Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
Wow. I haven't been this invested in a long time. Characters are clicking, dialogue is on point, and I am really interested to see where this is going.
One has to wonder who would murder a little boy though in the village. And I am wondering if this is tied into Gamache and the infamous serial killer John Fleming?
I do like the ties-in with the "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf" though.
Art by Sara Maceti via source
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Damn it. My friend was right. Much better so far than the last couple of books. Penny has me hooked.
JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN.
I don't see me re-reading this in the future. It's not a bad book, just not compelling. Reading about Holmes going in deep with his cocaine addiction is not interesting. And Watson hoping the case they are looking into keeps Holmes engaged is not that interesting either. If anything, I would say this book was just a big step towards Watson's development of a character (he meets the woman who is to become his wife).
"The Sign of the Four" has a woman (Mary Morstan) coming to Holmes and Watson in order to find out why someone keeps sending her a pearl on the anniversary of her father's disappearance. Holmes agrees to take the case with he and Watson trying to track down what everything means.
I have to say though that there is so much coincidence in this book it was a little hard to swallow. Also there are just random things inserted in this story...one word, crocodile. I started to wonder if Doyle was on cocaine when writing this story.
We find out what happened to Mary's father, but I thought the whole thing sounded beyond hinky. And then from there we get to a young man who is behind sending Mary the pearls. I did want to go though really you decided in the end to send this woman a pearl a freaking year? Anyway, I could be here all day pointing out the weirdness and strange happenings in this story that defy common sense.
I can't say much about Holmes beyond his views on women are appalling (and normal for the time I would say) and him being on cocaine made me wonder how he could even complete deductions at all. It sounds sickly based on Watson's description of him in the book.
Watson seems a bit fed up at times with Holmes, but keeps hanging in there.
There's also a dog in this story (Toby) that made me think of the Agatha Christie book (Dumb Witness) which made me wish I was reading an Agatha Christie book.
The writing was okay, but the flow was off through the whole book.
Some lines in the book though made me go, how did we go from brilliant amateur detective in "A Study in Scarlet" to this I am so into cocaine person we get in "The Sign of the Four."
"Which is it to-day?" I asked,—"morphine or cocaine?" He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened. "It is cocaine," he said,—"a seven-per-cent. solution. Would you care to try it?" "No, indeed," I answered, brusquely. "My constitution has not got over the Afghan campaign yet. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon it."
Gee. If someone I was living with was all here is some cocaine I would be out of there. Also is 7 percent a good thing or what? I am not a coke head so I don't know.
"None. Hence the cocaine. I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-colored houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth."
By the way most of this book is Sherlock being a total pill.
"The division seems rather unfair," I remarked. "You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?" "For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there still remains the cocaine-bottle." And he stretched his long white hand up for it.
The setting of the book goes from England to India and I didn't get much a sense about India when we get bogged down with a re-telling of what went down with some of the characters we heard about earlier in the story.
I just found myself getting bored and when we get to the ending where all is revealed via dialogue. I was just glad to be done. What a weird story in the adventures of Holmes and Watson.
I don't know if I liked this or not LOL. Sherlock is taking cocaine and flailing about trying to solve the mystery of some hidden treasure. I wasn't bored while reading, just not fully engaged really though. Watson seemed to be a bit over Holmes at time, and even I would have had it with the cocaine, constant walking back and forth, etc.
It is pretty cool to see Watson and the woman who ends up becoming his wife though.
Well I had a lot going on this past week. I got some books via Netgalley.
Netgalley books (5):
Amazon Prime (2):
Managed to restrain the urge.
Currently Reading (3):
This is still really big which is why I have been reluctant to run around buying more books.
Total TBR is 24 books.
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my review or rating.
Well the book started off promising and then faltered for me pretty early on. And even when the book tries to right-side itself it goes back down again due to the actions of the main character (Carter Lane). I did read the book synopsis so the author/publisher is up front about the fact that Carter is going to get revenge on a boy that screwed her over in a culinary competition she is competing in. The issue is for me, what the boy did was minor, he apologized repeatedly, and the actions that Carter took could have gotten him sent home so I was not on her side. But the words he used when talking to her were sexist so they pretty much cancelled each other out. There was also very little discussion of food to be had. I didn't get a sense the author was a cook. I wanted more descriptions of what the food they were making was and the ingredients they were using.
