Really rather disappointing, especially in view of the price point. It's being marketed as an encyclopedia, but really it's more of a very long, overlReally rather disappointing, especially in view of the price point. It's being marketed as an encyclopedia, but really it's more of a very long, overly detailed (and occasionally inaccurate) glossary, with very little information that's not covered in the books themselves. I was skimming by the end....more
Rory Deveaux is a Louisiana teen who's going to boarding school in London for a year. Just as she arrives, there's a gruesome murder near her school,Rory Deveaux is a Louisiana teen who's going to boarding school in London for a year. Just as she arrives, there's a gruesome murder near her school, which is only the start of what appears to be a series of Jack the Ripper copycat killings. Out late one night, Rory sees a mysterious man who could be the killer...but her roommate can't see him. The answer to why only Rory can see him turns out to be only the tip of a chillingly dangerous iceberg.
I stayed up way too late finishing this the day I got it from the library, which is always a recommendation. In addition to being funny, which I expect from Maureen Johnson, it's tense and creepy, and the paranormal element is very well woven in. I'm kind of a sucker for boarding school stories anyway, and adding London and ghosts? I'm sold, and I can't wait for the next book. ...more
I really liked this and would love to have given it five stars, but Jones skims the surface in so many places. Maybe it's too nosy to want to know morI really liked this and would love to have given it five stars, but Jones skims the surface in so many places. Maybe it's too nosy to want to know more about her personal life, but the bits she does give make me curious. And I'd have loved many, many more stories about all the chefs and cookbook writers she knew and worked with: Julia Child, James Beard, Madhur Jaffrey, Lidia Bastianich, Marion Cunningham, Claudia Roden...a long and impressive list. The small tastes Jones gives of each person made me hungry for more....more
Laure Permon Junot was a longtime friend of the Bonaparte family; she eventually married one of Napoleon's closest friends, General Andoche Junot, andLaure Permon Junot was a longtime friend of the Bonaparte family; she eventually married one of Napoleon's closest friends, General Andoche Junot, and was intimate with the Napoleonic court. Years after Napoleon's defeat and death, the novelist Honoré de Balzac encouraged her to write her memoirs, when she was in desperate need of a source of income; happily for her, the memoirs were extremely successful, and for good reason.
At the Court of Napoleon: Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Abrantes reproduces only a fraction of the eighteen volumes she produced, but it's fascinating nonetheless, full of juicy gossip about Napoleon, Josephine, and Napoleon's family. One feels that Laure Junot would have been a wonderful companion at court; she was possessed of a scathing wit and didn't hesitate to level it at any available target. Here's a particularly good zinger, directed at Josephine: "Madame Bonaparte was an astonishing woman, and must have formerly been extremely pretty, for though now no longer in the first bloom of youth, her personal charms were still striking. Had she only possessed teeth, she would certainly have outvied nearly all the ladies of the consular court."
All is not sarcasm and wit, though; Laure often acknowledges good qualities in the people around her. Toothless or not, Josephine's charm shines through (particularly in comparison to Napoleon's second Empress, the bovine Marie Louise of Austria), and her daughter Hortense de Beauharnais comes off well enough to make me want to read more about her. I'd love to get a more complete edition of these memoirs, but in the meantime, even this relatively short version offers an instant trip back to the brilliant, scandalous court of Napoleonic France. ...more
Set in war-torn Coventry, England, during and just after WWII, this is the story of the Vine family, through the focus of Frank, the illegitimate sonSet in war-torn Coventry, England, during and just after WWII, this is the story of the Vine family, through the focus of Frank, the illegitimate son of unstable, fey Cassie, who has periods of depression and sees odd visions, and the grandson of sensible, strong Martha, who can talk to the dead. Because Cassie isn't competent to take care of Frank, he is passed around among his grandmother and several aunts, all quirky in different ways.
The Facts of Life is subtly fantastic, full of ghosts and visions, yet down-to-earth, funny, and tender. I especially liked the setting, as Joyce examines the intense bombing Coventry received during the war and how it affected the lives of its inhabitants....more
A Sudden Wild Magic was, I believe, Diana Wynne Jones's first formal foray into adult fantasy (though of course many of her young adult and children'sA Sudden Wild Magic was, I believe, Diana Wynne Jones's first formal foray into adult fantasy (though of course many of her young adult and children's fantasy appeals to adults as well). This is my third or fourth reread of it, and although I enjoy it, I still don't think it works as well as most of her other books.
The story takes place in two universes: our own, and the universes of the Pentarchy, whose mages are creating environmental havoc on Earth in order to learn from Earth's mages' responses to the crises. When the Earth mages learn this, they send a group of their own to the Pentarchy to stop their operations.
There are plenty of laughs and lots of interesting characters, but there's a multiplicity of plotlines and of viewpoints which doesn't quite work for me; the ultimate villain isn't even onstage for the majority of the book, and it makes the ending feel a little unconnected to the rest of the book. If you want to try some DWJ targeted towards adults, I'd recommend Deep Secret over A Sudden Wild Magic. ...more