If you're looking for a quick read, this is it. Only 148 pages with clean, concise writing.
"A Cup of Tea" is a novel set at the beginning of WWI in NeIf you're looking for a quick read, this is it. Only 148 pages with clean, concise writing.
"A Cup of Tea" is a novel set at the beginning of WWI in New York City where social classes and stigmas are firmly in place. An innocent attempt to help someone in need leads to an affair of the heart and ultimately tragedy.
While it's an interesting story, I didn't care for the writing style. It was too concise, too impersonal. And there were point of view issues throughout the entire novella. I had a hard time when phrases like "the day in question" were used to talk about the present day and what was occurring. To me, that phrase is used with mysteries and in reference to a time in the past. So when I encountered it, (it is used several times during the story)I was always thrown out of the current thread and wondering what I missed.
There was little emotion in the writing and when the tragedy occurs, my thoughts were, "Oh well...kinda saw that coming."
The story ends rather abruptly without much detail and rather unsatisfactorily. I think this could have been so much more....more
I actually finished this book a few days ago. I decided to wait a few days before reviewing because I had mixed feelings about the book.
This is one ofI actually finished this book a few days ago. I decided to wait a few days before reviewing because I had mixed feelings about the book.
This is one of those occasions when I wish that Goodreads had half-star ratings. (Would give it a 2.5 rating) While I liked this book, overall I felt that it lacked something. I couldn't put my finger on it, but having sat on it for a few days, I think I can express what it was.
"The Children of Darkness" is a dystopian novel of a country that rebelled against the darkness caused by technology and regressed back to a society with little if any modern conveniences and where the economy seemed to run on a barter system. The ruling government cares for it's people by providing a strict set of laws to live by according to "The Light." When compliance is met, each community is given medicine to help them overcome illness and disease. Anyone caught with "radical" ideas was taken for a "teaching" where they learn the evils of the old society and how darkness came to rule.(a bit hunger-gamish but without the violence) The overall outcome of these teachings was fear - instilled so deeply that the person who was "taught" is never again quite the same.
The three main characters, Orah, Nathaniel, and Thomas, go against the ruling vicars and on an adventure to discover secrets of the past society.
I have to commend Litwack on the construction of the new society. He did a good job of creating a believable world that has essentially gone backwards 150 years from what we know today. His characters were well defined, with hopes and aspirations that not only make them strong, but played into their weaknesses as well. There is a bit of a love story between Orah and Nathaniel. And Thomas makes for a very complex character being the only one of the three who has experienced a "teaching."
The writing was good. Litwack has an easy, descriptive style which worked well.
What didn't work for me in this story was that what started out as a YA novel within a few chapters started to feel like middle-grade. I don't know if the author was trying to keep the content clean or if perhaps it really was meant to be middle-grade. But after a sprinkling of something "dark," the rest of the content hinted at danger, adventure, and trouble, but never quite delivered. It was as if all emotion was tempered to the point of non-existence. I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did. The one moment when I thought, "Finally...we're going to get some real drama!" actually deteriorated into another non-event when the corrupt government official went soft on the protagonists. What could have been high drama felt more like a newspaper reporting than a suspense novel.
Will I go on to read the rest of the series? Probably not. Litwack failed to engage me enough with the characters to make me want to invest in another novel.
Just a so-so read, but a good one to introduce middle-grade readers to the dystopian market.
"A Thousand Acres" is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's "King Lear." And although adapted well, the story just didn't quite hold the same drama or c"A Thousand Acres" is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's "King Lear." And although adapted well, the story just didn't quite hold the same drama or compelling characters of a Shakespeare work.
In fact, there wasn't one character in this story of three daughters and their father in rural 1970 Iowa that I really cared about. That being the case, I didn't care who got the farm or even bit the farm! I found the ending anti-climatic and felt like I was pushing myself just to get to the end.
I did gain a greater appreciation for family farmers and the challenges they face in trying to keep their farms profitable. Next time I drive through the Midwest, I will be looking for the buildings and farm houses that were described in the book. The ability to describe the area and give the reader a sense of time and place was a certain strength of the writing.
