So okay, everyone loves this but me. So take this review with a grain of salt or something.
Considering the amount of violence in this book and how muc...moreSo okay, everyone loves this but me. So take this review with a grain of salt or something.
Considering the amount of violence in this book and how much of the violence is against women, it really wasn't for me. Honestly, if former students are being killed how come only one male student and the rest female? And the cops who have things together are all men, the female police officer has a problem.
I guess it was nice seeing a male police officer in a happy relationship but the unequalness of everything kinda cheesed me off.(less)
This is the disaster that most cell phone bills still pay for (at least here in the US). McCullough’s history of the flood includes the disaster as we...moreThis is the disaster that most cell phone bills still pay for (at least here in the US). McCullough’s history of the flood includes the disaster as well as enough pre and post story to make sense of the larger sense. It will make you cry and be amazed.
I do not watch much reality shows, outside of cooking shows (which I see more as game shows) and the odd episode of Deadliest Catch – which I see as a...moreI do not watch much reality shows, outside of cooking shows (which I see more as game shows) and the odd episode of Deadliest Catch – which I see as a way for the people on it to make money. I mean, how can it be considered a reality show when you refer to people on it as the cast?
I picked this up doing an Open Road sale. Open Road Media is a kindle publisher, and they have tendency to pick up really good books (and yes, I am biased. I’ve reviewed several). The Witch’s Cradle is a mystery and total indictment of producers of reality shows.
Cher and Barry are a young couple that you could find anywhere, and they are chosen to by Griffin to be the subject of a documentary. The couple goes from beloved to hated, and then their children go missing. The reaction to the couple is controlled by the production group. What White looks at is not only how the media can influence what we think, but also how one party is always more condemned than the other (and that party is usually, at this point in time, the woman).
The book works because why in many cases the reader knows who not to trust, who to trust is a more confusing issue. While Cher and Barry are painted with sympathy by White and the reader does feel pity for them, the reader is also unsure how mentally ill they may be. The second reason the book succeeds is because it is so heartbreakingly plausible. It also speaks loudly about why feminism is still needed. (less)
This is the second Sejer novel that I have read. It’s nice to see that he got another dog. Sejer is called upon to solve the death of a young boy, dis...moreThis is the second Sejer novel that I have read. It’s nice to see that he got another dog. Sejer is called upon to solve the death of a young boy, discovered by a couple out walking. The focus isn’t so much on the mystery, but on the interior lives of those the death affects. There is also an interesting discussion about rape crimes.
I have loved Alistair Cooke ever since he introduced me to George Elliot. It was wonderful when my local NPR channel started playing the BBC World Ser...moreI have loved Alistair Cooke ever since he introduced me to George Elliot. It was wonderful when my local NPR channel started playing the BBC World Service, and I could hear his letters from America. So I had to read this. Cooke’s travelogue was written during the start of America’s entry into the Second World War. It starts with Pearl Harbor and while the actually journey is roughly a year; the afterword extends it to the death of Roosevelt. Loosely divided into regional sections, the book captures the Northern maple sugaring, the coast of West, the heat of the deserts, and the beauty of the south. Cooke drives and flies across America, the place of howling instead of grumbling. Cooke’s observations, as always, are part humor, part reportage, and all thought provoking. A good portion of the travelogue is about the changes occurring because of the build up to the war. It isn’t just the industrialization but also the effect on farming and hospitably industry. For instance, he studies the hotels on the Florida coast and how they react to the housing of the Armed Forces. Or the worries about farming or the rubber deals. And then there is the man who curses about the Japanese, and then Cooke discovers the man’s son was killed in the Pacific. There is the trip and interviews at the Japanese internment camps. Cooke’s view is nuanced, and far more revealing than what is taught in American history classes about the shameful episode. If you have listened to Cooke speak, whether it be his Letter program or when he was hosting Masterpiece Theatre, this travelogue is just like that. In many ways, this book makes you realize just how much you miss his voice.
In her afterword to this third volume of the She-King Series, Ironside apologizes for playing a little fast and loose with hi...moreCrossposted on Booklikes.
