Posts Tagged ‘2 out of 5’

17th January
2014
written by Steph
Well, it got the NO part right, at least

Well, it got the NO part right, at least

This book is a great example of why I probably shouldn’t let other people’s reviews have too much sway when it comes to choosing my next read. Truthfully, despite having heard a fair amount about this book when it was first released, I never had any interest in it, and I’m not afraid to say that this decision was based entirely on the stupid spelling of the title alone. That may be superficial, but I feel ok about it because, come on. I’m one of those people who uses full words and sentences (with punctuation, even!) when I text or tweet, so there was no way I was ever going to get behind a book named "NOS4A2" on my own. So you can imagine my surprise when, reading through end of year best of lists on GoodReads, this book kept popping up again and again. Even more shocking, it had garnered a 4+ star rating on the site, and most reviewers were positively slavering over it. The near unanimous praise to high heavens piqued my interest and I assumed that the book must be much cleverer than its dopey title implied. (Also, there was some speculation in the Tournament of Books forum prior to the actual roster being released that this book might make the final cut.) (more…)
5th January
2012
written by Steph
So, first question: how can a book about SEX be so, well, boring? I mean, the word “sex” alone is so incendiary, that not only am I sure that seeing it boldly placed there in that first sentence immediately grabbed your attention, but I can also only imagine the deluge of weirdo spam this post is going to incur. So you’d think that a book that essentially revolves entirely around sex (even when people aren’t having sex, it’s still all about sex) would be cause sweaty palms and racing pules, or at the very least an occasional cocked eyebrow and maybe a knowing smirk, right? And yet, no! In spite of a rather inspired premise, this book can best be described as “MEHsmerizing”, that is a book the inspires intense feelings of apathy and disinterest in its reader despite ostensibly scintillating subject matter. [And yes, I just coined that term, but I think it’s going to take off in a big way…] And just what is this neat-o premise of which I speak? Essentially, it is this: an enigmatic drama teacher moves to a small suburban town and decides that the local high school will put on a production of the classic Greek comedy Lysistrata – a play in which all the women of Greece decide to abstain from sex until their men agree to end the Peloponnesian War. In an uncanny twist of events, as production on the play advances the women of the town are slowly overtaken by an enchantment that also causes them to spurn the advances of their husbands, lovers, and boyfriends. As sex lives become a thing of the past, tensions rise and soon the whole town is thrown into upheaval. It’s only a matter of time before someone reaches their breaking point, and when they do, things are going to get ugly… (more…)
15th September
2011
written by Steph

As book bloggers, we spend a lot of time talking about all the wonderful ways that the blogosphere has broadened our reading horizons. I can’t tell you the number of wonderful books I have discovered courtesy of fellow bloggers and their rave reviews. BUT. What happens when you pick up a book on a blogger’s recommendation only to find that it’s kind of a stinker? What then? It’s bad enough in real life when someone tells you you’ve gotta read a book and then you don’t care for it, but somehow when this happens in the book blogging world, it seems worse, because you’re publicizing how much you didn’t like the book and are thereby accusing the other blogger of bad taste. So it is with trepidation that I write this review (and maybe that is part of why I’ve been holding off on writing it?)… because The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen, being the first in the Rizolli & Isles series, was a book I never would have picked up on my own, but did so due to a glowing review by a fellow book blogger. Said blogger talked about how the R&I books had become her favorite series and she was just plowing through them because she couldn’t help herself but to read them as fast as was humanly possible. I don’t tend to read a lot of series, and crime thrillers are few and far between on my reading roster, but this blogger was just so effusive that I became curious and decided to give the first book in the series a shot. (more…)
18th May
2011
written by Steph

Get lost and stay lost!

Like many people out there, Tony and I love to travel. I am always a little bit suspicious of people who claim to have no interest in visiting or seeing new places or ever leaving the country. I truly believe that travel expands the mind and provides a perspective that books and other media simply cannot offer. For my money, there are few things I can imagine that are a better investment than travel. In fact, for the past few years Tony and I have been saving up our pennies to take the ultimate adventure once I finish graduate school: a round-the-world trip that will last somewhere from 12 – 18 months. Of course, because I'm a planner, I’ve spent tons of time researching countries and coming up with a rough travel plan. We’ve spent countless hours watching shows like Departures and No Reservations, trying to decide which parts of the globe we need to see firsthand. It’s nice to see the vitality captured through film and television, but of course I’ve spent a lot of time reading travel books and have been really interested in bulking up on my travel memoir reading as well. So when I saw that The Lost Girls was being offered on TLC Tours, I asked Trish if I could get my hands on the copy since it sounded like a book that would be great inspiration for my own. (more…)
7th October
2010
written by Steph

I don't know what an "Anthony Award" is, but I don't think I want one...

Regular readers know that I don’t shy away from writing negative reviews here at S&TI! In fact, some might argue that I actually revel in lampooning the occasional deserving book. I admit that sometimes it’s just a whole lot more fun (and a lot easier) to snark on a book than it is to sing its praises. But I try to only do this if I think a book really deserves it. Dead Until Dark (aka “the first Sookie Stackhouse book”) definitely deserves it. I realize that most of the time when I rag on a book and call it “bad”, I generally talk about how I found the writing uninspiring and/or not very good. But I also realize that my high prose standards are not always appropriate – not ever book strives to read like poetry or transmute words into shimmering gold, and that’s ok. It's not fair for me to lambaste a book for not achieving something it didn’t set out to do. So I will skip my usual diatribe of “this book was not written well” and try to focus on the other things Dead Until Dark does aim to do, and perhaps does not succeed in doing. (more…)
3rd December
2009
written by Steph
It's the return that possibly no one was waiting for!

My December review for BookPage

And now for something entirely different, head on over to BookPage and check out my review for the December issue, where I covered the sequel to The Nanny Diaries, Nanny Returns.  No, really, I did!  Can you tell December is slim pickings when it comes to new releases? Ok, but seriously, even though chick lit is really not a genre that I tend to kick back with if given my druthers, I will admit that I used to dig this stuff and even read the original Nanny Diaries way back when… and I’ve even seen the movie!  So how did the sequel hold up?  I think I nail it on the head when I say that if chick lit is your think and/or you really liked the first, then the sequel really isn’t all that shabby.  Not going to win a Pulitzer any time soon, but not all fiction strives to do that, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes you just want something fluffy and fun!  And I will say that it was an interesting exercise to read this and then to review it from the perspective of someone who is this book’s target reading audience and put my own biases aside… this book may not be in my wheelhouse, so to speak, but I’m actually quite happy with how the review turned out.  Take a look and let me know what you think! [P.S. If I were rating this on the site, I'd give it a 2 out of 5, simply because it just really isn't my kind of book, and all things considered, fluff may be fluff, but I'm still taking the writing and the plot into account when I'm evaluating a pleasure read... See above for this not winning the Pulitzer any time soon. Maybe it deserves something higher if I were grading on a "chick lit curve", but honestly I don't read enough of that genre to place this accurately on that curve, so we'll stick with my rating, which I bestow regardless of genre.] Oh, and since we're all disclaimer-y these days, I was given the book for free.
25th November
2009
written by Steph

I first read a review of this book a few months ago on Write Meg! and left a comment saying it sounded like a fun read, and one I’d consider taking a peek at myself in the future.  Enter, Nicole, publicist extraordinaire who then contacted me asking if I would like a free copy of Only Milo to review on our site.  I said yes (thanks, Nicole!), and here we are! November has been an abysmal month for me in terms of reading.  We’ve been really busy with traveling and work, and that certainly hasn’t helped me with turning the pages, but moreover I think I’ve just kind of been on reading burn out.  It’s a terrible thing when it happens, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that voracious reader that I am, there are still going to be times when my reading ebbs and I just need to take a break from books.  It’s never a divorce, mind you, just a temporary separation while I recuperate and reenergize before diving back into the endless ocean of books. So after taking THREE WEEKS to read a single book (Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde, if you must know, and no, it didn’t take that long because I wasn’t enjoying it, but rather the aforementioned reading slump is squarely to blame, and yes, I did really like it a good deal, but unfortunately that’s all I can say for now and you’ll have to wait for the Jan issue of BookPage to hear more of my thoughts on the matter, but basically if you are already a longstanding fan of Fforde then it pretty much follows that you will like this one too…), I decided it was time to turn my attention to something that would be a quick and easy read. (more…)
17th September
2009
written by Steph
Don't be surprised if Grossman gets his butt sued by Rowling, Tolkien, or Lewis (yes, the dead might rise from the grave to do so!)!

Don't be surprised if Grossman gets his butt sued by Rowling, Tolkien, or Lewis (yes, the dead might rise from the grave to do so!)!

Steph's Take (That's right, you get a double-header, folks!  Also, sorry this is a long one; I had a lot of feelings...): When it comes to publicizing books, you need only say one of two names in order for me to be guaranteed to want to read your book.  The first is Jane Austen.  This is how I came to buy such books as No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym (who has been called the Jane Austen of her day), Beginner’s Greek by James Collins (the book evoked a sense of Jane Austen), The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (self-explanatory… I hope), and Jane and the Upleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery (also self-explanatory, but perhaps less easy to justify).  The other name?  Harry Potter.  That is how I came to purchase Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (which if it were not for Tony, would still be classified as “unread”), and more recently, to borrow The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I read the first two chapters of the book, before showing it to Tony.  He said that it seemed like a book he would probably enjoy reading, so he read the first two chapters, and then we decided to read it aloud to one another so that we could experience it together.  It was a fun experience to share Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book together on the way back from our honeymoon, so we thought it might be fun to do it again. (more…)
13th August
2009
written by Steph
Maybe this one should have been called Atonement... or Agony

Maybe this one should have been called Atonement... or Agony

A few years back, my real-life book club selected Atonement by Ian McEwan for our monthly read. I borrowed the book from the public library (in large print, because all the tiny print versions were checked out with massive queues) and got to reading. And it was agony! Some people love Ian McEwan’s style, but that first part of the novel (which I fondly refer to as “before dinner”) is so arduous and horrifically slow. A friend of mine had already read the book and she said that once I could make it to dinner (and beyond) things would pick up so I really should stick with it. So I did, and true to her word, the book did pick up and many shocking things happened, culminating in the ultimate shock ending. While my initial experience with the book was not so good, I did come to appreciate the book, to the extent that I did eventually buy myself a copy of it. The more I thought about it, the more I came to like it (I especially like Part Two, and I’m not really one for war writing). Based on that experience, I figured it might be worthwhile to check out some of McEwan’s other work, so when I saw a decently priced copy of Amsterdam at McKay’s I bought it. (more…)
2nd July
2009
written by Tony
It's like they are both robots! Ooooh!

It's like they are both robots! Ooooh!

This is a stupid movie. I mean, there is a lot of exploding, shooting, robots and shooting robots, which is awesome, but from a strictly science fiction perspective (or real-person perspective) this is a stupid movie. I mean stupid lazy, not just moronic. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect anything more, but the more I thought about this movie afterwards, the more lazy and simplistic it seemed. I saw TS while I was in San Diego with the VP of my company. We were drinking a beer at the Yard House, which had good beer (but makes the claim that they have the word’s largest selection of on-tap beer, erroneously, as I’m quite sure the Flying Saucer in Nashville has a good deal more), when we decided to go see the movie. Naturally, this is a movie that our significant others did not want to see, and we both agreed that this was also a movie that required at least a modest buzz to be enjoyable. (more…)
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