The book was good in that it kept my attention. However, I found it frustrating that Nan is in a position to actually DO something for the kids at Jar...moreThe book was good in that it kept my attention. However, I found it frustrating that Nan is in a position to actually DO something for the kids at Jarndyce and doesn't. She doesn't speak up for the teachers. She doesn't speak up for the students. She's just happy, peppy and ineffective. Maybe it wasn't part of her "job" but then, she didn't really have a job with them anyhow. The one teacher called 911 for two drug overdoses...appropriate reaction. When she's chewed out for it, in front of Nan, it would have been nine if Nan had spoken up and said, "Your child just overdosed on cocaine. You're fortunate the police weren't involved as well."
When it comes to her new "friends" again she misses opportunities to speak up. I understand there was fear involved, but this was her moment...especially at Citrine's Memorial Day gathering. She saw a nanny being abused and chose to say nothing. And when she does stand up to one of the so called "moms" and the woman makes a smart remark about her "raising her two" (Grayer and Stilton) it was a perfect opportunity for Nan to say, "Actually, yes. I raised the children of people like you who were too lazy to get off their asses and actually be parents. I was a nanny because I have a better work ethic than you do." Maybe some choice words about doing the world a favor and not reproducing would have been nice too.
When it comes to Grayer and Stilton, she does, finally, stand up to Mr. X, but of course, by then it's too late. Fortunately, Grayer has a set and tells his mom what's what at the end of the book. Finally, someone in that family has learned something! I think (hope) Grayer will turn out okay.
I was also expecting, from the back cover and publisher reviews that there would be more about Nan and her husband and their discussion/disagreement about having a baby. But that seemed like a literary afterthought by the authors, who threw it in at the beginning of the book, then conveniently got rid of her husband for the majority of the book, only to bring him back at the end and create "tension." He was a more active character in the first book, when he didn't even have a name! The reader is lead to believe that he will be upset at her involvement with Grayer and Stilton, but he doesn't even seem to know there is any involvement until he gets home.
I understand this is just a book, but I had hoped it would be a vehicle to allow Nan to resolve some issues now that she has her degrees and a few years of living under her belt. Instead she seems just as helpless as she was in the first book. Then it was understandable...she was a poor student who worked for these people and she had to preserve her job. This time...she has more leverage, but less guts. The book is good, but don't waste full price on it. Look for it at a yardsale or something.
I would have given it five stars, but I was working with an abridged audiobook. Should I get the actual book and read it, the rating may change.
David...moreI would have given it five stars, but I was working with an abridged audiobook. Should I get the actual book and read it, the rating may change.
David McCullough delivers once again with a biography of a nearly forgotten president. Had it not been for Truman stepping into the huge shoes of Franklin Roosevelt upon the latter's death and making the fateful decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan, he might have be relegated to "also served" status. But there were other accomplishments in his presidency and he also led an interesting life as well, running his own business, a farm and serving as a Captain during WWI.
I enjoyed with the audiobook having McCullogh read, with excerpts of Truman's own speeches being added here and there. It's an interesting book with many little anecdotes scattered throughout. It is a wonderful peek into the life of a sometimes forgotten president.(less)
There are two Stephen King books that rate at the top of my favorites, and this is one. It's not really a horror story (except for the description of...moreThere are two Stephen King books that rate at the top of my favorites, and this is one. It's not really a horror story (except for the description of Del's execution) but more of a supernatural story.
Paul Edgecombe is the head guard on Death Row at Green Mountain Penitentiary in 1932. That fall, several things happen that change his life forever, especially the arrival of John Coffey (like the drink, but spelled different). Coffey, a massive (6'8")black man, has been convicted of raping and killing two little white girls. His size belies a gentle heart and an amazing gift and, after a while, Edgecombe and the other guards who work on his shift, begin to wonder if Coffey is really the monster they've been told he is. All except Percy Wetmore, who has illusions of grandeur and connections to the governor. A talented mouse, a botched execution, a couple of miracles and a wild experience with a mad inmate and Wetmore are all tied together to make you wonder...what if someone possessed the power to heal?
