This is a good book, for the most part. It was a bit confusing at first in how the dialogue of the animals is conveyed. It's very funny, and any animaThis is a good book, for the most part. It was a bit confusing at first in how the dialogue of the animals is conveyed. It's very funny, and any animal lover will get a kick out of that aspect of the story.
I started this in early August, but it took me a while to finish it. One of the reasons is it's a profoundly unsettling book. I'm a scientist by trainI started this in early August, but it took me a while to finish it. One of the reasons is it's a profoundly unsettling book. I'm a scientist by training, and I take the ethics of science pretty personally. Dr. Moreau crosses so many ethical/moral lines in his experimentation, it's not even funny. Some things just should not be done, even if it's to advance scientific knowledge. I am also a inveterate lover of animals, and I felt a horrible rage at the way Dr. Moreau was torturing animals. I feel it's fair to admit I am a meat eater, and I don't feel that eating meat is wrong. This book did make me feel extreme discomfort and think about what an animal goes through so I can eat a hamburger (something that I know intellectually but still ponder the ethics of regularly). However, there is a clear line that even both vegans and avowed carnivores can agree on: torturing animals for no reason, and inflicting pain on them because they are merely animals and don't feel pain the way humans does is terribly wrong. Also, to treat animals he had ostensibly humanized with no decency or respect was capping off the wrong that Moreau was doing. I admit I wasn't sad about Dr. Moreau's fate at all. I could feel Prendick's sense of pervasive horror acutely. Because of that, I had to put the book down at one point and didn't go back to it until yesterday/today. I listened to this on Kindle Text-to-Speech and it adds an element of horror to experiencing the book as an auditory experience.
HG Wells is a good writer. He immerses the reader fully into the story. He writes descriptively and seems to be aware of science in a way that lends credibility to the story (although my mind went to what we know about tissue matching, organ donation and graft rejections today). I felt all the emotions that Prendick felt, although not his sense of superiority that comes from being a white Englishman of the 19th century. I know I would feel the weirdness of humanlike animals put in a situation where they are forced to act human but are denied the same respect and decency that humans deserve. I believe in the quality of life for animals and as a veterinarian this is a huge issue for me. I felt so sorry and angry on behalf of the Beast Men that it was a huge discomfort factor for me as I read. That's probably a good thing. I don't think anyone should be okay with how those poor beings were treated.
There is a touch of racism but it's not as bad as some of the classic novels can be. I always notice it, because I'm a black woman, and for good reason, I am clearly sensitive to such things. It's good to read books from different periods and see how things were then and be grateful that things have changed for the better, or at times, realize things haven't changed all that much.
I wonder what Wells would say about some of the things we do in modern medicine/medical research without blinking an eye at. Thankfully, there are stringent limitations on animal research (although I admit that I think some research that takes place is beyond what I consider moral or ethical). If anything, this kind of story will make a reader feel uncomfortable and ask themselves about what is ethically okay, and challenge them to feel things from a different perspective that they might not always be sensitive to.
Prendick was mostly a sympathetic character. He was in a very extreme situation way beyond his control or comprehension, and his actions were probably what one could expect for someone put in such a horrific situation. I can see why he would remain scarred emotionally for the rest of his life. Who could blame him?
This is a book that can easily be classified as science fiction horror. The horror is psychological because of being confronted with the extremes of science and the unnatural results of it on nature. HG Wells is considered a foundational science fiction writer, and I believe he definitely writes something prophetic about biomedical research that still can serve as a warning to us in the 21st Century. There is a line and we must not cross it.
I can't give this more than 3.5 stars because of the ick factor. The writing is good but it made me feel icky inside. As an emotional reader, I have to listen to those instincts....more
I'd have to say this isn't my typical type of book, so I'm glad it was selected for Action group's read this month. I found it enjoyable. I think thatI'd have to say this isn't my typical type of book, so I'm glad it was selected for Action group's read this month. I found it enjoyable. I think that if this was a movie, it would be a Steven Soderburg movie for sure. I could see his touch all over the movie adaptation.
