This had some great moments and some not-so-great moments, which is how it averaged out to a 3 to me. My relationship with Evelina went through the saThis had some great moments and some not-so-great moments, which is how it averaged out to a 3 to me. My relationship with Evelina went through the same ups and downs. At first she was a little too insipid for me, but then she grew on me. There were times when I wished that she would just buck up and push back, but I had to keep reminding myself in her day that that just wasn't the done thing. Even the Austen heroines, who lived considerably later, had more freedom of expression than poor Evelina. Her spirit and satire were reserved for her letters, rather than for public displays. I think she could have been a predecessor to the much loved-Lizzy, although in public she was sometimes even sillier than Catherine (the "heroine" of Northanger Abbey).
I think it ran on too long; it could have been trimmed at good 50 or 75 pages without losing any of the story. The bits with Captain Mirvan being a terrible human being ran on too long, especially at the end. But! Righteousness prevailed, love conquers all,and it all ties together in a pretty bow at the end. I'll take it!...more
I tried, I really tried to like this book. I wanted to like it, since I love wolves and I thought the intersection of Dracula lore would be interestinI tried, I really tried to like this book. I wanted to like it, since I love wolves and I thought the intersection of Dracula lore would be interesting. The fact that the wolf pack behavior was so wrong really didn't bother me as much as it bothered a lot other reviewers, because for all I know, magical physic Transylvanian wolves behave differently. But--dear God, no.
To me, the quality of a book breaks down into three different components: writing, characters, plot. A great book has all three parts; but I can deal with a book that has two of the three. This one, God bless, doesn't even have one. For a little while I thought the plot was going to somewhere, but it just couldn't do it for me.
The writing is just atrocious; it reminds me of reading fan fiction in high school, where every sentence had to be laden down with adverbs. Plus, every time that more than two characters are talking, the author seems to think that the only way to designate the speaker to use the characters' names in every. Single. Line. It's just immature writing style; an editor should have gone at this with a hatchet, and maybe then I could have hung on there, but I just couldn't get back how badly it was written.
I pushed through a little over 100 page to see if it was just slow going, but I couldn't get any traction. ...more
I read this as part of going through Financial Peace University with my church, and it has been an absolute revelation. Easy to understand, approachabI read this as part of going through Financial Peace University with my church, and it has been an absolute revelation. Easy to understand, approachable, funny, it breaks down big changes in small ways--baby steps, if you will--that I can actually do. I'm still working on Baby Step Number 1, so I have a long way to go before I need the more "advanced" chapters. I'm keeping this to look back at when I'm a little further along the path and need to start making bigger decisions about home buying, retirement and investing. But even after just the 9 week course, our lives are turning around for the better, and I finally believe I see a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't just an oncoming train. ...more
Until now, my enjoyment of Buehlman's books had been going steadily downhill. Those Across the River was my favorite, I liked BetweenOh....my....God.
Until now, my enjoyment of Buehlman's books had been going steadily downhill. Those Across the River was my favorite, I liked Between Two Fires slightly less, and I really didn't like The Necromancer's House at all. But my appreciation came roaring back with this book, which had me booked from the first sentence until the very. Last. Word.
After I stayed up 3 hours past when I normally go to bed last night racing toward the end, I found it difficult to process how I actually felt about the book. In the end, it mostly reminded me of how I felt after seeing Event Horizon: punch drunk, vaguely queasy, and profoundly aware that I had just been a part of something seriously disturbing. Can I say all of that in a good way? Because it didn't scare me, not in a "sleep with the light on" kind of way, but it crawled into my brain and soul and turned them dark. And it was brilliant.
Getting to the coda of a book and then entirely flipping the script is a dangerous thing--ask anyone who threw the book across the room after reading the end of The Dark Tower (including me). But this was so brilliant, so seamless, that I felt like I should have known it all along.
I almost didn't want to give this book 5 stars, because I usually reserve that rank for my favorites, the books that I read again and again and again until I have them memorized. This one almost made me throw up at one point, so I'm not sure I'll be going back to it again soon. But I thought it wouldn't be fair to give it 4 stars when I couldn't think of anything I would have changed in it.
