This one straddled the 3 1/2 - 4 star range for me, so I'll bump it up since it was so much fun to read.
From the first, we are plunged into the storyThis one straddled the 3 1/2 - 4 star range for me, so I'll bump it up since it was so much fun to read.
From the first, we are plunged into the story at a breakneck pace. There's so much we don't quite understand (and much we never understand), but that's forgiven as we get ring-side seats for the action. Indeed, the first part of the book can leave readers a bit breathless. The chase is on, and we're as clueless about what's going on as Wil, and that makes what happens much more immediate (and fun).
And then, Barry slows things down - just a little. We get the backstory of Emily: who she is, where she came from, how she acts at "school." And, we're left with a vague sense of dread and foreshadowing. This continues until Barry does away with some of our assumptions and pushes us down another road, filled with a different sense of dread. We never truly get the reasons behind the organization and the events that changed Broken Hill, but that wouldn't have added to the story for me. This was more about Emily, Eliot, and Wil.
I also liked the idea of words as powerful weapons - in this case, literally - and the issues regarding privacy and manipulation. The message in the book isn't very subtle, but it doesn't have to be. With the chaos surrounding Broken Hill and the poets, a subtler message may have gotten lost. Besides, readers can follow the action without getting bogged down by meaning, or can look for meaning without getting too distracted by the plot. Either way, an enjoyable read....more
Liked the book, hated the cover (it was a little too earnest, like some of the inspirational fiction novels I try to stay away from).
Anyway, the noveLiked the book, hated the cover (it was a little too earnest, like some of the inspirational fiction novels I try to stay away from).
Anyway, the novel was based on Dody McCleland, who is supposed to be one of the pioneering medical woman at the turn of the 20th Century, She is assigned to work with the Home Office in London with autopsies and forensics. This set-up seemed rather realistic, so her working relationships with others in Scotland Yard were easy to accept. The storyline also made sense - there were a few red herrings thrown into the mix - but nothing really got in the way of the main plotline, which I appreciated. And Dody's character, and that of Pike, were drawn well. I'm not sure I'm completely convinced by the character of Florence, Dody's sister, but this is a good start for a series.
It was a quick read, and I learned a bit more about the fight for women's suffrage in England. And, the book was a bit darker than I would have thought (which was just fine for me). The discovery and the identity of the culprit made sense, even if it wasn't what I expected. Overall, worth the read....more
Another decent entry in the Lenox series, although this one dragged a bit for me. Charles is obviously more in his element when detecting, so why he cAnother decent entry in the Lenox series, although this one dragged a bit for me. Charles is obviously more in his element when detecting, so why he continues to bother about Parliament is getting to be an irritant - the book started slow and ended slow with his life in the House of Commons as the frame.
The mystery itself was interesting, and I enjoyed the reveal of the culprits (and even the additional reveal). The scenes of being in the countryside were interesting, though after the last book (A Burial at Sea), it would be good to get back to his regular haunts in London. ...more
This one dragged on a bit too long for me. The premise and execution were fairly strong: Kiera (still hate that name) and Gage are trying/hoping to unThis one dragged on a bit too long for me. The premise and execution were fairly strong: Kiera (still hate that name) and Gage are trying/hoping to uncover the truth about a missing woman without pointing the finger at a friend who has spent some time in an asylum. The descriptions of the asylums and treatments were definitely intriguing. I only wished that this had taken up a greater portion of the novel.
Other than the length, my only other complaint was the relationship between Kiera and Gage. Huber does well to slow the pace of the development, but the amount of "secrets" that the two are trying not to share with each other got tiring by the end.(view spoiler)[ And, when Gage distances himself from her near the end of the novel, I thought that seemed to be more of a plot ploy (read the next book!) than an authentic trait of that character. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
While I can understand that the character of Flavia is growing up, and that Bradley may want to take her and the series in a different direction, I caWhile I can understand that the character of Flavia is growing up, and that Bradley may want to take her and the series in a different direction, I can't help feel a slight disappointment in this book. Flavia is still as curious and captivating as ever, but there's not a ton of mystery in this one. There are family secrets that Flavia uncovers (view spoiler)[(and holy hannah, this family has secrets. But they're definitely over the top and, to me, slightly out-of-sync with the rest of the series.) (hide spoiler)], but she doesn't do her regular sleuthing/snooping job here.
