The main character of the book is fascinating, a total train wreck. She barely has a grip on reality and is an egotistical sociopath, but her scattere...moreThe main character of the book is fascinating, a total train wreck. She barely has a grip on reality and is an egotistical sociopath, but her scattered narrative is well-paced and ended quickly enough. (less)
First off, this book is not for people who don't already know how to sew. You should have already sewn a few garments (so that you know what the gener...moreFirst off, this book is not for people who don't already know how to sew. You should have already sewn a few garments (so that you know what the general steps are when constructing them, because even though it's included here, it's done in a huge paragraph that you're better off not trying to follow) and have a working knowledge of sewing terms (which is weird when the author goes on to differentiate between muslin the cloth and muslin the garment you use to try on for fitting purposes).
This looks rather cute and has Anthropologie-looking clothing worn by attractive models. Unfortunately, it takes a very simplistic view on pattern making. If you have a body that is relatively straight without a lot of curves and you can get away with wearing clothes that aren't very fitted, then this book has you covered. But if that's your case, you probably don't have too much difficulty with commercial patterns that are already available to you.
There are five basic garments that this book walks you through constructing: an a-line skirt, a t-shirt, a button-down shirt, a dress, and pants. What's not working for me is that only the skirt and the dress has steps for adding darts (seriously, pants without darts?), and even then it's done in a haphazard fashion: for the dress, you are to take what's drafted of the top, make it out of fabric, drape this over yourself, pinch and pin some darts until you're satisfied, and then "do your best to replicate the darts on the other side". She talks about squaring edges, but again, it's in a pretty rudimentary way.
What this book does do well is the variations. If you already had a basic template/sloper that fits you well but don't know how to use it to make something more complicated, this book is pretty useful. It walks you through adding extra fullness at hems and necklines, pockets, yokes, ruffles, and drawstrings.
There's also a tiny section in the back that discusses how to create patterns from clothes you already own and love and how to grade patterns to different sizes, but you're better off looking for books that are dedicated to these topics if you're going to be serious about it. (less)
**spoiler alert** More like a 3.5. Liked this one, though it's less violent than usual Reacher books. Still, it was fun to read (I felt silly not bein...more**spoiler alert** More like a 3.5. Liked this one, though it's less violent than usual Reacher books. Still, it was fun to read (I felt silly not being able to guess what the bad guys were smuggling, though). It didn't have a lot of the things that were bugging me about several of the previous books (a tacked-on love interest, silly foreshadowing, an obvious mole feeding information to the bad guys-- and subsequently, it was fun to watch the bad guys try to figure out what's happening along with Reacher). (less)
**spoiler alert** Really liked this installment. The countdown really helped build up the tension without the usual annoying foreshadowing. The lady i...more**spoiler alert** Really liked this installment. The countdown really helped build up the tension without the usual annoying foreshadowing. The lady interest in this one was compelling and Reacher didn't even have to ravish her. There's funny imagery about a six-year-old Reacher, which is probably my favorite of the anecdotes about his checkered past that are sprinkled throughout the series. It has a cliffhanger ending, but I think it's pretty clear that our hero is okay and how he might have saved himself (looking at the publishing dates, it was pretty thoughtful of them to publish this book and the next only six months apart).
One sticking point for me: it was really obvious who it was in this book that was leaking the information to the bad guy. I was starting to think it was a red herring, but the other red herring was so thinly drawn that there was no way he was involved. After a while, I just wanted the author to use names instead of dragging it out so much. But this is really a minor quibble, I think this book is the best in the series since maybe the first or second. (less)
That's more like it. I wasn't able to figure out the plan halfway through the book this time, which was fun. Looking back at it, I don't think this on...moreThat's more like it. I wasn't able to figure out the plan halfway through the book this time, which was fun. Looking back at it, I don't think this one was actually better written, but coming off of being disappointed with the last ones I've read, this one is much more enjoyable. Disappointing parts: Reacher's now-token ravishment of a beautiful woman (completely unnecessary), not nearly as much revelation about his past as the first few books, and a not quite complete ending (I wanted the implications to be more fleshed out or at least discussed). (less)
Ugh, what happened to the Jack Reacher who didn't want to get involved in anything unless he or someone he's closed to/bonded with has gotten into tro...moreUgh, what happened to the Jack Reacher who didn't want to get involved in anything unless he or someone he's closed to/bonded with has gotten into trouble? Suddenly, he's this big thug who will not tolerate being told what to do and will go to extreme lengths to prove that he is smarter and stronger than his opponents.
There's about a short story's worth of plot in here. The rest is just Reacher being a bully and a rant about how the war on terrorism is nothing more than sending ill-equipped but honorable young men to their deaths for political gain and a thread about how crazy fringe End of Days cults are. (less)
I was hoping that this book would go in-depth about the White House garden and its planning stages and the maintenance required so that it would inspi...moreI was hoping that this book would go in-depth about the White House garden and its planning stages and the maintenance required so that it would inspire others to try planting their own gardens. Unfortunately, this is not what this book is about. Luckily, the First Lady is very charming and enthusiastic, so this book was still enjoyable, because it is actually a primer on her own goals during the administration.
Each chapter is named after a season, but the writing is not limited to a seasonal theme (though the plans and pictures of the last year's garden at each season is included, as well as some delicious-looking healthy recipes for that season's produce). Instead, she talks about the White House Garden (Spring), community gardens around the country (Summer), getting children involved and eating better (Fall), and the importance of exercise (Winter). It's mostly superficial and broadly rendered, but Mrs. Obama graciously includes profiles of several people around the country who are making a difference, and the book is a nice starting point since it provides inspiration as well as information on how you can take action. (less)
Either Lee Child is getting sloppy or someone out there thinks the Reacher readers aren't very smart. I've enjoyed the series so far, following our gi...moreEither Lee Child is getting sloppy or someone out there thinks the Reacher readers aren't very smart. I've enjoyed the series so far, following our giant vigilante as he gets sucked into problems, not really trying to figure out the mystery because I enjoy the ride. But this time, it was so obvious to me what the situation was at a quarter of the way through the book that I was just annoyed at all the red herrings and detours. The one bright spot to this is the return of Frances Neagley, though she doesn't get a spotlight in this one either, we just get more confirmation that she's very capable physically and mentally. Maybe the author is holding off and waiting for an opportunity to spin off her character into a new series-- it could be fun to watch her do this stuff at her company. (less)