A woman spends a couple of summers in a small town on the coast of Maine. She becomes a part of the everyday life thanks to her garrulous landlady andA woman spends a couple of summers in a small town on the coast of Maine. She becomes a part of the everyday life thanks to her garrulous landlady and becomes privy to many of the residents' life stories.
I read this back in college and loved it so much that I still have my copy from that class. I decided to re-read it when my husband and I visited the coast of Maine last month. I might love it even more now.
The narrator, who remains unnamed, is accepted in this tightly-knit community, but she's still enough of an outsider that she's able to see how special it is. The locals just know it as home. They don't exactly take it for granted but they don't realize that it's combination of beautiful scenery, caring neighbors, and colorful personalities make it unique.
This novella consists of many smaller stories and a host of characters that come to life in the pages. The old sea captain who still mourns his wife. The sweet, elderly mother who shines so brightly with an internal radiance that everyone who meets her loves her. The shy older brother with his own, unsuspected story. The woman who is the Queen's twin. The tragic hermit, living alone on her island. No one gets very many pages but I loved them all.
The scenery is described perfectly, and, now that I think about it, may have sparked my desire to visit Maine. Reading it while I was there made it all the more special.
This is a quiet book and won't appeal to everyone. There's not a lot that actually happens. Readers looking to escape to a simpler place and time will love it. I suspect that L. M. Montgomery's grownup readers will be fans of Sarah Orne Jewett....more
Quite a few years have passed since we last checked in with the Penderwicks. Rosalind is now a freshman in college, Skye is a high school senior, JaneQuite a few years have passed since we last checked in with the Penderwicks. Rosalind is now a freshman in college, Skye is a high school senior, Jane's driving, Batty's in fifth grade, Ben's in second, and there's a new sister, Lydia, who's only two. The focus has shifted to the younger Penderwick siblings, especially Batty. Batty's not having such a great spring. She lost someone important to her over the winter, and she feels responsible. Then she overhears a conversation between Skye and Jeffrey that leaves her questioning everything she knew about her family, and especially her mother's death.
This book got a little dark! I was surprised! The Penderwicks have always had their childhood troubles but as an adult listening, they don't seem insurmountable to me. My heart ached for Batty now. Poor thing. She's always been the baby of the family, so I guess I'm used to thinking of her that way. I had a hard time thinking of her as a big ten-year-old. Little four-year-old Batty! With her butterfly wings! I was upset by the loss she'd experienced and it didn't get better from there. Even their beloved neighbor, Nick, has gone off to war. These are things that kids are experiencing nowadays, it just took me by surprise in a series that's been fairly light-hearted to this point.
That said, it is still the Penderwicks and all does come right in the end. Whew! It was so nice to see the girls a little older. They're still very much themselves. It felt like I was checking in with some dear friends. I laughed and cheered and mourned with them, as you should in the very best books.
As always, Susan Denaker's narration is perfect.
I won't say more since this is getting pretty late in the series and I don't want to give away more spoilers. If you haven't read this charming series, correct that now. I recommend it as a modern classic....more
I don't know whether I feel like I just made three new best friends or if I just lost them. This was one of those books where I truly felt like I wasI don't know whether I feel like I just made three new best friends or if I just lost them. This was one of those books where I truly felt like I was part of the characters' lives, if only for a little while. I didn't want it to end.
Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean have been best friends since high school, when they earned the nickname, "The Supremes." Now that they're "women of a certain age," they're still fast friends--practically family--but they've hit a period of change. Odette, like her mother before her, has started seeing dead people. Clarice is getting tired of her husband of 40 years running around. Barbara Jean is as beautiful as ever, but is she strong enough to make a fresh start?
I can't quite say that I cried with these amazing women, although that was a close thing a time or two, but I definitely laughed with them, rejoiced with them, worried with them, and felt like I was living with them.
Odette is strong like the sycamore tree she was born in. She generally says what she thinks and gives everyone else their marching orders. The other Supremes and her husband James see that she has a gigantic heart under all that bullying though. One scene when she was a teenager facing down Barbara Jean's abusive stepfather had me laughing 'til I cried--on my way to work! I am not a morning person in any way, shape, or form. To be laughing at that hour of the day is pretty much unheard of.
Clarice can be a bit snobbish, but she's getting better as she gets a little older and wiser. She's been handicapped to be that way by her awful Mama. As she's growing, she's leaving her Mama's shadow behind, becoming her own woman, and finding her way to the life she really wants to live. I had to cheer for her.
Barbara Jean has had it rough from the beginning. She's experience more loss than anyone should ever have to experience. It's left her wounded and making decisions that aren't necessarily in her best interest. But she's a sweet soul who would do anything for anybody. She's the peacemaker of the group and always has been. She's just gotten to a point where she's tired.
The novel follows a year in their lives and flashes back into the past to some of the high points and a lot of the lows that they got each other through. Their friendship just felt incredibly real.
I mostly enjoyed the narration by Adenrele Ojo and Pamela D'Pella. I don't know who read which part, but the narrator who read Clarice's section was great. The one who read Odette's sounded a bit too much like she was just reading the text to me, rather than narrating, but when she read dialog, she really came to life. I'm also not clear why there were only two narrators in a book featuring three female points-of-view.
This is just a feel-good book that has left me sorely missing The Supremes. I'm glad for the time I got to spend with them though. Highly recommended. Thanks to Christina at Reading Extensively for bringing it to my attention....more
Now that the immediate danger to Camp Jupiter has been averted, Percy, Jason, and friends must set out to fulfill the Prophecy of Seven. UnfortunatelyNow that the immediate danger to Camp Jupiter has been averted, Percy, Jason, and friends must set out to fulfill the Prophecy of Seven. Unfortunately, there was a...misunderstanding... in the camp and the friends must also dodge the Roman soldiers who are hunting for them. Gaea is coming more fully awake and her sons are posing an even bigger threat. The gods are losing their minds as they morph between their Greek and Roman counterparts. Athena charges Annabeth with following the Mark of Athena and returning something the original Romans stole thousands of years ago. In other words, this is just another adventure for a group of demigods.
I just love this series. It's got a lot of humor, a lot of heart, great characters, a little romance now that they're all older, and nonstop action--anything a reader could ask for. I listen with a huge grin on my face. Joshua Swanson's narration is absolutely perfect. I can't imagine anyone else reading these now. (Although I seem to remember that someone else did narrate The House of Hades.)
My one complaint is that seven demigods is almost too many to follow in one book. Don't get me wrong--I love them all and want to know what's going on with everyone. But as far as quality time? There wasn't much of it with anyone, especially the Romans. This one is told pretty much exclusively from the Greeks' point of view. Maybe it will even out with the Romans in the next one?
I can't wait to see what the next installment brings, especially since this one ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. If you enjoy Rick Riordan's books, you won't be disappointed with this one....more
The Penderwicks are going in different directions for two weeks. Mr. Penderwick, Iantha, and Ben are heading off to England; Rosalind is going to NewThe Penderwicks are going in different directions for two weeks. Mr. Penderwick, Iantha, and Ben are heading off to England; Rosalind is going to New Jersey with a friend; and the remaining three Penderwicks are going to Maine with Aunt Claire. This arrangement leaves Skye as the OAP--Oldest Available Penderwick--and she is not happy about it. She's not used to keeping her sisters out of trouble! When they arrive, they love the little house they're staying in and even their next-door neighbor--but not his dog, Hoover. But who does neighbor Alec remind them of?
I love this series. It's just so innocently fun! The girls are funny but caring, as are their circle of friends. Girls in their "tween" years should love these books as well.
This installment was just as much fun as all the others. I missed having Rosalind around but without her guidance, the three younger Penderwicks had that many more adventures. Moose- and golf ball hunting, encounters with neighborhood boys, minor injuries, heartbreak, hurt pride, there's a little bit of something for everyone here.
I loved seeing Skye grow into her role as OAP. She gets off to a rocky start but the others have faith in her even when she doesn't have faith in herself.
I was completely surprised by the turn this book took! I thought it was going in one direction and all of a sudden it blindsided me with incredible revelations! I was driving along listening to this and talking to myself, I was so surprised.
