It's nearly 2:00 am and I should be asleep, but this book has kept me awake and giggling. I'm so very glad this little charmer was brought back into p...moreIt's nearly 2:00 am and I should be asleep, but this book has kept me awake and giggling. I'm so very glad this little charmer was brought back into print. When you're looking for a charming, funny story, pick up "Miss Buncle's Book" and enjoy!(less)
What a compelling and utterly absorbing story. Harold's walk and his encounters with the world he's been so disconnected from as well as Maureen's red...moreWhat a compelling and utterly absorbing story. Harold's walk and his encounters with the world he's been so disconnected from as well as Maureen's rediscovery of the world around her -- just a fantastic story. You'll cheer, you'll cry and you'll end with a new resolve to live in the moment, appreciating the little things that are good and shine brighter because of the dark.(less)
This is a fun, absorbing read. The scenes are brilliantly described; Ms. Morgenstern's language is so evocative that you really do feel as if you are...moreThis is a fun, absorbing read. The scenes are brilliantly described; Ms. Morgenstern's language is so evocative that you really do feel as if you are standing in the scene, watching it unfold. It's a fascinating alternative reality; magic exists, it can be immensely powerful, yet most people don't notice it happening around them at all.
I enjoyed the various characters, especially Celia and Marco, but even the smaller characters have interesting characteristics that make them unique individuals. I sometimes found myself wishing that the plot and character interactions would dive just a little bit deeper, bring more of the motivations to the surface: more about Celia and Marco's love affair, more about the enigmatic man in grey. Yet I didn't leave this book feeling like it was all a pretty picture with nothing behind it -- I suppose it's fair enough to say I enjoyed my visit enough to wish it could have lasted longer.(less)
Ransom Riggs spins a dark fairy tale in this book, where a modern sixteen year old boy who spends his life struggling with the impossible stories told...moreRansom Riggs spins a dark fairy tale in this book, where a modern sixteen year old boy who spends his life struggling with the impossible stories told by his Polish grandfather. When tragedy strikes, he has to figure out what the truth is and when the truth is, because his life depends on it.
A fun read; Riggs includes fascinating vintage photographs. The photographs deserve more than just bylines at the end of the book; where did these images come from? What is the story behind pictures like this? Peculiar children in a normal world; what happens when that's document with photography?
I love the premise of this book, but it didn't get five stars because it needs more. More depth, more story, more everything. It's a little too short and quick. On the other hand, there's lots of space for imagination to develop in the spaces left open.(less)
The collection of modern fairy tales (including some reinterpretations of classic fairy tales) is uneven. Some of the stories are fantastic, while oth...moreThe collection of modern fairy tales (including some reinterpretations of classic fairy tales) is uneven. Some of the stories are fantastic, while others feel like something dashed off to give to the editor just cause. There are some pretty stellar names in here, and generally those stories are among the best: John Updike and Neil Gaiman notably. Overall, however, I'd put this on a list of books better borrowed than owned, and read with a healthy ability to skip a story that doesn't grab you within the first few paragraphs -- because if it hasn't grabbed you by then, it will probably only get worse.(less)
Overall I enjoyed the story, but felt the narrator dragged the book's pace down occasionally with too much information and description. The tourists w...moreOverall I enjoyed the story, but felt the narrator dragged the book's pace down occasionally with too much information and description. The tourists were well fleshed out, with interesting stories and interactions, believable and often frustrating. (I found one character in particular to be a complete jerk, but he was quite realistic.)
It also pointed out to me that I have little understanding of Asian art and culture, as there were numerous places where I didn't understand an artistic reference. Perhaps that was intentional; the narrator showing off, if you will. But I felt that I was missing out on something that Ms. Tan assumed I would understand. The other books of Ms. Tan's that I've read I've liked more than this effort, and will likely try The Joy Luck Club next.(less)
I enjoyed this story immensely. Three sisters, Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia,daughters of an obsessed Shakespeare professor, grew up in a small colleg...moreI enjoyed this story immensely. Three sisters, Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia,daughters of an obsessed Shakespeare professor, grew up in a small college town in Ohio, only an hour from Columbus. Each followed her own trajectory out of high school; one graduated college, became a mathematics professor and stayed near home; one graduated college and left for the bright lights of the big city; and one didn't graduate at all but instead spent the next several years drifting around the country. They all come home for different reasons, but around the same time, when their mother is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
One of the literary devices Brown uses is the royal we: pieces of history are narrated by the sisters together, as a single voice. I loved this point of view, as I felt it was an effective way of introducing the different perspectives the three sisters have on different events, and sharing the commonality of experience within those perspectives.
I found myself connecting to different aspects of all three sisters, and liked watching them figure out how to confront their own demons, how to change and grow up into who they were supposed to be. I was relieved she didn't follow the easy romantic path for one of the characters, but had her actually learn something before she could find a new romantic interest.
I checked this out of the library; I'm not sure I'd purchase it, but it's definitely worth a look.(less)
I had the good fortune to win this in a Goodreads giveaway. I'd read Garden Spells last summer, and was looking forward to reading another book by All...moreI had the good fortune to win this in a Goodreads giveaway. I'd read Garden Spells last summer, and was looking forward to reading another book by Allen.
In The Peach Keeper, we meet Willa Jackson, who has struggled to build a life for herself in Walls of Water, NC, and has succeeded, at least outwardly. But the restoration of her grandmother's childhood home is stirring the pot in more ways than one. Paxton Osgood is at a turning point in her life as well, trying to find her voice at home with an opinionated mother who still lives life vicariously through her daughter. Willa and Paxton have more in common than growing up together in the same small town: their grandmothers were best friends, and as the summer progresses, the depth of that friendship becomes clear.
The primary strength of the novel is the portrayal of women's friendships. Both Willa and Paxton want and need true friendship, which has proved elusive. But friendship, once it finds you, will never let you go: it's yours for life. It's an enjoyable read, a fast moving novel whose characters are sympathetic and easy to like, even when they prove to be a little blind about what's right in front of their eyes. I also enjoyed the magical realism elements in the novel, although these were more muted than they were in Garden Spells. Scent is a powerful connection to our emotions, and the scents were used to great effect throughout the story. I also found the inclusion of Claire Waverly, the protagonist from Garden Spells to be an amusing touch.
On the downside, I found the novel to be a little to easily resolved, the ends tucking in just a little too neatly. I wanted more of the story of the grandmothers, Agatha and Georgie, and think the book might have been stronger if it had been structured with flashbacks to their story told as it happened, rather than in past tense. The conclusions could be a little obvious for my taste; I felt I knew where the story was going before I was thirty pages into the book. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story about friendship and love with a touch of ghosts mixed in.(less)
To say this is a sweeping novel does it honor and a disservice. It is sweeping, following a generation from the late Victorian era to the trenches of...moreTo say this is a sweeping novel does it honor and a disservice. It is sweeping, following a generation from the late Victorian era to the trenches of WWI, yet it is also particular and intimate in a way that many "sweeping" novels aren't. There is an intensity of information and setting that is occasionally overwhelming, and the ending seemed a little rushed, as if trying to tie up far too many loose ends while keeping the novel under a certain page count, yet it heartbreakingly shows the ideals lost as a generation arrived (or didn't arrive, for many) in 1919.
I will need to reread this book -- there was so much going on it it that I feel sure I've missed much. If you like books like The Pillars of the Earth or The Forsythe Saga, give this a try.(less)
As she did with "Forgotten Garden", Kate Morton wrote a story that pulled me in and didn't let me go until the last page, when the story was finished...moreAs she did with "Forgotten Garden", Kate Morton wrote a story that pulled me in and didn't let me go until the last page, when the story was finished and all the loose ends wrapped up. Well, most of them. The stories of the Blythe sisters and their lives in the Mildenhurst Castle is dramatic, Gothic, and captivating. This was a wonderful way to while away some of the last hours of the year.(less)