Tag Archives: 2 Stars

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I’m really at a loss as to why this is such a beloved book to so many people. I found it boring and uninteresting. There were bits here and there that were captivating, but not very many. I just plain didn’t enjoy it. I don’t recommend spending the time it takes to read The Wind in the Willows. There are so many better books out there just waiting to be read.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 96
Pages Read in 2019: 24,350
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Filed under Classic, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Healed by Miranda H. Lotz

There is so much wrong with this book.

First, the characters are almost universally dreadful, unlikable people (this includes the ones you are supposed to like). The notable exception is Carson and his story suddenly goes into left field when he has a car accident and seizure right at the end of the book (absolutely no way someone with the brain injury he had would remember the details of an accident immediately upon waking up). And then… what? His story just kind of ends there like the author got bored of writing and decided to suddenly wrap it up without tying up any loose ends for the side characters’ stories she had started and only wanted to finish out the main story (that was weird).

Second, the characters are pretty much all stereotypes. What do you think of when you hear lobbyist? That would be Nick. What do you think of when you hear multi-term Senator? That would be Senator Steele. And so on.

Third, it needs an editor. There are many errors where words are missing, spelled wrong, or the wrong word is written (Dottie’s instead of Dorothy’s when referring to the slippers from Wizard of Oz at the Smithsonian for example).

Fourth, the author used way too many similes. About three-fourths of the way through the book she suddenly stopped using so many. I guess she had gotten enough practice writing that she wasn’t so dependent on them anymore.

Fifth, it was just weird when the lobbyist was given open-ended tickets to the Bahamas for his whole family by his pharmaceutical company owner boss just for literally doing his job. The author in the end notes said she was a little concerned about a pharmaceutical company reading her book and thinking she was talking about them and suing her. Clearly she has not read a plethora of medical thrillers where pharmaceutical companies are portrayed far worse (and far more realistically).

Sixth, it was really bizarre that she had the mom deliver the baby at a children’s hospital, particularly since it was set in the DC area where there are plenty of hospitals to choose from. Generally delivery at a children’s hospital is reserved for people who know ahead of time that their babies will have medical needs at birth. It also seemed odd that as an active duty military member’s wife she was not giving birth at a military hospital, nor were military hospitals even mentioned (she was about to deliver in the car so I could see going to the closest hospital – but I’d think they’d at least be attempting to go to a military hospital in the first place).

Seventh, the whole incident of the doctor being reprimanded for delivering the baby. It was an emergency. He was around while no other doctor was. ER nurses or doctors (as opposed to L&D nurses and obstetricians) sometimes deliver babies. It’s just the way it is when someone comes in very close to delivery and there is not time to locate the right doctor. This is not cause for being reprimanded.

Eighth, it didn’t make sense that the family always went to the children’s hospital where the baby was born for medical care even though the father was active duty military. They were never seen at a place like Bethesda, nor were any military hospitals mentioned. Now, it would be reasonable if there were no doctors who could deal with infantile spasms at a military location, for them to be referred to a non-military location and doctors. But they never saw a single military doctor at all.

Ninth, it was a big deal that they had to pay a fortune for vigabatrin and the insurance denied covering it initially. But, as an active duty military family, wouldn’t they have Tricare? I googled and Tricare covers vigabatrin for babies diagnosed with infantile spasms. So that whole part of the story makes no sense. (Also, as an aside, my googling found that vigabatrin can be prescribed for older kids with seizures that are not infantile spasms. A doctor in the book commented that the drug is only for infantile spasms and never prescribed for anything else and indicated that’s why it is so expensive, but clearly that is not the case.)

Tenth, the author clearly wanted to book to be Christian and by the end she was quite successful. For most of the book, however, the religious elements seemed very forced. Like she was going along and suddenly realized she hadn’t put a random prayer in or mentioned God in a while. It just didn’t happen organically for so much of the book.

