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Reviews Written by
Melissa K. Bourdius (Pittsburgh, PA)
(REAL NAME)   

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Islands
Islands
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 48.40
8 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sit in the sun, sip a Mai Tai...Aah!, May 24 2004
This review is from: Islands (Audio CD)
It doesn't get much better than this. I love this album in the hot, hot summer. And it's great for chasing away the "no sun ever, winter blues" in Pittsburgh. This music makes me feel, happy and sexy!

Black Swan, the
Black Swan, the
VHS
Offered by Great Deals 4 U
Price: CDN$ 19.97
6 used & new from CDN$ 19.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Women love it, too, April 19 2004
This review is from: Black Swan, the (VHS Tape)
(...) Yes, it's a bit "sexist" by today's standards, but have you read a romance novel lately? There is some odd appeal many women have for "reforming" the bad seed through love. Yeah, it never happens in real life, but who says movies have to be real life? I don't understand the psychology behind it, but I do understand a good pirate movie with sword fights, danger at sea, and damsels in distress. A great example of the classic Hollywood genre and I can watch it over and over!

A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel
A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel
by David Liss
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
110 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical and financial history, March 14 2004
As an avid reader of historical fiction, I really enjoyed this book. Mr. Liss does a fine job of interweaving a murder mystery with a cultural identity "crisis." His exploration of the protagonist's submerged feelings about his father and his Jewish heritage is compelling and does not belabor the main mystery plot of the novel. His characters are well-developed and engaging. I can't wait to dig into "Coffee Trader." Many kudos from a sleep-deprived reader!

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
by Elizabeth George Speare
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.99
96 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Slow first, then great...correct a mistake, Jan. 17 2004
I read this book first as a 4th grader (I'm now 32) and thought it was a bit slow. I read it again a few years later and really enjoyed it. It has remained a sentimental favorite of mine all these years. I did want to respond to Annie's review below. I understand she may be a young girl who is somewhat possessive of her home state's claim to witch hunt fame, but witch hysteria took over all of New England at that time. Here is an excerpt from a website dealing with the history of Stamford, CT and surrounding areas:
"The early codes of New England made witchcraft a capital offense. Religious and English precedents were considered as sufficient authority. Connecticut passed a law in 1642 which stated that "If any man or woman be a witch-that is, hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit-they shall be put to death." In New Haven Colony the law declared that "If any person be a witch, he or she shall be put to death, according to Exod. 22.18, Levit.20.27, Deut.18.10,11."
Prior to the 1692 delusion numerous trials for witchcraft in Connecticut were held-at Windsor (1647), Wethersfield (1648, 1650-51), Stratford (1651), Fairfield (1653), New Haven (1655, 1657), Easthampton (1658), and Saybrook (1661). Ten persons were accused and placed under arrest in 1662 and four were tried, convicted and executed. The victims were the last individuals to suffer the death penalty for witchcraft in Connecticut. By 1692 court procedures relating to witchcraft were well established."
Ms. Spears does not have her history confused, but rather did excellent research toward writing this book. Recommended reading for all young folks interested in early American history.

Series Of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning
Series Of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snicket
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 11.54
272 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, yes, but very odd, Nov. 7 2003
I agree with previous reviewers that these books, while engaging enough to read in one sitting, are quite off-putting. I find the author's tendency to define words annoying. I will, however, admit that I get a certain amusement from the tongue-in-cheek, understated, British humor. Granted, I am an adult with a child of my own, but I don't think I would have enjoyed this series as a kid. The books have references that are way over the heads of the recommended reading level and very disconcerting for us adults. Klaus and Sunny (von Bulow, perhaps?), I mean really! Sure, Harry Potter has a dark side, but the dark side makes sense. These books seem to be misery for misery's sake. We have enough of that in this world, without promoting it in our pre-teen children. Try reading the "Anne of Green Gables" series, the "Chronicles of Narnia," or even "The Hobbit." There's plenty of trouble in all of these, but plenty of fun, too.

Toilet Trained For Yale: Adventures In 21st Century Parenting
Toilet Trained For Yale: Adventures In 21st Century Parenting
by Ralph Schoenstein
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 5.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Grounded again, April 28 2003
I was given this book as a gift from my in-laws. I can't thank them enough. It's very hard to look around at other kids whose parents are taking them to gymnastics class, 2nd language class, music class, scheduled play class, etc. and not feel like you are deficient as a parent if you're not doing the same. I easily fall into the trap of panicking that my daughter, who is 18 months old, isn't being exposed to enough, or talking enough, or climbing well enough. This book really helps me keep my feet on the ground and remember that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't have the benefit of "language flashcards" at 12 months and she turned out just fine. Oh, and the "reading" 6 month olds...give me a break!

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Edition: Paperback
98 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Just lovely!, Feb. 18 2003
I read this book first in a college course I took to try to "fill in the gaps" of American literature I felt I was missing from high school. I expected this book to be a yet another "oppressed minority woman social advocacy" book, but was so pleasantly surprised by the poignance of Ms. Hurston's tale. The dialect compliments the story so well, the culture and mental pictures are vivid and wonderful. I would place this right up there with Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," but this story leaves a much better taste in your mouth. Perfect summer reading!

From The Earth To The Moon (Four Disc Collector'S Edition)
From The Earth To The Moon (Four Disc Collector'S Edition)
5 used & new from CDN$ 25.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Required viewing, Feb. 2 2003
This miniseries is an excellent portrayal of the triumph of the human spirit that was the "Moonrace." One of the most amazing things about this program is that the landing of Apollo 11 occurs at the halfway point. This series truly chronicles the entire Apollo program and makes one ask, "Why haven't we been back for 30 years?" This series should be required viewing for all American kids.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards
by Lilian Jackson Braun
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
119 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect "cozies", Jan. 13 2003
"The Cat Who..." series is really one of the best of the light mysteries often referred to as "cozies." Qwill and the cats are always fun, good judges of character, and great mystery-solvers. This one is the first in the series and explains much about how Qwill earned his place in town and in the citizens' hearts. All of the books can be read alone without much confusion, but this one is highly recommended as a beginner to the series and for its great plot.

Christmas Carol
Christmas Carol
VHS
5 used & new from CDN$ 4.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Damn, he's good..., Dec 15 2002
This review is from: Christmas Carol (VHS Tape)
...to paraphrase Mr. Scott. This is,without a doubt, my favorite Christmas movie. I now find it impossible to think of Ebenezer Scrooge as anyone other than George C. Scott. His facial expressions and delivery are perfect in every way. The other actors in the film are also superb, as is the costuming, the backgound, the music, everything. I even find myself popping this in at other times of the year. I still get goosebumps at the end. If you never get to see any other adaptation of this classic, see this one. And now I will stop gushing and go watch the movie again!

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