A very enjoyable book aimed at younger readers but very suitable for older readers who do not mind a child protagonist. The first person story teller...moreA very enjoyable book aimed at younger readers but very suitable for older readers who do not mind a child protagonist. The first person story teller is Kim, whose father is the local doctor in a small rural Australian town somewhere in the middle of nowhere very much.
There is a bush man who is murdered, no one knows by whom, his two children are wild bush children and may have the key to the murder. Eventually they are captured and brought to the doctors house.
That is the outline, the real charm of the book however, are the characters of Kim and Kim's older sister Julia. Their parents, the very Australian town and it's habits all slowly build up a good story. That is what kept me interested throughout.
As a strange side note - despite Kim's gender being mentioned early on as male, I forgot this until after page 100 or so, Kim is a very unformed kind of character which makes him a good vessel to observe the story through.
Also I don't have the pictured edition; my edition is not on goodreads.(less)
An enjoyable fiction; the time is around about now, only there is a time travelling portal in existence. Our leading lady, Kannon, accidentally goes t...moreAn enjoyable fiction; the time is around about now, only there is a time travelling portal in existence. Our leading lady, Kannon, accidentally goes through it while trying to find her mother (having grown up an orphan in mysterious circumstances) and ends up in Rome circa emperor Augustus.
It was nice to read but not gripping. I suppose my main gripe is that given the title of the book I would have expected a little more actual Gladiating. Or indeed anything about the Arena or Gladiators at all because there was practically nothing on the topic. Kannon is meant to be an excellent Aikido marital artist but I think there are three smallish fistfights and that's it. The one time she goes up against a gladiator she chooses to do it unarmed, which I just daft. Yes I know Aiki principles, I practised for a couple of decades, but going up against a dude with a sword and shied, unarmed, by choice is still daft.
In the absence of fighting, the plot concentrates on intrigue, a religious cult and finding mother. The details of Rome a pretty good and the plot mostly hums along nicely, though it is bit stretched out at times, and there is a mystifying amount of running around in the end that could have been better worked however I would still recommend it to readers who like the basic precept.
This vibrant novel was exactly the combination of modern mystery, supernatural, good characters and fast paced action that I was in the mood for!
Our m...moreThis vibrant novel was exactly the combination of modern mystery, supernatural, good characters and fast paced action that I was in the mood for!
Our main character Jo, is on her way home to the US from her mothers funeral in Ireland, when she sees an attack on a woman. She sees this out of the window of a plane coming in to land... I think only a good writer could get you to swallow that story, but it is all part and parcel of the intricate story of Jo. She is a Shaman with powers, all of a sudden, for no reason she knows. She is drawn to use them, but knows nothing about how to go about it or the other worlds and lives she is touching. And she must, really fast catch up on her reading about the Wild Hunt and Herne the Hunter, two subjects she previously had no knowledge of or interest in.
The plot of an ordinary gal/guy suddenly dumped with powers is hardly a new one, the treatment of it however is fresh and thoroughly enjoyable. The secondary characters, for me, rated this novel a whole extra star on their own; a couple of the extra characters a beautifully done, contribute most excellently to the plot line and are thoroughly convincing.
Apparently a début novel, the writing is very tight and exceptionally adept and clear. I will definitely be looking for more from this author. Recommended to anyone one who likes urban fantasy.(less)
A fun little romancy story. After stating it I thought "This is just like a milles and boons, only with vampires" It was only after that I noticed it...moreA fun little romancy story. After stating it I thought "This is just like a milles and boons, only with vampires" It was only after that I noticed it was indeed published by M&B.
The characters were good, the romance was hot and the 'dreadful coil' that one has to have in such a novel was pretty decent.(less)
After many years of trying I have finally completed this book. I loved Daddy long legs and it has always been a sore point that I could not make it th...moreAfter many years of trying I have finally completed this book. I loved Daddy long legs and it has always been a sore point that I could not make it through this book.
