In this mystery episode, Frankie heads off on an Antarctic cruise to help catch a chocolate thief. (FYI, this is the fourth Frankie Dupont story, butIn this mystery episode, Frankie heads off on an Antarctic cruise to help catch a chocolate thief. (FYI, this is the fourth Frankie Dupont story, but the first that I've read. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.)
After a few somewhat clunky opening chapters, the mystery takes off wonderfully when the kids board the cruise ship. Roadblocks stymie the young detectives, cool gadgets (if a little unrealistic) abound, and some ingenuity is needed to solve the case. Plus a cute four-footed friend! Also, I enjoy stories that have a double mystery, and this one was just right for young readers.
As far as the writing goes, this one comes across as self-edited. Some parts were really well done and others were hurried or not well thought out. Without giving away spoilers, the author does some great foreshadowing of certain events and outcomes, but others seem to come out of the blue, which makes them either seem very implausible or like the writer has taken shortcuts. I enjoyed Madame Fontaine's character, but there were occasional times when her speech sounded like one of the kids instead of the staunch matriarch that she is, and it took me out of the story. The kids' characters were well-done and varied.
Overall it's a decent book and 8-10 years olds would enjoy it....more
I have mixed feelings about this middle-grade adventure. I loved the setting and the mystery, and enjoyed the British English – just a smidge that I tI have mixed feelings about this middle-grade adventure. I loved the setting and the mystery, and enjoyed the British English – just a smidge that I think kids would enjoy (torch instead of flashlight, etc.). The basic story premise is good – George is dared to go to the spooky Headmaster’s Cave, declines, but ends up following a friend there to keep him out of trouble. And the writing is smooth, with some delightfully evocative descriptions.
The details behind the plot didn’t make sense to me. 120 years is quite long enough for a story to become legend, for people to enjoy scaring each other with it. Instead, we get George being bullied for having ancestors involved AND having parents that won’t even speak of it out of shame! After a century?
The pacing bogged me down, too. I was reading on my Kindle, and nothing major happened until 40% in. Instead, we spent a lot of time setting up the problem and then digressing into nature lore as they walked. If I hadn’t promised a review, I would have stopped reading. Things picked up from 40-60%, then dragged a bit more until it picked up again at the end. Problems seemed too easily solved.
(I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)...more
I signed up to do a book review for The Knights Before Christmas because I loved the title and the cover art, and I wasn't disappointed! (I received aI signed up to do a book review for The Knights Before Christmas because I loved the title and the cover art, and I wasn't disappointed! (I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.)
As others have said, it's a take-off on Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas, but instead of a man watching for Santa, three knights are guarding against intruders - Santa and his eight sleigh-pulling "dragons". The knights have individual personalities, shown through fun drawings full of asides and other puns ("I'm dreaming of a white javelin, just like the one I used to throw"). Kudos to the illustrator for all he added.
The poem itself follows the classic and was delightful. The meter is pretty good, but has a few spots that aren't exact - that would bother me except the story itself is so fun. All in all, an imaginative read-aloud with lots to look at. I"ll be enjoying this with my granddaughter. RECOMMENDED...more
On one hand, I loved it. On the other hand, it was lacking in places.
First, I read if *after* I watched the PBS miniseries. I loved the essence of olOn one hand, I loved it. On the other hand, it was lacking in places.
First, I read if *after* I watched the PBS miniseries. I loved the essence of old Cornwall, the mining and shipwrecks, the flavor of the time. Part of what I want in books that doesn't show up in movies is more of the backstory and depth of characterization. Ross Poldark gave me the backstory - much more of his time in the American Revolution - and a more clear and convincing characterization of Elizabeth. (The movie made me think she was wishing she had waited for Ross, but in the book, she made her own decision and stuck by it - at least in t his volume.)
In other places, though, the writing was flat and the characters only came to life because I had seen well-acted portrayals of them onscreen.
I'll probably read the others in the series eventually, but it doesn't have me frantic to lay my hands on #2....more
I visited St. Michael's once, so I grabbed this book when I could. It brought back great memories of the town, and well as a pretty solid mystery. I lI visited St. Michael's once, so I grabbed this book when I could. It brought back great memories of the town, and well as a pretty solid mystery. I liked Abby, a newcomer to town who has a load of her aunt's silver dumped on her. LOVE Simon the puppy! And while I pegged the murderer about two-thirds of the way through (not unusual for me at all), the actual climax gave me some surprises. Not sure I'd it re-read it like I do some of my Women's Fiction, but I'm certainly looking forward to the next in the series....more
I seem to be wrapped in WWII lately, but this was a brilliant novel. I love her language, the way the plot moves forward, the conflict with the characI seem to be wrapped in WWII lately, but this was a brilliant novel. I love her language, the way the plot moves forward, the conflict with the characters. She does a great job of illuminating the homefront during the war, and women's roles in it - both in surviving in an occupied country and finding ways to help the war effort. (If you want a synopsis, I'm sure others have posted one.)
And if you haven't already read it, "Winter Garden" deals with a different part of WWII in the mother's story - another incredible read. ...more