Marianne E. (bedhead) - Reviews

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Angels Along the Way: My Life With Help from Above
Angels Along the Way: My Life With Help from Above
Author: Della Reese, Franklin Lett, Mim Eichler
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 10/22/2006


Star of the hit television series Touched by an Angel, Della Reese has had a long career in entertainment. Like many black artists, she began in church, singing in the choir in her hometown of Detroit. At age 13, she was accomplished enough to go on tour with the great Mahalia Jackson, one of the "angels" Reese credits with helping her along the way. Jackson, she writes, gave her "a foundation in the art of communication.... It's about filling yourself with the spirit of whatever you're singing about, of really going to that place and letting listeners go with you." Other angels include the comedian who taught her the elements of comedy and helped her hone her act, and the waitress who encouraged her to sing in a nightclub, years after Reese's mother had died and Reese had left home to live on her own. The road to stardom wasn't entirely smooth--she tells of dishonest managers and lawyers and troubles with the IRS--but Reese makes clear that she has always been sustained by her faith.


Beat Not the Bones
Beat Not the Bones
Author: Charlotte Jay
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 1/24/2017


Charlotte Jay seems incapable of writing a bad sentence; in fact, some are so beautifully crafted that they must be read over and over again, savored like a bit of Francois Pralus chocolate. Her characters, on the other hand, are seldom likable. As I met the hierarchy of white, colonialist residents of Marapai, it seemed any of them could have been responsible for the murder, and each successive character suggested deeper currents of disturbance than the last. As Stella, our protagonist, strips herself more and more of anything less than her desire to see truth, the story picks up speed and becomes a not only a classic whodunit, but an important--I'd venture to say even groundbreaking--narrative as well. A novel that began quite standoffishly became, in the end, very satisfying.

Characters who seem one-dimensional throughout the first half of the novel develop into believable (and sometimes pitiable) characters, whose motives are understandable in the context of the novel's progression. A novel about villainy and greed; those who become their victims, and the rare survivors.

Beat Not the Bones deserves more than four stars--it's not quite five-star perfection, but the prose remains as innovative and fresh today as it must have been in 1952, and the story, unfortunately, just as relevant.


Black Like Me
Black Like Me
Author: John Howard Griffin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 101
Review Date: 8/25/2009
Helpful Score: 4


An absolutely amazing true story -- one that may be hard to believe for anyone born after 1970 -- but an important piece of U.S. history and a must-read for anyone who believes in fairness and justice. Parts of this book may seem unlikely or even naive to the 21st century reader, but it's all true, and we dare not forget what our society has (hopefully) overcome in the last half century.


Black Water
Black Water
Author: T. Jefferson Parker
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 10/23/2011


Good story, likeable characters. Really, really hard to put this one down. It kept me up until 4:00 a.m.


The Body Farm  (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 5)
The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 5)
Author: Patricia Cornwell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 688
Review Date: 10/22/2010


My first Patricia Cornwell book, and I couldn't put it down. A smart writer, with layers of allusions and occasional homage to real-life artists and scientists, Cornwell is a master of the genre. A real page-turner! Don't start this book on a work night!


The Book of Questions
The Book of Questions
Author: Gregory Stock
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 124
Review Date: 5/27/2006
Helpful Score: 1


A little treasure. What a great conversation starter!


The Border Lords (Charlie Hood, Bk 4)
The Border Lords (Charlie Hood, Bk 4)
Author: T. Jefferson Parker
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 9/25/2011


This was my first novel by TJP and I had a hard time putting it down. I willingly suspended my disbelief and went along for the ride with these characters, whom I found very creatively and succinctly developed. Most of the main players are nice people with flaws, just like we meet every day, only in more flamboyant circumstances. If you've never read a Parker novel, I recommend this one -- and if Parker fans are disappointed in this one (as some reviews indicate), I can hardly wait to read more! Granted, this isn't "War and Peace," but it's smart and well-written, and even if there is a little excess testosterone in the story, the novel is a superb diversion on a rainy weekend.


Business Class: The Power of Personal Presence
Business Class: The Power of Personal Presence
Author: Beth Stein
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/5/2017


While geared toward men who want to create a positive and powerful presence in the business and social world, this spectacular volume (with equally stunning photographs) contains a wealth of critical information for anyone of ANY gender who wants to interact with gentility and grace. Some of the information is pure common sense, but we all know how little of THAT there is around us these days. An absolute must-have book, if style and manners mean anything at all to you. This book as much about making OTHER people comfortable as it is about developing your own style and personal presence. Emily Post for the 21st century.


