How delighted was I to just happen upon this on the new bookshelf so soon after reading Finishing School #1? So delighted! This installment has all the same good stuff as the first–intelligencers, mechanimals, automated servants, dirigibles, werewolves, and vampires. Sophronia continues to be an uncannily apt intelligencer and finds herself involved in uncovering more of the vague battle her school appears to be involved in over some gadget. I felt in this one that it wasn’t too important to understand or follow all of that and good thing because it was kind of confusing. After all, what on earth is the aetherosphere? Is it the stratosphere? There seemed to be a bit more of a dip into the Parasol Protectorate world here-vampire hives and dandies in London. I really enjoy this world she has created, including Sophronia’s classmates and instructors, and look forward to the next installment!
I really enjoyed this very suspenseful novel. Knowing right from the start that one of the characters will end up facing a killer makes you very anxious as you read, assuming it could happen at any moment. Although I liked the suspense part of the story, I was really drawn in by the parts of the story that had to to with the family relationships. I read this one for review, which you can find here.
I was so excited and lucky that a friend ordered this and gave it to me even before she or her son read it as I was something like #141 on the holds list at the library. Then, to my disappointment, I had such a hard time getting into it that it was almost a week before I settled in and got into it. I recall really liking that book #2 (Insurgent) started mere moments after book #1 (Divergent) ended, but when that was the case with this final book in the trilogy, I had lost the details of the story and thus was no longer caught up in the momentum. [When I look at my review of Insurgent, I see that there was an exciting "big reveal"-I honestly didn't even remember what that was.] I recognized names and the general idea of the story but felt like I was not properly responding with surprise! excitement! shock! because I had no background. Fortunately, I was able to start piecing things together and once it was more about what was happening right then I enjoyed it more. In fact, this book employed one of my favorite dystopian plot points–venturing beyond the know city and discovering what the rest of the world is like. I loved this angle and also how it fully filled in all the questions you had throughout the first two books about how things had gotten that way in their world and what the heck was going on. And you didn’t even have to wait until the end of the book to have those questions answered. Of course, our trusty band of protagonists realize you can’t trust The Man and things aren’t so great on the outside. Cue another insurrection!
I thought this had great adventure, heartfelt emotion (Caleb and Tris, in particular) and of course I loved it that there was an epilogue. This is a trilogy that I would recommend to people to discover now as they could read all three books right in a row, which would be immensely satisfying. Still, I really liked this and thought it was a terrific and strong ending.
I’ve seen Miss Read books on library shelves for years, but never really thought about reading them or even knew what they were about. Judging by cover and author “Miss Read” they seemed terribly old fashioned, and possibly not in a good way. For I-don’t-know-what reason I picked one of the shelf a few weeks ago and checked it out. I assumed it didn’t matter if I read them in any particular order and indeed, although this is apparently “Fairacre #15″ it was completely fine as a standalone novel.
Miss Read is the author, but also the main character of these books. The setting is a tiny rural English village where Miss Read is the spinster schoolteacher. This school is fascinating to me. Although a year is not given this book was published in 1980 and it seems to be contemporary for the time, but feels like it’s taking place in 1950 (maybe it is?) The village school goes up to age 10 and there are two classes. Miss Read teaches the older children and another teacher has the “infants.” Literally they are referred to as infants and babies. But presumably they are 5 and 6 year olds? And during school the kids are just sent out to play, or they all go on walks across the moor, and the vicar visits them, and Miss Read chooses morning hymns for them to sing. So fascinating and foreign to me.
The structure of the book is a chapter per month of the year, going from January through December. The central idea as we go through the year is that the school is celebrating its centenary and Miss Read must plan an appropriate celebration. She also must deal with an ancient leaking skylight. There is not a lot of excitement going on from month to month. It’s a gentle slow book, but I did enjoy when she talked to the elderly residents about their memories of the schoolhouse and the bits about her daily life.
I really liked Raven Boys and this was an eagerly anticipated sequel. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it quite as much as the first. I found it a bit confusing and vague and kept wondering if I was just not remembering enough details from the first book or what. That said, I was still fascinated by how Stiefvater brought this ancient magic into a contemporary setting. And the idea of bringing something out of a dream and having it be real is both fascinating and horrifying (depending on what your dreams are.) I find myself especially interested in finding out more about Blue’s psychic family and they are very entertainingly on display throughout this book. The visit to Gansey’s rich and connected parents’ home was kind of jarring. And Ronan’s antagonist, who is a big part of the book, I found such a strange character. At times entertaining, but the whole drag racing thing was just kind meh to me. The best addition to this installment was the character of Mr. Grey-a funny hit man with his own backstory. You’ll notice I haven’t even said anything about plot. That’s because I doubt I could even describe it since it’s all still sort of vague to me. The boys continue to look for Glendower, the Welsh king, and to tamper with the ancient magic running beneath their town. Although not as great as the first, I did still like it, and I think Stiefvater’s writing is admirable. Looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up in book #3.
This was excellent. I adored Prep, but skipped American Wife. I was a little uneasy going in to this because a couple of trusted book friends said they didn’t like the ending. So I kept wondering what was going to happen and whether it would spoil it for me. Fortunately, I was soon so caught up in the story and wonderful writing that I let that go. Until the ending happened and I totally agreed with my friends and thus it only gets 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 from me on Goodreads. But I’ll leave my comments about that until the end.
Kate is an identical twin with Violet. Since childhood they’ve had “senses” about things, but this perception has made Kate uneasy, whereas Violet, who is more of a bohemian free spirit, has embraced it and makes her living as a psychic. From the the beginning it seems like Kate has her act together-married to an awesome guy, mother to a baby and toddler, a happy homemaker- while Violet is kind of, well, not a loser, but she doesn’t have her act together. Flirting with lesbianism, overweight, a psychic, and just not settled. Then one day Violet has a big prediction–an earthquake will come to St. Louis and soon. When Kate herself has a prediction-the earthquake will be on October 16-Violet shares that date publicly. The city becomes gripped with a combination of anticipation, fear, and excitement. Kate is gripped mostly with anxiety and embarrassment. Her husband is an earth scientist so Violet’s prediction is especially embarrassing. I felt like the buildup to October 16 was incredibly suspenseful. In fact, I actually got very excited and wound up as the pages went by on October 16 as I waited, waited, to see what would happen. That was one of the things I really liked about this. The other thing I really liked, was just how well Sittenfeld wrote, and particularly about some of the ways Kate feels about motherhood. A few things stuck with me, such as when Kate looks at her sleeping daughter and it feels like she’s making a deposit in the bank of her daughter’s well-being. I completely understood that and I loved the way she wrote that.
Overall, a totally excellent book. I really enjoyed it, the story was interesting, the writing was great, and she definitely conveyed life with young kids well, Now about that half star subtraction……possible spoiler, so stop here if you’re going to read it!
I hated what she did at the end. I thought it was so unnecessary. The story was already good and then she had to throw in a terrible cliche and ruin her life and make me so unhappy with the character. On the other hand…..I did love how it meant the prediction came true, just not the way she thought. Which leads you to wonder about her making things happen, or if things are fated. So even though I was really uncomfortable with that entire aspect of the story (and just so MAD at Kate for f’ing up her life with Jeremy!!) maybe it does make the book work.
First of all, I couldn’t believe it when I went to put it on hold and there were five copies in the library system and every one was checked in. What are you waiting for, people? This is one of the best trilogies ever. It has romance, adventure, survival, a fully created and detailed kingdom, and is a perfectly put together trilogy. Put these books on hold post haste! (but your loss is my gain because I ran and checked it out right away.)
So, when the second book ended Hector had been taken by the Inviernos as a lure to Elisa. We knew she’d accept that challenge and try to rescue him. And yes, that is how things start. Although I couldn’t exactly remember all that had happened in the first two books, enough gets told to you to figure it out. There is adventure, dramatic conflicts and reveals, political intrigue, and all kinds of battle plans. Elisa is really a kick ass heroine. She is not just a queen in name, but fully engaged in her plans to bring peace to the world and regain her kingdom. She has excellent hand to hand combat skills, communicates directly with God, and is also smart. I felt that her relationship with God and her Godstone, while still pivotal, took a slight backseat in this installment to some of the other action (which is totally fine.) I can’t believe how much this book packed in. This was one of the most exciting and satisfying trilogies I’ve ever enjoyed.
