by Maria DeBlassie
This is a book of snippets of thoughts about some of the things many of us contemplate, but don't think to write down. Things like the wonders of synchronicity and observations of everyday life. Many of these are related from the author's point of view but written in second person so that the book tells me there are roadrunners where I live and that I like chamomile tea (not!)
The further I read, the more I felt I was looking at the author's perspectives rather than my own and experiencing her thoughts from looking over her shoulder. What is striking about these short thought-spills is the consistent positivity expressed and how one might find joy or strength from ordinary things.
While I didn't always feel the perspectives applied to me, the second person format worked to draw me into the author's mind and see her life from an optimist's view. The idea here is to turn around and apply these positive thoughts to your own life details.
I could see this being of benefit to those who tend to get down about things generally. I'm rather an optimist myself so although I couldn't identify with the details, I could appreciate the author's attitude.
Susannah is a young widow and single mother when she marries Max. Max is a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career has taken their family to a quiet Vermont town. Susannah believes her life is going to be perfect, but instead she finds a note taped to their door - I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Max thinks it's a prank. But after one of the couples in the neighbourhood comes to dinner, the husband dies in an accident while on a run with Max. Then another note is found on the door - DID YOU GET AWAY WITH IT? Both Susannah and Max are keeping secrets and someone else seems to know about them.
I'm sorry to say I ended up hating this book. There are no chapters and it makes for a long, drawn out story. I'm always wondering 'should I stop now?' And I didn't always know who was talking at first as there was no clear indication - I hope this is only in the ARC. It was so boring. None of it held my interest. I didn't like the characters. I was hoping it'd pick up. At 44% one of our unlikable main characters goes for a walk at night, picks up a dead fox and carries him home and begins slicing him up in great detail (or I think in great detail, I skipped the huge paragraph) After I skipped that paragraph, we went onto dead rabbits and that's when I decided I was done with the book. I love animals, I don't eat them, and I don't enjoy reading about them being hurt/killed/eaten in great detail. Nothing redeeming about the ending - it was anticlimactic and weird and I'm so happy I skipped all the shit in the middle, but disappointed I didn't start skipping earlier.
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.
by C. J. Sansom
Book 1 of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series.
This is the beginning of an ongoing series of Historical Mysteries that take place in the Tudor period of England. The books are all self-contained stand alone novels and the character who takes us through the progressing snippets of history is a high-level lawyer called Matthew Shardlake. In this first novel, it is 1537 and Lord Thomas Cromwell is the vicar general and supports the Reformation, as does Shardlake.
The country is divided between those who are faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to Henry VIII and his newly established Church of England. A murder leads Cromwell to bring in Shardlake to investigate.
Shardlake is a hunchback, which I thought was a brilliant way to bring diversity into a historical setting where not a lot of diversity existed. He is intelligent and thorough in his investigations and that can get him into some difficult situations when he uncovers uncomfortable evidence of such things as sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason.
Like much Historical Fiction, a lot of detail is included and it can take a while to get from one place to another. I wouldn't call it 'slow' because it keeps interest and seeing events from Shardlake's point of view works well with his detailed observations. It is basically a Mystery story, but within a historical context. The historical details look to be well-researched and accurate.
There's also a certain amount of dramatic action, especially at the end. I thought it was extremely well done and I enjoyed reading the historical notes after the end, as I always do when a Historical Fiction novel includes them.
Most importantly, the end really is the end. The first chapter of the next story in the series is included, but each story is complete and you don't have to buy another book to see what happened. If you enjoy a good historical mystery this is a good place to start as it develops Shardlake as a character and gives the reader some insight into how his deformity affects him as well as his thinking processes and how he came to be in his position, but after that the books could be read in any order.
A very intelligently written series.
Originally published in 2000 under the name Debbie Raleigh, Alexandra Ivy has re-released this with a beautiful new cover. I enjoyed this one, it's not one of my favorites I think I prefer her PNR but it was a good read. The story was well written and I liked the way it played out. I liked the characters too, even though Roma did get annoyingly stubborn at one point.
All it took was one meeting with Roma Allendyle for Lord Giles Carlton to be completely besotted and one conversation to fall head over heels. But Roma isn't looking for a husband she looking for her missing brother and only after Carlton points out that as a woman she will get no information of anyone in the Home Office does she finally give in and let Carlton help her; that by no way means she going to stop looking herself. It bugs Roma that Carlton is helping her, she can't figure out his motive and the fact that he can find out information about her brother because he's a man really bugs her. Roma also keeps getting distracted by how handsome he is and why out of all the women in London he wishes to be with her a head strong, intelligent, country girl who hates London. She can't seem to realize Carlton's helping her is also his way or courting her too.
Overall, it's an quick (unless you are constantly distracted by your kids like I was) and easy read. I loved the characters and the action was pretty intense there at the end. It's a worthwhile read. I really loved the atypical courtship between Carlton and Roma.