Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reviews - Books that were not my Cup of Tea

These are books that for a variety of reason did not appeal to me. However, I've been around long enough to know that each of us has different tastes, so in the interest of fairness, I'll say why they did not suit my fancy and invite you to tell if you had a different impression. In no particular order:
  • Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
This one underwhelmed me. I enjoy a good mystery and always look for new authors-particularly those that promise me a series. I probably won't be looking for the rest of this series though. Our heroine, Isabel Spellman, is a Stephanie Plum type private eye, with lunatic parents who own a PI agency, a really stuck-up big bro who is an attorney (since this is a family site I won't use the word I'd like to use to describe him), a teetering on the edge of sobriety/unsanity uncle, and a baby sister whose character is so bratty, precocious, obnoxious, and stupid that she literally cannot be believed. In addition to family liabilities, throw in drinking, doping, and discarding boyfriends like some people change underwear, and you've got our gal. This group of dingbats goes careening thru solving their 'cases' by spying on each other for practice, spying on Isabel's potential beaux, and racing toward a less than believable ending. The plot dragsssss on , the characters don't develop --they only get more out of sight---and you just keep praying for it to be over! If you like Janet Evanovitch's books, you'll probably like this one. I didn't hate it but...
  • Wicked by Gregory Macguire
I haven't seen the Broadway show, but I tried this one in print and on audio....just could not get into it, can't tell you why, and respect your right to love it. Judging by reviews, lots of people do.
  • Portuguese Irregular Verbs - Alexander McCall Smith
I have this love/hate relationship with AMcSmith...I really really love his First Ladies Detective Agency series, BUT.....I have never been able to get into the adventures of Prof. Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, the inept, hapless, and I think he's supposed to be lovable? hero of this quaint little tome.
  • Sarah: The Novel - Marek Halter
I'm not too fond of authors who take so much liberty with historical (or at least semi-historical) characters and embellish them to get a good read. Don't want to do spoilers, but suffice it to say I found some of Sarah's activities and attitudes downright implausible, and no matter how I suspend belief, these did not make even good fiction. I certainly didn't like this spoiled brat was portrayed as Abram's wife.
  • Year of Living Biblically - A. J. Jacobs
The subtitle of this book is One Man's Humble Quest to follow the Bible Literally. Humility is not this guy's forte. It is billed on the cover as humorous, and while parts of it can be seen as funny, it was a rather pathetic attempt by an agnostic Jew to 'find himself'-and let's face it--to make money by trading on the fact that he was already "published'. I put up with the book thinking that he must go thru some kind of religious conversion/epiphany/awakening at the end---I certainly wasn't looking for an altar call--but all I saw was a slight increase in his appreciation for his ancestors.


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