Susan Orlean sets out to explore the phenomena that was Rin Tin Tin. She attempts to explain that elusive quality that makes someone/something memorabSusan Orlean sets out to explore the phenomena that was Rin Tin Tin. She attempts to explain that elusive quality that makes someone/something memorable by telling us about the early beginnings RIn Tin Tin’s life and his relationship with his owner Lee Duncan and then moves into the larger arena of Rin Tin Tin as an abstract via the appearances in various TV shows; movies etc. There is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Orlean could write about the phone book and make it interesting and she certainly makes the story of Rinty as well as the machinations of Hollywood interesting. She fills out the book interesting side notes but fails, I think, in demonstrating precisely why this dog became almost mythical. She describes how he represented the ideal of a boy and his dog but what is it about this romanticized ideal that turn people into dreamers and obsessives? I don’t blame the author though I think it is almost impossible to describe an obsession and many, many people were obsessed with Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin has faded from today’s social media obsessed youth but I was so chuffed when a young man in his late 20s waxed enthusiastic about the Rin Tin Tin comics and how much he had loved them when he was young, proof in my mind that Rinty might still make a comeback. Recommended for those individuals who enjoy slightly off beat biographies. Those individuals looking for a straight up dog story will be disappointed as we see Rin Tin Tin and his descendents reflected through the lens of the people who cared for or worked with them.
This one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I confess that I ripped through it in about three days. It was most assuredly fast paced but.... we've seenThis one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I confess that I ripped through it in about three days. It was most assuredly fast paced but.... we've seen the premise before -or at least I have, lover of schlocky films that I am. Also, if I slowed down and actually absorbed what I was reading the whole thing refused to hold together for me. She had far too many scenarios based on the same theme and it became boring after awhile. it also didn't always gel - people die rather quickly of thirst yet she had some of her victims confined and still alive after what felt like much too long a time. I also knew quite early on who the killer might be in relation to Helen. One of the early interior monologues pretty much gives it away. I also found Helen's reaction to the killer to be quite surprising considering the early circumstances of their lives. I'd also like one police procedural where we don't have the alcoholic copper - been there done that. However, if you are looking for a quick no brainer type of read this one might be for you....more
Another excellent book by Bolton - made particularly strong by her use of the Falkland islands as setting for the novel. Her characters, as always, arAnother excellent book by Bolton - made particularly strong by her use of the Falkland islands as setting for the novel. Her characters, as always, are complex and the ending to this one - wow did not expect that little plot twist. Highly recommended...more
This poor book kept appearing/disappearing in my house so the story ended up being a bit choppy for me. - Not the books fault, but I've forgotten bitsThis poor book kept appearing/disappearing in my house so the story ended up being a bit choppy for me. - Not the books fault, but I've forgotten bits and pieces. I really enjoyed the setting and the time period - San Francisco in prohibition era and I liked Aida, our heroine. I wish the story had focused a little more on her ability to channel spirits, this aspect of her life sort of got lost in the middle only to pick back up at the end of the book. This being a romance there was the usual insta-lust + best sex ever but I found our hero a little off putting since he was, in essence, a mob boss who had people killed. However, I enjoyed the book enough to get the second in the series in which we meet Winters sexy archeologist brother....more
There are several things Wild is not. It is not a how to guide to hiking or the PCT. It is not a how to manual to have your own life changing epiphanyThere are several things Wild is not. It is not a how to guide to hiking or the PCT. It is not a how to manual to have your own life changing epiphany. If you are expecting these things in this book you will be disappointed. I found the story interesting and Cheryl herself is an engaging character. I’ve known many women like her throughout my life – funny, charismatic women who are frankly sexual and who have made their own mistakes but their mistakes did not make them any more or less human. If the author had been a morally upright character I would have found the story less interesting. What really resonated with me though was the loss of her mother and how she felt such rage at times over her mother’s dying. My mother’s death still affects