What I liked:
*I liked the wry and subtle humor. You have to be paying attention to see it, and it's highly ironical. The CIA's big thinkers believe their culprit is anything from the Russians to a huge terrorist cell, but it's not anything of the sort. Their antics to resolve the situation only seem to make things worst. I felt kind of bad rooting for Chinese and his gang, but they were seeming more and more like the good guys in that situation anyway. This book doesn't give a person the best view of the CIA, that's for sure. *I liked Doctor Henry Metzger and his dog. I wish they were in the book more. Considering that the book is named after them, I expected more of an appearance. But when they are there, they steal the scenes. I think Perry is an animal person. He seems to understand their psychology and how they seem to run the households in which they live and often leave their persons baffled. *The descriptions were very well rendered. I used all my senses as I read this book. The narrative is never wordy, which would have lent this book to boredom, considering that some much of the narrative hinges on theoretical sociological research. *This whole book is deftly plotted. I think it could have easily fallen apart, considering the subject matter. But it doesn't. *I think Margaret is one of the strongest characters. Surprisingly Chinese Gordon takes a back seat to her. She is really the brains of the operation.
I wasn't at all sure what I'd get when I started this book. It's kind of like when you go to a restaurant and let your companion pick something off the menu, and you decide you like it. It's a win on both sides....more
This is a hard book to rate. Honestly, most of it is quite silly. I have seen movie versions and adaptations and I knew that it was pretty bizarre. BuThis is a hard book to rate. Honestly, most of it is quite silly. I have seen movie versions and adaptations and I knew that it was pretty bizarre. But in the reading, it's a bit...well, absurd. If that is one what is expecting, it's a pretty good book. I think that one has to have a high tolerance for silly puns. Some of which are a bit obscure for a modern audience, but I think that kids that read it during that era would have appreciated it.
What I liked the most about it, is, well, Alice. She's adorable. She has the clear and genuine logic and outlook of a child, and I like that about her. She's a bit precocious, but not in an obnoxious way. If she not had been, well, I'm sure she would have found Wonderland quite scary and maybe had a nervous breakdown. She approaches this bizarre place of Wonderland from her vantage point and takes everything pretty well (and with a fair amount of acceptance), considering...
I laughed pretty loud at the absurdity and I loved the narrator, Marianne Margulies's impersonations of the characters. The croquet game was fantastically written and the court scene was pretty funny as well. I kept yelling "Off With His Head," along with the Red Queen. I thought the end was a bit abrupt, but I guess it makes sense in context. There are some sad, poignant aspects that hit the right note as well (the way that the story hits on the mourning one feels for the innocence and joy of childhood as an adult).
It's nice to have read this book and to see that many versions of the book in tv/movies do a good job of capturing the essence of the novel. Generally, movies don't do so well, but I think Alice has been treated fairly faithfully throughout the years.
I will probably read some critical essays on the work and see what I pick up about some of the hidden meanings and themes and cultural relevance, since I'm not really sure about that. On surface value, it was fun and silly, and pretty enjoyable. I recommend getting this on audio. The puns and songs were a lot more funny this way.
Disclaimer: I’ve been friends with the author on Goodreads for several years (before she became a published author). I respect her as a human being, h Disclaimer: I’ve been friends with the author on Goodreads for several years (before she became a published author). I respect her as a human being, her tastes in books and her thoughtful manner of expressing herself on the books she reads, and now I can add that I respect her as an author.
When she asked me to beta read her novel last year, I said yes. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read “His Heart’s Desire” in its pre-publication form, and I am happy to write a review for it and recommend it to romance novel lovers.
If you’ve been reading romance more than fifteen years, you might be experiencing a longing for the “Good Old Days” when stories were genuinely romantic, and not just an over-emphasis on graphic sex with just enough declaration of love to classify as romance novels. Books that made you feel strongly and made the hours pass away rapidly while you read them. If that is the case, you will probably love this book.
“His Heart’s Desire” does read like a fairy tale come true, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like angsty stories where the heroine has had a tough life, and her dreams come true in more ways than one. In this case, it’s not just getting her prince, but it’s getting a chance to live a life of purpose and fulfillment she always wished for.
Becca made with friends with a guy named Ethan, not knowing that he was impressively wealthy and powerful in his own right. She liked his personality and they bonded over their love of animals. She had no idea that he had fallen head over heels for her, and nursed a long simmering affection for her that she was oblivious to. Becca always knew a guy like Ethan was way out of her league, but she loved spending time with him, and he was one of the few people in the world she felt she could trust and feel safe with.
Ethan loves everything about Becca. He just wants her to be happy. When her mother’s death leads to a colossal mistake, he’s there to pick up the pieces and help Becca rebuild her life after the tragedy and betrayal she suffers. He makes every day a day of joy and simple pleasures, but has to be careful not to trespass on Becca’s long-held belief in self-sufficiency. Becca could never imagine that a man like Ethan could love her that way, but it’s up to Ethan to convince her otherwise.
Ethan is a bonafide Prince Charming, and in the best way possible. He’s not the boring kind of prince that makes me long for a bad boy or a hero to make your heart beat faster. No, he’s the strong, masculine, endearing and exciting, kind of prince who saves the day by loving his heroine genuinely and steadfastly. As you can guess, I loved him. He’s just the right guy for a sweet, somewhat naïve and unworldly young woman like Becca. These two make sense together.
I liked that their relationship is based on the rock-solid foundation of friendship and respect. Becca hasn’t had a lot of reason to open up to people and trust them, but Ethan proves he’s worthy of it. While they have a few bumps in the road, they don’t spoil the story or seem like they are manufactured just to fit the romance novel formula. Instead, their relationship feels genuine.
The sensuality is perfectly tailored to this novel. The love scenes are well-written, steamy and emotional. The best combination for this reader. I like that Ethan respects Becca’s values and her past hurts and he also has a desire to treat her like she's the woman he's been waiting his whole life for. It shows in his every interaction with her. When they consummate their relationship, it feels right.
Overall, the secondary characters are fairly well developed and add to the novel. Lindsay’s character was a bit too ‘evil ex’ for my tastes, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. Ethan’s family dynamic makes sense for his character (shows his values and why he's the man he is), and the tidbits about his siblings make me curious to read more about them. My favorite secondary character is Edna’s Becca’s older neighbor. She’s like a adoptive grandmother and a very good friend to the orphaned, lonely Becca, and she adds some comic relief with some of her dialogue.
His Heart’s Desire is an excellent first novel. It showcases strong writing talent and it is well edited. It's also very emotional and romantic (which is just what this reader loves in her romance novels) It’s nothing less than I would expect from Julianna. She’s a promising writer, and I’m excited to read more books by her.
I recommend this book to true romantics. Becca’s a sweetheart and Ethan truly is a to-die-for hero. I enjoyed reading this immensely.
I read this to a handful of preschoolers late last year, and I think I enjoyed it as much as they did. The book is wonderfully colorful, and as an aniI read this to a handful of preschoolers late last year, and I think I enjoyed it as much as they did. The book is wonderfully colorful, and as an animal lover, I was both amused and touched by the antics of the animals in this story, the gorilla in particular. The gorilla mimics the human keeper to the degree of letting all the animals out, who follow him and the keeper home to bed that night. This was a creative and very fun story, and I would recommend it to both young children and young at heart adults....more
A huge thanks to Nenia for recommending this when I asked for a Nerd Romance. This was exactly what I wanted and more. I can't even begin to classifyA huge thanks to Nenia for recommending this when I asked for a Nerd Romance. This was exactly what I wanted and more. I can't even begin to classify this into a genre. It's so distinctive. First of all, it's hilarious! I felt like Connie Willis nailed what it's like to work in Corporate America. I could have changed the name of HiTek to the places I worked and it would have been exactly the same. The complete waste of time exercises they come up with in the hopes that it will increase productivity (when it actually interferes with it), the jive turkey meetings, and horrible acronyms, and the fact that said environment is so fertile for folks like Flip, Desiderata, and even Dr. Bullock. I loved the wry and deadpan humor. I mainly listened to this while I was doing my Wii Fit exercises, and this is one where you can't be quiet while you read. It made the exercise time fly by!
Sandra is a very accessible heroine. While she does have a snarky way of looking at the world, and the narrator has her sounding a bit superior at times, her inner voice is very realistic. You don't always see people in the most charitable ways internally, even when you make an effort to treat others well. Sandra's field of study is fascinating. She's a sociologist/statistician who investigates fads. I loved the facts about various fads throughout the many years of human history. While I feel that she is really a hater of Barbies and I like Barbies, I can't argue with her on most of what she says. I loved how Sandra processed Flip, who is a complete slave to fads and seems about the most useless person on earth. Flip is that person you know who just seems to make your life a living 'you know what', but then you realize that they do have a purpose in your life, and they help you to grow as a person. With that in mind, her sometimes superior way of looking at Flip and folks like her is put into complete perspective. I also loved how Sandra is a big reader and she processes life events in light of what she's read. This book is definitely for bibliophiles.
Can I tell you I adored Bennet? Oh my, he made my Nerd Love meter go off big time. I wanted to hug him with his horribly fashion-challenged self and his adorable Coke Bottle glasses. Man I wish I could find a Bennet of my own. :)
The sheep storyline had me dying of laughter. Yeah, sheep aren't the brightest animals, and you really understand why they need shepherds. I had no idea about the bellwether and it just draws the story together so well when we learn about it.
I tell you, this is a really clever and just wonderful book. It takes a lot of writing talent to take such dissimilar ideas as sheep, fads, Chaos theory and hair bobbing and actually craft a meaningful story around it. A nice sized read. It helped me enormously with my book reading slump because it was just so clever and vivid and kept me interested. I never thought I'd enjoy a book about something so non-specific as research into fads. I surely did. I definitely recommend this to readers who want something different. And for sure to those looking for Nerd Love and satire about the corporate work environment. It hits high on every point, so five stars!...more
Wow. This was so fun to read. I am a fan of the Dresden Files urban fantasy series, and it's wonderful to get some visuals to go along with the prose.Wow. This was so fun to read. I am a fan of the Dresden Files urban fantasy series, and it's wonderful to get some visuals to go along with the prose. Butcher wrote the foreword, and he said he was very happy with the way Harry comes out, that he'd always visualized Harry Dresden in this medium, since he grew up as a huge comic book fan. I'd tend to agree. I think the artist did an excellent job of capturing Harry and also Karrin Murphy and Carmichael. He captures Harry's physicality as well as his self-awareness of both his flaws and strengths. It was interesting to see Harry perform his typical spellwork and see him in action with his blasting rod and staff, and get a glimpse of his beloved VW Bug. While I watched the tv show, and I liked it, there were a few things they changed that I didn't care for, so this was a better way to visualize Harry outside of my own active imaginations, and truer to the plotlines of the books.
The storyline was very good. I loved the infusion of folklore and the underlying concept driving the story. The villain was really quite formidable and very creepy. Harry shows his heroism, even though he is often the underdog in the battle. And he definitely faces some serious obstacles, as always. I liked the secondary characters like Will. Of course, being an animal lover, I enjoyed the fact that this is set in a zoo.
Beautiful artwork, and great storytelling. What's not to like about this? Really glad to see Harry Dresden in the graphic novel medium. Will definitely read more of these!...more
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting foSynopsis
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting for injured wildlife. McGrath is a bounty hunter and animal cruelty investigator hunting for a bail-jumper with a penchant for abusing animals. McGrath knows instantly that Merry Anna is a woman who needs a protector. Her heart is so big for animals that she doesn't have much of a grip on reality and the danger she is in when someone is trying to kill her. He insists on her staying in his house for 24 hour protection when someone vandalizes her house. They will end up playing house together with a fostered Basset Hound and nearly newborn kitten under their care. That's saying something for two people who don't have good experiences with family or relationships. Will they be able to walk away from each other when the danger is all over for Merry Anna?
Charming Champion is well-named. This is a charming book. Merry Anna has an endearing innocence and earnestness with her passionate love for animals. McGrath is adorable. He's tough and sweet at the same time. He is clearly in over his head for a typical loner who falls head over heels for a woman who comes with baggage, the emotional and furry kind. He is a protector by nature, a man who was a sickly child who developed his body into perfect fitness and fought to escape from his overprotective mother's fold. As an adult, years of living under his mother's stifling over-protectiveness has made him wary of commitment. However, Merry Anna inspires him to want a woman in his life on a forever basis. It's very cute seeing them together, discovering love for each other.
As an animal lover, I appreciated spending time with Mr. Ponder, the Basset Hound they end up fostering, as well as Snowy, the abandoned newborn kitten they are hand-feeding. Also, I admired the work that both Merry Anna and McGrath do with animals and for animal welfare, although Merry Anna has issues to work through with her single-minded, blind determination to help animals at any cost. Often, I was frustrated at her when she would dive in headfirst trying to help animals, without thinking things through. I could understand how McGrath might have felt, since he usually had to pull her back from the edge.
A shortcoming of this novel is the fact that the suspense angle is lightweight. It definitely ties in with the overall theme of animal welfare, but the villains lacked depth and intensity. I couldn't help giggling at the various altercations with the bad guys.