Can We Live 150 Years? : Your Body Maintenance Handbook
Can We Live 150 Years? : Your Body Maintenance Handbook
Author: Ph.D., Mikhail Tombak
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 10/19/2011


This book came highly recommended as being superior to those of such nutrition and health gurus as Deepak Chopra and Peter d'Adamo. And in truth, the information presented is fascinating. A lot is common sense, and a lot more is proven by years of study when Dr. Tombak was the head of the Center for Health Sciences in Moscow. Unfortunately, the text was translated either so quickly or so poorly (or a combination of both) that the cumbersome and awkward language is a constant distraction. If it is possible to read with a strong Eastern European accent, this book will make it happen. The simplest grammar rules are disregarded completely, and the translator confuses words such as "lose" and "loose" on a regular basis. (In fact, the cover even boasts a section on "How to Loose Weight!") Dr. Tombak seems to have a wonderful, conversational tone to his writing that peeks through the bad translation every now and then. I'd love to read a better version of this book, as I think I could embrace the information more readily if only it were presented more effectively.


The Cat Who Blew the Whistle (Cat Who...Bk 17)
The Cat Who Blew the Whistle (Cat Who...Bk 17)
Author: Lilian Jackson Braun
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 167
Review Date: 4/3/2008


Braun's cat books are always great fun, and this one is no exception. A rollicking good read, and you'll learn a bit about steam trains!


The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell (Cat Who...Bk 28)
The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell (Cat Who...Bk 28)
Author: Lilian Jackson Braun
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 143
Review Date: 2/21/2011


If you were to miss one of the "Cat Who..." books, this would be the one to miss. Braun leaves a few holes in this story, and the book reads more like a childrens' book than the others.


A Choice of Crimes (Vic Varallo, Bk 10)
A Choice of Crimes (Vic Varallo, Bk 10)
Author: Lesley Egan
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/30/2011


A little shocking to read this book in 2011 -- it's really hard to believe that only a little over 30 years ago, a high-ranking "female detective" was still expected to type the reports for her male compatriots. Unabashed racism and gender bias abounds and the story, by today's standards, is lame and predictable. A victim of its time. I don't remember things being this prehistoric in 1980, but am grateful that this sort of behaviour shocks us today. Shudder.


Cooking with beer (Adventures in cooking series)
Review Date: 6/10/2006


Lots of fun recipes with everyone's favorite leavening ingredient!


Decorating for the Holidays
Decorating for the Holidays
Author: Valerie Parr Hill, Mary Caldwell
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/19/2011


As Martha Stewart's biggest fan, I really didn't think any author could write about decorating for the holidays and hold a candle to Saint Martha... but Valerie Parr Hill comes close. Her tips are for people who love Martha Stewart but don't have time to be the Queen. The book is filled with quick, easy, elegant ideas for making your house look like someone with all the time in the world celebrates there! This is a book you'll turn to time and again, even if only for the photographs, which are spectacular. It's definitely a "feel-good" read!


Doctor Sleep (Shining, Bk 2)
Doctor Sleep (Shining, Bk 2)
Author: Stephen King
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 103
Review Date: 10/4/2013
Helpful Score: 7


Heh heh heh... I hardly EVER give ANYTHING five stars, but this book earned every one. The story had me from the first page, and kept drawing me in more and more. I don't want to put ANY spoilers in this review, but it's an excellent sequel to The Shining. Literary allusions are there if you want them, if you would rather gloss over those sorts of things, fine -- King doesn't hit his readers over the head with how well-read he is. Same with cultural literacy. It's an extra layer, but the book makes sense without it. Probably critics 150 years from now will write masters theses about all the allusions, though! Things come full circle in the story, and the book is so very hard to put down. Don't start on a work night.


Dr. Atkins' New Carbohydrate Gram Counter
Dr. Atkins' New Carbohydrate Gram Counter
Author: Robert C. Atkins
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 5/26/2006


Nice compact little reference book!


Eat Smart, Think Smart: How to Use Nutrients and Supplements to Achieve Maximum Mental and Physical Performance
Review Date: 10/27/2006


Great advice that works!


The Employee Handbook for Organizational Change
The Employee Handbook for Organizational Change
Author: Price Pritchett, Ron Pound
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/8/2006


Lots of good information in a small package!


Fresh Ways With Italian Cooking
Fresh Ways With Italian Cooking
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 5/27/2006


Tantalizing recipes from the kitchens of Italy!


Games People Play
Games People Play
Author: Eric Berne MD
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 6/1/2006


A classic in the psychology of human relationships, as relevant today as when it was written 40 years ago.


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