A young girl uses stolen books to distract herself from the reality of living in Nazi Germany in WWII while hiding a Jewish man in her basement.
What I Liked
It is incredibly difficult to know how to review this book. The second half moves along at a much quicker pace and with much higher stakes. The book is narrated by Death / Grim Reaper, and the chapter headings give glimpses of what is to come. There are some red herrings near the end, implying one ending while leading to another, but overall it is pretty solid. The characters are lively, the girl is outstanding, and there are glimpses of her family that offer rare moments of joy and love. And it moved me to tears at the end.
What I Didn’t Like
It is hard to accept the implied message that “most Germans were good / nice”, it was just the Nazis that were bad people. » Read the rest
This textbook-sized book includes ten case studies across America where former big box stores – Walmarts and Kmarts – have been put to new use after the store left or closed.
What I Liked
I was drawn to the premise of the book as I have frequently seen large big box stores in Canada, anchoring malls and plazas, move out and languish empty for a number of years. Sometimes it is a short time and another retailer moves in. Sometimes it is a long time, and it looks like urban blight. Rarely have I seen much in the way of “good news” around these sites, and I was intrigued with the idea of a series of case studies where the stores aren’t just languishing empty, but have been put to reuse.
From a policy perspective, the first thing that jumped out at me was that the stores were not all empty because the store “failed”. » Read the rest
It was ADVERTISED as a combination of a cookbook with stories about Dr. Kay Scarpetta, and in that light, it fails on all counts. There IS no story, and nothing happening in the non-story — and worse still, none of the characters act like they do in the novels. The recipes are interesting, but basically this book was issued for one reason and one reason only — to milk some money out of the fans and to give them almost nothing in return.
John Cuddy gets asked by a friend to look into what appears to be an open-and-shut case — a young impoverished black man tries to get ahead at university, dates a white co-ed, and then after she turns up dead, he confesses to the crime while holding the murder weapon. Everyone thinks he’s guilty, including him. But Cuddy finds a strange group of people involved — a whacked psychiatrist with strange ideas, an elderly fitness nut, a sports fan, seductive patients, and sundry lovers.
What I Liked
The main people were all well-characterized, although a few of them were a bit one-dimensional. Cuddy does a good job of detecting, pulling at a variety of strings until they unravel. Good back-stories for some of the other series characters.
Suzannah is a mediator — she helps ghosts move on from this plane to the next. But when she’s not embracing her sixth sense, she’s earning money as a staff babysitter at a hotel/resort and dreaming about Jesse who haunts her current home. Then she meets trouble in the form of spoiled brat Jack who can also see ghosts, but doesn’t know that ghosts are actually real and is instead three steps away from a nervous breakdown. Suze has to help him figure out his own role with ghosts, at the same time that she tries to figure out more of the mystery with Jesse’s past life.
What I Liked
I really liked the idea of finding newbies who don’t know what they are supposed to do when it comes to ghosts — hey, didn’t they see the movie? I also still like the fact that Suze can actually interact with the ghosts (i.e. » Read the rest