Friday Five: Book Series I haven’t finished, but need to

Happy Friday!! On the final day of March I’m going to talk about things that never actually had a finale for me. When it comes to book series, I really try to start what I’ve finished, however some just slip through the cracks even though they deserve to be finished. So today on Friday Five I’m going to highlight those series I really should finish, and hopefully this list will keep me accountable.

  1. Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
    • I really liked the first Divergent book and then I started school again and had to read loads of philosophy, theology and english books and I just didn’t get around to it.
  2. Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
    • I loved the first book of this series, but for some reason I cannot recall, never finished the second. I really enjoy Scandenavian Literature and Sigrid Undset is one of the best, so I really need to go back and read the rest of this series.
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    • Loved the first book, but the copy of the second one was checked out when I wanted it and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it, but I definitely will.
  4. The Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum
    • I think I need to start this one all over again. I read The Bourne Identity a long time ago and while I remember liking it, and it not being like the movie, I don’t remember really anything else, but it’s a series I want to read, for sure.
  5. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
    • I’ve read the first two of this trilogy and I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t just finish it right away–it’s always harder to go back to things. This series is great but it is loaded with philosophy. I think my brain just needed a break after the second one and that break turned into two years…oops. Even though I haven’t read all of them, I really do recommend this series to everyone. The books can be read as stand-alone novels and they are essentially Narnia for adults (but in space).

 

Hopefully I get to these soon, I hate having unfinished business 😉

Are there any series you guys need to finish? Or any you recommend I pick up?

2 Mini Mystery Reviews (Agatha Christie)

I have mentioned my new found love of Agatha Christie on this blog a couple of times, so finally I’m going to attempt to review a few of them. There are just too many of them, and they are all pretty quick reads, to do standalone reviews, so I’m going to to do multiple mini reviews whenever I decide to review her. So here it goes, I’m going to start us off where her two best known characters started, The Murder at the Vicarage and The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

16331.jpgThe Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Rating:★★★★//Throughly entertaining 

Favorite Line: “The young people think the old people are fools — but the old people know the young people are fools.”

Review: 

This introduction to the famous Miss Jane Marple, the nosey old lady, who has the knack and wit for solving mysteries, is delightful.

The story begins at Miss Marple’s local vicarage, where to everyone’s surprise, but not everyone’s sorrow, the magistrate has been shot in the head in his office. The police soon arrive and begin to realize that while everyone has motive, they also all have an alibi.

Soon the curious next door neighbor, Miss Marple, knocks on the door and while acting quite ignorant begins to piece together the story with much greater accuracy than the police were able to do.

“There is no detective in England equal to a spinster lady of uncertain age with plenty of time on her hands.”

Miss Marple is not quite what I expected. I admit I dreaded reading about a grandma detective for I thought it would be quite boring, but I found her to be very entertaining and actually hilarious.

This mystery is a perplexing one and it’s fun to watch the police and Marple work their way through its maze. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more Marple in the future.

16343.jpgThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Rating: ★★★★// mind-reeling fun

Favorite Line: “You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”

Review:

In The Mysterious Affair of Styles we meet another famous amateur detective, Hercule Poirot, a quirky Belgian man who always tells you no more than half of what he knows.

From the point of view of Author Hastings, we come to the Inglethorp residency, a wealthy home that seems to always have a flux of relations in and out of it. Soon, however, Mrs. Inglethorp is killed and Hastings is caught in the middle of a real life who-done-it.

This is where our famous friend comes into play. Poirot had recently moved to this part of England and generously offered his help to the police, who cannot see why he would be of any help, but Hastings is continually amazed at how clever Poirot is. Together they analyze every option, even if those options seem entirely bizarre.

“Sometimes I feel sure he is as mad as a hatter and then, just as he is at his maddest, I find there is a method in his madness.”

Just as I was to find I really enjoyed Miss. Marple, I was equally surprised to find how different she was from Hercule Poirot. Where she was witty, he was sarcastic. Where she acted ignorant, he boasted superior intellect. He reminded much more of a “Sherlock Holmes” type of character, although not nearly as appealing as Sherlock Holmes.

He comes across as rather pompous, but there is some charm in it that makes him likeable. He never mentions things he suspects or assumes probably to assure he is never seen as being wrong. Instead he sits on information and waits for someone else to present an opinion or accusation. At this moment he easily disproves their ideas with the evidence only he knows, and further shocks them by revealing the truth.

