Robyn M. (artsncrafts) - Reviews

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The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Book 3)
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Book 3)
Author: Philip Pullman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 351
Review Date: 6/20/2013


I love fantasy, and I liked this series (His Dark Materials) better than the Harry Potter series. I'm no kid - I'm almost 60!


Angel Time (Songs of the Seraphim)
Angel Time (Songs of the Seraphim)
Author: Anne Rice
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 11/9/2013


This was an interesting book, yet I have not been moved to continue reading the series - unusual, as I have read just about every other book Anne Rice has written. This book was overall pretty lackluster compared to Rice's other books, but the main premise of a professional hitman recruited by an angel is, as I said, interesting.


Review Date: 2/3/2014


A collection of short stories from 5 different vampire story writers, this is a fun and fast read. I mostly wanted to read it because my favorite, Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse series) is one of the five. Her story was definitely the best one. Two of the other stories border on soft porn, which is why I didn't give the book a higher rating; I prefer subtler writing. But if you like vampire stories, you'll get into this collection.


Blackwood Farm (Vampire Chronicles, Bk 9)
Blackwood Farm (Vampire Chronicles, Bk 9)
Author: Anne Rice
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 392
Review Date: 11/9/2013


Having read almost the full series of vampire chronicles from author Rice, I have a special fondness for Blackwood Farm. Yes, Lestat shows up in this one, too, and is even likeable in it, but it is the main character, Quinn, who is the draw here. Although a vampire, he's one with a conscience (but not the eternally gloomy, torn conscience of Louis, Lestat's companion of most of the chronicles). Atmospheric, brings in characters from the rest of the series in fresh ways, you feel as if you've visited Blackwood Farm and lived to tell about it.


The Book of Air and Shadows
The Book of Air and Shadows
Author: Michael Gruber
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 114
Review Date: 5/4/2014


Really excellent book with interweaving stories. A mysterious historical document is the catalyst for all the action, with many a deeply flawed character participating. Very entertaining, unusual and imaginative plot with twists and turns so I did not see the next plot move coming at any point. Highly recommended.


The Book of Eleanor : A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
The Book of Eleanor : A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Author: Pamela Kaufman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 45
Review Date: 3/3/2014


This is an historical novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, the famous Queen of France, then Queen of England, who died in 1204 after a tumultuous life that included 17 years of imprisonment. As Duchess of the highly coveted, rich lands known as the Aquitaine (now southern France,) she was beautiful, highly intelligent and schooled in the art of governance. She went on Crusade to the Holy Land with her first husband Louis of France, then served as Queen consort to Henry II of England, her second husband. She outlived both men and all her sons (including Richard the Lionheart) but one, John, all of whom she moved as chess pieces throughout the period from about 1137 to her death in 1204. A remarkable and unusual woman to say the least, she almost certainly broke ground for women rulers.

Though written as a novel, introducing some romantic story lines not confirmed by history, the author spent almost 15 years researching the scarce extant historical materials and traveling to the original geographic sites. So if you enjoy a fine story laced with true historical facts, you will enjoy this book about an incredible woman.


The Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth
Author: Jane Hamilton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 583
Review Date: 7/25/2016


Really good, poignant story of a girl from a disadvantaged background who tries to make the best of life, but is victim to her disfunctional family and life situation. Intelligently written, unexpected story. Book was winner of prestigious Pen/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award.


Bound by Shadow (Dark Crescent Sisterhood, Bk 1)
Bound by Shadow (Dark Crescent Sisterhood, Bk 1)
Author: Anna Windsor
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 179
Review Date: 1/26/2016


I'm not into thinly-veiled soft porn/romance novels, so this one I didn't even bother to finish. The supernatural plot was completely secondary to that.


Casting Spells (Sugar Maple Chronicles, Bk 1)
Casting Spells (Sugar Maple Chronicles, Bk 1)
Author: Barbara Bretton
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 2/9/2016


This book seemed like it could be a good read, but it turns out the characters are not developed very well, neither is the atmosphere - that of a Vermont town full of paranormals - brought to life all that well. I felt this was not that well written, it had a lot of potential in the subject matter but didn't live up to it...just an okay book.


Cry to Heaven
Cry to Heaven
Author: Anne Rice
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 10/30/2013


I have read many books by Anne Rice and enjoyed them, but this one I could not get interested in, even though it deals with the history of opera and I am an opera singer. This tale of the castrati was just not my cup of tea. As usual, Rice meticulously researches her subject and gives great detail about the historical era and locations. Her books are always somewhat intellectual,and she can't be faulted for that. This book just didn't appeal to me.


