I read Emma & Me several years ago and thought it was an amazing story, so I was ready to like this book, but I really, really disliked it.
SamanthI read Emma & Me several years ago and thought it was an amazing story, so I was ready to like this book, but I really, really disliked it.
Samantha Friedman is locked in a loveless marriage with her extremely distracted husband. Looking to feel something Samantha begins a flirtation that leads to more. Her teenage daughter Cammy has been looking for happiness in all the wrong places; since learning she was adopted she has made friends with a questionable group, is taking drugs, drinking and having risky sexual encounters. Both women are desperately trying to escape their lives and eventually do, but in totally unexpected and shocking ways.
I have no problem with sad books, or books that deal with difficult subjects, but first and foremost I need to care about the characters. With the exception of Cammy there was nobody in this book I liked. Sam was so self-absorbed in her own search for happiness she does not see her daughter crying out for help over and over again. Bob the father is a one dimensional nobody that evoked no feelings in me at all. Craig, Sam’s possible boyfriend is a sneak and a liar. The only one I cared about was Cammy but her downward spiral became increasingly difficult to read.
Unrelenting in its bleakness this was not an enjoyable read, after turning the last page I was just glad to be done with this depressing story....more
False Mermaid is the third book in a series that began with Haunted Ground and continued through Lake of Sorrows. All three books foRating: 3.5/5*****
False Mermaid is the third book in a series that began with Haunted Ground and continued through Lake of Sorrows. All three books focus on Nora Gavin, an American pathologist who has been living in Ireland studying bog bodies, those bodies that have been trapped and preserved in the bog land of the country. In her work she has come to care for Cormac McCarthy, an archaeologist. An undercurrent in the first two books is the story of Nora’s sister Triona, who had been murdered several years earlier; a murder Nora is convinced was carried out by Triona’s husband. Realizing that she cannot move forward in her life Nora returns to America to try and find out the truth about her sister’s death. This search forms the basis for False Mermaid.
I very much liked both Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows, they were beautifully written and the mysteries in both books were very layered and interesting. Unfortunately False Mermaid did not equal the lyricism of the earlier books. The main problem is the book is set in Minnesota, which doesn’t allow for a lot of the atmosphere that the books set in Ireland were filled with and it doesn’t incorporate as much history and archaeological procedures that were incorporated into those books. It is probably therefore no surprise that for me the book doesn’t pick up until Nora returns to Ireland in the latter third of the book.
One of the other problems with this book were the overwhelming prevalence of coincidences; there were so many of them, from finding a book in a library that had not been moved in 5 years, to the appearance of a homeless person wearing a sweatshirt that once belonged to Triona’s husband and appears to be stained with blood (again 5 years later). There were enough of those moments to take me out of the story. There is also an old mystery that Cormac is intrigued by, concerning the fable of selkies, supposed half seal - half human beings. The constant seal sightings or stories about seals and the mysticism surrounding them overwhelmed the storyline and again seemed just too coincidental and too piled on.
I gave the book 3.5 stars because there were moments of very good story telling; just not as fine as her previous books. If she does return with a fourth book I hope she keeps it in Ireland and focuses more on the anthropological mysteries; Ms Hart does those much better than this run of the mill murder mystery. ...more
Deanna Raybourn is the author of one of my favorite series, The Lady Julia Grey books. Here she has written a standalone and put her spin on the legenDeanna Raybourn is the author of one of my favorite series, The Lady Julia Grey books. Here she has written a standalone and put her spin on the legend of the vampire.
Theodora Lestrange is a writer living in Scotland in 1858; she has recently refused an offer of marriage from her publisher and is facing the prospect of spinsterhood and living with her sister Anna and her large family. When an invitation comes from her childhood friend, Cosmina, to come to Transylvania to meet her betrothed Theodora sees it as both an escape and the needed inspiration for a novel she is hoping to write. When she arrives at the gloomy castle she finds herself drawn to Cosmina’s intended, the mysterious Count Andrei Dragulescu. When a servant is found dead, with a mysterious bite mark on her neck, Theodora becomes privy to the Dragulescu’s family secrets.