“I did not deceive you, mon ami. At most, I permitted you to deceive yourself.”

Despite this rather annoying trait by Mr. Poirot, the book is very fun. The mystery is an exciting one that keeps you guessing and while I was constantly trying to figure it out before Poirot, I found myself surprised and impressed when everything came out in the open.

****

All-in-all I was very pleased with my introductions to these famous characters. I look forward to reading more about them and to see how they develop and perhaps change in the books following.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

 

15783514.jpgThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Rating: ★★★★//Liked it a lot!

Favorite Line: “I couldn’t get you to the ocean, but there was nothing stopping me bringing the ocean to you.”

Review:

This is my second Neil Gaiman book, and like the first, Stardust, I listened to the audiobook narrated by Gaiman himself. Audiobooks are usually hit or miss because of the narrator–it doesn’t matter how good the book is, if the narrator is bad, the book will seem bad to you, and vice versa. Gaiman does a terrific job narrating his books. Not only is he a fantastic writer and storyteller but he has a wonderful skill in performing his work. I highly recommend listening to his books with his narration, I will definitely be listening to more.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane could be described as an adult fairy tale except that it doesn’t start out like a fairy tale; it starts like a normal book, in a normal place (Sussex, England), with a normal theme (man comes home for funeral). Yet unlike a normal book this one slowly transforms into a fairy tale, and the magic is seeps into us slowly, but at the same time it comes as if it were always there.

“Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me.”

The main character, who is never actually named, if I’m not mistaken, comes home for a funeral and finds himself escaping the small-talk with old acquaintances and following the lane to an old farm where his old friend Lettie used to live. He doesn’t find her, for she had gone away to Australia some years ago, so he sits by the old pond and thinks back on his old friend. He remembers Lettie quite fondly, and remembers most vividly that she insisted the pond wasn’t a pond at all, but an ocean, her ocean. From there the memories come flooding back to his adventures with his peculiar neighbor and he remembers the magic that happened all those years ago.

“A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that the people in the story change.”

I really enjoyed this book. I love how simple it begins and how complex it ends. Gaiman does what all fantasy writers long to do: convince the reader it’s all real. The prologue sounds autobiographical and remains so until you start to realize magical things are happening.

The first few chapters were a tab bit slow, but it picked up nicely and once it did the pace stayed fast and invigorating.

“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.”

Like I said before this book is a fairy tale for adults, but only slightly, and only really because of one scene. Without that scene this story is one that could be told to anyone of any age and they would be entertained.  In one sense it’s kind of sad that the scene is included because it does limit the readership a little, but on the other hand it’s kind of nice because it helps adults read fairy tales without us feeling silly about it (we know we want to anyway).

I recommend this book to really everyone, especially if you want a little magic back in your life!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Dead Authors I’d Love to Have a Drink With

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to us by the Broke and Bookish blog. This week was the top ten authors edition. They gave us some freedom with this one and so I chose to do the top ten dead authors I’d love to have a drink with, and what we would drink.header_drinks_3.jpg

  1. Harper Lee
    • Sweet Tea. To Kill A Mockingbird was one of my first favorite books. Harper Lee influenced more people through this novel than I’m sure she ever imagined she would. I would love to sit down and talk to her about her life and hear her wisdom–it would be truly wonderful.
  2. C.S. Lewis
    • Tea (although he is known to have enjoyed pints with Tolkien, but he did say that “you can never find a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”). C.S. Lewis is my favorite author to quote (clearly). He is so full of wisdom that everything he writes seems like the truest thing he knows. Having tea with him would be like a dream.
  3. Agatha Christie
    • A Cocktail of some sort. Agatha Christie would be so fun to meet! Imagine sitting down and talking to her about how her mysteries came to life. Does she start by knowing the killer or does it play out with the story as she’s writing it? Does she just think of ways to sneakily kill people all the time? Is my drink poisoned?  The questions for the Queen of Mystery are countless.
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien
    • A nice stout beer. I don’t think I would do much talking if I met Tolkien, I would just ask him to tell me story after story and I would be so content.
  5. The Bronte Sisters
    • Wine. I would love to see if the way they talk matches the way they write. Their writing is so beautiful and smooth, I could just get lost in it, and I’m sure having a conversation with them would be similar. I am also curious to see the women who gave us such wonderful, yet dark, novels.
  6. G.K. Chesterton
    • Scotch. I don’t know how much talking would actually happen here because Chesterton was known not to be much of a talker. I mean, he talked, but that was mostly while he was dictating one article and writing two more at the same time. The man was a crazy genius and I’d more just like to see what his daily life was like.
  7. Betty Smith
    • Coffee. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorite books. I would love to sit and talk to Betty about what went in to writing this book, and about the strides she made as a woman and a writer in the early 1900’s.
  8. William Shakespeare
    • Probably Beer or Whisky…whatever gets those verses flowing. This one probably doesn’t need much of an explanation. I want to meet Shakespeare, I want to see his original plays in The Globe Theatre, I want to see the man at work.
  9. Zelda Fitzgerald
    • Hard Liquor, most likely Gin. Zelda has always been an interesting mystery to me. F. Scott Fitzgereald was clearly head over heels about her, and she over him, but I would love to really see what she was like. Plus, if her reputation is true, one drink will probably turn into the greatest party of my life, so who can pass that up?
  10. Homer
    • Mead? I’ve got some questions for Mr. Homer, the first being: Are you real? I’m pretty sure a nice long drink with him with give me that answer…as long as he knows how to speak English and doesn’t talk verse the whole time.

What dead authors would you guys want to have a drink with? Also, what would you drink? 

The Great Good Thing

27840638.jpgThe Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan

Rating: ★★★★★// Fantastic story! 

Favorite Line: “I had them all now, all the pieces I needed. The five revelations that were really one revelation: the presence of God.”

 Review:

The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan is an extraordinary tale of a writer searching for his soul in every stage of his life. This search takes him across the country, even across the ocean, on an epic tale of trial and error, loneliness and joy. This search for the soul would be truly unbelievable, even laughable at times, if it was fictional, but this story isn’t fiction, it is the memoir of the author and he bears his soul to you in this page turning, drama that is his life.

The story starts off with Klavan describing growing up in New York in a tight-knit Jewish-American home. He describes his disregard to authority, which started at a young age and grew as he grew. He talks about his indifference to religion, beginning with his own Jewish heritage, and having it change into an agnostic viewpoint and then an atheistic one.

Reading about all these changes in Klavan’s life is troubling, or at least concerning. In this memoir he tell of some crazy choices he’s made and the less than stellar philosophies he adapted, but yet, it is relieving at the same time. Seeing his conversion process step-by-step forces you to reevaluate some of your choices in life and examine your own path a little closer than you usually would.

“Every evil weaves itself into the fabric of history, never to be undone. Yet at the same time—at the very same time—each of us gets a new soul with which to start the world again.”

Klavan is extremely open in this book about his struggles, and while he doesn’t really justify some of his actions, he explains them and it makes you remember the human experience and the human struggle we all go through on a daily basis.

The Great Good Thing is terrifically written. It has humor in one line and a mind-blowing revelation in the next. It plunges into deep theology all while describing life like one long John Wayne story. His story is truly an adventure in itself and the reader has no choice but to get swept away by it.

This story brings back hope because so many times in the story you think all the hope is gone and then you see a glimmer of it appear for a split second and it makes you believe it’s all going to be OK in the end.

“Even the lowest form of humor—maybe especially the lowest, the most basic form—suggests that we were intended to be something higher than ourselves.”

This story is for anyone at any stage of his or her life. Whether you be a devout Christian, born-again, or completely uninterested in religion, I’m convinced you will find something worth-while in this book, and if not, you will at least be entertained by Klavan’s sarcasm.

 

* I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Poem of the Week: Jack London

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”

-Jack London’s Credo

The Classics Club: 50 in 5

The Classics Club is a blog created to promote the reading of classics. I learned about this the other day through another blog post and I decided to give it a whirl. The challenge The Classics Club presents is to read (at least) 50 classic books in 5 years and write reviews on the books you read. Seems pretty cool, eh? Since I’ve been trying to read more classics anyway, this seems like a pretty cool challenge. 5 years seems like a long time, but looking at the page number of some of these book, I think that’s appropriate. It’s a big undertaking, but if this is the push I need to get through my classics list, then I’ll take it!

I started with the classics I own yet haven’t read and then moved to my Goodreads to-read list when I got through those. Most of the books are novels, but there are a couple novellas, a couple plays, and a few works of short stories. All of the books are ones I haven’t read, except for The Lord of the Rings which my book club is reading this summer, so I’m rereading it (counted as only one book).

I’m going to still to be doing reviews on newer books, but I’ll be reviewing the classics as I finish them.

So here it is, the grand list! It’s sorted in alphabetical order by author, not in the order I’m going to read them. My beginning date is today, March 25, 2017, which makes my end date March 25, 2022. Wish me luck!

5o in 5

  1. Little Women by Louise May Alcott (449)
  2. A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich (251)
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (246)
  4. Persuasion by Jane Austin (249)
  5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin (409)
  6. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (190)
  7. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt (192)
  8. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (489)
  9. Evelina by Fanny Burney (455)
  10. Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather (297)
  11. Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather (229)
  12. The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton (718)
  13. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (170)
  14. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (545)
  15. Notes From the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (136)
  16. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas (528)
  17. Middlemarch by George Eliot (800)
  18. The Last Tycoon: an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald (163)
  19. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (521)
  20. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (182)
  21. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (433)
  22. Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy (518)
  23. Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne (432)
  24. The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway (132)
  25. The Odyssey by Homer (541)
  26. The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo (672)
  27. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (121)
  28. Passing by Nella Larsen (122)
  29. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (223)
  30. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (313)
  31. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (130)
  32. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (720)
  33. The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor (555)
  34. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (244)
  35. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (208)
  36. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (277)
  37. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (237)
  38. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (215)
  39. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (288)
  40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1,216)
  41. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (838)
  42. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1,273)
  43. The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain (848)
  44. Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset (425)
  45. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (240)
  46. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (351)
  47. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (118)
  48. The Once and Future King by T.H. White (640)
  49. The Waves by Virginia Woolf (297)
  50. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (209)

 

If anyone else is interested in learning more about the Classics Club, check out their blog!

Friday Five: Books everyone has read but me

Happy Friday!

Today on Friday Five I’m going to tell you about five books that everyone has read but me, or at least it feels like everyone has read them.

I’m not going to talk about classics that everyone should read, because there are so many it’s impossible to keep up, but instead I’m just going to mention the new(ish) books I haven’t read. Yes, there are still so many and I can’t keep up, but there are still a few that stand out as the ones everyone reads.

Some of these books I haven’t read because I honestly had no interest in reading them, but some I haven’t read simply because I didn’t want to read what everyone else was reading…yeah, I’m stubborn.

Feel free to comment about what a horrible human I am for not reading these books, and I will respond by saying “yeah, I know, I’m the worst.” 😉

1. The Twilight Saga

This one probably falls under both reasons I mentioned before: I didn’t want to read it because it looked completely uninteresting to me, and I didn’t want to read it because every girl in my high school was reading it and I was at the end of the table like “so, which Musketeer would you pick? I’m personally an Athos type of girl, but I see the appeal for the other three too…” so…yeah, it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. Also, after seeing the first movie, I was pretty thankful I never did. 

2. The Da Vinci Code

I believe this one was pretty big when I was in middle school, and at that point it seemed like an adult book and I really didn’t have any interest in it. When I did start reading “adult” books, I was more interested in the classics then the books popular a few years back. I still don’t have much of a desire to read it, even though it is considered one of the best books of 21st century.

3. The Fault in Our Stars

This was one I definitely didn’t read because everyone else was reading it. Also, I have a problem with stories that make you sad for the sake of being sad, and this one seemed like that kind of book. I’m sure it’s pretty good, and I know a lot of people who really like it, but I’m really can’t see myself reading it. 

4.  Gone Girl

This one I’m probably going to read…eventually. I was in Europe the year this was really popular, and I just never got around to it…I was more concerned with buying wine and cheese in the south of France. However, the story seems so creepily cool, and I really want to see the movie, but I need to read the book before I do, or else there really won’t be any point because all the twists would be spoiled. So, eventually.

5.  Harry Potter Series

AHHH STONE ME NOW!! I know, I know, this is a mortal sin in book world, but yes, I confess, I have never read the Harry Potter Series! Dumbledore is rolling in his grave at my horrible act (too soon?). Anyway, I’ll explain my reasoning to you. So in third grade the first HP came out and my 3rd grade teacher read it aloud to my class. I thought it was good, but honestly I didn’t think it was the best thing in the universe. When I was in 4th grade, my father read The Hobbit to me and my siblings and that became my life. Seriously. In 5th and 6th grade Lord of the Rings took over my life, and then the movies came out, and it became more of my life (yeah, I’m a proud Tolkien nerd). By then the “which is better” arguments began to emerge from the shadows and I chose my side and stuck to it. From then on, I had zero interest in Harry Potter, but all my friends did, which made me even less interested (remember the stubborn part I mentioned earlier?). Even when the movies came out I had no desire to watch them. Then the Christmas break of my freshman year of college, I had the desire to watch them–so I did–all of them (except the last two because they hadn’t come out yet). Ok, I liked them, but I still wasn’t obsessed. They were entertaining, but, in my humble and uneducated opinion, I felt like they got worse as they went on. Later in college I had a roommate who was OBSESSED with HP–therefore we had four things constantly playing in our apartment: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Supernatural, or Sherlock…needless to say our grades suffered that year. With the information that was infused into my brain from her or the movies, I can now say that I know as much as a lazy HP fan, and I’m pretty satisfied with that. I feel like I should read them, for the sake of literature or whatever, but it’s such a huge undertaking, and honestly, I’d rather read a Russian book…it would probably take the same amount of time ;). 

So, there you have it, my friday five of book failures. Am I shunned from the book world?

All the Missing Girls

static1.squarespace.jpgAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Rating:★★★★// Super intriguing!

Favorite Line: “People were like Russian nesting dolls—versions stacked inside the latest edition. But they all still lived inside, unchanged, just out of sight.”

Review:

*mild spoilers..no major plot ones, but I do talk about the characters, which is somewhat of a spoiler. Sorry.

Man . . . cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him.

-FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Time. Time is important, but it’s not real. It’s only real because we make it real, but without us time doesn’t exist. This was, more or less, the philosophy of Mr. Farrell, Nicolette Farrell’s father, this is the philosophy Nicolette grew up with, until all the bad happened. Until she left her small town without the intention of coming back.

Years later, she returns to help her brother convince their father that now is the time to sell their old family home, she knew it would be a struggle, but what she got was much more than she anticipated. Not only was she struck with the memory of her high school best friend, Corinne, who had gone missing in the woods years ago and never found again, but she was also thrown into the case of another missing girl, Annaleise Carter, who happened to be her next door neighbor and her ex-boyfriends newest fling.

The book starts off as Nicolette (Nic for short) is leaving her Philadelphia apartment and her fiancé to drive down for the summer to her hometown to help her brother with their family issues. That’s day 1. On day 1 she see’s her brother, moves into her old house, plans on visiting her father in the nursing home, and sees her ex-boyfriend Tyler and his new girlfriend–it was a busy day. The next chapter is day 15–Annaleise has been missing for 2 weeks, Tyler is a suspect for murder, her father keeps muttering about “seeing that girl on the porch,” and the police are asking Nic too many questions. From there the book works backwards day-by-day until slowly the truth about everything, and everyone, unravels.

“It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backwards.

—SØREN KIERKEGAARD”

Phew. This book was a roller-coaster (pun intended as a lot of it revolves around the county fair). First of all, I absolutely LOVED the plot setup. Working your way backwards is a rare form of storytelling, but here it worked perfectly. It’s really fun and interesting meeting characters for the first time after you already saw them in action.

Everyday we find out more about the different connections in the town, about Annaleise, and about Corinne. Slowly we figure out the timeline, and slowly we figure out that there are way more puzzle pieces than expected.

Ok. Let’s talk about characters. There are quite a few, but I’m only going to talk about 3 because any of the other ones would lead to spoilers.

Nic –she’s kind of a hot mess, and she doesn’t let on to most of what she’s thinking or feeling. The story comes from her point of view, so we are inclined to understand her emotions and actions more than others, but had she been a side character, I don’t think I would have been as empathetic toward her. When I finished reading and reflected on the story, I found myself more and more upset with her than with any other character. She is a victim, in a sense, but some of her actions are quite stupid.

Tyler — I liked Tyler…most of the time.  I feel like he tried many times to do what needed to be done, and to be a good man, but he just fell short more times than not. He also made some stupid choices and he was so completely infatuated in Nic, it became a little ridiculous…I mean, this guy had it bad.

Daniel — Daniel is Nic’s brother and they have a strange, secretive relationship. However, he was extremely protective of her, to the point where he would hide horrible things just to keep her safe. He is also hard to understand because he doesn’t say much, but what he doesn’t say is important.

These three are intertwined in multiple ways. Nic and Tyler used to date, Nic and Daniel are siblings, Tyler and Daniel are friends (possibly best friends), Daniel hates Tyler dating Nic, Nic and Daniel have an odd love/hate relationship.  However oddly related these three are, they are loyal to the death, which really makes the story come together and give you insight to the events. Their loyalty to each other is extremely important, and this story shows it so well.

These three try to run from time, they try to erase time, they try to fast forward time, they try to hold on to time–they try to do everything but allow time to take it’s course, but even with their best efforts, time seems to take revenge on them.

“There is nothing more dangerous, nothing more powerful, nothing more necessary and essential for survival than the lies we tell ourselves.

Um, Megan Miranda, did you grow up in a small town? I would almost be willing to bet money that you did (almost, don’t get any ideas), because you describe what it’s like to live in one so well that I would be shocked if you grew up somewhere like New York City. I know authors are supposed to blend in to any situation, but there’s are some things you only gain through experience. Her description of the setting is perfect–I felt like these were people and places I knew well.

My main problem with this story was the ending, mainly the “3 months later” section. I don’t want to give anything away, but I thought the ending was complete B.S. and it really made me angry. The other problem I had with it was the character of Everett. He was an excellent character and was, perhaps, the most victimized out of all of them. He is really the only completely innocent character and he gets the short end of the stick. Furthermore, I didn’t like how he was given an “aggressive” side at the end since there was nothing aggressive about him until that point–it seemed to try to justify him getting completely screwed over, but it didn’t work for me.

Other than those final points, I found this novel to be excellent. I’m excited to read the second book of this series, although (correct me if I’m wrong) I believe it’s a completely different story, just a similar type of story.

The Dollhouse 

9781101984994.jpegThe Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Rating: ★★★ // Entertaining, but not quite my cup of tea. 

Review:

The hottest trend in books lately seems to be the alternating point of view between multiple characters or multiple time periods. Sometimes it works splendidly, and sometimes it crashes and burns. This book falls somewhere in the middle of that range, but for me it leans closer to the latter, because it just didn’t really work for me.

The story follows two women, Darby and Rose, who live in the Barbizon (nicknamed the Dollhouse), a once hotel/apartment building for working woman in the ’50s and now turned condo building in the middle of New York City.

Rose, a journalist in NYC, just moved into the Barbizon Condos with her boyfriend, who is recently separated from his wife. Soon after we meet our young protagonist, we find out that her boyfriend is going back to his family and trying to make things work with his wife. Taken completely by surprise sends Rose into a mild mid-life crisis, which results in her diving deep into a story about the old Barbizon hotel and mainly the life of one particular resident, Darby McLaughlin, who still resides in the building and always covers her face with a veil.

Flash back over 50 years before and we meet the Darby, a young girl who left her country life behind in hopes of making her way through secretary school. Darby’s life get’s crazy fast and she finds herself mixed in things she never dreamed of being apart of.

This book was entertaining, but as I mentioned before I wasn’t the biggest fan of the alternating p.o.v.  I think the main reason why it didn’t work for me was because the stories were not equal. Darby’s story was by far the superior of the two, and this made the chapters with Rose boring. This novel would have been far better had it focused solely on Darby’s story and brought us deeper into her life in the ’50s.

While the setup of a wonderful mystery was there, I felt the result was rather anti-climatic, and the build up seemed a bit wasted. I think the mystery would have seemed more alive had we only had Darby’s point of view, however, I do see the benefit of having Rose build up the idea of the mystery by snooping into Darby’s life (yes, snooping–her journalist ethics went out the window in this one).

There were some twists in this book, but I found most of them to be either predictable or so completely out of left field that they were unbelievable. However, on the ones that did work, they worked well, there just seemed to many for me, and to outrageous at times.

Despite my problems with the book, I did read it very quickly and the story kept me reading, which I guess is a major goal for a novel. It is exciting and interesting, and I did want to finish it and find out the big mystery.

I will also say I was shocked when I found out this is Fiona Davis’ debut novel–that’s impressive! Even though this book was a little disappointing for me, I am very excited to see what she gives us in the future; I expect great things!