Deborah S. (debstoiber) - Reviews

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Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years
Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/19/2009


This is a good book to read and understand the story behind the Australian Film industry. Broken into ten chapters, authors Graham Shirley and Brian Adams explain how filmmakers in Australia stuggled to get their films made and screened in a market dominated by American-made films. While the book does give some plot information of key films, it is more of a history of the overall industry and the struggle for financing and distribution.
I recommend this book to those interested in International Cinema and the impact of Hollywood films in those markets.


A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox, Bk 1)
A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox, Bk 1)
Author: Charles Finch
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 115
Review Date: 1/5/2009
Helpful Score: 9


If you are looking for a well written mystery novel, do not bother with this one. The characters are one dimensional and the plot is poor. It reminds me of writings from a high school senior-who THINKS he is writing something clever. If Mr. Finch spent as much time on creating well written characters as he does on describing afternoon tea (which he seems to do in every chapter) this would be worth a read. One of the biggest faults of this novel is that his characters all speak as if they lived in the present time here in the USA and not in 1865 London. I would recommend that Mr. Finch should read a few historical mystery novels before attempting to write another one. Disappointing, and a waste of time. 1.5 stars.


The Bohemian Murders (Fremont Jones, Bk 3)
The Bohemian Murders (Fremont Jones, Bk 3)
Author: Dianne Day
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 50
Review Date: 2/28/2009
Helpful Score: 2


The third in the Fremont Jones mystery series. The first two books take place in San Francisco, with beautiful description of the city and cuture of the era. This one takes an abrupt turn, sending our heroine to Carmel amongst artists and poets. There, Fremont's typwriting business takes a backseat to her running a lighthouse, arguing with her boyfriend (who has suddenly changed his name and turned 'bohemian') and trying to find the identity of a woman whose body has washed up on the shore. Little, if any description is given to the beautiful Monterey coast setting.
I found myself asking the question 'WHY?' alot. Why does Fremont feel the need to solve this murder by herself? Why is the sheriff's office not involved? Why does she stay in the lighthouse? Why does she not return to San Francisco and her successful business? Why does she keep stopping by the boyfriends house and getting angry? It seemed like the author and editors left gaping holes into the motives of our main character, and left me not caring about the events in the novel. While the first two books showed decent character development, this one was a waste. The conclusion was weak, and I did not empathize with Fremont or her boyfriend. 2 stars.


The Chinese Shawl (Miss Silver, Bk 5)
The Chinese Shawl (Miss Silver, Bk 5)
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 5/14/2008


Plot:
When Laura Fane travels to war-torn London for her inheritance, she meets her lovely, yet poisonous cousin Tanis Lyle. Through her, Laura meets and falls in love with a wounded RAF pilot, making Tanis bitterly jealous. When Tanis is killed, it becomes obvious that several surprising individuals have strong motives for murder. As usual, it will take Miss Silver's astute powers of observation to assist the police and save the young lovers from the dark shadows of the past.

Excellent story, very well written.


The Clock Strikes Twelve (Miss Silver, Bk 7)
The Clock Strikes Twelve (Miss Silver, Bk 7)
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/28/2008


From the back of the book:

New Year's Eve at the Paradine mansion and the whole family is there-James, the patriarch; Grace, his overbearing sister; Frank, the stolid stepson and his easily excited wife; Mark, the brooding nephew; Dicky, the charmer; Brenda, the bitter step-daughter; Lydia, young and oh so fashionable; Albert, the disliked distant cousin; Phyllida, the lovely niece, and her estranged husband.
James knows one of them has stolen his company's valuable blueprints and plans to thoroughly humiliate the thief. But by midnight James Paradine will be dead. Now the implacable, capable Miss Silver will need all her sleuthing skills to track down the murderer in their midst.


Everything You Didn't Need to Know About Australia
Everything You Didn't Need to Know About Australia
Author: Adam Ward, Sanctuary Publishing
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/20/2009


A fun, entertaining read on trivia about Australia. It is a quick read on all sorts of subjects about life Down Under.
There are no chapters or sections to this book-all the trivia is placed in a random order. Basically it would be in five categories: Sports, History, Famous People, Geography, and Fun Facts. As this book was publised in 2003, you will not find any "new" information, but it still gives you plenty of stuff about the Aussie life!


Film Genre Reader
Film Genre Reader
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 7/7/2008


From the back of the book:

Genre films, with their distincitive iconography and conventions, have dominated the history of the American cinema from its beginnings until the present day. As a system of filmmaking, genre has been one of the most important factors in making the cinema both an art and a hoghly successful form of popular entertainment.

in 1977, Barry Grant edited FILM GENRE:THEORY AND CRITICISM, the first critical anthology devoted entirely to the subject of genre in film. Now, in an extensively revised and updated volume entitled FILM GENRE READER, he has gathered together twenty-three essays comprising much of the best recent writing in the field and including the work of such noted film critics and scholars as John G. Cawelti, Thomas Elsaesser and Paul Schrader.

