Full disclosure, I frequently judge books by their covers. I would never, ever have picked up a Kate Morton book had it not been for the lovely limiteFull disclosure, I frequently judge books by their covers. I would never, ever have picked up a Kate Morton book had it not been for the lovely limited edition cover designed by Angie Lewin. While I do adore a big, cozy mystery, Ms Morton had just not entered my reading radar until now. I am so glad she has however because I adored this book. The Distant Hours is a big, sweeping mystery with a fascinating cast of characters. Also, this is a book about books, about the joy of reading, about the origins of stories and their importance, their significance in our lives.
I am not saying this is the most original story, the setting and the characters are fairly familiar but they are so well drawn and I cared about them very much. The book constantly kept me guessing, I was dying to know where each little thread would end up and Ms Morton does not disappoint, she is careful to leave no stone unturned. It is a very satisfying book in that respect as well.
I really did thoroughly enjoy every minute of this. I took my time with it however, it is a slow burner and there are many secrets that need to be unravelled along the way. Reading this too fast would spoil the enigma, the lovely eerie tone of the story....more
I have to preface this review with a simple fact - I LOVE Murder She Wrote. I can't emphasise enough how much I love Murder She Wrote. Yes, I know allI have to preface this review with a simple fact - I LOVE Murder She Wrote. I can't emphasise enough how much I love Murder She Wrote. Yes, I know all too well that it's a bit dated and the concept is nuts. I mean, seriously, the poor woman would have been committed by now, murders occurring absolutely everywhere she goes! But I still love it, I watched it with my Grandma when I was a child, Angela Lansbury reminds me very much of my Grandma and watching Murder She Wrote is just like comfort food. And generally speaking I adore mystery solving older ladies - I'm a huge Miss Marple fan too. So when I saw this at the library I was more than a bit excited. Wellll, unfortunately I don't think I'll bother with another. This was entertaining enough and it was lovely seeing the characters again but it's not particularly well written and they stretched the story out longer than necessary, I was a bit bored by the end. I also found the fact that it is written in first person awkward. I don't think it captured Jessica's voice particularly well and the device was unnecessary. Slightly disappointing but nice to know there are 43 other Murder She Wrote stories floating around out there if I ever need a fix!...more
I loved every minute of this book. I haven't read any Matthew Reilly before, he writes action/adventure which I am not usually very inclined to but JuI loved every minute of this book. I haven't read any Matthew Reilly before, he writes action/adventure which I am not usually very inclined to but Jurassic Park is one of my favourite books and I figured that Jurassic Park with dragons would be pretty awesome, and it is! It is a tad unfair to just say this is 'Jurassic Park with dragons', there is more to it than that. The bare bones of each story is similar but this is high concept action on a grand scale whereas I think Jurassic Park is classic science fiction.
This is incredibly violent, surprisingly gory and action packed. The characters are likeable but mostly two dimensional, there isn't much to them. The heros, the villains, the sidekicks, the expendables, the love interest and the creatures. It was nice to see a female as the protagonist though and I generally liked CJ and her super-human ways. She and Jack Bauer should get together, they would have a lot to talk about. I think Mr Reilly was having a great deal of fun with this story, it is utterly ridiculous in the best possible way and I had a great time reading it.
I would hazard that Mr Reilly might not be looked upon too fondly by 'The Chinese' as he so calls 'them' were 'they' to read this (excuse the '' but if you have read this you will understand). 'The Chinese' in this story can be likened to how Russia was once portrayed in literature and film - as evil! I was slightly uncomfortable with this part of the story actually, I think given the current state of the world, that painting entire countries as 'the bad guys' probably isn't very fair or helpful. In a puff interview at the end of the story Reilly says he chose China as his setting because in the real world China, given their massive wealth and industry, would be the most likely to achieve such a feat and that is probably very true but it still felt a bit off.
