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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

10 Second Book Reviews

Island Beneath the Sea: I wanted to love this one, I really did. It's the story of a slave woman and her life. The story takes her from Saint-Dominigue, Haiti to New Orleans, and is truly epic. Isabel Allende's prose and imagery is beautiful and then brutal. The history of slaves on Haiti is told in great detail. The brutality of the slave owners is sometimes difficult to read, and the historical sections sometimes dragged for me. In the end, the reason I didn't love the book was because it was just too heavy for me at the time that I was reading it. I did like it, and I do recommend it, but it was just... too much.

The Hangman's Daughter: This book is the first in a four-book series. I bought the fourth book because it was on special on my Kindle for 99 cents. Then, I was kind of obligated to read the first 3 books in the series. So, I started with this one. It's less about the hangman's daughter as it is about the hangman himself, and his physician friend, who happens to be in love with the hangman's daughter. It's a bit of a crime drama, but it's a crime drama that takes place in 17th century Germany. It was a good start to the series, and it did make me want to read on. So, I recommend it.
The Dark Monk: This is the second book in the Hangman's Daughter series. It's much the same as the first, except that the hangman's daughter actually takes a larger role in this one. It's a mystery set in 17th century Germany and includes the same cast of characters as the first book. I enjoyed it, and I will eventually finish the series (although I took a break from it for a while).

The Dog Lived (and So Will I): This one is honestly a nice break from animal stories where the dog doesn't live. It's clear from the title that it doesn't have an Old Yeller kind of ending. Yes, the dog lives. This is a personal memoir by the author about her fight with cancer which just happened to happen right when her doggie is fighting cancer as well. It's a cute story, and a quick read. I very much liked it.

Allegiant (Divergent Series): Ugh, this one was so disappointing. I loved the first two books of the Divergent series, but this one fell flat. The writing was sloppy, and the story really deviated from the original premise of the series. In fact, a lot of the fighting and whatnot from the first two books was rendered basically pointless. I won't quibble over the ending (which many fans hated), but the book itself wasn't very good. It didn't help that it had been something like 2 years since I'd read the last one.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln: I listened to this one as an eBook, and it was long. 41 hours. I listened for 30-60 minutes per day and it took me from September to January to finish. It really gave me some true respect for Abraham Lincoln and how great he was as president. I also learned a lot about some great men whom I knew very little about. My biggest lesson is that politics really isn't that much different now than it was then. We like to think we're all fresh and new, but no, it's all just more of the same. The disappointment that I had with this book was that the movie only covered a very small part of it. I'd love to see more of Lincoln's life covered in film.

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