DNF This is one of those books where I love the idea of it but the actuality disappoints me. So much of the book that I read was permiated the author'DNF This is one of those books where I love the idea of it but the actuality disappoints me. So much of the book that I read was permiated the author's histrionic my-arent-I-a-witty -fellow! posturing.
The library wants it back and I'm fine to let it go. ...more
**spoiler alert** SPOILER AT END OF REVIEW Sorry. 2 stars, not 3. The more I think about it, the more I really dislike it.
Why is every Cormoran Strike**spoiler alert** SPOILER AT END OF REVIEW Sorry. 2 stars, not 3. The more I think about it, the more I really dislike it.
Why is every Cormoran Strike book 18% longer than it needs to be? There are meant to be seven of these, but I'm not sure I can sustain interest much longer. Each book is two things: a mystery story self-contained and a piece of the relationship story between Strike and Robin. Presumably the arc of the relationship story will be the thread that ties all seven books together, but my frustration with that story leaves me less interested in wading through four more drawn-out mysteries that I solve at the 53% mark. The mysteries themselves aren't puzzles as much as they are a way for Rowling to make social commentary in a less ham-fisted way than _Casual Vacancy_. I don't mind a bit of social commentary in mystery novels. That's a tool the best writers employ to great effect. But when the mystery lacks heft and is drowned out by pithy summations of humans it becomes a bit of a chore. This book ended for me on a major down note, so much so that I think I'll either wait for the series to wrap up before I read another or, at most, I'll check the rest out of the library.
SPOILER TO FOLLOW
Im so disappointed in Rowling. There were so many things that Could've led to Robin quitting university. Why did you go with rape? As a female I grow very tired of rape being trotted out as a plot device and point of conflict. I get livid when the rape is described in detail. And you did both. Rape is a part of the journey of many women. But it's not something to be used as fodder for entertainment and it's a weak trick used by too many writers. I honestly expected better from her, so much so that when she hinted at Robin's personal crisis I never for a moment thought it would be rape....more
3.5 stars. Why? This took me forever to read, largely because I had to keep rereading passages to visualise the settings. Then when I was halfway thou3.5 stars. Why? This took me forever to read, largely because I had to keep rereading passages to visualise the settings. Then when I was halfway though found out the book has been made into a TV show.
Visualization problem solved.
The story is good, comes together well and ends in a conclusion that is both satisfying and enticing the reader into subsequent volumes in the series.
Yet it is burdened by the Space Opera problem. Extensive scenes take place aboard ships and space stations but the descriptions of those places aren't always the clearest.
The story is a good one, but at this point I feel like the TV adaptation may be as good as the book. ...more
I really adore Jenny Hale's _A Christmas To Remember_. I liked it so much that I Reread it this year. Something about this book, on the other hand, maI really adore Jenny Hale's _A Christmas To Remember_. I liked it so much that I Reread it this year. Something about this book, on the other hand, made it seem more forced. The male character didn't seem at all his own person or persona to me. It felt very "insert dream guy here." This is the second book in a week to make me feel that way and I was wondering if it was perhaps just me aging out of the romance audience. So I went back and read some other titles. It isn't just me. It's possible to have a man in a romance novel be something more than a shadow-faced fantasy with deep pockets. Unfortunately, that man isn't in this book. ...more
This book displays exactly why I love Sarah Waters' work. It also showcases everything I dislike about a Sarah Waters novel.
The woman is a masterfulThis book displays exactly why I love Sarah Waters' work. It also showcases everything I dislike about a Sarah Waters novel.
The woman is a masterful wordsmith. She can craft atmosphere and character deftly, using sharp, spare prose. Reading a Sarah Waters novel is like watching Itzak Perlman play Vivaldi's Four Seasons or watching Michael Jordan play basketball. It's a thrill.
Unfortunately, most Sarah Waters novels involve betrayal, recriminations, and sorrow. This novel showcases those, lovingly caressing them. I don't want to give spoilers so im having to be intentionally vague. But I have to confess that most of the "gripping twists" other readers are enjoying are less gripping for me, given the context.
Had another author told this story Id give the book 2 stars. But Waters' skill is so laudable it deserves its own star. ...more
There are about fifteen Afterschool specials crammed into this book. I wanted to like it but I just never felt like Henry was a real character. He seeThere are about fifteen Afterschool specials crammed into this book. I wanted to like it but I just never felt like Henry was a real character. He seemed like a 35 year old woman's imaginary boyfriend. Between that fakeness and all the randomness that gets packed into TEN DAYS' time it was just NOT a good read. ...more
3.5 stars As a non-Catholic I found this very interesting, but perhaps less interesting than someone within the church who is more familiar with all th3.5 stars As a non-Catholic I found this very interesting, but perhaps less interesting than someone within the church who is more familiar with all the personalities and institutional practices. Unlike other "inside the Vatican" books I've read, this _does_ have an approachable style that lends itself to a wider audience. The main reason I'm giving it 3.5 instead of 4 stars, however, is that there are a lot of anecdotes about the Vatican press pool. I don't care about a bunch of journalists getting drunk on a plane, nor did I check this out of the library to read multiple complaints about where the Press was seated during various Papal events. I think the book tried to sell to two markets simultaneously--those interested in the Vatican and those interested in journalists' war stories. It's a good non-fiction book for anyone curious about the Vatican's operation in the modern world. It's at its best when telling the stories of the people who live and work there to support the faith. ...more
The selfish main character has a psychotic break upon the death of her parents in a plane crash. She alienates**spoiler alert** This book is GHASTLY.
The selfish main character has a psychotic break upon the death of her parents in a plane crash. She alienates her family, resents her son with autism and ruins the life of her best friend after leading the woman on for years. Horrible woman. Horrible book. ...more
Susan Wiggs used to be an author I read no matter what. I don't know what happened in her life, but her books have lost the feeling of genuineness aboSusan Wiggs used to be an author I read no matter what. I don't know what happened in her life, but her books have lost the feeling of genuineness about them. This one feels as though it were written by a romance author version of Family Guy's manatees and idea balls (as seen in South Park). Everything feels coldly calculated to draw in romance readers, but the contrivances overpower any sense of story. Id almost be prepared to say that Wiggs is outsourcing her work to a ghost writer she hired through RWA. This book feels like either a beginner wrote it or a very bored woman who has to crank something out to make a house payment. It's just not good at all. ...more
Please read this book. It's a beautiful example of a well-crafted story. It has a few weaknesses, as do all books, but I am so enchanted by the storyPlease read this book. It's a beautiful example of a well-crafted story. It has a few weaknesses, as do all books, but I am so enchanted by the story as a whole that the weaknesses are easily ignored. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this book is that it unfolds in its own way. This is not a book where predictable next steps happen. It's a book where people mess up and have to fix their mess and make a bigger mess that has to be fixed. It's a book that doesn't read like another video game. I'm sorry I'm not writing a better review that analyses the thing. I don't want to tear it apart and look at it under a microscope. I want to sit in the quiet afterglow and just enjoy that I invited this book into my mind. ...more
I first read Paulette Cooper's book in the early 80s. I was curious after reading in _Helter Skelter_ that Manson had been into scientology. Back in tI first read Paulette Cooper's book in the early 80s. I was curious after reading in _Helter Skelter_ that Manson had been into scientology. Back in the early days of UseNet I was a member of the anti-scientology group and had the privilege of having my name included in the junk files that scientology used to spam UseNet with in an effort to cripple the search engines AND discredit posters to alt.xenu. So trust me when I say that im noooo fan of Scientology. This book left me feeling a little bit sorry for Scientology. Don't get me wrong...I still don't like them. But I found Remini SO grating, so self-absorbed, so rude, so MEAN that all I could think was they deserved each other. Every single gripe she has against Scientology seems to be rooted in the idea that once they stopped treating her like a queen she realised they suck. I have no patience with that. If she had spoken out when she was still swanning around the Celebrity Center being waited on hand and foot that'd be one thing. But she waited until her TV money dwindled and the church stopped honouring her for being a big donor. Folks like Mike Rinder and Paul Haggis escaped from a de facto prison or left to protest the church's anti-gay teachings. They put their stories out on the web for free. She leaves in a huff because she's no longer posh and then sells her story. Her story, by the way, has no information about the church that wasn't already available from Going Clear or Tony Ortega. So it's not valuable as an expose. There's some decade-old gossip about Tom Cruise's wedding to Katie Holmes that basically amounts to "they used me to get to Jennifer Lopez and then treated me like the low class harridan I've proven myself to be in 50 other anecdotes in this book." ...more
I REFUSE to put up with this crap in a romance novel. If I wanted to read something where it takes 10 years and 8 books to get basic answers i would'vI REFUSE to put up with this crap in a romance novel. If I wanted to read something where it takes 10 years and 8 books to get basic answers i would've read yet another rambling sci-Fi or fantasy series. Romance is the genre I read when I want everything tidied up at the end of the book. I didn't really care that deeply about any of the walk-on characters and found their dilemmas extremely implausible. I was reading to find out what was up with the handyman fellow. The book ends without an answer. If I really want to know I can buy book 3 for $15 goldanged dollars.
No romance is worth reading on an installment plan. ...more
This is one of those reviews where I admit that pretty much all four of the stars I gave are for the writing and construction of the book. There are bThis is one of those reviews where I admit that pretty much all four of the stars I gave are for the writing and construction of the book. There are books like _Blood Song_ and _Pepper In The Gumbo_ and _Name Of The Wind_ and Harry Potter where you just plain like at least one of the characters. You root for them and are propelled through the story out of affection and hope. Then there are books like this. Everybody in this story is a deeply broken person. The more you read the more festering rot you find. I don't think there are going to be lots of little Rachels in kindergartens five years from now, because unlike Bella or Harry, Rachel is not a protagonist you treasure.
But Hawkins gets full points for doing the unreliable narrator WELL. Unlike other books (_Gone Girl_, Im looking at you) this unreliable narrator is earnest and direct. For me the difference is between _withheld details_ and _deliberately wrong details_. You can have a book where you simply say "I'm a middle aged woman reading" and then the surprise in store for the reader comes with the building reveal that the initial assumptions were incorrect. The reader will assume things based on that information and you can wallop them later with "I died when I was 42 and im reading my tombstone" or whatever. That's a well-done unreliable narration. That's how this book is.
The other type--where the author outright lies--is the type I dislike so much. That's unfortunately the type which is so popular now. In those the author says "I'm a middle aged woman reading" and then halfway through says "ha! Just kidding. I'm an illiterate man." That is NOT how this book is. The mere fact that Hawkins plays clever but not cheap with her audience elevates this book well above others it's compared to. ...more