Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cruise Reviews

Cruise Reviews is the brainchild of Lynne at Lynne's Book Reviews - " Reviews stockpiled? Bored with the same 'ol same 'ol? Love reading but not too keen on writing reviews? Yeah, me too. So I thought I'd go on a Reviews Cruise to liven things up, relieve the pressure, and make more time for reading. Short but sweet and a few at a time. Sounds like a vacation, doesn't it? " Check out the above link for the provided format and to leave a link for your reviews.

Sounds good to me and an opportunity to clear the decks of a couple more reviews before the end of the month.

Arcadia Falls

Carol Goodman is the author of this suspense mystery published by Piatkus in 2010.

 It's about Meg Rosenthal who accepts an offer to teach folklore at Arcadia College, a private boarding school nestled in the mountains, which she hopes will provide a place to find peace and reconciliation following the death of her husband. But the school has a past steeped in deceit, betrayal and possible murder and very soon Meg finds herself involved in events that place her in grave danger.

 Overall I enjoyed it.

I liked the mixture of mystery and academia - the fairytales, folklore and pagan rituals woven into the story are lovely and as always this author's descriptive prose creates a scary and suspenseful  environment and plot.

I didn't like - it was a bit unfortunate that earlier this year I picked up Carol Goodman's first book 'The Lake of Dead Languages' and reading these two so close together it's impossible not to see the similarities. Many authors follow a certain pattern and I enjoy the mystery and academic content of Carol Goodman's but Arcadia Falls is almost a carbon copy of Dead Languages.........single mother, isolated boarding school, teachers with secrets, journals with answers to secrets.

I got this book from the library and chose it because I always enjoy this author's books.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good suspense story and has an interest in fairytales.
 I rated it 3.5/5 ( would be a 4 if not for my dislike)


The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery is the author of this contemporary novel published by Editions Gallimard in 2006.
 It's about two very different people who live in a grand Parisian apartment building. Renee is the concierge and works very hard to present to the world the steroetyped image they expect from someone in her position while secretly she is a very intelligent and cultured woman. Paloma is the twelve-year-old daughter  of one of the wealthy apartment owners and determined to avoid the predictably bourgeois future she faces plans to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday.
Overall I loved it!
I liked the book's originality - it makes such a nice change to read something completely different. I liked the format in which in alternate chapters Renee and Paloma share their thoughts and their perceptions of the people around them. I loved the contrast in the writing which is sometimes deep and philosophical and sometimes simple and hilariously funny.

I didn't like the first part of the book as much as the second part and for a while the intellectual structure almost made me give up. The much needed emotional involvement did come later and improved my reading experience a great deal.

I got this book from the library and chose it because I had added it to my TBR list after reading several positive reviews. I would recommend this book. I rated it 4/5.



  1. I so am excited to read The Elegance of the Hedgehog!! So ready for it!

  2. Interesting about the similarities between The Lake of Dead Languages and Arcadia Falls.
    I've read the same comment about the first part of Elegance.
    I enjoy your cruise reviews :)

  3. Natalie - I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I was definitely ready for something different and it didn't disappoint.

    Mary - too similar, made one feel as though the author has run out of ideas. I like this CR format too - an opportunity to catch with reviews.

  4. Thanks for linking up, Cat :) Okay now I really have to read Elegance of a Hedgehog. I've heard too many great things about it. Another one I've heard good things about is Cee Cee Honeycutt. Have you read that one?

  5. Lynne - no, I haven't read that although I've so many good reviews. It doesn't seem to be available here. Really enjoyed the Cruise Reviews and will be using them often when that review pile gets too big.

  6. Carol Goodman definitely has a formula to her books, and so it really comes down to the execution of that formula to determine the level of enjoyment. I thought Arcadia Falls was one of her better books. I do find her writing to be very comfortable and easy to read.

  7. Great reviews :D
    Short and nice is such a relief sometimes aren't they. I do need those sometimes when I write

  8. That is unfortunate to have two similar reads so close together. One is bound to suffer by comparison.

    And I love this cruise review format. I'm going to have to use it when I get stuck.

  9. Thanks for your thoughts on Elegance of a Hedgehog... this is one I have wondered about for awhile now :)