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Terry M. (tmulcahy) - , - Reviews

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1634: The Galileo Affair (Assiti Shards, Bk 3)
1634: The Galileo Affair (Assiti Shards, Bk 3)
Author: Andrew Dennis, Eric Flint
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 68
Review Date: 7/26/2015


Tedious. The initial burst of activity, of a society having to reinvent the technology they take for granted, is gone. Instead of confrontation with warlords and dictators, of meeting the demands of business, sanitation, hygiene, medicine, government and education, our displaced-in-time team spins in place for much of the book, learning 17th century gossip and backstabbing politics, and little else. Very little happens, or is shown, but there is a huge amount of talk and lecturing. So slow and boring is it that I have no desire to read 1635 or any other sequel or similar work. Finishing the book became a chore, but thankfully, the pace picked up in the last 1/4 of the book. Most of the first three quarters could have been summarized in about three paragraphs, and had little relevance to the ending.


Across the River and Into the Trees
Across the River and Into the Trees
Author: Hemingway, Ernest
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/4/2011


This 1950 story was inspired by time Hemingway spent in Venice, Italy in 1948, after an absence of thirty years.
In this story, an old army colonel has a passionate but almost platonic relationship with a young countess. Despite the difference in their ages, they are madly in love with each other, and spend all their time together, often fantasizing about their future together, traveling and raising a family, even though each knows that it will not happen.
A poignant story about a real love, a a disparaged love, but a real relationship nevertheless, one that is good for both people, told with Hemingway's fast-paced prose and eye for details.


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 81
Review Date: 2/5/2022


Amazing. The diamond is a chilling, haunting element in the story, and many actions center around it, but it is not the story. The story revolves around people, people whose lives are upended by war. Each of them had lives of complexity and love, and then all things went crazy. We see their lives from each of their own perspectives, and they are real to us. They are brothers and sisters and parents and children, and thinkers and doers. Always they are loved or love someone. And they suffer through terrible circumstances and horror. Few survive. And the survivors have those memories. Some are haunting, some poignant, and some memories have kept them alive. And, I think, some of those memories are part of my memories now.


Bellwether
Bellwether
Author: Connie Willis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 127
Review Date: 12/29/2023


Connie Willis is brilliant. Is it Sci-Fi or is it not? Turns out it didn't matter. It had enough scientific thought to satisfy any scientist or Sci-Fi reader. Chaos theory and fads? Sheep? Bureaucracy? Scientific grants? Well, yes to the latter. And how do you get one when you're working for a bureaucracy, which, by its very nature abhors innovation, but is also keen to follow fads. And so do grants. Do fads lead to chaos? What does chaos lead to?


Between Gears TP
Between Gears TP
Author: Natalie Nourigat
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/25/2020


A lot of work went into the comics that make up this compilation. The artwork itself is good. For myself, I can't imagine who wants to know what anyone's boring last year of college is like. Daily entries made it long, adding to the tedium. There were flashes of what she might become, but reading about someone who finds sororities exciting was not so exciting for me. To be honest, it was in no way similar to the time I spent learning enough to graduate, which took me twenty years. I worked from the time I left home, and always had to squeeze classes in somehow. There was a time when I craved a career in laser optics, but there was no way to survive full-time day classes, and work every night at low-wage jobs, not making enough for rent and food. Eventually, I had a scientific career and was able to study while working so that I received a degree twenty years after graduating from high school.
So, I'm a bit biased as to what constitutes education. The life of people who are able to move right into college without trying out life first, and without having to pay for it is beyond my understanding -- partying, drinking, hangovers? not having to cook my own meals or make my own bread? not having to worry about utilities or clothes? I get that she was able to sell some comics, but that hardly pays for the sheltered life she led. It was interesting to see how people like that get through life, so that's why I rated it as OK. But it was hard to get all the way through it.


Big Hero 6, Vol. 1
Big Hero 6, Vol. 1
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/30/2020


Illustrated by Disney, this tie-in with the movie by Disney is adapted from the manga by Haruki Ueno. I always wondered what the story was about, and I found the book by a dumpster. The big white marshmallow character is a personal health-care robot named Baymax. A young prodigy named Hiro is the main character. Three stars for the science fiction aspects and the tragic death(?) of one of the main characters.


Binti (Binti, Bk 1)
Binti (Binti, Bk 1)
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 5/30/2020


Book one of a trilogy.

A fascinating look at travel among the stars, from the perspective of someone living on a world where she is looked down on, even though that world and countless others are dependent on her tribe's scientific and mind-bending abilities. Binti is 17, rebelling against family and tribe, alone of her people, to travel, with others of her world (Earth) to the universal University Oomza, where she will be among far more alien people than she has ever imagined. But she travels with the knowledge and strong mental training of her people, something she is sure of but does not know the full importance of, nor how to fully use it. But she is very young, and the universe can be a very harsh place to live. Fortunately, she has a form of magic with her, in the form of ancient but misunderstood technology, and a complicated family history.

Well written, there is much that is said besides words, on several levels. A quick read, unfortunately, but one unlikely to be forgotten quickly.


A Bullet For Cinderella
A Bullet For Cinderella
Author: John D. MacDonald
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 11/24/2020


Not bad. Another of his early ones, short and sweet.


Bumf Vol. 1: I Buggered The Kaiser
Bumf Vol. 1: I Buggered The Kaiser
Author: Joe Sacco
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/1/2015


It's a bit strange and over the top, but somewhat interesting.


Cousin Joseph: A Graphic Novel
Cousin Joseph: A Graphic Novel
Author: Jules Feiffer
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/1/2022


If you'd given me this book without an author's name on it, I'd have told you Feiffer did it. His drawings always fascinated me as much as the sarcasm, the fake ennui, insights into people's motives, and personas he'd put on to skewer people who needed skewering. So, yeah I liked this story. There's a meaty, dirty, real story here, with realistic people, exposed for who they are, and let the consequences hit them on the head, as they fall unconscious into the river. Noir, with Feiffer artwork to accompany it. What more could I ask for?


Donner Dinner Party (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, Bk 3)
Donner Dinner Party (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, Bk 3)
Author: Nathan Hale
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/2/2022


If you know nothing more about the Donner Party than that some survived by eating the dead, then this is well worth reading to find out what happened, and why so many got trapped and left behind, and what became of them all.


Ex Machina Vol. 9
Ex Machina Vol. 9
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/24/2020


Good art; good writing. But one of these is all I'm going to read. Not really worth it.


Flowers for Algernon
Flowers for Algernon
Author: Daniel Keyes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 10/10/2019


Thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderfully written. Really explores the different sides of how we all are treated and treat others who are maybe not as quick, but who are aware and who do live fulfilling lives.


Hope Rides Again (Obama Biden, Bk 2)
Hope Rides Again (Obama Biden, Bk 2)
Author: Andrew Shaffer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 10/4/2019


There was surprising humor in this, although it's not a comedy. The characters of Obama and Biden are interesting in the details, and there's a mix of hero worship and naked truth that provides much of the humor. But, basing a detective novel's two main characters on real and widely known politicians is an odd choice, to me. I found myself repeatedly asking: is Obama like that? can Biden really be like that? They are caricatures, for sure, but I found myself distracted by thoughts like that too often. The story was perhaps too real and everyday to counter those distractions, and while it was better than I'd feared, I can't imagine reading the first book, or another of these.


In the Flesh: Stories
In the Flesh: Stories
Author: Koren Shadmi
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/20/2021


Tales of tortured souls and tormented passion. Some people fall in love, get married, and thrive in happy relationships â then there are others, such as in: Satisfaction Av., Radioactive Girlfriend, Pastry Paradise, Antoinette, A Date, The Fun Lawn, What is Wrong with Me? Grandpa Minolta, Cruelty, and A Lavish Affair. Violent whimsy.


The Jewel That Was Ours (Inspector Morse, Bk 9)
The Jewel That Was Ours (Inspector Morse, Bk 9)
Author: Colin Dexter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 1/31/2022


I had obtained this used book based on the description of the story and the fact that it was free. I'm glad it was. It is not the most tedious book I've ever read, like some I've never finished, but I finished this one out of curiosity, not pleasure. I'd heard of Inspector Morse, perhaps I'd glanced at a showing of the TV series. Needless to say, I won't be looking for any more of these. I think one has to be stoically British to like these. The constrained stories, deliberately padded with too much detail, and details that I was totally disinterested in really put me off on this writer, whom I'd never heard of before reading this book. The boring, one-upmanship between Morse and Strange is hard to sit through, and I hate to think it permeates every single book in the series. I shudder at the thought. As a yarn, it's OK, but barely. The mysteries were far too convoluted and numerous for the payoff at the end, which was less than satisfying. 1991? This is like reading an antique, good in its day, but horribly outdated without any redeeming qualities.

The copy I have has a badly creased cover, is an ex-library book, and had food stains in it with tiny bits of dried food. I don't think that colored my impressions, because I'd read books in far worse shape. I love books and read them carefully in order to pass them along. But not this one. For once, it's going in the recycle bin.


Joyland
Joyland
Author: Stephen King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 156
Review Date: 5/13/2021


Excellent. I'd never read anything of Stephen King's until recently. The movies with his name attached didn't impress me, and his book titles and plot summaries didn't appeal to me. That's too bad because I realize now that I've missed out. This is some great writing. I was attracted to it by the Carny angle, but it was really an emotional roller coaster ride through a short time in a young man's life. I was briefly a carnival worker myself, for about as long as the protagonist is one in this novel. So, yeah, I was a little surprised at some of the carny terms King put in this, but he explained in the author's note at the end that he made many of them up. I don't think he had to make them up, there's plenty of carny lingo to go around, and he made it clear in the story itself that every carnival/roadshow has some of its own lingo, so it didn't really need explaining.
Anyhoo, I also usually don't go in for murder mysteries, but there have been some writers that really knock it out of the park: Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, John D. MacDonald. And now I put Stephen King in that category. One of the best.
The attention to detail is extraordinary. And King is writing here and now, letting us know that his stories connect to the here and now, and he does it casually, using references to ideas and events all of us are familiar with, both in our childhoods and today. He's not a writer locked away outside of society, unaware of real life. I suppose that will eventually make his stories seem ancient and irrelevant to young readers fifty or a hundred years from now, but hey, I enjoy an old Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett novel as much as more contemporary novelists, so I don't think all of King's novels will ever be forgotten.
I really enjoyed Joyland. Kept me thinking, wondering, guessing, and loving the characters. Tugs at the heartstrings too, and not because that sells, but because that's life: you take the good with the bad and make the best of life as you can. Clichés, of course, but still good advice.


Left Behind (Left Behind, Bk 1)
Left Behind (Left Behind, Bk 1)
Author: Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim F. LaHaye
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 997
Review Date: 7/14/2011


This is only for people who believe or want to believe in "The Rapture." While the story itself is interesting, the authors take pains to point out the faults of all non-believers. It is fundamentalist Christian fiction, in which all medical personnel involved in abortions, for instance, yearn for babies to be born after the rapture, just so they can have something to do and to get rich off of killing babies.


The Lone And Level Sands
The Lone And Level Sands
Author: A. David Lewis, Marvin Perry Mann, Jennifer Rodgers
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 11/6/2017


Well drawn and well told. The story is fascinating told from this perspective. If only people were able to see things from the point of view of "the other side" all the time. Absolutely loved the argument Moses makes for proof over faith.


Mail Order Bride
Mail Order Bride
Author: Mark Kalesniko
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/7/2015


Amazing! The story drew me right in and kept me there. Stereotypes abound in this story, some to be destroyed, others to be created, but the characters always surprised me. The ending I was expecting almost came, but went off in an unexpected direction. It was funny to realize that writers often create wish-fulfilling fairy tales , full of what-if scenarios, and characters bursting out of their shells, but this story is more true to life, without the idealistic happy ending. Don't get me wrong; I like happy endings where people overcome odds, sterotypes, and restrictive chilhoods, and this wasn't one of those. However, I loved this story. Its ending surprised me, but made sense. I think it is a more powerful story than it could possibly have been with a make-believe happy ending. This is how people are and what oftens happens - not to them - but what they do to themselves, and allow themselves to do. The ending initially saddened me, but somehow, in retrospect, seems to carry a bigger, more complex message. Highly recommend it.


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