Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book - Blacklisted

After Erik Trinity had been kicked out of the A.I.R. (Alien Investigation and Removal) for being caught with Onadyn (a drug designed for alien use), he became Erik Troy and went back to school in the hopes of finding a new source for Onadyn. He found one and a new friend in an alien named Silver. Following the guy she was crushing on to a nightclub had sounded like a good idea when Camille Robins and her friend Shanel started the night out. When Erik had given her a blank napkin and then disappeared into a private hall, she was angry thinking that he had been making fun of her. Little did she know that by following him, A.I.R. was now watching her under the impression that she was a drug dealer also.

Other than the main character being a teen (18), I am not sure why this book has been listed as Young Adult by some with the violence (which isn’t that much), the swearing (F*-bombs) and the sexual content, I would really recommend not letting younger than 18 read it. That being said, as a sci-fi romance, this was a fast paced second book in the Teen Alien Huntress series that kind of showed the other side. It didn’t rehash all the training of the first, but it did through in some of the characters like Phoenix, Ryan, Cara and Mia even if it put them as the bad guys (sorry if that spoils something). I am unsatisfied with the ending, the problem felt only partially solved and seemed to have left Camille and Erik hanging - what happened next? ( )

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book - What the Lady Wants

In walked the lovely and sexy Mae Sullivan, just like in a dime store novel, into the office of a private investigator named Mitchell Peatwick. The plan was to seduce him into helping her to find her Uncles stolen diaries, but what PI would take that job on, so the story had to be more intriguing. Murder, someone murdered her Uncle and stole the diary. That was her story, Mitch was not that gullible no matter how she fit into his fantasies. As far as a mid-life crisis went, thanks to her he might be able to win his bet, but what was the lies all about and did he really want to know. At this point in his private investigative career, after seeing too many divorce cases of who cheated on who, how could he not take on this one, at least the people involved where interesting.

I have only read a few of Jennifer Crusie books, but this one ranks right up there out of the few I have read. The romance part was quick (matter of days and they figured it out), the mystery was interesting, complicated and difficult to figure out till the end, and the characters had some silly funny and stupid funny moments. I really liked Mitch and Mae both as well as some of the other characters. Fun, fast and easy read great for a rainy (or snowy) afternoon cuddled up. ( )

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book - Viva Cisco

This book contains three short stories about the life of Cisco the parrot and all his animal friend of Topopootl. ….. The first story introduces us to Cisco and his gift of words, how he has finally got the job that he thought was perfect for him, the Answer Man at the library, he found himself unhappy. Thinking that the job lacked fame and fortune, he set out to find another line of work. Trying to find his place in the community of Topopootl seemed to be more difficult than he first expected. In fact, wrestling, flamenco dancing, and even soaring high in the sky was much more difficult that he originally thought it would be, but with the help of his friends, he may find the fame he had always wanted in a way that is much more his speed. … Cisco and his friends return in the second story to solve a very interesting mystery of Topopootl’s crime wave that had most of the town nervous and worried about leaving their homes. ….. In the third story Cisco and his friends want to find the true, original reason and meaning for their favored celebration, the Fiesta of Little Flowers and to discover why it is made so special for the skunks. The Word Man really is best at being the Answer Man, he goes to the strangest lengths to solve the mysteries that he finds himself in.

The back of the book is marked as “Nearly true tales of a really cool parrot”, not sure about the nearly true, but the really cool parrot is accurate. While reading this story (out loud to my kids) we discovered that while at first the names were awkward, the fun was just beginning. The crazy antics of Cisco and his assurance that he was on the right track only made it easier to laugh at him when he fell on his face or in the water. While this is mostly just a fun book to read with the kids, it also make a good point (if a little subtle) that you should be ok with yourself as you are and not want to be like others, because it sometimes just doesn’t matter what you want. If you can’t fly high in the sky, you can’t fly that high. ( )

Book - Storm of Shadows

The goal was to find a reputable and learned antiquities and linguistic expert to help find a prophecy that their seer thought would give them an edge in the battle against the Others. Aaron Eagle had known Dr. Hall from previous dealings, but walking into the museum style basement of the library and finding a younger, female Dr. Hall and then finding out that one of the Others had already contacted her had put him in a difficult mood. Finally convincing Dr. Rosamund Hall to take a look at Mr. Irving Shea’s personal collection, the two made there way to the mansion where all of the new recruits were staying after an explosion wiped out most of the Chosen Ones. With a little bit of convincing, Aaron and Rosamund set out on a journey that would hopefully end with the information that they all needed to save the world from the Others, even if along the way they had to make some of the biggest sacrifices they ever thought they would.

