My family are huge fans of The Walking Dead TV show. Oddly I have never gotten around to reading the comic books on which the show is based but I inteMy family are huge fans of The Walking Dead TV show. Oddly I have never gotten around to reading the comic books on which the show is based but I intend to remedy that shortly. In the meantime I saw this book on the new arrivals table at my local library and was intrigued enough to grab it. I had no idea that this was part of a series and that this novel was number five. I feel like I would have been more invested in the characters fates if I started at book one but in any case I didn't have any trouble following the plot line.
This novel takes place after the Governor's death and features the survivors of Woodbury. A woman named Lilly Caul is now running things to the best of her ability. I thought her choice of name was interesting because a caul is a membrane that sometimes covers the fetus and if they are born with one it has been historically associated with good luck. Anyway Lilly isn't opposed to new people joining her ranks, she needs numbers to survive, however as is often the case the living are as often as dangerous as the dead. Fear the living, kill the dead is a popular Walking Dead slogan and in this case it couldn't be more true.
The main problem for me with the books, aside from jumping into an ongoing story line in the middle, is that descriptions of zombie attacks are just not as thrilling to read about as they are to watch on TV. There isn't the sense of urgency or horror when you are reading as opposed to watching. The story has to be really strong, more so in a book than on TV, to compensate for the lack of special effects. Good zombie attacks can carry a weak TV plot, which by the way, the TV show rarely has. For me the book started out a little slow, but picked up steam as it went along. I am interested enough to go back and pick up the first book and see if that improves my overall impression of this spin off....more
I picked this up after it won the best YA book of the year at Good Reads. I finished it in a couple of hours and I think it's best if read straight thI picked this up after it won the best YA book of the year at Good Reads. I finished it in a couple of hours and I think it's best if read straight through. I kind of figured out what happened after the accident and it was fun trying to catch on clues to see if I was right. I won't say anything about the plot because I don't want to ruin if for others. My personal take away from it was that money can't buy happiness. I have an affinity for books about seemingly idyllic families that have a lot of crap going on underneath, like in the books by Herman Koch, so this ran to my taste. ...more
My favorite Alexander McCall Smith series is the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. After that, I like the Isabel Dalhousie series. For some reason I neveMy favorite Alexander McCall Smith series is the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. After that, I like the Isabel Dalhousie series. For some reason I never had the burning desire to pick up this series until I saw Alexander McCall Smith speak in person about it. He literally cracked himself up relating the incident of Bertie's Italian graffiti in the preschool bathroom. After hearing the author's own hearty recommendation I couldn't help but pick it up.
The novel reads like a soap opera. There is the vapid and handsome Bruce, the adrift Pat, the lovelorn Big Lou, and the incorrigible Bertie with his pushy mother Irene. Bertie was my favorite and I would have been happy if the whole novel was about him as the scenes with him and his mother provided the funnier parts of the novel.
After taking a trip to 44 Scotland Street I still prefer my Botswana crew but I could see myself picking up these novels while waiting for the next installment of Precious Ramotwse. ...more
Not my favorite King book but a page turner non the less. Jamie Morton is five when he first meets Reverend Charlies Daniel Jacobs. After a tragedy reNot my favorite King book but a page turner non the less. Jamie Morton is five when he first meets Reverend Charlies Daniel Jacobs. After a tragedy results in a crisis of faith for the Reverend Jacobs, the two meet again on and off over the next several decades. Each time with more disturbing results. In turns out that the Reverend has managed to harness electricity to cure various illnesses and he does so in a traveling tent revival. Of course, this being a Stephen King novel, there is a price for everything and it may be be too steep to pay even for saving your life.
