This is not Eat, Pray, Love, thankfully. Gilbert can write well. Descriptions were lyrical, and the dialogue humorous and crisp. Barring a few quibbleThis is not Eat, Pray, Love, thankfully. Gilbert can write well. Descriptions were lyrical, and the dialogue humorous and crisp. Barring a few quibbles I have with certain plot choices, I'd say this is a marvelous book that kept me wondering what would happen next. ...more
Dull. Sorry. Now I know why the main character has to resonate on some level with the reader. This one shows how even an established writer can miss tDull. Sorry. Now I know why the main character has to resonate on some level with the reader. This one shows how even an established writer can miss the mark. I think writers are pressured to turn out stories too quickly these days. There are so many books on the market, and with everyone trying to earn their slice of the pie, the stories are bound to be released uncooked. The debut novel is the one that is labored over because it has to win an audience, and perhaps an agent or publisher. Once that bar is cleared, for many, the writer has to go into money-making mode. I think writing has lost its art, and perhaps, its thoughtfulness. Not all writers, but the majority, is my guess. ...more
The author kindly supplied an e-book copy of this story for an honest, non-reciprocal review. It is with a heavy heart that I fulfill my part of the b The author kindly supplied an e-book copy of this story for an honest, non-reciprocal review. It is with a heavy heart that I fulfill my part of the bargain. Others reviewers have raved about the story, so my disappointment is due to my background in religion and philosophy, and my studies/efforts in fiction writing. The Priest Whisperer is not a novel in the traditional sense of storytelling. There are no external conflicts, antagonists, plot, subplot, story arcs, etc. It does not fall in the literary category, at least not with the literary works I've read.
I have read many stories that focus on aspects of religion/philosophy through the thoughts and actions of fictional characters. I can appreciate such stories where the art of storytelling falls by the wayside. Therefore, while reading The Priest Whisperer, I focused on the message. Unfortunately, I disliked the message and strategy of this tale. I've read a lot of spiritual works over the years, those of traditional religions as well as "new age" inspirations. The Priest Whisperer is a mishmash of this and that, using symbolism from where ever to the point where the symbols are so diluted that they lose flavor, and meaning.
I thought, perhaps I should read this as I would a work of Picasso. I know what a body looks like, yet, Picasso can mix up the pieces to form something new and interesting. The difference between The Priest Whisperer and a work by Picasso, I think, is that Picasso had mastered his craft, so the 'how' of what he did was congruent. Although I tried to evaluate this work by the positive intention of the author, I did not find it to have the spiritual depth that is already available through the traditional work that precedes it. I appreciate attempts to modernize spiritual works for new audiences, but I feel this work is too discordant. My apologies for the rating but both subjects are worthy of my honest opinion. ...more
In the push-pull between society's immediate needs and resources versus long term planning and scientific procedures, a crisis occurred. Delivering em In the push-pull between society's immediate needs and resources versus long term planning and scientific procedures, a crisis occurred. Delivering emergency aid to colonists on Mars carries quite a large price tag, ensuring the event will become a political football. The underfunded space agency scurries to transport medical supplies, but has to do so under the scrutiny of a politician who is antagonist towards the project. This is a grand setup for conflict.
To add fuel to the fire, an accident occurs aboard the ship that requires the crew of antagonists to work together. The level of scientific detail reminds me of The Martian; my inner geek was satisfied.
The story was straight-forward and earnest. Interaction between characters were intelligent, appropriate for their professions and experience. My only nit pick was an overload of expository dialogue in the beginning. The prose improved once the scene was set. The ending was too abrupt. I was momentarily confused and had to check that I hadn't missed a section or two. ...more
I've discovered that I prefer boogeymen to be obviously a creature of imagination, and operating in a world that cannot possibly be real. I can handle I've discovered that I prefer boogeymen to be obviously a creature of imagination, and operating in a world that cannot possibly be real. I can handle reality horror if it is not too explicit. Outside these boundaries, I lose enjoyment of a story. I hadn't analyzed this quirk until I read A Collection of Angels.
First off, I was not prepared for the the horrific and explicit nature of the novel. Neither the title, nor story description, nor the opening scenes prepared me for the degenerate mayhem that was to follow. A little warning may have helped. That said, the story illustrates the startling turn that events can have on people's lives. Point taken, but the shock transitioning from what appeared to be a YA story to one with sexual violence and pedophilia was too extreme.
The most positive aspect of the novel was the prose. Jesse Budi is a talented writer. The characterization and story flow was on a professional level. My only stumble was the protagonist seeming at first to be a soft bellied geeky kid, then being described as having the body of Adonis. That left me a bit confused, until the horrible crime bit started and the rest didn't matter. So much of the descriptive language was pure horror, on level with Stephen King.
Once the novel is identified in the proper genre, I believe there will be an audience who will rate it highly. The writer, however, is talented enough to write commercial horror and would perhaps have a wider readership.
This is a light family drama with a touch of murder mystery and a dash of paranormal. The reader is treated to a glimpse of small town USA, where ever This is a light family drama with a touch of murder mystery and a dash of paranormal. The reader is treated to a glimpse of small town USA, where every teenager dreams of escape, and few actually do. I came from one of those towns, and the sketch presented in the novel is accurate and true to both the positive and negative aspects.
In a sense, this is a coming of age story, as the main character, Jessie, falls in love, and finally drops her teenage angst, which allows her to see her parents as people, while maintaining the mom/daddy relationship that is warm and comforting. The wrench is that the mother carries secrets and regrets that have eaten away her soul, so to speak. The reader can easily piece together the story, and the identification of the mysterious stranger, as well as the natural outcome. Still, the family is likable and familiar enough that we root for them.
In addition to the coming of age, family drama, there lies a paranormal subplot that give the novel its title. Honestly, the story would have been complete without this ghost connection. In fact, the haunting acts as a plot device to involve a dangerous stranger, who, without it, would probably have passed through the town without incident. In all, this was a light, short read that may interest readers who enjoy spending time in small town America with the too common twists of life that result from unfortunate adolescent decisions and rare opportunity for real growth and adventure. ...more
The journal of Lisa Karlin and her family's experience during and after the widespread devastation caused by Katrina highlights the best and the worst The journal of Lisa Karlin and her family's experience during and after the widespread devastation caused by Katrina highlights the best and the worst in Americans. From looting, prejudice, and ignorance, to bravery, empathy, and generosity, disasters of Katrina's scale run the gambit of humanity.
The author herself is nonjudgmental, for the most part. She allows the reader to interpret events for themselves. One exception, and rightly so, was the well publicized comment of Barbara Bush suggesting that New Orleans refugees housed in the Houston Astrodome were "underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." The author's reaction was to defend the dignity of people who had lost everything, including loved ones against the ugliness of those without human decency. Other than that, most incidents were presented simply--fear, struggle, mistakes, and breakdowns, to ingenuity, toughness, and a determination to return to normalcy.
Another insight gained by Karlin's experience is the thinness of the veneer of our civilization. Citizen complacency and a poor excuse of a government increased the cost of the disaster in human lives, as well as property and materials. It seems we never learn, as people are just as willing today to vote politicians into office who have no experience with government, and little regard for planning or due diligence. Unfortunately, those who suffer are often those with the least resources.
Lisa Karlin's family was fortunate in that both parents were educated and were highly employable. They had the support of friends and family, money in the bank, and credit cards. Even then, the danger and stress was immense. I admire how quickly they were able to settle themselves, all while fulfilling their duties as parents, professionals, and dog owners(!) and then turned to help others less fortunate. This is the way civilization should work, and I commend everyone who maintained their humanity in the face of disaster. ...more
I became immersed in this story and looked forward to my reading time each evening. It kept me up past 2am on a couple nights because I had to know wh I became immersed in this story and looked forward to my reading time each evening. It kept me up past 2am on a couple nights because I had to know what was going to happen. The prose was crisp and full of surprises, such as the use of "rhino death" to describe great sex.
Descriptions of hunting, social rules and rituals, and the daily struggle for survival were so vivid that I found it hard to believe the author was writing from supposition. Research supplied enough depth that I believed it all.
The characters were well developed. I loved the protagonist, and booed the villain, who was also multi-dimensional. Wolves and Woolly Mammoths came alive in vivid and exciting scenes. The experience was engrossing enough that I look forward to the sequel. ...more
I felt as though I was sitting in front of a TV set, only I did not have control of the remote and the person who did was flipping through a hundred c I felt as though I was sitting in front of a TV set, only I did not have control of the remote and the person who did was flipping through a hundred channels. Just when I became interested in a character, like the senior birdwatchers where the wife is struggling with a disability, the channel would change and I had to endure watching a selfish, chocolate-eating, fat, and rich woman play kissy face with her spoiled pug (too cliche for my taste). All details about a crime, one involving several characters with their flaws and variety of motivations, are known up front. The only question is how the arsonists will be caught and whether the real culprits will escape punishment.
The novel jumps inside the heads of small town folks, which, while the totality paints an accurate picture of how crimes of a few can affect, and be thwarted by, a cast of many, can simply become a chore to wade through. The result of having no protagonist is that the cast of 100s are underdeveloped, making it difficult for me to be thrilled or chilled when one is in danger (I'm thinking, now who is Carol, or was that Molly who....???). Since I could not immerse myself in this story, I found myself reading just to answer the question how and if the criminals would be caught whereas I would have preferred to have enjoyed the journey. The many roadside attractions could become novels in themselves....Molly who chooses to work part time so she can adopt a child, and perhaps become an activist in the bird hide cause...and Jean who must survive disability, and the loss of her husband while the school in which he taught considers not rebuilding the bird hide. Just those two threads could become a novel--yet they are lost in the crowd.
The writing delivered the story, but nothing more. However, I must praise the authors for all the work they must have put into weaving a tapestry of this size together in a way that made sense. Perhaps if I had read other novels in the So What! series, some of the characters would have been familiar and I would not have felt so underwhelmed. ...more
I loved the first quarter of the novel with its literary prose that painted a bleak, apocalyptic vision of a probable future. The narrator experiences I loved the first quarter of the novel with its literary prose that painted a bleak, apocalyptic vision of a probable future. The narrator experiences the decline of civilization, all while finding aspects to ponder and appreciate as he drifts along in a life of increasing solitude.
In the second quarter, romantic love enters the scene. The narrator does not desire a relationship, yet when he meets a young woman, a social worker, he cannot entirely let go of his need for companionship.
Near the midway point, a plot emerges that involves a mystery and a new cast of supporting characters. Although I welcome plots, I was surprised by the change in the quality of the prose and dialogue. I became aware of typos and misuse of words, such as 'arc' for 'ark'. Dialogue, which had been meaningful and sparse, appeared bland and included trivial interactions. Still, I cared about the main characters and wanted to know what the War Blanket was, so I read on.
In all, the strength of the novel is in the observations and descriptions that appear most frequently in the first half. For readers who seek intrigue and adventure, the second half will sustain interest. ...more