Book 2 ….. I love a good series and this is turning out to be just that. While I didn’t enjoy the first book of this series as much as I did this one, it is still necessary to read it first. It is a true series - you probably (in my opinion) will not understand a lot of this one without the first one. The characters are all taking more shape and since the first book was heavy in the what and whys, this one can focus more on the who and whats. The prophecy is obvious especially after the search for it, but they do leave wondering if there is more to it. I am happy with Rosamund as an addition to their little group and the introduction of Davidov opens the door for so many more questions. The return of the main group is expected and the whole adventure of this book, while almost unnecessary, brings to light a lot of strengths and weaknesses to some of the individual as well as the group on a whole. I can only hope that this series keeps getting better, the better we get to know the characters. I am looking forward to the next of the series (according to Amazon.com it is: “Chains of Ice” - due out July 6, 2010 and “Chains of Fire” - due out September 7, 2010). ( )

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book - Truly, Madly

Taking an active roll in the family business (matchmaking through Valentine, Inc.) was something that Lucy Valentine never thought she could or would ever do. Her ability to see a persons aura (an ability that her ancestors claimed came from Cupid) was oddly changed and now she was a psychic that could only find inanimate objects, not a persons natural match (like her father was able to do). Her father was in need of help after suffering a heart attack so Lucy decided to take a chance since it would only be for a couple of weeks. How could she have known that her own psychic ability would lead her to try and track down a long lost love of a client. Or that her need for some assistance would put her in a position to trust a private investigator that she had just met. After a messy couple of months both professionally (quit the firefighter job that he loved) and personally (fiance had difficulty dealing with his medical problem), Sean Donahue was struggling with a new start. Together with her psychic ability, a private investigator and a few detectives, can Lucy find the time to get a make some matches, find somethings that are missing and still keep herself together.

Very cute, this story has so much to offer. I found myself laughing and loving almost every minute of it. It does have a bit of a slow beginning, but it more than makes up for it. There have been references to it being like a Janet Evanovich or a Jennifer Crusie book with the fun loving writing style, I would also add Sarah Addison Allen, with the easy flow of the book and the natural addition of the supernatural elements. I found that the characters were easy to understand and the flow of the story was easy to follow. I am also encouraged by the information that there is to be more of Lucy Valentine in the future (Deeply, Desperately - coming August 2010). This is a great book and I will be looking for other books by this author, it appears she has been writing romance awhile and has several for me to choose from.
This book is not scheduled for release until February 2010, I was lucky to receive an advance copy. ( )

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Movie - Avatar (2009)

Avatar (2009)

Losing the use of his legs an his twin brother, left an opening that only Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) could fill. Being his twin allowed Jake to take his spot as an Avatar (genetically matched hybrid) driver (controlling process with mental connections). His assignment was to get to know th Na'vi people of the planet Pandora and either convince them to leave or find a way to make them leave their hometree. The skywalkers (humans) wanted a material that was found under their tree, they wanted it no matter how they had to get it and didn't seem to care what it meant to the natives that lived in it. After Jakes avatar was taken in by the Na'vi people he learned what he was sent in to find out, but now that he had that information, would he be willing to use it against them or find a way to help.
(also starring: Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Joel Moore and Stephen Lang)

