Profile for Julia Flyte > Reviews

Browse

Julia Flyte's Profile

Customer Reviews: 664
Top Reviewer Ranking: 395
Helpful Votes: 8199




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Julia Flyte RSS Feed
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Soy Sauce for Beginners
Soy Sauce for Beginners
Price: $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it, August 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Gretchen is the daughter of a artisanal soy sauce "empire". Her grandfather founded the company, where her father, uncle and cousin all work. Gretchen left Singapore some tens years ago and has been living in San Francisco, pursuing a career in music. When her marriage breaks up, she returns to Singapore, intending to spend the summer working at the family business before returning to the US to continue her studies. Being in Singapore will force her to face up to family issues that she has been in denial about as well as giving her fresh perspective on her marriage and her chosen career.

There are a lot of things that I really liked about this book. I loved the Singapore setting - I was in the city not so long ago and really enjoyed revisiting it. I also found the information about artisanal soy sauce genuinely fascinating. Initially my impression was that the writing was kind of amateurish. Uneven pacing, lots of telling us how people feel, stereotypical characters (yes, I'm talking to you Cal). However as I read on, I found myself increasingly caught up in Gretchen's story and thinking about it when I wasn't reading the book. I also liked the way that the story kept taking little twists that I didn't see coming - everytime I thought something was going to be very predictable, I was wrong.

Gretchen's personality is somewhat annoying. I felt like shaking her sometimes and saying "grow up! You're thirty!" But the more I think about it, the more that's a sign that the author had delivered a real, nuanced person to me. So despite its flaws - or maybe because of them - I did enjoy this book.


Better Off Dead: (Victor the Assassin 4)
Better Off Dead: (Victor the Assassin 4)

3.0 out of 5 stars A weak link in the series, August 13, 2014
Victor is an assassin at the top of his game. He's clinical, calculating, aloof. This is the fourth book in the series about him and they are very, very good - but this is the weakest in the series to date. I was quite disappointed by it.

The plot has Victor travelling to London to find and protect the step-daughter of a former friend. When he does find her, he discovers that some very powerful people want her dead. They are reporting to a woman who is every bit as cool and cunning as Victor is and who even outwits him on occasion.

I didn't think this was a terrible book but I didn't love it as I have the others in the series. Partly, I felt that Victor being teamed up with another person meant that he didn't get the opportunity to be as cool as he usually is. I was also very annoyed by a couple of sequences that happened for NO reason other than to keep the action going fast and furious. They didn't fit with risks that Victor would take and they didn't even get explained. (MINOR SPOILER: One of these is halfway through when Victor announces that he needs to talk to Norimov - no he doesn't! And if he does, then why doesn't he do so? It's just an excuse for another action sequence). Even the reason for Victor being sent to London in the first place gets disproven. There are just too many plot developments that don't add up, and this annoyed me greatly.

Much as Zero Day (John Puller Series) read like Baldacci trying to mimic Lee Child, this book reads like someone trying to mimic Tom Wood rather than delivering the quality of the real thing.


What Came Before
What Came Before

2.0 out of 5 stars Hard going, August 1, 2014
This review is from: What Came Before (Kindle Edition)
This is the story of a dysfunctional, abusive relationship which opens with the statement: "My name is David James Forrester. I'm a solicitor. Tonight, at 6.10, I killed my wife." The story then moves in two directions simultaneously: exploring the story of how David and his wife Elle met and how their relationship evolved and at the same time moving forwards on the night of the crime as David deals with the ramifications of what he has done.

This is a well written, book but I have to say that I really disliked it. David is such an unpleasant character and the details of their relationship are not easy to read. I didn't like spending time with these people and seeing the chances that Elle kept giving this man, knowing what we were leading towards. There are also some graphic sex scenes which felt quite uncomfortable to read.

I also felt that the structure of the book let it down. I didn't feel any tension because I knew what was going to happen (there is a slight twist towards the end, but it's insufficient).

I will say that the characters are very rounded and feel real - as I've said above, the book is well written - but I did not enjoy it and I wouldn't recommend it.