Charming Champion was a pleasant, fun, heartwarming book. I think I would have rated it higher if the conflict with the animal abusers was stronger and had more impact. It was hard to take it seriously. Nevertheless, the message about care and respect for animals was well received by this animal lover. I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet with just enough sensuality, the chemistry between McGrath and Merry Anna well-written and appealing. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy lighthearted, animal-themed sweet romance.
Mauranie Wells is breaking her back working to keep her family ranch in New Mexico, and living day to day in the shadow of her younger, more bSynopsis
Mauranie Wells is breaking her back working to keep her family ranch in New Mexico, and living day to day in the shadow of her younger, more beautiful sister, Tennyson. Tennyson is constantly angry and demanding more money, when there is little money available. Especially when Mauranie finds out from the bank manager that her father's investments failed since his death and their inheritance is gone. Next she finds out that the mortgage is about to go into default for non-payment.
Mauranie is working to breed and train horses to turn her family ranch into a productive enterprise, but that takes time she doesn't have to meet their overdue mortgage payment. She doesn't have much hope to get through the day until handsome, well-dressed cowboy Stemson Arroyo Smith comes to their ranch. Instant chemistry ignites between her and Stemson, and Mauranie is shocked that he overlooks her more feminine, well-dressed sister to give her the time of day. Mauranie is self-conscious about her hearing disability, which she compensates for, although it makes it difficult to be around other people. Stemson is the new banker in the nearby town of Aqua Gulch. He came to look at her property in order to find a place to stable his horses and genuinely seems to like Mauranie, but Tennyson plants seeds of doubt in Mauranie's mind that he could truly care about her; that he's out to steal their ranch instead.
Mauranie is troubled by the tensions of trying to keep her sister satisfied, and heartsick at the growing distance between the sisters. Can she remain true to her vision for the family ranch, and keep her sister happy? Is a future possible with Stemson, or is that just a distant dream, far removed from the ugly reality of trying to keep their ranch afloat with little help from her sister?
Breaking Point is as much about family as it is a romance. Mauranie has made incredible sacrifices for her sister since her parents died. And her sister seems increasingly ungrateful. Love has made her bend over backwards for her sister. She hates that her sister is always angry and unhappy with her. I felt Mauranie's anguish at the growing gap between the sisters, her desire to succeed at turning their ranch around, and her hope that she could find a man of her own and a family.
I very much appreciated the manner in which Ms. Beggs incorporates Mauranie's hearing issues into the story. Mauranie works hard to live as normal a life as possible, and doesn't allow those hearing issues to get in the way of living a productive life. Mauranie is a great heroine. She is strong, but also loving. Her heart is very good, and she truly cares about others. I hated the way Tennyson treated Mauranie, always demanding and never thanking her for all the sacrifices she made. I was glad that Mauranie did stay true and consistent in her love for her sister; although I wish that she didn't let the younger woman walk all over her the way she did, and would force her to share more of the burdens of running the ranch.
Stemson is an intriguing character. He's a dapper cowboy businessman with a caring, down to earth heart. It spoke highly to me that he could appreciate Mauranie for her unspoiled, unpolished goodness and inner and outer beauty. He also struggles with demons from his family life, although the author focuses less on these overall. The tension between them resides in the trust and self-esteem issues they both have, and in the process of learning to open up to each other. Their loving bond and romantic chemistry kept me reading. I wanted things to work out for Mauranie and Stemson to be together, and I appreciated how the story unfolds on this front as well as with Mauranie's problems with her sister.
Ms. Beggs packs a lot of emotional impact into this short novel. She has a descriptive and emotional writing style that drew me into the story. Her imagery of historical ranch life spoke to the western lover in me. I felt for the characters and rooted for a positive resolution for them all. This was a well-written, enjoyable novella, although I wish it had been full-length; I feel that Ms. Beggs could have explored the issues presented more deeply. I would love to continue reading this series to revisit the characters and see what happens in the future with them.
**spoiler alert** First of all, I want to thank Emery Lee for the opportunity to read her book. This was not a typical read for me, since I don't tend**spoiler alert** First of all, I want to thank Emery Lee for the opportunity to read her book. This was not a typical read for me, since I don't tend to read a lot of historical fiction that is not romance. The Highest Stakes was a good stepping stone for me into the historical fiction genre, with a good, strong love story for my romance-loving palate.
