Apparently the second of David Paulides four "Missing 411" books, didn't realize I was reading out of order -- however, because I'd already listened t
Apparently the second of David Paulides four "Missing 411" books, didn't realize I was reading out of order -- however, because I'd already listened to many of the author's interviews I didn't have any trouble understanding the ideas and details presented in this book.
Primarily a listing of information in specific missing persons cases, this sort of book could be very dry, but this one isn't. The strangeness of the disappearances Paulides highlights in his works are compelling, even as you see the same scenarios repeated -- part of the weirdness in these cases is how the same bizarre details show up over and over again.
The author -- a former police investigator -- presents the facts of each case, sometimes stopping to raise questions about the various details or in the handling of the search and rescue operation. He doesn't really speculate on exactly WHAT is going on in these disappearances. Obviously, I would love to have him state outright what he thinks is going on, but Paulides leaves room for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.
When I bought these books, I wondered if the repetition of facts would prove a bit dull, but I'm excited to read the rest of the series -- even if it is all much the same as this book, I find it interesting enough to read more.
Just as a side note, a previous reviewer mentioned how expensive these books are -- not so. They are only expensive if purchased through a well known large online retailer. The author's own site sells them at a reasonable price....more
I seem to spend a lot of time in my reviews saying that whatever book I've just finished was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be. May
I seem to spend a lot of time in my reviews saying that whatever book I've just finished was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be. Maybe I'm not reading the descriptions thoroughly? For whatever reason, we will be continuing with that theme, as Delicious Foods was absolutely nothing like what I thought it would be. I thought -- wrongly -- that this would be whimsical! Magical! Not brutal, searing, and heartbreaking! I blame the cover.
This book is . . . Brutal. Searing. Heartbreaking.
Also amazingly well written and compelling, but so gut wrenching that I had to literally force myself to read it, marking out each chapter as a goal to finish. Invariably, I would get caught up in the story and read well past my goal, but every single time I put this book down, I had a hard time picking it up again.
I'm a bit of a Pollyanna. I'm naive. I'm optimistic. This book threw a bucket of freezing, filthy water over all of that. It made me feel . . . hopeless. And sad. And enraged. It made me want to change the entire world and take those in power to task for creating such a miserable, screwed up system where those at the bottom cannot even dream of making their lives any better, where "better" doesn't even begin to look as good as the WORST day I've ever had in my life. And then it made me despair of ever being able to change even the slightest thing.
So where does that leave me? In life, still trying to figure it all out. With this book . . . conflicted. It probably deserves 5 stars, for the beautiful writing and the characters who will stick with me, perhaps for a lifetime. But did I "like" this book? No. And I feel so unfair even saying that. But my tastes run towards whimsical and magical. I read to escape everyday life, not to examine it. To fault the author for that doesn't seem right, somehow -- I'm just not the right reader for this book. Having said that, though, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who -- strike that, I'll just recommend this book to everyone. It really is worth the read, and those who don't mind a sharp dose of reality will probably rate it much higher than I did....more
Extensively researched, but with a few typos and other errors.
The author analyzes the mauling death of Diane Whipple, the events leading up to that ev
Extensively researched, but with a few typos and other errors.
The author analyzes the mauling death of Diane Whipple, the events leading up to that event, the background of the dogs' owners, and the bigger picture elements, including the purchase of the dogs involved in the attack to use for breeding fighting dogs for the neo-nazi Aryan Brotherhood.
This book paints a very clear picture of the elements that go into making a dog unstable and dangerous, including keeping a breeding pair of dogs (unspayed and unneutered), and although they were kept as pets before the attack, both dogs were unsocialized and chained outside for much of their lives prior to that time. None of the caretakers/owners of these dogs disciplined them appropriately, and they were allowed to escalate their aggressive behavior through the years, eventually leading to Ms. Whipple's death.
The only complaint I have with this book is the author's use of the phrases "left-wing liberal" and "bleeding heart liberal" to describe the defendants in this case. Although Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel were public defenders who offered their services pro bono to the disadvantaged, and may have considered themselves to be "liberal", at heart it appears that they were interested only in themselves rather than being of any particular political leaning. To use a disparaging term to describe them as liberal is inappropriate, and it's hard to believe the author herself truly believes in that characterization. I found the comments to be distasteful and unnecessary.
Although I remember hearing about this attack when it happened, I'd never heard anything more about it (my primary interest in reading this book was based in my interest in dogs) -- there is information in this book that seems nearly impossible to believe, and much of it is very hard to stomach. If you are more familiar with this case, perhaps you won't be overly shocked by these details, but please be warned -- some of the allegations are extremely bizarre and disturbing.
