Friday, July 27, 2018

Review: The Outsider

The Outsider The Outsider by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Stephen King -- but his favorites have been his earlier books. I confess that I stopped reading around Tommyknockers, except for short stories.

But, excerpt in Entertainment Weekly really intrigued me, so I started this -- and couldn't put it down. It was wonderful, and I see this is now part of a series, and I look forward to reading the first three.

What I particularly liked is how the supernatural was so gradual -- it didn't really show up until a good way into the book. But, I guess, it was always there -- but, for the folks in the book, they just thought they were living their regular, non supernatural lives.

Heck, I was half convinced that there wasn't going to be anything supernatural.

I also enjoyed how the band of investigators came together; and that they were mainly older folks. It's not just teens or twentysomethings fighting the evils. Of course, this probably reflects the author himself, realizing as he gets older that the protagonists he writes about can be older as the fight the big bad, sometimes winning, sometimes losing.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review: The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton

The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even better than the first Laurence Bartram mystery. Disappointed to discover there are only two books in this series.

In addition to the time period, I liked the character growth and nuances across the series. I also liked that this book took place a couple of years after the events in the first.

The ending gutted me. It made sense but what a heartbreaker.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Review: Arcadia Falls

Arcadia Falls Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s an entertaining mystery - a good summer read. Loved the setting.

But who finds a mysterious journal and then just takes months to read it?!?

Since “changeling” and identity are part of the story, I guessed one major reveal fairly early and was frustrated that the narrator hadn’t figured it out herself. Also, what happened to her own parents? The way they were barely mentioned felt very YA to me.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: A Cottage By The Sea

A Cottage By The Sea by Ciji Ware. Sourcebooks. 2010.

The Plot: Blythe Barton Stowe flees to Cornwall after a bitter divorce. She walked in on her movie director husband Christopher with someone else -- and while she's getting a nice settlement, the money hardly makes up for the pain, the loss, the betrayal.

Her grandmother says their family came from Cornwall, so Blythe decides to do some exploring in addition to hiding out from the press. She rents a cottage on the estate of "Barton Hall," that may or may not be linked to her family. She meets the handsome widower who is the current owner, struggling to make ends meet.

And she also finds herself having visions -- of an eighteenth century Blythe Barton, who had a husband named Christopher. What wil l the past tell her about the present? And her future?

The Good: I enjoyed this book -- a nice romance, and the supernatural aspect was nicely interwoven into the present story. I like a story that is about a person picking up the pieces and reinventing themselves, and Blythe does that -- and also has to deal with the complicated feelings from her divorce.

And the setting! All very Poldark.

Main drawback: most of the other women are viewed and portrayed as competitors for first her husband, then her boyfriend. Very old school romance -- it seems the books I read in high school always had a snobby posh girlfriend (or practically girlfriend) for the love interest, who was terrible yet somehow the guy never realized it.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Review: Caroline: Little House, Revisited

Caroline: Little House, Revisited Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mixed feelings. Very well written and will be enjoyed by adult fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And has some of those “how people did stuff” details that I love about the Little House books. Here, it answers all those questions about going to the bathroom or childbirth.

And sometime I got a chuckle out of Caroline’s thoughts, like when she realizes Mary can be a bit annoying by being good to get praise.

The “buts”. But, in matching the time period to the Kansas LHOP book, it leaves untouched some fascinating and interesting questions about Caroline’s childhood, especially how shaped she was by poverty, and the early years of her marriage lived in other people’s houses and with such a long time without a baby.

When the poverty is touched on, it’s sad in that Caroline believes she’s creating a better life for her girls when she isn’t. But, that’s knowledge brought by the reader who knows what the future will bring. And the opportunity to dig into her belief to be satisfied by what one has, rather than try for more, is passed by - as well as the negative consequences of such a belief structure.

The biggest “but” is the racism. It matches the source material and the history, yes - but it still resulted in a lot of problems for me as a reader. Any judgement about it is mainly from the reader, not the text. This could have been explored deeper, even if the result was uncomfortable.

And still - there was a lot I liked in how Caroline saw things, what made her tick. I’m interested in reading more from Caroline’s viewpoint.

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Experimenting with GoodReads

I'm going to be playing around with using GoodReads and this blog.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy