Wow. This was NOT what I thought it would be. Mostly it's a diet book - move more, eat less, build up your muscles to burn more calories. Even advises...moreWow. This was NOT what I thought it would be. Mostly it's a diet book - move more, eat less, build up your muscles to burn more calories. Even advises doing things like tai chi to help burn more calories, which I'm not sure it will do. It's not bad as an exercise, but I don't know that it would help burn a lot more calories.
I pretty much made up my mind when I got to the chapter about taking HGH, human growth hormone. That seems really dangerous to me to recommend, as I've read the only people that need to take it are ones that are actually lacking it as children. The author does mention that it can be expensive, and that there isn't much evidence that it will help adults who haven't been diagnosed with an actual deficiency. And that makes me wonder why the author even brings it up.
I give up. I just do not get why everyone loves this book so much. I think both main characters are too full of hipster-angst, and I don't care about...moreI give up. I just do not get why everyone loves this book so much. I think both main characters are too full of hipster-angst, and I don't care about either one of them. Made it to page 49 - that's as far as I go.
I have way too many other books on my TBR lists to waste time. Maybe I'll try it again at some point, but I doubt it. (less)
An incredibly short but funny book, the sort of thing that takes you maybe 30 minutes to read. Just be sure you're among friends if you're reading it...moreAn incredibly short but funny book, the sort of thing that takes you maybe 30 minutes to read. Just be sure you're among friends if you're reading it around other people, as you will be laughing out loud - and you don't want people thinking you're weird. Also good to be reading around friends as you'll definitely want to share some of the crazy answers. You can tell some of the test takers just didn't care that they didn't know the answer; they have fun making up stuff. Some of the answers are so wrong, they make you weep for the future of our youth. And then there are the misspellings that lead to hilarity, such as the following question/answer:
"What were Jesus' closest group of followers known as?"
"The 12 decibels"
Great for a good laugh. And yes, I completely relate, as I can remember blanking out on a test question or two in my day. (less)
Full disclosure before the review: I listened to this as an audio book, rather than reading it as I usually would (in a physical book). I've recently...moreFull disclosure before the review: I listened to this as an audio book, rather than reading it as I usually would (in a physical book). I've recently taken on a new assignment through work, and now have alternating 10 and 16 mile drives back and forth to home. I thought maybe it was time I gave audio books another try, as my previous assignment, at only 4 miles from our apartment, barely gave me time to listen to one song on the radio. After trying this particular title, I can't say I'm sold yet on the idea.
I love Roach, ever since reading her first book Stiff: The curious lives of human cadavers. She's got a really neat way of looking at things, and a nice writing style - never dumbed down, yet always accessible. So it threw me for a loop when I found myself nearly nodding off at this audio version of her short vignettes (and that's definitely not something you want to do while driving!) I think it's not so much the words as the presentation. I've been told that the narrator makes or breaks the audio book, and in this case, well...for myself, it was a case of break. Angela Dawe is, I'm sure, a very nice person, and probably does some excellent work in film, TV, stage, and possibly other audio books (all talents of hers according to her bio on the back of the case). But I think she was the wrong choice for this title. She reminded me a lot of the voice you hear when you call your bank, the automated teller. And that's to her advantage for one of the tracks, "42 minutes" where she recites Roach's typical interaction with the automated voice of her credit card company. For that track, Dawe was perfect. For the others? Not so much.
The other thing I had a hard time with was the fact that 3 of the 4 cds ended in the middle of a story. Why? None of the tracks is particularly long, and when I got to the forth cd, I was shocked that it was over after 16 tracks - most of the other cds ran at 20 or so. Why not take those three interrupted stories and put them on that last disc? I've been told that sometimes the audio publishers do it this way, sometimes they don't. All I know is that I found it weird, distracting, and incredibly inconvenient - I mean, hello! I'm driving and you want me to switch discs all of the sudden?
Overall, I can't say whether the book itself is good or not. I think it is, but I'll reserve that judgment until I read it. In a nice cozy chair, using the voice inside my head. As for the audio version, I didn't care for it. I'll give one more title a try (maybe something in fiction) before I give up, but I'm leaning toward the "I'm just not a fan of audio books" school of reading. (less)
I've always been a fan of Roger Corman, but after reading this book, I'm also inspired by the man. I knew about some of his movies, having grown up wa...moreI've always been a fan of Roger Corman, but after reading this book, I'm also inspired by the man. I knew about some of his movies, having grown up watching them, but wow! The man is literally unstoppable, a true work-horse, and an innovator in every sense of the word. And still making/producing movies today, in his mid 80s! I had no idea just how long he'd been in the business, nor did I know how many people he helped out along the way. Granted, his tactics weren't always the most popular, but his credentials are impressive (bring up his page on IMDB and there's over 400 entries listing him as producer. Four hundred plus.)
