Monday, December 3, 2012

Think Out Loud #7

Think Out Loud.
This is a weekly meme used for bloggers
to post something they would normally not post.
So, post whatever YOU want!

Demand fashion without pollution 

Friday, November 23, 2012

1st To Die ( Women's Murder Club #1 ) by James Patterson

Inspector Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department suddenly finds herself in the middle of two horrifying situations: The first is that she s just learned she has an often-fatal blood disease. The second is a double homicide case she s now heading up that involves the murder of newlyweds on their wedding night. Burdened with Chris Raleigh, a new partner reassigned from the mayor s office, Lindsay finds that she has too much to deal with and turns to her best friend, Claire, the head ME on the case. Claire offers helpful advice and human, friendly contact amid a job filled with violence, cruelty, and fear.

Soon a fledgling newspaper reporter, Cindy, makes contact with Lindsay looking for a career-making story. Although Lindsay can t officially comment on the case, the two women form a rapport, and Cindy joins Lindsay and Claire for their weekly meeting. When a second pair of newlyweds is murdered, and later a third, the investigation leads to a prominent crime writer, Nicholas Jenks, who has a history of spousal abuse and a predilection for kinky, dangerous sex games. With the help of an understanding assistant D.A., Jill Bernhardt, Lindsay tries to make a case against Jenks, who even had an affair with one of the slain women. Eventually Jill joins the Murder Club, and the four ladies share private interdepartmental information in an effort to track and stop the killer before he strikes again.GOODREADS


Terrific …a great thriller… what’s not to love about a “club’ formed by four women to catch a psycho killing newlywed couples? - Providence Sunday journal

Well, I don’t know, maybe the “psycho killing newlywed couples” part but I can see how that makes this a great thriller. This is my second Patterson book and the guy is winning me over book by book. 1st To Die is also the first book in the Women’s Murder Club where we meet the first member, Lindsay boxer.

The book starts with a prologue where we meet Boxer in not the best of state. Starting the book like this was engrossing. Boxer’s on the verge of shooting herself in the head, she’s on the balcony with her gun to her temple. Reasoning with herself how easy it would be to pull the trigger or call her friends. They’d say all the right things but she’d still be where she is next week or month. This draws my attention because "what's the benefit of talking out your problems when you already know what people will advise you to do". Although I don't think this is what Patterson is saying because in the end Boxer talks about her troubles and asks for help which leads to a somewhat happy ending. I gradually began to like Boxer a lot. She’s not what I expected. She’s a female working in a profession where the majority is formed by men yet she can still hold her own. Much like one of my favorite characters Jane Rizzoli (from Rizzoli & Isles series) only that’s where the similarities end. Boxer’s an inspector but she’s also very feminine as well whereas Jane’s a bit more of a tomboy. This was new and surprising. I prefer Rizzoli because she’s stronger but still Boxer’s a individual character as well who’s definitely in my book of great, independent female leads.

Boxer gets diagnosed with Negli ,a typed of blood disorder, which she is told can be fatal. Patterson builds on this , Boxers emotional state and how she uses negli to motivate her to catch the killer. Because of negli Boxer is made somewhat vulnerable and yet she’s determined to catch the killer. So she decides on an unorthodox way to find leads. She forms the Women’s Murder Club with Clair (medical examiner) and Cindy (reporter) ,the first two members.

“We could reassemble whatever clues came out of the official investigation, share what we had, cut through the political cover-you-ass and the bureaucracy. Three women, who would get a kick out of showing up the male orthodoxy, more important, we shared a heartfelt empathy for he victims” pg 140-141

The Women’s Murder Club was born

This is indeed a terrific book. The plot is great, the different pov’s  makes the reading process very dynamic, in the way that we can follow what’s happening and the clues from different people, we also get into the killers mind. And there are twists and turns and more twists. The chapters are also short and end with little cliffhangers, before you know it the books done.

The fourth member in the club, is Jill Bernhardt (DA). Half way through the book I realized there was still more pages left but they had already found (who they thought was) the killer. So of course they’d need a lawyer in the club. They are all independent, hard working women.

So you must be wondering who the killer is? All the leads pointed to Nicholas Jenks, a famous author. Later there’s a lot of incriminating evidence found at his house. The rings from the murder victims, cloths stained with the victim’s blood. And a book Jenks wrote in the beginning of his career about an Author who killed newlywed couples to really experiences it and write the story called Always a Bridesmaid. So every story has to have a villain right. So let me described Jenks for you: he’s a douchebag. He likes dominance, he’s a narcissist, has an ex wife he dumped after she practically supported him during he’s writing career, has an abusive history with current wife and the last one. He's arrogant and thinks all women want him. Later he screams he's not the killer and somebodies trying to frame him. Refusing to believe it could be his ex-wife because he's under the impression she still loves him and he's too awesome . The most unbelievable and ridiculous thing to happen in this book, well one of them, is Jenks escapes custody! because of an earthquake  I know this is fiction and Jenks could escape, but it would have been ridiculous but the earthquake, using that as instrument for his escape makes it plausible and more believable. Although it's still a "what the hell" twist. 

The first unbelievable and ridiculous thing : I'm really starting to fear that Patterson is turning me into an abusive bookworm. I again wanted to punch this book. Like with Roses Are Red, the same thing's done here. Patterson builds characters so well I end up liking them so much that when they DIE or something bad happens, the injustice is felt! In 1st To Die Boxer has a life threatening disease to deal with and she gets saddled with another partner  Chris Raleigh. This leads to a romance. It was so lovely. Even I started to wonder if Chris had soft hands. Boxer and Chris were so good together, they loved each other. Of course I was suspicious . It was to good to be true. Something bad is going to happen. and it did but it was too abrupt! too unfair! why?!

The climax happens when Jenks escapes and is kidnapped and brought to the place he married his second wife. oh and he's also being held at gun point by said wife. she turns out to be the real killer. Boxer ends up having to kill her. However this is not the important event here for me) . Chris dies! he gets shot and I know what to expect , he's going to die of course:

"I got her , ChrisChessy Jenks was the killer"
He managed to nod his head. "That's my girl," he whispered.
Then Chris smiled faintly and he died on me.

 No! smile and die?! really?! not only is that annoying , the irony of this. Boxer's the one diagnosed with a life threatening disease. She later gets told that the treatment is working, she'll live and then Chris dies! Although Moved by violent emotions I did not punch this book.

Epilogue: Chessy Jenks was the killer? oh no, Nicholas Jenks after the terrible ordeal has published his book, has sold millions. He doesn't have to share his money with his ex wife or possibly lose any if he were to get divorced because both women are dead. Jenks visits Boxer at her apartment and confesses to orchestrating the whole thing, the brains behind the whole thing and tries to kill Boxer. Boxer kills him and the last words he hears are "burn in hell".

Another wonderful book by Patterson with a satisfying ending all the same  and a great new series to check out.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13 ) by Janet Evanovich


Dickie Orr. Stephanie was married to him for about fifteen minutes before she caught him cheating on her with her arch-nemesis Joyce Barnhardt. Another fifteen minutes after that Stephanie filed for divorce, hoping to never see either one of them again.


Doing favors for super bounty hunter Carlos Manoso (a.k.a. Ranger). Ranger needs her to meet with Dickie and find out if he's doing something shady. Turns out, he is. Turns out, he's also back to doing Joyce Barnhardt. And it turns out Ranger's favors always come with a price...


Going completely nutso while doing the favor for Ranger, and trying to apply bodily injury to Dickie in front of the entire office. Now Dickie has disappeared and Stephanie is the natural suspect in his disappearance. Is Dickie dead? Can he be found? And can Stephanie Plum stay one step ahead in this new, dangerous game? Joe Morelli, the hottest cop in Trenton, NJ is also keeping Stephanie on her toes-and he may know more than he's saying about many things in Stephanie's life. It's a cat-and-mouse game for Stephanie Plum, where the ultimate prize might be her life. Dust jacket

This was one hell of a ride, easiest book I've ever read. Stephanie is awesome and the situations she gets into are ridiculous and unbelievable. The humor is one of a kind and puts a smile on your face. Stephanie's a bounty hunter and the things she does on the job , the trouble she gets into, the people she meets and her family,  friends, arch-nemesis that make for a great cast,  makes the whole series something else.

This is book 13 in the series, but some of you might have already  seen the movie One For The Money , which is based on the first book, in which you've  met certain characters already: Morelli, Ranger, Lula and Stephs family . All of them are in this book too, can't say anything about new characters as I'm new to the series. Lean Mean Thirteen is crazy, we got steph getting tazed (twice), rodents exploding, steph stapling some goons balls together (oh yeah, and it was an electric stapler...ouch),steph's ex-hubby's girlfriend stalking her, running through graveyards and a whole lot of other crazy stuff.

Steph partners up with Lula a lot. I like the situations they get into and I like Lula because she reminds me of my friend Lola. 

