Tiffany K. (tiffanyak) - , - Reviews

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12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave
Author: Solomon Northup
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/1/2015


This is an extremely powerful and heart-wrenching book. If you're familiar with the movie, you know the story already. The book just has more to it, such as details of the workings of various plantation elements, how holidays were celebrated in slavery, and lots more really interesting stuff. His story is hugely impactful, and the details he gives are plentiful. It can be very disturbing at times, as it does contain a lot of violent scenes in depictions of how slaves were treated, but it is well worth reading, even if you have seen the movie already.


365 Simple Science Experiments (with Everyday Materials)
365 Simple Science Experiments (with Everyday Materials)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 2/3/2009


This is a good book for parents to use along with their elementary school aged kids. It does a pretty good job of compiling a good selection of simple experiments that teach basic scientific principles. I remember I used to love it when I was in school. It taught me a lot about science. From the front: "Easy-to-do, remarkable, magical projects including -a bubble blower -a bottle barometer -your very own rainbow -invisible ink -a directional compass -a string grandfather clock -Dracula's favorite soap -rock candy -canned laughter And master the arts and skills of -the egg in the bottle trick -pulley power -an air polution test, and 353 more!"


365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do with Your Child
365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do with Your Child
Author: Steve Bennett, Ruth Bennett
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 40
Review Date: 2/3/2009
Helpful Score: 6


I remember my mother getting this book when I was in pre-school, to give her some ideas of activities to do with me and my Kindergarten aged brother. It has some very imaginative ideas, which little kids are virtually guaranteed to enjoy. Of course, they'll grow out of it eventually, but in the meantime it's well worth looking at.


The Abortionist's Daughter
The Abortionist's Daughter
Author: Elisabeth Hyde
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 68
Review Date: 6/27/2010


It's pretty good, but definitely not great. I saw the end coming almost since the beginning, which kinda sucks. But, I did finish it, which says something.


Afraid
Afraid
Author: Jack Kilborn
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 115
Review Date: 5/28/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Small towns have long been a main source for horror fare, for logical reason, and this book is no exception. The small town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin is anything but a safe haven when a helicopter crash unleashes something terrifying on the unsuspecting residents. For anyone who has ever lived in a small, isolated, one road in and out town, this book will definitely strike a chord. From man's depravity and greed, to the will to survive unspeakable horror, this book runs the full range of human nature, and does so quite well.

This is quite a good read, though a bit graphic in the violence department. I found it to actually be a rather gripping tale. Though a sensitive person may be disturbed by the violence (think a 'Saw' movie in book form), it is otherwise a title I would strongly recommend to any horror/thriller fans out there. With believable characters, a realistic storyline (it hasn't happened in real life, but you can easily imagine that it could), and just enough terror to be haunting, it is a good read in the genre. Overall, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. But for the genre, it ranks a solid 4/5.


After Dark (Vamps, Bk 3)
After Dark (Vamps, Bk 3)
Author: Nancy A. Collins
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 11/24/2009


This review is coming from someone who did NOT read the previous volumes in the series:

I picked this book up on a whim when several of my friends were reading, or wanting to read, the series. I wanted to know what it was all about, and this was the first one I found, so I figured I'd give it a try.

First of all, I had no problem figuring out what was going on. I may not know every detail, but I had no trouble following the story. So, don't think you absolutely have to start with the first book in order to read anything from this series. The book does a great job of repeating all the important details you need to know.

I found most of the characters to be every bit the stuck-up, entitled, self-absorbed, and shallow brats that the book description basically promised they'd be. The whole concept of vampire teenagers with the same extreme attitude issues as stereotypical rich human teenagers is simultaneously genius and hilarious. I particularly enjoyed the comeback Lilith was able to make to her father: "When YOU were MY age, Beethoven was rocking the charts." So, even if I was skeptical at first, I can honestly say that this was a fun book to read. I may even go on the wishlist for the previous ones so I can read them. And as for the next one? Well, I must admit, I AM curious about what happens.


After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse
After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse
Author: Charlaine Harris
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.1/5 Stars.
 71
Review Date: 1/26/2014


First of all, I will start by saying that I am extremely tolerant when it comes to this series. While others got disappointed by previous volumes or were upset by developments, I just rolled with it and still had fun with them. But, this book is a travesty and should never have been published. Not only is it a waste of time and space, with continuity errors, many blank pages and pages comprising of just decoration or only a few sentences (or less), and downright depressing made-up ends for a majority of the characters, but it doesn't even feel as though the author was taking it seriously. It feels as though the publishers wanted to do a grab for more money with one more book, so she just shrugged and tried to throw something together for each character and what happened to them after the series. Whether this is the truth of how the book happened or not, it should never feel as though the author doesn't even care what they're writing. All of the books in this series are on my keeper shelf, but this one I'll be getting rid of ASAP. It just isn't worth it. At all. If you feel you must read it, please do yourself a favor and get it from a library or borrow it from someone. You'll thank me later. Besides, with how little content there is here, even the slowest of readers will be done with it in no time, so you really could just sit down with it and not even bother taking it home.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll, John Tenniel (Illustrator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 2/15/2013


The edition I read was actually an online version with the same illustrations and everything. It is a rather fun book, and is certainly far deeper than the "children's book" that it is depicted to be on its surface. I wouldn't say I loved it, but it was certainly worth finally reading the book behind a story I have heard so much about. The language twists alone made it well worth it, as there is definitely a lot of creativity there.


The Alison Rules
The Alison Rules
Author: Catherine Clark
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 9/24/2010


This is a pretty decent young adult book. Not great, but it has a pretty good story.


All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, Bk 7)
All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, Bk 7)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 1743
Review Date: 5/20/2012


It's more of the same, except a bit more predictable than some of the previous ones. I saw the ending coming a mile away. But, it's like crack in a book form. I can't put them down once I get into them. So, I have no choice but to give it five stars. If you've liked the series thus far, you'll like this one too. If you haven't, you probably wouldn't be on this page. So, this review probably won't mean much, but there you have it.


American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
Review Date: 7/30/2016


While some of the content of Chris Kyle's memoir is interesting, you can tell he is not a writer, essentially leading his co-author to make it readable. As a book, it is essentially written in choppy fragments, and, if you look up the history, it also becomes hard to rely on anything the book says to be the truth given the known lies of the author, also somewhat harming it as a text. In other words, it is simply not good as a book in general, with, in this case, a far superior movie adaptation available as well. That said, it is not without redeeming value, as there are elements about the view of the war and everything else that ring true, and the co-author did make it work as a reasonably cohesive narrative to allow a reader to gain these insights.


An Ordinary Man : An Autobiography
An Ordinary Man : An Autobiography
Author: Paul Rusesabagina, Tom Zoellner
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 5/20/2012
Helpful Score: 2


An incredible Autobiography written by the man who inspired the movie 'Hotel Rwanda'. Often sad, incredibly tragic, but also full of hope that even in the darkest of times, there are people that hold on to the basic human decency that tells them to protect their fellow human beings, not harm them. I found this book to be engrossing while simultaneously being horrifying. The author describes events during the genocide with an almost casual air at times, as though watching your neighbors hack your other neighbors apart with a machete is something you just become used to. But, there's also a undercurrent of terror there, as though even after almost becoming numb to it, it's still so terrible to remember that he tries not to. All of this is perfectly understandable. After all, it's the most basic of all human survival skills. You adjust to your situation in order to cope, and simply block out things that are too painful to remember or live with.

The wisdom present in this book is profound. You can definitely take lessons about life from someone who survived one of the worst situations imaginable. Such as when he talks about his decision to stay behind during the partial evacuation of the hotel, even though he could have gotten out, because he knew there'd be nobody left to try to protect those staying behind, and he couldn't live with himself if they were harmed or killed because he cared more about himself. Or, when they come for a man that wasn't much liked because he had just recently been released from prison for beating someone to death, and who is high on the kill list for having three sons fighting with the Tutsi rebel army, and he basically says to him "Let me go out there. Let them kill me so all of you can live." Then the author writes 'There is no crime a man can commit that makes him deserving of death.' It is a type of everyday wisdom that I suppose can only really come when you live through the kind of horror that he did, which puts everything in perspective.

Whether writing about the heroic or the horrible, the everyday or the extraordinary, perhaps the greatest thing about this book is that it's written with a great sense of humility. Paul Rusesabagina would tell you (and does, repeatedly) that he didn't do anything extraordinary. That all he and others like him did was remain human in an inhuman time, but the fact is that he doesn't truly realize how extraordinary that is. To go against the storm, to whisper 'no' when everyone else is screaming 'yes', takes a strength that is to be envied and respected. He is a hotel manager. He did his job, and he did it well. But, more than that, he's a hero, whether he realizes it or not. I don't know whether I'd have the strength to do what he did, but I can only hope that whenever a storm comes, there will always be people like him to help make sure that at least some survive it.


