Saturday, July 28, 2007

1st to Die

1st to Die by James Patterson (2001)

Description: (From Amazon) Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector who's just gotten some very bad news. She deals with it by immersing herself in her newest case and soliciting the personal as well as professional support of her closest friend, who happens to be the city's medical examiner. The two women, along with an ambitious and sympathetic reporter and an assistant DA, form an unlikely alliance, pooling their information and bypassing the chain of command in an engaging, suspenseful story whose gruesome setup is vintage Patterson.

Review: This was my first time reading anything by Patterson. I have to admit that I'm hooked. It was a fairly decent story. There were things that made me groan and I did figure things out. However, there were a few surprises thrown in there. It was somewhat difficult for me to get over comparing his novel to how things really work in the criminal justice system. That is just something I always have problems with though. I really don't think that a cop would ever make friends with a reporter like that. When I worked for the P.D. I was sick to death of the press. I do like the idea and it makes great fiction. I thought the story was really interesting and I was captivated the whole time. The ending was a bit predictable, but on the whole not bad. All in all, not a bad read. I will definitely continue on with the series.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Movie Connections: I had no idea that there was a TV miniseries based off of this book. It came out in 2003 and apparently was on NBC. There were some good actors in it, however looking at some of the reviews, it doesn't appear to have been that great. I also noticed that there is a TV series from this year based off of the Women's Murder Club. I would like to see this show just to see how they do the book justice.

First to Die (2003)
Women's Murder Club (TV) (2007)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

North and South

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1854)

Description: (From Amazon) North and South is a novel about rebellion. Moving from the industrial riots of discontented millworkers through to the unsought passions of a middle-class woman, and from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny, it poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. Through the story of Margaret Hale, the middle-class southerner who moves to the northern industrial town of Milton, Gaskell skilfully explores issues of class and gender in the conflict between Margaret's ready sympathy with the workers and her growing attraction to the charismatic mill ownder, John Thornton. This new revised and expanded edition sets the novel in the context of Victorian social and medical debate.

Review: I absolutely loved this book. I had a hard time putting it down. Part of the reason I loved it so much is that it is a topic I am very close to. Even though this novel takes place over 150 years ago, it still rings true today. My parents were both part of unions and I was as well for a short time. So I know how the workers (or "hands") felt. Milton also felt a lot like home to me. Milwaukee is very much like Milton (or was). So I really felt like I knew the characters of Higgins and the other workers. I too feel the same way that Thornton feels about the North (or Milton). I too am from a similar type of city and I don't know how people can survive in the country. This book has a warm place in my heart and I wish I would have known about it a long time ago. I highly recommend this book.

Score: 5 out of 5

Movie Connections: Brian Percival made an outstanding miniseries on BBC based on thsi book. To read my comments, visit my Video Journal. I recommend seeing the movie as well.

North & South (2004)
North & South (1975)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1995)

Description: Moments before Earth is destroyed, Ford Prefect, an alien who's been incognito for 15 years while researching a newer edition of THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, rescues his friend, Arthur Dent. The two stow away on a passing spaceship, and their adventures begin. Ford and Arthur encounter ex-hippie Galaxy President Zaphod Beeblebrox; Marvin, the morose robot; and a slew of otherworldly weirdos populating Douglas Adams's cult classic.

Review: I have read that people either love this book or hate it. I can see why. The humor is not for everyone. I personally loved it. I laughed out loud so many times. As for the narrator, Stephen Fry was outstanding. I don't think I could hear anyone else but him read this book.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Movie Connections: Garth Jennings brought this classic book to the big screen in 2005. I found the movie to be a fairly good adatptation of the novel. There were some things added, however, it was all done in the style of Adams. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and highly recommend it.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (2007)

Description: The final installment in the Harry Potter saga. This book ties up most of the unanswered questions and lets us know what happens to all of the characters that we have come to know and love.

Review: Wow. What a completely awesome book. I was one of the crazy people at the midnight release party to get the book at midnight. I just had to know what happened. I could not put it down. It was so full of action and of course, drama. I did have to read it with a box of tissues. In a way, this last book did strip away the wonder of magic that we saw in the first two books (especially towards the end). However, I think the end was just beautiful. I will admit that the epilogue was a bit cheesy, but it was a nice way to wrap up the series and get a glimpse as to the futures of the survivors. I think this may be my favorite of the series.

Score: 5 out of 5

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Storm Front

Storm Front by Jim Butcher (2000)

Description: Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things--and most of them don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a--well, whatever.

There's just one problem. Business, to put int mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get... interesting.

Review: I finally gave this series a shot and was pleasantly surprised. I absolutely loved Butcher's style. I was laughing out loud at Dresden's sarcasm. It was a complete delight to read this book. Another reason I like this book so much is that it takes place almost at home for me. I know the area so it really feels like home. Storm Front is action packed from beginning to end and a fabulous story. I highly recommend it.

Score: 5 out of 5

Television Connection: In 2007, the SciFi Channel came ouut with a television series based on Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. I haven't personally seen this series, but am interested to see how close to the books it follows.

The Dresden Files (2007)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1999)

Description: In the sleepy English countryside, at the dawn of the Victorian Era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall, so named for an imposing stone barrier that divides the village from an adjacent meadow. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in this wall, in order to keep the curious from wandering through. Only once every nine years to they relax their vigil, when a market fair unlike any other comes to the meadow.

Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant-as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria's hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining.

But Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom , and the rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises-and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected direction, even turning back upon themselves in space and in time.

Review: This was my first time reading a book by Gaiman. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It took me no time at all to finish this book. The words just flowed and I couldn't stop turning the pages. I really enjoyed the world that Gaiman created. It was a great fantasy from beginning to end. The characters were wonderful. The only thing I do have to complain about is that some relationships were not as developed as I thought they could be. But all in all, a fantastic read.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Movie Connections: In August, the movie version of the book will be coming to a movie theater near you. I personally can't wait to see it. From the pictures that I've seen it looks absolutely beautiful. The only thing that I've noticed from the trailers is that much has been added, but that is to be expected. I will have to wait to make a full analysis of the movie until it comes out.

Stardust (2007)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Beware A Scot's Revenge

Beware A Scot's Revenge by Sabrina Jeffries

Description: (Back of Book) Lady Venetia Campbell's visit to her childhood home in Scotland takes a dramatic turn when she's kidnapped at pistol point by her father's sworn enemy. Sir Lachlan Ross is widely feared in his guise as The Scottish Scourge, but Venetia remembers her former neighbor as a handsome youth whose attentions she craved. Now a wickedly sexy man, Lachlan's appeal is even more intoxicating... and much more dangerous. Though Lachlan tries to treat her as his foe, his scorching kisses tell another story. And despite his plan to use her as a weapon against her father, Venetia is determined that Lachlan's lust or revenge will be trumped by an even more powerful desire...

Review: I usually do not read Romance and this book reminded me why. It really is not my cup of tea. The story is your typical "boy-kidnaps-girl-then-girl-falls-for-kidnapper" story. Jeffries also tried to make it into some grand Scottish novel, but fell short. Granted, I have not read a whole lot of historical romances ( or regular romances) but the language used was too modern. Every now and then some typical Scottish slang was used, but on the whole, it was unbelievable. The characters were developed pretty well; however, some things they did (especially in the end) were not quite how they were built up to be. It definitely was a fun, light read. It only took me a matter of hours to finish the 361 page book. I now see why romance readers are able to read so many books. There isn't much substance to them. All in all, a decent book despite its lack of correct verbiage.

Score: 2.5 out of 5