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Erik1988 (Folsom, CA)

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Running with the Demon
Running with the Demon
by Terry Brooks
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
84 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Between a 3 and a 3.5 star rating, Dec 5 2003
Rating System:
1 star = abysmal; some books deserve to be forgotten
2 star = poor; a total waste of time
3 star = good; worth the effort
4 star = very good; what writing should be
5 star = fantastic; must own it and share it with others
STORY: As one editorial review nicely put: "Sinnissippi Park, in Hopewell, Illinois, has long hidden a mysterious evil, locked away from humankind by powers greater than most could even imagine. But now the malevolent creatures that normally skulk in the shadows of the park grow bolder, and old secrets hint at a violent explosion. The brewing conflict draws John Ross to Hopewell. A Knight of the Word, Ross is plagued by nightmares that tell him someone evil is coming to unleash an ancient horror upon the world. Caught between them is fourteen-year-old Nest Freemark, who senses that something is terribly wrong but has not yet learned to wield the budding power that sets her apart from her friends."
MY FEEDBACK:
I unknowingly listened to book 3 of the series first then I got my hands on this one (book1). I don't feel like I totally missed out because both books are contained stories which made the "out of orderness" (such a thing?) bearable.
I like the story since it leaves the typical fantasy and sci-fi genres and deals with magic and demons in the current world. There are enough mysteries to keep you in the story with a desire to want to know what happens next. He handles suspense situations fine and has enough subplot going on to add some depth and reality to characters and setting.
All I can say about the end of the story without giving anything away is that I personally found the ending very anti-climatic. If it was handled differently I would have given this a solid 4 stars.
OVERALL: Enjoyable story, characters and setting. It was a bit better than good because of the "uniqueness" of the story setting but not great because of the ending demise of the opposition. Worth a try and not a waste of time.

Shards of Honor
Shards of Honor
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Sets the stage for the rest of the series, Nov. 23 2003
This review is from: Shards of Honor (Paperback)
Rating System:
1 star = abysmal; some books deserve to be forgotten
2 star = poor; a total waste of time
3 star = good; worth the effort
4 star = very good; what writing should be
5 star = fantastic; must own it and share it with others
STORY: Cordelia Naismith meets Lord Aral Vorkosaigan while on opposite sides of the war. In the midst of political pressures and physical dangers, they dare to fall in love with each other while trying to avoid their destiny.
MY FEEDBACK:
I picked this up because so many other books in this series have won the Hugo and/or Nebula. This book definitely sets the stage for what is to come: high political intrigue and assassinations; dangers that require bravery and courage; and events to challenge friendships and loyalty; and of course some romance. This book has all these in one sense or another.
The friendship and loyalty of characters really stands out and makes you really love the character of Aral Vorkosaigan. This is also an intelligent story, where solutions are not only resolved by chance or brute force but clever use of what resources are at hand. It gave me the grand and subtle pleasantness I had when reading Asimov's Foundation series. It had just enough science in the fiction to be appreciated and it had just the right touch of romance so as not to turn some of us testosterone males off to the story. I really enjoyed this story and found it a very easy read.

