The Last Supper is a memoir by Rachel Cusk of a summer spent in Italy with her husband and two children. I could not connect with the author in this b...moreThe Last Supper is a memoir by Rachel Cusk of a summer spent in Italy with her husband and two children. I could not connect with the author in this book at all. She shares no background information or any personal information about her or her family and writes in a very detached, dreamy style. She never even refers to her daughters by name, just "the children". In reading a memoir, I expect to be able to form some kind of connection with the author and I felt none with Rachel.
Her metaphors are very creative but she spends paragraphs describing the minutest things in very descriptive, melodramatic detail and never really gets to the point. And that's what I wondered when I finally made it to the end, "What was the point?"(less)
This book just did not hold my interest at all. I wouldn't have finished it but I received it through the First Reads program so I felt like I had to....moreThis book just did not hold my interest at all. I wouldn't have finished it but I received it through the First Reads program so I felt like I had to. City Boy is author Edmund White's account of his years in New York as a struggling author. I didn't feel any emotion coming out of him. It felt like he was just writing a laundry list account of his activities and so it was hard to connect with him. Also, he name dropped a lot and it was clear that I was supposed to be impressed but I only recognized a handful of names that were dropped. It was hard to keep everyone straight too - he mentioned dozens of people.(less)
Big Miracle is the book that inspired the movie of the same name. I haven't seen the movie yet and couldn't find a release date for the DVD. However,...moreBig Miracle is the book that inspired the movie of the same name. I haven't seen the movie yet and couldn't find a release date for the DVD. However, from what I could gather from reading about the movie online, it differs markedly from the book. It would have to - there is no way that Drew Barrymore would star in a movie that was as cynical about environmentalism and animal welfare as author Tom Rose's book is.
This book is a non-fiction account of the 1988 rescue attempt of three California Gray whales who were trapped in the ice near Barrow, Alaska. The author was one of several reporters in Barrow covering the rescue process. What could have been a very nice story about people of all different backgrounds coming together to save the whales was ruined by the author's cynicism and the opinions he inserted as facts that didn't have much to do with the actual story.
When this book was originally published in 1989, the title was Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-event. Had I known that when this book was pitched to me, I would not have reviewed it. The cover of the new, movie tie-in edition reads, "Inspired by the Incredible True Story That United the World." The author did not feel that this story was incredible - at least not in a good way. He repeats often that the whales didn't need to be saved and that the amount of media coverage they received was ridiculous.
He also uses every opportunity to assert that we should be drilling for oil in Alaska and that the environmentalists have it all wrong. He offers up his opinions as facts with no footnotes or citations to back them up. In a non-fiction book, I expect to see research if opinions are inserted. For example, "Increased wealth leads to increased spending. That applies as much to environmental protection as to anything else...The same process that drives economic growth and wealth creation results in less pollution, not more." First of all, where is the research that backs that up and secondly, what does that have to do with rescuing the whales?
He also takes repeated jabs at Cindy Lowry from Greenpeace - "[Carroll's] reaction to the word 'Soviet' was as instinctively visceral as Cindy's reaction to the word 'military.' The only difference was that Carroll's animus was justified while Cindy's was not." Says who? Why does that second sentence need to be there? Those are just a couple of many, many examples. I found it ironic that the working title of this edition (which was printed on the cover of my ARC) was Everybody Loves Whales because Tom Rose doesn't seem to love them all that much.
I did appreciate learning more about life in rural Alaska but I don't know if slogging through the rest of the book made it worth it. I still plan on seeing the movie and I will report back afterwards.
(All quotes are taken from the Advance Uncorrected Proof - the final copy may differ.) (less)
Sylvie Bates-McAllister is a wealthy widow and mother of two grown sons. When she gets a phone call that her younger son Scott may be involved in a ha...moreSylvie Bates-McAllister is a wealthy widow and mother of two grown sons. When she gets a phone call that her younger son Scott may be involved in a hazing scandal at the private school where he coaches wrestling and she is on the board, she and her family are thrown into a panic.
I thought this book moved way too slowly and had a lot of moments that were supposed to be very dramatic that didn’t feel authentic to me. Everyone got worked up about the hazing scandal way too quickly – one phone call and everyone went nuts without knowing any details at all – before any formal investigation or charges were brought. An autopsy on the boy that died hadn’t even been done.
The characters were all very one-dimensional, especially Scott. Sylvie and her late husband adopted Scott when he was a toddler. He is biracial (African-American and white) and Sylvie and the rest of the family are white. Scott’s character is such a stereotype of the urban, angry black man that I was actually angry myself (at the author) as I was reading the book. I think (and hope) that the author’s intent was to show that he was more than that on the inside but that no one gets to know him well enough to figure that out. However, if that was indeed her intent, she did not do a very good job.
