Flowers in the Attic for a entirely new generation. While I'd love to be able to say that my snobby, higher-literature self didn't care for this new nFlowers in the Attic for a entirely new generation. While I'd love to be able to say that my snobby, higher-literature self didn't care for this new novel, the fact that I plowed through it in two days with only a short sleeping break belies that assertion. It is a good novel. It's definitely NOT a spoiler to give the Flowers in the Attic reference (you know the entire premise is based on incest by chapter 2 or 3) so I'll feel free to talk about it here.
The novel's protagonist is Lane, a young woman who has returned to the familial estate, Roanoke, she fled from as a teen in the middle of nowhere Kansas to help search for her missing "cousin" Allegra. Lane's grandparents still reign supreme at Roanoke and through chapters that jump around in time and from different viewpoints we quickly learn that this home is not a good place for young girls to grow up. Multiple generations of girls have suffered the repercussions of living (not just the physical but more important the psychological) here. While the mystery of what happened to Allegra is compelling, what keeps the pages turning are the revelations of the scope of the abuse.
For those who inherently shy away of graphic sex or violence, rest assured there is none here. Instead the author chooses to focus on the psychological damage that results. It's a well told story and if you're looking for a read to take on that upcoming long flight, this is it....more
Small Admissions is the story of a brilliant young woman who, despite having it together in every other way, stumbles over a failed romance and losesSmall Admissions is the story of a brilliant young woman who, despite having it together in every other way, stumbles over a failed romance and loses her way. This is the story of how she puts it all back together by taking a job (that many see as beneath her education level) at an elite NYC private school as an admissions officer. Via flashbacks and ruminations from her family and friends, we slowly find out how her heart was broken but that isn't the point of the novel. Hope and humor reign supreme here as we are reminded that any of us can pull ourselves together after life throws a disaster at us. Friends and family are all that matters and maybe, just maybe, we should all lighten up a bit. (And if you happen to have kids enrolled in private school, like I do, you'll get an extra laugh just from the admissions process from another point of view.)...more
A cozy type historical mystery - first in a series - that was enjoyable enough but dragged out a bit. I'm not running out to buy the next in the serieA cozy type historical mystery - first in a series - that was enjoyable enough but dragged out a bit. I'm not running out to buy the next in the series....more
One of Doyle's short stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon, I grabbed it because there are more than a few references from this story (and others) in tOne of Doyle's short stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon, I grabbed it because there are more than a few references from this story (and others) in the latest season of the BBC series Sherlock. It was a very enjoyable read and there are quite a few names and references that made it into the television episode (The Six Thatchers). It is less of a whodunit and more of a whytheydidit which is a nice twist. It doesn't provide a plot with clues that you the reader could solve it with but is interesting because of the inner workings of Sherlock's sleuthing and how HE figured it out. A short read and worth your time....more
I wish I could say I loved the conclusion to this amazing YA trilogy but for my money, this third novel was the least impressive of the three. I utterI wish I could say I loved the conclusion to this amazing YA trilogy but for my money, this third novel was the least impressive of the three. I utterly loved Red Rising, the opening book....so much so that I've read it at least twice in print and listened to the audio version a couple of times too (okay so I was a bit smitten with our main character, Darrow). The first book was intent on world building and Pierce Brown just went far above and beyond expectations....I was IN that world, which is a rare occurrence for me. He continued that world building but added some great story-line in the second novel. So by the time we reach this conclusion, Morning Star, the world is already built. Brown chooses to just let it all fly in terms of story line. Sadly, he's throwing so much out there that he missed the mark entirely with this novel. Too many characters, he loses Darrow in the myriad of secondary story lines, and also loses many of the secondary characters in the muck and mire. We loved those characters. They are what kept us coming back. I've only read this book one time and I suppose I owe Brown at least another read through now that my irritation has died down (Morning Star was released early 2016). If my opinion changes, I'll edit this review. Recommendation? The first two are do-not-miss novels. They are labeled YA (why???) but that is a mis-characterization. These books are adult books in every sense. Even if you don't like sci-fi, they transcend the narrow genre. And because you'll love the first two, you won't be able to resist this conclusion. Just don't expect a satisfying end to it all....more
The audio version narrated by George Guidall was my second reading of this utterly fantastic novel which kicked off not only a great series by JohnsonThe audio version narrated by George Guidall was my second reading of this utterly fantastic novel which kicked off not only a great series by Johnson but also what I hear is a pretty good television rendition. Whether you read it or listen to it, it's a fantastic book. While a book that features a good mystery will nearly always sell well, a book that has unique and strongly-written characters makes for a best-selling series. And that is why these books are so popular. Walt Longmire, erstwhile sheriff of Absaroka County in the far outposts of Wyoming, is a strong character (with an even stronger sense of humor....something you need if you're the sheriff of a sparsely populated part of the country). An equally strong supporting cast of characters makes every book in the series delightful. But don't categorize these books as "cozy mysteries." There are some pretty disturbing issues that are woven in here with not-so-easily answered moral questions. You get to think and laugh in turns throughout these books. Not a western other than they take place in present day Wyoming, but with strong flavors of the west. Read them. You won't be disappointed. I promise....more
This debut effort by Jane Harper has been lauded as nearly perfect. And critics are nearly correct. The novel is as close to perfect as one can get inThis debut effort by Jane Harper has been lauded as nearly perfect. And critics are nearly correct. The novel is as close to perfect as one can get in terms of plotting, character, and setting. Truly, it is a wonder to read (and I DO recommend you read it!). So why 4 stars instead of 5? I'll get to that in a moment.
