Honestly, I couldn't get through this one, despite having read the previous books in the Sigma series. The plot was far too slow and meandering, and wHonestly, I couldn't get through this one, despite having read the previous books in the Sigma series. The plot was far too slow and meandering, and was kind of jumbled. I'm sure many will say the ending was a great pay off, but I wasn't willing to spend time to find out....more
The Pleasure of My Company is a first-person narrative whose central character, Daniel Pecan Cambridge, is a little ... idiosyncratic? Odd? Neurotic?The Pleasure of My Company is a first-person narrative whose central character, Daniel Pecan Cambridge, is a little ... idiosyncratic? Odd? Neurotic? Abnormal? All of the above? You be the judge: He can only cross streets at driveways symmetrically opposed to one another, the total output of light in his apartment must always equal 1,125 watts, and in attempts to find love, usually comes across more stalker-like than Casanova.
Throughout the short novel, Daniel fantasizes about wooing three different women -- and makes embarrassing attempts to actually do so; deals with passing the of time now that he's unemployed (acting as an extra in a crime show, for example); and is caught in a bizarre lie after entering the "Most Average American" essay contest, in which he submits one essay from himself, and another from a fictional person.
The story begins a little slowly and tediously, being almost too sharply written for its own good (in fact, I nearly put this back on the shelf after the first few chapters). Steve Martin clearly has a firm grasp of language and writing, and his cleverness for storytelling is quite evident. But once beyond the opening pages, a tender, heartfelt story takes shape, that is both humorous and touching, and well-worth finishing.
Whether you're a fan of Steve Martin's vast comedic work on screen and stage or not, I definitely recommend The Pleasure of My Company, as it will likely make you a fan of his writing....more
Internationally-respected microbiologist Dr. Richard Draman is working on a cure for an extremely rare disease: progeria, a genetic disorder that causInternationally-respected microbiologist Dr. Richard Draman is working on a cure for an extremely rare disease: progeria, a genetic disorder that causes premature aging and early death. Despite facing a lack of funding and general public interest, Draman strives to eradicate this hideous disease. The reason: his daughter, Susie, has the disorder.
After a brilliant female colleague dies of an apparent suicide, Draman is handed the details of her work-in-progress by her widower, who is convinced his wife did not commit suicide; but rather she was killed off for delving into areas of work that somebody wanted kept quiet. Shortly after viewing his colleague's fascinating research, Draman reasonably suspects he and his family are no longer safe, and is also convinced someone, or some group, is working to shutdown Draman's operation. And thus begins a cat-and-mouse chase, and race against time to save his daughter.
The Immortalists is a cut and dry medical thriller, with stock characters (including rival billionaires with unlimited power and resources) and a familiar story arc. The novel is well-paced, the dialogue natural and the action just intriguing enough to keep one turning the pages, but ultimately there is nothing new here. The Immortalists is slightly better than the medical thrillers of Robin Cook, though far shy of the works of Michael Crichton.
If you're looking for a quick read that will keep your attention long enough to pass a few hours, The Immortalists will certainly fill that need. Otherwise, you're better off passing on this one and seeking a thrill elsewhere....more
So, I'm not a teen, nor have I been for quite some time, but I found How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend to be engaging and rewarding -- for aSo, I'm not a teen, nor have I been for quite some time, but I found How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend to be engaging and rewarding -- for a book of its genre.
David Gershwin is a typically hormonal teen boy, with an undeveloped physique and somewhat poltroon nature, spending an unremarkable summer with his father, a renowned psychologist, in rural France. David's father takes on a new, very violent, patient, Zelda, in his ward, who recounts a remarkable story: she is from another planet, and has landed on Earth in order to find her "chosen one," who so happens to be Johnny Depp. David immediately becomes smitten with Zelda and, not surprisingly, is the only person who believes her story. David is so taken with Zelda, in fact, that he enlists to become her personal assistant, and embarks on an epic quest to help her find Mr. Depp. Zelda, however, is being kept prisoner in David's father's compound, so the first order of business: escape.
Once free, enemies from both Earth and Zelda's world, Vahalal, interfere, and are steadfast in thwarting Zelda's plans. But Zelda has a limited amount of time to find Johnny before her chances of returning home with him fade, so she cannot afford to be captured. Will she make it in time?? Will David, as the title suggests, steal Zelda away from Johnny?? [Cue dramatic music]
Readers young and old will find enjoyment in this pithy book, and Gary Ghislain should be proud of his debut effort. The story moves quickly, the characters are well-defined, and though there are some plot devices and cliches, you will find yourself immersed in this adventure, hoping good will prevail over evil. I look forward to seeing what Mr. Ghislain produces next, as it is evident he has a vast imagination and a wry sense of humor. ...more
The Graduate Student was my first introduction to writer James Polster, so I was uncertain of what to expect. What I discovered was a fun, fast-paced,The Graduate Student was my first introduction to writer James Polster, so I was uncertain of what to expect. What I discovered was a fun, fast-paced, enjoyable, albeit convoluted, story. The novel begins with anthropology student Blackwell James (can you tell Polster works in Hollywood?) returning from the Amazon jungle, where he briefly studied and lived with the tribes. Instead of returning to his New England school with copious field notes, James humps a crate containing a mysterious jungle vine, known to produce hallucinogenic effects when brewed. Knowing this snafu will likely cost him the ability to obtain his degree, James begrudgingly accepts a job in Los Angeles, arranged by his professor, to work on a secret project involving primates -- so long as he brings his precious jungle vines with him. Hmm.
Once in Los Angeles, however, things start to become a little ... weird. The naive anthropology student is derailed from his original work plans, and is suddenly swept up in the Hollywood scene, working for a studio producer, hobnobbing with celebs, all the while still trying to figure out exactly what he's supposed to do on the primate project, and why his jungle vines were needed. Blackwell eventually finds himself mixed up with some less-than-credible individuals, and is uncertain if he will even make it out of the L.A. jungle alive.
Is The Graduate Student likely to win any major literary praise or awards? Probably not. But Polster's writing is fun, even if the story reads like a Michael Bay film script. Polster's Hollywood experience is quite evident in the narrative structure, so expect short, snappy dialogue, quick-paced action sequences, stock characters, and an all-too-familiar story arc. Still, if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to follow the character's bizarre journey, you'll find an enjoyable, fast read, perfect for a long plane ride or trip to the beach. ...more
The literary world is currently festering with a slew of teen horror romance novels, each extolling the virtues of chastity -- yet apparently endorsinThe literary world is currently festering with a slew of teen horror romance novels, each extolling the virtues of chastity -- yet apparently endorsing necrophilia. The most recent addition to this line up is The Cellar, by A.J. Whitten, which, as the back cover indicates, is the pseudonym for tag team writers Shirley Jump and her teenage daughter Amanda. Um, cute.
At 280 pages, consisting of small page sizes and large font type, The Cellar is really more of a novella than a novel, clearly marketed to teens with short attention spans, and who prefer information delivered in chunks of 140 characters or less. The story focuses on high school student Meredith Willis and yer younger sister, Heather. Their father has recently died, their mother copes by spending countless hours shopping online, and their aunt and twin boy cousins are staying with the family for an indefinite time period.
Out of the blue, new neighbors move next door, in a previously abandoned, decrepit house. Are you getting chills yet? Their curiosities piqued, the Willis sisters meet their new neighbor the following day at school: teen hunk Adrien, with movie star hair and a penchant for sunglasses. As the female student body fawn over the dreamy Adrien, Meredith suspects something is not quite right with Mc Steamy. Heather, however, is smitten with the new kid on the block, and her crush is the first bright ray in her life since the death of her father.
Soon, however, things start to unravel. Persons go missing, Adrien's activity is suspicious, especially his choosing Heather as the object of his affection, and Meredith stumbles across dark secrets concerning the boy wonder, but nobody will listen! And why does Adrien not let anyone meet his mother, who never leaves their mysterious home? And what does Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet have to do with it all? You'll have to read to find out!
The Cellar is a very quick read and will likely pacify most teens for a few hours, providing a modicum of entertainment. It will unlikely be as popular as books from the Twilight series, which is ironic, considering the writing quality between them is equally mediocre at best. Still, The Cellar is a better time-wasting alternative than Angry Birds, as it gets teens away from electronic devices and into the world of books, dusting the cobwebs off imagination and critical thinking....more
Let it not be unsaid that Tolkien is an imaginative writer, with clever prose and an ability to create striking lI'll keep this brief, unlike Tolkien.
Let it not be unsaid that Tolkien is an imaginative writer, with clever prose and an ability to create striking landscapes and characters. The amount of time he takes in describing such elements, however, is where he lost me. The Hobbit is a fun, nuanced story about a journey through Middle-Earth to reclaim long-lost treasure. But the writing was so tedious and long-winded that I kept skipping pages just to allow the story to progress. And I'm quite certain the Tolkien fans will lambast me for those comments. So be it.
At the very least, I now have the back story necessary to fill in the details of the Lord of the Rings books, which I do still plan to read -- or skim, as necessary....more
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of 24 short stories written by the uncomparable Japanese author Haruki Murakami. While I normally appreciBlind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of 24 short stories written by the uncomparable Japanese author Haruki Murakami. While I normally appreciate and devour the works of Murakami, this was a seemingly unbalanced collection of stories, with few bright rays. Some of the narratives were dull, some absurd, and some overly long for short stories. Then Murakami would redeem himself with a touching story, such as Hanalei Bay, about a mother who loses her son in a tragic accident.
Each story does have Murakami's trademark touch of mysticism and dreaminess, but too often these qualities were not used to much effect. As a fan of Murakami, I'm filled with compunction saying I was hurriedly awaiting the end of this book. For those looking to begin reading Murakami, perhaps start with his novels, such as Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore. For those already familiar, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is certainly not a must-read, but if you're willing to do a little digging, you may unearth a gem here and there....more