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review 2019-10-25 04:36
Brief Thoughts: The Visitor
The Visitor (Graveyard Queen) - Amanda Stevens

The Visitor

by Amanda Stevens
Book 4 of Graveyard Queen



My name is Amelia Gray.  I'm the Graveyard Queen.

Restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries is my profession, but I'm starting to believe that my true calling is deciphering the riddles of the dead.  Legend has it that Kroll Cemetery is a puzzle no one has ever been able to solve.  For over half a century, the answer has remained hidden within the strange headstone inscriptions and intricate engravings.  Because uncovering the mystery of that tiny, remote graveyard may come at a terrible price.

Years after their mass death, Ezra Kroll's disciples lie unquiet, their tormented souls trapped within the walls of Kroll Cemetery, waiting to be released by someone strong and clever enough to solve the puzzle.  For whatever reason, I'm being summoned to that graveyard by both the living and the dead.  Every lead I follow, every clue I unravel brings me closer to an unlikely killer and to a destiny that will threaten my sanity, and a future with my love, John Devlin.

If I wanted to be honest, it was truly the writing and the mystery of Kroll Cemetary that drew me into this book.  Amelia's destiny and her hauntings as well as Devlin's mysterious secrets were really second string.

While I've liked Amelia in the past, I'm not entirely sure that I'm feeling a whole lot of character development in her, despite the new twists that her character is taking on in this book.  At the same time, I'm still not really all that enamored of John Devlin either.

The romance between them is even harder for me to relate with, if only because Amelia's obsession with Devlin, as well as their mutual attraction to each other seems to be the only thing linking them together.  They don't talk to each other, they keep secrets, they don't even trust each other.  Their relationship has always felt one-sided.

I enjoyed the moments that Amelia spent at Kroll cemetary with Dr. Shaw, or even discovering little clues left her by the blind ghost who looks like her.  In contrast, I didn't care much for the scenes whenever Devlin was around with her, save for a few moments when they seemed to be able to talk freely with each other.  I feel like the two of them could make a great team if they would just stop keeping secrets or learn to listen to each other.

But the writing is beautiful as usual, and the series' overall conflict continues to be intriguing, and you get drawn into Amelia's world readily.  Just for the writing style and the atmosphere of the book alone, I gave a higher rating.




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review 2019-10-20 21:01
A Visitor's Guide to Georgian England by Monica Hall
A Visitor's Guide to Georgian England - Monica Hall

An interesting short book that gives a lively sense of 18th century England. It’s a little uneven; the chapter on health and medicine is eye-opening and informative, while the one about sports doesn’t even really stick to the time period. The conceit of being a guide for potential time-travelers is cute, but maybe a little too cute; I’m not sure much is achieved by advising readers on which vaccinations to get beforehand. Dr. Johnson's London contains much of the same information, but in a more strictly organized and thorough way. This book has a bit more narrative, informality and humor about it, though, which may recommend itself more to the casual reader.

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review 2019-10-17 18:17
The Visitor, Animorphs #2
The Visitor - Katherine Applegate

Rachel, Jake's fierce cousin, takes center stage in the second volume of 'Animorphs'. Applegate notes Rachel's traditionally good looks and athleticism, but stresses that it is what's inside that counts. Rachel is strong and impulsive, and often need to be reined in by her friend Cassie or Jake. She has clear ideas of what's right and wrong and hates to sacrifice her principles.


Since I'll be doing so many of these, I'll try to keep the reviews short. The main thrust of this book is Rachel's relationship with Melissa Chapman, an old friend and daughter of Assistant Principal Chapman, whom the group knows to be a high-ranking Yeerk Controller. They've drifted apart since Rachel was given her powers for obvious reasons, but Rachel is troubled by how changed her old friend has become. Is she being Controlled by a Yeerk now? Rachel must contemplate the value of her old friendship with the knowledge that could be learned by spying on Melissa.


