The Walled City 

I found the whole idea enthralling. But at times, I just got really bored by the book itself in the beginning. The research I believe was did to the best of the author’s ability, and even then she took plenty of liberties here. Which was fine with me, as she was carefully in her portrayal. 

It just took a long time to get to really know or even like any of the characters. I like Jin Ling and Dai. While Mei Yee often just fell flat on me. First person narration can be hard when it comes to this number of characters it is shuffling through. And here, I think it just didn’t work too well. I cared about Dai and Jin Ling, but I felt that there could have been more. 

As in really more. 

More depth, and more grit. As in how life in the Walled City really was a horrifying experience for them. I didn’t really get that feeling here. Or even the themes that the story wanted to touch either. 

The plot was pretty decent, nothing gets easily done and the ending was a nice touch. After all they have been through, it is frankly impossible that any of them will be able to go back to normal without serious help. And it doesn’t do anything to say that it will be easy either. 

I guess the book was a nice read with romance, but it just didn’t dig deep enough for my liking. Which was something I will have enjoyed more, as you can see from the kind of works I enjoy. But overall, still worth the time I spent reading it. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Thornhill 

I found this beautifully crafted to create a haunting ghost story which I will remember for ages to come. That is likely to happen, when I remember the story. 

Such as about Mary, who is bullied to a severe degree and her uniqueness. Which draws the wrong kind of attention, like it should in those times. And eventually, she becomes a mute at the end of it. 

It is surprisingly set in alternate times, such as now and nearly 35 years back. The story is carefully told and reminds me of the many Gothic novels I have seen before, something mysterious happening but never getting an explanation. And the ending was completely understandable, and I greatly liked it. 

As for Ella, she is simply curious about it all. That is why she chose to go to Thornhill when it was supposed to end as it was. Ever since she seems to have parents that although are not dead, they are quite absent. Well, she looks around Thornhill and slowly discovers Mary, and the truth behind it. 

The illustrations are done nicely, and give a mysterious tone. As well as the story which is written as a journal of Mary, and details her life. Such as how she thinks about finding a solace from her own bully, because that bully just went too far. All because she was a different child. 

And to be honest, I liked it. The ambiguity, the kind of chill it gave me at the end of the day. It was completely enjoyable and a quick read. So, I recommend it to all those looking for a quick but good read. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Deadly Cure

Well, this was incredibly surprising and even addictive to read. The moment I picked it up, I found myself intrigued by the mystery behind a death and medicine.

Noah was precisely the character with enough motivation to seek this kind of thing out, as he was the one who treated the boy before he died and if he simply lets it go, who knows what may have happened.

Although the mystery at the end of the day did explain everything in a coherent way, I wished a little more time was devoted to really developing the true killer. But I could see why Noah ignored her all the way.

I mean, she wasn’t someone that I even expected. But she barely made an appearance and more of an appearance could help it become a lot more believable, rather than have another character be the red herring for most of the book.

The writing was well suited to the time, with it truly feeling like it was the 20th century, and well researched as well. All the while making me think that it was modern century, but nonetheless

I enjoyed the story for how it is about greed, and the way it could drive people. Not to mention, the fact that some just want to escape the consequences of their own actions.

As for Dr Frias, there were some surprising things about him. And towards the end, he is surprisingly interesting. Such as his words and eventually what he does at the ending. From the kind of doctor driven by greed that we were led to believe, to someone a little more complex than I thought.

And linking him to Noah’s father, having that little bit be said about him. I liked that it does have some link to Noah, and some things are revealed here about him rather than just being a character which exists to solve the mystery.

Overall, the plot is well thought out. As well as Noah’s character factoring into the mystery quite well. All the while it is a tale that is all too relevant today, if you ask me. Such as what people will do for money, just that the ways have changed with time.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Manor Of Secrets 

This was a lot more surprising than I thought initially, and that despite all it was rather interesting and exploratory. Such as about Charlotte and Janie, and their relationship. As well as the idea of society and mistakes as unacceptable. 

I found the whole idea of Charlotte and her adventures linking to making mistakes that will ruin her, a very interesting connection.  And the fact that it links to real life, that we cannot make mistakes or society will perceive us as wrong. Or that we made a foolish choice as compared to a sensible decision, but the life there is completely boring with nothing much that is redeemable about it. 

