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Kaaren M. (Kaaren) - - Reviews

1 to 7 of 7
Buffy Chronicles : The Unofficial  Companion to Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Review Date: 11/26/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Not really a lot to do with Buffy. More to do with the myths *behind* each episode. I was not really interested.


Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices, Bk 1)
Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices, Bk 1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 10/25/2012
Helpful Score: 1


I'm a fan of The Mortal Instruments series. Not classic lit, but good fun, so I thought I'd give this one a try. It was an ok-attempt at Victorian writing from a modern author, but I didn't really *feel* the era in the spoken words or thoughts of the characters much. I also thought that it was a bit too similar to the Mortal Instruments: lead female protagonist meets people in an institute: one snooty gal and two hunky guys. Oh, wait, guy # 2 is into her too, so that's different. A little disappointed but I will continue the series just to see Magnus again. :)


The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
Author: John Steinbeck
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 267
Review Date: 8/15/2007
Helpful Score: 9


If you have not read this book, what are you waiting for? Is it because it was written before you were born? (1939) Does its name scare you, as it did me, into imagining it would be about all sorts of odd things, as I did? Well don't let your preconceived notions fool you. It's a terrific
novel. It is a great piece of literature that won Mr. Steinbeck a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize, and eventually, with his other contributions to literature, earned him a Nobel Prize.

What can I say about the Joads that has not already been said in the past sixty-odd years? How could I have missed knowing them earlier? I read this story, with its "country speech" and "country ways" and wanted to take them all in. I wanted to comfort them all. I didn't know what I would find at the Joads when we first meet Tom going home. Who is this Tom Joad Jr. and why was he in jail? He must have had a HORRIBLE life to end up there, he must have. Then you meet the 'fambly.' You live with the 'fambly.' You see proud Pa try so hard to be the head of the home during the Dust Bowl migration. This family, who for generations upon generations, upon generations lived off their land. The land wasn't a piece of property, it was family. It fed them, it housed them. They raised a crop to sell, so they can pay off the loans they took when times were tough before. When the rains stopped coming, and the payments to the bank stopped being made, the 'banks' came and told all these people to leave. Imagine someone coming to tell you that the land you have lived on all your life, the land of your fathers and grandfathers belonged to the banks and you had to leave right now. Imagine the dread. All your life spent in the same place, with the same neighbors, the same strong values; "Yes Sir! Yes Ma'am!" No talking back, everyone knew their place. And then the dust came, and took away everything you knew.


The Joads sell everything they own, load up a beat-up truck with the necessities (food, water, mattresses, clothes, pots, pans) and head towards the promised land of California. Along with 500,000 other displaced people. All looking for land to work; it's all they know. You get land, you work it, it's yours. They had no idea what life outside of Oklahoma was really going to be like.


There's Ma, trying so hard to keep the family strong. She's the backbone. She eventually takes charge, which, back on their farm, was unheard of. Times were changing.


Ma & Pa, 6 kids, Grandma & Grandpa, Uncle John, the Preacher Casey, and Connie, the husband of one of Ma's daughters. Thirteen people in one truck.


I wanted to bring them home, let them eat, give them a hot bath, tell them it'll be ok. I wanted to simultaneously smack the heck out of Rose of Sharon (Rosasharn) and comfort her in the end; tell her she really did do good in God's eyes at that very last paragraph. I saw Ruthie grow in those 7 or 8 months into someone I did not like. She was mean, she was vindictive, she was 7. I saw humanity at its worse. Things like this really did happen in the early 1930's, after the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. These "Okies" were treated with contempt. They were kicked off their lands, treated like animals, paid meager wages or in some cases, they were paid with a loaf of bread for 16 hours of work, and it's disgusting. How would you fare? What would you be willing to do to feed your starving family?


It's a terrific book. I wish I knew how Noah fared. I wish I knew what happened to that spineless Connie. Is Tom ok? Did he take up the cause that Casey so tragically and instantaneously had taken from him? I imagine so. I imagine Tom forcing these cities who spurned them, who burned them out, who arrested them, to have to accept them; 500,000 strong. If not directly, then inspiring others to go on and on. The packing plants who throw away food, while these people sit outside the gates dying. The orange growers who sprayed kerosene on the overstock of oranges rather than give them away for free. The food thrown in rivers, with armed guards making sure no one took the food. Pigs slaughtered because they could not sell them, and hungry people staring, not understanding that there's a profit to be made.


"And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listening to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is a failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."


How to Cook a Tart
How to Cook a Tart
Author: Nina Killham
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 4/28/2012


The book started out well enough, but then it just seemed like the author ran out of steam, or ideas, and the ending was preposterous and slightly insulting to readers who spent time reading it.


Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Author: Jane Austen, Ben H. Winters
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 71
Review Date: 4/3/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Such a disappointment. Having read and liked "P&P&Z" I thought "Yay, another one!" Sadly, this one was not funny. Everything being set on or near water was a stretch. I get there are "sea monsters," but you know...move inland people! I am surprised my eyes are not permanently stuck rolled back into my head. The Margaret storyline, the 5 pointed star, the underwater city?? The worst offense? They messed with Colonel Brandon. Had it been funny, I might have been ok with that, but it was just silly.


The Shadow of the Wind (Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Bk 1)
Review Date: 4/28/2012
Helpful Score: 1


A friend read this book in English and thought it was really good. She wondered aloud (a-text? On her blog) if the translation was a good one. The original was written in Spanish by Spaniard Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I thought to myself "Self, I can read that in Spanish and let her know," so I ordered the Spanish version from Amazon and began to read it. Into the book by about 4 chapters, I realized something. How exactly would I know if the translation was good if I was only reading it in Spanish? DOH! I got the English version from the library and read them side by side, chapter by chapter.

This book was a fantastic mystery novel full of colorful characters, suspense, twisting plots and beautiful prose. Mr. Zafon is a gifted author. His writing was descriptive, hysterical, creepy, mournful, exciting.

For a complete review of the differences I found between the Spanish and English, see my very-long blog post: http://kaarensblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/shadow-of-wind-la-sombra-del-viento.html


Why Buffy Matters : The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Why Buffy Matters : The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Author: Rhonda Wilcox
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 10/8/2007
Helpful Score: 1


It was like reading a college essay, with every other sentence being a quote from someone else's work. It was hard to trudge through, and I am a Buffy/Joss Whedon fanatic.


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