I love Flavia's voice, I love Flavia's interaction with her family (and Inspector Hewitt and the Vicar's Wife), and I love the bucolic setting, so if the series continues, I hope that Bradley finds a way to keep those unique elements somehow involved.["br"]>["br"]>...more
Way cute! I love that the crayons all seem to have a different personality, and, of course, that they have feelings, too. It's simple enough for a youWay cute! I love that the crayons all seem to have a different personality, and, of course, that they have feelings, too. It's simple enough for a younger one to understand (colors), yet I can imagine early grade school kids getting a kick out seeing their box of crayons come to life. The main idea is that you can use your creativity - and your crayons - to create anything you want. Great pictures, good story, cool message....more
I read this one for Book Club, and I can honestly say that I might not have finished it except for that reason. It's not that it's a terrible book - iI read this one for Book Club, and I can honestly say that I might not have finished it except for that reason. It's not that it's a terrible book - it's that it's very dry. I enjoyed the sections on weeds in Shakespeare's writing and the poppies of Europe after WWI. I also liked the discussion of the medicinal and cultural value of the weeds. But, without illustrations or maps, it was difficult to imagine the diversity (and to see why some people's weeds are others' enjoyment).
Overall, the author's discussion was valuable. I probably do come away from the book with a more positive feeling about weeds than when I began. In the end, I might have weeded out a few sections of the book that made it just a shade too long....more
(Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley.)
Generally, I liked this book. It was along the same vein as the previous three, and I lik(Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley.)
Generally, I liked this book. It was along the same vein as the previous three, and I like that the Kuisl/Fronweiser family gets around Germany a little (when all the murders in a series happen in the same town, it gets old). This time around, they investigate a plague and a number of strange deaths at a monastery.
For me, the only reasons I didn't enjoy this as much as the last one are due to small details. Jakob, Simon, and Magdalena usually work together well, but there were a lot more gruff, blustery disagreements and insults among the three. I suppose I just got to the point where I wanted to hear less of their nagging at each other and more about what they were doing. And, I felt that there was more 21st century language and tone used in this one.
The mystery involving the "sorcerer" was at the heart of the story, and although there were a number of red herrings, Potzsch takes each of the herrings and develops subplots. Which means that the whole book is a lot longer than it could/should have been.
Still, it's always interesting to escape into 17th Century Germany, so I'll probably look forward to the next Tale....more
I read this one based on a recommendation Nancy Pearl gave on NPR last week. It was cute - with some subtle and some not so subtle humor - and it wasI read this one based on a recommendation Nancy Pearl gave on NPR last week. It was cute - with some subtle and some not so subtle humor - and it was definitely written with an ear toward Austen. Nothing objectionable about it, though the main character can come across as a bit of a mercenary (which isn't necessarily a fault, given her circumstances). Possibly a good choice for a tween who may not yet be ready for Austen. Cotton candy for adults. ...more
I think I liked this one better that the first, possibly because the there was less main character exposition. Grecian does a lot of things well - theI think I liked this one better that the first, possibly because the there was less main character exposition. Grecian does a lot of things well - the main mystery of the missing people and the whole physical aspect of the town literally disappearing as the mining seam collapses beneath them. He does a good job at building tension, and though the ending was a little too convenient (three "groups" all happen to meet in the same place in all those miles of mines!), it still worked.
What was less appealing were all the small subplots and extraneous details - I just felt that there was so much not completely explained: the American Civil War angle, the fact that the entire town gets sick from the water, superstitions are introduced but never fully developed, and there's something going on between the Vicar and his wife. Into this mix, Grecian throws Day's wife (did she really need to stop in on her way through?), and the disappearance of the Constable.
I'm not saying that some of these things didn't add to the grittiness of the storyline, but there were a few loose ends that I would have liked to seen tied up (or used to the fullest potential). Still Day and Hammersmith are interesting - though, with the amount of physical problems Hammersmith has to deal with in this case and the last, he might want to cut short his career before it kills him. Dr. Kingsley isn't featured as much in this one, so hopefully, if there's a third book, he'll be given a more prominent role. ...more
Again, Singer crafts an incredibly wonderful book (and the colorful illustrations by Masse are superb). The cleverness in the writing is something thaAgain, Singer crafts an incredibly wonderful book (and the colorful illustrations by Masse are superb). The cleverness in the writing is something that both adults and kids can share. My favorites were the takes on "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Tortoise and the Hare."...more
I don't often pick up books on science, though a well-written book (read: for dummies) on popular science can draw me in. Mary Roach is one of those sI don't often pick up books on science, though a well-written book (read: for dummies) on popular science can draw me in. Mary Roach is one of those science authors who can be relied on to present a subject in an interesting light, so I will pretty much read anything she writes. The fact that she can write with such humor, while respecting (and explaining) the subject is a complete bonus.
