Crow Lake is a bittersweet story of love, loss, expectations and redemption that had me hooked from the opening line.
The Morrison family is devastatedCrow Lake is a bittersweet story of love, loss, expectations and redemption that had me hooked from the opening line.
The Morrison family is devastated by an unexpected loss. Sacrifices are made by some, decisions by others that have unforeseen consequences for all. While the family copes with their loss, the Pye family is dealing with their own conflicts. Eventually the families’ fates intertwine, with unexpected results.
Told through the eyes of Kate, who looks back on her family’s struggles, the book paints a beautiful picture of the Northern Ontario area. The characters of the Morrison family (Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo) are wonderfully developed, as are several of the minor characters, the only exception being the Pye family, although an undercurrent of fear and dread are evoked every time they enter the story.
All though the ending was a little anti-climatic, the book was beautifully written and I read it in one sitting. I recommend it very highly....more
I loved Snow Falling on Cedars, so when this book came out I bought it. And it sat on my shelf for ten long years, until a reading challenge got me toI loved Snow Falling on Cedars, so when this book came out I bought it. And it sat on my shelf for ten long years, until a reading challenge got me to pick it up. I wasn’t missing much.
I’m really at a loss as to what to say about this book. It had an interesting premise; a non-Catholic young woman ahs a vision of the Virgin Mary in the forest whilepicking mushrooms. She is a homeless girl, abused as a child and selling mushrooms to get by. She also isn’t averse to getting high off other mushrooms. Her visions begin to be the talk of the area and soon it’s a national sensation, with people camping out hoping to share in this religious experience. The question is, are the visions real or a hoax. Unfortunately by the end of the book we know little more than we did at the start.
It’s hard to like a book when you don’t like any of the main characters, especially the protagonist of the book, Anne. While a certain amount of sympathy is engendered after learning of her difficult life, she just isn’t a likeable character. Neither is the priest who befriends her, the ‘friend’ who manages her – only to her own advantage, nor any of the other myriad characters in the supporting cast. There is violence against women, sexual situations of the most violent and unpleasant nature and people that you never want to meet in a dark alley. The author seems to be obsessed with both masturbation and menstruation since these events cover copious amount of pages. I did not care one whit about anyone and when I got to the penultimate conclusion I couldn’t believe how much time I wasted. Do yourself a favor, don’t read this book. ...more
One of my favorite books is The Devil in the White city by Erik Larson, so I was looking forward to reading Thunderstruck. While I wouldn’t put it inOne of my favorite books is The Devil in the White city by Erik Larson, so I was looking forward to reading Thunderstruck. While I wouldn’t put it in the same category as that book, Thunderstruck is nevertheless a good book.
Using a similar formula as Devil, Thunderstruck focuses on two storylines that run parallel to one another, eventually coming together in one narrative. Here we have the story of Guglielmo Marconi, one of the pioneers in wireless communication, specifically telegraphy. The story of Marconi’s research and personal life are alternated with that of Hawley Harvey Crippen, a man suspected of the murder of his wife and then fleeing the country with another woman. Crippen will have the distinction of being the first fugitive captured because of Marconi’s invention.
Although the scientific storyline was often a little boring, with a little bit too much information but I did learn a lot about the works that went into the invention of wireless communication. Part of the problem with the story is that Marconi wasn’t a very likeable individual so a lot of time it was hard to empathize with his hardships.
The H.C. Crippen story was a bit more interesting, if not exactly gripping. Dr. Crippen was a sad sack of a man, married to a larger than life woman, Cora aka Belle Elmore, an aspiring musical theatre star. When Belle disappears her husband is suspected of murder.
While Larsen knows how to tell a story the Marconi story could get a little dry with all the scientific facts and the Crippen story while interesting wasn’t really gripping and so the book wasn’t a mesmerizing page turner. Still I appreciate all the research that went into the book and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the forensics that went into the Crippen case; I especially enjoyed the ‘character’ of Detective Dew, this was the most interesting part of the mystery.
