This book starts with a promising idea - a vampire who is a vampire with speical ablities because her brother, a priest, saved her soul when she was tThis book starts with a promising idea - a vampire who is a vampire with speical ablities because her brother, a priest, saved her soul when she was turned, hunts down other vampires in the City of New York. I have to Gardiner full credit for keeping vampires as overall evil, yet explaining how her lead vampire Jess and second vampire James, are different. It worked.
Sadly that was the best thing about the book. I should admit that I didn't finish this one.
The problems are many. First there is not a good sense of setting. Second, there is not a good sense of character; all secondary characters seem interchangable and clice. Jess, the female vampire, is flat and quite frankly, it is unclear how she has so much experience fighting vampires. New York is really Sunnydale? Third, the plotting is strange and the time movement of the book is jumping. Fourth, all Jess needs is a good - - - - bythe right man. Fifth, Jess dresses really sexy and in too high heels for a cop who wants people to take her seriously. ...more
Lippman has been on my to read list for a bit. I read her essay in The Wire: Truth Be Told and then found out about her relationship with David Simon.Lippman has been on my to read list for a bit. I read her essay in The Wire: Truth Be Told and then found out about her relationship with David Simon. When Amazon discounted this to under a dollar, I didn't have an excuse not to read it.
Is it the best mystery I've read? No. But it does make me want to read others in the series.
Tess, the central character, is human. At times stupid, insecure, smart, she is well drawn. The mystery is compelling, and the characters real. At times, there are beautiful touches of humor. There is a wonderful sense of place.
Plus, any book that makes reference to Possession and Homicide is great. ...more
First, the title of the book, at least in its English translation, is misleading. While the Hangman does have a daughter and she is a somewhat importaFirst, the title of the book, at least in its English translation, is misleading. While the Hangman does have a daughter and she is a somewhat important character, she is not the central character. The central characters are, in fact, the Hangman and Simon, the doctor.
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the book has many, very many, overused plot devices. The hangman's daughter, for instance, is different from the other women in the novel, she is the equal of the men, even her mother is seen as inferior. In general, you know who the good guys are by how they act around women and children.
But, in all fairness, this is a first book.
What makes up for it is the compelling style. There is something compelling about the hangman, who is the character who is real. He is somewhat of a type but transcends it (not surprsing, considering the author is writing, in part, about his family). Additionally, the movers behind the events makes sense, yet is not easily given away....more
In a moment of weakness, I succumbed to the temptation of the AOL gossip page. What can I say? I was tired. I was bored. Anyhow, there was a story aboIn a moment of weakness, I succumbed to the temptation of the AOL gossip page. What can I say? I was tired. I was bored. Anyhow, there was a story about Chelsea Handler (I think it was her) who went on a tear about Angelina Jolie and why Jolie doesn't have any female friends.
The lead character in this book is somewhat like that.
The writing in this book is great. There are, however, certain elements of the plot that I find irksome. In all fairness, this is more to do with tastes than anything. I hate blonde beautiful women in literature who are always so perfect and everyman loves them (or wants to have sex with them). I know its mean, but if it makes me look better, I hate any beautiful fictional woman who is loved or desired by every man in the book.
Yet, despite this, Agnes is almost likable. Japp does a good job of her character. She really isn't the problem, though ever dangerous cliche in any historical fiction that happens to women seems to happen to Agnes. It was a bit much. It is also strange that most women think she is kind, but we don't really see her interact with any woman who she thinks highly of. And before people point out a spoiler - I said WOMAN.
No, what really irked me was the character of Clement. The kid is 11-12 and is smarter than Dr. Spock (the Spock with the pointed ears, not the other one). This might be work well with kids; it doesn't with me. He doesn't even act like a child at any point, and the reader is suppose to see him as the true child of Agnes as opposed to Agnes' daughter, who I actually felt sorry for considering that her mother seems to prefer another child. To be totally honest, I always felt sorry for Wil Wheaton because some people didn't like Wesley on ST:TNG due to the fact that he was always solving everything. Hey, I didn't like that aspect of the plot either (or when Data saved everyone). I also got tried of Charlie fixing everything one Numbers (like the FBI wouldn't know about negoiation). But it's the writing not the acting. Here it's the wrting not the acting. And the surprise about Clement, while a surprise really doesn't make sense at all.
So while the book isn't bad, I feel no great desire to read #2 in the series. It just made want to watch Brotherhood of the Wolf again....more
Ah, I can't say anything really without giving away the plot. I can say, the book is gripping, creepy, thrilling, and just the right length. Read it inAh, I can't say anything really without giving away the plot. I can say, the book is gripping, creepy, thrilling, and just the right length. Read it in one sitting....more
I usually think of Joanne Harris in terms of food. She's that fine French food I can afford. She's that nice meal prepared by friends in the French coI usually think of Joanne Harris in terms of food. She's that fine French food I can afford. She's that nice meal prepared by friends in the French countryside (if I had friends in the French countryside). This isn't surprising. After all, she has co-authored two cookbooks. Some of her books are named for food, and food plays a role in the plots.
She, however, then writes book like Gentlemen and Players, which would be suited for a production of PBS' Mystery.
Then, she writes Blueeyedboy where she seems to channel Hitchcock, minus his chalk outline.
The story is told by postings on a web journal. The main poster, Blueeyedboy, runs the website, and the story is revealed mostly though his postings. There is also Albertine who may or may not be a victim of Blueeyedboy, and whose posts the reader is also privy to. Harris also includes a comment section after those posts that are marked public.
The use of public and private posts puts the reader in a boggy and constantly shifting piece of ground. Blueeyedboy seems to confess to multiple murders in the fiction he writes. Is he telling the truth? He lies about one important piece of infromation after all. Is Albertine more trustworthy? Perhaps. She seems more honest, but she has her own dark secrets as well.
It is prudent for the reader to remember that the website is called Badguysrock. There is something about about well played or written bad guy after all. Sometimes it is simple attraction, Richard Armitage being a prime example. Those bad guys usually have a redeemable feature -they were abused, they're really nice.
Sometimes it is simply because the actor is so good. Alan Rickman, anyone? Cancel Christmas!
Other times, it is less about sexual attraction and more about everything else - the acting, the directing, the writing, the make-up. the viewer doesn't want to redeem, let alone met, the bad guy, but the bad guy commands attention. The Joker in either Batman movie is an example of this.
It is this last bad guy that Harris applies to this book. The characters are not likable, believable, but not likable, yet, the reader can't stop reading. Harris seems to be looking at the attraction of evil as well as the ability to be anyone on the Internet....more
Is anyone aware of the debate over Rhianna's new video with the rapper who should spell his name M&M, but can't because of copyright? Some women,Is anyone aware of the debate over Rhianna's new video with the rapper who should spell his name M&M, but can't because of copyright? Some women, in particular those concerned with abuse, see the video as endorsing a blame the victim mentality (but blame the singers, not the actors. Why not blame all four?). Mel Gibson's most recent immoral activity is tied into this debate as well. I ask because the morning I started this book, CNN had a news story about it.
I don't know about the video; I've heard the song, but haven't seen the video. But when I finished this book, I thought about the debate.
It would be easy, too easy I think, to say that Appignanesi is doing "the blame the victim" route. It was, I must admit, the first thought that crossed my mind. The novel is about the death of Madeline, a famous actress. What comes out are secrets that were hidden, including some uncomfortable ones from Pierre, the defacto hero of the story. Instead, what Appignanesi is trying to get the reader to do is to think about the different aspects of love, hate, and even idol worship. What is the difference between a stalker and a teen who reads everything about the Jonas Brothers, has every picture of them pasted everywhere and writes them fan letters?
There is, of course, a difference. That's what this novel is about. To say anymore would ruin the book....more
I like watching Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis. (Okay, for Inspector Lewis it's because I like Hathaway, but still). I liked Numbers for a bit.
II like watching Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis. (Okay, for Inspector Lewis it's because I like Hathaway, but still). I liked Numbers for a bit.
I didn't like this book.
Sometimes I don't mind when you can figure out the solution by page 30. The Blood Doctor is somewhat like that but it is still a good read because of the characters.
Not interesting characters here.
And boy, did I mind.
And the book is like Numbers but after the first season and a half, you know when it got stupid (Honestly, Charlie has to tell the FBI, including a profiler, that they should negoiate!!) and then every single storyline Charlie is alway right and never, ever wrong because he's like God or something.
And math people wouldn't explain all that stuff to each other. Honestly, they really wouldn't. And I'm sorry, the guy becomes so smart about murder because he read crime novels? Novels mean fiction. He should be reading real accounts. I hope that was a translation issue. I hate Miss Marple (unless its Rutherford; she's just grand)....more
I almost didn't buy this book. I got my copy at the used book stall at the local Spring Fair. I was little torn about it. The phrase "New York Times BI almost didn't buy this book. I got my copy at the used book stall at the local Spring Fair. I was little torn about it. The phrase "New York Times Bestseller" usually means I won't like it (take, for instance, my reaction to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane). Then I read the back and looked at the inside cover. Anything that uses Arthur Rackham (Illustrator) pictures deserves a shot, and it was only two dollars.
I'm glad I give this book a chance because it is good.
The Forgotten Garden is very like Possession by A.S. Byatt. It isn't as multi-layered and Morton's prose isn't as good as Byatt's, but the book is a second, not a close second but a well placed one. If you enjoyed Possession, odds are you'll like this.
