This is an interesting first novel, combining family drama, Jewish mysticism, the supernatural, religious fanaticism and a sick child.
The book is nicThis is an interesting first novel, combining family drama, Jewish mysticism, the supernatural, religious fanaticism and a sick child.
The book is nicely paced, and you don't have to be a Kabbalah enthusiast to understand the mystical history in this story. There's a few bits that didn't work so well for me (Nathan's family, for instance, and the interactions between the Gentile and Orthodox side of the family).
But all in all, this is a solid book. There's a gimmick she uses a couple of times in some of the storytelling bits of the story that is a little bit of a cop-out (does the narration just consist of the unspoken name of G-d for a page-and-a-half?), but overall it is a good story with some interesting combination of themes.
This is one of the better efforts by Ms Atherton in this lengthy series.
It's truly a cozy, with a stranger coming to Finch and the villagers' wishesThis is one of the better efforts by Ms Atherton in this lengthy series.
It's truly a cozy, with a stranger coming to Finch and the villagers' wishes begin coming true. And then everything that happens when all your wishes come true happens to the villagers, Lori has to investigate.
Most of Atherton's books are gentle and fun. There's no violence, usually no crime, and the bulk of these books revolve more around Lori's fantasy life rather than reality. This book is no exception.
If you have been a fan of these stories, pick this one up. It's a breezy, pleasant read....more
I saw several rave reviews for this book. It's not exactly rave-worthy, but it was a pleasant book to read.
If it were a comic strip, it would be FunkI saw several rave reviews for this book. It's not exactly rave-worthy, but it was a pleasant book to read.
If it were a comic strip, it would be Funky Winkerbean, with sudden years-long shifts in the story as the characters get older. The story is not about the characters as much as it is the life that happens to them. If you know the genre, there are no surprises, and not a lot of depth, but it is a nice little story.
Despite the main character being a guy, this book is completely chick-lit. A.J. Fikry is a complete fixer-upper who obviously has a heart of gold if you can see past the grumpy exterior. There's an orphan child, a spinster, people that have be ravaged by bad relationships, all ready to be tied up in a nice package. There's no action, little character development (you don't have to develop characters when they are stock).
All in all, it was a nice read. The chapters are broken up into readable chunks and I never felt like the story bogged down, or that the pacing was uneven. The story, while not exceptional, was well told. If you are around books a lot (like, in a library or bookstore), you'll appreciate the references to things only you'd know about. ...more
This is a wonderfully written, but very predictable story in the "teens have to save the world" mode. Since it is loosely based on a fairy tales, youThis is a wonderfully written, but very predictable story in the "teens have to save the world" mode. Since it is loosely based on a fairy tales, you sorta know what's going to happen, but Meyer is a completely engaging writer and I kept turning the pages, wondering how she is going to get the next bit of fairy tale in a sci-fi fantasy book.
If I were a tween or young teenaged girl, I'd probably be completely enamored of this book. As a middle-aged man, though, I am slightly embarrassed to admit to reading it. Still, I've read worse chic-lit stuff, and Meyer has done a great job mashing up the fairy tale/sci-fi genres.
There's one book left to go in this series, and I'll be interested to see if Meyer deviates from the standard fairy tale endings. I know she'll have some twist and turns along the way, and I hope she can deliver on the last book....more
What's that? You're a classics fan, and will not brook any attempts to update your favorite stories? Then skip this book. If "O Brother, Where Art ThoWhat's that? You're a classics fan, and will not brook any attempts to update your favorite stories? Then skip this book. If "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Clueless" are abominations unto the Lord, then skip this book.
But if you understand that what makes Austen great is the stories, and not just her words, and understand that good stories can be told over and over again, and added to and made relevant to new audiences, and if you appreciate good writing, then pick this book up.
If you are not an Austen fan, and wondered what all the fuss was about, then pick this book up.
Trollope does a fine retelling of the Austen story, updating the social conventions and modern lifestyle while keeping the social challenges and tribulations of the Dashwood girls believable and understandable.
I appreciate Austen in the original, but since I haven't paid attention to Regency culture and laws, I don't always appreciate the nature of the problems that women faced in her stories. The obsession with marrying well and the opportunity for ruin doesn't always register with me in an age when not even a sex tape can keep a girl down.
And writing styles have changed. So, just like I enjoy Shakespeare, but find him difficult to read, I like Austen, but have trouble wading through 200-year old literature and still keeping some sense of the story.
Reading this book, like watching a film version of P&P or S&S, sets the plot in my mind, and encourages me to pick up the original. When I read the original, I can recognize the plot twists and story progression, which allows me to appreciate the other aspects of Austen's writing, especially the sometimes-snarky humor she does so well.
I've read the first two books and really enjoyed them, although the second book seemed to spend most of its time setting up the third book.
This bookI've read the first two books and really enjoyed them, although the second book seemed to spend most of its time setting up the third book.
This book doesn't really go anywhere. It's sort of like reading "The Two Towers"; you have to read it to get to the next book, but nothing really happens. We have a bad guy that we never really identify, working on a zombie project we don't understand, and a climactic final scene that doesn't seem that dire.
Part of the problem is that all the cool zombie stuff is already out there: long-living, regenerating, living-among-us zombies have already been established. The second book had an evil corporation as the bad guy; we're not really sure who the bad guy is in this book.
Angel is growing as a person and getting her life together, and she gets to do some heroic stuff, but I get the idea that Rowland is just trying to have a zombie Sookie Stackhouse, and that's been done.
I don't know how many books Rowland is on contract for, but I'd like to think we'd get some clue as to why Angel is special and where Pietro's guys are getting all these brains. If there are a couple dozen zombies living in a Louisiana parish, there's a high demand for brains and it's not clear where they are all coming from.
If you liked the first two books, go ahead and read this, but it leaves so many unanswered questions on the table that it doesn't really make me want to read the next one. ...more
This is the second Rachel Gold mystery I've read, and one of three in the local library. While I may not be in a hurry to read the next one, I will loThis is the second Rachel Gold mystery I've read, and one of three in the local library. While I may not be in a hurry to read the next one, I will look forward to it.
Like many popular mystery series, this has a strong female lead, a cast of off-beat friends, and a basic David-vs-Goliath story line. It's like going to a chain restaurant; you are there because you don't want surprises, you just want something predicable and comfortable.
While the book is formulaic with stock characters, I'm giving it 4 stars because the author does a good job of capturing a lot of St. Louis (my hometown) in the book. While many of the names of places and businesses are changed, Kahn makes it very easy to imagine where in St. Louis the action is taking place and what kind of people Rachel is dealing with.
After taking a week or so to finish the last tome, I breezed through this in a day. It's a straight-ahead mystery story, with a silly amount of action, some silly-girl thinking, and a predictable but enjoyable ending.
If you are a St. Louisan and a mystery fan, this is a very enjoyable book. If you don't care for reading much, this is smoothly and simply written. If you like weightier books, this may be a nice palate-cleanser between those NYT critically-acclaimed novels. ...more
Another book my wife brought home. This one is by a St. Louis author, who manages to incorporate a lot of St. Louis factoids, foibles, legends and lanAnother book my wife brought home. This one is by a St. Louis author, who manages to incorporate a lot of St. Louis factoids, foibles, legends and landmarks into a fairly predictable but fun read.
If you are from St. Louis, and read the Post-Dispatch, you will recognize some of the characters, even though the names have been changed; in some cases, the characters are an amalgamation of several people in the news in the past few years.
I'd definitely recommend it for people that like to identify strongly with the story setting, like a spunky, resourceful heroine and don't mind if they figure out whodunit two-thirds of the way through the book. The chapters are short, which makes it great for bedstand or bathroom reading, and compelling enough that you don't feel the need to put the book down.
If this book were food, it would be Prairie Farms Raspberry Sherbet. Not very heavy, not very complex, but refreshing. I'll probably see if the library has a couple more of these. ...more
My wife, the librarian, picked up this audio book for a trip to Chicago.
It is an epistolary novel, told in the form of a series of letters, about a yMy wife, the librarian, picked up this audio book for a trip to Chicago.
It is an epistolary novel, told in the form of a series of letters, about a young, successful author looking for her next story in the days after the close of WWII. A random letter from a person who bought one of her old books leads her to Guernsey, her next story, and love.
It is alternately cheery and grim, full of the promise of life after war, and recollections of both the good and horrifying things that happened during the war. It is at time overly sentimental, yet not unbelievable and not treacly.
The readers on this audiobook were wonderful, and were the main reason I enjoyed the book. I think if I would have read it in book form, I would have considered it a bit of chick-lit fluff. It was a delightful read, and I would recommend it for those long summer vacation drives. Some of the WWII horrors my be too intense for younger readers, but the audiobook was very well done....more
I read the Dead-End Job mysteries because the author is a fellow St. Louisan and a very funny writer. She used to be a columnist for the St. Louis PosI read the Dead-End Job mysteries because the author is a fellow St. Louisan and a very funny writer. She used to be a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and lived in my neighborhood in the late 80s. She was always able to capture the flavor of a town and give you an idea of what life is like there.
Carl Hiassen and Dave Barry have been writing about Southern Florida and its characters and politics for years, so the plot dreamed up in this one doesn't seem too far off the map. As usual, no plot synopses from me, but the story, with about 4 different plots and subplots, all comes together, a little bruised and battered, but resolved.
If you are a fan of this series, you do want to read this. If you haven't read any of these, this is a pretty good story, but you won't believe the backstory until you read the earlier books. ...more