A fascinating way to write a book - different chapters by different authors. For all the difficulties that might imply, this book was coherent and excA fascinating way to write a book - different chapters by different authors. For all the difficulties that might imply, this book was coherent and exciting, and NOT disjointed as it might have been. It read more like episodic television with different screenwriters, or like a discussion where the speakers have different points of view and hence different input. The opening - an execution (and that is all I will say about that) - has to be one of the most compelling opening chapters I've ever read. And while that level of intensity is difficult to sustain, the rest of the book did not disappoint. With one caveat - Although the murderer's identity was inevitable, I felt a bothersome tickle that it could not have been even more original. However, the writing -characterization, overall plot, even the diversity of styles - made the book enjoyable, engaging, and hard to put down. ...more
As a rule, I like Celia Rivenbark's wit. I say that as a new fan, but I've heard her speak and read some of her columns. However I probably should havAs a rule, I like Celia Rivenbark's wit. I say that as a new fan, but I've heard her speak and read some of her columns. However I probably should have known better than to choose this book to be the first of hers that I read. I was hampered by the fact that I am not an etiquette buff and never have been. That said, her humor was spot on, skewering the chaotic results etiquette improperly applied can cause with acidic accuracy. At the same time, when she plumped for the side of etiquette, her portrayal of the hapless flouters of the rules was still cloaked in wit, sometimes gentle but unsettlingly pithy. Even when I found myself disagreeing with her topic or philophy, her classic gentle Southern approach to dismantling those she targeted was entertaining for those who like caustic comment dippedin honeysuckle and bourbon. Bless her heart....more
Barbara Venkataraman’s collection of essays, “A Trip to the Hardware Store and other Calamities” is a fun collection that p(I reviewed the audio book)
Barbara Venkataraman’s collection of essays, “A Trip to the Hardware Store and other Calamities” is a fun collection that provides pleasant accompaniment to a drive or any other activity during which you can spare an ear. It’s multitasking at its most enjoyable.
Her sense of humor draws on the everyday, highlighting funny incidents we’re all familiar with and relating them the way a best friend might. My favorites included the title essay, “A Trip to the Hardware Store” and “Your Account is Past Due” about the life of a debt collector and the excuses she hears.
I know the author is excited about the reader, but I have to confess I was less enthusiastic. I think I’d prefer someone with a lighter touch, but that may be a purely personal preference.
The stories are fun, the writing entertaining, and as an audio book, it’s hands- and eye-free reading.
Okay, first up: confession. I’m happier with the Kindle edition of this book than the audio one. I just don’t connect with the reader. Aside from thatOkay, first up: confession. I’m happier with the Kindle edition of this book than the audio one. I just don’t connect with the reader. Aside from that, I enjoyed this mystery. It’s convoluted and tricky - just the way I like them, with humor blended in.
Barbara Venkataraman is good at convincing you she’s winding up the story and supplying you with the answer. Then she turns it all topsy turvy on you again.
When Jamie Quinn’s cousin Adam’s music teacher is murdered, the police are convinced he did it. His mother, sister of Jamie’s deceased mom, begs her to take Adam’s case, even though Jamie is a family lawyer, not a criminal attorney. And while his mom and Jamie know Adam could not have done it, his Asberger’s syndrome leads him to unfortunate behavior that focuses the police even further on him. It takes the combined skills of Duke Broussard, the flirting laid-back PI with the New Orleans accent, Adam’s crusading doctor, and Jamie’s lawyer friends to help her find a way to save her cousin from his own misteps.
Written with humor and love, Barbara Venkataraman’s Death by Didgeridoo is a pleasurable read and a good listen, too. ...more
The Last Dig is a short romantic tale about a paleontologist, Caroline Priest, running a summer dig in an area just outside the place where she grew uThe Last Dig is a short romantic tale about a paleontologist, Caroline Priest, running a summer dig in an area just outside the place where she grew up. When a body is discovered on the dig site, she is worried enough that someone died out there. When the man who dumped her as he went off to college turns up as sheriff to investigate and essentially shuts down her dig, she’s pissed off. But anger turns to consternation, fear, and near-despair as she gradually comes to learn someone is setting her up for these killings, and her former boyfriend may believe the evidence, not her.
This book is a romantic mystery with heavy emphasis on the romance. While Brete’s writing style seems to suit the romance, it is far more natural when she’s letting her characters follow their innate personalities. The romantic sections - particularly the steamier ones - seem almost too practiced, too smooth, too - existential almost, if you can call such scenes that. Because of that they flirted with being formulaic and not giving a description of real, personal passion. While other passages had some awkward and clunky moments, they actually seemed more real for it.
There was also an overabundance of unnecessary detail, small actions that actors call “business” meant to convey life around the central scene. However, too much of it appears, which calls attention to it and interrupts the flow of reading.
The book needs a little more editing to solve problems like those mentioned above, and to eliminate things such as the paragraph I found toward the end that was identical to a paragraph earlier in the book.
There is some good characterization here, as well as dialogue. I definitely liked the potential I sensed between the two main characters, and especially that the protagonist Caroline had real brains in her head. I feel though, that this book may be a draft short of where the author wanted. It’s an okay light read with the potential to be better. ...more