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The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery

by and

When you are first diagnosed with cancer you really don't know what to expect. Nausea? Pain? Lethargy? What can you eat? What will you want to eat? Cookbooks like these give you a clue into what foods you might tolerate and what foods should probably be off your radar. I appreciated the non-confrontational attitude of this book. The author tried to come up with foods that are healthy and tasty, but didn't prescribe foods that you must eat. But as I kept reading, I also came up with lots and lots of food prejudices. Sugar, white flour, and all fats are some of the ingredients that the author bends over backwards to avoid. Is it really better to suggest agave nectar in ALL cases where most people would use sugar? Is spelt flour really a substitute for white flour? Even in cases where you would use only tablespoons of flour? I am looking forward to making some of the Dollops of Yum! to spice up otherwise bland food, but I have better recipes for some of the standards like cornbread.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

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This was a very good start for a first novel. The first couple of chapters were thrilling and engaging. The world is unique and the challenges complex, but after that scene setting the entire book falls into a Stephenie Myers complex. A young girl loves, both emotionally and physically, an unhuman creature, in this case an enslaved god rather than a vampire. Although her problems are complex, she meets most of them by crying and whining. No character in the entire book is an adult. None of the interactions between child and evil grandfather or child and beloved mother are believable. I will probably read the next book in the series to see if the author has grown enough to tell a deeper story, but it will not get my vote for a Hugo. It would be a serious travesty if this book won against much more worthy and adult entries such as MacDonald's The Dervish House.
Drop Shot

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Fluffy.I was considering a one word review, but I decided I really had more to say about this mess of a book. This is the guy's equivalent of a chick flick -- sports, beautiful women, sex, fast cars, fine restaurants, and casual violence. That might be good enough for a quick read, but for one small problem. The ending makes no sense whatsoever. Yes, the protagonist has solved two murders (that the reader solved in the first third of the book), but now what? He certainly isn't going to report these solutions to the police. Will other innocent people be blamed? Will the police (shown mostly as bumbling fools) find the killers anyway? Did the author expect his readers to be satisfied with this ending? This is the only Coben book I have read and likely to be the only one I will ever read.
The Front

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This outline of a novel is exactly the reason I no longer buy Patricia Cornwell books, even in paperback. At 188 pages of large type on wide margined pages, it is barely a story, much less a novel. It is supposed to be the complex tale of of a ambitious prosecutor, her downtrodden detective of the Massachusetts State Police and a long cold case. But the characters are cardboard. The plot is nonexistent and the subplots start and trail into nothingness. Why involve Scotland Yard? Because she had a neat idea to set a scene in the Dorchester Hotel? Why involve copper theft? Because it was a hot topic? It certainly doesn't have anything to do with the actual plot. This book is nothing more than the waste of an hour or so of your time.
The Dragon Never Sleeps

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A region of peace has come over the galaxy dictated and enforce by immortal Guardships run by humans. The Guardships travel on an artificial construct called the Web. However the population of humans is decreasing and Others are moving in. The Others at the periphery are looking to destroy the Guardships under the coercion of a an alien race with psychic powers and sadistic habits. The Others capture an ancient foe of the Guardships from a defeated warrior race. Meanwhile, a commercial House conspires against the Guardships and suffers from deadly internal politics.I can understand why authors want to write a stand alone novel, but this book should have been at least two or three books. I loved the characters. I loved the premise and the plot, but the action was sometimes too fast and furious and sometimes much slower. If the book(s) had been longer, many of the passages that were rushed over in the first half would have been made much clearer.
Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy

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Read How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. It's a much better book with much more detailed information about how the brain really works and much less smugness. In every chapter Martin almost breaks his arm patting himself on the back.
Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse

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A book like this will never be read by the people who need to read it and certainly never be believed by those who argue for massive government intervention. Although I am familiar with most of the tenets of the Austrian school of economics, there is always something more to learn. In this case Thomas E. Woods addresses why regulators (and rating agencies) are so upset with short sellers. It is because when an investor sells a stock short and succeeds, it only points out how wrong the regulators were in claiming that there was nothing wrong with this stock, this sector, or the entire economy. But my favorite quote was from William Leggett, who wrote in 1837 that the average person "is bewildered in his attempts to investigate the cause of the confusion, and is ready to listen to an explanation that fixes the blame of the disaster on those whom he had previously regarded with dislike." This perfectly explains the immense amounts of ire that people are heaping on bankers, brokers, and businessmen. Some of this is certainly well earned, but misses the entire point of where the problem lies - with the manipulation of interest rates and the money supply by the federal reserve. If you were a bank and were offered "free money", you would certainly take some. So why castigate the bankers for doing exactly what the federal government told them to do? Unfortunately though the suggestions for ending this current depression are sound, they will never be politically possible as long as the government is handing out "free money" to those "in need".
The Unincorporated War

by and

For new authors, the second book is often the critical book. Did they use all their ideas in the first book and quickly dash off another book while their career was hot or did they have more stories to tell and more tools to tell their stories. The Unincorporated War is definitely in the second category. This book is much better written than the first, with deeper characters and more intricate plotting. In fact, if some one is looking for a David Weber type of war story with graphic details of armament, tactics, and strategy, this is not the book for you. Instead it is the tale of the psychological, economic, and personal costs of war from both sides of the conflict. I would have rated this book five big stars except for one incontestable problem. This book does not end. The first book, although written with sequels in mind has a satisfying ending that ties up the major plot points while leaving room for the planned sequels. As I read the last dozen pages of this novel I knew that all of the major plot points would be left unresolved with no date to expect the last (?) book in the series.
Blackout

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My husband refused to finish this book unless I could tell him that the horrible Hodbins were killed off in a suitably gruesome manner. Maybe in the next book.I did finish reading this book and will read the next one, but will likely place them BELOW No Award on the Hugo ballot. An example of the problems in this book is Wardrobe. Two of the characters go into Wardrobe to get a tweed jacket and a plain black skirt. Now tweed jackets have been worn in Oxford for hundreds of years. Why can't Wardrobe find a tweed jacket? By 2060 there was a Pandemic. There should be lots of clothes left over, including tweed jackets and black skirts. If they can't find a plain black skirt in less than three weeks, what in the h#ll are people wearing in 2060? Jumpsuits? Togas? Nothing at all?These are artificial problems for people who can't find their way out of a small paper bag. The list of these problems goes on and on (and so do the characters whining about them). Any of the readers could have solved these problems in about five minutes (or not gotten into them in the first place). There is a lot of foolish running around, but the descriptions of Britain during WW II are compelling and poignant. Ms. Willis should stick to descriptions and let someone else do her plotting for her.
The City & the City

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Great novels need to have great characters, great plots, or great writing. As much as I liked China Miéville's The Scar, I disliked The City & The City. The narrator is a self-centered detective who is dogged, but has little personality. He lives in a city that is co-located within another city where the two city groups purposely ignore one another. A murder takes place and he sets out to solve it, even though he has to work in his non-home city, carefully ignoring what he can see of his home city. The atmosphere is properly noir-ish, but the mystery is developed, then abandoned. The victim is sketched out, but we never develop any rapport with her or any of the characters. The most fully developed character is the detective from the "other" city, who is mostly angry and frustrated, but at least has a rational motivation for these feelings. Obviously I am in a minority opinion about this book, since it has won the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award and is a 2010 Hugo Award nominee in the Best Novel category. But I expect more than just an intriguing idea from my science fiction.
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