It lacks the vibrancy and brilliance that I was hoping for from it. It is manifestly obvious from the start what the result of the romance sub-plot will be, making it less than exciting to follow. The glimpses into a past way of living and doing things are not really enough to keep one interested.
Enough of my winging; it is still a damn fine book that almost one hundred years after it was written is still very readable, very engaging and a fair bit of fun.
Most suited for people who like reading books that were written a long time ago. Our modern notions of equality, class systems, hereditary and mental issues are, well, modern! The way some of these things are represented in Dear Enemy are bound to make any right thinking human shudder so I think it is more suited to people who can see past these small issues to the story beneath.(less)
One of the more interesting urban fantasy style books for younger readers that I have read for a while. The characters and situations are absorbing, w...moreOne of the more interesting urban fantasy style books for younger readers that I have read for a while. The characters and situations are absorbing, well constructed and often intricate. I found this one a real page turner and almost couldn't put it down.
While very much a 'YA' book, due to the youth of the main characters I think the complexity of the world building compares very favourably to many supposedly adult books I have read recently. Though the proficiency and autonomy of the characters, given that they are teenagers, is improbable in the extreme to an adult reader it is just what we crave as teenagers. Aside from this youth and proficiency I can really see not bar to calling this a book for adults. In terms of language, knowledge and introspection the teenagers that make up the majority of the characters compare favourably with many adult characters and real individuals. the fact that they are teens, with the complexity and issues of youth is, I think, dealt with very nicely indeed.
In short; I loved it and I want to read more!(less)
An absorbing reading experience I was completely lost to the vividly described scenes in this book, at times I could almost smell the places, hear the...moreAn absorbing reading experience I was completely lost to the vividly described scenes in this book, at times I could almost smell the places, hear the sounds described.
The scenario is a dystopian one; the world is in the throes of a pandemic and we are in London seeing it through the eyes of a carrier who is herself immune.
Stevie, our leading lady is an interesting character with a strong will and one of the more unique professions I have encountered in works of fiction. Her boyfriend misses a date and then turns up dead in circumstances that could be natural – but Stevie has her doubts and those doubts grow the more she finds out about the medical company he and his friends founded.
By this time people are dying in London by the thousands, the pandemic is raging and no one has time for Stevie’s doubts so she goes out herself to find the truth.
The backdrop of the search is beautifully described and believable image of a London disintegrating into social chaos. The isolation of an individual when normal society crumbles and their ignorance of events around them is well described. Even better described, and also well used as a plot builder, is the window of information the internet represents in this imaginary scenario.
Some of the scenes described are military law on the streets, people partying like there will be no tomorrow – because there won’t be. The backdrop is satisfying enough that Stevie’s tendency to run around the city is forgiveable, though her almost perpetual motion in a plague city sometimes feels frenetic and rather inexplicable. If the descriptions of the city were not so engrossing and compelling I might have been a little impatient with our heroine’s habit of dashing from place to place but as it was I was lost in the descriptions.
A good, interesting book, well researched and easy to read with formidable scene descriptions. I would recommend it to fiction lovers, especially those who like modern dystopian stories with a disease scenario.
Described as a landmark work on the practices of factory farming and environmentalism This was a pretty good book. It is not the first of it’s type th...moreDescribed as a landmark work on the practices of factory farming and environmentalism This was a pretty good book. It is not the first of it’s type that I have read, but it is well done and worth reading the information over and from a different perspective. It would be a great book to introduce an intelligent reader to factory farming concerns, pollution and regulation issues.
This book had the novel approach of introducing the reader to three families and researching the food they would buy and consume on average. It was a good way to introduce the different types of foods, the different types of food production and the different types of practices and ethics that people bring to their dinner table. The three types of families can be summarised as; 1) Mainstream, economically driven household with few food concerns other that basic health. 2) Omnivorous, yet healthy household with awareness of environmental and ethical concerns. 3) Intelligently vegan, strongly ethics driven ideology and research based food consumption.
Most of the book appeared well researched, it was well written and made it's aims and goals for each section clear. The points were made very well and there was no tendency to preach or try and force the reader into a particular belief pattern, at least so I felt.
Chapter seventeen starts tying the practices together with the ‘ethics’ described in the title, particularly the ethics of eating meat. And that was the point where I started becoming actively critical. I have yet to find a book about ethics OR food with which I wholeheartedly agree. Show me such a book and I will (I suspect) show you the face of a stunned mullet. So it is probably unsurprising that I didn't like chapter seventeen since the attempt at a philosophical discussion of ethics struck me as superficial to the point of meaninglessness. This chapter seemed to meander aimlessly with little focus and it often seemed to me at best banal and at times downright silly. I get what the authors are trying to do, it may be effective for someone who is new to reading this type of work, but it was not for me.
The criticisms of small scale farming especially failed to convince: I am pretty sure that it was Thomas Hobbes who claimed that life in nature was nasty, brutish and short, well, so are farms. I know this because I have lived on a few and cruising ones that are genuinely trying to improve modern farming practices in the West annoys me. The authors seem concerned that, no matter what, slaughter of animals may cause those animal’s pain and distress. You reckon...?
The summary of the entirety of the book in chapter eighteen it good, it recaps the points made in the book neatly.
The final section “Food is ethical but you don’t have to be fanatical about it” once again meanders a bit. No, that is too kind; it seems to totally lose the plot. The authors repeatedly claim that in their opinion you don’t have to eat ethically all the time, but seem to criticise those who fail to do so. They appear more concerned with ‘promoting conversations’ with the unknowing that with eating according to your ethics. So I ended up with quite mixed messages about their final summary. At the end of the book is a section about where to find ethical food in Australia which is useful. The very occasional, very brief references to Australia throughout the book were good too, though in general it was about America. (less)
Thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this classic story. It has been ages since I read it and it stands the test of time.
Sure it is aimed at children, but th...moreThoroughly enjoyed re-reading this classic story. It has been ages since I read it and it stands the test of time.
Sure it is aimed at children, but the era in which it was written adds enough spice to it that is it not always as basic a story as one might think a kid's book would be. Jim, the narrrator is childlike sure and the scene is wildly fantastical at times but it is a fun easy read.
Never judge a book by its cover is a lesson that I had learnt about books by the time I was twelve (it took me a little longer to figure it out about...moreNever judge a book by its cover is a lesson that I had learnt about books by the time I was twelve (it took me a little longer to figure it out about boys), but which still trips me up now and then.
“In a Fix” tripped me up in a big way: The back cover described it as ‘bright, fizzy, sexy and amusing.’
I was in a bookshop, in the mood for a slightly romancy, paranormal fantasy and this one had an interesting premise, no vampires or werewolves in sight, instead our main character is a shapeshifter and this caught my interest. The final line of the description mentioned Vikings, so my interest was firmly engaged. At this point I looked at the main cover which had a confident looking young woman staring challengingly at the reader with a HISTORICALLY ACCURATE VIKING HELMET at her feet! I was sold – an actual spangenhelm instead of something silly with horns. The cover art is by Craig White and the cover art is great, sadly the story does not live up to the cover.
First of all the main character, Ciel, is a dependant, annoying, winy moron. She complains constantly that the men in her life (all are of whom are of course, stunningly gorgeous and obsessed by said moron) coddle her and spy on her and interfere with her job. I can’t really blame them as she is a dependent idiot but she seems to be the only occupation they have, which is disturbing. I know she is meant to be funny, I know the ‘girls empty dishwashers boys have careers’ stories are meant to be humorous but I found them insultingly sexist and they leave me cold.
