I liked parts of this book and I really disliked parts of this book. That's the essence of my review really. It felt as though the author never quiteI liked parts of this book and I really disliked parts of this book. That's the essence of my review really. It felt as though the author never quite had enough material to work on. Even in the parts of the book I did enjoy, which described the paucity and unreliable nature of material on which most Anne Boleyn lore is based, the discussion went on a little too long, like an old school essay where you had to make up your word count. Later chapters, especially those that dealt with the Tudors TV series, went on and on and on. At times it read like a Hello magazine article. I was fascinated by and agreed with the author's comments regarding the reliability of the accounts of Eustace Chapuys but she went on such a tirade about the various historians who had relied on him (and indeed seemed to have a slight chip on her shoulder about historical biographers in general) that again, it all started to become very repetitive and ended up detracting from what had started out as an interesting premise. The three stars is generous....more
I'm still not certain what I thought of this book, even at the end of it. It wasn't a tough read, it was well written but ... there was always a but.I'm still not certain what I thought of this book, even at the end of it. It wasn't a tough read, it was well written but ... there was always a but. Truthfully, my rating is somewhere between 2 and 3 stars but it didn't seem quite bad enough for 2. The book hinges on the childhood and later friendship (or not) of Mia and Lorrie Ann and one of my main problems was not really caring about or liking either of them. Mia's hero worship of her friend seemed appropriate enough in their teenage years but I just couldn't stomach the obsession with her later on. Neither character seemed real somehow, and the author's voice kept taking over for both of them at times, which I always find annoying. So why did I finish? Because I was just curious enough to find out whether something more would happen to make this obsessional friendship relevant and also vaguely curious how it would all end. I'm not sorry I read on but I have no great desire to read another by the same author....more
This is my second Ken Bruen book after reading the Guards. I am once again rating it three stars because it's as rough as its protagonists in parts. TThis is my second Ken Bruen book after reading the Guards. I am once again rating it three stars because it's as rough as its protagonists in parts. The reason I continue and will still read on with Bruen are the moments of writing brilliance. Like this: "A waitress in her fifties came over. She'd obviously had disappointing news in her teens and wasn't yet recovered". Well worth the wait but of course you want a lot more.
His writing style seems to be 'awkward realism,' with his strengths in making conversations leap off the page - an Irish Elmore Leonard. It's when he isn't writing dialogue that Bruen gets clunky, like he's searching around for inspiration. The cultural references are OK up to a point but I don't really want to know every character's favourite author, cherished piece of music, song they know all the lyrics to, but for some reason this theme comes bouncing back more than any other, as if he couldn't think of anything else to write about. Some are fine, and I like the way they tie in with elements of the story or theme - like Brant's fascination with Ed McBain. But enough is enough.
I'll still be back for more, but hopeful he hones these rough edges (in the writing not the characters because of course that's part of the appeal) so that I feel a little less like my own face is being smacked into the wall every few pages....more
I'm giving myself five stars for having finished it. I didn't dislike it nor did I love it and overall it was a challenging read. I would sometimes reI'm giving myself five stars for having finished it. I didn't dislike it nor did I love it and overall it was a challenging read. I would sometimes reach a point where I thought 'no, this is too much effort, move on' and then I would find a passage of outstanding beauty and go on again. Prose poetry? I'm not entirely sure. I think overall my poor mind craved some connection, any connection between it all. There were also quite few times I felt as though I was in the Emperor's New Clothes because there were passages I found childish and not at all appealing. It was almost as if she went out of her way at times to not have any of the words tie in to the heading at all. Maybe that was the point. ...more
Still not really a graphic novel person. I tried again with this one for the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge and having watched some of the TV seStill not really a graphic novel person. I tried again with this one for the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge and having watched some of the TV series it was interesting to compare and contrast. The drawing quality is pretty amazing and I do like the black and white theme - adds to the dystopic atmosphere. Overall I just find it hard to relate to drawn characters, maybe because some of them get so few lines. This was pretty good at characterizing with minimum wordage but still I find I need to get more from characters at key story moments than ... or 'yeah.' So what's my point exactly? Well, that this seems a pretty good graphic novel but I don't see myself finishing off the series....more