While I certainly enjoyed this immensely - it is a rollicking good adventure, I did get the very strong impression Mr Reilly desperately hopes someone will turn this book into a movie. I felt at times like I was reading a screenplay, I felt as though he was just itching to add some stage directions. The characters are American which was interesting coming from an Australian author. There are a lot of exclamation marks, which I felt were a touch unnecessary and which you don't actually see very often in literature. He also describes the appearance of each character in more detail than you would expect, as if he is saying 'If you make this into a film, they should look exactly like THIS'. As a reader I find this sort of thing slightly insulting. I don't want to be TOLD precisely what the characters look like and where they come from and what they are wearing or how they move their bodies - you want to create your own impressions and if it is made into a film and things are a bit different than how you imagined, well so be it. That is one of the joys of reading.
But all in all this is just crazy fun and I want to read more Matthew Reilly books now, I think I had pigeon-holed him unfairly! ...more
I had a break in between the two novels. I did enjoy both but they are somewhat forgettable. The narratives are quite straightforward and mostly pointI had a break in between the two novels. I did enjoy both but they are somewhat forgettable. The narratives are quite straightforward and mostly pointless, but I still loved what is classic, slightly other-wordly Murakami. I preferred Pinball and the story of the translator and the twins. Not my favourite Murakami but it's nice to have read his original work and see how he has evolved as a writer into the wonderful wordsmith he is today....more
This was such a delight to read, the characters are rich, the authors description of the town of Eden, of the cliffs and the sea made me feel as if IThis was such a delight to read, the characters are rich, the authors description of the town of Eden, of the cliffs and the sea made me feel as if I was there. There is so much fun and humour in this book, I laughed out loud frequently. I also felt very angry, whaling is a brutal, horrific practice and it was interesting to read a story about the early whalers who made their living from killing whales when it was profitable and not widely condemned as it is today. Scenes describe the whalers as being revered, people cheered them on from the clifftops as they brutally slayed those poor, poor creatures! It is morbidly fascinating from a 21st Century perspective. Shirley Barrett is a skilled writer who manages never to chastise or condemn her characters, simply showing that this is how they fed their families, that it was a different time but she also conveys the horrors of the whaling industry as it was last century.
I adored the family, the narrator Mary in particular is just wonderful and I wanted to stay with these characters, even the Orcas ('the Killers' as they are referred to in the book) are wonderful and richly drawn. Barrett manages to personify the Orcas and the whales in such a way that they are as much characters as the people are.
I found that the story jumps backwards and forwards a little too much for my liking which is my only critiscism and that is not a critiscism of the writing, I just don't respond well to that particular device. Shirley Barrett handles it well though, using the backwards and forwards technique to prepare the reader for disappointment, of which there is a great deal for the characters because ultimately, for all the humour, this is quite a sad story. Unrequited love, forbidden love, lost love, poverty, a changing of the times, war - it is all here, I teared up more than once which I am usually not inclined to do! But ultimately, this is a wonderful novel....more
This is one of those lovely, refreshing biographies written by a celebrity that wastes absolutely no time whatsoever talking about being a celebrity,This is one of those lovely, refreshing biographies written by a celebrity that wastes absolutely no time whatsoever talking about being a celebrity, or talking about other celebrities. This is the kind of biography everyone wants to write, 'What I know' not 'Who I know'. Dunham barely even mentions 'Girls' or any of her other achievements, that is how much this girl has to say - she doesn't even need to talk about being famous - at all, which I found amazing. I was reminded very strongly of Magda Szubanski's biography which I recently read. She talks about her childhood, growing up, sex (at length), her family, New York. There is a wonderful chapter about her time spent working with her friends at a high-end children's clothing store. She spends another chapter detailing what she ate when she was dieting which I have also done and which made me laugh so much for some inexplicable reason. I think what is at the heart of this book is that she is so damn relatable, even when she is over-thinking everything and obsessing and making awkward situations all the more awkward. Sometimes you want to give her a good shake, but mostly I just wanted to hug her. I really enjoyed this....more
Beautiful and strange. This was sitting amongst the children's picture books at the library. I probably wouldn't recommend it for very young children.Beautiful and strange. This was sitting amongst the children's picture books at the library. I probably wouldn't recommend it for very young children. It is very confronting in some ways. I think talking about death with children is important but this is quite complex and I think it would possibly frighten and confuse the under seven set. It is lovely though, just very deep!...more