The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry
The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry

4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, July 30, 2014
AJ Fikry runs a bookstore on a small island off Hyannis Port. His beloved wife died some 18 months earlier and he has become increasingly rude, bitter and stick in his ways. Amelia is a book rep who visits him to present her company's new book releases. Their initial meeting is a disaster and they will retain a polite but not very friendly relationship for some time afterwards. But then AJ finds a toddler abandoned in his bookstore and gradually his outlook on life changes as he starts finding things to live for.

I adored the first half of this book. It is light hearted and occasionally laugh out loud funny - similar in style to A Man Called Ove: A Novel. I did notice that the author had a tendency of resolving plot issues by just fast forwarding in time, which was somewhat irritating, but overall the charm carried the book along nicely. I particularly liked Lambiase, the local policeman who becomes a reader.

But then, around the halfway mark, things seem to come to a natural conclusion and somehow the second half of the book doesn't work so well. It starts with the death of a (minor) character - a twist that somehow feels out of step with the book thus far. Some more serious issues start to be presented, but they feel out of step with the frothy tone and characters that we have become familiar with. I could tell that I was meant to be crying but I only felt mildly moved.

I still liked this book but for me it was a book of two halves and I much preferred the first half to the second.

In the US this book is published under the title "The Storied Life of AJ Fikry"


The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel
by Gabrielle Zevin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.76
81 used & new from $14.39

4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, July 30, 2014
AJ Fikry runs a bookstore on a small island off Hyannis Port. His beloved wife died some 18 months earlier and he has become increasingly rude, bitter and stick in his ways. Amelia is a book rep who visits him to present her company's new book releases. Their initial meeting is a disaster and they will retain a polite but not very friendly relationship for some time afterwards. But then AJ finds a toddler abandoned in his bookstore and gradually his outlook on life changes as he starts finding things to live for.

I adored the first half of this book. It is light hearted and occasionally laugh out loud funny - similar in style to A Man Called Ove: A Novel. I did notice that the author had a tendency of resolving plot issues by just fast forwarding in time, which was somewhat irritating, but overall the charm carried the book along nicely. I particularly liked Lambiase, the local policeman who becomes a reader.

But then, around the halfway mark, things seem to come to a natural conclusion and somehow the second half of the book doesn't work so well. It starts with the death of a (minor) character - a twist that somehow feels out of step with the book thus far. Some more serious issues start to be presented, but they feel out of step with the frothy tone and characters that we have become familiar with. I could tell that I was meant to be crying but I only felt mildly moved.

I still liked this book but for me it was a book of two halves and I much preferred the first half to the second.

In the UK this book is published under the title "The Collected Works of AJ Fikry"


Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong
Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong
Price: $9.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, July 29, 2014
Moral: Don't marry men from other countries and cultures whom you have only know a short time.

Susan Blumberg-Kason grew up in suburban Chicago and from an early age was fascinated by China. After graduating from college in the US, she seizes the opportunity to do a Masters degree in Hong Kong. There the somewhat shy and sheltered student meets a handsome Chinese boy called Cai. After only a few months he proposes, warning her almost immediately afterwards that sometimes he can lose his temper but it will only be temporary. Naive and in love, Susan determines to be the warm, soft, good Chinese wife that her husband wants her to be.

However almost immediately there are strains in the marriage as Cai puts his needs ahead of hers at every turn. For the most part Susan makes excuses for his behaviour and tries her best to keep him happy. When she does resist even mildly, he loses his temper and then refuses to speak to her, sometimes for days at a time. Once they have a child together, the stakes get higher and Susan realizes that she needs to stand up for herself once and for all.

I really enjoyed this book which gives a fascinating perspective of China in the mid 1990s. It's extremely readable and even when I wasn't reading it I found myself thinking about it. Susan takes us through her story in such a way that you feel you really understand what she was thinking and feeling and why she behaved as she did. She doesn't shy away from events that don't show her in a positive light and it's clear that they both had a part to play in the marriage's problems - although she puts up with a great deal more than I ever could. After I finished the book I discovered the author's website where you can see some some photographs taken at the time.


