So much has been said about this one, that it seems silly to write a full review. As a child I was not quick to tears, but this book made me bawl my e...moreSo much has been said about this one, that it seems silly to write a full review. As a child I was not quick to tears, but this book made me bawl my eyes out. And it still makes me cry to this day. This is one of those rare books from my childhood which still carries a powerful impact. (less)
Mysterious Sexy Boy: “So Gemma, isn’t it exciting to be attending your first Grateful Dead concert?”
Gemma Doyle: “Yes, but… Jerry Garcia has been actu...moreMysterious Sexy Boy: “So Gemma, isn’t it exciting to be attending your first Grateful Dead concert?”
Gemma Doyle: “Yes, but… Jerry Garcia has been actually dead for years..”
MSB: “Not for the purpose of this review, he isn’t. Just go with it”
GD: *sniff* *sniff* “Hmmm… what’s that smell?” *giggle* “And why am I suddenly craving pizza with chocolate??” *giggle*
MSB: “Son of a bitch! Gemma, that is second hand marijuana smoke. If you inhale enough you will get super duper high and will enjoy this concert immensely. For the love of god, do not inhale it!!!”
GD: “How do you expect me to not inhale it when it is all around me? I can’t very well control the air I breathe, can I?” *sniiiifffff*
MSB: “That is your problem to figure out. Just don’t inhale.”
GD: *turns to hippie on her left* “What’s this? Oh, I put it in my mouth and breathe in? Like this?” *cough*
MSB: “Goddammit Gemma! I tell you not to inhale second hand smoke and now you are smoking a joint?!”
GD: “How can weed be so bad if it makes me feel so good, man?”
MSB: “I’m not telling you. Even though you are feeling awesome right now, you are not to smoke any more pot. Ever. I will compel you with my mysterious and sexy ways to do as I say.”
GD: “Suck it mysterious sexy boy. Getting high is fun. I’m gonna go hang with these hippies and you can’t stop me.”
Does trouble ensue? Of course it does. We have read this plot dozens of times in countless paranormal YA books. Oh, not getting high at a Dead concert. Excuse me =) A young girl with newly discovered and tempting powers who is not supposed to fully explore them for no reason other than she is told not to. Even so, A Great and Terrible Beauty was a pleasurable read.
Set in a Victorian era all girl finishing school, A Great and Terrible Beauty tells the story of Gemma Doyle. Gemma is a teenage girl who has lived her entire life in India and only recently traveled to her home country of England after the unexpected death of her mother. Despite the setting, this story is thankfully fairly modern in its dialogue, plot pacing and many of its ideas. (Victorian novels always sound appealing to me, but frequently bore me to tears when I actually attempt to read them.) This novel explores the constraints of Victorian society, the way teenage girls manage to be constant frenemies, and a pretty cool paranormal world.
A Great and Terrible Beauty is a solid three stars. It is not the best this genre has to offer, but it is far from the worst. As the first of a trilogy it contains the inevitable set up and uncompleted threads. However, it does not end on a nasty cliffhanger, so those who just aren’t feeling this after reading it shouldn’t be left wondering too much at the end of the book. (less)
Received this as a bridal shower gift from a friend who loves to bake and insists that late one night she wandered into her kitchen to discover this b...moreReceived this as a bridal shower gift from a friend who loves to bake and insists that late one night she wandered into her kitchen to discover this book kicking Betty Crocker's ass.
I haven't made much from this book yet, but so far, the recipes I have made have been mighty tasty. Unfortunately, there is a large meat section filled with tons of gross dead animal pictures. The seafood section is especially creepy. Otherwise, it seems to be a good cookbook. The recipes use a lot of fresh ingredients ~ which is why everything turns out so tasty, but it can be expensive to make an item from this book if you don't have everything on hand. (less)
Totally depressing...this book stays with you for a long time after you are done reading it. A wonderful book, but be prepared to feel bleak and hopel...moreTotally depressing...this book stays with you for a long time after you are done reading it. A wonderful book, but be prepared to feel bleak and hopeless when you are done. (less)
Even though this was 256 pages, it still read like a short story or novella for me. I wish Dick would have given more depth to the relationships, indi...moreEven though this was 256 pages, it still read like a short story or novella for me. I wish Dick would have given more depth to the relationships, individual stories, etc. Although this book is set in the future, it is clearly a product of the late 60's. For example we read of operators connecting phone calls, public pay phones (actually, public pay video phones, cause this is the future, lol) and carbon copies of information. Stuff like that made me appreciate Star Trek even more, since they actually made up new ways of travel, communication, etc. Anyway...
