I feel a little guilty only giving this three stars. It's ambitious and often charming, and has a few really clever turns of phrase - as you would exp...moreI feel a little guilty only giving this three stars. It's ambitious and often charming, and has a few really clever turns of phrase - as you would expect from Rakoff.
Now, I'm no expert on poetry, but I think some of this is awful clunky, working best when it falls into a Doctor Seuss-ish singsong. And maybe the intent was to breathe insight into stereotypes, but I don't think that is successful. The characters remain largely stereotypical.
Which isn't to say that they aren't engaging.
Anyway, the art is lovely and it all ends well.(less)
The awesomeness of the 50th anniversary episode has rekindled my love for Doctor Who, and since my first love of the Doctor came from the 80's Target...moreThe awesomeness of the 50th anniversary episode has rekindled my love for Doctor Who, and since my first love of the Doctor came from the 80's Target novelisations, I decided to pick up a few of the newer books. (I love the retro hardcover format, btw.)
Ghosts of India was okay. It's fast paced, with a nice characterisation of 10 (not my favorite Doctor... I know, I know. You love him.), but I chose this one because of Donna, the companion I wanted to see a lot more of. She comes off a bit underwritten here, crass and classless in a way that I don't think is particularly true to the character. The dialogue is pretty good, though, and the minor players really spring to life in a very charming way. At its best moments it has the simple pulp momentum of Terrance Dicks' better books.
But this is an exceptionally affectionate take on the series; it's dripping with sentiment. That's cool, but the ending is just a bit too gooey for my tastes.
I've only read a few of these, but if you're looking for a recommendation, I'd go with Stealers of Dreams, definately.(less)
How's this for a deep dark secret: I really like the idea of romantic suspense. My problem with the genre is that I find too much of the writing to be...moreHow's this for a deep dark secret: I really like the idea of romantic suspense. My problem with the genre is that I find too much of the writing to be too corny.
I'm not sure exactly how Stealing Shadows ended up on my pile of books, but I was doing a lot of traveling this week and I thought it looked like perfect mindless material to skim through if I was bored or couldn't sleep. And then it turned out to be kind of terrific. Well, the first half turned out to be kind of terrific. It's not the Great American Novel, but it has plenty of murders, a plot that is mostly advanced through well-written dialogue, and a very likeable heroine. I thought I might be falling in love with a book.
Unfortunately, in the second half the momentum slows as the cliched romance heats up. Actually, the romance could have been worse, but it's definately hokey. For my taste, anyway. There's lots of talk of walls and lifelines and, "You can't! You're in danger, and you're much too fragile!" "But I must, don't you see? It's my destiny!" Okay, then.
Then there's the climax, which plays out basicallly the same supporting-character-tied-up-by-a-serial-killer-as-our-heroes-rush-to-the-rescue scenario twice, and less effectively the second time.
So I finished this with a "meh," but I mostly did enjoy reading it. I'll absolutely pick up another of Hooper's books.(less)
I sometimes wonder about why people enjoy reading really explicit sex scenes. Give me mystery, adventure, STORY. I'm not a prude, but - I mean, I have...moreI sometimes wonder about why people enjoy reading really explicit sex scenes. Give me mystery, adventure, STORY. I'm not a prude, but - I mean, I have sex. I love sex. Why read all about it? Especially when the language tends to be florid and - too often - the details are just... wrong. It's like this - I love food, but going all Tolkien over a grilled cheese sandwich does not a good chapter make.
The first chapter of Among the Living really turned me off. A closeted gay cop meets another (too Fabio-ish) gay cop at his partner's retirement party. Within seconds of meeting, they kiss outside a bathroom - in a house full of other cops and kids - and then pop in the john to rub one out. Wait, what?
Now I'm going to get a little graphic, myself. At the end of this little romp, the one guy totally splooges all over the other guy's clothes, and then they go back to the party. I see that most of the reviewers here are women, so: Sisters, let me tell you something. If your guy ever shoots all over clothes you are about to wear in public, that wasn't an accident. Your man's a dick. DTMFA.
If this wasn't such a short book, I would have stopped right there. But I decided to give it a second chance, and you know what? I'm kind of glad I did.
Price's protagonists are mostly interesting and likeable, although the one dude is way too perfect. Her language is a little sharp, not as stereotypically romance-y as I was afraid it would be. The plot is thin - there's a bad guy because... EVIL, I guess - but it's serviceable, and at least it's not padded.
Now that the groundwork has been laid for the series, I'll check out the next installment. But I'm hoping for more plot.(less)
I'm not so big on poetry (to me, novels > stories > poems), but I'm trying to branch out a little.
I love the poem that appears in the synopsis a...moreI'm not so big on poetry (to me, novels > stories > poems), but I'm trying to branch out a little.
I love the poem that appears in the synopsis above. It's my favorite in the collection. The rest of them were a bit hit and miss for me. Some of them have sharp stunning turns, and others just seemed self consciously "random." Too "See what I did there?"(less)
I'm surprised that I haven't seen other reviewers comparing this one to We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson's much better book. There...moreI'm surprised that I haven't seen other reviewers comparing this one to We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson's much better book. There are a lot of similar elements, although Jackson's heroine Cat seems a lot more like a real tween than Searle's Sylvie(who has the emotional development of a well-grounded middle-aged person).
Anyways, this was okay. Fans of The Conjuring may especially like it. I enjoyed the gothic atmosphere, but the non-linear structure was unnecessarily complex.
Then there's that ending, which - without getting into spoilers - was emotionally satisfying in spite of heading into absolutely ridiculous slasher movie territory.
MILD SPOILER AHEAD: I understand why some reviewers have a problem with the revelation of the killer's identity. But Help for the Haunted never promised to be a "fair play" mystery, and the reveal is okay by slasher standards. Actually, it's pretty well foreshadowed by those endless Jane Eyre references...(less)
Time travel as the ultimate expression of narcissism? ...Okay....
Things start off just fine, with a slightly corny but very int...moreWell, that was strange.
Time travel as the ultimate expression of narcissism? ...Okay....
Things start off just fine, with a slightly corny but very interesting first fifty pages, or so - very Twilight Zone - at which point the plot is pretty much abandoned in favor of various musings on the paradoxes inherent in time travel. If that kind of thing is your bag, you'll love it. I was kind of bored. And maybe I wasn't intellectually engaged enough to always absorb the fine theoretical points - but it seemed to me that a lot of them were inconsistent. I'd just shrug and keep reading - I didn't really care enough to hash it all out in my brain. When a female version of the main character is introduced late in the proceedngs, the sexist cheesiness of the writing became overwhelming. Fortunately, we were in the home stretch, or I never would have made it to the (uninspired) finish.
This one had me at Elderly Jew Hunts For Nazi Gold. It delivers on that, throws in a hardboiled murder mystery that actually kept me guessing, and has...moreThis one had me at Elderly Jew Hunts For Nazi Gold. It delivers on that, throws in a hardboiled murder mystery that actually kept me guessing, and has time to consider whether the hero/villain archetypes of yesterday can adapt to the more cynical worldview of our time.
The female characters, while colorful, are underdeveloped. Otherwise, this is a terrific, entertaining ride.