This is a classic Gothic mystery/romance. There is a crumbling castle, a brooding count, a young woman caught up in family intrigues, an assortment of odd servants, a creepy village where stories of werewolves and vampires abound. Are there vampires roaming the castle and village? Are those howls from the forest werewolves? Secrets, lies, betrayals and a forbidden romance add to a very moody atmosphere.
I enjoyed this book; it moved quickly and was a fun read. I liked the character of Theodora, although I question why she stayed in that castle once inexplicable events seem to be occurring. I didn’t care for the count; I didn’t get the attraction and the romance was a little ‘heaving bosoms’ style, but I imagine the author was staying within the Gothic romance style. The story could have been scarier, although there were some creepy moments and there were a few nice twists. Although the ending was too perfect I would recommend the book to those looking for an interesting Gothic mystery with traces of the paranormal. Be warned however that this is not a hardcore vampire book; it’s more of a romance/mystery. ...more
Without a doubt, this is among the best edge of your seat post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels I have read in quite some time – probably since The Stand Without a doubt, this is among the best edge of your seat post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels I have read in quite some time – probably since The Stand or Swan Song back in the seventies; comparisons to The Stand are inevitable, it has that same kind of characterization that King is so well known for.
Starting in our present world, a few years into the future, we are made privy to the story of a classified government project. In pursuit of creating the perfect military weapon, an invincible warrior, a scientist is experimenting on death row inmates who consent to the tests in return for a form of freedom. After infecting 12 subjects the scientist begins to believe he has perfected the virus and starts a search for the perfect person to test it on; the unsuspecting test subject is a six year old girl named Amy. When the virus literally goes viral it is the beginning of the end of the world.
The book then jumps into the future, where there is only a small pocket of survivors banded together in The Colony. They live in a world where there is no night, to protect them from the virals that are still out there, vampires of the most primitive desires - to kill and destroy; there aren’t any sparkly, angst ridden vampires here. When it becomes clear that the colony is running out of their power reserves, a small group sets out to see in there is any other life out there and more importantly any supplies to keep them alive.
I could not put this book down, it kept me up late at night for days on end. The most important aspect of the book for me was the believability factor; it felt like this was something that could actually happen. Although there were some bits of the mystical/supernatural most of the events felt real. The characters were those you become attached to, from Amy’s doomed mother, Wolgast the father figure, Amy herself, the colonists, and even the virals, who still of some tiny spark of memory left. The Passage is one of those books that you gulp down, reading as fast as you can and trying to slow down coming to the end, even as you can’t wait to find out what will happen next. This is the first book in a proposed trilogy and the next one is due for about two years, a long time to wait to find out how the world will survive. ...more
When Civil War breaks out in the Congo, anthropologist Jenny Lowe makes her way to a fellow scientist’s camp only to find that the rebels have already When Civil War breaks out in the Congo, anthropologist Jenny Lowe makes her way to a fellow scientist’s camp only to find that the rebels have already been there, leaving his 14 year old daughter, Lucy, the only survivor. Jenny brings Lucy home to Chicago until her relatives can be located. It becomes clear to Jenny that there is something very different about Lucy; when she reads the files of Dr. Stone, Jenny discovers that he had been doing experiments of a questionable nature and Lucy was a human hybrid, part bonobo chimpanzee and part human. Soon Lucy’s secret becomes known and her fight for acceptance has just begun.
I had a lot of hope for this book, assuming that it would address some moral and ethical issues. It does, but in a very superficial manner. The entire book is extremely simplistic, more suitable for YA fiction than a serious look at an extremely complex matter. It is fairly easy to read but it’s very black and white; good people are all good, accepting of Lucy without question. The bad people are all bad, decrying her as non-human and deserving of no rights, the evil government only wants to capture her and experiment on her. Coincidences abound and the story takes a turn into a semi-thriller, with Lucy on the run for her life. Many of the ethical issues that could have been addressed are glossed over and the ending was just too pat. The most successful parts of the book deal with Lucy learning to adapt to human culture but even though it had its sweet moments, other parts were just eye-rolling. And the ‘teen’ dialogue between Lucy and Amanda did not ring true at all, I have a teenage daughter and that is not how she speaks, nor do her friends.
Overall I found the book very disappointing; it seems it is being marketed as a Crichton like thriller but it is nowhere as well written and I found the science to be rather sketchy. So skip this book and read Jurassic Park, you’ll have used your time better. ...more