The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan is an exquisitely written, multilayered book that simply was not my cup of tea. I truly enjoyed the prose, it is loveThe Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan is an exquisitely written, multilayered book that simply was not my cup of tea. I truly enjoyed the prose, it is lovely, however a world composed of the “landlockers” and the “damplings” sounded far more appealing to me in the synopsis. I have no doubt this book will be enjoyed by the masses and I will be in the minority, mainly because this book is so far outside the area of genres I enjoy. The book blurb mentions something about being in the tradition of Margaret Atwood, whose writings I enjoy immensely, however while I was reading The Gracekeepers, I kept thinking of another book which won many awards and I did not even bother to review, The Night Circus, a book so many enjoyed and I disliked so much I gave it away. My dislike for The Gracekeepers or for that matter The Night Circus, is not due to lack of development, atmosphere, or writing style, Logan’s prose truly is lovely, rather for me, it boils down to this is not a genre I enjoy, but I did try. I do truly believe The Gracekeepers is a book that will have a large following, so please check out other reviews, I do believe mine is and will remain in the minority....more
The Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg is a beautifully written historical fiction account of 19th century French author George San The Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg is a beautifully written historical fiction account of 19th century French author George Sand. George Sand lived a rather unconventional life, especially for the time and Berg captures that aspect of her life in great detail. George Sand, for those who are unaware, was the most famous female author of her time and her social circle was one to be admired. I found Berg’s account of Sand’s Parisian life, unconventional lifestyle, and her attitude to what a “typical” woman should be during the 19th century to be exceptionally portrayed in The Dream Lover. I would recommend The Dream Lover to those who enjoy historical fiction as well as to book discussion groups. ...more
Even readers who typically do not enjoy short stories, I highly recommend adding Music For Wartime by Rebecca Makkai to all reading lists. Makkai’s laEven readers who typically do not enjoy short stories, I highly recommend adding Music For Wartime by Rebecca Makkai to all reading lists. Makkai’s latest release is due out in June 2015 and she has crafted some intense, thought provoking, and unforgettable stories. Typically when I read a collection of short stories I except to dislike a few, however that was not the case with Music For Wartime. Makkai’s writing is deeply moving, passionate, intense, descriptive, and not one story contained fluff, rather each story is best read and fully digested before moving on to the next story in her collection. Not only is her writing superb, but Makkai’s stories transcend time and class, in one she has a reality show host bring two people together while the host’s life is in shambles, another occurs after the fall of the Berlin Wall, while another takes you inside the life of Bach, and so the stories go, changing from time, place, and circumstance, yet always thought provoking and intriguing. Music For Wartime is filled with wit, intelligence, as each story told could be a book of it’s very own. Music For Wartime is currently my favorite short story collection and I do not expect that to change for quite some time. I think even readers who do not think they care for short stories will find themselves entranced in Makkai’s stories and I highly recommend this astounding collection to book discussion groups as each story offers so much to discuss. I look forward to reading more of Rebecca Makkai’s works of literature....more
(3 stars because the writing is dark, atmospheric, and suspenseful).
I am notorious for going into books without knowing what they are about, I tend to(3 stars because the writing is dark, atmospheric, and suspenseful).
