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The Devil's Diadem

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This stand-alone novel by Sara Douglass gives a fantasy back-story to the plague. As she often does with her heroes and heroines, Douglass creates an appealing character with some fatal flaws in the character of Maeb--flaws important enough to twist the story and keep it interesting. i did find myself putting the book down about 3/4 of the way through as the plot twists ( even for fantasy) were a little too contrived, but when I picked it back up I didn't mind the epiogue wrap up that placed the characters at the end of their stories. An enjoyable read.
The Shadow of the Wind

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Wonderfully atmospheric, almost supernatural at its start, the book is filled with unforgettable characters and a haunting story line.I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wish so much hadn't been explained all at once near the end...I could have tolerated a few unanswered questions...
Days of Blood & Starlight

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Wonderfully atmospheric fantasy that is a coming of age mystery, romance and chronicle of an epic war all in one, this is a book that's hard to put down. I particularly loved the setting in Prague, in all its mist and mystery! I will definitely sign on for the continuation of the story in the next book..
The Help

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A page turner.One could not help but be aware of the risks of this enterprise between one white woman and the black women who agree to tell their stories in this story at the start of the civil rights era.
Shadow of Night

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I know that some of the reviews expressed impatience with the pacing of this novel, but I actually enjoyed the interlude from the plot laid out in A Discovery of Witches, the first installment of the trilogy. Full disclosure: I'm a sucker for time travel books, so this retreat to the 16th century was fun, even if it did take a bit for Matthew and Diana to find a tutor for her magic and to pursue their search for their ancient text. I especially liked how Harkness filled in the back story of Matthew's life by introducing us to his 16th Century family, and the opportunity for Diana to meet her own time travelling dad. While this novel didn't provide quite the page turning quality of the first book, anyone who is hooked on these characters will still find it a great read. and might enjoy the exposure to the Elizabethan court and lulminaries of the time.
Love Walked In

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De los Santos strikes an amazing balance in telling the very difficult story of a child on her own as her mother decompensates in front of her. The pathos of her brave journey is balanced by the wonderful and wacky spirit of the woman who steps in to befriend her in the crisis. I loved the passion and humanity on all sides in this story, and knew it was a wonderful feat when the author could still make me laugh out loud at the same time that so much tragedy was unfolding.
Cold Magic

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I'm still reading this one, so maybe I'll change my mind. I'm a big Kate Elliott fan, so I've been surprised that I've been finding her writing a bit stilted in this novel.In fact, I was wondering if this was a manuscript that she unearthed from an earlier point in her writing career when she was less polished. Despite being more conscious of the writing than in her other works, I am still engaged by the story of the orphan rent from the life she's known and forced to question everything she was always told about herself and her origins. I'll probably give the next in the series a look too..
The Daylight War

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Having read several reviews of other readers bored with the shift in perspective between characters in this third installment of Peter Brett's fantasy, I expected to be equally annoyed at this device which deepens Inevera's back-story without moving along the plot related to the Demon War until half-way through the novel. But I actually found Inevera's story engaging, and was more distracted by Arlen's relationship with Renna, which I found hard to fathom. Equally baffling is the sudden deterioration in Arlen's language skills, as he "ent no"'s all over the place in his efforts to de-mystify himself to the Hollow folks and Renna, although this switch in dialogue starts as soon as his story is picked up in this book. I just didn't buy it coming from the guy who spent his teen years in the city absorbing every book in the library. Having said all that, I still enjoyed this book, and reconciled myself to Arlen's odd romantic choice in the same way his friends in the book did---right about the time things started heating up with the battles with the Demons. So, while this was my least favorite installment in the series, I find myself hanging in there with Brett's story and (mostly) engaging characters, so I'll come back for more.
The Boy in the Suitcase

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A page turner despite the annoying qualities of the protagonist. Nina's decision-making plays havoc with her family, and despite the insight into her psyche that the author provides near the end of the novel, it doesn't do much to make her more likeable.I am a fan of the Millennium series, and this seems to inherit some of the adrenalin rush ( and violence) of those novels without the nuanced character building. Still, the unfolding of the story of the boy in the suitcase and why he was sought, questions about who double crossed who, were enough to keep my attention.
Sarah's Key

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Past and present converge in this story of a journalist in Paris who starts out researching the anniversary of the round-up of the Jews in Paris in July 1942 and ends up finding out secrets about her own family as well. Even after the many of the mysteries are cleared up, I found that I still had many questions about Sarah's story that bothered me...but then it seemed fitting that all the holes were not filled in. The wartime victims' stories are all the more haunting because of the details that no one will ever know about them.
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