So apparently the version I got from my library was an abridged edition, though I didn't pay close enough attention to the details to notice that. I dSo apparently the version I got from my library was an abridged edition, though I didn't pay close enough attention to the details to notice that. I don't particularly care for abridged editions, as if you're going to cut down on content that's already been fully published, perhaps that first edition should have been edited down more in the first place.
In any case, I'm mainly just complaining about abridgements instead of the actual book. As it turns out, my library has a complete version anyway (12 hours 9 minutes versus the 6 hours of the abridged version...that's half the freaking book!), so I have that on hold now and will (maybe) put up a review on the book proper once I listen to the unabridged version....more
Fun read. My main 'problem' is the same as the one I had with the other Grandma Dowdel book I've read: the main character is hardly a character at allFun read. My main 'problem' is the same as the one I had with the other Grandma Dowdel book I've read: the main character is hardly a character at all and is little more than a narrator for Grandma Dowdel's crazy antics....more
**spoiler alert** I don't think I've read a Nancy Drew where the baddies try so many different and extreme methods of actually trying to kill her off.**spoiler alert** I don't think I've read a Nancy Drew where the baddies try so many different and extreme methods of actually trying to kill her off. Time bomb, really?...more
What the heck is a Chinese-style kimono? Is it anything like a Korean-style ao dai? A French-style kilt?She was dressed in a Chinese-style pink kimono
What the heck is a Chinese-style kimono? Is it anything like a Korean-style ao dai? A French-style kilt? A Greek-style turban?
Nancy Drew books are fairly entertaining, but there really isn't any actual sleuthing going on. It's more like, Nancy ends up being assaulted by sheer coincidences and pure dumb luck around every corner. They couldn't wait for this one to get started; on the very first page already the pigeon that kick-starts Nancy's involvement in this case comes plummeting down into her hands. ...more
Decently entertaining, even if it seems like about 50% of the text is all devoted to vampire family p**spoiler alert** Jailbait vampire creates harem.
Decently entertaining, even if it seems like about 50% of the text is all devoted to vampire family politics exposition. Exposition in a story is well, expected, doubly so if your MC is amnesiac, but this reaches fairly ridiculous levels....more
If this was Newbery Award-worthy, it must've been a slow year for children's books. I didn't think it was bad; I don't really minTwo point five stars?
If this was Newbery Award-worthy, it must've been a slow year for children's books. I didn't think it was bad; I don't really mind books focusing on a lot of the mundane details of everyday life if the characters are enjoyable enough (I liked Miles and Brigitte myself), but I say that as an adult. I don't know if this is really something that a kid would find entertaining to read, nor do I think it has anything of great importance that adults would want children to read and learn something from. There are plenty of other "coming of age" books out there that are far more entertaining reads, and honestly, there wasn't even a whole lot of "coming of age"ness in the book.
Of course, I don't believe that all kids are mindless, impressionable sponges that suck up everything fiction tells them; however, this has a pretty simple happy ending, and obviously that's not the case for many kids in foster care, so the book's not really something I'd recommend to one.
Since everyone and their mother feels the need to add it into part of their review, I will too:
Scrotum. Ye gads, the horror; using a clinically correct term for a part of anatomy in a book for kids ages 9-12 or so, an age where most kids already know most four-letter words that get bleeped out on television! I would've gone with the term "ballsack" myself! Euphemisms ho! That way, the more delusional adults can tell their likely smarter than they think kids that the dog had a sack full of balls to share with anyone who wants to play with them! ....Wow, that's disturbing.
Anyway, if you rolled your eyes at people freaking out over the usage of "scrotum" in the book, you might enjoy reading Maudie and Me and the Dirty Book, which deals with censorship and sex education. I think. In actuality, it's probably been about 20 years since I last read it.
Finally, what I found far more disturbing than any anatomy terms used in the book was the moth in the ear. I had a friend tell me a story of that exact thing happening to her mother (I believe) and it's been a sort of trauma for me since, as it was something I never really thought about previous to that. DO NOT WANT....more
**spoiler alert** I used to really enjoy R.L. Stine's Fear Street books when I was in the fifth and sixth grade. Found one of his non-FS books (The Ba**spoiler alert** I used to really enjoy R.L. Stine's Fear Street books when I was in the fifth and sixth grade. Found one of his non-FS books (The Babysitter) for free at one of the local libraries a few weeks back (many, many years after being a sixth grader) and decided to take it home to see what I'd think of his work as an adult. It was awful. Decided to try this one, since I found it really cheap at Goodwill, to see if I'd think the same about this one. I did.
This isn't me ragging on young adult and children's novels because I'm oh-so-mature now; I've read and reread a few books for younger readers since joining Goodreads a year ago, and a number of them were still fantastic reading for someone of any age. Compared to them, neither of Stine's books are even worth mentioning. Okay, I'm being too hard on what is essentially a PG-rated slasher flick in book form. However, I'm not a difficult person to keep entertained; even a fairly crappy book I'd likely give at least two stars to if it did something to amuse me. Hit and Run just failed on all accounts, however.
The story was far too predictable. (So was The Babysitter, for that matter.) As soon as Eddie is running over the man, I'd already figured out exactly what had happened and who was behind it all. Let's see; kid who is constantly bullied by people at school, including his three closest friends, who has a cousin who works at the city morgue and is enough of a dick and a jokester and lacks any respect for the dead that he'd let a kid take a dead person's eyeball home to play cruel pranks on people with? Said bullied kid is nearly traumatized the first time they all decide to take one of their parent's cars out without permission to practice driving...decides that they should all do it again not too long after? Yeah, he's planning something. He's ready to snap. The "victim" itself? "The surprisingly quiet thud of impact. The man's expression didn't change." Why isn't his expression changing? Oh, probably because he's already dead. I mean, Eddie has this asshole cousin who conveniently works at a morgue, right? Lacking in subtlety, you're doing it right.
None of these characters are very sympathetic or even interesting, besides maybe Eddie. A bunch of self-centered brats who don't seem to learn from anything that happens? Why should I care what happens to them?
There were also a number of things about Stine's writing that just aggravated me here and there. Seriously, how many times can you write "character cracked" or "character said sarcastically" in one, extremely short book like this? Can't they do anything besides crack jokes and be sarcastic? Sure, they're teenagers and all, but it just seems like lazy writing. Not to mention that most of what they say, jokingly or sarcastically, is all pretty "ho-hum" and really, I swear I've heard wittier lines on Sesame Street.
Another thing that irrationally annoys me: why does everyone get their outfits described at times? It's not like it happens every single time you'd think there'd be a costume change, or even very often at all. Even then, the adding of a description of the outfit just feels...random. Like, "so? What of it? Does that have any importance whatsoever to the current scene?" Clothes paragraphs don't always feel like unnecessary padding for some writers, but they just don't add anything to this book. I mean, at least when they described outfits in like, The Baby-sitters Club, it was entertaining to see what sort of atrocity Claudia would come up with each book, but here it's all just very "meh."
Finally, I'm tired as hell of the heroine about to be killed by the perpetrator behind all the crimes, only to be saved at the very last minute by her twu-wuv (always male, of course), who always magically knows that she's in danger, exactly where she is, and always gets there in the nick of time. This isn't something directed personally at Stine; it plagues a great deal of suspense/thrillers for both young adults AND adults, yes, even by a number of authors that I otherwise enjoy. It's extremely tiring and rather insulting in a "damn FEMALE protagonists can't do shit without men around to save them in the end" way.
All that said, I'm pretty likely to still pick up more Stine books if I find them used/free somewhere, particularly if I can actually find any Fear Street. No, really, I LOVED them when I was younger; I want to see if they're any better than his non-series books, or if these two books were just especially bad....more
**spoiler alert** I picked this up randomly from the "free books" section of my library. Most of the reviews here were highly positive. That doesn't a**spoiler alert** I picked this up randomly from the "free books" section of my library. Most of the reviews here were highly positive. That doesn't always mean anything, at all, sometimes, but it didn't seem to be a book that was the current craze because Oprah recommended it or anything, so I figured all the positive reviews might actually have some more substance behind them.
It's a collection of short (some very short) stories. Okay, I can appreciate that. Certainly people can pack a punch into fictional drabbles and poems if they try. Every story has a theme focusing on food in some way or another. Alright, great. I love food. The reviews highly commend the author's prose and perfect word choice and . Well, let's see what the book has to offer.
I was expecting the various stories to have, I don't know, something. Being largely about food, a very basic need for humanity, I figured that's how they'd home in on how I'd feel about them: I'd have some basic, gut reaction to each vignette, where you absently nod and go "Yeah, that's exactly it" without actually stopping to contemplate why you agree so much.
What I largely felt after reading each story was an underwhelming "Mneh" and a number of "...okay"s. Honestly, despite what I said above about gut reactions, I wasn't expecting anything overwhelming; I didn't have overly lofty expectations. I just wanted to be entertained. And the book certainly wasn't boring; I was able to get through it (eventually). But engaging, it certainly was not.
The book isn't just a straight interpretation of food. It has food as its basic theme, but uses the theme in often quite bizarre tales, sometimes on the grotesque side of things. It's mainly the bizarreness of it all that I found it at least entertaining enough to read...and actually I suppose I did get my "gut reactions" to many of the stories. Usually in the form of saying "...Well, that was fucking bizarre" after reading each.
Here's one of the shortest and one that I found the strangest in the book:
Spitting in the omelette is a fine revenge. Or overloading it with pepper. But take care not to masturbate into the mix, as someone in the next village did, sixty years ago. The eggs got pregnant. When he heated them they grew and grew, becoming quick and lumpy, until they could outwit him (and all his hungry guests waiting with beer and bread out in the yard) by leaping from the pan with their half-wings and running down the lane like boys.
...Well, that was fucking bizarre.
That may also be one of the grosser ones for some people, though for the most part they didn't bother me. The only one that really did was probably the second to last one, the one where a girl asks "Do you think that pasta tastes the same in other people's mouths?" and then she and her mother proceed to eat pasta out of each other's mouth. Um. Yeah. Is it actually a story about food? Or is it more Crace going "HUR HUR HUR, let's throw in one with incestuous overtones to stir up stuff for shits and giggles?" It feels more like the latter to me. You think about what the daughter initially asks (the eating part is instigated by the mother), and it probably doesn't mean "DOES PASTA TAKE ON DIFFERENT FLAVORS FROM OTHER PEOPLE'S SPITTLE AND BAD BREATH?", because, who really cares where the food is; it's not going to change flavor whether it's on a plate or in a bowl. Considering this kid is probably very young (the passage mentions a loose tooth the girl has), I'd think her original intention (that gets twisted around) is, does pasta taste differently to different people.
Insert mother-daughter tonguing to keep up with the bizarro taste many of the stories have, add some descriptions of food to pretend that hey, it still counts as being part of book on food, and there you go. I don't know, it seems like I'm largely ragging on this particular story (and I kind of am, since after all, it was probably the only one that actually disturbed me), but connecting back to my initial "I feel largely MEH" about these stories back above, this story, and what I perceive to be the daughter's actual intention with her question, I'm reminded of a chapter from one of Louis Sachar's Wayside School stories. Details are kind of fuzzy, but it deals with ice cream, and how the teacher of the class would bring in a new flavor of ice cream every day, ice cream that would be the flavor of one of the students in her class. Depending on the student, the ice cream would be the sweetest thing ever, or maybe salty, or maybe sour, at least to all the students in the class besides that one student. The student his or her self couldn't taste their own-flavored ice cream, because it was the same taste in their mouth as when they weren't eating anything at all.
I really love that chapter. It's fun. It's entertaining. It gives that gut reaction to the brief explanation at the end. The entire story itself is frankly, bizarre (the whole point of the books.) It is a child's book series, and it does better in one chapter (most chapters aren't about food) than any of the stories I found in Crace's book. It very may be one of the reasons why I often hold children's books in higher regard than "adult" books, because often it feels that books for the adult reader end up missing the point of things while (or perhaps because of) trying too hard to appeal to that "intelligent, adult demographic".
Then again, maybe I'm the one who's missing the point. Obviously, Crace didn't write the stories that I felt they should've been, but they're his stories, and while I found all of them pretty much mediocre, there are a lot of people who enjoyed them enough to give them four to five stars. It's just strange that in a collection of 64 short tales (well, the last one doesn't really count, being two words, unless I have a faulty copy of the book), that there'd be so few I would enjoy. The newly weds that go foraging on their honeymoon, and the woman allergic to fish who ate it anyway because she couldn't bear to attend her sister's funeral were probably the only ones that I liked. Most weren't bad, but again, the overwhelming feeling of "meh" was usually there.
Long rant aside, I'm thinking Crace just doesn't write what I'd want read, so I probably won't be going out of my way to read more of his books in the future....more
**spoiler alert** Obviously written as a setup to a trilogy, and by that I mean it feels quite stretched and drawn out. The story's not consistently i**spoiler alert** Obviously written as a setup to a trilogy, and by that I mean it feels quite stretched and drawn out. The story's not consistently interesting, the pacing isn't terribly great, and often I just wanted to tell the story to get on with it. Probably would've been better if the author had been shooting to make it into just two books instead of three.
The bad guys are pretty simple in their evilness, no depth there. The women characters suck.
I like the kid, though. Mike. And there were some sufficiently horrible details, though not enough to be terribly gruesome overall. ...more