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A. Ryan "Merribelle" (Westminster, CA USA)
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Wizard's First Rule - Sword of Truth
Wizard's First Rule - Sword of Truth
von Terry Goodkind
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 7,00

2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen I kept hoping for a huge plot twist to squeeze the cliches, 6. Juli 2000
I think that sometimes a book sells well because it came along at the right place at the right time with the right cover art. That must be the case with Wizard's First Rule, because nothing inside justifies it's apparently immense popularity. I'm not saying it was trash, just that anyone who has read more than 5 or so fantasy novels will keep having deja vu, and that more experienced readers will feel patronized by the overly-simplified style.
As other reviewers have pointed out before me, the writing is undersophisticated. I would guess the appropriate reading level to be 13 years old, which is actually inappropriate if you assume that the average scifi/fantasy reader is probably quite a bit older than that. If the awkward sentences were supposed to be from the point of view of a kid, then perhaps I could understand, but the hero is a full-grown adult.
Even more than the bad dialog and prose, the author seems to have hit every cliche in the genre. The love interest established in the first chapter, starting on a quest to stop an evil lord with a ragtag band that somehow includes a wizard, the enchanted sword, the sorceress they meet along the way who speaks in riddles. A villian named Darken Rahl (Star Wars, anyone?) I could go on, but if this sounds familiar so far, you've had enough to get the picture.
Yes, Goodkind has a few smatterings of original ideas, but they're not enough to pull the book off. I only made myself finish it because based on this series' success, I kept hoping that it would get better, and because I have a rule that if it's worth starting, it's worth finishing...but now I'm not so sure.
Bottom line: if you're new to fantasy, and/or under 13, this book will be just your speed.


Heirloom Country Gardens: Timeless Treasures for Today's Gardeners (Rodale Organic Gardening Books)
Heirloom Country Gardens: Timeless Treasures for Today's Gardeners (Rodale Organic Gardening Books)
von Sarah Wolfgang Heffner
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen This is what I should have started with!, 25. Juni 2000
In establishing my first-ever vegetable garden this year, I gradually became aware of the world of heirlooms through catalog sources and brief mentions in other books. If I had only started out with Heirloom Country Gardens: Timeless Treasures for Today's Gardeners, I would have been inspired to double my growing space to include the gorgeous flowers and kitchen edibles described in this book.
The first section is devoted to exploring the most typical varieties of heirloom gardens; starting with historical tidbits, followed by planting and growing tips, and ending with a sample layout for 21st Century gardeners complete with suggested varieties. Next, we have categorical descriptions of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers alongside the author's notes on recommended strains. This section actually comprises more than half the book and is a great introduction for beginners. Following up are tips and general guidelines for heirloom gardening, including seed saving and organic techniques. This is strongly stressed thoughout the book as important aspects of preserving our heritage of genetic diversity in crops and sound stewardship of the planet's resources.
This isn't going to cover the complete world of heirlooms(is that even possible?), but the novice reader will have had enough to digest with what is presented here. It will be as if a whole new world has been exposed behind the well-advertised facade of hybrids and chemical-based gardening. Fortunately, it is also presented in clear, direct language that neither overwhelms nor dumbs down the subject for newcomers to heirloom gardening.
A very motivating and useful guide that I will be sure to revisit often!


Bees (First Discovery Books)
Bees (First Discovery Books)
von Scholastic Books
  Spiralbindung

