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Wayne Shepherd "Wordsmith" (Etobicoke, Ontario Canada)
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Doctor Sleep: A Novel
Doctor Sleep: A Novel
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.49
56 used & new from CDN$ 10.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars RUSHED, Feb. 7 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Sleep: A Novel (Hardcover)
THE SHINING was one of the first Stephen King books I ever read and remains one of my favourites to this day. Some critics say that it was "overwritten" and too long. I say that all the detail the author included made the book as brilliant and frightening as it was, and is.

DOCTOR SLEEP is a good book and a good sequel, in terms of how the lives of THE SHINING's characters played out after the explosive climax of that first story. But I don't feel as if this sequel is a great book.

Parts of it are, don't get me wrong. But for me, the climax seemed far too rushed and skimpy on detail.

I closed this book at the end and, to be honest, it hasn't stayed with me. It just wasn't memorable enough.

How much richer this book could have been! What greater emotional weight it could have possessed with just a bit more description and detail!

I'm not sure if Stephen King had too many projects on the go when he was writing DOCTOR SLEEP -- but I suspect so.

Close Your Eyes
Close Your Eyes
by Iris Johansen
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
101 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars THREE PAIRS OF BLIND EYES, April 1 2013
Okay, so we've got a mother-and-son writing team working on this book. Which would lead you to believe that the whole would be greater than the sum of its parts -- right?

Nope.

I'm baffled as to how a book written by TWO writers -- and, I presume, edited by an editor -- could end up being so stylistically empty and limp and flawed. Given that at LEAST these three pairs of eyes had read over the manuscript, how can the final printed book STILL contain a SINGLE paragraph where a character gets out of his car TWICE -- without getting back into the vehicle between the two times he got out?

Both Iris and Roy need to expand their vocabulary so that they can think up different ways of describing action, showing feelings, writing dialogue.

Some of the action scenes are ludicrous: the villain rolling about on the floor shooting at the heroine -- while spouting totally unrealistic, melodramatic lines of dialogue. It's not a good sign when the heroine is in deadly danger and all the reader wants to do is giggle.

The dialogue throughout the book is stilted and unnatural. And here's another lesson for Iris and Roy: PEOPLE DON'T CONSTANTLY USE THE NAME OF THE PERSON THEY'RE TALKING TO. If you want to orient the reader as to who is saying a particular line of dialogue, there are other ways to deal with speaker attributions. "Come in, Lynch." followed by "Kendra, I think...." and variations of this are unrealistic, annoying, and grating on the nerves.

As well as the writers and the editor, I've also got a bone to pick with the official REVIEWERS of this book, such as PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and BOOKLIST. "Gripping suspense"? Where was that, exactly? "Mind-blowing"? In what sense? In the sense that I can't believe I spent my money on this rubbish?

And as for the review that said the scenes between the two main characters "ooze sexual tension" -- all I can say to that is: HUH?? As far as I could see, the male and female leads just showed their irritation for one another and little else. And sexual? THERE WASN'T EVEN A SINGLE KISS IN THE ENTIRE BOOK!

Needless to say, I won't be buying another book by this mother-and-son writing team.

Name of the Wind:  The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One
Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One
by Patrick Rothfuss
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
54 used & new from CDN$ 2.30

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT BOOK -- BUT, Dec 7 2011
I'm about half-way through this massive book and I've been loving it since Page 1. Some parts are so beautifully written and strike such a chord that I have to close the book for a moment just to reflect on what I've just read. If I could give more than 5 stars as a rating, I would.

But there's something about the author's writing that is driving me bonkers! The book is written in the past tense, as most books are. But with one particular verb, used a LOT, the author makes a consistent error. Consider:

"He stepped closer to the wall and lay a hand on it."

"LAY" is the past tense of "LIE" "LIE" is a verb used WITHOUT an object. In the present tense, you would not say "He lies a hand on the wall."

"LAY" is the verb the author wants to use, because this is the verb that takes an object. The past tense of "LAY" is "LAID." So the quoted sentence should be:

"He stepped closer to the wall and laid a hand on it."

Considering that Rothfuss is such a wonderful writer with such a mastery of the English language, I don't understand why this repeated error has missed his attention (and, for that matter, that of his editor!)....

The Summer Guest
The Summer Guest
by Justin Cronin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
74 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOW ONE OF MY FAVOURITE BOOKS, Nov. 9 2010
This review is from: The Summer Guest (Paperback)
I've just spent ten minutes searching this page for the 25-STAR RATING BUTTON. This book is THAT good.

Some of the imagery the author uses is so spot-on lovely it will take your breath away.

Relentless: A Novel
Relentless: A Novel
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.79
94 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TOO RUSHED!, July 1 2010
This review is from: Relentless: A Novel (Paperback)
I've been a fan of Dean Koontz's work for years -- and I'll continue to be one, I have no doubt. But I have to say that, while this particular book started out well, it was a big let-down in the end. I think it's time for Mr. K. to stop trying to write super-fast (what does he write, eight books per year??) and spend a bit more time on each novel. Here are some of the reasons this book let me down:

1)The main characters are identical to the protagonists in all of Koontz's recent books. Only the names and occupations and back-stories have changed.
2)The book lacks the wealth of exquisite imagery that Koontz ordinarily uses, the type of metaphors and similes that leave me shaking my head in wonder at his perceptiveness.
3)I had no idea the climax of the book was under way even though it was! The tension was pretty high throughout the story without a necessary "cranking up" towards the end.
4)The book ended too fast and too easily.
5)In the paperback version of RELENTLESS, the too-long excerpt from Koontz's NEXT novel misled me into believing there was more of the RELENTLESS story to come than there actually was. I felt cheated because I hadn't expected the ending to happen so abruptly.

