Like its predecessor Clarity, Perception was a fun, quick and intriguing read. Clare was still as likable, and I love that she is quite the logical gi...moreLike its predecessor Clarity, Perception was a fun, quick and intriguing read. Clare was still as likable, and I love that she is quite the logical girl with just a touch of snark. She thinks things through and seem to be well aware of her own limitations. Same thing goes for her love interests : while she was having a hard time choosing one, I could relate to the emotions that had her hesitate. I’m grown tired of love triangles over the years, but this one kept things real enough that I actually enjoyed it.
The paranormal aspect of the novel was again very subtle – perhaps even more than in the first novel – leaving more place to the mystery and the characters. The fact that Clare has grown up with her power in the open, perceived as a freak, ironically makes her less of a freak show as a main character. She is such a regular girl, and her powers are almost useless in her situation. She also has a great relationship with her family, even though this, too, comes with a few difficulties.
While I enjoyed the read, I have to say I found the mystery’s solution a lot more obvious this time around. In Clarity, the suspects were numerous and I couldn’t settle on one single ending; I had a handful of suspects I imagined could be the culprit, and though one of them turned out to be guilty one, it was almost pure luck that had me guess it right. In Perception, I had a very strong hunch about one particular suspect. I still enjoyed the book, but it made the ending predictable.
I really liked that Clare had new friends – thought friends isn’t always the word you would use to describe them – and I particularly liked Mallory. She was a tad strange, but her personality felt compatible to Clare’s. She was a great addition and, if there is a third novel in the series (I am still a little unsure about this), I hope we get to see a lot more of her.
I believe fans of Clarity will be pleased with this second story with this sequel to Clarity. While the mystery part was a little disappointing to me, the characters still had a great chemistry, the romance had me guessing and the final scenes had plenty of action. I really hope we get to read more of Clare’s story in a near future!(less)
The book promises you one of the most inventive and entertaining novel of the genre. It was quite hyped when it came out, and I couldn’t go to the boo...moreThe book promises you one of the most inventive and entertaining novel of the genre. It was quite hyped when it came out, and I couldn’t go to the bookstore without facing full shelves of the hardcover copy. I love mysteries so I was quite anxious to read this one, hoping maybe this would be a series I could get on board before there are 18 books already published.
I did like the book. At 497 pages it’s not a quick read, but I did finish it in a short weekend. I was fully entertained, I will admit, and I was curious to discover who the murderer was. As a character, I didn’t exactly liked Gurney, but the mystery itself was enough to keep me reading. Even though the writing was sometimes heavy in clichés and a little unpolished, the great pacing and the pages full of action kept me interested.
So, it wasn’t a perfect read, but these are all little faults that can be easily forgiven when balanced with other strong points. However, one aspect really bothered me, and an important one : the ending. And this is going to be just a tad spoilery, so you might want to stop reading here but : (view spoiler)[ how come they never suspected the murderer? When he was right under their nose and I kept thinking “why are they not interviewing him more”? (hide spoiler)] It doesn’t make a surprising ending for me : it’s either stupid characters or lazy writing. One way or the other, for me, it made Think of a Number just an ordinary mystery, when it had all the ingredients to be a captivating read.
While it was a bit disappointing, I believe those who enjoy mysteries filled with actions and puzzling investigations could enjoy this one. As for myself, I’ll probably give the next book a chance.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
So, I absolutely adored this book in a manner that is almost impossible to explain.
I’ve always enjoyed mystery novels and thrillers. It’s something th...more So, I absolutely adored this book in a manner that is almost impossible to explain.
I’ve always enjoyed mystery novels and thrillers. It’s something that comes from watching a lot of those with my mom when I was a kid, or from seeing her read of lot of those, too. Over time though, my interest for this type of books has changed a little, and I’ve found myself looking more for action, intricate plots and complicate schemes rather than the simple whodunit that cozy mysteries often offer. I love when politics and money get thrown into the mix, when science is used to get proofs or when the motives are so dark and twisted that it’s impossible to guess who’s guilty.
Still Life doesn’t fit in this description. It’s a whodunit alright, although I found that there was more to the plot and to the characters than in most cozy I have had the chance to read. Inspector Gamache is determined to find the truth, and it takes him a good measure of human psychology to do so. He watches people and analyzes what he sees with talent. He’s also a likable character with a past that is still unclear, but that aspect doesn’t make him a dark and tortured man. In fact, he’s quite charming and I just loved the glimpse we had of the relationship he has with his wife. I’m certainly hoping we’ll see more of those two along the way.
Gamache isn’t the only one investigating the death of course, and the newest member of his team is Yvette Nichols, a young recruit who knows everything. And by that I mean, of course, that she knows nothing and is a bit of a pain you-know-where. What’s interesting about Nichols is her relationship with authority, or in this case with Gamache. Their dynamic was fun to watch, and I was glad that Gamache wasn’t being manipulated by her attitude.
I’ll only go quickly over the plot to say that it was good. I felt there was a bit of predictability about who did it, but the why and the how were more complicated than that. And so, the novel offers an ending with enough action and twists to keep things interesting.
