Very enjoyable story. I liked that it was written through 7 (I think?) different perspectives to give the reader the whole view. Not sure how to word...moreVery enjoyable story. I liked that it was written through 7 (I think?) different perspectives to give the reader the whole view. Not sure how to word this but... I did feel that it was a little too upbeat and positive, meaning that I don't think it's exactly true to life. I suppose that because it is written for middle school aged children that it had to be that way but I just felt that everything wrapped up a little too neatly (view spoiler)[(especially the fact that Julian remained the only "bad guy") (hide spoiler)]. I am glad that 5th graders at our middle school now read this in class because it is an excellent description of tolerance, kindness and friendship.(less)
Wavering between 3 and 4 stars – giving it 4 because it really was very interesting to me and I wanted to pick it up every night to find out what happ...moreWavering between 3 and 4 stars – giving it 4 because it really was very interesting to me and I wanted to pick it up every night to find out what happened.
Spanning 90 years, this book touches on different moral issues present over the decades. I found it very liked seeing these issues through Cora’s eyes. When the novel sets out, Cora is 36 years old and extremely judgmental. She sees things in black and white but she finds herself at a cross-roads in New York City (as chaperone to Louise Brooks, before she becomes a star) and we see Cora’s opinions starting to change. I thought that the book would be about Cora and Louise equally but it focuses mostly on Cora with Louise’s story basically running as a sideline through the whole book – and this was fine with me because Louise was not a very likable character (and I understand there were many reasons that she was the way she was, but I still just couldn't feel bad for her). Perhaps a little dramatic but I really enjoyed it. (less)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set in dual time frames (1916 France in the middle of WWI and modern day London), it is the story of 2 women who exper...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set in dual time frames (1916 France in the middle of WWI and modern day London), it is the story of 2 women who experience love, loss, hardship and societal censure but remain determined to triumph. As with most novels with dual story lines, one story is generally better than the other and that is true here as well. The story of Sophie and what she has to go through while her town (and the hotel that she and her sister run) is overrun by the Germans is fascinating. Her husband, Edourd LeFevre, is off at the war and her main goal is to be reunited with him. A painting that he did of her, The Girl You Left Behind, becomes her touchstone in remaining focused. Sophie’s story dominates the first 1/3 of the book and they move to the second story line leaving you at a major cliff hanger. I was bummed to leave Sophie and have to wait to find out what happened. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I was almost as caught up in Liv’s story of trying to retain her home, built by her dead architect husband, and her beloved painting The Girl You Left Behind. (I will say here that that was one of my criticisms of Moyes' book The Last Letter from Your Lover; the modern day story was nowhere near as strong as this one). The characters were all engaging and I found myself caring what happened to them, even to the point of getting a little teary at times. The novel was far from perfect; there were more than a few coincidences, they never really explain who the LeFevre brothers are who are representing their family and trying to get the painting back, and it does get a little overly dramatic at the end. But all in all, I really really liked this book.(less)
I'd actually probably give this a 2.5 but the book did pick up a bit at the end so I rounded up. I have to say, I'm very underwhelmed knowing this was...moreI'd actually probably give this a 2.5 but the book did pick up a bit at the end so I rounded up. I have to say, I'm very underwhelmed knowing this was written by J.K. Rowling. I suppose she shouldn't be judged by the brilliance of the Harry Potter books, but I think she always will be (although I did like The Casual Vacancy). In true Rowling style, the characters were fabulous and extremely well developed and she was very descriptive in writing the settings and situations. But the plot just didn't do it for me and I felt like there were holes in it; I also didn't like that no clues at all were dropped along the way so that the reader could try and solve it themselves (although I am terrible at figuring out mysteries! In this one, I actually had considered who it ended up being but necessarily for the reasons that came out.) And finally, I'm assuming this is meant to be the first book in a series because it just felt undone to me (i.e. Strike/Charlotte, Robin/Matthew -- hints are dropped about relationships but never really followed up on). Overall, it was fine but I've read better mysteries.(less)
