Geek of Critique -- For Books

Confessions of a Bridaholic

Confessions of a Birdaholic: A Journey from Cockatiels to Cockatoos and Beyond. - Jeffrey S. Gaffney, Nancy A. Marley

I know a great many people who I would call “birdaholics” as defined by this book. As

they say you get one parrot and suddenly you look around and you're surrounded by a

veritable aviary of feathered buddies. Whether you're new to aviculture or a seasoned

bird person, this book has something to offer you.


What's so fun about this book is that it is so accessible. It doesn't talk down to you if

you're well versed, nor does it get mired in technical minutiae. It is simply the story of

how one couple became bird obsessed. The story is told anecdotaly, each chapter focusing on a different bird and how it became woven into to the family. Whether for breeding, as pets (or in some cases both) the author takes you through each bird's extensive story.


As I said each chapter is about a different type of bird. Besides the birds mentioned in the title you'll find stories about Macaws, African Greys, Amazons, Conures, and many more including a neat little chapter on the European Starling. The authors provide a nice overview of the bird, some insight into their experience with the bird and some thoughts on the breeding habits of the bird. In each chapter the authors speak to the reader as a friend, the book never comes off as a textbook nor does it espouse any specific opinion. In that, it's almost a memoir.


And, they never shy away from the downside of raising birds. As with any story of raising animals, some are sadly lost along the way. Particular sad is the story of Bozo, the blue and gold macaw to whom the book is dedicated. The chapter about Bozo, and his “partner” Keebler is typically light and cute but when the chapter turns to the sad state of Bozo's all too soon passing the writing takes on a more matter-of-fact tone as if the authors were trying to not delve too deeply into the painful memory.


Which leads me to a frustrating aspect of this book- the authors don't go deep enough. The chapters are very short. At only 118 pages total, no chapter is more than 10 pages long. This leads to some stories feeling, rushed. It takes leaving the audience wanting more to a whole new level! That's not to say anything is left out per se, the stories are...complete, just rushed.


The author also has an opinion on their self-coined “birdaholism” and while that opinion could be termed “negative” it feels more as if they've come out the other side with no regrets. After nearly 20 years breeding they mostly just have their 3 pet birds (a blue & gold, a grey, and an umbrella cockatoo)in their Arkansas home. They even refer to the idea of getting new birds as “ a relapse”


Overall this is a fun book with a good message. Despite some rushed chapters, the overall amount of information and the sheer variety of birds covered makes this an interesting, not to mention entertaining read.


Allegiant  - Veronica Roth Wow, what a massive drop in quality

The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4)

The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4) - Rick Riordan Extremely well done.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald I really enjoyed this one, despite it's problems. Not entertaining but interesting enough to keep my attention. And a small intimate story set against a large backdrop.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde, Camille Canti Huh. OK...

City of Glass

City of Glass  - Cassandra Clare I just have to get this out: This series has a rather contraversial twist thrown at the reader in book 1. Here, in book 3 that twist is rectified. But the question reamains, and I will ask this is the least spoilery way I can, why was this done at all? Was Cassandra Clare trying to make some sort of point and if so what was it? Was forbidden love is all of it’s previous forms too played out to be interesting? I cannot fathom what went through the author’s head while creating this odd plot contrivance (nor can I imagine how this will be portrayed in the film version that the author insists is in the works) but it’s rectification is for the best.

This is the longest of the Mortal Instuments books and in my opinion the best so far. It’s well paced, and well plotted. Besdies what’s mentioned above, every character shows growth and makes positive changes.

My biggest complaint, and as it’s a YA book I can forgive it, is that it’s all too easy. The resolutions flow freely in this book and while the stakes of this story have never been higher, you know it will all work out in the end. The antagonist is defeated with almost cartoonish ease and that’s well after the real drama of the story has peaked. While I fully recommend this book as I devoured it, having to slog through the first 2 books to get to this point is something I find difficult to endorse. Overall, I enjoyed the series, but that twist is so left field and so mindbogglingly overplayed that even knowing how it works doesn’t help you when looking back at the story. It just raises the question of WHY???

Two for the Dough

Two for the Dough  - Janet Evanovich The second in Evanovich’s sprawling Stephanie Plum series is kind of a mess. It feels as if Evanovich got some acclaim with the first book and then threw everything into book two. There are so very many plots moving around it’s almost a chore to not only keep up but even guess as to what’s going on and why. And, much like in the first book the plot simply stops. With 6 pages left in the book for the wrap up. And then the next book starts with everything reset back to zero.

That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s not. But, it does little to really expnad the universe of the first story. Stephanie is still Stephanie. While this is a plus in that I feel as if Evanovich and the reader really know the character, I was hoping for a little more growth

One For The Money

One For The Money  - Janet Evanovich I read this one mostly because my Mom would not shut up about how great this series was. She started this past November and is now on book 13, so she's clearly obsessed. With the film adaptation coming up (starring Katherine Heigl and Jason O'Mara) coming out this year I thought I'd give it a shot.

Actually much like main character Stephanie Plum just trying something new. After being laid off, Stephanie takes a job as a recovery agent (bounty hunter) for her cousin Vinnie- against the advice of basically everyone she's ever met. Her target is Joseph Morelli, a cop on the run for a cold-blooded murder. And, a man she has a history with.

Sounds intriguing, no? While it sounds like a it could be a typical action/mystery novel what really brings this book to a new level is the character of Stephanie. Her wit, charm, and- as she's the POV character- her inner monologue are insightful and in many cases pretty hilarious. She's a sarcastic "every-woman" if you will and she's way in over her head, and very much knows it.

Evanovich creates a world that is engrossing. I'm not sure how the real Trenton, New Jersey feels about it's portrayal in this novel (and I can only assume the rest of the series) but it's almost as alive feeling as the rest of the characters. I felt like I knew these characters from the beginning. You find yourself really relating to all the characters and going with them on this emotional journey, I think that's a hallmark of good writing, when the characters hurt, you hurt. When they triumph, you cheer. Evanovich managed to make Plum so relatable that I had no problems locking into her specific point of view. And, it's not just the main characters, the whole cast is pretty fully realized.

This story is not for everyone, it's not sanitized in any way. Plum is a bounty hunter and is immersed into a world where very bad people do very bad things. This is the one criticism I have and that's that SO MUCH HAPPENS to Stephanie in such a short amount of time. That she shows such determination to her task is admirable but it's surprising that she didn't just bag the whole thing and take a job flipping burgers.

I'm told the series continues in this fashion for the duration, adding various characters to it's pantheon and I'm sure I'll enjoy where it goes. But, as with many long series I have fears about the quality waning as the numbers climb (Hello, Sookie Stackhouse books!) and with number 18 recently released (along with several mini "half" novels wedged in there with different continuity), my hope is that Evanovich can keep the stories clean and fresh. Especially as attention will be heaped upon the series with the film.

City of Ashes

City of Ashes  - Cassandra Clare Book 2 expands the world while making the threats more personal. This book does what many YA books do where it sets things in motion without ever really saying anything, aiming for the big payoff. While the twists of this book are fine, especially in regards to Simon- the most "real" of all the characters in this series- the...repurcussions of some of the events of book 1 still leave a bad taste. There are hints that the damage as it were may be undone in the future but that just begs the question of why it was done in the first place?

City of Bones

City of Bones  - Cassandra Clare I liked it. Sure it's not the most inspired YA fare but it was entertaining. But, with one exception the plot twists are so obvious you have to wonder if the characters have mild mental disorders. But there's one that is so left field and pointless and upsetting that I can't figure out why she even did it. And it continues, in an intensified creepy way, into book 2.

Currently reading

Serra Elinsen
Peter and Wendy
J.M. Barrie, F.D. Bedford
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen
Les Miserables
Victor Hugo, Isabel Hapgood
A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin