I enjoyed this one. It's a far flung fantasy that takes place in one house that takes you days to travel from one hall to the other and along the way...moreI enjoyed this one. It's a far flung fantasy that takes place in one house that takes you days to travel from one hall to the other and along the way you discover kingdoms growing out of the rooms, halls, and terraces througout. In one section you could fnd yourself fighting changeling creatures that may resemble a love seat one second then a horrific alligator like creature that is trying to devour you, by the way you are fighting along side of talking tigers. You can travel to the edge of a vast sea that is both beautiful and deadly or talk to a dinosaur like creature living in the attic. It's a story of intrigue and deception but one that retains a sense of redemption and homecoming.
Now with that being said, I think I would have loved this book when I was 13/14 years old. I have to admit that I found myself getting lost at times, the large sections of traveling were so detailed and a little dry at times, that I found my attention wandering a bit and when something brought me back to the story I would realize I had no clue what had just happened so I would go back and reread a pharagraph or two.. This was the stuff I loved as a teenager, or maybe I just had the patience back then.
I do have to say that I enjoyed this book enough that I will have to pick up the sequel, The False House, which I didn't know about until I visited the author's website. (less)
Now I'm gong to have to admit that this is a reread, probably for the 10th or 11th time by now and I still love it every time I read it. I'm actually...moreNow I'm gong to have to admit that this is a reread, probably for the 10th or 11th time by now and I still love it every time I read it. I'm actually still waiting for the movie to come since Ben Affleck bought the movie rights to it years ago. So Ben if you are reading this, please get to making this movie.
Randy is a lot like a few friends of mine, other than they aren't rich and famous. He is a guy who is living his life and having to deal with an issue he never really took the time to look at before. Not until he started having odd feelings about his second baseman D.J. who also happens to be black. He is a guy who thought he had everything you could want in life, a happy if bland marriage, two kids, a successful career, and admiration from thousands of kids that wanted to grow up and be just like him. How little he knew of himself.
This is a book about discovery, about finding out who you really are and accepting it. It's told with a lot of humor and wit and will have most readers laughing at loud, and not always where you think the laughs would come from. Randy's conversations with the shrink he starts to go to because he can't understand why this is happening to him and the shy, awkward why he handles D.J. at first will have you smiling and remembering what it's like to be in his shoes. Who doesn't remember the first time they really, truly fell in love and how excited and scared it made you feel.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a good love story with a happy ending for everyone involved.(less)
It's been almost a year since I read and reviewed my very first Maisie Dobbs book, The Mapping of Love and Death. I remember it like it was only yeste...moreIt's been almost a year since I read and reviewed my very first Maisie Dobbs book, The Mapping of Love and Death. I remember it like it was only yesterday..... When I opened the package from the publisher I knew I was going to be in for a very special treat. At the time, and don't ask me why, I had no clue it was part of a series, let alone the 7th installment. When I was finished, all I knew was that I needed to read the rest of them. I needed to know how the story began. Thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours, I was given that opportunity this month. I am reviewing the first, second, eighth, and ninth books. I'm still need to get my hands on the rest of them to fill in the middle section but I figure this will give me a broad base of knowledge for now.
As soon as I got this year's package, with all four books, I dug in and found out for myself how it all began. Maisie makes her debut in her self titled book and I must say I was transported once more to a world of violence, murder, deception, and this overwhelming sense of peace I experience when I'm with her. It's a strange feeling to have when horrible things are happening to good people on the pages of a book, but there is something so calming about the character and the way the author writes, that I can't help but relax and enjoy myself more than normal.
I love this introduction to Maisie and where she came from. Her father, trying to give her a better life now that her mother was dead, asked around and found her a place for service. She doesn't want to do it, what 13 year old wants to leave home and work, but she does it for her father. She works hard and makes a place for herself within the household. Maisie has a inquisitive, sharp mind and has been sneaking into the library to read the books. When she is discovered, she fears she will be thrown out and sent back to her her father. Instead, she is given the opportunity of a lifetime to learn and grow at the feet of one of the most brilliant minds of the time. She develops quite a mind and is accepted into college. It's while in college though that her life changes.