There's this one scene where steph and Lula work on this one assignment to bring in a guy who robes graves, they  go looking for the guy at his house and this guy has a snake;
"I don't think  anybodies home " Lula said." I didn't see any cars in the yard.""I'm going to snoop around anyways. are you coming?""I suppose, but if I see that snake, I'm outta there. I hate snakes. I don't care if that snake wraps itself around your neck, I'm telling you right now, I'm not staying to help"

Yeah, just like my friend Lola, she hates snakes too and would probably do the same or push me toward the snake and run. run like hell.

There's a lot to like about this book, like Bob. Morreli has this dog ,Bob. I don't like dogs or cats or kittens. I tell people this all the time. I even tell Lola, but Lola doesn't seem to understand this, she's always posting these ridiculously 'cute' pictures of cats on my FB wall. It's annoying. Lola has to be stopped. Maybe I should get her a snake....... that explodes. Anyways back to  Bob, clearly the number one reason to like him is his name, 'Bob'.

Description of Bob:
 "He has a routine. He eats the couch. He takes a nap. He gnaws on a dining room table leg. He takes a nap. He spreads the garbage all over the kitchen floor. He takes a nap."
Naps!! I love naps! Bob loves naps!! I love Bob, I could totally love Bob as a pet. He loves naps and he's fictional. How much attention could he need and he'd never die on me.

So between Lula's crazy character, the trouble Steph gets into and her crazy family. There's also this triangle situation happening between her , Morreli and Ranger. I hate triangles, they're stupid. But this situation is entertaining and fun. Steph and Morreli are a couple now, and Ranger helps Steph out but also shamelessly flirts with her. He cares about her. It's a crazy entertaining trio.

Everything gets resolved in the end , turns out Steph's ex was being protected by Morreli cuz he knew something about the firm he worked for. Steph saves the day and there's clean laundry. But there's a time bomb waiting to happen. Because when Morreli finds the underwear with Rangers name on it there's gonna be some Italian arguing happening. So if you're in the mood for something light and entertaining , this is your book.


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Confession by John Grisham

An innocent man is about to be executed.

Only a guilty man can save him.

For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?GOODREADS


Lawyers.........I've never liked 'em. Although Grisham sure knows how to make them look human and make them look like the damn blood sucking vampires that they are. The confession is a great book and argument about why the death penalty shouldn't be allowed. There are arguments pro and contra. I enjoyed reading this , the setting is great and the characters diverse:  moving and repulsive. You know that feeling you get when something unjust is happening, a feeling of anger mixed with confusion and shock that it's happening. There's probably a word for that. Well there's a lot of that going on, it's just ridiculous. Donte Drumm gets convicted for murder. There's no body. The confession itself is bogus. Even I can see that and I don't even know what the insurance certificate to my car looks like! Then there's the actual confession in the book, you have Donte "confessing" and while he does this the officer interrogating him keeps "correcting" him. He's leading the confession, how can he know the details better than the alleged killer! come on!!.  that's not even the half of the bullshit , during the trial it turns out the judge is having an affair with the prosecutor and they frigging cross examine a dog, they put an actual dog on the witness stand! yes, this happened  in Taxes, but somebody should have been smacked upside the head!

Then there's Boyette. The actual killer, he goes and confesses to the priest who then takes it on to bring Boyette to Texas to try and stop the execution. I should have known better! I freaking got my hopes up! I thought Donte would be saved. We read a lot about Donte's live , he had a promising future, comes from a good family.He always knew he was innocent, his family had faith in his innocence and so did his Lawyer Robby flak. Donte is portrayed as an innocent man and a good kid that got wronged by the system and spent the rest of his life  in prison for something he didn't do. And just hours ,minutes before the execution when Boyette reaches Texas , confesses and Flak tries to make an appeal for more time. Just a couple of more hours,that's all that was needed, to investigate and exonerate Donte Drumm. Bureaucracy got in the way and wouldn't allow that, Donte Drumm gets executed. A innocent man gets murdered by the state.

He's memory gets justice when Boyette takes them to the body. This brings a backlash to the judicial system and   questions the death penalty. The thing that people have always feared has happened. It still isn't enough to abolish the death penalty.

Although I have a slight dislike for lawyers doesn't mean I hate them. I have an uncle who's a lawyer and I've grown to like Robbie Flak, he's a compassionate lawyer who defends the small people against the corporate monkeys or bad guys trying to rip them off. Flak also has a good character , he defended Donte free of charge even puts his own money on the line, he believed in Donte's innocence and saw that the whole case against Donte was BS. Flak grew close to the Drumm family and to Donte and felt the loss just as hard as they did. Flak's a great character and amusing one, he holds a record for being held in contempt for calling prosecutors and judges (you know the monkeys) SOB's ,he even called the dog that was on trial on the Drumm case a SOB. Who wouldn't love his character.

