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Book Reviews: Temptation + Plain Jane + Time Travel Recent Trips, part 1

The Secret Diaries 1: Temptation by Janice Harnell
This 1995 novel is like a mash up of ‘Twin Peaks’ and Christopher Pike’s ‘Final Friends’ trilogy. Joanna starts at a new school and falls in insta-love with Penn, she longs to be his and be part of his standoffish clique. Soon she achieves both goals only to swiftly become aware of a dark weariness and an incessant simmering anger amongst the group. Also Penn’s lies and odd behaviour soon make Joanna imagine the worst things about her friends. This was good but contained dated references to: a school slide show, red jeans and the gang listening to a portable record player.

Best Lines:
“Behaving like that’s not normal.”

“You couldn’t pay me to be friends with any of that bunch.”

“She was on the floor of the girls’ bathroom. Think about it!”

“Tuna fish isn’t food.”

Plain Jane: A Novel of Jane Seymour by Laurien Gardner
This badly written 2006 novel tells of the plain Jane Seymour who is belittled by all yet comes to the forefront of the Tudor court when Henry VIII takes on an overwhelmingly negative slant on his harpy shrew trophy wife Anne Boleyn. Jane hates the beautiful, shrill, problematic Anne and via false modesty and deference becomes Queen and then dies. This is a bad book about an underexplored woman.

Best Lines:
“Anne Boleyn’s laughter was a glove of challenge flung in Jane’s face. If Jane found she had the means, she would pick it up and strike to kill.”

“We are all in God’s hands, and it is he who chooses who shall reign and who shall not.”

Time Travel Recent Trips edited by Paula Guran, part 1
From the editor of ‘New Cthulhu’, ‘Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful’, ‘Halloween’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ comes this anthology of time travel tales.

With Fate Conspire
This shockingly boring tale centres on an overwrought old woman who is non-compliant with an attempt to save the future. You are at an emotional remove because the main character is a fool.

A formless tale about time storms brought down by meretricious sentimentality and unnecessary subplots. Ok.

The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary
A man wanted to document WWII war crimes and became increasingly unpopular as a result. People are either dismissive, reprehensible or uninterested. This is a very good tale with resonance that is a disconcerting yet substantial tale of diametrically opposed views on history.

The Carpet Beds Of Sutro Park
By Kage Baker. Another tale of an immortal agent of The Company, only something went wrong with his augmentation. A good sad little tale.

Mating Habits Of The Late Cretaceous
A couple go on a trip back in time to save their marriage. But the vile wife and her absurdly over egged ennui is all introversion, dislocation and inarticulate directionlessness. She is indefensible; the woman always seems to be in a disproportionate narcissistic rage over nothing. This was good with a nice ending.

Blue Ink
I’m not sure what this was about, nor do I care.

Two Shots From Fly’s Photo Gallery
A semi-sequel to ‘Somewhere In Time’. A man travels back to the gunfight at the OK Corral to avert a family tragedy, only to make things worse. Okay.

Best Line:
“The fight has commenced! Go to fighting or get away!”
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review, the tudors

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