I bought this cheaply from Amazon as a treat to cheer myself up because, quite simply, several people on here whose taste I like had enjoyed it. I wasI bought this cheaply from Amazon as a treat to cheer myself up because, quite simply, several people on here whose taste I like had enjoyed it. I was sadly disappointed. I wanted this to be excellent but, although I found it quick and easy to read, I didn't enjoy it very much at all. I think the characters were a peculiar bunch whose motivation to do the odd things they do escaped me. It didn't drag but I kept thinking it would pick up the pace and thrill me a little. It never did.
I think this book had sparks of potential that failed to ignite. I liked the premise and I didn't dislike her writing style but it all felt so flat to me. The whole book is supposed to be creating this tense, almost spooky atmosphere and it never came close to achieving that for me. The twisted relationships, tormented grief, threats of violence and hints of evil never felt real, just cartoony and fake. When a cartoon character is hit by a mallet it doesn't mean anything to you. It's not remotely realistic! That's how I felt about these characters.
And, worst of all, The House at Midnight sets itself up to lead to a bang of an ending but when I finished the book I couldn't believe that IT, the big finale, happened entirely off-stage. What a cop out. I felt cheated, actually.
And I don't care what happened to the characters or about any of the loose ends. Kill them all off, for all I care...more
Forget 5 stars. I give this eccentric, loveable, hateable, bizzare and ridiculous novel 10 stars.
This book made me break all my own rules. For one, IForget 5 stars. I give this eccentric, loveable, hateable, bizzare and ridiculous novel 10 stars.
This book made me break all my own rules. For one, I bought this book on Amazon before I'd even finished my library copy because I needed it in my life and on my bookshelf. And for two, I added it to my All Time Favourites list after only one reading. Sacrilege! (I never do this! Sometimes books lose all their luster after the second read!) But now I've read it twice and heck, I was totally right. Good call, past Amy.
Full of moments of unbelievable beauty and clarity, I found A Fraction of the Whole infinitely readable. It's completely batshit insane, of course. But it's utterly glorious, my friends!...more
Why do these ex-cops trying to solve horrible crimes always have to have a troubled past, usually involving the death of their child? This was distincWhy do these ex-cops trying to solve horrible crimes always have to have a troubled past, usually involving the death of their child? This was distinctly average crime thriller with an unlikeable hero and some kidnapped children. A crime book like a paint by numbers picture, I'm afraid....more
I find Danny Wallace quite funny and enjoy his columns in Shortlist magazine so thought I'd give this a go. It was a fun half an hour romp through hisI find Danny Wallace quite funny and enjoy his columns in Shortlist magazine so thought I'd give this a go. It was a fun half an hour romp through his journey to the Center of the Universe - aka Wallace, Idaho.
Without wanting to spoil too much, he did get given a lot of souvenir coins. ...more
I've felt many different ways about Sarah Waters novels. The first I read - Tipping the Velvet - I loved. I got to the end and turned immediately backI've felt many different ways about Sarah Waters novels. The first I read - Tipping the Velvet - I loved. I got to the end and turned immediately back to the begining. Fingersmith I really enjoyed, The Night Watch I thought was ok and The Little Stranger I hated.
So who knew where I was to stand with Affinity? After all, my feelings on SW run the entire gauntlet. But I was excited when I realised I'd forgotten about this novel of hers and - happily! - I wasn't disappointed.
I didn't love it as much as Tipping the Velvet but I still really enjoyed this. Waters is a demon for a twist and although I had half worked it out - the gist but not all the details - I still found it enjoyable.
The thing about Affinity is that, for me at least, part of the problem is that you (me) WANT it to be true. This story of two woman - one a prison 'lady visitor' and the other a prisoner - who fall in love and hatch a psychic escape plan is both touching and ridiculous. But, God. Did I want it to be true!
And thst's Waters' talent, I think. I wanted no-one to be tricked - well, except me. I do so love a twist....more
I surprised myself by picking this up at the library but I have read a real variety of books this year. I guess an odd sort of high school politics chI surprised myself by picking this up at the library but I have read a real variety of books this year. I guess an odd sort of high school politics chick lit novel from the perspective of the mum (should I say mom?) just gives me another odd genre to include in my wide selection, although I'm not sure what genre I WOULD call it, actually.
I surprised myself again by getting into this. The story of a teenage girl who gets shunted out of her popular group of friends by a newcomer is an old story, but this time seen entirely from the viewpoint of the stay at home mum who is way more invested in her childrens popularity than she should be for a slightly different take on it. The dad is often absent and it's interesting here how the focus is really on female friendships - her daughter with her three best friends and the mother with her three best friends who happen to be the mothers of her daughters friends. Sure, it's a little TOO neat there but the author actually deals with this in a realistic way. I could see the characters motivation and she dealt lightly with some hard topics.