This was my first book by author, Jane Smiley, and it will most likely be my last. While her writing style was good, the story just wasn't executed well enough to make me take another stab at her work....more
"Between Husbands and Friends" is cliche women's fiction. Two best girlfriends who share hopes and dreams, secrets, family and ofMy rating 2.5 stars.
"Between Husbands and Friends" is cliche women's fiction. Two best girlfriends who share hopes and dreams, secrets, family and of course one has a big secret that could destroy the entire friendship. Nothing in this book surprised me. I will admit to a tear in the middle as one of our 'friends' deals with a tragedy, but other than that....I yawned.
Even though the story is told in first person, I had a hard time really liking Lucy (one of the dynamic duo) and liked her friend Kate even less. Both seemed caught in the trappings of their New England life, all the expectations of living in their small town, and not too concerned with the emotional health and well-being of their families. I have a hard time relating to women who think nothing of a one night stand--as if it's just something women need to do in order to be happy. Of course, when their infidelity is revealed (which it must be in a cliche women's fiction) lives fall apart (as they should) and families are destroyed.
I did find the book's treatment and explanation of Cystic Fibrosis interesting. I actually know someone who suffers from the disease and was pleased to read more about it. And I also appreciated that actions did have consequences. The poor choices made by both Kate and Lucy didn't pass without some repercussions, even if it was years later.
Thayer does have some lovely writing skills. There were a few paragraphs that discussed the idyllic dreams of women when expecting a baby. And although I didn't have those same dreams when I was expecting my own children, I could certainly relate to the sentiment. That type of writing makes me feel a camaraderie with the author and women everywhere.
The ending was hopeful, but not overly sweet. I always like that.
Overall, just a so-so read. This was my first Nancy Thayer book, and sorry to say, not one that would make me look for another of her titles....more
Yes, you are seeing correctly. I have given a book a 5 star rating. I finished this book yesterday and just keep thinking about it and thinking aboutYes, you are seeing correctly. I have given a book a 5 star rating. I finished this book yesterday and just keep thinking about it and thinking about it. To say I LOVE this book is an understatement. Starting from page 2 (I was confused by the prologue which I went back and read twice before the end of the book. It made more sense every time I read it.) I was drawn into the story, drawn to the characters, and could not put it down. I woke in the middle of the night thinking...I gotta read more!
"The Orphans of Race Point" covers about 25 years of history in the lives of the main characters, Hallet and Gustavo (Hallie and Gus.) Starting with an event that draws them together as 9 year old children, and leading them through romance, tragedy, faith, imprisonment, forgiveness, and ultimately a true and honest ending - although not the one I would have chosen.
If I had any complaints about this story it would be the use of some Portuguese that I didn't quite understand. But it wasn't too much to deter me from the story. Most of the words, (I didn't know exactly what some of the food referred to was,) I could figure out the meaning by context. And as for the food - the reader may not know what it is, but you will be convinced it's delicious.
All the characters, main and secondary, are well defined with no one being all black or white. Each one has their strengths and their flaws. Each one acts according to the awareness of those qualities. There were moments when I wanted to reach into the books and literally shake Gus....how could he be so naive. But that was part of who he was, and as a reader I had to accept that this would be his behavior given what he had experienced in his life and what he promised to do because of those experiences. Secondary characters still haunt me - one in particular (not saying who because I hate even hints of spoilers.) But I have thought and thought about the motivations of this character and how they must have reacted to other events in the story and I'm left feeling almost sick. There is nothing graphic - it's just speculation about this character.) We hear from several different points of view within the story. At first I wasn't sure I liked an abrupt change in POV about 3/4 through the book. But I understand why Frances chose to go that route and ended up really liking the character. (I guess she becomes a third main character - name is Mila.)
The plot line is a roller coaster. I cheered. I cried. I wrung my hands. I cheered again. I applaud the idea that a person's search for faith can be treated with a realistic and matter-of-fact approach. I applaud that subjects like domestic abuse can be addressed in a similar manner. Nothing was glorified, and characters were not vilified because of their weaknesses or glorified because of their goodness. Consequences of behavior drive this story and no one is exempt.
There is some offensive language in the book, but it was so in character and not at all gratuitous that I had no trouble with it. There are also scenes of intimacy, but very much of the fade to black sort.
I highly, highly recommend this book. It is well written, well conceived, and will leave you thinking long after you are done. Well done, Patry Frances!...more
Not nearly as entertaining as the first book in this series.
I still liked the characters, both old and new. Still thought the premise of an author traNot nearly as entertaining as the first book in this series.
I still liked the characters, both old and new. Still thought the premise of an author traveling into the world he created in his novels intriguing. But this time the magic had worn off and the second book seemed like just a lot more of the first.
There was an unnecessary sex scene, and the offensive language was gratuitous. I had a hard time believing that the characters from the world that the author created were so well versed in using the f-bomb. It was quite distracting.
Not sure I will move on to book 3. Definitely taking a break and moving on to other books.
What a fun book this was. To me, the whole premise was so unique. Evensong is about Jeff, an author who writes fantasy novelsAnother 3.5 star rating!
What a fun book this was. To me, the whole premise was so unique. Evensong is about Jeff, an author who writes fantasy novels. He wakes us one day in the world he has created with all the characters he's created...and they are not happy with him. He also discovers that things are happening in this world that he has no clue about. Being an author myself, I occasionally have thoughts about what it would be like to "Be" in the story I'm creating, so this book really sparked my imagination.
I have read some fantasy, and while I enjoy it, it's not my favorite genre. But Krista Walsh did such a nice job in blending the fantasy world with a contemporary character that I didn't want the story to end! (Good thing it's a trilogy)
While the characters are not complex, they are likable. I especially appreciated the strong women characters that, although they were intelligent and (a few) warriors, they were still women, prone to the same emotions that we all experience.
There were a few unexpected plot twists which I appreciated. I did find the way "The Sisters" (three women with extreme magical powers) spoke a little annoying. I think listening to their speech would be easier than reading it.
Overall a fun, fun read. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy....more
This is my third of the Company of Rogues series that I have read. I'm picking these up for $.99 on Bookbub.com. (If you haven't checked out that siteThis is my third of the Company of Rogues series that I have read. I'm picking these up for $.99 on Bookbub.com. (If you haven't checked out that site, and you have an ereader, it's well worth looking into for free or inexpensive books....Okay, enough of that free advertising.) And of the 3 I have read, this was probably my favorite.
Forbidden follows the romance of Serena, the former Lady Riverton (she's widowed) and Francis, Lord Middlethorpe. Their relationship is filled with similar misunderstandings, but instant love like the other stories in this series. But there was something sweet and a bit redemptive about this story. Serena's deceased husband had been abusive, and it was interesting to watch Serena blossom as she realized that she was no longer a prisoner to her husband, but a free-thinking, intelligent woman.
There was the usual adventures of the Rogues (I find them all delightful) and the usual bedroom activities. But somehow even though they are a bit formulaic, in this series they work. I think it's because Beverley has created such likable characters and amusing circumstances that create the conflict of the books.
I'm still trying to figure out what I missed. "The Law of Moses" has thousands of 5 star reviews and I am wondering if I read the same book as everyonI'm still trying to figure out what I missed. "The Law of Moses" has thousands of 5 star reviews and I am wondering if I read the same book as everyone else.
Don't get me wrong...I liked it. I just didn't love it. I was expecting a big emotional ride and all I got was meh. While I didn't have some of the issues that other reviewers had (like biblical references...come on...the book is titled, "The Law of Moses." Why would biblical references surprise you?) there was definitely something missing for me.
Let me start with what I didn't like first. 1. There was just too much similarity between this book and Harmon's book, "Running Barefoot." The racially mixed young man who doesn't fit in falls in love with the well-liked perky blonde girl. He isn't worthy...she's devastated when he leaves...too close. I was hoping for a completely different, mind-blowing ending to make the similarities superfluous. Didn't happen. Even the ending (with it's twists and turns) still had the feeling of the ending of "Running Barefoot."
