinent information after my trip to San Diego next week.)

  3. Susan ideus says:

    I just loved Sarah’s Key. I think I found it while browsing at B&N–just seemed to call to me. I’d not heard about it but knew immediately I hhad to read it.

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