There was a lot of hype about this book and after some personal recommendations I decided to get in on reading it. Honestly I had it sitting around the house for a while before I even picked it up but once I did I could hardly put it down and had to stay up very late to finish it a couple nights ago. This book is post apocalyptic and covering all the bases: emp, pandemic, natural disaster, savage looters, formerly ordinary teens becoming capable of hand to hand combat, and aliens. Plus you can throw in some YA stuff like attraction to a boy who is too dreamy to be true and family loyalties.
Cassie believes she may be the only human left on the planet. In just a few short months everything on Earth has changed and most of the population has been obliterated. It all started when an alien spaceship arrived, but refused to communicate. The 1st wave of attack is an electromagnetic pulse (emp). All electrical/technological things immediately are wiped out and stop working. This means planes fall from the sky. The 2nd wave of attack is a tsunami that wipes out all coastal cities. The 3rd wave is an avian born pandemic. The 4th wave is finally some direct alien presence coming in and picking off the remaining humans. These waves are not the bulk of the story, rather they are described by Cassie as a neat summary of events. Cassie is desperate to stay alive, she hopes her little brother is still alive and vows to find him. She finally meets another person and despite everyone’s instincts to not trust anyone she is so pleased to have company (and that of a cute boy, to boot!) and someone who might help her find her little brother.
This was super exciting, fast paced, and full of terrific surprises. The story is not told entirely from Cassie’s point of view-it varies between her and a few other key characters. This totally adds to the suspense as the story is pieced together. Even though I knew certain things were likely suspicious and not quite what they seemed, I couldn’t exactly figure it out until it was told to me, which I liked very much. My only quibbles are… I’m going to need to give some stuff away that is a wonderful surprise, so don’t read below the spoiler alert unless you have already read the book, really don’t mind a surprise being spoiled, or are never going to read it. And I’ll sum up here by saying overall I really liked this, wish it wasn’t a trilogy, but am certainly looking forward to book #2! OK, so stop here if you want to read the book!
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT……
My only quibbles are: if the aliens are so advanced that they’ve long ago left their bodies behind, then why do they need use of the planet Earth at all??? Also, I kind of felt like it was a not-uncommon author cop-out to just say things like “it was an incredible warmth I can’t really describe” when describing the alien mind meld. It was like he backed himself into a corner trying to come up with some amazing alien thing but then couldn’t quite pin it down so went with a “beyond description” description. I hope that book 2 can describe the aliens and their “pure spirit” or mind essence, or whatever it’s called, a bit better. How do they have personalities? Thoughts? Organization? And, again, if they are simply essence then why do they need a planet and to much around with human beings??
You know, when I looked this up on Goodreads is when I saw the subtitle of this book for the first time : My Summers with Buster Keaton. That bit of lack of observation on my part made Buster Keaton’s appearance in the book quite a surprise to me. The story is told from the point of view of a young boy in a small town in Michigan. One day a vaudeville troupe arrives to spend the summer in the little town of Bluffton. The boy makes friends with one of the vaudeville kids, Buster. The book covers several summers and some fascinating bits of history. For example, child protective services were always after the Keatons because Buster was thrown around a lot as part of the act, so they would pretend he was a tiny adult. The vaudeville performers brought an exotic flair to Bluffton and made life exciting for the year round residents. A wonderful peek into a very particular time and place that I knew nothing about. It also made me keen to seek out Phelan’s other historical graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn.
Somewhere along the way I missed #5 in this series and just happened to see this one on the shelf of our little library. Out of order and out of season, but I had to grab it and read it. Once again Lady Georgiana Rannoch finds herself in the midst of a puzzling crime. In this case it’s a suspicious death every day of her holiday. Faced with nowhere to go except spending Christmas with her horrid sister in law, Fig, she answers and advertisement for a lady of good social standing to join a house party. It turns out that the hostess, Lady Hawze-Gorsely, is having guests for a true old fashioned English village Christmas. It’s very Clue-like, complete with a Colonel, what, what? Fewer details of her royal relatives in this installment, but the lovely details made such a vivid picture in my head of this British village and the time. Georgie’s mother, grandfather, Noel Coward, and of course, her love interest, Darcy, all manage to happen to spending Christmas in the same little village, so the familiar characters are there.
I thought this was a splendid mystery, was fooled by a red herring, and was very satisfied with the ending. I also liked it that the author included traditional Christmas games and recipes at the end. I must say, the meals described were wonderful and I can’t believe people weren’t fat as houses back then. Giant teas followed by sumptuous repasts at dinner!