Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jokes on me! After my critical review of Among the Mad, I read this first book in the Maisie Dobbs series and loved it. I liked seeing Maisie as a young adult and see what she went through and why she is the way she is now.

I liked the way that this book switched back between present day when Maisie is setting up her business and the past when she was a young girl first starting to work for Lady Compton, then going to school and being trained by Maurice Blanche.

Definitely excited to read the rest of these novels . . . in order!

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Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in a crumbling old estate in the 1950s, this book about a precocious young girl who solves a murder mystery that come to her home is best summarized by this quote from the book:

"I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life."

I completely enjoyed Flavia de Luce. She is a brilliant chemist, she is the slightly neglected third daughter of a slightly distant and quirky family, she is sassy and witty and I laughed out loud several times while reading this book.

I also really liked the setting of the book. I loved that Flavia had a whole well-outfitted chemistry lab from a previous relative. Life was simple during these times and young girls could go all over town on their bike digging up information and getting out of scrapes with a quick and sometimes sharp tongue.

The plot moves a little slow at times and is quite tangled but I had fun on the journey as Flavia and her excellent mind sorted it out.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, #6) Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

My rating: 3 of 5 stars I really think the description on the dust jacket of this book was the best part of it. Maisie is so persnickety in this one! And I have a problem with her giving advice about life to people in her life about their children when she hasn't had children of her own yet. So, she is a bit of a know-it-all and sometimes it grated on my nerves. The plot of this one was a bit dull and depressing; too much talk of the downtrodden former soldiers who are barely scraping by with no dignity or hope yet. That said, I read the whole thing and have also realized that this is a series that is probably best read in order, not just randomly as I have been doing. So maybe I am the know-it-all who is reviewing this book without having all the backstory to make an informed critique! View all my reviews >>

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1) Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Aislinn, along with her mother and grandmother has always been able to see the faeries that inhabit the mortal world and invisible to most. She has been warned not to let them know she sees them and to avoid them at all costs. Aislinn has also witnessed the faeries' cruelty and deception on several occasions so when Keenen, the Summer King of faeries, starts to vie for her attention, she does everything in her power to avoid him. Especially when he claims that she is his next Summer Queen and must join him for eternity.

I have been reluctant to read any of the multitude of faery novels that seem to be cropping up but I tried this one and liked the plot line quite a bit. The author did a good job of creating a dark, bleak and sinister setting for the book where the faeries are definitely not the little winged things flitting about with glitter that you sometimes think of when you think of a faery.

There were elements of the book that were annoying to me. The constant mention of "tats" and tat shops. The teen sex and drug use bugged me, though I know it happens. I just didn't get an uplifting feeling from this book and didn't feel really happy when reading it. I know that all reading isn't going to be "really happy" but if I feel like I at least learned something or felt inspired, it's ok and I just didn't get that from this book. It was too dark and cruel for me.

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Review: The Secret History of the PInk Carnation by Lauren Willig

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, #1) The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Eloise is a grad student researching an elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation, in league with such others as the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. She finds a gold-mine of information in a relative of the Pink Carnation and finds out whether the Pink Carnation lives up to her expectations or exceeds them.

I had high hopes for this novel and they fell a little short. The book switches back and forth between present-day with Eloise and the past with the Pink Carnation. The characters in the Pink Carnation's time were fairly well developed and interesting and I liked reading their stories. However, I thought I would find out much more about Eloise's life and I didn't. The book jacket gave more information about Eloise than I felt I learned in the whole book.

Also, the heroines in this book were terribly whiny and that got old. The plot also moved pretty slow at parts and there were some love scenes I could have done without. All in all, it was entertaining but didn't live up to the expectations I had for the book.

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