Reviews - Constance E. (constance2u)

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The Angel of Darkness
The Angel of Darkness
Author: Caleb Carr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 286
Review Date: 10/15/2010


"The Alienist was definitely better. The characters in The Angel of Darkness are interesting enough, but they are rather flat. None of them have real dimension and stereotypes (as well as anti-stereotypes) rear their ugly heads. Additionally, the plot has serious credibility issues. Finally, the author's attempt at period dialect is awkward and inconsistent. That said, I finished it and was mildly entertained."


Blood Orchid (Holly Barker, Bk 3)
Blood Orchid (Holly Barker, Bk 3)
Author: Stuart Woods
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 56
Review Date: 8/10/2010


"Holly Barker, police chief of a small Florida town, is there when a new real estate developer in town is shot at by a sniper. Next a really cute FBI guy comes to town and she has a good time with him while shooters to the left and shooters to the right come after them. With the help of her trusty dog, Daisy, Holly goes after the bad guys. The plot is a little loose with a few holes here and there and pretty predictable after no more than half way in. The characters are not particularly well developed, but the ones who should be likable are, and the bad guys are painted with shades of gray instead of in black and white. Overall, it is an entertaining read that is not overly taxing."


Cathedral
Cathedral
Author: Nelson DeMille
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 121
Review Date: 6/13/2010


"A small faction of the IRA takes over St. Patrick's cathedral in NYC on St. Patrick's Day and threatens to blow it up along with the Cardinal and three other hostages. About halfway through the book, the major characters are finally fully limned. The action takes place over about 12 hours. After the first few chapters setting up the characters and scenario, the buildup to the last five or ten minutes when the final confrontation takes place is detailed and suspenseful. Those final 5-10 of the storyline, however, are total chaos, not just plotwise but narrativewise -- understandable in this kind of situation but something that cannot be forgiven by the reader. I had the choice of slowing down my reading pace so I could keep track of what was happening or maintaining the rhythm at the risk of losing detail. I'd say it's an above-average thriller, with DeMille still waiting to fulfill his potential."


City of Darkness, City of Light
City of Darkness, City of Light
Author: Marge Piercy
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 5/15/2011


"Depicting the French Revolution from the points of view of the shapers, the victims and those on the ground. Strong depictions of female sans culottes."


The Crimson Petal and the White
The Crimson Petal and the White
Author: Michel Faber
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 12/28/2009


"The plot is simple, taking place in Victorian England. Customer (William) meets whore (Sugar), wants her for himself, installs her in her own apartment, then moves her into his home as governess to his daughter. The interest is in the characters who move through this plot. His wife, his daughter, his brother, his brother's love, the maids and, most importantly, Sugar are mysteries to him. A series of mishaps simply highlight his increasing befuddlement until the final, logical denouement.

This book is extremely gritty with detailed descriptions of horrible sights and sounds, extremely malodorous odors (lots and lots of malodorous odors), an excessive amount of both animal and human feces, bodily functions of the most unpleasant kind and graphic, albeit unerotic, sex. However, I believe I only encountered a single word that could not be aired on broadcast television (the slang for feces)."


Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I
Author: Anne Somerset
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 5/15/2011


"Somerset makes Elizabeth a complex and compelling character. One of the best bios of her I've read."


Extreme Measures (Mitch Rapp, Bk 9)
Extreme Measures (Mitch Rapp, Bk 9)
Author: Vince Flynn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 119
Review Date: 5/15/2011


"Although we start at an Afghan airbase with Rapp torturing terrorists, he is stopped by the military and sent back to the US. A bunch of political wrangling ensues while a terrorist cell plots an attack on the US. After three DC restaurants are bombed, Rapp is turned loose and . . . you'll never guess what happens. Most of the action is confined to about 25 pages (in a 500 page book). The rest of it is a polemic against the US' treatment of terrorists."


Eye of the Beholder
Eye of the Beholder
Author: David Ellis
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 5/15/2011


"In 1985, Burgos killed six women, each method corresponding to a line in a song lyric, and was executed for it. Fifteen years later, it looks like the murders have taken up where they left off. The author built up a lot of intrigue but didn't know how to resolve it neatly, so multiple psychotic characters are invoked. The ending is both contrived and maudlin."


Famine
Famine
Author: Liam O'Flaherty
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 5/15/2011
2 member(s) found this review helpful.


"A true classic. This book portrays the suffering of the Irish people as they starve and the cruelty and insensitivity of the English as they allow the Irish to starve. I found both the strength and courage and the humiliation of one family and their neighbors to be incredibly moving."