I have to confess I did not grow up with horses. I actually never really had contact with them until I was in college. So, I became a equine aficionado later in my life. Without a doubt, The Highest Stakes is a book for horse-lovers. It is very clear that Ms. Lee loves, understands, and respects horses; and is very much an equestrienne. I appreciate the detail that she put into describing people firmly immersed in horse culture, and in giving this horse-racing novice a crash course into the horse-racing industry. Now, don't expect me to be down at the horse tracks every weekend. That's not going to happen. But I must say, I have a lot more respect for what goes into horse-racing. I am just as much a horse-lover as I ever was, maybe a little more after this book. In fact, I loved reading about the details of equine husbandry. I can certainly see how it becomes an obsession that can drive people in many ways, like it did with the three main characters in this story: Robert, Charlotte, and Philip.
On top of the foundation of horse-racing, this is a story about human nature: the dark sides, and the fundamental urges within people that drive them to achieve what they want most in life. For Robert and Charlotte, they just wanted each other. A mutual love of horses was their intial connection, and a great love blossomed between them from that starting point. Their road to happiness was a very crooked, even heartbreaking path. Many times, I felt like I was being twisted into painful knots as I read about all the troubles that this couple faced. I wanted to keep reading, crossing my fingers that things would work out; and at times, I was afraid to read one more page, for fear that their love would be driven past the point of survival. Fate seemed against them at many turns, although there was also a providential guiding hand that kept them working and striving towards their future together. I came to love and respect them both very deeply. I respect Ms. Lee that she was not afraid to put this couple through so much over the course of this book, even if it didn't always make for comfortable reading for me.
Philip was by far the most complex character. I must confess I still don't quite have him figured out. He manages to be a very self-serving person, but at the same time, he has a core of honor. Towards the end of the book, I really wanted to hate him, but I found I could not, because he was such a fascinating person, and truly did want to be a good man. He made some wrong decisions that really hurt two people that he cared about. At the same time, he played an important role in their destinies, and in some ways, helped to drive them to achieve the successes they obtained in the horsebreeding fields. One thing was for certain, he came very close to stealing the show, despite the fact that I really loved Robert and Charlotte's characters.
The writing was very good. Ms. Lee firmly establishes the Georgian period, and she doesn't have to spend a lot of detail describing what the characters wore, or what their houses looked like. Instead, she weaves in a time table of important events that occur in the background of this story, and which involve Robert and Phillip to no small extent. It felt very authentic, yet she always kept this book readable. To be honest, I am not sure that this book would appeal to readers who have no interest in horses. But that's okay. I am glad that Ms. Lee wrote a book about a subject that she clearly has a lot of passion for, and did it well; for her passion for horses is quite infectious to those who have the slightest inclination in that direction.
Quite frankly, this book came very close to being a five star book. I think that for readers who don't mind some very complicated obstacles between the hero and heroine, it probably would be a five star book. Unfortunately, I just don't like when the hero and heroine are together while they are married to other people. I really regretted that Robert and Charlotte's first time together occurs after she is forced to marry Philip. I can see that this was a realistic choice for Ms. Lee to make in plotting her story, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I would have preferred for Robert and Charlotte's happy ending to be unmarred by this. I freely admit that adultery is my huge pet peeve and it's hard to get past that when I am reading a romantic story. Despite that fact, I cheered on the couple for being able to get their happy ending. My other issue was that I found the ending to be a little abrupt. I was very glad to see Robert and Charlotte to achieve many of their life goals, but I would have preferred to see a little more page time spent on their reunion and how they dealt with Phillip. I did like the letter. It was a nice, and very fitting way for some of the denouement to be incorporated into the story.
The Highest Stakes was an excellent book. I was emotionally and intellectually involved with this story. It is very clear that Ms. Lee put a lot of heart and soul into this book, making for a great reading experience. Highly recommended to horse-lovers, fans of historical fiction, and those who love a good star-crossed romance.
Yet another lovely book in this ongoing series by Patricia Grasso. Ms. Grasso has a charm to her writing. Even though she has a similar format for mosYet another lovely book in this ongoing series by Patricia Grasso. Ms. Grasso has a charm to her writing. Even though she has a similar format for most of her books, it seems to work. I think it's because I like her characters, and the story that she tells.
Blaze is an adorable heroine. She can communicate with animals, and this sets the tone for her life. She doesn't eat meat, fish, or poultry, because she can hear animals' cries of suffering when they are hurt. She has a big Mastiff named Puddles, who will do as she tells him mentally, but asks for cookies as his payment. She communicates with her filly that her father gave her, Pegasus, and she knows why Pegasus hasn't been winning races. As such, she is able to get Pegasus past this problem. Marriage is not on her agenda, and neither is falling in love. Well, that's just too bad, because Ross MacArthur, Marquis of Awe, is determined to claim her as his bride, by hook or by crook. His courtship keeps me laughing and enjoying this book, as he tries to keep up with savvy and fortright Blaze.
Ms. Grasso is very witty, but it's not in a forced way. Some of the jokes are very subtle, apt to cause smiles, rather than laugh out loud moments. Yet, there is also a little bit of sadness in this story, due to the fact that Blaze's mother was quite a tragic figure, a dispossessed French countess who fled the French Revolution, and ended up being mistress to a married duke and bearing him seven daughters, the Flambeau girls. She was an alcoholic who killed herself. This causes a personal pain for Blaze, because she feels she's somewhat responsible for her mother's death. She is determined not to make the same mistakes, falling into a man's bed and giving her heart away. However, Ross sneaks into her heart, because he treats her as an equal, showing her respect, tenderness, and love. There's also a murder mystery, as someone is preying on jockeys and horses so that the Duke of Inverary and the Marquis of Awe are assured not to twin the Triple Crown horse race.
I wish that all of Blaze's sisters and the Kazanov princes were in this story, but I guess that would make it a lot longer. It was nice to see Raven, her sister who sees the future, Blaze's father, the Duke of Inverary, and his matchmaking, jewelry-loving Duchess, and Aunt Bedelia, who has psychic gifts of her own.
I'm sad that I finished this, and there's not another book in this series coming out soon. They are so entertaining, with a lovely mix of humor, family, animals, and loving couples. Although there is nothing groundbreaking about this book, it was thoroughly enjoyable, so I'd give it five stars....more
I took a multiple year break between this and the rest of the series. It was intentional. This was the last book before Ms. Kleypas started her hiatusI took a multiple year break between this and the rest of the series. It was intentional. This was the last book before Ms. Kleypas started her hiatus from historical romance. I didn't want to not have one if I needed an LK fix. Even after all those years, I fell back into the world of the Hathaways, like a worn in pair of shoes. They feel like real people to me, just as quirky as real relatives. Beatrix earns a special place in my heart as heroine. She is such a wonderful, sweet person, but has a very thoughtful and wise beyond her years core. Many times I didn't feel like Christopher deserved her in the least. I love animals much in the same way as Beatrix, so I really connected to her in her animal and nature love.
The romance seduced me, even when I didn't really like Christopher. I felt bad for his experiences, but his superior and somewhat shallow behavior initially was a turnoff. I like that he did evolve as a character. I was sorry for the way he suffered in the war, and it took that to help mature him. I am sure it didn't help that his mother was so mean to him and made no mistake about favoring John (his brother).
As always, the Hathaways charm the socks off me. It was lovely to see how the years have evolved the various siblings and their spouses. I did miss seeing Harry and Poppy. It was awesome to see the next generation of Hathaways.
Lisa Kleypas has such a wonderful voice and her historical romances are sensual in a way that goes beyond sexuality. Her descriptions of the setting stimulate all the senses in a delightful way. And the letters that Beatrix and Christopher exchange are heartfelt and deep.
Other than Christopher starting out as a jerk, I can't say I disliked anything about this book. I love that he realizes before it's too late what a treasure he has in Beatrix, and he truly is like many of her charges, wounded and striking out in anger, but deep down in need of love and care.
Another wonderful Hathaway novel by Ms. Kleypas. A treasure to read....more
Goodness gracious, I am super late writing this review. My schedule just exploded after the middle of October, and I had no time. Because it's been neGoodness gracious, I am super late writing this review. My schedule just exploded after the middle of October, and I had no time. Because it's been nearly a month, I don't have the best memory of all the plotlines. But I promised I would write a review for every book I read, so better late than never, and my review will be of the more general sort.