me after eight years so I totally understood what she was going through. I didn’t make the same poor decisions she did but I understood the concept of trying to find something to fill the void. I also appreciated that she knew she had made mistakes and knew she would probably make them again. I also enjoyed her “voice” and was entertained throughout the book. Speaking of voice major kudos to the narrator of this book. Her reading of the book brought to light perfectly As a final thought - I don’t normally address points in others reviews but I found it interesting that people seemed disgruntled that other individuals would help her out while on the trail and that lots of the men on the trail seemed to like her. I didn’t get the sense that she was using her sexuality to get things but rather that people were impressed that she was doing the trek on her own and that she was pretty darn resilient in spite of being woefully unprepared.. I also thought, hmm if this were a man and all the other guys/women on the trail liked him there wouldn’t even be this discussion. I also didn’t understand why people were upset when she noticed the attractiveness of other persons on the trail. Most 20 somethings (and up though one isn’t supposed to admit noticing attractive human beings after a certain age) do tend to do this on a regular basis. It didn’t strike me as odd at all. However different things bug different folks so do be aware that the book does focus on Cheryl and people’s reactions to her and not vice versa. An excellent summer in read in my opinion. ...more
Will Henry that intrepid assistant apprentice to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop is thrown into yet more peril in this installment. The wife (Muriel Canler) ofWill Henry that intrepid assistant apprentice to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop is thrown into yet more peril in this installment. The wife (Muriel Canler) of Wathrop’s former best friend shows up at his door one evening and entreats Pellinore to find her husband, John Canler. It turns out that Canler has gone into the depths of the Canadian wilderness to try and prove the existence of the wendigo. Wathrop scoffs at the existence of a creature that starves even as it gorges on human flesh but eventually agrees to try and locate Canler. He does so partially because his old mentor, Dr. von Helrung, is planning on presenting a paper at the upcoming monstrumology symposium proving the existence of the Wendigo. Wathrop is convinced that if this occurs that the study of monstromology will go into a sad decline. Will and Wathrop do indeed go into the wilderness and eventually locate and haul out John Canler with great physical and mental peril to themselves. The second half of the book shifts to New York. Canler disappears, Wathrop and Von Helrung become increasingly estranged and horrible murders start to occur after Canler disappears. I absolutely loved this story for oh so many reasons. First and foremost was the character development. We find out quite a bit about Wathrop’s younger years. He was once a sensitive soul, a lover of poetry, a fiancé to Muriel before she married John, and suicidal to boot. He also begins to openly show his need and even affection for Will Henry. Will himself continues to grow into a more intriguing individual. He too learns that he has become attached to Wathrop. He is also not always the most noble of individuals. There is one scene where he chooses to leave a baby on the floor in a tenement house, a decision that will haunt him. “biting my lip, I stepped over the child. What could I do? Its suffering had nothing to do with me. It would have been in that cold, stinking hall whether or not I’d been there. So I stepped over it. I turned my back upon it and left it there.” All is not grim though especially once Will Henry is introduced to Lily and receives his first kiss and his first realization that one should not do something simply to impress the girl. Yancey’s writing is detailed and quite exquisite –I give just a couple of small samples here that set two, very different, very vivid scenes - "what boy my age didn't dream of fleeing the well-tended lawn and lamplit street for the untamed wilderness, where grand adventure awaited on the other side of the horizon, where the stars burned undimmed in the velvet sky above his head and the virgin ground lay untrodden between his feet"
“The wilderness and the slums were but two faces of the same desolation. The gray land of soul-crushing nothingness of the slum was as bereft of hope as the burned-out snow-packed brulee of the forest. The denizens of the slums were stalked by the same hunger, preyed upon by predators no less savage than their woodland counterparts.” The pacing of the book is also brilliant, and I found the first part of the book, set in the wilderness to be quite disturbing. The pacing does not slow down either once the action shifts to New York City. Warning – this book is not for the faint of heart as grue and gore do populate the pages. For those of you who are adult readers do not be put off by the YA label. This book could stand quite well as “adult” horror.