Angle of Repose
Angle of Repose
Author: Wallace Stegner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 3/9/2014
Helpful Score: 1


On the plus side, this is a well-constructed generational novel of great depth and an extremely ambitious set-up. There are extremely compelling story elements and a historical aspect that is vividly depicted. The downside is that there are few characters that I was able to really like, and those that I did were minor figures in the narrative. In addition to that, it really is largely a rip-off of a very real life story. The dream sequence is extremely irritating (you'll know what I mean if you read it), and the book doesn't exactly come to a complete conclusion. In the end, the writing warrants four stars, but it is not a book I could say I love. That being said, it did win the Pulitzer, so is a fairly important contribution to literature.


Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions)
Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions)
Author: Sophocles
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 43
Review Date: 10/29/2013


I actually read an online version of this text provided by my teacher as part of my Introduction to Drama course, so this is not the same translation I'm writing about, but is the same work. While I cannot be sure about this exact translation, I do know that the play itself is an excellent example of ancient Greek tragedy. Even more striking is the strong role given to the female lead, especially at that time in history. It offers a great historical perspective in general. If you are interested in drama at all, it is almost certainly a good idea to read some of the earliest examples, including this one. There are lots of good translations online, as well as in collections of dramas from ancient Greece and elsewhere, in addition to the stand-alone versions. In good translations, such as the one I was provided with, it is easy to read and follow, so there's no reason not to give it a shot. As someone who has read many ancient Greek dramas from several different genres, it's certainly one that I highly recommend.


The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
Author: John Gardner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 1/1/2015


There is some stuff in this book that is quite good and compelling, but it is ultimately soured a bit by the fact that Gardner is rather convinced of his own genius. By this I mean, he's quite full of himself. This makes it a very annoying and even infuriating book to read at points, though there is much reward to be found in sticking it out. I recommend reading this one over a span of time, in pieces, rather than in one sitting, to allow time to really reflect on what you wish to take from it, as well as to be able to plow through the tougher parts.


The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Author: Malcolm X, Alex Haley
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 138
Review Date: 5/1/2015


This book is pretty much everything that you expect it to be, and nothing that you expect it to be. It is a story of massive transformation in the very heart of a man, and opens a door to history in truly unexpected ways. I had a whole new respect for Malcolm X when I finished reading.


Bar Code Rebellion (Bar Code, Bk 2)
Bar Code Rebellion (Bar Code, Bk 2)
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 42
Review Date: 4/27/2010


Though the ending comes way too fast, this is a fitting conclusion to the two book series. If you enjoyed 'The Bar Code Tattoo', you'll enjoy this one as well. There are many of the same characters, much of the same issues, and the same and new science. It does well concluding the story began in the first volume.


The Bar Code Tattoo (Bar Code, Bk 1)
The Bar Code Tattoo (Bar Code, Bk 1)
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 116
Review Date: 10/16/2009
Helpful Score: 3


There are some inconsistences that detract slightly from the story, but overall it's a fast and enjoyable read. In a not-too-distant future, a law is enacted forcing all citizens to get a bar code tattoo on their seventeenth birthday. The bar code contains your whole identity, tracks your every move, and can either make your life better or destroy your future. Kayla Reed doesn't want the tattoo. She knows something is wrong with it. So, she's forced to run. But, how can she have a future without the tattoo?

In a world with trackable credit cards, licenses with bar codes, eye scanners, and talk about identity chips, this book is all too believable. While reading it, one can only hope that our desire for 'security' never convinces us to allow the government this extreme level of control, while being simultaneously aware that we are growing ever nearer to this point every day.


The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Bk 4)
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Bk 4)
Author: Rick Riordan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 225
Review Date: 5/20/2012


An awesome book! Just as good as the previous volumes. I'll definitely be starting the final book in the series right away. If you enjoy the series, then you definitely need to read this one as well!


The Beach House
The Beach House
Author: Jane Green
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 213
Review Date: 4/19/2010


It's a pretty good summer read with a fairly decent storyline. Not great, but also very easy to just sit back and relax with. Nothing violent, complicated, or sexual, it doesn't require much concentration, which makes it a good choice for many situations. Concentrating on the various events in multiple people's lives, and how those events end up bringing these complete strangers together and changing all their lives forever, it's a good read for the genre.


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