Cute and funny but a little too preachy about relying on God. The first in a series of ten books about Gabby the Intrepid Crime Scene Cleaner who is oCute and funny but a little too preachy about relying on God. The first in a series of ten books about Gabby the Intrepid Crime Scene Cleaner who is one semester shy of her forensic science degree. A bit romance, a bit mystery, and I figured out the killer before Gabby or the police did. The killer actually makes little sense. A bit too many unsatisfying explanations. ...more
A nice romance with a flawed but strong heroine and a flawed but kind-hearted hero. Slow paced and rather chaste. I loved the strong perfume/aroma farA nice romance with a flawed but strong heroine and a flawed but kind-hearted hero. Slow paced and rather chaste. I loved the strong perfume/aroma farmer theme that permeated the book. It was one of the reasons I kept reading. Libby is a grown woman in a small mid-1800's Massachusetts town. Though she is a gifted artist and drafter, her family treats her as dumb because she was never able to learn to read despite lots of tutoring. As she and her father fight for their house from the long-lost rightful heir, we see Libby develop into a stronger, prouder woman deserving of love. She is a beacon of kindness and compassion. The interloper, arrived from Romania, is Michael Dobrescu whose uncle left him the house 30 years before. Michael leaves Romania, where he was a rose and jasmine farmer and perfumer, to save his sister Mirabela and to start a new life in America with his sons, sister, and two loyal friends/servants. He challenges the legality of Libby's father owning the house, and during the lengthy legal battle Libby and Michael fall in love. The rest is a gentle but satisfying love story...just be prepared for it to move slowly....more
This book was a non-scary suspense story about a small German town where little girls start disappearing ...again. It is told from 9-10 year old Pia'sThis book was a non-scary suspense story about a small German town where little girls start disappearing ...again. It is told from 9-10 year old Pia's point of view over the period of year starting at Advent when her grandmother burns to death from a lethal combo of advent candles and hair spray. Pia is considered to be "contagious" by her classmates and only StinkStephan is willing to sit with her. Thus, begins a reluctant friendship. After Katherine Linden disappears, Pia and Stephan want to find her and the other missing girls. They wonder if Herr Düster is behind it. Over the year more girls disappear and the two "investigate". During this time, Pia and Stephan strike up a good friendshio with Herr Schisler who was a good friend of her grandmothers. He often entertains the two kids with ghostly stories about the local area including Brave Hans and the Burningman. I
The plot is a bit slow to unwind, but I enjoyed getting to know young Pia and seeing how she coped with being a pariah and a curious kid. The ending was also a bit slow to unfold, and I was left with many unanswered questions especially with why. However, Pia was left with these same questions, so it is true to HER story if not very satisfying....more
This is the second book of Ishigguro I have read. The story of a group of young people under 16 growing up at a boarding school at Hailsham with theirThis is the second book of Ishigguro I have read. The story of a group of young people under 16 growing up at a boarding school at Hailsham with their guardians-teachers in rural 1980's England is well-written and well-paced. The mystery of why these kids have no families or what the big secret is is very slow to unravel --as it should be. It is the heart of the mystery. The story is told by Kathy who is a carer reflecting back on her youth at Hailsham. She tells the story of herself, Ruth, and Tommy from their youth to their later days. By telling their tale, Kathy reveals slowly how they learned who they are. Once the big reveals happen, the book delves briefly into ethical issues, but it is only after you finish that you realize the whole book delves into it. We are left wondering was Miss Lucy right or were Miss Emily and Madame right? To reveal the ethical dilemma would be to give away the mystery. I can say that the characters of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are very well-developed and believable. I have known a few Ruths and a few Tommys. This would make a great book club book! Great for discussions....more
I received this book for free in exchange for a honest review.
The premise of this young adult novel is one where magic and place transcend the boundarI received this book for free in exchange for a honest review.
The premise of this young adult novel is one where magic and place transcend the boundaries of time. Witchwood Hollow, an area outside Arnn in Upstate New York, is known to be haunted and controlled by a witch. Anyone who enters its boundaries is lost forever. The story alternates between autumn 2001, the 1850's, and pre-Revolutionary War times. Honoria and her brother lost their parents in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Their aunt and uncle move them up to rural Aarn to get a fresh start. Here Honoria encounters fellow students who take her to Witchwood Hollow at midnight. Impressively, Honoria not only makes it far into Witchwood Hollow, but makes it out. She soon teams up with a neighbor boy to explore and learn more about the history of Witchwood Hollow. At the same time Honoria works through her deep grief.
This modern storyline is juxtaposed with the 1700's storyline of Lady Clifford, the witch, who runs away from her party after she poisons one of the wives. She creates her own magical world set eternally in autumn, but she is very lonesome. Over time, various people cross her boundaries and become her guests. This brings us to the third storyline of Albertine, who leaves England and her younger sister behind, to join her father in Arnn and marry a farmer. Albertine makes it to Arnn, but on her way to her father's farm gets lost in Witchwood Hollow.
As the story progresses, the three storylines become more and more intertwined, and we learn more about their fates. I found the plot very compelling and could not put the book down. The shift between the time periods was seamless. I very much wanted to know what would happen to each of the three women. I also found the modern day investigation of crumbling houses' foundations to be a nice way to hook the present to the past. This story is not really a love story or a coming-of-age story, but has elements of both. Mainly this is a sci-fantasy story of magic across time. To reveal more would be to spoil the plot.
As for the characters themselves, I found Albertine to be the most interesting with her hopes and dreams of a future in America. Honoria is a somewhat heart-breaking figure who showed glimpses of an ordinary teen girl swallowed by an unimaginable loss. However, I found her hard to relate to. Lady Clifford remained a one-dimensional character, but this fits since she is the legendary witch. I found some of the secondary characters far more interesting, like Honoria's love interest, her older brother, her aunt, and the author of the historical book on Witchwood Hollow. The other teen girls, the young boy lost in the woods, and the Civil War soldier, however, were more annoying than anything else.
The book is well-written with just the right amount of description, dialog, and action. However, if this book was meant to be scary, I did not pick up that vibe. There is a sense of suspense, and I was surprised multiple times, so the story is not very predictable. At the same time, there is foreshadowing of things to come that works well. The least satisfying part of the book was the ending. I was not expecting it, and also found it a bit of a let-down. Perhaps others will not feel that way.
Overall, I think this is an interesting, well-written, and exciting tale. I recommend it for readers who like witch fantasies, YA, and multiple story arcs....more
Supposedly a coming of age tale. I did not the characters. Not very relatable or developed. The plot was kind of thin too. I give it three stars becauSupposedly a coming of age tale. I did not the characters. Not very relatable or developed. The plot was kind of thin too. I give it three stars because I found the setting interesting and the theme of antiSemitism handled in a respectful way. ...more