There's also a racial tint to the story, I suppose Donte being black was also easier to accept, "ofcourse the black guy could kill the girl". Following the execution , this caused some tension in the town between the whites and the blacks. Nobody got shot tho. this didn't  escalate into violence either, the situation was taken down in a peaceful way. The Donte brothers go to the school and try to calm things down through the football teams, following Boyette's confession, Donte's mother asks the town people to stop. The victims mother, I don't know how I should feel about her. She loved her Daughter ,would hog any publicity to show how distraught she was and blatantly emphasized on the fact that only Donte and no other person was the killer. When the truth was out, it's hard to say if she took it well.

So we got a bogus trial based on a bogus confession. Innocent man gets executed. But wait, there's politics involved. Lawyers and politics a very bad dish indeed. You got the prosecutor who only cares about retiring with successfully winning a case from Flak and a governor who's worried about how much votes he's up in the polls. These people are so casual about the fact that a girl was murdered, that they might have sent an innocent man to jail, so worried about losing their positions that the fact that they lied and cheated mean nothing to them.

This is a great book that touches on a controversial topic, should any state or country be allowed to execute people? is this even a relevant question,seeing as it's already something  happening in many countries and is now normal. Or is it just stupid to argue it now because we have ethical problems with it? I don't pay taxes, but would you be comfortable knowing your money is going to inadvertently allow the state to kill another person, yes a criminal, are criminals not people anymore? I think it was also mentioned that it costs more to be able to execute people,whereby people have to pay more taxes. The priest in the book stayed in the background  all he did was bring Boyyette to Texas. He witnessed Donte get executed. He was just a priest, never preached about anything controversial. He was neutral but after this experience with Boyette. He found something to preach about. I found something to think about and two lawyers I might actually like (which is probably not saying much seeing as one's my uncle and the other one is fictional). This book has something to say, so why not pick it up

*the level of objectivity in this review (might be) is zero


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roses Are Red (Alex Cross #6 ) by James Pateterson

The Mastermind orchestrates a series of bank robberies that are notable for their precise demands-and their explosive violence when demands are not met exactly. Detective Alex Cross takes on the case and recognizes that a particular kind of criminal mind is at work. Cross's investigation gets under the Mastermind's skin, and he makes it his personal goal to take revenge on Cross and his entire team.

Amidst all this, Cross's relationship with his girlfriend Christine is falling apart, and his beloved daughter Jannie is hospitalized with unexplained seizures. The pressure rises on every front, culminating in a shocking and explosive climax.GOODREADS

This is my first James Patterson book and I have to admit it's pretty amazing. I've come across this guy's name on goodreads and I've skimmed through one or two of his books in the library( I'm ashamed to admit). I always assumed he was just another thriller writer. I was sourly mistaken, he is indeed a thriller writer but he's done something to make this genre  his own. Paterson has created one of the most compassionate, sympathetic, upstanding, humane , accomplished and  kindest male leads I've ever met in fiction.

Roses Are Red  is a thrilling emotional roller coaster ride. A moving book filled with action, crime, drama and some romancing ( I guess). Alex gets drawn into a case by his friend/colleague , Kyle Graig. The case involves bank robberies and murders. The person behind this calls himself the Mastermind. The very first chapter starts off with the first robbery. They get the money but kill the managers family (who they were holding as hostages) , at the second robbery they kill the people in the bank, then there's the third attack , this time a kidnapping of a bus load of people, who they let  go alive. There's no pattern, and this confuses Cross and the other cops on the case. Eventually they get a lead and catch Fredrick Szabo. Catching Szabo and the evidence that proofs he's the Mastermind is only the beginning of the game: "are you the mastermind". When Cross catches Szabo, his words to Cross  are "you've got he wrong guy" .They later follow another lead  (inspired by the inconsistencies of the Masterminds description). This leads them to Dr Francis, Szabo's psychologist. They go to take him in but he runs and then kills himself. What are his last words to Cross? you guessed it : "you got the wrong guy". So then who the hell IS the Mastermind?!

Other then catching the bad guy the book also focuses on Cross's family life , his daughter ends up in the hospital after having seizures and his relationship with this woman Christine is on the rocks. At first I thought the whole thing was unnecessary information but after a while , it turns out Cross's family life and other relationships with people is important to understanding Cross himself and what motivates him to work. Cross wants to make his side of Washington (his neighborhood) a safe place again. He does his best because he doesn't want to disappoint his family. In a way this is a moving book. Cross is a moving character.

