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forever "elenasem" RSS Feed (Sacramento, CA United States)

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Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century
Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century
by Peter Allan Lorge
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $32.40
42 used & new from $28.68

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Research Into Facts and Myths of the Chinese Martial Arts, April 4, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The author has done a great job going through the historical records (and it turns out that there are plenty of those) to investigate the origin and development of the Chinese Martial Arts (CMA) over several thousand years of that country's history. A lot of effort was dedicated to establishing the truth and separating facts from myths (there are plenty of those as well). Some of the topics that I found especially interesting were the discussion of the origin of the martial arts, their connection (or rather the lack thereof) with Buddhism and Daoism, the role of Shaolin, the role of the warrior-monks, and the evolution of weapons. I think that anyone who is interested in the CMA would find the book helpful and informative. However, if you are looking to read some flowery legends that surround the CMA, prepare to face the facts. They are not pretty!


1911
1911
DVD ~ Jackie Chan
Offered by Paint it Orange
Price: $7.98
65 used & new from $0.99

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really?, March 5, 2012
This review is from: 1911 (DVD)
In my opinion, this is one of Jackie Chan's weakest movies. The pace of the movie left no room for actor play and character development. Unless someone understands the history of what was happening in China in 1911 (which I do not), it is hard to make sense of what is going on in the movie. There is an attempt to put the explanation and commentary on the screen, but the font is so small, it is impossible to read in regular definition resolution. After watching the movie I have no more knowledge or understanding of what happened in China in 1911. I also could not bring myself to connect with any of the characters.

The biggest thing that just escapes me with this movie, though, is this. Does Jackie Chan really believe that the revolution was a good thing for China and that Communism has anything good to offer? Was the movie a piece of propaganda forced onto him by the Chinese government (which would explain why the movie is so bad)? I just do not get it.


The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1)
The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1)
by Patrick Rothfuss
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.20
95 used & new from $2.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Completely captivating, February 25, 2012
It only took me 4 days to finish the book and then another week for The Wise Man's Fear. Absolutely captivating. I found myself thinking about the plot even when I was not reading it. While there are not that many new ideas in the story, the author did combine the best classic ingredients under one cover (think the Lord of the Rings on the Ender's Game's steroids), which made for an amazing read. I wish I could recommend the series to my six-grader kid, who would probably enjoy reading it, but I cannot, as the story gets more and more inappropriate for kids - which is my only complaint.

I intially rated the book a 5, but then took away one star due to the increasingly adult-oriented (drinking and sex) content, which becomes more prominent in book 2. A lot of that could have been omitted or at least dialed down without any impact on the quality of the plot.

This reader's fear is that PR will not be able to finish the story in book 3 (as he promised to do) and the whole thing will turn into a version of the never-ending monstrosity like The Eye of the World or the Game of Thrones. Given the ground that was covered in the first two books, it is easy to see the author having to go into book 4 at least.


Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy)
Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy)
by K. J. Parker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.52
189 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Giving up on page 260, February 25, 2012
The idea for the book is pretty cool - hey, how often do you find books about engineers. The writing flows decently well - I have seen much much worse. With all that, I am on page 260 and do not see a reason to continue reading the next 400 pages. The rhythm and the storyline just do not avail themselves to something this long, not when there are much more captivating books out there. So, I have enjoyed the reading while I could, but at this point I cannot bring myself to care about what happens next with the characters. This rocket could not overcome the earth's gravity. I have given up.


The Ruling Sea (Chathrand Voyage)
The Ruling Sea (Chathrand Voyage)
by Robert V. S. Redick
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.30
61 used & new from $0.01

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I am done, January 13, 2012
The Conspiracy was a solid 4 star book - a bit heavy, but with a good story, solid characters, and a well defined end. I have gone through 150 pages of TRS and still have no idea where the author is going. There is no end in sight. The book feels like a soap opera that goes on and on, with no purpose. It just feels like endless rambling. Maybe I am missing something, but I am done with this one.


Farlander (Heart of the World)
Farlander (Heart of the World)
by Colin Buchanan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $9.86
40 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily dark and somewhat hard to read, January 11, 2012
While the plot of the book is interesting, it lacks both originality and oomph, either of which makes a book to be hard to put down. Too many events in the book are easily predictable and the action takes too long to gain momentum.

