Monday, May 30, 2016

A Tangle of Gold

by Jacqueline Moriarty

Story summary: Don't want to spoil too much from the end of the previous book. So I'll leave it vague: The royal family still has difficulties with forgetting who they are, the colours are still attacking in larger and larger numbers, and there are yet more political factions with their own agenda. How are the Royal Youth Alliance and a girl from Cambridge going to save the whole Kingdom?
Sequel to the other The Colours of Madeleine books: A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom.1

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Complicated human relationships
  • Dysfunctional but interesting and realistic families
  • Unique and beautiful fantasy world
  • Strange and unexpected plots twists
  • It's the kind of book that makes me want to research all these historical figures (huge plus for me)

And Why You Might Not:
  • The writing is somewhat stylized, in a way which usually doesn't work at all for me, so I can see it not working well for someone else
  • I liked the plot twists as well, but I did see many of them coming ahead of time.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Franchise Affair

by Josephine Tey

Story summary: I can't do a summary right now. I'm too tired and far too behind in reviews. Goodreads to the rescue!

"Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable that is, until the police turn up with a demure young woman on their doorstep. Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window.

But there's something about Betty Kane's story that doesn't quite add up. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is stumped. And it takes Robert Blair, local solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of The Franchise Affair..."

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • What you think of when you think Golden-Age British Mystery: small and cozy English village, secluded English country house, amateur sleuth, mysterious women, dash of romance.
  • It's just written really well. I find it difficult to explain or analyze why I like Josephine Tey so much, but at least I know I'm not alone in it. Finishing one of her books leaves me feeling happy in a lovely and satisfied way.

And Why You Might Not:
  • There's no focus at all on whodunnit. You pretty much know from the beginning, it's just a matter of proving it. Not a criticism at all, but if you were expecting that standard aspect of a mystery story, you may be disappointed.
  • And I know that's a bit of a lame reason, but I can't really think of anything else. I have two small criticisms that I list below, but neither are likely to stop one from enjoying the book as a whole. So I guess I'll just have to say it all depends on your enjoyment of mystery stories, especially British Golden Age ones.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kingdom of Summer

by Gillian Bradshaw

Story summary: Sequel to Hawk of May. "Armed with his magical sword and otherwordly horse, Gwalchmai [Sir Gawain] proves himself the most feared and faithful warrior of Arthur's noble followers. But while defending the kingdom, he commits a grave offense against the woman he loves, leading her to disappear from his life and haunt his memories." (From the back cover.)

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • A tale of a quest for redemption and forgiveness
  • Deep character study
  • Historical accuracy
  • Inspiring Christianity (without being a "Christian book")

And Why You Might Not:
  • It was pretty sad. Well, more bittersweet than anything else, I suppose. I don't want to spoil too much, so I won't be specific.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Hunt

by Andrew Fukuda

Story summary: He is a lone human in a society run by vampires. Barely managing to escape notice (and a gory death) through a series of rigorous personal rules, he lives a quiet, lonely life without love or friendship. Until the worst happens, and he's thrown into the spotlight of the event of the century... a human hunt.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Everything's inverted! It's the vampires that are just called "people" while humans are strange creatures hunted for their blood!
  • It's gripping! How's our protagonist going to survive when every time he sweats or bleed or shows any emotion whatsoever, he will be ripped to shreds and eaten?

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's a pretty standard YA dystopian. Other than the central twist, there's not really anything new or exciting.
  • I found the characters pretty uninteresting.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


by Rudy Simone

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • A very useful and informative book about Asperger's, with a female focus.
  • It's easy to read and well laid-out, with separate sections for different perspectives (e.g. an Aspergirl, the parent of an Aspergirl, etc.).

And Why You Might Not:
  • If you didn't have Asperger's or didn't know anyone with Asperger's, it would probably be more fruitful to get a different book, since this is a pretty personal type of book, specifically geared towards people who have dealt with this before.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Case for the Psalms

by N. T. Wright

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Inspiring ideas about how to pray, sing, and live the Psalms in your life
  • Fascinating information on the original Hebrew

And Why You Might Not:
  • His writing style is not the most engrossing. It's not difficult to read or anything, and the content makes up for it, but I still found myself having to re-read sentences a few times to understand properly.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Deep Secret

by Diana Wynne Jones

Story summary: Multiple universes! Missing emperors! Beautiful centaurs! Scifi/fantasy conventions!

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • See the story summary, basically. What a lovely list of awesome things.
  • Also: Characters with faults who are still endearing! Intricate plotting! Humour and romance and magic!

And Why You Might Not:
  • If you're looking for explicitly stated rules for the magic system, that are easily figured out and explicitly stated, you won't find that here.
  • And if you're looking for a story that realistic enough to not have all the chaotic plot points tied up together nicely by the end, you won't find that either. Connected plots are DWJ's specialty.
  • And if you're looking for a typical Diana Wynne Jones story with only the subtlest of references to adult situations--again, you won't find that here. This is an adult story, though written in DWJ's typical fantastical style.