Like Byatt, Morton makes use of fairy tale themes, even relating some the stories within the narrative of the novel. Morton also makes good use of the The Secret Garden and gives Frances Hodgson Burnett a well placed cameo.
Morton's tale is told primarly though three viewpoint; those of Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra. It is a mystery that might appeal more to women than to men.
While the mystery that lies at the heart of the novel can be guessed at by the reader before the end, Morton seems to have intended this by making the reader privy to infromation that the knowledge seekers don't have. This unfolding is well done, usually at the end of a wrong conclusion made by the seekers, but not by the reader. It is what the seekers think happened followed by what really happened. Don't worry, some key questions aren't answered until the very end. But, this device seems to height the mystery instead of bringing to a too low point.
Morton does a good job of presenting concurring stories as well as making supporting characters real. Morton illstrates and captures the complexity of the relationships between mothers, daughters, cousin, lovers, and friends. The two stories balance each other, so while we are given a story where the women are in conflict, we are also given a story where the women support, help, and befriend each other. This is always a nice change from books and movies where if there is more than one female character they hate each and/or are in competition for the male lead.
While I said this book is more of a woman's book, it should be noted that while the women are the movers and shakers, the men are not displayed as the cartoon villians and abusers they usually are in women's stories (at least on Lifetime, where you have the abusive husband and then the guy who saves the girl. How is this the channel for women?). The back lacks insight from the prespective of the male characters in general (though there is some at the beginning). For instance, Nate Walker's thoughts on a certain event are never made clear. This does not harm the story, but it's inclusion would have changed the female focus on women's thoughts, emotions, and relationships.
All in all, The Forgotten Garden is a good second to Possession as well as a good read for those interested in mystery and fairy tales.
I started reading P. D. James a few years ago after I watched a television show on Agatha Christie. While I enjoyed the old Tommy and Tuppence series,I started reading P. D. James a few years ago after I watched a television show on Agatha Christie. While I enjoyed the old Tommy and Tuppence series, I never could get into the books. James give me a reason why, and so I picked up one of her books and liked it.
This book is not a mystery but is about mysteries. It is well written; in fact, it is warmly written. James traces the development of the genre in a quick but asute way. She covers Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conon-Doyle, Nagio Marsh, Christie, and others. While most of the book is centraled on British (by birth or choice) writers, James also explores Hammett Dashiel and Raymond Chandler.
There is a little about James' own choies when she writes, but she keeps the focus on other writers and is very good about avoiding spoilers....more
I feel like a complete heel. I won this book though a Goodreads giveaway. A two paragraph review in this weekend's New York Times Book Review liked thI feel like a complete heel. I won this book though a Goodreads giveaway. A two paragraph review in this weekend's New York Times Book Review liked this book. All the reviews here seem positive.
I couldn't finish it.
To be fair, I don't think it is Arsenault's fault. In fact, I would be willing to give her next book a try. I think it comes down to bad editing.
The premise behind the book is interesting. Two workers at a dictionary publishing house discover what appears to be a murder mystery buried in word citations. There is use of word play and literary clues. I can see why this got published. It is an attempt to get some of the market share that picked up The Thirteenth Tale or The Shadow of the Wind. The problem, and for me it was a huge, insurmountable problem, was the pacing and the repeatition.
The murder mystery first comes to light in what are called "cits", notes of quotes of how a word is used. Mona and Billy, the two central characters, notice that some cits refer to The Broken Teaglass and seem to give page numbers. Strangely this book doesn't seem to exist. The two want to figure out what the deal is, as it were. To do so, they find more cits from the Broken Teaglass and organize the cits in numerical order. This means the reader of Arsenault's own book is subjected to reading the same cit 1-3 times and then hearing the characters talk about for an additional 2-4 pages. It's true, I suppose, that attention spans are shorter today, but that short? It wouldn't be so bad if the reader was re-reading the cit after say 100 pages. But that's not the case.
The pacing itself is off. At times the book really, really drags. I skimmed the last 50 pages I read. The characters during these times are very flat. Just because I know about Billy's family, his love for jokes, and the fact he can cook, doesn't mean it makes him a character. In many ways, Billy's father who had shorter screen time seemed more of a person than his son, the central character of the book. This problem is also true of Mona.
The reason why I think this problem is due to a lack of editing and not Arsenault herself, is that there are beautiful passages in the book. Arsenault seems to shine when the characters actually, really, truly talk. There will be a few pages of absolutely wonderful conversation, and then BANG! the book drags. Billy and Mona become flat. It almost feels bipolar. Maybe its intentional to show a quarterlife crisis. If so, it's doesn't work. This problem is something a good editor should have caught and fixed.
So, sadly I didn't like this book. I will, however, give Arsenault's next book a try. The dialogue was really that good.