Next problem: There is almost no shape shifting, the premise that interested me in the book to begin with. Shifting mostly occurs only if Ciel is pretending to be someone else and it is usually a precursor to her kissing someone. Occasionally one or another of the multiple gorgeous male shapeshifters shifts into a different male form (also stunningly gorgeous), with the sole apparent intent being to kiss Ciel who in any case kisses him in his normal shape as well. Bewildered much? Yeah, me too.
Just as I was considering giving up (and would have if it had been a library book) Gotland in Sweden is mentioned, and Visby! I was there last year and absolutely I adored it, so I hung in there until Ciel reached Visby. Well, one of the most lovely places I have ever visited is barely mentioned, hardly described at all, it could have been anywhere since we spent the whole time in Ciels mind, (which I have to agree with the cover description, is pretty fizzy). In fairness, one of the very rare paragraphs which talks about anything except Ciel does describe a Visby sunset – some of the most stunning sunsets I have seen anywhere got a paragraph. Yay.
So, yes, where are the Vikings? Good question, in fact there are no Vikings. The author probably does not know this however as she does not seem to realise that twenty first century Swedish men are not Vikings, they are Swedes. We do visit the annual week long, medieval festival that Visby hosts and in which Vikings can usually be seen. Unfortunately the festival is pretty much ignored by the narrative except as a reason to dress Ciel and her Swedish captors in tenth century garb and I don’t see why she bothered, it was barely a plot element.
The main problem I had with this book is that without liking Ciel the story is impossible to like. The author clearly adores her and the whole story is %100 Ciel, there is not a single page, barely a single paragraph that is not all about her or seen from her depressingly self absorbed, childishly idiotic view point. At one point I wondered if this was meant to be a young adult book because it has high levels of immaturity throughout.
Billed as “a sexy romp” it completely disappoints. I found it about as sexy as date rape. Males consistently condescending to and demeaning women are not sexy to my way of thinking even if the female is a moron and deserves to be condescended to. The repetitious kissing, wondering if she should have kissed him, wondering if she should kiss someone else, wondering what he thought about her kissing him... It is all awkwardly childish, at times quite prudish, and not remotely sexy. This adds to the YA feel though most YA books are much, much more adept at describing sex.
I sound like a critical bitch don’t I? Well here is a sop; the author is exceptionally skilled at character creation and description. She has a deft, light ability to quickly sketch a character which remains distinct in the mind of the reader and that is no small skill. Side characters with barely a mention were instantly recognisable in the text. And I did not enjoy this book and did not read a lot of it at a time so that is pretty impressive. Sadly this is not enough to make Ciel bearable or the book enjoyable. I resent the $18.95 spent on this novel; I hope some of it makes it back to Craig White who did the cover art, the only part of this book worth paying for. (less)
I was surprised to see that PD James had written an Austin chaser. While James is not an author I am very familiar with, based on her other books, she...moreI was surprised to see that PD James had written an Austin chaser. While James is not an author I am very familiar with, based on her other books, she would not have been an obvious pick for writing a Pride an Prejudice (P&P) chaser, at least for me.
For the first couple of dozen pages we get a brief précis of the events from P&P, not badly done at all, even for someone like me who is almost word perfect on the text. We then are treated to a situation report on the marriage and Pemberley, six years from last we heard. At this point a small discomfort that I have previously had with this author materialises again: some of the writing seems very... patriarchal. This materialises in small -tiny even- ways but it still discomforts me I can talk it away as possibly a generation thing, gender attitudes change after all, but still, uncomfortable.
By page forty Jane is introduced into the text and while I feel that James dealt with Lizzie’s character reasonably well (at least to begin with) she never seemed able to encompass Jane’s character. All "Jane's" utterances were wooden and unbelievable, no James, it is not enough to re-use phrases and words that Austin used; that does not make Jane come to life.
Now, having finished the book, I am overall not impressed. The crime and trial are interesting; this is obviously where PD James’ skill lies. The historical parts though are often jarring and the attempts to recreate Austin’s style are heavy, laborious and clumsy. Constantly using Austin phrases such as ‘fine eyes’ and ‘pollution of Pemberley’ is a tactic that by the end was just making me wince every time it was used, usually out of context. The characters degrade as the text progresses; they become more and more wooden and superficial.
