Friday, November 17, 2006

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I just finished this book, and I have to say I don't think it lived up to its reviews. (Sorry, Holly!) It never drew me in, and I had to make myself finish it. The characters were all extremely sad and self-centered, which made the whole book feel one-dimensional. I also found it completely unrealistic since societal attitudes about Down's syndrome had already begun changing in the 1960s.

Feed your habit...

I just found this cool site where you can trade your used books for other ones. I think the only cost is $3.99 for shipping the books you select to your home. There's no charge to mail your used books to others. Here's the site:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Little Too Mysterious

I finished Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris a few days ago, but hadn't really known what to say about it. It's the first in a series in which the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice solve mysteries. I thought the premise sounded cute for a cozy mystery series, and I really wasn't expecting great literature or anything, just an entertaining mystery novel. It started out pretty well. The Darcys find Caroline Bingley wandering in a disreputable street, acting very strangely, and other odd happenings follow. There were some rather over-the-top characters, but I was willing to look past that. The writing was fine, but suffered in comparison to Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries. It was a quick read and very light. But then she brought in this occult element that just didn't really fit. I've read mysteries that successfully bring in the otherworldly, but it really didn't have a place in a continuation of a Jane Austen book. And frankly, the solution was pretty...lame. So, I'm not sure yet if I'll read the next in the series. For now, I'm reading the second book in the Barrons series and really enjoying it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor

I finished this book last night. It's the first in a series by Stephanie Barron that purports to be "edited" by the author from long-lost journal entries and letters written by Jane Austen. This is somewhere between the light "cozy" mysteries and and an actual Jane Austen novel in feel. I have to say, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was a bit skeptical of the set-up, which includes some footnotes to fill in things from Jane's life specifically or her time period generally. It was just fun, and I was sucked into the premise quite easily. Barron, I thought, is quite a good writer, and makes it believable that the writing is Jane's. Jane is exactly as clever and witty as you'd expect, so the book isn't in the least dry. The mystery is complicated and the supporting characters well-drawn. It took longer for me to read than a typical cozy mystery, but that's not a bad thing. It was just a bit more dense and with a less modern feel to the writing. I have the next few books in the series as well, and I'm told they just get better. I'd certainly recommend it to mystery lovers and Jane Austen fans. But make sure you have hot chocolate in the house--Jane drinks it with breakfast every morning, and each mention sets off a craving :)

I'm nearly through with Pride and Prescience, the first in a series by Carrie Bebris in which the newlyweds Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy solve mysteries. This is a much lighter and breezier series, but enjoyable nonetheless. Review when I'm done.