Kansas City, MO, United States | Member Since 2011
I'm not opposed to fantasy and I'm not opposed to light reading. Sometimes you want a fun, distracting book that doesn't ask too much of you. That wasn't my problem with Hounded. My problem was that the author created a world, but no story to go along with it.
This is a tale of a 2,000 year old druid living in Arizona. He can communicate with his dog, he has gods over as house guests, he's constantly fighting with witches and a god of death is really on his case. Overall, it seems like he has a lot going on. So when an old enemy from another reality decides it's time to die, you'd think there would be some real action happening.
That's where you'd be wrong. See, this book is ALL about creating the atmosphere and explaining, explaining, explaining the details that we already understand. No one told him that you don't have to convince us to believe in the supernatural when writing a fantasy book. But he goes ahead and does it anyway. In the meantime, nothing is happening. I mean nothing. Sure, once an hour there might be a new plot point, but in the end, this has a short story's worth of plot and its dragged out for 8 hours. The characters are okay, the world is fun and once in a while there's a good joke. But this cannot hold your attention.
Keep an eye on the author, and don't dismiss this narrator. The first has potential and the second is just waiting for material worth his ability. Don't hold this book against either, but don't buy it either.
I wish I had more to say about Rogue Island, but I just found it unremarkable. I love a good mystery and one about a serial arsonist sounded like a lot of fun. But the plot lingers and there are really no serious twists. There are too many sections that don't advance the investigation and most of the book is spent looking at the main character's personal life. I just didn't care. When the whodunnit moment comes, it's underwhelming and dragged out. I found very little satisfaction in the end.
This is a series and there's already a second book. I didn't hate the first, but I won't be buying the second either.
Here's the takeaway: this is a shocking and fascinating book. The authors are therapists who specialize in hoarding behavior and helping individuals overcome their compulsions. And what compulsions they are!The subjects in this book have collected so much stuff they don't know the size of their rooms, they forget whole rooms exist, they have to crawl to certain destinations, they put their health and marriages at risk, and they cannot stop.
You'll watch as the authors employ a series of creative treatments to try and mitigate the compulsions. Some succeed and some fail. What is most incredible is the chapter about childhood hoarding, proving the behavior can be inherited or learned. This is a short but amazing read, highly recommended.
I greatly enjoyed the Big Burn. Here's the story of the national park service, a service that nearly never happened. Teddy Roosevelt had to work some serious legislative magic to make it happen and when it did it was poorly accepted, underfunded, and rarely supported. But into the world these rangers went, hoping to protect our natural resources. And immediately the biggest fire any of them would ever see broke out.
This is the story of the new rangers and their boss, Gifford Pinchot, trying to establish a service. This is also the story of a town in the great north that finds itself in the path of a hellish blaze. How will they escape, how will they fight the blaze, and who will survive when it dies down? It's a wonderful story of bravery and ingenuity. The narration is thoughtful and crisp and the story is all the more exciting because it's true. Enjoy.
I've read a number of Koontz's books and this is a good one. It's a very good one. But it's not a great one. As the publisher's summary says, this is the story of a bartender who finds a note on his car, bring it to the cops and one person dies, don't and a different person dies. So begins an ever increasing and rapidly escalating series of choices, each worse than the last. And the body count is piling up. The main character is sympathetic, the villian is wicked and the final confrontation looms dark in the horizon.
However, there is a problem. The plot feels very constrained. You can see Koontz pulling strings to keep the plot contained, to keep the cast of characters smaller, to make sure the authorities don't get too involved. For that reason the development doesn't feel natural. Some of the deductions are a little shady and the last confrontation isn't the masterpiece I have come to expect from Koontz - and man who is a real master of his craft.
It's good, but a little contrived. For that reason it's a four and not five star book to me. But, in the end, I'm glad I read it.
This is the kind of book you can sink your teeth into. It opens with a shocking maritime disaster and plunges into a revenge tale that you could and will follow to the ends of the Earth. One man, desperate for revenge, sails around the world, hunting Leviathan, an oil tanker, the largest moving thing on the planet Earth. He has one shot and a single sail yacht. The circumstances working against him mount in an ever-tightening noose.
