This is a reasonably good book. Binchy skillfully draws links between a broad spectrum of characters. Noel, a recovering alcolohilc takes in a littleThis is a reasonably good book. Binchy skillfully draws links between a broad spectrum of characters. Noel, a recovering alcolohilc takes in a little newborn girl when her mother dies during the birth process. Most of the characters are quite dynamic. However, the story seems kind of fragmented. I think two factors cause it. This particular edition is an abridgement, so some of the disconnectedness is understandable. Also, it's possible that this particular book does not translate as well to audio as some others. Some sort of transition pause between sections seems to be in order, they're a little jarring.
Binchy has better books, and I would recommend them over this one, but this one is pretty good too....more
In all, The Eight is an enjoyable read. It handles the central conflict well, with harrowing escapes from certain doom and unfolding complications thaIn all, The Eight is an enjoyable read. It handles the central conflict well, with harrowing escapes from certain doom and unfolding complications that keep the reader guessing. The blossoming of the love interests at the end were a bit unexpected, but not unwelcome.
If you like conspiracy, you may enjoy this book. Neville is a better writer than Dan Brown, so her story is not so pedantic, even though it is fraught with historical significance. Her device (the Montglane Service) has religious overtones, but it is not so blatantly preachy as The Da Vinci Code. It is interesting to me that since she did not find it necessary to create contraversy in order to forward her book sales, also seems to have kept this work somewhat less well known, but it has everything that Brown has and more, and better executed....more
With all the audacity and silliness of Amelia Peabody, Vicky Bliss gives as much as she takes, and then some. This story is a corny romp through touriWith all the audacity and silliness of Amelia Peabody, Vicky Bliss gives as much as she takes, and then some. This story is a corny romp through touristy historic Rothenburg. The castle, the walls, the tombs and secret passages give one all the pleasure of an episode of Scooby Doo with a vocabulary. The twists and turns are quite predictable in retrospect and Mertz follows the literary rule of getting her heros in so much hot water they can't possibly get out ... but, of course, they do. The Drachenstein castle was a necessary invention, as no existing site would want the kind of sappy and nosey attention they would get as a result of a tale this engaging. If this book did not do well when it was published, it should have. It is worth three of current best sellers that can compete in a similar genre....more
This book is definitely below average. I'm sure Janet is a little embarrassed by it. If not for her current success, the publisher would never consideThis book is definitely below average. I'm sure Janet is a little embarrassed by it. If not for her current success, the publisher would never consider re-running this publication. If I were Janet I would let them do it only because it's a living. The premise, a girl takes a job to be an apparent wife, for social and business purposes and winds up the vicitm of good natured felonies. it's most unlikely. Beyond that, the characters are like teenagers with too much freedom. I followed it on the audio version, and, it's no reflection on the reader, but I kept falling asleep. I do that sometimes, but in this case, I really think it was related to the weakness of the story. Evanovich is good now, but she wasn't always. Stick with Janet's current stuff....more
This is not that other book. On the contrary, this is a book of literary value. This is evident because, I'm relatively certain that I will be readingThis is not that other book. On the contrary, this is a book of literary value. This is evident because, I'm relatively certain that I will be reading this book again to get a firmer grip on it.
Eddie Russet is a wonderful character, slightly irresponsible in a world where micromanagement takes on a tyranical caste. And I do mean caste. The world of Shades is built on color, not the color of the person, but the colors he can see. It's a post-apocalyptic world following "The Something That Happened" in which every effort is made to stablize society by means of "The Rules."
The first person perspective is wonderful, since it is modified to keep the reader from understanding everything that's going on. He is dynamically tranformative, examining the system and understanding some of the inconsistencies. He also has the audacity to fall in love across color boundaries, moderately high caste with lowest caste. His freeish wheeling style is not appreciated by authority, but is taken advantage of by the less savory elements of his new town. His antics lead him to big trouble and to extreme punishment.
I am quite impressed with Fforde's development of a society that is built on a completely different status and ethnic system. There are also other off-center ideas like animals with bar codes and a high value placed on spoons. Fforde uses nonsense with the expertise of Lewis Carroll. Shades of Grey: the Road to High Saffron has the depth and complexity and all the power of Alice in Wonderland. He wields misdirection like a master.
