Sunday, March 29, 2009

Young Adult - The Magic Thief: Lost

The Magic Thief: Lost by Sarah Prineas
The magic had been returned to Wellmet, but the wizard Nevery Flinglas discovered that it was still low. While Connawaer (gutter boy turned wizard‘s apprentice) spent his time searching for a new locus magicalicus (wizards magical stone), both the Sunrise and the Twilight side of Wellmet were being terrorized by the dark cloaked ‘Shadowmen’ who were turning anybody found out in the dark to stone. During Conn’s attempts to speak to the magic, he was led to believe that he should travel to Desh to find the answers to the problems of the cities magic, but would he be allowed to return to the city that has protected him all his life?

****4 Book 2 ….. So glad I read book 1 before I started this one, this is not really a stand alone story. Like book 1, this is deceptively large (almost 400 pages), odd shape and large print, but it is fun and fast to read. Told from Conn’s point of view with the exceptions of letters from Nevery and journal entries of Rowan’s, those were fun to read and a great way to include another ‘voice‘ to the story telling. These are great characters and as we get to know them better, they just keep getting better. The connections of Conn with Nevery, Rowan, Kerrn and Benet just keep getting better. This is not the end of this series, we are still left with a dilemma that needs to be resolved, and more trouble for Conn to get into. I can only hope that Book 3 is not far behind. What a fun adventure for kids age 10 and up and up and up. I got this book as part of the early reviewer program at HarperCollins kids, it is not due to be released till May 2009.

Mar 29, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Young Adult - The Magic Thief

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
Making a living on the Twilight side of Wellmet, Connwaer (Conn) was commonly referred to as a gutter boy with quick hands as a pick pocket and a lock pick. Picking the pocket of the wizard Nevery Flinglas should have left him dead, but instead it left Nevery interested in why his locus magicalicus (wizards magical stone) had not hurt the street boy. Knowing the magic of Wellmet was declining, Nevery was asked to find the cause and help to solve the problem. Taking Conn on as an apprentice probably wouldn’t help, but since Conn showed some connection to magic, it shouldn’t hurt.

****4 Book 1.…. Fun and fast to read. Deceptively large in size (411 pages), odd size and large print, makes it easy to read. Written from Conn’s point of view with a few letters/journal entries from Nevery. Fun wizardry stuff and great descriptions of the people and places. This is a great book for that middle age, not quite old enough for Harry Potter but ready for longer, more detailed story. Really enjoyed the addition of the Runic alphabet and the occasional cryptic message that Conn left for Nevery on his journal notes. Really looking forward to Book 2 (this is suppose to be a trilogy) to see what Conn‘s next great adventure in Wellmet will be.

Mar 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Youth Fiction - Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
All Coraline could do was explore her new house, it was an old house but they had just moved in and she wanted to know what everything was and where every door went. Finding a brick wall behind the door in one of the rooms just made her more curious. Looking behind the door a second time, Coraline found a long hall and since she was exploring, she followed it to another house that looked a lot like her own. She also found another mother and another father, another set of neighbors (the Misses Spink & Forcible and the man upstairs), they were almost like the real ones, but not quite. The problem came when Coraline wanted to return home to her real mother and father, the other mother didn’t want her to go. Coraline needed a plan to get out and to find her real parents.

****4 The darker side of fairy tales as only Neil Gaiman can do. Interesting twist on the other world leaving one almost hoping they don’t find a portal to a parallel universe. The vision of the dark halls, the misty surrounding and the creepiness of the other mother was well written, easily imagined and slightly disturbing. In other words, well written and I am more eager now to see the movie that is based on this book than I was before. The book was different than what I had been expecting based on the Movie promotions.

Mar 24, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Young Adult - A Recipe 4 Robbery

A Recipe for Robbery by Marybeth Kelsey
First she (Lindy Phillips) finds out that she wont be able to attend Summer Band Camp with her friend (Margaret). Next her mother expects her to eat Mrs. Unger’s (Granny Goose) green slime she calls ‘stewed cucumbers’. After finally convincing her stomach to take a bite, she finds a gold and ruby heart locket. Lindy, Margaret and the saxophone player Gus Kinnard are sure Granny Goose did not steal the locket, they new about the Heirloom robberies and the reward, that would be enough to get Lindy to Band camp, all they had to do was figure out who really stole all the loot, and who was trying to set up Granny Goose.

***3 - Quick, easy, a fun who-dun-it crime to solve, Kid style. These pre-teens take on the job of trying to figure out a grown-up problem (every pre-teens dream), who stole the jewelry and why were the pieces that they found, where they found them. This is actually a fairly realistic possibility, the characters are all developed enough to get me attached to them and the differences in each of them is well thought out and believable, like most smart-alac pre-teens that know more now than they will at age 30. Written from Lindy’s point of view, this is fun (but not laugh out loud funny), it has suspense (not really edge of your seat), it has a bully (the Cucumber Princess) and it even has a goose named Pickle. This is an Advance Reader Copy from Harper Collins Children, due to be published in May 2009

Mar 21, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Childrens - Junie B. Jones #25

My daughter brought this one home for Spring Break, I was between books and wanted to see what she has been reading about.....

Christmas parties are one of the most anticipated events of First Grade, and when Room One got the chance to see the toys and stuff availale at the gift shop, Junie B. wanted the Burb-a-Bag more than anything else in the world. She knew five dollars was a lot and she would have to do some figuring to be able to come up with the money for it. Then the problem was coming up with something to give as Secret Santa, she got May's name. The worst person to have to give something to. Maybe Santa had the right idea, give a piece of coal to the children that are mean.

A good lesson in friendship can be seen in the end of this one. Taking the time to be nice to one another helped them to actually have a good Christmas party, they even shared - but only for a minute.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Young Adult - Faerie Path

The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones
For her sixteenth birthday, Anita Palmer was enjoying a boat rider with her boyfriend Evan Thomas when suddenly, there was an accident and they both ended up in the hospital. The strange dreams that Anita started having became more than just a dream after she realized that she really could be the lost princess Tania of the Faerie Realm. Finding out that Evan was really a servant named Edric left Tania feeling betrayed by everyone, the Lord Gabriel Drake seemed to be helpful. She still needed to figure out which of her (Anita or Tania) was real.

*****5 Book 1.…. This is a very interesting book, based on the dream of walking between two worlds, the land of Faerie is so well described, the colors, the mystical and magical feel of it all. The Mortal world was not seen very much, but the grounded feeling was there. This may have been written as a young adult fantasy, but as an adult, I really enjoyed the get away into this other world and hope I can find the next book (The Lost Queen) to see were Tania and Edric end up next.

Mar 17, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Movie - 27 Dresses

27 Dresses PG-13 2007
The old adage ‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ is taken to the extreme by Jane Nicholas (Katherine Heigl). Drawing the attention of newspaper reporter Kevin Doyle (James Marsden) while she was Maid of Honor at two different weddings in one night, he decided to write a story about how dedicated she was to other peoples happy Wedding Day, 27 of them and she kept all the dresses. After getting to know Jane better, he started to understand her view of the ‘Wedding Day‘.

