I'll. be honest, I didn't finish this book--I quit about 1/3 of the way through, during yet another banquet scene in which Helen mopes around, drinkinI'll. be honest, I didn't finish this book--I quit about 1/3 of the way through, during yet another banquet scene in which Helen mopes around, drinking wine, picking at her food, and whinging on about her fate. It is just not holding my attention. I keep reading a few paragraphs and then wandering off to do something else. As has been said many times before, life is too short to waste time on bad books. ...more
This is the first--and will be the last!--time I've read Shelters of Stone. My God. It only took me a day because I skimmed very heavily. How many timThis is the first--and will be the last!--time I've read Shelters of Stone. My God. It only took me a day because I skimmed very heavily. How many times can I read about Ayla's horses, Ayla's wolf, Ayla's Clan associations, Ayla's Pleasures, Ayla's skills with the sling and the spear-thrower and the this and the that and the blah de blah blah blah? No more times, actually. Zero. This novel was 90% repetitious filler and 10% actual story, and very little plot. I'm not even bothering with the last book in the series--it got 800+ one-star reviews on Amazon and only 500-some 5 stars, always a bad sign. I don't really care anymore what happens to beautiful perfect Ayla and beautiful perfect Jondalar....more
Ugh. For some reason I got it into my head to re-read this series. I already knew The Mammoth Hunters was going to be a struggle, but I don't rememberUgh. For some reason I got it into my head to re-read this series. I already knew The Mammoth Hunters was going to be a struggle, but I don't remember it being quite so tedious . Ms. Auel goes into laborious, repetitive descriptions of everything from soup-making to sex. Yes, sex. Sex is somehow made incredibly unerotic as the author drones on for pages and pages with her clinical yet coy descriptions of every move from start to glorious finish. This is the novel, I remember now, when I really started to dislike Jondalar. What an ass he is. And Ayla fares little better. She is a stupefying combination of innovative genius and servile cave woman. She's so determined to be free and independent, yet follows Ranec off to his furs like a good little fembot the first time he gives her The Signal. Just say NO, Ayla. The silly, teenage angst-level misunderstanding between Jondalar and Ayla that is precipitated by her sleeping with Ranec is incredibly frustrating and boring to read about. Jondalar, with his enormous Manhood and his irresistible blue eyes. Stupid crybaby Jondalar. Hate Jondalar. Find perfect, beautiful, modest Ayla annoying, also. Now I talk like Ayla. Why she no pick up language of Mamutoi better if she so damn smart? Me no likee her pidgin talkee.
The bits about Ayla's magical ability to tame animals reminds me of when I was a very young little girl and fantasized about having some sort of amazing pet like a dragon or a unicorn that I would ride to school, thus procuring the awe and envy of everyone, especially the Mean Girls. Now I have real cats, dogs, and horses, and, well, amazing they ain't. Lolz. ...more
This novel was as sweet and bland as a sugar cookie. Rather disappointing, since I liked The Red Tent very much and loved The Last Days of Dogtown. IThis novel was as sweet and bland as a sugar cookie. Rather disappointing, since I liked The Red Tent very much and loved The Last Days of Dogtown. I suppose that an 85 year old woman, looking back over her life and describing it to a grand-daughter, might gloss over many things, such as anti-Semitism, abortion, murder, the deaths of loved ones, poverty, etc etc--but then it just reads like a cozy little fairy tale, full of lovely anecdotes about best friends and delightful vacations. Personally I never got a sense of "what made Addie who she is today" since she seemed so removed from the bad things (remarkably few) that happened to her or people she knew. It's all sunshine and rainbows and happily-ever-after. Addie gets herself an education, a few jobs, and a man, The End. Don't get me wrong, I hope that I live to be 85 with all my faculties intact, and can sit on the porch with a (step)grandchild and blather on about the old days with no bitterness, sorrow, or regret. Somehow, though, I imagine I'll be more like the crazy old cat lady screeching "get off my lawn!" and shaking my cane in a threatening manner, then stumping back into my crumbling old house to brood and curse the river of time. ...more
This review contains "SPOILERS" but read it anyway and save yourself some time.
This was a whole lot of nothing much, supposedly based on historical f This review contains "SPOILERS" but read it anyway and save yourself some time.
