Slightly silly, but a fun adventure story. Biggest downsides were that the story was slow at the beginning and that it never turned out to be as scarySlightly silly, but a fun adventure story. Biggest downsides were that the story was slow at the beginning and that it never turned out to be as scary as I wanted or expected. Easy, quick read. The author clearly did a lot of research about the Titanic....more
A fun dual mystery set in 1920s London. This was my first introduction to Joe Sandilands of the Metropolitan Police and I found him to be an engagingA fun dual mystery set in 1920s London. This was my first introduction to Joe Sandilands of the Metropolitan Police and I found him to be an engaging character. I also enjoyed Lily Wentworth, his partner, who is a rather kick-ass police officer. Throw in a mystery involving high profile murders and attempted murders (which ended a bit surprisingly) and a Romanov twist, and I sailed through it, thoroughly entertained. I'm making an effort to pick up some of the others in series, and hope they are as entertaining as this one....more
I was unexpectedly impressed by this little book, recounting the the life of the ocean liner Bavaria, later renamed Romantic. Based on the German lineI was unexpectedly impressed by this little book, recounting the the life of the ocean liner Bavaria, later renamed Romantic. Based on the German lines Imperator, Vaterland and Bismarck, the book was unexpectedly touching and sweet. I had a great deal of fun reading it, particularly since it concerns a period of history in which I am very interested and it is about ocean liners. This presents a very different outlook on both, and it was tremendously interesting....more
On the balance, I found my enjoying this book more than I didn't. The author has serious talent, and her ability to placeI received this as an e-ARC.
On the balance, I found my enjoying this book more than I didn't. The author has serious talent, and her ability to place the reader in the time and place she's writing about is astounding. You can almost smell the smoke, see the desolation, hear the cries and weeping. The Plum Tree has some of the best atmospheric and scenic writing I've ever read.
The characters, too, are engaging. I might be slightly biased - the experiences of the central family seem close (view spoiler)[(minus the heroine's stint in Dachau) (hide spoiler)] to the little my own Omi has described of her famiily's wartime experiences, and I empathized with them more than I might have done otherwise. The family seemed almost too squeaky clean, though. Possibly because they are the heroes, not one person in Christine's family even contemplates the Nazi rhetoric, which appeals to the reader but is possibly not entirely historically accurate.
Anyway, I became very fond of Christine, her sister Maria, and their mother. Their stories are each by turns heartbreaking and beautiful and it's very easy to get caught up in them. However, the secondary characters - Oma, Opa, and Kate, for example - were barely even present enough to register in my mind. They were only around in small ways to move the plot forward, then they disappeared, or so it seemed.
The main reason I gave this book three stars, as opposed to three and a half or four, is that I had a great deal of trouble with the pacing. Three or four years went by in less than 100 pages near the beginning and some scenes seemed to just drag on. There would be many pages between something happening, and then two or three very dramatic things would happen all at once. It was slightly disorientating and difficult to read through.
I also didn't particularly believe or care for the central romance, even though I really wanted to like it. In some places, particularly early on, the romance made sense, was even quite lovely, but there would be long stretches where I couldn't quite believe that a romance would work. (view spoiler)[There's a period of what seems to be several years when Issac and Christine wouldn't speak, even in secret, even though they are in the same town still. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, a good book. The scenes set in Dachau were particularly, almost brilliantly, well-written, and I would suggest the book for that part alone. The pacing seems off, but the writer is great at setting the tone of the scene. You feel as if you are really there with Christine. Slightly uneven overall, but still good; the author's clearly got a lot of talent.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Did the author do any historical research? It was pretty off-putting to wade through several glaring errors. The characters were bland and the two maiDid the author do any historical research? It was pretty off-putting to wade through several glaring errors. The characters were bland and the two main female protagonists were nearly interchangeable to boot. Not recommended....more
I heard about this book here and received a sneak peek copy from NetGalley. Boy, does it live up to the hype. It took me a little bit of time to get iI heard about this book here and received a sneak peek copy from NetGalley. Boy, does it live up to the hype. It took me a little bit of time to get into it, but once I did, I was so immersed in the story I didn't want to leave. The premise itself is enticingly original - the Archive, Histories, Keepers and a whole secret world that shadows our own. I loved the Coronado and I absolutely cannot wait until Jan. 22 to read the rest and watch Mackenzie figure out the mysteries in that building.
Mackenzie, her parents, Wes, Roland, Lyndsey - all of the main and supporting characters are wonderfully drawn. They feel like real people - not perfect, but intriguingly flawed. I may have developed a major soft spot for Roland already.
This was an amazing sneak peek - the first part of the book (that I was able to see) has just enough action and development to draw someone in. I've already preordered the book so that I can find out what happens. Hopefully, the rest of The Archived lives up to the promise of the first 100 pages or so....more
I really, really wanted to like this book. I loved the concept - three teens wi**spoiler alert** 2-2.5 Stars/5
Note: I received an eARC from NetGalley.
I really, really wanted to like this book. I loved the concept - three teens with an exotic disease roam the streets and inadvertently see something wrong in an apartment while doing Parkour. It has so much potential to be an incredibly fun read, with the teenagers investigating, but being hampered by their XP.
However, I had a lot of trouble getting into the book. I positively slogged through and could never really relate to the characters or to their problems or inhabit their world. My favorite books pull me into the story and refuse to let me go, even if I have to go and get actual work done. I think about the book long after it's put away and can't wait to get back to it. With this book, I found excuses to not pick it up.
Allie and Juliet are reasonably well-drawn characters. Rob seemed to be little more than a cardboard cutout, placed there solely so Allie could angst over him. The mini love triangle that devolves into an odd romance between Allie and Rob just didn't work for me - one moment Rob's in love with Juliet and the next with Allie? It just seemed unnecessary to me. I have never been a teenage boy, so maybe I just don't get it, but Rob never made sense to me as a character and this was one large reason why. Furthermore, many of the motivations for characters' actions were complete mysteries to me - I could not relate to them at all, let along figure out their thinking process.
Anyway, the supporting characters were practically non-existent - they were there but showed little substance. Allie's little sister, her mother, her mother's friend, the pizza man, even the murderer himself never really came alive for me. They could have just as easily not been in the book at all. And while I can understand why and how a teenage character might be slightly self-centered and so other characters might suffer in an unreliable narrator-type situation, when the book ends and I don't have much sense or opinion about the main antagonist, I feel like that's a failure on the writer's part.
The pacing and the writing itself bothered me as well. The pacing of the mystery and the suspense seemed off, for some reason, for the entire book. Nothing that I can put my finger on, but the actions would have these periods where it slowed almost to a crawl; maybe the reason the read was hard for me to get through? On a side note: I'm not an expert in Parkour, but it seems unlikely that three teenagers could become so very good at the discipline in about three months - that stretched the bounds of my willing suspension of disbelief. Back to the point, the writing seems to twist back on and almost repeat itself - I had a couple of deja vu-like moments. The book itself had too many loose ends at the end; I would have loved some resolution, even with the cliff-hanger ending.
The stars I did give to it were for the concept and for Allie. Sometimes she and her actions didn't make a whit of sense to me, but I genuinely liked the character and her spunkiness. I'm giving it two stars, rather than rounding up to three because I was disappointed in the execution of this interesting and different premise.
Unfortunately, I do not think I can recommend this book, and I will likely not pick up what appears the intended sequel....more