And Charlotte’s dilemma can still be applied today, as we are all expected to go the usual route. Find a good job, settle and eventually retire. How many will deviate from this path? How many will decide that it is not to their choice? I like this as it links it all together and talks about this at the end of the day. 

Beatrice was someone rather interesting nonetheless when it came to the relevations. And that I will have preferred a little more time with her, and Charlotte getting to know her as well. As for her relationshop with Janie, it was the one which I was most surprised about. Given how it seemed to have been the biggest driver of the story, which is always welcome as compared to romance. 

When it came to Lady Diane, I was nonetheless surprised. There were some secrets about her that is revealed her. And like the title, everyone jeeps something numb. And most of them are the women. It is never anyone else other than them as it seems. 

Overall, this was strangely been an enjoyable peace of work. All the characters have their own secrets and mistakes which impact their thoughts and decisions. And make for a very interesting story at the end of the day. My only complaint was that not all the characters struck a cord with me and I found the beginning rather boring. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Maud

This was a really enjoyable work, at least to me. I found the tale of Maud and her life during her teenaged years fascinating.

And at the same time quite sad and even poignant, reflecting upon the helplessness of a girl in those times. Where she has to stay with someone and becomes extremely dependent on them.

Since this is a ya novel, at the end of the day it means that the ending will not go further than just barely into her adulthood but it was still satisfying. Maud got what she wanted albeit quite differently and her life even at this time was filled with interesting occasions.

As for all the characters who affect her, I like Laura the best she is her best friend at the end of the day. As well as eventually her own grandma who displayed her support for her to enter college behind her grandfather’s back.

Not to mention her stepmother, whom I found deplorable but not completely a villain. She was doing what she could to help herself, even if it was at Maud’s expense. But the ending of how it went down, the final confrontation with her was almost perfection.

Overall, this novel wasn’t hurt a biography, it truly told a story which I enjoyed thoroughly through Maud and her experiences which were rather unique and really made me feel for her.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Da Vinci’s Tiger

This was still a little more surprising in its execution than I thought. It did explore the life of a Renaissance woman rather than the true cold hard facts that we were given about those times.

But I feel that it didn’t have that charm of a story. It was a good read overall, where there were many moments where it told another Ginerva and her various ideals. But I didn’t think it went deep enough about the discussion of it.

Even though Ginerva was by any means, not a relatively normal Renaissance woman. She is still a poet despite marrying and expected to simply accept her position as lower and subservient. And her verses were indeed unique to say.

But there wasn’t too much of a story to tell. Regarding on how Leonardo viewed her and the potrait of her drawn. And the whole idea of platonic muse. There was just a lot of ideas that I didn’t feel was explored fully, or as in depth as I hoped it will be.

But the timeline and the historical accuracy is there. This isn’t a romance, it is truly what it says it is. Perhaps there is some attraction but the reality is that there is a lot more needed to marry in those times than just love.

So, overall the novel was interesting and did hit a few notes with me. But it could have been so much more.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Pillars Of The Earth

And this is a book that is the largest I have ever read, yet I have fallen in love with it. Comepletely.

The story goes between many characters who are all important. Tom, the first master builder, to Jack, the son of an outlaw and the second master builder. Ailena, who I really like and loved. Also, not to mention Ellen.

They were all characters I cared about, and somehow all their pasts were linked together. In a way that comepletely blew me away, it wasn’t what I expected but it was still enjoyable.

This work tells the story of a building of a cathedral, and mostly covers all the difficulties they faced. The endless trials. Rather it was romance or even the schemes they all placed. And well, intrigue does have its own hand here as it turns out to build a cathedral, the funds must be there. And it’s only the court who will provide it.

I found the entire story to be well placed, with every secret tying back to the story. The history and the setting well researched, not to mention all the characters whom I really cared about and loved. If that counts for anything, looking back at all my reviews which didn’t contain it, I will say that it makes a huge difference.

Overall, this was a brilliant and well woven tale. One which I will always recommend.

Rating: 5 out of 5