Friday, December 18, 2009


In his book, ‘Winter,’ Maneesh Sharma tells an exciting adventure story filled with international mystery and suspense. It is a tale of one man’s obsession with an ominous and elusive being with a dark fixation for murder and stealing priceless historical paintings.

Alexander is a former scientist living in Chicago who left his job to become an art collector and manage an art gallery with his girlfriend Alexia. He is hired by the Vatican to retrieve a stolen painting from a mysterious man by the name of Winter. His pursuit of Winter leads him on an International hunt in such countries as England, Italy, and the United States. Winter is a mysterious creature disguised as a man who has eerie magical abilities that allows him to manipulate one’s thoughts and behavior. Alexander becomes fascinated with Winter’s magical abilities and horrified at his thirst to kill. Winter is a narcissistic creature that has been roaming the world and preying on innocence for centuries. The sadistic enjoyment he gets from his relationship with Alexander results in an obsessive need to have Alexander as a balance to his own existence.

‘Winter’ is an action packed adventure story that delves into the true nature of Man. Such themes that emerge include: nature of evil, love, the primal instincts of humanity, greed, selfishness, and our internal struggle to suppress our primitive genetic traits. Much of Alexander’s character development centers on his curiosity with the unexplained such as Winter’s magical powder as well as Alexander’s struggle to make sense of what Winter represents. As Alexander develops, the distinction between him and Winter becomes blurred, and as his obsession becomes realized, readers will be surprised by the results.

The narrative contained a few instances of clichés, however overall, it was well written. The plot of the story along with Winter’s and Alexander’s obsession with one another makes the book a very entertaining read. As well, the plot contains a lot of action and deadly confrontations. The story is a tale about the nature of Man’s true self and Man's propensity towards embracing his basic primal instincts. I highly recommend ‘Winter’ to readers who enjoy mystery and adventure wrapped in international intrigue.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Magic Of Old Man Pouring Rain

A well-written children’s story is one that will capture a child’s imagination and tap into their creativity by using colorful imagery, unique and lively characters, easy to read and understand narrative, and contain non-intrusive important life messages. In her children’s book, ‘The Magic of Old Man Pouring Rain,’ author Janet Davis successfully captures these elements to create a colorful and magical adventure story.

The story begins by introducing an ancient raindrop by the name of Old Man Pouring Rain, who uses a magical potion he has made to create ten new raindrops, each with their own delightful personalities. The purpose of the potion is to “bring life to the raindrops,’ and send them to earth to teach children that “raindrops should not be wished away.” When the raindrops fall to earth, they land in California where they meet a family of children. The raindrops and children then embark on an exciting adventure.

‘The Magic of Old Man Pouring Rain’ is an enchanting and entertaining story that is full of vibrant and colorful characters children will love as well as identify with each of the raindrops distinct personalities. Rich in vivid imagery and symbolism, the adventure stretches the imagination and the marvelous illustrations enhance the reading experience. A unique focus of the story is when Paige, a little girl with leukemia, the raindrops, and the other children and their mother, go to a clinic so that Paige can receive treatment. This part of the story ties in well with the many messages that emerge such as the importance of family and support, being different is something that makes one special, and that instead of wishing something away that seems unpleasant, one can look at it differently to acquire a healthier outlook.

‘The Magic of Old Man Pouring Rain’ is a fun children’s story full of excitement and adventure. An added bonus of purchasing this book for your children is that a portion of the book sales is donated to the Leukemia Research Foundation. I highly recommend ‘The Magic of Old Man Pouring Rain’ as a wonderful children’s adventure that a parent can read to their children or children can enjoy reading on their own.

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Jealousy, obsession, and unforeseen circumstances come together with deadly results in David Mulholland’s new novel, DUEL, a dramatized account of the fatal duel between John Wilson and Robert Lyon that took place on June 13, 1833.

Set in Perth, Ontario, a small community in Eastern Canada, Mulholland tells the story from a report he says he uncovered - a report requested by a college professor and compiled by an aging, arthritic blacksmith fifty years after the event. The day before the confrontation, the adversaries agreed to call it off if Lyon would apologize for assaulting Wilson, and Wilson would acknowledge that statements he made in a letter sent to a mutual friend were not intended to denigrate Lyon's character. But the next day, Lyon refused to apologize. The blacksmith’s surprising revelation provides new information as to what actually caused the infamous duel.

As witness to the historical period, the blacksmith’s tale reveals much more than the story of a duel. Extensive research gives the reader insight into life in the early 1800s; vividly portraying how families lived and worked. You experience the Puritanical social environment of a time when deep-rooted convictions and beliefs played a central role in the moral fabric of the community. “The field of honour” is a prominent theme: duelling was considered an honourable means of restoring a person’s good name.

When the blacksmith finally confesses that obsession and jealousy “stripped me of all rational thinking and behaviour,” his pain begins to surface as he unburdens the guilt he has carried for fifty years. I highly recommend DUEL as a compelling work of historical fiction. Readers will gain an appreciation for the complexity of history and how it is interpreted.

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