This book ends with the most chilling sentence possible, a line that isn't upsetting at all unless you understand its context within the story & tThis book ends with the most chilling sentence possible, a line that isn't upsetting at all unless you understand its context within the story & then it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. That sentence is the only reason why I feel I have anything to say about this book. Even though I knew what was going to happen, the final line was the only thing that made me feel deeply the entire time I was reading. Which is a shame, because this book is ostensibly supposed to be about feelings. Anna lives in Switzerland, cheats on her husband with several different men, and has two sons who look like their father & a daughter who doesn't. Everything that happens to her seems to happen at arms-length; the clinical nature of most of her affairs, her slightly self-imposed exile from the country she lives in due to her inability to speak Schwiizerdütsch as well as to the reticence of the Swiss, her sessions with a therapist to whom she doesn't tell everything she's feeling - through all of it, I never really bought why Anna was so very, very unhappy. Even the one very major tragedy in her life (which almost seems positioned in the narrative as a punishment for her transgressions in a ham-handed, "mwah ha ha, the author is doing this to you" way because of what Anna is doing when it happens) lasts for a few pages & then seems unnaturally eased. I'm not sure if it was my personal failing or a failing of the writing that I didn't particularly connect with Anna or understand her many woes, but the writing itself was pretty, there are some nice truths that Anna eventually realizes in between all her musings on the nature of German verbs - particularly, "A single lifetime and yet so many lies . . . I wonder which one's the worst? Anna never asked herself. But the answer was easy. I've never been nearly as alone as I always say I am." I liked that a lot. ...more
Duane Swierczynski has succeeded in writing a totally preposterous book that I wanted to finish even as I shook my head in disbelief at its very prepoDuane Swierczynski has succeeded in writing a totally preposterous book that I wanted to finish even as I shook my head in disbelief at its very preposterousness. He stays entirely true to the voice of seventeen-year-old college student-turned reluctant criminal informant Sarie Holland; she writes, in an ongoing letter to her mother (the only way that Sarie's voice is transmitted to the reader) gems like, "So my bestie is a ho" or "You want me to dime on someone I don't even know?" or "Thing is, I can't get dressed at home without Dad asking a million questions," all of which made me cringe, but her childish voice and her hair-pullingly frustrating actions stay true to who she is, for the most part. She does some incredibly stupid stuff in her quest to get out of narcotics officer Ben Wildey’s pocket - in particular, her vague attraction to and willingness to protect D., the basically random dude who got her into the CI mess in the first place - but most of her actions are believable in the context of her being a not-particularly-street smart teenager trying to act on a maturity that she doesn’t possess. Of course, since she’s a not-particularly-street smart etc., she discovers an inherent knack for uncovering all sorts of shady business in the Philly PD much more quickly than the actual cops. The danger faced by Wildey’s CIs was one reason that I stuck around, but it isn’t explained very well, nor is Sarie’s friend Tamara’s Amoroso dot com tangent that I think was supposed to tie everything together, and on top of Sarie’s increasingly ridiculous antics & the deus ex machina that attends her, there is a weird, drug-related sexual assault situation involving a shady doctor that was just so, so excruciating & unnecessary. But all of that aside, dammit, as much as I was rolling my eyes at myself while I read, I kept reading until the end. ...more
So I've been trying to shy away from hiding my reviews for spoilers, basically because I'm trying not to be lazy, and because I used to regard the mosSo I've been trying to shy away from hiding my reviews for spoilers, basically because I'm trying not to be lazy, and because I used to regard the most basic of plot points as spoilers & that's just silly. The event in this book that I'd not want to ruin for anyone (or have wanted to have ruined for me before I read this) comes up in almost every review that I've read of this book on this site, and is, in my opinion, grossly understated in every case. I'm kind of torn as a result. I don't want to hide my review since no one else seems to think that this event is such a big deal, but good grief, saying that a certain character gets shot does not do justice to what actually happens at all. I guess I'll just say be aware: I'm going to mention a major plot point about halfway through this. You'll find this same plot point mentioned in every other review you'd read here, I just see what happened a little differently from everyone else. My ass = covered now, right?
After leaving a couple's counseling session wherein she has announced that she wants to separate from her husband, plucky heroine Marina Benedict spies a baby in a stroller. The baby smiles & seems captivated by her; turns out all babies act this way when she's around. A short time later, she gets on a bus & sees this same baby in the arms of a strange man - but fear not, courageous Marina follows the man to an abandoned building, where she is captured by three bad guys, who have bungled their usual nefarious scheme and have resorted to dabbling in other criminal business.
The term 'Mary Sue' may not have been coined when this was written in 2001, but rest assured that Marina Benedict certainly fits the criteria. Here's where everyone references the fact that Marina is shot and survives, which does a disservice to what George actually wrote, even as she in turn does a disservice to her reader. "The sound is not so loud. There is fire in her side at the end of her life, lightning in her head, and then blackness." If you write such a thing about your character, who is tied to a chair & shot in the head & chest, should your reader not take that to mean that you've killed that character? Nothing like such a turn of events to make one think, 'damn, mortality & so forth' before reading on, and at first I admired George for her gutsy willingness to create a character & then murder her a scant 40 or so pages into the book. But it turns out that there was very little to admire after all, since Marian somehow lives through her execution with her remarkable beauty unsullied, despite, you know, having a wound in her skull, and goes on to solve the crime more quickly than the actual detectives & FBI agents assigned to the case, all while catching the eye of the married commanding detective, who just can’t believe how graceful and hot and awesome and all-around wonderful she is.
How terribly, utterly disappointing.
This book annoyed me to no end. I was certainly enraged by the fact that Marian was apparently shot with amazing take-back bullets that leave her almost entirely uninjured for the rest of the book – and with her perfect photographic memory of what happened completely intact – because lord knows that the ridiculous premise of almost-death has been coming up in so many of the books I’ve read lately (Nick Cooper, I am still mad at you for being alive) and it's really starting to piss me off. But that combined with the tired device of a married detective who simply must be attracted to & eventually have sex with the victimized woman who is part of his investigation, and how the detective and Marian’s sister and her estranged husband and the woman whose baby was kidnapped are constantly reflecting again and again on how beautiful she is and what a wonderful person she is, and the fact that Marian eventually confronts one of the bad guys again & she doesn’t get shot again because he’s stymied on her incredible gorgeousness, that elevate this to true throw the book across the room status. Thanks but no thanks, Kathleen George.
Another chapter in the tale of golden boy gangster Joe Coughlin. While I'm skeptical of the pat-ness of Joe's untouchable nature (I had this same probAnother chapter in the tale of golden boy gangster Joe Coughlin. While I'm skeptical of the pat-ness of Joe's untouchable nature (I had this same problem by the end of Live By Night, since every. single. time. there was a situation that was So Dangerous or there was No Hope of Getting Out of There Alive, Joe breezed through it all with increasingly preposterous ease), Lehane always manages to draw me into his hoodlum-land. This has all the usual suspects you'd expect in a crook book; the rat in the organization, the moron lieutenant who makes terrible, bloody mistakes yet has to be kept around because he's related to so-and-so, the one partner who's totally psychotic & freaks out all the normal mobsters with his murderous detachment, the guy you'd never suspect who wants to kill everyone & overthrow the boss so that he can rule the underworld. One thing that bugged me about this, that I'm sure comes up in Live By Night and The Given Day (had I finished that one) and every other outlaw book under the sun, is how much the women suck. Teresa's the only woman in this book who isn't a loser. The wives are either unseen, nagging harpies or depressed, incestuous grotesqueries, and the only woman who gets any screen time when the ruffians meet is a faded, drug-addled shade of her former rambunctious self. Vanessa has the potential to be a real badass, even though as soon as she was introduced as someone who loathes Joe but puts up her revulsion for the sake of playing politics, I knew where that relationship was headed & I rolled my eyes but hard, but in the end, of course she ends up (view spoiler)[figuratively barefoot & literally pregnant, showing up on Joe's doorstep just in time to see him get shot to death in the street (hide spoiler)]. I know that's basically what to expect from hooligan tales, since no one's writin' 'em about the ladies, especially not during the time frame of WWII, but I don't know, I just really liked Teresa right after the prologue & I was hoping for at least a little more about her story. I'm tempted to give this a whole other star - it gets at least a half - for the ending - heck yeah, bleak & shocking & mildly sickening! I love an ending like that, and my god, Joe, how I hope so too. ...more