The Core (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
The Core (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Aaron Eckhart
Offered by SURPLUSDVD NEW YORK
Price: CDN$ 22.07
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars It was a good effort in the disaster movie genre, Oct. 27 2003
STORY: The core of the earth has stopped rotating, thus the EM field that protects this world from all the dangers of space and flying stellar microwaves is loosing stability and will eventually result in the earth being baked to a crisp. Thus, someone has to do something about the stopped core.
MY FEEDBACK:
1) I didn't expect this to be any better in plot line than Armegeddon or Independence Day so I walked into it with a suspended disbelief. This allowed me to enjoy the movie for the adventure it was, but I think I like the overall action of Aremegeddon better.
2) Where this movie shines is in the dialogue between characters. There are some very witty, well delievered lines that build the characters and the relationships they have to one another. I think most people who didn't like this movie were only looking at the special effects and the plausibility of the disaster scenario. Thus, they missed out on some real enjoyable laughes and heartfelt friendship moments.
3) Special Effects were ok...when they blow up some models it looked like a model, unfortunately. As far as the crew traveling through the earth, that was cool and had some interesting events as they travelled from the surface to the center. This helped make up for any lack of special effects by adding a bit to the storyline.
OVERALL: It is on par with the previously mentioned disaster flicks and thus rates as a take it or leave it flick. I still think my favorite post 1995 disaster flick is Deep Impact, so I'm going to watch that again instead of adding this movie to my DVD collection.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Full Screen Special Edition) (Bilingual)
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Full Screen Special Edition) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Drew Barrymore
Offered by newtownvideo_ca
Price: CDN$ 3.71
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 star rating = Just a knotch above GOOD, Oct. 27 2003
MY FEEDBACK:
1) If you could enjoy the first movie you should be able to enjoy this one. It was the same comedy/action found in the first but with a bit more sensuality.
2) Speaking about sensuality, it did get tiring after a while seeing all the butt and cleavage shots. It is like McG had to add a little something more than the first movie and he opted for more sex instead of better story. Too bad, which is why I knocked this rating down.
3) He did try to get a bit more characterization going by introducing a past to Barrymore's character and Lui's character. Cameron's character doesn't have so much as a past as an attempt to develop her continuing relationship with Wilson. Overall, I like the attempt made at deepening the characters. Whether the attempt was successful or not is a matter of opinion.
4) Demi Moore, was great! Her raspy voice and great 40+yr old chisled body didn't seem at all out of place in a movie dominated by 20 year old women. Hats off to Demi.
OVERALL: I'm glad I rented it and didn't see it at the going movie theater rate. Will I own it? Probably not because my wife didn't like it at all and I thought it was only a tad better than GOOD, but far from GREAT. If they come out a with a third installment to the series I will definitely watch, but I won't be holding my breath for it. This is a take it or leave it flick.

Inca Gold
Inca Gold
by Clive Cussler
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
63 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Just suspend your disbelief and enjoy, Oct. 27 2003
This review is from: Inca Gold (Mass Market Paperback)
STORY: As one editor put,"Dirk Pitt is back in fine form as he rescues two archaeologists from certain death in a Peruvian sinkhole. Before Pitt climbs out of the hole he runs afoul of the Solpemachace, a group of three brothers who steal and sell Indian artifacts. Pitt finds a rope sculpture, a quipu, that points the way to a huge Inca treasure. Meanwhile, the Solpemachace steal the Golden Body Suit of Tiapollo, which leads them to the same treasure inside a mountain in Baja, Mexico." The race for the treasure and the saving of lives are in Pitt's hands.
MY FEEDBACK:
If I was comparing this to "real" literature this book would get rated very low. But thankfully this isn't my first endeavor into a Cussler book so I knew to suspend disbelief and enjoy it for what it is.
As with his other stories, the main character is never really in any danger because he is James Bond, Indiana Jones and The Terminator rolled into one. There is never any doubt that Dirk Pitt will pull off the impossible, which is what makes these stories fun. There is no time to intellecutalize events or think if they are possible or not, they are just there and the reader is along for the ride.
This is my third Cussler book and the reason why I had to knock it down a star is because I just happen to have the luck that the opening few scenes seem to mimic almost event-after-event what happens in another one of his books. The only difference were the characters and locations. That was disappointing, but I quickly got over it and enjoyed the ride.
I cannot comment in detail on Characterization or Plot line because the story is more like a fantasy than something that takes place in real life. In other words, if you've read Cussler before and enjoyed it you are sure to like this story. If this is your first attempt at Cussler, just go into it with the right attitude and you should have fun.
As compared to the other two books from Cussler that I've worked through, this one was the better of the three (Serpent and the other I can't remember the name).
Also, I didn't give it a higher rating because I listened to the audio book version and the reader seemed to not have a lot of life and emotion in his reading. He had great voices for characters, especially Pitt, but when there is an action scene his reading should have been more intense and faster paced in order to draw the listener into the scene more.
Otherwise, it was an enjoyable story.