(For those wondering, I am not sucking up to the author after my disastrous review of The Necromancer's House, although I am now hoping I can go back to TRF and to a show without fearing for my life. I did genuinely love this and think it was completely brilliant. If I hadn't liked it I would say so, I just would have to change my name and never go near another RenFaire again.)...more
Picked up at a whim on the "new books" shelf in the library, I was actually pretty impressed. It was a really creative retelling of the Borden story,Picked up at a whim on the "new books" shelf in the library, I was actually pretty impressed. It was a really creative retelling of the Borden story, although sometimes it veered off "creative" and into "just weird." It was wonderfully creepy, but at times I thought it was a little too disconnected, and I'm still not sure the big reveal at the end made sense for me. But, it is #1, so I'll be following the story line for at least a couple more to see where it goes. ...more
My kingdom for a .5 star ability! I loved this, it was so much fun, and a big kick. The world building was even more intricate and fascinating than ,My kingdom for a .5 star ability! I loved this, it was so much fun, and a big kick. The world building was even more intricate and fascinating than , because we didn't have to do quite as much background work. I would give this 4 stars in a heartbeat, but I just didn't buy the ending. I felt like the author had written herself into a corner and had to make a huge leap to get back out. I just didn't feel like it was explained or foreshadowed enough to track, and it just felt tacked on to me. But that does mean for a second that I won't buy and read every other Temeraire book I can get my hands on!...more
I have to break down my somewhat middle of the road rating. Plot was a good 4 (although it went shaky at the end), the characters slid back and forthI have to break down my somewhat middle of the road rating. Plot was a good 4 (although it went shaky at the end), the characters slid back and forth between a 3 and 4, but the writing was a sad, sad 2.
I really wanted to give this a higher rating, because it was written by a fellow Texas lawyer, and I want to support that. It definitely had some good points; the plot was interesting, although it ended up being tied up with a little too neat of a bow on the end. The legal writing and court room scenes were, for once, very accurate. But the accuracy went a bit too far when the writing went from informative to textbook lecturing. And the author was so set on giving a sense of place that sometimes his descriptions read more like GPS directions. "Turn on 21st street. Pass X restaurant and Y house. Arrive at your destination, Motel, in half a mile." I get it, you have spent real time in Houston and Galveston, but I don't need to know every block of it to appreciation the authenticity.
He has done an admirable amount of research and poured real life detail into his story, but he needed to be reminded to show, not tell. I don't need to read every single fact that he knows to believe that he's accurate. I really need for him to get a decent editor who will instruct him that sometimes, less is more.
However, on a final note, I cannot speak highly enough about how well he handles the issue of the mentally ill in our criminal justice system. That is a heartbreaker, and for his adept handling of the subject matter, the book was worth the read for that itself. ...more
If Elizabeth Gilbert had written the much loved Rascal Flatts song, it would have gone "God bless the broken road/that lead me straight to another broIf Elizabeth Gilbert had written the much loved Rascal Flatts song, it would have gone "God bless the broken road/that lead me straight to another broken road/then into a dead end, and/finally over a cliff/Also, everyone dies."
It's a well-written book, I can't deny that, and I'm not trying to. And it was interesting, although bleak and, I thought, self-indulgent. It was a lot of "poor little rich girl" whining, and while I don't deny that what she went through would be emotionally stressful, there is more to life than sitting in a pool of self-pity...and moss. ...more
Well, what can I say. It was well-written, meticulously researched, exactingly plotted. I wanted desperately to feel engaged by it, but I never seemedWell, what can I say. It was well-written, meticulously researched, exactingly plotted. I wanted desperately to feel engaged by it, but I never seemed to really connect to anyone. A re-read might help answer some of the questions, in case I missed something, but I don't think I care enough to try it again.
For instance, I knew the minute that (view spoiler)[Ian (hide spoiler)] was mentioned that he was (view spoiler)[Gideon (hide spoiler)]; it was so incredibly obvious to me that I couldn't believe Elizabeth didn't see it. I also thought it was a little odd that she spends centuries running and changing her first name, but in every reality she appears to be a doctor/healer of some kind, and she seems to keep the last name Hawksmith. Really? Because he's never, ever going to connection Bess Hawksmith to Eliza Hawksmith to Elise Hawksmith, when you stay in the roughly the same areas and do EXACTLY THE SAME THING? I am not impressed with your witness protection skills. Tell me he find Katie Warren as a blacksmith in Moscow, and I'll be a little more impressed.