Gulp is a great example of her expert ability. Here, she offers a fascinating look at some of the more disgusting (at least, culturally) aspects of the human body. I laughed along with her escapades, but I came away from this book with actual knowledge. I especially enjoyed the chapters on saliva and digestion (pythons are still gross). My scientific education is increased, and I had an enjoyable time increasing it - which I cannot say for my high school AP Bio class....more
(Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley.)
First, I have to say that I generally don't read the Spellman books for the mysteries (th(Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley.)
First, I have to say that I generally don't read the Spellman books for the mysteries (though the mysteries are just fine). I read them for the characterization and humor, especially that of Izzy.
This one does not disappoint on that end. At the end of the last novel, Izzy has staged a coup and is now in charge of Spellman Investigations. But nothing is ever simple or easy with this family, and there are plenty of veiled threats, covert operations, and genuine misdirections - and that's just the employees. Izzy, of course, has too much on her plate, but now she's a bit more responsible, so she's forced to take care of things. I like that Lutz has given Izzy - the eternal teen rebel - room to grow.
I have to say that I was a little disappointed - yet again - with Izzy's love life (view spoiler)[I was hoping that she and Henry could work things out (hide spoiler)], she seems to choose the wrong man every time.
Other than that, this was another good Spellman romp - and possibly the last(?) since it ends with a wrap-up done by another character. Still, for pure fun, it's hard to beat Izzy and the crew.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I did enjoy this book, but not so much that I could overlook the fact that was not an innate sense of mine to pick it up whenever I could. I loved itI did enjoy this book, but not so much that I could overlook the fact that was not an innate sense of mine to pick it up whenever I could. I loved it while I was reading it, I just didn't always think about reading it when I wasn't, if that makes sense. Still, the writing is superb - and McBride should be congratulated for winning the NBA. (Though, the story could have lost much of its center section - which drug a bit for me - and would have been just fine.)
I loved the voice and the character of Onion, which reminded of both Jack from Little Big Man and Mattie from True Grit. The innocence and irreverence of his recollection is what drives the novel, even when things get absurd (a drunk and handsy Frederick Douglass!). I also loved the way in which McBride plays with the reader's sense of expectation about race, gender, and the idea of enslavement. Characters don't always react, or think, in ways we predict, which adds a sense of chaos to the already chaotic setting of the time period. McBride walks a fine line, but with Onion's earnestness and appeal, you forgive him when he gingerly steps across either side. The depiction of John Brown is, although perhaps not necessarily realistic, at least genuine as filtered through Onion's lens. And the ending, with its manifest revelations is excellent. ...more
It's not quite Gone with the Wind in Africa, but it certainly felt like it at times.
Delilah, although having lived in Europe for most of her adult lifIt's not quite Gone with the Wind in Africa, but it certainly felt like it at times.
Delilah, although having lived in Europe for most of her adult life, is American (in fact, a southern belle), and a bit of a Scarlett O'Hara - who, in my opinion, is a waste of a character. She is shallow and selfish, and while I can put up with that as long as the character evolves, she never truly matures. Her promiscuity is not the issue, nor is the way she has a tendency to mistreat even those she calls friends (and the way she's so dismissive of Dora is rather grating, given her completely contradictory treatment of others who are also in an inferior position). It's simply that I had a hard time reconciling this supposed cool and casual demeanor only when it suited the plot. She's supposed to come across as uncaring, but that doesn't work when the story needs her to care about the ill-treatment of the native Africans or the estate. The event that should be her turning point is a sacrifice, but in reality, it's only a superficial inconvenience. She never truly feels as if she's in any danger (and a comparison to Sydney Carton is almost laughable), so neither do we.
In fact, the main male character, Ryder, has a lot in common with Rhett Butler. He is a gruff, very macho male hiding a more sensitive nature. He's not above taking advantage of others when it comes to business, but he has a "code" that makes him disdainful of others pushing their advantages. I grew tired of his character - the predictability was irritating after awhile. Additionally, most of the secondary characters were one-dimensional; when I can't delineate people even by their names, there's a problem.
I did enjoy the look at Africa - the descriptions and depictions seemed genuine for the time period - and the era is always fascinating. I kept reading hoping I would be rewarded for sticking it out with a couple of irritating people. But by the end, I could only walk away, like Rhett Butler, not giving a damn....more