Slaughterhouse-Five by author Kurt Vonnegut is a strangely edgy story about an author who's writing a novel about his experiences during World War IISlaughterhouse-Five by author Kurt Vonnegut is a strangely edgy story about an author who's writing a novel about his experiences during World War II through the eyes of a character he names Billy Pilgrim.
Billy Pilgrim was serving in WWII as a chaplain's assistant and found himself stranded behind enemy lines with the Germans closing in. He and a few other soldiers are trying to make their way to safety when Billy finds himself "unstuck in time" and begins to live different parts of his life, similar to fast-forwarding or rewinding a tape and watching different moments. He experiences many moments, anywhere from attending mundane meetings as an optometrist, to being held as a prisoner of war in a slaughterhouse in Dresden prior to its being fire-bombed, to being abducted by aliens calling themselves Tralfamadorians and being put in an alien zoo with a porn-star actress as a roommate (my dream).
I've seen many people categorize this novel as science fiction. It is not. I believe they are missing the point. I personally think it's allegorical for someone who's losing their innocence and faith from witnessing the horrors of war and what mankind is capable of doing to each other by unquestioningly following orders under the emotional self-protection of a 'that's just life' mentality. The time travel in this book should not be taken literally. It is metaphorical for the character experiencing some type of schizophrenia due to the severe emotional trauma he's enduring from the war.
This book is both dark and bizarre. It is humorous and sad all at once. I was quite enthralled by the grit and edge of it. Vonnegut has an interesting and unique writing style that kept me going. But my basic interpretation of Vonnegut's message is that war is evil and people are puppets. Not exactly original. While I did enjoy the writing and parts of the story, Vonnegut's holier-than-thou attitude really surfaces and blends with the 1969 anti-war hippie movement, which he clearly saw as his target audience. While the book is well written and has some interesting ideas and moments, its total absurdity becomes something akin to overdosing on Ambien and watching Sean Penn Academy speeches while standing on your head. Vonnegut's anti-war propaganda was both hit and miss for me at times. Overall, I would still recommend this book. It will challenge you in both good and bad ways. ...more
Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story, by author Mary Downing Hahn, is a supernatural thriller that you may not want to read while you're alone..Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story, by author Mary Downing Hahn, is a supernatural thriller that you may not want to read while you're alone... because if you do you'll probably just fall asleep.
Ali and Emma are two young cousins who are going to spend the summer together in their moms' old cabin in the mountains of Maine. Emma's mother, Dulcie, is the sister of Ali's mother, Claire. Dulcie is an artist who's seeking solitude from big city life so she can concentrate on her paintings. She figures spending the summer in her childhood cabin is the perfect place to get some work done. She takes along her daughter Emma, and invites her niece Ali along as well. It's not long before Ali and Emma meet a stranger who begins to rattle and unnerve them with her strange, erratic behavior and grumblings of a secret that their mothers have been keeping from them. Ali and Emma experience intense moment after moment as they decide to pursue the truth about their mothers.
Now I'll pursue the truth about this book. It's boring, predictable and like reading the diary of a 13 year old drama queen who does nothing but argue with her menopausal aunt, little brat cousin and a confused prepubescent ghost. Not a good story. However, I did find I needed much less Ambien during the agonizing month it took me to get through this. So there's something good....more
The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by author Betty G. Birney is a heart-warming folk-tale that will inspire you to see more of what life has to ofThe Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by author Betty G. Birney is a heart-warming folk-tale that will inspire you to see more of what life has to offer you right around your own hometown. But only if you like drugged-out adventures with a ludicrous country bumpkin flare. This book is the equivalent of the Antiques Road Show meets Andy Griffith and Aunt Bee using a Ouija board to investigate the wacky stuff around Mayberry. Sound compelling? OK, I just made it sound way more interesting than it really is.
Eben is a young boy working on his dad's farm in Sassafras Springs, but he has a yearning to visit more of the world. He tells his dad that he desperately wants to visit the Seven Wonders of the World. This of course is impossible because his pa is just a poor ol' farmer and could never afford to help his youngster travel the globe. However, they do have a cousin in Colorado! Hot biscuits! Pa challenges Eben to find the wonders that exist in their very own town of Sassafras Springs. If Eben can pull it off in seven days, by golly Pa will get him a train ticket to go visit the fam' in Colorado. So Eben sets off on a mission to find the Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. What he discovers will blow your mind. And if it doesn't, you'll feel like doing it yourself by the time you finish this book.
