Cocaine Blues is the first book in the Phryne Fisher series, but one of the last to be published on audible. Which may be a good thing, because the series gets blazingly better as it progresses. The series is interesting because it addresses a wide range of people and ideas grinding against each other, but the best of whom cheerfully flow through Phryne's dining room, parlor, and (yes) sometimes her bedroom. I never appreciated, until I began this series the amazing social changes that took place in a very short time between the beginning of the 1900s to the end of the roaring twenties. F. Scott Fitzgerald's Bernice did more than just bob her hair.
Phryne Fisher is a young woman living on the edge of a world changing from the Victorian ideas of women as angels in the home, to the young women who drive ambulances in World War I and are thus allowed/forced to do and see things that even five years earlier would be unthinkable for most females. Phryne herself goes from a child in Australian poverty being called "hey you", to a young woman in England called the Hon. Miss Fisher. Her reasons for returning to Australia would make Agatha Christies proud. As the series goes along we find that she has a very good time in spite of any curves life throws her. The books are well researched as to historical accuracy, and I can't wait to see how Kerry Greenwood goes from the roaring twenties to a very angry thirties, and what Phryne will do next.
This is a mystery novel and a very good one. Josephine Tey can draw clear, in depth characters in very few words. Although the book is dated it is still an enjoyable cozy and one of the best one's Tey has written.
But its not just any old mystery story. This book purports to solve the mystery of who killed the Princes in the tower. I loved it, as a story. My history professor's eyes got a little glazed as one more undergraduate waved it at him, trying to get him to explain what part of the book is fact and what is fiction, but he was always polite. He didn't think there was a mystery al all, but he never convinced those of us who think it is a delicious story.
This book is a good example of why there are people who are passionate about Richard's purported guilt or innocence hundreds of years after his death. Since I think the Tudors are not a nice family anyway, and with the possible exception of Mary Tudor, they made modern advertising agencies look like amateurs, I can understand why modern readers may agree with the conclusion the fictional Detective comes to. After reading this book I truly believe that "history is the daughter of time", is more than just a saying.
I read this book some years ago between the early Sookie books and I was searching for more Charlaine Harris. Ms. Harris has always been a good writer, but the feeling here is very different from Sookie, and for me there was no joy here, just some contentment, and a bit of self-pity. Terese Plummer's reading gives this book a bit of bounce and energy that I didn't enjoy just reading the books. I am so glad I paid attention to audible reviews and downloaded this book.
This is one of the first Anita Blake books, and like many people I think those are the best. Anita Blake's innate talent is raising zombies. In this world, for her and other necromancers, raising zombies is not a choice. If she does not use her talent, she will raise those dead that she thinks about and or cares about, and she has done this since childhood. This is not a good thing just ask her stepmother Judith. So she channels her magic carefully and does not let it build beyond her control.
She accepts her gifts and does not apologize for being who she is. Heaven help those who label her as evil because of her talent, and especially those who expect her to use her talent for evil.
In these early books we see an Anita Blake who makes difficult choices. She will not be threatened, manipulated, or forced into acting in ways that she knows to be evil. She will not give up, she will not give in and she will wipe the floor with anyone who tries to hurt her or those she chooses to protect. In fact she does not expect to be saved, rescued, or coddled, and Anita is a bit insulted that anyone would try. My favorite part of the book is toward the end when someone of great power watches her wipe the graveyard with the bad guys, and notices he didn't help. His response was that she saved herself, and that is why he wants her. This really resonates as the story arc goes through several books.
Like others I think the music and sound effects are an insult to the author. I may not like the direction the later books have taken, but there is no doubt Ms. Hamilton has an amazing skill with words. Though she is not wordy her descriptions of both horror and humor are great. Radio plays are not audiobooks, sound effects there are OK, but if a book is good enough to be published, then it is too good to be drowned in sound effects.
I am glad I bought the audiobook because I love Stephen Thorne's voice. But as much as I love history, I really didn't need a review of the extramarital affairs of British rulers, beginning with an Anglo Saxon King, rocketing on through James II, William and Mary, not of course skipping the Regency, Wallis Simpson, and everyone in between. We hear about Camilla's childhood, the Prince of Wales childhood, Diana's childhood, (of course she was still in her teens when she became engaged to the Prince of Wales, and btw what was her family thinking). We hear again about Diana's feelings about Charles and Camilla, and a discussion of whether they were founded. (duh) We hear the famous phone conversation between Charles and Camilla which was illicitly recorded.
I expect I am not the only person who wanted to know how these people survived the firestorm surrounding their relationship for so many years, and was naive enough to expect it to be told in a book. How have they survived such personal vilification, from being accused of bringing down the Monarchy, to being really repulsive people. Obviously many marriages crumple under much less pressure. Still these two people are still clinging to each other.
The author of this book, and his unnamed friends of the Royals, state repeatedly that the Prince of Wales and his Duchess are not talking to the press. Finally a little dignity in silence. Still I would like to know how they stood the pressure, without turning on each other, and just not giving in and giving up.
I bought this audiobook on impulse. I wish I had not.
