I can see why this won the Whitbread Children's Book Award. It's a delightfully written tale set in rural Ireland and filled with music and whimsy (inI can see why this won the Whitbread Children's Book Award. It's a delightfully written tale set in rural Ireland and filled with music and whimsy (in an entirely good way). It's a visually impressive book with a new tune between each chapter.
Young JJ Liddy, following in his family's musical traditions, has little on his mind except music, school, music, growing up... and... (did I say?) music. He plays flute and fiddle, wins competitions and sits in on family ceilidhs. He's distraught to discover that his great-grandfather (and namesake) murdered a priest... or did he?
But there's even more to worry about. Time seems to be slipping away from everyone. No one, least of all JJ's Mum, can find enough time in the day to fit everything in. When JJ sets out to buy some time for his Mum for her birthday things get weird – because this is Ireland and fairies are real.
This is the start of a trilogy, but it's complete and satisfying in itself. (The other two books are set well into JJ's future.) It's a simple story, elegantly told with not a word wasted. Both worlds, the real one and the fairy one – are beautifully realised, but perhaps most noteworthy of all, it's the music that sets the tone for this novel and you can almost hear it leaking from the pages.
I've read the book, now, where's my pennywhistle? ...more
Clary Fray thinks she's an ordinary New Yorker, but when she witnesses a murder in a club and sees the body disappear, something's definitely not righClary Fray thinks she's an ordinary New Yorker, but when she witnesses a murder in a club and sees the body disappear, something's definitely not right with the world. Clary has met a bunch of Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. How is it that she can see things which should be hidden from the eyes of mundanes like her... or is she really as mundane as she seems? She's attracted to Jace, self-confident - maybe overconfident - young warrior who looks like an angel and acts like a jerk.
When Clary's mother disappears and demons are left guarding her house, she's pulled into the Shadowhunter world with a vengeance, dragging her best friend Simon along with her. There's a lot that Clary doesn't know and it seems she's been deliberately kept in the dark. Revelations come thick and fast, some of them welcome, others not so much. There's danger and betrayal in spades and though this book comes to a satisfactory conclusion, but leaves a few important loose ends. It's obviously the set up for more Mortal Instruments books to come.
The characterisation is excellent, Clary is a a believable heroine. Jace's essential jerk-ness is fully accounted for. I particularly like Simon who is heading for a broken heart twice over and Luke, Clary's mother's boyfriend who is a lot more than he seems. (And I just checked up... there's a movie due out in 2013 with Aidan Turner (the cool vampire from Being Human) as Luke. Nice! ...more
A popular history book that accompanied a BBC series (which I did not see) It makes no pretence of exploring any subject in depth, however Jones managA popular history book that accompanied a BBC series (which I did not see) It makes no pretence of exploring any subject in depth, however Jones manages to debunk a lot of common ideas about the medieval period, including the very definition itself. He argues that the Middle Ages are a construct of later historians and show as much change from beginning to end as can be found in the years between the two Queens Elizabeth.
He takes various professions: minstrel, monk, damsel, knight, king and teases out some interesting, though maybe random, facts about specific personages as well as general facts about the profession. There wasn't much here I didn't know, but it was great as a memory stirrer.
Light, light-hearted and informative this is a history that can be dipped into casually or read from cover to cover. ...more
A regency romance somewhere between Austen and Heyer with a likeable heroine (or two). It's genteel, of the period and doesn't make the mistake of modA regency romance somewhere between Austen and Heyer with a likeable heroine (or two). It's genteel, of the period and doesn't make the mistake of modernising the heroines. They stay striuctly within the period. It's Clarissa's story with Kitty as a strong secondary character. Expect the usual Regency fare of unrequited love, misunderstandings, engagements to the Wrong Man and fortune hunters slightly spiced up by the fact that Clarissa falls for a smuggler - but no ordinary smuggler, a marquis, no less. (That's revealed early - it's not a major spoiler.) Naturally the course of true love does not run smooth but all ends happily. You kinda knew that was going to happen but it's how that's the interesting bit....more
The worst thing about this book is its truly cringeworthy title, though I guess it means that what's on the outside of the tin is a pretty accurate deThe worst thing about this book is its truly cringeworthy title, though I guess it means that what's on the outside of the tin is a pretty accurate description of what's inside. I like a touch of romance in my reading but except for one Mills and Boon more than thirty years ago I've never been a reader of formula romances, so I thought it was about time I tried one.
I suppose as far as they go this is up to standard. The writing style is transparent; the characters are well developed; Ms McDavid writes horses well (sometimes better than people) and seems to know her stuff about rodeos, vets and horse breeding. The plot is slight and all the problems would have been resolved on the first page if Ace had told Flynn he loved her. There - that was it. Spoiler.
But this is formula romance. I guess the main characters are allowed to be stupid and avoid resolving their relationship until the end of the book otherwise there would be no romantic tension.
Flynn and Aidan (Ace) live on neighbouring ranches. They had a thing going back in their student days but Ace's dad – a mean drunk – almost ruined the family farm due to mismanagement. When he died Ace dumped Flynn due to impending pressure of work and took over the farm as well as running his vet practice, taking on all the hard work while his brothers did their own thing, one riding the rodeo circuit and not to be depended upon, the other skipping off to join the marines. Broken-hearted Flynn married on the rebound, but that didn't work out – mainly because her husband put work before her. Now Flynn's back home and due to an unfortunate night of passion with Ace (before the book opens) she's pregnant
Ace wants Flynn to marry him so he can look after her and they can raise their baby together but absent-mindedly forgets to tell Flynn that he's been suppressing his love for her for years. Flynn loves him but doesn't think he loves her. Oh sure he'll take on the responsibility of a family. He's good at grabbing responsibility and hoarding it. She sees a workaholic and wants to be sure she'll not be ignored like last time. Yeah, right, it will be no surprise that eventually they figure things out.
There's a sub-plot about rehabilitating a mistreated rodeo stud stallion (and possibly more than the average reader wants to know about collecting stallion sperm for artificial insemination) which resolves.
There's an unresolved sub plot with the two brothers. Colt acts as though his nose has been put out of joint when he learns of Flynn's pregnancy, but there's never any reason given. The other brother is never on the page, but apparently has been discharged from the Marines but hasn't been in touch since then. I expected this to be resolved at the wedding (What? Did that come as a surprise?) but the last we hear Colt just fails to show up for best man duties and the ex-marine sub plot remains unresolved.
I can only assume they are dealt with in another book since this is number MCDIX (1409) in the American Romance series, but I can't find details on the author's website. ...more
Can just say before I start that though I'm not generally into werewolf and vampire books I adore PatriciaPatricia Briggs: Fair Game Alpha and Omega #3
Can just say before I start that though I'm not generally into werewolf and vampire books I adore Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books and though it took me a while to drag myself away from Mercy I have grown to like her Alpha and Omega books very much. This, I think, is her best one yet. It comes after the last Mercy Thompson book in the timeline as both series interlace.
The werewolves have been out for a short while, no longer a closely guarded secret, but still the object of a lot of superstition and misunderstanding. This gives Bran, the Marroc, the leader of the American werewolves a problem in that it's much more difficult to hide when things go wrong – and things can go wrong, especially when an alpha doesn't keep strict control of his pack. Before being outed the werewolves would clean up their own mess, either dispensing justice or giving second chances as required, but now it's a zero tolerance policy and werewolves that might have been given second chances in the past, especially if newly Changed, are now condemned. Going after human prey is the worst crime a werewolf can commit. Bran's enforcer is his son, Charles, a two hundred year old tough-as-old-boots alpha, unusual in that he was born a werewolf, not made, and his ancestors are Indian (as he refers to them himself) with more than a splash of shamanic talent.
But Charles is in trouble and Anna, werewolf and wife knows it. One too many executions has left him plagued by guilt and he's broken his 'mate' bond with Anna so as not to drag her down.
Finally beginning to succumb to Anna's wisdom Bran sends Anna and Charles off to Boston to help the FBI hunt down a serial killer whose last three victims have been werewolves. Light relief? Maybe after what Bran normally sends Charles to do.
With a mixture of human, werewolf, fae and witch characters involved the hunt for the killer becomes intensified when a young woman is abducted and fae magic seems to be involved.
It's a fast, gripping read. Briggs' characterisation of both major and minor characters is spot on and the plot resolves very satisfactorily, throwing in a game-changing turn of events at the end that will affect future books in both this and the Mercy Thompson series. I look forward to the next one, whichever series it's in....more
I can see why a lot of people list this as their favourite Heyer Regency romance. Sophy Stanton-Lacy is a delightful character, full of mischief, selfI can see why a lot of people list this as their favourite Heyer Regency romance. Sophy Stanton-Lacy is a delightful character, full of mischief, self-confidence and an insight into character surprising for her tender years, whose main flaw is thinking - no, knowing - what's best for other people. While her father is in South America on a diplomatic mission he leaves her with her aunt and her family in London. Sophie immediately decides that the family needs her help. It seems she's arrived in the nick of time. Cecilia, her cousin, has fallen for an absent-minded but handsome poet and is on the point of rejecting a very good match with an entirely suitable man. Cousin Hubert has fallen into the clutches of an unscrupulous moneylender and Cousin Charles, supposedly the sensible one since Sophie's Uncle is a confirmed wastrel, has affianced himself to a humourless bluestocking whose entire raison d'etre seem to be to find fault with the whole family, set herself above them all in manners and morals and to make sure Charles knows about it.
Rushing in where angels fear to tread, Sophie soon has the house in an uproar. Bringing the younger children a pet monkey is only the start of it. She infuriates Charles by insisting on keeping an independent stable with a splendid riding horse and her own phaeton and pair of spirited bays (entirely too frisky for a woman to handle!). Not only that but she carries a gun and knows how to shoot it - which comes in very handy on a couple of occasions.
Naturally everything comes within a whisker of turning to complete chaos, but works out well in the end. Yes, it has all the issues of misogyny inherent in women being treated as if they had no brain at all, but it's set in 1816 and Sophie is one of the few feminists in Heyer's fluffy Regency world, or would be if feminism had been a Regency concept. Very enjoyable....more
I'm reviewing this here because it was sold as a book, but this leads me to ask: what is a book? This is at best an essay and looks as though it was oI'm reviewing this here because it was sold as a book, but this leads me to ask: what is a book? This is at best an essay and looks as though it was originally produced for a con goody-bag with 40% of it being about Vonda McIntyre and therefore not what it says on the package. I read it in ten minutes.
OK, going back to the Book View Café site and checking I admit that it calls this a 'chapbook' but all it contains are 14 brief points which are (mostly) about writing in general and not specific to writing science fiction. I admit they are 14 excellent points, such as 'don't infodump' but I expected things much more specific to SF like whether to write hard SF and stick to the physics of FTL and time dilation or to sacrifice physics to story.
There's nothing here that you can't pick up on the web for free from any number of sites that offer advice on writing, so at $2.99 for a few brief pages of information, this is not great value for money. On the other hand Book View Café is a good enterprise, being an author co-op, and I've had some excellent fiction from there. I'm glad to support it.
The 2 star review does not reflect on the quality of the information that's there, but the lack of what might have been. ...more
To be honest I didn't get any further than completing the first book, Nine Princes in Amber. I thnk I should have rerad this when I was much younger aTo be honest I didn't get any further than completing the first book, Nine Princes in Amber. I thnk I should have rerad this when I was much younger and then I might like it as much as some of my friends do....more
Patricia Wrede is a brilliant writer of children's books and she certainly made a good job of this junior novelisation of a disappointing film. She maPatricia Wrede is a brilliant writer of children's books and she certainly made a good job of this junior novelisation of a disappointing film. She made the story accessible. But in the end the story has limitations which are not her fault. I strongly suggest you try some of her own fiction. She's a great storyteller....more
A brilliant book for reading out loud to children (and adults) - that is if you can bottle up the explosive laughter for long enough to get the wordsA brilliant book for reading out loud to children (and adults) - that is if you can bottle up the explosive laughter for long enough to get the words out. Highly recommended....more