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Content by A. Y. Smittle
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Reviews Written by
A. Y. Smittle (Winchester, VA United States)

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The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
by J. Maarten Troost
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
98 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Ah! Theres a bug on you!, July 11 2004
I think the author used the title just to grab our attention. Duh! Of course there aren't any cannibals in the book--you can tell if you read the back cover. This is a humorous, fascinating look into an island who is responding---or not, to Americanization. Its a look into how a modern young, educated couple could survive in the Tropics, if they really could persevere. I don't know if I could've made it through all that the author and his beloved Sylvia could have. The trials and tribulations they go through are just----winsome. Its like an anthropology lesson and a comic book; the author has done his research and has also maintained a respect for his subject.
This book is "light" meaning that you can easily read it and enjoy it at the pool or at the beach. I recommend an outside setting when you read it. It adds to the ambiance that is set up.
I recommend this story---and look forward to more if the author feels duty bound to write another in say, 10 years or so. Its an unusual type of book, but its worth the read. I'm sharing it with my friends and family!

The Rule of Four
The Rule of Four
by Ian Caldwell
Edition: Hardcover
144 used & new from CDN$ 0.02

3.0 out of 5 stars It was OK, June 25 2004
This review is from: The Rule of Four (Hardcover)
I have to agree with some of my fellow reviewers, were it not for the success of "DaVinci Code," this book would've been passed over. It has some of the same appeal to it, medieval books and mysteries, etc. but none of the flowing appeal. I could tell that there were two authors---look at the first two paragraphs---they completely sound different. At times the writing is flowery, other times very descriptive. It gave me the case of the double takes. I was reading this book in sync with a friend who LOVED THIS I felt I had to keep reading it. It was a good story somehow; but it had some major flaws. You can see the flaws listed here by my fellow reviewers, which are sometimes better written than the book.
If these two authors are so hyped up on their Ivy league background, I suggest their returning to school for advanced studies.

Daughter of Exile
Daughter of Exile
by Isabel Glass
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 5.49
14 used & new from CDN$ 3.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Well, I liked it!, June 25 2004
This review is from: Daughter of Exile (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this story---yes! It was the authors first and you could totally tell, but it was well written. Everyone has got to start out somewhere and she did a marvelous job. She also got a great artist for her cover---what drew me more to the story than anything else.(!) Angarrad is a strong character; the story rambles and covers a lot of ground, kills off a main character, alas!, and still managed to keep entertained to the end. I look forward to reading future works.

The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives
by Ira Levin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.82
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Horror-fied, June 25 2004
This review is from: The Stepford Wives (Paperback)
I was dying-haha-to know what happened to the main character after seeing all those commercials with Nichole Kidman leaping back from that robot of herself. "Did that really happen? Is that really a story?" Coming from the man who wrote, "Rosemary's Baby" anything is possible. Its quite short and quite disturbing. After finishing the story, I didn't want to turn out the light. But nothing was going to get me! It wasn't the same horror as a classic horror movie, slash and trash the girl... It was almost like a "threatening" horror.
What would happen if women lost everything---what if it were all taken away and replaced with what your husband and children want as a wife and mother? It makes me think about how central a womans role is in her household....the whole story makes me think---totally! Disturbing, very disturbing. I can't help but wonder what a man would feel and say about this, or a woman who has grown children and a lifelong relationship with her husband. Would these people feel powerless, unsettled? Or just creeped out with a smile on their face? Whatever the feeling, the marvelous and unusual feeling, this story evokes these strongly in me. It was published the year I was born....

Wild Orchids: A Novel
Wild Orchids: A Novel
by Jude Deveraux
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.85
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars We've grown up together, May 29 2004
I discovered Jude Deveraux when I was in high school. So thats about fifteen years. I really enjoy her new style. I got away from her for a few years because I myself was tired of the typical romance theme. But I couldn't give her up. She was just too good. Now this is way more interesting. The style she has now is just my thing. I really enjoy it. Thats why I feel we've sort of grown together. I was at a place where I could enjoy her romances years ago, and now can continue to enjoy her refreshing new style. Its so much more....confident.
"Wild Orchids" takes an insight into the writers world. The story is about a writer who cannot write after his wife died.
There is a link with a devil story and an alluring younger woman. Oh dear, I do have to confess it was the part about the renovation of an older home that threw me. When I read "The Mulberry Tree" I was in ecstasies. I was so pleased to read about recovering gardens and restoring old houses again---and all the other things that went on were great too. I even enjoyed the Pullitzer Prize sarcasm story.
Devereaux has more humor in this story. I am reminded of the fun and humor of "The Princess." I really enjoyed that one. This has the same quality humor in it. Really, its quite well written.
I recommend reading this for what it is: a story about two people finding their families with cool backdrops. It is not in her old format and all I can say to that is this to Jude: YOU GO GIRL! GROW, GROW, GROW!!!