Shades of Grey might be a classic. It is certainly a great book. I will read it again. It is not for the casual reader. It's for more mature readers, at least high school, because younger children will just find it hard to follow. It takes some initial aclimation. Don't quit in frustration too early. If you do, you're missing out on a truly engaging story....more
Cute, saucy, somewhat fun. I can't say Julia is my reading material of choice, but she was an amusing diversion, which I suspect is all she's meant toCute, saucy, somewhat fun. I can't say Julia is my reading material of choice, but she was an amusing diversion, which I suspect is all she's meant to be. The book wanders off into the gossip world of an old southern busybody, sticking her nose in everybody else's business and generally sorting things out for them whether they want her to or not. Some do, some don't. The book has the advantage of capturing the one-upmanship of the southern two-face very well. Julia's gossipy dinners are funny, though, inexplicably, they fade away after the first part of the book. Her exploits with Dr. Fred Fowler and Francine are entertaining points of harmless, low-threat tension and her care for her true friends is touching. Even her snide, resigned disapproval of Mr. Pickins is quite authentic. It's good chick lit and fun for any guys who really want a peek into a feminine mind of a certain bent. Don't expect depth....more
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is very obviously a good read. That is as a best seller made into a movie, the public opinion has already establishedThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is very obviously a good read. That is as a best seller made into a movie, the public opinion has already established it and my own opinion is of merely local interest.
But here it is anyway. I generally really liked the book. It has some obvious features that make it a cautionary book: sexual elements, some language and the endorsement of a lifestyle that is clearly not part of a Christian worldview. Not that it endorses everything, no. In fact it is one of the most thoroughly post-modern books I've read in that the biggest immoral ideas in the book are intolerance and cruelty, though dishonesty and profiteering.
Nazis are the obvious poster children of intolerance and cruelty, so they make their appearance in a purely historical and influential role. The much more present problem is connected with cruelty to women which becomes one of the central motifs of the book. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the theme. The theme I think is the dilemma of morally confronting moral choices.
The characters of Bloomquist and Salander are, of course, very saliently written. The hovering figure of Harriet is wonderful in all her vulnerability and power. The antagonist is as revolting as you expect him to be once you figure out what he's done and he is completely unmasked. The plot moves like a European novel, that is slowly and with languorous description moving into the action of the book and through the denouement, covering every detail in a way that is unnecessary in more action packed American books. In that way it is like a gourmet meal instead of tasty fast food.
I do not broadly recommend The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, though I would recommend it to some adult readers. I caution anyone who is offended by casual sexual attitudes and references. More offensive are the descriptions of sexual cruelty. Not because they reference sex explicitly, but because they are far too unlikely to be taken as truth. More importantly I caution anyone who is subject to be passively influenced by high sounding ideas and realism without looking under the hood. The post-modernism of the story explains much about its popularity....more
Father Tim is as enjoyable as expected. Cynthia actually has a nice side show too. There are lots of brief insertions into moments of the lives of theFather Tim is as enjoyable as expected. Cynthia actually has a nice side show too. There are lots of brief insertions into moments of the lives of the whole town. It's a little confusing.
To begin with, this is an abridgement, which is a bit of a problem. Jan Karen's books have appeal, but they are a little fragmented, the abridgment compounds the problem.
I kind of like Karen's books. They are clean, and their plots have ample surprise to keep them interesting ... not to say astounding. Reading them is a relatively tension free experience, with lots of laughs and potential tears. Perhaps too sentimental, but that isn't the worst flaw a book can have....more
This is classic Higgins Clark. I have found over the years that she follows certain patterns, some of them good, some of them just odd. Clark is cleanThis is classic Higgins Clark. I have found over the years that she follows certain patterns, some of them good, some of them just odd. Clark is clean. This is good. Where many thriller writer like to spice things up with steamy sex, Clark keeps sexuality under control with a closed bedroom door. In her scenarios where women are so victimized, this would not have to be the case, but, of course, if it were not then the viloence would be quite repugnant. But Clark has class and allows her characters' emotions to rule the day.