"The Art of French Kissing" has 17 year old Carter Lane going to Savannah, Georgia to compete in a culinary competition. Carter wants the win so bad she can taste it (pun intended). However, the first day of the competition, a rival, Reid Yamada lies about cheese she needs for a grilled cheese sandwich and she vows to get revenge on him. The revenge consists of Carter tripping the guy in a kitchen and I was not down for that. All I could think of was how he could have been hurt and injured someone else.
So most of this book is Carter hating Reid and doing things to get back at him and bah. It was not that interesting to me. Besides the big issue I really had is that they both like each other and you are supposed to be rooting for two people who acted like a couple of assholes towards each other when they first met and afterwards.
The competition is mentioned, but the author doesn't even bother describing the secondary characters beyond a few. And for me, I was more interested in two secondary characters (Will and Riya) than I was in Carter and Reid. I wish we had gotten a chance to know more than just four characters. We also have a bigoted ass in the competition which I think we are supposed to be happy gets taken down a peg by Carter, but she actually shoves this guy at one point and I just rolled my eyes. She goes around shoving and grabbing to the point I wanted to say "just because you are a teen girl does not mean you don't respect others spaces."
The writing is just okay. I wanted more description of the food, the recipes, I wanted to see why Carter was supposedly so good at cooking cause I didn't get that at all. I said in one of my updates, that a good idea would have been to end each chapter with a recipe of the food that Carter was cooking in the competition or something she mentions so that way there is a nice linkage there.
I also had a huge issue with most of the story reading about Carter's feelings of doubt, insecurity, and immaturity. I just was over it by the end of this book. You find out she's lashing out at Reid because even though he never said anything, she feels inadequate and like she shouldn't be at the competition. This comes out of nowhere by the way. I think it was just a justification for once again why Carter is an ass to Reid. It also doesn't work for me that it would be Reid making her feel this way since bigoted ass character flat out tells her repeatedly she's not good enough to be there, so her ire should really be focused on him.
The flow was not great. I thought things got better once Carter and Reid came to their "truce" and actually seemed to be working together and were not being jerks. Of course that all comes to an end due to Carter being an ass again. I was so happy to be done with this book.
This takes place in Savannah, but besides the author talking about how hot and humid it is, she didn't work a lot of the city in this book which is disappointing. Savannah is a great place to eat some Low Country food. I would have thought a culinary competition taking place in the south would have at least thrown a soul food or country challenge at the teens. Also speaking of the competition, it was not interesting at all. Probably because we only follow four (well five if you count bigot and okay six because the author does mention another female competitor by name) and you don't get a chance to really hear how others cook. I love Top Chef and other food shows like that so I was thinking this book would be up my alley. Instead I was just bored and really annoyed you had people hiding food and sabotaging recipes and the "judges" not saying anything about it.
The ending was okay, I just was glad to be done with this book when I finished.
This ended up being so frustrating to read. The author had a good idea and if the main character wasn't so aggravating this could have been cute. Bah.
Well things finally got off the revenge kick and got more about the cooking. Backstory to Reid is interesting. Honestly though I'm more intrigued with two secondary characters, Riya and Will. Both are Indian and are really good in this competition. I still wish the chapters had been broken up with a recipe featuring the food that they were cooking.
This book is irritating the life out of me. It's just Carter obsessing over Reid and doing things to wreck his chances. Am I supposed to be rooting for her? It doesn't help that very little discussion of cooking is happening. I was hoping for some recipes or something. I also hate how Reid is speaking to Carter by calling her pumpkin, sweetheart and other sexist is f****** terms.
I'm going to end up hating everyone in this book. Just finished a scene where Carter retaliates against the boy who lied about having some cheese she wanted/needed for a meal she was preparing, by tripping him. Trips him in a kitchen which causes him to fall and ruins his dessert and yeah I'm sorry but no. He sucks for what he did, but he did come and apologize later. If she didn't want to accept his apology (she didn't) she should have told him to shove off. Passive aggressive people irk me.
Also this is where I go well actually about the book. He's in a kitchen where people are cooking with pots, pans, flame, and knives and he could have been hurt. Bah to her.
All caught up with updates. This book is boring. You still don't know what occurred between Lily and her dead brother Daniel. She apparently was a virgin prior to her marriage and isn't having sex with her husband and itscausingit issues. She alsonowa obsessed with a potential murderer whose case she's working on.
Carla's story---still don't care.
I am not liking the dual POVs. We have Lily (a lawyer working an appeals case) and Carla (a 9 year old dealing with her mother and her special friendship with a man named Larry).
Lilly feels off to me in some weird way. I don't like the interactions between her and her has to be full of crap client. I also wonder would you even be working an appeals case if the client refuses to tell you about new evidence and is making up clues for you to solve? She is newly married to a man named Ed and seems to be doubting he loves her as much as he did his ex girlfriend. Due to her size (size 14) she wonders if he really is as happy with her as he says he is.
Nothing on Carla much besides I am bored with her POV.
Long story short, I forgot to post a review about this book when I read it right after book #9. I was too irritated to do much besides be super aggravated by the nonsense going on in the Armand Gamache series and this latest was just more of the same it seemed to me. The story was way too long and drawn out for the terrible payoff we get in the end. I was wondering about reading the next book in the series, and a friend said she thinks I will like that much better, so I will. But, I wanted to post my review of book #10 before I totally forgot about it.
"The Long Way Home" has Chief Inspector Armand Gamache retired and living in Three Pines. I still don't get why he and his wife relocated there after all of the insanity that seems to befall people in this village, but they do. Gamache goes to a bench everyday and reads a book (until a certain point) and seems to be waiting for someone or something to come along. Eventually, the someone does come along, Clara Marrow finally talks to Gamache about the promise that she and her estranged husband Peter made back in "A Trick of the Light" when she finally realized that for all of the lip service he was making, Peter wanted to see her do badly. The couple agrees to go their separate ways for a year, with Peter returning at the end of that year to see if they could move forward or not. Now it's more than a year and Clara believes that something truly awful had to have befallen Peter for him not to keep his promise.
"The Long Way Home" has Gamache team up with his former protege Jean Guy Beauvoir in trying to track down Peter's movements. Gamache's wife is concerned about him being pulled back into anything resembling an investigation that will leave him injured after the events in "How the Light Gets In." I really don't get why Gamache even agrees to help Clara with this besides his own curiosity. The reveal of what was going on with Peter was pretty much a letdown.
Jean Guy is blissful as anything cause he finally has capture, er married Gamache's daughter. I have already said repeatedly I don't care a bit about this romance and that still holds true here.
I ended up not liking Clara much throughout this book. She was aggressive and didn't listen one bit to what Gamache was saying. And honestly if she had listened, the events that transpired at the end of the book would not have occurred.
We do get to see Peter's messed up family a bit in this one, but I thought Penny did a disservice not showing them in the ending of the book.
The writing was typical Penny, but honestly I was bored. I just didn't care to read the symbolism behind everything that Peter was doing. The insights that everyone had while looking at Peter's artwork and figuring out his cold trail made me laugh. I don't know if maybe Penny had included drawings of "Peter's work" or something that would have helped us readers see what everyone else was looking at. But it's hard to read about what other characters are seeing when you don't see the artwork in question. I started skipping over stuff like that in this book just to get through this. I would think a look back at Clara and Peter's history and the art world in general would have been way more intriguing than this, but honestly after reading "A Trick of the Light" I just cannot anymore with the art world in Canada.
I had a hard time with the overall mystery that was solved here and how Peter was worked into that plot. It didn't make a lot of sense and the villain reveal in this one was done really badly. I liked what another reviewer said about this being a backwards mystery and honestly it was a backwards mystery. I wish that Penny had just decided to not loop in two mysteries for the price of one in this book since neither one of them were carried off very well.