The movies of his I love best are the ones based on Edgar Allan Poe stories, starring Vincent Price. Back when I was in grade school, our local NBC affiliate (WTHR, Channel 13 - back in the days before cable) showed movies at 4 pm weekday afternoons. I would race home when it was Price week, as they almost always pulled out all the Corman flicks: Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum, House of Usher...all fabulous films with one of my favorite horror movie actors, very atmospheric and creepy. Never mind that I was young enough that the plots were sometimes over my head. Those movies made a big impact on me. Of course, Corman would have been happier if I had somehow bought copies of those flicks, as he was always looking to make money on his movies.
And make money he did. The things I learned from this wonderful love letter (because that's really what it is - a love letter from a fan) are amazing, such as the fact that Corman almost never lost money on his films, able to produce/direct/distribute at a profit. Think about that for a moment. At least 90% of the time, maybe even 95%, he made a profit. What other Hollywood type can say that? Corman worked his casts and crews to the bone, always asking them to do as much as was humanly possible in the least amount of time for very little dough. Many of the actors/directors/other staff quoted mention how they "survived" the Corman School of Filmmaking, not a real school but the very experience of working with/for Roger. And work they did, grueling schedules on shoots plagued with problems.
And yet, everyone interviewed speaks of their time at Roger's feet with love and admiration. I would liken it to summer camp or something similar. Also, not many people worked with/for Roger more than one or two films, specifically if they showed talent; Corman himself would tell them it was time to move on. He showed them the ropes, gave them a crash course education, and then kicked them out of the nest. He did what any good manager should do - he grew his people so that they could move up in the business. And grow them he did, lots of very famous names, such as those listed in the book blurb, not to mention the women he mentored: actresses like Pam Grier and Angie Dickinson to directors like Penelope Spheeris, Amy Holden Jones, Deborah Brock, and Katt Shea. He gave women a chance when others simply wanted them for their...um...assets. Roger knew they had assets, and not the ones that were visible. He truly broke new ground, and did it over and over again.
If you're a film fan, this book is for you. If you're a B movie fan, this book is for you. And if you're a Roger Corman fan, this book is definitely for you. Big, beautiful, and yes, even a bit cheesy at times. Everything that makes a Corman film a Corman film. (less)
This is the second book in Lanyon's Holmes & Moriarity series, and it's a pretty fun read. Plenty of red herrings, and also lots of danger, as wel...moreThis is the second book in Lanyon's Holmes & Moriarity series, and it's a pretty fun read. Plenty of red herrings, and also lots of danger, as well as exploring the on-again-off-again relationship of Kit and J.X.
There's the usual cast of characters that one would expect from a writers' retreat (or what I imagine would be the usual cast of characters): the ingenue, Nella House, a young 20-ish something who shows promise as a writer, someone that Anna has said she'll take under her wing; the cold fish, Poppy C. Clarke, who dresses in manly clothes and may have had her ex-husband killed; the tenant, Victoria Sherwell, a writer living in a cabin on Anna's estate; the chubby guy, Rowland Bride, who is rather heavyset, always looks "hot" as in perspiring hot, and who obviously has a crush on young Nella; the cool, biker-looking writer, Arthur Gohring, whom no one knows anything about; the PA, Sara Mason, who has been with Anna several years now - and who writes "for herself"; the longtime editor, Rudolph Dunst, who might have a less-than-professional relationship with his author, Anna; the obnoxious stepson, Ricky, who stands to inherit quite a tidy sum of money and his deceased father's catalog of work - but only once his stepmother is dead; and the ever-lurking handyman, Luke, who is young, an ex-con, and might be tending more than Anna's outside gardens.
It's a lot of characters to keep up with, but Lanyon does a nice job of developing them enough that the reader has no trouble remembering who is who. Plus, said characters start dying pretty quickly, which helps us not only keep track of the players, but emotionally invests us in Kit's investigation. Because he is also in danger, suffering injuries in a fatal car wreck early in the book. He needs to find out if someone really is trying to kill Anna, or if her accidents are just that - a series of very unfortunate events that have her imagining assassins around every corner.
J.X. shows up after the car wreck, and that's where things really take off. Kit's lover has his former profession, that of law enforcement, on his side when trying to explain that sometimes, an accident is just that - an accident. J.X. obviously cares greatly for Kit; it's Kit who is holding back, fearing their age difference (only 5 years, but when you turn 40, any difference feels pretty big), J.X.'s fame (he's also a writer now, and pens very popular, bestselling, "utterly readable" thrillers), and his, Kit's, own writers block. Kit's series starring Miss Butterwith has been around for twenty some years, and much as he loves her and her cat (and her very obviously gay male friend), he's running out of ideas for her. He seems a bit bored with her, but also afraid to try something new. And yes, every time I read Miss Butterwith, I think of the syrup, Mrs. Butterworth. Hard not to, and then I want some pancakes. Hm...
But I digress. The mystery was pretty well-written, and I didn't realize whodunnit until pretty much the very end. I read a few reviews on Amazon where people thought Kit complained/worried too much about the possibility of losing J.X. Well, who wouldn't? Kit's ex-husband, David, had left him for a younger man, and that's gotta hurt, no matter who you are. J.X. is written to be smokin' hot, while Kit thinks of himself (and as such, so do we, the reader), as pretty much an ordinary 40-ish, middle-aged man. Not too firm, but not too flabby, having trouble seeing small print, not bouncing back from things nearly as quickly as he used to. I can see where he'd be nervous about letting J.X. get too close...and I thought this installment moved along their relationship very nicely.
Overall, my only disappointment was that a few characters were introduced, became part of the mystery, then just sort of disappeared. I would love to know what happened to them, and what their exact relationships with Anna were. Oh well. Can't have everything! (less)
This is one of those really good books that drives you nuts once you reach the end. In many ways, I'm reminded of when I read The Haunting of Hill Hou...moreThis is one of those really good books that drives you nuts once you reach the end. In many ways, I'm reminded of when I read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson; when I finished that book (which is awesome!) I realized that I wasn't sure I'd read the story correctly. And that's how The Other Typist feels - I'm not sure I read the story right. If I had the time, I'd love to go through it again, see if I can figure it out. Because it's one of those books, with not only an unreliable narrator, but also an ambiguous ending.
However, it's a very well written book. Rindell has done a wonderful job capturing the feel/flavor of Prohibition New York, of the start of the flappers, and of the underground world of the speakeasies. And she did an excellent, and creepy, job of showing how a mild-mannered, by-the-book person like Rose could fall under the spell of someone who seems to have it all, falling so hard as wanting to be like her. The story is told in first person POV, which is really the only way to write the unreliable narrator. At times, Rose comes across like one of the nuns that helped raise her in the orphanage - cold, unfeeling, unwavering, and frankly, not very nice/likable. At other times, though, her yearning for a good friend (a "bosom-friend" as she keeps referring to Odalie), for a home, for a family, is just heartbreaking. You, as the reader, can completely understand why she does some of the things she does - she so wants someone, anyone, to love her.
A very interesting book, and thankfully, a debut novel. Which means that Rindell will hopefully have many more books to come. (less)
As much as I loved The Butterfly Clues, I can't say the same for this second novel from Kate Ellison. Olivia isn't nearly as strong a character as Lo,...moreAs much as I loved The Butterfly Clues, I can't say the same for this second novel from Kate Ellison. Olivia isn't nearly as strong a character as Lo, and the romance here wasn't "sweet" to me like a lot of other reviewers on Amazon. Part of the problem, too, is that Lucas is dead when the story starts, so we don't really get to know him as Olivia does - we just know him as the ghost that she knows.
Also disappointing was that I had the mystery figured out quickly, the whodunit part, anyway. The why of it all wasn't entirely satisfactory, either - felt like a very stereotypical sort of why, but with no real clues about it beforehand.
Overall, the only relationship I enjoyed in this book was the one between Olivia and her soon-to-be stepsister, Wynn. That felt very real and also very sweet, and I would have liked to have seen more of that on the page. Very sad that this sophomore offering from Ellison is just sort of there, very predictable, and not really what I think of as a good book. (less)
A pretty decent entry in the series. It's been quite a while since I read the original (Johannes Cabal the Necromancer), so it was nice that the auth...more A pretty decent entry in the series. It's been quite a while since I read the original (Johannes Cabal the Necromancer), so it was nice that the author reminded me of a few things from that work. I had completely forgotten who Leonie was (she was in the first book), and even with the backstory provided again, it didn't occur to me very often that it would be ironic for these two to team up.
I don't really know why the word "hilarity" is used in the book blurb, though. Some of the story is mildly humorous, but I don't really remember laughing much. Hm. Guess humor, like a lot of things, is in the mind of the beholder. Also, this is considered to be in the steampunk genre, which seems sort of odd to me. Then again, I haven't read a lot of steampunk, so maybe I'm not really schooled on what that classification is.
Overall, not too bad. Took a while to get through it, but not for lack of wanting to read. Just been busy and haven't had a lot of time to read.(less)
I first saw this title about a year ago during a webinar. I'd sort of forgotten about the book until I was weeding our Young Adult section in the libr...moreI first saw this title about a year ago during a webinar. I'd sort of forgotten about the book until I was weeding our Young Adult section in the library. I picked it up, read the description, and decided this would be my next read for our teen book club. I worried that I had yet again picked a dud as far as my teens were concerned, as they've explained that they don't like "realistic" fiction - to them, it's boring.
I don't know if any of them will ever pick this book up, but I highly recommended it to them, as it is anything but boring. OK, actually, my co-worker had to read my review, as I was on vacation during our last meeting. But still...I really like this! I thought the author did a wonderful job giving the reader a full picture of what Lo's daily life was like. I was really fascinated by her rituals - all the numbers, the tap tap tap, banana she MUST perform before she does certain things, etc. I think the best way it's described in the book was that doing these things made Lo "safe" - at least, in her mind. We as the reader know they don't really do anything, and at times, we can tell that Lo knows they don't either...but she can't seem to convince her brain of that.
Lo's parents, in my humble opinion, weren't very well fleshed out. We know her dad works a lot, and that her mom is still grieving the death of Oren, Lo's brother. Even though the book was told from Lo's point of view, I still think the author could have given us a bit better understanding of the parents. Also, at times I found it hard to believe that they wouldn't realize Lo had skipped out to do her sleuthing. But since they were rather preoccupied with their own dramas, maybe it's not all that crazy that they didn't notice her absence.
I found Flynt to be a very interesting character indeed, and I really liked him. I thought it was interesting that he seemed to be the only character that picked up on Lo's OCD behaviors and didn't judge her for them. In fact, he seemed to try to help her feel safer by recognizing that she needed things in threes (a "good" number). I wondered if the author was trying to say that it takes one non-traditional person to make another non-traditional person feel OK.
The mystery was decent, although I had pretty much figured out the whodunit early on. It was still exciting to watch Lo get closer and closer to figuring it out. The author, Kate Ellison, has a new book out titled Notes from Ghost Town, and yes, there's a copy in our library system. And yes, I think I'll be checking that one out, too. (less)
Well, like they say, don't just a book by it's cover. Or, in this case, it's blurb. I've had this sucker on a to-be-read list since we picked it up fo...moreWell, like they say, don't just a book by it's cover. Or, in this case, it's blurb. I've had this sucker on a to-be-read list since we picked it up for our library system over two years ago, and I was finally at a point to pick it up, give it a shot.
I made it to page 104 and quit.
I'd read Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, and this book sounded like it might be in the same vein. I really liked the whole "you are responsible for your happiness and no one else" attitude that was covered in the blurb. But once I got started, I realized this really wasn't the story I thought it was. And neither was the author this "wise" person that the blurb made her out to be.
She says in the very beginning to flip to the back and check out the list of her books that she's reading/refers to in her happiness/finding herself endeavor. There's something like 36 titles! I mean, I'm a bibliophile, don't get me wrong - but I usually have a max of four books at my bedside. And often those are what I think of as "fun" titles, in that I'm reading for my entertainment - not for enlightenment.
The husband's revelation comes pretty quickly, followed by chapter after chapter of her waiting for him to contact her after he leaves their marital home. She talks about their childhoods, how they met, how lucky they have been to have good, stable, middle-income families, how they went the bohemian route somewhat once they got to college, how they finally decided to make it legal, blah blah blah. There's a whole chapter about her father, and while I am completely sympathetic to her desire to please her father, being a bit of a daddy's girl myself, a whole chapter of paternal love was a bit much.
Then there's her incessant droning on about how she could have taken a job at some point after they started having kids and such, but she's an author and she needed her time to write. Never mind that she'd never been published. Never mind that she has many, many "good" rejection letters, the kind that tell her how wonderful her work is but it's "just not right" for that publisher, etc. I mean, I get wanting to do what you love, but when the big economic crash hit us all - when you're own economic crash hits - you've got to look at reality. Rejection letters don't pay bills and won't buy groceries.
The last chapter I managed to slog through was entitled "The Italy Cure". Evidently, Munson had done an academic year abroad, in Italy of course, while in college. And according to her, it was the best year of her life; the food, the culture, the love of the family that hosted her, etc. Well, not too long before her husband tells her he doesn't love her anymore, she listens to a therapist who tells her that instead of whining about how going to Italy would make her feel better, she should just GO. And she does just that, originally offering it up as a family vacation. Hubby declines, and the son isn't keen on the idea, so it becomes a mother-daughter trip. I could live with that, even though I'm still thinking to myself that it isn't a good idea, given that their finances aren't good at that moment. But when she talks about taking this trip so she can "recontact her soul" - I was done.
I don't know if the author and her husband make it or not. At this point, I don't care. What I had hoped would be an interesting look at marriage, and the idea of happiness and such, turned out to be nothing more than a bunch of pretentious twaddle. Maybe that's due to my upbringing, what I bring to the book. I don't know. But I do know that I'm firmly in the one-star or less camp that I've found on some review sites. And that I'm not inclined to look for any more works by Ms. Munson. (less)