I was fortunate to find this at my library and it fit very well thematically into my October Scare Fest reading. I enjoyed it overall. It's an odd little book, no question about it. I would consider it a bit of a pastiche to the famous literary figures of Dracula, Frankenstein and his monster, Sherlock Holmes, Merlin-type druids, and the Wolfman. I rather enjoyed that about this book. What I loved the most is that the narrators are the familiars, or animal companions of the human (or humanlike characters). They all strike up a strange sort of friendship driven by mutual interest and that old adage that drives too many middle grade friendships, especially among girls: better to be friends with someone than to have them as an enemy.
The story's chapters are broken down into each one representing a day in October. They are getting ready for some very important magical event that will have seemingly profound consequences. It sort of reminded me of the Highlander movie where the various characters are pairing off against each other, but this was more of a semi-good versus evil sort of standoff. Just my take. Forgive me if I am way off here. I didn't quite understand all of that, but I don't think it was as important as the unfolding paranormal mystery as various human (or humanlike) characters start to be picked off, one by one. The main character is a dog, who is the familiar of a male wizard. He's an endearing narrator. I liked how he plays dumb dog when necessary, but he's not the average canine (I truly feel some dogs are incredibly intelligent, so don't assume I'm picking on dogs here). I liked his wry and atypical friendship with a cat, who is the familiar of a witch. Along with the fact that their humans are striking up a courtship that may not end well if they end up choosing opposite sides. There is also a bat, rat, snake, and owl character. I'm sorry I don't remember all their names. I do remember the snake's name was Quicklime, so go figure. Strangely enough, the humanlike character who was most developed was Larry Talbot. Classic horror movie buffs will recognize that name as that of the Wolf Man. He did have the tragic vibe of the character in the movie, but he was quite likable.
This book isn't that deep. I mean it's a short book and probably has some hidden meaning, and I think a very prominent satirical tone that some readers will pick up on immediately. It's not super scary, it's a bit. Enough to make for a nice Halloween read.
I'd say this one is worth tracking down if you can find it at your library. Unfortunately, it's out of print.
A good read for this time of year. And fun for animal lovers like myself....more
Odd and the Frost Giants was a quick, but very rewarding book to listen to on audio. The author himself narrated, and his voice is very pleasant to liOdd and the Frost Giants was a quick, but very rewarding book to listen to on audio. The author himself narrated, and his voice is very pleasant to listen to. He knows his characters best and animated them as richly as he had intended them. The Norse mythology elements were interesting, and I loved how Mr. Gaiman injects a humorous view of the constant strife between the Aesir and the Frost Giants. He embodies the traits of Odin, Thor, and Loki very well, and their animal forms fit what characteristics one would attribute to the three Norse gods. In this story, the frost giants are almost portrayed, but not quite, as the underdogs, caught in a losing war with the Aesir. It cracked me up how afraid of Lady Freya's complaining the lead frost giants were.
I absolutely adored Odd, with his oh-so annoying smile that he put on his face exactly when he wanted to disarm or frustrate someone else. He was a really good guy. I liked that he was able to figure out a way out of most of the scrapes he found himself in, and met obstacles in a calm, thoughtful manner. I wanted everything to work out for this kid, because he deserved it.
I don't have much more to say since this is a pretty short little book. The only thing I could add is that I enjoyed it immensely!
As a future veterinarian growing up, I was told by many people to read this book. It is apparently considered a rite of passage for those who want toAs a future veterinarian growing up, I was told by many people to read this book. It is apparently considered a rite of passage for those who want to enter the veterinary field. Finally I did read it when I was in my junior year of college before vet school. It was wonderful. Herriot is a hilarious,heart-warming and talented author. He writes with an ease that is addictive to read. He manages to imbue every chapter with scenes that are laugh out loud funny, but also scenes that will bring tears to your eyes. He shows the foibles and flaws of human nature with a lovable grace that is endearing.
Although I didn't practice in Europe and I wasn't a mixed practitioner, he captured the first year out very well. You are clueless. You know just enough to know you need to learn more. You have to learn to deal with people before you can help animals. You have to learn to trust your abilities and your skills. You have learn to grieve for the ones you lose but keep fighting the good fight. Let me just say, looking back, I can totally identify with the young vet in this book.
You do not have to be a vet or wannabe vet to enjoy this book. If you like slice of life books, or books about people in everyday situations but approaching life with grace and humor, you will love this book. If you like animals, you will also enjoy this book. I have collected the others in the series to read because I want to read more about this character, patterned after Dr. Herriot himself. ...more