My initial reaction to the book is that it had good potential to teach a little lesson about loving your own home town and finding the wonder in the little things around you. Nope! Instead, what you get is an episode of Little House on the Prairie, except with Laura going off on acid-trips and coming back to Charles to detox while discussing her hallucinations. Good initial idea for a story, but terrible, undeveloped, stereo-typed characters, with a corny, hokey plot that becomes boring fast. ...more
The Tiger Rising is a sensitive story about two children, Rob and Sistine, who have each lost a parent, and their discovery of a caged tiger in the woThe Tiger Rising is a sensitive story about two children, Rob and Sistine, who have each lost a parent, and their discovery of a caged tiger in the woods. The book follows their growing friendship and frustration about their lives and what to do about the tiger. Before long it becomes apparent that, although the tiger does exist, it is a metaphor for their emotional pain from losing a parent. They each must confront their own caged tiger in order to move forward with life. While the book is well written, the metaphor of the tiger is beyond the understanding of the average child and must have adult explanation. The author falls back on a bit of a shabby trick to end the book in order to tug at the heartstrings of her readers....more
Two words: Bor ing. The City of Ember starts off with a unique and interesting premise. A small community lives in a dark, underground city. They haveTwo words: Bor ing. The City of Ember starts off with a unique and interesting premise. A small community lives in a dark, underground city. They have no history as to how this came to be and most people accept it at face value. Doon and Lina are two children who've just graduated in to the city's workforce. Before long they start to discover flaws in the infrastructure and social structure of the city. They take it upon themselves to discover the truth about Ember which leads them on a not so interesting adventure. After about the first seven chapters the book completely stalls out and falls flat. There's a long time where absolutely nothing interesting happens and I found that I had to force myself to read it so I could just finish. The characters become completely cliche and the ending is beyond predictable. If there was supposed to be some clever message about questioning society and a type of reawakening it didn't work for me....more
A Game of Thrones by Author George R.R. Martin is a fantasy novel that reminds me a lot of the epic classic, Le Morte d'Arthur. It has small elementsA Game of Thrones by Author George R.R. Martin is a fantasy novel that reminds me a lot of the epic classic, Le Morte d'Arthur. It has small elements of Tolkien-like fantasy, but really almost fits better with historical fiction.
House Stark is the ruling family of the North that is responsible for defending the northern border of the kingdom from various enemies. Lord Eddard Stark, ruler and father of House Stark, receives a visit from his old friend and comrade, King Robert Baratheon. Stark soon finds himself at the center of a conspiracy of rival lords to take the kingdom for themselves.
This book really has some spectacular moments, but overall, I can't help but feel like it's a tad overrated. It is well written and definitely has some interesting characters and plot twists. However, the author has the propensity of jumping from character to character so frequently that it became maddening to me at times. It disrupts the continuity of the story and becomes very annoying. Your head begins to spin trying to keep track of the many, many characters and all of the details. The book also really stalls out at times and I couldn't help but feel like it was taking way too long to go somewhere. Martin also loves to spend a lot of time on various, intricate details that become pointless and boring and just seem to take up a lot of pages for no real reason. It reminded me of Terry Goodkind in that way. Readers of Goodkind know what I mean.
Throughout the book I was thinking of giving it a 2 or 3 star rating out of my boredom and its general lack of progress, but the story picks up steam as it goes. Toward the end of the book the author finally reveals some history of the kingdom that I found very interesting. And the ending, to me, was brilliant. Overall, the book is worth reading just because it does have such a terrific, interesting ending that it makes up for a lot of my criticisms. I would recommend it for fantasy lovers. I did give it 4 stars, but just barely. ...more
The Ocean of Tears is way better than its predecessor, The Rogue's Hour. The characters are interesting, the plot has some great twists and the book tThe Ocean of Tears is way better than its predecessor, The Rogue's Hour. The characters are interesting, the plot has some great twists and the book ties into the EQ universe quite well. The ending does leave the reader hanging a bit, though, with no clear resolution. It could actually use a second volume to wrap things up. But, I would enjoy this book standing on its own, even without any knowledge of EQ....more
I've been part of the EverQuest universe ever since its inception in 1999, so I was excited when they published some books to accompany the world. TheI've been part of the EverQuest universe ever since its inception in 1999, so I was excited when they published some books to accompany the world. The Rogue's Hour does a below average job of tying in the lore from EQ. The book is juvenile and corny. Even for die-hard EQ'ers this book is not worth reading....more