****4 - I didn’t know what to expect. This was such a cute concept and the characters worked well together. The comedy aspect was great, not too much but enough. Naturally, the best part of the show was the closet of Bride’s Maid dresses and the sequence of her trying them all on for Kevin.
March 13, 2009

Book - A Bone to Pick

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 2)… by Charlaine Harris
While leaving Jane Engle’s funeral, Aurora ‘Roe’ Teagarden was approached by Jane’s lawyer (Bubba Sewell) in order to inform her that Jane had left everything to her. With the inheritance of the money and the house, Roe decided to quick her job at the Library and was considering her option for what to do with the house. It may have been a lot of money, but she wondered if it would be enough to compensate her for dealing with the skull she found in the window seat while she was looking around the house.
*** Book 2 .…. Slow paced and not very suspenseful, just a very sweet mystery about a skull. Got to know Roe and Madeleine (the cat) better while Roe handled every things after inheriting the house. The mystery of the skull was good, but the clues were few and far between and then it was just over. I some how read these first 3 Aurora Teagarden books out of order, so I know that the previous (Real Murders) and the next (Three Bedrooms, One Corpse) are better. This one did tie up some questions I had in book 3 (that is what I get for reading a series out of order).
Mar 13, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Book - For All My Tomorrows

For All My Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber
Her husband (Gary) was killed in the line of duty leaving Lynn Danfort to raise their two kids. She had hoped that their godfather, Gary’s partner, her friend (Ryder Matthews) would help her through that most difficult time, the problem was that it was a difficult time for him as well. After three years away, Ryder came back to Seattle with the knowledge that he was in love with his partners wife long before his partners death. The goal was in place, create a new family for him with Lynn and her kids, but convincing the now independent and self sufficient women he loved to have the same dreams might be a little tricky.

***3 - Very classic love story, we don’t get to see Ryder fall in love, he just shows up that way. The biggest hurdle that they have to overcome is his pride. Emotional, but the intimate moments are very charged and quite hot for a Debbie Macomber book. The tension was built up and up and then it was all concluded nice a neat so quick and easy at the end, little bit of a let down just because it happened so effortlessly. This is a very early Debbie Macomber, I really enjoy so many of her books and this one is no different in that aspect.

Mar 9, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Book - Fast Women

Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie
Divorced and frustrated with life, Nell Dysart took a job at McKenna Investigations. The whirlwind cleaning and remodeling that Nell undertook was changing everything in Gabe McKenna’s office and everything in his life. Her discovery of a document from the 70’s sparked an interest in old cases that connected Nell, through her in-laws to Gabe and his father (Patrick), leaving them with the mystery of two missing persons, and an apparent suicide that seemed to all be connected. Along with Riley (Gabe’s partner and cousin) and Suze (Nell’s fellow Dysart wife and best friend), they all searched for the answers to the questions the past had brought to life again.

**** 4 - Good characters, followed for several months and several changes in life as well as love. The fact that these families are all so intertwined and connected in the end was predictable but fun to get to anyway. The mystery of who and why these things are happening now and what they have in connection to the past was pretty good, and the china obsession was different, in a fun way.

Mar 8, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

Book - When Lightning Strikes

When Lightning Strikes (Sign Of The Gray Wolf) (Harlequin Intrigue #677)… by Aimee Thurlo
The job for Gray Wolf Investigations was to find and return Hannah Jones to her Uncle. Finding her was easy, the problem was that the story Mr. Jones told Daniel Eagle (Lightning of the Gray Wolf pack) didn’t seem to go along with the facts he learned of the case. Several warnings about Hannah’s mental stability as well as the accusations of her violence and a theft, just wasn’t the person that Daniel met. She may have been scared and running for her life, but he found strength and determination in her that inspired more than his normal protection nature.

***3 - Romantic Suspense, it did have a couple of twists to it, but it was primarily predictable. The few action scenes that it had were good, but all to brief, few and far between. The discussion about their feelings, was corny and full of cliques that took away a little from the declarations, then they both backed up the next morning before making more declarations later. The characters are good, enjoyed the Navajo cultural additions, and loved the dog Wolf.

Mar 6, 2009

Book - The Return of Chase Cordell

Return Of Chase Cordell (Harlequin Historical #348)… by Linda Castle
Coming home from the Civil War, injured and without any memory of himself, his wife or is life, Major Chase Cordell decided it would be better not to let anyone know about his loss. Hoping he could piece his life back together by watching and reading past issues of the ‘Gazette’ (the newspaper he owned and wrote for), Chase bided his time, but the one person her could not fool would be his wife (Linese Beaufort Cordell), so avoidance seemed the best coarse of action. The two years of waiting was finally over, her husband was coming home to her, but how would he react if he found out what she had been doing in his absence? All Linese wanted and expected changed when she began to get to know the post War Chase.

****4 - This book really is a standard Historical Romance, nothing super great about the writing or even the characters. But I really enjoy this one. I have read it several times, it is one of the first books that I was able to read straight through in under a month (back in 1997), so I think it sort of has a sentimental quality that makes it a better story to me than to others (so the slightly higher rating). The plot line and the ending is predictable, the characters are good but like so many others they are difficult to get completely invested in. Like I said, just a standard Historical Romance set during the American Civil War.

Mar 4, 2009

Childrens - Anansi the Spider

Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti (An Owlet Book)… by Gerald McDermott
Anansi the spider has 6 sons. Anansi runs into trouble and his sons find a way to save him. The all deserve a reward but only one reward is found, who to give it to is the dilemma. Maybe the ’God of all things’ (Nyame) can help.

****4 - I am not familiar with African folklore and mythology, this one is new and very interesting to me. While it was written in a different cadence than most kids stories, the kids followed easily and understood the story. It even left it open for more conversation, by not saying everything out right and letting the kids form the conclusions. Such brilliant geometric designs in the background of the pictures also led to talk about cultural differences between here (in North America) and there (set in Ghana, Africa), while the pictures of the spider brothers were colorful and well defined enough to make it easy to follow which was which. The kids really enjoyed the adventure of the father, Anansi and the ending, they liked it because they were able to tell me the meaning of the final page.

Feb 26, 2009

Book - Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
First Charles Nancy (Fat Charlie) found out his father had died while at a karaoke club in Florida, then he learned he had a brother named Spider. To have a brother and not know him or even about him seemed strange to Charles, so he did what Mrs. Higgler had suggested. As strange as it sounded, he told a spider that he wanted to see his brother. Coincidently, or should it be, believe it or not, his brother showed up. Getting to know each other was interesting enough, without Spiders sudden interest in Fat Charlie’s fiancĂ©. Finding Spider was easy, now because of Spider, Fat Charlie had lost his job with Grahame Coats, lost his fiancĂ© Rosie Noah, and even lost his freedom when a detective named Daisy arrested him, so now getting rid of Spider was the problem to be solved. Both brothers, are part of the Anansi blood line, so the story would have to be good, real good for things to turn out the way they wanted it to.

****4 - Mr. Nancy (Anansi the spider) was an interesting character in Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ and he still is. His ‘sons’ had two different personalities (great twist). Fat Charlie, Spider, Rosie, Daisy, tiger, bird and even the old women are the reason this book works, they are great characters. There was a few confusing moments, but everything gets pulled together just enough so that it is easy to overlook some of the ‘huh?’ moments. This is told mostly form Fat Charlie’s point of view. I really wanted to see more of Spider, to help me either like him or hate him more, instead of the flip-flopping feelings that I had for him. In the end, a fun “Anansi story”, ----- I wonder what it would have been like if tiger had the stories instead of spider?

Feb 26, 2009

Movie - Ghost Town 2008

After being in the hospital for a regular procedure, DDR. Bertram Pincus (Ricky Garvais) started having visions. Finding out he had died during the procedure only helped him and the ghost of Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) realize what had happened. Now several ghosts wouldn’t leave this cranky Dentist, with no people skills, alone. All they wanted was help from the only living person that could see them, all Dr. Pincus wanted was to be left alone. The plan to get rid of them all, suddenly turned into Frank helping Bertram, with his social skills, especially around Franks widow (Tea Leoni), if only they could find a way so that everyone could get what they wanted. Also appearances by Billy Campbell and Alan Ruck.

*** This reluctant ghost whisperer fights the concept of seeing and hearing the dead. While this is a comedy, there is some foul language, some racial prejudices which makes it far from politically correct, but this sort of comedy is sometimes needed. I enjoyed the concept of the sneeze. Not exactly the greatest story ever written, but I needed a laugh and this movie left me in a good mood so I will go with an average recommendation, unless the language, the stereotyping, gag reflex moments or mummified bodies bothers you, then you might want to skip this one.