Through a mutual friend she meets a young man, a doctor who is on his way to France to work on the front lines of the war. Maisie feels a deep sense of duty and it's not long before she enlists herself as a nurse. It's that war time experience that greatly shapes the rest of her life. Things don't quite work out the way Maisie hoped they would, instead it developed in the way she knew it would. She comes back home from the war a different person, one smarter and pained by her experiences.
Now normally I'm not a huge fan of flashback scenes, let alone a whole middle section of a book devoted to just that. When the book opens, Maisie is just opening her business and is investigating her first real case. A man is concerned his wife is cheating on him and wants to find out details. Through this investigation, Maisie uncovers a something far worse. A haven for the men who were horribly disfigured in the war may be in fact something far more sinister than that. Men have died with only their first names, and Maisie is bound and determined to find out what is really going on behind the walls of The Retreat. The stories she encounters is what triggers her flashback, and for me it worked. Devoting the entire middle section of the book to her past doesn't feels out of place or redundant in anyway. It serves as a bridge to understand where Maisie is coming from and where the final pages of the book will leave her. She grows and matures through the course of narrative and finally comes to terms with the horrific loss she has been running from since the wa(less)
At this point, after only 3 books, I don't think it's possible for me to get enough of Perry Mason. There is just something so sexy about a man who is...moreAt this point, after only 3 books, I don't think it's possible for me to get enough of Perry Mason. There is just something so sexy about a man who is willing to bend the rules a little (sometimes a lot) to serve the interests of his clients and prove them innocent of all wrongdoings. he is at his best in this one.
When his first attempt to pay off the gambling attempt and collect the IOUs goes horribly wrong, Perry knows that it's only a matter of time before he ends up in trouble. When on his second attempt he finds the holder of those IOUs dead and his clients granddaughter standing over the body, Perry knows he's in big trouble. He quickly takes control of the situation, gets her out of there, and arranges things as best he can to protect both the granddaughter and his client.
Unfortunately for Perry, the authorities take his misleading too mean one of two things. Either he committed the murder himself or he's covering for someone else. Perry is forced to go on the run and with the help of Della Street and Paul Drake, his secretary and private investigator, Perry is racing around the clock to find the real killer before he himself is nabbed by the police.
Perry has a lot of suspects to occupy his time and brain. Maybe it is the granddaughter, desperately trying to protect herself against the truth coming out. It could be her husband wanting those IOUs to prove in their divorce proceedings that she is unfit to handle money and their daughter's trust fund. Maybe is the deceased business partner who was getting tired of him and wanted the business for himself. There is still a chance it could be a rival crime boss wanting to move in on his gambling ship operation. It may even be the Perry's client, Matilda Benson, willing to do anything to protect her family. Whoever the killer is, Perry uses his brains and double talking ways to get to the truth and clear his name.
My only regret is that I can't find a video of an episode based of this book. It's rather sad actually because then we could have seen Raymond Burr takes his clothes off two different times. It's such as sad state of affairs, especially since Raymond Burr was so hot back then.(less)
Well here I am finishing up another book on my Agatha Christie self challenge and I must say that I'm still not sure what I'm really thinking about th...moreWell here I am finishing up another book on my Agatha Christie self challenge and I must say that I'm still not sure what I'm really thinking about this one. This is a collection of 12 short stories that she wrote over a long period of time that while they are mysteries, there is a very strong supernatural element to them.
They all feature Mr. Satterthwaite, a older gentleman who has lived his life through the observation of others. When he encounters Mr. Harly Quin for the first time, he knows he's met someone that will bring about the "dramas" he so craves.
Without an exemption Mr. Harly Quin arrives on the scene or in some other fashion and Mr. Satterthwaite through his own skills of observation is able to discern the truth of the crime involved. I thoroughly enjoyed all the stories and am most appreciative of the fact that Mr. Harly Quin is not quite human, which is obvious from almost the beginning.