The religion portion of this book as it was addressed in the first part was especially interesting to me. As a regular church attendee questions come to mind from time to time. Questions like where is the proof? People will tell you it's in the bible but religion is faith. You either have it or don't. Another question addressed is why bad things happen to good people, especially Christian people. Of all people you would think God would want to protect the believers most of all. The Reverend's answers to these questions was disturbing to say the least. He likened Christianity to a bankrupt insurance company, you make deposits every week, but when it's time for withdrawal there is nothing there for you. I felt like King was making an attack on Christianity so much so I thought he was probably an atheist. I was surprised to learn from the internet that he has stated publicly that he believes in God. Anyway the religious questions pepper throughout the story as characters wonder what in fact happens to their loved ones when they pass on.
As far as the scare factor went I really didn't find this disturbing. Definitely not nightmare inducing. I was surprised at how much I liked it. I read it straight through because I couldn't figure out where King was exactly taking the story. Once I did though I enjoyed it immensely and thought he did a really good job of connecting the first part of the book to the last. One of the last scenes brought to mind Frankenstein. It almost came off a little campy......It's ALLLLLLLLLIIIIIIVVVVEEEEEE! All in all very enjoyable. ...more
I have read this entire hilarious series along with my daughter who grew up with it and is now in High School. I have also substituted in an elementarI have read this entire hilarious series along with my daughter who grew up with it and is now in High School. I have also substituted in an elementary school media center for several years I can attest that nothing flies off the shelf faster than a Wimpy Kid book. The kids fight over who gets to check them out.
In this latest installment the Heffley family decide to take a road trip that fortunately for the reader goes horribly wrong. If you work with grade school children or have them you are probably familiar with Flat Stanley and the popular Captain Underpants series and Kinney lampoons both of them hysterically. The family road trip begins with a dive hotel that seemed familiar to some I have encountered. From there things go downhill with the acquisition of a pig ( you have to read it to see how cute the pig is), stalking by another family road tripping, numerous mishaps to the family vehicle, and a run in with a seagull. I am not a person prone to laughing out loud when reading but I did so several times with this book. I can empathize with the mom's desire to get rid of her husbands toy that is clogging the yard. Some of my favorite moments from the book included the high jinks that ensue when the dad tries to take a conference call in the car with an important client and the episode that results in the father running across a hotel parking lot with his pants around his ankles. Anyone who is in a family, kids, or parents, will find this book highly relatable.
As an aside my daughter waited in line six hours to meet Jeff Kinney at the Miami Book Fair when he released Cabin Fever. He brought down the kids who are in the movies to sign posters too. The wait was absolutely worth it as it was the highlight of my daughter's life. Even though Jeff Kinney signed thousands of books that day he took time to speak to my daughter and was so incredibly nice. Kids also love his educational poptropica site so if you have them check that out as well....more
This is the coming of age story of two sisters, Ivy and Rose, in 1920's New York. After their father dies they are shocked to learn that they had a brThis is the coming of age story of two sisters, Ivy and Rose, in 1920's New York. After their father dies they are shocked to learn that they had a brother that they never knew about and he has inherited the house they live in. They set off to find him and along the way enjoy many new experiences such as smoking, drinking, and falling in love for the first time. Ivy plays the part of the impulsive, reckless sister while Rose is the sensible one. Even though the sisters suffer from their share of disagreements eventually they reconnect when both realize the importance of family.
While I enjoyed the descriptions of 1920 New York, this book was just lacking something for me. I never really felt connected to the characters and consequently didn't really care much about them. I finished it easily enough but I never found it very compelling. I have read other, more interesting books about this time period before. ...more
Leah is a down and out vaudeville performer when she is approached by a man named Oliver who wants her to impersonate his missing niece in order to coLeah is a down and out vaudeville performer when she is approached by a man named Oliver who wants her to impersonate his missing niece in order to collect the family fortune. The missing niece, Jessie Carr, is days away from being declared legally dead and time is running short. Leah reluctantly agrees and uses her actress abilities to carry off the deception. In fact she is so good that the only person she can't fool is the one person who knows the truth about what really happened to Jessie. As time goes on Leah feels a connection to Jessie and sets out to prove what really happened to her.
