Reviews - Liz B. (contrarywise)

1 to 20 of 28 - Page:
The Blackheath Poisonings : A Victorian Murder Mystery
The Blackheath Poisonings : A Victorian Murder Mystery
Author: Julian Symons
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/20/2013
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Julian Symons knew the period he wrote about well. So this mystery is quite convincing in its portrayal of two linked Victorian households where a murder occurs. That was its main interest for me. Also, the man wrote intelligent and educated English, which is more than you can say for most mystery writers."


The Case of Sonia Wayward
The Case of Sonia Wayward
Author: Michael Innes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 7/12/2012
2 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Not a mystery, but a crime story, and one of Innes' very best. There is less of the learned comments of the professor and more of character and story and humor. Colonel Petticate, when his wife dies suddenly on their boat, decides to say she is abroad, and continue her series of best selling romance novels. In taking his first step into crime, he sets out on a path which will bring him one horrible shock after another. Although he is an unpleasant little man, he is not so unpleasant that you can't identify with him, at the same time feeling he deserves everything he gets. The book includes a fascinating vignette of Oxford upper-class bohemianism which Innes must have drawn from life. Not a page lags, vivid characters appear throughout. Five stars."


A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol.
Author: Charles Dickens
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/15/2014


"NOTE: for some reason this book is posted wrong....check my review for the correct book.

This is a quality edition of the Dicken's classic with Arthur Rackham's famous illustrations.

Personally, I think this short novel should be read aloud every Christmas. It never gets old, exemplifying the best of Dicken's genius. From the marvelous beginning ("Marley was dead...dead as a doornail. Though why a doornail should be more dead than anything else...") to the joyous ending, it exemplifies the spirit of the holiday."


Cold Comfort Farm
Cold Comfort Farm
Author: Stella Gibbons
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 9/11/2014


"Entertaining account of a sophisticated young lady from London, broke, who goes to live in the wilds of the country on a primitive farm with relatives who are scareely out of the stone age.

The farm and its inhabitants are a cheeky satire on a sort of portrayal of English rural types which was current back in the early 20th century. The old matriarch of the clan, for example,
never leaves her room, and dwells continually on something "nasty she saw in woodshed." Our heroine quickly sees that the old lady needs something more pleasant to dwell on, and catches her fancey with the latest fashion magazines. The young woman who gets pregnant every year, and considers it inevitable, is soon enlightened about birth control, and so on.

A classic of its genre, I recommend it to Anglophiles with a sense of humor.
\"


A Dance to the Music of Time
A Dance to the Music of Time
Author: Anthony Powell
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 1.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/3/2012


"BEWARE. The books are magnificent, but the cassettes are---shock horror--abridged! And even worse, they are not described as such. Only by looking at the actual cassettes in your hands will you learn this rather important piece of information. Beware!"


The Daughter of Time (Audio Editions Mystery Masters)
The Daughter of Time (Audio Editions Mystery Masters)
Author: Josephine Tey
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 2/15/2014


"A fine reading of the classic historical mystery about Richard III and the crimes attributed to him in Shakespeare's play and sir Thomas More's account.

As in her other novels, Tey has the ability to engage the reader's emotional partiality for her favorite characters, and dislike for her villains, who come to life in vivid colors. She could write circles around the other queens of classic crime, Sayers and Christie, though her plots, as she admitted herself, were not original."


David Brinkley
David Brinkley
Author: David Brinkley
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/1/2014


"A very enjoyable memoir by a witty, wise and very likable man. His story of the interview he and Chet Huntley did with the head of NASA leading up the the first moon shot was priceless."


Dead calm
Dead calm
Author: charles Williams
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/3/2012


"A sea story/thriller of the best kind...well written, and original. The ending is extraordinary, and especially interesting as showing a great knowledge of sailing, which even the land-locked can enjoy."


Death Among the Stars
Death Among the Stars
Author: Kenneth Giles
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 5/1/2014


"Inspector James and his bibulous Sergeant Honeybody track the killer at a London newspaper office. Giles'London is rife with corruption, squalid crime and crookedness. Giles was a journalist who knew whereof he wrote."


The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee, Bk 1)
The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee, Bk 1)
Author: John D. MacDonald
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 69
Review Date: 6/3/2012


"Like all the McGee books, this is a well-written adventure story. Warning: he tends to include some very unpleasant villains, whose doings I would rather not have had to read about. The author was also of his generation, that is to say, a considerable sexist. So be warned."


Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster
Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster
Author: Kristen Johnston
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/8/2013


"This is an account of the actress's growing up a misfit "weirdo" (she was 6 feet tall at age 12), her fall into drug addiction, and the horrendous disaster which led her finally to rehabilitation.
I had expected it to be about her acting career, and to be funny, so I was disappointed in my expectations. That said, she is unrestrainedly honest (spills her "Guts" in other words) and does not pull her punches. The language may offend some. I still admire her for her acting, and now for her willingness to tell the truth, however unflattering, about herself.

The writing style is that self-expressive, let-it-all-hang out, sort popular nowadays in the U.S.A., while I prefer writing which is more restrained, (classical). But that's just my personal taste---others may like her lack of restraint."


