3.5 stars The Sherwood Ring is lightweight historical fiction set in the American Colonies during the Revolutionary War, which may sound like a rather...more3.5 stars The Sherwood Ring is lightweight historical fiction set in the American Colonies during the Revolutionary War, which may sound like a rather dry subject, but it never is with Pope telling the story. She roots everything in human experience and her greatest strength lies in her characterization. Her four main Colonial characters, Dick, Barbara, Eleanor, and Peaceable, are all wonderful, each with a distinct and vibrant personality.
Peaceable Drummond Sherwood especially is an absolutely magnificent character who jumps right off the page. Feared by the populace as an infamous and wily captain in the British army, even some of his enemies in the Rebel cause can’t help but respect him as he outsmarts them again and again. Brave, slightly arrogant, hiding a dangerous intelligence behind a calm and unassuming demeanor, he is an honorable gentleman to the last, who would offer you tea and crumpets and apologize for the inconvenience while he tied you up and dragged you off to prison. The scene with the drugged wine glasses was one of the most memorable I’ve ever read.
There is also plenty of lively dialogue and humor, and the plot is full of tension and suspense. I appreciated that there was no clear villain in the tale. Both sides have heroes and rogues and good reasons for their actions.
The weakness of The Sherwood Ring, however, lies in its framing device. We only get peeks into the past as Peggy Grahame, in a more contemporary setting, encounters the ghosts of her ancestors and learns their stories, all the while trying to solve a mystery of her own as well as find happiness and romance. Unfortunately, Peggy’s story is flat and dull and none of the modern characters are interesting or sympathetic. Every time the book would return to the “main” story of Peggy & Co. I would get a bit antsy and bored and try to rush through until the next ghost would appear and we could get back to the exciting historical interludes. In the end those wonderful parts were just too few and far between to let me love the book unequivocally. If only Pope had scrapped the Peggy/ghost story idea and wrote this as straight historical fiction!
Despite its inconsistencies, there is still much here for fans of The Perilous Gard, readers of historical fiction and fantasy, or lovers of clean, old-fashioned romance. (less)
Definitely has a bad case of 2nd Book Syndrome. Hopefully there will be a new plot focus in Book 3 and the author won't feel the need to summarize the...moreDefinitely has a bad case of 2nd Book Syndrome. Hopefully there will be a new plot focus in Book 3 and the author won't feel the need to summarize the previous books for a hundred pages. Not to mention getting back the emotional depth and great character growth of Book 1. But Tom Imura is my hero! (And I wouldn't mind having his children.)(less)
I am reading chick lit. Chick lit with a cutesy cover and a gooey title. And I'm liking it.
Stephanie Perkins is the real deal. This book is effortless...moreI am reading chick lit. Chick lit with a cutesy cover and a gooey title. And I'm liking it.
Stephanie Perkins is the real deal. This book is effortlessly humorous, with refreshing characters who enjoy discussing history and cinema and have realistic character flaws. The emotion is so true-to-life that reading Anna becomes an intense vicarious experience, inducing angst and defeat one moment and euphoria the next.
I'm not gonna lie, the day after I finished this, I picked it back up and skimmed through the whole thing again. There may also have been muffled squealing, book-hugging, and quickly suppressed ideas about buying something pink and frilly, but I can't confirm that. If one is looking for a non-threatening introduction -- or a non-nausea-inducing re-introduction -- to girliness, Anna and the French Kiss is the perfect gateway drug.(less)
What a fun series! I loved the dark necromancy stuff, and the existence of many different supernatural powers in one world actually worked quite well....moreWhat a fun series! I loved the dark necromancy stuff, and the existence of many different supernatural powers in one world actually worked quite well. Chloe is one of those rare truly kick-butt heroines who is strong without being unapproachable, has moments of vulnerability without being weak, and is mature with fairly healthy relationships but can still be snarky and real. She's also smart and cautious and can scheme along with the bad guys instead of just naively confronting them in an abandoned warehouse about their murderous ways and then expecting the boy she's bitched out the entire book to swoop in and lay his life on the line for her. (Not that other books have made me bitter or anything). Love live Kelley Armstrong. (less)
Well, I guess with this one you either love it or you hate it and I loved it. The premise takes a few chapters to accept but I've never been more will...moreWell, I guess with this one you either love it or you hate it and I loved it. The premise takes a few chapters to accept but I've never been more willing to suspend my disbelief. Oliver's gorgeous and lyrical prose elicited long-forgotten emotions that most books don't even approach.(less)
Part vengeance western, part gritty post-Apocalyptic tale, part bildungsroman, and part gladiatorial struggle à la Hunger Games, Blood Red Road is a g...morePart vengeance western, part gritty post-Apocalyptic tale, part bildungsroman, and part gladiatorial struggle à la Hunger Games, Blood Red Road is a great ride that gives me that happy feeling I associate with watching the perfect summer blockbuster. It's refreshing to see a great love story that does not involve swooning and that is based on two people getting to know each other and making each other stronger. The action is larger than life but never goes so over the top that you lose the sense of real danger, and while the heroes occasionally make wry quips about their impending doom, they manage to stay vulnerable and believable. This book has a vivid narrative voice and as the cover aptly puts it, "a poetically minimal writing style." I stayed up until 3am to finish reading it and didn't regret it. (less)