I really enjoyed this book. Leah/Jessie is so likable and the book had a winning dose of mystery and romance which added to it's appeal. The cherry on top was the 1920's setting. I loved the descriptions of vaudeville, prohibition, and Jessie's favorite Venetian glass beads. The only nitpick I have is with a bit of unlikely coincidence at the end. It ties things up a little too neatly and leaves the reader with a feeling of what were the chances of that. Even so I still look forward to reading the second novel in this series, Silent Murders. ...more
Back in the 70's my parents had a book about the Zodiac Killer on their shelves. Being a curious kid I picked it up, and man, did it scar me. I had niBack in the 70's my parents had a book about the Zodiac Killer on their shelves. Being a curious kid I picked it up, and man, did it scar me. I had nightmares for weeks and the worst part of all was that he was never caught. Graphic descriptions of horrific murders embedded into my psyche and I remembered the murders years later when I saw Gary L. Stewarts book claiming his birth father was non other than Zodiac himself.
Remembering how thoroughly messed up the Zodiac saga left me, it was with quite a bit of interest that I picked this book up. Gary Stewart was abandoned by his father when he was in infant. In adulthood he was contacted by his birth mother. The first half of the book is a lot of Gary's extensive family history both of his adopted and birth families.
The second part of the book chronicles Gary's attempts to prove that the Zodiac killer was really his birth father Earl Van Best Jr. After meeting his birth mother Judy, Gary is given enough information to allow him to obtain a booking photo of his birth father. Shortly after receiving the picture of his father, he was watching an A&E special about the Zodiac Killer and boom, it hits him, his father looked exactly like the sketch on the wanted poster for Zodiac. For the rest of the book he tries to present proof for his theory. How much you enjoy this book will probably be tied to how much you buy Gary's story. On his side, his father's picture does look like a dead ringer for the Zodiac composite sketch and both the father and Zodiac have undeniably similar handwriting. I think he does an especially good job of connecting certain interests of his fathers with references made in the Zodiac letters. Where he starts to lose me is the part about a supposed police cover up because his birth mother was married to a police officer at one point. I want to see facts not conspiracy theories. It was because of this supposed cover up that Gary's DNA was never tested by the police and compared to the known sample of Zodiac. DNA testing is so common now, you can even buy a kit at Walgreens to mail out. I don't know why the publisher wouldn't offer to pay for the test to put the matter to rest once and all before the publication of the book. In any case it cannot be denied that Gary has some interesting circumstantial evidence to make you go hummmm. His father seemed to be in some of the right places at the right times. It just kind of bothered me how the authors wrote the book as if Earl Van Best Jr. committed the Zodiac murders definitively. Gary's squabbles with birth mother Judy also made for some uncomfortable reading. I don't think the adoption reunion went as smoothly as either had hoped.
In the end, the lack of absolute proof proved distracting to me. If you read the Wikipedia page there is a long list of people who claim to know the true identity of Zodiac and Gary Stewart is just the latest. Even if you don't believe Gary's story, it still proved fascinating to me. ...more
After having lost her brothers in the war and with her father having passed on as well, Frances and her mother decide to take on borders in order to kAfter having lost her brothers in the war and with her father having passed on as well, Frances and her mother decide to take on borders in order to keep their house. At first Frances is rather put out by the new couple Lily and her husband Leonard, but this being a Sarah Waters novel it should come as no surprise that Frances and Lily strike up a special kind of friendship. The only one who seems surprised in fact is Lily's husband. The ladies greatest wish is to be rid of Leonard but it is this very thing which may also tear them apart.
The murder in this story seems to be based on the real life case of Edith Thompson and Freddy Bywaters, although the crime in the Paying Guests is a work of fiction. I read the first two hundred pages of this book rather quickly and then when it became redundant, I just stalled out. I struggled the last three hundred pages to get through. If this book had been trimmed down by two hundred pages, I would have enjoyed it so much more. I love crime novels even if they are only loosely based on real crimes and I also enjoy reading about 1920's London. The fault lay in the story dragging on and on. Some editing would have made the story more compelling....more