I originally read this book when I was in sixth grade, and at the time I followed along with what my mom always did when she'd start reading a book—shI originally read this book when I was in sixth grade, and at the time I followed along with what my mom always did when she'd start reading a book—she'd read the last chapter first. I'm not sure why she did that, though she's long since passed, so I can't ask. But this is the book that finally broke me of the habit. That's because, like most Agatha Christie novels, the entire plot and whodunit is revealed in the last chapter. Kinda kills the mystery when you know what's going to happen.
Fast Forward to a few weeks ago. I decided to read this again as I had completely forgotten the specifics over the years. So I figured that I'd finally have a chance to be surprised by Ms. Christie, which I was. Amazingly, though I sometimes watch various versions of her books on film or tv, I haven't seen a
She certainly loves to toss in a red herring to throw the whole thing off, and this one actually surprised me, though I love how twisted the killer is, in the end. *mini spoiler* I found the first person account of the murders at the end absolutely delicious; much more entertaining than how it was presented in the rest of the book. I think it was how she captured the villain's voice so well and gave the murderer such a complex yet realistic deviousness that I was enthralled.
Sadly, while I enjoyed the mystery, her writing style isn't something that pulls me in—except for that last chapter. So it gets four stars because her plots and mysteries far outshine most mystery writers today or possibly ever, but I just couldn't get into the writing itself as much as I'd hoped. Perhaps one of her Poirot or Miss Marple stories would be a better fit. Or I'm happy to enjoy her work in the numerous television or film renditions of her work.
*For those wondering what about her style I didn't connect with, it was the dialogue, and especially dialogue tags that killed me. Plus, the omniscient narrator had us hopping around eight or so different heads, which kills the intimacy readers usually get when it's just one or two characters that we're following closely. But it is the mystery for which Christie is known and what she excels at, so I'll give her a pass. ;)...more
The moment I saw Lemony Snicket's name on the cover of The Composer Is Dead at the library the other day, I knew I ha Originally posted at Libri Ago.
The moment I saw Lemony Snicket's name on the cover of The Composer Is Dead at the library the other day, I knew I had to read it. I knew it would be funny; what I wasn't expecting was this musical masterpiece.
The story is somewhat basic: a composer has been murdered, and the detective must sound out the man, er, instrument who committed the crime. The text, however, isn't what makes this book so amazing.
This isn't just a picture book, nor is it just an audio book or just a soundtrack; it is an experience. The book is funny enough on its own, but play the accompanying cd with soundtrack, and it's even greater. The experience, however, doesn't reach fever pitch until you add in Snicket's exceptional narration (also included on the cd).
Daniel Handler, the man behind the Snicket, must have played in an orchestra at some point in his life. It's the only way to explain how all of the humor in The Composer Is Dead is spot on.
While marketed as a children's picture book, young children won't get most of the jokes. Instead, the musically inclined adult reading (or listening) to the book will be laughing to the point of hyperventilating.
Don't believe me? Watch the book trailer, which demonstrates a bit of what I'm talking about.
I played this book for my stepmom, a concert cellist cum cello instructor. She laughed and nodded at all the jokes and one-liners, and then immediately went out to purchase a copy to share with her students.
I highly recommend this book as a gift for the music major/orchestra teacher/flautist in your life. If they've played in an orchestra, even just in high school, they will be rolling by the time the experience ends. Then buy a copy for yourself.
*Because this book deserves much more than 5 stars....more
As I've mentioned before, I'm a sucker for a good ghost story, even when it scares the schnikeys out of me. The Restorer is one of those creepily good stories that goes for the perfect chilling factor.
Book one in the Graveyard Queen series (doesn't that just sound so awesome?) introduces us to Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. These aren't Casper-friendly ghosts, either. These are scary, wet-the-bed nightmarish ghosts, so Amelia has held to her father's edict to never let ghosts know she can see them. She's done a good job—until now.
How could a ghost story get even better? Add in genteel Southerns entrenched in secret societies and sacrificial murders, plus a handsome potential love interest with a mysterious past, and you've got a realistically fright-worthy read.
While this book is published by Harlequin, it focuses more on the mystery than the romance, which I really appreciated in this story. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy. ...more
I wish I could increase the stars on this book, but as many reviewers have previously mentioned, Roberts spends way too much time detailing how to traI wish I could increase the stars on this book, but as many reviewers have previously mentioned, Roberts spends way too much time detailing how to train dogs and the step-by-step process of using search-and-rescue dogs. If you cut 90% of that description out, the book would surely drop 100 pages and be much better for it.
It's a nice read, and I really like the characterization of Simon. He is a straight-talking, no-nonsense guy who says exactly what he thinks, with most of it unflattering to the heroine. For some reason, it strikes me as honest and authentic, and I adore it.
Unfortunately, Fiona comes off very controlling and boring with the insane tendency to treat the whole world—family and friends included—as dogs to be trained. Normally I wouldn't mind, but the overanalyzing thoughts bog down the narrative and make the character flat, though not quite unlikable.
Otherwise, an enjoyable story. So to be fair, it's more of a 3 1/2-star book, though it still misses out on its full potential....more