A Strong and Sudden Thaw
A Strong and Sudden Thaw
by R. W. Day
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.99
16 used & new from CDN$ 9.24

5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL AND MOVING, Dec 8 2009
This is a beautiful book. Moving. Thought-provoking. Exciting.

There are some passages that were literally written so well that I had to close the book for a moment just to reflect on them. Paragraph 1 of Page 172 is one of these passages.

If I could have given six stars, I would have....

The Secret Of Crickley Hall
The Secret Of Crickley Hall
by James Herbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.67
84 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MIXED FEELINGS, Nov. 13 2009
I'm only two-thirds of the way through THE SECRET OF CRICKLEY HALL by James Herbert. And yet, I feel compelled to write this review now.

This book is a supernatural thriller, right up my alley, and James Herbert is a well-known, very successful British writer. Some parts of this book are good, like the general plot, for instance. But there are some major problems with the writing:

1)Characters' motivations seem to change drastically from one chapter to the next in illogical ways that completely contradict the way normal people would act.
2)The author has the annoying stylistic habit of jumping around within a chapter from one character's thoughts to another, with the result that the reader is never able to completely settle into a character's point-of-view and consequently feels removed from what's going on.
3)Characters are always speaking to each other by name which is NOT the way humans talk!
4)Every now and again, the author delivers a clunker of a sentence that has me wondering: WHERE WAS THE EDITOR???? For example, after the main female character has a meeting with a paranormal investigator, she reflects back on the things he said and considers what she thinks of him:

"He was a tall, big-boned man, but he seemed trustworthy."

(Are only short, small-boned men trustworthy as a rule?)

Or how about this:

"Crossing the hall's stone floor in sneakers, jeans and half-sleeve sweatshirt, he grabbed the receiver from its cradle."

(He must have a really long arm to be able to perform these two actions simultaneously!)

As I said, I'm only two-thirds of the way through this book - but I can't wait for it to be over and done with....

Fear Me
Fear Me
by Stephen Laws
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE!, March 2 2006
This review is from: Fear Me (Mass Market Paperback)
Just a warning to potential purchasers of FEAR ME by Stephen Laws: if you've already bought Stephen Laws' GIDEON, don't buy FEAR ME! They're the exact same book!
I discovered this fact too late -- after buying FEAR ME in the belief that it was a SEQUEL to GIDEON -- and am feeling seriously ripped off. Nowhere in the publishing history preface of FEAR ME does it state that it has been previously published under another title. In fact, buyers of FEAR ME are led to believe that the book was first published in December 2004 -- whereas GIDEON was published more than a decade earlier!
But trust me, FEAR ME and GIDEON are identical. Word for word.

Clay's Way: A Novel
Clay's Way: A Novel
by Blair Mastbaum
Edition: Paperback
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad...BUT...., Sept. 30 2005
This review is from: Clay's Way: A Novel (Paperback)
I thought that this book was well-written. Some great, evocative imagery and skillful use of language. But I can't say that I enjoyed it. In fact, I couldn't wait for it to end. The book started out promisingly enough but went downhill fast. My biggest complaints are these: When you're reading a story written entirely in the first-person and you're in that person's head for the duration of the book, there'd better be something likeable about him or her. Unfortunately, the character of Sam was the exact opposite. Completely devoid of any redeeming characteristics. I couldn't have cared less if he achieved what he wanted in this story.
And that's my second complaint: It was never really clear WHAT Sam actually wanted to achieve! One moment he wanted Clay, the next he didn't. One moment he hated all Clay stood for, the next he wanted to BE Clay. His unclear motives made it impossible for me to root for him and even less likely that I could care about his "plight."
Save your money.

London: The Novel
London: The Novel
by Edward Rutherfurd
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
72 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT -- HOWEVER...., June 5 2005
This is a truly brilliant book. Even though it took me a couple of months to read, I felt entirely satisfied by the end. The research Rutherfurd put into this vast work is mind-boggling.
However....
Because of the nature of the book, by about halfway through, the characters from each generation of each particular family started to blend together for me and become the same person, so to speak. True, the family tree chart at the beginning helps, but to look at that at the beginning of each chapter gives away which characters will marry and which ones will live long enough to produce children and continue the family line! Sort of takes away from some of the suspense.
The only other bone I have to pick with the author is this: what does he have against overweight women? In various chapters throughout the book, almost like a recurring motif, there appears a "fat girl" or a "fat woman." All but one of these women are presented to the reader WITHOUT A NAME and shown to be greedy (constantly eating), stupid, lazy, selfish -- AND WITHOUT ANYTHING TO SAY AT ALL. I can't understand Rutherfurd's purpose in doing this. I found it insulting -- and I'm a man of normal weight. I can only imagine what female readers felt about the presentation of these characters!

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