Mini Reviews #3

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you are all fabulous.

northern lightsThe town of Lunacy, Alaska, was Nate Burke’s last chance. As a Baltimore cop, he’d watched his partner die on the street – and the guilt still haunts him. With nowhere else to go, he accepts the job as chief of police in this tiny, remote Alaskan town. Aside from sorting out a run-in between a couple of motor vehicles and a moose, he finds his first few weeks on the job are relatively quiet. But just as he wonders whether this has been all a big mistake, an unexpected kiss on New Year’s Eve under the brilliant Northern Lights of the Alaskan sky lifts his spirits and convinces him to stay just a little longer.

Meg Galloway, born and raised in Lunacy, is used to being alone. She was a young girl when her father disappeared, and she has learned to be independent, flying her small plane, living on the outskirts of town with just her huskies for company. After her New Year’s kiss with the chief of police, she allows herself to give in to passion – while remaining determined to keep things as simple as possible. But there’s something about Nate’s sad eyes that gets under her skin and warms her frozen heart.

And now, things in Lunacy are heating up. Years ago, on one of the majestic mountains shadowing the town, a crime occurred that is unsolved to this day – and Nate suspects that a killer still walks the snowy streets. His investigation will unearth the secrets and suspicions that lurk beneath the placid surface, as well as bring out the big-city survival instincts that made him a cop in the first place. And his discovery will threaten the new life – and the new love – that he has finally found for himself.

Rating: 3/5

I only read my first Nora Roberts earlier this year, but I can see why she has such a cult following. It’s not highbrow literature by any means, but its highly entertaining and certainly has some substance to it. I also enjoy how she takes time to set the scene, instead of delving straight into the action like many other mystery novels. I particularly liked the atmospheric setting in this one – the icy Alaskan weather and the coziness of the small town were almost tangible.

eats shoots & leavesNow, we all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

Rating: 3/5

Who knew a book about punctuation could be interesting? Quite a timely read as well, since I’m currently doing a copy-editing course. There were a number of amusing anecdotes, rule explanations and historical accounts, but the humour was a tad overdone, and some sentiments were repeated a little too often for my liking. The apostrophe stickers at the back though, I’m going to have fun with those!

the foreshadowingIt is 1915 and the First World War has only just begun.

17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don’t do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected–she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas.

Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death. 

Rating: 3/5

This book should have been a hit for me – I love WW1/WW2 fiction, along with plucky female protagonists. Unfortunately, it just felt all too bland for me. I think my biggest issue was suspension of disbelief – a teenage girl lying her way to the front in WW1 just doesn’t fly with me, no matter how realistically the author wrangled it. The quiet horrors of war were well depicted though, in the changed personalities of those who returned. I especially respect the sheer fortitude of the nurses, who had to deal with so much death and human destruction and still keep on, day after day, sometimes in horrendous conditions.

alice hoffmanPeople tend to stay in their place in the town of Haddan. The students at the prestigious prep school don’t mix with locals; even within the school, hierarchy rules, as freshman and faculty members find out where they fit in and what is expected of them. But when a body is found in the river behind the school, a local policeman will walk into this enclosed world and upset it entirely. A story of surface appearances and the truths submerged below.

Rating: 1.5/5

I am usually so intrigued by Hoffman’s work, but this was an anomaly of note. It’s by far one of the author’s poorer novels, and I found it a slog to get through. Nothing really happens, to be honest. One of the things that grated on my nerves was that the perspective switches within same chapter and I sometimes wasn’t aware of this, which made for a frustrating reading experience. Also, I could have done without the annoying instalove.

 

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