I did read this in two marathon sessions because, after the first hard slog of "Oh God I hate all of these people, I hope this drunk nosy bitch ends uI did read this in two marathon sessions because, after the first hard slog of "Oh God I hate all of these people, I hope this drunk nosy bitch ends up under the floor boards next to the cheater," I did end up pushing through because I wanted to know how it ended.
Turns out, the only reason it was really a mystery was because of the raging alcoholic's black outs, which made being stuck primarily with her as a POV character made me simultaneously want to drink and to pour out all the wine in the house. And, even dealing with her as a miserable failings at absolutely everything--including any type of survival instincts or TV-level knowledge of police procedures--I managed to see "the big twist" coming about half way through.
I voted for this in our book club because I trusted the collective wisdom of Goodreads in naming this a book of the year. I now have some serious questions for all of you.
As an addendum: infertility plays a major theme in this book. Because I know many people who are infertile or who had major difficulty conceiving, I know that this is a serious trigger for those who suffer through infertility and their loved ones. So if you or someone you love has this as a trigger and is about to pick up this book, be warned. You may choose to read it anyway (although God knows why), but at least you won't be blind sided. ...more
There are the frustrations: you sleep through your alarm, your dog throws up on the caImagine a Monday.
Not just any Monday, but one of those Mondays.
There are the frustrations: you sleep through your alarm, your dog throws up on the carpet when you're about to leave, you conduct an entire meeting wondering what's so funny only to realize that you have coffee spilled down the front of your shirt.
There are the adrenaline spikes: you see a police car with lights and sirens roaring up behind you and try to figure out why they're after you, only to have them pass you by. You have a couple of near-misses on the freeway because other people (and only other people) are stupid.
There are the moments of inappropriate humor at the tragedy of the human condition: office gossip, That Guy getting what he deserves at long last, watching people live in blissful ignorance as to the irony of how their own actions contribute to their daily failures. Sangfroid at its best, because that's the best you've got.
Toward the end of the day, a moment of unexpected lightness! Your boss suggests that maybe it's time to reassess your salary and position in a good way! You leave work feeling like maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train, and you have conquered this ridiculous Monday after all, putting aside a vague unease that maybe something else is coming, and there is somewhere another shoe about the drop.
Then you pull into your neighborhood, round the corner, and--
Your entire house has burned to the ground.
That was my experience reading this book. To say anything substantive about the plot itself would be giving away some kind of spoiler, although I am fully free to say that I should have stocked up on xanax before I subjected myself to both the teeth-on-edge writing and the hair-pulling plot. Although there is perhaps something to gnaw on in the "who actually done it?" area, but it is not enough to replace the enamel I ground off my teeth trying to get to the end.
I do enjoy legal thrillers, but the only thrill I had in this was reaching the last page. If this is what you want, only good, go get you some Tami Hoag. You'll feel better....more
Most of the time when we study the Great War, The War to End All Wars, World War I, we look at series of events, and the the people involved are movedMost of the time when we study the Great War, The War to End All Wars, World War I, we look at series of events, and the the people involved are moved around as pawns. All the war's a stage, and the people merely players. This is the first book I've read that told me more about the rulers of the time as actual people, and I was blown away by how little I'd known them. It was both shocking and heartbreaking to read about the humanity and heroism of some of the so-called despots, as they struggled to bring about better lives for their people. Some tried to end the war early, to prevent the outbreak of war at all. Although the main rulers the author focused on were in the Central Powers, I could not set them as the villains of the set piece, even though that's how contemporary history has taught us to view them.
The author ends with an epilogue that is surprisingly (or perhaps, only surprising in the democracy-is-the-only-way world we now live in) pro-monarchy. The author argues that whatever the sins of the reigning monarchies, certainly Austria, Germany and Russia were done no favors by the governments that arouse after the rulers abdicated. While I don't know that I agree with his conclusions, it's a refreshingly different viewpoint, and I'll support anyone who refers to President Wilson's behavior as "criminally imbecilic." ...more
I've been a big fan of Lackey's Elemental Master's books, although I've felt they've been somewhat dragging lately. I welcomed the switch from EnglandI've been a big fan of Lackey's Elemental Master's books, although I've felt they've been somewhat dragging lately. I welcomed the switch from England to the continent, and felt that Blood Red injected new life into the series.
