Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five stars may be a bit generous, but I was completely absorbed in the story from the beginning and it didn’t lose my interest. Impossible to categorize – it isn’t exactly fantasy, nor a mystery, nor a horror story. It reminded me a bit of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy with elements of Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland. Geeky 16-year-old boy is sent on a coming-of-age journey by his dying grandfather. I won’t say any more than that, because half the fun of this book is going along on the journey not knowing any more than the protagonist. I loved the blend of paranormal explanations for historical events. The horror and violence are relatively mild, but I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger children. The vintage photographs are certainly strange and thought-provoking. The perfect test for my Nook Color, and it came through with flying colors! (No pun intended.) Warning: There is a bit of a cliff-hanger ending, so hopefully that means there will be a sequel! 20th Century Fox has bought the rights, so a movie is in the works. And a note for you Welsh-o-philes: Cairnholm Island is fictional and not based on any real island off the Welsh coast.

Description:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

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One Good Turn

One Good TurnOne Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It was much more tightly plotted than the first book, featuring multiple points of view with quirky, interesting characters, witty dialogue, and a satisfying conclusion. This time I did not figure out the ending before I got there. Ably narrated by Steven Crossley. The style reminds me very much of Alexander McCall Smith. Jackson still remains something of a mystery himself, although I feel I know him better than after the first book. I didn’t understand what he saw in Julia, so not surprised to see that relationship unraveling. Martin was a wonderful character. I also liked the detective inspector, Louise, and her troubled son Archie, and perhaps we shall see them again in the next book?

Description:  In One Good Turn Jackson returns, following his girlfriend, Julia the actress, to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. He manages to fall into all kinds of trouble, starting with witnessing a brutal attack by “Honda Man” on another man stuck in a traffic jam. Is this road rage or something truly sinister? Another witness is Martin Canning, better known as Alex Blake, the writer. Martin is a shy, withdrawn, timid sort who, in a moment of unlikely action, flings a satchel at the attacker and spins him around, away from his victim. Gloria Hatter, wife of Graham, a millionaire property developer who is about to have all his secrets uncovered, is standing in a nearby queue with a friend when the attack takes place. There is nastiness afoot, and everyone is involved. Nothing is coincidental.

Through a labyrinthine plot which is hard to follow because the points of view are constantly changing, the real story is played out, complete with Russians, false and mistaken identities, dead bodies, betrayals, and all manner of violent encounters. Jackson gets pulled in to the investigation by Louise Monroe, a police detective and mother of an errant 14-year-old. There might be yet another novel to follow which will take up the connection those two forge in this book. Or, Jackson might just go back to France and feed apples to the local livestock.