I so desperately wanted to like this one -- and there are some parts that hint at what it could**spoiler alert**
Ugh. What horrible wasted potential.
I so desperately wanted to like this one -- and there are some parts that hint at what it could have been. But I just cannot get past all the stupidly unnecessary -- and easily researched! -- factual errors.
Please, men -- and women who haven't had children -- PLEASE, do some research about pregnancy and childbirth. Seriously. I'll bet you actually know people RIGHT NOW who have gone through this. Possibly you have an actual mother you could check with? Possibly not, but surely you know SOMEONE who could let you know that a woman who is three months pregnant with her first pregnancy will absolutely NOT be obviously pregnant to ANYONE, let alone complete strangers who will interrupt your conversation to inquire as to when your baby is due. I mean it -- that is ridiculous.
Likewise, the baby birthing expert of your choice might also inform you that labor and delivery takes HOURS, especially with a first pregnancy. (Please don't leave a comment about how your first baby came in 30 minutes -- you're a freak and nobody likes you.) And I don't care how urgent anything outside the delivery room is -- trust me when I say that the mom-to-be neither notices nor cares, even in a potentially life threatening situation.
Wolves do not claw you when they attack, not like a large cat might. They also do not "bark".
Blech. I'm just sick of the whole damn thing at this point.
This is one of those books that I am EXTREMELY torn about how to rate. On one hand, the author presents some very interesting hypotheses that I had neThis is one of those books that I am EXTREMELY torn about how to rate. On one hand, the author presents some very interesting hypotheses that I had never really considered before -- and I absolutely love when someone can make me look at things in a whole new light. His arguments are very well thought out -- at least initially -- and seem to be exhaustively researched. On the other hand, there are some controversial (and arguably offensive) sections. I'll touch on these just briefly, as I think one would need to read these sections to determine for oneself how offensive they might be. In one section, the author speculates on the possibility of humanity being interbred with some "alien" life form -- although alien wouldn't be accurate in his view, because he theorizes that these creatures possibly pre-date humanity, so "alien" simply as compared with modern humans -- then continues his speculation to include genetic diseases, questioning if these could be construed as proof of this (detrimental) hybridization. Don't get mad at me -- I didn't write the book! There is another brief chapter discussing the origins of a certain religion -- which religion is left for the reader to speculate and/or research on his own. Granted, to a non-believer (of any religion, regardless of which one you choose), the origins of particular belief systems can seem a bit . . . peculiar. I was personally unfamiliar with the story he was referring to -- after researching, I believe he is referencing Islam. The tone of this chapter comes across as very negative, and I was disturbed by it. I think I would have felt the author was being a bit more intellectually honest had he applied his same analysis across the board -- which I can guarantee would have offended most readers. At least then it would have seemed to be less of an attack against one particular faith. The final few chapters become more and more religious in tone (fundamentalist Christian), to an unpleasant degree. If there was any mention in the book description of this viewpoint, I would have probably not picked this one up. The author is certainly entitled to his beliefs, just as I am entitled to my own -- I'm simply not that interested in reading about them. As for more technical considerations -- although beginning strong, there are more typos throughout the second half of the book. My copy says "Third Expanded And Revised Edition" on the cover, leading me to wonder if those are the sections that perhaps were not proofread thoroughly. Another problem with the book is that, although there is a wealth of information, the author does tend to repeat himself -- quite a lot. I'm not sure the repetition adds anything to the discussion -- several chapters read as though they were written without thought to what had already been presented. Again, it's possible these portions were part of the new and/or revised material in this edition. I would have loved to give this one a much higher rating, and based on the sheer audacity of the ideas presented I would have rated it higher. But, ultimately, the flaws for me were too great to ignore -- so I'm settling on "just ok". I will probably look at some of the author's other works to see if the views he explores at the end of this book are present in all of his books -- I'm very curious to see if this is perhaps common knowledge that I somehow overlooked. ...more
In general, I love the Cabal books -- the author can't write fast enough, IMO. So I was very excited last fall to see that there was a new story cominIn general, I love the Cabal books -- the author can't write fast enough, IMO. So I was very excited last fall to see that there was a new story coming out to tide me over till there's another book.
So . . . In terms of having something Cabal, ANY Cabal to read, this fits the bill. My issue with the last book, The Brothers Cabal, was that there wasn't enough Johannes in it. This story is all Johannes, and has a seductive spider devil thrown in -- full disclosure, a spider devil would be one of my worst nightmares.
But . . . I think the problem for me was the villain, a sorcerer hiding within the depths of hell who REALLY doesn't want to be bothered. He's fairly one dimensional, which I could probably deal with, but there was a real emphasis on his being a eunuch. I'm not sure why this bothered me so much -- it just seemed like his character flaws were because of this. Perhaps that wasn't the author's intent, but it just didn't sit well with me.