Also, my understanding from the transformation scene early in Bess's story that she embraced the "dark arts," and that there was a very literal deal with the devil involved for her immortality. Unless Gideon was the only one who made the sacrifice and it didn't affect her (which was not the impression I got), then how was she able to embrace the Wiccan/good witch power later? If her power was dark arts power, how was it healing? And if it wasn't evil, why did she always refer to it as the "dark arts"? Etc, etc, etc....the boundaries of what she was doing and what her powers were, and the sources of those powers, never made sense to me. Again, I'm open to the idea that I mis-read or misunderstood parts, but the problem for me is, I don't care enough to go back and figure it out. The disconnect stayed to the very end, and I remain feeling disconnected and unimpressed.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I have a love/hate relationships with books that have a massive twist that the end, which make me want to go back and read th(Real rating, 3.5 stars.)
I have a love/hate relationships with books that have a massive twist that the end, which make me want to go back and read the whole thing again, with the end in mind. Having read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dance, I thought I had a handle on what kind of twists and plot devices to expect, but turns out, I was wrong. I got a very big shock at the end when it turned out that the prism I had been viewing the entire book through was completely wrong. It put me in the position of realizing that I'd been following the path of a semi-unreliable narrator, without either of us knowing it. On the one hand, well played, Howe! On the other...now I have to read the whole thing again to figure out where we went wrong.
Having read Physick first helped a lot going into this, because I knew what to expect in terms of how Howe treats supernatural events. I did like her first book better; I felt like it had a better flow and more movement, while the action in this one is largely internal. It's a different book, with much more hinted at or glimpsed in corners than directly stated. It takes some getting used to, a kind of shift in your to go "Oh, this means THAT." It drove me crazy for a bit, but eventually I caught on to it.
One final note, that having my heroine slowly move toward (view spoiler)[opium addiction (hide spoiler)] while dealing with (view spoiler)[an eating disorder (hide spoiler)] was very uncomfortable for me. It was handled tastefully and wasn't glorified, but it still kind of twisted my stomach. I was glad to see it resolved at the end, even though the epilogue did feel a little tacked on to provide the (relatively) happy endings.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This, right here, demonstrated to me why Agatha Christie is still considered the mistress of the mystery. I spent the entire book on the proverbial edThis, right here, demonstrated to me why Agatha Christie is still considered the mistress of the mystery. I spent the entire book on the proverbial edge of my seat, and I still never guessed what was coming. Every time I thought I had it figured out, oops! Plot twist! By the end I thought I had finally seen through all the smoke screens and was smugly assured that I had figured out who the secret adversary was. It was all so obvious, the hints dropped so clearly along the way, that I was sure I'd seen through Christie's machinations. She was good, but no match for a modern, sophisticated reader like me.
I was blown away by the final reveal, but not in a "surprise, the butler did it" kind of way. She had masterfully twisted me so around that I fell right into the trap, along with the Young Adventurers (at least for a time--they got out of it before I did). The only nit that I have is that some of the dialog felt rather forced, especially Julius's, as the token American. He was so broadly drawn for awhile, his language so over the top, that it got under my skin after a bit. It felt like an American author putting in a random Australian character who goes around saying "G'day, mate!" and "Shrimp on the barbie!" all the time. Just...no.
But, that being said, I will definitely be hunting up the further adventures of Tommy and Tuppence, and I'm sure that Christie will keep surprising me. ...more
I recognize that dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction is very "in" right now, with The Hunger Games and Divergent series. This was not either of those;I recognize that dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction is very "in" right now, with The Hunger Games and Divergent series. This was not either of those; it wasn't as well written and the characters definitely weren't as rich. But, I love the genre and the I loved the world, so I'll let that slide for now. I hope to see more character development as we go forward; Thomas in particular seemed like the cardboard cut out of the "good guy," and I really would like to see him grow and mature. Maybe the flatness of the personalities was a purposeful choice of the author, since our memories, to some extent, make us who we are. If you take out the nurture and all you have left is nature, by definition, and that's going to fall a little flat.
Am I overthinking this? Maybe. But it's the first book in a series, so I'm prepared to give him some slack while I wait to see where we go from here. ...more
I have been a huge fan of Jane Lindskold since I first stumbled upon her Firekeeper series, so I was very excited when Goodreads alerted me that she hI have been a huge fan of Jane Lindskold since I first stumbled upon her Firekeeper series, so I was very excited when Goodreads alerted me that she had a new series coming out. I snatched this up at the library, and I was not disappointed.
It took me a little longer to get into this one than I did her Firekeeper books; I didn't really invest in Griffin at first, and Adara is so guarded that it took me awhile to really feel like I was starting to get to know her. But about a third of the way through I realized that this was a deliberate choice. And a little over a third of the way through, the plot really started to gain traction and get moving, so that what the part for me when I hooked in. Really looking forward to the rest of the series--I will be first in line at the bookstore!...more
This is a collection of short stories, all loosely connected, that start with hair-raising horror, and end with a couple of dreamy romance. It startedThis is a collection of short stories, all loosely connected, that start with hair-raising horror, and end with a couple of dreamy romance. It started with a bang and ended with a whimper--I was much more impressed with the 5 star beginning than what was (for me) the two star end. Definitely read at least the first 4 stories with the lights on, though!...more
I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book, since I am usually somewhat leery of anything that would self-categorize as "chick lit." But I wI wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book, since I am usually somewhat leery of anything that would self-categorize as "chick lit." But I was pleasantly surprised in how much I enjoyed this, and how engrossing it all became. I started it on Thursday night (and read an hour past when I'd meant to), didn't get to it on Friday, and then finished the rest of it in a couple of long sessions Saturday. I loved going on this journey of discovery with Alice, seeing the her new world through her old eyes, trying to piece together a missing decade. For awhile I was rooting for her not to get her memories back, since I agreed with her, New!Alice is insufferable.
But of course she did, and I was scared for a bit that I wasn't going to get the ending I wanted, that it would be bittersweet and "that's life" and an unsatisfying ending. But I held on for the epilogue, and everything came out all right in the end for me.
For a "light" book, it actually gave me a lot to chew on, about how much of who we are is our memories, our experiences, and how much is our choices. Can we simply "choose" to be happy, to "get over it," to "move on"? When your life erodes so gradually you don't even know it's gone, can you get it back? Should you? I had all of this and more to chew on, to ponder whether "growing up" is simply an excuse to take ourselves way, way too seriously. Obviously, adjustments have to be made, but at what point do you lose yourself to what you're "supposed" to be?
(There are a lot of quotation marks in that paragraph. Yikes.)
As an added bonus, amidst all the questions and the morals and the angst, Alice was a hilariously relatable narrator, and there were plenty of light moments and humorous insights to keep the whole thing from being an utter existential drag. This will definitely one of those books that I pick up the next time I see it on a self, to read when I feel like my life is just So Important. Maybe it will give me a good dose of reality. ...more
That...was a really long book, and one I ended feeling somewhat ambivalent about. The pacing problems that plagued The Name of the Wind were only amplThat...was a really long book, and one I ended feeling somewhat ambivalent about. The pacing problems that plagued The Name of the Wind were only amplified in this nearly one thousand page monster. Every time I thought we were actually going to get somewhere and move further into the meat of the story, we'd get a few hints and then drop right back into a daily "grind" of sorts. There's excessive detail for what is really a prologue of sorts; while Kvothe is gaining his reputation throughout the book and some of his titles and stories are being explained, we're still left with great, glaring gaps. For something called "The Kingkiller Chronicle," for example, I have spent close to 2,000 pages and still have no idea why that's the name. I'm starting to feel they way I did about 3/4th of the way through Lost; by the time I start getting payoffs, I either don't remember the reference or I'm so annoyed I don't care.
For all of that, I did enjoy it. I can also appreciate the very deliberate narrative choices that the author made. I don't always agree with how he chose to structure the plot or the extreme (some might say excessive) amount of detail he goes into, but he is clearly telling his story his own way, and I applaud that. There is very little formulaic here, not much of the "expected" story structure, and I like that. Literary conventions exist for a reason, but Rothfuss uses them when he wants them and disregards them when he doesn't. It takes a brave man to do that, and I like his innovation. I will definitely read the 3rd one when it comes out (and I do hope it's soon--I need some explanations!), although I probably won't be at the midnight release party....more
The pulpiest of pulp fiction, the whole thing was gleefully ridiculous. Maybe with another 50 or 100 pages would have made the plot feel less forced aThe pulpiest of pulp fiction, the whole thing was gleefully ridiculous. Maybe with another 50 or 100 pages would have made the plot feel less forced and overly convenient, but as it was, it was just a series of one overly-fortuitous event after another. It may have been originally written as a serial; I'm not sure, but that would explain a lot. It was a fun enough story if you're willing to go along for the ride, but not something I'd seek out more of....more