The somewhat hard to read language is further weighted down by side trails that lead to nowhere. Some of the scenes are there and appear to be important, but then are abandoned without any connection to the main plot. The author randomly starts going into too detailed descriptions of minor items, droning on and on, and omits what seems like important touches for the major ones.

A book about assassins is expected to have violence in abundance, but this one lapses into some unnecessarily gory pits. The dark background of the entire book leaves a heavy feeling lingering for a long time after the reading is over.

Despite these major shortfalls, I gave it 2 starts, rather than 1, because I managed to finish the book and remained interested in the characters and the outcome. However, I am passing on the sequel.


King Raven (The King Raven Trilogy)
King Raven (The King Raven Trilogy)
by Stephen R. Lawhead
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.11
67 used & new from $6.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, awesome read!, December 14, 2011
As often happens with books and movies that you expect to follow a certain story-line or a well-known character, you will be disappointed unless you leave the preconceived ideas at the door (or at the book-cover, in this case). To really enjoy the book, forget everything you know about Robin Hood and start fresh. The author gives a great explanation at the end of the book, describing his research and reasoning for putting together the plot the way he did, if you are so curious. Despite a pretty slow-developing plot, the book is a very easy read, with great wisdom nuggets thrown in here and there. On the other hand, the slow pace allows for rather deep development of the main characters. I highly recommend this book for easy relaxation, especially during vacation. Hood was excellent, Scarlet was fine if a bit slow, but Tuck wrapped it up nicely and gracefully.


Hood (The King Raven Trilogy, Book 1)
Hood (The King Raven Trilogy, Book 1)
by Stephen R. Lawhead
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
124 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look at the old story, November 26, 2011
As often happens with books and movies that you expect to follow a certain story-line or a well-known character, you will be disappointed unless you leave the preconceived ideas at the door (or at the book-cover, in this case). To really enjoy the book, forget everything you know about Robin Hood and start fresh. The author gives a great explanation at the end of the book, describing his research and reasoning for putting together the plot the way he did, if you are so curious. Despite a pretty slow-developing plot, the book is a very easy read, with great wisdom nuggets thrown in here and there. On the other hand, the slow pace allows for rather deep development of the main characters. I highly recommend this book for easy relaxation, especially during vacation.


Childhood's End
Childhood's End
by Arthur C. Clarke
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.94
208 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Unpredictable, November 15, 2011
What started off as a rather traditional SF piece turned into a highly unpredictable and impossible to put down read. I have not encountered ideas explored in Childhood's End in any other books. Even considering the fact that the book was written almost 60 years ago, it reads very fresh and engaging. Definitely a must read.


Generation Debt: How Our Future Was Sold Out for Student Loans, Bad Jobs, NoBenefits, and Tax Cuts for Rich Geezers--And How to Fight Back
Generation Debt: How Our Future Was Sold Out for Student Loans, Bad Jobs, NoBenefits, and Tax Cuts for Rich Geezers--And How to Fight Back
by Anya Kamenetz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.60
48 used & new from $1.55

3.0 out of 5 stars The book is heavy on evidence, but misses the mark on the solution, September 11, 2011
The author has done a great job describing the struggles of today's 20- and 30-year olds trying to find meaning in life, career path, and get a grip of the world of personal finance. The author places most of the blame on the older generations, almost excusing the young people's passive attitude and childish outlook on life. Instead of building on the momentum and sounding a call to wake up and smell the coffee, she calls for more government regulation, student activism on campuses, and the older generation doing something about the situation. Many excuses are given for the current state of affairs. Throughout history, successful people have worked hard, sacrificing immediate desires and today's pleasures for the sake of achieving long-term goals many years down the road. No matter how much is done for a person by relatives or the state, it will never be enough until individuals take personal responsibility for their lives' outcomes. Our society's quest for instant gratification has brought it where it stands today. An individual's life can only be improved to the extent that the individual sets aside childish behavior and rosy-idealistic outlook on life and puts everything he or she has into making a difference.

So, while the book is heavy on evidence of the crisis, it largely misses the mark on the solutions.


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