Not a fan - perhaps I would have been if I'd made it past the first 100 pages but alas, my brain could not do it. I may try again when I have a bit le...moreNot a fan - perhaps I would have been if I'd made it past the first 100 pages but alas, my brain could not do it. I may try again when I have a bit less on my plate and can persevere through to the good bits!(less)
The Dovekeepers tells the story of the Roman siege of Masada, the last Jewish holdout in Judea, or Israel, towards the end of the first Roman/Jewish...more The Dovekeepers tells the story of the Roman siege of Masada, the last Jewish holdout in Judea, or Israel, towards the end of the first Roman/Jewish war. Told from the perspective of four women - Yael, Aziza, Revka, and Shirah - the author weaves fact with fiction in a spellbinding tale. Reading through the author notes at the end was amazing - the amount of research she did was incredible, and the way she has woven the artifacts and history through the story is superb. With four strong female voices, this is a fantastic read for anyone interested in Jewish history or history in general.(less)
I found the story itself interesting but the characters were weak and the writing even weaker. There is no light and shade - the bad characters are BA...moreI found the story itself interesting but the characters were weak and the writing even weaker. There is no light and shade - the bad characters are BAD and the good characters are GOOD and that's all there is to it. This book could have done with a good edit and some revision before being published.(less)
Flight Behaviour is Barbara Kingsolver's treatise on climate change and it's a doozy. There's a lot of information dumped on you as a reader but once...moreFlight Behaviour is Barbara Kingsolver's treatise on climate change and it's a doozy. There's a lot of information dumped on you as a reader but once you get past the science, the relationships between Dellarobia, her family, and the scientists are really interesting and well done. I found myself relating to Dellarobia and her situation but I found the ending a little too pat. Without giving anything away, things change drastically in her life and instead of leaving it as a metaphorical change, Kingsolver hits you over the head with an actual change.
That's the thing with this book - there's nothing gentle about it - Kingsolver has a MESSAGE and she makes sure you can't miss it however you read it. The only reason it's still a 3-star for me is that the relationships and characters are really well drawn. (less)
I realise that this is #7 or #9 (depending on which source you look at!) of a series of sorts but it can definitely be a stand-alone novel. Perhaps if...moreI realise that this is #7 or #9 (depending on which source you look at!) of a series of sorts but it can definitely be a stand-alone novel. Perhaps if you're already a fan of the series, you'll like this, but I found it slow and plodding and by the time the murder was solved, I honestly didn't care. I found the characterisation to be really unemotional and detached, which left me detached as a reader. Most police procedurals try to make police work seem more exciting than it usually is - this one seemed to want to include everything that makes police work boring: the nonsensical interviews, the boring scutwork, everything.
Unless you're already a fan, don't waste your time.(less)
Defending Jacob is a clever book that will get under your skin. At least, it got under my skin and I found myself putting the book down repeatedly bec...moreDefending Jacob is a clever book that will get under your skin. At least, it got under my skin and I found myself putting the book down repeatedly because I was so annoyed at the narrator!
Andy Barber is a District Attorney (or rather, First Assistant) who's investigating the murder of a 14-year-old boy, a classmate of his son. In the course of the investigation, the focus shifts to his son, who is eventually charged with murder. The story follows Andy, his wife Laurie, and Jacob as they navigate the trial, all the while interspersed with transcripts from a trial - a different trial it turns out. This structure is really well done, giving us information bit by bit.
I really found myself frustrated with Andy as a narrator. He's entirely unreliable - refusing to see Jacob for what he could be. I also found Laurie to be poorly written - she was very much a one-dimensional character, which makes sense in that she's only seen through Andy's eyes but, considering the ending, I felt that she could have been more thoroughly drawn.
I did feel as if there was a little too much foreshadowing going on sometimes - there's a lot of 'we thought this but it turned out, we were wrong' and 'it seemed bad but it was about to get a whole lot worse' type of thing, which works to keep us guessing but it got a bit tiring after a while. Otherwise it was an engaging read and definitely something you'll get involved in!(less)
Sarah Thornhill continues the story of the Thornhills as started in The Secret River although it functions as a standalone book as well. Sarah - or Do...moreSarah Thornhill continues the story of the Thornhills as started in The Secret River although it functions as a standalone book as well. Sarah - or Dolly, as her family calls her - is the youngest child of William Thornhill. As she grows up, she and her brother's best friend, Jack Langland, grow close and promise each other that they'll marry. However, the path to happiness is never easy and when Jack finds out her father's secret past, he storms out and leaves Sarah distraught.
In what seems to be a side-story, Jack brings back Sarah's brother's child, a half-white, half-Maori girl from New Zealand to live with the Thornhills. As might be obvious to us in the 21st century, this is not a good move and Jack wants to return her to her family in New Zealand but is forbidden. Somehow, this seems to turn into the main thrust of the story, almost as if Kate Grenville went 'whoops, need to tie this up nicely, better have a lot of shit happen in the last chapter!' I didn't really understand Sarah's perceived 'connection' to the girl, especially since she didn't really try that hard to help her or watch out for her. She had good intentions sure, but she never actually acted on them. Maybe that was supposed to be enough for her to feel such guilt later?
This is a nice read. It's a pleasant read. The writing is very good and the descriptions of landscape are very well written. If you're looking for something to read on holiday that is a step up from genre fiction but not something that will tax you too much, this is it. Enjoyable but not memorable.(less)
I struggled to get into this one, probably because I read it on my kindle and it was a bookclub selection, so I didn't have the blurb to go by. I stru...moreI struggled to get into this one, probably because I read it on my kindle and it was a bookclub selection, so I didn't have the blurb to go by. I struggled to get a sense of where the story was set and who the narrator - and later, narrators - were. So I grumbled but kept reading, promising myself that I could read something else once I was finished.
And then I hit my stride! Wow, three narrators - Elias Cole, Adrian, and Kai - all tell the story of Sierra Leone and the lives of those left behind, those who choose to leave, and those who choose to stay. It's a story of courage - the courage of your convictions and the lies you tell to alleviate your guilt. I found myself gasping at some of the twists and especially the ending and I almost need more time to digest it all.
It's a powerful story and I can't wait to discuss it at the next bookclub meeting!(less)