An odd book, masquerading as a very ordinary book. In the end, I really wanted a little more odd and a little less mundane. This is a linked short stoAn odd book, masquerading as a very ordinary book. In the end, I really wanted a little more odd and a little less mundane. This is a linked short story collection but with only minor overlap between characters - the names appear in other stories but little else. Otherwise the central link is that the stories are all set in the fictional Israeli village of Tel Ilan. Some reviews describe the stories as parables of modern Israeli life. That seems a bit of a stretch, although there are many references within the stories to real estate and Oz has been quoted as saying he thinks the Israeli conflict is largely one of real estate. Like I say, a bit of a fictional reach for me. I ultimately don't care about messages and undercurrents as much as I do readability and here it scraped a three star rating. Some of the stories gripped me more than others - the doctor whose nephew doesn't arrive on the bus and the young man who has a crush on the postmistress/ librarian. Overall though it just never quite got there for me. My three star rating is for the main body of work. The dystopian postscript felt just that - an add on for the sake of it. It pulled nothing together and added nothing. Better finish the review quickly before I talk myself out of the three star review. It was an enjoyable enough read overall - just didn't go anywhere. ...more
Wow! I tore through this book, which was edge of the seat reading all the way. Despite the date of writing and setting it shows little sign of age. ItWow! I tore through this book, which was edge of the seat reading all the way. Despite the date of writing and setting it shows little sign of age. It did get a little hazy half way when I lost track of some of the characters but it was that kind of 'who's the bad guy' and 'who's the good guy' book anyway. Great thriller. ...more
Going through a particularly challenging time I decided to throw down an Audible credit on a self-help book and spookily this had just been publishedGoing through a particularly challenging time I decided to throw down an Audible credit on a self-help book and spookily this had just been published and came up immediately as I entered the website. My first audio book impulse buy. Some things I really liked about the book - the easygoing style, the author's honest approach and willingness to open up about her own imperfections and life lessons, and the overall practicality. This is not a 'do this and you'll get that' self-help book. Nor the irritating (to me at least) complete these 32 questionnaires and 47 exercises or you're just not working hard enough approach. Instead there's an honesty about the fact that everybody gets it wrong, everyone has their 'face on the canvas' moments (or months) and there are ways to make this easier. It's a book that gets you thinking about how you approach and recover from these times and I found it incredibly helpful. Things I wasn't as keen on - the author's voice is very distinctive. I like it but found there were times I wanted a more 'neutral' voice. I'm glad it was her reading it - I'm sure it added a lot, and I wouldn't have changed it but it was harder going at times. In addition, although I liked the use of her personal stories I got a little tired of the constant harking back to the story of the swim with her husband. Referring back was OK but it was a bit done to death for me. Minor niggles really because overall I was very impressed with the book and will give the others a try....more
Although I still enjoyed the romp through, this was my least favourite of the Dresden Files so far. In part I think I was disappointed because so manyAlthough I still enjoyed the romp through, this was my least favourite of the Dresden Files so far. In part I think I was disappointed because so many people had talked about the first three as weaker in some way. I suppose it's personal preferences. This book but it held less interest for me. I really couldn't warm to Elaine. Characters seemed to drift in and out and never appear again and I found the whole Faerie war thing a bit confusing. I liked the spontaneous feel of the first three although they were probably weaker in terms of structure. Karin Murphy is one of my favourite characters from the earlier books but she wimped in for a chapter then disappeared again. I understand why but it felt contrived somehow. Similarly, there were several interesting new characters involved in the early part of the book as White Council members but they never appeared again. It just all felt more disjointed than before. I'm hoping that there was just a lot of scene setting and later books get it together again. Maybe Faeries are just not my thing....more
Definitely a step up from the first two books with this one as others have said although I have liked them from the start. Probably around a 3.6 for mDefinitely a step up from the first two books with this one as others have said although I have liked them from the start. Probably around a 3.6 for me. The story really moved along and the characters developed a lot more (with the exception of Murphy). The paranormal/ horror elements became more concrete and although there were still many funny lines it became more of a serious story line. No spoilers but the end of the book very much leads you on to the next in the series. I'm enjoying the ride....more
I loved the Disappearing Spoon but could never quite get into this book at the same level. Maybe I'm just not as fascinated by DNA and genetic code orI loved the Disappearing Spoon but could never quite get into this book at the same level. Maybe I'm just not as fascinated by DNA and genetic code or maybe the science sections just got too far away from me. It was a poor relation to Disappearing Spoon for me although the format is very similar - science with anecdotes, stories, biographies and history. The magic was missing although some sections were more entertaining than others. ...more