Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

One thing I’ve noticed about myself since I’ve started blogging, aside from my love for Jewish fiction, is that more often than not, I like the books I read.  If I don’t like a book, it’s generally impossible for me to finish it.

This book however, was one of the few that I finished but wasn’t thrilled with.

Death Comes to Pemberley follows Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, after they’ve been married a number of years, have kids and are accustomed to their life as they know it.  The night before a big annual ball that is help at Pemberley, Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s sister, shows up in a panic claiming that Wickham is dead, slain by his friend Denny.

There ensues the quest to find Wickham, which they do, and their ongoing search for the truth surrounding the death of, not Wickham, but Denny, and Wickham’s trial for the murder of his friend.

This novel is the reason why “show me, don’t tell me,” is such a legendary writer’s adage.  This book had lots and lots of telling and very little showing.  I believe that’s why I feel like I didn’t really read anything once I was finished with the book.  I felt like I had sat through a really long speech where the speaker talked a lot but said very little of substance.   The plot was entertaining enough to keep me from putting the book down, but not entertaining enough to have me riveted, or even really all that interested.

The other big let down was that I didn’t see a lot of the Pride and Prejudice characters in these adaptations of them.  Elizabeth seemed like just a bleak shadow of the vixen I love.  She didn’t have any fire or spirit in this one and that’s probably the worst injustice.  To take a character that is so defined and beloved by so many people and do a mediocre job of portraying her.  Makes me die a little bit inside.

I would not recommend this book.  I would ESPECIALLY not recommend this book to people who really love Pride and Prejudice.

Also, having Wickham work for Walter Elliot, another character from a different Austen novel?  That was just lame.

~Pockets

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The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan

I’ve delayed writing this post because I’m not really sure how to put into words everything that this series is.

Jordan started writing the first volume, The Eye of the World, in 1984. The book was published in 1990 and thus the series began.
In 2007 Robert Jordan passed away, 11 books into the 14 book series.

The final novel was completed by Brandon Sanderson, of Mistborn fame, in late 2011.

My personal acquaintance with the series began in ’98 or ’99. I was in middle school and recently discovered an insane obsession with dragons. The third novel in the series is called The Dragon Reborn and through it I was introduced to the series.

I lost touch with the books once I became current and had to wait for new novels to be released. Now with the final installment scheduled to come out this year its finally time for The Great Re-read. I’ve been trying to hold off since the book won’t be out until late fall and its only 13 books.

I finally gave in and told myself I could only read it on the nook app on my phone. Hopefully that will be slow going enough that I won’t finish the series 8 months before the last book comes out.

Have any of you read this series? How do you feel about it? Jordan is far and away the best author I’ve ever read. Is anyone else excited about The Great Re-read? Man I really want to go home and binge read it. Wish me luck on holding out. 😀

~Pockets

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Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

I think if Robert Jordan had never written his Wheel of Time series, Juliet Marillier would have been my favorite fantasy author.  I’ve read all of her books, now that I’ve finished Seer of Sevenwaters.

Seer of Sevenwaters is the fifth Sevenwaters novel and follows Sibeal, Sorcha’s (the main character from Daughter of the Forest) grandaughter, as she spends a summer with her sisters on the island of Inis Eala. Sibeal is on the verge of taking her vows and devoting her life to the strict, celibate, Druidic Order.  However, before she does so at her young age, her mentor, Ciaran, insists that she spends time with her married sisters so that she is aware of what exactly she is giving up.

On her first day at Inis Eala, a ship founders off the islands shores and at first only two souls are rescued.   Later that evening Sibeal, while finishing an errand, stumbles upon one more who washed to shore clinging to life.  Unable to remember anything of his past Sibeal names him Ardal, and helps to nurse him back to health.  However, while reading the runes, Sibeal sees that Ardal and herself will have to make a journey before the summer ends.

As I said, Marillier has never disappointed me.  This novel was no exception but there were a few things I did like and some that I didn’t.

I loved the action of the novel.  And the introduction of a second, present-tense first person perspective.  Instead of the entire book being told from Sibeal’s viewpoint, we also get snippets from Ardal, who’s real name turns out to be Felix.  I can’t recall any other instances where Marillier divides up the perspectives like that.  I thought it was a great addition, I hope she adds this to more of her books.

Another aspect that I enjoyed is that Clodagh and Cathal, the main characters from Heir to Sevenwaters, were so prevalent in this novel.   Marillier has a habit of writing novels about different members of the same family.  So most of the time with her, you only get one book for each character and then the next one is about her daughter or sister.  I was particularly attached to Clodagh and was glad that I got to spend some more time with her and Cathal.

The only thing that really disappointed me was how hastily Sibeal and Felix’s relationship was wrapped up.  It was almost more of an afterthought.  With all of her other novels, the relationship between the main male and female characters is an enormous driving force behind the plot line.  However, with Seer of Sevenwaters, it seemed like the actions, Felix trying to remember his past, Sibeal and Felix’s sea voyage, Sibeal trying to decipher Svala, had the greater importance than the budding connection between Sibeal and Felix.  This book had very little of the finality and closure that comes with all of her other novels and I will admit it was a little disappointing.

This installment of the Severwater novels was quickly climbing up the ladder as my favorite in that series until the end.  I’m worried, that since Marillier has such a penchant for writing only one book about each character that I’ll never get the full closure about Felix and Sibeal that I would like.

Overall though, I greatly enjoyed this book.  I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, you can never go wrong with Juliet Marillier.

~Pockets

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February Book of the Month

Hi guys!

