Well, that was a big old disappointment. The first book was so fun - cool new magic, fun characters, actual tension, and the ending was a bit of a naiWell, that was a big old disappointment. The first book was so fun - cool new magic, fun characters, actual tension, and the ending was a bit of a nail-biter. The second book was less fun, but people were losing their minds in the initial reviews for this one, so I'd hoped for a strong ending, even though anecdotal evidence tells me ratings for later books in a trilogy are usually higher since people who didn't like the first book don't go any further, so the more critical readers are weeded out.
Turns out this was a bit of a slog. I almost ditched it, but finally pushed through while digging up dandelions from my yard yesterday, since I had the audio. Two big black garbage bags later, I had two unpleasant tasks completed.
-boring villain -long lull in middle-there seems to be a lot of pointless dragging the story out -new characters I don't care about. I can't even say who they were because I already forgot their names. -existing characters got a bit cardboardy. -rules of magic somewhat arbitrary I guess? -the "romance." I don't like any of these couples. The erotic bits were just cringey.
I really wish the second and thirds books had been edited down into one for a tighter story, and the third book turned into a whole new adventure. Three books, three villains. Third book is final boss, I guess....more
I've tried on multiple occasions to read "The Daughter of Time" with no success, but this was an audible daily deal so I picked it up. It is excellentI've tried on multiple occasions to read "The Daughter of Time" with no success, but this was an audible daily deal so I picked it up. It is excellent. So excellent that I think it's time to try "The Daughter of Time" again. The comparisons to Patricia Highsmith (really the other way around, probably) are pretty spot on. ...more
The library keeps distracting me with new releases and I end up reading things I'm not that interested in. I don't know why. I have something like 150The library keeps distracting me with new releases and I end up reading things I'm not that interested in. I don't know why. I have something like 150 unread books on my kindle.
Anyway, this was fine. Some parts were really great and some were not--just pretty uneven overall. Also, there were some bits that felt surprisingly mean-spirited. Maybe that's just because I only know Clinton Kelly from that feel-good "What Not to Wear" show. I did end up skimming through a couple of the essays, but every time I thought I was going to abandon the book it got better. I really waffled between two and three stars, but I think I liked enough to do three. They're lukewarm, though. ...more
I've been looking for more inexpensive, weeknight type of recipes. So many of my favorites have me leaving the grocery store feeling certain it wouldI've been looking for more inexpensive, weeknight type of recipes. So many of my favorites have me leaving the grocery store feeling certain it would have been cheaper to get takeout a few times than to buy all the fancy cheeses and preserved lemons. Looking through this book, I think it might fit the bill, although I can tell most of the recipes will need a little doctoring. Vegetarian cooking was either very bland in the seventies or I've deadened my palate with hot sauce.
1/11/17: Minestrone: better the next day. Upped all seasonings by 50% (these were fresh or I'd have increased even more) and tossed in a vegetable bouillon cube to make vegetable broth in lieu of plain water. Swapped the eggplant for parsnip because I hate eggplant. Left out the parmesan, which, now that I think about it, probably would have added some flavor. This soup is nothing amazing, but it's pretty quick and easy. I'll make again. This could easily use whatever vegetables I had on hand.
2/12/17: Herbed carrot soup: very easy and good enough, which might end up being a theme for this book. Not something you'd eat a big bowl of, but this is my lunch for the week so I made some brown rice to bulk it up a bit. I doubt I would make this again, but it was a good way to use up the carrots aging in the crisper. The seasonings aren't my favorite, though--this is a bit like thick orange spaghetti sauce.
2/14/17: Tart and Tangy Beans: surprisingly good. I was really unsure about the apple, but it seems to work. Even so, I'm not sure if I would make it again. I'll see how I feel after I finish this enormous pan of beans. The recipe says 6-8 servings but I'd put it closer to 10-12. This is a very packed 9x13. If I were to make again I'd cut the recipe in half. I'd also dice the apple a little smaller and throw in a minced jalapeño. I think the heat would go well with the vinegar and molasses....more
Possibly my last book of 2016 and it's a good note to end on. My degree is in mathematics, and although I'm certainly nowhere near the level of the chPossibly my last book of 2016 and it's a good note to end on. My degree is in mathematics, and although I'm certainly nowhere near the level of the characters in this novel, it made certain parts of the novel more familiar and special. Some of the synopses I've read make this sound a bit goofy, but it's not--it's humorous, but in a warm and gentle way....more
I'm about 80% sure that I've read this before, probably years ago after hearing "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant" read on Selected Shorts. ThatI'm about 80% sure that I've read this before, probably years ago after hearing "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant" read on Selected Shorts. That story is still charming. I'd like to try out her recipes for bread and gingerbread sometime. The rest just feels exactly like what it is - good, but not particularly memorable magazine essays from 30 years ago. This is not a bad thing. I love magazine essays. But reading this many all together was a bit of a slog. ...more
I have been interested in the Holocaust since about 4th grade. It seems like there was a point in the early 90s when all the YA books were Holocaust-rI have been interested in the Holocaust since about 4th grade. It seems like there was a point in the early 90s when all the YA books were Holocaust-related, maybe inspired by Jane Yolen’s Devil’s Arithmetic or Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars. Or maybe it was just the timing. 1995 was the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. I read all these novels, along with anything else I could get my hands on, including things that concerned my mother. I rented Holocaust videos at Blockbuster. These days my Netflix recommendations are pretty bleak. Over the years my feelings have changed from a certainty that something like that could never happen again and trying to understand how it happened in the first place to a realization that of course it could happen again. The memory fades and people get complacent.
Somehow I have not actually read much on the subject of Nazi hunting, post-Nuremberg. Much of the information in this book was new to me, including the fact that it wasn’t until 2011 that Germany decided to charge defendants as accessories, rather than trying to prove specific crimes. Because of this, many men walked free for lack of proof. The book jumped around a bit, making it somewhat difficult to follow any actual timelines, but overall I found it to be a really excellent overview. ...more