I've heard people discuss this series for years but , for whatever reason, it just never appealed to me. Now I'm kicking myself for being an idiot. SonI've heard people discuss this series for years but , for whatever reason, it just never appealed to me. Now I'm kicking myself for being an idiot. Sonchai is like no detective I've ever met before and the book itself was an interesting character study not just of Sonchai but also Bankok. Everything fascinated me about the book. Sonchai and his mother (who I adored); the mystery and the subsidiary characters but most of all the Buddhist theme running throughout made for some truly excellent story telling. I also have to say that I can frequently figure out who and why in a mystery novel but I was surprised at the outcome of this one. I immediatley thrust this book into the hands of another mystery lover and am now attempting to locate book two. ...more
I enjoy reading young adult lit and since it is also a bit of a job requirement this is a good thing. I have to confess however that I tend to like YAI enjoy reading young adult lit and since it is also a bit of a job requirement this is a good thing. I have to confess however that I tend to like YA fantasy over YA contemporary but I’d heard good things about Jenny Han so I thought I’d dip my toe back into contemporaries by reading this one. I’m so glad I did. I found the protagonist, Lara Jean, to be utterly charming. The premise is as follows – Lara Jena has loved five boys in her life and has written each one a love letter that is never sent. However, suddenly she discovers that someone has sent them out and she has to deal with the fallout. The tension surrounds mainly two of the boys who receive the letters. Josh her sisters sort of ex boyfriend and Peter a popular jock type. The story unfolds gently as Lara Jean begins to fake date Peter in order to dissuade Josh from thinking she might still like him. As with all things romancey however, Lara Jean begins to fell genuine feelings for Peter. What I loved about the book was watching Lara Jean start to become more confident and to see the “jock” stereotype become a real person above and beyond just being an athlete. The love story unfolded in a natural progression as did the tensions with Josh who had been a friend before Lara Jeans feelings had been revealed to him. The family dynamic was also wonderful as Lara Jean had to mature and take on a different role in the family after her sister leaves for college. She and her sisters have a great relationship between themselves and the rift between Lara and her older sister was realistically portrayed. Kitty adds some humor as the kid sister. Even though they were secondary characters her sisters too grew as individuals. There is also a great positive portrayal of their father. A very enthusiastic recommendation for this book and I cannot wait to recommend this to some of my romance loving library patrons. I’ll be looking for other titles by this author ...more
A young woman with no knowledge of who she is or where she is wakes up in a confined space, her legs and arms immobilized. As she desperately tries toA young woman with no knowledge of who she is or where she is wakes up in a confined space, her legs and arms immobilized. As she desperately tries to break out she feels something attempting to bite her in the neck. This is the type of great opening action scene I expect from Mr. Sigler. As Em, the girl in the coffin, frees herself she then frees other in similar coffins in her room as the story progresses and Em runs into another group. The two groups band together to try and escape the windowless, monotonous set of hallways they seem to be trapped in. The hallways and rooms themselves are eerie- signs of a long ago war are everywhere along with many, many bones and other atrocities. The group members are scared and confused because, hey, they all think they are 12 years old though their bodies resemble those of someone in their late teens. For the most part they just want to find the Grownups and have them take care of things. What worked for me was the depiction of Em who had initially been thrust into leadership and who then realized that she wanted to retain that position once its threatened by a couple of different factions within the group. Her doubts, fears and even ambition come across as being quite realistic. The fact that she was also to hold unto that power in spite of bigger, stronger males trying to take it from her was great to read. Some of the other characters are also interesting even though they fall into more standard stereotypes. I also became more and more interested in the world they inhabited and loved watching them figure out where they really were. The ending was also quite the attention grabber. What didn’t work for me was some of the pacing. I got a little tired of the endless pacing of the corridors and wanted a little more action sooner. This is not to say there wasn’t some really good scenes throughout the book but we had to plod down some halls first. What really didn’t work for me though was the same type of does he like/not like me/boy why do I keep looking at him/does he think I’m pretty baggage that we see in so many other novels and it just did not feel right here especially as some of the ‘feelings” occurred early on when they kids all thought they were still 12 and were thirsty, hungry and scared. Seeing baby bodies hanging from a ceiling in combination with extreme thirst does not elicit these types of thoughts in my opinion. I wouldn’t have minded these thoughts after the characters began to mature and become more hardened as circumstances toughened them up. Then I think it would have been okay to introduce the love triangle. I do look forward to book two to see what new harrowing adventures lie ahead. ...more
Reading Fear and Loathing is much the same experience as eavesdropping on two frat boys sitting at a nearby table the day after a bender. One of the fReading Fear and Loathing is much the same experience as eavesdropping on two frat boys sitting at a nearby table the day after a bender. One of the frat boys may be self-deprecating, somewhat humorous and have a way of describing individuals and places that is entertaining. The bottom line though is that much of the description involves looking for drugs; vomiting up drugs; being petty and cruel to those individuals they meet; and most importantly showing no signs that their actions could horrifically impact the other people they come in contact with. Rather the concern is saving their own skin and not being thrown in jail. I was particularly appalled at the cavalier treatment of Lucy and the casual cruelty of “Duke’s” attorney toward the waitress in a small diner they stop at as well as the maid at their hotel. Some people find the “boys will be boys” type of antics amusing unfortunately I’m not one of them....more
Harold Fry is retired and at loose ends. He and his wife seem distant and, while a son is mentioned, he never visits. So when Harold receives a letterHarold Fry is retired and at loose ends. He and his wife seem distant and, while a son is mentioned, he never visits. So when Harold receives a letter from an old work friend stating that she is dying in hospice he initially writes a very short, banal letter. However, when he goes to post it he decides he should deliver in person so he sets off across England with nothing but the clothes he has on as well as a totally inappropriate pair of yachting shoes. So, my thoughts in the initial part of the book was how similar it was to The Wild by Cheryl Strayed – both in terms of the physical agonies of initially learning how to walk as well as the kindness of strangers. However, once the story progresses beyond Harold and the case of the agonizing feet I watched as Harold goes through the initial joy of doing something for once in his life and realizing how kind people can be, to seeing him taken advantage of as his walk is usurped by others and increasingly commercialized, then being abandoned again only to see him wander in despair. I have to say that by his journey’s end I had been in tears for several CDs worth of story. I’m not sure how well the story might resonate with someone still young enough not to have experienced many losses but Harold and Maureen both resonated with me and I enjoyed the quintessential Englishness of their characters – individuals who withstand so much and continue to carry on. I also appreciated some of the writerly tricks Ms. Joyce used to convey Harold’s state of mind. Some of them may seem a bit obvious such as the weather reflecting his state of mind but I enjoyed them nevertheless. I’m looking forward to reading The love song of Queenie Hennessy after I recover from this tale. I’d also like to say that Jim Broadbent did a fabulous job of narrating the story. ...more
A good solid middle grade fantasy I found our protagonist, Kester to be a little bland, it didn't help that his name is way to close to keister so I kA good solid middle grade fantasy I found our protagonist, Kester to be a little bland, it didn't help that his name is way to close to keister so I kept giggling and getting a bit side tracked.(why yes I do occasionally have the humor quotient of a fifth grader) I loved Polly, the female sidekick (I'd actually have loved Polly to have had her own story) as well as the various supporting animal characters especially the field mouse and cockroach - yep you heard me - a cockroach makes for a fine, funny companion on a quest. Definitely recommended for those children who love animal stories but who aren't too sensitive. Some animal deaths do occur. Looking forward to the Dark wild...more
Hmmm, this is the first McKinty I read and while I found sections of the book to be quite interesting - specifically flashbacks to Det. Mercado's pastHmmm, this is the first McKinty I read and while I found sections of the book to be quite interesting - specifically flashbacks to Det. Mercado's past in Cuba I had other problems with the book. Detective Mercado decides to investigates her estranged father's death in Colorado but I never felt why she had this compulsion. By leaving Cuba to investigate she could cause serious problems for her boss and for her mother and brother and it is quite clear she feels great affection for her brother. She hadn't seen her father since she was 13 and her own brother tells her that their father was a no account so why go to all this trouble, especially when it could bring about repercussions for her remaining family? Since I kept wondering why throughout the book I just didn't enjoy it very much. As a side note I also kept wondering why the author kept hammering away at Scientology and Tom Cruise. It added nothing to the plot and was somewhat distracting. The narrator was fine for the most part but could not do American male voices well and she almost made the characters sound like the parody of a typical American redneck. I've been told though that Mr. McKinty is quite good so I may end up trying another...more
Charlie Berlin has returned to Melbourne and rejoined the police force as a damaged man after the Second World War. An ex pilot and POW he is pretty mCharlie Berlin has returned to Melbourne and rejoined the police force as a damaged man after the Second World War. An ex pilot and POW he is pretty much the definition of Post traumatic stress disorder. A heavy drinker he occasionally experiences flashbacks. He is fairly junior within his police squad - due to his service in the war he lost out on promotions he normally would have expected to have had. He is sent to a small town to investigate a string of robberies. He suspects he has been set up to fail and trusts no one. He eventually receives help from a young attractive journalist, Rebecca Green, and one of the of local constables, rookie Rob Roberts. As he investigate the robberies a young girl is found murdered and decapitated. Charlie struggles to solve both crimes while developing a deeper relationship with Rebecca. I really loved the atmosphere of the book. I felt that the author did an excellent job of portraying small time life in Australia as well as conveying some of the fears and realities that the war must have had for Australians. McGeachin also does a marvelous job with Charlie’s flashbacks and slowly revealing what happened to him during the war. In some respects Charlie is almost an Agatha Christie type of detective in that he spends a lot of time observing and chatting with people. Charlie, like Ms. Marple, feels that to know who committed the crime one must know the inner workings of the people. By exposing the underpinnings of the people and the town we get to see all manner of individuals - some poignant, some reprehensible. I did feel that there was one false note on character – we got an inscrutable characterization for the Chinese father of the dead girl – but overall I really enjoyed “meeting” and learning about the townspeople. The resolution of the mystery was almost an afterthought and I felt that the author’s interest was more on the characters and their stories than on plot (also Christieish in my view) but that was fine. I loved Charlie Berlin and am excited to read his next adventure.
An excellent narration by Peter Byrne. Hope this reader has recorded additional books on tape...more
Regency era alternative history; spies; girls who like to tinker with chemistry; and swoon worthy romance - sign me up. I smiled a lot throughout; reaRegency era alternative history; spies; girls who like to tinker with chemistry; and swoon worthy romance - sign me up. I smiled a lot throughout; really enjoyable straight up romance is just what I needed .I'll be thrilled when the second book comes out.
Jane Re is a young woman of mixed Korean/white heritage who, having lost her parents as a very young child,was sent to live with her uncle's family inJane Re is a young woman of mixed Korean/white heritage who, having lost her parents as a very young child,was sent to live with her uncle's family in New York. As the book opens she is a young 20 something who went to a college that wasn't quite good enough according to her community and has failed to obtain any job that her relatives and community would value. Instead she spends her days working in her uncle's small grocery store where she feels she is continually being criticized by him. When her friend encourages her to try for a nanny position she is at first reluctant but then decides it might be a way out. She eventually gets the job but not before thinking that she has failed in this too. The book does a nice job in remaking some aspects of Jane Eyre. I loved the fact that the author slyly uses a feminist academic as the mad woman in the attic is who literally takes Jane up to the third floor attic to educate her. We all know those feminists are crazy witches, right? The relationship she develops with her charge is sweet and the parallels between Jane's not being a good fit in her world and Devon not quite fitting in her world as the adopted Chinese child of white parents was a nice part of the story. I found the book to be much less effective in demonstrating why Jane would be attracted to and fall in love with our modern day Rochester -Ed Farley. Ed is not well developed and fell decidedly flat for me. I wanted Jane to realize the error of her ways and she was a little too slow in this realization but overall I enjoyed watching as Jane grew into and became her own self. My favorite character of the book though was her uncle Sang and I teared up just a bit as he too bloomed on the page as a more interesting fully realized character. A most enjoyable read overall. ...more
Susan Orlean sets out to explore the phenomena that was Rin Tin Tin. She attempts to explain that elusive quality that makes someone/something memorabSusan Orlean sets out to explore the phenomena that was Rin Tin Tin. She attempts to explain that elusive quality that makes someone/something memorable by telling us about the early beginnings RIn Tin Tin’s life and his relationship with his owner Lee Duncan and then moves into the larger arena of Rin Tin Tin as an abstract via the appearances in various TV shows; movies etc. There is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Orlean could write about the phone book and make it interesting and she certainly makes the story of Rinty as well as the machinations of Hollywood interesting. She fills out the book interesting side notes but fails, I think, in demonstrating precisely why this dog became almost mythical. She describes how he represented the ideal of a boy and his dog but what is it about this romanticized ideal that turn people into dreamers and obsessives? I don’t blame the author though I think it is almost impossible to describe an obsession and many, many people were obsessed with Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin has faded from today’s social media obsessed youth but I was so chuffed when a young man in his late 20s waxed enthusiastic about the Rin Tin Tin comics and how much he had loved them when he was young, proof in my mind that Rinty might still make a comeback. Recommended for those individuals who enjoy slightly off beat biographies. Those individuals looking for a straight up dog story will be disappointed as we see Rin Tin Tin and his descendents reflected through the lens of the people who cared for or worked with them.
This one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I confess that I ripped through it in about three days. It was most assuredly fast paced but.... we've seenThis one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I confess that I ripped through it in about three days. It was most assuredly fast paced but.... we've seen the premise before -or at least I have, lover of schlocky films that I am. Also, if I slowed down and actually absorbed what I was reading the whole thing refused to hold together for me. She had far too many scenarios based on the same theme and it became boring after awhile. it also didn't always gel - people die rather quickly of thirst yet she had some of her victims confined and still alive after what felt like much too long a time. I also knew quite early on who the killer might be in relation to Helen. One of the early interior monologues pretty much gives it away. I also found Helen's reaction to the killer to be quite surprising considering the early circumstances of their lives. I'd also like one police procedural where we don't have the alcoholic copper - been there done that. However, if you are looking for a quick no brainer type of read this one might be for you....more
Another excellent book by Bolton - made particularly strong by her use of the Falkland islands as setting for the novel. Her characters, as always, arAnother excellent book by Bolton - made particularly strong by her use of the Falkland islands as setting for the novel. Her characters, as always, are complex and the ending to this one - wow did not expect that little plot twist. Highly recommended...more