Friday, June 30, 2006

Book Review -- Chill Factor

Chill Factor - Book 3 of the Weather Warden Series
Author: Rachel Caine

Premise: Picking up where we were left off in Book 2, Joanne and David have been trying to get to Las Vegas to confront Kevin and Jonathan. Unfortunately they've been less than successful. Then the Wardens show up and demand Joanne hand over David as they want to try to trade Djinn. David convinces Jo to go along, but then everything starts going sideways.

Review: As fast paced as the other books, you're in for a wild ride! As you can see from the dates of my reviews, finished this one in a week. Had to read! Must admit I wanted to go hunt Rachel down and smack her a couple of times as she threw in her twists and turns and shocks! :P Another great ride! (Reading something in between as I need to catch my breath! lol) ***1/2!

Movie of the Week - Click

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, Henry Winkler, David Hasselhoff

Premise: Hard working man being abused by his work goes out shopping for a universal remote hoping to at least simplify one small part of his life. The device he ends up with, however, ends up being a "self learning" remote for life.

Review: A very cute movie overall. Giant kudos to whoever came up with the remote menu sequences and also all the future technology as time passes. Loved the homage to original Star Trek at the hospital, even Tron. Many touching moments as the hero learns that work is not as important as family. Many funny moments. Christopher Walken was a hoot.

My only regret about the film was the mean things the main character does to the little boy next door. While a snot who brags about his things, you get the definite impression this is a cry for attention, and the cruelty visited on him by Sandler as a relief valve were very unkind and never redeemed.

While this film will be a riot for teens and adults, it is probably not suitable for young children due to one of the main and repeated jokes in the film having to do with the dog and the duck plushie. Horribly hilarious, but probably not appropriate. And will bring up many questions. :P

Like I said, aside from the one sour item, the film was a hoot. ***!!!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Price of Mercy - 1st Draft is done!!!! Yay!

Just finished my 1st draft of "Price of Mercy" my latest novel. Phew!
I always find the 1st draft the longest and most tedious part of the process of writing. After that it's all down hill, editing, fixing, tucking, changing, but the main output of creativity is over! Huzzah!

Sent a 1 page outline to my main publisher Zumaya Publications and they seemed to like the premise. (Tried to send her one about mid way which was a total mistake! I wasn't sure then how the whole mess would turn out. lol. Books do tend to take strange twists and turns when it suits them. Love that!)

Happy Dance Time! Whoop!
(Now to get back to work! lol)

Book Review - Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke (Book 2 of the Weather Warden Series)
by Rachel Caine

Premise: Joanne Baldwin died. Now she finds she's still alive, but not as a human -- as a djinn. While she attempts to acclimate herself to what she has become, she also slowly becomes aware that David, the djinn who saved her, might have broken laws to do this--and there will be consequences. Add to this the fact some kind of force seems to be seeping in from another dimension which cannot be touched by Warden or djinn powers, and storm of trouble is building in the horizon for our outspoken heroine.

Review: Once again Rachel Caine delivers a fast paced ride as turbulent and changing as any piece of weather out there. We learn more about the djinn as a race, their origins, their rules. Also learn more about Bad Bob and those he consorted with and who now come back to haunt them all as the backlash for all the mess in the first book comes trickling down. All your favorite characters are back and more. Warning, you better buy book 3 before you finish this one or you'll be beating your head against the wall! lol! ***3/4!!!!!

Movie of the Week - Cars

Cars (animated)

Starring: Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, Larry the Cableguy, Cheech Marin, George Carlin, Richard Petty, Michael Keaton, Tony Shalhoub, John Ratzenberger, Michael Wallis, Paul Dooley, and Jeniffer Lewis.

Premise: Up and coming Racer Lightining McQueen was on his way to a major race when he inadvertently takes a detour and ends up having to spend time at Radiator Springs, a small town off the beaten track on its way to oblivioun. At first dismissive of the cars and life there, he slowly comes to find that there's more here than he could ever find in his racing life.