I love Susan Denaker's narration of this series. She has voices for characters which are distinct enough that I'm able to follow along but they aren't distracting. She speaks clearly and its almost as if she's smiling throughout her whole narration, its just that homey.
I highly recommend this for any young girls out there and for girls who are only young at heart....more
Life hasn't been easy for Dan Torrance since the events of The Shining. Now that he's an adult, his shining has faded a little but it's still too muchLife hasn't been easy for Dan Torrance since the events of The Shining. Now that he's an adult, his shining has faded a little but it's still too much for him to handle. Following in his father's footsteps, he's turned to alcohol to escape from his problems. He eventually hits his bottom and tries to turn his life around. He ends up in a small town in New Hampshire, where he senses a girl with a shining even bigger than his own. But a sinister group called The True Knot have sensed her as well and they know they would feast off the "steam" she would release if they could just get their hands on her to torture her to death. Dan and little Abra, with the help of a few friends, must find a way to defeat The True Knot and keep them from feeding off children with the shining.
It's been 10+ years since I've read The Shining or watched the movie so I can't address how well Doctor Sleep compares to it.
But I can tell you that I loved this book.
My one complaint is that it does feel a bit as if it's meandering at times. It took a very long time to even bring Abra into the story.
Eventually though, all of those little "tangents" tie into the bigger scheme of things. As the story twisted and I realized exactly how things were fitting together, I would just laugh out loud sometimes. Not because the story was funny but because I was delighted that King was taking me in directions that I did not see coming at all. That's starting to feel like a rare thing for me to find in an author. The book was much stronger for it as well.
I liked all the characters here or I hated them, but man, oh, man, I loved Abra. She was so fierce. I started telling my husband about her and he just interrupted me and said, "You're loving her, right? You always love that kind of girl." And yes, I was loving her, and yes, I always love those strong female characters. Abra was scared when she should have been scared but she sure as hell wasn't going to sit back and just let The True Knot take her. She fought back in ways that shocked them and me. I absolutely adored her.
Go out and read this one. I think you'll adore her too....more
Jacky Faber finds herself working for the Royal Navy again after being mistakenly pressed into service. The ship she finds herself on is in bad shape,Jacky Faber finds herself working for the Royal Navy again after being mistakenly pressed into service. The ship she finds herself on is in bad shape, with a sick, evil captain who reigns with an iron fist and who has let his boat and his crew get into bad shape. Nothing can keep Jacky down for long though and she's soon making friends and plans in equal measure.
I cannot express how much I love listening to Katherine Kellgren narrate this series. She doesn't hold anything back and narrates in a larger-than-life tone that is completely in keeping with Jacky's character. Kellgren sounds like she is having the time of her life reading these books and that makes me love them all the more.
I would love them anyway because Jacky is such a great character. Why do we tend to love girls who dress up as boys and live the life they want? I probably just answered my own question. She's loyal and fierce and sly and intelligent and greedy and too big for her britches. She's a big mess of contradictions and that makes her feel so darn real.
My one complaint about this book is that we have to travel down the road of an older man trying to prey on attractive young Jacky again. It's a different man, but, really. Teenage girls of any era do have things to worry about other than lecherous old men trying to have their way with them. It didn't take up as much of the book as I was afraid it would but as soon as it came up I rolled my eyes and thought, "Here we go again."
Jaimy is starting to get on my nerves too. He's as fussy and as much of a stickler for the rules as a prissy old maid. I forget what Jacky see in him. He only sees the woman that Jacky could have been if her early years had been different, not the impetuous, ambitious ragamuffin that she actually is.
Other than that, this book was full of adventure, drama, suspense, and laughs. It is everything that a good story should be.
This series is a blast and girls who can see the appeal of living life on your own terms will love it. I highly, highly recommend trying it out on audio....more
Fermín Romero de Torres is finally getting married. He's got one problem though--he's living under an assumed name. He has absolutely no proof that heFermín Romero de Torres is finally getting married. He's got one problem though--he's living under an assumed name. He has absolutely no proof that he legally exists. How is he supposed to get married without all the paperwork to prove that he is whom he says he is? As he explains this to Daniel Sempere, his history is finally explained in more detail, as well as his tie to David Martín, hero of The Angel's Game.
