Clara W. (MaGee) - - Reviews

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1776
1776
Author: David McCullough
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 242
Review Date: 11/9/2008


1776, the year the Declaration of Independence was signed and the beginning of the Revolutionary War, but oh so much more on the human level. Using history backed up by a variety of sources, David McCullough tells a story about what is left out of the history books. The side-stories and information about people we think we know are what make this book an interesting read.

If you are one who likes to know what is behind the history, you'll enjoy 1776.


Arranged
Arranged
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 11/2/2014


I must be getting old! Nearly threw the book across the room at page 65. Reads like the author is a very "experienced" teenager. Dialogue and writing is ridiculously simplistic.

On to something better!!!


The Book of Jonas
The Book of Jonas
Author: Stephen Dau
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 11/4/2013


Not my kind of book mainly due to the writing style

Dau does an excellent job of getting into the minds of the characters. Although well written, I found it hard to follow and even at the end feel like I have missed something.


The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun, Bk 1)
The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun, Bk 1)
Author: Colin Cotterill
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 84
Review Date: 9/7/2013
Helpful Score: 3


I forced myself to read this book by offering it in a swap. Why or why did I wait so long! I love Dr. Siri Paiboun. Although he has lived for 72 years, he is neither old nor crotchety. He rightfully feels his age with a sense of humor about his position and his time in history.

I've spent a lot of time on his age and humor which carries the book through to the end. The story and mystery are equally engrossing. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and hope there are more to come.


Cradle and All
Cradle and All
Author: James Patterson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 448
Review Date: 12/19/2008
Helpful Score: 2


This was a fast-paaced interesting read especially for the month of December. When you read it, you will understand why. There are a number of wordy spots that seem to cover the same thing. In retrospect, however, these sections were true to the struggles of the characters.

I had figured out one aspect of the ending, but not the way it came about. The last five paragraphs (of which four were only one sentence long) were totally unexpected. Although it set up the possibility of a sequel, I hope one is not written, except by each of the readers for themselves.


Deja Dead (Temperance Brennan, Bk 1)
Deja Dead (Temperance Brennan, Bk 1)
Author: Kathy Reichs
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 7/16/2008
Helpful Score: 2


The only similarity between the TV series "Bones" and this book's main character is their occupation. This does not, however, take away from either.

Kathy Reichs introduces Temperence Brennan (Tempe) while only revealing basic characteristics. Intelligent and competent as a forensic anthropologist, Tempe has a tendancy to make rash decisions and is a bit of a loner when it comes investigating a case. As a divorced mother, she is vulnerable and has misgivings about her personal life. I look forward to seeing how Reichs developes her.

My only negitive comment has to do with all the similies and metaphores that Reichs uses. There are so many of them in the first part of the book that I nearly stopped reading. They are creative and accurate, but there are too many. It was as if Reichs was trying to use all she had just in case this book was her only one.


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.
 536
Review Date: 2/12/2009
Helpful Score: 4


At first I was disappointed with this book. I expected anecdotes and tales of feline hilarity. Instead it is a love story about a woman dedicated to life, her family, her job, her town, her state, and her cat, Dewey Readmore Books.

It is easy to identify with the characters and the setting. Cat and other pet lovers will feel the emotion and connectedness that comes with having a pet. Book lovers will recognize the library, even if they have never been in Spencer, Iowa. Small town inhabitants will assume that the author has visited their town.

The book ends with a modern day parable that exemplifies what life is all about. This is a feel good read with message of which we all need to be reminded.


Driving with Dead People
Driving with Dead People
Author: Monica Holloway
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 79
Review Date: 8/21/2009


Monica Holloway's writing is honest and straight forward with a touch of humor. She takes the reader on a journey that ultimately names the reason why she always felt her family "were the weird ones."

I expected this memoir to be morbid. It was uplifting. I expected an overall unhappy and 'woe is me' outlook on life. Instead, the author takes the reader through thirty-four years of her life with candidness. The difficult times are not glossed over. The good times are not maudlin. It is overall a sincere and positive story.

Monica's story will remain with me for a long time. I rate it 4.5/5.


The Fixer Upper
The Fixer Upper
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 119
Review Date: 6/18/2010


Ordinary plot. Unlikely ending. Still a fun, quick, and easy well-written summer read. Recipes at the end are tempting.


The Flamingo Rising
The Flamingo Rising
Author: Larry Baker
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 5/4/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Abraham Issac Lee was lives in, not at but in, the Flamingo, the largest drive-in theater in the world. At least in 1960. His father built it along an Atlantic Ocean beach in Florida and next to the Turner West Funeral Home. The lives and characters in the book do not move much beyond these places.

This is a powerful coming of age novel that includes angst, humor, and most other emotions usually associated with this genre. The characters are real. The story believable. The ending heart-stopping. I had never heard of it before reading it and I don't know why. It goes on my very short list of favorites with a five star rating.


Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play (Jazz Age, Bk 1)
Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play (Jazz Age, Bk 1)
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/30/2015


I trudged through 150 pages before giving up! The three pages of "1920s Jazz Age Slang" should have been a clue. The protagonist and a few others used it as every day language. They sounded like Teeny-Boppers trying to make an impression which only enhanced the extremely elementary writing.

I just couldn't take it after this sentence (page 159 in ISBN9780989417006)... 'He escorted us to an elevator operated by an old Negro man in a red uniform and hat that opened out onto the second floor.'

Enough said! Moving on!!!


Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Author: Fannie Flagg
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 1/20/2009
Helpful Score: 2


This book is so full of Southern hospitality, it even ends with eight pages of Sipsey's recipes from the Whistle Stop Cafe. I only hope that come summer, my fried green tomatoes actually taste as good as I imagine Sipsey's do. By the way, Sipsey is the cook.

Each character reminds me of folks I've known in some of the "whistle stop" places I've lived. I wish I had a best friend like Idgie. The Threadgoods live in just about every small town.

This is a good read filled with family, neighbor, and community love. There is humor along the way and a couple of real surprises. It is about Southern life both black and white; rich and poor. It is about friendship and the passing of time. I will go as far as saying, "It is about time you read this book." I wish I hadn't waited so long!


The God Of Animals
The God Of Animals
Author: Aryn Kyle
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 4/7/2009
Helpful Score: 6


Twelve is an odd age. It is the start of the time between child and adulthood. For each of us there is a of memorable events that impact us forever. For Alice Winston that life effecting year is her twelfth year. Sometimes very mature, sometimes childish, sometimes insightful, she relates the impact these events had on her life.

I read mixed reviews on this book but read it anyway. I am glad I did. There are funny moments, sad moments, poignant moments. There are times I wondered about her active imagination and where it would lead her. One conclusion to which she came was that, "Blame is, in fact, irrelevant, if only because it changes nothing." I wish I had learned that in my early teens!

This is a coming of age book that all ages can enjoy.


Gone Girl
Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 744
Review Date: 10/5/2013


Wish I had read the reviews before wasting my time on two very unlikeable people and a non-ending.


Her Fearful Symmetry
Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 331
Review Date: 2/11/2011


Disappointing!


Honeymoon
Honeymoon
Author: James Patterson, Howard Roughan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 438
Review Date: 6/22/2008


Very quick and easy to read. I only saw one twist coming. Good traveling, day at the beach or rainy day book.


The Honk and Holler Opening Soon
The Honk and Holler Opening Soon
Author: Billie Letts
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 324
Review Date: 10/17/2008
Helpful Score: 2


The "Honk," as it is lovingly called by its paraplegic owner and eccentric customers, is fictitious. It is patronized by a mix of characters the figment of Billie Letts' imagination. However, as I read, I felt like I was sitting at the counter sipping coffee with them. Perhaps that is because "The Blue Bird," "The Sweet Basil," "The Blue Rose," and "Mohr's" are real places I have been. There is a little of "The Honk" in each of these and other such places across America.

I felt welcomed there and part of the lives of each person: I struggled with Bui to become accepted; I felt Molly O's longing for her daughter; understood Vena's search for the meaning of her life; and somtimes, I'm as seemingly crazy as Big Fib. I was welcomed. I felt at home. You will,also. Just visit the "Honk and Holler Opening Soon" and see.


Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa
Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa
Author: Karin Muller
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 9/15/2008


Karin Muller as a way of writing that firmly plants the reader into the situation and emotion of the events that she experiences. She conveys the restraints and the openness of the culture with both humor and wonder.

If you are looking for an easy, enjoyable read--this is it. If you are looking to learn about Japan--this is not an history or sociology book but you will come away with increased understanding. You will, also, have an idea of what 'wa' is and pershaps a desire to experience it for yourself.


The Jester
The Jester
Author: Andrew Gross, James Patterson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 205
Review Date: 8/17/2008
Helpful Score: 2


I was plesently surprised to find that this was NOT just another cookie cutter book by James Patterson and one of his numerous co-writers. Although not a "great" book, it is a well written story and an easy read.

Taking place in the eleventh century with the dark side of the Crusades as background Hugh de Luc, the Jester, fights for such timely issues of rightness, morality, justice, freedom, and, of course, love. Above all, it is a book of hope. The phrase "That may be, but it will not always be" repeated throughout the story gives hope to what seems impossible then and now.


Light on Snow
Light on Snow
Author: Anita Shreve
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 398
Review Date: 5/1/2009
Helpful Score: 2


This is a bittersweet story of how a coincident of timing brought life into the dreary existence of a widower and his twelve year old daughter. After his wife and two year old daughter are killed in an automobile accident, Robert Dillon attempts to escape reality by moving to an isolated part of New Hampshire. His older daughter, Nicky, beings to find answers to her questions about growing up and what it means to be a family when Charlotte shows up at their door. She is also trying to find answers. A two day snow storm binds them together in their isolation and search.

The emotions of each are clearly drawn out by the author and felt by the reader. Their meeting sets a new course for each while leaving an imprint on the others. Anita Shreve gives us a snapshot of time, life, and how events and decisions change us.


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