Cat S. (catscritch) - Reviews

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The 19th Wife
The 19th Wife
Author: David Ebershoff
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 300
Review Date: 9/9/2009
Helpful Score: 7


Ebershoff manages to straddle multiple stories, centuries and leading characters without leaving the reader behind. All voices feel authentic and it is easy to let go and be carried away by the quirky circumstances of a world I could never understand. While it is not out and out historical fact, I am that much closer to understanding this totally foreign religion without fear and just a little self-indulgent anger. It is, after all, a novel.

A superb read through and through!


The Age of Orphans
The Age of Orphans
Author: Laleh Khadivi
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/19/2010


The Age of Orphans, by Laleh Khadivi grabs you by the soul and leads you through a land of beauty and pain, wisdom and arrogance, histories lost and created. Where a boys journey is measured by stolen love, memories forgotten, maps that circle upon themselves and back again. I was taken to unknown worlds and misunderstood cultures and could not catch my breath. This book delights the heart and then tests its resilience. I found myself as conflicted as the leading character and I could not put this book down. I look forward to reading more of Khadivis work.


Alas, Babylon
Alas, Babylon
Author: Pat Frank
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 98
Review Date: 7/27/2009
Helpful Score: 4


I read Alas Babylon and thought my how things change. Comparing it to todays' doomsday books (The Road, In the Country of Lost Things, Zombie Survival Guide, etc), this book actually believed we could rise above our baser instincts and pull together to survive. Heck, they even seemed to improve their life being isolated like that, and naturally the commies started it but we won so that's a "plus". I have a remembrance of the whole bunker mentality, the duck and cover school drills. I found it interesting that the author decided to make it a livable existence if not even idyllic in the long run. Whereas, a few generations removed, it seems that today, everybody assumes the world will end but those that survive will be cave dwelling, isolationists bent on fearing what they don't know and killing what they do. I know that this book was a turn around OPEN YOUR EYES breakthrough at the time and I guess as long as there are people walking the planet, there will be fear of the unknown BOOM that takes it all away. But this fella actually made me kind of wish I lived in the surviving community


The Almond Tree
The Almond Tree
Author: Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 12/27/2012


After being persecuted for decades, even centuries, how would a victimized culture finally handle being in control? I dont know, and this is not the book of explanations. This is the story of those held back by the persecuted that have now become as hardened, paranoid and militarized as any group that ever mistreated them. This is the Palestinian point of view. One which I have only ever thought of as pitching rocks against machine guns. It is painful in its honesty, but still offers hope that we all might one day see the irrational attitudes that make it necessary to hold one group down in order to raise another. I put the book down wanting to know more about this constant struggle but also touched by the characters that rose from the page and carefully explained their hopes and fears, dreams and disasters and made me believe that there is always something any one of us can do to make this world a better place. It is a fascinating story, with captivating people living through a history that can easily be believed to be hell on earth, just needing a little help to survive, much less overcome burdens no one should be forced to shoulder. Michelle Cohen Corasanti offers a chance to see families and not monsters caught in the cross-fire of modern politics.


The Alphabet of Vietnam
The Alphabet of Vietnam
Author: Jonathan Chamberlain
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/10/2012


The Alphabet of Vietnam :: Jonathan Chamberlain

This is not an A, B, C of a concept, a war, or a time of American history. This is a hard as nails, jagged as broken mirror of the evil we avoid, live with, and sometimes willingingly/unwillingly participate. Presented in several voices, I occasionally faltered as to whose time and experience I was reading, but I could not stop reading. No matter how insanely harsh or sublimely sweet, I had to know where we would all wind up. Jack has inherited his brother Joes personal box of war rantings, letters and self loathing and is compelled to upset every principle he has ever previously understood as good and true to seek an ultimate understanding that can never be obtained but will jumpstart his stalled out life.


And One Stayed Home
And One Stayed Home
Author: Janice J. Roane, Ripley P. Roane Jr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/5/2016


The story starts off in a small Louisiana town introducing high school grads and wanna be-s, all dreaming of better, more interesting futures. They don't know the old Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." The boys' American pride compels them to seek revenge after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. None of them have lived long enough to really understand what that means or even who they are as individual men yet. That doesn't stop them from performing their duty and joining up with visions of heroism in their heads. The story explains how this affects all the others involved whether they join or are left behind. But the boys quickly become men once they hit foreign shores. I felt the conversations were a bit lurching, and the battles extremely bloody. But this is a story that repeats itself over and over each time a new war in the name of American Democracy is declared. Perhaps one day, we'll learn, as these men do upon returning home.