4.0 von 5 Sternen Very promising!, 12. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Bees (First Discovery Books) (Spiralbindung)
I thought I was buying this book for my son to read a few years down the road when he fell into the 4-8 age range recommended. Imagine my reaction when, at 20 months, he started to push it onto my lap every morning saying, "Bees! Bees!" Now I'm not claiming my son is some sort of prodigy. I think this book is just one of those gems that captures the interest of children exceptionally well. True, part of it is undoubtably the illustrated overlays. Well, if reading this book to him now because of the fun pictures gets a child exposed to science and the world aroung him, it might lead to a real enthusiasm for the subject matter down the road. I can foresee many more of these first discovery books on our shelf soon!
The one thing that disappointed me enough to subtract a star from my rating was the lack of any information about the dangerous side of bees. No mention at all was made of their stingers, or that humans should keep clear of the hive unless they are properly outfitted and trained to handle bees. Parents will have to remember to stress this point on their own.
Otherwise, the text was very thorough in describing these creatures, their habits and social structure, as well as defining the bees' role in the natural world. The tone was straightforward and nonpatronizing enough that I found it interesting even as an adult. This book will definitely have a space on our shelf for all the children to come.


Heirloom Gardens: Simple Secrets for Old-Fashioned Flowers and Vegetables (Garden Style Book)
Heirloom Gardens: Simple Secrets for Old-Fashioned Flowers and Vegetables (Garden Style Book)
von Mimi Luebbermann
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen It's a good start but you'll need to go further, 18. Mai 2000
This is not the first book I ever picked up on gardening, but it was the first that sparked my interest in using heirloom species. The author does a good job of explaining the background story on heirlooms vs. hybrids, pros and cons, etc. The pictures were charming, showing each species in it's place in an old-fashioned homestyle garden as opposed to the more usual catalog-style photos and illustrations I'd come to expect from books of this type.
There were generally two-page spreads on each vegetable, flower, herb, etc. that had a poetic introduction and gave step-by-step instructions in general planting. The author seemed to have picked one example of each garden favorite and expanded in detail on it. For example, the only heirloom apple covered is the Pink Pearl, the only sunflower was Inca, the only pumpkin was Lumina. Beyond that there was no real discussion on a wider scope of different species within that category. That's okay, but I wish there was a little more information on what alternative heirlooms might do well in different zones of the USA. Also, the subjects of pests and disease are treated as though the reader is already expected have enough knowledge to do without it, except to encourage the use of organic methods wherever possible.
So, don't expect this to be a teaching manual for the newcomer to general gardening techniques. But, it is a nice sampling of heirlooms you may never have heard of otherwise. Thanks to this book, I have now tasted the best tomato I have ever had in my life (Brandywine).


The Last Dragonlord (Hors Catalogue)
The Last Dragonlord (Hors Catalogue)
von Joanne Bertin
  Taschenbuch

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Questionable judgement call from the publisher, 9. März 2000
This is one of those "love it or hate it" books, judging by the other reviews on this site. The "hate it" reviewers seemed to be mostly annoyed by a writing style they called "amateurish" and a predictable plot, but mostly they complained about stock characters and cliches. I started out as one of the "hate it"s, but after the first few pages I started to put my finger on why I kept having flashbacks to jr. high school -- this book was never meant for a 31 year old!
The reading level in Last Dragonlord is about 15 years or under -- a step above the Harry Potter books, but not a huge step. Several plot elements seem, IMHO, to read like a 13-year-old girl's daydreams; romance novel plotline, being able to change into a dragon and fly away, intelligent horse companions. I suspect that most of the "love it" reviews were by teenage girls. As soon as I got over my prejudice that I should be reading an adult-level novel, I began to enjoy myself.
The only reason I can come up with for it's classification in the Fantasy category is that there are a few passages that are a bit too sexualized for younger readers. Tor Fantasy should have edited them out and shelved TLD in the "young adult" section of the bookstore.
So, if you're a teenager with average reading skills and just LOVE dragons, I can honestly recommend this book. Otherwise, you may feel annoyed that you spent an afternoon reading it.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
von Eric Carle
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 15,95

5.0 von 5 Sternen A must-read for preschoolers, 21. Februar 2000
This is without a doubt a classic! The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a book that my mom read to me pre- kindergarten. I recently picked it up in a bookstore and was amazed at how it still brought back the feeling of wonder at the mysteries of nature. No, it is not meant to be a factual text that teaches scientific concepts to preschoolers -- neither are fairy tales and nursery rhymes, but I don't hear anybody saying they were disappointed in the lack of accuracy of Mother Goose! Instead, this delightful little gem does something much more valuable; it sparks interest and a sense of wonder. That is something only the best books are capable of.


The Dolphins of Pern
The Dolphins of Pern
von Anne McCaffrey
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 7,82

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A good read if you absolutely can't get enough of Pern, 21. Februar 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Dolphins of Pern (Taschenbuch)
I have to agree with several of the reviews that noted how Anne McCaffrey's later works about Pern seem to have lost something that she did so well in her earlier ones. I am a loyal McCaffrey fan, so please don't take this as some kind of "Anne-bashing"--but, The Dolphins of Pern just wasn't up to par with the first two trilogies. While the concept of the friendly, talking dolphins is appealing, the storyline goes all over the place, jumping over years in Readis' and other characters' lives, losing focus and generally feeling less like a plot than an ongoing report on the amazing new dolphins. I hope Anne isn't just writing in response to pressures from fans and her publisher, but I have a bad feeling that she became bored with Pern years ago. Read this book only if you are a Pern fanatic.


Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts
Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts
von Alice Medrich
  Gebundene Ausgabe

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Tried and true from an amateur cook, 16. November 1999
I can't call myself an expert in any area of the kitchen -- you know, just the Home Ec 101 type. This book was a revelation for me. I have actually made the Simple Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze, Rice Pudding and Lemon-Marbled Cheesecake, all from scratch! It wasn't nearly as hard as I'd thought. And nobody guessed that any of it was low-fat. Although I rarely take the time to write reviews, this kind of unqualified success deserves recognition. If you have always been intimidated by "gourmet" recipes, and if you want to have your lowfat cake and eat it, too-- this book is a must!


The Silver Wolf
The Silver Wolf
von Alice Borchardt
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 5,93

4.0 von 5 Sternen Unusually lyrical story of werewolves, 23. Oktober 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Silver Wolf (Taschenbuch)
I read this book before I realized that Alice was Anne Rice's sister. Therefore, I developed a much less biased opinion than I might have. I think The Silver Wolf's style shares a lot in common with Rice's vampire novels, but this only became obvious to me after I made the connection. However, there's enough difference between these two authors that I think the constant comparisons going on are really unfair to them both. The Silver Wolf explores the werewolf legend from a fresh angle. There is no hint of any compulsive murdering on the part of the werewolves, or bloodlust for human flesh. Indeed, they are portrayed as more human and humane than anyone else in the plot. The imagery is rich and takes on the quality of a dream from time to time. The romantic subplot between Regeanne and Maniel (werewolf main characters)is convincing but I felt that it came too late and was hastily explored.
Overall, this was one of my favorite werewolf novels. The criticisms I've heard about it, such as the plot dragging in the first half and being a bit fragmented, are true enough in my opinion, which is why I rated only four stars.
PS-the official book review states that Lucilla was Maniel's mother--I don't know where that came from, unless that particular reviewer was just confused by the fragmented storyline and numerous flashback scenes.


Prince of Shadows
Prince of Shadows
von Susan Krinard
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 7,54

4.0 von 5 Sternen It wasn't hard to fall in love with Kieran Holt., 30. November 1998
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Prince of Shadows (Taschenbuch)
This was a beautiful and tender love story between a werewolf and a wolf researcher. Unlike other werewolf novels currently on the market, Prince of Shadows plays down the gorier and darker aspects of such supernatural creatures and surprises us with a very human hero who just happens to have certain special abilities. The love story and the supernatural subplot complemented eachother well. My only real dissatisfaction was with the cover; a beefcake depiction of Kieran posing with his shirt shrugged off, looking for all the world like a chippendale thug. I was embarrassed to be seen with it. Krinard lived up to my expectations created from her first werewolf novel, Prince of Wolves -- I wonder if she plans on making this a trilogy? I think her fans would love to explore the hidden village of Valle Cache a bit further.


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