I loved this book! I read it in one day, but was really conflicted about clicking to the next page as I didn't want the book to end.
The story is told...moreI loved this book! I read it in one day, but was really conflicted about clicking to the next page as I didn't want the book to end.
The story is told from the point of view of Owen, a twelve year old boy. The entire story takes place over a very short period of time, a few weeks perhaps, maybe as long as a month, but I found myself caring about all the characters, even the minor ones (Alfred). Owen is fat, by his own admission, and rather intelligent, again by his own admission. He is bullied at school and is working on a project at home called Nemisis. It's his story of what ultimately happens at school and with his invention. There is mystery involved, as you don't know what Nemisis is, love, loyalty. All the issues that are huge to someone who is 12. I burst out laughing in practically every chapter, if not more than once, and also cried.
I highly recommend this book, it will be one of my all-time favorites, with Looking for Alaska, Schooled, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, just to mention a few, and believe me I don't have tons of highly recommend books. (less)
The title of this book is A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance it is rather misleading. The story is told by Margaret, the kitchen maid who become...moreThe title of this book is A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance it is rather misleading. The story is told by Margaret, the kitchen maid who becomes a cook. The story is mainly about her, Margaret with the story about Rose, the under maid being rather a sub plot.
The book was OK, my copy was 183 pages long, but the story could have been told in probably 80 pages. And I mean the whole story, not just the part of the story that deals with Rose. Margaret only works at the home with Rose for about 4 months, but as they become friends she occasionally visits Rose and hears updates of her new life above stairs. Margaret moves from house to house as a kitchen maid and then as a cook. Sometimes she works for kind people, sometimes not. Sometimes she likes her co-workers, sometimes not. Not a lot of variety in the subject. And several times we read what she prepared for meals. I think a lot of this was just to fill space as this is really a short story. I became bored with the repetitiveness after about half way through. Another technique I believed was used to lengthen the story was repeat phrases, like my friend Mary came to visit, or my friend Mary met me at..., or my friend Mary said. I know Mary is your friend already!
Margaret is also well read and the author throws in random quotes from books without necessarily referencing the book. Most, if not all, the quotes meanings were lost on me. Sorry, I guess I am not as well read as Margaret. But I found it annoying to read some quote that didn't mean anything to me and was typically in prose or old English, and believe me it happens often. Also, Odette, a French maid in one house keeps talking in French. Fair enough I guess, but as I don't understand French, again lost on me. Sometimes the author did translate what Odette had to say, but now I get to read it twice, once time that I didn’t understand but struggled to as I didn't know for sure if the author would translate and then again sometimes in English. Again I wonder if this was done to lengthen the story??
Anyway, although the story was cute I would not recommend the book. In my opinion keep searching until you find something better on which to spend your money. (less)
The book chronicles the life of the 5th Countess of Carnarvon or the real person behind the Countess of Downton Abbey. The book was interesting, but I...moreThe book chronicles the life of the 5th Countess of Carnarvon or the real person behind the Countess of Downton Abbey. The book was interesting, but I found myself trying to finish it so I could move on to something else. The Countess of the book lead a much more interesting life than the character in the BBC series. Her involvement in setting up hospitals and nursing during WW I was truly inspiring and I wish the TV show had displayed more of the personality of the real Countess. But I found the rest of the book only mildly interesting. If you are looking for something that is like Downton Abbey then I would suggest you look elsewhere if you want a quick read about the lady behind the Countess then perhaps give this one a try. (less)
This book is a compilation of the questions submitted by viewers to the television show Quirks and Quarks and the subsequent answers. The television s...moreThis book is a compilation of the questions submitted by viewers to the television show Quirks and Quarks and the subsequent answers. The television show is hosted by science journalist Bob McDonald and news reporter Peter Mansbridge. The show is so interesting and the answers witty and informative without talking down to the viewers, yet explaining complicated scientific phenomenon. The book is the show exactly. It is informative and entertaining. I loved the book. Keep 'em coming Bob!(less)
Year of Wonders is set in 1665 in a small town in England during the plague. The minister in the town convinces the town’s people to quarantine themse...moreYear of Wonders is set in 1665 in a small town in England during the plague. The minister in the town convinces the town’s people to quarantine themselves to the town to help to not spread the disease further. The main character is a servant and the story is told through her eyes, we follow her journey and growth as she mourns her own losses and aids others through the tragedy. The story is well written and provides a wonderful insight into life during that time period. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it, although the end was not my favorite part.(less)
Inside of a Dog... is written by an animal behaviorist. Although she is unable to tell us what our dogs are thinking, she is able to give us some insi...moreInside of a Dog... is written by an animal behaviorist. Although she is unable to tell us what our dogs are thinking, she is able to give us some insight into how dogs may view the world. She opened my eyes to why my dog does certain things and how he interprets things I do.
I particularly enjoyed the examples she gave comparing dog behavior to the behavior of small children and the various 'tests' that have been created to measure dogs understanding.
I would definitely recommend this book and have too many of my friends. I love my dog all the more for having read it and see him with much more appreciation and understanding.
