This book is a historical thriller where Bram Stoker and his literary friends fight Jack the Ripper, and these events are supposedly the inspiration fThis book is a historical thriller where Bram Stoker and his literary friends fight Jack the Ripper, and these events are supposedly the inspiration for Dracula. Sounds pretty fantastic, right?
Unfortunately the Dracula Dossier doesn't really live up to its premise. It starts off slow, and continues even slower. It picks up when the murders finally start, and this final section of the book is interesting enough to make me even more disappointed in the dull mess that came before it.
The story is presented as a newly-discovered secret dossier made up mostly of Stoker's journal and letters. There are many other aspects of the story that either mirror or reference Dracula, unfortunately the author tends to point them out in the footnotes instead of just letting the reader enjoy picking up on them.
And that's far from the only footnote-related offense. Yes, a few of the footnotes are interesting. Some of them point out an alleged bit of marginalia that Stoker added to an article or a necessary piece of historical knowledge. But other historical footnotes seem more about showing off the author's research than advancing our understanding of the story or characters.
And there are quite a few footnotes that come across as both unnecessary and a little condescending. The vast majority of people who will be interested enough in this idea to read this style of prose will understand that Whitman means Walt, Holmes-like means Sherlock, and that Miss Shelley's monster is a reference to Frankenstein. The constant footnotes jerk you out of the novel, so it's frustrating when that happens for no reason. Seriously, at one point there's even a footnote pointing out a pun.
This was a great idea, but the few highlights at the end aren't really worth it....more
This is a beautiful story about a long-term love affair between an American woman and an English bookshop. I'm not happy at the idea of having to takeThis is a beautiful story about a long-term love affair between an American woman and an English bookshop. I'm not happy at the idea of having to take it back to the library.
I love books about books, I love the epistolary style, and I love short, focused memoirs. So I'm a bit shocked that I hadn't heard about this until one of my GR friends reviewed it.
I can tell that I really loved a nonfiction book when it makes me want to do something as a reaction to reading it. This one makes me want to write letters. But the day any of my far away friends got a letter from me, they'd probably just call or email me back....more
When Miles travels to Cetaganda for a state funeral, he finds himself drawn into a conflict that could endanger his own home planet. The complicated sWhen Miles travels to Cetaganda for a state funeral, he finds himself drawn into a conflict that could endanger his own home planet. The complicated social customs of his hosts make it difficult for Miles to investigate, but he's determined to work against the hidden enemy that tried to use him in their power play.
There were some action scenes in this one, but it was more intrigue-heavy than most of the previous books. I loved that aspect of it, and I adored the interactions between Miles and Ivan (especially when Ivan was recalling things from their childhood). I also liked seeing such a different society and political structure than the others we've been exposed to in the series.
The downside of this book, for me, was some of Miles's behavior. He seemed too convinced that he was the only person that could handle anything, and some of his joking around with Ivan seemed to have a mean streak. His attitude is understandable considering his previous exploits, but Miles as a smug jerk is much less interesting to me than Miles as an underestimated guy who's still in over his head.
I love the character, and yes he's the hero. I just think he could stand to be humbled a bit....more
I liked the setup, but potentially interesting elements were ignored in favor of plot moments that managed to be simultaneously zany and dull. The herI liked the setup, but potentially interesting elements were ignored in favor of plot moments that managed to be simultaneously zany and dull. The heroine was also too whiny for words. Yes, okay, we get it, you have poor self esteem. It would have been a relatable weakness if used sparingly, but harping on it made her feel like that annoying friend that you've drifted apart from because listening to the same old complaints is exhausting....more
Shortly after arriving in Caribbean waters, John Chandagnac is pressed into service on a pirate ship. Despite a powerful motive for escape, he finds hShortly after arriving in Caribbean waters, John Chandagnac is pressed into service on a pirate ship. Despite a powerful motive for escape, he finds himself caught up in the danger, magic, and intrigue of life among the pirates.
I loved the way magic was handled in this book, and it had a solid plot. The author worked in some good historical detail without making it feel like he was trying to cram in research material just for the sake of using it. Some of the descriptions were amazing. Still, the pace dragged at times, and there was little chemistry between John and Beth, his supposed love interest.
The hero got too good at too many new things too quickly. He had a really unique background as a puppeteer, but his skills as a showman were rarely used after the beginning. Instead, he became this great sailor/fighter/magician in a matter of months. His pirate mentor taught him the basics of magic in between chapters, and after that reveal I could almost hear the stereotypical training montage music in my head.
My biggest frustration, though, was Beth. Everyone's plans revolved around her, and while she wasn't exactly passive, she was completely ineffective. There were times when she came off more like a prop or a prize than a heroine, and by the time that the third villain tried to kidnap her for a nefarious magical purpose, my patience was wearing thin....more
This is a historical romance about Meg, a British girl who was raised in the outback by the tribe of Australian Aborigines. After a chance meeting, aThis is a historical romance about Meg, a British girl who was raised in the outback by the tribe of Australian Aborigines. After a chance meeting, a rancher and his wife take her in and educate her. An attempt on her life leads to questions about her past, and Meg learns that her outback instincts can be just as valuable in civilization as they were in the desert where she grew up.
It's a predictable but entertaining story with a lot of adventure and travel. There were some aspects of the romance plot that I didn't care for, but I liked the writing style and period descriptions. It's great for a quick, escapist read, and I plan to try more from this author....more
A gossipy, entertaining read. I don't think that I'm particularly biased either for or against sororities, and I thought it was a pretty fair treatmenA gossipy, entertaining read. I don't think that I'm particularly biased either for or against sororities, and I thought it was a pretty fair treatment. She brings up a lot of scandalous stories because sensationalism sells books. A book focusing only on the best aspects of greek life would be boring.
I'm finding some of the really defensive reviews almost as entertaining as the book itself....more
The main character is a little too perfect, at least if you can get past her overly judgmental tone and surprisingly prudish outlook. Seriously, drinkThe main character is a little too perfect, at least if you can get past her overly judgmental tone and surprisingly prudish outlook. Seriously, drinking blood is something that she can see herself getting used to, but she absently wonders if she's turning into a slut after wanting a guy to kiss her? How does that even come close to making sense?