Dianne (gardngal) - Reviews

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About Grace
About Grace
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 3/16/2018


This book is about a man who, even as a young boy, could dream of the future and then watch it happen minutes, hours or days later. It was never a good event, always something horrible tragic. As an adult, he has repeated dreams that he is the one responsible for his daughter's death. To avoid this fate, he escapes to another country, another life. It has become tedious at this point, with the same recurring dream. It made me depressed. D.


Across Open Ground
Across Open Ground
Author: Heather Parkinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 10/28/2017


This book had a lot of promise. It had to be written on a computer, which can recognize misspellings but not incorrect word usage. Where are the editors? Where are the proof readers? If you are an avid reader, sentences like "Their was something so fragile about her..." and "Their was a sweetness between them..." or "They could here the sounds..." (there, hear) are almost offensive. The plot dragged through most of the book, but I stuck with it, eager to see the lovers reunited in the end. Instead of a sweet reunion, it was written like a dream sequence with lots of pointless words and run-on sentences that made NO sense to the plot. BIG disappointment! At one point,the main character shoots and kills a man in cold blood, but we never know who it was or why he did it. I cannot recommend this book, nor would I read another one from this author. D.


Agent 6 (Leo Demidov, Bk 3)
Agent 6 (Leo Demidov, Bk 3)
Author: Tom Rob Smith
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 11/8/2013


It is time for Leo Demidov to retire, and go away. This is the third and highly anticipated book in the Demidov series. The first two were incredibly tense, dealing with the Cold War period of the USSR. This was told in more recent times, i.e. the war in Afghanistan. Because it is now familiar to us as a current event, it is much less tense. Because he is in a foreign country, it is less mysterious. Leo becomes an opium addict after the sudden loss of his wife in NYC. He is forbidden to go to America to solve her murder. Instead, it takes well over 400 pages of effort and war to get through. Many chapters felt irrelevant and could have been left out entirely. I agree with the previous reviewer: this book was too long and too slow to get to the point. Will still look forward to reading this author, however. His prose is smooth and descriptions thorough. You feel as if you are right there with the characters. Hope he can now move on to new territory and leave the Soviets completely. Just sayin'. D.


The Alchemist
The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho, Alan R. Clarke (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 749
Review Date: 4/8/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This is a gentle and surprisingly modern parable about a young man who seeks his personal destiny. He learns about life with each day he gets closer to his goal. With every experience he is taught some truth about life. An easy read, but also one that provokes thought. D.


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 232
Review Date: 7/24/2016


The story is based during WWII with the focus on the French Occupation and the liberation of France. It follows several young lives from early childhood, and how they are changed forever by war. Beautifully written - indescribably sad. D.


American Gods
American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 968
Review Date: 1/27/2010


A strange book. Very, very strange. Hard to get into, even harder to describe. Yet I came away from it with a deep sense of satisfaction. The writing was excellent, the story very descriptive and detailed. Full of American icons, i.e. fast food. Suspend all belief in reality and let the plot wash over you. D.


An Occasion of Sin
An Occasion of Sin
Author: Andrew M. Greeley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 10/10/2016


It baffles me how this book earned more than 4 stars! I found it really boring. The only reason I continued to read it to the end was because I thought I was maybe missing something that would make it exceptional in later chapters. NOT so! An okay read at best. D.


And the Mountains Echoed
And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 9/28/2015


As usual with this author, this was a sad, sad tale. At times difficult to follow, when he switches to completely different characters without transition, and you are left to keep reading to find out who the narrator is this time. However, each character is thoroughly covered by telling his own side of the events for the time frame, and eventually the facts of their lives are rounded out. D.


The Apothecary Rose (Owen Archer, Bk 1)
The Apothecary Rose (Owen Archer, Bk 1)
Author: Candace Robb
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 6/13/2010


Meet Owen Archer, possibly the world's first undercover cop. Long before DNA, before "caught on tape", even before fingerprints, Owen Archer is asked by the Archbishop to investigate two suspicious deaths at the abbey outside the town of York. It is the fourteenth century, and all he can rely on is questions, reactions, and deductions. He must pretend he needs employment, and becomes an apprentice under Lucie Wilton, who runs her husband's apothacary during his illness, and is herself an apprentice. What really happened at the abbey? Why is Master Wilton so ill? Who was the pilgrim who died first? What really happened to the Summonor? All the characters are well fleshed out and the intrigue continues right to the end...great Medieval mystery! D. (gardngal)


The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Author: Jan-Philipp Sendker, Kevin Wiliarty (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 4/1/2014


The main characters become a legend for their lifelong love of each other. Fate has kept them separated until the very end of their lives. A beautiful story, one to cherish! D.


Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries
Review Date: 8/15/2011
Helpful Score: 1


This author can make the history of medicine read like a great novel. You can't help but empathize with the patients who are the people she writes about, and their doctors who struggled to help them in light of a brand new, unknown affliction. The symptoms that are manifested AFTER a person recovered from sleeping sickness are incredibly bizarre. To this day, it is not known what caused this epidemic, nor what might cure it.
Truly a forgotten disease, she wrote this book based on her observatitons of her grandmother, who contracted it as a teenager. Thoroughly researched, it is told on a case by case basis. A fascinating, easy read and a great follow up to "American Plague" by the same author.


Beatrice and Virgil
Beatrice and Virgil
Author: Yann Martel
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 37
Review Date: 5/22/2010
Helpful Score: 6


Unlike another reviewer, I did not like this book. Initially I was very excited to read another book by this author, having just finished The Life of Pi, and even bought it new. It was a big disapointment. Perhaps it should be read with a group in a book club and discussed as it proceeds. It was hard to get into, and plodded along without much action so that it was tedious to read. The main character, Henry, meets a taxidermist who has written a play. It consists of the conversation between two animals. It is a parable of sorts for the Holocoust. This author seems to use animals in his books to portray his ideas. Then towards the ending, he describes severe, horrendous torture of one of the animals so graphically that it sickened me. If you are sensitive about the suffering of animals or graphic violence, do not read this book. Just my opinion.


Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep
Author: S. J. Watson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 193
Review Date: 3/12/2013


Loved this book!!! Tense, psycological thriller that kept me up until 3 AM to finish it. Sincerely hope this author writes more - I checked and this is her only book - :( It is creepy, scary and wonderful. D.


Before We Were Yours: A Novel
Before We Were Yours: A Novel
Author: Lisa Wingate
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 77
Review Date: 10/7/2018


Written as an intriguing mystery, and based on actual history, this novel rates five++ stars. It is the heart wrenching story of the Tennessee Children's Home Society and the powerful woman who ran it. It was hard to put down as the narration switches back and forth between a modern day woman digging into her family's past, and one of the victims whose entire life was altered by unforgivable events. Georgia Tann kidnapped numerous children from the indigent and ignorant families she met, by false and criminal means, and became rich while securing their "adoptions" for money. A tragic story about real people. D.


The Beguiled: A Novel (Movie Tie-In)
The Beguiled: A Novel (Movie Tie-In)
Author: Thomas Cullinan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/31/2018


A group of girls in a private school during the Civil War help an injured soldier. Each character tells a part of the story from her own perspective. The book is well written and a good plot. The stylized prose of the period, with it's unfamiliar stiffness and formality made it slow for me to get through. After just a few pages, I was the one who was "beguiled"...it put me to sleep every time. It took more than 125 pages to finally get moving, past all the discussion. I liked it, but couldn't recommend it. D.


Behind Closed Doors
Behind Closed Doors
Author: B. A. Paris
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 43
Review Date: 12/8/2017


Excellent! Riveting - and very, very clever. Be prepared to stay up late... D.


The Bell Messenger
The Bell Messenger
Author: Alton Gansky, Robert Cornuke
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 10/30/2009


Easy to read and easy to follow the characters. This book reminded me of People of the Book, in which an ancient Hebrew manuscript is preserved throughout the centuries, but this is about a Bible. A dying Confederate soldier gives the book to the man who shot him on the last day of the Civil War. This Bible then travels from Pennsylvania to the Gold Rush in Californina, to Egypt, to Belgium and beyond. Each of the people entrusted with it are to "save lives and give life" as predicted by the first person. How each fulfills that prophesy before passing the book to the next person is a fascinating tale. The plot moves along smoothly. It is not difficult to follow the characters, as they all are connected by this particular Bible. Excellent story, excellent writing! I really enjoyed this book. D.


The Bible Jesus Read
The Bible Jesus Read
Author: Philip Yancey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/23/2013


This is an excellent look at the Old Testament, a part of the Bible that is not easily understood even by the author. He studied it extensively and came to conclusions that make it easier to relate to from our modern perspective. He reduces certain books to their simple solid form and explains how they can be meaningful to us and how they relate to our belief in God.


The Bird's Nest
The Bird's Nest
Author: Shirley Jackson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/20/2009


Like The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil, The Bird's Nest is about the many hidden personalities in the mind of a young woman. Unlike those stories, which are told from the perspective of the therapist who discovers the condition of the patient, this one is told from the perspective of the many characters who people the book, not only the personalities themselves, but including the treating doctor and the aunt. How the personalities force the girl to behave, think and act while they are "in charge" makes for very fascinating reading. A fast and excellent read - very good, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Bittersweet: A Novel
Bittersweet: A Novel
Author: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 9/8/2016


Great book for 'tweens and teens! D.


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