The story is set in a small rural town in Australia (wonderfully described....feels like you are there), Federal Agent Falk returns from his job in Melbourne to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood best friend, now dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after killing his wife and young child (leaving their infant alive, though). Small towns usually contain small minds and judgement has been passed. It's not comfortable. So it's with considerable trepidation that Falk agrees to a request from the deceased's parents to look a little closer into the deaths. This present-day mystery is cleverly woven with the last questionable death that occurred in the community decades earlier, one that Falk was suspected of contributing to.
As you may have seen from my status updates, I did NOT guess the culprit until revelation was imminent in the story. And that is a very good thing (who likes a mystery where you've known whodunit for hundreds of pages before it's revealed?). Just about everything about this novel was a very good thing. Which brings us back to my 4 stars rather than 5. I deducted one star simply because in 3 or 4 months, I probably won't remember the plot or characters. Some books - even if they aren't technically perfect - just have soul. They resonate with you. You remember them years after you turned the last page and still grab them for re-reads. The Dry just wasn't one of those books.
I still recommend it (highly) because of the enjoyable experience of the actual read. And you might experience more "soul" in it than I did....more
**spoiler alert** This short audio-novella by sci-fi legend John Scalzi was irresistible when I saw it over at Audible. Alas, the story felt like it h**spoiler alert** This short audio-novella by sci-fi legend John Scalzi was irresistible when I saw it over at Audible. Alas, the story felt like it had too many glaring holes in it for me to truly enjoy. But I must say this: if I could give the narration itself it's own rating, Zachary Quinto would get 5+ stars for his fabulous performance. I could listen to his voice for hours! This is a short novella (2 hrs 19 min) with a dystopian future-like premise in which a mystery takes place. Essentially, the reader has a mystery (missing person) to solve that occurs in a dystopian future. Clear as mud? I'm hesitant to tell too much about the story or my issues with it for fear of giving too much away, so I'll label the following as a SPOILER:
Story premise: in the future something weird (never exactly explained but that's good for the reader to come up with their own explanations) has happened and people who are intentionally murdered mysteriously disappear into thin air and re-appear in their homes right as rain. This leads to the new "profession" of the professional dispatcher....a person trained and licensed to finish off someone who will clearly die from their injuries. By killing them off, a dispatcher is murdering them and - most of the time - sending them back to appear in their homes just as they were a few hours earlier before whatever life-threatening injuries nearly killed them. The dispatcher is a government employee and not paid very well. So when our narrator's colleague dispatcher goes missing, he teams up with a local detective to investigate whether some illegal "side jobs" dispatching may have led to his disappearance. Got it? Okay....I would have given this whole story 5 stars except: why on earth is a dispatcher's "skill" needed at all? Anyone can murder anyone else and the same mysterious appear-unhurt-in-your-own-home thing applies. Why pay a dispatcher money when you can just kill someone yourself. I don't see the legal trouble. You can't prosecute for murder when the victim is alive and well with nary a scratch on them. Sigh. If I could have wrapped my mind around this one single flaw I would have loved it. As it was, this flaw dominated my thinking throughout and merely made the whole thing a bit annoying. Except for Quinto's narration. I'd listen to that forever. ...more