An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


Arkadium Rising (Brother's Keeper, Bk 1)
Arkadium Rising (Brother's Keeper, Bk 1)
Author: Glen Krisch
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/27/2015


Arkadium Rising (Brothers Keeper) by Glen Krisch

I received this book free in exchange of an honest review. Librarything.com is a great way to be introduced to new talent.

And Krisch has talent! Once the characters were introduced, the action took off in such a run-away shock-fest. There are doomsday ideas and then there are the Arkadium, who have been planning for the end of civilization. Ultimately to become one with nature or some such rational.

So for all the years of planning and their explosive burst of their own come to Jesus society, they forgot to plan on the evil Power can generate so quickly and fundamentally to the deepest new religious core.

Strong characters, fast action, surprises. Whats not to like? Oh.... I guess the wait for the NEXT installment, is all.


Attractive Unattractive Americans: How the World Sees America
Attractive Unattractive Americans: How the World Sees America
Author: Rene Zografos
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/5/2015


This is a quick read, broken down into small sections, to give an overall voice to non-Americans about Americans. I took it mostly with a chuckle, but sometimes wanted to argue back "but that's not how we are." Further proving that we in the U.S.A. have a sheltered idea of our overall effect on the world that may only know us from TV, books, magazines, rumors and our own clumsy appearances in "parts unknown." It's always good to keep an open mind no matter where you are, but if you meet someone from another country... be nice. You may be our next ambassador.


Bad Napkin: The young adult comedy about love, lies and lists.
Review Date: 9/19/2016


Tales of young love and tragedies, as only school students can pull off. Technology may have changed over the decades, but true school romance is still the scary, funny, mean, plotting, frustrating ritual it ever was. I got quite a few good laughs out of the misunderstandings and shocking betrayals that only teens can whip up in their infinite wisdom. Kids, your friends are not always your friends! And honesty really is... you know. I give this book many plus points!

An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


The Beast of Cretacea
The Beast of Cretacea
Author: Todd Strasser
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 10/5/2015


This is a great action romp that I found more enjoyable than Moby Dick. The addition of science fiction, strong hearted crew (male AND female), and basics of the classic should grab any reader from the opening to the end. Perhaps addressed more to the male youth audience, females play an essential part and are portrayed as heroically as deserved. I didn't guess the ending but read through in a fascinated day. Quite pleased with the clever interplay of pirates, islanders, old sea dogs, new sea beasts and the completely unexpected. The abilities for human survival and loyalties play a major part of this updated story and I'd happily recommend it to any age reader.


Behind Closed Doors 2: Dana's Story
Behind Closed Doors 2: Dana's Story
Author: A.L. Smith
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/25/2016


It is so hard to understand how families can implode so terribly and this book helps explain the desperate need for love can make anyone blind to atrocities happening before their very eyes. How Dana manages to grow up with such terrible odds is amazing and can only be attributed to the extended family and friends that have influenced her. No child should live this life, no young adult and certainly, no man or woman deserves to be robbed of childhood. This one is a continuing story of survival, and should not be confused with happily ever after... but sometimes, people really do get what they deserve.
An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


Big Flies
Big Flies
Author: Keith Hirshland
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/3/2016


With Big Flies, you get two stories in one. The Before and After in a combined "meanwhile, back at the ranch" style that is both entertaining and helps move the stories along. Leland is trying to deal with the gaps in his father's past while wondering how he could have been so oblivious. But he's catching on fast and the more he discovers, the more exciting the tale. Could his good fortune really have come from such ill-gotten gains? And if it were you, would you feel guilty? This is a well-paced, free-flowing read with switchbacks and surprises a'plenty. Hirshland has created some fascinating characters here.

An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


A Bit of Wit, a World of Wisdom: A Time to Laugh A Time to Listen: World Edition
Review Date: 9/19/2013


A Bit of Wit - A World of Wisdom

What a delightful read. Enough to make you giggle, and then while you're still in a good mood, Rabbi Kurland hits you with such common sense reasoning that you can't help but be open to his ideas and suggestions to a happier, more fulfilled life. This was time well spent.


Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West
Review Date: 2/21/2012
Helpful Score: 1


This has to be one of the most exciting moments in history that I have read in a long time. Hampton Sides covers all the angles and I found myself respecting Kit Carson for all the right reasons, not just for the legends. This was a crucial time for Americans, Mexicans and Indians alike. There are many characters worth rooting for and as in all times of conflict, the winners are not always the good guys. But there are plenty of fascinating good guys and bad guys in this truly "Epic Story" to offer any American historian or anyone else that would enjoy adventure, excitement, colorful people, mysterious rituals, and scenic descriptions of a world few of us can imagine, let alone accept as our own legacy.


Bloody Falls of the Coppermine : Madness and Murder in the Arctic Barren Lands
Review Date: 2/23/2012


Of all the clashes of white man and Indian, I'd never been exposed to or imagined this scenario, and was captivated by the descriptions of life, death and philosophy in the frozen north. This history reads like a mystery but sadly, the good intentions of one culture can cause terrible repercussions to another. Once again, innocent encounters turn into pernicious disasters. I couldnt put it down and want to know more about these fascinating Inuit/Eskimos. Fortunately, I realized I have "The Ice Master," which covers more ground on one of the more interesting and sensitive Europeans to intrude on a people who thought they were alone.


Blue Screen of Death (Hashtag Magic)
Blue Screen of Death (Hashtag Magic)
Author: J. Steven Young
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/17/2016


YA for boys - Life as a teenager is tough enough without older sisters and school bullies. Toss in bad home cooking and a blue cat man and you have a recipe for RUINS. Only these ruins are the beginning of a magical future for young Colby and best friend Gary. Suddenly, Colby is no longer invisible to all but Jasper, the school tough-guy. He's now getting attention from pretty classmates, overeager instructors and a park full of game enthusiasts. But what is causing the interest of so many mysterious admirers? And what to do when he realizes being noticed is not always a good thing? Hey... there's an app for that!

An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


The Boxcar Traveler
The Boxcar Traveler
Author: Mr. Christopher Morosoff Sr.
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/14/2016


Harry's pretty well set until the stock crash in the 20s. And there's not much a young man with vision can do but hop a train. It's all romance and adventure until the brutality and suffering set in. During his few leaps off to solid ground, he encounters amazing people, attitudes and vistas far from his Staten Island home. What follows is a sort of "pay-it-forward" affect as he learns to accept help, friendship, unaccountable evil and maybe even true love. For anyone unfamiliar with this troubled time of our nation, you will come to understand the desperation and determination that kept our country running. I found the conversations a tad stilted and repetitive but the individual situations felt honest.
An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


Bradford Washburn: An Extraordinary Life: The Autobiography of a Mountaineering Icon
Review Date: 8/26/2009
Helpful Score: 3


This book takes you from the first glance up to the top of the mountain and all the preparation in between. For someone like me who never wanted to climb a mountain whether it was THERE or not, it demonstrates the love, beauty and spendor from simply putting one foot in front of the other until you reach your goal. Full of loving memory and beauty of the view, Bradford Washburn shares a life of adventure and purpose. Quite a read!


Busy Foot Bingtoot: And the Maladies
Busy Foot Bingtoot: And the Maladies
Author: Tom Ruffles
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/28/2015


Reading this book is like admiring fine lace. While taking in the overall image, you start to recognize yourself, friends and family in the delicately threaded details. Ruffles has accomplished combining entertainment with self-awareness with the purest of sympathy. I was instantly caught up in the story of a man coming to terms with not only his own limits in life, but his deep empathy with every flabbergasting person around him. That's a neat hat trick for man whose hat keeps moving without him.

An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


Call Me Pomeroy: A Novel of Satire and Political Dissent
Call Me Pomeroy: A Novel of Satire and Political Dissent
Author: James Hanna
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/19/2016


Pomeroy is a legend in his own pants. He may even be a man for the ever changing times, but he is mostly, if not completely, totally self-involved. His view of the world is in total need of an eye/brain exam, but somehow he manages to charm his way into the various lives of parole officers, European Femen, the universal disenfranchised, fellow inmates and anarchist wanna-be-s. No one can change his self-centered world view but everyone loves his music. He's homeless, honest, protective and totally disassociated with anyone's feelings. So how can he be so loveable? Well, seems he's got "Ants in his pants." And everyone can identify with that. He is funny, freaky, and prime for fame, yet generous to a fault. This is the second book of Hanna's I've read and he doesn't repeat himself. His stories are worlds unto themselves. That takes talent! <>

An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


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