If You Could See What I Hear
If You Could See What I Hear
Author: Tom Sullivan and Derek Gill
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/22/2013
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"A vivid and frank account of an extraordinary and inspiring life, including photos. Raised in an Irish Catholic family near Boston, he was sent to a school for the blind at age seven, returning at weekends to his family. In those days, (the fifties), life for a blind kid was even harder than it needed to be.. He had athletic prowess, and refused to let his handicap prevent him from exploring the world and excelling at sports such as wrestling. His musical talents led him toward a career as a performancer, after college years which included ostracism at Harvard. But at Harvard he met the girl who would fill the emptiness in his heart, and bring him back to the values which his mother had instilled in him as a child."


Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded
Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded
Author: Mordecai Richler
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/12/2014
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Marvelous story of the little boy who is sent to the Children's Prison for "insulting behavior to grown-ups." The prison is run by the infamous ex-wrestler "The Hooded Fang," who is not exactly what he seems....This book will be enjoyed by children and adults alike; it is very funny and touching as well. However, I recommend the slightly abridged version recorded by Christpher Plummer which is a masterpiece (he does all the voices and is simply killing.) Jacob Two-two's siblings come to the rescue and the ending is quite exciting."


Loving / Living / Party Going
Loving / Living / Party Going
Author: Henry Green
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 5/2/2013


"I have read Loving and Party Going but not Living. As John Updike says in his introduction to the former book, Green is incomparable in bringing a feeling of real life to his novels. Loving is set during World War I in an Irish country house where the owner is away at the front and his wife is left behind with the servants. Party Going concerns a few people in a fog bound London on a particular night when travel is brought to a standstill due to the weather. Highly recommended to the sensitive reader of literature."


Lucky Jim (Penguin Classics)
Lucky Jim (Penguin Classics)
Author: Kingsley Amis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 6/3/2012


"I first read this when I was 18, was shocked at how much the "hero" hated so many people with, I thought, so little reason. As I got older I learned that some people just have a low threshold for irritation. The writing is brilliant, original and stunning. Amis scrutinizes his surroundings with a ferocity which reveals local color which no other novelist seems to even notice. His language is succinct, and quite devastating in its savagery.

The book contains some famously hilarious scenes, such as the description of a morning after, and the scene where his hero delivers a lecture drunk. But my favorite is the one where he takes a bus to the train station in hopes of seeing the girl he wants before she leaves town, and every imaginable delay drives him to distraction.

Note: To compare this book to Jane Austen is laughably wide of the mark, Nor is it "dry British humor.""


Madam, Will You Talk?
Madam, Will You Talk?
Author: Mary Stewart
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 10/15/2013


"This is Mary Stewart's first romantic suspense novel, and my favorite. The story and romance are more successful in Nine Coaches Waiting, but Madam Will You Talk is unique in its evocation of place: the south of France. The heroine and her friend, both English schoolteachers on holiday, arrive at their hotel, and Charity is immediately involved in a deadly plot when she befriends a young boy staying there with his stepmother. Another guest tells her that the boy's father has been tried for murder, and the boy and his stepmother are fleeing the dangerous father, who has been acquitted. Soon she is confronted with the father while taking the boy sight-seeing, and flees with the terrified boy. That is just the beginning of an exciting and surprising story.

The way Stewart makes the reader see, smell and taste the warm country of the south of France is nothing short of extraordinary,and her writing never surpassed what she did here."


The Man in the Queue (Audio Editions)
The Man in the Queue (Audio Editions)
Author: Josephine Tey
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 2/20/2014


"Tey's first novel, though not one of her best, is certainly worth the time. Inspector Grant hunts his suspect all the way to remote Scotland. However, the ending is not at all in the classic tradition, and it is a weakness in terms of plot."


The Man Who Lost His Wife
The Man Who Lost His Wife
Author: Julian Symons, Julian Symons
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/20/2013
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"A surprise ending that perhaps I should have guessed at, but didn't. More enjoyable that any of Symon's others, in my opinion. Recommended."


Maximum Bob
Maximum Bob
Author: Elmore Leonard
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 11/25/2012


"This was the first Leonard novel I read and it delighted me. Leonard is famous for his dialogue, which feels real, and often he can be very funny. I was particularly impressed with his grace in depicting sex and violence, which occur in moderate doses in his books. His characters tend to be criminals, some of them very scummy types, but he does not rub your face in gore and cruelty. Has a great ability to depict sort of red-neck hillbilly types with affection but without illusion. Good portrayal of cops as well."


Mr. Stephen
Mr. Stephen
Author: Terence De Vere White
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/3/2012


"Mr. Stephen is a very respected Dublin lawyer at the top of his profession. Suddenly a snake in the grass appears in his life--a blackmailer who is capable of ruining his reputation by telling about a small but legally problematic slip-up Mr Stephen has made.
The author writes elegantly and insightfully about his characters, with a subdued sense of humor and compassion. All his novels are very much recommended. Few write nowadays with such intelligence and wit, not to mention literary grace. The book has a different title in English and American editions, which is why I ended up with 2 copies. (The other title is The Minister for Justice.)"


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