Eh. It was better than The Angel's Game but still a long way from The Shadow of the Wind. I love Fermín, so I enjoyed delving into his story, painful as that was. But the plot felt like filler between books. It feels like there has to be a fourth book in this loose series and The Prisoner of Heaven is just a placeholder. There were some revelations that clarified a few points and set up some definite conflict for future books, but there wasn't enough going on to justify an entire book. At least it was short.
I also missed Ruiz Zafón's gorgeous writing. It didn't even feel like the same author/translator team, although it was. It was just a story, pure and simple. I didn't feel any desire to mark any passages at all. I don't know who fell down on the job here, but it just wasn't up to the standard I've set for this pair.
I'll give The Cemetery of Forgotten Books one more try, but I'm starting to wonder if The Shadow of the Wind was just a fluke. I sincerely hope not. ...more
In this classic tale of growing up in the Jim Crow South, Scout Finch captures readers' hearts as she plays her games and begins to lose her innocenceIn this classic tale of growing up in the Jim Crow South, Scout Finch captures readers' hearts as she plays her games and begins to lose her innocence as she watches the adults in her town. A trial that has been defined by race is making everyone show his or her true colors and it's an eye-opening experience for Scout.
I've read this probably 4 or 5 times by now, but I've never actually reviewed it. I really want to say, "I love this book. Not a passing love, but a deep and abiding, down to the soul love. Read it." And leave it at that.
But I won't let myself do that.
I love everything about this book. The biggest thing for me are the characters, especially Atticus and Scout. I love Atticus. No, really. I do. He's such a good man. As several other characters point out, he's the same on the street as he is in his house. He tries to live a life that permits him to look his children in the eyes. As someone else points out, he's the town's conscience. They trust him to do the right thing, often in spite of them. He never lets them down. I noticed this time how much it costs him. Scout is such a little motherless tomboy, I just have to love her too. She's pretty passionate about everything and she's still so innocent. This time around, I actually noticed Jem. I've overlooked him in the past, but I can see that he's going to follow in his father's footsteps.
The story is such a well-done contrast. There are the carefree, almost idyllic days of Scout and Jem's childhoods painted against a background of racism and pettiness and revenge. Harper Lee makes her point about race issues without beating her readers over the head with it. It sneaks up on me every time the same way that it sneaks up on Jem and Scout.
I'm more curious than I've ever been about Boo Radley after this reading. Why does he stay inside? Is he happy, or at least happy enough? What really happened to him in his past?
I'm also curious about Calpurnia. She seems happy enough, but is she really? I started conflating her with Aibileen from The Help. I think Calpurnia is probably as happy as anyone in her position can be, working for the Finches, but she still lives in a racist society.
And I think that's about as articulate as I can be. Why is it always so hard to write reviews of books you love? If you've never read this, pick it up. If you have, isn't it about time for a re-read?...more
Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing with her evil guardian (read: adoptive mother) and two adoptive sisters. She single-handedly supports the famCinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing with her evil guardian (read: adoptive mother) and two adoptive sisters. She single-handedly supports the family by working as a mechanic in the local market. One day, she looks up and finds young, handsome Prince Kai in her booth. He asks her to fix a broken android for him and engages in some pretty harmless flirting.
That night, Cinder's life takes a turn for the worse. Her beloved younger sister, Peony, is diagnosed with an incurable plague. Her guardian blames Cinder and starts making life much, much harder.
Prince Kai is having a hard time himself. The Lunar Queen has decided that she is going to marry him or start a war. Kai genuinely cares about his people and would do almost anything to protect them, but he just can't bring himself to agree to marry the evil queen. She invites herself to his palace, where he gets to see what a ruthless ruler she really is.
I had my reservations about this. I love me a retold fairy tale, don't get me wrong. But it's all science-fictiony. Cyborgs? Androids? Not my thing. And then it's set in a future that sounds a little post-apocalyptic? Definitely not my thing. And yet, searching around for something mildly dystopian to read for a reading challenge, this is what I chose. That cover. The rave reviews. It's worth a shot, right?
