gsisk - Reviews

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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: 9/17/2007
Helpful Score: 10


Nice little story about Israel Armstrong, a librarian, who gets a job in a small North Ireland town - only it's not what he expected it to be. The library is closed and he even has to find all the books. The writing style gets a little repetitive and tedious after a while, but a nice read, nevertheless.


The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford World's Classics)
Review Date: 6/24/2017


No, by today's standard, it is not a horror story at all. I thought it more humorous than scary, and the people behave very implausibly. I'm glad the introduction explained this story, otherwise I would not have bothered to finish it; I did, because it is a classic and I was curious to see how it ends.

It has everything: A tyrant, his dutiful wife, older lords wanting to marry young maidens, damsels in distress, a questionable inheritance, knights, an unexpected hero, a priest with a past, mistaken identities that are revealed, lost and found children, sanctuaries, underground passages, caves, forests, a sword fight ... and of course, ghostly appearances ... and a murder in the end! All of this on 99 pages!

Two short passages made me laugh:

The knights gazed on each other, wondering where this would end.
***
Manfred: Grant me patience! Will this wench never come to the point?


C.B. Greenfield: No Lady in the House
C.B. Greenfield: No Lady in the House
Author: Lucille Kallen
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/15/2015


Entertainingly written - a good, humorous mystery with enough tension to keep reading.

Backcover:
In the tree-lined streets of suburban Westchester, nothing is as peaceful as it seems. There's the brutal murder of a cleaning woman. A political scandal brewing. Two respectable men threatening mayhem over flood control. And an abandoned school building just waiting to cause trouble.

The inimitable C.B. Greenfield, publisher of the Sloan's Ford Reporter, just can't take it. He goes off with his cello to play Schubert. And Maggie Rome, his chief reporter and reluctant Watson, must wear out her Honda - and her patience - to find a murderer ...


A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, Bk 10)
A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, Bk 10)
Author: P. D. James
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 99
Review Date: 11/11/2007


What would you do if you were a lawyer who successfully defended a murderer and just found out that this man is dating and wants to marry your daughter? Venetia Aldridge has this problem ... but it is not her former client who is now found murdered, but she herself. Her future son-in-law is not the only suspect, though - apparently, Ms. Aldridge was a very fine lawyer, but did have a certain lack of "people-skills"

As usual a great book, with great characterizations, by PD James.


The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg, Bk 1)
Review Date: 6/1/2019


Not my cup of tea - neither the writing, nor the characters.
I guess if you take leave of your logic, then you can enjoy the book, but there are too many unanswered questions. Commissaire Adamsberg simply announces his conclusions or how he wants to proceed, and the reader is left in the dark and cannot follow how he arrives at them. Too many coincidences.
Everyone drinks and smokes during the investigation - I don't think even the French police do that any more. It just adds to the implausibility of it all.


The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
Author: Atul Gawande
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 4/17/2011
Helpful Score: 2


This book deals with how simple, clear checklists can improve any complex task. You know: the ones where you have to consider and do a lot of different things and where it is easy to forget some "obvious" task.

I found particularly interesting the observation on how checklists democratize teams, giving more power to subordinates (who can stop an operation, for example, if the surgeon accidentally contaminates his gloves) and how, in cases of unprecedented, complex projects it is better for the top management to simply provide some general guidelines and let the people on the periphery take responsibility, rather than insisting on a strict hierarchy - his example of the emergency responses after hurricane Katrina was enlightening.

Drawing on his experience the author uses mainly examples from medicine, but also from construction and aviation. The statistics he provides that prove his point are astounding.

Even though the subject matter is dry, the book is a very quick and interesting read. I finished it in one day.


Choke
Choke
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 580
Review Date: 3/10/2008


Great writing. As usual with Palahniuk, some passages will gross you out, but the overall effect is that his books make you think.


The Cold Moon (Lincoln Rhyme, Bk 7)
The Cold Moon (Lincoln Rhyme, Bk 7)
Author: Jeffery Deaver
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 281
Review Date: 9/18/2007
Helpful Score: 2


Serial killer mystery. The back cover talks about "labyrinthine plots", which is true. The book itself is well-written and of page-turner quality.


A Cold Treachery (Inspector Ian Rutledge, Bk 7)
A Cold Treachery (Inspector Ian Rutledge, Bk 7)
Author: Charles Todd
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 53
Review Date: 4/19/2008


Excellent Read! Great characters. Until the very end it was impossible to tell who tghe murderer was.


Review Date: 11/24/2012


Excellent selection of 8 truly creepy tales.


Crime and Punishment (Audio Cassette, Unabridged)
Crime and Punishment (Audio Cassette, Unabridged)
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/7/2007


This is the cassette-version, not CD.


Critique of Criminal Reason (Hanno Stiffeniis, Bk 1)
Critique of Criminal Reason (Hanno Stiffeniis, Bk 1)
Author: Michael Gregorio
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 12/21/2012


Kant and Mystery ... I was looking forward to a murder mystery set in the early 19th century, some philosophy and historical details.

Even though the historical atmosphere comes across very nicely, overall nothing really feels right. The main protagonist, Hanno Stiffeniis, is called to the city of Königsberg to solve a series of murders. People are killed who have nothing in common but their cause of death.

The investigation leads Stiffeniis to suspect a number of persons who all turn out to not be the killer. Finally, he suspects Kant. (This in and of itself, almost made me stop reading, because it just felt too preposterous.)

There are a lot of characters in this book, but often they are dropped for no apparent reason - the main one being Dr. Vigilantius, who would have been a great counterpart, but never showed up again after the first few chapters. After a while I stopped caring about the characters, especially the main one.

Finally, Stiffeniis finds out what Kant's involvement is, and also manages to slay his own demons.

It's an ok read, but I expected more.


Cross Bones (Temperance Brennan, Bk 8)
Cross Bones (Temperance Brennan, Bk 8)
Author: Kathy Reichs
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 308
Review Date: 3/10/2008
Helpful Score: 2


Even though this book is an easy read and suspenseful enough, I was a bit disappointed about Reichs' foray into the daVinci-Code realm.

When forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan examines the body of a murdered Jew who dealt in Holy Land antiquities, someone slips her an old photograph of a skeleton which proves to be the key of not only the old Jew's death, but also to a much larger mystery.


Cryptonomicon (Cryptonomicon, Bk 1)
Cryptonomicon (Cryptonomicon, Bk 1)
Author: Neal Stephenson
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 294
Review Date: 1/28/2010


In German this would be called a "Schinken" (ham), because it's a heavy and looong book. Get a book support, because your book-holding arm will get tired!

It takes about 300 pages to figure out how the different story lines are connected. It starts to become interesting after about 450 pages. The chapters are really short and jump between the stories so much that it's confusing for quite some time, especially since the characters in the different settings share the same names (family history). Currently I am about half-way through and was already tempted several times to simply put the book down and not finish it (something I very rarely do!). It's not that Stephenson is a bad writer - he's quite good, but the endless metaphors start to become tedious after a while, and the constant jumps between stories do not exactly contribute to this reader's enjoyment. I guess the author purposely is trying to confuse the reader by having the book's format conform to its subject matter. Btw, the Wikipedia entry "Cryptonomicon" comes in handy if you want to keep track of the characters and get an overview.

I did enjoy the descriptions of the cryptography concepts and of the more technical aspects (e.g Van Eck phreaking).

I finally gave up at around 730+ pages, right after Randy's girlfriend followed him home ... that was just too implausible/contrived for me.

All in all - a good book for someone interested in WWII stories, and who doesn't mind fractured story lines. Sometimes a bit boring, sometimes (too few times for me) very interesting - requires patience, a strong arm (for holding the book), and possibly a flowchart.

P.S.: The book "Quicksilver" seems to be using the same dynasties set a few centuries ago - which is something I very much dislike; I won't be reading it - unfortunately I had already ordered it, so I'll post it unread.


Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter (Dixie Hemingway, Bk 1)
Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter (Dixie Hemingway, Bk 1)
Author: Blaize Clement
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 138
Review Date: 8/4/2008


An OK read. The plot starts out alright, and is very promising, but the ending is not credible. I did not really like the heroine. The characters showed some promising features, but were not well fleshed out.

Former deputy sheriff and (due to the trauma of losing her husband and child) now pet sitter Dixie finds a dead man in one of her clients' house. Her client cannot be contacted. Dixie puts her former training to use and discovers all kinds of secrets (some of these story lines, if persued, would have made a better story imo) about her client's past.

It's an engaging story, but the book should have been either shorter or longer.


Cycle of the Werewolf
Cycle of the Werewolf
Author: Stephen King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 117
Review Date: 4/21/2009


Too short, too obvious. Written almost like a children's book.


The Dancing Floor
The Dancing Floor
Author: Barbara Michaels
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 70
Review Date: 5/14/2012


Charming rom-com story about a self-confident young woman, who is interested in old British gardens. On her list is one on an old estate, but she is refused entry. She finds a hidden entrance through a wild, overgrown thicket, though, and after being discovered, charms her way into the hearts and minds of several men.

This is, initially, a story about witchcraft (in the historical sense) and old secrets, but the tension is not obvious until the last part of the book.

Very nicely written, good characterizations, and a heroine who likes sweets!

It's light entertainment, but perfectly ok, not a bodice-ripper (thank God), but a nice story with a little adventure thrown in.


The Dante Club
The Dante Club
Author: Matthew Pearl
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 371
Review Date: 3/31/2008
Helpful Score: 8


Set in Boston of 1865. Longfellow and several of his poet-friends (Lowell, Holmes) are translating Dante's "Divine Comedy" (against resistance from Harvard functionaries). A series of murders happens, which are basically reenactments of some of Dante's punishments in hell. The "Dante Club" helps the first mulatto police officer in Boston to find the murderer.

Even though this book is very well-written (old style), I had a hard time "getting into it". On the one hand, the book is filled with details - you learn a lot about post-civil-war Boston, on the other hand, it feels as if it is an account by an impartial observer. The characters show no emotions, sometimes it is hard to figure out who is speaking or why someone acts a certain way.

I liked the story idea, and the writing is excellent, but the characters are too flat.


Das Bernstein-Teleskop
Das Bernstein-Teleskop
Author: Philip Pullman, Philip Pullman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/5/2010


GERMAN language book.

This is book 3 of the Golden Compass trilogy.


Das Magische Messer
Das Magische Messer
Author: Philip Pullman, Philip Pullman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/5/2010


GERMAN language book.

This is book 2 of the Golden Compass trilogy.


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