Eleventh, The doctors were complete idiots about medical marijuana. In my experience, doctors actually know quite a bit and many are in favor of it even in states that do not allow it. I’m not sure if the author thinks CBD oil is addictive (kind of got that feeling) or what, but it seems that she doesn’t understand the drug schedules and what they mean and why beyond a google search and wikipedia article. She also does not understand what a clinical trial is, nor does one of her doctor characters (who would definitely understand what a clinical trial is in real life).

Twelfth, having grown up in the DC area it really bothered me how she referred to monuments by their full names. It sounded overly stuffy and formal and not at all how someone who lives in DC would refer to them (think the Abraham Lincoln Memorial instead of the Lincoln Memorial). It made the characters seem insincere and less believable.

Now, even with all negatives, it wasn’t all bad. The character of Carson was lovely and real. By the end, the writing had gotten tons better (perhaps this is why many published authors say to never publish your first book, or at least don’t publish it until you’ve written your second and have gone back and edited your first). She has the ability to be a good story teller and for the first half I was actually interested to know what happened to the baby (by the second half I kept reading mostly to just get it finished). Even with these few positives, due to the many issues I have with it, I don’t recommend taking the time to read Healed.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 87
Pages Read in 2019: 22,612
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Asked by the Author

Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction by Charles Townshend

Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction is wordy, boring, repetitive, and not all that short. It covers the topic decently, but I just found myself wanting to be done with it. Most of what it talks about is rather obvious. I don’t recommend it unless there are no other options. It’s not worth the time it takes to read.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 78
Pages Read in 2019: 20,881
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote is very long and sometimes interesting. It is a collection of stories of the adventures of a self-proclaimed knight-errant and his madness. Some of the stories are interesting, some are ridiculous, some are boring. If you feel the need to read lots of classic books, Don Quixote is a decent choice.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 52
Pages Read in 2019: 14,049
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Filed under Classic, Reason: Well-Educated Mind Challenge

The Boys of Earth-180 by Paul Samuelson

The Boys of Earth-180 is just not very good. The science is bad, the story is bad, and it’s just plain strange. You have to totally and completely suspend disbelief to accept that two twelve-year-old boys are being sent on a mission by a NASA-like organization simply because their fathers, both astronauts, are lost somewhere in space. Because somehow the boys are supposed to track them down or find the earth-like planet on the other side of the sun. One of those. The end is utterly ridiculous with absolutely no explanation of that ridiculousness. My ten- and twelve-year-old boys were glad when we finished reading the book. I don’t recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 26
Pages Read in 2019: 7416
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Filed under Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Science Fiction

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

In Reconstruction Era Texas, Captain Kidd is a news reader. He goes from town to town reading articles from newspapers from around the world to audiences for 10 cents a person. He’s asked to take a ten-year-old girl along with him and deliver her to her aunt and uncle in Castroville, near San Antonio. Little Johanna has spent the last four years as a Kiowa captive and along the way, the Captain begins to teach her how to once again be a part of the society she came from.

News of the World is a slow and meandering book. There were a few interesting scenes, but for the most part there just didn’t seem to be much of a point. The worst thing about it was a writing style choice the author made. She did not use any quotation marks. At all. This was very distracting and sometimes made it difficult to read. There did not seem to be a reason she made that choice. It did not contribute anything to the story. Since I live in Texas, discussion of the geography was interesting, and the relationship between the Captain and Johanna was sweet, but otherwise there was little that I enjoyed about the book. I don’t particularly recommend reading this historical fiction novel (a genre I usually enjoy quite a bit).

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 113
Pages Read in 2018: 29,053
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Book Club

Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

Founding Brothers tells of several stories of some of the founding fathers. The stories were interesting, but the language used was extremely distracting. I don’t know if the author wanted to match the “hard words” used in correspondence and speeches back in the 17 and 1800s or if he just had access to a really good thesaurus, but it got kind of ridiculous. If you don’t mind that, it’s a decent book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 104
Pages Read in 2018: 26,184
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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron