Reviews - Steven K. (sjk54)

1 to 20 of 106 - Page:
21: Bringing Down the House - Movie Tie-In: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
Review Date: 5/17/2008
2 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Fun. A vicarious look at how a few students took some clever ideas and strategies for gaining an edge on the casinos and evolved it into a high roller lifestyle and enterprise.

The book focuses mainly on the dramatic events (big wins / losses, team turmoil, brushes with casino security) and doesn't go very deeply into the mathematical strategy the players used. I left thinking there had to be more to it than what was presented as the casinos seemed too oblivious to the brazenness of the students.

4 stars out of 5"


Angels Flight (Harry Bosch, Bk 6)
Angels Flight (Harry Bosch, Bk 6)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 9/6/2008
2 member(s) found this review helpful.


"The Harry Bosch formula seems to be:
- Start with a simple murder
- Layer in Harry's struggling (and often unrelated) personal relationships
- Throw in serious conflict between Harry and his police department superiors
- Complicate the murder threefold
- Tie it all together and package it up with a clever climax

Works for me.

3.5 stars out of 5"


The Appeal
The Appeal
Author: John Grisham
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 419
Review Date: 6/22/2008
2 member(s) found this review helpful.


"This book starts as a novel and turns into a soapbox. Very readable and entertaining, but there comes a point in this book where you get pulled out of the make believe story and back into reality. A very contrived climax was very disappointing after a page-turning build-up.

3 stars out of 5"


The Arraignment
The Arraignment
Author: Steve Martini
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 57
Review Date: 7/12/2009
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Entertaining but forgettable. Part legal, part mystery, part thriller.

2.5 stars out of 5"


Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged
Author: Ayn Rand
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 126
Review Date: 8/26/2007
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"My favorite book. Love the characters, premise, and the many different story lines.

5 stars out of 5"


Back Spin (Myron Bolitar, Bk 4)
Back Spin (Myron Bolitar, Bk 4)
Author: Harlan Coben
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 252
Review Date: 6/25/2009


"Average Myron Bolitar tale set at the US Open. Good dialogue, fine story, plenty of fun at golfers' expense.

3 stars out of 5"


Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher, Bk 11)
Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher, Bk 11)
Author: Lee Child
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 209
Review Date: 4/8/2008
2 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Farfetched and fun. A book you enjoy but don't quite know why when looking back on it. Lee Child's plots and the antics of Jack Reacher seem to grow more over the top with each novel.

3 stars out of 5"


Being Dead
Being Dead
Author: Jim Crace
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 53
Review Date: 5/11/2008


"This book starts with the sudden death of a couple and then alternates chapters moving backwards and forwards in time to show the chain of events that led to their death, and the final evolution of their bodies.

Primarily, it is a love story; it is not a drama or mystery. Poetic. Very biological (a lot of time is spent throughout the book on decomposition).

Great writing, but I didn't care for it.

2 stars out of 5"


The Black Echo (Harry Bosch, Bk 1)
The Black Echo (Harry Bosch, Bk 1)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 292
Review Date: 2/10/2008
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"My first Harry Bosch novel. Good detective story that starts small and slowly builds into a complex caper. I liked the book, but Harry hasn't won me over yet. I'll suspend judgment until I read Black Ice.

3.5 stars out of 5"


The Black Ice (Harry Bosch, Bk 2)
The Black Ice (Harry Bosch, Bk 2)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 124
Review Date: 4/28/2008
3 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Starts small and then slowly introduces the complications, complexities and angles. Then piece by piece it unravels those complexities and puts them together into a dramatic conclusion. A good, clever detective novel.

3.5 stars out of 5"


Black Orchids  (Nero Wolfe, Bk 9)
Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe, Bk 9)
Author: Rex Stout
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 5/30/2008
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Classic whodunit. 2 relatively short detective stories - sort of like Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle in that the plots center around the mystery, the clues, the cleverness and personality of the detectives.

This was my first Rex Stout. I think you may have to read a few of them to get accustomed to the peculiarities of the characters and really enjoy it.

2.5 stars out of 5"


The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 1/22/2009
7 member(s) found this review helpful.


"A tough read more suited to the intellectual than the casual reader. Taleb is far more academic (although he scorns academia) than the more entertaining and storytelling Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point)

There are certainly a few nuggets to be found throughout and the premise is memorable, but the diatribe against the Gaussian bell curve is brutally tedious and Taleb writes in a first person style that can come across as self-serving or patronizing.

It was a real chore to make it through.

2 stars out of 5"


Blood Work (Terry McCaleb, Bk 1)
Blood Work (Terry McCaleb, Bk 1)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: School Library Binding
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 8/21/2008
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Connelly's books seem to follow a pattern: start simple and then layer on complications, twists, clues, and complexity. In Bloodwork, it starts as a spontaneous robbery homicide and evolves into an intricate pursuit of a serial killer.

Great read and one of his best novels.

4 stars out of 5"


The Bone Collector (Lincoln Rhyme, Bk 1)
The Bone Collector (Lincoln Rhyme, Bk 1)
Author: Jeffery Deaver
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 362
Review Date: 6/20/2008
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Thrilling but forced. A third of this book is suspenseful and chilling. A third of this book is somewhat tedious crime scene analysis. And a third of this book covers the strange relationship of a paraplegic and a cop.

2.5 stars out of 5"


The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 916
Review Date: 3/15/2009
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"This book falls into that rare category of good literature combined with a good read.
Set in Germany during WWII, this novel is about an adopted girl (Liesel) growing up in a small town amid the poverty and propaganda of the war. While there are themes of war, survival, and Jewish compassion this book is really about the relationships Liesel forms with her friend, father, townsfolk, and Jewish protectee.

This book is narrated by a very compassionate Grim Reaper who keeps tabs on Liesel amid collecting the souls of the fallen. This adds a very unique element to the book without detracting from the seriousness of the novel.

4 stars out of 5"


The Bourne Legacy (Bourne, Bk 4)
The Bourne Legacy (Bourne, Bk 4)
Author: Eric Van Lustbader
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 177
Review Date: 10/27/2007
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"On its own, this book is a solid thriller. But when compared to the original trilogy written by Robert Ludlum, it begins to pale. The main character, Jason Bourne, just doesn't feel the same; he's less super human and more dependent on others.

2.5 stars out of 5"


The Brass Verdict (Mickey Haller, Bk 2)
The Brass Verdict (Mickey Haller, Bk 2)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 203
Review Date: 7/3/2009
2 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Connelly shifts from the police department to the courtroom in this follow-up to The Lincoln Lawyer featuring Mickey Haller with plenty of Harry Bosch moments thrown in. A lot of fun for those who have read many in the Connelly series and now get to see these two protagonists intersect. Strong plot but not as clever as The Lincoln Lawyer.

3.5 stars out of 5."


The Broker
The Broker
Author: John Grisham
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 968
Review Date: 11/7/2008
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Not all that. This book sets up as a "Good guy with lots of secrets on the run from the bad guys" and just fizzles. There's not much in the way of action, twists, or plot wrap-up. Way too much focus on Italy and learning the Italian language.

2 stars out of 5"


By the Rivers of Babylon
By the Rivers of Babylon
Author: Nelson DeMille
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 113
Review Date: 9/21/2008


"Solid thriller about a hijack attempt that evolves into a ground siege pitting terrorists against civilians in a military-style stand-off.

More similar to Demille's Cathedral than to his recent novels.

3 stars out of 5"


Category 7
Category 7
Author: Marianna Jameson, Bill Evans
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 44
Review Date: 10/23/2008
4 member(s) found this review helpful.


"A little disappointing. In the author's note, Bill Evans talks about New York City's vulnerability to a hurricane and how he had hoped to write a scientific book about the potential impact. He was instead encouraged to write a novel.

I was expecting a story about heroism, tragedy, survivors and recovery. Instead, this book is about a terrorist engaged in "weather manipulation" to create a storm while the CIA and a few meteorologists try to decipher and thwart it.

I think I would have liked the scientific study better.

2 stars out of 5"


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