A whimsical on emight even say droll, great fun, light hearted romp of a story, whot, whot? I read the first in the adult series and very much enjoyedA whimsical on emight even say droll, great fun, light hearted romp of a story, whot, whot? I read the first in the adult series and very much enjoyed it but don't actually remember much of it (a state that occurs all too frequently these days, even with beloved books) so I rather enjoyed being re introduced to the overly mannered world of young ladies who are more than what they seem along with a smattering of evil geniuses. Looking forward to the second in the series ...more
Unfortunately this book did not work for me. This does not mean that it will not work for you. Many people did enjoy the story and you could be among
Unfortunately this book did not work for me. This does not mean that it will not work for you. Many people did enjoy the story and you could be among them.
Some of the problems I had with the book ranged from mildly annoying such as stilted dialogue in which one character will basically parrot back the exact phrase another character has used such as “you should have called an Orca rescue organization” “We were going to call an Orca rescue organization.”
Then I began to be pulled out of the story due to actions I felt were unrealistic. In one scene early on Claire has been missing for hours and when she returns she is quite disheveled, her dress is stained and torn, her hair is a mess . She goes up to her mother's room .Her mother chides her for looking like a mess and then finally asks if she is okay. Most people would have immediately asked about the other person's well being, not comment on their appearance. There should have been a sense that her parents were worried and relieved when Claire shows up. This is especially true because they had lived through Claire’s kidnapping as a young child.
I also had difficulty buying some of the action in the book - Claire is a suspect in a murder investigation because someone sent an anonymous letter but the Sheriff asks Claire's new beau to question her discretely (cause police departments always ask the would be boyfriend to do this) with nary a nod to actual background checks. I understand why she might be questioned but not why she would be a serious murder suspect.
Also, and this was a big pill for me to swallow, why would her parents ever have agreed to have a business meeting at the hotel that had caused so much emotional grief , so much so that Claire’s mother had to be institutionalized?
All of this I could overlook if I was invested in my heroine but Claire falls flat for me and in some cases I don't really like her. She is supposed to be a professional business woman and yet she wears flirty little dresses trying to close a business deal. No thank you, please don't perpetuate the stereotype of women using their "feminine wiles" to accomplish things.
Most of the other characters were also fairly despicable as well so I had no real reason to be engaged in the story and I’m not sure why I persevered in reading it.
I also found the suspense part of my romantic suspense novel to be lacking. Claire is attacked once, interesting, Claire is attacked three times, I began to yawn. The most damage she seems to sustain is a bump on the head and some bruising which did not prevent her from wearing the aforementioned flirty red dress. Sorry, I never felt much concern for her and kept thinking that the would be killer was probably the most inept character ever. We do discover later on why he didn't kill her outright the first time but this did nothing to convince me that the story shouldn't have been more suspenseful earlier on. To be frank it reminded me of a scooby doo episode "why if it weren't for Claire and her meddling friends...I would have gotten away with it". It was also quite evident to me early on who the killer was as well as the relationship between Claire and Kate....more
I’m playing book bingo with a friend this year and as it was my month to choose I decided to reread a childhood favorite and chose The Inheritor2.5ish
I’m playing book bingo with a friend this year and as it was my month to choose I decided to reread a childhood favorite and chose The Inheritor. There were obviously things I repressed about this book as I was not nearly as enthused with the book as I was back in the day. Leslie is a therapist with strong psychic abilities and, as we meet her, she is looking for a house to live in in San Francisco so that her younger sister may attend a music conservatory there. We learn a little bit of her back story including the fact that she had helped locate a dead girl via her psychic gifts as well as the fact that she is in a relationship(with Joel) she believes may not be the best for her. She also starts experiencing poltergeist phenomena at the house she is currently residing in and attributes this partially to herself and her hidden desire to break it off with Joel. However she has found a fabulous house in San Francisco and moves there with her sister. They soon discover that one part of