Jackie M. (jackiemo) - - Reviews

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The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II
Review Date: 6/10/2014


Amazing story! Because this is a non-fiction book, there are parts that drag a little bit to make sure all relevant information is included. In addition to being a WW2 survival story, this is also a look at a way of life of the Dayak people in Borneo that no longer exists.
Without these native people, it is unlikely that these airmen would have survived long enough to be rescued. The Dayaks provided food, shelter, survival training, and nursing care. Eventually, the native people also participated in a guerrilla war against the Japanese. These airmen were, with one exception, were aged 18 to around 23, which makes this story all the more incredible to me.


Altered Shoes: A Step-By-Step Guide To Making Your Footwear Fabulous
Review Date: 4/15/2012


Cute book but the shoes look like craft projects. I wouldn't wear them. However, this would be good for kids and teenagers or if you wanted to make some shoes with a theme for a costume or party.


Behindlings
Behindlings
Author: Nicola Barker
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 0.7/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/9/2010


Absolutely the worst book I have ever read. I couldn't even finish it. I decided not to post it because I would have felt guilty about someone wasting a point on it.


Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, Bk 1)
Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, Bk 1)
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 465
Review Date: 8/5/2014


I am in the minority here. I really did not like this book. The main character was unlikable and the circumstances seemed contrived. I slogged through the whole thing thinking that it would get better because of the many positive reviews both here and on amazon but for me, it didn't.


Cuba
Cuba
Author: Emily Barr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 5/1/2013


Although promoted as a chick lit type of book, this is actually avery disturbing story. Maggie, who hasn't dealt with her past becomes fixated on her neighbors after accicentally overhearing them on a baby monitor she bought as a gift and decides to test. Libby is struggling to deal with new motherhood and the decision to stay at home and raise her baby rather than return to work as a lawyer. The more obsessed Maggie becomes, the more she denies it to herself. She inserts herself into this family's life by following them to Cuba. The reason why Maggie is so twisted is slowly revealed and there is a nice tidy ending. I am not really sure if I liked it or not. It tended to drag on in places.


Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, Bk 3)
Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, Bk 3)
Author: Tana French
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 92
Review Date: 5/21/2012


I read the two other books by Tana French and I didn't enjoy this one quite as much. I thought that some of the science was off and some of the human behavior was not adequately explained and because it wasn't, seemed unlikely. Pretty good, but could have been great.


The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis
Review Date: 10/8/2016


This is a biography of Marie Duplessis who inspired the biographic novel by Alexandre Dumas fils, "The Lady of the Camellias," the opera, "La Traviata," and the ballet, "Marguerite and Armand." In spite of this, she is not very well known in the United States.

An immense amount of research has gone into this book and it tells an interesting story but it is a scholarly work. It doesn't read like a novel and is a bit dry in places. However, I do recommend it. Even if we do not get to actually know Marie well as a human being, she fit a lot of living into her short life. Hers was truly a rags to riches story. She was an "it" girl of her time, 1840's Paris, but died at the age of 23, one year before the French Revolution, of tuberculosis. Because she was a courtesan, she was not accepted into polite society by women but lived a lavish lifestyle in the company of many wealthy aristocratic and artistic men of the time. Obviously, there was something special about her. Unfortunately, most of her private papers are lost but the author's meticulous research offers a glimpse of what this young woman was like.


Goodnight Nobody
Goodnight Nobody
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 503
Review Date: 1/24/2014


I really didn't care for this book. I have liked most of Jennifer Weiner's other books but I found the main character in this one annoying, almost a reverse snob. Also, the plot was not believable to me.


Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work
Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work
Author: Tim Gunn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 2/27/2012


I picked this up at a discount store after seeing Tim Gunn on the cover. I didn't really read the cover or inside flap. I really loved this book. I was expecting ideas on how to get myself out of sweatpants and into real clothes after years of being home with kids and what I found was a wonderful book on manners. Sounds boring but the personal stories shared really illustrated how a little kindness and politeness goes a long way. Tim Gunn knows what to share from his own life and, more importantly, what to keep private. It is nice to know that a true gentleman still exists.


A High and Hidden Place : A Novel
A High and Hidden Place : A Novel
Author: Michele Lucas
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/9/2010


As a work of fiction, this is an interesting book but when you realize that this story is about acts of violence that occurred again and again as WWII was nearing its end, it will be hard to stop thinking about. It is an absolutely heartbreaking acount of the horrors of war and how nobody is safe, not the young, not the old, nobody. The author includes some historical information at the end which makes the book that much more powerful. I highly recommend it. It stayed in my mind for weeks after reading it and I will never forget it.


I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
Author: Nujood Ali, Delphine Minoui
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 144
Review Date: 10/21/2011


An absolutely heartbreaking account of a young girl's marriage and then her bravery in seeking a divorce. In fact, she was the first girl to do so in her country and her actions brought world wide attention to the issue of child marriage.


Ivy League Stripper
Ivy League Stripper
Author: Heidi Mattson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.7/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 1/23/2010


I've been meaning to read this book since it came out because I went to high school with the author, a year ahead of her. It's a small town and a small high school. I remember her as a happy, friendly girl and that doesn't really come across in the first part of the book which seems like a disjointed rambling of how great she was. This is not how I remember her so I kept going. The writing really smooths out partway through the book when she explains a traumatic event that was the final link in a chain of events that led her to give stripping a try. Basically, by doing things the "right" way, she was getting nowhere and couldn't catch a break so she decided to try something different. I have read other reviews that critisized her retelling of the stripping as "bragging" about all the cash she made. I saw it more as amazement that people would pay this much money for what she was doing. Interestingly, I do believe that this is a pretty accurate description of dancing at the time because I had another friend from high school who did the same thing in Boston and much of what she had to say at the time is very similar to what Heidi has to say. Only difference really is the location and my friend wasn't going to college, much less an Ivy League school.

It would be tempting. Around the same time, I was putting myself through college with the usual type of thing (waitress, cashier, campus job) and there were times when I was getting by on pretty much nothing. My high school friend was pulling in more on an average weekend than I did in a month. She told me that you didn't have to be pretty or know how to dance, just be young and willing to take it off. She told me that the patrons were generous with college girls and one of her fellow dancers was putting herself through medical school. She also worked at a high end club.

Heidi does touch on the dark side of dancing and makes the point that due to her strong sense of self, her family background, and her long term goals helped her to keep things in perspective and not get sucked into believing the illusions, which can be difficult.

In conclusion, this is not the best book that I have read and the first half is a little hard to get through but it is an interesting story. I would tell you to keep in mind that this author is not conceited. Although we were not friends in high school, more like friendly aquaintances, I can really tell you nothing bad about her. She was in a ton of activities, seemed to like everybody she met, and was an all around nice person. She didn't dress inappropriately or wear a ton of makeup and really was about the last person that you could imagine choosing this path as a means to an education. If you picture this, you will enjoy the book more and not see it as bragging and more as the story of a way to pay for school, that others used as well, but maybe wouldn't want anyone to know about.


Life of Pi
Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel, Tomislav Torjanac (Illustrator)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 113
Review Date: 2/7/2012


I recommend that you do not read too many reviews on this book. There are details that are better left unsaid until the time for them to be revealed comes along as you read.

Without spoiling anything, this is the story of a 16 year old who is moving from India, where his family owns a zoo, to Canada. They sell off the animals and are traveling with some of them via a freighter to Canada. The first third of the book is Pi's life in India. The rest is a remarkable survival story. Pi ends up on a lifeboat with a few animals, one of them is a 450 pound tiger. This is not for the squeamish. A tiger is a carnivore and the boat is only so big.

What will a gentle vegetarian do to stay alive as the days at sea in a life boat turn into weeks? Faith, humanity, the will to survive and at what cost are all explored. I read the hardcover edition with illustrations by Tomislav Torjanac. The beautifully painted pictures only enhance the powerful story. I highly recommend this book. It will stay with you for a long time.


Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home
Review Date: 11/19/2010
Helpful Score: 2


This is like an owner's manual for your house and most of the things in it. If you need to know how to clean something or maintain it, look in here. This is also a good book to have if you are remodeling because it reviews different types of surfaces, the benefits of each and the disadvantages, and how to clean them. I will probably never need to know two thirds of the stuff in here but it is great to have on hand if you have a question about something. You name it, and it is probably here: How to organize a closet, how to maintain a water heater, how to wash dishes by hand, how to care for fine linens (one of those things I will never need) how to remove stains when doing laundry (will need that one, a lot), how get rust stains out of your tub whether it be fiberglass or porceline. This is great comprehensive reference book that I am sure I will use for years to come.


My Lobotomy
My Lobotomy
Author: Howard Dully, Charles Fleming
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 166
Review Date: 7/14/2010


This is perhaps the most disturbing memoir that I have ever read. Howard Dully underwent a transorbital lobotomy at the age of 12 instigated by his step-mother. Howard may have suffered from ADHD or was just a high energy child who was somewhat defiant after losing his mother at a young age. Basically, he was raised in an abusive environment and placed outside of the home on occasion but eventually underwent a transorbital lobotomy in 1960 in an attempt to control him. It is amazing that this was allowed to happen. Howard spent about 10 years in mental institutions where he was taught no life skills. He was arrested many times, homeless at times, abused drugs and alcohol, and maintained no stable relationships until he married his current wife. Eventually, he got some education and found gainful employement as a commercial bus driver and instructor. He began to wonder why his life had been so difficult and went in search of the reasons behind his lobotomy at such a young age. The book came after Howard did an moving interview for NPR (which I highly recommend listening to). This edition also includes information about brain scans done on Howard after the book was published and what they revealed about him and the procedure.

As a mother of a "difficult" child and as a nurse, this story told in simple language made my blood run cold. This is definately worth your time and is a shameful part of our history of medicine in this country. I highly recommend it.


My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike
My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 7/3/2011
Helpful Score: 1


This book was a huge disappointment to me. I have read a few other books by Joyce Carol Oates and this one was not up to the standards set by those books.

It greatly disturbed me that this was based so closely on the case of Jon-Benet Ramsey. This child has a father and a brother who are still alive and the use of many details borrowed from that case is simply cruel. Even the mother's name in the book is "Betsey Rampike." Really? Not so far from the late "Patsy Ramsey."

In addition to that, it just wasn't that well written or readable until the final chapters when the narrator (the dead child's surviving brother) is talking of his present life without the pretentious narration he gives to the past throughout most of the book. Also, the end of the book is when it finally takes a turn away from ripping off the real life case. If the entire book was written in this fashion, it would have been so much better.

This could have been better done and without the details/rumors that were thrown about in the press regarding Jon-Benet's death. I can't imagine how that family must have suffered. I did not follow that case, but it was everywhere and even these many years later I recognized some of the ugliness that the family was accused of and details that were widely reported. I am sure that Ms. Oates has a better imagination than that. The only real changes were that the child was an ice skater instead of a pageant contestant. Then, there was a weird focus on "peek-a-boo" panties that were supposedly part of the costumes worn by the child. I am no figure skater but that seems inaccurate.

All in all, a third rate book. I would never have expected this from such a fine author.


No Time to Wave Goodbye
No Time to Wave Goodbye
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 7/28/2012


This is the sequel to "Deep End of the Ocean," which I loved. However, this book was disappointing. Much of the plot seemed far-fetched. I can't go into specific detail without spoiling the entire thing but some of the actions by the characters seemed, well, really stupid. It was nice to see where this family ends up, but it could have been better achieved by looking at the ordinary milestones in life, like becoming a parent. The unlikely plot really wasn't needed.


Normal Gets You Nowhere
Normal Gets You Nowhere
Author: Kelly Cutrone, Meredith Bryan
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 6/25/2013


Although this is considered a self help book, it is more like a series of essays and life experiences. I have to admire someone with a strong point of view and an ability to back it up. I disagreed with many of Ms. Cutrone's opinions but I did find them interesting. She does use the f-word often (which doesn't offend me but I am kind of sick and tired of seeing in print) and there is a strong yoga/spirituality theme that tended to almost drone on in places but she is an interesting woman who strives to practice what she preaches.


Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum, Bk 19)
Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum, Bk 19)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 254
Review Date: 1/13/2013
Helpful Score: 2


Eh. Same old same old. I think if a series this long is going to be successful, the characters need to learn and develop. Stephanie's car blows up. Big surprise. Lula wears some "poison green spandex." Again. Ranger inappropriately touches Stephanie in an intimate fashion and she likes it! Someone breaks into her apartment. They lose a client by allowing her to go get something in her home. Wouldn't you think at this point, they would have that one figured out?

At this point, you would expect Stephanie to either move, get better security, learn how to be comfortable with a firearm, or refuse to allow anyone return alone into a home for any reason. I didn't hate this book, but will probably skip the next installment. It was an okay way to spend a few hours without thinking too hard. About anything.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 93
Review Date: 6/25/2013


When I got this book, my first thought was, "What the heck! This is less than 200 pages and I paid almost full price for it!" I almost never buy books when they first come out but this little book is worth the money. It is an intense and scary little fairy tail for adults. I read it in 2 sittings. It would have been one sitting if I could have had my way.


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