I also found the devil tedious after a certain point. We get it, she uses sex as a weapon -- ho hum. I would have liked Cabal to team up with a female character who could really hold her own with him in a way that was separate from her sexuality.
Still, a decent read, and I'm still crazy about Cabal. ...more
A good read, but points subtracted for the lack of detail that such a short book necessitates. The book also needs a serious revision of the afterword
A good read, but points subtracted for the lack of detail that such a short book necessitates. The book also needs a serious revision of the afterword -- although the rest of the book was proofread well (although not perfectly), the afterword is filled with typos and unclear sentences. It's really a shame because the author has some interesting ideas to share in that final chapter. Unfortunately, many readers will probably find the mistakes distracting from the point he's trying to make....more
I was eagerly anticipating the release of this book -- I've read all of the Cabal books, as well as the shorter stories, and absolutely love them.
SadlI was eagerly anticipating the release of this book -- I've read all of the Cabal books, as well as the shorter stories, and absolutely love them.
Sadly, this one missed the mark for me.
The first half to three quarters of the book is told in flashback, narrated by Cabal's brother, the vampire Horst Cabal. We see only brief glimpses of Johannes (the necromancer) during this part of the story, and I just didn't enjoy it as much without J. Cabal being the primary focus.
The author actually addresses that complaint towards the end of the first half of the book in a clever and amusing way. It made me smile, but I still missed Johannes.
Horst is an interesting character, and it was fun to get a fuller picture of him, but the books for me are all about the necromancer brother -- Johannes is cold and calculating, which really adds something to the humor of the book, while Horst is nice enough in his own way, but definitely not a character I want to read a whole book about.
The story picks up when Johannes Cabal finally enters the picture -- I love this character!
It looks like the author is definitely going to be working on another Cabal book, which I will be anxiously awaiting. For Cabal fans, this one is a good but not great entry....more
Pre-ordered this after reading We Are All Completely Fine -- unlike "WAACF", this is definitely YA, but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty great anyway
Pre-ordered this after reading We Are All Completely Fine -- unlike "WAACF", this is definitely YA, but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty great anyway.
Harrison Harrison travels to Dunnsmouth, Massachusetts, with his mother, a marine biologist. Although kept in the dark somewhat about the nature of her research, as well as the true nature of their trip, Harrison is determined to deal with the hardships of leaving behind his friends and home in California, and to adjust to life in their temporary home. His life is completely changed, however, when his mother disappears days after arriving in Dunnsmouth.
Harrison is such a fun character! I'm not sure I really buy him as the child version of the Harrison of "WAACF", but he's brave and smart, and really a great protagonist.
My real quibble with this book is that it leaves a lot of loose ends -- obviously setting up a sequel. Now, I can't get too upset about that, because yea! But how long will we have to wait for the next book?!
Daryl Gregory is fast becoming one of my "must read" authors -- thank goodness there are still a few books of his that I haven't read yet. I guess I'll have to comfort myself with those while I'm waiting for the next installment in the Harrison Squared series.
Andy Weir's love letter to science, this book is a great adventure story -- Robinson Crusoe in space. As a kid, I was kind of weirdly obsessed with DaAndy Weir's love letter to science, this book is a great adventure story -- Robinson Crusoe in space. As a kid, I was kind of weirdly obsessed with Daniel Defoe's novel (I was a peculiar kid, another favorite book was Beowulf: A New Verse Translation**), and apparently my fascination with survival stories hasn't diminished with time.
There's so much I liked about this book. Beyond the basic tale of an astronaut becoming stranded on Mars (!), this is flat out science fiction, with a heavy emphasis on science. That might sound dull, I suppose, but the author dumbs it down just enough to hold your attention, and he keeps the action moving right along. One thing I enjoyed was how Weir was able to introduce these life threatening complications in a very organic, believable way -- then shows you exactly how and why these things could happen on a real mission to Mars.
The main character, astronaut Mark Watney, is a bit of a lovable goof. You can see not only why his NASA co-workers would be willing to risk so much to save him, but also how his light hearted character helps him to survive.
As an unapologetic optimist, I appreciated the fact that there are no "evil villains" in this book. That's fine for a certain style of writing, but when something is this tense to start with, I don't really need to be wondering how so-and-so is going to double cross the hero for his own personal gain. I liked how everyone pulled together, and I agree with the author that in times of trouble we humans do more often than not help each other out. That's not to say there is no conflict between characters -- there are differences of opinion, but not self-serving decisions, and the characters are all decent and likable.
There are a couple of minor issues -- and I do mean minor, and they're pretty much just style preferences for me: several of the characters have a similar sort of wise-cracking smart ass "voice". Not a big problem for me, as I enjoy that kind of tone, but I know there are readers who would be bothered by that. Also, the author seems to have an affection for "W" surnames -- surely they aren't as common in real life as they are in this book?! And . . . nope. That's about all I can nit-pick about. Pretty much everything else is just pure fun.
I was thisclose to giving this one 5 stars -- the only reason I haven't is because it feels just a little "light" to me, there wasn't a big emotional resonance. But 4 stars is still pretty darn good, and I would absolutely recommend this one highly.
**Full disclosure, I have no idea which edition of "Beowulf" I loved as a kid, so I linked to the one I read as an adult! Kind of wish I was young enough that this edition was the one I read as a kid . . ....more
One of the most moving books I've had the pleasure of reading. On the face of it, this doesn't seem like the sort of book I would love -- there is bleOne of the most moving books I've had the pleasure of reading. On the face of it, this doesn't seem like the sort of book I would love -- there is bleakness and despair here, but also a genuine exploration of "humanity". I was surprised by how the author made me feel while reading this, as well as how she challenged my feelings and beliefs about our prison system. I'm not sure I've read anything else -- especially fiction -- that has made me really examine my attitudes towards the less fortunate in our society, the broken and abused who are easier to ignore because the problems seem so vast. There is also a thoughtful examination of the death penalty, with the author coming down on neither side, allowing the reader to see both sides of the question on their own. As a strong opponent to the death penalty, I found this challenge disconcerting. Discovering that truth in a novel is surprising and refreshing. This is a slim book and a fast read. Highly recommend....more
Christopher Buehlman is becoming one of my favorite authors. I was so excited to see that he had a new book out, I rushed right out to buy it and coulChristopher Buehlman is becoming one of my favorite authors. I was so excited to see that he had a new book out, I rushed right out to buy it and couldn't put it down. This might be my favorite book of his so far.
One thing I really enjoy about Buehlman's work is that every book is different -- different time periods, different types of characters, different themes -- and yet the writing is uniformly wonderful, the stories interesting, and the narrators likable. No matter who these guys are or what they do, you can't help but root for them.
The Lesser Dead takes us into the world of vampires, circa late 1970s NYC. Buehlman really nails this time period, and you can really imagine the gritty New York of that time.
We follow our narrator, Joey, as he navigates life as a vampire in the city -- taking detours along the way to see how he became a vampire, as well as his life before that event. The main story concerns his vampire "family's" discovery of several child vampires. This discovery propels the story into unexpected directions.
To say anything else about this book would ruin the pleasure of having the story unfold as you read it, so I'll close for now.
Full Disclosure: The author, Jake Kerr, is my long-suffering spouse. I can assure you that this is more of a hinderance than a help when it comes to g
Full Disclosure: The author, Jake Kerr, is my long-suffering spouse. I can assure you that this is more of a hinderance than a help when it comes to getting a good review from me.
Perhaps because I read the earliest drafts of it, I was lukewarm (at best) at the prospect of reading this book. I was genuinely surprised and pleased that the story grabbed me from the first sentence -- I honestly couldn't put this down until the very last page, then eagerly read the preview chapter for the next book in the series.
Tommy Black is a young teen who has been thrown into a formerly -- to him -- unknown world of magic. Yes, yes, how very Harry Potter. But beyond that passing resemblance, this truly couldn't be more different. Set in the build-up to World War II, there is an historic feel to the story, much of which will be more obvious to adults than to the YA target audience, although I feel that there is a lot here for younger readers to explore if they so desire. Many of the characters and events are real, and spotting those parts is like a delightful treasure hunt.
Rather than being based on English lore, this story centers on the Middle East, pulling in mages, djinn, marid, and more. I think it's a unique twist on this type of story, and I enjoyed the exotic imagery immensely.
We follow Tommy as he learns about his magical legacy, then goes on a quest to find his grandfather. Along the way, he meets Naomi, who is probably the most badass character in the book. As the mother of three girls, I love that this story has a strong and powerful female character, and I hope we see more of her throughout the series.
Although it is in no way preachy, the story does touch on some interesting subjects, such as equal rights, cultural appropriation, and the bonds and responsibilities that come with family and friends.
I thought that the story started off fairly simply, growing in complexity as it went along, and there was a lot of foreshadowing that I missed the first time around. (I read it straight through twice. It was interesting -- and fun -- to see the clues that were scattered throughout.) It looks as if the characters, as well as the story, will be growing and maturing in the next installment -- I'm very excited to see what happens in the next book!