I enjoyed The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott for the characters. Alice Barrows comes to Lowell from her father's farm in 1832 eager to start...moreI enjoyed The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott for the characters. Alice Barrows comes to Lowell from her father's farm in 1832 eager to start a new life. She moves into a boarding house with other young women who also work in the mill and who become her friends. The days in the mill are long and soon one of her friend's heir is almost pulled out by a machine, and another is very ill and coughing up lint. But deep friendships also develop and she and the non conformist Lovey become confidants. Alice being well-spoken becomes a sort of emissary for the workers in the mill and in this capacity she meets the owners, the Fisk family, and the oldest son Samuel Fisk and after a trip to Boston and an evening out to hear the Messiah with Samuel, she returns to Lowell too find that her friend Lovey is dead.
What is first presumed to be a suicide, is later considered murder. This story is taken from a true story that occurred in Falls River, RI in 1832, when a young cotton mill worker was killed and there was an ensuing trial that became the basis for this book.(less)
Brilliantly read by Cassandra Campbell, this novel by Claire Messoud can be hard getting through, especially when it her humiliation is reviewed. From...moreBrilliantly read by Cassandra Campbell, this novel by Claire Messoud can be hard getting through, especially when it her humiliation is reviewed. From the beginning we know that Nora, the narrator, is angry. Nora has tried to live her own life, but in fact as she neared her 40's she got sucked into the lives of a family who came from Paris for a year and whose son, Reza, became a student in Nora's class. In reading the story of how Nora got used by Serena, whom she took for a friend and fellow artist, I was also entranced by Serena, though as she began to ask more favors of Nora, I did wonder how Nora went along, except as she defined herself, the woman upstairs “We’re the quiet woman at the end of the third-floor hallway, whose trash is always tidy, who smiles brightly in the stairwell.”
While Nora worked hard to get away from the 'fun-house and its mirrors she found that she only buried herself more deeply inside it. But I can't help but think there was some lack of judgement on her part, some lack of connections to a community that let her drown.(less)
The murder of a prior in a secretive, silent monastery brings Inspector Gamache and his partner, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, to an isolated island in...moreThe murder of a prior in a secretive, silent monastery brings Inspector Gamache and his partner, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, to an isolated island in Quebec where the monastery, Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, is located. The monks at the monastery had been totally isolated, and even the Vatican did not know where they were. However a recent recording of plain chant had brought fame as well as money for much needed repairs. Since the recording though a rift had set in among the monks between those who wanted to make another recording to repair dangerous cracks in the foundation and to bring the gift of their voices to the world and the abbot who believed it was important to maintain the initial
In an eerie setting, where the monks do not speak but chant throughout the day , the two detectives arrive to begin their work among men who communicate by the lift of an eyebrow. On their first evening there, the monks seem to disappear for a time before returning through a secret door, all the while chanting.
Beauvoir has recently gone through his own hell, having been left for dead in the previous novel A Trick of the Light, which I did not read. the Suretee Chief Inspector arrives on the island and tries to turn Inspector Beauvoir against Gamache as Gamacche had had other higher ups in the Surete arrested for corruption in the earlier novel. These two plot lines entangle
I found it difficult to believe that there could ve a lost order of monks living in Quebec, especially as they were going around scouting monks with excellent singing voices to join their order. Also, a bit too much of details on plain chant for me.. Somewhere between a 3 and a 4.(less)
This delightful book is written and illustrated by Chris Monroe who has many children’s books to her credit, including the Monkey with a Tool Belt ser...moreThis delightful book is written and illustrated by Chris Monroe who has many children’s books to her credit, including the Monkey with a Tool Belt series. Bug on a Bike has a mixture of painterly watercolor landscapes and fairly simply yet detailed drawings of bugs and assorted other creatures that one by one or group by group like “ants on a log” are invited to join the trip to an unknown destination by the bug on the bike. The bug is an adorable ladybug with enormous eyes, a red cycling helmet and spindly arms and legs. His face portrays sheer delight. The rhyming story is told in cumulative fashion as he picks up one friend or group of friends at a time to travel along up and down and around to the site of his spectacular birthday party. There he is happy just to see all of his friends having a great time.
Just one element of this book bothered me. The text is displayed in a rather bold, serif typeface, Gomorrah Regular 20/24, while the bug’s speaking or thinking is done in a more natural hand written style in thought bubbles. I think the book would have been served better with a less formal typeface.