But what really, really got to me was the setting. This book was like coming home for Christmas, and I don’t know how to explain this feeling since I’ve never exactly lived in a little village like this! Three Pines is located in the French province of Canada, Quebec, and though its inhabitants are mostly English-speaking, the setting was completely recognizable to me. Having grown here, I could see the forest Penny described, the architecture, the roads, the characters… it was all so true to the province I know that I felt absolutely comfortable there. Penny even touches, very lightly, the situation between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians in Quebec : this is one touchy subject here, but I thought the author did great job of describing it without advertising a political agenda of her own. Her love for the province is obvious, and so her novel is filled with its beauties and quirks. I loved that, and I think it’s obvious that my not-so-objective review had a lot to do with how fun it was to read a story taking place in a universe I really know.
I already have the next two novels on my TBR pile and I am itching to get to them!(less)
(somewhere between 4 and 4.5, but definitely more of a "5 stars" book than a "4 stars" one!)
In 2011 I experienced something that always gives me an un...more(somewhere between 4 and 4.5, but definitely more of a "5 stars" book than a "4 stars" one!)
In 2011 I experienced something that always gives me an uncontrollable eyeroll when I read about it in YA and romance novels : insta-love. Except that my insta-love wasn't for someone, but for a book : Still Life, the first novel in Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series, which charmed me with great characters and a setting that was incredibly familiar to me. I started collecting the books without reading them, afraid they would either disappoint me or be so good they wouldn't last me long. And so, it's a year and a half later that I finally pushed myself to read the second book.
While Dead Cold wasn't exactly as good as Still Life, it was fairly close. I love Armand Gamache's attitude: he has a secret and a past, but he doesn't act all broody and mysterious and tortured about it. He seems to have a wonderful relationship with his wife, which means he isn't eyeing in a sexual manner every woman that crosses his path - something I have seen too many times in detective stories. He's also quite good at deciphering people, which I always enjoy.
I was surprised, at first, not to hear anything about Yvette Nichols. Had they really gotten rid of her for good? Wouldn't she have her redemption story? And then, she was back. And she is one of these characters that I just don't get; I had no idea whether she was good or bad, playing everyone or trying to get forgiveness. She is complex, and the few last chapters certainly confirmed that.
Where the book revealed its flaws, in my opinion, was in the main story. I had a few guesses from the start on who the guilty one was, and my main guess was right on the money. I didn't feel too bright for it though; the clues were a bit too obvious, and the hints not as subtle as I would have liked them to be.
This being said, I still very much enjoyed the book. Once again, the cast of characters was numerous and original, and gave me that small village ambiance I do enjoy so much. It was fun to meet again people from the first book, but also to meet a few more. Some of them play a huge part in the story, and their secrets contributed greatly to the twists of it.
With its cozy atmosphere and complex intrigue, Dead Cold was almost exactly what I had hoped it would be! While I do wish the story had had a bit more punch, there is no doubt in my mind I will be reading the next books. And it's even better now that I have gotten my mother hooked on their French translation, too!(less)
From Seattle to Tokyo, Tokyo Heist takes you to beautiful Japan to solve the case of a missing Van Gogh. Art, squid chips, kimonos and a touch of roma...moreFrom Seattle to Tokyo, Tokyo Heist takes you to beautiful Japan to solve the case of a missing Van Gogh. Art, squid chips, kimonos and a touch of romance are on the menu for this colorful adventure, in this novel by debut author Diana Renn.
A missing painting in Tokyo? If that doesn’t sound like the makings of a fun YA mystery, I don’t know what does! And sure enough, Tokyo Heist took me on a journey that entertained me from beginning to end.
I’ll get the bad out of the way right away and say that the one thing I enjoyed less about the book was its predictability. I know, I’m repeating myself this week, but what can I say, I like being surprised! I can only half blame the author though; I’m not the target audience here, and my age certainly plays a big part in the fact that almost every twist in the book was guessed early on. What can I say; I read a lot, and the more you read, the easier it becomes to guess where the author wants to take you. So you can take my “negative observation” with a grain of salt here!
Apart from that, I loved the book. It was pleasant and fun, with just enough intrigue. I really enjoyed Violet’s descriptions of Kimono Girl and I am hanging on to the hopes that this manga will one day exist. The concept was fun, but I also liked how the author used it as a parallel for Violet’s investigation.
The mystery unveiled itself bit by bit instead of in a huge final revelation, which I enjoyed. Sure, Violet stumbled on information and clues a bit conveniently, but the plot still flew at a great pace and I was never bored. I liked discovering Tokyo and Kyoto with Violet, and I liked how the author mixed traditional elements of Japan into the mix. The characters surrounding Violet were varied and interesting, and the hints of romance were minimal (which was refreshing, to say the least!)
I also learned about squid chips, which I didn’t know was a thing, but apparently, yes! So now you know what is at the top of my list the next time we go to the Asian specialty shop. I promise a full report!
In the end, I really enjoyed this one. It was cute, and fun, and colorful. If you feel like reading a feel-good mystery and exiting your daily life for a foreign one, Tokyo Heist might the book you are looking for!(less)