Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “fiction”

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #19-21: Various mysteries by Elizabeth Peters

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See my review comparing three Elizabeth Peters mysteries, The Jackal’s Head, The Night of Four Hundred Rabbits and Devil-May-Care at Loopy Ker’s Life.

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #15-#18: His Dark Materials, Books 1-4 by Philip Pullman

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A bit of a cheat on this one in my rush to get some more up for the CBR4 deadline. Review combining Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Books 1 thru 4, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and short story, Lyra’s Oxford is at Loopy Ker’s Life.

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #14: Anne’s House of Dreams: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 5 by L. M. Montgomery

Anne's House of Dreams coverThe review for the audiobook version of Anne’s House of Dreams: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 5 by L. M. Montgomery by narrator Susan O’Malley is at:
Loopy Ker’s Life

Miss Kate’s CBR4 Review #13: Last of the Amazons by Steven Pressfield

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I really like Steven Pressfield as a writer. My favorite book of his is Gates of Fire, about the Spartan stand at Thermopylae. He is able to bring Ancient Greece to life in a way that other authors can’t.

In the Bronze Age (and before Homer), Theseus, the king of Athens, travels on a quest where he encounters the Amazons nation. They call themselves tal Kyrte (the Free People), and live by a strict code of honor. These warrior women are bound to each other in war and marriage. They welcome the Greeks, but when their Queen Antiope falls in love with Theseus, things get sticky. The queen’s defection is seen as a betrayal. Antiope’s tal Kyrte lover Eleuthera leads the Amazon invasion of Greece, with the destruction of Athens as their ultimate goal.

The book is told from 3 points of view: Mother Bones, an Athenian girl raised on Amazon stories, Damon, her uncle, and Selene, an Amazon warrior (and close companion to Eleuthera).

The story is involving. I confess I was unfamiliar with the details of Theseus and Antiope’s story, so I wasn’t sure what would happen next. Pressfield’s descriptions of life on the steppes were, for me, the highlight of the book. We gets sense of the desperation in a culture that’s on the verge of extinction and knows it.

The battle scenes were a bit too detailed for me, though. I found those portions a bit of a slog – not because of the subject, just that who was marching in front of who and where the Amazons dug their latrines just seemed to take up a lot of space. Space that could be filled with more action! But that’s just me. I also felt the ending to be a bit rushed. Pressfield doesn’t seem to have much use for his characters once the main storyline is done. Things are wrapped up pretty quickly. All in all, though, these are minor quibbles. I enjoyed this book.

 http://misskatesays.com/2013/01/05/cbr4-review-13-last-of-the-amazons-by-steven-pressfield/

genericwhitegirl’s #CBRIV Review #11: Fireproof by Gerard Brennan

ImageThis book is about a man who dies, is sent to hell, somehow resists eternal torture, and is sent back to earth to recruit followers for Satan.

Now before any holy rollers tsk tsk me for reading such a book, if you haven’t already realized, much of Fireproof is tongue in cheek. Brennan manages to make topics like murder, hell, and satanism seem blase, in a darkly comedic way.

Our story begins with Mike Rocks, who used to live in Northern Ireland, until he died. Now Mike is in hell with his demon roommate who can’t seem to effect eternal torture on him. So Satan calls Mike in for a meeting and decides to send him back to Ireland to recruit followers. But besides leaving hell, Mike has another reason to take this journey, and that is revenge. Mike didn’t just die from natural causes, you see. And along the way, Mike meets new associates including a girlfriend who has a very casual attitude about homicide, and a homeless man with peculiar abilities. Satan also sends a helper, the imp, to keep an eye on Mike. That’s because if Mike fails, Satan will sic Cerberus, the famed three headed dog on him. 

Strange, but entertaining, that’s for sure. The story at hand, about revenge and all that, is nothing terribly interesting. But the interactions Mike has with Satan, the imp, and basically everyone around him is worth the read. Brennan’s writing is funny and witty, and I enjoyed reading the book.

Read The Blist for more reviews by genericwhitegirl

Miss Kate’s CBR4 Review#12: The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill

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I read this book last year around the time the movie starring Daniel Radcliffe (who will always be Harry Potter in my heart) came out. I haven’t seen the movie, but intend to! As soon as it hits Netflix instant. I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. I love them, but they are hard to come by these days. I don’t need gore, just some good old fashioned chills. Scare me. Is that so much to ask for?

For the most part, The Woman in Black delivers. Set in Victorian England, Arthur Kipps is a solid man, a solicitor with a happy family. One Christmas while his kids are sitting around telling ghost stories, he is cajoled into telling his own. He recounts an experience that terrified him so much he had not spoken of it since.

As a young man, Arthur is sent is sent to the tiny coastal village of Crythin Gifford to settle the affairs of the late Mrs. Alice Drablow. While at the funeral, he sees a mysterious woman dressed in black. After the funeral, he makes his way to Eel Marsh House, a creepy mansion on an island only accessible via causeway. There he attempts to go through his late client’s papers, and wrap everything up before he goes back to London.

During his stay, things start to happen. There are spooky noises in the house, and strange, unexplained movements in the nursery. He sees the Woman in Black again. He also hears the sounds of an adult and child crashing a pony trap and sinking into the marsh. Arthur makes a friend in a local man, and discovers the secret of Eel Marsh House and the tragedy that occurred there years before. Without telling you any more, the story ends tragically.

The Woman in Black is chilling in it’s atmosphere. Hill is able to pull the the reader into the story pretty completely. Although there are only a couple of startling, jump-out-of-your-seat moments in the book, there is a creepiness that pervades each page. It does end very abruptly, and at first I was bothered by it. But really, extending it, I think, would give it less of an impact.

The Woman in Black is a very short book. At just over 120 pages, I’m eager to see how they were able to stretch it to fill a whole movie.  I recommend reading it alone, at night, preferably in a creepy mansion!

http://misskatesays.com/2013/01/04/cbr4-review-12-the-woman-in-black-by-susan-hill/

pyrajane’s review #54: Arcadia by Lauren Groff

ArcadiaI finished it before 2013, but I didn’t write the review on time.  But it still totally counts!

I really liked this book and it was a great one to end the year on.  If you believe in free love, drugs and communes while at the same time knowing that things can’t end well, hop on over to my blog and check things out.

While you’re there, I’ll be diving in to my first book of CBRV.

Siege’s #CBR4 #47: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

In which Siege is impressed by the historical accuracy on display in a very fictional book.

Siege’s #CBR4 #46: The Hotel New Hampshire

In which Siege finds a new contender for the top-ten desert island book list.

pyrajane’s review #53: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

OliveOlive Kitteridge has a very interesting structure.  Everything takes place in a fairly small town in Maine and each chapter is told from a different resident’s point of view with Olive connecting the stories and characters together.  Olive herself gets more than one chapter of her own, but she always passes through the other chapters.  Sometimes it might be one sentence, other times she is a major character, and in other stories she’s there long enough for the person telling the story to reflect on.  I found myself looking forward to spotting her, especially when I saw that she wasn’t going to play a major role in the story.

 

Read more about Olive and why I’m not entirely sure I’d like her over on my blog.

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