Bug on a Bike is sure to be a hit with children who love bugs, surprises, unusual friends, adventures and birthday parties. It’s a great read aloud.(less)
I was pretty disappointed in this book even though I finished it. The setting, World War II Chicago felt flat and was painted with every cliche possib...moreI was pretty disappointed in this book even though I finished it. The setting, World War II Chicago felt flat and was painted with every cliche possible. One thing that I did enjoy though was the practice of letter writing to GIs overseas, seen as part of the war effort. I liked that the story was somewhat laid out through theses sessions, but the events were too predictable.(less)
Sixty years after her twin sister left home, Elaine Greenstein , a retired lawyer, decides to look for her. This search has been prompted by the fact...moreSixty years after her twin sister left home, Elaine Greenstein , a retired lawyer, decides to look for her. This search has been prompted by the fact that she's been giving her papers to USC and has come across some of her mothers documents that indicate her mother may have contacted her sister, Barbara.
While the setting, the Boyle Heights neighborhood of the 20s and 39s, the predominantly Jewish neighborhood where Elaine and Barbara grew up, is described vividly, much of it read like a soap opera. As the attention moved. To Elain's search for Barbara, the novel loses track of her own accomplishments that makes USC want her papers in the first place.(less)
This was a complete surprise, because while I've read golem obols and jinni books, I've never read one with both characters. I think the author pulls...moreThis was a complete surprise, because while I've read golem obols and jinni books, I've never read one with both characters. I think the author pulls it off, especially by removing them from their regular haunts and setting them in turn of the century , lower East side New York City. Also, Tahoe Golem is a woman rather than a man.(less)
I love Mosely'sEasy Rawlins series, but feel that this series is lacking something. I started with this and now I'm reading the first, but I have real...moreI love Mosely'sEasy Rawlins series, but feel that this series is lacking something. I started with this and now I'm reading the first, but I have realized that Mosely had filled in all the character information in this second book and I could have just moved on to the third.(less)
I was a real fan of the first in the series, and was not disappointed with this one, though a bit confused at the beginning because I thought I was re...moreI was a real fan of the first in the series, and was not disappointed with this one, though a bit confused at the beginning because I thought I was reading about the same character. It' always a good idea to read a summary of a previous book in a series to refresh one's memory...
Sybella has been sent by the convent back to her father's castle, to all the fear and hatred that she grew up with. Her only wish is that her father is marqued by Mortain, Death, and as an assassin nun, she can kill him. Her father has killed his six wives and is trying to force the Duchess of Brittany to marry him, so that he could acquire her lands and power. Sybella begins to despair as it becomes obvious that D'Albert is not marked for death,but then she learns that he has an important person in his dungeon, someone loyal to the duchess and a fierce fighter.
Sybella goes about plotting how to free the prisoner and get him to the duchess. There is lots of action, plotting, fighting, political machinations here. Included in the plot twists is the fact that the one brother who protected her when they were both young, Julian, grew to have incestuous proclivities for her.
Some of the historical bits were confusing, such as the Elle of the French, British, Britanny and D'Albert. Is this a time when larger forces are moving in on smaller kingdoms?(less)
Winspeare captures the world of post World War I Britain and it's class divisions. Even in 1930, the effects of the war are ever present, as one heire...moreWinspeare captures the world of post World War I Britain and it's class divisions. Even in 1930, the effects of the war are ever present, as one heiress has gone missing, Maisie Dobbs connects her disappearance to the murder of other young women, all of whom were once friends. At the same time, her assistant, Jimmy is behaving strangely while his leg, wounded in the war is daily more pained.(less)
There are three novellas in Local Souls. The first is wrapped up in a weird conceit, but it's not till I came to the end that I remembered this. It fe...moreThere are three novellas in Local Souls. The first is wrapped up in a weird conceit, but it's not till I came to the end that I remembered this. It felt pasted on, where I liked the story, outrageous though it was.(less)
The voices that narrate the book Wonder are so strong that it's a bit life changing to read this book about August, Auggie, Pullman, a fifth grader wh...moreThe voices that narrate the book Wonder are so strong that it's a bit life changing to read this book about August, Auggie, Pullman, a fifth grader who embarks upon his own life changing year. Born with mandibulofacial mysostosis and having gone through multiple surgeries, Auggie has been homeschooled up till now, but during the summer before fifth grade, his parents start floating the idea of starting school. Middle school seems to start in fifth grade in New York State, so the idea is , what better time to start? A meeting is arranged with the head of the middle school, Mr. Tuchman, and in joking with his dad over the guy's name, August warms up to the idea. At the interview, it turns out that Mr. Tushman has recruited some kids to show him around. One of these, Julian, will become his nemesis, and one, Jack Will, a close friend. The fact that they were recruited does lead to some hurt feelings and surprises.
What saves this from becoming another us against them book, is the nuance that Polacco brings to the characters in allowing them to speak for themselves. Everyone makes a journey that year. This is a real look at what friends and family can mean, even when you want to step away from it all for a minute.
My only fault with the book is the cinematic ending, which I will NOT outline. I really want to give this a 5 becauseI loved it, but the ending just didn't do it for me. 4 1/2 stars.(less)