I have withheld reading any in-depth descriptions or reviews of The Night Circus. I had read bits and pieces of an extended sample and after a noticin...moreI have withheld reading any in-depth descriptions or reviews of The Night Circus. I had read bits and pieces of an extended sample and after a noticing (not reading...yet!) a recent review on my Goodreads home page I remembered to reserve it at the library. If I had read more about the book I doubt I would have read the book. I'm not intrigued by circuses or illusions. The cover art didn't grab me. I do like historical fiction though. It was after my daughter sped through it and pronounced it "wonderful" that I knew I would give it a chance.
I don't think The Night Circus would fill the requirements for those seeking a plot-driven book. I thought of it kind of like a colorful illustration done on a long and winding walkway that I was compelled to follow; narrated by a magical voice. Everything but that walkway was dark and there were no other sounds but that enchanting narration. Once I got into the rhythm (the alternating timeline of the chapters) and felt captivated by the characters I was hooked. This is a very visual story which could have easily been without a soul. I believe Erin Morgenstern kept the two aspects balanced beautifully. What an ingenious read! (less)
After reading three lovely works of literature I was more than ready to dive into the latest Temperance Brennan mystery. I really do enjoy this series...moreAfter reading three lovely works of literature I was more than ready to dive into the latest Temperance Brennan mystery. I really do enjoy this series and have since reading the first book in 1998. I find Kathy Reichs' "bare bones" descriptions of things to suit me well. Flash and Bones was a very quick (a few hours) read, and, as usual, reaching her suspenseful chapter endings sent me directly to the next. Unlike the Temperance Brennan in the television series, the older Tempe in the books is no slouch when it comes to pop culture references. Although she doesn't know much about NASCAR, which plays a rather large part in this book, other characters in-the-know explain it succinctly to her. Not being a NASCAR follower myself I appreciated the abbreviated explanations (education) greatly. She references music, books, movies, and technology by name, which alludes to her awareness of a world outside of her work. I very much enjoy Temperance's internal (often snide) comebacks, and the way she works through questions and case evidence to put the pieces into place. There are some light moments introduced into the story by Tempe's soon-to-be ex-husband's new fiancee. Andrew Ryan and Tempe have only minimal contact via phone and email in this book. However, a rather hunky ex-cop seems to have revved Tempe's engine and caused her heart to go flip-flop. Wonder what's going to happen there. I can't wait to find out!(less)
Lethal is the 53rd book I've read by Sandra Brown. I was so into it I thought I had been reading it for two days. Come to find out, I only started it...moreLethal is the 53rd book I've read by Sandra Brown. I was so into it I thought I had been reading it for two days. Come to find out, I only started it yesterday afternoon! Talk about an engrossing read!
The one thing I missed with this book was any sign of the Louisiana dialect. Sure, it's stated the story takes place in Louisiana and there are plenty of geographical mentions, but I wanted the characters to read like they're from Louisiana. You know what I mean? Sandra has done it before (Slow Heat in Heaven comes to mind). I wonder why not in this one? (A little hint here and there would have been nice.) There are plenty of twists and turns, and I couldn't settle on what characters could be fully trusted. I felt most of Honor's reactions came across realistically. Emily was adorable! Lee Coburn acted a little "sociopathic" for my tastes, but he was amendable with Honor and Emily's influence. I had a inkling who The Bookkeeper might be in chapter 34, but WOW what an exciting reveal!
Oh, the ending...not the tidily wrapped up one we might hope for, but we know what happens, don't we? (less)
What an easy breezy read! I really do LOVE Nora's books. If I had to pick the ONE thing that makes Nora my favorite author it would be the dialog she...moreWhat an easy breezy read! I really do LOVE Nora's books. If I had to pick the ONE thing that makes Nora my favorite author it would be the dialog she writes for her characters - whether it be spoken between friends, siblings, parent and child, it blows me away every time! I can't help being drawn into the tight knit circle of amazing characters. In this book, the first of the new Inn Boonsboro trilogy, it's the Montgomery family and several remarkable women. This is Beckett and Claire's story. Of course there is chemistry between them, but there is so much more...some of the "more" being her three young sons; Harry, Liam, and Murphy. Beckett is one of three boys. When he is with Claire's boys it's chaotic and messy and loud (all things I detest in real life) and I want to be there to experience that bond. When Claire is dealing with the day-to-day stuff: meals, playtime, homework, baths, unending questions, I want to be the friend who is welcome in her life. When Justine Montgomery is talking with Beckett about him taking his time asking Claire out I laughed out loud. Just as I did when Beckett was "babysitting" the boys the first time. Claire's epiphany that lead to the title of the book is perfect! This book was filled with so many magical moments, and I'm not even referring to the ghost!