Absolutely. Yay! I pretty much loved it!
Cinder had me from the beginning. She's so self-reliant but she doesn't hate people. Give me an evil stepmother and make me do all the work to support her lazy ass? I would hate everybody. Cinder loves her younger sister and even the family android, who was very spunky and cute, I must admit. She tries so hard to forget about Prince Kai and not be all fan-girly like the rest of the country, but she just can't get him out of her head. She faces everything that is thrown at her without a whole lot of resentment; she just tries to do what she can to get through it. She could easily have been a whiny teen and I wouldn't have blamed her, but I wouldn't have liked the book either. She rocked.
Prince Kai. We came so, so close to a lasting character crush. It's there, don't get me wrong, but he isn't way up in my top tier. He had the perfect opportunity but he just didn't do what I wanted him to do. He took the high road and did what was best for his country. I should love him for that, shouldn't I? No. I wanted the gigantic gesture for the girl that he is on his way to loving. Screw the millions of other people in the country. I'm only being slightly sarcastic. He was great though. Funny, smart, approachable, and accessible. He seems to be wise beyond his years, but he could be a snarky teen too. I kept picturing him as Disney's Aladdin for some reason. Maybe because he first shows up in a market? That didn't help the crush-o-meter any.
There's enough of the original fairy tale here to be recognizable, but it is very much it's own story. My poor husband had no idea what I was reading.
"Hey. You know that Cinderella-cyborg book I'm listening to? You won't believe what just happened in it."
"The Cinderella-cyborg book." Duh.
"Oh, come on. I've told you all about it. You know, the prince's android is broken and she's a cyborg and she's fixing it and there's this plague--"
"Suresuresure. What about it?"
"We-ell," and off I would go. Poor thing. He heard all about it and he never did understand what I was talking about. He's so good about humoring me.
Reading it, it all makes sense. Cinderella as a cyborg? Abso-freaking-lutely. She kicks ass.
There were a few times when I wondered if it was supposed to be quite so obvious where things were headed, but then a big twist that I didn't see coming would throw me off. I was right about the big things but a lot of the details were surprising. I'm very happy about that.
I was not happy with the ending. It just sort of stops! I hate that! Good thing the next book comes out this week.
The narrator, Rebecca Soler, did a great job. She sounds young enough to match the part and she didn't hesitate to reflect Cinder's emotions.
If I haven't confused you past the point of no return, read this. It's a good story that transcends whatever genres we might try to fit it into. ...more
Famous puppeteer Rupert Porson rolls into Flavia's village with his assistant in tow one day. His van has broken down and they are stranded. The vicarFamous puppeteer Rupert Porson rolls into Flavia's village with his assistant in tow one day. His van has broken down and they are stranded. The vicar and Flavia help the pair out and the vicar asks Rupert to put on a show for the townspeople. He reluctantly agrees.
The first shock of the show comes when the puppet of Jack appears. He looks just like a young boy who died in the village. The second shock comes when Rupert, not the giant, comes crashing down onto the stage, dead. Flavia can't resist investigating.
This didn't quite have the charm and originality of the first book, but it was still good. I think this one felt a bit too dark for me. I typically steer clear of books that involve children's deaths. I know it happens, but I prefer to read in a world where it doesn't. I guess I like to keep my head in the sand.
The mystery twisted and turned and I had absolutely no idea whodunnit. Once the big reveal arrived, I completely bought it. It was very well done.
I still adore Flavia de Luce. She is so smart and funny and prickly but she is hurting inside. Her sisters get downright vicious when she pushes them far enough. And I think that is part of her problem. She wants some attention and pushing their buttons is the only way to reliably get it. That makes her sound like a needy brat and she's not; she's mostly happy tinkering away in her chemistry lab alone. But we all need human contact now and again, even self-sufficient Flavia.
In my review of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, I wrote about my love/hate relationship with narrator Jayne Entwistle. She had grown on me by the end of that book so I continued in audio with this second installment. Now that I'm used to her, I can't imagine reading these books in any other format.
