The back of the book tells us that Mercy is a fallen angel, and there are hints here and there within the text, especially if you know your angelology...moreThe back of the book tells us that Mercy is a fallen angel, and there are hints here and there within the text, especially if you know your angelology (yes, it's a word, I had cause to look it up some years ago when I found myself reluctantly dragged into a discussion on the TV show "Supernatural", which I don't watch). But by the end of the book, I don't believe it's been said outright that we're dealing with angels here. And I wonder how many people would realise that we were if the blurb didn't tell us so. It's not a criticism, mind you. Just a note.
I really enjoyed this book. Although I'd seen it in the stores I probably wouldn't have thought to pay much attention to it if Rebecca Lim (the author) hadn't been a speaker at a seminar on Public library services to YA that I went to. I was so impressed by her, and by what she said about this series, that I started buying the books soon thereafter. It took until January to find a copy of the first in the series (Mercy) and then until now to get to picking it up and reading it. But it was well worth the wait, and now I know that I'm going to want to stay on top of this series in the future. In addition, can you imagine how gleeful I am that I have three more books in the series to read *right now*?
In an interview I found, Lim described Mercy as "a YA mystery/crime novel – but with angels and Latin, choral music, school bullies and a whisper of romance thrown in." Which is basically exactly what it is. (And yay for YA books where choral music - albeit Mahler - is part of the plot.)
Things I loved: the way Mercy talked about Carmen: the sometimes disconnected/sometimes fluid connection between the two selves. I hope that if Ryan continues to appear through the series (I really want him to: I much prefer him to Luc. Although of course he may *be* Luc, which I don't like so much. After all, my angelology tells me who Luc really is... :-) ) that we find out what happened with Carmen; I'll be disappointed to leave her story here, as much as I really love Mercy.
Things I found interesting: the fact that I spent most of the book trying to work out whether it was set in the USA or Australia (the author is Chinese-Singaporean-Australian). I still can't tell. I was fifty pages from the end when I found one Australianism (mention of an Anglican church) which was followed on the next page by an Americanism ("First Presbyterian Church" - the few Continuing Presbyterian churches in Australia do not number themselves.) The issue is exacerbated by the fact that the town in the book has the exact same name as the town in the TV show "Bunheads", which is in California.(less)
I started reading this because it was on my Kobo (it was on my Kobo because it was free) and because I didn't feel like reading anything I had on the...moreI started reading this because it was on my Kobo (it was on my Kobo because it was free) and because I didn't feel like reading anything I had on the go at the time.
But when I opened the book and reached the bio, it turned out to have been written by an author who has lived in Australia long enough that I'm counting her for the AWW challenge.
To review the book itself - look, it's a romance. There's a reason I have a "trashy trashy romance" shelf on GR: every so often I read a lot of romance. (See last year's list of books read.) It's a Regency romance, and it's not a Stephanie Laurens. But I enjoyed it. Sure, I wanted to bash the hero and heroine's heads together at times, because geeze, were they being dense! If they'd just *spoken* to each other, the book would have been half the size at most.
When I read books like this, I don't read them critically. I read them for the adventure, for the jaunt. I read them for the fun of it - for the froth and joy of the ball at Netherfield in the 1996 P&P. And while it wasn't at the level of a Laurens for me, it was a lovely, engaging read.(less)
Very different to the movie. (Certainly far more suitable for children than the movie!) Now would be interested to find the...moreNotes: (full review later)
Very different to the movie. (Certainly far more suitable for children than the movie!) Now would be interested to find the script of the National Theatre production and see if that's where certain incidents were added.
Touching but not as heartrending as the movie. Quicker read than I expected.(less)
And so bits of it threw me out of the story - like the description of what seemed like a long walk between the prison and...moreAnd Poppy reaches Beechworth.
And so bits of it threw me out of the story - like the description of what seemed like a long walk between the prison and the Town Hall, when it's actually half a block. (I was in Beechworth on Saturday, I checked. From the post office I could see all the way past the old gaol, the old courthouse, etc, to the walls of the prison.)
But it was a brilliant, awesome ending to the series. As I've said previously, I just love the connection that I have to the places of this series - I would love to be able to get Gabrielle up here to do some library talks. (I know from her blog that she launched "Poppy Comes Home" with a visit to Wahgunyah Primary), but the regional library of which *my* library is a part covers most of the ground for these books. But we had other foci for the Year of Reading, and sadly, the "My Australian Girl" series is too narrowly focused at middle grade girls. But I'd still love to get Gabrielle up here. Along with Alice Pung and a few other people on my wishlist.
I'm so glad I bought all four books in this series. They are a beautiful addition to my personal library as well as to middle grades Australian writing. I don't know that I'll ever buy the other books from My Australian Girl (although to WWI-era ballet student from Perth is tempting), but these have been a jewel of a find. (less)
Possibly one of the most engaging Bastions I've read so far, due to the depth of the mystery on the one hand, and the intransigence of the heroine on...morePossibly one of the most engaging Bastions I've read so far, due to the depth of the mystery on the one hand, and the intransigence of the heroine on the other. I simply adore a heroine who refuses to let the hero coddle her, and in Letitia that's exactly what the reader has. She is awesome, in the true sense of the word. She refuses to let Derne, Dalziel, or any of the Bastion club overrule her, and she is as much a part of solving the puzzle as any of them.
For as much of a puzzle as there is to solve.
Of course, I'm coming at this book from the wrong angle entirely, having already read the book in which Dalziel's true identity is revealed and the traitor hunted to ground. In fact, I read that book quite some time ago. And yet, I still think this one of the most engaging Bastion Club novels of the series.
I have to admit that I really don't tend to expect much of a Laurens: an enjoyable romp, Regency-style balls and accoutrements, and a happy ending.
The Edge of Desire gave me all this, and a frolicking, rolicking mystery as a side dish. Twelve points to Stephanie Laurens!(less)
Apparently her first, and there were moments that grated (Roger de Clovely?) I rather wonder how she would have written it if she was writing it now,...moreApparently her first, and there were moments that grated (Roger de Clovely?) I rather wonder how she would have written it if she was writing it now, as I know certain aspects would be different.(less)
It's not the first in this series, but I totally fell in love with the whole thing: the crazy-privileged fox-hunters, the certainty withi...moreI loved this.
It's not the first in this series, but I totally fell in love with the whole thing: the crazy-privileged fox-hunters, the certainty within the text that American fox-hunting is very different from English fox-hunting, getting all the thoughts of the animals... All of a sudden it's not so odd that Rita Mae Brown credits her cat with co-authoring her mysteries.
It harked back to one of the guilty pleasures of my late teens - Francine Pascal's "Caitlin" series. I don't think Francine Pascal actually wrote them, as she often had ghostwriters, like other ridiculously prolific authors of the time. In any event, the Caitlin books were about a ridiculously rich Virginia heiress who adored horses. I don't recall there being any fox-hunting involved (although there may have been) but I loved them, for all their ridiculousness.
I loved this book for the same reason: the horses, the bizarre Englishness of this patch of the USA that I have had little to do with, and the fabulousness of Sister Jane.
Ah, Sister Jane. It seems a pity that she is so straight, and so very widowed. This is a series written by one of the great queer writers, and certainly in this book the queerness of Ralph Assumptio is very matter of fact and generally accepted by all the other characters. But Sister Jane could have been an awesome, AWESOME dyke heroine, but she's not. And I'm sad about that.
It's not going to keep me from reading every other book in this series that I can get my hands on. Because this is total mind candy. And as I said, I loved it.(less)
About six months ago, I saw this book on sale, and I almost bought it but didn't. That was a massive mistake. Because, having finally read it via the...moreAbout six months ago, I saw this book on sale, and I almost bought it but didn't. That was a massive mistake. Because, having finally read it via the library... I *love* this book. I adore Rowley and Edna, and I'm so very glad to know that there are at least two more books to come.
As an historical novel, this was brilliant. I own a book about the New Guard and the times (it's called "Defending the National Tuckshop" - isn't that an awesome title?) and the only reason I'm not delving straight into that one right now is that it's written by someone who doesn't fit a challenge criteria (ie, straight white male)). My GF watched Underbelly: Razor last year, and loved it and got really into it. She'll love this book. I loved this book. Gentill is visiting my library later this year, and I'm so looking forward to it.
There is such a good build up of atmosphere; the characters are brilliant - and by the end, even Wilfred is approaching loveable. (Ernie and Kate were loveable from the beginning.)
For a book with a sense of place and sense of time, I don't think you can get past this one. I am so very much looking forward to the next in the Rowland Sinclair series. (less)
I ADORED THIS. (And the ALLCAPS are entirely legitimate.)
Disclaimer: I hosted Sulari Gentill at the library where I work in the week be...moreWhat can I say?
I ADORED THIS. (And the ALLCAPS are entirely legitimate.)
Disclaimer: I hosted Sulari Gentill at the library where I work in the week before I started reading this. I was blown away by Sulari, and I think she is awesome. I think her book is awesome, I think her characters are awesome.
Between the on-board mystery, the two-stage on-boardness, by the way..., the lashings of history, the increasing fabulousness of Wilfred (and I know you're probably reading this, Sulari, but yes, I'm appreciating Wilfred more every time he shows up). I love Kate *more*, and Ernie, and oh Edna/i>.
But the inclusion of historical figures in this series is stunning. It's so seamless, in that if I didn't know people were real, I'd neither know nor care. They just ARE. And I am so very looking forward to books three and four in this series.
And Sulari, if we can convince you to come back for another visit to our library, we'd love love love to see you again! Book launch, perhaps? (less)
More fan mail for Sulari! Also, I am recommending the series to even more people than last time.
I loved the cameos! I had my suspicions about one of t...moreMore fan mail for Sulari! Also, I am recommending the series to even more people than last time.
I loved the cameos! I had my suspicions about one of the less obvious ones, and it turned out I was right. And the couple of mentions of Norman Lindsay... Well, I was brought up with a healthy respect for Lindsay that survived the movie Sirens! And I love the thought of Lindsay sending Rowly a difficult model - and Rowly replying in kind.
And Wilfred is more adorable than ever. I don't know how anyone would cope with the real version (or Rowly and Kate with the fictional one) but as an occasional companion in fiction (and a pleasant foil to Rowly) Wil really is a winner. (Here I must admit I'm contemplating personal fic from Kate's point of view. Sinclair, not Leigh.)
All in all, a fabulous addition to the series. And next book we're in 1933 Germany! What... fun?(less)
I'm a book behind with this series. My twitter feed has been full of people reviewing the third book (and loving it) so I know that I've got something...moreI'm a book behind with this series. My twitter feed has been full of people reviewing the third book (and loving it) so I know that I've got something good still to come.
I adored the first book (although my Goodreads review might not seem like it, I did give it five stars), and I equally adored the second book. I also got a laugh out of the fact that while reading it, I was wondering whether Cooper had used particular sources, and when I got to the end, yes, she had. :-) There is so much to love in this book: Henry, who is just plain awesome, Simon the mostly stalwart, Veronica the Magnificent, especially when speaking to the Foreign Secretary's Office, and later in her final big scene... I can't wait to see how Colonel Stanley-Ross' character develops in the next book, and I have to admit that if he wasn't already married and ridiculously too old for Sophie, I'd be shipping the two of them right now.
Which brings me to Sophie. The wonderful, strategic, clever, and far too good for the fluffiness of débutante society Sophie. The line I quoted in a status update about feeling like a one-person League of Nations is marvellous, and I can just imagine her, in Geneva, meeting Edith Campbell Berry and the two of them getting along like a house on fire.
I hope I find a reasonably priced copy of FitzOsbournes at War sooner rather than later, because it's a while until the British edition is released, and I don't like the cover of that one nearly as much as the Australian version.(less)