Just a note, to the reviewers who criticized the footnotes, if you don't like them, then don't read them. Personally I liked the footnotes; I generally learned something new about an animal other than a dog with them. Also, she doesn't tell you to let your dog sleep in your bed; she says she lets her dog sleep in her bed. Just because she does something doesn’t mean you have to as well. (less)
This book is about, as the title states, the fall of Anne Boleyn. Very little is about Anne herself, it is mostly about the people who plotted and exe...moreThis book is about, as the title states, the fall of Anne Boleyn. Very little is about Anne herself, it is mostly about the people who plotted and executed her downfall and why said people may have held a grudge towards Anne. So if you are looking for a book that gives you a better understanding of Anne Boleyn herself, then I would not recommend this particular book. If you are interested in a greater understanding of the people surrounding her demise, then perhaps you will enjoy it. Of course, most of this is conjecture as a lot of the documentation from that particular period in history was either destroyed or lost. So we can only make assumptions from the documentation that is left and even then we have no actual proof as to what is fact and what was embellished by the author at the time.
If you can get through the first 100 pages of this book it does become more interesting and readable. The first 100 pages read like a research paper. Alison states what she is going to prove, then quotes references to prove such point, and then concludes the paragraph by re-iterating her point, which is usually to tell you that Anne was framed. I would have preferred to hear opposing theories with supporting evidence and then to draw my own conclusions. I also found the first 100 pages difficult to follow. Alison uses so many commas I had to re-read sentences many times just to discover that she was saying this person was a cousin to the King. In one paragraph, total length four sentences, Alison uses 20 commas. 20! Now that is a lot of commas. Alison also seems to enjoy double negatives, which are also awkward to read.
All in all, I would not recommend this book, there are so many books about Anne Boleyn and the Tudor period and, although I did persevere and finish the book, my time is precious and I would rather spend it reading something I enjoy. I very much like the Tudor period and love to read books on this time period, but unless I am reading for a University class I don't want to put this much effort into a book. (less)
This was the first of this type of book for me to read. I have read a lot of WWII history, albeit 15 years ago, but always history books about that ti...moreThis was the first of this type of book for me to read. I have read a lot of WWII history, albeit 15 years ago, but always history books about that time period and not historical fiction. I had never read anything on how the war affected Czechoslovakia, so when I discovered that this book was set in and about the affect of the war on Czechoslovakia I was intrigued.
The book is written in 3 parts from the point of view of three different characters, well section two is from several points of view, but mainly from one. I can see why the author would choose to write it that way, but I didn't really like it.
The first section is about Moravec, a soldier in Czechoslovakia who basically starts the intelligence agency in that country. The first part begins just prior to WWII and chapters alternate between Moravec's experiences as a young man in WWI and his present experiences in WWII. It took a bit for me to adjust to this style, but found that I did enjoy it, but I particularly liked the WWII chapters and would rush through the WWI chapters to get to the ones enjoyed. But then Moravec leaves Czechoslovakia, due to the occupation, gets on a plane to England and leaves behind his loved ones and we never hear about him again.
Suddenly the book switches to being written by other character. Gabcik is probably the main character in this section. He is a parachutist who is dropped into Czechoslovakia during the occupation. In this section chapters are told by different characters, some other parachutists and some German occupiers. This section was interesting and if you read the headings at the beginning of each chapter you at least know who the chapter is about. But I found the unfamiliar names hard to keep track of and two characters have the same first name so that got a bit confusing as well, but all in all I enjoyed the second part of the book. That is once I got over the disappointment at the unfinished section on Moravec. I still have no idea what happened to Moravec or his family. Then the third section of the book. You finally get to an exciting part in the second section, to where you care what will happen next and you turn the page and suddenly the story is being written by a different character. And the worst part of this section, well one of the worst parts, is that you don't find out who this character's identity is until probably half way through this section. He tells you he is one person, then tells you he isn’t that character but doesn’t tell you who he actually is. I cannot relate or begin to care about a character, although there is nothing about this particular person to care about, if I don’t know who they are.
The next frustrating part, and I understand that the author is writing a diary from this characters own hand, but seriously could you use more exclamation points? On one page alone, bearing in mind this is on my Kindle so page is a relative term, he used and exclamation point 7 times! And sometimes in the middle of a sentence and sometimes he uses two and three exclamation points at once. It is terribly annoying to read exclamation points after almost every sentence. Like Elaine’s character in Seinfeld who breaks up with her boyfriend because he doesn’t use an exclamation point, I would break up with the author for using too many.
I did like the book, but I if I had it to do over again I probably would not have read it AND, now I have to read something else about Moravec to find out what ultimately happens to him. If you do read it when you get to the third section, just skip to 90% done to find out how section two and three are wrapped up, because you really don’t need all the other extraneous information contained in section 3. (less)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a book about 11, almost 12, year old Calpurnia. It is a coming of age story set in Texas in 1899. Through a relatio...moreThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a book about 11, almost 12, year old Calpurnia. It is a coming of age story set in Texas in 1899. Through a relationship Calpurnia establishes with her grandfather, who is considered a little odd by society, she discovers herself and the expectations society has of young women of that time period. The writing is phenomenal, transporting the reader to the time period of the story. I was sorry the story ended as I still wonder what ultimately happened to Calpurnia. Did she follow her dream or succumb to the pressures of society? Do her parents accept her desires or does family honor take precedence? The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a truly wonderful story.(less)
This story is about a boy, Bartholomew, who is orphaned and he makes a wish. The consequences of that wish result in the story. I liked the story, it...moreThis story is about a boy, Bartholomew, who is orphaned and he makes a wish. The consequences of that wish result in the story. I liked the story, it has a creative plot, except for the war part. I am tired of books always resolving the conflict with a war. It would be nice to read a story that had a different kind of conflict that didn't use a war as the solution. The integration of references was cute and creative. I would recommend this book.(less)