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"Book Reviews" by Token

Snaggletiger

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2015, 10:49:34 AM »
Yan...Bubie....I know you prorry no speak good Engrish...but this Book review.  Not video. 
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Kaos

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2017, 09:48:33 AM »
Camino Island
-- John Grisham

John Grisham is a hack.  Plain and simple.  The guy peaked with A Time to Kill and has churned out pretty much nothing but plodding, repetitive garbage since.

His latest, Camino Island, is his attempt at departure from his typical lawyer, peril, Caribbean island themes.

It's terrible.  It's a slow paddle to nowhere with no real reason to care, no compelling characters, ridiculous contrivances and stilted, awful dialogue.  I've read GED essays that were put together better. 

Plodding, dreary, idiotic.  Just awful.  It starts slowly, never gains steam and then fizzles to a moronic end. 

The only redeeming quality is that one of the main characters attended Auburn.   
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GH2001

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2017, 10:27:42 AM »
Camino Island
-- John Grisham

John Grisham is a hack.  Plain and simple.  The guy peaked with A Time to Kill and has churned out pretty much nothing but plodding, repetitive garbage since.

His latest, Camino Island, is his attempt at departure from his typical lawyer, peril, Caribbean island themes.

It's terrible.  It's a slow paddle to nowhere with no real reason to care, no compelling characters, ridiculous contrivances and stilted, awful dialogue.  I've read GED essays that were put together better. 

Plodding, dreary, idiotic.  Just awful.  It starts slowly, never gains steam and then fizzles to a moronic end. 

The only redeeming quality is that one of the main characters attended Auburn.

Damn.

Dude called Grisham a hack. Harsh.

Replace Grisham with Spielberg, and Time to Kill with Saving Pvt Ryan. Does that hold true as well?

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Kaos

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2017, 06:56:55 PM »
Damn.

Dude called Grisham a hack. Harsh.

Replace Grisham with Spielberg, and Time to Kill with Saving Pvt Ryan. Does that hold true as well?

Not to the same extent.  Spielberg has a much better catalog. 

Grisham's prose is insulting.  Written for third grade level reading.
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GH2001

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #44 on: August 01, 2017, 09:30:09 PM »
Not to the same extent.  Spielberg has a much better catalog. 

Grisham's prose is insulting.  Written for third grade level reading.

Good to hear I can read it then.
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Kaos

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2019, 02:53:00 PM »
The Reckoning
-- John Grisham

After I deservedly trashed Grisham's amateurish and insulting Camino Island I felt like I should come back and give him the credit due for leaving the lazy behind in his most recent book The Reckoning. 

I almost didn't read it.  I'd grown incredibly tired of his half-assed efforts and recycled storylines.  If I read one more book where lawyer money was hidden in some Caribbean Island...

I'm glad I didn't shelve it. 

The Reckoning is a departure.  It's not A Time To Kill, but the story is compelling enough to keep you wanting to plow through it and get to the reasoning.  It's much closer to the book I wanted Grisham to write and a significant step above his lackadaisical efforts of the past decade or so. 

Pete Banning, a veteran of World War II, is wounded but survives the Japanese in the Pacific. In the early 1940s Banning returns to his Mississippi cotton farm. About a year after he returns, Banning walks into the parsonage at the Methodist church and shoots his pastor dead. 

The remainder of the book is a slow exposition of the rationale behind the killing -- which Pete never provides -- and follows the lives of the wrecked family he left in the wake of his act of violence.  It follows his trial and verdicts, but unlike most Grisham books it doesn't wallow in the courtroom theatrics.  Instead it moves fairly quickly through the mundane legal work and devotes the majority of its time to the people affected -- his mentally ill widow, his son, his daughter, his old maid sisters, the farmhands/house help who are a half step above slaves, his lawyers and the gossiping community. 

A big chunk of the book skips back in time and follows Pete's participation on the Pacific front in WWII.  .  It's difficult to imagine what the men of that era endured and Grisham does a good job of giving life to the horrific events.  Man's capacity for cruelty is astonishing.  Even though Grisham's work is fiction, he clearly relied on real life stories of the terrors inflicted on American soldiers as he marches through Banning's grim but inspiring war history. 

Banning's backstory took up at least a third of the book, maybe more.  And while it was definitely interesting, in retrospect it didn't really inform any of the other events of the story.  In that way it was almost like two completely disconnected books either of which might have been fine as a stand alone effort.  Had Banning's adventures motivated his actions in the Methodist parsonage in any way whatsoever, it might have been a better fit. 

I also figured out what had actually happened long before the exposition that came in the final few pages. The twist was sort of telegraphed  by some obvious story injections (and since you may read it, I won't tell you how)

The end of the book felt a little unfulfilling, like there were some more stories to tell.  Thing don't always wrap up neatly and sometimes the wrong people win.  But that's life, right?

Still, those are minor complaints for what was (in my opinion) the best Grisham book in quite a long while.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 03:01:38 PM by Kaos »
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Kaos

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #46 on: November 24, 2020, 12:28:58 AM »
A Time for Mercy
Back to Grisham.  That bitch sure has a lot of my money. But not this time.
Got gifted his latest, A Time for Mercy. 

Grisham is back to trolling the same waters that made him famous.  With this book he's resurrecting Jack Brigance, Harry Rex, Lucien and the town of Clanton from A Time to Kill. 

It's clearly what he does best.  Most of his books after ATTK were the literary equivalent of CoolWhip. Very little substance.  Not necessarily bad, but of little substantive value.  I could typically read an entire Grisham book in a few hours at worst. 

Not this one.  I'm nowhere near done with it and it may fall completely apart in the second half, but this is where Grisham is really at his best.  In this town, with these people who were fully realized in the first book and then brought to cinematic life.  This is what he knows. This is who he is. And it shows.

I'm probably a little over 1/3 done and even if it sputters to a ridiculously stupid conclusion it's still better than anything he's written in decades. 

I kind of hope he just stays there from now on.  If he doesn't want to write about Brigance, fill in Lucien's backstory.  Take a deeper look into Harry Rex's history.  Just stay there for a while and tell the stories he knows, not the asinine "run to the Caribbean" ones he hacked out year after year.

I do read a lot of other stuff besides Grisham, I just never think to write about them here.  I try to read a book a week at least. 
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 12:32:29 AM by Kaos »
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Kaos

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2022, 07:15:59 PM »
A Safe House
Stuart Woods

Looking for something to read.  Books and Noble chick asks what I normally read and I go over some of the stuff that I tolerate.  She says "oh, you've got to pick up Stuart Woods. He's an amazing writer, very gifted..."

Holy fuck. What a hack. I've read better GED essays. The guy is terrible.  I will not finish this book and it's one of the few in my collection I'm going to toss in one of the giveaway birdhouses around here. What a fucking diaper full of shit. 

The book is A Safe House and it's awful.  I'm not going to finish it. I'm less than a third of the way in and his immature, childish, stilted, hackneyed effort has makes me want to vomit.

Rich guy is asked by a government official to ferry a witness out of the US to protect her from her evil Senator husband.  He doesn't know her, has never met her, and only finds out her identity once they are out of US airspace.  Of course they fuck almost immediately. And then another 14 times in the first few pages I read -- including a three-way with some lady they meet the second day of their trip.

Of course the husband made his money in texas oil.  Of course he wears a big white cowboy hat where ever he goes -- even to tea in England. Of course he talks all funny 'n stuff. Of course he has assassins who work for him and wear black cowboy hats -- even in England. Of course they all talk funny too. Of course he's an evil, greedy Republican whose lying to the world about everything. 

Fuck Stuart Woods. I'd rather read mouse droppings from Stuart Little.
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Kaos

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2022, 06:58:18 PM »
Sparring Partners
- Grisham

I read a lot of books.  Like one a week.  I review few of them. Not sure why I keep referencing the Grisham ones but you get what you get.