Dark Hollow (Charlie Parker, Bk 2)
Dark Hollow (Charlie Parker, Bk 2)
Author: John Connolly
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 96
Review Date: 11/26/2013


Really enjoyed this book - a former police detective, now a PI in Maine, becomes involved in a twisted set of crimes in far northern Maine -the Dark Hollow of the title. He is a person haunted by a number of ghosts - that of his murdered wife and child as well as others from the past and present, and that drives the plot. The writing grabbed me right from the beginning, and the constant plot turns kept me reading eagerly. I could really "see" the action as if it were a movie. In fact, I think this would make a fine movie! The only reason I did not give it 5 stars was that the characters' spoken dialog was a tiny bit trite.


Death Comes to Pemberley
Death Comes to Pemberley
Author: P. D. James
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 53
Review Date: 1/2/2014


If you are a fan of Jane Austen's Pride and Predjudice, I think you will enjoy this book, a continuation of a short space of Mr. & Mrs. Darcy's married life. I did enjoy it, very much so. Though written by a modern author in the murder mystery genre, the sensibilities of the style, dialog, etc. feel true to Austen form while adding a modern edge - a bit of humorous subtextual comment on the social strictures of that era - to the story. A fine and fast read, highly recommend.


Demons Are a Ghoul's Best Friend (Ghost Hunter, Bk 2)
Demons Are a Ghoul's Best Friend (Ghost Hunter, Bk 2)
Author: Victoria Laurie
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 290
Review Date: 12/29/2016


Fun, fast read - this series about a ghost-busting psychic medium and her easily-spooked business partner Gilley has plenty of comedy mixed with dramatic supernatural mystery to keep you reading straight through the night. Nothing deep, just fun and likable characters doing slightly off-the-wall things, and some nasty ghosties to spook things right along.


Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios
Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios
Author: Clinton Heylin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/11/2014


I find it hard to read biographies, but I wanted to know more about Orson Welles - why he was so unsuccessful in Hollywood after his stunning debut with Citizen Kane. This book explains it in great detail, with much background info, and without, I think, sentimentalism. An excellent study of a brilliant artist's journey.


A Discovery of Witches (All Souls, Bk 1)
A Discovery of Witches (All Souls, Bk 1)
Author: Deborah Harkness
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 250
Review Date: 6/20/2013


Unfortunately this not-very-well-written book was a big disappointment. It's quite a mess plot-wise, though it got a little better towards the end. Mostly though I was disappointed in the supernatural characters (witches, vampires and daemons) after having read several much better authors of this genre like Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice, who sort of spoiled me for this author's work.


Down the Mysterly River
Down the Mysterly River
Author: Bill Willingham
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/13/2014


I picked this up at a dollar store because it looked interesting, even though it was clear it was a book for older kids (10 and up). An interesting story with some fun characters - a Boy Scout, a badger, a bear, and a barn cat as the main ones. Mysterious Blue Cutters are after them and none of them knows why, nor how each got to the strange land they find themselves in. A little bit Wizard of Oz-like with some good twists and turns and good writing.


The Forgotten Garden
The Forgotten Garden
Author: Kate Morton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 493
Review Date: 9/19/2013


This book weaves together several generations of women of a family in an intriguing way - mysteriously and rather romantically, though some of the characters are less than attractive in their adherence to their own psychoses, which are informed by various mores and tragedies in their lives. A really entertaining and well written read, even with an homage to Frances Hodgson Burnett whose famous book "The Secret Garden" perhaps inspired this author's title The Forgotten Garden.


Ghost Writer
Ghost Writer
Author: Rene Gutteridge
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 1/19/2014


I thought this book was a mystery-thriller, and it did keep me reading through the night to get to the ending, as it contains an interesting twist of a book-within-a-book. But the ending spoiled it completely for me. Without revealing it, turns out it's just very very hokey. I threw the book across the room when I was done I was so mad I'd wasted my time. Now, keep in mind, it was the final "message" conveyed by the ending that riled me, it surely may not be that way for many others.


Ghosts in the Snow (Dubric Bryerly, Bk 1)
Ghosts in the Snow (Dubric Bryerly, Bk 1)
Author: Tamara Siler Jones
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 7/25/2016


I could not get into this book. I love a good ghost story but this was just not compelling enough for me to get past the first few chapters.


Ghostwalk
Ghostwalk
Author: Rebecca Stott
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 7/25/2016


Very intelligent book - story is highly original and unexpected. A great read. The supernatural element is aligned with, but really secondary to, the main character's emotional/circumstantial story that is dominated by an obsessive love relationship.


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