R E K. (bigstone) - , - Reviews

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10 Smart Moves for Women Who Want to Succeed in Love and Life
10 Smart Moves for Women Who Want to Succeed in Love and Life
Author: Dianna Booher
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/18/2010


Good book!


100 Cats Who Changed Civilization: History's Most Influential Felines
100 Cats Who Changed Civilization: History's Most Influential Felines
Author: Sam Stall
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 12/9/2011


Little reads like this lift the heart and bring smiles to one's day. Short tales about cats, many of which belonged to famous people, fit into our busy days. There are cats who travel, get into trouble, save lives, go into space and in other ways become remembered long by their owners and sometimes the public, too. Let me relate some of the tales that I found especially interesting.

Even though Sir Isaac Newton is known for his scientific contributions his cat was responsible for a well used invention that graces many homes - the pet door. His cat interrupted his work to come and go so often that it inspired this invention. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) immortalized the cat of a little girl named Alice for whom the tale, Alice in Wonderland, is written. And, perhaps Edgar Allan Poe's cat helped keep him sane. It certainly comforted his ailing wife. There was a white kitten who charmed Dickens whose favorite pets were birds and dogs. And, there was a cat whose best friend was a gorilla. The gorilla grieved for some time after the cat died.

If you get the change, pick up this little read just for fun. It's endearing. (less)
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1984
1984
Author: George Orwell
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1631
Review Date: 1/3/2012


A classical read about a world controlled by Big Brother. The story depicts a negative Utopia world spawned by Hitler's approach to the people of Germany and the countries he captured. Can life really be this hopeless? Will people succumb to pressures that dehumanize them? Will love, compassion and such emotions become a thing of the past? Key character of this novel is Winston Smith who deep in his heart believes there can be a better world than the one in which he lives. He falls in love with Julia who has similar beliefs and they have a love affair. Of course, they are caught, suffer torture, demeaning experiences and brainwashing. The negative theme of the book continues to the last page. For me it was a depressing but thought provoking read. Perhaps, we all should read 1984.


29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life
29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life
Author: Cami Walker
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 1/16/2016


I am not much for self-help books but this one is rather biographical. Shortly after she is married the author discovers that she has MS. As she copes with this difficult disease she finds herself losing her temper, crying, becoming addicted to the medications she is taking and feeling sorry for herself. Finally a friend suggests a strategy to focus on the positive - 29 days of giving. Gifts must be given without hope of receiving return but rather spontaneous and from the heart. All is not easy and this is not a cure all but it eventually helps the author begin to really live her life in spite of her disease. Eventually she begins to work again but not at the levels she worked prior to her diagnosis and finds happiness in her life. It's an interesting process that merits trying. The author includes stories from others who have become involved in 29 days of giving.


Abhorsen (The Abhorsen Trilogy)
Abhorsen (The Abhorsen Trilogy)
Author: Garth Nix
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 35
Review Date: 1/17/2011


Abhorsen by Garth Nix is a wonderful book - the third in a trilogy that began with Sabriel. I can only say that this a book that is fun for both young adults and adults alike to read. It is exciting, imaginative, and so very creative. The characters and creature take on a reality that thrills the reader. All I can say is put this trilogy on your list to read soon - very soon.


The Absolutist
The Absolutist
Author: John Boyne
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/26/2016


Enter WWII and find two soldiers who have different backgrounds, sexual orientation and beliefs. Both enter the war enthusiastically wanting to do their part for England. The difference is that one discovers he prefers men to women. The other swings both ways but denies that aspect of his personality. However, most of the novel is about the battles they fight and the losses their group experiences. What happens to men under stress? This novel shares several different reactions and experiences.


Across the Wide Missouri
Across the Wide Missouri
Author: Bernard DeVoto
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/8/2009


This is a fascinating tale of the mountain man, thoroughly researched by an author who is equally fascinated with his life. I enjoyed the detail, historical notations, and learning about these men who paved the way to the American West. DeVoto is an excellent writer whose intimate involvement with the topic comes through the pages. One can imagine easily what it would have been like to live this type of life - rugged, challenging, physically demanding and independent. It is a book where one finds oneself reflecting often about the mountain man and the areas in which they traveled and lived.


The Adventures of Ook and Gluk Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future
The Adventures of Ook and Gluk Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future
Author: Dav Pilkey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 9/10/2017


Some books are just plain entertaining. This is one and the characters of Ook and Gluk have adventures that are exciting that they always manage to work through often bumbling and making mistakes as they do.

I found their language much like what one first hears from small children. And, the spelling is phonetic which is how children first spell words. In the words of the charactes, Me loved it. This is a read that I would recommend to small children. I don't think they could resist the charm of the characters and their antics.


The African Queen
The African Queen
Author: C.S. Forester
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 12/2/2015


Fun read! I've seen the movie several times and found that the book was true to the video retelling most of the time. I love these characters whether they are played by Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart or found in print form where I can form my own view of them in my mind. It's a great read and a great movie. I enjoyed this read so much.


Afrika
Afrika
Author: Colleen Craig
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/26/2011
Helpful Score: 1


What a wonderful story! A 13-year-old girl named Kim travels to Africa with her journalist mother. She has so many questions about her father and her mother's homeland that she feels ready to burst but her mother remains silent about her father. Who was he? What was he like? Would he love her? Why did he never contact her in Canada? She finds the answers to all of these questions as her mother works on her African assignment. Her mother has been estranged from her family and her homeland for so many years that the visit is fraught with stress, pain and uncertainty. All of this was tied up in apartheid and the struggle for equality among the African peoples. This is an outstanding story and I recommend it to those who wish to understand more about such issues. I learned so very much from those who were involved.


The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
Review Date: 12/9/2011


It's a wonderful read. I have put more of this author's work on my TBR as he writes so very well. This is a tale of a shepherd boy named Santiago who wants to travel in spite of his father's wish that he become a priest. The father stakes the boy who buys himself some sheep. He travels throughout Andulasia with his herd, getting to know the land and the people. However, he has a dream that he asks an old woman to interpret and with this interpretation sets off to see the pyramids in Egypt where he is to find treasure and become rich. The key message of the tale is to follow our dreams. Never give up say the people the boy meets and so says the author as well in an interview in the back of the book. It's simple, inspiring and a delight to read so friends read this one and get a new look on your own life in spite of whatever obstacles you encounter and like Santiago you may find your dreams can come true. Above all, don't give up.


Alex Cross's Trial (Alex Cross, Bk 15)
Alex Cross's Trial (Alex Cross, Bk 15)
Author: Richard Dilallo, James Patterson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 220
Review Date: 1/9/2015


Good read, yes! The story describes the experiences of the lawyer about whom the book was written. Did the President really ask him to explore racism in his home town or is this fiction? Whether or not that is true the story is told in a succinct and reasonable fashion. Many of the stories about racism in our country are true.

This is the tale of a family member, a great uncle, about whom Patterson supposedly heard time and again from his mother. Since Patterson did not comment on how the book came about and why he decided to write it we can only take his publisher's word on that aspect which could be a marketing ploy. I find author comments lend validity for me about the author's work and enjoy stories they write so much more. Keeping these thoughts in mind I do recommend the read. It is good and well written although a bit savage in spots.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Author: Lewis Carroll
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/26/2016


What a joy to return to the worlds of Alice's childhood! The versions I've read previously were abbreviated so this one was indeed entertaining. I did not remember the Pool of Tears, the encounter with the puppy, Bill and so many other characters. But who can forget the cheshire cat, the red queen, the white queen, the Mad Hatter, the white rabbit and others? It's a wonderful read full of fun, adventure and excitement. So glad I took time to revisit this charming classic.


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 209
Review Date: 8/11/2014
Helpful Score: 10


Sometimes I struggle to write a review. Not true this time. All the Light We Cannot See was sent to me by the publisher in two forms - audio and hardback print. It's wonderful. I was mesmerized from the beginning. The plot would seem to circle around the lose of a famous diamond that is cursed and housed in the Museum of Natural History in Paris. It is said that whoever possesses the diamond will live forever but will lose all his friends and family, one by one. So the story begins.

Yet this is a tale of war and of the people it affects. There is a French girl, Marie-Laure, who is blind who lives with her beloved father who works as a locksmith for the museum. There is an orphan boy, Werner, who is entranced with radios and how they work and finds himself recruited into German youth training. There is a self-centered general, Von Rumpel, whose cruelty is matched only by his drive to find the diamond that may save his life. These are key characters, yes, but others add so much depth.

Marie-Laure's uncle and his housekeeper are active in the resistance and risk their lives daily. The reader can't help but experience their fear and courage as they continue to work against German occupation. There is Werner's sister, Jutta, who struggles to survive starvation, rape and war itself and thinking often about her brother. Volkheimer, the gentle giant with a cruel reputation, was a friend to Werner but whose friendship he questions. Will he expose Werner's actions when they do not support the war? And, there is Frederick whose love for birds and independent thought expose him to beatings during training that damage his brain yet leave him living.

Can I write more? Yes, there is the reality of war, hope and survival expressed over and over again. This is a novel to be read, experienced and remembered. I absolutely loved it and can't recommend it enough. I'm overjoyed that the publisher sent it.


All the Light We Cannot See (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 5/21/2015
Helpful Score: 2


Sometimes I struggle to write a review. Not true this time. All the Light We Cannot See was sent to me by the publisher in two forms - audio and hardback print. It's wonderful. I was mesmerized from the beginning. The plot would seem to circle around the loss of a famous diamond that is cursed and housed in the Museum of Natural History in Paris. It is said that whoever possesses the diamond will live forever but will lose all his friends and family, one by one. So the story begins.

Yet this is a tale of war and of the people it affects. There is a French girl, Marie-Laure, who is blind and lives with her beloved father who works as a locksmith for the museum. There is an orphan boy, Werner, who is entranced with radios and how they work and finds himself recruited into German youth training. There is a self-centered general, Von Rumpel, whose cruelty is matched only by his drive to find the diamond that may save his life. These are key characters, yes, but others add so much depth.

Marie-Laure's uncle and his housekeeper are active in the resistance and risk their lives daily. The reader can't help but experience their fear and courage as they continue to work against German occupation. There is Werner's sister, Jutta, who struggles to survive starvation, rape and war itself and thinking often about her brother. Volkheimer, the gentle giant with a cruel reputation, was a friend to Werner but whose friendship he questions. Will he expose Werner's actions when they do not support the war? And, there is Frederick whose love for birds and independent thought expose him to beatings during training that damage his brain yet leave him living.

Can I write more? Yes, there is the reality of war, hope and survival expressed over and over again. This is a novel to be read, experienced and remembered. I absolutely loved it and can't recommend it enough. I'm overjoyed that the publisher sent it.


Allegiant (Divergent, Bk 3)
Allegiant (Divergent, Bk 3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 44
Review Date: 11/21/2013
Helpful Score: 2


After looking at several reviews and comments I simply must add my own comments about this novel. It's dynamic, fascinating and moving. I truly enjoyed the story including the development of the romance between Four (Tobias) and Tris. The tale develops according to the personalities of the characters. True, I was sometimes disappointed in the portrayal of Four's fears and insecurities because I found them so hard to believe after reading the first two novels in the series. However, Tris emerges as a strong, mature character who bolsters him in every way because she loves him. Told from both viewpoints, the two narratives are linked in such a way that I felt the story flowed well. In short, as my reading progressed I found it hard to put the book aside.

