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Profile for Len > Reviews

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Content by Len
Top Reviewer Ranking: 159
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Reviews Written by
Len (Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Look Who's Back
Look Who's Back
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both funny and horrific., July 21 2015
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This review is from: Look Who's Back (Kindle Edition)
Could Hitler come back and be taken seriously? Obviously no one would believe it was actually him. He could spout all the crazy Hitler rhetoric and his audience would find it funny, a German audience anyway. That’s the premise behind Mr. Vermes’ book. And it is, in parts. In others, it’s quite alarming. His sense of amazement and wonder at the changes since 1946 would be the same for any character brought back from the past. The humour and alarm come from “Hitler’s” spin on these turn of events, the power of social media as a propaganda tool, the absurdity of television programming, the explosion of consumer products. Of course, there’s always the underlying horror of what the man represents. In the novel, the manifestation of his current being represents an absurdity of thought that evokes laughter for his audience. This is both funny and horrific to contemplate really happening.


While We're Young
While We're Young
DVD ~ Ben Stiller
Price: CDN$ 12.88
9 used & new from CDN$ 6.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and incisive., July 21 2015
This review is from: While We're Young (DVD)
Making decisions has been a problem for Josh (Ben Stiller) so much so that he's been working on the same documentary for eight years. The problem, he can't make up his mind about what film footage to delete. He's married to Cornelia (Naomi Watts) who has no more direction in her life than Josh except to say that she doesn't want children, an issue that came to the fore when their best friends have their first child. Enter, Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby Massey (Amanda Seyfried), who are young, self-confident and completely secure in their direction and everyday life decisions. Josh and Cornelia do their best to mimic the younger couple's lifestyle only to discover the value of their own lifestyle and aspirations. Funny and incisive


Red Sparrow: A Novel
Red Sparrow: A Novel
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good entertainment, July 20 2015
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Dominika, an aspiring ballet dancer, has her dreams shattered when the lover of a jealous rival breaks her foot. Without direction, she is recruited by her uncle, a high level official in the Russian Federal Security Service. Her beautiful blue eyes and striking figure make her a perfect candidate for the sparrow program that trains its recruits seduction techniques to be used against foreign diplomats, politicians and government officials. Nathaniel Nash is her American counterpart, a good-looing a CIA agent responsible for Marble, a Russian official with contacts in the highest level of the Russian government. Nate’s her target and the game of cat and mouse begins in Helsinki, Finland. Mr. Matthews provides a good balance of the comfortably predictable with the surprising to keep the reader interested to the end. As a retired CIA officer, Mr. Matthews provides enough insights into the bureaucratic mess that constitutes every large scale institution that any employee of a like institution can relate. Good entertainment.


Where All Light Tends to Go
Where All Light Tends to Go
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of “Romeo and Juliet” and little bit of “Rebel Without a Cause” set in the little known N. Carolina, June 20 2015
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“The apple never falls far from the tree” is one of those “truisms” that can burden youth with the faults of the parents. This is the case for Jacob McNeely whose father is a drug dealer and whose mother a drug addict. It’s all very sad and Jacob can see no other life for himself even though his girlfriend is the quintessential “girl next door” and his scholastic abilities would qualify him for university. It’s a little bit of “Romeo and Juliet” and little bit of “Rebel Without a Cause” set in the little known N. Carolina where current events reveal significant social problems.


So You've Been Publicly Shamed
So You've Been Publicly Shamed
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 13.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The horrific consequences of public shaming, June 20 2015
Mr. Ronson convincingly argues that shaming can be single worst human emotion. It can be so overwhelming as to prompt suicidal ideation rather than face society’s disapproval. In the past, social shaming was used as punishment for crimes until it was outlawed at the end of the 19th century in the U.S. because it was considered cruel and unusual punishment. With social media, it’s come back with a vengeance. For most of the shamed individuals that Mr. Ronson features, the shamed to lost their jobs and had considerable difficulty finding further employment. Twitter presents a problem in that it’s almost impossible have a comment taken out of context using a maximum of 140 characters, the context of course being that the individual is meaning the comments to be read by those who know them and understand the nuances of their message. Mr. Ronson argues convincingly that the horrific consequences of public shaming are an issue that needs to be explored and he does it admirable.


