This was the July pick for our book club. It's all about, well, dead people...and what happens to the bodies of unselfish previous owners who donate tThis was the July pick for our book club. It's all about, well, dead people...and what happens to the bodies of unselfish previous owners who donate them to science. I guess mostly when I thought of cadavers, it was always in the context of anatomy labs, but this book shows that it doesn't stop there, as the author explores everything from crash testing to composting to organ donation. It's written in a very entertaining and witty style, and the overall tone is light-hearted despite the somewhat morbid topic. I'm not squeamish, but there really isn't anything the more sensitive types would find off-putting, I don't think. I definitely enjoyed it and it's made me think twice about I want to do with my remains when my time comes....more
I'm finally getting around to reading the rest of this series, haha. Two left to go! My verdict: hilarious, as always. I love that I can just pick upI'm finally getting around to reading the rest of this series, haha. Two left to go! My verdict: hilarious, as always. I love that I can just pick up one of these books and zip through it when I need to laugh. As usual, Georgia has too many boys in her life and it does nothing but cause problems. She is in the cakeshop of lurve, and how is she to choose between Masimo the Italian cakey and Robbie the Eclair? And why does Dave the Tart keep popping up when he's not wanted? It's been obvious from the beginning where this is all going, but it's still extremely entertaining....more
This was our book club's selection for May. I have to admit I was pretty skeptical at first. This isn't the type of book I would've picked out on my oThis was our book club's selection for May. I have to admit I was pretty skeptical at first. This isn't the type of book I would've picked out on my own. In the end though, I admit that I enjoyed it pretty much, though I did have a few issues with it. Quite a few passages made me crack up laughing, but the humor is pretty low-brow. Think lots of poo and penis jokes. The horror runs along the lines of monsters made out of cockroaches and meat (with taglines like "Pleased to meat you", lol). So bottomline...if you like crude, often cheesy humor (which I can't deny that I do on occasion), you'll probably enjoy this book....more
This was a really engrossing look at the future of the technologies that we consider these days to be only science fiction. Time travel, force fields,This was a really engrossing look at the future of the technologies that we consider these days to be only science fiction. Time travel, force fields, faster-than-light space travel, etc. Some of the science was over my head, of course, but enough of it was understandable that it was still a good read. The author is very animated about the subject, so it's easy to get swept up by his enthusiasm. It's definitely pop science, but I would recommend it for anyone who wants to read something a bit more substantial than fiction, but not so science-heavy as to make your brain hurt....more
I just couldn't get into this. Basically, this is a novelization of the show Castle, only without the benefit of being able to look at Nathan Fillion.I just couldn't get into this. Basically, this is a novelization of the show Castle, only without the benefit of being able to look at Nathan Fillion. Who, I have come to realize, is the only reason I really liked that show to begin with. Anyway, the plot is lackluster and some of the writing is truly cringe-worthy. It's a short enough book, and should've been easy to finish, but it just didn't hold my attention. Sorry Castle....more
Sometimes it's nice to read something totally different than what I usually go for. At first, it didn'tScandal! Secrets! Boys! Big poofy dresses! OMG!
Sometimes it's nice to read something totally different than what I usually go for. At first, it didn't really hold my attention, but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Now I kinda want to read the rest of the series!...more
It's been awhile since I finished it, so you'll forgive the vague nature of this review. I really enjoyed this book. It was a page turner for me, whicIt's been awhile since I finished it, so you'll forgive the vague nature of this review. I really enjoyed this book. It was a page turner for me, which is saying a lot. I actually liked it better than the TV show, which I honestly got bored with after a few episodes, despite the promising premise. My only complaint (as usual) is that the characters were blah. It always boggles my mind how most sci-fi writers, who come up with such imaginative ideas for plots, cannot for the life of them seem to manage character development. But then, I AM more picky than most in that department. But anyway, if the characters had been less two-dimensional this would have gotten five stars from me....more
I enjoyed the first three books in the series, so I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately it just bored me to tears. I really had to force myselfI enjoyed the first three books in the series, so I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately it just bored me to tears. I really had to force myself to finish it. What happened to the characters I liked? Julia did nothing except whine incessantly about how she wanted to be a detective like Nicholas. Nicholas was a jerk for no apparent reason. The supporting cast was bland and forgettable. And the "big surprise twist"? Seriously, are you kidding me? All I could do was roll my eyes. It was that contrived and unbelievable.
If any more books come out in this series, I'm afraid I'll be giving them a pass....more
This is way too heavy on politics, and it was boring me to tears. I picked it up because I wanted to read about the places he visits, but he doesn't eThis is way too heavy on politics, and it was boring me to tears. I picked it up because I wanted to read about the places he visits, but he doesn't even talk about the actual places at all. I guess if you are interested in that kind of thing it would be a good book, but it's not for me....more
In this Sherlock Holmes novel, Holmes and Watson are called upon to investigate the death of a seemingly ordinary country gentleman. The local policeIn this Sherlock Holmes novel, Holmes and Watson are called upon to investigate the death of a seemingly ordinary country gentleman. The local police are baffled, as the facts just don't seem to add up, but of course once Holmes is on the case, everything will become clear...
Though only the first half of this novel features Holmes and Watson (the second half delving into the shady past of the murdered man), I enjoyed it nonetheless. The solution to the murder is as convoluted and intriguing as always, and the account of the victim's life in America was engaging as well. And the scene at the very end where the twist is revealed was so unexpected, I almost jumped off the couch!...more
I'm currently reading the second volume of The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (the version published by Barnes and Noble). I thought I'd go thI'm currently reading the second volume of The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (the version published by Barnes and Noble). I thought I'd go through and rate each individual book by itself as I finish them. I really enjoyed this collection of stories, which occur in the Holmes timeline right after Conan Doyle brought him back from a supposed death, at the demand of a furious public. I like the short story format, because it's easy to pick up and read one or two when you're short on time and/or don't feel like you have the concentration for committing to a longer, more involved storyline. And even though they're short, they are still immensely entertaining. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite story from this particular collection, because I liked them all. Holmes is a great character, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading about him!...more
I tried, but I just can't get into this book. There are too many things wrong with it. The plot makes no sense and the characterizations are awful. ThI tried, but I just can't get into this book. There are too many things wrong with it. The plot makes no sense and the characterizations are awful. The author goes out of his way to make his writing sound like it was from the same time period as when Treasure Island was written, but it just comes off clumsy and awkward. There's too much telling and not enough showing. One thing that really bugs me is that Jim Hawkins is the biggest pansy/mama's boy ever. I've never read the original Treasure Island, but I didn't think he was like that. At one point in the narrative, he mentions that he was never married because his mother never liked any of the women who were interested in him. This guy is twenty-four years old. Also, when the new captain of the Hispaniola (who is a jerk) bosses him around and treats him like a child, he just takes it. Even though him and his uncle hired this guy in the first place. And when something horrible happens on the island which Jim is a witness to, the captain tells him he isn't allowed to tell anyone else, so he doesn't. Even though, uh, it's something everyone else probably needs to know about.
Which is the way the whole story is. The motivations for the characters make no sense, and it dooms the whole premise from the start. Jim meets some random woman who is a total stranger, falls in love with her after literally two seconds (even though she treats him like crap) and decides to hare off to Treasure Island again (even though she refuses to tell him WHY she wants to go there). That's right, 100+ pages into the book and Jim still has no idea why he's even back on Treasure Island. He just knows that this woman who is a complete stranger wants him to help her, and every time he looks at her he gets all tingly in his breeches, and that's a good enough reason for him, darn it! But wait, Grace Richardson (the woman, who he insists on calling by her first and last name every time he refers to her, which gives the reader the impression that he could be either partially mentally retarded or a robot) even told Jim's MOTHER why she wants to go to the island, but she refuses to tell him. Come on, Jim, grow some balls! If I was going to risk life and limb returning to a pirate-and-disease-infested island halfway around the world, I would at least make this lady prove she had a darn good reason why I should do it.
Anyway, it requires too much of a suspension of disbelief. Add to it the fact that half of the sentences sound like bad translations from a Japanese video game, and this book sinks into Davey Jones' locker faster than a pirate wearing lead shoes. Example:
"My head felt as if it had been hit with something of a hardness greater than I had encountered, something harder than stone, than iron." - pg. 145
Alright, I suppose I'll leave this poor book alone now. But I suggest you look elsewhere, if it's piratical thrills you're after....more
This book is kind of difficult to summarize, because there are so many different characters and parallel pI won this book from a First Reads giveaway.
This book is kind of difficult to summarize, because there are so many different characters and parallel plots going on, it's hard to pinpoint what the central storyline is. It is ostensibly a tale about mild-mannered Beefeater Balthazar Jones, but in actuality there is much more to it than meets the eye. In addition to Balthazar taking up the task of official keeper of the royal menagerie, which includes many temperamental and difficult animal charges, he must also cope with the loss of his wife Hebe, who walks out on him. There are also the numerous side characters, each of whom have their own distinct troubles. The Reverend Septimus Drew is desperately lonely, and in love with a woman who doesn't even know he exists, and in turn the woman, tavernkeeper Ruby Dore, has troubles of her own. There's also the mild-mannered ticket inspector Arthur Catnip, who is madly in love with Hebe's best friend and co-worker Valerie Jennings.
In short, there is a lot -- a LOT -- going on in this book, which is something that could have caused a huge problem if the author had not handled it properly. Fortunately, she did an excellent job of tying things together at the end, and also of making sure that each and every member of the vast cast of characters was unique and interesting and someone the reader cared about. Or at least, I cared about them! Also, though the book deals with some pretty weighty themes, I thought the author did a good job of handling them. The whole source of trouble in Balthazar and Hebe's marriage is the fact that their young son died suddenly and neither of them really knows how to cope with their feelings, or how to help each other overcome their sorrow. It's something that could have bogged the book down and made it depressing, but in addition to containing scenes that were emotionally wrenching, there were also a number of light-hearted and humorous aspects of the story. I thought that the author did a good job of balancing things out, so that the tone was neither too dark nor too flippant.
All in all, I enjoyed it very much, and I would definitely recommend this book to others, and I would like to read more from this author!...more