Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh this book...frustrating and beautiful all between the front and back covers. At any given time it could have been 1 star or 5 stars.

Confined to The Hotel Metropol in Moscow after being sentenced to a house arrest (as opposed to being executed) after the Russian Revolution, Count Alexander Rostov becomes a staple of hotel life. He knows the staff, the guests, the secrets of the building. Remember -- he never leaves.

This is why I was frustrated through 2/3 of the book because nothing really happened. It was all character driven interactions and the daily minutiae of hotel operations. The writing was beautiful and the characters unique and multifaceted -- but no one ever left the building!

Then Nina appeared. Then Sophia. Then the last 1/3 of the book was this beautiful, complicated story of love, friendship, relationships, politics, and conflict that were built over the proceeding years (and many, many pages).

So -- I'm so glad I persevered and finished the book. It was a totally worth it in the end.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Review: The Library Book

The Library Book The Library Book by Susan Orlean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Susan Orlean uses the catastrophic 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library as a backdrop to write a beautiful homage to libraries. A mixture of tracing the unsolved mystery of who started the fire, a history of the library itself, the staff that imbibe life into the historical building, to her personal reflections on the importance of libraries. As a library employee of more than nine years, this was truly a joy to read.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review: The Lost Queen

The Lost Queen The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars
Don’t be fooled by the tag line “Outlander meets Camelot.” Jamie was no where to be seen.
An epic retelling of ancient Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (6th century?) filled with druids, kingdoms, and the genesis of the Merlin legend as told by his sister, the forgotten Queen, Languoreth.
Clearly the beginning of a series, and considering the length it took me to read it, I wish it had been a stand alone.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Review: The Lake House

The Lake House The Lake House by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another atmospheric, page turner from the incomparable Kate Morton.
Loved the setting -- she's simply superb at turning a location into a character: The lake, the manor house, Cornwall - as always, I was completely transported.
I don't think this was one of her strongest storylines -- it took me about half the book before I was fully invested. And the ending...well...too easy. And I'd figured out the "twist" with about 100 pages to go.
But I still loved it -- just not as much as The Secret Keeper.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fierce young girl's family is killed and she's squirreled away in a land not her own. Jude Duarte must learn to live among faeries, sprites and other non-mortals, and defend herself at every turn. Sometimes fighting for her life.

This book was gripping from the first page. It was part Game of Thrones, Hamlet, and Grimm. Let's just say...blood was shed.

I loved Jude. Loved her.

When does book 2 come out? I need to read more Holly Black while I wait.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Review: The Book Jumper

The Book Jumper The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kids on a remote Scottish island have "superpowers" to jump inside storybooks and mingle with the characters. It was clever.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars
Do not let the quaint, soft focus, idyllic cover fool you -- this is a creepy, blood-thirsty novel, full of woodland creatures, gnomes, goblins, vampires, walking-dead, a frost demon, and a massive bear-like man who feeds on death and fear. Seriously -- Russian folklore/fair-tales are freaky and scary! That being said, Vasya, was a hardass. Like a Russian, magical Wonder Woman. There is a sequel to this book, which normally I would touch -- but Vasya intrigued me. Given enough time away from this -- I could be persuaded to continue her story. Maybe. If I don't have nightmares.

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Friday, July 14, 2017