Having seen the movie Beaches more times than I can count, I was looking forward to the book. I am therefore sorry to say that I didn’t like it that mHaving seen the movie Beaches more times than I can count, I was looking forward to the book. I am therefore sorry to say that I didn’t like it that much.
The basic story stays the same: Cee Cee Bloom and Bertie White (Hillary in the movie) form an unlikely friendship when they are 10 and & 7 years old (respectively). Through many years and personal hardships they remain friends, until a tragic illness brings them together.
What didn’t I like about this book? Cee Cee Bloom is not a very nice person in this book, and I found it hard to really care for her. In the movie Bette Midler gives her a clear vulnerability that wasn’t apparent in the book. It also seemed to me that the author had Bette specifically in mind while writing the story, as if it were already a screenplay in her head. The character of Bertie was whiny and sad. I wanted more than once to say: Come on woman get on with your life!!, but it never seemed to happen. The clichéd fate of one of the male characters was kind of ‘been there done that’ and I expected more from the author.
Nevertheless, because of fond movie memories the book scored extra points, that’s why it gets a high 3***. ...more
Sometimes one needs to kick back and read a book that is light, entertaining and a quick and easy read. This book was a perfect candidate.
A Poisoned SSometimes one needs to kick back and read a book that is light, entertaining and a quick and easy read. This book was a perfect candidate.
A Poisoned Season is the second book in the Lady Emily series, cozy mysteries set in Victorian England, with a little romance thrown in.
Lady Emily has ended her year of mourning for Philip, her husband of only a few months. She isn’t looking forward to the “London Season” at first, but then she begins to be cut by society because of her affinity for learning and independence. Her flirtation with her late husband’s best friend is heating up and to top it all off a pretender to the Throne of France, a self -proclaimed descendant of Marie Antoinette, is causing quite a stir in London. Is he the real deal? And what to make of the cat burglar who is breaking into homes and stealing items that once belonged to the French Queen? And who is the mysterious man sending Greek poetry to Lady Emily?
This was a fun romp through the mores of Victorian England, when being alone in the same room with a man can ruin a woman’s reputation, and many proscribed rules of courtship must be stringently adhered to. As Lady Emily becomes drawn into the various mysteries her life is put into danger and she realizes that there is a spy in her home, determined to ruin her standing in Society. Determined to find the answer to the crimes being committed Emily relies on her wits, and slowly unravels the threads tying the crimes together.
This was a quite enjoyable historical mystery, peppered with fictional as well as real characters and the romance between Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves is moving along at a nice pace. After reading the last page I was ready to move on to A Fatal Waltz book 3 in the series which is already downloaded to my Kindle. Alas a stack of library books stand before it, but I will get there! ...more
The town of Bedford, Maine is dying, little by little. The paper mill is closed; families are leaving looking for better lives; the kids that live theThe town of Bedford, Maine is dying, little by little. The paper mill is closed; families are leaving looking for better lives; the kids that live there cannot wait to graduate high school and get out. Liz Marley is one of those girls hoping to leave behind her family and sister Susan. Susan is the specter of the town; wandering around, not speaking to anyone and somehow invading the thoughts of all the people in the town. When Susan falls to her death in a terrible accident all the dark secrets of Bedford and its inhabitants begin to come out; the dead start to rise and madness is taking over little by little.
I don’t read much horror anymore, but The Keeper sounded promising and it was a freebie for Kindle. It actually started out quite well, reminiscent of Stephen King’s early novels set in small town Maine; unfortunately somewhere about halfway through the storyline became too violent, too choppy and at times in the midst of all that too boring with a lot of repetition and far too much detail. The biggest problem for me is that I didn’t care about most of the people in the book, whenever I felt a connection is was too fleeting and soon I just wanted to get to the end, which unsurprisingly was anti-climatic. I rated it two stars because it did start out well and since it is a debut maybe future books will be better; I like to give new authors the benefit of a doubt.
