I expected this to be an emotional read, but I *didn't* expect to spend about a third of the book in tears and flailing for the nearest tissues. That...moreI expected this to be an emotional read, but I *didn't* expect to spend about a third of the book in tears and flailing for the nearest tissues. That said, I think this book hits a bit too close to home for me personally.
It's very much suited to the difficult situation the story tells, and Aubrey's voice, that of an eleven-year-old girl forced to grow up much sooner, in certain ways, than any child should ever have to do, is clear and coherent without coming across as that of an adult trying to talk like a child. That's not a common thing in books like this one, and I very much appreciate how well Ms LaFleur pulls it off. I'd recommend this book especially for pre-teens and/or young adults trying to cope with bereavement.(less)
Project Gutenberg edition. 2.5 stars. OK, not really notable. The lead detective seems rather cold for interest and, unlike the similarly chill Sherlo...moreProject Gutenberg edition. 2.5 stars. OK, not really notable. The lead detective seems rather cold for interest and, unlike the similarly chill Sherlock Holmes, doesn't have much about his character to commend it. Likewise the story; some of the ideas are good and the writing itself isn't badly put together, but the pace is erratic, the scenes that are meant to be tense aren't as good as they ought to be, and when there's less going on plot-wise it has a tendency to drag. I don't think I'll read this one again.(less)
Not Ms. Green's best work, sadly. The pace is erratic and the tale often slows to a point where it struggles to hold interest in the reader. That does...moreNot Ms. Green's best work, sadly. The pace is erratic and the tale often slows to a point where it struggles to hold interest in the reader. That doesn't hold true for much of her writing, so why it should do so here, I confess I don't understand; she can write far better than this when she tries.
The solution to the ultimate crime feels a bit "humbugged-up", but I shan't say more about that. The apparent revelation leading to it? Well, it removes much confidence in the investigator to see that he almost had to be told outright to understand or imagine the link, when I as a reader had worked it out a long time previously from exactly the same information the investigating party had been given.
Reading this tale a century or so after its original publication, many of the plot devices that have since become tropes of the genre are easily recognised. Unfortunately, that has a detrimental effect on the story itself for modern-day readers. I imagine it might have been more of a mystery in its original time; that's why I give it 3 stars, as while the story drags and the of-its-time sexism annoys me, when it was written it was, to a certain degree, quite fresh and innovative, so it deserves a little credit for that.(less)
2.5 stars. Not one of the better 9th Doctor stories. Jack seems hardly himself at all, and the story itself alternately drags and gets more convoluted...more2.5 stars. Not one of the better 9th Doctor stories. Jack seems hardly himself at all, and the story itself alternately drags and gets more convoluted than it needs to be for its target demographic, with more Russian clichés than you can shake a stick at. Definitely not Justin Richards at his best.(less)
3.5 stars. Not her best, but not her worst; when you know how Christie writes, this case is pretty easy to solve before the gem is even announced as m...more3.5 stars. Not her best, but not her worst; when you know how Christie writes, this case is pretty easy to solve before the gem is even announced as missing...(less)
Excellent for what it is - though I might have liked it to be a bit more extended, it *is* a novelisation of an SJA episode, and a very good one. All...moreExcellent for what it is - though I might have liked it to be a bit more extended, it *is* a novelisation of an SJA episode, and a very good one. All the character voices are on-track - as is to be expected from Gary Russell, as he was a regular episode writer for SJA while it was still airing - including the Eleventh Doctor.
The story's not a sad one for the most part, of course, but... I confess... the Doctor's last words to Sarah Jane put a lump in my throat, in the circumstances. After all, he never will see her again, since Lis Sladen passed away not too long after this, before she could record anything more with Smith or Capaldi. Her death is a great loss to many people, and she's still greatly missed. (And I am determined to collar my accompanist and record that cover of "Goodnight, Sarah Jane" before I can't.)(less)
Romance fiction - even Regency romance - is not normally my choice in reading material, nor any of my preference, but my library's summary of this sto...moreRomance fiction - even Regency romance - is not normally my choice in reading material, nor any of my preference, but my library's summary of this story intrigued me, and as I had one space left for ebook loans I decided to try it. I'm glad I did.
With most of the romance fiction I've ever tried to read (I specify fiction as I quite like romantic fanfiction, already knowing who the characters are and many of their possible motivations), I've found the major, and especially minor, characters far too thinly drawn for my liking, or else overdone in a way that means I lose much of my empathy or sympathy with them. That's not the case here. Leading lady Mira Markham is a sparky young woman of 18, who has been raised largely through ignorance by her parents, who spent all their time concentrating on her more obviously beautiful elder sister Drusilla - this to the detriment of the spoiled sister far more than to that of Mira, who has developed character and strength that Drusilla has not, and it shows. Mira's actions are initially so childish and scandalous that she is threatened with being sent home, but once she begins to mature in truth, she controls herself better, but as an innocent still lets herself in for things she has no idea to expect. All this makes her character far more relatable than her sophisticate sister, though Drusilla is not left to be two-dimensional throughout.
The male characters are about as balanced as the females, and even down to the minor characters we are given at least some idea of their motivations, which I feel is much better than the way Harlequin/Mills & Boon seem to come across to me most of the time, with characters who do things to advance the plot just for the sake of doing them. Here, the characters' actions follow well from their given or implied motivations, which makes the story much more coherent.
Of course there are recurring tropes from the genre - as soon as a certain character appeared I knew how Mira would end up, but getting to that end is fun and less predictable than the traditional fashion, both for the reader and several characters. I think I'm going to seek out more of this series, though I couldn't get interested in Agatha Raisin.(less)