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Terri W. (txhockeymom) - , - Reviews

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Review Date: 10/27/2007
Helpful Score: 3


I was a bit disappointed in this book. I got bored about 1/4 of the way through it and put it aside. Picked it up now and again to finish it. It was just okay, didn't really hold my interest.


Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged
Author: Ayn Rand
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 349
Review Date: 11/4/2007
Helpful Score: 6


This is not an easy read! This book requires a commitment that I haven't given to a book in years. It is over a thousand pages and you will feel as though you just completed a marathon when you are through. A friend had told me that I must read this book. After a few hundred pages, I found myself skipping entire paragraphs of beautiful narrative just to get to the meat of the story. I did not want to give up. I am glad I didn't. Three-quarters of the way through, I was finally engrossed in the story. It made my head spin with possibilities and questions. Not about the book, but about the world. By the time you finish, you will look at things much differently. I have not bought the entire philosophy, but it has made me question many long-held beliefs. There is room in the world for many viewpoints. And there is lots of room in the middle of opposing views, too. I am glad that I finally read this book!


Backyard Brawl : Inside the Blood Feud Between Texas and Texas A  M
Review Date: 11/11/2008
Helpful Score: 1


I have been living in Texas for 14 years, and I already know that football is a religion in this state. We are just 15 miles from the University of Texas campus, and we have learned to love college football in general,and the Longhorns, in particular. This book is a wonderful history of the University of Texas rivalry with Texas A&M University. Many of the traditions that confused this poor transplant, have now been explained.

But the book is also a history of the two programs, plus a little bit of the Oklahoma University team and that rivalry. If you know what a teasipper is, or you haven't heard a good Aggie joke in awhile, or you just want to know why this state holds its gridiron heroes in such high regard, this is a GREAT book!

I was pleased to see a page devoted to the suburban sprawl that I call home and the landmark 'round rock', and also a mention of some great Texas musicians like Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Pat Green, etc.... And let's not even get into the tailgate parties of the crazy Longhorn fans!

I am sure you will remember the bonfire tragedy of 1999. This tells about how the two schools put their rivalry aside and were joined as a family in that hard time.

I think any college football fan who is curious about the great Texas football traditions would enjoy this book.


Review Date: 1/1/2008
Helpful Score: 1


After the first couple chapters, I was prepared to ditch this book because Jen was so annoying. She was exactly the sort of obnoxious person that I loathe. But, happily, I stuck with it and ended up loving her! This is a great book. It is funny and snarky. It is also heartwarming and thought-provoking. It turned out to be better than I expected.


Clapton: The Autobiography
Clapton: The Autobiography
Author: Eric Clapton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 8/22/2008
Helpful Score: 3


In the past year, I have read quite a few biographies and autobiographies of rock artists from the 60s and 70s. The last one I read before this was Twenty Thousand Roads about Gram Parsons, and that one left me very haunted. Before that I had read Marianne Faithful's autobiography. I could not help but feel that so many talented artists were ridiculously reckless with their talents and, more importantly, their lives. I swore that I was going to take a break from reading about my generation's heroes because I was quickly becoming disillusioned. But I had this book on Clapton and, since I had already read Patti Boyd's account of their relationship, I figured I would read it and close the book on tempestuous rock stars.

This book? I am very pleased to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find I have gained a new respect for Mr. Clapton. I have always respected his talent, but now I have a respect for the man. It starts out the usual way - drugs and other crazy self-indulgent behavior. But this man got help, and he stumbled and got more help. He lost a child. Even in his grief he didn't succumb to his old ways. In fact, through soulsearching and hard work, he became more determined to fight his demons and stay sober. And even more impressive, he sought to help others who were fighting the same battle.

I am glad that I decided to read this book. At last, an autobiography of a musical genius who didn't self-destruct.


Crazy Ladies
Crazy Ladies
Author: Michael Lee West
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 145
Review Date: 5/25/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Compelling.... could not put it down. A tale of a dysfunctional family. Three generations of women. The most amazing thing about it was that I found myself hating a character, then understanding that character; loving a character then despising a character; As in life, there really is no black or white - heroes can be villains sometimes; bad people can have good in them; people are flawed but not inherently evil..... I know this is a confusing review, the book was NOT confusing. It was downright mesmerizing. Loved it!


Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead
Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead
Author: Saralee Rosenberg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 44
Review Date: 2/15/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I started this book and it really took a couple of chapters for me to get into the story. I am glad that I stayed with it because it was a really lovely book.