January’s already over and now its time for leap-month February. Over on Order of the Phoenix Arizona, my goodreads group, we started reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. The novel chronicles an ancient manuscript that is given to rare book expert Hanna Heath for her to restore. As she works she learns the history of the document and the stories of the people who protected it through the ages.

A while ago I read a book called Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. The premises of the books are similar. I did like Mosse’s novel but I think my hopes for Brooks’ is much higher.

I’m planning on starting this one this weekend after I binge read Seer of Sevenwaters since Juliet Marillier is one of my top three novelists.

Are you reading anything good at the moment? Any exciting weekend reads planned? If not, feel free to pick up People of the Book with me, or of course anything by Marillier. 🙂

~Pockets

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Advice needed…

Okay guys, here’s my dilemma.  Have you ever started a book, and been drawn into it pretty quickly?  I bet most of you can answer that one with a resounding “YES!”  Have you ever had that same interesting book just as quickly lose your interest?

I’m reading The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman.  The book is really interesting!  I love the writing style, the characters are deep, the story  is good; so why is it taking me SO long to get through this novel?  Have you ever experienced this?  If so, what did you do?  Did you keep going, or stop?

The funny thing is, I checked this out from the library and now it’s over due.  I can’t renew it since it’s such a new book.  I feel like I have to   finish it before I return it.  Is returning the book unfinished giving in to defeat?  I’ve told myself that I don’t want to incur any more late fines and if I haven’t finished the book by Monday, I’m returning it.

Am I alone in this?  Has anyone else ever had a book that was good, but that just was so difficult to get through?  I wish I understood why! It’s driving me crazy!  Insight?  Advice?

 

😀

~Pockets

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Synopsis:  What Alice Forgot is a novel based around, you guessed it, a woman named Alice.  Alice Love is a thirty-nine year old mother of three.  She’s recently separated from her husband Nick and has a whole life that completely revolves around being a “soccer mom.”  She is a health and fitness fanatic who, while in her spin class one Friday, suddenly faints.  She hits her head pretty badly and wakes up thinking that she’s twenty-nine.  She can’t remember the last ten years of her life.

I adored this book.  The trouble is, I’m having a hard time putting my reasons into words.  The title makes me smile.  What Alice Forgot.  What Alice forgot though is really only half the story.  She forgot the feelings of hurt as her husband work too much.  She forgot how hard it was to relate to and cope with her sister Elisabeth’s overwhelming bitterness at her infertility.  Alice forgot quite a lot of things.

I think the more important part of the tale is what Alice remembered.  She remembered how Elisabeth took care of her when their father died.  How close they were while their grieving mother wouldn’t take care of them.  She remembered what it felt like to be close to her sister, to grieve and sympathize with her over Elisabeth’s miscarriages.  Alice remembered how Nick would bring her tea in bed; she remembered renovating their dream home.  She forgot her built up anger over a thousand pent-up irritations and was able to remember what it felt like to really love her husband.  She forgot to be jaded and remembered what it was like to be hopeful and carefree.  To tell the no-time-for-anyone soccer mom to take a breather.

I think that this novel does a great job of showing just how amazingly important it is to keep life in perspective.  Temper the feelings of the present with the experiences of the past.

I still feel like there is so much that I want to say about this book and just can’t.  I’m so glad someone bought this one for me and that I didn’t just check it out from the Library.  I’m definitely going to want to read this one again.

~Pockets

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Secret Daughter turned on me.

Have you ever had a book turn on you?

I just started reading Secret Daughter byShilpi Somaya Gowda.  I found this book from, oddly enough, a food blog that I adore.  It’s the first book I’m reading that the blogger reviewed.  I greatly enjoy her recipes and her stories about yoga, but I think I’m learning that we really do not have the same taste at all in books, (especially since she liked Jodi Picoult.)

By the second line of this book, the main thing that is running through my head is: “Present tense?  Really?”  Undaunted, but wary, I continue on and find myself getting interested in the story.  So far it is following the story of two women.  One is a woman in India, who has a baby girl and gives the child up for adoption.  The other main focus is the infertile woman who adopts the baby.

The first part of the novel is, I’ll admit, rather interesting.  But as I’m getting into the second section this novel is starting to get annoying.  I just cannot stand the adopted mother, Somer.  All through the first part, she complains about how she wanted more than anything to be a doctor but now that she is a doctor she just want a baby.  At the end of part one, she adopts Asha.  Now in the second part of the novel, Asha is six, and all Somer does is complain that motherhood does not come naturally to her, and she’s fallen behind her med school peers.

Seriously?  Good God lady can you be thankful about anything that you have?  I don’t understand how she doesn’t commit suicide since she seems to be regretting something or other constantly.  I’m a doctor, I want a baby.  I have a baby, I want to be a doctor.  It is super annoying.  I don’t think that I can keep reading a book where the main character is so impossible to relate to.

I understand that as humans, sometimes we want what  we used to have, but Somer just takes it to another level.  At this point, I’m not sure if I want to keep reading and see if she finally realizes what she has and learns to appreciate it, or if she stays a whiny ungrateful bitch throughout the whole thing.

Suggestions?  Have you ever had a book turn on you?  You’re liking the book and then suddenly you realize the plot is ludicrous, or the characters are ridiculous, or some other crazy flaw that you just can’t get past?  Did you stick it out and finish the novel?  Did it get better or worse the more you read?

I’ll let you know how things turn out.  😀

 

~Pockets

UPDATE: Wow, I actually did enjoy this novel. I’m excited to say that Somer did not remain a whiny bitch and I’m glad that I kept reading. Not my favorite book ever but Gowda did a good job of showing that family is about choices and commitment more than blood.

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