Profile for Red Rock Bookworm > Reviews

Browse

Red Rock Bookworm's Profile

Customer Reviews: 716
Top Reviewer Ranking: 720
Helpful Votes: 6239




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Red Rock Bookworm RSS Feed (St. George Utah USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing: A Novel
The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing: A Novel
by Mira Jacob
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.45
66 used & new from $6.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FROM INDIA TO ALBUQUERQUE AND POINTS BEYOND, August 20, 2014
The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is compelling stuff, engaging the emotions from the first page and becoming almost impossible to put down. It is a vibrant, imaginative family saga that spans 20 years and is, by turns, amusing and appalling but hard to resist. Mira Jacob manages to balance the caustic humor and heartfelt compassion surrounding this dysfunctional family, originally from India and now living in the US, in a way that draws the reader in as each family member deals with their own individual demons.

SLEEPWALKER'S GUIDE focuses on the interaction between the Eapen family; Kamala, Thomas, Akhil and Amina as well as and their adopted/extended family. Narrated primarily by Amina, a once successful Seattle photojournalist who has abandoned that career following a tragic incident and is now following her passion for photography via wedding assignments. Having always been a "daddy's girl" of sorts Amina returns to Albuquerque when her mother informs her that her brain surgeon father, Thomas, has been carrying on lengthy conversations several deceased relatives. Are these conversations merely a coping mechanism for the brilliant surgeon or is there something else at the bottom of his behavior?

Moving back and forth in time we experience the many aspects of the family's secrets as well as the losses that have made each of them who they are today. The title itself alludes to the various times when sleep, sleepwalking and lack of sleep are instrumental in the outcome of various situations confronting this family.

Despite its sometimes abrupt jumps from one time period to another as well as the swearing and sex scenes that often seemed out of place in the story, this is for the most part a credible, relatable and complex story whose almost 500 pages move along at a steady pace as we follow the book's protagonist as she makes surprising discoveries not only about her family, but about herself.


The Drop
The Drop
by Dennis Lehane
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.53

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED, August 13, 2014
This review is from: The Drop (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" A version of that question could also apply to Dennis Lehane's latest book THE DROP which began as a movie script based on a 10 year old unpublished Lehane novel which he used as the basis for a short story called ANIMAL RESCUE, about an abused pit bull, that now serves as the inspiration for a movie script he wrote for the film called (what else) THE DROP. (James Gandolfini's last movie).

Now that we have that out of the way, let me give you a brief overview of the novel (hopefully just enough to whet your appetite without divulging any of the secrets). THE DROP is the tale of an abused abandoned puppy left in a trash can by a psycho named Eric. The pup is rescued by a quiet unassuming bartender named Bob who works in a neighborhood bar called Uncle Marv's. Marv is Bob's cousin, and ostensibly the bar owner, however, the bar is no longer his since being taken over by a Chechen gang who use it (along with other places around the city) as a "drop" for illegal money.

In addition to the aforementioned trio there are several other quirky characters making appearances throughout the story, including the very Catholic and unusually observant and persistent Detective Torres, the reticent Nadia, a woman with a questionable past who helps Bob take care of his rescued pup, and an assortment of nasty Chechens whose methods of persuasion are right out of a Jason Statham flick. Are you intrigued yet?

Just know that there is a lot of story and plenty of action crammed into the scant 207 pages of this little gem. There are definitely more sinners than saints peppering its pages and the back story of each character is more than a little intriguing. I finished this book in one evening, so that should tell you how quickly the narrative moves along and how truly adept Dennis Lehane is at seducing his readers.


W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries)
W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries)
by Sue Grafton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
46 used & new from $3.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WE'RE IN THE MONEY, August 10, 2014
W IS FOR WASTED is a parade of lives wasted due to addiction, extortion and estrangement. Author Sue Grafton takes us on a trip back in time to the 1980's with her ever independent straight shooter of a P.I. Kinsey Millhone as she is caught up in a double edged mystery involving two dead men, one a private eye with questionable ethics and the other a homeless stranger who, for some reason, has left Kinsey a bequest in excess of a quarter of a million dollars.

How did a homeless man amass this amount of money? Why did he disinherit his three grown children and leave his money to a complete stranger? How are the deaths of these two men connected? In her pursuit of answers to these and other questions, orphan Kinsey's family tree grows larger when, in the course of her investigation, she comes upon some new and previously unknown relatives from her father's side of the family whose antics set her teeth on edge.

Making a surprise return engagement is Kinsey's former lover Robert Dietz as well as some old favorites like her octogenarian landlord Henry and his neurotic brother William, who has returned from a recent trip with a Japanese bobtail cat in tow.
No need to detail the particulars of the novel, however, let it be said that the fundamental themes of unbridled greed and flawed characters runs through both narratives, which seems to be more than appropriate for the "me -me-me" materialism of the time period being portrayed.

Once again, Sue Grafton has delivered a choice little time capsule of enjoyment to her readers.


