Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review: A Great Reckoning

A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #12)A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was mostly about the past: that of Armand Gamache, of Three Pines, and the Academy of the Surete. Penny wove the various tales together beautifully and once again crafted a compelling, thought provoking novel.
"There is always a road back if we have the courage to look for it, and take it. I'm sorry. I was wrong. I don't know. I need help. These are the signposts. The cardinal directions." (chapter 43)
This book counts toward the 10th Canadian Book Challenge.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lisa's Review: Shoplifter

Shoplifter by Michael Cho

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've never read a graphic novel, but decided to give it a try when the September mini-challenge for the 10th Annual Canadian Book Challenge was to read a Canadian graphic novel. I started with a list from the CBC of "10 Graphic Novels You Need to Read", and then searched to see if any would be available at my library here in New Hampshire. I thought that might be a long shot, but a few were available, so I picked up Shoplifter by Michael Cho.

I did enjoy reading a graphic novel. I liked the mix of the words of the story with also taking in the visual of what was going on. And I did like the visual aspect of Cho's novel. However, what was lacking for me was plot/storyline and likability of the main character. I think had the book been longer (it was pretty short) with the opportunity to explore the main character more, I might have enjoyed it more. I will give full disclosure here that I do not typically enjoy short stories for this reason. So I will definitely give graphic novel reading another try.   

This is my third book read for the 10th Annual Canadian Book Challenge and also completes the mini-challenge for September which was to read a graphic novel.

Lisa's Review: The Brutal Telling

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the fifth novel in the Chief Inspector Gamache series. This book starts with a secretive late night meeting of one of this series' regulars, Olivier, at the mysterious Hermits' cottage deep in the woods where a story of chaos is being told (much like an eerie campfire story). The next morning, the Hermit is found murdered in Olivier & Gabri's bistro, leaving many questions...Who was this man? Who knew him? What was he doing in Three Pines?

This book had more of an ominous feeling all of the way through than the others in this series so far, and certainly kept me turning the pages. All of the regular characters from the prior books make an appearance, and are becoming more developed.

I can't say I necessarily loved how this one ended, but I have a feeling there may be more to this story in the next book.

This is my second book read for the 10th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This counts toward my 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge for "re-read a classic you read in school." It is also on my Classics Club list.

I didn't have a strong recollection of this novel from having read it in college. I liked it at the time and remembered the crazy wife in the attic but not a lot else. I didn't have a much stronger reaction this time. It was fine, Rochester was dashing and appealing in many ways and St. John was creepy. Jane was a fine and upstanding heroine (reminded me of Meg March a bit), but it didn't wow me.
Several other Classics Club members reviewed this book and got a lot more out of it than I did. Both Riv and Margot have interesting reviews of this book.

The Robber Bride

The Robber BrideThe Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of three very different women who are bonded by a common enemy. It isn't that simple though because the enemy is very different to each of them and the events of each woman's past and her other relationships color the way she perceives events. This is a complex and wonderful novel filled with the details that Atwood renders so well.
"It's after dark. There's a fine chilly drizzle, and the storefronts with their lit-up windows and the black streets with their red neon reflections have the slick, wet look that Tony associates with plastic raincoats and greased hair and freshly applied lipstick--a dubious, exciting look. Cars sizzle past, filled with strangers, going somewhere unknown. Tony walks." (p.397)
This book counts toward the 10th Canadian Book Challenge as it is set in Canada and Atwood is Canadian.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Review: Quietly in their Sleep

Quietly in Their Sleep (Commissario Brunetti, #6)Quietly in Their Sleep by Donna Leon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like the Brunetti novels mainly for the rich Venetian setting and the complex characters rather than the plot. This one was particularily weak on plot however, as the "mystery" is very vague and as presented at the beginning of the story might not even have been a crime. Paola was also very restrained in this book which is not when she is at her best in my opinion.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lisa's Review: Too Close to Home

Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Too Close to Home was next up on my Linwood Barclay 'to read' list.

When Jim & Ellen Cutters' neighbors, the Langleys are murdered, questions soon arise as to whether it was a pay back to Albert Langley (a successful criminal defense lawyer) from a former client or family of a victim that felt wronged. Or was it possible that the Langleys weren't the true targets?

That is the basic synopsis of the book, but there are plenty of other bits of plot going on. As I have found with the other Barclay books I have read, this one delivered exactly what I was expecting - a solid, easy-to-read, page turner that kept my attention and entertained me from start to finish.      

This is my first book read for the 10th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bones Never Lie

Bones Never Lie (Temperance Brennan, #17)Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the 17th book in the Temperance Brennan series, which I have been listening to as audiobooks in random order based on what was on the shelf at the library. This one revisits an earlier case as the psychopath Pomerleau appears to have resumed her reign of terror. There was a good bit about Tempe's mother in this story, which was interesting, but otherwise the lives of the various characters were not a big part of the book. The mystery itself was disappointing as I (and my husband who was listening with me on a road trip) figured out the solution to the case very early in the book. This was not my favorite of the Reichs novels.
I am counting this toward the 10th Canadian Book Challenge as the author is a part-time Canadian and part of the book takes place in Montreal.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Review: The Nature of the Beast

The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #11)The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was concerned when Gamache left the city to live in Three Pines that the series was going to go off the rails, but so far so good. This tale of obsession and the past coming back to haunt folks was a solid story which I thoroughly enjoyed. I listened to the audiobook which was the first one with the new reader for this series and he did a good job.
This is my first book for the 10th Canadian Book Challenge.

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