Now whether he is a angel or some sort of spirit who speaks on behalf of the dead is left up to your own imagination. Either way he is an enigma of a character and I wish that Agatha Christie would have wrote more about him.
Now from a mystery standpoint I found the stories to be thrilling and captivating. Each one presents a new set of circumstances and challenges for Mr. Satterthwaite to figure out and come out on top of it.
I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to read really well crafted mystery writing with a tinge of the supernatural.
With Queen of Sorcery, the second book in The Belgariad series, the action is starting to heat up and we are starting to meet some of the world's move...moreWith Queen of Sorcery, the second book in The Belgariad series, the action is starting to heat up and we are starting to meet some of the world's movers and shakers. We meet Ran Borune XXIII, the Emperor of Tolnedra, and are joined on their quest by his daughter Ce'Nedra, who will play a huge part in Garion's life later on down the road. We also are introduced to Salmissra, the Queen of Nyssia. She decided to kidnap Garion in order to seduce him to her side, needless to say Polgara wasn't too happy about it and she changed Salmissra's life for forever after. I wouldn't count either one of these rulers to be the good guys, but they are not on the side of Torak either. They have their own agendas, most of which will not line up with our questers.
We also get to meet two new members of the quest, Mandorallen who is a Mimbrate knight running from a broken heart, and Lelldorin, a Asturian archer. Needless to say Mimbrates and Asturians aren't the fastest of friends, so there is a lot of tension between the two of them. Both of them are great characters, as are most of the questors. My only complaint about the members of the quest is that other than Durnik, they are all nobility. Every single one of them, including Garion (though he doesn't know it yet) have noble blood coursing through their veins. I would have liked to have more of them be a little more common, but since that's not the case, I can deal with it. I love them all, especially Silk and Hettar.
We do learn more about the individual members of the quest. Silk is a master spy, Hettar can talk to horses, Barak is some sort of werebear, and Ce'Nedra is part Dryad. Now I know some of you make be shaking your heads just about now, but this is fantasy. Questers have to be more than they appear to be. It's part of the rules.
Most importantly though, this is the book that Garion realizes that he is more than he ever though possible. He is in fact one of those who are destined to become a sorcerer, whether he likes it or not. And he really doesn't like it. When he is forced, through magic, to kill Chamdar, a Grolim High Priest, Garion rebels at what he's done. He feels betrayed and lied to his whole life, and doesn't want the power or the responsibility that comes with it. He doesn't want to be know as Belgarion, he wants to be the simple Garion. Little does he know he has more surprises in store for him. Including one that will really change the way he sees himself.(less)
Tommy and Tuppence have always reminded me of Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man movie series, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Both cou...moreTommy and Tuppence have always reminded me of Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man movie series, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Both couples have a wit and style that I find admirable and have a relationship that I am envious of. Now, Tommy and Tuppence are a little bit more restrained in their manner however which leads to a couple that I enjoy just as much as Nick and Nora but for different reasons. They play off each other brilliantly and make up for what the other lacks in such a seamless way that I'm not even sure they truly recognize how perfect they are together.
As you could tell from the synopsis, this is a collection of short stories that have two common threads running through them. In the first story they are approched by an old intelligence services pal and they are quickly roped into running a fake detective agency to ferret out a spy. For the most part the stories are well written and only one or two fail to make the grade for me. There were even a couple that I would have loved to have been fleshed out and turned into full novels.
The other thread was how they would "play act" at being famous literary detectives by trying to solve every case using the methods and sometimes madness of their fictional counterparts. It was a clever device and it kept a light tone to even the darker stories. With this collection of stories, Agatha Christie has once again proved to me why she is the biggest selling mystery author of all time.
This book was the 5th in my journey of Agatha Christie's books and by far the most enjoyable so far. I had read this book years ago, which was enough...moreThis book was the 5th in my journey of Agatha Christie's books and by far the most enjoyable so far. I had read this book years ago, which was enough time for me to forget how like able the main character is.
Anne Beddingfeld is the type of character you long for in a good mystery. She is fearless in action, quick on the uptake, and a hopeless romantic. She is the daughter of a famous anthropologist who specialized in studying the primitive man and when he passes away she is at an impasse in her life. All she knows is that she wants to have adventures and she feels the place to start is is London. When the opportunity presents itself to move there, she jumps on it without a moments hesitation. That willingness to "just go" is what drives this entire book.
From the streets of London where she witnesses an untimely death to South Africa where everything comes to a head, Anne's drive to be the thick of things is what makes her so lovable. This is a grand adventure filled with suspense, laughter, love, and even a likable villain. I'm not sure if we will see Anne Beddingfeld again but I sure hope so. (less)
Now after reading that synopsis you would think this is a book full of wonderfully fun characters set in a totally unfamiliar world to most readers, a...moreNow after reading that synopsis you would think this is a book full of wonderfully fun characters set in a totally unfamiliar world to most readers, and you would be half right. This is an unfamiliar world to most of us and because of that I find myself not really caring for the characters all that much. The men tend to be sexist and overly hung up on "class" and how people fit into categories that are neither flexible or forgiving. The women are either meek and seeking protection from the men or devious vixens bent on eliminating anything in their way. Now there is one exception to that last part and for that I'm honestly grateful to the writer. Ayako is actually a fearless "warrior" woman who teaches martial arts and sleeps with whoever she chooses to, but in the end she is still forced to play by the rules and marry a man that is acceptable class wise as opposed to who she might really want to be with.
Now this isn't the fault of the charcters, the time the story is set in is to blame. This was a time period where women had their place and class was so culturally ingrained that it's part of who they are. It's not fair to read a book, set in another time and place, and judge it by todays' standards equality and social justice. Of course it's always easy to say that, then to actually, on some level, not react to what you are reading using your own moral compass.
Now, after all that, if you think I didn't enjoy this book, then you are very much mistaken. Regardless of what I think of Akitada as a person, I found this to be a wonderfuly crafted mystery filled with missing gold and murder all around. The author has crafted a wonderfully intricate story with so many layers, you aren't really able to see how they work together until the story is over. Once the "solution" is sprung on you, you may just end up kicking yourself in the ass for not figuring out why the prologue was important or relevant to the rest of the story.
I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series, one of which I've already read, but will be reading again in order. Because of that unfair advantage I can tell you that Akitada does become more likeable as the books go on and as he matures. I would recomend this series to anyone who enjoyes a well crafted mystery set in a beautifully imagined world.
I read this a few years ago when it first came out but had almost forgotten what it was about when I saw it on sale at the Friends of the Library Book...moreI read this a few years ago when it first came out but had almost forgotten what it was about when I saw it on sale at the Friends of the Library Book Store. It was in great shape and only a $1 for a hardcover so I picked it up knowing that I would read it eventually. When it was picked for our Tuesday Book Talk on twitter, I was excited to rediscover what was within it's cover.
What I found was a richly fleshed out story that pulls you in despite it's slow going at times. Alice and Alais are both strong women who seem to take on the weight of the world when they are forced, one to discover the other to protect, a secret that could alter humanity for either good or bad. The secret of The Grail has been protected by men and women of all faiths and backgrounds in order to keep it out of the hands of those that would exploit it for their own power.
I found myself getting lost in the struggle and mesmerized by the locales both women found themselves in. Kate Mosse, in my opinion, captured the region and it's culture in ways that I found fascinating. The language alone that she uses both in it's antiquity and in it's beauty kept me entranced by the story, almost more than the plot itself. I found myself enraptured by the beauty of the story and never wanted it to end. Now how much of that description and language choices are accurate to the time period, I have no idea. Nor do I have a clue on the religious history of the region that she recounts in this book. I'm going to take it at face value though and assume that she is using real history to tell a exciting story that spans almost 800 years. Whether this book is partly based on historical facts or not, I really don't care. What I do care about is a story that despite it's flaws, and it does have some, I found myself caught up in it anyway. That's the most I can ask of any author, and this one delivered. (less)