Lucky Us: A Novel
Lucky Us: A Novel
by Amy Bloom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.60
65 used & new from $13.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Lucky AND Smart, August 8, 2014
This review is from: Lucky Us: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
LUCKY US by Amy Bloom is a novel that is full of observations and surprises, some good some questionable. It is the story of two half sisters, Eva and Iris who share the same father but different mothers and the people who change the trajectory of their lives as they experience and survive abandonment, poverty and the period before, during and after the Second World War. Set primarily in the 1940's it examines the way that war forever changed the level of integration in this country, the treatment of "non-Americans", as well as the roll of women, taking them from housewife to wage earner and providing them with a freedom not previously experienced.

The narrative is non-linear and has, for this reader, an added bonus. Since I love epistolary books, I was pleased to find that a portion of this book was written in this form, with letters, both sent and unsent, revealing the inner thoughts of the sisters, their father and Gus, a German man whose life and fate is dramatically and unjustifiably altered because he stands in the way of Iris's personal needs.

Like another book I read recently (LILY LOVE), this author too has used the titles and/or words from jazz, blues and popular songs of the era as the heading for each of her chapters providing the essence of that chapter's content. This tactic provides a stroll down memory lane where cultural divides were often bridged by popular music.

Bloom definitely has a way with words and in LUCKY US paints pictures of symbiotic relationships that are often amusing, sometimes heart wrenching and occasionally decadent and sexual in nature. (For those who harbor an aversion to the inclusion of any type of GLTB theme in their reading material - consider yourself warned).

Overall, this is a gem of a book.


Downfall (The Sam Capra series)
Downfall (The Sam Capra series)
by Jeff Abbott
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.00
81 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SAM CAPRA, QUASI-SUPERHERO, August 2, 2014
From the time we were small children and read fairy tales we have been exposed to the idea of individuals making a deal with the devil in order to achieve something in their lives, be it fame, fortune, beauty or power. Sometimes the devil's name was Rumpelstiltskin, in Little Shop of Horrors it was Audrey II, and in the movie DEVIL"S ADVOCATE John Milton delivered dreams on demand. Now, with DOWNFALL, author Jeff Abbott gives us a new deal making/ wish fulfilling, master manipulator of a devil. His name is Belias and he can fulfill your every wish IF you're willing to pay the price by doing his bidding.

Abbott's protagonist Sam Capra is an ex-CIA agent, husband, and father. He is in his mid-twenties and is the quasi-owner of an international network of bars that are in reality owned by a secret group known as The Round Table. How and why Sam came to "own" the bars and how Belias gained his power are part and parcel of this story.

Much like Lee Child's Jack Reacher character, Sam has a talent for inadvertently becoming involved in other people's problems while just minding his own business and trying to lead a "normal" life. While checking in at one of his bars, The Select in San Francisco, he is drawn into a convoluted game of murder and mayhem when two killers enter his bar in pursuit of a young woman named Diane Keene who begs Sam for help. Ever the chivalrous, macho male, Sam rushes to her aid and when the smoke clears one of the attackers is dead and the other seriously wounded.

From that point forward the reader, along with Sam, is drawn into a fast moving, multi-faceted; Gordian knot of a tale where no one and nothing is what it seems and it is difficult to separate the good guys from the bad. The denouement, takes place over several chapters as Sam deftly unties the knots leading him to the infamous Belias.

While reading the two previous Sam Capra books would have provided more back story about Sam, I do not feel that beginning with DOWNFALL in any way lessened my enjoyment of this novel.

DOWNFALL is recommended for fans of Vince Flynn, Robert Crais, Allan Folsom, Robert Ludlum and of course, Lee Child.


Lily Love
Lily Love
by Maggi Myers
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.99
20 used & new from $8.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE MANY FACES OF LOVE, July 30, 2014
This review is from: Lily Love (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are all sorts of love - the love you have for your child, the love you share with your significant other, the special love that sibling's share, the love that grows from chance encounters and the fleeting love of caring strangers who come in and out of your life. With LILY LOVE author Maggi Myers has touched on all of the above as she takes the reader on a voyeuristic journey into the life of a woman dealing with a special needs child while simultaneously attempting to find some peace and comfort in her own life.

Since this book explicitly details the daily challenges faced by a woman with a special needs child and since Ms. Myers other novel THE FINAL PIECE also deals with the same subject matter and also because her novel's dedication page contains the same message as the one penned by Lily's mother Caroline in her novel, I am fairly certain that either Ms. Myers or a close friend or family member does indeed have a special needs child that has provided the author with an up close and personal view of struggles and obstacles confronting all caregivers.

Ms. Myers must also be a pop music enthusiast hence her use of various appropriate song titles as the headings for each and every chapter (she even devotes two pages at the end of the book to recognizing the recording artists who made each ditty a hit).

There are a few instances early in the book where Caroline's angst over her daughter's situation and her somewhat selfish need to be Lily's one and only caregiver, the trauma of her divorce from Peter, and her self-imposed guilt trip take on a maudlin and mawkish tone but Ms. Myers manages to regroup, diverting her protagonist and re-directing her onto a more positive path. This is a graphic illustration of overcoming the hurdles that confront each of us before we learn to accept and appreciate how mysterious and beautiful life really is. Overall, not a bad read. 3 ˝ stars.


Sherpani Spirit Horizontal Yoga Gym Bag, Heather Black, One Size
Sherpani Spirit Horizontal Yoga Gym Bag, Heather Black, One Size
Price: $64.95
8 used & new from $64.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MORE THAN ONE PURPOSE, July 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A lightweight sturdy yoga bag that holds all of your gym needs and then some. Not only is this a wonderful gym bag with plenty of room for mats, towels, extra clothes, etc it can also double as a handy "carry on" for short trips since it holds more than enough clothes and toiletries to take you through a long weekend with ease. If you're looking for an all purpose addition to your "luggage" that takes up very little space when traveling (and easily fits into an overhead bin) look no further than this little beauty from Sherpani.


Lisette's List: A Novel
Lisette's List: A Novel
by Susan Vreeland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.89

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ART HISTORY IN DISGUISE, July 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sue Vreeland's LISETTE'S LIST is essentially written on two levels and while it does an admirable job in recounting certain aspects of WWII as well as presenting an art history lesson focusing on the fate of paintings by Pissarro, Cezanne, Picasso and Chagall during the German occupation of France it is not as effective in fulfilling expectations in the areas of plot intensity nor in character motivation and development.

Lisette, the title character, is a Parisian girl raised in a Catholic orphanage where she experiences the beginnings of her appreciation of art. After her marriage to Andre she reluctantly relocates to his home town in Provence in 1937 in order to provide care for his elderly grandfather Pascal, a man who has accumulated several works by the aforementioned masters. Pascal's reminiscence concerning his acquisition of the various works becomes part and parcel of the story.

With the outbreak of WWII and the Nazi occupation of France, Andre enlists in the military, but not before hiding his grandfather's precious paintings and Lisette is left to try to assimilate into a town where some view her as an outsider who resists their culture and provincial ways while a handful of others befriend her.
In the ensuing years Lisette overcomes many obstacles and the reader is invited to follow along as she copes with everything from Nazi's looking for Pascal's paintings to the unwelcomed advances of a local townsman to learning how to make cheese, all the while bent on determining the location of the missing paintings.

When one takes a step back and considers the overall story, it is obvious that this book succeeds less effectively as well plotted work of historical fiction than it does as a primer into the history and interpretation of certain works of modern masters and their use of ochre pigments within those works.

As a long standing fan of Sue Vreeland, I am sorry to admit that this is not one of my favorites.


When the World Was Young: A Novel
When the World Was Young: A Novel
by Elizabeth Gaffney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.94
57 used & new from $8.83

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars COULD HAVE USED A LITTLE LESS SOAP, July 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG by Elizabeth Gaffney uses a Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and a select group of its inhabitants to tell its story. Gaffney has managed to encapsulate a time in U.S. history from post WWII to the"police action" in Korea and give the reader an overview of those times. Throwing into dramatic relief an era of wartime situations and focusing primarily on the emotional sacrifices made by four women during this time period as well as the changes in social convention the reader is swept into the lives of Wally Baker, her mother Stella, grandmother Gigi and Loretta the maid - the person who provides the emotional glue that sustains these women through trying times. Confronted by separation from loved ones and multiple losses these women are forced to face their challenges as well as the consequences of the choices they have made.

This is a novel that will take you back to a time when rationing was the order of the day and the women on the home front, who had previously been delegated the roles of homemaker, stepped up to display a strength and power they had been previously required to keep under wraps.

Told from the viewpoint of Wally, the young protagonist, the book also deals with, among other things, interracial relationships, infidelity and suicide. If all of this sounds like it might be a promising basis for a soap opera, you could be right. While the book does hold the reader's interest as it examines this particular time in history, it is also a little "over the top" in the amount of calamity that it heaps on one family. For that reason 3 ˝ stars.


Then and Always: A Novel
Then and Always: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FAREWELLS AND DREAMS FULFILLED, June 27, 2014
Part fantasy and part love story THEN & ALWAYS is compelling in its examination of how a person's life can change dramatically based upon a single event playing out differently. The narrative shifts back and forth between events in September 2008 and December 2013 and is told primarily from the viewpoint of Rachel Wiltshire, a woman who is scarred both inside and out and whose life has been one of conflicted emotions following an accident and a tragic loss.

Now, another accident has landed Rachel in the hospital and she awakens to a life that if entirely different from the one she remembers living over the past five years. Her family and friends all insist that this new and improved life is in fact her reality and that her recent accident has scrambled her memories.

The story moves back and forth between these two different lives Rachel could be living with unbelievable results that engage the reader in this beautifully complex and moving story. You will need to keep the Kleenex handy while you read this tale of love, fate and second chances.

Albert Einstein once observed, "There are two ways to live your life - as if nothing is a miracle, and as if everything is a miracle". THEN & ALWAYS is one of those thought-provoking books that could make even the most skeptical among us believe in miracles.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20