This is one of the best plotted thrillers I've read. The tension never lets up, the characters are interesting, the actions are realistic, and despite this realism I still couldn't guess that our main character would do next. Made all the better by Marc Vietor, the narrator from the Deadly Sin Series, this is an amazing book that has not aged with time. Treat yourself!
What do you say about a book as finely researched, as meticulously executed, as solidly paced, as informative and horrifying and shocking as the Third Reich at War? It is a masterpiece and all I can say to Richard J. Evans is, "Thank You." This is an exceptional book that begins with the invasion of Poland and ends with the Nuremburg Trials. You can read it alone or as part of the larger series: The Coming of the Third Reich and the Third Reich in Power. It is a fantastic series and this book is its pinnacle.
It is not a history of WWII, as that has been done many times. Instead, this is a story of the Third Reich, their leadership at home, their policies, and their wartime strategies. There is, of course, military history here and there is a history of the Holocaust. Both of these sections are told in finite and powerful detail. But this is also the story of Germany and its fall into absolute ruin.
Read these books, they are researched, written, paced, and read with perfection.
I came away from this book convinced of two things: that Dawkins is a skilled scientist who has serious reasons for the convictions he holds, and that Dawkins really, really likes the sound of his own voice. He makes, if you can look past his indulgent narration and his pretentious writing style, good arguments. Religion has long divided people unnecessarily, it has hampered scientific understanding, it has spread racism, and it has made people skeptical of greater understanding. He makes these arguments clearly and they are thought out. Of the most interest is his section on how religious apathy and moderation has its downsides as well - a concept I had never seriously considered.
That said, he comes across as holier-than-thou (pun intended) and intellectually snobbish. Narrating his own book only increases this perception. Adding a second narrator makes the book sound disjointed without adding any significant clarity to the storyline. I was not impressed by this book and saddened that, again, good messages oftentimes come through poor messengers.
Salt Sugar Fat is almost unthinkable. Not just in its content, in the unimaginable marketing strategies, innumerable addatives with powerful addicting properties, deceptive tactics, and blatant disregard for consumer health described in this book; not just in the sheer timeline and product scope of the reporting; not just in the reasoned approached the author takes to the shocking evidence uncovered; but also in Michael Moss's skill at investigative reporting and his ability to uncover the full strategies and willful ignorance that defines the mega food corporations.
Divided into three sections (Sugar, Fat, and then Salt) he takes us through the history of products that rely on these ingredients to hook, keep, and addict us. It is a stunning work of reporting in detail and scale. More impressive, is Moss's ability to remain dispassionate and intellectual as the book picks up steam. It is non-fiction, but I tore through this book with the same speed as I do a skillful thriller. This book is as addictive as the products it discusses. You will learn the unending reliance the food conglomerates have on sugar, salt, and fat and what this reliance has done to our collective health. Bringing all this wonderful writing to you is Scott Brick, possibly the best reader in the Audible catalogue.
This book makes my list of the best books I've read this year. It'll make yours too.
I miss Jo Nesbo. I miss the way his quiet prose would unsettle you. I miss his subtlety. I miss the characters I could care about and follow. I miss his unerring plotting. I miss how he could always surprise me. I hope he comes back soon. But he did not show up for this novel.
Headhunters is the story of a corporate headhunter who steals a client's priceless work of art. Then the client starts hunting him. I know, it sounded fun and I know Jo Nesbo has produced some of the best fiction of the last decade with his Harry Hole novels. But this is a dry, rambling, experiment of a novel without significant twist or plot. The characters were wholly unlikable and the writing repetitive. The narrator was ok, without deep emotion but also without much to work with.
Please read Jo Nesbo - just not this.
I wanted to read something frightening and shocking for the Halloween season, instead I read Your House Is on Fire. There are moments of real terror, don't misunderstand me, moments where there are devils (both real and human) moments of unimaginable cruelty. And yes, I found it impossible to guess where the story would go next. But that said, there is no summation, there is no climax, there is no sense that the atrocities in this book meant anything or that they culminated. Instead at one point they just stop. It's not scary, it's just sad.
Told from the points of view of several children in a small town in Germany in the middle of the century, you see as their world turns into horror. There is a baking competition that turns deadly, an ice fishing trip with the worst bet in the world, and a peak through the ground and into hell itself. But with all these great elements, there is no larger story to keep you reading late into the night.
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