Review: The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars excerpts
The Best Laid Plans, from Robbie Burns' To A Mouse 1785, is a popular title. Terry Fallis, experienced in engineering and public relations, penned a podcast that grew and won the Steven Leacock Medal. Humor and honor, "passion for proper English" conquer the compromised democracy of Canadian politics. Yet p193 "through the ringer" should be wringer, two rollers that squeeze water from laundry.
At first, apparently autobiographical, disillusioned heartbroken Ottawa political aide Daniel retires to teach university English. To fulfill his last job committment, he asks his brilliant eccentric new landlord to be the local electoral candidate. Every night, engineer professor Angus, 60, Einstein-hair, food-filled beard, builds a hovercraft. He mourns his "deep abyss" aloud, in a warm Scottish burr, converses with his one-year-departed famous-feminist wife Marin. When journal/ letters to her close each chapter, we know we're in the realm of fiction. Adult content warning: the betrayal of Dan's heart and the Canadian public by their Finance Minister are slapstick silly - and explicitly euphemistically earthy, not to mention burgeoning romance with Lindsay, meeting of "minds, hearts, and more tangible parts". Muriel 80 "gives great voice" or swears like a "sailor", helped Prime Minister Mackenzie King, now matchmakes her bright pretty granddaughter. Two pierced punk rocker undergrad Petes canvass (scare) voters.
Despite Dan's guarantees - no lawn signs, interviews, appearances, or win - the outcome is guessable, no canditate is named Spoiled Ballots.

says #2 is High Road, more Angus fun (I feared such a paragon would perish by hovercraft)

#2 High Road excerpt

(Chapters 1&2 mostly recap the victory of honest integrity that changes the rules of "the game", so either #2 can stand alone, or has nothing new.)
#3 untitled manuscript is just finished.
gotchies are guy's underwear, why?

Other quotes:
"The university usually operated in geological time, but not that day."
"The old and the rested watched The Young and The Restless."
"one of the most famous split infinitives ... To boldly go"
"As Canadians' respect for democracy declines and their disdain grows, we tend to abandon the greater good, follow the politicians' lead, and grab what we can for ourselves... it's a mess."
"the use of profanity for effect to be a practice of the weak-minded"
"as useful as a seamstress in a nudist camp"
"Were not Canadians all about tolerance and acceptance ... progressive and enlightened views"
"food fragments from his beard ... part of charm ... actually part ... of last night's dinner"
"sarcaustic" (sic) tone
"'It's nice finally to meet you too' ... deftly rejoining the infinitive"
"blatherskite is a Scottish term of endearment"
"antipolitician" cares only for public interest
"there IS none"

View all my reviews

Review: The Queen of Attolia

The Queen of Attolia
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone does it. You made me do it. Where "it" is painful. Permanent. Like piercing - ears, eyebrow, navel (the bellybutton skin never healed, the eye-ring drew uncomfortable attention, the ear-lobes still itch red), tattoos (people ASK for needles? shiverrrr), cosmetic surgery (not to MY soft skin), physical abuse (a bully who can be provoked by a weakling is not strong), chop hands off thief, kill murderer. Decoration adds to beauty, attaining a cultural ideal is worth any suffering, crime deserves appropriate punishment & deterrent. Where and how do you draw the line? This is the kind of book that lingers, rubs you raw long after closing.
I do not like this book, it hurts. So what draws a reader on? I also may reconsider #1 & 2 together because unlikable boy Gen becomes so different. Caused by dramatic trauma?
"The Queen of Attolia" (Thief 2) is a superbly beautiful cold harsh fierce defender of her kingdom against even the Eddis Queen's Thief who leaves matching ruby earrings beside her valuable necklace. Megan Turner shocks me to the core with such deep pain within the first 33 pages, worst supposedly for love by the end. I am uneasy with the Young rating. (Countries have child soldiers; existence doesn't guarantee rightness.) Tedious segues into the political intrigue of balancing three kingdoms (2 queendoms?) and omitting explicit vocabulary does not protect an innocent reader. Blood is a smear on a forehead; a kiss is a brush of lips. Deep physical and emotional cuts hide behind a sword-blade stroke (p33) and impassive faces. But screams loud and long echo from the deepest dungeon into nightmares, for characters and readers.
Cameo of Sounis' magus, royal advisor, does show how Gen has grown since Book 1. A tale of a goddess who interferes with mortal marriage doesn't seem to connect with the whole, except to escalate our diety-crossed couple to unreality. Youngsters grow up to marry. Could this be YA to prepare naive children for the vissicitudes of adult life? Gods as unreasonable fate?
The deep forest green dress illustrated on the front cover makes sense on p33. The silvery curved part on same color velvet pipe-shape that she holds stayed a mystery to me until p75. There I caught on to what the object was. Why it matched her dress finally was clear at the END of the whole book.