Feb 26, 2009

Movie - Eagle Eye

His overachieving brother had just died and Jerry (Shia LaBeouf) found his life turned upside down. The phone rings and he is told to get out of his apartment, if he doesn’t he will be arrested. He delays and is arrested. The next time the voice ( ) on the phone tells him to duck, he does only because he sees the crane that is about to smash through the window. Following the directions of the voice on the phone, or the text messages sent to him, Jerry and Rachel (Michelle Monoghan),the female that has been caught up in the same mystery, find themselves in the strangest plot, the most surreal chain of events all because of ………

***3 - Not going to tell you! This was a really good movie, the conspirator theorists will spend the whole movie nodding their heads, while everyone else will probably enjoy the action, the possibilities of what could be and the question of what might already be. Action, suspense, thriller all of these fit to describe this one, it is a PG-13 with violence, and a little bit of language.

Feb 24, 2009

Book - Plum Lovin'

Plum Lovin' (A Between-the-Numbers Novel) by Janet Evanovich
February’s cold made the bail bonds office slow, Stephanie Plum only had one, Annie Hart, that she needed to track down. To get Annie Hart, Stephanie had to make a deal with a handsome and funny ‘unmentionable’ tracker, Diesel. All that was needed was to help him play Cupid for Valentines Day while he tracked another. Helping strangers find true love may not have been as easy as she had originally thought, but with Diesel and Bob the dog, it is not dull.

****4 - First Stephanie Plum book for me. Comedy in it’s written form. I found something on almost every page to laugh at. Such a funny, light, fun and quick (only 164 pages) read (rated R for the sex talk and language). I can definitely see why these (Stephanie Plum “Numbers” and “Between-the-Numbers” series) are so popular, if they are even half as fun and lighthearted as this one. I am going to have to find out soon.

Feb 24, 2009

Movie - Vantage Point 2007

A peace Summit in Spain, a Presidential assassination. Follow several peoples steps and each of their perspectives starting at 11:59 am. Just before the assassination through to the bombing in the square, find the reaction of the News crew (Sigourney Weaver), Secret Service agents (Dennis Quaid & Matthew Fox), see every step they took. Some witnesses (Forrest Whitaker) to the terror attacks give clues to the who and why, but then assassins themselves have a turn, following them all the way to the conclusion and the subsequent cover up to explain the incident.

****4 - Very cool, I was unprepared for this one, not expecting to see the big event to happen in the first 5 minutes, then again, again, and again. The redo from all the different perspectives was such a great idea, they pulled it off well also. I had fun not only watching the story, trying to figure out who dunnit, but also looking for the interactions and the reason for things. The best part is figuring out what Dennis Quaid’s character sees and hears and does that leads to the conclusion.

Feb 24, 2009

Book - Man of the Mist

Man Of The Mist (Harlequin Historical, # 313)… by Elizabeth Mayne
Secrets of the past have a way of coming back to haunt everyone, Elizabeth Murray saw that past walk in her front door. It had been five years since Evan MacGregor had seen his wife, but walking into that house and knowing that she had never revealed their marriage to her own family still caught him by surprise. Finding the husband she regretted marrying had made his return to London left Elizabeth more concerned than ever about keeping all of her secrets a quiet, especially from the only man she had ever truly loved.

***3 - London 1808 - Lots and lots of characters, at first difficult to sort out, but as things progressed it became easier to figure out the relationships and the connections. The highlander brogue also left me re-reading several paragraphs until I got used to the style and slang of the speakers. There is no real ‘villain’ to this story other than the hero/heroines themselves, and even they didn’t provide much action to the story. This story is emotional charged with deceit and lies as the main plot line. Some of the traditions and customs used were confusing as described, but a good Harlequin Historical that was published back in 1996.

Feb 21, 2009

Book - Love Overboard

Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich
Running too short on money to afford repairs on her newly acquired home, Stephanie Lowe’s cousin Lucy gave her an alternative, cooking on the pirate ship ‘Savage’ for a new toilet. Watching his new cook roll down the hill caught his attention, Ivan Rasmussen just didn’t know how much attention he would have to give this addition to his crew till his favorite ghost, Tess Rasmussen started showing her presence nearly everywhere they went.

****4 - This book is a funny, cute, wonderful, light hearted, quick read. Originally published as ‘Ivan Takes a Wife’ back in 1989, but even today, who would not laugh out loud at orange hair. Touching when it needs to be, the love affair is slow to grow but so much fun and then the real fun is revealed.

Feb 19, 2009

Book - Bogus Bride

Bogus Bride (Harlequin Historicals, # 361) by Emily French
After waiting 10 years to hear from the man she loved, Caitlin Parr was eager to follow Samuel Jardine to America regardless of the fact that he mistakenly wrote her sisters name, Caitryn on the personal letter that accompanied the marriage proposal. Maine 1842 - Waiting on the docks for his soon to be bride, Sam was momentarily shocked to find that the wrong sister had accepted his offer. Making the best of the situation and not letting on that he had made a mistake, the marriage went forward, then he took his new wife to the lumbering camp.

*** The characters in this story where good, the story was good, the description of Maine’s forest and timber business was good, some of the writing was confusing though. Very repetitive on some points while other things seemed to get lost in the descriptions. This book was apparently named before it was written, while once or twice calling Caitlin a ‘Bogus Bride’ would have been ok, it didn’t stop at that. Also, ‘Bogus’ didn’t seem to fit, it was a misunderstanding, a mistake, and they made a few bad choices, but I would not consider it fake, the feelings were real for both of them, not intentionally deceitful. A decent historical romance, a few minor writing style quirks to overlook, but a good story in general.

Feb 7, 2009

Book - Beguiled

Beguiled (Harlequin Historical, # 408) by Susan Spencer Paul
Being blackmailed into escorting the sister (Lady Lillian Walford) of one of the most elusive men of the ton (the Earl of Cardemore), Anthony Harbreas, the Earl of Graydon was surprised at finding her such a beauty. During their first encounter, he discovered the flaw that Cardemore and neglected to mention. Just wanting to see London and take part of one season, Lillian had no illusions about finding a man that would willingly take on a wife who would never be able to run his house or play hostess for him. As the season progressed, not only was Lord Graydon finding the charade difficult to hide, Lord Cardemore was discovering he had a few details of his own life that needed more attention.

****4 - London 1817 - My opinion, historicals are a coming home, they have always been my favorite genre of books. This one was no different. The honest misunderstanding are so easy with all that pride and arrogance of this time, but through in a language barrier and the confusion is expected. These characters have strength and honor, if a bit misguided in the execution, they are all sincere in there feelings and so easy to get. Really enjoyed the sign language addition (makes me wonder when it became more socially acceptable), and the fact that this was actually a romance of 4 couples, most prominently, Graydon and Lillian.

Feb 14, 2009

Book - Suite 606

Suite 606 by J.D. Robb
****4 - This is an anthology with four stories there for basically four reviews. It seems a bit long but it covers all four stories as individuals.

Ritual in Death by J.D. Robb When a naked stranger covered in blood and holding a knife crashes a party, lieutenant Eve Dallas goes into action. Along with her husband Roarke, the owner of the hotel that the party is taking place in, they try to unravel not only who the stranger is but where all the blood came from. Finding a body in Suite 606 added the questions of who was the victim, why was she murdered and whether it was devil worship or just plain evil.

*** (3 stars) Been wanting to read J.D. Robb’s ‘In Death series’, never started it. Didn’t realize this would be part of that series. Set in the future (I think) based on all the slang words and abbreviations used. While this was a good story, I felt like I was missing a lot (probably because I was … the first 20-something stories of the series). As a suspense story with a little occult feel to it, good story but I wouldn’t say it was much of a romance. I did really like Roarke (the husband) and I am going back to an earlier ’In Death’ book to give Eve a chance . In general not a real good stand alone short story.

Love Endures by Mary Blayney Start with the death of a gambling, lying husband (Reggie Cassidy) then add the grieving widow (Summer) and the ex-best friend (Lord Stephen Bradley). Coming back as a ghost with the need to right a few wrongs night be humiliating for Reggie, liberating for Summer, but a dream come true for Stephen. Love the connect to ‘Wayward Wizard’

**** (4 stars) I don’t normally like romances that had the ‘falling in love’ before the book started, but this rekindling was very touching. I also enjoyed the reluctance of Reggie to change his nature, even though he was dead he seemed to think of only protecting his lies. Set as a historical (which I read a lot of), London 1814.

Cold Case by Ruth Ryan Langan After a fatal accident on the job, Sam Hunter needed to find himself again. During a November storm in Vermont, he saw a figure in the road that caused him to crash. Walking to the nearest farmhouse, Sam was helped by Mary Catherine McGivern only to want to learn her story too. The emotions started to come to him unexpectedly and he needed to help her and keep her safe, if he could.

**** (4 stars) I really enjoyed the story, the twist was expected but still fun. I liked this kind of twist and wished we could have spent a little more time with the romance as well as the ending. Great cast of characters Mary Catherine and her sister were warm and loving (to be expected), I even kind of liked Hoag (as a character) and his rough crazy way, but I was a bit disappointed in Sam, in the end his heart seemed fickle.

Wayward Wizard by May Kay McComas Losing herself (Marie Barnett) and her son (Hugh) somewhere in time (in the year 1223) might be an adventure, meeting the wizard (Nester Baraka of Viator) was. Through time and space, getting back to the Philadelphia Museum where it all started became and interesting combination of past and futures, giving the three a chance to get to know each other, and maybe even reconciling some of past mistakes.

**** (4 stars) Predictable love match, a gentle romance but what a fun way of getting it done. The relationship between mother and son was a great match also, to see the changes in how Hugh saw himself and his mother interact was a mothers dream come true. Great connection with ‘Love Endures’, it was a laugh out loud moment for me when I realized where the house was, who the ghost was and why the name of Reggie Cassidy sounded familiar. I have never read an anthology that had done that. What an incredible way to end this particular collection.

The only author here that I have read before has been Ruth Ryan Langan and Nora Roberts, but not her as J.D. Robb. The other stories in this book are good enough for me to want to read more of there books/stories. While I wouldn’t say any of these stories are strong occult or paranormal stories (they have a little), I would call them all a light romance with a little suspense. Overall a good fun read.
Feb 13, 2009

Book - Marrying the Captain

Marrying The Captain (Harlequin Historical Series #928)… by Carla Kelly
Being a sea Captain, Oliver Worthy knew his responsibilities to his country, his crew and himself and he never had a port to call home. When Viscount Ratliffe of the Admiralty asked him to send a report of his daughters welfare, some thing in the Captain gave him reservations so he proceeded with caution. It was easy to find Eleanor ‘Nana’ Massie, everyone in the town of Plymouth admired her. The Mulberry wasn’t the nicest of Inns, but he thought it best to slightly mislead the Viscount.

****4 - Harlequin Historicals have always been one of my favorite genres, this one is no exception. The emotions of this one got to me with the gentleness and ease that the two characters had with each other. I really enjoyed the slow progression of the love match. Not much in the way of action or adventure (a little but not a lot). The history lesson on Bonaparte was fun, but the calm consistency and gentle flow of the story kept me reading.

Feb 6, 2009

Book - The Iron Hunt

The Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss, Book 1) by Marjorie M. Liu
When a demon possesses a human, Maxine Kiss calls them zombies. Maxine is a hunter that takes the demons out of the humans and with the help of her own little demons. Her love, Grant Cooperon has an interest in demons also, but he thinks his music can help the demons to make better choices and be better people. Together they are trying to deal with the information that the prison veil that has held the demons for so long is falling.

***3 - Very interesting story, really enjoyed the characters. Too much happened in this story, I was easily confused by the twists and turns. I wanted more explanation to a lot of the things that happened. I got that part of the problem Maxine was having was due to all the secrets being kept, but there just seemed to be too much kept as secret even from the reader. I believe this is going to be a series, I hope that there is more time spent in explanation and less in keeping the secrets so secret. Even after reading the short story (in ‘Wild Thing’ anthology which acts as a prequel), I still struggled to understand some of it, but it is such a creative idea with some great characters.
Feb 5, 2009

Book - Real Murders

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 1)… by Charlaine Harris
A club that reviewed and discussed old real murder crimes was the setting of the first real murder that could be connected to the group. Finding the body and knowing the need to cooperate with the police, Aurora ’Roe’ Teagarden as well as the rest of the clubs members endured the scrutiny of the investigation process. Then there was more murders, the realization that the current murders imitated the older murders left everyone in the Real Murder club either a victim or a suspect.

(***3) This is an introduction to Roe Teagarden and the Real Murder club members. There are so many characters and some of them are not fully developed yet but a great start for this as a series. I was surprised by the ending and the ’who done it’ part, there are several suspects and several hints or clues that were misleading as well as a few that were not. A quick and easy read, a mellow suspense and not too graphic with the crime scenes.

Jan 30, 2009

Book - Natural-Born Protector

Natural-Born Protector (Silhouette Romantic Suspense)… by Carla Cassidy
Needing a change after the death of his wife, Hank Tyler moved his daughter (Maddie) back to Oklahoma where his mother (Susan) could help. Making friends with a neighbor (Lainie Thompson) and then being there after her murder, left Hank and Maddie with another lose to deal with until the sister, Melody came to start packing up Lainie’s stuff. Wanting to know who and why her sister had been taken from her, Melody started her own investigation only to find that she was the next target.

(***3) Very basic who done it, very obvious solution from the start. The characters were good, easy to care about and hope for the best. Predictable, a nice retreat and an easy read, a bit corny in a few places (like the ending) but overall good.

Jan 29, 2009

Book - A Gentle Rain

A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith
After the death of her parents, Kara Whittenbrook was shocked to discover that she and been adopted. This information in hand, she started out to Florida because she had to know more about them, even though she had been told they were mentally handicapped, and she needed to know why she had been given up for adoption. The Thocco Ranch was home to several ranch hands with mental handicaps such as Down Syndrome or Autism, but somehow Ben Thocco saw that each of his employees has their own special talent either with the animals or with each other. With the help of a man-biting mare (Estrela) and the whole crew, Kara finally finds her biological parents, and herself.

(*****5) I don’t know what I was expecting from the book, but this was not it (and I mean that in a good way). Predictable nearly from begging to end, that being said….. Surprisingly heartwarming, refreshing, tender, compassionate, gratifying, energizing, ect. Loads of characters, all of them are created so wonderfully, their interaction is as times laugh out loud funny, but always wonderfully written. If this were a movie, it would be considered a total chick flick or a real tear jerker (happy and sad tears). This is a new author for me and you can bet I will be searching out her other books.

Jan 23, 2009

Book - No Humans Involved

No Humans Involved (Women of the Otherworld, Book 7)… by Kelley Armstrong
Hollywood psychic Jaime Vegas had been asked to take part in a TV special. What none of the others knew, Jaime was the real thing and during her time in the Brentwood house (rented for production of the special), she discovered several ghosts that left her (the necromancer delegate to the supernatural council) stunned and confused about what had happened to these children. With the help of Jeremy (a werewolf she is attracted to) and Eve (a half-demon ghost), she attempts to free the spirits and find the monsters who could have done this to them.

(**** 4) Book 7 ….. Interesting, the interaction between characters was good, I really liked all of the characters, there are a lot of them too. I am not sure Jaime’s sexual displays were needed, but they were interesting. I may have to read some of the previous books (it may answer a few questions), but the author did a good job of telling enough of the other stories that this can be a stand alone book but I am just the type that once other adventures (like being kidnapped before) are hinted at, I need to know more about them. I will be putting Kelley Armstrong on my tbr (to be read list), but not necessarily on the top.

