Saturday, March 14, 2009

Isabelle Webb the Legend of the Jewel by N.C. Allen

Isabelle Webb The Legend of the Jewel by N.C. Allen

Isabelle Webb and her friend Sally Rhodes decide that they both need a break from the war-torn United States. Isabelle is recovering from an injury received as a Pinkerton spy, while trying to save President Lincoln from assassination. They decide to take a trip to India, and forget their troubles. Enroute they meet a handsome blacksmith from Utah named James Ashby, who is looking for his little brother, Phillip. Phillip was taken in by a con man Thaddeus Sparks, who was in search of a legendary jewel rumored to give the owner powers. While on board the steamer ship to Bombay they run into a woman, who claims to know about the jewel. It is suspicious that the Woman disappears the night before they reach India. They find themselves investigating not only the trail of a insane conman, but also a murder out for the jewel.

Traveling around British ruled India 1865 makes for an interesting setting and historical background for this novel. I was engaged by the suspense, but it took me a few chapters to really get into the story. The dialogue between the characters is sort of awkward because it sounded too modern, while trying to sound old. After reading the awkward first chapter I wondered if I would like the book. Yet, there are times the dialogue is spot on, and Isabella’s wit really shines. It was fun to read about a heroine that was competent, and not afraid to get in the middle of the action. I really got caught up in the storyline at the end and couldn’t put it down. I got really mad though because the story ended in a cliffhanger. It’s not a good one either, as in fair to the reader. I avoided writing this review for a few days because I was so mad about the ending. It seriously ended in the middle of a plot line. The book should have ended earlier or much later, but not where it did in my opinion. So, I would advise not reading the book until you can get the sequel, but saying that just makes me feel bitter because that’s like saying, “Oh, sure go pay $30 dollars for something that should have been one book in the first place. Let the publisher cheat you out of your hard earned money.” Yeah, still mad. Alas.

N.C. Allen Blog's at Ink Ladies:

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Friday, March 6, 2009

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Anna’s sister Kate is sick, very sick. She has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. That is how Anna was born. Her parents had her genetically engineered so that she would be a perfect match donor for Kate. Now she is tired of undergoing all those medical procedures even though she is not the sick one. Now that she is thirteen she wants to have more choice and control over what happens in her life and what happens to her body. She decided to find a good lawyer, and sue her parents for medical emancipation.

Eh, I had mixed feelings on this book. I read it for the ward book club. Overall, I didn’t like it much. I loved the concept of the story, it is full of all kinds of dramatic conflict, and conflicting emotions. It is definitely a book one can form a strong opinion on. The writing was beautiful, and the characters fairly well developed and interesting. Though, I found the plot to be a little clichĂ© and long. The trial doesn’t happen until half way through the book, and I kept trying to get through bunches of pointless philosophical ramblings, flashbacks, and side stories to get to Anna’s story. In fact, I hated the Campbell and Julia side story, it was full of crude sexual references, and pointless details about their love affair fifteen years ago. The book is about more than Anna’s conflict, and includes the stories of all the members of the Fitzgerald family. Jesse is the rebellious teen that is on drugs, committing a string of arsons, and breaking the law (And also making the occasional crude sexual reference). His father is the captain of the firemen team, trying to protect both of his daughters. Sara Fitzgerald is determined to keep her daughter Kate alive, and just struggles to keep the family from drowning under the stress of her medical disease.

So, while I appreciated some aspects of the novel. I felt like the book was too literary for my taste. I like thoughtful, beautiful prose, but not when I have to wade through an extra 100 pages of it to get a story. I got tired of the style halfway into the novel and couldn’t wait to finish it, not because I was interested in the story, but because I was tired of reading it. Part of this may be because the story doesn’t reflect a lot of my values, and because I’m not really a mother yet. I can understand this story being more engrossing to those that are mothers.