The book was originally written as several novellas, released one at a time within a few months before being combined into one book when the Tom Hanks movie was made. The timeline jumps between 1932 and the mid 1990s when Edgecombe is looking back on events and writing his story.
No matter what Stephen King is writing, he crafts a story that draws you in and delivers a whole new world too much like our own. Some involve the supernatural and a horrible twist...others are psychological dramas. Occasionally he writes a story that isn't really a horror story, like this one, and his story-telling talent really shines through.
The language is rough in places...keep in mind we're dealing with people who are condemned to die on death row...and those who watch them. The descriptions of executions can be hard to read too. But the realism and well written story draw you in. I only wish Stephen King had told us more about Coffey's story...but then, maybe that would take away from the magic of the book.
The movie is excellent too. John Coffey was Michael Clarke Duncan's breakout role and Tom Hank's does a superb job as Paul Edgecombe. The story in the movie varies only slightly from the book, for pacing purposes mostly. I highly recommend both. (less)
**spoiler alert** Run! Run away before you read this book!
At the back of the book we get a brief biography of Juliette Shapiro which says she is both...more**spoiler alert** Run! Run away before you read this book!
At the back of the book we get a brief biography of Juliette Shapiro which says she is both a published author and someone who loves Jane Austen and regularly re-reads Pride and Prejudice. This does not qualify one to write a sequel.
I don't think we're dealing with an author who has studied Jane Austen or the Georgian period much at all. I think she's read Pride and Prejudice a few times and watched the BBC version and decided, "Hey, I'm going to write a sequel!" I've read other sequels and this one falls well short.
First, It took us several chapters to get around to finding a plot. Shapiro is so enamored with writing scenes for her favorite characters she forgets she's supposed to tell a story. Even when Lydia's crisis hits, it's almost an afterthought.
Secondly, the dialogue is stilted and unnatural. There's no flow to it. Shapiro is trying so hard to mimic Austen's style that she completely misuses the language of the time. Every so often she almost gets it, but no quite. Idioms are misused, phrasing is wrong, and she tries to quote Pride and Prejudice and make it sound like natural discourse. She fails. The characters sound like puppets and all the humor and wit is completely lost.
The characters are all wrong as well. Mr. Bennett is less sarcastic and more henpecked (if he really protested Mrs. Bennett's "solution to Lydia's situation, he wouldn't have written the letter, for example). Mrs. Bennett is more coniving and less hysterical. She has Mr. and Mrs. Bennett traveling to the Lakes, which I can't imagine they would ever do for any reason. Lady Catherine isn't as shrewd, she's just grumpy. Sir William, who loved his new son-in-law in P&P, suddenly can't stand him. The Gardiners now live at Pemberly (I guess running his business is less important than fishing). The only person who seems the same is Jane...but she probably wasn't a hard character to write to begin with.
I don't think she has any idea of Georgian/Victorian etiquette. The most glaring example was of the suitors of the various young women in the story writing to them before the engagement. This simply would not have happened...you didn't write to or receive letters from a young man unless his intentions are clear...that he is going to or has proposed. Yet it happens three times.
Then there is her tossing out the last chapter of the book and writing her own ending. Apparently Jane Austen didn't know what she was doing and Shapiro decided to "fix" it. As a result, although Austen makes it clear that Wickham was never welcome at Pemberly, he is not only invited, but given a home on the estate! Also, at the end of P&P we are told that Elizabeth and Jane work together to keep contact between Kitty and Lydia to a minimum, but here we have Kitty spending an extraordinary amount of time with Lydia...and Georgiana too (and I would think Lizzy would not want her sister-in-law in close proximity to Lydia for any length of time.) We also learn that, instead of becoming her mother's companion after the other girls are gone, Mary becomes the companion of Anne DeBourgh until she makes Lady Catherine angry.
Over all, I think Shaprio was writing what she wantted the characters to be, not who they actually are. She's also basing her sequel on both the book and the BBC movie. She needed to pick one or the other because as a result she has several inconsistencies...Mr. Bennett either does know or doesn't know how Darcy helped Lydia...you can't have it both ways.
Avoid this book at all costs. There are better sequels out there.(less)
Four stars only because there were moments when I wondered if he wasn't taking too long to get to the point.
I spent a lot of time wondering if Lisbeth...moreFour stars only because there were moments when I wondered if he wasn't taking too long to get to the point.
I spent a lot of time wondering if Lisbeth wasn't guilty. In short, Millennium magazine is about to publish an expose of the sex trade when suddenly the reporter and researcher for the articles and book are murdered, as well as Lisbeth's "guardian." All clues seem to point to Lisbeth Salander, but Mikael Bloomkvist doesn't believe she's guilty, and he's on a mission to prove it.
A lot of Lisbeth's background comes out in this book and the really nice thing is to learn that a lot of people love her and are willing to fight for her, even though she doesn't know it.
The first book was a good, stand alone book but this one leaves you hanging at the end, opening the door for the third and last book. While I didn't think it quite as good as the first, it is definitely worth the read.
A couple things thrown in the book left me wondering what the point was, though...maybe they'll be cleared up in book three? The first is having Erika Berger decide to leave Millennium, but she never gets around to telling anyone until the last few pages, and then only her husband. It starts out as being a plot point, then isn't used. Another puzzlement was the appearance of Harriet Vanger. Her appearance makes sense at the beginning of the book, but then she keeps showing up later with no point to her presence. And what about the mysterious twin sister of Lisbeth's? I certainly hope these things will be tied up in book three.(less)
I read this in a matter of days and couldn't put it down. The reason I gave it only four stars though, is, I really want to know what else has happene...moreI read this in a matter of days and couldn't put it down. The reason I gave it only four stars though, is, I really want to know what else has happened since...has Elissa seen her mother and sisters since the book was published? Also, some information I thought would be helpful...did she complete her education after leaving FLDS? She dreamed of becoming a nurse, did she do that?
Otherwise, the book was very good. For the most part it is a straight narrative and she points out the places where she's had to piece together information from conversations with her family. In it she describes growing up in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and how restricted her life was...and how more restricted it became as Warren Jeffs rose in power. It's heartbreaking to know that there are young girls still in the sect who could face the same nightmare Elissa did...especially her two young sisters. It is additionally heartbreaking to know that her mother was perfectly aware of what Elissa was going through, but because of her conditioning she is more than willing to take the chance that the same thing will happen to the youngest girls.
Of course there are two sides to every story, but from the news reports coming out of Yearning for Zion Ranch a few years ago (which is directly connected to Elissa's story) I'd guess she has more of the truth on her side. I can see where the FLDS church might be able to make some claim that in the pictures after her wedding she looks happy...but there's some quality in those pictures that seems to indicate a desperation and putting on a front. And besides, there are too many people corroborating her story, including the midwife from Canada, to really doubt what she went through. Fourteen is far too young to be married.
I tried, I really tried. In fact, I gave it several chapters while at a long doctor appointment, but in the end, I just couldn't go back.
First: we're...moreI tried, I really tried. In fact, I gave it several chapters while at a long doctor appointment, but in the end, I just couldn't go back.
First: we're supposed to believe that this girl is really smart, a senior in high school, etc. But her school is completely unreal. Assigning SENIORS "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is ridiculous...that is elementary level reading. And it was way too obvious that she would "fall" into the other world while reading the book. I also doubt her graduation hinged on whether she read the book and tested/reported on it well. Seriously?
Her guardian is also totally unbelievable. She just lets Ryanne take the car? And hang out by herself? If you have a teen supposedly deep in grief, you don't immerse yourself in your life and let her go off on her own. In fact, the girl probably should have done counseling.
The "love triangle" thing is terribly obvious and contrived, and I find it hard to believe that the "bad guy" assaulted her and everyone goes along as though it was such a bad thing but it's over now and let's move along here.
There's more, but I won't bore you.
This is the problem with self-published e-books...the author doesn't have someone with more experience pointing out these things to them. I'm sure Hoyt devoted a lot of time to her book, but it read like something a beginning writer would produce as a first effort. A writing group at the very least would help, a friend who is able to be brutally honest would also be a good thing.(less)
SPOILERS AHEAD! I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it kept me glued to my car seat for several minutes after my arrival at a destinat...moreSPOILERS AHEAD! I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it kept me glued to my car seat for several minutes after my arrival at a destination. I wanted to know what Marina would find, who she would meet, what she would learn. At the same time, some of the premise was...hard to believe. A drug company that would pay for a drug that makes you eternally able to conceive, but not for a vaccine for malaria? NO ONE can figure out the native language? Uhhh...no.
At the end of the day I give it four stars because, despite a few hard to believe moments, overall it was a good book. You feel the tension of the main character as she tries to navigate a different world entirely, as she feels lost and bewildered by a different culture and strange people, how she finds her footing in the city and then is thrown into a different culture altogether.
But the ending chapters left me disappointed. We spend a lot of time on the Caesarian of the native woman, and none on Dr. Swenson. She, surprisingly, survives the event as well. We never find out if Marina returns to the Amazon (I rather think she did, but with all the disappointments at the end of the book, who knows?) or if she continues to date Mr. Fox who, it becomes obvious, is just using her to stave of loneliness or boredom. In fact, I rather wished she had chewed him out but good before he left. And then there is the matter of Easter, the little boy rescued by Dr. Swenson and cruelly abandoned by Marina and Anders. I thought of at least two ways they could have saved him and brought him back...a third if you included the group returning for him en masse. Fortunately, it was close enough to the end of the book that I didn't give it up and managed to finish.
And the rescue of Anders was just a little too neat. Apparently all you need to keep the natives happy is 9 oranges and a few jars of peanut butter. And I was disappointed that Marina, who up to this point could hardly do anything on her own (understandably) could suddenly take off without Thomas or the native guide and fly to the rescue. And here again was more important information missing...Anders never says anything about his time with the other tribe, whether they treated him well, how they even found him, etc.
Over all, it's a good story and worth the time.(less)
Reading Persuasion with annotations is time consuming, but it really opens up the world of Anne Elliot and her family. Instead of reading a book about...moreReading Persuasion with annotations is time consuming, but it really opens up the world of Anne Elliot and her family. Instead of reading a book about Georgian England, you can get an explanation of things, thoughts, phrases, places, mores, etc. without putting down the book.(less)
Once again Kristen Britain has done it. Perhaps not quite as riveting as her first book, but I could hardly stand to put it down when I had other "mor...moreOnce again Kristen Britain has done it. Perhaps not quite as riveting as her first book, but I could hardly stand to put it down when I had other "more important" things to be doing.
A couple unexpected plot twists for Zachary and Estora, Captain Mapstone, Alton and, of course, Karigan keep the story moving with at least two attempted assassinations, the return of Mornhavon the Black, the machinations of Second Empire and the ongoing looming threat of Blackveil itself.
I've always liked Karigan because I can relate to her. When people say you're more capable then you think you are, when you feel so lonely you could cry, when your best friend is a horse (or a cat), when you find that your family isn't everything you thought they were, when friendships shift and change and people you once thought were your enemies become friends...and people you trust turn on you...whether you've living in 21st Century America or Sacoridia, these things are very real and Karigan's reactions to all these things are very much like how anyone else would react.
The book gives the idea of setting the reader up for some final showdowns very soon. Whether that will be in the next book, or continue onto a sixth book is something only the author can say. Meanwhile, it's quite a ride! (less)
Here's the good part: this book talks about the murder of one of the founding fathers of our nation. It explains how that murder occurred, the mentali...moreHere's the good part: this book talks about the murder of one of the founding fathers of our nation. It explains how that murder occurred, the mentality of the time, the medical advances of the time and so on. There's detailed description of how one became a doctor or a lawyer, how George Wythe rose to prominence, why he was so important to our history, and how it was his nephew got away with murder.
Here's the bad part: the author is occasionally misleading. The title seems to hint at Thomas Jefferson being deeply involved...his only involvement was to be a friend of Wythe's. It is also implied at the beginning of the book that the eyewitness, Lydia Broadnax, will be important to the case...which she isn't. And if you know anything about race relations in 1806 you realize immediately that she won't be...yet Chadwick implies she will give testimony at the beginning of the book.
Another frustration was being introduced to the two lawyers, but not getting to "see" them in action. Surely someone, somewhere, recorded what happened in the courtroom, but we see none of that, no transcripts or even accounts from memory. We just have to take the author's word for it that the lawyers were brilliant. No word on the prosecutors either...I suppose we're to conclude they were less than stellar, according to the author.
And the ending was a complete let down. There's no record of what happened to the nephew later on and so the story pretty much ends abruptly.
As a book on the history of medicine, poison, and the law during 1806 it's a good and interesting read...just don't trust the author's initial promises.(less)
I listened to the audio version while traveling to and from work and often spent time sitting in the driveway listening to it becaus...moreI loved this book.
I listened to the audio version while traveling to and from work and often spent time sitting in the driveway listening to it because I just couldn't bear to walk away. I had to spend several days without being able to listen to it and it drove me nuts, I had to know what happened next.
The only drawback I had was that the ending just wouldn't end...and the ending for Lisbeth I thought was a cop-out...but then, there are two more books and that may turn out to be a major plot device later on.
In short, Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, is sued for libel and found guilty. Afterwards, he is asked by the retired CEO of a major industrial corporation, Henrik Vanger, to write the family chronicle and also to solve the mystery of Vanger's missing and presumed dead niece, Harriet. Meanwhile, an odd young woman, Lisbeth Salander, who works for a security firm hired to do a background check on Blomkvist, has some serious problems she deals with in the most creative way. Even though Lisbeth is anti-social and somewhat strange, you can't help but like her...she has persevered under some seriously difficult circumstances and does quite well for herself.
Blomkvisk and Salander join forces in the investigation and turn up unexpected results concerning not only the missing niece, but a series of serial murders throughout Sweden since the 1950s. The plot keeps you guessing as to who the real murderer is.
There is one scene that may be difficult for animal lovers...fortunately it is brief. I also was uncomfortable with the amount of sex in the book, but fortunately Larson doesn't go into a lot of detail for most of it. Some of the detail is arguably necessary, but much of it is not.
I've read synopsis of the other two books and expect the next one to be as intense as this one was.(less)
A friend loaned me her copies of the Hunger Games trilogy. I went into it with some skepticism...nothing could possibly be that good, right? I was...moreWow.
A friend loaned me her copies of the Hunger Games trilogy. I went into it with some skepticism...nothing could possibly be that good, right? I was afraid I was in for Twilight (which I have no read and don't intend to) but what I got was an incredible surprise.
While there is a love story, it's not a girl pining for a boy or two boys and trying to made a decision. While it's an adventure story, it's not "let's go do something for the good of the world" type thing.
Katniss Everdeen is a lot like us. Her life might be much harder than many of us experience...her father died when she was 12 and she's been the one to provide for her family since then...but in a lot of ways her story is a typical one. A teenager forced to grow up early and be a mom to her little sister while their mom pulls herself together after her dad's death. She's tough and calculating and smart and she believes that the odds are what they are...you have your name in the lottery dozens of times, you have a better chance of getting picked than your sister, whose name is in there only once.
But she's wrong, and Prim (the sister) is chosen for the Hunger Games, essentially reality TV gone about as far as it can go, with kids killing each other. Katniss volunteers to go in her place and the rest of the series follows what happens to her and her friends, family and other people along the way.
And Katniss is in no way perfect. She makes mistakes. Sometimes she had to do incredibly hard things most of us have never thought of. She gets knocked down repeatedly but refuses to give up, even ultimately at the end when the worst happens.
The best part for me, though, came at the end (and this is a spoiler). One of her adversaries has been her sister's cat, Buttercup. Even though she hates the cat (she says) she goes out of her way several times to look out for the cat...for Prim. At the very end, it's just her and the cat, both badly injured, both grieving. And once she realizes the cat isn't leaving, she chooses to help the cat...clean his wounds, feed him...and he chooses to be her guardian, as he was for Prim. In some way, this summed up the series in a few neat paragraphs...sometimes our enemy becomes the person we need most to heal.
These books are marketed toward teens and really, I wouldn't want anyone much younger than 13 reading them. But they're not limited to the teenage reader, the writing and story are gripping enough for any adult. And the story is haunting...it wouldn't take much for us to reach the same point as the people of Panem, and to make the decisions they made to pit children against each other.(less)
Every once in a while you come across a book where you just want to keep reading it and you're sad when it ends. Not necessarily for the story, althou...moreEvery once in a while you come across a book where you just want to keep reading it and you're sad when it ends. Not necessarily for the story, although the story here was a very good one, but because of the way the author writes. If I could write one sentence as compelling as a chapter in his book, I'd consider myself a writer. His descriptions of a room, a person, the night, a moment make you pause, go back re-read, read slowly, pause, think...sometimes it takes a while to get through a page!
And then there's the story, how the lives of people can forever be altered by one day's events. How the misguided perceptions of someone, a child in this case, can forever change, ruin even, lives...especially when that one person only knew less than half the story to begin with and made accusations based on half formed assumptions.
What I wanted most was for the story to not end the way it did. I wanted the story to be the actual story (and you'll have to read the book to find out what I mean!) However, the ending was done very well and, again, could have continued on. There were unanswered questions (what happened to the one twin, why did the other cry during the play, what happened with Lola and her husband...?)
I also would have loved to have had more about Briony's experience during the war, not just the one slice we had, of her sister's experiences as a nurse, more of her family's reactions and lives after that horrible day/night of events. So much more could have been told and wasn't.
This is a book worth the time it takes to read. It is certainly a book for adults, there are many adult themes and happenings in the book. The writing alone makes it worth it. Add a compelling story, and you've got a classic.(less)
I'm giving this book four stars only because I thought it ended way too soon and rather abruptly, almost as though the author ran out of steam or idea...moreI'm giving this book four stars only because I thought it ended way too soon and rather abruptly, almost as though the author ran out of steam or ideas, I'm not sure which. Otherwise, the book is excellent!
Mary Sutter is a young midwife in Albany, New York, on the eve of the Civil War. She is considered by many people, including her mother, who is also a midwife, to be the best midwife in New York, if not in the United States. But Mary wants more...she wants to be a surgeon, which is pretty much unheard of at this period in history.
Mary perseveres, however, even to the point of leaving her home in New York to travel to Washington where the need for any kind of health care workers is dire and her determination carries he through the worst of times, grief, horror and exhaustion.
There are various "cameos" in this book, including President Lincoln, Dorthea Dix, Clara Barton and others, but it's not the impression some books give of, "Oh, hey, look who's here!" but a natural progression of who someone like Mary might encounter...a woman looking to be a nurse most likely would have eventually encountered both Dix and Barton at some point. And at that time, the president was more accessible to the average man or woman than now.
Oliveira goes into some detail on medical conditions of the time and how doctors and other health care providers understood so little of what they were doing. She describes amputations and also a couple of difficult births. There are long scenes of the brutal aftermath of battles, of men lying in rows in the hot sun with no one to care for them except one or two brave souls doing as much as they can.
The book only takes you up to the battle of Antietam as far as the war is concerned. In a way that was a disappointment, I had hoped the book would follow through the entire war in some way. While the rest of the eastern theater of the was was touched on, there was an abruptness to the ending that didn't satisfy. Especially the epilogue, which seemed to have been an afterthought ending.
Overall, though, I would recommend this book. It is well written and gives the reader an idea of the life of a midwife, and of a woman wanting more than the role traditionally ascribed to her.
Additionally, there is very little strong language (I think I counted three or four words stronger than "damn") and no sex...which in this day and age is a rarity. :)(less)