The fact that the location, Boonsboro, is real and that Nora and her family own the businesses whose names are used in the book, had me wondering...at first. The more I read, the more I believed this probably helped Nora portray this town, the businesses, the characters even more vividly than is her norm. This place is her home. (I've been to Boonsboro several times...I REALLY want to return.) These characters are SO remarkable. (I am anxious to spend more time with them in the next two books.)
Six months. We have to wait six months for Owen and Avery's story in The Last Boyfriend. Eager? Yes. But, I also know it will be worth the wait...they always are!
Yes, I very much liked this book, but more importantly, after reading it I find myself even more enamored of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. I...moreYes, I very much liked this book, but more importantly, after reading it I find myself even more enamored of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. I think this is a true testament to how beautifully Susan Mason-Milks crafted this "what if" version of Pride and Prejudice. I purchased it on a whim, which is so unlike me. I am so pleased I made that impulsive decision. To be able to spend so much time with Lizzy and Darcy was heavenly! I so loved being privy to what each was thinking and why they made the choices they did. Although I found it beautifully written I felt it was thankfully "modernized" to a degree. That allowed me to follow the story more easily instead of struggling with the words, as I did when I read the original work several years ago.
There were several passages I highlighted, but this one made me praise Darcy for his insight...
When Darcy entered the sitting room, Elizabeth was standing at the window. Crossing the room in a few quick steps, he put his arms around his wife. It was something he was learning to do when she was out of sorts. At first, he has tried offering solutions to her problem and he could not understand why this sometimes made her even more upset. Finally, he discovered quite by accident that simply putting his arms around her and listening was all that was generally required.
I believe I was looking for a comical mystery in the league of the Stephanie Plum books. Although I feel it is not the same caliber of fun the Plum se...moreI believe I was looking for a comical mystery in the league of the Stephanie Plum books. Although I feel it is not the same caliber of fun the Plum series is, it was good enough for me to finish. There were a few lines of dialog that were cleverly "cute" and some of the characters were fairly genuine. Many were too over-the-top eccentric for my tastes, but others were likable enough. The mystery was on the light side, and an obviously unpleasant character turned out to be the murderer. So, not much of a whodunit. The Island culture and language felt like a friendly character making appearances throughout the book. All in all it was a cute bit of fluff but not a total bust. (less)
Butchers Hill is the third in the Tess Monaghan series, but the fourth I've read. I gave up trying to read them in order as it requires too much coord...moreButchers Hill is the third in the Tess Monaghan series, but the fourth I've read. I gave up trying to read them in order as it requires too much coordinating with two libraries to do so. I find Tess to be a complex character with simple needs. She seems to believe in doing the right thing, but doesn't hesitate to lie to get what she wants - answers and results. She has a newly opened office and two new clients. Neither client was completely forthright with Tess but she perseveres. Both cases made for fascinating reading and the conclusion was completely unexpected. (less)
I found this eleventh in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series to be much more to my liking than the previous book, Dead in the Family. Some o...moreI found this eleventh in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series to be much more to my liking than the previous book, Dead in the Family. Some of the things that pleased me in the book:
I appreciated that Sookie, in the midst of this unbelievably harrowing life she leads, worried about things like being a good hostess, keeping up her family home, and exhibiting compassion for those deserving of it.
Sookie's inner dialog was great! Her exclamation of "Irrelevant!" following silly thoughts, especially during times of peril, was hilarious!
I know Bill "done her wrong", but darn it, I like the Southern Gentleman part of his character...it's what's left of his humanity.
I admired Sookie for being responsible ("taking care of business") - giving Sam the money and preparing for the baby shower before the "big showdown".
I am fond of the author's characters, Lily Bard and Jack Leeds, from her Shakespeare Series, and was pleased they made a brief cross-over appearance.
Continuity issues may have "ruined" the book for other readers, but with my inability to remember such detail, this didn't bother me much.
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not seeking a strong plot in these books. I am looking to be diverted when I read a Sookie Stackhouse book, and I feel, in that area, Dead Reckoning accomplished it quite well.(less)
To begin, an explanation. This book was published in late 2008 and is the third in the Sign of Seven Trilogy. I read the first book, Blood Brothers, t...moreTo begin, an explanation. This book was published in late 2008 and is the third in the Sign of Seven Trilogy. I read the first book, Blood Brothers, the month it was released, and the second book, The Hollow, six months after its release date. I purchased The Pagan Stone two months after it was released and only just this month read it. That's two and a half years! Subconsciously I must have been aware that this is not my favorite Nora Roberts trilogy, but because I consider Nora my "wanna-read-almost-anytime-author" I stuck it out. I did read several chapters in early 2009 before setting it aside hoping for the "right mood". So, either I still wasn't in the proper mood for this particular book or I am just flatly disappointed. I think it's the latter. Of the 90 books I've read by Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, this is only the second I rated less than 3 stars. Sure, there are tight friendships, devoted families, crackerjack dialog, and steamy chemistry. Nora always delivers in those areas. In general, I'm not all that thrilled with her paranormal stuff. This series, and especially, this book, just seemed over-the-top. The whole unearthly aspect of the story - the visions, blood (lots and lots of blood), the parallels between Ann Hawkins and the three heroines (Quinn, Layla, and Cybil)... Then there was the research, charts, hypothesizing...
Regarding Gage and Cybil - I did appreciate the gradual building of their feelings; the acceptance that they would pursue a relationship for their reasons, and not because it was "obvious" they should.
The idea that a specific trio of men and a specific trio of women are all perfect for each other is the basis of a successful romantic trilogy. Of course, it's a highly unlikely fantasy, but it's that defying-all-odds amour that makes them fun, right? I think because this series dealt with the supernatural that usual ending wasn't "good enough"? There was an absurd synchronous twist connecting the women beyond their incredible sisterly closeness and their improbably "perfect" relationships with the heroes. That twist alone further convinced me that more is not always better. Sometimes it's just too much.
I consider this atypical of Nora's consistently amazing "reads" and, like always, look forward to being captivated by her next. (less)
If The Restorer is indicative of Amanda Stevens' previous books I regret not having read her before. From the opening line to the epilogue I found her...moreIf The Restorer is indicative of Amanda Stevens' previous books I regret not having read her before. From the opening line to the epilogue I found her writing style extremely pleasing and all of her characters intriguing. I didn't feel overwhelmed by the supernatural aspect of the story - rather, I felt it enhanced the more literal goings on. The style in which she concluded each chapter made for a veritable page turner. I didn't want to stop reading! I was extremely impressed by the authors' knowledge of cemeteries, burial customs, and technology. The dialog was completely believable and several well delivered lines elicited chuckles from me. I encountered no lulls in the story and no excessive explanations. The plot is highly compelling and definitely eerie. I was enthralled with Amelia's narration and her plausible reactions. The character of John Devlin could easily have been overly romanticized. Indeed he was not. He was complex and captivating.
The second installment in The Graveyard Queen series, The Kingdom, is due to be released in April 2012. The third, The Prophet, in May 2012. Having just finished this amazing first in the series that seems like an excessively long time to have to wait. (less)
Although not as amazing to me as the previous book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone is nonetheless historically dramatic, heart-wrench...moreAlthough not as amazing to me as the previous book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone is nonetheless historically dramatic, heart-wrenching, and romantic. The unsettling and suspenseful ending has me wanting to read the excerpts and quotes shared by Diana Gabaldon from Book Eight. What a journey! (less)
I still haven't read any reviews of A Visit from the Goon Squad. The decision to order it through Interlibrary Loan came after its being chosen for th...moreI still haven't read any reviews of A Visit from the Goon Squad. The decision to order it through Interlibrary Loan came after its being chosen for the first Goodreads Book Club Selection. Winning the Pulitzer for Fiction offered me further incentive to give it a try. It's usually after reading the synopsis that I research a previously unread author further.
I had to push myself to finish this book. The things that were probably considered inventive and unique by the critics and Pulitzer Jury (shifting time periods and characters in each chapter) left me looking for depth and explanations. The entire book felt disjointed. I wanted, after reading each chapter, to have the puzzle pieces fit together cleanly. I wanted to feel something for the characters. When done I wanted to feel relieved that I finished the book. I'm not relieved but in some small way I'm glad it didn't end up on my "did-not-finish" shelf.
I don't know about anyone else but I really could have used introductions (mini-biographies) to the characters. Something that would have helped me identify with the them enough to know whose chapter I was reading. I had to start chapters over several times to get into the right frame of mind and to understand what decade I was in.
I found little joy or promise. The glimpse into the future was disturbing. I'd hoped that I would be intrigued by the musical inspirations, but I can't say that's the case...until the end that is. Bennie came through for Scotty. Scotty wowed the crowd. Bennie and Alex remembered Sasha fondly in spite of her "sticky fingers". These things prevented the book from ending on a sour note. Thank goodness.
I found it heavy on confusing dialog, but felt returning to Scarpetta's point of view was its saving grace. It was a complex story line with seemingly unrelated things ultimately being connected. There was a number of very clever lines of dialog and I enjoyed Kay's interaction with the Greyhound, Sock.
I will give the current Scarpetta novel, Red Mist, a try and be hopeful that I find it interesting enough to finish as well. (less)
It was on my wish list for TWO YEARS so there were unrealistic expectations that I couldn't help. (It better be perfect for how long we're having to w...moreIt was on my wish list for TWO YEARS so there were unrealistic expectations that I couldn't help. (It better be perfect for how long we're having to wait!) The companion guides I've read/browsed have collectively not been page turners. I was concerned that there wouldn't be anything new to discover in the guide when it was finally released. After all, like other 'Twi-hards' I've read innumerable articles both in print and on the Internet. I've watched tons of interviews on television, on the DVDs, and online. I have to say I am only minimally disappointed. The book is marked by scores of colorful Post-It Flags. A testament to all the Twilight Trivia introduced to me in this eagerly awaited book. Hooray! The book is beautiful to look at from the glossy black cover and familiar font to the bright white paper. I was looking for more elegant illustrations, but the graphics are pleasing enough. My favorite sections were the Cullen and human biographies, Key Plot Points, and Inspirations.
Now that I'm done my daughter can read it. She's been waiting like "forever", which translates to the twenty-five days I've had my bookmark in it. (less)
Silent Mercy is my 10th Alexandra Cooper Mystery and just like with the others I found the historical parts quite interesting. The story moves along a...moreSilent Mercy is my 10th Alexandra Cooper Mystery and just like with the others I found the historical parts quite interesting. The story moves along at a good pace. The team of Alex, Mike, and Mercer is a strong one. They get the job done! The search and capture of the "clergy killer" was uniquely riveting. My main complaint with this series is how discourteous Mike is to Alex. He belittles her to just about everyone and she just takes it in stride. I'd really like to see that stop! (less)
It took me two weeks to finish this small book. I was continually being distracted by other things. I can't say if that was completely due to the book...moreIt took me two weeks to finish this small book. I was continually being distracted by other things. I can't say if that was completely due to the book's not holding my interest or that I subconsciously wanted a break from reading or I simply assigned a higher priority to those other things. It's not like I don't find some fantasy intriguing but I seemed to have more difficulty with the quirky "magic" the characters in The Sugar Queen had versus the other two Sarah Addison Allen books I read: Garden Spells and The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I'm not going to offer any spoilers I just feel these mystical occurrences distracted me from the human emotions and kept me from feeling a strong literary attachment to the characters. I did find the story imaginative and original, just not enough to rate it any higher. (less)
Right from the beginning I was engulfed (sorry for the puns) by this book. Initially I felt a little lost in the all consuming world of the smoke jump...moreRight from the beginning I was engulfed (sorry for the puns) by this book. Initially I felt a little lost in the all consuming world of the smoke jumpers - I'm still not sure about some of the abbreviations and lingo used in the book. However, the fires are not the reason to read this book - the people are. The tight knit group whose very lives depend on each other. The deep and trusting friendships are in direct correlation to the dangerous job these people live. It's all or nothing with the lot of them. That means an extremely passionate read on several levels. The amazing character interaction and dialog, which is Nora's specialty in my book, is intensified by the inherent danger signaled by the siren. I found Rowan a little too tough before "seeing" her in action. She's knowledgeable and highly respected among her peers. Gulliver is her perfect match in every way. Together the sparks fly and just maybe, Gull has replaced Tucker Longstreet (Carnal Innocence) as my favorite of Nora's heroes. I had a feeling who was stirring up trouble and why. Nora ably kept me wondering about that feeling until the end before finishing it so well! (The perfect ending other than not knowing what happened to a secondary character whose life was hanging in the balance!) [Originally read 04/25/2011](less)
The Girl Who Chased the Moon is the second book I've read by Sarah Addison Allen and I favored it slightly over the first - Garden Spells. I was intri...moreThe Girl Who Chased the Moon is the second book I've read by Sarah Addison Allen and I favored it slightly over the first - Garden Spells. I was intrigued by the small town family secrets...the mysteries, which felt more organic than those formulated for 'whodunnit' mysteries. It was all about the why and not so much about the who, what, or when. I was quite captivated by this "fable" and its main characters: Julia, Emily, Win, and Sawyer. There were several particularly beautiful passages I wish to highlight. Quite an enchanting read! (less)