But why say that I read this & enjoyed it? Because the writing is exquisitely crafted. Because the ultimately deadly mold looks "as if someone had chewed a piece of iridescence and stuck it, like gum, on the wall." And because Jill Clement has that knack that I so admire in writers, to make the everyday mundane seem not only interesting but compelling. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I have a hard time reading this because, by god, I hate cousin Charles as much as Merricat does. Apparently I have a thing for just being left alone bI have a hard time reading this because, by god, I hate cousin Charles as much as Merricat does. Apparently I have a thing for just being left alone by everyone, being constantly shut up in the house, following an exacting routine, gardening & hiding out & burying things in the woods to keep safe. "All our land was enriched with my treasures buried in it, thickly inhabited just below the surface with my marbles and my teeth and my colored stones, all perhaps turned to jewels by now, held together under the ground in a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us." And Uncle Julian is the character with the greatest lines ever: "'I think you have forgotten yourself, young man, to take such a tone to me. I am pleased you are repentant, but you have taken far too much of my time. Please be extremely quiet now.'" I'd love to say that to someone some day. ...more
I haven't a hope of remaining objective about this book. There are way too many exclamation points and for some reason Elwes lapses into asking questiI haven't a hope of remaining objective about this book. There are way too many exclamation points and for some reason Elwes lapses into asking questions & replying with "You bet" or "You bet again" too many times (although if he meant these rhetorical questions as an homage to that one Seinfeld episode he was in, I'm all over that pop culture reference, Cary! "Am I happy Beth left me? Of course not. Do I hope to pick up the pieces and move on? Absolutely"). But this is about The Princess Bride! Which is one of the greatest movies ever and also just happened to be on tv the week that I got this book from work. The most touching thing about this is how much everyone genuinely seemed to love working on this movie & how much they all loved each other & how Elwes himself is tickled & touched & grateful that it's the work he's most known for as an actor. I dare anyone to read this & not have the warm fuzzies when they're done. ...more
I'm amazed that there exists a novel about Galahad that I haven't read, considering that he's one of my personals favorites of Wodehouse's creations.I'm amazed that there exists a novel about Galahad that I haven't read, considering that he's one of my personals favorites of Wodehouse's creations. "Gally's eyebrows rose, but such was his personal magnetism that the monocle remained in place." Quite, quite. I had not yet made the acquaintance of Lady Hermoine Wedge either, so that was quite the treat. "She was short and stumpy and looked like a cook - in her softer moods a cook well satisfied with her latest soufflé; when stirred to anger a cook about to give notice; but always a cook of strong character." And because everything in my life right now revolves around the concept of sobriety, of course this book would contain, among other things, the suggestion that the Empress needs to go to Alcoholics Anonymous. Salud!...more
“Disclosure time: Carac Allison is my friend on GR. He was nice enough to send me a physical copy of this book because I’m a dork without an eReader (“Disclosure time: Carac Allison is my friend on GR. He was nice enough to send me a physical copy of this book because I’m a dork without an eReader (who also still uses the term eReader). Thank you, Carac! He did not ask me to review it, but I’m going to in a rather slap-dash fashion anyways because I liked this book a lot.
First of all, this: “When Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch were putting words to a new generation’s feelings about good vibrations . . .” If there is any better way to set the time period of what you’re discussing to the early 90s, I couldn’t tell you what it is. The tale of PI Chalk, who has been hired by a Hollywood hotshot who wants him to find the adult children he’s sired through a sperm bank, has a lot going on. During the course Chalk’s investigation, this book touches on professional wrestling, dog fighting, hacking scams, Taiwanese death gambling, Chinese organized crime, counterfeit currency, and the awesomeness of the Porsche 911 Carerra compared to the Cayenne, just to name a few topics (apparently the Cayenne stinks). Running through all this are Chalk’s musings on the Bacchus Killer, a serial killer that Chalk first saw at a GNR concert, and a terrorist group that’s robbing pharmaceutical companies & giving their spoils to veterans. Things are blown up, people are horribly killed, Chalk tools around L.A. in his 911 with one of his many vintage band shirts on (which reminds me of Steig Larsson & Salander's various t-shirts with catchy phrases), and lots of exciting stuff happens. Even though I am usually quite easily distracted/annoyed by books that have this level of information, the chapters here are short & sweet and Chalk is such a capable narrator that it all fits together well & I never had to scratch my head or shake my fist at anything. The only thing that kept snagging my eye was the lack of commas in appropriate places, like “‘I’ve been married three times Chalk”” which, at times (times not at all like the example I quoted because I don’t want to look through the book looking for flaws & I also don’t know if I should even be quoting what I have in my hands) , could be kind of confusing. I’m not going to hold that against Allison, though, because I don’t know if what he gave me is a finalized copy or what.
I liked this book a lot. I read the first chapter & then let this languish under one of the many piles of books in my house, and I feel pretty terrible that I left it so long because this was a quick, exciting read that’s left me wanting to know what’s next. I want to know more about Chalk and the Bacchus killer and I'm happy that I get to keep a copy of this on my shelf to flip through to refresh my memory for the next book which will be out . . . soon? I can only hope....more
**spoiler alert** Reading this makes me think that I should have given The Girl With a Clock for a Heart more stars, because while this is good, none**spoiler alert** Reading this makes me think that I should have given The Girl With a Clock for a Heart more stars, because while this is good, none of the characters are at all as charming and root-for-able as George Foss. I don't need characters to be likable or relatable or do things that I could see myself doing, but I do want them to be people I want to read about rather than shake my head at. Ted becomes sympathetic at some point, I guess, because he dies, which I didn't quite see coming - of course I will root for an author to kill off a main character all day long! Lily was probably the most interesting because she had a nice sociopathic thing going on, but Miranda was awful and even Lily turned out to be sort of a Mary Sue. I had high hopes that Driscoll was going to pull off some sweet detecting and nail Lily to the wall, but instead he had to be all smitten with her, so that was disgruntling. Roberta James needed a lot more screen time since she was the only character in the whole book who had any sense.
But how about the end? Are we meant to think that Lily is going to be caught because the meadow is going to be dug up before they put in condos or whatever or was she going to get away with it because the place was going to be covered? I think that Swanson was going for the former, but her father's letter was ambiguous enough so that I'm not quite sure....more
I have a stack of books that I've read that I'm still holding onto because I think I should be writing reviews for them even though I feel absolutelyI have a stack of books that I've read that I'm still holding onto because I think I should be writing reviews for them even though I feel absolutely Ø urge to write reviews. Time to end the madness.
This is better than I thought it would be. Alcoholic Rachel watches her former neighborhood from the train she takes every day, particularly one couple, about whose lives she tells herself stories. As a person taking fledgling steps into the world of sobriety, let me tell you that I think Hawkins does an excellent job of writing an alcoholic. Rachel was a bit much for me. "I'm not really in a great position to give relationship advice - or any advice, come to that - and in any case I feel like a drink. So I wave her off and feel the little anticipatory tingle run over my skin and I push away the good thoughts (Don't do this, you're doing really well)." Indeed.
People-watching should not have consequences this dire, but Rachel doesn't know that the "Jess" she admires from afar is actually Megan, who suffers from anxiety & has a troubled past, and her husband "Jason" is actually Scott, who is a jealous, controlling asshole. When Megan goes missing, Rachel think she has information that justifies her attempts to insert herself into Scott's life. Matters are complicated by the fact that Rachel's ex, whom she still loves, lives a few houses down from Megan & Scott with his new wife & baby. This is a pretty straightforward whodunnit, and even though I guessed correctly who was behind the whole tragic mess quite early on, I certainly didn't think that (view spoiler)[Tom had been lying to Rachel throughout their marriage about her behavior while drunk, so that was a nice twist (hide spoiler)] and the whole thing was well worth a night or two of reading, although I do wish that if the perspective was going to be told from three women, that Anna would have been given more time to speak.
Achingly lovely art along with a sweet YA story about trying-to-be-Wiccan goth girl Skim. Recommended for anyone who would like to join me in giving MAchingly lovely art along with a sweet YA story about trying-to-be-Wiccan goth girl Skim. Recommended for anyone who would like to join me in giving Ms. Archer an enormous side-eye, since she should really know better than to kiss her students. ...more
"They were terrible people, even slightly worse than most. I stalled, fumbling with the sleeves of my gown. Should I introduce myself or try to kill t"They were terrible people, even slightly worse than most. I stalled, fumbling with the sleeves of my gown. Should I introduce myself or try to kill them? Not violently, just enough that they wouldn't exist."
"'Do you know what a persona non grata is?' Carl said. 'Yes.' 'It's Latin for person not great.' Kristof started to say something. Maybe he knew Latin."
"You'll run toward me and I'll run toward you and as we get closer we'll both start to laugh. We'll be laughing and laughing and running and running and running and music will play, brass instruments, a soaring anthem, not a dry eye in the house, the credits will roll. Applause like rain. The end."