Past the Shallows
Past the Shallows

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulls you in and breaks your heart, July 28, 2014
This review is from: Past the Shallows (Kindle Edition)
Miles and Harry live with their father in a remote coastal part of Tasmania. Their mother has died and their older brother Joe has left home. Their father is an abalone fisherman who forces 13 year old Miles to come out on the boat with him every day. Harry, aged 9, is scared of water and stays home alone. Their father drinks too much, neglects his children and is occasionally violent. Gradually we will learn some of the reasons for his behaviour.

This is a very atmospheric book which has a tremendous sense of place. Miles and Harry capture your heart and as the realities of their very grim lives emerge, the book gets increasingly depressing to read. Now that I've finished the book, I'm finding it hard to let them go. The writing is sparse and detached. It's not the kind of book that tells you how you should feel, but maybe because of this it is extremely moving.


Midnight in Europe
Midnight in Europe

4.0 out of 5 stars Another masterclass in espionage novels, July 26, 2014
Paris, 1938. Cristian Ferrar is a Spanish lawyer who is approached by the Spanish Republicans and asked to assist in the procurement of weapons for the Republican army to use in the Spanish Civil War against Franco's forces. He is paired up with a former arms agent, Max de Lyon. Together they will work to locate and obtain weaponry that will then need to be smuggled out of Europe and across to Spain. The story encompasses a number of locations: Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union.

Alan Furst has written a series of books which focus on different aspects of espionage in pre-WW2 Europe. There are connections between the books but you can read them in any order and each is a standalone story.

There are many things that I love about his writing. It's economical, but densely packed with details and wonderfully rounded characters, so you really feel that you are immersed in pre-War Europe with all its tensions and danger. There was one very small moment which has really stayed with me, when Ferrar is travelling on an overnight train through Germany, and sees the realities of the immense industrial efforts to build up arms in preparation for war. It's spine tingling.

If you're new to Furst's writing you should be aware that his books have an unusual plot structure. They tend to meander, moving from one mini-story to the next. There are connecting threads throughout - and indeed, this book goes a full circle - but there isn't really a sense of there being one coherent storyline. Nevertheless, the end result is very satisfying.


Eeny Meeny: DI Helen Grace 1 (Dci Helen Grace 1)
Eeny Meeny: DI Helen Grace 1 (Dci Helen Grace 1)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts well but that's about all that's good about it, July 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I picked up this book on the basis of the Richard & Judy recommendation and the initial chapter pulled me in immediately. The scenario is a couple who have been abducted, and who are left isolated without food or water. They are given a gun and told one will be released when the other has been killed. It is up to them to decide who will live and who will die. The book is about the subsequent investigation, as DCI Helen Grace investigates a series of abductions and gradually realises that the perpetrator has very personal motivations.

Unfortunately after a gripping start this book quickly got silly and by the 40% mark (thank you Kindle) I was already fed up with it. Lots of very short chapters and rapid developments do not equal tension. Instead, I would have preferred a slower pace with more exploration of the victim's dilemmas and more character development. None of the characters feel plausible and none of them behave in likely ways. Improbable plot twist followed improbable plot twist as I got increasingly irritated. Also, basic facts about what happens if you go without food or water seemed to be ignored in the interests of perpetuating this very silly story.

It's a shame, there was an intriguing premise, but there's not much more to recommend this one.


One Night in Winter: A Novel
One Night in Winter: A Novel
by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.56
58 used & new from $9.72

4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing thriller interwoven with real events and people, July 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Simon Sebag Montefiore is an acclaimed historian and author of the prizewinning biography "Young Stalin". In One Night in Winter, his second work of fiction, he marries his deeply developed understanding of Stalin's complex, paranoid psyche to actual domestic events in Moscow during and immediately after WW2, to create a plausible, intriguing and often dark story.

His fully fledged players are a mixture. Some are invented while others are actual people, true to their characters and parts in history and often quoted accurately. The result is a superior and wholly satisfying historical thriller which provides an understanding of its time, place and people. Highly recommended.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20