I'm actually a little amazed I not only finished an entire book about the history of accounting, but that I understood it and even liked it. (My relat...moreI'm actually a little amazed I not only finished an entire book about the history of accounting, but that I understood it and even liked it. (My relationship with mathematics is somewhat...troubled). (less)
I so hesitate in rating classic literature because obviously, this guy is still around for a reason. But I'm not a fan. However, the play, The Broken...moreI so hesitate in rating classic literature because obviously, this guy is still around for a reason. But I'm not a fan. However, the play, The Broken Jug is fun. It saves the collection. His subjects are fine, his plots intriguing, but I don't enjoy the execution.(less)
So I think this is my last Julie Garwood for a while. At least, until she writes another historical. Since she branched into the contemporary market,...moreSo I think this is my last Julie Garwood for a while. At least, until she writes another historical. Since she branched into the contemporary market, I’ve found myself increasingly dissatisfied, to the point that I’ve struggled to finish books. If I hadn’t been reviewing this book as an ARC, I would have stopped reading this book after about eleven pages. The same problems keep cropping up, and there are just better books I could be spending my time on. I’ll always remember her earlier books fondly, but I know Garwood can do better.
The prologue stops me dead. It’s almost 15 pages of little girls running around, creating havoc. It’s boring, and does nothing to to move the story along. It’s nothing that couldn’t have been introduced into the main text of the story. I hate prologues that are useless. It took me a day to get past the prologue.
And then you meet Olivia MacKenzie, all grown up. And perfect. And Grayson Kincaid. Who’s also perfect. This is the problem I have with the leads in Julie Garwood’s books. They’re perfect physical specimens. So impossible sexy and gorgeous, other characters are bowled over by their looks. It’s annoying and I’m tired of reading about it. The attraction between the two is also superficial. Garwood spends a lot of time telling us that these two are crazy about each other, but all I can see is lust and sex.
The actual bare bones plot is mildly interesting, but the supporting characters are one dimensional and do nothing to prop up the leads, or give the leads complexity. The villains have no depth. The family of the MCs are just there for wallpaper. The other FBI agent, Ronan, is mildly interesting, but disappears for pages at a time, and then does nothing interesting when he is around. The three other Pips, Olivia’s childhood friends, slow down the action when they are around. Jane, the only one in the book for long periods of time, is only there to remind us that Olivia is super smart and there to save the day.
I just…I didn’t like it. And it makes me sad because I look at my Julie Garwood historicals like Saving Grace, The Wedding, and Ransom, and I think…will she ever write like that again? (less)
So I reread this book just to be sure I didn't imagine how awesome it was in a fit of sleepiness. I didn't. It really is awesome. Winter is such an am...moreSo I reread this book just to be sure I didn't imagine how awesome it was in a fit of sleepiness. I didn't. It really is awesome. Winter is such an amazing hero, and I was worried, throughout the first three books in the series that there no way Elizabeth Hoyt was going to write a story or create a heroine that could live up to the depths of awesome I felt like Winter was capable of. I should have trusted her.
Isabel is all kinds of fun and she gets Winter from the first page of the book. In fact, I think she gets Winter from the last few chapters of Silence's book, the previous entry in the series. She never lets Winter get away with anything, and it's vice versa. Even though she's six years older than him, impossibly richer and higher in station, and he is much more moral and dedicated to goodness, there is an amazing sense of equality between them that is incredibly fascinating.
The story itself is always cool. I love reading about St. Giles. I went to London last year and was kind of sad to learn that the neighborhood itself is gone, but not really. It was, from all accounts a cesspool. It's still there in name, but obviously, London has improved on it. I am fascinated by London, and while it's fun to read about the aristocracy, I'm even more intrigued by the world Elizabeth Hoyt has explored in her Maiden Lane series and the Georgian period.
Just an amazing book by an author who just continues to outdo herself.
Edited because I have problems with spelling when I get all excited. Yikes. I used incredibility instead of incredibly which are obviously two different things.(less)
It was fine, but the last few books from Cathy Maxwell feel really short. This one was only 194 pages long, almost a seventy pages shorter than the av...moreIt was fine, but the last few books from Cathy Maxwell feel really short. This one was only 194 pages long, almost a seventy pages shorter than the average romance ebook. In actual print, her books run the average 350 pages. The relationship between the two feels brief and skimmed over, I got to know the siblings more than the hero. I liked the heroine. I just wished it had been longer. (less)
This book was far more than a story about a serial killer or a story about the World's Fair, or even just the intertwining of the two. What Erik Larso...moreThis book was far more than a story about a serial killer or a story about the World's Fair, or even just the intertwining of the two. What Erik Larson has done, and what makes this story so popular, even nine years after its publication, is take the reader back to 1893, plopping them right in the middle of everything. It would be easy to write true crime novel and fail at the setting. I've read Jack the Ripper books that don't set the right tone for London in Victorian England. This is a history book wrapped in a crime.
The Gilded Age is my favorite era of American history. I don't really enjoy American history as a rule, but 1870-1920 is the period that I really like and this book captured everything I like about it. Larson wrote about the Panic of 1893, the labor strikes, the era of big cities, the Chicago vs. New York rivalry and all of that is before you even get to the real stars--Daniel Burnham, Frederick Olmstead, and H.H. Holmes. It would be ridiculous to say that the serial killer aspect doesn't draw you in, but if it's the only reason you pick up the book, and the beauty of planning the fair, the personalities involved doesn't capture your attention, put it down. You're going to miss the point.