Fooled by Randomness : The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
Review Date: 5/15/2011


"A financial trader pontificates and at times seems like he is generalizing what he learned from the markets to outside the markets, but there is nothing there to grab. Also, he spends a lot of time telling you how smart he is."


The Gate to Women's Country
The Gate to Women's Country
Author: Sheri S. Tepper
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 103
Review Date: 5/15/2011


"In a post-apocolyptic world, women live inside the walls and give their sons to the men outside the walls. At the age of 15, the sons can stay outside as warriors or come inside as servitors. There are many currents running beneath this apparently straight-forward arranagment. The female protaganist, Stavia, explores the limits on each side."


Georgiana : Duchess of Devonshire (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Georgiana : Duchess of Devonshire (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Author: Amanda Foreman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 75
Review Date: 3/28/2010


"Georgiana was a boring woman, rich, spoiled, idle and promiscuous. She was a compulsive liar, a compulsive gambler, a compulsive spender, needy, clinging, spoiled, immature. In a word: trailer trash (OK, 2 words). Ugh"


Gone to Soldiers
Gone to Soldiers
Author: Marge Piercy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 5/15/2011


"Strong females-a French resistance fighter, a pilot, an OSS agent, a Jewish child shipped to the US, a fiction writer turned journalist, Rosie the Riveter and somewhat more typical males-a cryptocanalyst, an artist turned spy, a merchant marine, a marine fighting through the Pacific-tell separate stories of WWII all recounting tales of death, life, love, pain, suffering, redemption."


In the Presence of the Enemy
In the Presence of the Enemy
Author: Elizabeth George
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 3/20/2012


"Not the best of the Inspector Lynley series. A full one-third of the start of the book barely mentions Lynley or Havers and St. James, Deborah and Lady Helen act very badly during that period. The finale, however, is rousing."


Last Man Standing
Last Man Standing
Author: David Baldacci
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 114
Review Date: 7/22/2010


"I've read a number of Baldacci's books and this one is my favorite so far. There is a certain fierceness about some of the darker scenes that utterly captivated me."


Madame de Pompadour: Mistress of France
Madame de Pompadour: Mistress of France
Author: Christine Pevitt Algrant
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 12/5/2010


"Madame de Pompadour was the official mistress of Louis XV for 20 years, until her death at the age of 42. She had an enormous amount of influence on the politics of the country and this book goes into great deal about how she accomplished that. However, despite all of the detail about what she did, there is very little sense of why she did it. I only got a superficial sense of her, who she was, her relationship to the king, her family, her friends, her motivations. Well written, well researched but ultimately disappointing."


Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha
Author: Arthur Golden
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 873
Review Date: 5/15/2011
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"A fictional memoir of a geisha written by a Western male. There were interesting details about the geisha life, but as a novel, it was pretty weak: there was a plot that involved the love sickness of the protagonist; there was some slight and flimsy characterization; and there was a plethora of platitudes and cliches."


Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster
Review Date: 8/2/2010
1 member(s) found this review helpful.


"Very thorough, albeit a trifle dry, exploration of the small amount actually known about Katherine Swynford. Alison Weir manages to eke out the outline of a romantic story from exceptionally meager sources and does it very well. One of the most remarkable things known about this apparently reclusive woman is that her children by John, the Beauforts, would become the direct forebears of the Royal Houses of York, Tudor, and Stuart, and of every British sovereign since 1461 in addition to four (some say five -- including George W. Bush) U.S. presidents."


One Shot (Jack Reacher, Bk 9)
One Shot (Jack Reacher, Bk 9)
Author: Lee Child
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 438
Review Date: 9/29/2010


"Quintessential Reacher, plot holes and implausibilities and all. A man accused of using his sniping skills to kill five people asks for Reacher as soon as he's arrested. But when Reacher arrives, he arrives looking for vengeance. However, because Reacher wants all of his questions answered, he pulls at the loose ends and soon the whole fabric is revealed as a conspiracy and comes unraveled. The book moves fast enough that the reader can gloss over some of the questionable plot details and is fun enough that one can cry, "Oh no he didn't). This was a thoroughly enjoyable book and gets five stars because it does exactly what it sets out to do."


The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth
Author: Ken Follett
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 1135
Review Date: 5/16/2011


"This was poorly written, the characters were cardboard, the history was inaccurate and anachronistic and, overall, the book was a thoroughly dismaying excuse for a book. Life is too short to waste my time on this sort of poorly written blather."


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