Review: This of this as "Doc Hollywood" (Michael J Fox) meets computer generated cars. If you loved the Michael J film, you should love this one just as much. While the story itself holds no surprises, it is beautifully told. All the characters are likeable and ring true. The world in which they live in, where cars and not humans are the dominant lifeform has a lot of lovely little touches. Bus = miniature BMW Bettle's with wings. The canyons around Radioator Springs are shaped like radiators. The wave done with headlights intead of arms. Very very cute! ***1/2!!! And make sure to stay through the credits and the end! Fan service during both!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Book Review - Striking Back from Down Under

Striking Back from Down Under by Dr. Bob Rich

Premise: This is an anthology of Dr. Bob Rich's stories about bullying, victimization, the preying of one person on another, and how the victims are able to overcome the stumbling blocks placed in their path.

Review: This anthology was a finalist in the EPPIES in 2001. Bob Rich's characters are believable and likeable, his prose easy on the eyes. Many of the stories are set in Australia, while others deal with people from different cultures or other exotic locations. All give a nice peek into other places and sometimes ways of thinking. Some of the content may prove a little strong for some readers, but aside from one or two not overtly so. Though it is listed as the second story in the book, I would recommend starting with "Cruelty and Compassion", it nicely exemplifies Dr. Rich's skill and is a better taste of what to expect from the rest of the book than "Game Planet". Overall I enjoyed it and was well worth the read. ***!!

For more info on Dr. Bob Rich and his other works, please visit

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Movie of the Week - X-Men: The Last Stand

X-Men: The Last Stand
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, and more.

Premise: A "cure" is found for the mutant gene by a private firm. Magneto uses this "cure" as a catalyst for uprising. He also solicits the help of a newly awakened Jean Grey.

Review: Well, I will tell you now I am biased against these films because the time period they cover was about the time I was reading the series. And the liberties (and some stupidities) they've done in the films don't sit well. If you don't know anything about the comics, you should enjoy this movie quite well. The acting is good, the story line decent, and the special effects very nice. As they have done in all three, a lot of the other characters get thrown in purely for filler or because they are familiar icons and they hope it will be a draw (As in Juggernaut and Colossus). In many ways this is a somewhat darker film than the others, but still no blood or gore. Several cute moments, and a lot of angst. ***!!!

(SPOILER!!!!) For those of you who might like to know, here are a few of the items that made true fans grit their teeth in annoyance. Colossus (Peter) was one of the main 5 characters in the series, here he's thrown in for effect and has 1 line. Juggernaut is NOT a mutant. The X-Men universe has magic and high science, and Juggernaut's power comes from a red stone in his helmet and not because he is a mutant at all. So the one big joke on him, would not have worked. Cyclops and Xavier do not die in the Dark Phoenix saga. They continue to give mutants multiple powers when they only have one. Wolverine only seems to have two - but his is healing. Which is why he was chosen to be experimented on and due to his rapid healing, they were able to replace/coat his bones with Adamantine. Yet mutant after mutant in the films exhibit multiple powers. Did love Hank's treatment, and Wolverine always comes out looking good. :P There's probably a few more tidbits, but I will be good now. lol

Friday, June 02, 2006

Book Review - The Emancipator's Wife

The Emancipator's Wife
by Barbara Hambly

Premise: The life and times of Mary Todd aka Mrs. Abraham Lincoln.

Review: Weirdly enough I have seen a couple of reviews on this book that complain that there's not enough info on Lincoln or battles, etc on the Civil War. My take on that is "Huh?" Did they not read the title? It's called The Emancipator's WIFE. This is not a book about Licoln or the war, though both are definitely involved. This is the story of Mary Todd Lincoln. The thing I like to say most about this book is - WOW. It was a totally eye opening experience. While a work of fiction, it does have a lot of historical research involved and it is presented in a wonderfully entertaining manner. You get to see the issues facing that time period from all sides and can view the complexities not normally discussed regarding slavery, the Civil War, and the wide ranging opinions on what solutions would be best for all involved.

Even more amazing, is the view into the shackles placed on women, by men, society, and women themselves. The concepts on medicine and the female anatomy are astounding. And the legal rights of women considered odd/insane by male relatives totally disturbing.

This is the story of a strong woman, dealing with internal and external difficulties. I found it riveting and incredibly fascinating. Kudos to Hambly for tackling this subject! If anyone can make history come to life, it is definitely her! ****
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