Review: 1984 by George Orwell

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‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .

Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.


I was so looking forward to reading what I expected would be a really great book… and got this drivel instead. How disappointing. This is the first “classic” I’ve read that I absolutely hated. Total waste of time.

Author: George Orwell

Title: 1984

Published: June 8, 1949

Rating:

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This (brief) review was originally published on Goodreads on May 26, 2015.

 

 

 

Review: The Summons by John Grisham

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Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He’s forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family’s black sheep.

And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years. No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse.

With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.

Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray.

And perhaps someone else.


I had a very hard time getting interested in this one, and that’s usually not the case for a Grisham novel. I was bored to tears until Ray (finally) went home to see his father, and discovered the Judge’s body.
The story did improve from that point on, but still, it wasn’t as enthralling as what I’ve come to expect from Grisham. I was able to figure out ‘whodunnit’ very easily, and thought the ending was quite lackluster.
It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, but it’s the worst I’ve read from Grisham.

Author: John Grisham

Title: The Summons

Published: 2002

Rating:

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This review was originally published on Goodreads in May 2010.

 

 

 

 

Review: The Long Way Home by Andrea Stark

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Terra is 28, single, and muddling through her life as though locked in a time capsule of early adulthood. She obsesses about an old crush, commiserates with her best friend from high school and scours her old diaries for answers. That is, until a strange encounter with a violent waitress whisks her back to the world she documented in her diaries — a world where she is 16 years old, her life hasn’t yet ground to a screeching halt, and she might still have a chance with the boy of her dreams. As Terra sets out to change the mistakes she made as a teenager, she discovers that her memories and reality don’t quite fit together in this new version of her old life. A boy who claims to be in love with her becomes more dark and controlling, her own crush is more aloof than ever, and a mysterious girl lurks in the periphery, threatening to tear down the walls of Terra’s past. As the truth begins to unravel, Terra slips into a time-bending spiral of memories and lost dreams that she might not be able to escape with her life.


I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded great. But, like so many free kindle books, it didn’t live up to its potential.

I thought I could overlook the bad spelling, but I doubt I’ll ever forget seeing ‘common’… instead of ‘c’mon’, which would have made more sense. Or ‘axe’…instead of ask. How does that mistake happen? Good grief!

After a certain point, the story just fell apart. Time shifts happened without warning, and it took too long to realize it. The closer to the end, the more confusing it was, and it seemed to break all the rules that had been previously established. The ending was abrupt, and made no sense whatsoever.

A careful rewrite (and edit of all the spelling mistakes!) would do this book a world of good. I’d even be willing to give it another shot, if it happened. I just hate to see good ideas go to waste. What a shame…

Author: Andrea Stark

Title: The Long Way Home

Published: June 9, 2011

Rating:

goodreads-badge-add-plusThis review was originally published on Goodreads on February 28, 2015.

 

Review: A Rose for Hanna by Lesli Neubauer

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In 1848, a young, privileged German couple, Johann and Hanna find love in their arranged marriage. However, to the disappointment of both their families, chuck it all way, and travel half way across the world to experience life on the Texas frontier. They put their lives in peril on both land and sea, enduring through storms, wagon wrecks, encounters with savage Indians, and a harsh, unforgiving new climate. Johann often wonders why he ever brought his beautiful Hanna to this God-forsaken land. Was it God-forsaken? Would they endure? Or would they leave Texas, and come home to Germany as their families hoped?


It’s always sad when a story has potential and falls short. The characters were interesting enough for me to continue reading, but it was frustrating to continually see extraneous details and events pop up for no apparent reason, never to be expanded upon, and leaving you to wonder why they were there at all.

There was very little conflict in the story, and what was there felt forced. It didn’t flow well, and in most cases was resolved within a few sentences. It’s a shame because there were a couple of events that would have provided rich material for a recurring problem that could be resolved in a dramatic way.

Minor annoyances include poorly worded phrases, sentence structure, and the repeated use of the word ‘site’ instead of ‘sight’.

The ending left a lot to be desired, as well. It was abrupt and, to me, an odd place to conclude the story.

There are other books in this series, but I won’t be reading them.

Author: Lesli Neubauer

Title: A Rose for Hanna

Series: New Beginnings #1

Published: November 29, 2013 by Louis & Reed Publishing

Rating:

goodreads-badge-add-plusThis review was originally published on Goodreads on January 10, 2015.