I bought this on a whim when I was looking for some light, humorous reading. The book is a collection of Ebert's review columns from the early 2000s.I bought this on a whim when I was looking for some light, humorous reading. The book is a collection of Ebert's review columns from the early 2000s. As you can glean from the title, the reviews are all for particularly bad movies. I'm not a movie buff and haven't even seen probably 90% of the movies reviewed within, but I still enjoyed Ebert's insights and humor. ...more
This book, a portrait of the lives of Edwardian British servants, is interesting and informative. It's also not a difficult read and fairly short. I wThis book, a portrait of the lives of Edwardian British servants, is interesting and informative. It's also not a difficult read and fairly short. I would almost say it is too short. While Maloney does pack her book with many details, such as work schedules and clothing costs, I was left wishing for a little more depth instead....more
Reading this book was such a chore that I just let it go when the library loan ended. I think I was about half-way through it. Maybe I'll revisit theReading this book was such a chore that I just let it go when the library loan ended. I think I was about half-way through it. Maybe I'll revisit the book someday....more
If this memoir hadn't been recommended as a hilarious read, maybe I would have liked it more. The writing is solid and the stories are interesting. HoIf this memoir hadn't been recommended as a hilarious read, maybe I would have liked it more. The writing is solid and the stories are interesting. However, they are decidedly not funny.
I read a few reviews and it seems like a lot of people found the early childhood chapters better than the later ones, but it was the opposite for me. In the beginning, the author presented no one with any redeeming qualities whatsoever, himself included. It was painful to read about these people. The last three chapters were much less harsh and saved the book for me. I would have hated it otherwise.
The book is worth reading. Just don't go into it expecting a side-splitting good time....more
This was an engaging book with an interesting protagonist. The mystery stayed intriguing throughout, despite the fact that I figured out the big twistThis was an engaging book with an interesting protagonist. The mystery stayed intriguing throughout, despite the fact that I figured out the big twist fairly early. The high points of the book were the chapters dealing with the terrible childhood memories of the hero. These weren't pleasant chapters, but they were so well done that my stomach would twist in knots at his pain. The lowest point was the confrontation with the killer, which was cartoonish and absurd. However, with everything else going for the book, that one bit of nonsense is fairly easy to overlook. *3.5 stars*
It's been a long time since I have read Looking for God in Harry Potter, but I remember being excited by its insights into the Harry Potter series. UnIt's been a long time since I have read Looking for God in Harry Potter, but I remember being excited by its insights into the Harry Potter series. Unfortunately, that book was published before the series ended and the last 2 or 3 books weren't yet written.
I had hoped that this updated edition would be just as insightful, but I was disappointed. My memory may be wrong, but How Harry Cast His Spell just doesn't seem to go into the same amount of detail about literary alchemy and symbolism.
While this book purports to be an update to Looking for God, the two have entirely different focuses. LfG focused on showing readers that J.K. Rowling had stuffed her series full of Christian imagery and thinking, and thus there was a greater focus on those symbols and structures. In this update, Granger takes that premise as a given and uses it as a jumping off point to prove that it is the reason that the series became so popular.
Granger's logic seems to be that Harry Potter has Christian imagery, Harry Potter is popular, thus the Christian imagery is the reason for the popularity. Frankly, while I might agree with Granger about the way the Christian themes whisper to masses, I don't think that is a provable premise. Thus, I found the focus of Looking for God much more interesting; it allowed me to learn about Rowling's story crafting while drawing my own conclusions about it's place in the grand scheme of things.
This book was still enjoyable and interesting, especially the chapter on book 7, it just didn't live up to my (perhaps too) high expectations. ...more
I check up on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog occasionally, so I decided to grab the book and give it a read even if I was a little late to the pI check up on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog occasionally, so I decided to grab the book and give it a read even if I was a little late to the party. I should have written this review sooner after reading, when the details were fresh in my mind. It's too late for that now, unfortunately, so this will be a very general review.
It was never clear to me whether this book was trying to present romance novels as a serious literary interest or to mock some of the more over-used tropes of the genre. Perhaps it was both.
It's not bad to poke fun at something we love. And just because something is mockable doesn't mean it can't also be taken seriously. However, if you want to present something for serious consideration, then it is probably best to keep the mocking to a minimum. This book didn't do that and felt disjointed because of it. The tone switches were abrupt, arbitrary, and often confusing.
That said, the parts of the book that mocked romance tropes ranged from chuckle-worthy to hilarious. (One part nearly had me in tears from laughing.) People who don't lurk around romance review blogs might miss some of the in-jokes, but just about any romance reader will be able to recognize and appreciate the stereotypes and tropes discussed. The sections of literary criticism and analysis were sometimes insightful and always interesting.
If this one book had been split into two, both would have been enjoyable for different reasons. Smashed together as it was, the authors almost seemed liked they were undermining themselves--but they were having a great time doing so.
I want to mention one final criticism, though not of the book itself. The formatting for the ebook was absolutely terrible. The book used quite a few tables, which were all practically unreadable, and all of the illustrations were too small to view. I only mention this because if you are interested in picking this one up, I would suggest going with a hard copy--especially since the ebook price was relatively high....more
I usually stay away from books published by bloggers, or at least their memoirs. It's been my experience that these types of novels are retreads of stI usually stay away from books published by bloggers, or at least their memoirs. It's been my experience that these types of novels are retreads of stories already long-published online. However, since I hadn't heard of Birdie Jaworski or her blog, and the book was being offered for free on the Kindle, I decided to give this one a go.
I'm not sure what the author's goal with this book was, unless it was simply to tell a few humorous stories about life as an Avon Lady. In that, it mostly succeeded, although much of the humor was lost on me. I was constantly wondering how any sane person would do things like to go to strip clubs, skulk around backyards, and leap over fences in lieu of using a gate, in the name of selling Avon. I can see how it might have been funny to some people. It's just that this type of look-how-free-spirited-I-am nonsense tends to grate on my old, cynical nerves.
If the author's goal was to show connections with the people in her life, then the book failed fairly miserably. Every character, even her own children, were merely side-characters, coming and going as needed to tell a story and never given any depth outside the author's own thoughts about them. In other words, they were merely actors in her play. It's a shame because some of these people could have been fascinating if treated properly.
The book was not a bad read, and even had some humorous moments. Unfortunately it left me with the feeling that the most interesting stories were the ones not being told.
**spoiler alert** This book is apparently the second in a series of mysteries involving Dr. Morgan Snow, but it stands alone just fine. In fact, the a**spoiler alert** This book is apparently the second in a series of mysteries involving Dr. Morgan Snow, but it stands alone just fine. In fact, the author did a good job of showing how the events of the previous book affected the characters without giving anything away for people who may want to go back and read it.
I enjoyed this book, which was a pleasant surprise after my last few experiences with free Amazon titles, but it was not without its problems.
First, I found the constant POV switching to be a confusing choice. Only Dr. Snow's scenes are in the first person. Everything else is told in the third. I suppose it was a stylistic choice, but it left me wondering just who was telling this story, which took me out of the book a bit. I preferred Dr. Snow's narrative and found myself wanting to get back to her whenever the POV switched. Dr. Snow is an interesting, smart character and I enjoyed her psychological insights into people around her.
Second, the "murderer" was much too easy to figure out. There were only two sets of characters that were plausibly behind the crimes. One was an obvious misdirect, leaving the other as the only choice by about half way through the book. Despite that, there was a twist with the ending that I certainly didn't expect and thought was pretty unique for a murder mystery.
Third, the ending. It was rather abrupt, but that was not my main problem with it. What bothered me is that it just didn't make a lot of sense. *SPOILER ALERT*(view spoiler)[If the villain is so concerned about not being a murderer that she risks exposure to save one of her victims, then why would she (only minutes later) have no qualms about killing the rest of her victims plus an innocent bystander to keep her activities secret? (hide spoiler)]
These weren't exactly minor nitpicks to me, but they didn't keep me from enjoying this book and even seeking out others in this series.
Finally, some scenes in this book were pretty sexually explicit. If that bothers you, this may not be a story you want to pick up.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** I have not had good luck when trying new authors lately, and unfortunately this book was not an exception. I got the book free throu**spoiler alert** I have not had good luck when trying new authors lately, and unfortunately this book was not an exception. I got the book free through Amazon Prime's lending library and I'm rather disappointed that I used my month's freebie on it.
First, the characters. It's hard for me to describe what I didn't like about our protagonists. I think that my main issue was inconsistency--they seemed to do whatever the plot called for at the moment, not what their character would believably do. The most egregious example of this was Faye, an American professor/scholar in search of her father who went missing on Mount Ararat. In the beginning she is perfectly happy to allow a man she just met, with whom she's looking to enter a business relationship, to order her dinner for her, refuse dessert for her, and then order her breakfast (all without asking on his part, of course). But when this same man goes to open a car door for her, she starts waxing feminist. And while on the subject of Faye, I have to mention that the book takes pains to point out that every time she's given any water to drink, she lets most of it spill down her front. Not by accident--that's just how she rolls. In a survival situation that's incredibly dumb and I kept wondering why no one was cutting her off from the water supply until she learned to drink from a canteen like an adult.
Our hero, Sam Ward, seems to be trying too hard to be as smooth as Dirk Pitt (Clive Cussler) and as witty as Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher), and ultimately comes off as trying too hard. I also had a hard time believing that a photographer would be as good in crisis situations as he was. I can buy that he'd know survival in harsh conditions, but being able to shoot and fight his way through a trained army? Not so much. And I have to mention that if you're in a cave, on a thin ledge over a deep cavern with no light whatsoever, and you come to the end of that ledge, you don't just JUMP INTO THE AIR and hope there's something for you to land on.
But most of all, this book's writing was disappointing. The dialog was clunky: characters spoke in ways that just don't fit how most people talk casually. I found quite a few typos, such as using "inch" for "itch" and even cases of wrong word usage ("prescribe" instead of "subscribe"-you don't "prescribe to a theory"). Verb tenses weren't always kept consistent. Finally, if you're going to write your book in the first person, you just have to accept the fact that you can't show what characters are thinking away from your protagonist. Inserting scenes where the POV switches to third person omniscient is lazy. I suppose it can be done, but here it wasn't done well and was distracting.
Finally, this book was barely about the Ark. I'm a sucker for adventure books that tie into Biblical history or general mythology, but it's because I like to hear about the legends surrounding these places or objects and how they tie into the book's reality. In this book, the Ark was just a McGuffin that got the characters into place. The myths and legends surrounding it were glossed over at best.
I'd give this book 1.5 stars. One seems too harsh. Despite the flaws I've listed, I didn't hate the book. I did feel like Mount Ararat came to life for me. The author gave me a good sense of the scope and beauty of the mountain. So the book was still kind of enjoyable, despite its flaws. ...more
I wasn't quite sure what to think about this book when I finished it. On one hand, it was a page turner and it was fascinating to see how the past livI wasn't quite sure what to think about this book when I finished it. On one hand, it was a page turner and it was fascinating to see how the past lives we were reading about connected into the future. I was actually surprised by one reveal, so either the author was good at misdirection or I'm just easily duped. Either way, the plot twists worked for me.
Some reviews have mentioned that the frequent POV switching can be confusing, and I would probably agree with that, even though I felt the book was pretty solidly written overall.
Still, I was just vaguely dissatisfied at the end. I'm not sure if it was caused by the underlying philosophy of the story, the unresolved issues left open, or both. I see now that the book is first in a series of four, so maybe the sequels will help. Now I just have to decide if this story intrigues me enough to read further. I'm still not sure.
I got this book because I was looking through the free Kindle downloads and it looked cute. In the end, that's exactly what is was: cute. I enjoyed itI got this book because I was looking through the free Kindle downloads and it looked cute. In the end, that's exactly what is was: cute. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, especially after the first 1/2 or so.
The protagonist is likeable enough, although some of the supporting characters weren't as fleshed out as they could have been. Also, a couple of the conflicts were solved a little too neatly to be entirely believable. Still, this was a nice, light read and funny enough in places to get a chuckle out of me. There's no sexual content, but there is enough sexual innuendo to make me say that it's not for younger teens.
In end, the book was a fun, quick read, and I'd probably grab something by this author again if the price is right....more