Unfortuneatly, Clark has a way of repeating herself. Her prose is punctuated with reminders of facts she wants you to see as important. Perhaps they are, but when it happens, I feel as if I, the reader, am being disrespected. I will remember that Liza lived there as a child, that her father was an architect, that everyone thought the child did the crime. I don't need to be told that a dozen times.
Clark always has a twist, and this book is no exception. Once you've read enough thrillers, though, you know that that the person staged as the bad guy is not the villian. I won't go into it, but the twist in this case is a good one. Read No Place Like Home if you've ever wondered what it would be like to dive back into the security of your childhood. It isn't the way you remember....more
It's a pleasure to return to Mitford, it's been a few years since I read any of these books. With all the Science Fiction "the whole world is at stakeIt's a pleasure to return to Mitford, it's been a few years since I read any of these books. With all the Science Fiction "the whole world is at stake" and Mystery "it's all life and death" reading I do, I enjoy getting into something in which the focus is more commonplace. A meaningful hand made gift, the goings on of family dynamics, normal working life decisions and transitions. These are not the things that disrupt our lives, but change them and mold them in important ways. Never mind that Jan Karon's stories are a little pat ... that's ok sometimes. Certainly things are seldom that simple, but that's part of reading fiction. It's like a good romance novel without the intense emotional and sexual energy. Instead it is the simple romance of loving people, some of whom are also in-love. Mostly, though it is the common messes of life and the need for a little perspective, usually gained by sharing with another person. If Karon has a problem in her books it's with answers that turn out to be too easy from time to time. In this, she denies her characters the depth they deserve, but that's not her point. Her point is to resurrect the pleasure of life that gets lost in the shuffle. It's good to be reminded that life doesn't have to be a high drama. A good book, not the best Mitford book, but good never the less....more
I find it interesting how as a writer becomes more famous, other writers enter their orbit. I had never heard of Lee Goldberg, but I can't help thinkiI find it interesting how as a writer becomes more famous, other writers enter their orbit. I had never heard of Lee Goldberg, but I can't help thinking now that I know what his writing is like. This is certainly not standard Evanovich.
The characters are pretty good, if a little over blown. I was not terribly compelled by them and would not go out of my way to buy subsequent installments in the series unless they are quite cheap.
The idea of a thief being hired by the federal government, and one of their own sent off the reservation to work together with him, both of them being placed at risk is plausible, but unlikely. Surely the government does this sort of thing all the time, but they don't talk about it and it rarely comes to light. When it does, it usually causes a scandal most government flunkies would not be eager to endure.
Read The Heist if you want to travel all over the world with an unlimited bank account, little in the way of ethical limitations, and lots of nearly slapstick excitement. Admittedly Stephanie Plum is no deep character, and her recurring sexual tension is sometimes tedious. This promises to be a similar series. Fun, but not arresting....more
Absolute fun reading. This book is endowed with all the respect for courage and adventure that are characteristic of the best English characters. A reAbsolute fun reading. This book is endowed with all the respect for courage and adventure that are characteristic of the best English characters. A reader could fall in love with all of them: Peter, Chas., Celia, Mrs. Boquenet, and especially Margaret. They are bold, rye, and just stereotypical enough to keep the reader from taking any of the story too seriously.
The ghost, the ancient priory, the colorful denizens of the village and the secret passage nearly make for an episode of Scooby Doo. I'm sure the Monk would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling wealthy Brits with too much time on their hands and an allergy to boredom.
You hesitate to treat the book too seriously, being written for entertainment as it was, but a theme of persistence and level headedness runs throughout the book. I loved the story's old fashioned vocabulary and my nook's lookup feature (do you know what meretricious means? or what a planchette is?) I find that novels are a wonderful window to a past that changes with mere memory. I know very few people who were alive in the 1930s and none who can recall the period with the full color detail a novel can bring.
If you read Footsteps, you will find yourself wishing you knew the characters personally, that you could sit in on their bridge games and join in their adventures. But if you're like me, you also feel that you would not quite fit in, not quite measure up to the group's devil may care ways....more