American Gods
American Gods
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
57 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Actually a 4.5 star rating, because of the pace, Oct. 18 2003
STORY: The man known as Shadow gets released from prison only to find his wife is dead. Not knowing what else to do with his life he finds himself getting sucked into a world under our own, unknown to most of mankind, where the gods of old are preparing to wage war against the gods of new.
MY FEEDBACK
This was an amazing story. I was just caught up into the magic and expertise of the world created by Gaiman. This truly felt like one of the most original stories I've read in a long time. My only complaint is that I felt like this was a long book which is why I didn't give it a full 5 stars. Luckily, just when I was getting tired of a scene/situation, things would change and something new and unexpected would occur.
A nice mystery mixed with magic, myth and folklore. From the books that I've read that have won either the Hugo, Nebula or both awards, I have to say this is one that I feel really did deserve the awards won. Like his Sandman storyline, this is one that will keep you wondering what new surprises will happen next. Get it.

Separation of Power
Separation of Power
by Vince Flynn
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
101 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Review of audi book version. Rating of 4.5 stars, Oct. 18 2003
STORY: Mitch Rapp, Anna Riley and Irene Kennedy are back. This time forces are at work to stop Irene Kennedy from being confirmed to the position of Director of the CIA and Mitch is torn between his work and settling down with the love of his life, Anna Riley. Not to mention someone has to find if Saddam Hussein has access to weapons of mass destruction and if he does, then someone has to stop him.
MY FEEDBACK:
1) SETTING: Again we are in a current day world where spies, assassins and government conspiracies prevail. The world created is believable and functional but nothing super great or memorable.
2) CHARACTERS: I'm glad that Mr. Flynn is sticking with a working formula and brining the continuing adventures of characters we have grown to love. Thus if you have read the other books prior to this one there are no real surprises. The characters stay true to form though by now there is very little new to reveal about them. They work and they are still fun to read about.
3) PLOT: No major surprises, suspense or red herrings, but Mr. Flynn still develops a solid story that keeps you wanting to know what happens next. You know the good guys are going to win, but there is enough mystery to not know exactly how they will prevail above the opposition. Some may consider this formularic but it works and is still an enjoyable read.
4) READER: Armand Schultz is the reader of the audio book version and he does a good job. He has different accents and reflections for different characters, but not nearly the same "impersonation" ability as Roddy McDowell or some other readers. This was most noticeable when the female characters would speak. His very masculine voice was a bit distracting at such times. But he has a great Mitch Rapp voice.
OVERALL: If you enjoyed any of his previous Mitch Rapp stories you'll enjoy this one. I almost didn't bother since it was such a long duration between reading the previous book and getting my hands on this one. But I'm glad I continued with the storyline and characters.

