I am usually very strictly a fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal reader (either YA or MG, sometimes adult leveOriginally reviewed on my blog Books Before Bed.
I am usually very strictly a fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal reader (either YA or MG, sometimes adult levels as well), but in recent years I have been branching out into the historical fiction and mystery novels. Some have been good, others fantastic, and some I know I will read every single one of them in the series. Maisie Dobbs falls into the latter category.
I forget precisely where I heard about Maisie, but I am glad it happened. Out of all of the historical fiction mystery novels that I have read, she has been my favorite. She is reserved, to others, but even somewhat to us as the reader, but she is loyal, hard-working, and very very smart. She notices things and is great with working with people. She is, what she calls, a psychological investigator, and honestly, I can't imagine investigating being done in any better way.
When Ms. Dobbs takes on a case, she is responsible for all parties. She doesn't just find information and pass it on to be used willy nilly, but she cares for what happens and she really does her digging. As a skill, she sometimes imitates the posture of those she talks to and she can then feel what they are feeling, giving her greater empathy, but also an understanding of why they are doing what they are doing, etc. This adds an almost paranormal aspect to things, so it's not just a plain mystery, but that isn't the focus on the story but a means to an end, which is nice.
Maisie is truly an amazing character. She has an insatiable desire for knowledge and this gives her many unique opportunities, but it is a hard path because she was a maid but is now above the position, but not quite to the top yet and so has a lonely line to walk. Her father, her friends, her employers, and everyone are very lifelike. I felt as if I was in 1920's London, or wherever the location, which just shows how Ms. Winspear, the author, has done a fantastic job.
I became so invested in the world and in the characters that at the end something happens, and I had thought for the whole book that something different was the case, but somehow this was worse and I sobbed huge ugly tears. It was a great release, but I couldn't stop crying for a while. Truly, truly amazing storytelling and characters. I recommend whole-heartedly!...more
A friend and I have a mini book club together and this was her pick. I enjoyed the movies immensely, but might not hOriginally posted on my blog here.
A friend and I have a mini book club together and this was her pick. I enjoyed the movies immensely, but might not have picked this up otherwise on my own.
After maybe the first page this differs from the movie and the difference grows ever wider from there. At first, this was a huge distraction for me. I liked the Bourne that Matt Damon had presented and how the story was going things were pretty skewed. And Marie! Try a complete 180 difference. In the book she's a red-headed Canadian economist in Europe for a conference when she runs into Bourne.
I don't want to give plot points away, but let me just reiterate that it was very distracting for me how different things were (though I did like this Marie better, and she actually is a great help to Jason, not just a tag along) but then the story grabbed me and took me for an awesome ride! In the end I like the book a lot better than the movie, and the only conceivable reason that I can see why they would change things (drastically, only the sketch of things is the same) is because it might have been too complicated to present in 2 hours in film.
As it is, this book is over 500 pages long. It took me a little longer than usual to finish it because I've been pretty busy, but it's also kind of exhausting. I can't imagine what it must be like to not really know who you are, to have all of these illegal and dangerous talents, and to have people trying very hard to kill you. As I said before, I didn't like the Jason in this book very much at the beginning, but after a bit you see the good, if somewhat still confused side of him, and the story became much more enjoyable and real for me.
This book was originally published in 1980, and you can tell how some of the technology references were a bit dated. They still sounded complicated, though, and it was impressive how they were able to manipulate the system, so it didn't matter all that much.
Also, there's a bad guy that Jason's after and that's the main driver (other than getting his memory back) to the plot and I was all set for it to tie up at the end....but it doesn't. It sets things up in such a way that I'm satisfied (much more so than in the movie...like really) but now I have to read the rest of the series to find out what happens.
Apparently there are only three Bourne books that were written by Robert Ludlum and the rest were by someone else using his ideas (that's the impression I've gotten). My goal is in the next little while to read the original trilogy, but I just may stop there.
This was a great thriller, much better than the movie once you get past the beginning. All the same, I liked having seen the movie first (though not too recently) because it gave me the cool action scenes that I wouldn't have been able to create in my head (yeah...not that coordinated). Recommended for those who like action, intrigue, and a bit of a love story....more
Another bloody ridiculous cover. I swear! Not a fan of how Lee and Taro are portrayed, but my biggest grip is that tOriginally posted on my blog here.
Another bloody ridiculous cover. I swear! Not a fan of how Lee and Taro are portrayed, but my biggest grip is that this implies that stuff is going to happen with magic...and it does, but not to the extent that Lee and Taro actually learn about how to do it. I think that they may as the series continues...or maybe not...but it could have played a much bigger role than it did.
So, Lee and Taro got together in the third book and that was awesome. I expected a lot more from this book because of that. Didn't really happen. Lee was being particularly dense in terms of relationships and also in terms of catching on with what was going on in High Scape. I liked this series becsuse of how observant she is, but not at ALL in this book.
The plot wasn't as engaging as I wanted it to be and there wasn't even enough relationship tension to balance that out. This one is definitely on the low end of the 3 spectrum for that reason. There was so much potential!! I felt that not enough was done with it. I could understand Lee thinking that Taro is going to want to go back to the way things were before they went to the island, but with the social messages he is sending her she should have caught on. And their final talking about it, it was pretty anti-climactic.
There was potential for a quite a few characters to gain depth, and a few almost did, but it was still pretty surface stuff.
And the ending? That just frustrated me. I could guess that things were headed in that direction, but the actions of other characters were too agravating and others weren't doing enough about it.
Will I continue this series. *sigh* yeah, I guess. I want to see what happens and I'm still holding out for there to be more between Lee and Taro and for them to resolve the issues that were brought to light in the 3rd book with their character and holding things in. I'm still also holding out for other characters to gain depth. I'm already past the halfway point so might as well, but I'll be reading some other books for a while.
I also am a little frustrated that this series doesn't seem to be available in any library, so I have to buy the books. Thank goodness for second hand!...more
I've just given up on these covers. I really have. Finally they have realistic looking drawings that do more to go aOriginally posted on my blog here.
I've just given up on these covers. I really have. Finally they have realistic looking drawings that do more to go along with the feel of the books. The title makes sense when you read the book and look at it from a psychological, social stand point (they're sent to an island and have to adapt). HOWEVER, Taro and Lee are on a ship for about a grand total of 2 pages in the book and so WHY is the cover mainly focused on a ship? WAY wrong impression here.
Ridiculousness of the cover aside, I liked this book the best so far. Still 3 stars but it's pushing 4. The reasons I liked this one the most are Taro and Lee are pushed WAY outside of their comfort zones and need to adapt and *gasp* work with their hands to earn their keep. It's nice to see them having to adjust and learn and grow.
There are some character aspects of both Taro and Lee that are brought to light by an old wise woman and I thought 'perfect, now they are going to be able to overcome those and work together'. Yeah, didn't really happen in this book. But, Lee and Taro FINALLY get together, and I have been waiting for that for a long long time, so that was happy for me. ...more
Another awful awful cover! And the titles don't make much sense to me either. And who's the hero? Lee and Taro workOriginally posted on my blog here.
Another awful awful cover! And the titles don't make much sense to me either. And who's the hero? Lee and Taro work together as a team, so I don't understand the singularity of that. The titles, and cover, would lead you to believe that Taro is the main character, or main focus, but that's not it at all.
And this is a good thing. I'm reading this series for the building relationship between Taro and Lee. They are both interesting characters, each having their own strengths and weaknesses, and they are loyal to each other. The shenanigans that just happen to follow them around everywhere are hardly their fault.
This was another quick read. I liked it, but didn't love it. I expected more from both of the mothers being in the area, drawing more out from or revealing more about their children. There is a lot of plot fodder possibility with them, but it didn't amount to as much as I was expecting. Enough, but not as much as the cover would lead you to believe.
Overall, don't believe these covers! The writing and storyline and characters are deeper than they portray, but they also don't do a good job of setting up expectations in other respects. *sigh* Not as much is resolved in terms of the weather either. Things are introduced, alluded to, somewhat worked on, but no really resolved. Good enough to continue with the series though, but mainly because I want there to be more progress made on the relationship between Lee and Taro....more
This one caught my eye on NetGalley because of its cover (which I like quite a bit. Simple, but gives a good indiOriginally published on my blog here.
This one caught my eye on NetGalley because of its cover (which I like quite a bit. Simple, but gives a good indication of its focus) and the description. It took me a little while to get to it, but once I did I was able to finish it within a few hours (being on a 10 hour flight was irrelevant).
I wasn't very taken with the protagonist at first. I didn't dislike Princess Kimri, either, which is saying something. As things progressed I got to know her and thought her descent enough. She was trying her best and I give her props for that.
There wasn't anything complicated with the storyline or with the characters, it was all pretty simple and a little see-through. But given that, it was still engaging and a diversion. The romantic storyline was sweet and I enjoyed the progression.
My only major criticism would be that things could have been fleshed out more. It felt like the story had some good points going for it, but it didn't go into as much depth as it could of (it's 142 pages). For all that, though, it's short length lends it to being a fun quick read if you are in the mood for a simple dragon and princess story.
There is a little part towards the end that felt somewhat incongruous with the rest of the storyline that bumps the rating of this to about a PG-13 level. Nothing too graphic, but implied heavily.
NOTE: This title is only available in e-book format. It's under $4 on Amazon so isn't too expensive if you want to give it a try....more
I only recently discovered this book from another blogger, and am very glad I did. This book was so creative! FirstOriginally posted on my blog here.
I only recently discovered this book from another blogger, and am very glad I did. This book was so creative! First off, that cover pulls you right in, fantastic. And the title is very gripping too.
Right off the bat though, I was immersed in this world. It felt so real, so realistic and logical that I sometimes had to remind myself that, no, we don't have any underwater colonies (that I know of, if we did though, sign me up!). Honestly, that was the best part about this book and what I'm excited for as I continue the series, just how real it all is: houses shaped like jellyfish to help with the pressure, family sized subs, manta ray boards, people that glow when they blush because they eat bioluminescent fish....it just made so much sense!
And not that books have to be 100% fact based for me to enjoy them, but I do want to be immersed in the world to the point that I believe it's real and wonder why I never knew about it before. This book does that, in spades.
That being said, the story line was adequate. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Not many books that I read have leading male characters and it was fun getting to know things from Ty's perspective, but it didn't feel as solid as the world did to me. I was just kind of along for the ride, reading more from enjoyment than from a gripping need to know what happens next. Which is ok. Not every book I enjoy is going to consume me (probably a good thing) but this one did entertain.
Overall, a great world, an adequate story line, and something I am looking forward to returning to as the story continues. Recommended!...more
WOW, just wow. I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. Last year the blog0sphere simply erupted with praise over this book, but I held off...horror isn't my thing. Yes, it was a YA, but a ghost that gruesomely murders people? As my blog name implies (Books Before Bed) I usually read right before I go to sleep and this seemed like the type of book to give me nightmares.
Thankfully it didn't, although I did get the willies once or twice (oh my goodness! That one part where the guy is wrapping something black around his fingers and they wonder what it is but then figure out it's the cats tail !?!? That was by far the creepiest part for me, even more so than Anna killing people!) but that makes an experience more enjoyable and memorable, right?
Cas was a good character to follow. He cares about his mom, wants to do a good job and is pretty competent at his chosen profession. Ms. Blake did a fantastic job of creating atmosphere and yet not going over board with the spooky stuff. She has some really great characters and I ended up falling for Anna and sympathizing with her just like everyone else.
And boy, are there some twists and turns to this book. I really enjoyed unraveling everything and it was all set at a really good pace. Now that we have waited a WHOLE YEAR for the next installment, I'm pretty pumped to see what else Ms. Blake has up her sleeves. Definitely worth the read!...more
hmm, this was good, an interesting twist, not as scary as I was expecting, but that's a good thing. Looks like i'll have to keep reading the series. Fhmm, this was good, an interesting twist, not as scary as I was expecting, but that's a good thing. Looks like i'll have to keep reading the series. Full review to come....more
Ever since I read the synopsis for this book I have been very eager to read it. And guys, it's awesome! Such a creatOriginally posted on my blog here.
Ever since I read the synopsis for this book I have been very eager to read it. And guys, it's awesome! Such a creative idea with a girl being a Nightmare! Not sure about the rest of you, but that's a first heard for me and I really, really like the idea. Ms. Arnett does a good job explaining what it is the people like Dusty can do, but I'm looking forward to future books were we see her powers expand.
Dusty was a fun character to follow. At first I thought her snark might kind of get in the way of my view of her, but it wasn't too heavy handed and I bonded with her. The supporting cast was creative and you get to know some of them fairly well. Enough information was given to lend the world credence, but more would have helped flesh it out.
That being said, however, the pacing I though worked very well. Enough was happening, either emotionally or as a part of the story arc that I turned the pages easily and ended up finishing it in just a few hours!
My favorite line from the book is "Imagination IS Magic". That is something I agree with whole-heartedly!
While Ms. Arnett's creation does have some familiar themes in it to other magic stories, what really made this unique for me was the fact that Dusty is a Nightmare, and that was enough. I'm excited to see where this all goes (especially the relationship!!!! Gah, can you say tension much?). While there is no cliff hanger, there is certainly room in the story for more and I am optimistic since this is labeled as The Arkwell Academy #1. Yes please!...more