I recommend this series for readers who like precocious, strong female narrators. Flavia is a character I will always remember. I will definitely be continuing with the series....more
After her father's death, young Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrate from Hong Kong to New York in hopes of building better lives. Kimberly's auntAfter her father's death, young Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrate from Hong Kong to New York in hopes of building better lives. Kimberly's aunt and uncle run a factory and have promised Kimberly's mom a place to live and work. The work turns out to be in a sweatshop and the place to live is in an abandoned, derelict apartment building where they're forced to burrow under old carpeting to stay warm. Their only means of heating the apartment is by turning on the oven and leaving the door open.
Kimberly is a brilliant student and eventually sets herself apart, despite speaking very little English when she first arrives in New York. In the evenings, she works in the factory, even at the age of eleven, helping her mom meet her impossible quotas and earn the few dollars they live on weekly.
This book was so heartbreaking so much of the time. I adored Kimberly. She's such a good daughter, friend, and student. She's trying so hard to be everything to everyone. Her life is always hard, but it's hardest when she first arrives, with no comprehension of American culture and little comprehension of the language. School bullies and harsh teachers make her transition harder than it has to be. But isn't that the way of things? Why is kindness so hard for some people?
Kimberly's aunt is terrible! Kimberly has been taught to honor her elders and she does her best. But the aunt just treats them worse and worse. She seems to have always been jealous of her sister, Kimberly's mom. Now, as Kimberly's intelligence becomes evident, she's jealous of Kimberly too. She takes revenge in some pretty heinous ways. I just wanted to reach through the pages and throttle this woman!
I could never quite place when this was supposed to be taking place. I think that's on purpose. Or maybe I just missed it. Either way, I know I always think of sweatshops and child labor as occurring in other countries or decades ago. I got the feeling that this was supposed to be in the recent past, especially since it seems to be loosely based on the author's own childhood. There are always greedy people who will manipulate the system and take advantage of others' fear of authorities and ignorance of the law.
I loved the ending. I found it to be absolutely perfect. Would I have said the same thing even ten years ago? No. Back then I think I would have been very unhappy with it. Older and wiser, I can fully appreciate it now. As a book that seems to be written for young/new adults, I'm not sure how the ending will be received by that audience.
I listened to this on audio, narrated by Grayce Wey. I liked her reading but it did take me some time to get accustomed to the accents she used.
I highly recommend this book. It has a strong main character and will open your eyes to how others live. Hopefully it will help us all to gain a little more understanding and empathy as well....more
Alexia Maccon, nee Tarrabotti, is back in residence at Woolsey Castle. She's gloriously pregnant, not very happy with the way the infant-inconvenienceAlexia Maccon, nee Tarrabotti, is back in residence at Woolsey Castle. She's gloriously pregnant, not very happy with the way the infant-inconvenience is trying to slow her down, and firmly resolved to keep on with her daily business as usual. When a ghost appears to her and manages to gasp out a warning about a plot on the Queen's life, Alexia starts trying to stop events before they get out of hand.
Alexia is back and how I do love her! I haven't reviewed Blameless because I was a little disappointed in it. Not that it wasn't good--it was--it just didn't live up to the incredibly high expectations I have for this series. With Heartless, I feel that we're back on track.
What I really love about this series is the characters. They are all just so memorable! We're getting up to a pretty big cast now and I have no trouble keeping track of them. Of course soulless, pragmatic Alexia is far and away my favorite, but Lord Maccon, Lord Akeldama, Madame Lefoux, Floote, Biffy, Ivy--I just love them all. I sit reading, grinning like an idiot, with the occasional giggle (Zombie porcupines? Really?) and laughter (There's a new character at the end whom I just can't wait to see more of).
This being a book about Alexia Maccon, the action is of course practically nonstop, if leaning a bit more toward waddling than striding. I would snatch it up every chance I got just to read a few more lines. The climax has to last 50 pages but it never flagged; it just kept getting better and better. By the time things wrapped up, I was delighted with how thoroughly Ms. Carriger had managed to shake up London's supernatural scene.
