I had heard that this book was a bit slow and not as good as Lisa See's other writings, so I started reading Peony In Love expecting to be bored for the first half. I was surprised to find out that I loved the book from beginning to end. Peony in Love provides an intimate peek into the lives of Chinese women during the 17th century. This was a time of change for China when women struggled between following tradition and being basically "invisible" and their desire to explore the emotions and thoughts through writing, painting, etc. To follow the main character through life AND death gave me more of an understanding of the Chinese beliefs of the afterlife and why they follow many of the traditions that are still alive today. The love scenes were steamy and I found myself blushing in the cafeteria at work! While I found this book fascinating, I can understand why some may have found it lacking. If you do not like reading about Chinese history or tradition, you may not enjoy Peony Pavillion. See goes into great detail which may be a little tedious for some. Personally, I loved it.
When I first realized that the main character was Mackey, I almost didn't download it. I loved Tana French's first two novels, so I went ahead and purchased The Faithful Place. I AM SO GLAD I DID! The Faithful Place is my favorite of the three that French has written so far. Mackey is definitely easier to relate to in this one. His famly and background explain a lot about his character and add depth. The conflict within his family is heart-breaking and the mystery surrounding the disappearance and death of his girlfriend from long ago left me guessing. The narrator was excellent, though his Irish brogue isn't as thick as the narrators in the previous novels. Even if you don't like Mackey's character in The Likeness, this is a must read for any Tana French fan.
After purchasing this audio book, it took me a while to actually listen to it. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to know the details of the horrible life that Jaycee Dugard had to live during her captivity. Jaycee does not hold back - she is very honest in describing the things that Phillip Garrido did to her and how difficult it was to live. To hear directly from her what her thought process was and how she managed to make it through this time was very interesting. I liked hearing Jaycee narrate her own book, and I admire her strength. However, it is a difficult story to listen to.
This is the third in the series. It was typical Ariana Franklin. The story was good, not my favorite but definitely worth the read. If you like historical thrillers you will enjoy this one. If you read Franklin's other novels in this series and enjoyed them, you will not be disappointed. The twists were great and even the new characters were enjoyable. The narrator is awesome! If you have read the first two, you have to read this one.
The Likeness is the second in the series by Tana French with the character, Cassie Maddox. This one starts about 6 months after the case that is depicted in the first novel, In the Woods. While I liked In the Woods, I was a little disappointed with the ending. The Likeness did not disappoint at all. French's writing is current, and she writes a good story. The characters are well-rounded and relatable. French brings them to life - warts and all. Cassie's internal struggle is believable, and gives her depth. The language is current, and the story flows easily.
The plot is excellent. I wasn't totally sure of how it would end - though I had narrowed down "who did it" pretty close. I especially liked the occasional reference to the previous book. Someone who hasn't read In the Woods could still read this one with no problem - the references were subtle and like finding a prize every now and then. For example, at the end of In the Woods, Ryan tells about a call where there was no voice on the end, then a hang up - then in The Likeness, Cassie makes a call and hangs up.
The narrator is good. At first I didn't know if I would like her, but by the end of the book - I cannot imagine any other voice as that of Cassie Maddox. There is an Australlian accent that is pretty bad, but it is not a main character, and everything else is perfect. I'm now a huge Tana French fan and can't wait to read her next one!!!!!!!
In the Woods by Tana French was a surprisingly good book. I'm always a little tentative about trying out new authors, so I was thrilled to find myself in the middle of an exciting novel with characters that I really connected to. In fact, I would have given the story and overall a five if the ending wasn't so disappointing. Hopefully some of the loose ends will be resolved in future books. The characters were well-written, I felt like I knew them all intimately. I loved the interplay between the main character and his partner - the way they worked together was realistic and entertaining. The double plot - the current day murder and the detectives childhood tragedy - worked well together. They were entertwined masterfully and kept me on the edge of my seat waiting for what would come next. I just downloaded Tana French's next novel and can't wait to start it!
The Romanov Prophecy takes the reader on an exciting whirlwind escapade that travels from Russia to the U.S. in a Bourne-esque fashion. I have always been fascinated by the tragedy of the Romanov assasination and the hope that two of the children survived - and this novel played on that interest with a plot reminiscent of the Da Vinci Code. There are many twists and turns, an age-old prophecy, cryptic messages, and a secret society.
The characters are well-formed and believable. The language is easy to read and flows nicely. The narrator is excellent. He does a great Russian accent and easily transitions from that to the southern accent. He has the perfect voice for a historical thriller with a government conspiracy thrown in. I never became bored or had a hard time following along. This is an excellent audio that I highly recommend.
While I am fascinated by Chinese history and love thrillers/mysteries that are set in this area of the world, the characters detracted from what should have been an excellent novel. The descriptions and actions of the main characters were interesting, but the dialogue is contrite and reminds me of a bad movie. The actions scenes were predictable - and there was very little surprise. Some of the monologues about Chinese emperors and dynasties went on a bit long - even I became a bit bored. I did enjoy the descriptions of the Chinese artifacts and tombs. I also found the background of the terracotta army fascinating. The narrrator was pretty good. It is a good read, but I wouldn't pay full price for it.
Mistress of the Art of Death is a medieval version of Crossing Jordan or Bones. The main character is a woman doctor/coroner during a time period that viewed women as "less than" and expected them to make babies and cook. She struggles between being detached and scientific as she experiences myriad feelings within the small town of Cambridge. As a who-done-it, I thought I had figured out who the murderer was only to find out I was wrong. The other characters in the book have depth and are well-rounded. I became invested in each of them. The details about life in a time that had no technological advances were fascinating. The narrator does a fantastic job.. Her accent does not detract from the story - in fact, it adds to it. She even does well on the male voices. The only negative I could see was that it did go on a bit long after the murderer was discovered - but once I reached the end I understood why and am looking forward to more adventures with this character.
The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo is a good story dragged out too far to make it truly enjoyable. I was very torn between whether I should turn off the book because it was so long and tedious or I should hang in there with the hope that the conclusion would redeem the first 17 chapters of unending minutia. Whle the last third was excellent - it still did not make up for the first two-thirds.
On the positive side, Larson is an excellent writer. The characters are so well-written and detailed that the reader has a vested relationship with each one. The plot is meticulous and no detail is left unturned. Each character's history and thought process is thoroughly laid out. Unfortunately, it is this attention to detail that comes back to haunt the author. While there is some graphic imagery that can be disturbing, I believe it contributes to the storyline and is well within reason.
Some of the character background is gratuitous, and one-third of the book could be cut down to a more concise version that keeps the reader involved and doesn't become boring.
There are actually two separate plots that are carried through - (1) a murder mystery, and (2) a David and Goliath fight between a major corporation and a financial journalist. I believe that it is the massive detail put into explainng the financial story that drags down the entire book.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. I was excited about starting it and was expecting a well-written and intellectual story. I was severely disappointed and almost gave up during Chapter 16. I can't recommend spending money on this title. If you have any available credits, it may be worth it if you are willing to hang in there until the end. Otherwise, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo is disappointing.
Grisham's new book is an excellent work that I could not stop listening to! The Confession is written in typical Grisham fashion, along the line of A Time to Kill, The Chamber and The Rainmaker. The characters are realistic and the narrator captures the essence of each personality. The plot is both intriguing and maddening. The subject is controversial - an accused murderer less than one week away from execution. When a man walks into a pastor's office and states he is the real killer - the rush to stop the execution and determine if the man is truthful or crazy begins.The twists and turns kept me on edge and I experienced an entire array of emotion from anger to incredulousness to sadness. Anyone who is a John Grisham fan MUST READ The Confession. For those who have never read a Grisham novel, this one will start you on an obsession to read all of his books. If I could have given 10 stars... The Confession would have them all!
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