I liked how this book sorted itself out in the end. It felt like a solution without the feeling of 'quick, let's wrap it up' I often feel about chick lit. (Is this chick lit? Someone of here has described it as 'Jane Austen of the car pool' and I rather liked that.) There were something interesting strands of sub-plots here and I surprised myself for the third time by actually enjoying it. ...more
I kind of want to review this one but I also can't think of much to say about it, I'm afraid. Essentially this is a lackluster fantasy set more or lesI kind of want to review this one but I also can't think of much to say about it, I'm afraid. Essentially this is a lackluster fantasy set more or less in our own world about irritating teens who gain super powers after eating tree sap, a mysterious hum from deep within a mountain that calls to 'Hearers' and a demon queen who isn't actually a demon OR a queen - at least not in the traditional definitions of those words. She's just kind of an evil giant ant woman with a sad childhood.
This was ok but I didn't really enjoy it. It was free (or almost free, I forget) on the Kindle which makes it not so bad but still not really ok. Urgh. It's not bad but it's not good, either and I would suggest not bothering with it, in all honesty. ...more
My favourite in the trilogoy was always What Katy Did at School which I read many times (I would read anything set at a school, though) and I know I fMy favourite in the trilogoy was always What Katy Did at School which I read many times (I would read anything set at a school, though) and I know I found this one terribly dull. I remembered What Katy Did as overly pious and hard work - but, having said that, it must have been fifteen years since I read it last. At least!
Well. I recently read it for free on my phone Kindle app and I wouldn't call it dull now, exactly - and pious is not the word either. Or, at least Katy is not. Cousin Helen is too pi for words!
But, in a way, being pious is kind of the point of this book. People learn lessons like Do What Your Elders Tell You. God Giveth and He Taketh Away. All's Well That End's Well. It really is a bit morally heavy-handed but not quite as terribly as I remembered - and it was 1880 or something, after all. 1880! That's more than a century before I even existed.
Although the poem dedicated to 'My Teacher Pain' I found very hard to read. As someone who lives with a chronic pain disease, I wanted to go back in time and punch Coolidge in the face. A logical response, of course....more
This could have been a three star but I couldn't bring myself to, even if it was free. I've read this same book with a different title a dozen times oThis could have been a three star but I couldn't bring myself to, even if it was free. I've read this same book with a different title a dozen times over the years. Softly sad and miserable thirty-something woman, forever broken by great tragedy but kept sane by a deep family connection. A chance encounter with a stranger, a awakening of self discovery, a bad thing to pause the journey (spiritual and literal) and, of course - a man. I really have read this story many times and this isn't a good example of it. ...more
A sexy book is not really the thing you want to read when you're sick, to be honest, but I was stuck in bed and read this all in one sitting. SomehowA sexy book is not really the thing you want to read when you're sick, to be honest, but I was stuck in bed and read this all in one sitting. Somehow I missed the hype about it but I can see why the hype existed in the first place: it's exactly the kid of self-satisfied, a little bit smug modern book about sex that attracts that kind of attention. But the whole idea of them meeting on a sex chat line seemed bizarre to me: do people still do that, honestly?
But, besides that slight oddity, I enjoyed this. In places it was surprisingly tender, in others it was surprisingly erotic. There were some sweet little moments that I found myself intrigued or agreeing with. It was a good concept but overall it was kind of forgettable....more
I keep downloading freebies from the Amazon Kindle site for the app on my phone lately, which is mostly fun. I've been picking a wide variety of thingI keep downloading freebies from the Amazon Kindle site for the app on my phone lately, which is mostly fun. I've been picking a wide variety of things which is how I came across this comedy-mystery-chick lit mash-up which was actually rather enjoyable. I know, I know: it looks terrible. But it was terrible in a good way, despite the lead Amber Fox's annoying habits of eating purely junk food and remaining thin as a rake and having two gorgeous men named Brad (!) and Romeo (!!!) fighting over her.
After Amber is kicked off the police force due to some back-stabbing by a woman who wants her boyfriend (naturally), she joins her ex-fiancee's insurance company to do some investigation for him (double naturally). She gets involved in the case of the kidnapping of Umberto Fandago, a fabulous fashion designer and has to unravel the clues with the help of Umberto's daughter Tia (a psychic), Hacker (a, uh, hacker) and her ex-fiancee-turned-boss Brad. So that's not at all awkward.
Yes, it's silly and light-hearted and ridiculous but sure, why not? It was free and it even entertained me a little - not least because I think Umberto Fandango is kind of an EXCELLENT name for a comedy fictional fashion designer. Brilliant!...more
Sunday afternoons reading children's books at my mums house are just proper lovely. Today I chose Carbonel about the Prince of Cats and his adventuresSunday afternoons reading children's books at my mums house are just proper lovely. Today I chose Carbonel about the Prince of Cats and his adventures with Rosemary and John to free him from a binding Silent Magic spell so he can reclaim his throne. I'm miserable at the moment but this charming little story put a smile on my face this sunny Autumn day....more
Two stars seems a little bit measly for what was actually a perfectly alright book but I'm reluctant to tick three, somehow. Imagine that I give thisTwo stars seems a little bit measly for what was actually a perfectly alright book but I'm reluctant to tick three, somehow. Imagine that I give this thrilless 'thriller' a two and a half, will you? Just imagine that.
Now imagine a perfect 50% book. Here it is! Despite it being pitched to me as a thriller - which I find incredibly annoying - this story of Norah, a woman with a neck like a lily, some half formed dreams and some long strung out friendships was 5/10 and mildly entertaining. (Even though that horribly rambling sentence I just wrote was quite painful.)
She has one horrible summer - actually, just one bad night at the end of summer which is completely glossed over - with a bad man along with her best-friend-forever Daisy and a new-girl-in-town, Mandy. This doesn't haunt her life but does haunt Daisy FOREVER because she's one of those weird/wimpy peeked-in-high-school married-too-early blonde-and-petite girls. (I am one of those overly-fond-of-the-hyphen girls.) But this one bad night that happens off stage is the crux of the book that everything kind of pivots on, regardless.
Some bad things happen to Norah but mostly nothing happens to her because her life is boring, despite having a movie star best friend. And she lives in fear of being found out, kind of... oh god, I cannot write about this book without giving everything away. I don't want to give it away to you who haven't read it but as soon as you start reading this everything will be incredibly obvious, anyway. It's that kind of book.
It has a happy ending, though (that you can see a mile off.) But some bad things happen on the way, even thought they happen off stage, so to speak. Nothing bad is actually uh, written. Which is annoying. So.
Right, I give up. I'm done with this 'thrilling' review....more
I feel like I'm always reading these quiet sort of semi-tragic novels set deep in Modern Americana, populated by lost lovers and dying dogs and unpredI feel like I'm always reading these quiet sort of semi-tragic novels set deep in Modern Americana, populated by lost lovers and dying dogs and unpredictable weather. I'm attracted to this kind of poetically sad modern fiction for reasons I can never entirely pin down. Maybe because secretly I think of myself as some kind of modern, poetically sad uh, fictional character. Sigh. I can't believe I just admitted that.
Anyway, the point. I had one, I'm sure. Yes: Carry Yourself Back to Me is one of those quite good contemporary fiction books written by women about love and loss. (I'm not trying to be antagonistic here - these books I read like this are always by women.) I read a preview of this on Amazon and liked it enough to pay the 99p or whatever it was to get a Kindle copy. (I'm cheap, I tell you that now.) And I did like this but it was far from love.
The story is about Annie,a singer/songwriter recovering from a breakup and her brother Calder who is arrested for the murder of his lover's husband. This sounds a little dramatic but it's not, really - it's a quiet story that meanders on pleasantly. And it all wraps up in a neat little happy ending. It's one of those books, you know? Full of self-realisation and secrets finally told and ends and beginnings. I liked it well enough.
Also: I really love the name Calder. Calder! It's great. ...more
I am reading these Tiffany Aching books all out of order because that's the kind of person I am, I guess (and because I found #2 at the library and #4I am reading these Tiffany Aching books all out of order because that's the kind of person I am, I guess (and because I found #2 at the library and #4 was the cheapest e-book on Amazon. The kind of person I am is also poor and should stop buying e-books with Amazon one click because it doesn't feel like real money but IT IS.)
Anyway. I liked this one even better than the one I just read - A Hat Full of Sky - although I pretty much loved that one, too. I really can't get to grips with all this kids book stuff: it is not childish in any way. This book features a young woman whose unborn baby is beaten out of her. You don't get that in a Stephanie Meyer book, I can tell you now.
I like Tiffany even more at sixteen than I did when she was younger and this book is populated by lots of wonderful characters besides: Jeannie the kelda, Letitia, Granny Weatherwax, Wee Mad Wullie, Rob Anybody and, of course, Preston - my personal favourite. Ah, Preston.