Archive for June, 2012

21
Jun
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #27: Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James

As I’ve admitted before, I am a sucker for Jane Austen and all of her books, as well as the many many many many many re-tellings of her classics.  I am a particular sucker for Pride and Prejudice.  Book, movies (I like Firth, but I kinda like Macfadyen a little bit more), and Bridget Jones, I’ll take them all.

When I heard that PD James — the wonderful British writer who has brought us so many excellent classic mysteries, as well as Children of Men — had written a mystery taking place several years after the end of P&P, I couldn’t resist.

Death Comes to Pemberley has all of our favorite characters from P&P (as well as some of the characters we might not have liked so much). Lizzy and Darcy are happy with their children at Pemberley, Jane and Bingley are right down the road with their family, and Mary is happily married to a reverend not far away.  And then there are Lydia and Wickham.

The mystery tells the story of a tragic murder that occurs on the grounds of Pemberley, a night before Darcy and Elizabeth are to host a lavish ball.  The Darcys, the Bingleys, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and young Georgiana’s new suitor, Mr. Alveston, are all at the house when Lydia shows up screaming that there has been a murder out in the woods and that they must save her Wickham.

The book slowly unfolds the mystery, answering the usual questions: who is dead, how were they killed, who was the murderer, and why?

And while I enjoyed the book and was somewhat surprised when the killer was revealed and what his motives were, I found that I really didn’t care all that much. Sadly, I just wasn’t really excited about the book as a whole, and was a bit disappointed.

One thing I didn’t care for were the shout-outs to Persuasion and Emma.  I really could have done without those.

If you love P&P and all things Austen, by all means, read this.  If Austen isn’t really your thing, I would probably skip it.

12
Jun
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #26: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Last year, I read and loved the first entry in Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy, Divergent.  When the second book was released, I put my name down on the library list and waited to see if it would live up to the hype of the first book.

I just finished reading the second book, Insurgent, a few minutes ago, and I’m having trouble figuring out what I think about it.

Insurgent begins immediately after the events of the first book.  Tris, Four, Peter, Caleb, and Marcus have escaped the slaughter of the Abnegation and are on their way to Amity, looking for asylum…and for answers. Why would the Erudite want to murder an entire faction? What information are the leaders protecting that is worth brainwashing innocent citizens and even killing for?

Honestly, I felt that the story was rather slow this time around.  The first half of the book was much slower and yes, boring, than the first book.  And honestly, I didn’t think the writing was as sharp.  Entire sections went by and I felt like all I read was “Serum. Simulation.  Serum.  Faction.  Headquarters.  Stiff.  Factionless. Serum.  Simulation.  Divergent.  Serum.”  And the romance between Tris and Four was really brought front and center this time, with lots of shirt grabbing and back touching and general (AND REPETITIVE) making out.

Luckily, the last third of the book picked up the pace a bit.  Tris and her friends (as well as her enemies) go to battle to get their hands on some secret data that could potentially change their lives forever, and that part worked for me.  Also, the scenes and descriptions of what the world of the Factionless was like?  Very interesting.  The talking and the arguing and the romance? Not so much.

If you are considering a re-read of Divergent before diving into this one, let me be the first to tell you, YES.  REREAD THE FIRST BOOK. I spent so much of this book trying to remember tiny little details about the first story.  Who is Lynn? I get her confused with Marlene. Who is Marlene?  I thought she was Shauna.  What happened in the glass case of water at the end of Divergent?  What was Tris’ mom doing there, anyway? Argh.  I really had a tough time with it.

I didn’t like it as much as Divergent, definitely a bit of a let-down.  But I am still looking forward to the third book next year, as I really want to find out what’s out there beyond the gates and beyond Chicago…

06
Jun
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #25: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

After waiting ages and ages for my number to come up on the library hold list, I was finally rewarded last week with my chance to read Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. My book club is talking about it next week, and its been ages since I actually wanted to read one of the books that the club has picked, so I’m glad that this time I’ll be participating.  Two random things happened just before I started to read this book:

1)  I put my name down on every library list I came across — local, county, ebook, etc.  After waiting for months, I got alerts from two different libraries on the same night;  and 2) I’ve been catching up on Netflix instant TV while all of the shows I watch are on Summer vacation, and randomly watched the Torchwood episode about the traveling Night Circus on the same day I started to read the book.  Coincidence?  Luck?

Anyway, as I seem to be one of the last people in the Cannonball universe to read this book, I don’t really feel the need to get too into detail here.  I really enjoyed the story of the mysterious, magical circus and the people who ran it and lived it.  The writing was fresh and beautiful, a real treat.

I loved how the descriptions of the circus — the colors (or lack of color), the smells, the sounds — almost came to life in my mind as I was reading.  I wanted to eat caramel popcorn (and, oh! those mysterious cinnamon treats sounded pretty good, too!) and drink hot apple cider while I was reading.

SPOILER ALERT

My one criticism, which isn’t much of one, is that I didn’t love the scene where Celia and Marco talk to Bailey and explain the future of the circus to him.  All I could think about was the end of Willy Wonka, where Mr Wonka talks to Charlie in the Great Glass Elevator, and gives him his magical factory. I found it slightly distracting, but it didn’t change the fact that I was happy and excited for Bailey’s new life.

 

03
Jun
12

Bunnybean’s #CBR4 Review #17: The Bobbsey Twins in Rainbow Valley by Laura Lee Hope

The Bobbsey Twins are Bert and Nan Bobbsey, and they are about 8years old.  They have younger twin brother and sister named Flossie and Freddie, and they are about 4.  In this book, the Bobbsey family goes to a hotel in Rainbow Valley, which is near the water, and where they can usually see a rainbow.  The family has little adventures, like:

On the way to Rainbow Valley, they take a boat.  A big turtle comes on their boat and breaks the motor, which stops the boat.  A local man in a boat gives them a paddle so they can get to the hotel.

Freddie runs away from the rest of the family, and they set off to find him.

While they are out looking for him, he goes back home.  They think they will never find him, but he is waiting for them at the hotel when they get back.  They are so glad he’s ok that they don’t punish him for running away.

The hotel has a library, where Nan likes to go and borrow books.  The book that she wants is missing and long overdue, so Nan and the librarian try to track it down. While they are looking, they fall off of a cliff! Then they go through the forest and finally find the man who has had the missing book for a long, long time, and they bring it back so Nan can read it.

The kids find a nice bear (named Kate) in the woods. There is a woodsman named Abraham who owns the bear, and the kids find him and give the bear back to him.

Lots of other things happen, which makes the story go by fast.  I liked it a lot.  The kids seemed like they had fun.




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