View all my reviews

Review: The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

feigns homesick inept fool, for the court of his new wife. Trained by the best thief and warrior of Eddis, he goads soldier Costis into a punch, then recruits him for lieutenant-scapegoat, and our point of view, to me puzzling roundabout padding. With cautionary tales of gods who enforce oaths from rulers, (spoiler: and one loud holy command) these people sacrifice and promise to a capricious pantheon. Gen must foil assassins, bring down the house of a traitor, win over subjects and Queen. He observes, manouevers, forgives loyal patriots who err, so cunning and kindness triumph. Almost like a fable moral, he helps melt her hard heart.
Like the extra, a tale of Eddis as girl, this feels like an intellectual study, a campfire dream myth (has gods) told safely indoors, unlike book #1 whiner explores, or #2 victim screams. Although all untangle mysteries. Megan Whelan Turner recounts events as if passed down, over centuries, across oceans of distance and time. Different moods all engage me.

View all my reviews

Paul 1*

Paul is big-eyed small scrawny (thus appealing, harmless) alien captured in 1947 intro, who meets kind bumbling British nerds-next-door on RV trip of UFO U.S. highway highlights. Unfortunately Seth Rogen voices the lead, and even adlibs from supporting Bill Hader couldn't upgrade his typical boring repetitious unfunny trash-talk.

Jason Bateman and all the pursuing Men in Black, employed by evil-voice (Sigourney Weaver), deserve special mention for their straight faces, twists, and adlib contributions. The special effect alien took hundreds of animators and looks and acts real, but one I want to spend hours with. Some fun, but more at a drunk bachelor party or graduation from kindergarten level.

Like Star Trek's Vulcan Spock and robotic Data, human children learn both civilized courtesy and humor from adults. Like the toddler who laughs at repeated forbidden words, Rogen missed. >/br?
The shy healed bible-thumper girl learning to swear could have been funny. The disrespectful implication that 60 years of U.S. "military-grade" influence led to smoking, toking, cussing, is at least balanced by the gun plus fundamentalist equals unnecessary murder equation. Although "roll the dice" is repeated twice, I think the moral is choose your priority, your path, in favor of your friends who save your life.
Stars: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Seth Rogen (voice), Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig

R.E.D "Retired Extremely Dangerous" 5*

Preview. Retired Extremely Dangerous CIA assassins are targeted by CIA. Against Willis (Die Hard 1-5+), Freeman (film Wanted Fraternity leader), Malkovich, Mirren (part Russian), Brian Cox (says Helen's love interest 1974 TV) as retired KGB, not even villain Richard Dreyfuss has a chance.
Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren

A bit of quiet chat, then bang-up action scenes, blood, death, lots of tongue in cheek fun. That barely out of diapers Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) would fall for bald senior stretches credibility too far despite her romantic love of adventure and danger and his gooey inside being both clearly delineated. I get so tired of useless whiny females, at least the older trained one holds up (although she does need male rescue).

Commentary by an ex-insider says CIA wouldn't use draw guns or be overtly in charge on US FBI territory, but do have greater training in explosives, ambushes, and moving targets. DVD extras expose LSD abuse, and similar agency crimes patterned in the film. .

0* for #2 sequel = big yawn, forced ten minutes. Since local library volunteer service forbids shut-ins to borrow DVDs, had to stretch morals, find on internet. Sound track from theatre audience snickers are desperately weak. #2 is not funny, not silly, just boring, predictable. Willis's sweety Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) even more useless this time around, cannot handle loaded gun, despite warning stares straight at villain the Frog (David Thewlis - Remus Lupin in Harry Potter), jealous of supposedly Russian Miranda (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Could not push past 1/2 hour. Add to #1 same cast yields nought. Already knew casting can ruin anything, now know casting cannot save anything.

Review: Scumble

Scumble by Ingrid Law

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Scumble" defined is, in painting, to blend a color down to balance more in a painting; in Savvy #2, the control of natural ability to attain internal balance, by one of this amazing unnatural extended family. Where #1 starts with a father severely injured and goes in a silly pink bus, #2 begins and carries on with fun - wires, nuts, bolts, and beams - danger without fatal disaster. Years later, some of the same relatives continue; the story stands alone.
Ledge hits crucial 13, and explodes increasingly larger assembled mechanisms, hiding watches, toaster, such, under his bed. His mother asserts her control power instead of letting him find his own. On a road trip, they meet Sarah Jane, intrepid reporter. When Ledge explodes a motorcycle, she stows away to the family wedding. She steals, lies, writes whoppers, and gets away with it because she's pretty, unappreciated by her rich dad, and Ledge has a crush. Ooo, spoiler? Na. I can guess why she's motherless, and how Ledge will finally scumble his savvy, can't you?
"A boy's gotta fall a few times ... to pick himself up" - Grandpa Bomba p94
"It can take alot of strength just to show up and be yourself." - Rocket p240
Not much of what these people do makes sense to me, but then neither does life, at least this story is funny. "I won't put a shoe in his house" promise sounds iffy, and ch. 33 gives the answer. For 30 chapters, our hero rinses off in the cold creek, until his uncle hands him a bar of soap and hints about a hot shower. At least the final kiss is unbelievable. The closing jackalope illustration is better than I envisioned, too.
Unfortunately, Discussion Questions misspells lightning as lightnting.

View all my reviews

Review: Dragons Wild

Dragons Wild
Dragons Wild by Robert Lynn Asprin

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Asprin starts a new series I will not finish. Much flat exposition setup, no trademark humor. I want an opening that grabs me by the throat, makes me care and be curious about who and where. Here, rich lazy teen fumes, flees, shops, sleeps. Conspiracy of dragons dark, no hints glimmer.
Griff, new Chicago business grad, majored in cards, won sportscar (interest or research topic of author?). His guardian uncle discloses pure-bred dragon abilities burgeon, powerful groups are concerned, females are erratic, only for breeding. Oriental live-in gal Mai knows about dragons, but moves out. Sister Val says let's leave. Poker pal Jerome says come to New Orleans, meet my gang. When two trucks try to run Griff off the road, he angrily retaliates.
After 13 chapters, still skeptical, he is awash in the Quarter ambience, shops for silk to replace denim, and goes home with a cute girl. "They never did get around to watching a movie."
I skipped ahead.
A bad guy is known for his knife. Griff gets scales, wants to watch a movie, survives a truck crushing his car. Chapter 41, he dreams, never a necessity for my choice of reading. Skipped to end. Mai returns, calms Val from shotgun revenge, insists dragons plan. Yawn.

View all my reviews

Review: The Temptress

The Temptress
The Temptress by Claire Delacroix

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Temptress (Bride Quest 6) by Claire Delacroix. With quasi-archaic ye know naught the knots of yearning plots that perplex and beset, overly feminist inclinations, family from the series, another shrew-taming variation unfolds. More light than serious, much introspection, magic extraneous. Leisurely rhythm soothes, homage to traditional tales.
"Esmeraude knew that she would have need of naught for all her days and nights than this knight" Bayard, loyal Crusader for King Richard. "Will would find the way". "She was unpredictable", foolish, selfish. She runs off with just an old maid, leaves riddles for suitors to follow, risks rape, sleeps with (to her, not him) a stranger, "shooting star blazing" on p66/376.
Despite good advice, "You cannot tell which man will hold your heart with so little as a glance, regardless of what the old tales say", she flirts and more, learning another's "kiss made her think of the lips of fishes". Stubborn, "her heart had known Bayard from the first ... she would force Bayard to confess". Deeds are not enough, she insists on the L-word. She starts to take on responsibility, gives "counsel for those hens disinclined to surrender their eggs". But the goddess Fortuna decides to trip up her formerly favored hero. A strong silvery vine flourishes in time with his wooing ballad of Tristan, that engages her attention like Scheherazade.
He throws away his heritage for her view of honor (love achieves no property), and only his brother's love and courage provides for the newlyweds. The saints and vine are diverting, but could be made use of more to advance the story.)

View all my reviews

Review: An Invitation to Sin

An Invitation to Sin
An Invitation to Sin by Jo Beverley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Humor improves any Napoleon era romance. In this hot collection, Jo Beverley's Forbidden Affections and Sally MacKenzie's The Naked Prince are 4-5* giggles.
The first title is one of Gothic romances by the late owner of the Featherstone family summer rental. Anna, 16, daring, forthright, bookish, takes the Lady's recreated gargoyled bedroom, follows the secret passage to next door, where the bruised Lady was found overdosed on laudanum, and finds the handsome Earl of Carne. He fled under suspicion, now returns to thwart his cousin's claims. They arrange an assignation to solve the murder with a triple word-play on cake, as sweet tart, silly fool, and victory ("take the cake"). Clever. (I'd be happier with less age difference - personal experience.)
Second, handsome Lord K., nicknamed Prince of Hearts, attends a valentine orgy weekend to protect his best friend from an avaricious London widow. He lets months-long correspondent on Latin treatises J.A. know of their visit to the Atworthy neighborhood. But the true J. is spinster daughter Jo, and K. sees beneath the dowdy country exterior when their identities are revealed. "Her virtue was shrivelling inside her like a grape forgotten on the vine", while pallid bits bobble in the frigid February air.
*** The Pleasure of a Younger Lover by Vanessa Kelly. Brawny soldier Chris helps lifelong crush Clarissa clear the reputation of her late husband. Page-long tongue tangle leads to hot afternoon roll.
** A Summer Love Affair by Kaitlin O'Reilly has tight thin dresses more suited to other times. Meeting on a Spanish holiday, being painted as near-naked Greek gods, pairs a rich English couple for a later in-love reunion. Transparent, explicit.

View all my reviews

Review: Inkspell

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Funke has no compunction over killing; adding another pet marten provides small (really) relief. Different names in our regular time and theirs may be easier in the German original; I finally get both. The teens exchange more kisses, otherwise little character change; mostly we're pushed around in the scary fantasy place, and home England.
We left present-day old Inkweaver Fenaglio trapped in the terrible magical medieval world he wrote. Resa, missing years, now voiceless, is back with husband bookbinder Mo Silvertongue (or is he Bluejay, like Robin Hood?), now not reading aloud. But too-rebellious daughter Meggie reads herself back into the world of death and danger, along with her crush, Arabian Nights Farid, admiring apprentice of fire-wielder Dustfinger (supporting and lead characters for this episode). When surviving villains, gloating knife-wielder Basta and poisonous wizened Mortola find callow self-named Orpheus aka Cheeseface has the reading magic of Mo and Meggie, and align with tyrant Adderhead, massacres escalate. Darius Stumbletongue and great-aunt Elinor whine, complain, frustrated, helpless, negative influence on the desperate situation. We get entranced by people, only to lose them. Turning pages for an end leads only to a cliff. #3 Inkdeath must be final.

View all my reviews

Review: Heartless

Heartless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Heartless" (Parasol Proctorate 4) by Gail Carriger, is how eight-month pregnant Alexia sees the suggestion to save the life of (her and) her unborn from persistent assassination attempts by unfriendly vampire hives in supernatural Victorian London. Fun. Suspense. Action. Best-friend loner (his own kind of queen) vampire Lord Akeldama will legally adopt the child. She and werewolf husband will move in, next-door obstensibly, renovated third clothes-closet actually, to oversee. But a fading ghost warns of a plot to "kill the queen".
I noted the prophetic ambiguity, and the distracted parasol inventor, clues if we're attentive.)
Alexia enlists silly-hat atrociously-accoutred friend Ivy in a new Parasol Protectorate, and "the game's afoot". (Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes from Shakespeare's Henry V). I couldn't close my eyes a wink, while intrepid Alexia tumbles hilariously after clues, across balconies, in and out of dirigibles, ferly danger, attacks, explosions, helped and hindered by creatively-named eccentrics. I could see the trouble ahead from her final solution, so a sequel already draws my curiosity. What the baby does in father Maccon's arms, and in Akeldama's on the very last sentence, stamps Timeless PP#5 as a must-read.
I know the cast, understand their motives, so action feels continuous. I don't know if this book could stand alone without background series support. Learning back-stories seems to add reasons for re-reading from the start. I do not see the need for italicized paragraphs from a dying female ghost's point of view, unless to reinforce her identity and relationship to the mystery plot.
The extra Jaye Wells excerpt sounds ferly, no fun. I like female assassins like Nikita, but not Sabina's quick kill of her best friend in the middle of a warning, at least let him live to explain.

View all my reviews

Review: Myth-Nomers and Im-Pervections

Myth-Nomers and Im-Pervections
Myth-Nomers and Im-Pervections by Robert Lynn Asprin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Magician Skeeve leaves team to battle Queen Hemlock on Klah, while he searches rude lizard dimension Perv, for Aahz, Deva bazaar company partner who resigned unhappily. Aided and blocked by mys-fits such as small djinn Kalvin, cab-driver Edvik, sidewalk entrepreneur J.R., bodyguard serpentine Pookie, and others, he explores meaning of friendship and self-reliance. Veiled in arguments with store and hotel clerks, cops and criminals, bar brawls and alley escapes, are philosophical maunderings. Fun and the search for a happy ending keep us hooked.

View all my reviews

Review: The Caldarian Conflict

The Caldarian Conflict
The Caldarian Conflict by Mike Kalmbach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars excerpt
I don't believe in good and evil. There be what a man can do and what he must do. - Owen, condemned to hang
(According to Murdoch Mysteries, a proper hanging should break the neck, not choke. City TV brought back Murdoch Mysteries with Jennings as consultant. Hoorah. He's prospecting in Dawson City Klondike, and the beautiful (love those dresses) friendly hotel manager is arrested for pick-ax bludgeoning a competitor. Check out the web-series in my beloved much-missed City of T.O.

Brother Mendell serves the Lord Justice god, also calling on Lady Mercy and Luck, goddesses of healing and chance, to investigate how Admiral Cain combats piracy unethically (without lecturing us). Whoever knows too much, dies, even the whole monastery is at risk. Limbs and bodies are lost. Language is crisp and clean. Fights balance mystery.

Points of view - life-value-ing pirate captain(-ess?), evil Admiral, still-learning monk, doomed informant, deceptive assassin - skip seamlessly, including ye be me hearty dialect, in a magic medieval land. Starting with quick deaths, pages flow fast. Suspense builds. Devices I normally eschew for interrupts - gods advise and aid, amulets and spirits speak to reveal murder - snowball the action. Ships explode, founder, rogue waves capsize crews. Break your signed oath? Magic severs your sword hand. Mostly men, yet strong women.

"Hesitation can kill as easily as a sword." - Sarka, nun worshipper of Lord Battle
The secret manipulator behind all is only disclosed in the final page of the epilogue; 265 pages satisfies and whets our appetites for more. Many of the stories started here beg to be expanded.

View all my reviews

Review: Wild Cards

Wild Cards
Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"Wild Cards: A Mosaic Novel" originated when editor George R.R. Martin created a game world for fellow writer friends, who contributed chapters. Juat after WW2, an alien virus transforms human genetics and goes recessive. Most victims die, others experience physical or psychic changes: aces have useful powers, deuces minor maybe entertaining abilities, jokers uglified, disabled, relegated to ghettos. Some smiles, more despair.
Real historical issues are based on fact. Red Tail US airborne, first and only black unit, never lost a bomber they escorted, although their pilots died.
(2012 movie)
Commie bashing led to witch-hunts, black-listed and destroyed lives. Rock and roll music plus drugs strung out hippies. Politicians manipulated and deceived.
Surprisingly, no mention of the pill or women's organizations. Men desire, rescue, and destroy. Women are desired, rescued, and destroyed. One man Tychon, can do all three to one woman, Blythe the Brain Trust. Female characters appear at length only in chapters with such authors, vengeful rape victim subway car from Leanne Harper, primarily passive mistress roles, such as from Melinda Snodgrass. The latter behave explicitly, as does another lead Fortunato, a mixed-race pimp powered by Tantric yoga practices. Hence Hot shelf for whole book, possibly misleading. Put part P in V or M is like furniture assembly directions, weak non-plot. The worst books are only on the Read shelf.
My favorite episode is Martin's Turtle. A bullied geek grows into a beer swiller with an emerging paunch and telekinetic ability extra-strong, to fly a car. His childhood pal owns a junkyard and bullet-proofs a Volkswagen Beetle. They motivate alcohol-saturated mind-controller Tachyon, and all rescue a fragile kind lovely lady club-owner Angelface from multiple rape by corrupt cops. Second favorite would be the human Yeoman Hunter who takes down an evil Vietnamese crime lord and rescues exotic girl healer, where normal (highly-skilled) loner veteran overcomes vanishing villain and rejoins life. Sense a theme?
The initial premise of a wild card virus that induces abilities makes more sense without the alien origin. Why doesn't the planet of inventors call back for ongoing results of the experiment? The overall mood of the book is dark, the worst of the times and people, pain, perversion, pulp-fiction sleazy reputation confirmed. Since the sequel is about Aces, I may try a few pages seeking Star Trek style optimism. Or not.

View all my reviews

That's What I Am 5*

Preview. In 1965, Grade 8 students learn to stick with their dreams. Narrator Andy (Chase Ellison) finds out a writer is "what I am". Popular English teacher Mr Simon (Ed Harris) pairs him with geek Big G (Alexander Walters) for their big project. Stanley - ginger-haired, big-eared - stands a foot taller than all, defends his fellow geeks, especially his best friend, the smallest student Norman (Daniel Yelsky), with dignity against bullies.

Andy learns tolerance, compassion, and resolve while pursuing his crush, the womanly ideal Mary (Mia Rose Frampton), a more experienced kisser willing to share her knowledge. Adults are drawn as individuals, larger than stereotypes: kind mother (Molly Parker), computer-literate father (Daniel Roebuck), concerned principal (Amy Madigan) who begs Mr. Simon to deny career-crushing rumor from a bully's parents.

Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 Stranger Tides 5*

Preview shows film is as action packed as previous titles in series, plus inexplicable supernatural, a mermaid tear for a ritual at the Fountain of Youth.

Captain Jack (Johnny Depp) heads for a hanging ... or does he? Daring as usual, he jumps from windows, flags, carriages, an exploding tower, with unusual compassion. Since he always runs from the girl (Penelope Cruz), daughter of Blackbeard (Ian McShane) or Captain Teach (Keith Richards), a sweet sub-plot romance develops between unlikely characters.

Who does Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) work for? King George (Richard Griffiths), the Spanish - so many competitors on the same course. Many sword fights, beaches glaring white or misty haunted, overgrown jungle, brightest day, darkest night, high palace, low tavern, London, Mexico - round the world we go. Did I mention mermaids?
Doctor Who: Aliens And EnemiesDoctor Who: Aliens And Enemies by Justin Richards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Tennant #10 & Rose are on the cover, but we go back to the first Doctor. Oriented to child reader or aficianado, including minor character names, yet missing actors, photos of mentioned companions sent me internet searching for original footage. For example, in Fury From the Deep, the Seaweed Creature infects Oak & Quill, who "infect Harris", but who's he? Who's Jo, late Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart/ actor Nicholas Courtney? What's the 'spectacular today' Jagaroth ship explosion?
I found unexpected similarities with the last two Doctors' adventures I knew, and those before, whether unconsciously or in homage. Both Cassandra and Sil must be moisturized, time skips & cracks. Always Running.
Design details about special effects, machines, scenic (prop), costumes, makeup. New Earth catlike nurse nuns and their infected cloned human experiments had to adjusted to evoke sympathy and friendship than terrify or disgust. Some aliens appear past and present; changes are detailed.
Here's some links I found, some I had to pause for upload to catch up: memoriam another Brigadier Memoriam Jagaroth vs Neighbor Upstairs CA#end mislabelled #7 Jagaroth Explosion

View all my reviews

Check out my books on Goodreads:

Fan shelf Widget: View Google Chrome or pics overlap text; Post in old interface or spaces too wide

AnEyeSpy's bookshelf: fan

A Late Phoenix
Fan shelf is fave authors, the first/best of series, even if some duds, deterioration, or to remind me to find more.
The title may refer to evidence rising from the rubble and ashes. Set only a few decades after WW2, memories are the be...
On a Pale Horse
Decades ago, this made such an impression, death as a person, and puns were such a popular joke with my peers, that I followed Piers Anthony books until I got saturated. I dipped my toe in recently, with Knot Gneiss, and had enough, but wou...
Another Fine Myth
Back in my Piers Anthony pun-loving days, I read, not sure how, many of these, with great pleasure. Only 2 are available in my library, so I'll try MYTH.
A teen in a hurry to get out of a rural town, I hated taking Austen's Pride & Prejudice in high school. Slow inching (before metric) predictable death in marriage. Decades later, seeking pleasant peace, entranced with the time, costume and ...
Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride
"Dark Angel" is handsome Earl Gabriel. Mary Balogh consistently pens entertaining romances featuring caring, brave individuals we can cheer for. I think her main message is that, especially with love, happiness can come out of mis...
Bad Move
I read at least one of this or the sequel, "Bad Guys". I am always easier on local talent, perhaps the difficulty of writing as a profession is more to the forefront of my critical eye. I followed the author's newspaper column, ma...
The Darling Buds of May
I remember best the happy-go-lucky British Larkin family episode where young luscious budding daughter (not sure I can say maiden) attracts a stuffy officious tax collector and their influence transforms him from drudge to incandescent. My ...
Death of a Gossip
The Hamish Macbeth Scottish village loch bobby series was inspired by a real fishing trip after author Marion Chesney tired of period romances and switched to murder mysteries. A nasty old fat tabloid reporter reveals others' guilty secrets...
The Secret Duke
***** fan "The Secret Duke" (Malloren 10) by Jo Beverley follows "The Secret Wedding", read before I started reviews on Goodreads. Modern language, clever witty Georgian romantic adventures, cognizant of real difficultie...
Burglars Can't Be Choosers
I've read many mysteries by Lawrence Block. Born in 1938, his people are dated, smoke, drink, sleep around, but take that in context and relax. Hero Bernie is funny, and I think this was one I liked, so I'll put this up as a suggestion. My ...
My Lord and Spymaster
***** best yet. If her next book is always better than the previous, totally backwards to other writers whose quality declines, how high can she go?
"My Lord and Spymaster" by Joanna Bourne opens at a London slum area dock, ...
**** "Changes" (Dresden Files 12) by Jim Butcher brings back girlfriend Susan who left after being transformed to half-vampire (#3?). This far in a series brings back many friends and enemies; except for the fall-off-cliff ending...
Ender's Game
I re-read the short story in the collection "Maps in a Mirror" was a strong memorable hero for me, a Harry Potter in his futuristic world, a lonely boy who builds a team against a world-destroying horror. When kids first immersed ...
"Soulless" (Parasol Protectorate 1) is the heroine created by Gail Carriger, able to neutralize immortals' excess and powers. Alexia Tarabotti reminds me of Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody, large of bosom, nose and intellect, spi...
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
I remember mad Hatter and White Rabbit "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date", tyrant Queen of Hearts, the Chesire cat whose smile disappears last, dreamy illustrations, part of my culture, but I don't know if I would bec...
***** "Graceling" is a person with two different colored eyes marking a powerful, even supernatural, skill, treated with fear and scorn in some of the seven kingdoms. Kristin Cashore creates a magnificently strong stubborn 18-year...
Lady Fortescue Steps Out
Marion Chesney is fave under any pseudonym: M.C. Beaton, Sarah Chester, Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Marion Gibbons, Jennie Tremaine and Charlotte Ward. Her books of lovable lost souls in a bind are all on my reread list. Christie-style ch...
Snobbery With Violence
***** "Snobbery with Violence" (E1) is the first Edwardian London mystery by prolific Marion Chesney, expert at short books and pleasing extensive vocabulary to individualize place, time and person. After tiring of Victorian roman...
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
***** "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" is one of most unique of Agatha Christie's murders, let alone any mystery. Even when I reread, years later, I had forgotten everything. Now I still remember the solution, so I cannot possibly sp...
Artemis Fowl
I liked first time better, but rereads held up. Colfer creates a classic intriguing scary magical fantasy world, though the L.E.P. Recon acronym gets cutsie. I strongly identify with a lonely Irish boy, even genius millionaire, who can fin...
Kiss of Fire
**** "Kiss of Fire" by Deborah Cooke, is the first in her Dragon shape-shifter romances. Sparks and heat from firestorm ordain the mating of Smith and Seer, Quinn and Sara, loners orphaned by fire from Slayers. Life is short, eat ...
The Moth
***** "The Moth" nicknames a flighty young lady, eccentric to the point of madness in the eyes of the men of her family, but well loved by longtime servants and her repressed 26 year old sister, Agnes. After he first glimpses the ...
The Complete Sherlock Holmes

In honor of Sherlock Holmes 2 Downey-Law film, reviews for books here and DVDs on blog will focus on Holmes awhile. I even caught his wink for my one-eye gallery.
One for the Money
Trailer for upcoming movie.
Stephanie Plum's birthday was (according to author's website) 12 Oct.
I found the first book tougher because we first meet flamboyant too-tight too-short ...
The Best Laid Plans
CBC TV announced upcoming mini-series. I'm watching. excerpts
The Best Laid Plans, from Robbie Burns' To A Mouse 1785, is a popular title. Terry Fallis, experienced in engineering and public relations, penned a po...
(Rerated to 5* after consideration. One of those books that stick in your brain until you relent to the sequel). The rain drummed; my brain thrummed. I couldn't sleep. I began to read about Meggie, similarly afflicted. Warning: Scary. Very....
The Case of the Perjured Parrot
***** "The Case of the Perjured Parrot" (#14 of 80 in Perry Mason series) by prolific late Erle Stanley Gardner is copyright 1939, so a smooth suave cool collected handsome long-legged lawyer would smoke, have an emotional pretty ...
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax
**** Mrs Pollifax books are tragically no longer in print. Dorothy Gilman has created one of my most favorite leads, a senior widow, almost suicidal, until she volunteers for the CIA. I have also been known for my hats. Her exploits always ...
A is for Alibi
(one review for series) ***** for the first book because I like the series enough to last till T, now want more to find new authors, and finish another year. The rest get 3-4* because I cannot remember my favorites. I like strong, brave fem...
Die Twice
"Die Twice" is the hero's desired fate for traitors. The pace feels like a modern short action movie, without complicated politics, whiny anxieties, tedious research trivia, technobabble, or sappy romance. Visual details anchor th...
The Odyssey
by Homer
I don't recall if I read some sort of child's version. I breathed in mythology of any and every kind as long as I can remember. Since the essentials of the story are permanently hard wired in my brain, I'll peg the rating high. I cannot rea...
Season of Darkness
**** Smashing. I have added a star for 3 reasons. A second opinion from one who also did not like the slave book, really liked this. (I'll add details later.) A third opinion from one who has read many Jennings except the slave one; she li...
Way of the Wolf
***** "Way of the Wolf" (Vampire Earth 1) by E.E. Knight, is a terrifying, captivating futuristic action adventure with a hint of wry humor. Like a classic L'Amour western, the shy, canny, determined hero overcomes powerful opposi...
Sweet Starfire
**** In "Sweet Starfire", Jayne Ann Krentz creates the planet Renaissance, full of dangerous alien monsters and vegetation. Some parts of the adventure seem unnecessary stretches by the author, such as gigantic toothed lizards th...
The Sackett Brand: The Sacketts
***** "The Sackett Brand" starts with a bang, struggles toward agony, and sidetracks to distant relatives riding in aid. Classic manly Louis L'Amour, tracking, shooting, fighting man and harsh country. A sudden gunshot throws big ...
The Sleeping Beauty
The Five Hundred Kingdoms series has strong heroines and Godmothers who challenge oppressive Tradition. Fairy tales, such as the title, this #5 Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella, and Snow White, are made fun of, warped and thwarted. An orphan ...
The Orchid Hunter
***** "Orchid Hunter" by Jill Landis is a favorite 1850 Victorian romance for many reasons, some personal. I too have identical twin sisters, blond and blue-eyed. We have experienced "How often ... are secrets kept ... and b...
My favorite space-age human (Dr. Who is an alien Time Lord) hero is free at
Rip-roaring action, dangerous situations, funny dialogue, wonderful quotes. Wisdom such as: He who ...
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
***** Must read list. Lewis is classic, like Tolkein and Rowling. [Spoiler: Despite the obvious Aslan/ Christ sacrifice symbolism]
The Hazards of Hunting a Duke
**** "The Hazards of Hunting a Duke" (Desperate Debutantes 1) by Julia London, brings together handsome rake 1819 English Lord Jared, 30, harassed by his stern father to produce an heir, and Ava, eldest of the beautiful bright br...
The Bourne Identity
I have read many Ludlum, all the Bourne series, different from the movies, such as he marries and retires to teach, then goes back. But I like action heroes. After I grew out of nightmares from the sight of fake blood (I am uber-calm faced ...
**** "Catalyst" by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Scarbourough is a funny spaceship Barque (French for bark, boat, small boat - as in: embark) Cats tale, named for costly purebreds specially trained to sniff trouble and eat pests in...
The Host
Almost suspense and action shelfs too. I think this was my favorite Meyer. A girl awakens in a new body. Or does an alien awake in a human body? The internal hem-haw stuff is boring. The action chases and twists best. Who is friend and who ...
The World of Pooh: The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
A. A. Milne is a favorite all my life. I've been curious as Roo, small as Piglet, enthusiastic as Tigger, hopeful as Winnie, pendantic as Owl, motherly as Kanga, downcast as Eeyore, and dreamily inhabited trees and clouds. Bouncing rhymes, ...
Anne of Green Gables
My namesake is a classic, her home a shrine. Around 8-10 years old, I bought every Montgomery I could find from the second-hand store, maybe a dozen? As an adult, I read the author's bio. Sad, lonely, she married late, last chance for child...
The Mote in God's Eye
On my reread list, now that I am into my second century of life, and perspectives change. If I can remember title, author, theme, for that long, he did something very right. I know I read others, but this title sticks.
Temeraire: In the Service of the King
***** "In His Majesty's Service" collects the first three books of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series: "His Majesty's Dragon", "Throne of Jade" and "Black Powder War", reviewed separately, and a short st...
"Eragon" by Christopher Paolini is a farm-boy who finds a dragon egg that hatches for him into brilliant blue Saphira. She winks, laughs, purrs with humming, and, as a mature 6-month war victor, falls over after overindulging in m...
Crocodile on the Sandbank
**** "Crocodile of the Sandbank" is a must on my reread list. Elizabeth Peters creates the most wonderful heroine, Amanda Peabody, a smart spinster, large in body and spirit, who narrates uniquely in an old-fashioned pedantic firs...
The Will of the Empress
***** (the best so far of a favored author) "The Will of the Empress" by Tamora Pierce might be called "Stitch Witch", because set against royal whim is the featured character of four chilhood progidies from mage school ...
The Wee Free Men
**** "The Wee Free Men" (Discworld story) are small blue kilted warriors led by the trainee-witch dairy maid Tiffany to rescue her sticky toddler brother from the fairy Queen. I've read too many books by Terry Pratchett I cannot ...
Nowhere Near Respectable
"Nowhere Near Respectable" (5* Lost Lords 3) by Mary Jo Putney. Rakish club-owner Damien helps half-Hindoo (sic) Lady Kiri escape smugglers, then they foil a French plot to kidnap Princess Charlotte and assassinate all the Regency...
Doctor Who: Aliens And Enemies
David Tennant #10 & Rose are on the cover, but we go back to the first Doctor. Oriented to child reader or aficianado, including minor character names, yet missing actors, photos of mentioned companions sent me internet searching for origin...
The Lightning Thief
**** "The Lightning Thief" is the first book in the funny greek myth-based saga, Percy Jackson & the Olympians. I tried Rick Riordan's adult Cold Springs, about teen drug addicts and murder. I greatly prefer his silly juvenile hum...
Naked in Death
This is a representative overall comment until I come across specifics. I cannot remember which J.D. Robb or specific Eve Dallas long and short stories I have read. I devoured many. She has a talent for murder mystery and explicit romance. ...
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Classic. Laugh, cry, yearn, fear. Painful death starts here with his parents and gets worse. The monsters and villains get scarier. The series gets harder. Britain has always fascinated me. Rowling has built a real permanent world, like Tol...
**** "Holes" are dug in the sand by young criminals for their correction [spoiler: but actually a treasure hunt]. I first saw the movie, then the book by Louis Sachar. A family bad-luck curse sends Stanley wrongly to a convict cam...
I met Robert and his wife when we were part of the same Toronto fantasy scifi crowd. He wouldn't remember me, but I have followed his career, interviews, website, books, TV show since the start. I have a partiality to his optimistic happy m...
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Every December, TV shows versions and parents read the story to their children because the optimistic theme is a classic. I love every Suess book. I think I read them all, repeatedly.
The Hunchback Assignments
"The Hunchback Assignments" are tasks performed by deformed Modo for the Victorian Empire. I see why Arthur Slade wins awards. This is a cracking scary steampunk adventure yarn, with a hint of attraction between brave and funny te...
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
**** "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" is based on Alexander McCall Smith's actual experience in Africa, and starts a series. Neither action nor romance, these mysteries are short and leisurely. Hard to believe a man can create...
Beyond the Deepwoods
"Beyond the Deepwoods" (Edge Chronicles 1) is a lovely dangerous fantasy world woven by words that float wood and stone from Paul Stewart and whimsical inked feathery figures from Chris Riddell. Lanky Twig is special different in ...
The Sky People
***** "The Sky People" are explorers from Earth, on the first two nearby American and Russian settlements in an alternate 1988. S.M. Stirling creates a heroic space-western style adventure, with ambiguity of motivations to show hu...
The Hobbit
**** "The Hobbit" is J.R.R. Tolkein's creation. Even a tiny long-lived but innocent Bilbo person with large hairy feet from a country shire can triumph over a vast inhospitable land and gigantic monsters, especially with the help ...
The Prince and the Pauper
I've read so much Mark Twain, I cannot remember which I liked best, and his quotes are everywhere, so I'll just post this for now so Samuel Clemens gets a well-deserved spot on my fan shelf. This particular plot, about a prince and pauper w...
***** "Leviathan" (L1) by Scott Westerfeld is a British steampunk sort of a floating giant whale-ish live-in ecosystem. I love tea-time, even with sardines. The language is a "squick" geek-babble, mostly friendly.
Money for Nothing
"Money for Nothing" is by Donald Westlake. The author scares and gladdens simultaneously. What if you accepted money since your hungry student days, then suddenly found the cost was fatal, including to yourself?
Greedy spy M...
Jeeves Omnibus: No. 3
***** fan "Jeeves Omnibus 3" collects P.G. Wodehouse hilarious masterpieces, aristocratic English eccentrics, 1915-30s culture, drawing-room satire, almost Shakespearian mixups, rambling expositions, in effervescent language. 'Co...
Dealing with Dragons
"Dealing with Dragons" (Enchanted Forest Chronicles 1) by Patricia Wrede begins a sweet 5* series; I already smiled my way through the rest. This gem may be my favorite, a cherry among bittersweetest chocolates, because the sillin...