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review 2016-09-19 10:08
Her Royal Spyness #10...
Crowned and Dangerous: A Royal Spyness Mystery - Rhys Bowen

I normally really enjoy this series but this one didn't move me like the rest of the series has. There was a LOT of repetition and chatty dialogue but there really wasn't any adventure or action like there normally is. It was just kind of boring and the whole Queenie-the incompetent maid, the always broke & homeless Lady Georgiana & the continuously delayed wedding to Darcy thing is getting rather old.


If Queenie's stay with Lady Oona becomes permanent or at least straightens her up and if Georgiana finally ties the knot with Darcy, I will be a very happy reader! 



(spoiler show)

It is past time for a change- spice it up and give us some new material please! 



*I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~Genre: Mystery~ square


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text 2016-09-18 09:08
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 304 pages.
Crowned and Dangerous: A Royal Spyness Mystery - Rhys Bowen

The previous book in the series left off with such a huge cliffhanger regarding Georgiana & Darcy so I've been dying ever since to find out what happens. I hope

he's taking her to get married but it's been drawn out for so long, I'm not going to get my hopes up.


(spoiler show)
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review 2016-09-17 00:12
Sweetheart, Sweetheart...
Sweetheart, Sweetheart - Bernard Taylor

Sweetheart, Sweetheart is an old style ghost story about twin brothers, Colin & David. David, who lives in New York, senses that his brother Colin is in trouble and he can't rest until he goes to visit him in England to find out what's going on...


I think one of the things Taylor does very well is creating that deep sense of foreboding and you can really feel that in the first half of the story especially. It does have a very slow building pace though, but if you stick with it, the second half of the story more then makes up for it. The culmination is very intense and chilling and it really tied up the story nicely, which isn't always the case, I think, in ghost & haunted house stories. If you enjoy a vintage ghost story, then this is a great pick. 




*I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~Classic Horror~ square




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review 2016-06-10 18:38
Favorite Agatha Christie & Hercule Poirot Collection...
Five Complete Hercule Poirot Novels (ABC Murders / Cards on the Table / Death on the Nile / Murder on the Orient Express / Thirteen at Dinner) - Agatha Christie

This is a collection of five Hercule Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie. In 2013 I read all of her works and I enjoyed all of them. These five stories are some of my favorites of Poirot's. I normally don't re-read a lot of books but for my 2016 Summer Bingo Challenge I decided to read "Thirteen at Dinner" for my 'Favorite Re-Read' square. I'm so glad I did! It's made me realize I should re-read more often.


Thirteen at Dinner is a fun mystery about an actress, Jane Wilkinson, who asks Poirot to help her get rid of her husband so she can marry someone else. After her husband is murdered, she then asks Poirot again for his help when she is spotted at her husband's house, while also attending a dinner party with thirteen other very important guests, hence the title Thirteen at Dinner. I really can't tell you much else without giving too much away so I'll just say if you've never took the time to read Agatha Christie's books, you should put it on your list of things to do before you die! You won't find another mystery writer like her!

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review 2015-09-12 19:59
Hard Times - Charles Dickens

Synopsis: Set in a fictitious city named Coketown, popular for its factories, this novel tells the story of Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy man who believes strongly in factual things and rational ideas. Gradgrind has two children, Louisa and Tom. Gradgrind raises his children to believe in fact and they are not allowed to practice creativity or express feelings. After Gradgrind opens a school in Coketown, he takes in and raises one of the students, Sissy, as a servant (Sissy's father was a performer in a circus and disappeared without taking Sissy with him). Gradgrind raises his children in a way he believes will benefit them in life, but things do not turn out the way as he expected.


Aside from reading excerpts of A Christmas Carol back in middle school, Hard Times was my first Charles Dickens novel. Upon doing research before reading as well as talking with several book-lover friends, I felt like I had a good handle on what to expect from the reading -- humor interlaced with biting social commentary on the working class in London circa 1850. With this book I certainly got that -- one can guess this is going to be about poor financial conditions from the title alone.  


Once I got into the flow and rhythm of Dickens's writing, I really enjoyed myself and found some passages to be quite striking. Here is one of my favorites, a passage spoken aloud by daughter Louisa to her father Tom Gradgrind in the novel's climax:


“How could you give me life, and take from me all the inappreciable things that raise it from the state of conscious death? Where are the graces of my soul? Where are the sentiments of my heart? What have you done, oh, Father, What have you done with the garden that should have bloomed once, in this great wilderness here?"


For, you see, the town of Coketown is an industrial town made up of two factions -- the Hands, i.e. working class, and the wealthy who do not care to help or improve the city in which they live. They only care to make money, with no consideration for others. The figure-head of the greedy upper class is Josiah Bounderby, friend of Thomas Gradgrind and banker/factory owner in Coketown. He has a finger in every pie around town, all while constantly reminding anyone who would listen that he pulled himself up from poverty and a sad childhood stuck with an alcoholic grandmother. Bounderby's exaggerated characteristics and exclamations made for some big laughs on my end, and he was, arguably, my favorite character in the novel -- despite being rather corrupt. 


Dickens's mid-career novel -- apparently the shortest he ever wrote, by the way -- is a good one and I'm glad I started here. Its commentary on creativity, wealth, and poverty is timely still, making Hard Times feel incredibly modern despite being published over 150 years ago. The prose is gorgeous, and the characterization is spot-on. A few chapters in the middle lagged a bit, but other than that I could find nothing wrong or unlikable about this read. I will definitely be reading some more Dickens very soon. 

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