Five Extreme Mini-Reviews

Posted 5 October, 2010 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 23 Comments


It’s 4:00 in the morning and I can’t sleep.  Instead of lying in bed upset about it, I decided to come type away.  Not practicing for the readathon, just trying to stay sane.  Last week Suey from It’s All About Books posted some extreme mini-reviews and I looked at my big list of books I read at the end of last year and beginning of this year that I haven’t talked about and thought, “hmmmm…why not?”  Time to face the fact that I won’t be talking about these books otherwise.

So, Five Extreme Mini-Reviews.  It’s been almost a year since I’ve read some of these, and my memory is pretty faulty.  Don’t hold it against me if I get some of the plot details a little wrong…!

Title: A Redbird Christmas
Author: Fannie Flagg
Published: 2004  Pages: 229
Genre: Fiction
Summary: A crotchety, lonely, aging Oswalt T. Campbell heads south for the holidays on doctor’s orders and meets a cast of characters who help him reevaluate his life and that which is important.
Descriptors: Southern, feel good, cheesy, predictable, colorful characters, recipes in the back of book.
Bottom line: if you’re looking to read Flagg, read Daisy Fay And The Miracle Man.

Title: The Black Dahlia
Author: James Ellroy
Published: 1987 Pages: 325
Genre: Fiction (Crime)
Summary: When a mutilated body of a young woman is found in 1940s Los Angeles, an entire city goes into an uproar trying to solve the crime.  One detective, Bucky Bleichert, makes it his mission to solve the murder mystery but as his obsession of The Black Dahlia increases his grip on reality loosens.
Descriptors: Dark, disjointed writing, disturbing descriptions of murder scene, strong characterization and period writing.
Bottom line: Read for book club and left me feeling a bit icky.  Incidentally we didn’t end up discussing.

Title: Yellowknife
Author: Steve Zipp
Published:  2007 Pages: 286
Genre: Fiction
Summary: Honestly, I’m not sure I can summarize–from back cover: “A penniless drifter, a businessman obsessed by bones, an artist with a baseball bat, a fallen academic who lives at the dump, a biologist with a son named after a fungus, a native man older than Canada, a Mounty with a jaw of steel”  Ha!?
Descriptors: Strange, quirky, confusing, intriguing, colorful characters, impossible to describe, tough to get into but would read again. 
Bottom line: Recommend to those who like something different.  Very different.  I warned you!

Title: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Author: Dai Sijie
Published: 200 Pages: 184
Genre: Fiction (Translated)
Summary: Unfortunately have forgotten much of the plot.  Two mischievous boys, Chinese cultural revolution, a beautiful daughter, a four-eyes with forbidden books.  #trishfail
Descriptors: #trishfail again.  At 184 I should just re-read this one!
Bottom Line: Read over Christmas break and intriguing enough to read quickly, but apparently forgettable

Title: One for the Money (first in series of 10 million)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Published: 1994 Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction – Mystery 
Summary: Clutzy, bumbling Stephanie Plum needs some money fast so goes to cousin Vinny for a job as a bounty hunter.  She isn’t officially hired but that doesn’t stop her from going after Joe Morelli, a cop wanted for murder, and landing herself in a whole heap of trouble.
Descriptors: Fun, light, predictable, stereotyped but colorful characters, entertaining, is what it is
Bottom Line: Well, I have the first twelve of the series so I’ll be continuing on eventually when the time is right

Have you read any of these?  What did you think of them?  Any of these catch your eye?

I still have a handful of other unreviewed books, but I’m still hoping against all hope that one day I’ll either re-read them (ha!) or take the time for a proper review.  Perhaps you’ll be seeing another round of extreme mini-reviews in the future?

Dare I go back to bed at 4:45?  I can hear hubby’s alarm going off–not a good sign, I fear.


23 Responses to “Five Extreme Mini-Reviews”

  1. You will be tired when you wake up. I do feel for you as I spent most of the night continually waking up, so I am feeling tired today too.
    Love Fannie Flagg and I hope to get this one to read over Christmas.

  2. I really enjoyed these, Trish! And you totally left me intrigued with Yellowknife, which I’d never even heard of before.

    Hope you don’t fall asleep on your feet today, and hope you get a much better night’s sleep tonight!

  3. Can’t sleep so why not blog…been there, done that (too many times to count!). I started reading the Stephanie Plum series back in high school. And now, every summer I look forward to each book coming out. Mostly because they are an easy read and laugh out loud funny (there are a couple characters that get introduced later who are a riot). Great literary works? Nah. Predictable? Completely. But still, a guilty pleasure of mine that I don’t plan on letting go of.

  4. Ugh oh… you’re gonna be tired today!! I totally agree with both Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and Redbird Christmas (which I listened to).

    I should do some mini-reviews and get caught up, too. Maybe not at 4AM though!

  5. Ugh I hate insomnia. I’m sorry to hear you’re suffering from it. I hope you did manage to go back to sleep.

    Extreme mini-review is a good way to go!

    I’ve got to say that cover for The Black Dahlia rides the line between creepy and intriguing for me. I don’t think I’ll read the book – you know how sensitive I am about disturbing things – but the cover ALMOST could be good…how frustrating that you guys didn’t even end up discussing it!

  6. I’ve read the first two of the Stephanie Plum series and they’re funny but for some reason I just never made it past that. I think if I had been reading them when they first came out I would have been able to keep up better.

  7. Wow. You started the Stephanie Plum series? That’s daunting. There are what feels like thousands of books in that series. It’s like starting Patterson’s Alex Cross or Kellerman’s Alex Delaware novels from the beginning. Just a mountain of books.

    However, I did start the 12 book Cirque Du Freak series, but with the length and font size of that series it’s more like 7 or 8 books.

  8. Sorry you were up so early. That is no fun. That never happens to me on my own but I did have my daughter wake me up at 2 am. No fun!

    I do love the mini-review idea. I haven’t read any of these but I’ve heard a few people say that the Stephanie Plum series is entertaining. I may pick it up when I need a lighter read.

  9. LOL I just noticed Paxton’s pic. LOL

    A Redbird Christmas ~ I read this with a book club years and tears ago. Ha-Ha, the “tears” was a typo, but decided to leave it. :) This one was definitely cheesy.

    The Black Dahlia ~ I haven’t read anything by James Ellroy, but want to. I don’t think I’ll be choosing this one though. Thanks.

    Yellowknife ~ I started this a couple years ago, but never continued for an unknown reason. I still want to read it though.

    Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress ~ I have this one on my TBR shelves, but haven’t been drawn to it. I’ve seen both ends of the rating spectrum for it and apparently you fall into the abyss, so that’s no help. *grin*

    One For the Money ~ For the most part, this type of series does not appeal to me, but I am up to something like 14 maybe. I read them at the same time a group of online friends were, so that made it more fun. However, there are some that were really good! Others – well, no need to say.

    Get rid of those nagging, negative feelings of book reviews and just post another round of extreme mini-reviews and be done with those books! You know there are better ways to spend your time (ie: reading new books).

    Didn’t mean to sound so bossy, but I’m just trying to kick you in the rear to get you moving. Oh – that’s not nice either, now is it? Well, how about this: I want you to continue blogging, so I’m trying to assist you in lowering your anxiety level. Is that better? :)

    I’ve been awfully chatty lately, haven’t I? Hmmm odd.

  10. The only one I’ve read of those is One for the Money. I thought it was a fun book, but forgettable. I can’t really remember everything that happened. I did like the humor in the book.

    The Balzac book looks good. I think I’ve seen it around and have been interested in reading it. Hmmm…I wonder if I would have found it forgettable too!

  11. Wow, your hubby is an early riser :)
    I was thinking of reading the Plum series, I have some books I think, maybe I will get to it. Not in a hurry though.

    Not read any of these, but I like min reviews like these :)

  12. I actually love this mini-review format. I hope you consider writing more of them (rather than trying to re-read the books)

    Sure hope you were able to get a little more sleep. I just don’t function well if I don’t get at least 6 hours a night.

  13. *Vivienne – Hope you got some rest!! It is miserable feeling tired all day long. Redbird Christmas is a perfect Christmas read—I hope you enjoy!

    *Debi – Yellowknife IS really strange and intriguing. I received it from the author and I’m not sure how available it is. It is a wild ride, though!

    *Elise – I’m sure you’re having a lot of mid-night wake sessions, huh? Or is baby sleeping through the night better? I have you read ALL the Plum books? I’m overwhelmed by how many there are, but I’ll get there! ;)

    *JoAnn – Actually 4 AM proved to be a nice quiet time to get reviews done. Wasn’t distracted by twitter like normal. Ha! I bet Flagg’s books would be great to listen to!

    *Amanda – Most nights aren’t too bad. Wake up at 3 on the dot but am usually able to go back to sleep. I know what you mean about sensitive to disturbing things (and images). The illustrations in Coraline, a kids book, were enough to give me nightmares!! My cover actually doesn’t look like this, so it wasn’t too bad, but the book is pretty dang descriptive.

    *Jenny – Trying to go back and read ALL the Plum books is a bit overwhelming! I wonder if Evanovich will ever stop publishing them? :P Plus all the side ones. But I did find it a fun read.

    *Paxton – “Daunting” is the exact reason why I don’t normally read from series. Not sure why I started collecting these books in the first place but I’m too overwhelmed to get very far. I haven’t read Patterson’s Alex Cross but I did listen to the first few Women’s Murder Club—I wish I could find the early Plum books on audio! And PS—where do you do your mini-reviews Mr.?? Maybe on that spreadsheet? Haven’t had a chance to looksie yet…

    *Kristi – The Stephanie Plum book was perfect for entertaining! Just the right amount of eyerolling to giggles ratio. :)

  14. *Bermuda – Not even the Plum books? :) I wish I could remember Balzac better—I remember liking it, just not why!

    *Joy – LOL—love this comment of yours!! Longer than any of my reviews. :)

    1. Have you read Daisy Fay by Flagg? Such a fun book!
    2. Didn’t James Ellroy write LA Confidential? I’d love to read that one–loved the movie.
    3. I would love to hear your assessment of Yellowknife!
    4. Balzac is at least short…?
    5. I’ve read some of your Plum reviews–they are what they are, huh?
    6. Sometimes I need a kick in the pants–so thank you. :) And it’s fun to be bantering back and forth with you again–we’ve both had such a crazy and busy year. I think I’m going to do another round of mini-reviews for the audiobooks I’ve listened to lately. Nice and easy!

    *Ronnica – Like I told BermudaOnion, I remember liking it, I just can’t remember any of the details. It seems to get good reviews, though!

    *Heather – I did like Balzac—I just don’t remember a shred of it. I have such a terrible memory. :-/

    *Carin – I know what you mean about Stephanie Plum—I have trouble remembering bits and pieces about the story. Balzac is a good one—I just have a crummy memory!!

    *Veens – Yes, hubby usually gets out of bed around 5:00—but sometimes he just lets his alarm go off until *I* get out of bed! I think you’d like the Plum series—just nice light fun!

    *Molly – I just hope it goes away before the readathon so I’m well rested! :) I think I will try more mini-reviews with some of the other books I’ve read and listened too—not enough time to re-read!

  15. The Black Dahlia looks like a Dracula book. The only book that does interest me here is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. Sad to know it’s not that great though.

  16. Loved, loved, loved Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress. Could even read it again soon. I remember all the titles in that little novel, and so many of them were books I’d never opened to but longed to once I’d read their titles. Like, one or two from Balzac! ;)

  17. Writing mini reviews at 4 in the morning is one way to spend those early hours when sleep is elusive! :-)

    Of those you listed, I’ve read One for the Money. It’s a fun series, although it’s lost some of its sparkle now that I’m in the later books. I really should get caught up . . .

    I’ve also read Dai Sijie’s book, which I really liked.

  18. *Violet – Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress IS a good book—I just can’t remember the details. :( Maybe that does say something about the book? Black Dahlia isn’t like Dracula but it is very creepy and violently graphic. :-/

    *Paxton – Your review the other day of the McCammon book was a pretty full review! ;) Also love your book/movie catalogue and your thoughts there!

    *Bellezza – Oh I’m so glad you remember Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress better than I do. Your love love love has me wanting to revisit it!

    *Lit Feline – Ha! At the time writing mini-reviews seemed better than stewing in bed. ;) I’m glad you also liked Balzac and Chinese Seamstress! It’s so short I think I might re-read it one day.