2. Too much inner dialog, especially at the beginning of the book. And the strange thing about all that inner dialog - it didn't make the main characters any more likable or knowable. Georgia (our 17 year old heroine when the story starts) seems like an immature teenage girl. What's original about that? As an adult - she's milquetoast. I'm not sure I have encountered as vanilla a character as she turned out to be. Moses (18 year old crack baby hero) just seemed crazy. His inner dialog came off as pretty superficial, not nearly revealing what must have been tumultuous thinking, except about his uncontrollable visions - and the hot chick he wished would leave him alone...because he couldn't love. Why not? Seemed like he loved his great-grandmother...did that not count?(I have more to say about Moses...because of all the characters in the book, he was my favorite.) And with all that inner dialog I didn't feel like any relationship was developed. In fact...I have to agree with others that the "romance" between Georgia and Moses was a stretch. Other than Moses was the "bad boy" and Georgia was curious, I saw no reason for them to spend any time together. And it only took a few encounters before they were kissing and then some. (I will say that the sex scenes were very tasteful and discreet - the way I wish they were in all novels.)
3. Although I didn't have an issue with the genre-bending, as some have called it, I did have an issue with the plot twists that took this book from romance to a discussion of the after life to a whodunit. With the exception of the whodunit element, each plot format was executed with varying levels of success, but it was hard to pull them all together. When the mystery element appeared (which any astute reader was looking for and wondering why more wasn't being said) it was too little too late.
What I did like:
1. I loved the ideas about the after life and those who have passed on reaching out to their loved ones left behind. Especially through art.
2. I liked learning more about equine therapy (although that did slow down the story at times.) I know people who use equine therapy and swear to its effectiveness.
3. I liked Moses, especially in the beginning. Yes, he was troubled. Yes, he was cruel to Georgia. But his history of being abandoned as a child and then passed from one relative to another until landing at his great-grandmothers creates sympathy for a troubled character. The struggles he wrestled with were fascinating and I wished they had been discussed more deeply. Were they because he was a crack baby? Or would he have had the same gifts given a different start in life? Of all the characters, he had the most depth. He was the one worthy of the most attention. Unfortunately, he lost some of that charm by the end. His sudden decision about what he wanted near the end was too abrupt or not well fleshed out. I was left thinking...what? what happened? why is he suddenly at this point? But it was Moses that kept me engaged in the book.
4. And while I thought the book was too much like "Running Barefoot," I did appreciate the shout out to the characters from the previous book. Since the setting was the same, it made sense - although it has been long enough since I read "Running Barefoot," that I probably wouldn't have made the connection if the author hadn't pointed it out. That was probably a catch twenty-two for Harmon, because recent readers would want to know why the RB characters were not included. She handled the issue well.
Overall, it was okay. I thought the ending a bit sentimental - the author's attempt to tug tug tug on the heartstrings. For me, it wasn't a tug as much as a tickle. Maybe I was looking for a tragedy. I think Amy Harmon could pull one off if she were so inclined. But sweet tends to be her way...give the always happy ending. And her fans like that. So...if you love Amy Harmon...you'll love "The Law of Moses." While I am a fan of Harmon...this one didn't quite deliver. ...more
This was an engaging story about a young woman (Maria) working in Buckingham Palace in at the turn of the century (20th that is) as a seamst3.5 stars!
This was an engaging story about a young woman (Maria) working in Buckingham Palace in at the turn of the century (20th that is) as a seamstress. She is seduced by the young Prince of Wales, ends up pregnant, and is "dealt" with by being committed to an asylum where the baby is born and the mother is told it died. While working in the palace, Maria begins a quilt that charts the events of her life, from her romance with the prince to her baby to the people she associated with at the asylum. Many years later, the mystery of the quilt causes another young woman, Caroline, to search for its origin and meaning.
The forgotten seamstress is told by two narrators - Maria and Caroline. At first I wasn't sure I liked this format for the story although I have in other books. To me, Maria's POV felt like a lot of telling when I wanted to be part of her story. That seemed to work itself out by the time her story was over and in the end, the two POVs worked quite well.
Well written. Engaging characters. Interesting plot. PG rated. Overall "The Forgotten Seamstress" was a fun read. If you like historical fiction mixed with modern life (Somewhat on the order of "The Forgotten Garden") this would be a book for you!...more