Dexter’s Final Cut (Review)


Title: Dexter’s Final Cut

Author/Narrator: Jeff Lindsay

Publication Year: 2013

Pages: 368 (audio length: 14 hours 23 minutes)

Genre: Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com

From the cover:

Hollywood gets more than it bargained for when television’s hottest star arrives at the Miami Police Department and develops an intense, professional interest in a camera-shy blood spatter analyst named Dexter Morgan.

Mega-star Robert Chase is famous for losing himself in his characters. When he and a group of actors descend on the Miami Police Department for “research”, Chase becomes fixated on Dexter Morgan, the blood spatter analyst with a sweet tooth for doughnuts and a seemingly average life. To perfect his role, Chase is obsessed with shadowing Dexter’s every move and learning what really makes him tick. There is just one tiny problem…Dexter’s favorite hobby involves hunting down the worst killers to escape legal justice, and introducing them to his special brand of playtime. It’s a secret best kept out of the spotlight and away from the prying eyes of bloated Hollywood egos if Dexter wants to stay out of the electric chair. The last thing he needs is bright lights and the paparazzi…but even Dexter isn’t immune to the call of fame.

I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for ages. Months. Years, even. The release date kept moving, and I (and I’m sure many other readers) kept waiting … and then, finally, it appeared.

Dexter’s Final Cut is the last book in the series, and it came out around the same time that the end of the Showtime series Dexter was broadcasting. There’ve been so many differences between the two, particularly in the last few books/seasons, so I wasn’t expecting them to be the same by any means, but I was definitely curious as to how they’d both choose to “end” the story of Dexter Morgan.

That being said, I feel like this book wasn’t really an ending. It did veer away from the rest of the books in the way Dexter conducted himself near the end, but it didn’t really seem like it was in-character, a natural shift. It didn’t feel like an “and this is how it will be from now on, going forward”, with all the loose ends tied up, kind of book, like I would expect of the end of a series. No, rather … this book opened up a few entirely new plot directions that I’m kind of disappointed weren’t dealt with in the end.

The murder and mayhem, and the internal monologue that Dexter has going, however, remained essentially unchanged. That was really the only thing that held me through until the end of the book. I actually preferred the series finale of Dexter to Dexter’s Final Cut, and to any fans of the series, that says all that needs to be said.

Rating:

The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings: The Ultimate Source of Ideas, Advice, and Relief for the Bride and Groom the Those Who Love Them (Review)


Title: The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings: The Ultimate Source of Ideas, Advice, and Relief for the Bride and Groom and Those Who Love Them

Author: Carley Roney

Publication Year: 2012

Pages: 434

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Purchased from Coles bookstore

From the cover:

Overwhelmed by the countless questions and details your wedding entails? Don’t despair! The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings takes you step-by-step from your engagement to the big day, from the reception to the honeymoon. Inside you’ll find checklists, worksheets, insider advice, and in-depth sections on:

How to personalize your wedding
Updated wedding etiquette
Creating a realistic budget
Sneaky cost-cutting tips
Dress shopping advice
Tips for working with florists, caterers, officiants, and others
Invitation wording
Vows and ceremony details
Unique Wedding customs

This was probably the book that I used the most as a reference guide last year when I was trying to plan my wedding. It had the most concrete information, organized into clear categories/chapters and laid out in lists and simple formatting. Almost anything I could possibly need to know was there; it was a one-stop shop for wedding planning information and ideas.

Having said that, most of that information was available for free on The Knot website, so I’m not sure that you really need the book. It was nice at times to be able to just read an entire section, though, rather than having to look up multiple articles on the web to find everything piecemeal. So I suppose whether you want this book or not depends on the way that you like to consume your information. It’s definitely a content-heavy source, and written in easy-to-follow language. If you’re looking for all your information in one place, this would be a great bet. But if you want things in more bite-sized pieces, or simply don’t care to pay for – and carry around – the physical book, then the website would do you just as good.

Rating:

Planning Your Wedding Sucks: What to Do When Place Cards, Plus Ones, and Paying Two Grand for a Cake Make You Miserable (Review)


Title: Planning Your Wedding Sucks: What to Do When Place Cards, Plus Ones, and Paying Two Grand for a Cake Make You Miserable

Authors: Joanne Kimes and Elena Donovan Mauer

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 244

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Purchased from Coles bookstore

From the cover:

Bling. Flowers. Tulle.
The three things that every little girl dreams of when she pictures her wedding day.

What she doesn’t consider is the stuff of nightmares: Overdrawn checking accounts. Drunk relatives. The seating chart that looks like a road map.

In this book, Joanne Kimes and Elena Donovan Mauer expose the tedious (and often traumatic) tasks that really go into pulling off a wedding. From dealing with overbearing mothers-in-law and making time for their lovable, but clueless, fiances to suffering through endless alterations and meetings with the con artists known as “vendors,” there’s a lot that you need to know. After all, a wedding is supposed to be something you look forward to — not something you have to endure before the honeymoon!

Armed with Kimes’ trademark, no-holds-barred humor, Donovan Mauer’s bridal industry know-how, and copious amounts of wine, you’ll get through the stress of planning your weddings with style, humor, and grace. Or, at the very least, without beating members of the wedding party with that $500 bouquet.

This book is more than just a guide to planning a wedding. Rather, it’s a tongue-in-cheek look at all the “must-haves” of a modern wedding, and of all the “traditions” that are supposedly so important.

Of the three books I read while planning a wedding last year, Planning Your Wedding Sucks was the one that I enjoyed the most. I’m fairly sure that I read it from cover-to-cover in a matter of a few hours. It didn’t have as much straightforward information as, say, The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings, but it did cover the basics. It was also better for suggestions of alternative ideas, and of which traditions to keep and which to discard. It definitely encouraged a more non-traditional approach, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Even if it’s not, I think that Planning Your Wedding Sucks is probably a good change of pace for anyone going through the rigorous planning necessary for a wedding. If nothing else, the smile it’ll bring to your face as it gently (or not-so-gently) pokes fun at all the things you’re stressing about will be worth it.

Rating:

A Dance with Dragons (Review)


Title: A Dance with Dragons

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publication Year: 2011

Pages: 1040

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book purchased from Kobo Books

From the cover:

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again–beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all. . . .

(This is the fifth book in the series, after A Game of ThronesA Clash of KingsA Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows.)

After the semi-disaster – well, for me, anyways – that was A Feast for CrowsA Dance with Dragons was a welcome read. All my favourite characters are back in the narrative, as all the various locations have come back together again. I might not be happy with all of their storylines, but at least they have storylines again.

For example, I really love where the Tyrion storyline went for a while, with the vengeance and escape, but I’m not sure that I really love where his character has gone now that he’s on the other side of the Narrow Sea. I also don’t really love the stagnation that I feel is following Daenerys’ character. It seems like she’s had some decisions to make for a while, and just isn’t capable of actually making them. Plus, what is up with the holy army rising in King’s Landing? I just don’t feel that it was necessary to add yet another element making a bid for power, especially given some of the other surprises that come up in A Dance with Dragons.

Having said that, I really do feel like the series overall is keeping things exciting and keeping the reader guessing, which is good. I loved the way that things at the Wall are progressing even though the rest of the realm seems to be just ignoring them. In so many other fantasy series, it’s as if time stands still or people are always able (and willing) to come to the rescue, and I rather enjoy that it’s not really the case with Martin’s work. He is kind of an evil bastard who kills off characters – or makes them hated – when you least expect it, but at least he’s not predictable.

Rating:

A Feast for Crows (Review)


Title: A Feast for Crows

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publication Year: 2005

Pages: 1104

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book purchased from Kobo Books

From the cover:

It seems too good to be true. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears. . . . With the death of the monstrous King Joffrey, Cersei is ruling as regent in King’s Landing. Robb Stark’s demise has broken the back of the Northern rebels, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds on barren soil. Few legitimate claims to the once desperately sought Iron Throne still exist — or they are held in hands too weak or too distant to wield them effectively. The war, which raged out of control for so long, has burned itself out.

But as in the aftermath of any climactic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces — some familiar, others only just appearing — are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead.

It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strong will acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes . . . and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests — but only a few are the survivors.

(This is the fourth book in the series, after A Game of ThronesA Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords.)

I kind of didn’t love this book. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s necessary reading to understand the plot going forward, I’d tell you not to bother.

Because of Martin’s decision to split the characters by location into A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows, all of my favourite characters are essentially not included in this book. Very little action in King’s Landing is covered here, as it was all told already. Instead, we learn about the complications of Dorne for the first time, and go into more depth in the Eyrie, the Iron Islands, and a bit of less consequential stuff. Really, it wasn’t my favourite. I can’t even tell you most of what happened. The writing style was still good, as was the development of the characters … but none of them really drew me in like Daenerys, Tyrion, Arya, and the others usually do. Without them interspersing the narrative, it just fell much flatter for me than the rest of the series thus far.

Rating:

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