Read this series for smart, tongue-in-cheek humor with characters whom you will immediately love....more
Dreams Made Flesh is a collection of four short stories/novellas centered around Jaenelle and her court. One of the events takes place immediately aftDreams Made Flesh is a collection of four short stories/novellas centered around Jaenelle and her court. One of the events takes place immediately after the third in the Black Jewels series, so anyone reading this should keep that in mind. It definitely has spoilers for the previous books.
My favorite story by far, was "The Prince of Ebon Rih." How I grinned as I read it! I've always liked Lucivar, but he really is cast as the older brother in the series. There is definitely more to him than that, so it was great to see him as a powerful ruler in his own right and a sexy-as-hell man. Watching him deal with that bitch Roxie was a pleasure. Seeing his insecurity in dealing with Marian was delightful. He didn't know what hit him. Absolutely loved it.
My sister, who shoved this book into my hands saying only, "Read. This. Now." loves "Zuulaman." This is an event from Saetan's younger years that made him a legend. I liked it, but somehow couldn't help comparing it to Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana. You probably have to be inside my head to see how that happened. I loved Tigana and this story suffered for the comparison. And probably from my sister's buildup. Still, it was a very cool showcase of Saetan's raw power.
"Kaeleer's Heart" would have been good, but it was a little too much like "The Prince of Ebon Rih." It was nice to see Daemon and Jaenelle together, but I felt like I had pretty much read the story already, just a few pages earlier. It is sexy to see the lengths that Daemon is willing to go to in order to protect Jaenelle though.
"Weaver of Dreams" was just a confusing little legend and that's all I have to say about that.
If you enjoy the Black Jewels books, read this one. It was mostly a very cool addition....more
In the interest of avoiding spoilers for the second book, I'll just say that this picks up immediately after that awful cliffhanger of an ending in TIn the interest of avoiding spoilers for the second book, I'll just say that this picks up immediately after that awful cliffhanger of an ending in The Girl Who Played with Fire.
So much has been said that I don't feel like I have a whole lot more to contribute. I (mostly) raced through the book, frantic to find out how big this conspiracy was, how far they would go, whether or not they would finally get caught, and how it would all go down.
Salander wasn't quite as large a figure in this one, for obvious reasons if you've been reading the trilogy, so I missed her. She was still the same old inscrutable, fascinating Salander in the parts she was in. She's growing though. I wish Larsson had been able to write more books about her so we could see how she ultimately turns out.
Three things bothered me. One was the setup of Salander's initial location. Vague enough? That would never happen here in the US. Not where I work anyway. Can you say armed guards (at the least) and different floors? So I'm left wondering if Larsson took an easy way out to steer the book where he wanted it to go or if Sweden is that different. Surely not.
At the very beginning, there's a whole lot of telling and not much showing. We're told what Blomqvist and the police got up to in the few hours immediately after the end of the second book. Why not just write that part as actual scenes happening in real time? It probably wouldn't have taken up much more space and there was certainly enough happening to have kept my attention.
I have had a problem with the amount of detail Larsson includes throughout the entire series. This last(?) installment is no different. I do not care about the history and structure of the Swedish version of the CIA. Tell me there's a group operating outside the rules and I'll fill in the blanks. I don't need pages and pages of details. Neither do I care what each character chooses to wear on a given day.
That said, I was happy with the way things ultimately turned out. I was cheering out loud in Gianinni's big scene and in Lisbeth's final confrontation. I was worried that things would not wrap up well since Larsson died and had huge plans for a series, but things are tied up very neatly in the end.
I'll give a nod here again to Reg Keeland's excellent translation.
If you've read the rest of the series, you know you're going to read this one. I think you'll love it....more
The battle between the Olympians and the Titans, thousands of years in the making, is finally here.
Kronos has had ample time to preparIt's show time.
The battle between the Olympians and the Titans, thousands of years in the making, is finally here.
Kronos has had ample time to prepare his plans while Zeus and company have been having their own quarrels and parties. He strikes at multiple fronts, almost simultaneously, and no one knows what his true objective is. Percy knows that it can only be Olympus, the seat of the gods' powers. No one will really listen to him though, so it falls to the Half-Bloods to guard Olympus against the worst that Kronos can throw at them.