James makes a couple of interpretive leaps from P&P to D&P that are a bit bewildering, such as Lizzie being bitter with Charlotte over a rumour, they bewildered me in any case as I could not see the point of them.
Historically – James is a very experienced author, I am sure she researched before writing, but there were so many details that made no historical sense to me, some that I just do not think can be accurate. I am no authority of course, but many details were unconvincing to me as a reader who reads a lot of historical fiction and also non-fiction.
In summary; I only finished it because I own it, hate leaving books unfinished and had a mild curiosity to see how it resolved. I was sorry not to like this book and I think I might have been able to like it if it had not purported to be about the characters from P&P. The most enjoyment I got from the story was when I managed to overlook who it was meant to be about for a few pages. (less)
A fascinating, beautifully written story based on the legend of Typhoid Mary.
In this book Mary is an immigrant to New York in the nineteenth century....moreA fascinating, beautifully written story based on the legend of Typhoid Mary.
In this book Mary is an immigrant to New York in the nineteenth century. She arrived on a ship devastated by plague without being sick. She is a carrier in an era where medicine is primitive by our standards and carriers are not recognised. She strives to make a living in her new home, as a cook. She has a passion for cooking that is very unfortunate for a Typhoid carrier.
That is the plot outline, but it was the deft writing, the excellent character creation and development, the descriptive powers that made this book excellent. It also sets the scene of eighteenth century New York beautifully and I enjoyed ever moment of reading this story. (less)
I am reviewing for 1 -3 in this series. Number one on it's own would probably got only two stars.
It pains me to rate anything at all related to Philip...moreI am reviewing for 1 -3 in this series. Number one on it's own would probably got only two stars.
It pains me to rate anything at all related to Philip K Dick as less than awesome but this trade was only just ok.
Artwork: The almost monochromatic, very digital style graphics suited the subject matter but was overall more than a bit grim. Numbers two and three improved, with more variation allowing for the story to low a bit better and to really use the strengths of graphic images to enhance the story, but that artistic fluidity was lacking in the first novel.
I will say though, the cover art and the whole page art such as chapter starters, was brilliant and I could have done with more of it.
Text: Seems to be word for word PKD's text and while there are strengths to that (Don't you hate it when they cut your favourite bit) it is a bit redundant at times. After all, the point of a graphic novel is that the graphics are there to SHOW you what the text would otherwise have to implant in your mind. For example, "He pondered, plucking at his disarrayed beard"! Why do you need those words in front of an image plucking at his beard?
Anyway, it was ok. If they appear in front of me I will read the rest of them but I will not go seeking it past number three, which I already have.(less)
I find it is hard to describe exactly what this book is about: It is set in a small, moderately isolated town on the coast of Tasmaina, a while ago, n...moreI find it is hard to describe exactly what this book is about: It is set in a small, moderately isolated town on the coast of Tasmaina, a while ago, not that distant, not that near. And both the time and place are deftly described and are a large part of the enjoyment I got from this book.
The main characters are three brothers, Harry is the youngest, Miles a little older, tries to take care of him, Joe the oldest has moved out of home to live with his grandfather. The boys mother is dead and her absence is part of the narration of the story. Their father is a taciturn, harsh figure, abusive and desolate. He is an abalone diver and he and is boat are part of the narrative. Despite everything, the father comes across as a real person not just an archetypical bad guy, which is impressive writing.
The other character, narrative and central player is the ocean upon and beside which the people of the story live. On which the father a Miles go to make their living, where Joe and Miles surf to be free from the rest of life, upon which Joe plans to escape in the boat he built. The descriptions of the ocean mesmerise.
It is not a happy ending book, some might consider it depressing, but the feeling one walks away with as one finishes it is a feeling of a powerful story, well told.(less)