This was a whole lot of nothing much, supposedly based on historical fact. The main character, Adrienne, is clearly a dimwit, as she allows herself to be essentially kidnaped by her evil aunt Marie and carried off to America where she at first is forced to work as a servant and then is apparently left to her own devices until she kills herself. Having grown up knowing that Marie is not a nice person, it is surprising that Adrienne trusts her to take care of her in America. Marie's motives are vague and just stupid; she suspects her son is a pedophile and may have messed Adrienne about many years before, something which Adrienne herself does not even remember until the last third or so of the book! Really?! And yet the alleged pedophile Julien, who only turned to young girls because he was once humiliated by a prostitute (oh please), has no problem raping poor idiotic Adrienne when she must have been at least 18--not exactly a child. I don't understand why Marie viewed Adrienne as such a threat to her son that she had to go to extreme measures to keep her quiet. Sure, Adrienne had "visions" as a child, but no one ever believed her. They all thought she was crazy, so why would anyone credit any accusations she suddenly launched at her cousin? The whole book just didn't make sense to me. I mean, I "got" it, but what was there to "get"? Adrienne was a gutless moron who made no attempt to save herself, just spent a lot of time listlessly staring out of windows and continuing to drink the laudanum-laced tea and wine her aunt gave her even though she knew her aunt was attempting to poison her--with a tablespoon of laudanum a day. Yeah, that'll work. I got this as a Kindle freebie yet I'd still like my money back. The bottle of wine I was forced to consume over the 2 days to took me to slog through this garbage cost about $20. Just sayin'....more
This the 4th Bess Crawford book I've read and even though I'm not quite finished, I expect it will follow the same formula as the others: Bess finds hThis the 4th Bess Crawford book I've read and even though I'm not quite finished, I expect it will follow the same formula as the others: Bess finds herself on the fringes of a mysterious situation and simply cannot resist self-righteously meddling when she should properly be minding her own business. She is indulged in her busybody behavior by her parents and her dear friend Simon, who repeatedly try to rein her in but are unable to really say No to her at all. She hops in her motorcar for extended jaunts around England, between her tours of duty on the Western Front, sticking her nose in and intruding rather rudely into other peoples' affairs because she unselfishly wants to see justice done at any cost. Inevitably she solves the Mystery which always contains a rather confusing red herring. She really is a rather annoying girl. Nevertheless, this series has proved entertaining enough that I keep reading. I do like the descriptions of battlefield nursing but would like more detail as I am a nurse myself and always find it fascinating how much nursing has evolved since the early days. ...more
What a pleasant surprise this novel was! There are some minor editorial issues which at first put me off--Mr. Lake, please find a better proofreader--What a pleasant surprise this novel was! There are some minor editorial issues which at first put me off--Mr. Lake, please find a better proofreader--but the lovely Alice Petherton is a clever, likeable girl and she tells her story plainly and without artifice. I enjoyed her descriptions of court life and of those two great men, Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. A sequel would not go unread by me. ...more
Well, that was mildly entertaining. I was not impatient to read more, nor was I dreading it and finding excuses not to read--which, believe me, earnsWell, that was mildly entertaining. I was not impatient to read more, nor was I dreading it and finding excuses not to read--which, believe me, earns an extra star in the current drought I am experiencing, literature-wise. The writing is straightforward and the tale progresses seamlessly enough though it does drag a little. The author switches viewpoints periodically but puzzlingly never utilizes the mysterious Priest, whose given name we never learn and who surely has several grim tales to tell. I am willing to read the next novel in this series when it's published in January and am hoping that the Priest will make a reappearance even though the main protagonist, Dr. Bond, said he never wanted to see him or the twitchy Polish boy again. ...more
It took Amy Tan 8 years to write this, and my theory is, it took so long because she finished telling her stories with her last novel--Saving Fish FroIt took Amy Tan 8 years to write this, and my theory is, it took so long because she finished telling her stories with her last novel--Saving Fish From Drowning--but she just can't admit it. The Valley of Amazement was at times quite painful to read, as she rehashed relationships and themes from previous works, only less successfully, and rambled on and on in the world's longest happily-ever-after ending, ever. Even the more interesting bits were not especially new. I found the courtesan culture of Shanghai to be suspiciously reminiscent of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. And, worst of all, I did not really like or care for any of the characters.
Some authors only have a few good books in them. I could be wrong but I think Amy Tan bagged her limit one book ago. ...more