As a sci-fi / action / adventure, this one does have it all. All the hype that went into this movie was true, the CG to live action was flawless (to an amateurs eye) and the integration of Jake into the Na'vi people was exciting. The story line between the natives and the human had such a feel of reality to it, it was almost scary to wonder if we (as the human race) really could and would do that to another planet and it's inhabitants. (Back to the movie) The incorporation of just enough of Jakes past let us care for him and then to see his mind set change from the jarhead clan of a warrior to become part of the Na'vi. This type of movie is one that can, should and will be watched again by me (although I will probably wait for DVD now) and even though it is a PG-13, there is some foul language and lots of violence (it is a war movie) that would lead me to think it is more geared for the older of us, maybe it should have been rated for 18+ (my opinion).
This one was released on December 18, 2009 and is one of the few movies I have ever made a point of seeing within a few days of its release (if that tells you how much I wanted to see it) and I was not disappointed. (****)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book - On The Prowl

This anthology has 4 paranormal romance stories;

Alpha and Omaga by Patricia Briggs
- After being forcibly turned into a werewolf and finally accepting that she was a very submissive one, Anna Latham finds the courage to call the Marrok, Bran Cornick (the leader of all of the werewolves) and inform him of some strange things that her pack alpha is doing. Wanting to get to the bottom of the problems, Bran sends his own son Charles who is also an alpha. Together they discover more about Anna than either of them suspected.
(****) As a fan of the Mercy Thompson series I knew I would like this one (the reason for buying the book actually). I really enjoy the writing style and imagination of Patricia Briggs. Even with this story being as short as it is, the characters are well defined and since this is a continuing story it is easy to see why they take the time to make the connections that they do. One more reason to continue reading the series.

Inhuman by Eileen Wilks
- Things had changed, the supernatural was now the norm. But people were cautious around the magical ones. When those very people become the target of a serial killer, they were also the suspects. Nathan Hunter as a police officer wants to protect everyone, but as a hellhound, his priority is to protect Kai Michalski who is more than just the empath that she portrays herself as.
(****) First time reading this author, and this story appears to be in the middle of the “World of the Lupi” series. That being said, there was enough information given that I was able to follow the story and become interested in the characters enough that I am interested in reading the three stories that precede this one.

Buying Trouble by Karen Chance
- Used to having her talents taken for granted at the auction house, Claire stepped up to be near the magical artifact that were to be sold that evening only to find out that behind her back the owner had made a deal to put her up for auction as well. The fey known as Heidar had been sent to find out if the runes where real or another fake put out by a sometimes disreputable house, only to find that it was real the hard way. Transported into the Fey world without a nearby portal and then discoing that there is more to her powers than she ever knew.
(****) Again, this is actually closer to the middle of a series, this one had some parts that were not as easy to follow, probably because I had not read any of the earlier works. I did enjoy the concept but I am unsure of what this series is about based on this short story. I am curious and so I might try to track down some other books by this author.

Mona Lisa Betwining by Sunny
- As the newest Queen, Mona Lisa had to answer a few questions in regards to the death of her predecessor. She really did have something to do with her death, but the things she couldn’t say may cause more problems for her and for her current lovers.
(***) Different, this is also a series and this is not the beginning of it. The Children of the Monere seems to be a very intense type of story. This short story seemed to pack a lot into a short about of time. I felt lost and a bit confused at times, maybe because of the way the story was based on what had happened before. I don’t know what happened before, therefore I was a bit lost. As a stand alone, this one was not my favorite of the group, but I am intrigued enough to possibly look for others by this author. ( )

Friday, December 4, 2009

Book - A Cat's Eye View of Life andf Love by Sterling

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

e-Book - Red Handed

Finally kicking a drug habit, Phoenix Germaine was not really surprised when her mother didn’t believe her about fighting aliens. She ended up being sent to yet another re-hab center, without even a good bye from her own mother. But this re-hab wasn’t exactly what she expected. Now finding herself in the A.I.R. (Alien Investigation and Removal) training facility, she had to work twice as hard as the others to gain the respect of the instructors, even if she only really cared about one of their opinions.

Fun, feisty and energetic, just like the characters. This may be about a Teenage Alien Huntress, but I am not sure it should be for teenagers. Violence, drugs, bad language, talk of sex and then more violence makes it an exciting and difficult book to put down. Shorter than some book, it is packed tight and moves fast. Lots of information included that will probably come in handy in the rest of this series. I am currently getting ready for the second book, “Blacklisted”. ( )
flag Nov 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book - The Learning Curve

A group of teachers at a London school have a year of miscommunications and confusion in their professional life as well as in their personal lives. The Year 6 teacher Miss Nicky Hobbs has her hands full with her newest class, especially when she discovers one of her favorite pupils (Oscar Samuels) has a father that doesn’t seem to be a part of his life. The ear full that Nicky gave to Mark Samuels was a career ender, if he told her boss, but maybe it is the eye opener that Mark needs to become a better father.

A very large, long book that had a lot happening all the time. The beginning of the book took a very long time (about 100 pages) to get to the point. Normally I like back story and ‘more information’, but this one almost had more than necessary. While I enjoyed the romance of the main characters (Nicky, Mark and Oscar) that part seemed rushed at the end. It was a complicated romance with a lot of working parts all the way around. Once I was able to get into the story, it was fun and sometimes funny with all of the misdirection. ( )

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book - The Rocky Road to Romance

After an unexpected accident with the traffic reporter on WZZZ, operations manager Steve Crow was desperate for a fill in reporter. Desperate enough to give the kooky dog lady Daisy Adams a try behind the wheel. Even after a terrible first broadcast, Daisy was sent o a breaking news story and ended up being the story. Having a hand, or more like a fender, involved in the capture of the bad guy, the threat to Daisy’s life seemed to hit Steve hard. His overwhelming feeling of protectiveness leading him to hire a bodyguard (Elsie Hawkins). Something about Daisy also prompted Steve to get a dog (Bob), buy an SUV and a house - good thing he’s rich. Now if she would just slow down and stay out of trouble maybe he would be able to sleep nights.

Another pre-Plum re-release. Got a kick out of the first Bob the dog. Also liked the character of Elsie Hawkins, you can really see the beginnings of the character of Grandma Mazur. Lots of thing happen to and around Daisy, I liked how Steve handled it all. As with most of Janet Evanovich books, there was laugh out loud moments as well as the action and the character interactions. Another example of why she is such a popular author. ( )

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book - Shirley, Goodness and Mercy

Frustrated with the way his life had turned out, Greg Bennett wondered the streets of San Francisco hoping to find a bank that would give him a loan. His third marriage was almost over, he was estranged from his only family, his business was about to fall apart before his eyes and it was Christmas. Low on hope for a happy season, he entered a church and prayed for the first time in a very long time. Hearing this man, making this plea to God, the prayer ambassador Archangel Gabriel was surprised and soon became concerned as to how to actually help him. The arrival of Angels Shirley, Goodness and Mercy may be the perfect way to handle this near impossible task and get the three most unpredictable angels out and allow them another opportunity to return to earth.

Shirley said “But remember we’re angels, not saints.”, that describes how they felt about taking on Greg and his life. With a whole bunch of miracles or coincides to help, could a change be possible for the man they describe as a scumbag, arrogant, selfish and conceited?

Ok, so I gave that one away ….. This is a short book, only 136 pages, but it is a ‘feel good’ type of story. Filled with hope, forgiveness, redemption, change, second chances and acceptance. All this at Christmas time, the time for miracles and love. I was surprised at the emotions that I felt for this story, this man. Rooting for the best to finally come out of him. I am undecided if I wanted more, sometimes the mystery of it plays better than description could have ever been. ( )
flagNov 17, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

e-Book - Passion Projected

Vivid dreams of a lover that Marley Hart only wished was real. Nights of dream like passion was all Zachary Zevgolis could give her until he found her. Now, explaining who and what he is turned out to be more difficult than he expected. Even if she excepted it all, could he keep her safe form his rivals.

This is a character driven story with really good interactions. The anger that Marley shows over being taken from her life, the guilt that Zachary has because of her distress, and the lust of all those involved is at times realistic and at other times is like an erotic fantasy. The storyline (werewolf alpha searching for his mate) was also good, but I would have liked more - of everything, from history of the pack to more about Cole. ( )
Nov 14, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book - Torn

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book - Gaea

Worrying over the health and happiness of all the animals of earth, the goddess Gaea requests the Almighty Father, God of All, to allow her to teach mankind a lesson for mot taking care of her earth and all of the Lords creatures. By her side during this request is Quant, a seraph (an angel of the highest rank in the traditional Christian hierarchy) that likes to spend time on earth in the shape of a house cat. When God reminds Gaea that he is the only one that will hand out punishment and vengeance, Gaea takes the chance to offer a warning to mankind with the help of a family and friends. Always overseeing her actions is Quant with his optimism for the humans to learn, adapt and save the planet earth.

What a really strange mix. Religious God, Greek mythology, Leonardo Di Vinci, and dragons all have a place in this book. With such a wide variety of characters from so many different belief patterns, it is sometimes difficult to keep all the characters straight (between the gods, goddesses, saints, angels and even the humans) and to know what they all represent. While I enjoyed the concept of the design center with the formation of new creatures for a new planet, some of it felt unnecessary even though it was interesting and fun. There seemed to be an over abundance of characters that had little to do with the main story. They may have had more to do with the previous books of this series (the first book is called “Jerome and the Seraph” and the second books is called “Angelos”), but I haven’t read those stories. But what a unique story this one was. The need for everyone to be more conscious of our effect on the land has become more and more popular the last several years, this is another, slightly more interesting way to look at the need for all earthlings to go green.
( )
Nov 8, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

As what is being called a quirky classic, this has Miss Elizabeth Bennett, her family, Mr. Darcy and other characters that we know from the original Pride and Prejudice, but it is strange, different and even funny. I spent most of the book trying to remember the original story and then compare it to what was happening at the time regardless of the zombies. Had a difficult time getting in to it, it didn’t hold my attention as well as I expected it to. While it was funny, it also seemed a bit disjointed, maybe because of the addition of the ‘unmentionables’ or zombies. The flow seemed to stutter every once in a while which distracted me with the wording of it all. While it is a great concept and a funny addition to any reading list, it was not something I would ever re-read. I am a fan of the original Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy romance and found this to be either to similar or to different - at differing times of the story. I was hoping for a much more “happy medium” between the original and the outrageously weird idea of zombies at Pemberley. Almost makes me want to pull out my copy of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice just to remember how much I liked the story, without the blood and gore. ( )
Nov 5, 2009

e-Book - Catching Crazy

What started out as a bad day for 12 year old Thurman just kept getting worse. Being the class clown had already helped him get through his parents divorce, now maybe comedy could get him through forgetting to put on deodorant and smelling as bad as his dog. Now that very same dog is missing and Thurman realizes that there are only a few things he needs to make him feel normal again. Finding his dog, finding out if his dad really loves him and getting a new glove before baseball season starts. While looking for Smelly (the dog) he comes across his crazy neighbor Harlan. Harlan offers him a job. Maybe a job would help him accomplish the easiest task on his list, make money and buy his own glove. In the course of his new job, Thurman helps Harlan by answering the big questions of life.

What a strange bond to create for this young boy. This was a very good, sentimental journey for Thurman packed full of symbolism and hidden meanings. Adolescence dealing with divorce, lose and fitting-in leaves most kids feeling anything but normal and for this unlikely match that was what brought them together and allowed Thurman to find something of himself along the way. A touching and wonderful way to convey to any child who is trying to grow up “normal” that it really is ‘ok’ to be just a little crazy, maybe we all are anyway. I really liked this book, I am not sure who it is suppose to be geared for but I think that anyone from 9 up would find a bit of themselves with the help of Thurman and Harlan‘s work.
Oct 28, 2009 (*****)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book - A Pig in the Rumble Seat

This book is a compilation of 24 short stories that range from 4 - 27 pages. The story topics are almost as wide ranged as the page numbers, it includes brief glimpses of the life of the author. Some stories are based on days of his youth during the 1930’s, some include his years working in his chosen field of chemical engineering, working on rocketry propulsions. There are some fantasy or science fiction stories to add to the collection as well as a segment of poetry.

With the average length of each story only 12 pages, this book is quick, easy and fun to read. I have even spent some time reading some of the stories aloud to my family and have suggested a few more. I found a couple of the stories to be overly influenced by technical information (which to some it would be very informative and interesting), but for me I much preferred the fiction and some of the youth memories. The added influence and knowledge of rocket design gives Mr. Hujsak a very special take on science fiction. Some of the recollections of a young boy growing up in New Hampshire are antidotal to the terrible aspects of the Great Depression era. The memory of cars, trucks and other machines are a great timeline of events to some people, Mr. Hujsak is no exception, and while I have no knowledge of what a Federal, a Reo or even a ‘35 Ford Roadster really looks like, the descriptions are good enough to enjoy the stories. As with any short story, the hope is to have enough information given in a way that is easy to follow and understand while still being entertaining. There are a several stories that surpass this, giving just the right amount of information and at the right time to be very enjoyable. If I had to pick just one story out of this book to call a favorite, I would have to go for the light, easy, fun of the science fiction story ‘The Toy’. Changes the way to look at a Martian landing, from just a ‘another mission failure’ to a possibility - maybe.
( )
Oct 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Childrens - Monster Mish Mash and Other Spare Parts

Monster Mish Mash and Other Spare Parts by Alfred Perry
Digging around and found an box of old books from my own childhood. This is one I thought I would break out for my own kids this Halloween season. I didn't remember how corny some of the jokes are. Between the knock-knock jokes, the one liners and the illustrations, just about anyone would be able to find something to laugh at in this weekly reader published way back in 1976. There were a few of the jokes that I had to explain to my kids at the same time there were a few that for some reason my mind didn't even catch on to, but for overall fun, this will do it enough that my oldest child wants to take it to school to show teachers and friends all the stupid jokes that makes mummies and deadies laugh their heads off. (Sorry had to there is a joke in there like that) ( )

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

e-Book - Joy Ride

I am new to this genre, but this was exciting, fun and hot to read. I like this sample (mini short story). The characters interaction was more than just the sex, it was pretty good characters at that. I would have liked more of them, but that is the constant down fall of short stories. I don't know how natural it is for someone like me to like this kind of story, but I do like it enough to find more like it. I was lucky enough to find a source for other 'free reads' by J.M. Snyder.( )
Oct 20, 2009

e-Book - Caffeine for a Marine

I am new to this genre, if this is a sampling - it was quick and easy to read while it was fun and hot. Since it was a short (mini) story of only 9 pages I was concerned I would not be able to get into the characters, but I was totally surprised at how easy it was to become spell bound. This writing style is all about the sex (erotica) and even though I had read some similar to the intense level that this one is, the naughty feeling made it even sexier. What a great find, a collection of free reads (that I will be taking advantage of). ( )

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book - Tempt Me At Twilight

London, 1852
Three seasons and still the only prospect of marriage for Poppy Hathaway was a man (Mr. Michael Bayning)who had still not told his father that he wanted to court her. The love letters between the two of them promised marriage, but shortly after being kissed by Mr. Harry Rutledge, the elusive owner of the Rutledge hotel, she was informed that there was no way Michael’s father would ever consent to their being wed. Knowing what he wanted and then getting it was a regular task for Harry and this would be no different. There was something about Poppy, who had stumbled upon one of his secret passageways and then had shown interest in his private collection. He had to have her as his wife, no matter how he had to get her.

Book 3 … Lisa Kleypas has a grasp on historicals that leaves even the most mundane of characters one that you want to watch for again and again. I really enjoyed the inclusion of all the other Hathaways (and husbands). I was not sure about how much I would like Poppy’s story but Harry was a fabulous character and made it easy to like it. While definitely not my favorite Hathaway, Harry is the best villain I have seen in a long time. I also really enjoyed the Catherine Marks parts of the story and am eager to hear more of her story and to see how Lisa Kleypas can give young Beatrix something more than just her critters. ( )