Jan 22, 2009

Book - Three Bedrooms, One Corpse

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 3)… by Charlaine Harris
Trying to help her mother, Aurora ‘Roe’ Teagarden met the Bartells (Martin and his sister Barbara) to show them the Anderton house. During the process of showing them the house, the body of another local realtor (Tonia Lee Greenhouse) was discovered. Having a fascination with true crimes, Roe started her own investigation into who would have and who could have killed this woman. While the realtors dealt with the lose of one of their own, Roe and Martin, became closer.

(***3) This book is short, quick, light and fun to read. It seems to be part of a series and some of the references to previous cases were too brief (I may have to find some of the rest), leaving some things confusing and even distracting. The Romance part was very cute, but it was a side story and seemed to be more than needed, especially the Sam Ulrich bit, not needed and a bit distracting (even though it was very good), it had nothing to do with Roe figuring out who, how and why of the deaths. I will try to find others of this series, it is a good story (Librarian turned detective) but there was some choppy parts in the writing.

Jan 18, 2009

Book - The Road Taken (an audio short)

The Road Taken by Megan Hart
Needing a new start, Molly was took to the road, along the way she kept seeing a great looking Chevy Impala with a great looking man, Jake, in it. Playing road tag, then eating at a diner together could have been the end of it, but they were both interested in a little more.

(****4) Short story, really fun and descriptive story. I found this in a collection of short audio books. I really liked Jake and the ending is good, even if it is a bit predictable. Picky-picky: at the end of most of the chapters, the narrator gave a tease about the next chapter, that was kind of annoying but the story was quick and fun overall. Warning, explicit language.
Jan 16, 2009

Movie - Cloverfield 2007

A going away party for Rob is being video taped and documented by his friend Hudd. After having some fun at the party, an ‘earthquake’ ripped through Manhattan and an oil tanker capsized in the river. The chaos increases as we follow this group of friends try to survive the monster that has caused New York to be ripped apart.

(*** 3) Tough to review, I liked the story, possibly natural disaster (I like natural disaster movies), possibly alien invasion (I like alien movies). I had a hard time watching it, they (directors/producers - the creators of the TV shows Lost and Alias) used a hand held - home movie way of making this. The jerky motion made me want to turn away from watching (it was giving me a headache). The perspective of the camera left a lot of action to the viewers imagination. I really wanted to like this movie, I would have liked this movie a lot more if it had been filmed differently.

How I got to the rating of this difficult to review movie …..Enjoyed the story, the casting, and the acting enough that I should give it a 4 Star rating, but I had a large problem with the choice of production style, enough that I would have given it a 2 Star rating. I think we can compromise and go with the 3 Stars. I still have reservations and don’t know if it is enough to actually recommend this movie to anyone, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone I know but some may like the ‘reality’ feel that this kind of filming has.
Jan 16, 2009

Book - Dark Curse

Dark Curse (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 19)… by Christine Feehan
Centuries of fighting vampires left Nicolas De La Cruz ready to meet the dawn (end his existence) after completing one more task for his family, his prince and his people. With his darkness close, he finally heard the voice that could save him and his soul, as Lara Calladine stabbed a knife in his side to get him off her. She had come to the Carpathian Mountains to finally deal with her childhood nightmares and find the only family she ever knew. The Aunts had always been there telling her stories, teaching her and then helping her to escape. Finding so many of their stories to be true, including that of the lifemate, Lara struggled to trust Nicolas and fight her past nightmares.

Book 19 ….. (***** 5) Just say Wow! Was the Curse his or hers? The elements and layers of this series are getting more complex, the addition of so many with Mage influence opens the door for such great sorcerers stories. As always, the characters are so easy to care about, the interactions with the other Carpathians are exciting and the fall of Nicolas’s ego was nicely done. This is (in my opinion) the darkest of the series with the abuse that Lara remembers and the fear that she has of people and things. The questions are stating to have answers for the Carpathian people and that is one of the best parts of a series, you become (almost) invested in their lives. More bonus, and appendix with the Healing Chants and information about the Carpathian language. I am looking forward to the next novel (due out September 2009). I don’t want to wait, but obviously I will.

Jan 16, 2009

Book - Dark Possession

Dark Possession (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 18) by Christine Feehan… by Christine Feehan
After being wounded at the Carpathian Christmas party, Manolito De La Cruz was taken back to his home in the South American forest. He had found his lifemate, the one person that could save his soul, but upon his rising the confusion he felt left him with wholes as to who she was and why she was not there with him. For some reason, MaryAnn Delaney felt the death of Manolito, she had never even been formally introduced to him, but she felt connected to him and could not shake the sorrow of his death until she felt him rise and in need of her. The strange confusion had Manolito not being able to trust even his own brothers, only his lifemate could help him, MaryAnn was drawn to find and help him even when that meant entering into the unknown for a man she didn’t know.

Book 18 ….. (***** 5) This one is different, leaving Manolito confused allowed a different kind of strength to show through. The addition of ‘the land of mists and ghosts’ with everything and everyone that is included there was so much of a different look at the dead and where they go, what a great way to add certain characters to help Manolito. Great getting better acquainted with Solange and Jasmine, along with Luiz. I really enjoyed this twist and the addition of another species, kind of predictable but a fun reveal and a completely engrossing story, couldn‘t put it down. Bonus: deleted scenes included, I think the plain ride one should have been a prologue. This book is great, ranked right up there with Dark Prince as my favorites.

Jan 13, 2009

Book - Dark Celebration

Dark Celebration: A Carpathian Reunion (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 17)… by Christine Feehan
It’s a Christmas party and all Carpathians, family and friends are invited to the Mountains that so many of them have not seen for many, many centuries. The gathering of so many hunters and their lifemates should be enough to keep any self preserving enemy away, but after several attacks on the women and a strange feeling in the area, some begin to wonder if this party was a good idea. The duty of the prince, Mikhail Dubrinsky is to ensure the survival of his kind, each male helps to see to the safety and happiness of the women and children and this party was what they needed. Quick thinking and strong, the warriors take on the attacks and the show goes on to the delight of the children and all of the adults.

Book 17 …..(*****5) A Carpathian Reunion it is. If you have not read every one of the previous 16 stories, you will not understand everything. The author note states that there is no hero or heroine of this book because there are too many strong characters, yes and no… Most of the characters are the heroes in this story. I really enjoyed finally ‘meeting’ Dimitri and Manolito and revisiting all the others, I know (from looking ahead) that Manolito gets his story next and the set-up for it is a bit obvious. Really enjoyed the humor that was interlaced throughout the story, Gregori will now live in my mind as a ’teddy bear’ and it would be fun to see how that (revenge) plays out. I liked the happy delivery, but the build up was so much better, I expected …well, more. Some of it might have been that the story seemed too short (ended on page 298, book has 393 pages), the plus side of that is the neat additions; not only a chapter of Predatory Game, but a section of ‘Deleted Scenes’ (which I can see why of them were taken out, but still fun to read them), also ‘Dark Desserts’ recipes sent in by Christine Feehans fans (I am eager to try a few), an appendix of healing chants, and an appendix of the Carpathian language. All those extras are fun but the story was a blast, thank you Ms. Feehan for finally agreeing to the reunion, even if it turned dark.

Jan 12, 2009

Book - Dark Demon

Dark Demon (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 16)… by Christine Feehan
The only thing keeping Vikirnoff Von Shrieder from seeking out the dawn (to end his existence) was the search for a specific psychic woman that had started in the US (Dark Destiny) and finally brought him back to his home in the Carpathian Mountains. The miracle of her being his lifemate brought on fear and terror first because his first site of Natalya Shonski was of her in battle with a vampire. Growing up, Natalya and her twin Razvan learned the art of magick and she knew of Carpathians, vampires and others and was taught to fear them all. Now this hunter wanted her and her need to protect him was just as strong too, even with her doubts about their compatibility.

Book 16 …..(***** 5) Fun - We met Vikirnoff in Dark Destiny and started to hear about Natalya (even though we didn’t know much about her back then). Then we met her briefly in Dark Secret and got to see more of him, now to get to the story for them. Natalya is a riot, she watched so much TV over the years that she actually nicknamed a vampire after Freddy Kruger. Her references to the old classic movies and TV shows (used to alleviate her nervousness and fear) had me laughing most of the way through this book. Vikirnoff was not what I expected, I was not sure I could take another cooking cutter Carpathian, after his emotions returned I expected the protectiveness and bossy attitude, but he had a wonderful sense of humor to be able to match wits with Natalya. The return to the Carpathian Mountains brought a familiar cave into more light and also allowed a touch with Mikhail, Raven, Falcon and Sara.
***** Bonus (in the book I have), in the back of the book, Ms. Feehan has added an appendix with information on the Carpathian language, their healing chants and a bit of history. It doesn’t change the stories at all, but it is kind of neat to have some of their native language in the book and the information too.

Jan 9, 2009

Book - Blood Red

Blood Red by Heather Graham
Always on the look out for one specific vampire, Mark Davidson came to New Orleans, he was not expecting to see a face from his past in the women he met new. Soon to be bride, Heidi Weiss with her friends Lauren Crow and Deanna Marin arrived in New Orleans for a long anticipated bachelorette weekend. Having grown up in the area, Lauren got the job of tour guide to her friends, including going to see a psychic (she picked Susan Beauvais). The image she had seen in the crystal ball scared both Lauren and Susan, but that dark image was just the beginning of the unbelievable occurrences that were about to happen to them all. After finding that her friends were in trouble, Lauren started to believe all the things that Mark was telling her, but was he telling her all he knew.

(**** 4) Enjoyed these characters, such a broad array of personalities to create this group of vampire hunters. Several surprises to Lauren, Mark and even a few for me. Some of the lesser characters may have or should have their own stories, I would like to have known more of Lieutenant Sean Canady and wife Maggie as well as Big Jim Dixon, Brian MacAllistair, Jessica Fraser, Lucian and the rest of the Alliance…… yeah, I found Sean Canady and Maggie’s story, Beneath a Blood Red Moon written under the name of Shannon Drake.

Jan 6, 2009

Book - Dark Secret

Dark Secret (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 15)… by Christine Feehan
The wealthy, high and mighty De La Cruz brothers (Nicolas and Rafael) had come to the Cascade Mountains to take her brother and sister (Paul and Ginny) away from her (Colby Jansen ) and into the hands of the Chevez family. Even if they were their fathers family, she didn’t want to relinquish control and allow them to be taken to Brazil and away form the only life any of them had ever know. After Nicolas’ failed attempt to persuade Colby, Rafael was determined to gain her cooperation, as soon as he saw her working in the coral, his reason for persuading her changed. The colors and emotions hit him as he watched her work, realizing the danger around her he began to wonder which would be the more difficult battle, the one with the vampire or the one for Colby’s heart and acceptance.

Book 15.…. (***** 5) A lot of the same characteristics as most of the other Carpathian books, the fight for Colby’s heart was much more strained. The resistance Colby showed was odd, some of the pages were awkward in the reading. Any lacking was more than made up for in the action and fight with the vampire. Rafael never said he was a gentle man, the emotions were so well written for this character, the anger and constant fight jumped off the pages. Loved the inclusion of Natalya Shonski, Vikirnoff Von Shrieder, the blanket from Francesca, as well as the mention of so many other characters that we have come to know so well.

Jan 4, 2009

Book - Hot Blooded (an anthology)

Hot Blooded by Christine Feehan
(***** 4) An anthology of 4 short stories, gets 4 short reviews from me. I liked this one, for me it had 2 authors I am familiar with and 2 I had never read before (but will in the future).

Dark Hunger (Carpathians - Dark series, book 14) by Christine Feehan Chained to a wall by the humans, caught in a trap surely set by a master vampire, Riordan De La Cruz was running out hope until he felt her coming into the room. Witnessing the men take more wild animals into the new research building, Juliette Sangria and her sister Jasmine needed to save the animals before they were tortured, finding not only animals but a man, nearly broke her heart. Binding themselves together meant one big family.

(****4) Book 14 ….. Short stories are so difficult, it always feels so rushed and incomplete. I like the jaguar species and the connection they make to the Carpathians, Juliette’s simple acceptance of was good but Riordan’s compassion for Jasmine’s situation is what made him the best part of this story. Large cast of characters (brothers Zacarias, Manolito, Nicolas and Rafael as well as sister Jasmine and cousin Solange) for a short story, hopefully we will see more of all of them as the series progresses.

Awaiting Moonrise by Maggie Shayne Taking a research trip to New Orleans, Professor Jenny Rose from Dunkirk University was wanting to use her expertise as a cryptozoologist to prove that werewolves don’t exist, it is just a previously not discovered species of animals. After finding what could be the animal she has been looking for and being scratched by it, she met the local Doctor. The attraction Dr. Samuel La Roque had to Jenny was instantaneous and unavoidable. He had his secrets and she was going to find them, and then what would they both do?

(****4) Under 100 pages, this is a great story with some wonderful characters. It did feel like it was lacking because of how short it was. Their encounters are intense, but the reaction seemed more than what was warranted, almost like we only saw part of it. I liked the ‘bad guy’ not really wanting to track the werewolf for any normal reasons. The addition of the Voudon priestess, Mamma Louisa, gave a bit of flavor to the story and a great ending.

The Night Owl (Midnight series, book 1) by Emma Holly Owning the bakery was all Mariann O’Faolain had really ever wanted to do. Finally after the ex-husband and the ex-partner were out of her life, she could start over and do what made her happy. Needing a connection to the people around him, Bastien Luce and his ‘cousin’ Emile started renovating the Night Owl Inn. Finding a different kind of connection with Mariann might be more difficult for him, but he knew he would find a way to make it forever.

(****4) New author for me, one that I really enjoyed and will look for more from. Little bit of a different take on a common storyline. The back story of the characters was well written and easy to follow, the characters themselves were wonderful. Bastien’s shyness was endearing from the beginning and I could have read more about him and Emile’s strange view of life made for an easy camaraderie between the two… and then all three of them. As always, I like learning a new words (one at a time), upyr - from Hungarian and Slavonic folklore.

Seduction’s Gift (Mageverse, book 8) by Angela Knight Sheriff Officer Grace Morgan liked her job, she liked protecting and helping people even if she already knew that there was more to life than just the earthy universe. Catching a speeding car, Lance (Lancelot du Lac) looked up at her and her heart dropped, she thought she had squashed that crush long ago but seeing him now made her unsure of everything but the need to not give in to her desires for him. Knowing that he had the power of the Mageverse behind him, Grace fought her growing needs as long as she could.

(***3) Different, interesting, strange - really enjoyed the concept of the story (King Arthur, his round table, and Merlin) and the characters (Lancelot, Grace and Morgana) were fabulous. Too rushed for my taste (maybe because it is a short story), felt as if the story was an excuse for the sex scenes, I would have rather had a story I didn’t care about and have the sex be the story or invest more into the great story and let the sex just enhance it. This story could have been the best story of the book, it could have been a really great story, unfortunately it was crammed into about 100 pages and lost so much. I would be interested in reading this author again (full length book please).

Jan 2, 2009

Book - Dark Destiny

Dark Destiny (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 13)… by Christine Feehan
The pain of conversion to Carpathians is difficult enough for the women, but a child being converted by a vampire leaves tainted blood and horrible scars, inside and outside. At the a young age, Destiny knew horrors most humans can’t even imagine, the only way she survived was her mental connection to Nicolae Von Shrieder. He taught her how to survive, how to hunt and how to live again even though he could not find her. Being connected allowed him to help, but Nicolae couldn’t protect her they way he wanted and he couldn’t convince her that he was different from the monster that had terrorized her for so long. When he finally tracked her down, Destiny was afraid she would have to destroy him like she did all the other vampires she hunted. When Nicolae first heard her voice, he knew she was his lifemate and he was going to have a difficult life, no one had ever heard of a women hunter, or one of the light having vampire blood making her feel like the dark one.

Book 13 ….. Strong, courageous and funny, Destiny is a very competent women and hunter. The more ancient these men get, the more compassionate they seem to be. Nicolae has such great control of himself and Destiny is such a well developed character, I really enjoyed watching the change (almost like another conversion) from the vampire world to the life of a Carpathian. This book is packed full of great characters. The addition of Gregori, Savannah, brother Vikirnoff, Father Mulligan, MaryAnn Delaney, Velda, Inez, and even the vampire Pater to help tell this story was great, they are wonderful characters and I hope to have a few more stories that include some of them (Vikirnoff and MaryAnn especially).

Dec 30, 2008

Movie - Penelope 2006

The Wilhern family had been cursed by a witch many generations ago, the next girl descendent would bear the curse, it would affected her appearance. The curse forced Penelope (Christina Ricci) to remain secluded in her home with only her parents and staff. Knowing the way to break the curse was to get someone of ‘her own kind‘ to love her, Penelope’s mother, Jessica Wilhern( Catherine O’Hara) tried to find a true blue blood for Penelope to marry. They all ran from her, from the curse, until Max Campion (James McAvoy) found himself interested in her. Not wanting to use her the way others had, he changed the course of his life as she changed her own.
Also starring: Reese Witherspoon, Peter Dinklage and Richard E. Grant as Franklin Wilhern.

A fairy tale style story, hiding away for so many years than finding she may not have needed to. The friends she makes prove to her that it doesn’t matter, and helps her to find the way to break the curse. Fun and playful movie with great characters and a very memorable way of breaking the curse and a good lesson - you just have to believe in yourself. Wonderful for kids, watched it with my own and they really enjoyed it too.

Dec 28, 2008

Book - Dark Melody

Dark Melody (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 12)… by Christine Feehan
Using the music he once felt in his heart to be able to survive centuries without emotions, Dayan played his music and watched as his family finally found their other halves. Hearing the music of the Dark Troubadours had always left Corinne Wentworth with such an odd feeling, but actually seeing one of the bands members perform was a rare treat she would take with her always. Dayan could not believe he had finally found her, only to find she had a high risk pregnancy because of advanced heart failure. He could save her, he needed to save her to save himself. He had a family that would support him, help him, encourage him, and most of all, they would help her and her child for him.

Book 12 ….. Quite a bit different than most of the Carpathian books. Very little action, relatively no vampire activity and only a couple of minor skirmishes with ‘The Society’. The ‘enemy’ in this story was Corinne’s body, her failing heart and the danger to her baby. The emotional battles were well written for anyone who likes to explore the emotional aspects of these great characters. The return of so many other Carpathians to help was great as was the mention of so many more. The reminder that all of these books/stories are only weeks apart in ’their’ timeline, (I guess I always thought they were years apart) it is interesting to realize how Tempest is adjusting so quickly.

Dec 28, 2008

Movie - Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th
Comparative :
*1947 version starring Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, Maureen O’Hara as Doris Walker, Natalie Wood as Susan & John Payne as Fredrick Gailey
*1994 version Starring: Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, Elizabeth Perkins as Dorey Walker, Mara Wilson as Susan & Dylan McDermott as Bryan Bedford

Finding the Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa Claus drunk, anther Santa had to step in. This one turned out to be great, taking the job as Department store Santa was just the job for Kris Kringle, he seemed to have all the information needed on the toys that the kids asked for, going as far as telling the parents to go to other stores to find the right one. He takes on the challenge to try to convince one little girl, Susan and her mother, Ms. Walker, that they should believe in Santa Claus. When Mr. Kringle is accused of violence, and then fails a competency test, the state of New York has to step in. A hearing to decide if Santa Claus exists and if Kris Kringle is him begins, the real question is if you believe.

*Differences: There are several obvious ones, Department Stores Macy’s vs. Cole’s, and the drinking and smoking is much more prominent in the 1947 version.
* Little things: Santa speaks Dutch in 1947, and Sign Language in the 1994 to impress Susan, he also chews bubble gum and teaches her to pretend to be a monkey in 1947 and does shadow puppets in 1994.

(1947) The ’rap’ on the head came in a private argument about the janitor, Alfred, and the way Mr. Sawyer, the Stores ’psychologist’ was treating him. Doris and Fredrick started as strangers and went quickly to ‘darling‘. At the trial it was conceded that there is a Santa Claus and ask it to be proven that Kris Kringle was the one and only. The US Post Office happily gave them that proof.
(1994) The ‘rap’ on the head came as a set up to get Kris Kringle into trouble and publicly disgrace Santa. Doris seemed to already be in a relationship that ended in marriage. At the trial, the question was if Santa Claus existed, a dollar bill with the words ‘In God We Trust’ was enough to show that if the Government believes in something that cannot be proven, so can the State of New York.

In my opinion, this is one of the best holiday movies, which ever you decide to watch. I happen to own both versions and was watching the 1994 version with my kids (they like Mara Wilson) and I made a comment about missing seeing the mail delivery and the cane in the corner of the house. Enough of a tease, they agreed to watch the 1947 version with me. Although they really seemed to enjoy pointing out the differences, in the end, they liked the 1994 version better. I am torn, I will just have to make sure I always have both versions available to me.

Dec 26, 2008

Youth Fiction - Emmaline and the Bunny

Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan
After seeing a bunny on TV and in her books, Emmaline knew that a bunny could make her not so lonely. Living in Neatasapin was going to make it difficult, the mean Mayor Orson Oliphant had banished everything that made a mess, including animals. Emmaline knew what bunnies liked to do, hop around trees and shrubs, dig in the dirt and cuddle, she wanted to do it with them. Knowing she wouldn’t get a bunny in Neatasapin because her parents observed all the rules, including no trees, no shrubs and no digging in the dirt, she followed the wild animals to Untidy were she found her bunny, they hopped, they dug and they cuddled till it was time for Emmaline to go home sad that her bunny could not come with her. Her parents saw the change in her and decided to help her invite the animals back no matter Mayor Oliphant’s proclamations.

My kids and I really enjoyed this book, nearly 100 pages, cute story and great pictures also by Katherine Hannigan. Better read to children, the words are easy enough for even a 2nd -3rd grader to read, but the flow was difficult to carry. Some of the lines ended, “mostly” and she called her bunny “no more only”, she also had some tongue twisting fun words “Dinglederrydee” , “Whackadoodlewhipperpoo” or “Hoopadinglelaladee”. Several parts of this story would be easy to turn into discussion points, most obvious is the responsibilities of taking care of a pet, and how changing the environment (like removing trees, shrubs and dirt) can effect the different animals we live with. Always have to enjoy a book that can teach important lessons and the kids don’t even realize it. This is a HarperCollins Children’s advance reading copy, this book should be available March 2009.

Dec 26, 2008

Book - The Only One

The Only One by Christine Feehan
A collection of 3 stories from 3 different authors, so now 3 different reviews...

Dark Decent (Carpathians - Dark series, book 11) by Christine Feehan Wounded and trapped by the undead, Traian Trigovise gained strength and hope with the knowledge that he had finally found his lifemate, all he had to do was survive and find her. After suffering her own wounds, Joie Sanders was drawn to the man she had only seen in her dreams, for some reason the mountainous caves were calling and she had to follow even though the voice she found so alluring was telling her to run in the opposite direction, she never ran from anything and she would prove it to him.

(***** 5) Book 11 ….. For a short story, it really packed everything in it. The action of the vampire hunt was great, fast paced and kept moving. The discovery of the wizards artifacts was another notch in the on-going story about the changes all the hunters have seen. Joie was hilarious, she handled fear and stress with a wonderful sense of humor and Traians compassion and acceptance of her being so strong was uncharacteristic of a Carpathian (maybe it’s his age). The only thing that is missing is getting to watch the ’Meeting of the parents’ that sounded like it would be fun. I really liked Gary Jansen showing up and his interaction with Gabrielle (he could use another human around in the lab), I hope she and Jubal stick around.

The Star Queen (Star series prequel) by Susan Grant He (Romjha B’kah) became the raider commander because of her inspiring words on the day, she (Taj Sai) became the bomb maker of their people. Together they worked to come up with munitions that would protect their people and hopefully put an end to the overlords control. To protect all of the people was Romjha’s main goal, but personally he wanted to prove himself to Taj, make her believe in him and what he promised for the future. The future was something Taj never really let herself dream about until she thought she would lose it all.

(**** 4) Prequel ….. Very interesting story, set in the distant future. I enjoyed the conflict, both the planets (with it’s 2 moons) and the love connection. The characters were great, Romjha determined and Taj always covering her emotions with anger. The general concept of the story was something exciting and even plausible, I did have a problem (occasionally) following along. The descriptions were good, I felt some of the sentences were redundant simply to make a word count, it didn’t always add to or enhance the picture. Overall, I liked it and if I overlooked some of the ‘nit - pick’, it was a very enjoyable short story.

Sacrilege by Susan Squires It had been nearly two centuries, now Magda Ravel was not sure that leaving Mirso Monastery for the home of the one that made her was the best course for her. She would have to keep the nine precepts close to her if she would succeed in keeping control of her addiction this time, at least that is what Brother Pietr Vladamiroff had always told her. As she was leaving, Pietr hoped for her success in the outside world, and at that moment, he was not sure of his own success in surviving without her. As her mentor, he had held his feelings at bay, now that she was gone he could not hide from them anymore. Hearing from Rubius that the Harrier would be sent after Magda because of him, made the decision to renounce his Vows for him.

(**** 4) This was a fast paced, fun and exciting, short story (130 pages) with a lot of information that needed more explanations in some parts. A very different take on the Vampire myth. The characters could have used a little more, Pietr seemed to change his feelings on the nine precepts too fast after following them for thousands of years. As with others, the short story format is a hard one to find a balance between the action or plot with basic background information. Overall, a very good story, by a good author that I would be interested in reading more of.

Dec 26, 2008

Book - A Wallflower Christmas

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Stony Cross, Hampshire 1845 Another arranged marriage brought Rafe Bowman to England. Trying to discover as much as possible about his intended, Rafe’s sister, Lillian set up a tea with Lady Natalie’s companion, Miss Hannah Appleton. From the start, Rafe’s crass charms did not win over Miss Appleton, her honesty with him about it left him stunned and interested. He could not go against his fathers wishes and get everything he wanted, he wondered if any sacrifice be worth it, if his feelings were reciprocated, if it would or could last the test of time.

Wonderful to see the Bowman family, the other Wallflowers and their significant others, again. The story was very predictable, but like all Wallflower stories, it was very enjoyable. I was a bit disappointed and sad to see Lillian doubting Marcus, although the resolution turned out to be ok, I didn‘t feel the side story was needed for the progression of the main story. Great to have several love matches revisited and doing so well, the camaraderie of the girls and the inclusion of Hannah was so fun to watch. The mention of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ was a nice touch for a timeline connection.

Dec 24, 2008

Book - And a Dead Guy in a Pear Tree

And a Dead Guy in a Pear Tree by Leslie Kelly
Finding the Christmas tree dead in the middle of the living room on the most important day of her life, Holly Cavanaugh had no other choice but to dash out and get another. Purchasing the biggest available, site unseen, she dragged it home set it up and cut the ties off of it only to have the body of a dead man fall out. When the reporter showed up on her front door step, she assumed it was the travel reporter her to do a story on the Bed and Breakfast, finding out it was her ex, the only man she truly ever loved was going to make it more difficult to keep him from finding the dead body. Zach Weldon just wanted to make sure that the person who got that tree was safe, he knew how the jewel thieves were, if they were interested in that tree, there was something in it that they would do anything to get back. It would be hard enough to face his ex know the danger she was in, but also knowing that she still thought the worst of him and didn’t trust him made him more determined than ever to prove to her that he was worth the time.

Cute, fast paced, funny in so many ways. The involvement of her grandparents with the ‘Weekend at Bernies’ act had me laughing out loud (and groaning in condolence with Zach). Had found this audio book and thought the title sounded funny, since it was a short story, I got it and now am glad I did. A great diversion from normal holiday STUFF, and a great reminder to live in the moment. I would be interested in finding more from this author, the combination of a tense situation and her comedic responses was well balanced and just plain fun.

Dec 22, 2008

Book - Dark Symphony

Dark Symphony (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 10)… by Christine Feehan
Guilt over past mistakes, Byron Justicano sentenced himself to become a hunter, taking himself away from his home, his family and friends. Finding his lifemate and deciding on courting as a human would was a test in patients and control the Byron had to pass. Being blind and having to rely on others senses, Antonietta Scarletti could feel every time Byron came into the room, he made her feel safe. When an attempt on Antonietta’s life was uncovered, Byron knew his patience had come to an end, he could not wait any longer to claim her for fear of losing her completely. The difficult part was trying to find a way to merge Anonietta’s world with Byron’s, especially once their differences were fully known to them.

Book 10.…. Really great, more feelings with a little less action. No vampire fights (Byron is not really a hunter). Introduction to another species (jaguars). Reminders of many of characters from previous books. Not the same old Carpathian story. The ‘bad guy’ was not a vampire, but jaguars and humans, that made just as much trouble for the Scarletti family. The only problem I had with this story, Byron’s history, he says he left the Carpathian Mountains because of putting Mikhail, Raven and Jacques in danger (that was about 8 or 9 books ago). I would have liked a little more reminder than that, I don’t remember much of Byron’s role in trouble the Prince had, but I did like finding out what Byron’s talent really was.

Dec 20, 2008

Book - Dark Guardian

Dark Guardian (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 9)… by Christine Feehan
The power that Lucian Daratrazanoff could wield was immense, but the power he came by naturally did not help him find the one thing that could make is existence more tolerable. Finding a lifemate was not the difficult part of his newest challenge, it was to convince a human women to become a part of a new existence. Running most of her life from a monster, Jaxon Montgomery was not prepared to find out just what kind of evil creatures really were a part of her world, she had the street smart and special training to survive on her own, she would never be able to really depend on someone else for her safety, or let them try to take care of themselves without her help. Finding that each had a special gift for seeking out the monsters (human and vampire alike), they might be able to strike a balance between the two that allows Jaxx her own way to protect and serve while Lucian still follows his way of dispensing justice.

Book 9.…. Amazing how a cookie-cutter series can have such diversity. These stories have given us several powerful ancient Carpathian men and a few human women, all have been the same basic concept that she needs to be converted. The how is the fun part, this one is no different in the story, but the most powerful (to date) ended up being the most gentle, the most compassionate and the most accommodating to his lifemates feelings and wishes. I liked that Lucian had worries of her recriminations over what he had done, but I also liked that he admitted his error in judgment, had to be tough on his ego. These are all such fabulous characters and as always it was nice to hear of some of the others, Gabriel and Francesca, even the Savage twins are mentioned several times. I would have enjoyed more interaction between Jaxx and Gabriel, just because they are the two most important people in Lucian’s life.

Dec 18, 2008