This is a thriller of the made-for-TV movie variety. Newcomers to a small town, a plethora of strange and crazy residents with secrets dripping out ofThis is a thriller of the made-for-TV movie variety. Newcomers to a small town, a plethora of strange and crazy residents with secrets dripping out of the woodwork, a malevolent stalker or two. Creepy is a prerequisite, and in that way, the book delivers. However, there was a bit too much going on for it to really come together nicely—it's easy to lose track of which local nut-job did what and thus too many viable suspects. That was a little bit over the top, but it did make for some entertaining farce. If you're looking for an easy beach read, go for it. ...more
As with all the previous Flavia de Luce mysteries, this book has our intrepid heroine out to solve the latest murder in Bishop's Lacey. Yet unlike theAs with all the previous Flavia de Luce mysteries, this book has our intrepid heroine out to solve the latest murder in Bishop's Lacey. Yet unlike the other books, this one ends with a cliffhanger. And it's a good one.
With an uncanny knack for finding corpses, Flavia is once again on the case, and working with/around the local police. And while she investigates, major changes are happening at Buckshaw; the house is now up for sale, Feely is getting married, and Colonel de Luce has withdrawn even more than usual after an upsetting phone call. Flavia has to deal with all of that while searching for the culprit and learning some unexpected information about her mother.
These books are just so much fun. Charming cozy mysteries with a delightfully spunky heroine. Whether laying a trap for Father Christmas or solving aThese books are just so much fun. Charming cozy mysteries with a delightfully spunky heroine. Whether laying a trap for Father Christmas or solving a murder, Flavia is an ingenious eleven-year-old firecracker who never disappoints. ...more
I love these books. Flavia cracks me up with her sassy detectives skills, and there's no shortage of wacky characters in the small village of Bishop'sI love these books. Flavia cracks me up with her sassy detectives skills, and there's no shortage of wacky characters in the small village of Bishop's Lacey to keep her busy. A villain who smells of fish, an injured gypsy whose carnival trick hits too close to home, a thief and forger wandering through secrets tunnels, and an almost forgotten painting that reveals more to Flavia about where she comes from than any of her sisters' stories. So much fun. ...more
Some puppets are creepier than others. And the puppets that arrive in Bishop's Lacey bring with them some painful memories of a dead child. They bringSome puppets are creepier than others. And the puppets that arrive in Bishop's Lacey bring with them some painful memories of a dead child. They bring secrets and death, and, of course, another chance for Flavia de Luce to exercise her detective skills. Precocious doesn't even begin to cover it. ...more
The premise seemed intriguing, but the more I read, the more I thought it wasn't holding together quite as well as it should have. The setting, plot,The premise seemed intriguing, but the more I read, the more I thought it wasn't holding together quite as well as it should have. The setting, plot, and even some of the charactesr, are remarkably similar to those found in The Secret Life of Bees, which I thought a better book overall....more
Okay, three down, two to go (and then two more whenever they're written). It seemed as though much more happened in this book than in the previous oneOkay, three down, two to go (and then two more whenever they're written). It seemed as though much more happened in this book than in the previous one, and there some interesting twists. I found myself eager to keep reading so I could find out what happened next. I liked the discoveries. Finding things out means progress in the plot. Chapters focusing the narrative on different characters also shed new light on things (though my opinions of characters didn't change significantly). Of course, new perspectives are are needed since people keep getting bumped off.
Yet I felt as though things were dragged out as well. It's always one step forward, two steps back. Seriously, how many times did Arya escape, head for Riverrun, and then get recaptured by someone? That gets tiresome. That and the fact that betrayal is the rule rather than the exception. As I said in my last review, things lose their significance through overuse.
I think I might take a break and read some other things before coming back for book four....more
Well, I was warned that this book wasn't the best of the series...
First, it felt very uneven to me as it switched from character to character. SometiWell, I was warned that this book wasn't the best of the series...
First, it felt very uneven to me as it switched from character to character. Sometimes there's a stretch of characters recounting the same event from different perspectives. Sometimes a character switch just takes a startling jump in the narrative that really breaks whatever rhythm there was going (every time I felt like I was finally getting into the story, it would change and then I'd be bored and annoyed). And sometimes the central character of a section is just not someone I could bring myself to care about. (I must confess, I forgot who one of them was several times. That onion guy.)
Second, this book is a study in the banality of the sadistic. Every other page it's rape, incest, murder, blah, blah, blah. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with violence as long as it has a point and serves the story. In this book, however, it becomes so ubiquitous that there is nothing particularly interesting about it. Boring. Oh, and some of these characters are just too stupid to live. It's ridiculous. Seriously. A guy attacks and takes over a castle where he was raised as a ward, and he's surprised that everyone there now hates him. Oy.
I'm not saying there isn't a worthy story in there somewhere. And while I haven't been impressed thus far with the writing itself, there must be something I like about it, because I just started reading the third one. Whether it's because I feel some kind of peer pressure to be a part of the Game of Thrones zeitgeist or because I just like knowing what happens at the end of things, I'm not sure, but I'm keeping at it....more
Munchausen's is a disorder in which someone fakes or induces symptoms of disease in order to get attention and care as a patient. Munchausen by ProxyMunchausen's is a disorder in which someone fakes or induces symptoms of disease in order to get attention and care as a patient. Munchausen by Proxy is a disorder in which someone fakes or induces symptoms of disease in someone else for that same attention. Julie Gregory has a mother with Munchausen by Proxy and was unlucky enough to have been the proxy.
Constant doctor's appointments, medications, hospitalizations, and ever more invasive procedures characterized Julie's childhood. When a doctor would find nothing wrong with her, it was off to another doctor she'd go, dragged by her angry, adamant mother.
Gregory tells her story without embellishment—there's no need to embellish it. It's horrifying, harrowing, and surreal. It's amazing that what happened to her was possible and even more amazing that she was able to get out of that life of abuse. Sickened is a memoir of purpose and perseverance, told with honesty and understanding. Gregory shows remarkable strength and resilience as she becomes healthy, and as a reader you can only hope that she stays well and keeps up the fight to save other children in her situation....more
I'm of two minds about this book. On the one hand, there are some entertaining elements: mythical creatures, bloody battles, political intrigue. On thI'm of two minds about this book. On the one hand, there are some entertaining elements: mythical creatures, bloody battles, political intrigue. On the other hand, it's A Game of Thrones is not terribly well written: formulaic cliffhangers, predictable plot points, underdeveloped characters. So while I did enjoy it, I was also frustrated by it and a bit disappointed (as I'd heard such good things about it before picking it up).
The book focuses on a core group of characters, and author George R. R. (are those initials some kind of homage to Tolkien?) Martin uses a close third-person narrative style that shifts from one character to another in each chapter. This both works and doesn't. Most of the characters come from the Stark family, Lord Eddard, his wife Catelyn, and their children, noble lords of the north. One comes from a dethroned princess, Daenerys Targaryen, living in exile as best she can. Another comes from a sharp-tongued dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, born into a family whose purpose in life seems only to be the ambition for power. And, of course, the Starks, Targaryens, and Lannisters are not exactly the best of friends.
These central characters are fairly well developed, as their hopes, fears, and motivations are made clear to the reader. They each have trials, tribulations, sympathetic moments, and those moments that cause the reader to think, "Good lord, how much of an idiot can you be? You're too stupid to live."
However, lesser characters are often one-dimensional. An overprotective mother whose obsession with her son is so unhealthy that she's lost her grip on reality; a selfish ass of a knight who throws little boys out of windows and slaughters people at will, laughing all the while; and scheming men of the court who'll betray you as soon as look at you, for no apparent reason. These characters are incredibly predictable and become tiresome fairly quickly.
The plot is a one of intrigue as the machinations between the noble houses and families drag their kingdoms into war while the approaching winter promises a cold of an intensity and duration that not only freezes and frightens but brings monsters. It's one sticky situation after the next. And that can be a lot of fun to follow. Except when it gets predictable again. So rather than continue on and one here, I'll just say that it was a fun read, and I might go ahead and read the next books in the series, but it's not anything that I'd go out of my way to find either.
I heartily enjoyed myself reading this book. Flavia de Luce is a charming girl detective--reminiscent of a young Miss Marple--whose intellect and spunI heartily enjoyed myself reading this book. Flavia de Luce is a charming girl detective--reminiscent of a young Miss Marple--whose intellect and spunky attitude get her into and out of some serious trouble. A budding chemist with keen observational skills, Flavia takes it upon herself to solve a murder that takes place in the family garden. Who was the dead man? Why was he arguing with her father? And who else had a motive to kill him?
Alan Bradley has written an adorable, feisty heroine with a good mystery to solve. Can't ask for more than that....more
The thing about Sarah Addison Allen books is that they're refreshing, in an effervescent escapism way. They're light reads, quick and fun, with quirkyThe thing about Sarah Addison Allen books is that they're refreshing, in an effervescent escapism way. They're light reads, quick and fun, with quirky bits of magical realism thrown in. That's what makes them so enjoyable.
The Peach Keeper is no exception to this. However, I think that's why I didn't enjoy it as much as the others. It felt a bit formulaic this time. The push-pull romance of people who knew each other years before and are only now becoming reacquainted, the secrets long-buried (literally) coming to light, and the change in a few characters affecting the small town where everyone's been set in their ways for ages.
It's still a fun read, and if you've been reading heavier literature this is a nice way to cleanse the palate with something easy and light. ...more
The Sugar Queen is a confection of a book. Food plays a vital role in heroine Josey's life, but it's more than that. There's a sweetness and warmth inThe Sugar Queen is a confection of a book. Food plays a vital role in heroine Josey's life, but it's more than that. There's a sweetness and warmth in the tone. Josey's world is isolated and routine as she lives under the thumb of her domineering mother, hiding romance novels and junk food in her closet. But when she finds Della Lee in her closet, a woman she barely knows but who has decided opinions and advice for Josey, things start to change. She makes friends with local waitress Chloe, gains confidence, and finds love with Adam, the man she's been in love with for years.
As with Garden Spells, there is magic here. The color red has a special power for Josey, Chloe has a special relationship with books that seems to appear whenever she needs them, and Della Lee's presence may be the most supernatural of all. It's a joyous read, light and easy, with a happy ending that is just what you'd expect. It's the kind of book you read when you need a break from more serious prose, a delightful reprieve from heavier works. ...more
There's just something so refreshing about Sarah Addison Allen's books. They're whimsical and light—in the case of The Girl Who Chased the Moon, lightThere's just something so refreshing about Sarah Addison Allen's books. They're whimsical and light—in the case of The Girl Who Chased the Moon, light actually has a great deal to do with the story. When Emily Benedict goes to live with her grandfather in Mullaby after her mother's death, she doesn't expect to find a giant living in a house with wallpaper that changes itself to match your mood, a place where people can see smells and glow in the moonlight. And she certainly didn't expect to find that her mother was perhaps the most vilified person in town.
There's a lot to learn and understand about Mullaby and the people who live there. Julia Winterson bakes cakes even on the hottest days. The Coffeys never go out at night. And Vance Shelby checks the dryer constantly even though there's never any laundry in it. It's a quirky fairy tale that shimmers, a quick and entertaining read that brings a warm glow with it....more
A little romance, a pinch of chick lit, and a dash of magical realism, and you have Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells. Two sisters, long estranged,A little romance, a pinch of chick lit, and a dash of magical realism, and you have Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells. Two sisters, long estranged, find each other again when Sydney show's up on Claire's doorstep, five-year-old daughter, Bay, in tow.
Claire hasn't changed. She's been living in the same house where they grew up with their grandmother, with the same apple tree (which just happens to tell the future with each bite) in the same garden (of edible flowers that just happen to be magic). Sydney, on the other hand, has changed a great deal. She's moved all over the country and has secrets that aren't easy to talk about, only returning to the place she fled years ago because she has nowhere else to go.
The plot's not terribly original, with romantic subplots, small town rivalries, ghosts of the past, and clichés to be found in abundance. However, there is a sweetness to the book. It's a light and easy read that has an enchanting quality. It's a charming book that weaves in its supernatural touches quite naturally and without ceremony.