I am notorious for going into books without knowing what they are about, I tend to pick genres I enjoy and let the story unfold as the author intended, however it would have served me well to read the book synopsis of The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne. The second warning is should have been the blurb comparing this book to Girl on the Train (go directly to the store and buy a copy, it is a brilliant example of a psychological suspense thriller). The Ice Twins asks the reader, or at least this reader, to ignore key factors, such as knowing one’s children. I am a parent of identical twins, there was never a time I would not know which twin was which, and I could not suspend my belief to the point where the girls’ own mother did not know which twin died and which lived. Tremayne receives high marks for creating a creepy atmosphere, having Angus and Sarah Moorcroft along with the surviving twin (Kirstie or is it Lydia) move to an isolated island in Scotland, and then having Angus travel for work leaving Sarah with (Kirstie/Lydia) was an excellent choice as far psychological creep factors go, unfortunately, I never did get past how parents could not know which twin they buried. The story is a fairly straightforward one, told from alternating perspectives of Angus and Sarah, and one that would have been a delightfully twisted psychological thriller if I could have gotten past the mother not knowing her daughters. If one is able to suspend belief or has not raised identical twins, I think this book might work nicely for those who enjoy psychological suspense. For those who cannot suspend disbelief, read Girl of the Train, it is brilliant....more
Diamond Head by Cecily Wong is an exceptionally well-written family saga covering the Leong family spanning three generations and narrated by the womeDiamond Head by Cecily Wong is an exceptionally well-written family saga covering the Leong family spanning three generations and narrated by the women of the family. I thoroughly enjoyed this stunning debut and recommend it to those who enjoy rich family history and to book discussion groups....more
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a book I was expecting to devour in one sitting and rather found myself not enjoying the book, however it helpedIn a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a book I was expecting to devour in one sitting and rather found myself not enjoying the book, however it helped passed the time. Ware is a lovely writer and her story sounded as though it had such potential for a suspenseful psychological thriller and yet I just did not feel that as I read the story. On the upside it is a rather fast read, if one accepts the odd choices at face value and slogs on. Leonora a.k.a. Lee a.k.a. Nora, depending on whom is speaking to her is a recluse and a crime writer. Leonora prefers to not leave her home unless absolutely necessary, and yet decides to accept an invite from a friend she has not spoken to for over a decade to spend the weekend with Clare in a rather secluded house with along with Flo, Nora, Nina, and Tom. Even when Leonora makes her way to glass house in the woods she wonders why she accepted the Hen party invite, especially considering she was not invited to the actual wedding, and yet she goes. After much chatting or complaining, this is open to interpretation, I found the whole group rather annoying, forty-eight hour pass and Lenore (Lee? Nora?) wakes in a hospital bed only knowing that she is alive and someone is dead and she must tease out the answer. In my opinion In a Dark, Dark, Wood held the promise of a superb psychological thriller, however I never found the story line plausible, by the end of the book I think many fans of suspense thrillers will neither be surprised by the ending nor pleased by the ending. In a Dark, Dark Wood holds a lot of promise and simply because I did not get out of it what I had hoped does not mean others will not enjoy this book immensely, my best advise is to ignore the book synopsis and read other reviews before deciding if this is the book for you....more
Being of Czech decent, I was thrilled to be able to read Innocence; or Murder on Steep Street by Heda Margolius Kovály a powerfully written novel, whiBeing of Czech decent, I was thrilled to be able to read Innocence; or Murder on Steep Street by Heda Margolius Kovály a powerfully written novel, which nearly did not exist due to censorship. Kovály introduces the reader to the early days of Communist Czechoslovakia via life in Prague during the 1950s, a city filled with loyalist Party members, corruption, tyranny, and constant surveillance, for one could never know if a family member or a neighbor will turn them in, these are considered “small terrors”. Kovály adds in a “big terror” with the case of a young boy murdered in a cinema and as the investigation unfolds, the lives of the female ushers come under intense scrutiny, each of whom harbors a secret of her own. What one must remember throughout this fantastic book is that Kovály is portraying history, life under a Communist regime, one must remember this is during the Cold War and written shortly after the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état, which put the communists (KSČ) into complete power. If one goes into this book expecting a simple murder mystery, one will most likely be disappointed, as Kovály is providing the reader insight into what it was like for average citizens during this very oppressive time in history. Communism happens to be my area of expertise and Kovály does not disappoint, rather she managed to craft together an exceptional atmospheric work of historical fiction and I am very grateful the censors did not destroy this historical literary masterpiece. I would recommend Innocence; or Murder on Steep Street to readers who enjoy historical fiction....more