I wavered between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. The first half of this book qualified at a low 3, while the second half could definitely have earned...moreI wavered between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. The first half of this book qualified at a low 3, while the second half could definitely have earned it a 4. The frustration I felt at the beginning of the book overshadows my interest in the second half, so I finally settled on 3.
The plot is fairly simple. Marianne Daventry's mother died 14 months ago, and she has been living in Bath every since with her grandmother. When her twin sister, Cecily, invites her to a summer at a country estate called Edenbrooke, she jumps at the chance. Marianne becomes fast friends with her host, handsome and dashing Phillip, who is by far the best character in the story. For as the author describes him, he is sure to be every reader's perfect man.
I guess my biggest issue with the novel was the fairly formulaic plot. This novel has several of the most typical regency era plot devices: there is a free-spirit-type girl trying to learn how to conform to society's expectations of elegant ladies, a chance encounter at an inn, an accidental fall in a river (witnessed by the hero, to the heroine's mortification), a heroine who desires to learn how to fence and finds embroidery dull, and a last-minute rescue by the hero of the story to cap everything off. Thankfully, if you can make it through the first half of the book, most of these cringe-worthy moments disappear. You will still be faced with stiff and unrealistic dialogue ("Did you just stomp your foot?") and a weak and embarrassing 1st person narrative voice (My face grew hot even as his smile grew. He only said that about my supposed beauty to make me blush), but this is still worth the read. It is a light and easy read, but there's nothing wrong with that every once in a while.(less)
Briefly: Emerson, or Em (if you know her well enough) can see dead people. But they're not really dead people. More like people fro...moreGreat debut novel!!
Briefly: Emerson, or Em (if you know her well enough) can see dead people. But they're not really dead people. More like people from the past. And she can get rid of them by sticking her fist through their bodies. Em's caring older brother finds someone who thinks he can help her. Enter Michael, who is younger and much more attractive than she expected. He also has a secret motive about why he wants to help Em. As Emerson learns more about the Hourglass society, she has to decide whether to help them or not.
I thought the characters were really well-developed, especially for a ya novel. My favorite was probably Kaleb :) Yum.
I'm hoping there will be a sequel to this book. (After looking at Myra McEntire's goodreads page, it seems there will be). Many of the subplots were left open. Some of the questions that I hope the sequel will answer include: (view spoiler)[What happened to Jack and Cat? Will Grace, Liam's wife, ever return to normal? Why are the rips becoming so much more pronounced? (Although, I think I have a good idea about this one). Will Lily's abuela accept her ability? How will Lily's ability come into play more? When does the older Em decide it's the right time to travel back to talk to Michael? How will Em's altered past play a role in the book? Finally, WHAT ABOUT KALEB? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Very good book. Maybe not appropriate for those under 14. Sometimes the author's descriptions of the forest irritated me, though, and I found myself s...moreVery good book. Maybe not appropriate for those under 14. Sometimes the author's descriptions of the forest irritated me, though, and I found myself skimming over them.(less)
This was a really interesting young adult book. It was a unique premise that hasn't been done before.
It touches on some serious issues, and for once,...moreThis was a really interesting young adult book. It was a unique premise that hasn't been done before.
It touches on some serious issues, and for once, the main character isn't immediately likeable. In fact, she's not likeable at all many times. It works, though, because she's relate-able and you can watch her grow.
Her love interest was also the sweetest, cutest character. Loved him.
I loved the ending of this book, too. Definitely not what I expected!(less)
I originally planned to give this book 4 or 4.5 stars because it took me about three weeks to finish (a very long time for me), and I thought that Pen...moreI originally planned to give this book 4 or 4.5 stars because it took me about three weeks to finish (a very long time for me), and I thought that Penman could have slimmed down a few parts. After sitting on it for a couple days, though, I decided to give it 5 stars simply due to the ambitious nature and flawless execution of the novel. Certainly one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever read, this book spans about 35 years in 700 pages. While the narrative follows many different characters, it mainly revolves around Llewellyn, Prince of Gwynedd/conqueror of much of Wales, King John of England, and John's daughter, Joanna, who eventually marries Llewellyn. The history in this novel is impeccably fleshed out with realistic detail and dialogue, and the reader really comes to understand each and every character - for good or for bad.
Penman recreates King John's character in history without glossing over any of his flaws or shortcomings. She does not omit any of the gory details of his deeds - starving a woman to death, hanging children - but she makes the reader see that he has his softer side as well. It is easy to empathize with Joanna as she tries to reconcile her love for her father and the man that is John.
My main qualm is that toward the end of Part I and throughout Part II, Penman strays from her impressive writing to narrate the happenings and battles in dry, stiff prose. I wish that these parts had been omitted because I don't like skimming, yet they added little to my understanding of the novel. It was relayed so that dates and names and battles were all jumbled in my head. The rest of the book, however, did a wonderful job of explaining complex Welsh and Norman lineage in a way that made it easy for the reader to remember who was who.
I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, but I think I will wait a little while. As exhaustive as Dragons was in scope, it was also taxing on the reader.(less)
I originally gave this book 4 stars, but after consideration, I've changed my rating to 5 stars. I think my original embitterment came from the not-so...moreI originally gave this book 4 stars, but after consideration, I've changed my rating to 5 stars. I think my original embitterment came from the not-so-happy ending. After investing almost 1000 pages into Forever, Amber, I thought that surely I would see her through to her true love.
Now that I've had time to think about it, I decided that despite my original frustrations, this book is still worthy of a perfect score. It has been so long since I read a book whose characters have stayed with me. The complexities of Amber and her different lovers and husbands are so well done that I can see the root of every emotion and action. Kathleen Winsor has a talent for story-telling, but more so, she understands that not all people are inherently good, but that doesn't mean their story isn't worth telling.(less)