I've never seen Blade Runner so can't really compare it to that. And although I like sci-fi I am not especially well read in it, so I don't know that I would give the most informed review. But I can say that I enjoyed this story. Usually, my pet peeve with sci-fi is that authors spend so much time creating a new world that the story somehow gets lost in the process. But that is not the case. As many people have pointed out, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? does have it's flaws. Even so, it is an engaging read and I enjoyed it :) (less)
I actually loved this book when I read it in high school. So, I bought the fancy Barnes & Noble hardback edition ~ big mistake! There aren't footn...moreI actually loved this book when I read it in high school. So, I bought the fancy Barnes & Noble hardback edition ~ big mistake! There aren't footnotes, or anything ~ so, somehow it seems that this edition is lacking something. I'll probably look for a school edition somewhere. It won't look as nice, but I will enjoy reading it more. (less)
I would have given this 4 stars if it were organized a little better & edited down some. Unfortunately, for every 1/2 page of action or dialogue,...moreI would have given this 4 stars if it were organized a little better & edited down some. Unfortunately, for every 1/2 page of action or dialogue, we spend a good 2 pages inside Sunshine's head either listening to her inner monologue or getting a quick culture lesson about the world she lives in. Ugh. The book just never picked up a good pace. I mean... it didn't even get a pace started. I suppose this would be a great read for the sort of people who just want to pick up a novel and read a page or two before bed. But for those of us who want to become engrossed in a story... just doesn't happen. At least, it didn't for me.
In addition to the non-existent pacing, McKinley could not write a page without mentioning at least one of the following: 1) Sunshine makes cinnamon rolls 2) Sunshine loves working in her family bakery 3) It is not natural for humans & vamps to become companions.
But it wasn't just the above examples. Sunshine's inner monologue took up a good portion (I'd guess 75%) of the book. Much of what she was thinking was written many, many times. In fact, so much time is spent in Sunshine's head, that I never did get a real feel for the other characters she claimed she was so close to (Mel, Charlie, her mom, etc.) I knew why Sunshine said she loved these people, but I never really got to "meet" them for myself.
I understand that the focus of the book was Constantine, as well as Sunshine's growing awareness of herself. But even these passages were interrupted to the extent that I found myself skimming through. Hmpf.
I was intrigued enough to want to pick up another book by McKinley... but if the writing style is anything similar to this one, it will be discarded it right away.
My brother gave me The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead this past year for Christmas. At first I thought it would be an...moreMy brother gave me The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead this past year for Christmas. At first I thought it would be an awesome and quick read. But I soon realized it is over 250 pages long, small print, and without any cool zombie illustrations or other graphics. Suddenly it seemed that what should have been a good, fun book was taking itself way too seriously. Don't get me wrong ~ I love the concept and admire Max Brooks' passion and dedication to the art of eradicating the world of a zombie infestation... but the guy must have a serious boner for the living dead to have written such a dry and lengthy manual.
This brings me to the book I’m actually reviewing here, World War Z. The concept is brilliant and fresh ~ a "history" of a decade long zombie apocalypse told from various voices around the world. Brooks presents a very believable case for how current political, social and cultural climates could allow zombies to very quickly overrun every continent and wreck the sort of havoc and mayhem that zombies are known for. In the effort of portraying a thorough story, Brooks has presented stories from many different people which works well for the premise, but for the reading audience…. I was a little bored and less-than-captivated. By the time I quit (page 111 out of 342) I had already read 20 different stories about the start of the zombie crisis. Ugh.
At this point, I really don’t believe my disinterest is due to my dislike of multiple POV stories. Rather, the recounting so many stories takes all of the fun out of a zombie apocalypse. The great thing about any zombie story or movie is the overwhelming sense of dread… the gradual loss of hope and increasingly bleak future… the uncertainty….the gore. But right from the start those wonderfully creepy feelings are taken away from us. We know that society has survived and has started to be rebuilt because this is a “government sponsored” project. We know the teller of each individual tale survives. Much like The Zombie Survival Guide, this one seems to suffer from taking itself way too seriously.
Not to say the stories are not unnerving or thought provoking or well written. But to read a steady progression of a zombie catastrophe ~ knowing the entire time that things are going to go from bad to worse to holy fucking shit we’re all gonna die!!!! to a little better to a new bright day… where is the fear? Knowing the outcome of a zombie attack takes away a lot of intensity. Furthermore, this story seemed to have a large military/political slant, which is certainly not my cup of tea.
So, it is with great sorrow that I close World War Z for the final time on page 111 and add it to my “did not finish” shelf. If this ever becomes a movie, I am totally there. Balanced with a healthy visual dose of blood, guts and action packed zombie madness scenes this would be an amazing collection of stories. But the actual reading of these tales is just a little too lackluster and isn’t doing it for me. I’m sure that when the zombie day of reckoning really does arrive, all of you Max Brooks fans will be safely alive and thumbing your noses at people like me, all the while screaming, “Are you feeling enough doom now, naysayer?! Not so boring now, is it?” In the meantime, I'm going to spend my remaining years (months? days?) reading a more captivating book ;) (less)
I was a big fan of Tom Robbins when I was younger. As an adult, however, I am pretty disgusted by his view of female sexuality. Perhaps one day I will...moreI was a big fan of Tom Robbins when I was younger. As an adult, however, I am pretty disgusted by his view of female sexuality. Perhaps one day I will read this again and appreciate more of the story. But Robbins view of a females sexual experience tainted the rest of the story for me. Sorry. (less)
I can’t recommend this collection enough. Stephen King is at his best when writing short stories, and I love the unpolished, experimental style his wr...moreI can’t recommend this collection enough. Stephen King is at his best when writing short stories, and I love the unpolished, experimental style his writing had when he was just starting out. His focus then wasn’t strictly horror although it does feature a central theme of fear and the surreal. Over the years, his writing style became more polished. Although I love his later short stories just as much, they seem a little more carefully written than his earlier ones. Or maybe I’m just full of it, lol. It’s been years since I’ve read much by him.
Adding to my enjoyment of this particular audio version is the dramatic reading by John Glover, the background sounds and creepy music added to the stories, and the fact that I listened to many of them late at night, driving home from work on lonely and desolate roads.
There are titles that I remember loving as a teenager:
I Know What You Need a story about voodoo, love and obsession
Night Surf about a group of teenagers surviving in a post-apocalyptic world (These kids are Captain Trips survivors for you fans of The Stand)
Sometimes They Come Back bullying hoodlums from hell (literally!)
Strawberry Spring and The Man Who Loved Flowers feature serial killers who Dexter would love to track down
But of course, reading tastes change. The above stories were my favorites when I was a teen, but as an adult I found the following to be much more intense:
The Woman in the Room an incredibly powerful and emotional tale about chronic illness, death and love
Battleground Somehow I forgot all about this one until hearing it here. But it must have struck me back then because those little green army men have always freaked me the fuck out. Guess this was just a story that was pushed way back into my subconscious!
People tend to have a pre-formed opinion of King. But I will always strongly recommend his short stories. While King might not be the best writer, he is a master storyteller. True, his novels easily go astray in the land of the long winded. With this format, King is forced to get to the point quickly and it definitely works in his favor. These are amazing stories that I love just as much now as when I first read them over twenty years ago . (less)
It's high time I created a shelf entitled, "Appealed to teenage Megan, but my adult self simply isn't feeling the lurve" Not that I didn't lurve A Far...moreIt's high time I created a shelf entitled, "Appealed to teenage Megan, but my adult self simply isn't feeling the lurve" Not that I didn't lurve A Farewell to Arms this third (or is it fourth?) time reading it. It is just that, as a younger person, this book was so profound. So tragic and romantic and meaningful.
My impressions as an adult? Hemingway creates an interesting character in Henry, an American driving an ambulance for the Italians in WWI. Henry is a man's man. (Aren't all of Hemingway's protagonists?) He drinks. And drinks. And drinks some more. He is befriended by every man, soldier, and woman he encounters, despite his constant drunk state and sparse words. We don't learn of Henry, his lover, his friends or the war through Henry's scant words or non-existent inner monologue. Rather, we learn of his world through his observations, and the dialogue of those he surrounds himself with.
Although I suppose one might defend Henry (and Hemingway) but saying Henry’s outlook and lack of emotions are a result of the shock of war being hell and all that. Perhaps. Except Henry is an ambulance driver, rather than an actual soldier and spends a good portion of his time drinking with the guys. Even when he is stationed at the front, Henry drinks and pals around with his friends. There are certainly some horrifying passages of battlefield surgery done without anesthetic, at one point Henry is injured and spends the ambulance ride getting bled on by the patient in the bunk above him. At another point when the Italians are retreating there is some dissention in the ranks and Henry must shoot a soldier on his own side. But otherwise? Truly, the most horrific thing in this novel to me is the amount of casual drinking, as well as some of the medical practices encountered.
Amongst all of the booze and the war and the booze, Henry manages to meet nurse Catherine. A woman who is just as emotionally shallow (or is it damaged?) and immature as Henry is. Or is she? Poor woman, we will never know if Hemingway intended her to be so bland, or if her character is simply a result of Hemingway’s own misogyny. Regardless, Catherine nobly stood by her man, and lived to make him happy. Even whilst undergoing labor pains Catherine urged Henry to take care of himself, have some lunch and not worry about her. Huh. Had this novel had images with it, I can only imagine Catherine with one of those saintly halos found in Catholic art. An interesting note is that (view spoiler)[ Henry was injured in the war, spent a summer recuperating at a hospital in Milan, all the while falling in love with nurse Catherine who later died from a hemorrhage after delivering his stillborn son. Hemingway himself was also an ambulance driver for the Italians in WWI. He sustained a very similar injury to Henry, and fell in love with a nurse during a lengthy recovery in a hospital in Milan. However, the real life nurse broke off her engagement with Hemingway so she would be free to marry another man. (hide spoiler)]
What I didn’t know when I read this story as a teenager was how much of this novel was based on Hemingway’s own experience as an Italian army ambulance driver in WWI. Hemingway created a scene, a mood, and told a lovely tale. (Well, as lovely as a war story can be.) But due to the lack of emotional reflection or inner monologue, I always felt so removed from A Farewell to Arms. At no point did I feel as if I were immersed in this story or the world which Hemingway created. Rather, I felt as if I was watching it on an older, small screen box tv. Again, is this the intended effect? Was it supposed to mimic the separation Henry (Hemingway) felt from the world around him as he lived through the shock and horrors of the war?
Bottom line, I like this novel, and always have. It always inspires me to read more Hemingway, but other than A Moveable Feast I don’t seem to have much tolerance for most of his works. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
After noting all of the 4 and 5 star reviews of this one, I was a little dissapointed. On one hand, it sucks discovering children's books as an adult...moreAfter noting all of the 4 and 5 star reviews of this one, I was a little dissapointed. On one hand, it sucks discovering children's books as an adult ~ because I find myself looking at the book much more critically than a kid would. On the other hand, there are many great children's books that transcend age barriers.
That having been said.... as many people have already stated the action was incredibly slow. I'm Ok with stories starting out slowly, but even when the pacing should have picked up, it didn't. Also, the story had a "been there/done that" feel to it. I kept feeling as if I were reading a book based on a corny Disney movie from my childhood. Not any particular movie ~ but Over Sea, Under Stone does have a very dated feel to it.
I will contine to read the series ~ but only because so many reviewers here loved it so much. And also because I am a sucker for a series ;)(less)