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Search tags: magical-realism
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review 2018-01-20 20:45
Undercover Princess
Undercover Princess (Rosewood Chronicles) - Connie Glynn

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

There were good ideas in there, and I was fairly thrilled at first at the setting and prospects (a boarding school in England, hidden royals that looked like they’d be badass, etc.), but I must say that in the end, even though I read the novel in a rather short time and it didn’t fall from my hands, it was all sort of bland.

The writing itself was clunky, and while it did have good parts (the descriptions of the school, for instance, made the latter easy to picture), it was more telling, not showing most of the time. I’m usually not too regarding on that, I tend to judge first on plot and characters, and then only on style, but here I found it disruptive. For instance, the relationship between Ellie and Lottie has a few moments that border on the ‘what the hell’ quality: I could sense they were supposed to hint at possible romantic involvement (or at an evolution in that direction later), but the way they were described, it felt completely awkward (and not ‘teenage-girls-discovering-love’ cute/awkward).

The characters were mostly, well, bland. I feel it was partly tied to another problem I’ll mention later, namely that things occur too fast, so we had quite a few characters introduced, but not developed. Some of their actions didn’t make sense either, starting with Princess Eleanor Wolfson whose name undercover gets to be... Ellie Wolf? I’m surprised she wasn’t found out from day one, to be honest. Or the head of the house who catches the girls sneaking out at night and punishes them by offering them a cup of tea (there was no particular reason for her to be lenient towards them at the time, and if that was meant to hint at a further plot point, then we never reached that point in the novel).

(On that subject, I did however like the Ellie/Lottie friendship in general. It started in a rocky way, that at first made me wonder how come they went from antipathy to friendship in five minutes; however, considering the first-impression antipathy was mostly based on misunderstanding and a bit of a housework matter, it’s not like it made for great enmity reasons either, so friendship stemming from the misunderstanding didn’t seem so silly in hindsight. For some reason, too, the girls kind of made me think of ‘Utena’—probably because of the setting, and because Ellie is boyish and sometimes described as a prince rather than a princess.)

The story, in my opinion, suffers from both a case of ‘nothing happens’ and ‘too many things happen’. It played with several different plot directions: boarding school life; undercover princess trying to keep her secret while another girl tries to divert all attention on her as the official princess; prince (and potential romantic interest) showing up; mysterious boy (and potential romantic interest in a totally different way) showing up; the girls who may or may not be romantically involved in the future; trying to find out who’s leaving threatening messages; Binah’s little enigma, and the way it ties into the school’s history, and will that ever play a part or not; Anastacia and the others, and who among them leaked the rumour; going to Maradova; the summer ball; the villains and their motivations. *If* more time had been spent on these subplots, with more character development, I believe the whole result would’ve been more exciting. Yet at the same time all this gets crammed into the novel, there’s no real sense of urgency either, except in the last few chapters. That was a weird dichotomy to contend with.

Conclusion: 1.5 stars. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be interested in reading the second book. I did like the vibes between Lottie and Ellie, though.

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review 2018-01-07 00:15
Great Nisei/Canadian-Dream historical novel
Floating City - Kerri Sakamoto

Really enjoyed the historical detail in this; the Nisei experience on Canada's west coast is fascinating, and I've only read a few perspectives on it. Authentic-feeling story of a Canadian-born son of Japanese parents from the 1930s-1980s. Starts with childhood experiences living on a floating house on the BC coast and follows through the internment and mountain camps of WWII, setting out to Toronto in the postwar period to build a life, dreaming and working toward success, and dealing with the fallout of letting ambition lead to selfishness. There's a strong fantastic/spiritual/magical realist element throughout, based on legends, dreams and altered perceptions. Very firmly in the literary fiction tradition, with some themes that don't entirely link up. I read a lot of genre fiction and YA, so I wasn't really up for the dark period in the last third, but I liked the earlier bits and the resolution. On the whole, less dark and depraved than a lot of adult literary fiction; it manages to convey a sense of hope, optimism and potential throughout. Very cool Canadian perspective, and it feels authentic enough that I was sad there aren't floating cities in Toronto's harbour yet.

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review 2017-12-12 15:59
Not For Me--DNF at 25 Percent or Page 125
The House of the Spirits: A Novel - Isabel Allende

I just looked at when I started this book and have to say it's really sad it took me this long to through in the towel. I already could tell as soon as I started the writing was going to drive me bonkers, but it became too much for me to overcome in the end and I stopped reading at 26 percent, or page 125 of 468 in my Kindle version of this book.

 

What's to say in the end. There were too many characters doing random things that I didn't follow. I know this is a magical realism book, but didn't really see it much in what I read. But I think the wall of text is what was so offputting to me as a reader. There were just whole pages with a block of text and no spacing in between. I had a hard time keeping the sentence straight which hasn't happened to me in a long time.

 

I know this book is a classic, but in the end it's not just for me.

 

"The House of the Spirits" follows three generations of the Trueba family, living in Chile. And I could not tell you a single character's name without cheating and going back to the synopsis.

 

I just found the what I read to be rather flat and colorless and finally jumped back into a memoir I was reading.

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text 2017-12-08 19:05
Reading progress update: I've read 6%.
The House of the Spirits: A Novel - Isabel Allende

I am not enjoying this. It's just walls of text coming at me.

 

 

Image result for letters fighting gif

 

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text 2017-10-25 21:00
Whispers Underground (Peter Grant #3)
Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch

So I have to say this one was very enjoyable. Maybe because there is no Peter angst concerning a woman he is interested in. We get more information on how magic works in this world that Peter is in. Also we get some nice police work as well in this one. The Faceless Man is still running amok though, but I was glad to not have this book focus squarely on him.

Things I loved:

I did enjoy Peter working alongside Lesley. It seems that Lesley is better than Peter at magic, or at least stronger than he was when he first started up with Nightingale.

We get a FBI agent in this one who seems quite savvy and I would love to see her pop up again.

I don't even remember if Peter mentioned going to school initially to become an architect or what in book #1, but I love that he did and he was able to explain certain type of building arrangements and the running joke about why do architects need to draw.

Molly is still silent but seems quite protective of her ever growing population of the Folly.

The writing is very good and also there are some hilarious one liners in this one. It definitely reminds me of the good parts of Doctor Who. The setting of London where magic reigns supreme is a great one.

The ending was great with Peter figuring out who is the culprit behind a murder. And we get a nice circle back to a girl from the beginning of the book who seems to be getting added onto the magical Scooby-Doo gang.

Things I didn't love:

I want more Nightingale. He barely feels like he is in this book. Though he is in this one way more than book #2. I want more training scenes with Peter, Nightingale, and Lesley.

Even though I was happy to see Lesley, I wasn't happy to see how Peter acts anytime Lesley removes her mask. It seems to not bother a lot of people (Nightingale and Molly) but Peter still reacts to it. And it seems that Lesley in a couple of situations notices it too. And through a drunk/funny scene later on with Lesley and Peter. Peter is attracted to Lesley and Lesley is a little bit with Peter. I do think that things will come to a head eventually though since others are interested in Lesley and don't seem to care about her face. I was happy to see Zach, the new character who is half fairy (fae) seems interested in her. Though Zach seems to have a crush on someone else that is called a "whisperer" so who knows if anything will go forward with that.

Honestly I am tired of Tyburn trying to act like she's big and bad. She just shows up in every book now to threaten Peter.

I am already wanting to read book #4 to see what happens next.

With this book, I got my first bingo on my second bingo card which is nice.

 

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