I really didn't care for this book - mostly because it was not what I was expecting. I probably should have researched it a bit more before reading it...moreI really didn't care for this book - mostly because it was not what I was expecting. I probably should have researched it a bit more before reading it. I thought it was going to be more about Hurricane Katrina and the stories of the survivors, the lessons they learned. I wanted more details about what happened and the aftermath.
Instead it was really only about the author's experience. He had been one to evacuate, but the parish (county elsewhere in the U.S.) where his home was was one of the hardest hit. He lost everything and had to rebuild. The book attempted to show just what he learned from Katrina and how he was able to move forward and become successful in his personal and work life.
I thought it could have been a lot better developed. There were many times it didn't seem to flow very well - giving a choppy feeling to the book. He would explain some experience of his with Katrina and then jis tying it to a lesson would seem a bit far-fetched, leaving the reader to wonder, "Where did that come from?"
I do think I might have enjoyed this book a bit better, if I were someone who enjoys reflective thinking and journaling as a way to further my career goals. Many of his lessons are centered around how he grew his insurance sales team in the first couple of years after Katrina. This book might be helpful to managers looking to assign their subordinates something to read to inspire and motivate them to work harder in their field. For personal growth, I felt it was a little too business-oriented.
If you are someone who likes to journal, each chapter ends with a Marvelous Moment where he poses two questions for the reader to contemplate and write about. That's not really my thing, but even it was I think it was kind of poorly done in this book. The questions seemed abrupt and out of nowhere, or just related to the final paragraph.
Despite this book not really being for me or what I expected, what it did provide was a lot of inspirational quotes that I did enjoy. Here are a few that I found the most inspiring or motivating. There were plenty more - especially if you're looking for more fulfillment in your career life.
As long as you're fighting, you're not losing.
Celebrate your failures and embrace what you learn from them.
...lots of days I don't feel like I'm getting a good hand from the dealer, but that's the hand that I have to play, so I do it with as much marvelousness as I can."
Lead your life instead of accepting your life.
Don't get caught up in the end result. Just get caught up in the process - the journey.
The Plot One wealthy family's life is turned upside down the morning of a bombing at Grand Central station as they realize that their husband/father h...moreThe Plot One wealthy family's life is turned upside down the morning of a bombing at Grand Central station as they realize that their husband/father has perished in the destruction. He was a successful hedge fund manager, and as the family attempts to put their lives back in order, things begin to come out that question his integrity.
The same day as the bombing, there was a suspicious hit-and-run in the small town where the family lives. It doesn't sit well with the head detective, Ty Hauck, and, during his investigation, he stumbles upon some information that somehow links the victim with the hedge fund manager.
This link sets the story in motion and connects Hauck with the widow of of the hedge fund manager, Karen Friedman. As more and more links and information comes out about her husband's death, these two find they can't trust anyone else.
My Thoughts I starting reading this during my lunch breaks at work, and it was always a little difficult to put it down when my break was over. The story, with all its little nuances and twists kept me interested from one scene to the next.
I thought Gross did a great job of unfolding the story bit by bit. I enjoyed Karen's character as well as Ty's and thought they worked really well together. Even their romance seemed to flow nicely and took time to properly develop. I enjoyed getting to know them as well as the other characters. While there was a mystery to solve, I felt that the true story lied between these two. The other characters were more peripheral but were developed appropriately for their role in the overall story.
In general, I really enjoyed this book. There were a few aspects that were obvious and predictable, and it was a little frustrating that the characters weren't getting there faster - but not enough for me to really complain. (less)
This volume contains the first six books of Robert Asprin's Myth series. I'd read a few of the books before, but never all six and never in order. The...moreThis volume contains the first six books of Robert Asprin's Myth series. I'd read a few of the books before, but never all six and never in order. These books are fun, lighthearted and a nice easy read. It's the fascinating adventures of a magician's apprentice (Skeeve) whose master (Garkin) happens to be killed at the same time he conjures up a demon (Aahz). The demon takes on the apprentice as his own, and that is pretty much where the adventures begin. It's nonstop trouble and mayhem for these two, well, and their recruits from the Bazaar at Deva - a place where you can find anything.
Working together with a select group of beings, they get into as much trouble as they can handle. The stories are all told from Skeeve's point of view, and though being a relatively young guy, he's pretty dang smart. His entourage gets into some very interesting scrapes, and it's a delight to experience just how brilliantly they're able to conjure up plans to get them out of whatever sticky spot has come their way.
There are enough twists and turns and surprises to keep you interested, but that's not to say there's not a good deal of predictability in these stories. However, I think it's kind of fun to guess where the story is going ... and to be right (most of the time)! I think these books are really pretty funny - filled with lots of puns and plays on words and dorky jokes. You'll be sure to have a smile on your face the whole volume through.
The only reason this is only getting 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the blatant editing errors. There are a LOT of misplaced hyphens that distract from the flow of the story (at times). There are other errors as well, but the hyphens are definitely the most annoying. I think a ball must have been dropped when converting these books into the volume, because I can't see how they could have possibly been published originally with so many errors.
Still, if you can get past the editing gaffs, you're sure to enjoy this lighthearted volume. I can hardly wait to get started on Volume 2!(less)
I really wanted to like this book, but there were a few things about it that really didn't jive with me.
Being a runner, it was difficult for me to ima...moreI really wanted to like this book, but there were a few things about it that really didn't jive with me.
Being a runner, it was difficult for me to imagine the paces being described in this book. Granted the author even admits it being a stretch, so I really shouldn't hold that against the book. While lofty running goals are an underlying, recurrent theme of the book, there is a lot more to the story. It's about a runner trying to find himself and his place in the world and his interactions with those closest to him - his girlfriend and running coach.
The story is told through the voice of Sean's running coach. After finishing the story, it makes sense that it is told through the voice of an outsider (that's all I'm going to say about that, so as not to spoil the ending), but it was very difficult for me to get through most of the time. The main characters, Sean and Kira, are of Native American descent, and Coach J is not. Throughout the book, there are many comments made about him being an "old, white guy." I understand that, being white, he probably doesn't understand many native traditions and ways of thinking, but references such as this really did not sit well with me. It seemed distasteful. I suppose it might not be too far from accurate, but I just didn't like it.
I also didn't like the relationship that developed between Coach J and Kira. He eventually comes to think of her as a granddaughter, but there were too many descriptions of their interactions together that made him seem more like just a creepy old man lusting after a young Navajo woman. I felt that their speech and mannerisms just got a bit too intimate for my liking.
If you can get past those few shortcomings (in my opinion), it was kind of a fascinating story. Sean sets forth a goal to win the NY Marathon, seeks the help from a former, now retired, high school track coach. Prior to setting out to accomplish this, he had always come in 11th in all his races. He didn't seem destined to be a winner, but as the story unfolds, we learn more about his journey to not only win but also to find himself.
I think this book had a lot of potential. The overall story was good with just enough complexities to keep you interested, but it could have been developed better. The stories of the characters were interesting, but I wasn't able to fully connect with them. I mostly felt frustration toward them through most of the book instead of the range of emotions you generally want to feel.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. It pulled me in right from the very beginning, and I read it start to finish in just three sittings. I didn't want to put...moreI really enjoyed this book. It pulled me in right from the very beginning, and I read it start to finish in just three sittings. I didn't want to put it down.
I liked how the author only used the pronoun when describing the killer and yet was able to fully develop the character throughout the story. I found him to be very creepy and felt sorry for him as I learned more and more about his childhood as I moved throughout the story.
Taking place during the summer in a small Louisiana town, I could feel the heat seeping from these pages. It wasn't at all difficult to picture this little town and the difficulties the main character, Haley, was encountering. I enjoyed watching her progression and how she choose to deal with everything going on.
There was definitely some predictability in this story, but I still enjoyed taking the journey the author was describing. There was quite a bit of misdirection, and it was fun getting to the end to see which way the author was going to go.
I might have ended the book a little differently - had I been the author. I'm not sure I really like who ended up being the killer. There were still some questions left at the end of the book, but I think that's a good thing. I feel it was nicely tied up at the end, with just enough left unanswered.