A Kiss of Shadows
A Kiss of Shadows
by Laurell K. Hamilton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars review of unabridged audiobook version, Oct. 6 2003
WARNING: This book has extreme sexual situations that go into very explicit detail. Pornographic writing is contained within this story and may be offensive to some readers.
STORY: Meredith, the Elven American Princess of the fairy kingdom has been in hiding for the last three years. Now her cover is blown while investigating a case as a private detective. Everyone is after her to either return and claim her birthright to the throne of fairies or to be killed so she doesn't.
MY FEEDBACK:
1) SETTING: As with her Anita Blake series, the author creates an alternate Earth where supernatural beings coexist with humans. The fairy folk and other beings are accepted and given rights, though there are paparazzi that follow the fairy royals around trying to capture the latest scandal or secret. The environment is interesting and adds to the magic of the story.
2) CHARACTERS: The story is filled with the expected characters necessary to make this a fantasy-romance. Chiseled manly bodies, woman of beauty and intelligence and characters willing to do whatever for sex. Meredith is another strong female character as is her vampire hunter Anita Blake. But unlike Anita, Meredith, is very insecure in her abilities, mostly because she doesn't believe she has any. We see her grown in confidence and power as the story goes which keeps a integral part of the story interesting.
3) STORY: My main complaint is that the book starts off as a good mystery but ends up anti-climatical. It is as if the author didn't know how to end the story so she just leaves off at a so-so part in the lives of these characters. The author at least spends several pages in summarizing where everyone is, what the "final" outcome is to each character, and leaves it so that she can write a sequel. I felt a bit cheated. Otherwise, the setting and characters carried the story more for me than the plot...whereas her Anita Blake book, Guilty Pleasures, had a nice mystery that was deftly handled. I wish she could have done something like that here.
4) CONTENT: As mentioned this book contains rated-X sex scenes. There is some but very little profanity. The violence gets pretty gory and may be tough on some readers.
5) AUDIOBOOK READER - this unabridged book is read by Laural Merlington. The reader does a fine job of different voice for different characters, which is needed with this book. The reader's voice is entertaining, clear and well acted. Nice job!
OVERALL: I like this author, though this isn't a great example of her writing in my opinion (then again I've only read two of her books). If it wasn't for the overt sex (not found in Guilty Pleasures book, regardless of what the title brings to mind) and the somewhat weak storyline I would have rated this higher. In other words, you can take this book or leave it depending on your opinion on the explicit content you'll definitely find.

Guilty Pleasures
Guilty Pleasures
by Laurell K. Hamilton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
117 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Good little mystery and it has vampires!, Oct. 2 2003
STORY: As one review so simply put: "Anita Blake, full time animator of the dead and part time vampire slayer, has been hired by the thousand year old Master of the city to find a serial killer who's been knocking off the undead"
MY FEEDBACK:
1) SETTING: This is an alternate world where what appears to be 20th century humans coexist with vampires and other supernatural creatures. There are even laws that give vampires certain rights in this new world. Our brief glimpse of the world created is teasing in its possibilities and enjoyable.
2) CHARACTERS: Anita Blake is our main protagonist. She is a female version of a smart-mouthed detective from some stereotypical gumshoe story. She is a character who proudly displays her stereotypes but also enjoyable has a couple of traits that add something memorable. I liked the character enough that she is more the reason why I would want to read the next book than because the plot was maybe fabulous.
3) PLOT: Speaking of plot...it was a nice little mystery. I didn't feel that there were enough clues to who the "bad" guy was but the story had enough unexpected events that I kept reading. Story was overall handled well though I would have liked to see more "action" scenes vs. scenes that were potentially eruptive in action...if you know what I mean.
4) CONTENT: This book would be rated R for gore and violence. The "sensual" scenes were handled very professionally, were brief and were NOT graphic sexually...which I appreciated. I wanted a vampire, action, mystery and that is what I got.
OVERALL: I liked this book and if someone likes to read vampire books and have a mystery I'd recommend this in a heartbeat. Just because the covers of this series and the titles of the books may imply this is erotic horror, this book wasn't. If the rest of the series is, I don't know. But this was a fun little read that I really enjoyed.

Doomsday Book
Doomsday Book
by Connie Willis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.79
113 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars grave disappointment, Sept. 17 2003
I normally leave very detailed reviews of books but this done doesn't deserve such effort.
Why I DID give it two stars - it starts off great, with some good suspense and lots of mystery
Why I ONLY gave it two stars - by the fifth time the only character who could give some hint as to what the problem is passes out AGAIN, I felt like the author was just jerking my chain. It caused a lot of frustration when I'm clear into a couple hundred pages of the story and not a single character nor the reader has a clue as to what is wrong, thus as a reader I started not to care.
I'm working my way through Hugo and Nebula winners, but I was very disappointed in this book. As I can see by other reviewers there is very little middle ground...you either love it or hate it. I think that is a risky sign of a book, especially when there are so many other stories out there that have solid 5 star ratings from most reviewers...find one these and read that instead.

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