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review 2013-11-05 20:23
Ride With Me, Mariah Montana - Ivan Doig

I listened to the audiobook format, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the narration by Scott Sowers, in fact he drew me into the story at first. It was cute, but then as it continued it became quite simply boring. By the end I just wanted it to end.

So what was wrong? There are two central themes to the book. Jick, an elderly man, whose ancestors we have already met in the previous two books of the series, is struggling with the death of his wife and how to go forward. Should he sell his sheep ranch? The second theme is the impending Centennial Celebration of Montana's statehood. Through this you get a bit of Montana's history. Jick, his daughter(a photographer) and her previously divorced husband(a journalist) travel around Montana in preparation for the Centennial Celebration - writing, photographing and recounting the history of the state. The primary problem is that much of the story is a recounting of past events. The story is told rather than shown, rather than lived.

Jick is whiny and negative and knows so much more than everyone else - this bugged me! His humor is sardonic, more nasty than nice. But of course a novel such as this has to end on a hopeful note, so that has to be patched on at the end!

The theme is really about family relationships, letting children mature and become independent, allowing them to make their own decisions. Parents must let go too! People have to move on, both as their children grow up and after death, but it is all a bit rather trite.

How can I give this more than one star when I just wanted it to end?! How can I say it was even OK? Should I continue with this series?

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review 2013-11-01 20:17
The Case of Comrade Tulayev (New York Review Book Classics)
The Case of Comrade Tulayev - Victor Serge,Willard R. Trask,Susan Sontag

This is supposed to be a classic about life under Stalin. I very much enjoyed those sections of the novel that describes places and scenes. The author's words draw a picture that you clearly see, be it the feel of the air on a frosty night or a street in Moscow. Likewise, I found the Communists’ maneuvering and killing during the Spanish Civil War interesting.

What I didn't like were the character portrayals. For me it felt that each character, and there are quite a number, are put into the story to deliver a message. That message is clear - life in Stalinist Russia was absurd. Knocks that life dealt you were totally beyond your control. Tulayev is killed at the beginning of the book and the murder has to be found......but not really! Everybody BUT the real killer was was accused and wiped out. The death of Tulayev was simply a great excuse for wiping out inconvenient opponents, people with opposing opinions or any imagined enemy. Yes, this does reflect life during the reign, but the numerous examples hammered in the point excessively.

Good writing, but you can sum up in one sentence the message that is being delivered. The characters are all flat and two dimensional.

The narration of the audiobook by Gregory Linington was fine. It is not his fault that the story was lacking.

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review 2013-10-30 04:13
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of Robert Oppenheimer
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer - Kai Bird,Martin J. Sherwin
Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon - Steve Sheinkin

I am in the middle of moving from one country to another, so I just do not have the time to write a decent review of this excellent, marvelous book! Please, if you are at all interested in either history or amazing people grab this book soon. On closing this book the reader truly understand the atmosphere that swallowed up America during the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War. The reader comes to understand Oppenheimer - his creativity, his imagination and his failings too. The list of the latter is long, but boy do I admire the guy! There is so much I could tell you about this man who I knew nothing about before I read this book, except his label as the the "Father of the Atomic Bomb".

I don't regret reading Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, but the two don't compare! You in no way need to read one to read the other. The first is about the bomb, the Manhattan project and spying, but this about Oppenheimer is about the person and his era.

I listened to the audiobook read by Jeff Cummings. I have no complaints with the narration. Read the book or listen to the book. You choose, which ever suits you best. Just don't add it to one of those never-ending lists of books that you don't get around to actually reading!

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text 2013-10-16 11:50
How I rate my books.

I use the following rating system:


1  star  = I disliked the book

2 stars = The book is OK

3 stars = The book is good

4 stars = The book is really good

5 stars = The book is amazing


If I give a book three stars that means I think it IS worth reading.


I do not give half stars. My rating just gives how I personally reacted to the book; maybe you will react differently.  I do try to explain WHY I have reacted as I have. Hopefully this will help you decide if a book I liked or disliked will work for you.


With audiobooks I rate the book, the written lines. Although I do also state what I thought of the narration, I do not take this into consideration in the rating.



If you want to see my reviews, search for the tag chrissiereviews

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review 2013-10-15 11:23
All the Names
All the Names - José Saramago,Margaret Jull Costa

I listened to this so I would not have to deal with the lack of punctuation, and yet the never-ending sentences were still unavoidable. On and on and on with lists of details that I found boring.

This is a philosophical treatise, or should I say pure sophistry?! Yes, I get what the author is saying about life and death and that the two are intertwined. Even if I do happen to agree, the point is pithy, and I didn't need to listen to all this theorizing. I do get it but I knew it before I began.

Occasionally I did chuckle. That is all I can say that is good about the book. The main protagonist's conversations with the ceiling were amusing.

I did like The Elephant's Journey, and for that reason I thought I would try this book, but it will be my last by Saramago!

The audiobook was narrated by Traber Burns, and he did a fine job. Unfortunately, you cannot make a poor book into a good one through good narration.

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