Wednesday, March 28, 2018

read: Grumpy Old Rock Star: and Other Wondrous Stories by Rick Wakeman (4 stars)

Grumpy Old Rock Star: and Other Wondrous StoriesGrumpy Old Rock Star: and Other Wondrous Stories by Rick Wakeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love getting autobiographies and memoirs read to me by their author-subjects. Rick does not disappoint. His enthusiasm is evident and his stories are often hilarious. If you're interested in Rick or Yes or progrock from the 70s, this book is for you. One unintended bit of humor for me is that Rick's speaking voice sounds an awful lot like Peter Jones, another Brit and narrator of the television version of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I started having HHGttG flashbacks.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

read: True Blue Murder (2 stars)

True Blue Murder (African Violet Club Mysteries #1)True Blue Murder by Elise M. Stone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this goofy little cozy mystery set in a senior citizens' residence in a small town near Tuscon, Arizona. My beloved Arizona settings came across as true to life. The descriptions and interactions of the wide variety of distinct characters seemed spot on. But the overall story was disappointing and fell flat.

The best word I can find to describe most of the prose is pedestrian. The action and relationships came across as stiff and clumsy. Then there's the uncompelling mystery, with an unlikable victim and a complete lack of suspects capable or inclined to have done it. This forced the author to end the story with a completely invented perpetrator and what amounts to a fanciful motive. The 'clues' that were supposed to support these inventions were unconvincing.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

read: Gun Church (2 of 5 stars)

Gun ChurchGun Church by Reed Farrel Coleman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can only give this 2 stars because, even though I could tell the writing was extraordinary, I cannot say I would recommend it to anyone who wasn't predisposed to enjoying this sort of thing. I did not find it entertaining.

I didn't particularly enjoy the first-person narrator. He was just too meandering and self-centered. This might be the point, since he's this self-destructive, washed-up writer. He's still not someone I wanted to spend 500 pages of my life with. Maybe I'm dense. I didn't get the literary references that were no doubt sprinkled through out. It even felt a little 'overwritten' to me. Also, repetitive. Five chapters in and he's still calling someone "St. Pauli Girl" (not to her face, thankfully) even though he knows her name and is constantly sleeping with her. I got it after the first two or three times. But I don't get why she keeps throwing herself at him. Maybe it's part of the gun church plot. Maybe it's author-worship. It's just inexplicable at this point.

The gun church of the title makes an early appearance and then disappears. If it had reappeared earlier, along with some more interesting characters and some actual plot, I might have hung on and finished the book. It was intriguing. Moving on to something I do enjoy.

Notice that this is all just my reaction. There are plenty of 4 and 5 star reviews. This might be the sort of thing you'd like, if you like this sort of thing.

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