I keep getting Grisham stuff because he’s familiar and I keep hoping he has another Time to Kill in him.  Maybe one day.

Sparring Partners is a selection of Grisham “short stories.”  I have my doubts. 

Anybody who’s ever tried to write knows that at some point in almost every story you hit a wall.  Maybe you lose yourself or you lose the characters but you find yourself not knowing where to go.  Maybe the first two acts worked but now the third is falling apart.  I know.  I’ve got literally a dozen books I’ve started and hit that wall. You thought you know what you wanted it to say but once you shrugged on the character’s skin it doesn’t make sense any longer. 

In all of those 12 or so books I’ve started I have a big separation drawn. Basically an “it’s fine to here” line of demarcation with the idea that I’ll go back at some point and maybe have the inspiration to finish it.    That’s what the stories in sparring partners feel like. He just decided not to do anything else with them. Each of them feels to me like he just ran out of words so he stopped.  Not sure how to finish it so let’s just call it good right here.   

Finishing a book is hard.  It’s hard to find the right conclusion to anything.  Relationships. Movies. Tv series.  Books are no different.  That’s why each of the conclusions to the stories in this book feel exactly like slamming into that wall and wondering if there’s something more on the other side.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2022, 09:59:27 AM by Kaos »
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Kaos

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Re: "Book Reviews" by Token
« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2022, 09:58:30 AM »
Some others since I've reviewed too many Grishams.

I've noticed a disturbing trend from most authors that I read more than once. Grisham. Patterson(and accomplices). King.
Coben. Sanford. Every single one of them slips in some anti-Trump rhetoric at some point.  I'm getting fucking tired of it.

Hidden Pictures
Pretty decent read about a troubled recovering drug addict who encounters some creepy shit when she takes a job as a house-sitter fresh out of rehab.

Enjoyed it because I didn't anticipate it playing out as it did.  And it was pretty anti-woke, actually. That was refreshing.  Correctly identified who the real monsters are. 

Could have used a little polish and a tad more exposition regarding the main character, but it was a better book than I anticipated.

Dear Child
German book about a kidnapped child.

Nothing in this book went the way I thought it would.  It was a little hard to work through because it was written in three voices.  It also had some German references that don't really resonate which added to the difficulty. 

This was another book that zigged when I thought it would zag, which I appreciated.  I didn't really buy the final reveal, but other than that it was a pretty decent read. 

The Investigator
John Sanford has probably run out the string with his Lucas Davenport 'Prey' series. So he branches out with the daughter Lettie and some of the other peripheral characters.

This is a Lettie Sanford story. 

Like all Sanford books it's uneven in places, unrealistic in others.

It's basically a pulp read.  Chew through it and immediately forget. 

Escape
Patterson-named book that he didn't write.  One of millions. 

There are some good parts.  I'm not a big fan of the main character (a recurring one from other books) Billy Harney. 

It's not a terrible read, but of all the recurring character books I typically read (Jack Ryan, Mitch Rapp, Michael Bennett, Lucas Davenport, Virgin Flowers, Alex Cross, Jake Brigance, etc.) Harney is probably the least likeable.

All I really remember from this one is that Harney simultaneously solves a kidnapping and a gang-related case in one fortunate (and implausible) manner. 

The Devil's Hand
Probably the least woke book I've read in a while.  I'm nowhere near done, just barely started. 

The basis of this book is that our enemy plays the long game.  It watches us destroy ourselves after 9-11's patriotic fervor dissipates and bides its time.  Watching, learning, adapting and planning the next attack. 

It lays out what some of us have been saying for decades (and others here deny).  The end game is domination on multiple fronts.  Infiltrate the schools, compromise the politicians.  Pick specific areas of the country and overwhelm them with sheer numbers -- knowing that we are not united (or intelligent) enough to stop it. 

It all rings true to me.  I see it every day. 

Hooked me when there was a section where the islamic fundamentalists discussed 'a former vice president and his family who had been corrupted and compromised by eastern European oil interests.'   Could have been Bush, could have been Biden.  Either way, I get it. 
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