-

Day: May 6, 2017

{Aside} Rating On Goodreads Before You’ve Read It.

Aside Posted on Updated on

A very wise, important and thought-provoking post about rating books before one even reads them. Thanks to Bentley for sharing this on his blog… I am re-posting it for others to read.

Book Bastion

Fair Warning: Unpopular Opinions Incoming!

I’ve been debating writing this post for quite some time now. I’ve titled it “Unpopular Opinions” for a reason. I’m fully expecting this to spark a bit of discussion and yes, disagreements, but given that we’re all civilized people with strong opinions that are all worthy of merit, I felt more and more compelled to share my thoughts.

I wanted to talk today about the state of Goodreads; in particular a disturbing trend I’ve been witnessing of people maliciously rating books before they’ve actually read them.

For the record, I also take issue with people rating upcoming books that they’re looking forward to 5 stars before the book has even been published, but that’s really not what I want to focus on here. Yes, that equally skews the ratings of any book, but I think it’s more pressing that we talk about the…

View original post 1,451 more words

Advertisements

Review: Lost in a Good Book

Posted on Updated on

Lost in a Good BookBook Review
Jasper Fforde had a stroke of brilliance with the “Thursday Next” series of adventure books. Lost in a Good Book is the second release in the series and I’ve given it a very high 3 of 5 stars. As it’s a very difficult book to truly wrap your head around, it couldn’t get a 5 from me. When I compared it to the first one, The Eyre Affair, I had to give it a slightly lower rating just because I enjoyed the first one more. A few really cool things about these books:

1. Thursday is a literary detective who can jump into a book to try to solve whatever crime has occurred within the book.

2. Crimes can include changing plot lines, removing characters, introducing chaos…

3. You have to be mad or brilliant, or both, to come up with these kinds of stories. In this one, “The Raven” and “Flopsy Bunny” are major character arcs. Can you imagine dealing with that?

4. The book has footnotes on every page, but they’re not real footnotes. They are commentary or thoughts about what’s being said in the book that the person talking wouldn’t necessarily know, but the reader needs to know them. I’m sure you’re confused if you’ve never read one of these books. So am I from time to time, and I’ve read three of them.

5. It’s such a great concept, and sometimes well-executed. And it’s got your typical romance component in it too.

6. But it can get very confusing if you don’t read slowly and think about every single action. There are so many made up words, actions, histories… it’s an alternative fantasy universe and you never know what might actually happen.

7. At times, I think it’s one of the best stories I’ve read. At others, it’s still confusing me. But I focus on the little parts surrounding the realities of the characters and what they are doing.

Phew…. complicated to write this review. It can’t be a normal one without it going on for pages about what is actually going on. All you need to know is if you have a huge imagination, don’t need structure, and love books… you must give it a chance.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Macbeth

Posted on Updated on

Macbeth
Macbeth by William Shakespeare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Book Review
Ah Macbeth… good old, dark and devious Macbeth. We read this as part of a 10th grade AP English course and watched a movie to compare the differences between the two versions. Everyone has his or her own take on Macbeth. I rather enjoyed the play back in high school and then again in college during my English major. It’s nearly 500 years old. Even by today’s standards, it has some of the most fun drama you could imagine. It’s sort of like a reality TV show, don’t you think?

Witches. Devious wife. Devilish husband. Death all around. Ghosts. Superstitious behavior. All great plot points. Amazing characters to work with. Fun and lyrical language. Can’t say enough good things about it. But to flip the coin for a minute… was it too much all in one story? What are we supposed to learn from it? Who was this really about? Many open-ended questions I’d love to ask Mr. Shakespeare.

If you’ve never read it… it’s necessary reading for classic / historical literature. If you’ve read it and didn’t like it, why? I’d love to know.

For me, it hit the mystery sweet spot in a few ways, even though it wasn’t quite a story about “who’s the killer.” It was more a thriller… “who else is gonna die?”

Tons of adaptions. Stage plays. It’s a multi-media dream come true for directors, producers and actors. As a play, it’s easy to follow and moves quickly.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.



View all my reviews

Review: The Giving Tree

Posted on Updated on

The Giving TreeMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review
I first read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein when I was twelve-years old, but then I read it again in college as part of a course called “Reading in the Elementary School.” My opinion didn’t necessarily change between the two reads, but my eyes were opened a little wider. I never realized it was such a controversial book, nor that the author was sometimes considered not ideal for children, despite writing picture books for them.

The basic gist of the book revolves around friendship/love and abusing/using someone for what they can offer versus just enjoying the time with them. At first glance, it’s a beautiful story about a little boy who loves his tree so very much… playing, swinging, climbing… But as he grows older, he no longer wants those things because he needs the very basic things in life we all need: food, shelter, warmth, water, etc. And he asks the tree for more and more until she is left a small and lonely tree stump. She’s given away her apples and branches, been left alone for years at a time…

For young children, it’s a lesson in how not to be selfish. How to learn the concept of give and take. How to be a friend and not abuse that relationship. Many argue it’s a dark tale about a boy who never really learns his lesson, even in the end when goes back one final time to ask for one more thing — a place to sit before he dies.

Yes, that’s an over-exaggeration of the story, but depending on how/when you read the book, your perception of it could change. I think it comes down to Silverstein choosing not to “sugar-coat” the story… and show everything is all lovey-dovey in the end. He’s essentially saying “People will hurt you. Be careful.” And that is a lesson to teach children.

I’m not a parent, and I didn’t end up becoming a teacher; however, I am a firm believer in free speech and not keeping books away from people. Rather than banning a book, determine the age it should be read. There’s nothing wrong with reading this book at a young age, as long as you’re talking about it with a child. Ask them what they learned. Ensure they see both sides of the story. But don’t let them do it all on their own so they take the wrong message from the picture or the words.

Yes, the boy was an a$$. True, the tree needed to learn earlier when to say “no.” But we all want to feel loved. The book covers so many lessons in life, it’s hard to keep track. For me, in the end, it’s a solid book worth sharing with your kids. Perhaps not in school, as it is a lesson between parent / child / siblings — at home — as a family. All in all, I’m glad I read it a few times, and I hope everyone gives it a chance to think thru everything it’s trying to say.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

TAG: Get to Know me

Link Posted on Updated on

I found this tag at Bionic Book Worm who found it at Too Much of a Book Nerd. I thought it was a great way to drop some interesting facts about us bloggers and let others stumble upon them when checking out our blog and profile. So here goes…

download

VITAL STATS

NAME: James

NICKNAMES: Jay, JC, J (but never Jim or Jimmy)

BIRTHDAY: March 18th

STAR SIGN: Pisces

OCCUPATION: Technology & Business Ops for ~20 years. Now split with writing.

LIVING IN: New York City (NYC)

 

APPEARANCE

HAIR COLOR: Brown

HAIR LENGTH: Short, but for a guy, probably considered long…

EYE COLOR: Hazel

BEST FEATURE:  I think it’s my shoulders/chest. Friends always say my hair these days.

BRACES: No, but I should have had them. My teeth aren’t perfectly straight. A few are slightly slanted. But I’m not going thru that ordeal now!

PIERCINGS: None now. But in the past, I had two piercings in my left ear and both nipples for a few years. I’m sorry to anyone reading this who finds it surprising or shocking. But in reality, if you saw me at the beach or the pool a few years ago, you would have seen them in person.

TATTOOS: None but I love them. Some day…

RIGHT OR LEFT: Right

PICTURE: Most recent one

WIN_20170420_18_25_29_Pro
I hate the camera!

FIRSTS

REAL HOLIDAY: On my own? I don’t know that I remember… moved into my own apartment at 22, so perhaps that Thanksgiving or Christmas?

BEST FRIEND: Lynde while growing up. We lived next door to one another and spent all our time together for 15+ years. We still chat from time to time but live in different places. Now it’s probably Winston for the last 5 years.

AWARD: A bunch in grammar, middle and high school. Best creative short story in college. Versatile Blogger this week for my site. Nothing else I know of!

SPORT: Played soccer and baseball through middle school, then I was a bowler. Even worked there and taught kids how to bowl. Now just the gym.

CONCERT: I am not a concert guy, too many people. My parents too me to a few outdoor ones as a child. The first I actually remember going to… I think it was Madonna in my 20s.

 

FAVORITES

TV SHOWS: I’m only listing the ones currently on air that I watch: Modern Family, Mom, How to Get Away With Murder, The Real O’Neals, Great British Baking Show, Younger, The Crown, Grace and Frankie

COLOR: Black

SONGS: I’m usually good with turning on the radio and listening to anything rock or pop

RESTAURANT: Easier to choose cuisines… Mexican

SHOPS: I’m not a shopper but when I do… Kenneth Cole or Banana Republic

BOOKS: Too many to list… right now, anything by Kate Morton

SHOES: I hate shoes. I prefer not to wear anything, no socks or shoes. If I have to… sandals

BOOK GENRES: Mystery

 

CURRENTLY

FEELING: Old… some of these questions are hard or don’t work for me. Ornery. 😛

SINGLE OR TAKEN: Taken for about 5 1/2 years. We live together.

EATING: Had a half a turkey sandwich about 30 minutes ago for lunch.

THINKING ABOUT: Edits to my book. Waiting on feedback from an agent. Scary.

WATCHING: Last night, the latest episode of “Mom.”

WEARING: comfy cotton shorts, t-shirt and a pair of boxer-briefs

 

HAVE KIDS: Nope, not unless you count Ryder. Perhaps one day…

WANT TO TRAVEL: Yes, but I have a bit already.  Been to: China, Singapore Thailand, Cambodia, Argentina, Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, UK and France. Plus most of the USA… 35 out of 50 states so far.

DO YOU BELIEVE…

 

In Yourself: Yes, most days. 

God: I was raised Catholic.

Miracles: Eh… I believe random things can happen. I’m not sure I’m clear on what we’d call the true definition of a miracle.

Love at first sight: No, because love means so many different things. You can know you will be with someone for a long time. You can be sure you will fall in love with something about them. But I don’t think you can immediately fall in love.

Ghosts: Yes. Spirits. I think you can sense things are around you.

Aliens: There is more than Earth out there.

Soul Mates: Probably not, though I don’t mean it in a bad way. I just mean you can fall in love, and you can be meant to stay together… but we have one soul and not everyone falls in love just once.

Heaven: Yes, there is something positive beyond life.

Hell: Tough one. I believe in forgiveness, so who or what would go there after life? I was taught to believe in it because I am Catholic, but I’m unclear on its real definition.

TAG TIME

And now it’s your turn… I’m not tagging anyone specific, but I’d love to see at least 5 of my online friends post reply with their answers and post it on their site, tagging me and letting me know so I can check it out!

Review: From Potter’s Field

Posted on Updated on

From Potter's FieldBook Review
3 of 5 stars to From Potter’s Field, the sixth in the Kay Scarpetta thriller series, published in 1994 by Patricia Cornwell. After five books, you begin expecting more and more from a series, wanting it to up its game, thrown more mystery and character depth… and you get that in this book; however, you also get a bit of a different perspective this time. A few things about this one:

1. It picks up from a previous book with the same killer who still hadn’t been caught. It’d be helpful to read the previous one so you are fully up to speed.

2. Potter’s Field is a real place. It’s where all the bodies of unknown identity have been buried in NYC.

3. Involves a murder in Central Park. Hits a little too close to home, given what happened in CP years ago.

4. The ending is just… bang… killing spree over and let’s fly back home.

5. The killer is directly after Scarpetta… finding victims beforehand to get Scarpetta to find him.

6. You learn a lot about the underground. And a killer’s lair.

7. Scarpetta never learns. She won’t partner with someone the way she should.

8. This was probably the take off point in the series where the author became quite famous. She had recognition before this book, but the series was widely known when this one was released.

That said… it’s a solid read but a bit more focused than previous books. When you have some history from earlier reads, you feel more connected. But in the end, it was more or less just a good thriller book for me. Still enjoy the series… and this was the most relate-able to me given the location.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: C is for Corpse

Posted on Updated on

C is for Corpse Review
4 of 5 stars to C is for Corpse. Another fun adventure with Kinsey Millhone. But this time, she’s got a case that’s twice as hard because the person who’s hired her has a bit of amnesia from a recent accident. But he’s certain someone’s trying to kill him. What’s always interesting about Kinsey is how she charges for her cases, and when she chooses to work or not work. For example… she gets an upfront retainer which will keep her paid for a week’s work. But then when the person who hired her actually dies in another accident, she’s got money left. Should she give it back to the next of kin and abandon the case, letting the cops handle it. It is their job, right? No… not for Kinsey. She will use up the retainer and then either donate what’s left or keep it if it’s small enough to justify hazard pay! 🙂

The third entry in the “Kinsey Millhone” mystery series by Sue Grafton is a complex mystery, especially when she only has certain info from the client before he bites the dust. But his family just thinks he’s losing his mind and almost want to give up on him. Sort of like Kinsey feels about Henry dating… and he’s found someone this time, but Kinsey’s not sure how she feels about it. A necessary fun side-story to keep us entertained above and beyond the actual mystery itself. And how can you go wrong with a title containing the word “corpse.”

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

%d bloggers like this: