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review 2015-04-29 18:34
Burning Down the House (Skull Crackers Motorcycle Club) - Marissa Knight

1,5 Stars!
Well that was not so good. I was expecting a hot and sweaty erotic short story and in its place i got an awkward, poorly developed, menial, tiny tale, that was more frustrating than anything else.

The premise was ok, maybe naive and plain but i was looking for that kind of simplicity in this particular read. No matter how basic though the story is i still expect for some semblance of literature. The whole book is hardly 20 pages long, couldn't the author take a look at it and do a spell check? Am i asking for too much?

Anyway, like i said, this is nothing much so yeah! Ta ta for now!


- Some editing issues.
- I liked how shy Danny was.
- Stale usage of the language. Manhood, again and again!!??

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1267218044
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review 2014-02-27 05:22
Thirty Girls by Susan Minot
Thirty Girls - Susan Minot

This is one of those books that's sold as a story of atrocities in a little-known country, but that actually focuses on the mundane angst of a visiting American.

Jane is a 38-year-old journalist from New York, who travels to Uganda to recover from a failed marriage. She soon meets the much younger Harry, to whom she attaches herself like a barnacle, obsessing about the relationship while setting out with a group of aimless expats on a road trip to interview children kidnapped by Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. The children include Esther, a teenage girl taken hostage along with most of her Catholic school classmates.

Unfortunately, the book skims over the true drama of Esther's and the other girls' stories, in favor of the mundane details of Jane's trip and her affair; indeed, Esther narrates only a third of the book, for all that it's supposedly about the thirty girls. I suspect Jane's chapters are based on personal experience, because they have the ring of travel stories ("The roads were terrible, and when we finally arrived, what we thought was a hotel turned out to be a brothel! And THEN, we asked someone where to find a hotel, and he offered to let us stay at his house!"). Like many travel anecdotes, they are less interesting than the teller imagines, and the road trip drags on interminably. Even when the group arrives in what we're told is a war zone, all that seems to be at stake for them is who's sleeping with whom.

I don't blame Jane for continuing to inhabit her own life, despite being horrified by the plight of the LRA's victims; it's an honest portrayal of the way most people respond to the suffering of strangers. I do, however, blame the author for using the story of the kidnapped girls as a hook to draw readers in to the dull mid-life-crisis tale of a privileged American. Another expat tells Jane she has a "wild spirit," but this is nowhere in evidence: she's needy, insecure, content to hand over the reins of her journalistic mission to a group of pleasure-seekers she's just met, and ultimately bland. Meanwhile, though Esther's story has a few shining moments, she is so underdeveloped as to come across as little more than a standard resilient victim. The other girls hardly register except as a jumble of traditional English names (is everyone in Uganda really named this way?) attached to acts of violence. Even the deaths of children at the hands of the LRA are rushed; it's only when a white expat is the victim of violence that Minot fully develops the event and its consequences.

As for the writing, Minot does a good job of capturing speech rhythms; I immediately heard the East African accent in Esther's narration, for instance. Her style itself, however.... well, see for yourself:

"Harry turned right down a slope of flattened grass strewn with hulking boulders at the end of which sat a stone house with a thatched roof."

"A sliver of light green pool could be seen at the end of an alley of cedar trees and a gigantic palm tree rose far past the other trees like an exploding firework. Marsh stretched beyond with inky grass markings and black twisted trees. The purple lozenge of the lake lay farther."

Ultimately, this book bored and disappointed me; the story of the kidnapped girls is worthy of a novel but becomes little more than the backdrop against which Jane's identity crisis plays out, and Jane's story lacks the vitality and insight to carry the narrative itself. I recommend passing on this one.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-10-01 18:17
Evil Word of the Day: Giggle. (May have spoilers)
Earth Star - Janet Edwards

Oh, Earth Star. What to do with you?


First, let me say this: I loved Earth Girl. It was an astounding book despite a few flaws here and there and I enjoyed it immensely. World-building was pretty good, the romance was boring but it was pretty fulfilling, main character was awesome but perhaps just a bit too awesome, but hey! In the end, I was satisfied, and that's what mattered right? Earth Girl pretty much set up and introduced to us the foundation of the series, so for a sequel, of course I was expecting a bit more plot, a bit more action and suspense, a bit more thrill and enough of the OMG-JARRA-YOU-ARE-RAMBO-PERSONIFIED-IS-THERE-ANYTHING-YOU-CAN'T-DO? 


Unfortunately, Earth Star didn't impress me. Actually, it disappointdoed me so much that it hurt.


I wanted to like Jarra, but she annoyed me to no end. I wanted to really believe in her capabilities, but of course the book just had to make her the most impressive person ever and that we should all bow down and kiss her toes. If she was portrayed as awesome-in-everything in Earth Girl, it gets worse here. She was illustrated as too-perfect-to-be-true that every time something happened that showed how speshul she was, I'd get this urge to go ape-shit, because... damn, everything was just fucking ridiculous, really. It's like she achieved Saiyan mode in the first book, and she achieved SUPER SAIYAN mode here... effortlessly. I don't know about you, folks, but there's a fine line between acceptable and comically absurd when it comes to being "awesome".


So we know that she's super talented, well-versed, and knowledgable in a lot of things, and I accept that. She's got guts, she's courageous, and she earned her Artemis medal, the highest accolade ever in the Military. OK, cool. Then in this instalment, the military decides to get her for the Alien Contact Programme, and she is awarded Commander, and we later find out that OF COURSE she was a descendant of Tellon Blaze, that super legendary hero back in the good old days. It was at this point my eyebrows were twitching because sweetheart, do you really have to be THAT fucking special? I was shaking my head because it was becoming borderline unbelievable. And of course, she's the one that thinks of the solution to why the aliens came... besting many others who had a lot more knowledge and experience than her, which led her to leading an excavation. Riiiiiight.




I know the sky's the limit, but seriously? SERIOUSLY?


Not to mention the dialogue and narration were just... bizarre. I don't know but it felt like Jarra was a completely different person from the Jarra I knew in Earth Girl. A lot of the lines were cheesy as hell to me. She kept on giggling at everything ("I giggled."), and every time she kept on mentioning about Fian looking like Arrack San Domex, I wanted to punch a wall and make my fist bleed. It was absolutely horrid. Imagine being in a dire situation and she just had to ruin all the sense of suspense and urgency because Fian looked like Arrack San Domex and she couldn't stop fantasizing about it. GAAAH. I WANTED TO CHOKE HER.


Speaking of Fian, if he was boring in Earth Girl, he sure as hell is even more bland here. Goodness, I get that he's nice, but come on, dude! Have a bit of personality here! Their romance was mind-numbingly boring, and as another reviewer has pointed out, they acted more like an old married couple than anything else. I just wanted to roll my eyes every time they'd throw cheesy mushy lines to each other. Here you have a boring character, and another boring character.... who dared think this would have worked out? I didn't see any chemistry at all in their romance and for the first time ever I was PLEADING to the high heavens for a love triangle to happen JUST SO THEY COULD SPICE IT UP. This Fian/Jarra relationship can easily get the MOST BORING COUPLE award. Congratulations.


The secondary characters were boring as hell, too, and their dialogues weren't memorable at all. Ugh, I wish I took samples, but they were easily forgettable after a page. I wish they had better lines but theirs were just as bad as Jarra's and Fian's. So sad. :(


I don't think I'll be continuing the series. Maybe I will, but I am not going to eagerly anticipate it anymore. If Jarra is going to become more awesome without showing any significant flaws, then I'm jetting out of here.


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review 2013-09-30 20:18
The Burgess Boys - Elizabeth Strout

So about halfway through this book, I posted that I liked it, I just didn’t know why, because nothing had happened..

Honestly, at that point, I was thinking: Ok, granted, it’s weird that I’m halfway through, and nothing exciting or dramatic or just something had happened yet, but ok, there were still a lot of pages left, so I let it go, and read on, because as I said, I did like it..

So now, that I’m done, I can let you all know, that no, nothing did in fact happen in the last 50% of the book either..

You might be wondering: “Well, Camilla, it’s a 336 page book, something must have happened?

And yes, you got me, stuff happened, I guess. Like.. I don't know. Looking at the neighbors. Feeding of the dog. You know, exciting stuff like that?

It’s a story about 3 siblings in their 50’s that come together because of one, count it, ONE incident that happens early on. I guess that is literally “something that happens” in the book, but sadly it isn’t dramatic in any way. Any way.

It could have been about Jim, Bob or Susan’s (the siblings, btw) trip to the nearest 7/11, that’s how exciting that incident turned out to be.

Ok, we do also have Jim’s incident 90% later in the book, but again = Zzzzzz

Nothing happened!

The weird thing is, I did like it, or I liked the writing, I should say. It’s an easy read, and you do want to like the characters, it’s just hard when nothing happens!

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