Cynthia (cswetzel) - Reviews

1 to 20 of 20
The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library , Bk 1)
The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library , Bk 1)
Author: Ian Sansom
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 77
Review Date: 9/19/2010


If you enjoy run-on sentences (I realize it is for stylistic reasons, but it still gets really tiring) and... hm.... let me just say it was an okay book, a fast, light read, and a bit of an unpredictable resolution. Not sure I care about Israel Armstrong's further adventures... but I'm willing to try again (she says, placing the other series books on her wishlist).


Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Author: Gregory Maguire
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 67
Review Date: 9/19/2010


This Cinderella tale is probably my favorite of the Maguire books I have read thus far.


Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 542
Review Date: 9/19/2010


This little book was quite a disappointment. I wanted so much to like it. I wanted it to be about the cat. It was about the community/area... nothing wrong with that, I just wanted it to be a "cat" book. :(


Garden Spells
Garden Spells
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 370
Review Date: 11/13/2010


This was a fun read, just what I wanted at the end of a summer term of graduate classes!


Grave Peril (Dresden Files, Bk 3)
Grave Peril (Dresden Files, Bk 3)
Author: Jim Butcher
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 11/13/2010


Im either getting used to his writing for sake of the story and characters, or the writing is better.


The Hindi-Bindi Club
The Hindi-Bindi Club
Author: Monica Pradhan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 49
Review Date: 9/19/2010


What a fun book to read, and touching at the same time. Any daughter should be able to identify even though much of the situations are centric to the India diaspora.


House Unauthorized: Vasculitis, Clinic Duty, and Bad Bedside Manner (Smart Pop series)
Review Date: 9/19/2010


The psychology-based articles are best; the rest are sort of fluff. But really fun fluff.


La Linea
La Linea
Author: Ann Jaramillo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/19/2010


Read this book for Multicultural Library Services class. Nicely done tale of the risks and rewards(?) of crossing from Mexico to the U.S. by children. A little too "happily ever after" and, yes, a glossary would be helpful for non-Spanish readers, but internet translations are easily accessible, and it would break the flow to be repeatedly turning to a glossary. Generally, I think not knowing the exact meaning is not critical to understanding or appreciation of this YA title.


The Lost Quilter (Elm Creek Quilts, Bk 14)
The Lost Quilter (Elm Creek Quilts, Bk 14)
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 9/19/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Up to this point, I have enjoyed every one of the Elm Creek Quilt novels, but I certainly hope that Chiaverini is done with her slavery-themed books. Could she have included any more stereotypical anti-Southern characters and characteristics in a single work? In the final pages, she writes, "There had been hundreds, even thousands, of such remarkable women in every era," yet not one of the Southern women of the mid-1800's of whom Chiaverini writes bears the least of any redeeming feature. May the last sentence of the book be true: "a quest that seemed, at last, to have reached its end." This reader hopes Chiaverini's 'quest' to vilify is all things Southern and to sanctify all things Northern is at its end as well. Maybe she will now take on the mine, mill and factory owners of the North who enslaved the Northern poor way beyond 1865.


Love in the Time of Cholera
Love in the Time of Cholera
Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edith Grossman (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 150
Review Date: 9/19/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Love this book: complicated, richly detailed; one drifts along with the storyline... forward, back a bit, forward. Some characters brought to life with brief words, others just as real with great details.


Matchless: A Christmas Story
Matchless: A Christmas Story
Author: Gregory Maguire
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 9/19/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I was thrilled to receive this little volume through the October 2009 Early Reviewers lottery at LibraryThing, anxious to see what Maguire would do to "illuminate" this Anderson tale. I don't think I was disappointed (except that I didn't get it until Feburary 2010).

Around the Hans Christian Anderson tale of The Little Match Girl, Maguire weaves the story of a young poor boy, his seamstress mother, his toy town, and eventually the family of the match girl. Almost as enchanting as the story are the ink illustrations by Maquire. Presented like a children's picture book, illustrations appear on most of the right-hand pages, with story text on the left-hand pages.

Maguire's postscript to the printed version (it was originally an NPR All Things Considered performance and aired Christmas 2008, and still accessible on their website) notes "a sense of the transcendent apprehended by many nineteenth-century readers [of the original story]" as does the dust jacket flap, which also states the Maquire story points to "the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead." While the boy was part of the match girl's tragedy, the tragedy was triumph* for both his and her family.

*My favorite line from the book: "[...] they had the warmth of one another, and enough on which to live, and in most parts of the world, that is called plenty."


The Mistress of Spices
The Mistress of Spices
Author: Chitra Divakaruni
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 9/19/2010


Book is better than the film, naturally...
I love this story. The fact that I read a borrowed copy and then made sure to locate my own hardcover copy should say a lot about how I feel about this book. I look forward to reading other books by this author.


Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death, Bk 1)
Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death, Bk 1)
Author: Ariana Franklin
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 125
Review Date: 9/19/2010


Excellent story! Began with the audio book (fantastic narration), and finished the print. Lo, and behold, there are additional books about Adelia! Can only hope each is as delightfully gripping as this one.


The Red Queen
The Red Queen
Author: Margaret Drabble
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 9/19/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Loved the first half, POV the Crown Princess... but after only a few pages of the second half I quit. The third-person POV is very awkward... the idea, I think, is that it is the Princess's ghost observing. Didn't work for me. :(


The Saffron Kitchen
The Saffron Kitchen
Author: Yasmin Crowther
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 50
Review Date: 9/19/2010
Helpful Score: 1


When I finished this book I read over the reviews here on LT. I'm glad I am not the only one who found the writing less than wonderful. Too often the narration shifted mid-paragraph from one character to another. Too often a paragraph needed to be reread to be sure which "she" was in play. It wasn't the cultural differences of either English vs American usage, or the unfamiliarity of the Iranian. Usually it was just poorly written (and/or edited).

As well as another reviewer, by the end of the story I had come round again to finding the mother as unsympathetic a character as she was in the beginning, following the opening shocking events (despite the atrocities inflicted upon her by her father and other males of her country revealed through the course of the story), having used the husband and finally cast him aside no less callously as she had been cast aside as a young girl.

The most unbelievable part of the story, however -- beyond even the daughter becoming pregnant again -- is the imagined interaction of Maryam with the father who, for the sake of his own pride, threw her out of her home, to his wolfish soldiers, and out of her country. "I'm sorry it's taken so long, and if you've been sad and alone," she imagines him saying to her.

Yeah. Right.


The Secret Magdalene: A Novel
The Secret Magdalene: A Novel
Author: Ki Longfellow
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 9/19/2010


I really loved this book... eagerly awaiting the third (this is the first) in her series. (Sorry, I'm not swapping my copy!)


The Secret of Everything
The Secret of Everything
Author: Barbara O'Neal
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 42
Review Date: 9/19/2010
Helpful Score: 1


(This reviewer read/reviewed the book as an ARC.)

Im a sucker for any kind of book with recipes, whether its a cookbook with stories, or a fiction/non-fiction book with recipes. Most of the time if its fiction with recipes, I am disappointed with either the recipes, the story, or the writing (generally, the latter, unfortunately). To find an author who writes well, tells a great story, and also develops intriguing recipes is, for me, at least, a rarity. Ms. ONeal has done all three in The Secret of Everything.

The New Mexico town of Los Ladrones, the Green Gate Organic Farms (formerly a Sixties commune), and other locales are richly, but succinctly detailed by Ms. ONeal. Here and there are odd metaphors such as, a watermelon scent of freshly cut grass which may not have lasted to the published edition. The characters and plot develop gradually, keeping the reader (at least this one) intrigued, nugget by nugget, as to the secret.

The secret is not too painfully obvious, but neither are the revelations and resolutions a total surprise, given the genre. Strictly romance novels are not my first choice for the small amount of pleasure reading I do. Thankfully, Tessas search for her place and identity is not overshadowed by the romance.

Being about half-way between the two generations of characters in the book, I found much with which to identify in the elements of the setting of this book, such as the era of the secret and the music. The two main characters are in their late thirties, and a couple of times their remarks seem more likely of twenty-somethings, but I suppose we all pick up the slang of the younger generation.

Im not sure I would reread (except to see if the published edition was a bit more polished), but I would definitely like to read Ms. ONeals previous books, as well as highly recommend The Secret of Everything to others.


The Secrets of Jin-shei (Jin-Shei, Bk 1)
The Secrets of Jin-shei (Jin-Shei, Bk 1)
Author: Alma Alexander
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 9/19/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Don't read this if you only like happyily-ending books.

If you would rather have a rich, true to life even amid the magical and mystical, then this book is a treasure!

I had more difficulty suspending disbelief with the first part of the book when very young girls/women were accomplishing/facing more adult situations than seemed appropriate than later when the carefully orchestrated pieces of their adult lives begin to crumble.

Much more touching and believable and worth reading than a fairy-tale ending.


Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet
Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet
Author: Xinran Xue
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 1.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/13/2010


Definitely a pro-China slant, but an enjoyable story and view into nomadic Tibetan life. Still, disappointing.


Storm Front  (Dresden Files, Bk 1)
Storm Front (Dresden Files, Bk 1)
Author: Jim Butcher
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1158
Review Date: 11/13/2010


Hate to judge an author on his first effort. I love the character (started with the show, not the books) and want more stories. I have a hopeful feeling that the writing improves.


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