There does tend to be a bit of bad language from some of the characters and there is a little sexual activity, so if that bothers you, you may not want to add this to your shelf. If that doesn't bother you, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick suspense/thriller to read. It flowed well, the characters were well developed, and there weren't very many typos. (less)
I had a little difficulty getting into this book. The beginning scenes (chapters?) in the Irish bog were too technical for me. I was getting lost in t...moreI had a little difficulty getting into this book. The beginning scenes (chapters?) in the Irish bog were too technical for me. I was getting lost in the graphic description and wasn't sure where the novel was leading.
As I read further, the story did begin to captivate me. The story line in the book was rather redeeming. It begins with the discovery of a body in a bog. I found it interesting how well bogs preserve items that are discarded within them. It must be wonderfully fascinating from an archaelogical perspective. It can give an actual glimpse into events that happened centuries in the past. I may need to investigate this further.
From this discovery, several storylines are interwoven together. The red-haired girl from the bog. The archaelogists who are called to investigate. The family of bog farmers who made the discovery. The neighbor, whose wife and child mysteriously disappeared three years prior. The dectective who has been investigating the disappearance. Hart takes us on a journey that eventually connects all of the characters and storylines together. It was quite satisfying to get to the end and have it all come together nicely.(less)
The premise of the book is about a string of kidnappings and murders. Catherine O'Rouke is a reporter who claims to have had visions containing inform...moreThe premise of the book is about a string of kidnappings and murders. Catherine O'Rouke is a reporter who claims to have had visions containing information that only the police or the person committing the crimes would have access to. This lands her as the number one suspect. She has no recollection of committing these crimes, and because of the visions, her sanity is brought into question. The book follows her experiences in jail and the proceedings of her trial.
Because of the horrible nature of the alleged crimes, there are some graphically violent scene descriptions. I felt that Singer did a very good job with these scenes. Some of the images described are horrid and tough to read, but they, I felt, did not go overboard. It did not seem at all gratuitous to me.
Needless to say, I really felt that the choice of scenes combined with the clean language made this a very enjoyable book, but that is not all. That's a bonus but probably not enough to make me give this book 5 Stars. I also thoroughly enjoyed the plot twists and turns. It was a great ride trying to figure out all the different facets of the book. I was surprised by who the killer turned out to be. Singer had a great way of planting doubt and keeping the reader guessing. The plot and character development definitely made this book! If you're looking for a legal thriller, I don't think you'll be disappointed in this title.
This is the first book I've ever read by Randy Singer, and I am eagerly awaiting another opportunity to read one of his books. (less)
My Sister's Keeper is a very touching story that really makes you think about how you would handle having your child diagnosed with a rare form of leu...moreMy Sister's Keeper is a very touching story that really makes you think about how you would handle having your child diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and how your actions would affect the entire family.
The way that Picoult writes this story is very intriguing. Each section is written in the 1st person of one of the characters. This can be a little confusing at times, but mostly it allows the reader to really get into the thoughts of each of the characters.
I enjoyed reading this book; although the language in it was, at times, not stellar. I understand that the situations this family had to faced would probably elicit such language, but in a fictional book, why can't we just pretend that those words wouldn't fall so easily off our tongues?
All in all, though, I would definitely recommend this book. It is heartfelt and inspiring. It will definitely make you think; it will definitely make you cry.(less)
This was originally written on my blog in July 2007.
I was inspired to read this book after watching the movie, My Dog Skip. The movie was a sad story...moreThis was originally written on my blog in July 2007.
I was inspired to read this book after watching the movie, My Dog Skip. The movie was a sad story about a boy and his dog. Willie was a lonely boys with no friends, so his Mom bought him a puppy for his 9th birthday, in the hopes that he would become his best friend. It worked, of course, and Willie and Skip became inseparable!
The book, however, tells quite a different story! The book, by the way, is a true story while the movie is merely based on the book. In actuality, the Willie in the book, was quite a popular kid. True, Skip became his best friend, but certainly not his only friend. Once you get past the completely different portrayal of Willie Morris, this book was actually quite good.
It primarily takes place in a small town in Mississippi during WWII. The description of the adventures that Willie and Skip embarked on is quite vivid. I really felt that I was a part of this quiet little town.