The opening chapters of this well written and well narrated book, has a very strong male picking up his love interest and hauling her out of a crowded room because he thinks her dress is to skimpy. Every reader knows that he would protect her with his life, because this is romantic fiction. The majority of women who enjoy reading about muscle bound men wouldn't put up with this behavior for an instant in real life. Yet with the recent headlines of very strong men treating weaker people badly, not just with the lack of respect we owe each other in a civilized society, but with a physical reaction, if someone, usually a woman, doesn't act the way they want them to. I just don't enjoy seeing it in a romantic novel. I apologize to any reader who sees beyond this. I just keep seeing unconscious women in elevators, stories about girls abducted and mutilated in other countries etc. The book is well written, the problem is mine. I know better grounded people can separate fiction from newspaper stories, than I can for the moment.
This is an interesting list of facts about young wealthy young American women who traded their wealth for social status and a British title. Later the young men who owned those titles but whose estates no longer supported them came to America hoping to meet these young women. But it is just a list of who did what when and superficially why.
As another reviewer said, this is a matter of taste, but I find the subject matter at odds with the cheerful banter. Really good fiction draws the reader into the story, so that there is no thought as to how the work could be better. There are stories where the "bad guys" do terrible things and the "good guys" refuse to quit and remain confident, and still manage to be enraged by the terrible things that they are fighting against. Here the cheerful banter overwhelms the idea that children are being kidnapped, and old ladies kicked. We get a nod to isn't this awful, and onto the next joke. The best comedy never winks at the audience, and the characters in this book are constantly winking and noting how cute they are. To repeat, this is a matter of taste. For example I like the way Jim Butcher's Dresden never takes himself seriously, but takes keeping the world safe very seriously. I almost didn't finish this, because I felt insulted by the lame jokes, I just thought it would get past the silly phase and get better. All of which isn't to say that others might find this book funny, but Medium Dead does not fit my sense of humor.
Susan Bardo compares the view of Anne Boleyn by courtiers who lived when she lived to older biographies including those in the eighteen hundreds, and more modern views of her, including historical fiction by Margaret George, P. Gregory, and Alison Weir. Bardo even includes the mini-series the Tudors. I don't think as it could be concluded that she was being particularly critical of these authors. They are fiction, regardless of the academic credentials of the author.
She is harder on writers of popular history, (like this one) who repeat rumors that cannot be substantiated by anything concrete. Even the famous letters King Henry sent her, were not found in England but in the vatican.
The book is interesting. Barbara Rosenblat is great as always.
When Barbara Metz/ Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters died I felt I had lost a someone I actually knew. Even her very early work is smart, and funny, if light and still managed to deal with the dark parts of life without being depressing. For example her book the Crying Child has been adapted to film, even though there were no kick-ass heroines. (I love those too). This book is so cynical that reading it is a surprise and difficult to enjoy. Its like biting into a chocolate truffle and getting a mouth full of hot peppers. There is only one character worth admiration in this story, the other female lead is a bit silly and vapid, the hero is narrow minded and vain, and these two are not balanced by sane competent characters. Even the admirable character solves her problems in a way that only desperation would make it ethical.
I began reading Barbara Michaels novels in my early twenties and 50 years later I still reread them from time to time. Under this pen name Barbara Michaels/Barbara Mertz wrote what an old librarian called cozy historical, gothic novels. I love them. Even all those years ago these books were smart, historically accurate and although light, never insulted the reader's intelligence. When she began to write more contemporary and historical mysteries as Elizabeth Peters I loved those too. Barbara Metz earned a doctorate in egyptology at a time when a female doctoral candidate had to be very very good, just to be allowed to apply. So while her books were fun, all of them were historically accurate and made sense. Her Amelia Peabody books are just wonderful.
All of which leads me to this book, and why it is so different from the ones I love to read when I need something cheerful. This is not a story about a hero who admires the spunky, smart heroine, and appreciates the fact that her care of his estates increased his fortune while he was away. Nope. He assumes she is just lucky and begins to spend the money. This book is more realistic and dark than any of her other books. Although I might appreciate the way our heroine handles the problem, the whole thing brought out a cynical sad feeling. I am so disappointed audible chose this book, out of at least twenty of her early books to record. There are early cassette recordings of her early work, so perhaps Audible will be able to give us some of her more usual books. For example the Wings of the Falcon deals with some of the dark sides of history, but also had characters who were not perfect, none of her characters were ever perfect, but they were for the most decent people, who grew into really delightful people
This is the second book in an excellent series of coming of age novels. The three major characters in this book are learning to deal with things more difficult than first love and how to ace an algebra exam. These teenagers have been genetically altered to enhance certain paranormal gifts, and they were lied to. Teenagers want to be like everyone else. These kids are having to deal with more than growth spurts and spots. So if you can see ghosts, and ghosts can see you, do you admit it? Seeing things that are not there and admitting it can lead to institutions. So all of these children who have been enhanced, have different gifts and varying levels of the same "gift" finally come to a special school run by the people who enhanced them.
Putting them in a special school seemed to be an excellent way of monitoring all of the teens as they come into their talents. However, the kids are smart. They talk to each other, and some of them run. This book takes up the story of where they ran to, and the way they deal with their relationships to each other, to the adults they feel they can or cannot trust is fascinating. I agree with a previous reviewer that the narrator sounds closer to five than fifteen, but it is not very distracting, and it is helpful to be reminded that the characters are very young.
I enjoyed the first book in the Darkest Powers series very much, and this one is very good too. It is rare that an author can maintain tension without making the main characters "too stupid to live", or adding thunder bolts from on high to save them from tight corners. So the story is both fascinating and satisfying and comes to a firm resolution, although there is more to the story. I am so aggravated by B movie cliff hangers that I usually will not follow a series that uses them. The books in this group are very good as a series and individually.
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