I wanted to like this book more than I did. The premise held such promise. If only the author had been as skilled at writing a story as he was at writI wanted to like this book more than I did. The premise held such promise. If only the author had been as skilled at writing a story as he was at writing essay. The book is more a treatise than story.
What really disappointed was the lost opportunity of telling the story from Michael Valentine Smith's perspective. If it had been told in first person or third person limited, we would have been treated to Smith learning what is is to be human. Instead, we got a lecture. The book proves that the author was smart, but I prefer to be shown a story rather than lectured at.
I did enjoy aspects of the book. Some intriguing characters. But interesting that even as this author was able to imagine cool futuristic technology and political change, he was unable to imagine a world without sexism!...more
This was my least favorite of the Song of Ice and Fire so far. It often felt like the story was drifting mightily. I missed my favorite characters. I'This was my least favorite of the Song of Ice and Fire so far. It often felt like the story was drifting mightily. I missed my favorite characters. I'm looking forward to the next book and hope that the story will wind back around....more
I found it difficult to get through this book. I never felt an emotional attachment to the main character, and the love interest, Wes, seemed like a sI found it difficult to get through this book. I never felt an emotional attachment to the main character, and the love interest, Wes, seemed like a self-centered ass, so I never got into him either. There are sex scenes, but don't expect them to titillate. They are realistic to the point of being clinical. I also found the first person present tense annoying. It just didn't seem to work in this book. The editing was some of the worst I've ever seen in a book from a large publishing house. Not just the typos & errors, but the lack of content editing. So why 3 stars? I give the book 3 stars because the author touched my heart with her realistic portrayal of first teen love. I fell in love when I was 17 and the emotions Dom felt and how she obsessed about the boy and he was all she could think about- it all felt very real to me. This author has talent and certainly there were wonderful moments, but overall the book did not hold my attention....more
I enjoyed the magical aspects of this book. I felt like I learned a bit about Mayan myth and Latin American magic culture. The problem I had was thatI enjoyed the magical aspects of this book. I felt like I learned a bit about Mayan myth and Latin American magic culture. The problem I had was that the storytelling was a bit slow and thin. I found myself skipping lots of pages to get to the "good" parts. And the author uses a lot of references to pop culture that I found annoying and that dated the book. References to a person being a "gleek" already sounds passe. I would have thought an editor would have pointed this out. There's promise for the characters. If this is a series, I'd like to see the boyfriend fleshed out more. I didn't find myself drawn to him or knowing him particularly. And the MC needs to get a grip and be less scared about everything all the time. Promising idea and writing - needs polish....more
This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. It's a self-help book that is part memoir, part art book, and full of insight. The author uses powerThis is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. It's a self-help book that is part memoir, part art book, and full of insight. The author uses powerful metaphors from her own journey, in her 50's, to become a licensed pilot. She uses these flying lessons to create 7 lessons to "fly" in life. The author's humble approach makes the book accessible and never preachy. Ms. Hale weaves wonderful stories that read like a fiction short story, but they are tied to a life lesson.
I read a chapter each night for a week, and then absorbed the information over the evening before I read another chapter the next day. I found the book uplifting - it has a "you can do this" vibe to it. T
My only downside to the book was that some of the stories started to feel a bit long, especially toward the last 2-3 lessons. But this was a minor issue and did not lessen my overall enjoyment of the book, or take away from the powerful message here.
Flying Lessons will be an excellent addition to the library of anyone who is interested in self-improvement....more
A nice introduction to psychic abilities and using intuition. There are several meditations/exercises to try for boosting your own intuition and psychA nice introduction to psychic abilities and using intuition. There are several meditations/exercises to try for boosting your own intuition and psychic abilities. The writing is accessible and easy to read.
I'm looking forward to trying the exercises. If you're interested in boosting your intuition and/or psychic abilities, this would be a good book to start with....more
This one took longer for me to get into than Book 1. I felt like it took a long time for the action to begin. This doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy thThis one took longer for me to get into than Book 1. I felt like it took a long time for the action to begin. This doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the book. I love the world Martin creates and enjoy hearing each character's perspective. But there were more times, for me, reading book 2 that I felt like I wanted to skip some than I did when listening to book 1.
As with book 1, there are several plot twists and turns. You never know what's coming. I like that a lot. So many writers write predictable books. GRRM is NOT predictable, and he's never afraid to kill off a character.
I'm completely engrossed in the GOT world now and must keep reading to find out what happens to my beloved characters....more
Descriptions of this book compared it to the Game of Thrones. That is such a tangential comparison that it's silly and the publisher should stop doingDescriptions of this book compared it to the Game of Thrones. That is such a tangential comparison that it's silly and the publisher should stop doing it. This book is a fantasy, with a sort of medievalish setting on a world other than Earth. There are swords and daggers. That is about the extent of its similarity to Game of Thrones.
And this comparison to GOT got me excited for Throne of Glass - because I'm a huge George R.R. Martin fan. So when I began reading and it was nothing like GOT, I was disappointed. Strike one for this book.
But the bigger issue was the premise. The idea here is that the protagonist is the most notorious assassin in the realm. She lost her parents at the age of 8 and was taken in by the king of the assassins. Now that she's 17-18ish, she is one of the most feared assassins in the kingdom. Promising idea, yes?
My problem with the main character is that she is too darn pretty and too darn nice and shows way too much compassion from the get go. If you were an assassin - and I don't mean you sort of did a half-ass job at it - but were the MOST feared - wouldn't you be cold-hearted? Hardened? Lacking in empathy and compassion? How else would you be able to kill on demand? Assassins are required to kill without a reason of their own.
This problem with the main character annoyed me throughout almost the entire book. I'm supposed to belive that this cute blondie that is girly and at times downright silly is a cold, calculating assassin? Her actions threw me out of the narrative throughout. And we never saw much in the way of the author showing us the assassins skills. There was this silly game to find a King's champion (conicindentally with 24 challengers - interestingly the same number as competitors in the Hunger Games?!). So the author shows her running and climbing and getting through a test with poisens (but only with some help). She never stabs anyone in the back, never breaks a man's neck with her bare hands. In fact, other than killing a creature at some point in the story, she never kills anyone.
You see, that's the problem with comparing this story to Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin never shies away from the cold realities of things in GOT. If he were writing this book, it would be toned down for a teen audience, but he surely would have had his assassin KILL somebody! She could have killed one of the other competitors who was trying to take down the prince, or something like that. Give her an opportunity to show us her true skill. Instead, the girl comes off as cocky and arrogant, but without showing us much in the way of skills to back up her cocky attitude.
It took me to the 40% mark to begin liking the book in any way, and I only made it that far because it was assigned reading for my book study group. I persisted and it was around half-way that I began to like some elements.
The author is imaginative and I enjoyed her magical elements. Tying in an old magic, mostly lost, and the intrigue with the king, etc. All of that was well done and enjoyable.
And the assassin began to grow on me. Perhaps if she had been tougher and rougher and more like a cold-blooded killer, then there would be room for the character to grow. Instead, she was too nice from the beginning.
If you can't get enough of pretty blondes falling for the prince with another hot guy for a love triangle thrown in, then perhaps this book is for you. For me, I need more than just the tired trope of the teen love triangle to get me excited for a book.
Looks like there's a sequel. I'll likely read a sample of the next one, but if you can't get me interested in more in the first 10%, I'll pass. ...more
I don't normally read historical fiction, but I met the author of this book on Wattpad and was intrigued by the premise, so I thought I'd give it a trI don't normally read historical fiction, but I met the author of this book on Wattpad and was intrigued by the premise, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm so glad I did! Quintspinner was a fast-paced and well done read. Quintspinner mixes pirates on the high seas with a touch of romance and a magical element. But if you're expecting a Disneyfied version of pirates, you'll be disappointed. It's clear that this author did her research and she has created a world that is true to the harsh realities of pirating. Pirating was not a pretty business, and this author holds nothing back. Infested food, lack of bathing, cruelty, death - and more - are present. It's at times a grim book. But from the beginning I was drawn to the people and my desire to learn their fate kept me turning the pages. The author throws danger after danger at these characters, and they keep finding a way to not only survive, but grow stronger. The end leaves room for a sequel and I look forward to continuing the adventure. I have a couple of quibbles with the book. First, I appreciated the realism and historically true treatment of this subject. I felt immersed in the nasty, dangerous pirate world. But by about the 80% mark, I felt like enough is enough. It's a bit like a horror movie when the heroine has escaped and you feel like she's safe, but then you see the killer's hand or something and you see she still has more of a battle to fight. Quintspinner was a bit like that toward the end. Second, the end felt abrupt. I know the author has more to tell about these characters, but it felt like there was a lack of closure. But overall, these two issues did not deter from the enjoyable read. If you can't get enough of pirates, I highly recommend this book....more
If you enjoy erotica AND are okay with SM, then you will likely enjoy this book. It is a book the I enjoyed reading in segments, each chapter like a vIf you enjoy erotica AND are okay with SM, then you will likely enjoy this book. It is a book the I enjoyed reading in segments, each chapter like a vignette.
I read this book the first time when it first came out (late 1990's). I enjoyed it more then than I do now. I think as I age I'm less okay with viewing women in a submissive role, even in fantasy or role playing. So if you are a reader that does not enjoy women being in a passive or submissive role, then you will likely detest this book.
If, however, you enjoy reading fantasy where a woman is submissive, with some SM and bisexual/homo erotica, then this is well worth the read. ...more
First published in 2000, The Tipping Point reached its own tipping point years ago. I've heard of the book before, and have heard people use the conceFirst published in 2000, The Tipping Point reached its own tipping point years ago. I've heard of the book before, and have heard people use the concepts set forth in this book for years. I'd never read the book, so decided to give it a go. Malcolm Gladwell's ideas were revolutionary in 2000, but at this point I think so many have read this book - and incorporated its principles into marketing strategy, etc., that it felt passe. Sort of a strange thing - a book to become so popular this it sort of dates itself. Also, please for the love of all things sacred, I hope that Gladwell has learned how to break up paragraphs in the past 12 years! Paragraphs can go on for more than a whole page. I'm sorry, it bogs the reading down and is almost never necessary, but it persists throughout. I felt bored with the continual repetition of some of his stories, used for example and explanation. I'd find myself skipping pages trying to find the point in it all. Basically, with tighter writing (and is there an editor in the house - any house?), this book could have been about 150 pages rather than about 260. If you are looking for a book that gives advice or a plan of action, this is not the book. This book is a collection of anecdotes, references to research projects and the writer's ideas about how ideas spread. All interesting and and perhaps thought provoking. But if you're looking for how to put these ideas into action, this book will not help you. It may inspire you, but there is no concrete advice here for how to work toward your own tipping point. For that, you will need to look elsewhere....more
Let me start out by saying that I do not generally read mystery books. I"m not a fan of gum shoe, who-dunits. But something about the description of tLet me start out by saying that I do not generally read mystery books. I"m not a fan of gum shoe, who-dunits. But something about the description of this book pulled me in. I LOVED IT! In fact, it's at the top of my list of best books of 2012 (behind The Fault in Our Stars). Gillian Flynn created a taut thriller, full of so many twists and turns, the reader could get whiplash. But I think what made it particularly engaging, for me, was the underlying study of a marriage. I've been married for over two decades, and a divorce attorney for almost 20 years. I've been in a position to be an observer the the marriage relationship. I think Gillian Flynn understands marriage - very well. Though she's writing about people that, it turns out, are pretty darn unbalanced (an understatement), Flynn's exploration of the cat and mouse game of marriage rings very true. Flynn goes deeper, though, than just looking at marriage. Gillian Flynn also deftly weaves into her story an indictment of our modern, media-driven justice system - and our media-driven culture. The book leaves the reader considering the question of persona. Where is the line between the real us - the real spouse - the real friend -- and the persona that people use when interacting publicly. All of us are, to some extent or another, in this age of social media, an "Amazing Amy." As a mystery, the book rocks. I usually figure it out right away. So I was happy that Flynn will keep me guessing up until the very end. And the end is haunting. My only criticism of the book is that, at times, there were just too many words. Each of the characters could go on, and on. I started to wax over. Especially when I got into Part II of the book, there just seemed to be a lot that could have been cut. Unessential character blabbering. Once again (my worn out refrain these days), a really good editor could have helped Flynn make this story so much tighter. Sigh, where have all the editors gone?
Even if you, like me, are not a mystery reader, try this book. Gillian Flynn has earned a new fan....more
I'm a fan of the first season of Ancient Aliens and I wanted to read this book because it seems to be the one that started it all. Perhaps when it firsI'm a fan of the first season of Ancient Aliens and I wanted to read this book because it seems to be the one that started it all. Perhaps when it first came out, it was ground-breaking and intriguing, so people ignored how poorly it was written. But now that the ancient alien theory has been explored more fully - and made into an entire television series - this book falls flat. I found the writing difficult to read. Not because of large words or the difficulty of the issues. Rather, the prose is so stilted, the editing so horrible, the sentences so run-on, it was hard to plod through. Putting aside the shortcomings of the prose, the book also did not fulfill its promise of showing evidence for aliens having visited Earth in the ancient past. The author would present intriguing mysteries from the historic record and archeological sites, then lead the reader to question it (often making extreme assumptions), then drop a bunch of questions. It's more of a pamphlet that raises questions. The author raises some important and intriguing questions, but I can't recommend that readers pay for a book of questions. If you're interested in this topic, you can skip this book and read up on it in more recent books and by viewing the Ancient Aliens series on the H2 and/or Netflix....more
It was hard to rate this book. There were two sections that I really enjoyed, but the middle section grated.
The War of Art may be worth the price of tIt was hard to rate this book. There were two sections that I really enjoyed, but the middle section grated.
The War of Art may be worth the price of the ticket just to read the Foreword by Robert McKee. ("When inspiration touches talent, she gives birth to truth and beauty." McKee - how eloquent is that?)
Book One, "Resistance: Defining the Enemy," is 52 pages of tightly written prose. If you are a creative person, it will likely feel like Pressfield mind-melded with your inner self and ratted you out for all the ways you sabotage your own creative endeavors. Pressfield identifies that inner enemy as Resistance and does a great job of defining it. I found this section helpful as a reminder - and one I can pull out again and again - of this.
But the book goes downhill from there. Book Two: Combating Resistance (Turning Pro) didn't provide any significant advice for how you "combat" resistance that went beyond what we all know - butt in chair and write. Instead, Pressfield spends about another fifty or so pages essentially sounding like an old, war-worn veteran talking about paying dues and what it means to be a "professional." It sounds like he's saying to be a "real" writer you have to forego most everything else for your art. The artist as a tortured soul, foregoing the pleasures of this Earth, and devoted solely to their art - that's what it starts to sound like. And to be a "real" writer, you have to spend years and years and be rejected and torn down, etc. You have to suffer for real art/to be a real professional. That may not be what he intended to say, but that's how 50+ pages of this comes across. This section may be helpful for those that have been at their art a long time without much renumeration or applause, but it in no way helps to combat resistance. Mr. Pressfield's "warrior" approach grated on me and felt a bit macho perhaps. Looking at other reviews, it appears I'm not the only one that found Book Two wearing thin.
He finishes with Book Three: Beyond Resistance (The Higher Realm). In his foreword, McKee noted his disagreement with this section of Pressfield's book. Personally, I enjoyed Book Three. Perhaps the artist answers to a calling from something/somewhere on a higher plane. I found this section more helpful than Book Two.
So if he had just included Books 1 and 3, I would have given 4-5 stars, but Book Two irritated me so much, I bumped it down to three.
Bottom line: Not sure this adds much or says anything new that you probably haven't gotten from other books on writing/the writing life/the artist's life (I like Julia Cameron and Scott Bell's books on this better). But if, like me, you have a library of books on writing that you read to avoid the actual writing (Resistance in action!), then this is a fine addition to your inspiration (i.e. procrastination) library....more
Veiled Virtues is a fun romp of a read. The premise/set-up is that the MC goes to England to house-sit right after her high school graduation and soonVeiled Virtues is a fun romp of a read. The premise/set-up is that the MC goes to England to house-sit right after her high school graduation and soon finds herself "haunted" by something in the house she's sitting. She also soon finds herself falling in love with a modern-day knight. The set-up is interesting and different. I don't think I've read anything else quite like it - a modern order of knights, protecting against evil. Paige, the main character, was likeable enough and the action kept me engaged and turning pages. You just have to find out what happens! My only complaint is that the love interest, Nathaniel, is just too perfect. I had a hard time believing his actions and words. I know he's British, but even British guys aren't that perfect and romantic! (Or maybe they are and I'm living in the wrong country!) But this complaint did not detract from my compulsion to keep reading. I also enjoyed the aspect of the book that deals with Paige's relationship with her mother and I think the author captured what it is often like for mothers/daughters when the child hits that age. And I enjoyed that while the set up is that Nathaniel is Paige's "knight," Paige isn't a helpless, locked-in-a-tower maiden. This adds to the complexity of the relationship. I definitely want to read the next book and find out what happens with Paige and Nathaniel (nice use of an Epilogue in this book). If you enjoy YA/YA Romance, definitely check this book out....more