Book No: 7 The fall of the Romanov’s has provided endless fascination among both authors and readers for many years. In this book Robert Alexander takeBook No: 7 The fall of the Romanov’s has provided endless fascination among both authors and readers for many years. In this book Robert Alexander takes a look at one of the lesser-known Romanov’s, Elizabeth, sister to the Czarina and wife of Grand Duke Serge of Russia. While the life of this princess is indeed interesting, the execution is not as interesting as I had hoped.
I had heard good things about this author so I was looking forward to this book, but I was very disappointed. First the title is a bit misleading, since the story of Ella and Serge’s marriage is barely mentioned before it is twenty years later, so she is not exactly a ‘bride’ anymore. Very little of either of the two’s lives are explored and the story loses something in understanding the character of Ella. Why did they marry? What was Ella’s relationship to Nicolas and her sister Alexandra like before they assumed power? It is glossed over that Serge was possibly homosexual and likely an abusive husband, but a lot of what would have made this story interesting is barely touched upon.
The second problem was the alternating stories of Ella and Pavel, a young Russian man who becomes a revolutionary. This is an entirely fictional character and most of his dialogue and musings seem like a step-by-step guide to revolution and most of his ideas read like a propaganda manual. The fact that he was involved in so many aspects of the assassination of Serge when he was such a minor and low level radical and kept crossing paths with Serge and Ella seemed very far-fetched. I found most of his chapters tiresome to read, and except for one scene I felt no connection to him at all.
I found the dialogue flat and the characters rather uninteresting despite the fact that this is a fascinating time in history. The whole book felt like someone standing to the side explaining everything they saw without any real depth or emotion.
Despite hearing that Alexander’s other books are better after this book I am far less likely to give them a shot. ...more
The Likeness is Tana French’s sequel to In the Woods, a book I read several years ago and really enjoyed. I’m sorry to say that this book did not measThe Likeness is Tana French’s sequel to In the Woods, a book I read several years ago and really enjoyed. I’m sorry to say that this book did not measure up. There are some spoilers ahead, so if you plan to read the first book then proceed at your own risk.
The story begins several months after the events at the end of In the Woods. Cassie Maddox is working Domestic Crimes after her last case “blew up”. She has a boyfriend and has settled into a new life, even if she still has feelings for Rob, her former partner. When a young woman is found murdered she bears an uncanny resemblance to Cassie and she is persuade to go undercover, posing as the murdered woman.
That’s the bare bones of the plot, but there were enough holes in this plot to drive a truck through. To believe that a woman could pose as another woman and live with her four roommates and nobody suspects a thing is mind-boggling. It gets even more confusing when it turns out the murdered woman is actually using a persona that Cassie had used years ago in another undercover case. When Cassie finds a vital piece of evidence on her first day she withholds that information from her boss. That police officer trying to get back in good graces with her superiors would withhold key information for no fathomable reason was unbelievable. And don’t get me started on Frank Mackey, Cassie’s boss. He is supposed to be an old style police officer, but the fact that he called Cassie babe at every turn drove me crazy. Since when does a superior officer speak like that? It was extremely annoying. The four roommates that Cassie/Lexi lived with were strange to put it mildly. What century did they come from? Their lifestyle was like a country manor from 1900 England, Downton Abby except with cell phones. Throwing in a plotline about a dead girl from 100 years ago that all the villagers were still up in arms about only served to confuse the situation.
French can write beautifully, however there is no need to write three paragraphs when a few sentences would do. I would find my eyes glazing over at times, wishing the author would please, please get to the point. To say that about 100 pages could have been cut from this book is no exaggeration. The foreshadowing also got tiresome. The most puzzling thing of all was why Cassie seemed to want to become Lexi; the author threw in a lot of psycho babble that did nothing to move the plot forward.
The ending was anti-climatic and after all the foreshadowing pretty much a foregone conclusion. About the only person in this book I liked was Cassie’s boyfriend Sam, he was the only one who didn’t seem like a caricature, except now that I think about it he was a little too good to be true.
A disappointment after In the Woods, scores the stars more for the bits of the book that were beautifully written, if you could find them beneath all the dross. ...more