A Treacherous Paradise
A Treacherous Paradise
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Portuguese exploitation of the Africa peoples on their own continent., June 1 2015
The story begins in the late 1800s with a young woman leaving her home in Sweden for life in Australia. Her journey by boat is brought to an unexpected, tragic end and she leaves the ship in Portuguese colony located in west, central Africa where she seeks refuge in a brothel. There, she befriends both the clientele and the African prostitutes. The novel consists of a series of events that take place during her time in Afric a culminating a rather unsatisfactory conclusion. It seems that Mr. Mankel the exploitation of the African people within the borders of their own country, which he does with some success.


Galveston: A Novel
Galveston: A Novel
by Nic Pizzolatto
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.84
47 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A bleak, dark and pretty darn satisfying read., June 1 2015
This review is from: Galveston: A Novel (Paperback)
What begins as a road trip morphs into a game of waiting. Roy Cody has become a liability to his syndicate boss and is set up to take a hit. A fearless, resourceful fighter, he escapes the attempt along with a young prostitute, an innocent bystander who was supposed to die along with him. Complications arise when she rescues a younger “sister” from her deadbeat father’s cabin in the woods. We flash forward to the present to an older, deformed Roy living a pathetic existence in a run-down motel. The question is why. It’s a bleak, dark and pretty darn satisfying read.


Live by Night: A Novel (Coughlin Series)
Live by Night: A Novel (Coughlin Series)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It’s all exiting stuff but becomes somewhat predictable toward the end, May 1 2015
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This follows the story of Joe, the youngest of the Coughlin brothers, and the baddest who loves to live by night. The night, when the normal rules of everyday life and law are discarded in favour of the "honour among thieves." After his release from jail, Joe moves to Tampa where he takes over the rum running operations for a New York mafia gangster. It’s the roaring '20s and prohibition has made gangsters very wealthy men. With the help of the Cuban ex-pat population, his business expands so that he comes to the attention of the Klu Klux Klan. Closely tied to the local police chief, the Klan hate his connections with Black and Hispanic elements so they bombing his speakeasies and threatening more. Joe is ruthless and it’s all exiting stuff but becomes somewhat predictable toward the end.


The Given Day: A Novel (Coughlin Series)
The Given Day: A Novel (Coughlin Series)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific story of the post-World War I U.S., April 25 2015
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I was surprised by how entertaining this book was. Because of its length I thought for sure I would get bogged down at some point. But I didn't. It tells the story of the Coughlin family in America that began with the father stowing away on a ship as a teenager back in the late 19th century. He and his fellow stowaway become cops in Boston where Thomas Coughlin rises to the rank of captain. After marrying a mousy, unhappy woman, he has three sons; Danny, the eldest, Conner and Joe, the youngest. Bookended by anecdotes about Babe Ruth who started in Boston and then moved to New York, '"The Given Day"' focuses on Danny and his friend Luther Lawrence. As evidenced by his performance in a pickup game with Babe Ruth and other World Series contestants, we learn that Luther would have qualified to play professional baseball if he wasn''t black. As a consequence, he is left pursuing careers in which he has little interest. His penchant for adventure pushes him to the wrong side of the law and later, Boston. Danny is a cop in 1918 as the first World War is reaching its end and the U.S. is about to roll into depression with a bunch of young men returning from Europe searching for employment where little exists. Finances are tough and the city of Boston cannot afford to give its police force the raise promised back in the 1905. Police officers consider organizing and the worker in Danny is pitted against the employer in his father. This is a terrific story of the times.


You Are One of Them: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away
You Are One of Them: A Novel About Secrets, Betrayal, and the Friend Who Got Away
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific book, April 14 2015
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Despite being written by a man, the beginning of this novel reads much like a memoir. The childhood friendship between a young outcast and the new girl across the street with all their secrets and intrigues is told in such detail as to seem to come from fact and not fiction. Sarah, our hero, is unlucky enough to have been born to a paranoid mother who obsesses about the possibility of nuclear attack during the Cold War years when the beginning of this novel takes place. Her father leaves them for a younger woman who he takes to London to begin a new family and so, Sarah is left alone to deal her mentally ill mother. Her saviour is the new girl, Jennifer Jones whose family is seemingly perfect and who are quite willing to embrace Sarah as one of them. Life for the two is practically idillic until adolescence changes their friendship as it does that of so many young people going through those turbulent years. Jennifer is embraced by the cool gang and ostracizes Sarah so they drift apart. Then tragedy strikes and the Jones family disappears. As the subtitle states, this is a story about secrets, betrayal and the friend who got away. It's a terrific book.


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