Patrick: Son of Ireland
Patrick: Son of Ireland
by Stephen R. Lawhead
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.40
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where was the religious part?, March 8 2004
I am a historian. I have read Patricks "Confessions" and I am fond of him. I noticed the poor ratings here but wanted to read it anyway. Lawhead+Patrick would be pretty good, right?
What an adventure! Its such an excellent story! But its like Lawhead took just bits and aspects of Patricks life and used them to make a story---with nothing about the spiritual side of Patricks experience at all. Puzzling indeed. Patrick was a nobleman, whose grandfather was a "presbyter." Yes. Patrick was captured and sold into slavery, yes. BUT he became a saint!
He prayed everyday on that lonely mountainside. Prayed and prayed. He escaped from Ireland and performed a "miracle" of sorts providing food for the sailors and he when there was none. THATS not in the book either. Its like Lawhead fleshed out Patricks story, but skipped some of the real parts. What puzzles me and saddens me is that he apparently skipped out Patricks spirituality and touch with God. Patrick seemed such a human; able to admit his faults and failings. Lawhead captures this.
Makes sense that Patrick could have experience with druids. I know about Patrick, but I don't know anything about the Ceili Dei.
You've been warned: there is NO saint to this Patrick. Even if there is a sequel, Lawhead will have to address spirituality and Patricks dealing with God and the church eventually---besides just the prologue and epilogue. Strange.
The story is adventurous and good; but its truly lacking the christianity and heart of Saint Patrick.

by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.00
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Good but may be scary for 9+, Feb. 3 2004
This review is from: Coraline (Hardcover)
This is a great story. But I hold back in handing it over to my 9 year old daughter to read. The creepy "other" mom who wants to sew on button eyes---oh my!
What about that thing in the sac on the ceiling when the "other" world is coming apart, or the falling apart in the cellar of the "other" father?
I have told my daughter about the significance of the disembodied hand in all great works of horror! And here it is.
If your child is older or can handle it, if your'e one of those parents who lets your child watch "Scream" in kindergarden, than this should not even traumatize or frighten them.
Coraline goes through a door into another world, where theres another mother and father. They can't make that world as good as her own, but they try. Coraline gets help from a hilarious cat and a couple of ghosts; its really a cool story. Its one of those stories you have to write for "kids", even if it really is for adults.

American Gods
American Gods
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.03
41 used & new from CDN$ 3.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman, excellent!, Feb. 3 2004
I loved this story. I was disappointed to see it come out; my husband and I had thought up a similar story during a long road trip---I guess Gaiman got the idea up and printed first!
So I found it intriguing to see what another person thought up in terms of "American Gods." Now, to business.
I loved the idea. The story. There are some flaws in the story.
I have read a lot of the reviews and they all have good points on the negative aspects of the book.
What main character do you know nowadays has a really good personality, or character? Look at the main character of this book. His name is Shadow. Do you expect him to have a lot of personality with a name like that?
The Gods---Its such a neat idea that the old gods came to America with their people. And that they are "dying" out. For a similar story, read "Forests of the Heart" by Charles de Lint.
There is a lot that this story follows in myth---however, I know only rudimentary Norse mythology, so I think I lost out on a lot of the books finer points. But it was still good.
The characters that Shadow interacts with---they are just up and weird and I don't recall what significance a lot of them had in the story. His dead wife, for example. Being ignorant in folklore and mythology, I guess I missed the significance of the gold coin and the dead wife following Shadow around.
Oh dear, I could write on this all day.
Look, you've seen all the reviews. I have never written this long of a review myself; most stories for me in review are a nice paragraph in length. READ this book. Its AWESOME. Its good, its bad. BUT look how much its done for all 300 of us reviewers...

The Great Husband Hunt
The Great Husband Hunt
by Laurie Graham
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but no, Feb. 3 2004
This review is from: The Great Husband Hunt (Paperback)
This book keeps you entertained. But don't look for plot, meaning or messages here. Its kind of depressing. Its a story of a womans life through the early part of the 20th century. It has a catchy title, but don't let it mislead you. "The Great Husband Hunt"---is not really about a husband hunt. It talks about how Poppy has to whiten her neck and wear things to keep her ears from sticking out so she can catch a husband. Ummm, thats about it. Its really a sad kind of life story. Yes, shes an aviatrix and an arts dealer. She has two daughters, Sapphire and Emerald. They're jewish, depending on the decade.This Poppy sort of staggers through life, through one relationship after another, seeking nothing rewarding or signifcant out of any thing. Shes never happy. Its sort of like an average womans chronicle of life. However, I read fiction for escapism, because I am an average woman. So I feel like I just read---almost a biography of sorts. Did I mention this is NOT a romance? Another reviewer remarked on that, and I feel I should mention that, considering the title of the book is misleading.
But really, the style and the story are not bad. Just not what you think.

The Future Homemakers of America
The Future Homemakers of America
by Laurie Graham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.99
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Style good, plot no, Feb. 3 2004
Theres not really a plot. The author admits most of her books don't have any. Its a story about a woman who just lives her life. Gets married to a military man, has child, gets divorce, gets career. Lives. Goes on and interacts with the same circle of friends for most of her life. I enjoyed the characters, I enjoyed the writers style. I liked the story. I didn't like that there wasn't an overall significance, meaning or plot to the story. I could be wrong! There probably is! I am sorry! But I couldn't fish it out of there.
The main character, Peggy, starts her story in a little "town" in England as a pilot's wife. She and her friends meet a British woman and include her in their circle. Peggy and her friends move back to the States eventually, and remain friends through heartache, divorce and distance. Their children grow up and give them a world of trouble in the 60s. This is mostly a story of a womans life.
Its not boring; I kept waiting for something significant to happen. I kept being optimistic; "perhaps Peggy will find love," etc. in the end, but...
This story is like her another of her books, the main characters don't have a profound love. They exist because of something other than that---not a romantic love, but love in the family ties, or friendship ties way. Its a different sort of book.

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