In her afterword to this third volume of the She-King Series, Ironside apologizes for playing a little fast and loose with history. She doesn’t play as fast or as loose as Philipana Gregory, and unlike Gregory, that afterword discusses the changes and presents the reality. In many ways, the apology is unneeded. Let’s be far, no historical fiction is going to be 100% completely accurate because, in some cases, that would be boring. In many ways, historical fiction is about the reader and writer finding common ground on changes. The Other Boleyn Girl is a trashy novel that I kind of liked. It wasn’t the change in history that bugged me; it was Gregory’s afterword where she tried to argue that her historical changes were the actual truth. That is a legitimate gripe.
So Ironside, no need for the apology.
In fact, I am willing to forgive Ironside so much for one simple – the relationship of Thutmose and Hatshepsut. This is one of the few (if not the only) fictional books about Hatshepsut that presents Thutmose and Hatshepsut as partners or having mutual respect for each other. Usually it is Mr. “You Stole My Throne” versus Miss “Of course, Because You Are Cruel Stupid Idiot” or some such variation. Considering that recent scholarship changes this view, it is nice and interesting to see the different relationship here. Honestly, if Ironside wanted to turn Hatshepsut into a transformer, I would be cool with that as long as the relationship stayed the same.
Okay, maybe that would be a change too far.
In terms of plot, the story is far more concerned with the question of power and doing what is right as opposed to the great historical battles. Of most interest is the journey to Punt (and this journey has one of the changes that Ironside talks about her in afterword). That was well played.
There is a short novella after this book, but the ending isn’t really a cliff hanger.
I listen to the Virginia Historical Society Podcast. They tend to be pretty good. David O. Stewart was the speaker on two of t...moreCrossposted at Booklikes
I listen to the Virginia Historical Society Podcast. They tend to be pretty good. David O. Stewart was the speaker on two of the podcasts. The first was a talk about his book about Burr, and the second was about the Surratt’s (and in part to promote this book). David O. Stewart is a really great and funny talker. I put the Burr book on my wish list, but ended up buying this one after I listened. Then I couldn’t wait to download it (okay, I had to wait, but you know what I mean). Stewart usually writes non-fiction, and this is his first fictional work. There are some info dumps, sometimes a little too much telling. So why four stars you ask? Because unlike most writers who would take the premise and write a work of non-fiction (Cornwell on Jack the Ripper), Stewart writes his theory (if it is a theory and not simply a plot bunny) as fiction, but a fiction that is believable. The idea is based on a death bed comment about Mary Surratt. It is a mystery where two different men try to discover if the Lincoln assassination was more complex than first appeared. The two men are James Fraser, a white doctor who attended the dying man, and Speed Cook, a black man who wishes to start a newspaper. It is the interplay between the two characters as well as the believability of the plot that sells the book. Fraser is the tradition hero with the tragic past and the love interest. Cook is the interesting character, and in many ways, it seems as if Stewart put more thought in him. Based on a real person, Cook is a former ball-player, future newsman, and two time college graduate. He also is mad as hell at how blacks are being treated. He sees the mystery as a way to battle this. Cook works because Stewart does not go the route of everyone learning the wrongs of racism and holding hands at the end. Fraser has changed, and Cook has changed; they have become friends. But it is never an easy friendship, and it isn’t a simple look at race at the time. There are racial attacks and not because of what Cook is trying to do. The best passages are those that focus on Cook dealing with society. In some ways, it feels as Fraser was added because he had to be, because Cook couldn’t go everywhere. It is worth noting too, that while Fraser is the only with the tragic past and the predictable love story, Cook has a loving family – he and his wife are clearly a team. It is a historical mystery with a good dose of history and wonderful use of character and race. (less)
So Roman Britain doesn’t look that bad when you are dealing with massive debts, a sneaky loan collector, a ship wreck, and clogged drains. This entry...moreSo Roman Britain doesn’t look that bad when you are dealing with massive debts, a sneaky loan collector, a ship wreck, and clogged drains. This entry into the series concerns both the Medicius and Tilla returning to the family home. The mystery really isn’t that mysterious, but the characters and interactions make up for the predictable plot. Part of the fun is watching Tilla’s introduction to fledging religion of Christianity.
I have not read Gorky Park, yet. But I have seen the movie and this book reminds me of that with the added bonus of fantasy and without the unbelievab...moreI have not read Gorky Park, yet. But I have seen the movie and this book reminds me of that with the added bonus of fantasy and without the unbelievable romantic sub-plot. (less)
Excellent second volume in a series about Hatshepsut. In this one, the famous pharaoh must outwit nobles and her own bro...moreCrossposted at The Fish Place.
Excellent second volume in a series about Hatshepsut. In this one, the famous pharaoh must outwit nobles and her own brother. Well in some ways, the plot is very easy to foresee, many times the writing overcomes this, and there are several powerful passages.
It is more a book of court intrigue and power plays than action and war. The characters are largely flawed, and no one really is simply the bad guy. The idea of Hatshepsut with male kas comes into play quite well in this story.
If you like Pauline Gedge, you should try this series. (less)
I first came across Detective Murdoch when watching television while in Toronto. Recently the series has made its way onto Am...moreCrossposted at Booklikes.
I first came across Detective Murdoch when watching television while in Toronto. Recently the series has made its way onto American cable via the Ovation network and under the title The Artful Detective.
Murdoch is a Catholic in the Protestant city of Toronto, at the end of the 1800s. He is a thinking man, a more accessible version of Sherlock Holmes, who attracts the ladies even as he is getting over the death of his love. He is tasked with the job of discovering the murder of Dolly Shaw, a mid-wife and abortionist.
Is this the most perfect mystery? Well no, and it is a bit of morality story, though it should be noted not anti-abortion per se. I have to give Jennings credit for while her hero is male, the book is stocked full of well-developed women of strength – from Dr. Ogden, whose role in this book at least is smaller than on television, to the singer Annie, to Maud – the women find themselves constrained in choice. Murdoch is perhaps more opened minded and sympathy then what would normally be believed, but the writing is good and story diverting. Despite his straight lace appearance, Murdoch does have a bit of humor. He also is willing to improve himself and change his perceptions.
While Toronto doesn’t seem to be a character per se, historical details are well drawn. (less)
This collection presents a couple new tales with previously published work. The stories are geared, as you have no doubt disc...moreFull Review at Booklikes.
This collection presents a couple new tales with previously published work. The stories are geared, as you have no doubt discovered, to the more adult reader. They range from the absolutely hilarious to the political (a tale dedicated to Rushdie) to the most wrenching version of Rumplestilken you will ever read (“Granny Rumple”). Three of the stories are interconnected and concern the trials of a fairy family who finds itself sucked into Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and a bottle of bad wine. There is a harsh because of its truth version of Thousand Furs and a rather delightful version of Snow White. If you don’t like one story, odds are the following one will leave breathless from laughter or a darker emotion.(less)
I was somewhat hesitant to pick this up, but then I got gift cards and the price was reduced on the kindle version so what hel...moreCrossposted at Booklikes
I was somewhat hesitant to pick this up, but then I got gift cards and the price was reduced on the kindle version so what hell. It’s friggin awesome. The darker stories seem to be, for the most part, by Amanda C. Davis while the lighter stories are by Megan Engelhardt I love, absolutely totally, completely wonderfully love Questing for Princesses. It’s about a prince and a desire not to quest. But I knew I was in good hands after the first story “Instructions” which is about tempting an elf to come and help you. The poetry, such as the first “Flytrap”, is good, but on the whole the stories are better. The short stories tend to be reflective. This means that there are two version of Rumpelstilken, both dark but both focusing on different aspects. Quite frankly, I found The Gold in the Straw to be one of the best, if not the best, retelling of Rumpel, dealing with many of the problems that exist in the story. A Letter Concerning Shoes is a far more emotive tale of the 12 Princesses then A Breath of Bones. Yet, both are powerful and both have their points. I like them for totally different reasons. There is a different look on Hamelin, a re-inventing of Hansel and Gretel. A Shining Spindle is a poem that feels more like a story and is about why it isn’t a male sleeping beauty. Have to love that. This is really a quite inventive and gripping collection. It is like that box of delights, that keeps opening, a chest of wonders. Even the weaker works are quite strong. If you enjoy dark fantasy or fairy tale retellings, this is a wonderful book. (less)
This is a second collection of essay/articles about Anne Boleyn by Claire Ridgway. It is not necessary to read volume one bef...moreCrossposted at Booklikes.
This is a second collection of essay/articles about Anne Boleyn by Claire Ridgway. It is not necessary to read volume one before reading this one. This edition seems a little less diverse, the focus, as the title, suggests, focusing more on the family. This is a good thing for the reader gets to know more about Anne’s parents and heritage. I must admit, however, that I thought the weakest essay – not in terms of research but in terms of readability – to be the one that traces Anne’s lineage. It is interesting, but rather dull. To be fair, I am not sure how a family tree discussion can be riveting (Greer had the same problem in her book about Anne Hathaway). That aside, I enjoyed learning more about Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn as well as the comprehensive discussion and in essay tour of the Tower of London – as a companion to this essay, you might want to watch the mini-series The Tower, six episodes about the Tower of London. Most of the essays deal with correcting the history as it is put forward by The Tudors and The Other Boleyn Girl. There is a comprehensive look at theories and a step by step method in debunking of theories that makes it easy for the read to follow. The essays are footnoted. Ridgway is heavily influenced –basically of the school- of Eric Ives, John Guy, and Julia Fox. This makes her look at Lady Rocheford rather interesting, and she joins Fox in the conclusion about Boleyn’s infamous sister-in-law. Even if you don’t agree (and I am inclined to agree with both ladies), the evidence will make you think. Highly recommended for Tudor history lovers. (less)
This is a Tess mystery and concerns books. Someone is stealing children’s books. Nice short story. It is about setting books...moreCrossposted at Booklikes.
This is a Tess mystery and concerns books. Someone is stealing children’s books. Nice short story. It is about setting books free, and the conflicting feelings that many book owners/readers/hoarders feel about their collections as well as eBooks. Nice lovely short story for a reader.(less)
Relatively short but a compelling memoir of an Italian girl’s experience during the Holocaust. While it is not as long as bet...moreCrossposted at Booklikes.
Relatively short but a compelling memoir of an Italian girl’s experience during the Holocaust. While it is not as long as better known diaries and memoirs, it does add another level to understanding.(less)
This book is about the Irving vs. Penguin/Lipstadt trial, but unlike Evans, this account is written from an outsider’s point o...moreFull review at Booklikes
This book is about the Irving vs. Penguin/Lipstadt trial, but unlike Evans, this account is written from an outsider’s point of view. This allows the reader to have both a look at all the sides and the way the wheels of the trial were moving. It is reporting in the sense of the word with a look at what should be done if anything about denial, and placing the trial in content for a non-participate. And while it doesn’t answer the question it raises, it does raise an important one. Lipstadt was sued because the libel laws in England are not as favorable to the writer as they are in say America. But it also allows for the voicing of hateful and hurtful words. That whole sticks and stone rhyme, bullshit. Complete and other bullshit. Nothing hurts more than words.
I read this after reading The Siege because this book is referred to several times in that one.
The book chronicles the lives of several people in th...moreI read this after reading The Siege because this book is referred to several times in that one.
The book chronicles the lives of several people in the city of Mumbai (Bombay). Because the focus shifts on each section of the book. I found the section on the bar dancers, police, and mobs to be the most interesting. The section on Bollywood just seemed lacking somehow. The last section combing school and religion was a little better.
Even though I enjoyed it, I found the section about the bar dancers to be problematic because it seems to be an almost too romantic a view, even though it really isn’t romantic at all. It almost is a too facile look and even too much of an outside look. It’s strange.
If you have seen the documentary shown on HBO about the 2008 Terror Attacks in Mumbai then you will want to read this book. If...moreCrossposted at Booklikes
If you have seen the documentary shown on HBO about the 2008 Terror Attacks in Mumbai then you will want to read this book. If you are interested in current events, read this book. In people facing down the odds, read this book.
Quite frankly, read this book it is a powerful piece of writing.
The focus on book, quite obvious from the title, is the events that occurred in the Tajo hotel. If you want a blow by blow for the entire terror attacks then you are better watching the HBO (it would help to watch the film first, I think, to get the timeline in mind). While passing reference is made to events outside of the Taj, the focus is on the Taj. Biographical information is given both about the attackers and to some degree the victims. The authors trace the development of the attack to a degree as well.
The media here in the United States at least tended to focus not so much on individuals but as guests as a whole. When the hostage taking occurred, the focus was on those paying to be at the hotel as opposed to those who are paid to be at hotel. This book does much to change that and the heroic actions of the staff, most of whom would not have been able to afford a minute at the Taj as a customer. For my American perspective this was the best part of the novel because most of the news reports here focused on customers, foreigners, and not Indians.
This is not to say that guests are ignored. The paths of three groups of foreigners are followed, starting with the attack on the Leopold Café. Nor are wealthy Indians ignored. Some of the most gripping and poignant passages include the story of the Indian food critic, which as the New York Times Book review pointed out is parallel by the story of one of the chefs whose food she is reviewing. There are also the guests at the wedding, the Marine pilot, and the security personal. The young couple in love and the parents desperate to get back to their children alive.
But the best parts of the book, the ones that overwhelmed, gripped, and demanded that you do not put the book down, involved those who lives and/or deaths did not make big international news. The kitchen staff, the waiters, the police who went in knowing that they were massively outgunned. The manager whose family is trapped on the sixth floor. The man who goes back in for his daughter. It is those stories that truly grip the reader and make any interruption, any slowing of what happened annoying and frustrating.
For that is also what happens. Details are given about the planning leading up to the attacks as well as the attackers. It makes for a rather complete and damning picture of various agencies both in Indian and international stage.
In terms of layout, the book is well designed. There is a list of the people the authors follow at the beginning of the book. The people are divided into guests, staff, police, and terrorists. Pictures are below each description. Additionally, there is a complete list of the victims at the hotel at the back of the book. This includes not only guests and staff, but police and even the sniffer dog.
I do wish, fervently wish, that the authors will write a book about the attack at the other major hotel. The references made to events there, including a couple standing up to the terrorists and praying over the body of the victims seem to indicate that the story of that siege should be more widely known.
I suppose the question one must ask and consider is why you should read something about such in cruelty to fellow men. I suppose it is to know that cruelty and compassion go hand in hand. I suppose to understand or to try understanding more than what goes in your small corner of the world because in this era we are all connected.
This is the type of book that you read, and you actually learn from. The focus is on the societies in the Americas, in particu...moreFull review at Booklikes
This is the type of book that you read, and you actually learn from. The focus is on the societies in the Americas, in particular Meso-America, prior to the discovery or arrival of Europeans. There is quite a bit about the societies but also about why diseases affected Native Americans far differently than Africans. . . .
Of the three Rhine maiden books I’ve read so far this is my least favorite one, and that was before the comm...more**spoiler alert** Crossposted at Booklikes
Of the three Rhine maiden books I’ve read so far this is my least favorite one, and that was before the comment that Piper sees abortion as sacrifice (her husband, it should be noted, is pro-choice). It is impossible to discuss why without spoilers. So you have been warned. Jump at your own risk.
Okay, the book starts out okay. I may not agree with Piper in terms of politics but she is a somewhat engaging character. Undoubtedly this is because despite Piper’s Mary-Sue likness, she does make mistakes. She might be a Mary Sue (Erin Evans seems to admit this), but she isn’t princess perfect. She is human, silly, and flawed.
But then, this one, this book, is somewhat wearing. There is too much talking. An alien comes to enslave or destroy Earth, and you drink Starbucks? It just seems a little, suburbnite I suppose.The whole bit with the mother in law went over the top here. But most of all, I hated the ending. This is one of those end of the world books and then someone sets reset so all the bad things that happen haven’t happened. You know the first time I saw this it was okay, but too I many times, way too many times. And this is especially true here because there are two other books in the series and the product descriptions tell you things. It fells like a painter got painted into a corner and then called on god.
I’m still going to continue with this series. I like the humor and friendship between women. That is so awesome. But the ending in this one felt like such a cop out. A look, nothing has changed type of thing. Considering that we finally have Piper telling her husband about her status and then go back to the way everything was before, seems a bit annoying.
But I did like the whole deal with the witch pact thing. That was cool. (less)
This series, at least the first two books, aren’t bad. Piper is a Rhine maiden descendent, which means she can control people...moreCrossposted at booklikes.
This series, at least the first two books, aren’t bad. Piper is a Rhine maiden descendent, which means she can control people with her voice. She, her sister, and a friend who just happens to be a vampire, are sent to deal with a witch who might have killed a couple of kids. The parts that win this book are:
1. The friendships between the women.
2. The fact that Piper is not perfect.
3. The plot fits neatly together.
4. Cost of actions is shown. Piper does think, perhaps too much, about the cost of killing.
5. A marriage of equals.
The things that were done too much.
1. The debate about morality. The idea itself is interesting. I don’t mind a debate, but it felt like the same debate over and over again.
2. There was a whole bit about the husband being late to dinner. I’m not really show why that was there. It felt like a bit much.
Still, I found the book enjoyable. It was fun and light. Considering that most women characters in urban fantasy come from a tragic past, are in some confusing romantic triangle or other geometric shape, and never seem to go beyond it, it’s nice to read a different take on it. (less)