Leaving the city, to travel outside and discover the truth takes courage to face the unknown. When the group, led by Tris and Tobias, find another controlled society where the city is viewed as an experiment and the people within it as scientific subjects, they are not certain where to turn. And, because of the decision by the scientists to reset the city - start over - the group cannot bear to see the memories of their friends and families erased. Yet how can a group of newcomers change the outcome? Knowing that the scientists were responsible for so much of the chaos and death in the city they are determined to try to save the city. As the book comes to it climax I found myself running with these young idealistic young people so full of hope for the future.

Yes, I thought this was an excellent well written novel. I'm glad I read it and believe that the author did credit to her story and the characters in the outcome. Rather than give away the ending, I simply suggest that it be read with an open mind and enjoy it for its merits.


The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, Bk 4)
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, Bk 4)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 5/12/2012


Having read and loved the Mistborn trilogy, I was excited when I saw this one. It's a quick read but a slow starter. Nevertheless, I really liked the protagonist, Wax or Waxillium. He's brave, ethical and a courageous if a foolish risk taker at times. His sidekick, Wayne, is funny and dedicated to his friend. Miles Hundredlives is a good character and I would like to see more of him. He is probably one of the best characters in the novel. I kept wondering how he really became who he was and what his past might have been. The ending was predictable and certainly leaves room for a sequel. Do hope that the author spends more time developing that one. Lovers of the Mistborn series like me know how well this author can write. Yes, I would read the sequel and I just know that it will be much better.


The Alpine Christmas (Emma Lord, Bk 3)
The Alpine Christmas (Emma Lord, Bk 3)
Author: Mary Daheim
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 12/11/2013


It seemed appropriate to read a book with a Christmas background so I chose this one. Yes, it's about murder but also about a brother/sister relationship. So enjoyed how Emma and her brother, Ben, related to each other. Their conversations and their interactions demonstrate so well how two close siblings can be.

It all begins with a leg being found in the river by a fisherman. Gruesome? Yeah, it is but that's only the beginning. The next finding is a complete body. Now there appears to be two murders but who are they? Male or female? An arm is discovered in the river. Many people suspect the strange young man who lives in a cabin in the woods until his cabin burns down fortunately without him in it. What is going on?

The bodies are identified as women who were roommates. How did they get to Alpine? They seem to have a connection with the young wife of a local young man as well as other women who went to private schools.

This is a good read with a plot that leads the reader about until the author begins giving clues about an unexpected individual who is strong and very organized. Close the climax I had determined who the murderer was but not why the murders were committed. Yes, this is a quick and enjoyable mystery. Try it!


Alpine Christmas (Emma Lord, No 3)
Alpine Christmas (Emma Lord, No 3)
Author: Mary Daheim
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 12/11/2013


It seemed appropriate to read a book with a Christmas background so I chose this one. Yes, it's about murder but also about a brother/sister relationship. So enjoyed how Emma and her brother, Ben, related to each other. Their conversations and their interactions demonstrate so well how two close siblings can be.

It all begins with a leg being found in the river by a fisherman. Gruesome? Yeah, it is but that's only the beginning. The next finding is a complete body. Now there appears to be two murders but who are they? Male or female? An arm is discovered in the river. Many people suspect the strange young man who lives in a cabin in the woods until his cabin burns down fortunately without him in it. What is going on?

The bodies are identified as women who were roommates. How did they get to Alpine? They seem to have a connection with the young wife of a local young man as well as other women who went to private schools.

This is a good read with a plot that leads the reader about until the author begins giving clues about an unexpected individual who is strong and very organized. Close the climax I had determined who the murderer was but not why the murders were committed. Yes, this is a quick and enjoyable mystery. Try it!


Alvin Journeyman (Alvin Maker, Bk 4)
Alvin Journeyman (Alvin Maker, Bk 4)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 33
Review Date: 12/16/2010


Just finished this one. It was interesting from a folk tale/magic viewpoint. Couldn't decide if I really liked it. The story moves slowly at times but Card does a very nice job with his characters. I especially liked Arthur Stuart, Verily Cooper, and Calvin, Alvin's brother. If one is reading the series, this one is not to be missed.


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