The story took a weird turn about three-fourths of the way in and some of the storylines were just dropped with no resolution at all. The way Sylvie’s storyline ended was totally out of left field and left me scratching my head.
Sara Shepard is also the author of the Pretty Little Liars series which I haven’t read but gather must be quite popular since it’s been made into a TV series. Only having read this particular book by Shepard, I can’t see myself reading any of her other books. (less)
This book follows three main characters: Ashley, Tara and Libby, who are in a scrapbooking club together. Ashley is a frazzled mom of four, Tara is a...moreThis book follows three main characters: Ashley, Tara and Libby, who are in a scrapbooking club together. Ashley is a frazzled mom of four, Tara is a single grad student and Libby is a grandmother whose son is involved in a corporate scandal.
I was interested in this book because the characters scrapbook (like me!). But this book is in SERIOUS need of editing. There are continuity error and grammatical errors throughout and the writing is just.not.good. Someone needs to give the author a thesaurus and a lesson on how to craft a metaphor. The general story was mildly entertaining until about two-thirds of the way through when there is a completely unrealistic plot twist that makes little sense. I think the publisher is banking on the fact that scrapbookers will be so excited about the fact that the book has scrapbooking in it that they won't care that it's poorly written. Luckily, I checked it out from the library so I didn't waste my money.(less)
This book was a retelling of Cinderella from the Fairy Godmother's point of view. It takes some liberties with the original Cinderella story. In this...moreThis book was a retelling of Cinderella from the Fairy Godmother's point of view. It takes some liberties with the original Cinderella story. In this book's version, the Fairy Godmother was young and beautiful like Cinderella. She majorly screwed up when trying to help Cinderella get to the ball and was banished to live as a human on earth as punishment.
The beginning and middle of this book was so slow I had trouble maintaining interest. The last twenty pages were exciting - I would have expanded this section and fleshed it out more. I spent most of the book waiting for something to happen and when it finally did, it was over in a flash. (less)
I chose this book because I wanted a light, fluffy Christmas romance to put me in the Christmas spirit. I can totally be down with some cheesiness aro...moreI chose this book because I wanted a light, fluffy Christmas romance to put me in the Christmas spirit. I can totally be down with some cheesiness around the holiday season. However, this book didn't hit the spot for me. It was too sweet, too cheesy, just a little too much of everything I wanted. At the same time, I thought Christmas played too small a part in it. It was set in November and December so the atmosphere was cold and wintery but Christmas wasn't actually mentioned that much.
The story felt rushed. It's a short book, at just over 200 pages with a pretty big font and mass market paperback sized pages. I think if the author would have spent some more time developing the relationship between Finn and Carrie I would have like it better. They spent way to much time just talking and playing cards. Also, I should have looked into this author more before choosing a book by her - I didn't realize her books are so chaste. I like some steam with my cheesy romance!
If you like to keep it clean, short and sweet then this may be the book for you. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it. (less)
I really, really wanted to like this book but I just could not get into it. Normally it would only take me a couple of days to read a book like this b...moreI really, really wanted to like this book but I just could not get into it. Normally it would only take me a couple of days to read a book like this but I struggled with this book for about a week. The main problem was I just didn't understand what was going on. I thought maybe it was just me but after reading some other reviews, it turns out that's not the case. In the first half of the book, not much was happening. It was written as if the reader should know what the characters were talking about but I did not. I actually had to check and make sure I was reading the first book in the series (I was) because I felt like I was jumping in the middle of something. Then in the second half of the book, the very complicated vampire mythology was presented in one long information dump. I couldn't sort it all out.
Several of the reviews indicated that the subsequent books in this series are much better. Honestly, there are so many vampire series out there that I want to read that I don't know if I want to take the time to see if the second book, The Awakening, is better. (less)
I listened to this book on audio and three of the CDs in the middle of the book were misnumbered. I ended up listening to a good portion of the book o...moreI listened to this book on audio and three of the CDs in the middle of the book were misnumbered. I ended up listening to a good portion of the book out of order before I realized the error. I thought it was just really disjointed story! Anyway, I listened to a review copy so I'm assuming (hoping) that the CDs are labeled correctly on the final copy.
Charlotte Anne Dore did a good job with the narration. I'm not familiar with the different regional accents in England but I did notice that some of the characters had different accents than others. Being an ignorant American, I will just assume that all the accents were appropriate.
I felt ambivalent about this book. It was entertaining enough to keep listening until the end but I never felt connected to any of the characters, except Isabel, Alexa's daughter. She's a secondary character and only in a few scenes though. Her parents send her to boarding school to give her some stability. Apparently, it is common for children of British soldiers to go to boarding school to avoid having to move around and change schools. Isabel is miserable at boarding school and I felt really bad for her.
So many characters were introduced so quickly that I had to listen to the first CD twice before moving on to the second CD to make sure I had everybody straight. I'm not sure if that's the author's fault or if I should blame it on mommy brain.
I was really surprised with how invested Dan and Alexa's parents and friends were in Dan and Alexa's marriage. They were a bunch of busybodies but not in a humorous way. I was perplexed. Alexa's supposed best friend Jack confused me too. I wasn't sure what he added to the story other than being kind of mean to Alexa. I couldn't figure out why she was friends with him.
Honestly, I didn't have much sympathy for Dan. I thought he was an ass most of the time and that Alexa was a doormat. Maybe it's because I'm not a military wife or close friends with one. Perhaps if there would have been some background about his time in Afghanistan, I could have related to him better. Or maybe I'm a cold-hearted snake.
The right person to read this book may be out there, but it was not me. (less)
This was one of the cheesiest romance novels I've ever read. I can do cheese (I love Twilight for God's sake!) but this was over the top even for me....moreThis was one of the cheesiest romance novels I've ever read. I can do cheese (I love Twilight for God's sake!) but this was over the top even for me. In addition to the romance plot line there was also a mystery plot line that seemed implausible and I had trouble following. People say that Evanovich is really funny but that wasn't true of this book.
To be fair, this book was written pre-Stephanie Plum days and probably wouldn't have been rereleased if it wasn't for the success of the Stephanie Plum series. I've only read One for the Money and it was quite a bit better than this book.
I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator was not good. She had an overly theatrical voice that heightened the cheesiness level that much more. I may have liked this book better if I had read the paper version.(less)
God, Christopher Ciccone is whiny. And catty. There is really no new information about Madonna in this book, it’s just Christopher whining about how s...moreGod, Christopher Ciccone is whiny. And catty. There is really no new information about Madonna in this book, it’s just Christopher whining about how she’s mistreated him all these years. Basically, every time he works for her, she rips him off (doesn’t pay him fairly, replaces him at the last minute, etc.) You know what – then quit working for her! Christopher can’t do that though because he has no formal training to do ANYTHING. Madonna lets him dance in her videos, design her houses, dress her for her tours, art direct her tours and gets her friends to give him gallery shows, even though he’s never formally trained do any of that (except dance). And all he does is bitch about how horrible it is to work for her. I’m not a huge Madonna fan; I just read this book because I like reading about the entertainment business and stars in general. But there was nothing new here - almost nothing about Madonna’s childhood, no insights into her personality. I really don’t think Madonna and Christopher were ever that close, even though they spent a lot of time together, because he relates virtual nothing about Madonna’s personal life. Or else he was never paying attention what was going on in it because he’s just as self-absorbed as she is.(less)
Not only am I one of the last people in the world to read this book, I'm one of the few who didn't like it. And I really wanted to like it. I generall...moreNot only am I one of the last people in the world to read this book, I'm one of the few who didn't like it. And I really wanted to like it. I generally enjoy reading and learning about life in the Middle East but this book just did not grab me.
One problem was my fault - I haven't read all of the books she and her girls have and they played an important part of the story. But I also found the sequence of events confusing - it's not entirely chronological. I found Nafisi's writing style to be detached, almost arrogant and therefor I found myself not really caring what happened to her personally. I would have like to have known more about each individual girl in her reading circle. (less)
I didn't find this book very funny at all. I think Ellen Degeneres is so funny largely because of her delivery and just reading her words on a page ju...moreI didn't find this book very funny at all. I think Ellen Degeneres is so funny largely because of her delivery and just reading her words on a page just didn't cut it. I LOVE Ellen but I didn't love this book.(less)
Speed Shrinking is the story of self-help author Julia Goodman. Julia's addictive personality is under control until her best friend gets married and...moreSpeed Shrinking is the story of self-help author Julia Goodman. Julia's addictive personality is under control until her best friend gets married and moves away, her therapist also moves away, and her husband goes out of town for an extended period for work. Julia falls apart and goes on several cupcake binges. Now she might look fat when she goes on tour for her latest book, which is about overcoming food addiction. Julia decides she needs a new therapist to fix her up.
I read this book for my book club. The woman in my book club who picked it chose it because it had several blurbs on the back promising that it was a "laugh-out-loud delight" and "hilarious". None of us in book club found this book even mildly amusing, let alone laugh-out-loud funny. Julia is so self-absorbed and obsessive that she is completely unlikeable. Her interactions with her therapists are repetitive and get her (and the reader) nowhere. She never really learns to dig deeper and end her superficial obsession with the numbers on the scale.
This book is the first work of fiction by Susan Shapiro, who has written several self-help books herself. It reads like a memoir and I have a sneaking suspicion that it's autobiographical. If that's the case, I wish the author would have just written a memoir instead of trying to present this book as a lighthearted, funny chick-lit book. Cause that it ain't. (less)