The flow was not that great either. We have Clara, Mryna, Armand, and Jean Guy bouncing from location to location and meeting tertiary characters who I am sure will appear in future books. I just didn't care enough to pay that much attention to them.
The setting of this one is a little bit of Three Pines and other locations. None of them really stayed with me at the end of this book.
The ending was such a slap in the face though. I don't know how I feel about it besides cheated. I did feel like I wasted all of my time to just get this ending that pretty much thumbed its noses at the readers. I would say that this book is pretty much filler and you can skim it to get the bare bones of the story and can skip to the next book in the series.
I skipped to this last night before falling asleep. Needed a break from "The Dark Half." So far...ehhh. We will see. I loved the idea of a young girl going to a culinary competitionin Savannah, Georgia. And the cover is all kinds of awesome. But so far I am not feeling the main character Carter Lane who seems to crush over every boy she comes across and a potential love interest that has already shown he's a jerk.
Well I haven't read "The Dark Half" since I was a teen. I realize now why that was, probably because teen me was bored reading parts of this as adult me was now. I do think that parts of the book are fairly good (I loved the sparrows and the growing realization of who George Stark was) but think that the book gets bogged down a ton with way too much talking that goes nowhere and an ending that kind of fizzles. You end up having to read the other Castle Rock books in order to find out what happens to the characters mentioned in this one which is okay, but does make it that "The Dark Half" is not a true standalone book.
"The Dark Half" was written in response to when Stephen King was outed as writing as Richard Bachman. I have to say that "The Dark Half" really does read like a Bachman book (go read "The Long Walk," "The Running Man," and "The Regulators"). Most of those works seemed to have violence for violence sake. Not my favorite of King's works, but still interesting. "The Dark Half" is mostly brutal with parts broken up by characters talking to each other about things we as readers are already privy to. So most of the book you are just waiting for everyone to figure out things and for the ending to come.
"The Dark Half" is about author Thad Beaumont who has recently come out and admitted that he has written under the name of George Stark for years. Thad and his wife decide to declare George Stark dead after a man tries to shake them down for money to keep their secret hidden that he really is George Stark. Thad has started to find some success writing under his own pen name and thinks now is a good time to lay Stark to rest. Unfortunately, someone takes significant pains to go out and murder anyone connected with the "death of George Stark." When all signs point to Thad or someone close to him being responsible for these deaths, Thad starts wondering if someone is delusional enough to think that they are really George Stark.
The character of Thad intrigued me in this one. I do feel bad about what ends up happening to him (see "Needful Things" and "Insomnia"). Thad has a good life and when you realize his connection to "George Stark" I ended up being moved to mostly pity for the guy.
The other characters in this one come in and out and don't really sing to me. We have Thad's wife Liz that felt like an afterthought after the first couple of hundred pages. I wished for more from that character.
Sheriff Alan Pangborn I honestly didn't care for in this one. I liked him much better in "Needful Things" he is also referenced down the line in "Bag of Bones." I think the issue for me is that the sheriff blames Thad for what has occurred, but I didn't and thought it was weird how the book ended.
We also get a plethora (not really but it felt like it) of characters who ended up being murdered by George Stark and reading all of their bad ends was gruesome after a while.
The writing was okay, but as I said, there was way too much talking going on. I found myself really bored after we get to Part II: Stark Takes Charge. Also since I had this in paperback format, it was hard to read some of the writing that was included in this book that was in cursive and showing what Thad and Stark's writing looked like. I honestly wish I had a magnifying glass.
The setting of this book is pretty familiar to Constant Readers. We are back with Castle Rock, Maine the site of some insanity that has gone on in many a King book. I always wonder why people never move away from that place. The first book in the Castle Rock series would be "Cujo". After "The Dark Half" you can read "Needful Things" where you can follow up with Sheriff Alan Pangborn and hear about Thad Beaumont again.
The ending was a meh to me. I mean I liked how King dealt with the problem of George Stark. It sounded awesome and terrifying (I will never look at sparrows the same way again) but it just took way too long to get there.