This book takes a decidedly darker turn than the others. It begins with a death and doesn't get much brighter from there. That's not to say that it's depressing, exactly, but it's definitely more serious. The campers are injured and killed right and left and it seems that there's no possible way they can withstand Kronos.
Percy himself makes a choice near the beginning that had me worried for him throughout the book. This move didn't work out so well in classical mythology, so I was worried about its impact on Percy as well.
Annabeth is still insanely jealous, but she's doing her best to move past it and support Percy. And she's just Annabeth with all her mad skillz and plans. Love. Her.
But, while I'm talking about them, they definitely felt older than 14 or so. Maybe Harry Potter conditioned me to think that the last book should be about 18-year-olds, but everyone feels a little too grown up and mature and serious.
I never read series books back-to-back because I tend to get a little sick of the characters, and the small explanations of what went on in earlier books drive me crazy because they feel repetitious. I made an exception here. I just had to know how everything was going to wrap up, so I finished Battle of the Labyrinth and immediately went to The Last Olympian. Yes, the series is that good.
There were elements of the Trojan war here, worked in in surprising ways. I adore the way Riordan pulls this off.
Oh, one other thing. The gods were not really all that great in classical mythology. They did whatever they wanted with little thought for the impact on mortals. That aspect of them is picked up in this final book.
Prometheus makes an appearance here and I was very disappointed in him. I've always liked him and felt bad for him, but he irritated me this time around.
Overall, a very strong finish to a series that I loved. Highly, highly, highly recommended....more
Cassandra Moon, firmly in her 40s, is finally getting married. She's been taking care of others all her life and now she's looking forward to having sCassandra Moon, firmly in her 40s, is finally getting married. She's been taking care of others all her life and now she's looking forward to having someone else take care of her for a change. All she has to do is walk down the aisle and say "I do." So why does she find herself in her wedding dress, driving like a bat out of hell in the honeymoon limo and heading for the coast, still a single woman? She must be crazy.
She ends up staying with her Aunt May and Uncle Walton in Salter Path, NC. She loved visiting there as a child and she's hoping to get some time to herself to figure out what she really wants. Everyone else is always telling her what she should want and she's tired of it. She just needs some downtime to get things straight in her own heart and mind.
I have enjoyed all of Pamela Duncan's books but this one is my favorite. Cassandra first showed up in Moon Women. In my review of that book, I wrote, "Poor Cassandra. I wasn't entirely happy with her story, but there's a glimmer of hope for her. I'll have to dive into The Big Beautiful soon to see how she ends up." I am much happier with her story now. She does a lot of growing up and thinking and gets a stronger backbone. I want to start praising her to the skies but I don't want to spoil anything. Her development and her reactions all felt real and right. She has a great big heart and I think she finally starts to focus on her strengths and blessings rather than her shortcomings. I just love books where women make that journey successfully.
The other characters in the book were a hoot! Aunt May and Doris were hilarious. They sparred all the time but their love for each other was apparent. Uncle Walton was wisely quiet and always there. Young Annie Laurie gave Cassandra someone to love on and look out for. Dennis and Hector were good foils for each other and for Cassandra. When I wasn't irritated with this bunch right along with Cassandra, I was wishing I could meet them in real life. They felt like family.
I loved the location! My family used to go on vacation every summer to Emerald Isle, NC and Salter Path is just up the island from there. I have a lot of great memories of that little town and long summer days with my extended family. It brought a smile to my face when I realized where Cassandra was.
The family and friends have formed a book/poker club (don't ask) and they read Persuasion with Cassandra. If you've followed my blog at all, you know that I love Captain Wentworth. There are parallels between spinster Anne Elliot and Cassandra. And there's a scene where the book club is reading "The Letter" out loud. I melt inside whenever I think of that letter. This isn't a huge part of the book but it only added to my enjoyment.
It helps a little to have read Moon Women before reading The Big Beautiful but I don't feel that it's necessary. If you do read them out of order, you'll come across some spoilers if you're really paying attention. Since the focus has shifted to the family on the coast, you would really have to have a good head for characters to really remember and connect them together though.
I highly, highly recommend this book. It was a joy to read and it left me with a huge smile on my face....more