Alas, I was sorely disappointed by the newest installment. Giselle was the least impressive heroine we've had since Katie in Steadfast, serving basically as a cardboard cutout to move around the book. I was relieved when Rosa showed up, since at least she had a little more spunk to her, but all of the cast had a curious flatness to them this time around. The one I liked the most was Leading Fox, who was only a supporting character, but at least he had some mystery to him.
Speaking of mystery, there was none--or any other kind of plot, for that matter. Rapunzel-reborn had only a basic story (only the very beginning of which came from the fairy tale), and the reader essentially follows Giselle as she wanders from one place to another and does things X and Y, like she's completing tasks in a video game rather than following plot structure in a book. She has two nasty encounters with men early on; Encounter B is mentioned ad nauseum but has almost nothing to do with the rest of the book. Encounter A is barely touched upon again, until in the last 40 pages it suddenly becomes the major conflict in the book, with almost no warning or foreshadowing.
That's right, the major conflict in a 328 page book starts on page 290. Really?
The honest truth is, I will read the next Elementals book that comes out because the early ones were so good and I keep hoping Lackey will get back on game. But this was a step in the wrong direction, and it leaves a 15-year fan deeply saddened. ...more
Normally I love the post-apocalyptic genre in all its forms, because I love to see how people cope with the end of the world, and how humanity does (oNormally I love the post-apocalyptic genre in all its forms, because I love to see how people cope with the end of the world, and how humanity does (or doesn't) rise from the ashes. This book, however, should probably not have made it out of the explosion.
I get author can only be a product of his time, so I tried to let the raging sexism and racism wash over me. While it was even more teeth-grindingly awful because I knew the author probably thought he was a progressive, we all live with our own prejudices and blind spots, and not all of us will have them judged 50 or 60 years in the future.
My main problem with the book was that I was so bored. When the bomb finally went off, 82 pages in for my edition (yes, by that time I was keeping track), I practically cheered. Surely, now we'll get some action! And we did finally get a little bit more movement, but the book still continued to read more like the daily diary of a survivor, telling us chore sets and grocery lists. At some point I wondered if the Civil Defense Bureau had asked the author to write a propaganda piece for people who were not going to prepare according to the guidelines of the Civil Defense Bureau. "And salt, make sure you talk about how they're going to run out of salt. And flour. Oh! And throw in something about the evils of looting because radiation can travel through metal...but don't make it too bleak, maybe put in a non-denominational Easter service and talk about the resiliency of the human spirit!"
I feel like it would have been easier to read the pamphlet....more
Of course, by this point the Casey Anthony story is old news, but I picked this up at a book sale because I wanted to get the perspective of one of thOf course, by this point the Casey Anthony story is old news, but I picked this up at a book sale because I wanted to get the perspective of one of the attorneys actually involved, which would necessarily be different from someone who only followed through the media. The details naturally reinforced my belief that 1) Casey was guilty, 2) Casey was SO GUILTY, 3) there was something very wrong with that jury. There were no true shockers, since I already knew the ending and remembered most of the bigger details, but from a legal perspective I found the whole thing fascinating. And although Mr. Ashton and I practice in different states and areas of the law, it somewhat....reassuring? connecting? I can't decide on the right word....that we still run into the same circuses, just different monkeys. I see some of the lay people commenting didn't get a lot out of it, but procedurally alone, I thought it was a great read.
Also, in light of how many commentators lamented "the fall of the jury" and "the failure of the justice system," I found it refreshing that Mr. Ashton spent his epilogue stating that he believed that the jury (although basically lazy) did try to follow their oaths, and that he still believes that overall, the system works. There are many days in family court when I want to give up on our system, but is good to hear from someone else in the trenches to hang on and keep the faith. ...more
The subtitle should be "The case of the too many plots." Every page seem to bring another new subplot, more characters to keep track of, and another bThe subtitle should be "The case of the too many plots." Every page seem to bring another new subplot, more characters to keep track of, and another batch of random facts that may (or may not) become crucially important later. I hung on until the end because I wanted to see how the author would tie all of the pieces he left lying all over the place together. He did, in the end, in a very large and ridiculously shaped bow. Although I think he did put all the pieces together at the end (although there were so many pieces I honestly could not be sure), and they probably fit together, I didn't really buy it. But I don't care enough to re-read it and check to make sure all of his multitudes of subplots and story asides came back together in the end, so if there was anything left out, I'll never know it was.