It has only been a week or so since the events of 'The Invasion' and everyone is on edge. It is still impressive how these books juggle the main cast and their relationships with each other while still reminding readers of the wider world. The Animorphs can't draw attention to themselves without great risk, and the fact is that while they are all close friends now, they weren't always. The stress of dealing with the Yeerk invasion is hard enough, but they can't share their troubles with anyone, even their families. Who can be trusted when the enemy hides in plain sight? What should an Animorph do if they find themselves fighting a human or alien that has been possessed and is no longer in control of their body?


This book brings us closer to Rachel, and she may be one of the most consistent characters in the series. Great fun, and comes with an added bonus of talking about cat behaviors.




Next: 'The Encounter'


Previous: 'The Invasion'

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review 2019-10-06 06:29
The Visitor
The Visitor (Graveyard Queen) - Amanda Stevens

Another disappointing read. Better then books 3, but not on par with the first 2.
Picks up after the events of books 3. Devlin has no memory of the previous events and still (yes, still) thinks anything dealing with the supernatural is bullshit. He also has secrets and things he doesn't share with Amelia. Granted, there are things she doesn't share with him, but I felt it was for good reason (based in his dislike/disbelief in the supernatural). Frankly, I hate this paring and wish Devlin would just go. (And at the end, maybe I get my wish?)
I got tired of reading about Amelia breaking her father's rules. (Get over it already!). I did think this book showed (about a fashion) Amelia starting (baby steps) to accept her gift and learn/adapt it. I did like the Kroll cemetery mystery and this was solved (satisfactorily). This does end in a bit of a cliff hanger in terms of Amelia and Devlin.
I am on the fence about continuing. I strongly dislike Devlin and if he continues to be the love interest, I'm out. I feel there is nothing he can do to make me forgive him and like him. Amelia deserves better.

Bookilkes Halloween Bingo:  grave/graveyards

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text 2019-07-02 20:35
BL-opoly: Independence Day Extra Rolls
Dshamilja - Ulrich Matthes,Chingiz Aitmatov
The Night Visitor - James D. Doss,Romy Nordlinger
South Riding - Winifred Holtby,Carole Boyd
Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match - Wendy Moore,Rachel Atkins

Hooo boy.   So, it turns out my  Independence Day extra rolls are sending me right around the board.  Doubles, novelty cards ... Anyway, here we go:


I just finished my current read, which was for square 2 ("Who?").



My first roll, starting from there, sends me to square 9: The Stay-Cation -- read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library, or a park, or whose author's name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.  My selection for this square is Chingiz Aitmatov's Jamilia.



My next roll are doubles, sending me to square 12: The Robot -- which I pocket ...



... and roll again twice; once for the doubles, once for having landed on a novelty card square.



The first of these rolls sends me to square 18: Mountain Cabin -- read a book set west of the Mississippi, written by an author from that region, or considered part of the Western genre.  What a great opportunity to catch up with one of my recently-discovered favorite mystery series: My pick for this square is James D. Doss's Charlie Moon mystery no. 5, The Night Visitor.



My next roll moves me on to square 20: The Lake House -- read a book featuring a dog, with a dog on the cover, or set in an area known for its lakes or on a fictional lake.  I'm going to bow to Moonlight Reader's greater wisdom here, since she read it earlier this year, but given that Winifred Holtby's South Riding is set in rural Britain in the first half of the 20th century, I am fairly hopeful that at least one dog is going to make an appearance in this book.



My final Independence Day roll turns out to be, once more, doubles, putting me on a square I know very well at this point, given that I am stopping by there for the third time in this game (and for the second time in a week): square 26: "How?" -- read a book that is science fiction or has the word "how" in the title.  Fortunately, I just downloaded a matching book, so I will be reading Wendy Moore's Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match.



I roll again for the doubles ... which lands me on another novelty card square, the Scottie dog --



-- so I get a final roll for having landed on a novelty card square, which ultimately gets me to "GO" ... which, somehow, seems like a very fitting conclusion to this whole set of manoevers! 



Now just imagine I had decided to just get those extra rolls out of the way quickly before going to bed!  I am really glad that I didn't ... I'd have  been up until the wee small hours getting all of this sorted!


Anyway, here's how the whole thing plays out on the card:


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