Trying to decide between 3 and 4 stars. This is a suspense/thriller that is written in reverse. You start at chapter 36 and read backwards to chapter...moreTrying to decide between 3 and 4 stars. This is a suspense/thriller that is written in reverse. You start at chapter 36 and read backwards to chapter 1. I really thought I was going to like this; I generally tend to like books with some sort of "gimmick" to them but I actually found it kind of ruined the flow of the book because I was constantly having to flip back to previously read chapters to figure things out and remember what I read. That said, I think it was actually a pretty good mystery novel. The characters were very interesting, if not well developed (but by the end of the book you realize there is a reason for this). At first I thought I hated the ending (the beginning?!) but in thinking about it, it's something I *never* would have guessed so I now kind of like it. After you are finished reading, make sure you go back and look at the photos Deaver used at the beginning of each chapter and check out their titles (table of contents is in the back of the book) -- it really helps in understanding what happened in each chapter. Do not do it before finishing the book!(less)
I can see that I’m supposed to love this book based on my friends’ ratings and the overall user rating but I just did not. Wow, what a slow and tediou...moreI can see that I’m supposed to love this book based on my friends’ ratings and the overall user rating but I just did not. Wow, what a slow and tedious read it was! That is not to say that the story was bad or that the characters weren’t wonderfully developed, but just that in the long run, I had a hard time picking it up every night and maintaining my interest. I couldn’t put a finger on a good description of how I felt this novel read until I read another review which described it as very mono-tonal -- and that is exactly how I felt; until the last 100 pages I felt strangely non-emotional about this story. In a 534 page book, that is far too long to have to wait to have some real emotion invested into it. Which leads me to the fact… 534 pages?! Way, way too much description of inconsequential characters and settings. It’s hard to give it only 3 stars because the story was good and all of the medical parts were very interesting. I especially enjoyed the dynamics between Shiva and Marion (including how they interacted and were perceived by those around them) so I guess it just goes back to the length of the book; if it hadn’t been so long, would it have held my interest better and the author’s monotony not have bothered me as much? (less)
Wow, I really liked this book! It is the story of Max Walker, the Golden Boy, who is an athlete, a compliant, loving son, a wonderful brother, a best...moreWow, I really liked this book! It is the story of Max Walker, the Golden Boy, who is an athlete, a compliant, loving son, a wonderful brother, a best friend, a gorgeous boy who the girls love, and who just happens to be an intersex teenager. After Max is sexually assaulted his life (and really that of his whole family) is turned upside down. He must now think about where he fits into society and where his life may go.
This book was thought provoking, well written and highly emotional. It deals not only with Max’s gender issues but also with family dynamics and the pressure that teenagers can put on themselves. The story is told from 6 different points of view which I found propelled the book along quickly. Just a warning… there is a very disturbing scene in the second chapter of the book, but once you get through that, it’s all good. The only flaws I found were that I felt that Max was a bit too mature for his age; he was 16 but it felt like he should have been much older. As well, I didn’t feel like his 10 year old brother Daniel’s character was consistent; I wasn’t sure if maybe he was supposed to be on the autism spectrum but at times he was very baby-ish and then later in the book he was far too mature for his age. But overall, a great coming of age novel with a twist. (less)
So I really want to give this book 4 stars because so many of my Goodreads friends have LOVED it but I just can't; I would give it 3.5 stars if I coul...moreSo I really want to give this book 4 stars because so many of my Goodreads friends have LOVED it but I just can't; I would give it 3.5 stars if I could. My main problem with the story is that it took far too long to get going. I think I was about 1/2 way through before it really took off and grabbed my interest. I loved the 2 main characters, Pasquale and Dee, but found many of the other characters to just be distracting. The writing was very well done and the end of the novel ties up everything that the author was trying to say very nicely. I generally like books that move back and forth in time but this one felt very disjointed because there were so many different time frames and character perspectives. I would still recommend this book to others but I just wish the whole book were as well done and engrossing as the ending.(less)
I think giving this 3 stars may be a little generous but I'm doing so because it did keep me interested.
I think this book had a ton of potential but i...moreI think giving this 3 stars may be a little generous but I'm doing so because it did keep me interested.
I think this book had a ton of potential but it was way underdeveloped. The concept of humans from different time periods being sucked into this alternative world populated by monsters and non-humans and having to band together against evil was intriguing; I'll go so far as to say the first chapter or two made me think of something by Stephen King (but much lighter). Unfortunately it never really went anywhere. The book was not long so I think that she could have done the story some justice by elaborating and making it longer. She never really gives us much back story on the characters which I found disappointing. I didn't even really understand what made the bad guy so bad. I found myself feeling like I was reading YA fiction and, lo and behold, I found out through other reviews here that she is a YA writer and this is one of her 2 adult books. It wasn't a bad read, just kind of brain candy.(less)
An enjoyable enough read but I think it could have been better. Chapters alternate between the present where Lina, a 24 year old lawyer gets put on a...moreAn enjoyable enough read but I think it could have been better. Chapters alternate between the present where Lina, a 24 year old lawyer gets put on a big case seeking reparations for slavery; and 1852 where Josephine, a house slave, tries to escape her situation. The stories are pulled together by works of art that Josephine is the author of but that her "missus" LuAnne Bell gets the credit for. Lina is not a strong character, I just didn't find her very believable; while Josephine is a great character full of insight. I liked the premise of the art world being set on it's ear by arguments that these famous works of art were really done by a slave but I thought there were far too many coincidences and that the climax (when the full story of what happened in 1852 came out) was a little weak.(less)
Even though I'm rating this 4 stars I think it's been a bit over-hyped (so I think I'd really give it 3.5 stars). I loved the format of the first 2/3...moreEven though I'm rating this 4 stars I think it's been a bit over-hyped (so I think I'd really give it 3.5 stars). I loved the format of the first 2/3 of the book with the story being told through emails/articles/police reports/etc. -- it was an intriguing way for the story to be laid out. The writing is very witty and even though Bernadette sometimes grated on my nerves, I loved her irreverence and disdain for the suburbanite mothers of her daughter's private school. The unpredictability and plot twists are a good selling point even if many of them required suspension of disbelief because they were so improbable (how many times did they mention that cruises to Antarctica are booked years in advance, yet Elgie and Bee just happen to get the last cabin on one just days before it leaves?!) My main problem with it was that I was conflicted over whether I was supposed to like these characters or not. It's hard to point out specifics without giving things away but Elgie seemed like a great guy at first, but then became not so great. The book jacket talks about "a daughter's unflinching love for her imperfect mother" but I never got the sense of a huge connection between Bee and Bernadette. And Bernadette herself, at times she seemed crazy and completely out of touch with reality but then in the next instance she was brilliant. Yet overall it was fun and a highly enjoyable read.(less)
Entertaining quick mystery/thriller. Brigid Quinn is a 59 year old ex-FBI agent who was forced out of the agency under questionable terms. She is now...moreEntertaining quick mystery/thriller. Brigid Quinn is a 59 year old ex-FBI agent who was forced out of the agency under questionable terms. She is now married for the first time in her life to a retired professor/ex-priest who knows pretty close to nothing about her past (which I found annoying because it's so improbable). She left 1 case unsolved over her career and that case suddenly comes back to the forefront and she jumps in with both feet. I did not care for Brigid at all. Despite the fact that she can kill a man single-handedly while incapacitated, she is extremely insecure and acts more like a rookie FBI agent than someone who was undercover for half of her career. In spite of that, I did like the thriller part of the story and thought that it was pretty well done. (less)
So I think I'd actually give this a 2.5 stars but I rounded up instead of down because it did hold my interest and kept me reading to find out what ha...moreSo I think I'd actually give this a 2.5 stars but I rounded up instead of down because it did hold my interest and kept me reading to find out what happened. This was definitely better than The Virgin Suicides and definitely not as good as Middlesex. A few of my issues with it: 1) it took too long to get me interested in the story; too much of the first portion dealt with semiotics (which I had no idea what that even was until I looked it up. I still don't completely know and I was an English major!) -- it was far too cerebral. 2) I really didn't care for Madeleine. She was so wishy-washy. Poor little rich girl who was determined to save her mentally ill boyfriend. 3) The way it just jumped all over (time-wise) in the story; seeing certain scenes from one character at one time, then seeing the same scene later through a different character. Or when you'd be in a scene and then the narrator would just go back to another setting before coming back to the present scene (I know, this probably doesn't make sense unless you've read it) and 4) The whole thing was just kind of pretentious. Things I liked: 1) Overall I like his writing and the tone of it. 2) I think he handled the characters of Leonard and Mitchell very well. Leonard's battle with manic-depression rang very true to me and Mitchell's quest for religious understanding was very interesting. 3) That it wasn't predictable and wrapped up in a way that was satisfying. (less)
So torn on what to rate this… Second book in a row that deserves a 2.5 rating but this one I’m going to round down to 2 stars to balance out some of t...moreSo torn on what to rate this… Second book in a row that deserves a 2.5 rating but this one I’m going to round down to 2 stars to balance out some of those 4 and 5 star ratings that are gushing and making this out to be fabulous writing and incredibly suspenseful. It’s basically fluff but it moved along very quickly and did have a couple twists that I wasn’t expecting that kept it interesting. I liked that it was told from the perspective of 4 very different women (strangely, the author chose to write Allison and Brynn in the first person but Charm and Claire in the third) in alternating chapters. I didn’t really feel that any of the characters were especially well developed and not enough was written about their back stories to make me sympathetic to their plights (with the possible exception of Charm). And the thing that I can’t believe none of the reviewers have mentioned -- the one HUGE unbelievable plot twist that really almost ruined the book completely for me (but because the story was moving along so quickly and I did want to find out the ultimate conclusion I just swept it aside and tried not to dwell on it.) (view spoiler)[ Allison being pregnant with twins and no one realizing it is possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. She was a 17 year old athlete, I don't care how many sweatshirts and sweatpants she wears, there is no way to cover up being pregnant with twins (one baby, feasible; twins, no freakin' way!) (hide spoiler)] So if you are looking for an easy beach read that is sort-of a mystery/thriller, this is a pretty easy read. (less)