Mindy and Beth are next door neighbors who are complete opposites. In the beginning, they hate each other. Really hate each other. But circumstances draw them closer and they become best friends.

It is a tale of life - good and bad. Marriages go bad, businesses are failing, but Mindy is an optimist even when things seem bleak.

Lovely story about family, friends, and the dynamics of relationships. I really loved it.


The English Pub
The English Pub
Author: Andy Whipple
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/4/2007
Helpful Score: 1


185 stunning full-color photographs make for a truly ravishing tour, and every step of this journey across the length and breadth of England shows why the neighborhood pub has long been a center of English living, and why the sight of a pub sign and the thought of a pint of "real English beer" are irresistible temptations to the traveler in England.


Epilogue: A Memoir
Epilogue: A Memoir
Author: Anne Roiphe
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 8/10/2009


I rarely give up on a book. I always feel that books require a commitment, and usually the commitment pays off. This is one of the very few books that I put down after 80 pages. I just could not finish it. The author is a gifted writer. Her style is very simple and straightforward, her descriptions flawless, and her emotion is wedded to the page. That is the problem. I was depressed. Literally. I just could not continue reading this book. I know that losing a mate is a difficult, heartwrenching occurrence. I really could no longer reading her suicidal, self-pitying thoughts anymore. I literally felt as though it was affecting me mentally. So, I have given up on it. There seemed to be no relief in sight. I have no idea whether she rescues herself from the gloom. I really don't care at this point.


Fall Down, Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn't Tell Nobody
Review Date: 1/26/2008
Helpful Score: 2


When I was diagnosed with MS over six years ago, I made my husband swear to keep it a secret. So much of what David Lander writes in this book hits so close to home. It took me over a year to say the words out loud, "I have MS". And even then, I didn't want to be pitied. I am still the same person I was before! This book touches me in so many ways because the author puts into words so many of the things that I have had to deal with. I highly recommend this for anyone who has MS, has a loved one with MS, or just wants to know what it is like to live with this very unpredictable disease.


Fangs But No Fangs (Young Brothers, Bk 2)
Fangs But No Fangs (Young Brothers, Bk 2)
Author: Kathy Love
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 122
Review Date: 3/30/2009
Helpful Score: 2


This was only the third paranormal book that I have read. I bought it at the thrift store because I knew it was wishlisted, but I just decided to read it before posting. I am not so much into vampires and stuff. But I have to say that I loved this book. I could not put it down. Yes, there is steamy sex and vampires, etc, but it was the characters and the story that were so compelling. I suppose that the story transcends the genre.

Two people meet and are attracted to each other. Both of them have run away from their pasts. They are lonely and vulnerable. As the characters evolved, I found myself deeply committed to their relationship...... this was probably one of the best books I have read in, oh, the last month or so :)

Very pleasantly surprised with this book, and I will read more of this author, preferably more of this series.


Five Fortunes
Five Fortunes
Author: Beth Gutcheon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 10/14/2008
Helpful Score: 4


Five women meet at an upscale health spa. One is a young widow coming to terms with her husband's death, one is an older woman who will soon become a widow, a mother and daughter trying to come to terms with a tragedy, and a feisty private eye who isn't sure why she is there at all. In a week, they become friends. Even after they go to their homes and their lives, they keep in touch. They all experience life-changing events and decisions, but their support for each other never wavers. Beth Gutcheon draws you into each character's story, told separately, but never losing the thread that weaves them together. It is a positive and uplifting book, and I really enjoyed "spending time" with these women :)


Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media...
Review Date: 11/8/2007
Helpful Score: 1


This is an excellent book. If you read it with an open mind, you will start to question things. The years that I have been exposed to "scare tactics" have made me cynical. I lived long enough to have seen the news media declare that the world will live through another ice age because of aerosol hairsprays, women are going to die from breast implants, crack babies will become mutants, etc etc. Now I take everything with a grain of salt because even though we have more 'news' sources than ever before, they all tend to jump on the same bandwagon du jour. Stossel cuts through a lot of the BS that is out there and will have you questioning things that you read. That, in itself, is a good thing.


Jimi Hendrix Turns Eighty
Jimi Hendrix Turns Eighty
Author: Tim Sandlin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 11/5/2008


The year is 2022. It is over 50 years since the summer of love. So what has happened to the flower children/hippies? A bunch of them are in an "old folks home" near San Francisco at the mercy of a cruel establishment - corrupt conservators, a sadistic administrator, a doctor compelled to keep them drugged up and compliant, and children who think it is better for mom or dad to be put away where they "can't hurt themselves". Then there is a revolt, and the former children of the '60s put all of their civil disobedience and anarchy skills to good use.

There are lots of laughs in this book, but I found it more poignant than funny. For instance: "Rocky thinks about how arrogant they were back then, she and Grace and the whole tribe, how they knew old people were wrong and what the kids were doing was right and that it would never end. Of course, here they are, fifty-five years down the road, doing the same damn thing, so on one level it had lasted, in a twisted way. The difference is the love children never expected to grow old. Rocky supposes no one expects to grow old, but the children of the '60s were worse than other generations. Old age came as such a shock. You'd think sooner or later someone would tell the young what to expect and the young would listen. But then what? The social contract would crash and burn if the young knew what was in store for them."

Yes, there are laughs. There is irony. But there are also many touching moments, too.


The Last Cowgirl
The Last Cowgirl
Author: Jana Richman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 3/26/2009
Helpful Score: 9


I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. The author created compelling characters. I was drawn into the story immediately and could not put it down. Dickie is a woman in her 50s who returns home when her brother dies. Her life has been one long struggle against herself. Her self-denial about who she really is and where she belongs. The author alternates between flashbacks and current times. The book was not what I expected. I didn't expect it to be so deep and so touching. I would rate it five stars and highly recommend it.


Leeway Cottage
Leeway Cottage
Author: Beth Gutcheon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 39
Review Date: 1/5/2009
Helpful Score: 3


Beth Gutcheon is one of my favorite authors. This was a very poignant story which combined narrative of life in mid-20th century America and life during WWII in Nazi-occupied Denmark. I was a little unhappy about the evolution of the main character, Sydney, because I saw her as an unhappy child with a cruel mother who was surviving and setting herself free, only to turn into the same kind of woman her mother was once she married and had children of her own. The only reason I did not end up hating her was that I believe she was result of her upbringing. At the same time, she did stick to some of the things she believed in, such as her reaction to society mavens pressuring her about her husband's desegregation of the YMCA. That was priceless, and so unlike her current incarnation that I thought "WOW - she still has some redeeming qualities!"

Toward the end of her life, suffering from (possibly) Alzheimers and with a husband who cares for her, a choice is made by someone (by whom is never clear), which I believe is a fitting and peaceful end to the lives of two people who suffered in different ways and yet found peace with each other in their old age. It is not a classic love story, but a story of two people in a long marriage who accept each other and make a life together.

I highly recommend this.....


Mermaids in the Basement
Mermaids in the Basement
Author: Michael Lee West
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 4/8/2009
Helpful Score: 1


There were parts of this book that I loved, and parts I just can't seem to wrap my brain around. Who really wants to hear all the sordid details of your parents' lives? The affairs, the fights, etc. This is what Renata is experiencing after the death of her mother. It is an attempt to bring her closer to her estranged father, and to understand her parents relationship better.

There were funny eccentric characters, but overall, I really didn't see the point of her journey. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood to understand it.

Michael Lee West does write well. Her descriptions and her characters are memorable, but the entire topic didn't really impress me enough to love this book.


Murder by Design (Rick Domino)
Murder by Design (Rick Domino)
Author: Jon P. Bloch
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 10/8/2007
Helpful Score: 2


If you are/were a fan of "Trading Spaces", you will recognize many characters and events in this book. It is very entertaining and an easy read.


Rape : A Love Story
Rape : A Love Story
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 2/9/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Very difficult subject matter. JCO approaches this story from many angles, and there is not a happy ending. It was a very fast read, and it could be very intense at times. I found myself getting furious in some places, and very sad at others. I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it either. I don't suppose it is the type of book that you are supposed to "love", but it will definitely trigger many emotions.


A Redbird Christmas
A Redbird Christmas
Author: Fannie Flagg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 137
Review Date: 10/11/2008
Helpful Score: 6


This is a most heartwarming book. A man who has always felt like an outcast is told by his doctor that he only has a short time to live thanks to emphysema and years of neglecting his health. The doctor tells him to get out of Chicago and go to a warmer climate before winter because a bout of pneumonia will be fatal. So Oswald T. Campbell ends up in the town of Lost River, Alabama. As always, Fannie Flagg entertains us with eccentric and colorful characters. This book is very charming and everyone lives happily ever after.... but that is what makes this such a happy book to read. If you are looking for intense relationships or conflicts, this isn't the book for you. If you are looking for a simple book that will make you smile and warm your heart, A Redbird Christmas will fit the bill perfectly.


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