their property, the detached garage, seems to give off malevolent vibes. Claire turns for help with her poltergeist problems to a nearby bookshop specializing in the occult. Her sister begins to develop relationships with the people who work there and Leslie becomes acquainted with two individuals with a lot of expertise in the occult. The problem is that she doesn’t particularly care for them as they have warned her that her new beau, Simon, has practiced and may still be practicing dark magic. Simon also just happens to be one of her sister’s teachers. There were many things I did like about the book. I liked the gothic atmosphere Ms. Bradley created especially the visuals of the fog rolling in over the grounds with a white cat that keeps appearing and disappearing. She also used subtle touches to make the story a little more creepy such as a window that refuses to stay shut and gentle music that can be barely heard. These are all too common effects today but back in the 80s when I first read the book these were not as common and made for a decent creepy factor. I was also interested in the explanations of magick and the practice of the left versus right path as well as the thoughts on reincarnation. The sections I didn’t care for were the rather flat characters of Leslie and her sister and I couldn’t get over the instalove Leslie felt for Simon. He comes off as arrogant from the instant we meet him, his students are terrified of him and he has no characteristics that I can see that would make someone fall almost instantly in love with him. Combine his personality with the fact that he tortured and killed animals when he was younger as well as torturing and killing at least one prostitute and I cannot see why Leslie would fall for him. At one point Leslie even dreams that she is the woman being ritually killed. He also justifies several times why it isn’t such a bad thing that a prostitute or homeless person can be sacrificed so that he might regain physical health. He even eyes the autistic daughter of one of her patients. So this guy is such a catch how? I also was not enthused that Leslie put up no more than a token argument against him. One would think that as a psychologist she might have greater understanding as to what might cause someone to become a less desirable member of society. She could have argued that they had failings but were still people with parents, children, etc and should not be viewed as convenient, expendable stepping stones. Instead she came across as rather a weak character herself. I do understand that they were lovers n a past life but that explanation still did not work for me in re the current attraction. The ultimate dislike for me though was the ending. In no way shape or form could I understand or approve of Leslie’s actions. Simon has almost sacrificed her sister and with barely a thought of “oh this guy is creepy and weird” she forgives him. Personally I would have booted his bum out the door when I heard about the very first animal sacrifice but hey I obviously don’t have a mercenary me first type of mentality. ++for atmosphere and location – - for unbelievable characters
Hands down - the best contemporary YA I've ever read. The characters felt real to me without being precocious and I really appreciated the focus was nHands down - the best contemporary YA I've ever read. The characters felt real to me without being precocious and I really appreciated the focus was not so much on the love aspect as on the finding oneself/friendship aspect of the book. I also liked the fact that while Sib and Lou's parents were off screen most of the time when they did show up it was a positive portrayal. Also a huge thank you for Sibylla not falling in love with Michael at the end of the book. Give me more by this author right now!...more
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book - a great character in Cia. The story gets a woo hoo for portraying a girl who is good in math and scienI have to say that I really enjoyed this book - a great character in Cia. The story gets a woo hoo for portraying a girl who is good in math and science and is a great mechanic, and not only that there are lots of other smart girls and the story assumes this is the norm. The fast paced plot which pulls no punches also kept me hooked. I haven't enjoyed a dystopia this much since the Hunger Games. What keeps me from rating the book higher is the "huh" factor of killing off your best and brightest citizens instead of using other incentives and what's up with only a very few will be eligible for university? The earth is in really bad shape and to my way of thinking needs every brain they can get. However I let that flaw in the plot go and just kept rooting for Cia and company. I also felt that this particular reader wasn't the best suited to the story. Her voice tended to be a little flat when there should have been more tension and her male voices made all the guys sound a bit dumb. I'll definitely be listing to the second book though as I am on tenterhooks to find out what happens to Cia and Tomas....more