This book is not just about Holmes and people who complain about Larson's focus on the Fair to the exclusion miss the forest for the trees. Holmes is the focus of the final chapters because it's a chronological story and there's just not that much known about his Chicago years. Larson can speculate, but where he can't document, he doesn't say and I much prefer that. To me, Daniel Burnham stole the book. I hope the forthcoming movie is more about him than Holmes because I thought he was much more dynamic and brash. I loved reading about his devotion to Chicago, his need to prove that they weren't really the Second City, that money was no object, to put a better fair on than Paris. America today was not the America of 1893. We hadn't fought in any overseas wars, we hadn't really arrived on the world stage. The Chicago's World Fair was our debut and it was wonderful to see the city put it together. I enjoyed reading the anecdotes about people that I recognize from Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony to Sol Bloom and Mark Twain.
So put the book down if you just want to read about a serial killer to exclusion of all else. There's a whole rack of books for you. This is a rich, vivid world Larson paints, in which Holmes in a piece of the overall puzzle, but he's one of a cast of characters. He's a one of the stars, but he's never the solo.
I had the wonderful opportunity to get this through my library on Audio CD with Scott Brick as a narrator. I highly suggest it. Scott Brick is amazing and it's so much more effective this way at bringing the words to life. This is one of the best books I've read all year. And it was interesting to see that my city, Philadelphia and our police department, has a integral role to play at the end in regards to Holmes. (less)
I love Daniel Smythe-Smith. On the list of heroes, there are Colins and now there's a Daniel. It's going to be a problem finding someone who lives up...moreI love Daniel Smythe-Smith. On the list of heroes, there are Colins and now there's a Daniel. It's going to be a problem finding someone who lives up to them. Thanks JQ for setting an impossible standard.
This was everything her last few books weren't. This was everything Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. Dashing heroes, strong heroines, engaging plots, great supporting cast, fast-paced dialogue. I wished it would go on forever. I love everything Julia Quinn writes, but every few books, she writes something I love just a little bit more than everything else. This is one of them. (less)
All right. A satisfactory ending to an incredibly uneven series. I loved the first story, couldn't stand the second and barely finished the third. The...moreAll right. A satisfactory ending to an incredibly uneven series. I loved the first story, couldn't stand the second and barely finished the third. The ending was too wrapped for me, and some of the supporting characters weren't as developed. I felt like the story needed to have thirty pages extra to really flesh out Jane's family, but it is what it is. Maybe Karen Hawkin's best days are behind her. (less)
I chose this book to read because I wanted to understand socialism better in order to update my honors thesis as to my subject's contributions to earl...moreI chose this book to read because I wanted to understand socialism better in order to update my honors thesis as to my subject's contributions to early socialist theory in the nineteenth century. I thought this book (I hoped anyway) might fulfill its purpose as an introduction to a subject that is often verboten in US political discourse. As a history student, I obviously understand that socialism does not equal communism and since beginning my study of nineteenth century political thought, I don't think I had fully appreciated how diverse and rich the history of socialist political thought.
This book fulfilled my objectives and then some. Newman divided his study into four chapters, the first of which 'Socialist Traditions' addressed most of my questions as to the birth of socialist theory and its trajectory throughout the nineteenth century until the Russian revolution when it began inextricably intertwined with the Soviet interpretation. In this forty-page chapter, he addressed utopian socialists like Robert Owen and Charles Fourier, the modern socialists Marx and Engels and then the turn to traditional socialism in the late nineteenth century as it became practical governmental theory in countries like Britain and Germany under the auspices of the Labor and SPD parties. There was so much more in this chapter that was very useful to me and I felt like he had answered all of my questions and given me more areas to pursue, the objective of any well-written introduction.
The next two chapters consisted of examples illustrating socialism in the twentieth century. In Chapter 2, he analyzed two different socialist governments -- the socialist democracy of Sweden and the communist regime of Cuba, how they had arrived at their form of government, their governmental programs since adopting socialism and how their government fit into the overall principles of socialism. He used these examples to compare and contrast Sweden as a country where the embracing of capitalism within socialist theory had proved successful with Cuba as a country that had rejected capitalism and had failed. But Newman also reminded the reader that each country had brought its own unique history and circumstances to socialism and it had had its own effect. In Chapter 3, he analyzed the fragmentation of socialism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, illustrating two specific sects--feminists and the Green party, both finding their roots in the tumultuous 1960s, flourishing in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and then each finding different objectives in the end. Each had connections to socialism, but had also strayed from the core of thinking in some ways and found themselves on the fringe.
The final chapter was somewhat more abstract, discussing the future of socialism and its role during the last few years. The book was published in 2005 and I found myself wondering what Newman might have written had he known what would have unfolded in the last four years with the discourse of calling our president a socialist as if one was equating him with Joseph Stalin instead of the Swedish or the French in the 1980s. This book showed me how much I did not know about socialism, and how much I still wanted to learn. I am looking forward to exploring more, and am happy to look up some of the books suggested in the reading. It was a well-written introduction that will help me update my thesis and give me more material to work with. (less)