Divided into two parts, the anthology cover the full range of theoretical issues and ctitical approaches involving film genre. The first secion concentrates on genre theory, covering such topics as generic experience. The essays in the second section analyze a wide variety of particular genres, including westerns, science fiction, film noir, melodrama, romantic comedy, musicals, docudrama, horror and gangster and disaster films.


Found Wanting
Found Wanting
Author: Robert Goddard
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/27/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This is another standard thriller by Goddard: take one middle-aged, divorced man, add some tragic event involving a distant friend, and send him traveling through several countries to find the truth. Add a generous amount of a historical conspiracy (in this case, the Russian Royal Family) and you have the typical modern-setting thriller novel that Goddard is known for. I have been reading Mr. Goddard's novels since I first travelled overseas in 2001, and I find that they all begin to sound alike after a while. The only difference in this one is that our main character is employed, is not an alcoholic, nor does he have a past. This one is good, but typical. 3 out of 5 stars.

I would recommend 'Caught In the Light' and 'Closed Circle' by this author. Both are well written and do not reflect the 'standard' fare by this author.


Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
Author: Melanie Rehak
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 12/4/2008
Helpful Score: 1


A well researched look at the authors behind the original Nancy Drew novels dating from the 1930's to the 1970's. This book gives insight as to how the characters were created (including Bess, George, and Ned) and why the Nancy Drew series is still a beloved classic for young adults.

The novel also gives insight as to why the publishers decided to re-write the novels in the late 1950's and 1960's.

There is also mention of the other children's serial novels written by Syndicate and the fight of the company owner's to keep all the ghostwriters anonymous.

The only recommendation I would have to improve the book would be to list all the original novels in a summary at the end, with perhaps who was comissioned to write the basic novel (and original outline). If you have not read the Nancy Drew books in a while, it may be a bit confusing to remember all 50+ titles and the order in which they were published.


Italian for Beginners
Italian for Beginners
Author: Kristin Harmel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 33
Review Date: 7/5/2013


If you are a big fan of 'Roman Holiday' this book is for you. It makes a lot of great references to the movie. If you have never seen the movie, or are not a big fan of it than this book is so-so.
I recommend watching the movie first to get all of the in-jokes Kristen Harmel is referring to between her characters.


The Ivory Dagger (Miss Silver, Bk 18)
The Ivory Dagger (Miss Silver, Bk 18)
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 7/7/2008


From the back of the book:

When young Lila Dryden is found standing over the murdered body of her fiance with a bloddy dagger in her hand, her aunt, Lady Sybil Dryden, calls upon Miss Silver to investigate the situation. The murder weapon comes from the valuable collection of ivories which was owned by the murder victim, Sir Herbert Whitall, a collection usually kept in a securely locked cabinet. Although Lila's presence at the scene of the murder is incriminating, she insists that she was sleepwalking. Her former lover, Bill Waring, had returned and contacted her only that afternoon and is also held suspect. But because Sir Herbert was such a mean-spirited man, his entire staff and circle of acquantiances all had strong motives for wishing him dead. Miss Silver uncovers these motives with her particular brand of patience and rationality, untangling a web of mismatched love affairs, envy and deceit.


Ladies' Bane (Miss Silver, Bk 22)
Ladies' Bane (Miss Silver, Bk 22)
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 5/15/2008


From the back of the book:

Immediately on her arrival at Ladies' House, Ione Muir realizes that all is not right with her newly married sister, Allegra. The town of Bleake is charming, but the medieval manor hourse itself-known by a sinister local legend as Ladies' Bane-is full of gloomy depths and twisting staircases. Her brother-in-law Geoffrey Trent, intends to purchase the expensive property, with which he is clearly infatuated, although his wife seems frightened by it.
Miss Silver, hired by Allegra's godmother to investigate Geoffrey's finances, is the first to suspect foul play when his mischevious young ward, Margot, dies in a accident. Her keen intellect and uncanny understanding of human nature help Miss Silver to reveal the ominus forces that are at work in this strange household.


The Likeness (Rob Ryan & Cassie Maddox, Bk 2)
The Likeness (Rob Ryan & Cassie Maddox, Bk 2)
Author: Tana French
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 73
Review Date: 4/15/2009
Helpful Score: 1


The second novel by Tana French concentrates on one detective, Cassie Maddox, as she finds herself going back into undercover work to find the murder of a young woman named Lexie Madison. Cassie, still scarred from her last case in the Murder Squad gets caught up in the life of Lexie: her friends, her lifestyle and why she died. As she lives Lexie's life she becomes more obsessed with young woman and will stop at nothing to find her killer.
This is a well-written, thought provoking novel in which Ms. French takes us once again through the steps of solving a complicated murder. Deliberately paced to make the reader want more, this novel makes you slow down and absorb every detail. As with real life, the author shows that the answer is never wrapped up in a single package. Critics of the her first novel "In The Woods" will be happy to note there is not the loose ends at the conclusion of this book. Answers are given-it is up to you to decide if the characters will survive and move on.
Well worth reading and keeping on your favorite bookshelf at home. 4 out of 5 stars.


Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
Author: Agatha Christie
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 6/24/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Twenty stories featuring Miss Jane Marple, from THE TUESDAY CLUB MURDERS, THE REGATTA MYSTERY, THREE BLIND MICE and DOUBLE SIN-presented all in one novel.

Enjoyable, light reading. A great book to have with you when have a little time on your hands and want something interesting to read (before going to bed, waiting at the doctor's office, etc.) Well worth it!


Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
Author: Agatha Christie
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 6/24/2008


Twenty stories featuring Miss Jane Marple, from THE TUESDAY CLUB MURDERS, THE REGATTA MYSTERY, THREE BLIND MICE and DOUBLE SIN-presented all in one novel.

Enjoyable, light reading. A great book to have with you when have a little time on your hands and want something interesting to read (before going to bed, waiting at the doctor's office, etc.) Well worth it!


Miss Silver Comes to Stay (Miss Silver, Bk 16)
Miss Silver Comes to Stay (Miss Silver, Bk 16)
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 7/8/2008


From the back of the book:
When James Lessiter returns to Lenton after many years to claim his family estate, his reappearance opens old wounds never healed. Then he is found bludgeoned to death by a fire poker and the suspects are almost too numberous to count. From the jilted girlfriend, to the widow in the guest house, to an angry husband, each one has a long-standing grudge against the selfish scion-but only one has the urge to murder. Thank heavens Miss Silver is in town visiting a friend. The culprit is only a few questions from discovery.


Nantucket Nights
Nantucket Nights
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 6/30/2014


This is not one of Elin Hilderbrand's better novels. The characters are unlikable, the plot is unbelievable and the overall story concept is amateurish. The main protagonist, Kayla, is written to be dumpy and naive because she is faithful to her husband and not as rich as others on the island. Her two "best" friends are rich, cold and vindictive to everyone. One is into money and status and will do throw anyone under the bus to get her way (which she does). The other is aloof and snotty, and sets up her friend for revenge. Hilderbrand writes that no one is friends with these two women on the island except for Kayla. Well, I guess someone had to be the sacrificial lamb. This book reads as a good idea that went sour very quickly. Thank goodness it is less than 300 pages.


Nothing Venture
Nothing Venture
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 6/17/2008


From the back of the book...

Diabolical...that was the word for rich Uncle Ambrose's will. If Jervis Weare did not marry within three months, King's Weare, the huge seaside estate, and all the money would go to his fiancee, Roasmund. Then, just two days before the wedding and the expiration of the deadline, Rosamund threw him over. Jervis' only hope, and his attorney reluctantly concurred, was to marry someone else.
But who was this strange girl named Nan Forsyth? She was his lawyer's secretary, and after he met her employer, it was she who had run after Jervis. All the rest about her was a mystery. And why now, after they were alone together at King's Weare, was she insisting someone was trying to murder him...


The Price of Silence
The Price of Silence
Author: Kate Wilhelm
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 59
Review Date: 5/21/2009
Helpful Score: 1


'The Price of Silence' is a well-written, believable mystery set in modern day Oregon. A young married couple move to the small town of Brindle where the wife, Todd, works at the small, weekly-run newspaper. Her husband Barney, is finishing his doctorate. What appears to be a perfect place for the couple to get on their feet financially turns into a town full of nasty rumors, deceit, and worst of all: a serial kidnapper who has been taking children for 20 years. Todd and Barney search to find out why the town turns a blind eye to the events that are going on around them, even though the town officals threaten to put the blame on Barney.
I enjoyed this book emmensely. This book has what I love about mysteries. I found the characters likeable, the plot well-paced, and the settings believable. The events take place in a small town with a select amount of suspects. It is not graphic in violence, and is NOT filled with 'cutesy' side stores involving pets, kids, baking, or almost-romances involving the main characters. Just a good, solid story. 4 of 5 stars.


The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, Bk 1)
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, Bk 1)
Author: Lauren Willig
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 372
Review Date: 6/27/2011
Helpful Score: 4


One of the worst books I have read in years. I found the main character to be extremely dumb and the plot one-dimensional. You can guess the who the Purple Grentian is within the first three chapters: all that is left is to read how out Amy figures it out-over the next 400 pages! (Trust me, you will figure out the 'secret history of the Pink Carnation' in no time.)

I thought the author was trying to write this tongue-in-cheek, but the more I read made me realize that the author is serious and this book poorly written drivel. Glad I was not stuck on a plane with only this for entertainment....


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