It also was very interesting to read about this particular period of time. A time before video games and the Internet. A time when boys and dogs were free to roam around town. A time when everyone knew everyone in town. It was a very reminiscent account of a time that I am so removed from and that I will never experience.(less)
This review was originally written on my blog in January 2007.
If you're looking for an easy read with lots of twists, this is a great book to add to y...moreThis review was originally written on my blog in January 2007.
If you're looking for an easy read with lots of twists, this is a great book to add to your list.
One of the classes that I've been helping out in when I sub at Duniway Middle School is a 7th grade Language Arts class. They are reading this title for class, and the teacher recommended it to me. She lent me one of her copies, and I read it all in just a few shorts days. I think I started reading it on Thursday and finished it on Saturday.
This story is quite unique. It's about a 15-year old boy who wakes up one morning and finds himself invisible. The rest of the book is about him and his family trying to make sense of all this--and trying to make it right. He certainly doesn't want to live out the rest of his life like this!! At first this might not seem like a very intriguing book, but Clements add enough surprise elements that it is really a joy to read.
**Side note: If your dreams at night have a tendency to incorporate things you've read or watched, I don't recommend reading this before bedtime. I did, and I had a tough time convincing myself that I had not woken up the next morning invisible. As I laid in bed struggling to come to grips with the fact that it was morning and time to get up, I had to keep looking at my arm to ensure myself that it was, in fact, still visible. :-)(less)
This review was originally posted on my blog in 2006.
Very enjoyable book! Lick Creek takes place is the small coal mining community of (surprise, surp...moreThis review was originally posted on my blog in 2006.
Very enjoyable book! Lick Creek takes place is the small coal mining community of (surprise, surprise) Lick Creek, WV, during the late 1920s.
It tells the story of young girl (teenage), Emily Jenkins, who lives on a family farm. Her father, brother, and first love die is a coal mine explosion. Her mother goes into severe depression dealing with such a loss and at times doesn't even bother to get dressed. Emily is forced to become quite resourceful in order to provide for her and her mother. She takes to gathering berries, mushrooms and making goat cheese, and then traveling to the city of White Sulfur to sell these items to the fancy hotel.
During this time period, electricity is booming. Many electric lines are being installed--some right near Lick Creek. One of the lineman falls from a pole during a thunderstorm, and his crew brings him to the Jenkins home. Having this injured man in the house, breathes life back into Ada Jenkins, Emily's mother. She nurses him back to health. During his time at the Jenkins, he develops a strong relationship with Emily.
One of the things that really intrigued me about this book was how different things were back then. Would any of us know what to do if a man came to our homes with a dislocated shoulder, a broken leg, a gash to the head and a concussion? There were no phones (or at least the Jenkins didn't have one), and the nearest doctor was far enough away that he wouldn't be able to come until at least the next day. I was impressed that Ada knew just what to do! First aid was just second nature to her.
Just a warning...there are a few bad words in this book. Also, Emily does fall in love a few times, so there are a few scenes that are descriptive of this. I'd say it was nothing too explicit and it is very tastefully written, but just a warning that it is there.(less)
This review was originally written on my blog back in 2006
If you can avoid this book, I definitely would not read it again! Maybe the cover should've...moreThis review was originally written on my blog back in 2006
If you can avoid this book, I definitely would not read it again! Maybe the cover should've been a clue to me. The entire time I was reading this book, I kept thinking that the ending would redeem it for me...make it worth my time.
Unfortunately, this was not the case.
The story is about a family who lives on a dead end street. New neighbors move into the only other house on the street, and all sorts of trouble ensues. The husband and wife want to have the new couple over for dinner, but before they can even extend the invitation, the new couple, Harry and Ramona, stops by and sort of invites themselves. The entire book chronicles the rest of the evening and the next day. It is full of misunderstandings and complete and total misbehavior on the part of the new neighbors.
I felt that I didn't really understand the motivation of any of the characters. The situations that the characters got into were difficult for me to read--not because they were crude or inappropriate, but simply because they made me uncomfortable.
I kept thinking (hoping) that it would end with the main character, Earl, awaking from a dream. These situations were just too absurd for me to believe that they would be a reality. Instead the book ends (here's the spoiler), with Earl having a heart attack and dying. It turns out that it was all real and that the stress of the entire situation kills him.