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review 2018-12-11 11:51
The Cat in the Christmas Tree
The Cat in the Christmas Tree - Peter Scottsdale

by Peter Scottsdale

 

This is written for children, and as such some of the dialogue isn't quite realistic but more of a cleaned up version like you often see in children's books. The plot holds together reasonably well and the magical transition was very good.

 

There were some good messages about learning to respect the property of others and not bullying, however, I have an issue with a few other messages that come across.

 

First of all, the father is in total charge of the family and the mother doesn't argue when he threatens to get rid of the cat. This gives a bad impression of relationship dynamics as well as of a father's role. To me, he's totally evil and his wife should divorce him and keep the cat so her son will be happy!

 

My other issue is with calling the cat bad for jumping into the tree. Really? You bring a real tree into a home with a cat and expect him not to jump into it immediately? The author is a cat lover and owner so he should know better than that! Also, when the cat is destroying things he shouldn't or biting, why aren't the parents making any effort whatsoever to teach him parameters? Cats do learn, and not by whining at them that they shouldn't do that as if they understood every word. (Secretly I do believe they understand every word but that's another matter.)

 

All things considered, the story has some brilliant elements from a Christmas magic point of view, but I would not buy it for a child because of these unacceptable messages about fathers and cat discipline.

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review 2018-12-08 16:34
Tombland
Tombland - C.J. Sansom

by C. J. Sansom

 

Book 7 of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series.

 

Set in the rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, two years after the death of Henry VIII. The nominal king is eleven years old and his uncle, Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Edward's regent and Protector. Catholics and Protestants are at odds and the Lady Elizabeth has a personal interest in a murder of the wife of one of her distant relatives that she sends Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer in her service, to investigate.

 

Medieval intrigue and mystery mostly keep attention through over 800 pages that cover among other things, Kett's Rebellion in the Tombland area of historic Norwich. These are real places and the history has been well researched. I did, however, think it was overly long. The books in this series contain a lot of detail of every move and I think it was asking a bit much to carry on with so much scrutiny for so long.

 

On one hand it's a good Historical Fiction, but it's also a murder mystery. I'll admit I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries in general and making me wait so long to find out who did it was torment! It is well done in the end though.

 

Those who do enjoy murder mysteries will have a great time trying to sift through the plentiful suspects and possible motives, both political and personal. The author leads us through a merry chase through all the possibilities. I did think that the final reveal was a little forced and not quite realistic, but by then I was just glad to have answers.

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review 2018-12-03 12:30
The Sorrows
The Sorrows - Jonathan Janz

by Jonathan Janz

 

Film composers Ben and Eddie along with a couple of their female friends go to stay a month in Castle Blackwood, which has been uninhabited since a series of gruesome murders in 1925. Eddie is trying to inspire Ben's creativity when his personal problems with an ex-wife and son are distracting him. However, a malevolent being has been trapped for nearly a century in the castle and he’s ready to feed.

 

The first chapter was very well written and the personalities of Ben and Eddie were coming out strongly from the start. The one issue was that very different things were happening in the first few chapters so it took a while to get hold of a storyline without referring back to the description to remember what the story was supposed to be about, but a few chapters in, it all pulls together and we're off to the island.

 

It also got a little overblown on sex. Whenever an author's description of a woman includes "perky breasts" I get an impression of a creepy guy who objectifies women. Female authors just don't describe women that way, even if they prefer women themselves. I'm not a prude but I felt the sexual content was invasive rather than beneficial to the story.

 

The scares in this one didn't really deliver. The set-ups were there and could have been horrific, but the obsession with sexual dynamics distracted from any intensity and made the story drag. By the time I got to the end all I could feel was that I didn't like any of these characters. I know this author has written some good stuff but this one just fell flat for me.

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review 2018-11-28 03:06
THE LIBRARY ON The EDGE OF THE WORLD by Felicity Hayes McCoy
The Library at the Edge of the World - Felicity Hayes-McCoy
 

 

 THE LIBRARY ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

 Felicity Hayes-McCoy

paperback, 368 pages

Published November 14th 2017 by Harper Perennial
ISBN:  0062663720 (ISBN13: 9780062663726)

 

 

 

 

 

Things start a quiet confusion while Hannah tries to figure out her life after divorce and moving back to her small, rural hometown. Then chaos when she starts renovations on her house and the community finds out they are losing governmental support for the library and seniors.
I am a library lover to begin with. Set that in Ireland, I am in heaven. This was a fun read. Some of the crotchety characters and the description of the landscape were great. Hayes-McCoy usually writes non-fiction about the Dingle Peninsula where this book is set, so she knows the area well. Her words bring out the beauty of the area wonderfully. Hannah's character was a little too stubborn for me, at first. But as I continued with the story, I soon realized why.

 

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review 2018-11-28 02:55
HAT by Renee Paule, illustrated by GR Hewitt
Hat - Renée Paule,G R Hewitt

HAT

written by Renee Paule 

illustrated by G R Hewitt

Paperback, 36 pages

Published May 2018 by RPG Publishing

099350986X (ISBN13: 9780993509865)

 

The colors that G R Hewitt used in the illustrations is great. A lot of colors, more muted rather than overly stimulating bright.

Paule describes each hat with shorter and longer words, which makes it a wonderful book to help young readers to learn some "big" vocabulary words, without making it feel like work. I really enjoyed the book, and the little comprehension test that she includes at the end.

 

 

***This book was won in a Booklikes giveaway held by the auther, in exchange for a fair review. ***

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