There's this scene where Cross finally accepts Besty's (fellow FBI agent) offer to "get a drink" they end up in her hotel room and Cross breaks down. All the stress , his daughter , Christine and the Mastermind. He breaks down and cries.

"Let's just hug "she said. "I think we both need hugs. Hugs are good."

I'm not a hugging person, but at this point even I needed a hug.

It's a wild and interesting ride to catch the Mastermind, there are some running after the bad guys scenes, a scene where the FBI and local authorities take down the  bad cops, and the part where the kidnappers lead Cross and his team on a train to drop off the ransom money, all the while wearing them out. It's written really well and the situations are described well . The chapters are all relatively short and the book is divided into 6 parts. The first part (prologue) is called ashes to ashes  and part five is called all fall down. I mention this because it's eerie and because it correlates with the title. Roses Are Red. If you remember the nursery rime:
Ring-a-round a rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down.1

Then we have the other titles in the Alex Cross series: like the earlier books all seem to have names from nursery rhymes or fairy tales.  The nursery rhyme "Roses Are Red" is also one of Cross's daughters  favorites in this book, she often sings it while dancing/twirling with the cat ( or so it's described in the book, I hate cats).

So how does it end? after all that, is the reader then left with no resolution? because that's how I felt. It didn't add up. I just couldn't believe any of those guys were the Mastermind. Throughout the book we get glimpses into the guys head. but do not fear, there was an epilogue fittingly titled The Right Guy. I can't say I was surprised or shocked, because I'd expected it to be a cop ,somebody on the inside. but I was pissed. the Mastermind is none other then........... Kyle Graig, Cross's friend! this is where you punch the book ( literally). I've gotten so attached to Cross that finding out that Graig, his friend, could hurt him is just infuriating!! It's unjust, mean, evil. goddamn! But all that being said this was a wonderful ride and introduction into the Alex Cross series (although this was book 6 ).

*no books were hurt during the writing of this review


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hunting Fear ( Bishop/Special Crimes Unit , #7 ) by Kay Hooper

There's a new psychic on the scene, and he's ready for action: introducing Lucas Jordan, the latest addition to Noah Bishop's crackerjack Special Crimes Unit. 

Lucas Jordan has an extraordinary psychic skill that police all over the country find invaluable: he locates missing people. And since being recruited by Noah Bishop for his FBI Special Crimes Unit, Lucas has learned to hone his remarkable ability so that what he does seems little short of miraculous.

He's called in on what appear to be a series of ordinary kidnappings-for-ransom, but almost immediately Lucas realizes the situation is far from ordinary—and more deadly than anything he's ever faced before. Because a brilliant, twisted madman is out to win a sick game, matching his wits against the best hunter he can find: Lucas.GOODREADS

Finally picked this up from the library.  I reviewed book #9 Sleeping with fear earlier on . I had picked it up randomly ( something new to read) hence the disorder. Although that's all it takes to grow fond of this series, one book. You don't even have to read them in order, they are as good standalone as a whole. Although if you're like me and hate not having some background information then I suppose it will be a bit annoying but not so much as to ruin the book.

This one was better than Sleeping with fear because they were in a bigger state (setting) and there were more characters ( list of suspects). It wasn't as predictable as the previous book I'd read and not so much centered around the romance. Lucas comes to investigate a series of murders and Sam ( former lover) shows up. Sam is a great female lead, she's intelligent, confident, strong , straightforward and a smart ass. Lucas is a tight ass, but he isn't an unpleasant character. He just has issues ,which Sam helps him overcome. So enough about asses

The thing about a mystery thriller is trying to figure out who the killer is . Give up now, you'll never figure it out as a reader ( I didn't). The mystery in Sleeping with Fear was easier and lacking compared Hunting Fear because  of the small setting and the small cast. Hunting Fear is way better and not so easy to figure  out. The killer turns out to be a victim from a last cast Luke had worked on. Who set up this well thought out game to lure and emotionally break Lucas. He did this by kidnapping and ingeniously killing them. Building machines ; like a guillotine, or a tank to drown his victims. Even getting Sam was a move on the killers part, only it backfired on him because he didn't expect Sam to help Lucas.

Then there's the mysterious Bishop. Who has Lucas and Sam tailed by other members of the BS/CU and who also shows up at the end to tie up the knots. Yeah, he's mysterious I'll give him that but I don't know if I should like the guy or not.

The book isn't very lighthearted . There's death, lots of nosebleeds, kidnapping , past issues. At some point in the story a Female cop gets taken by the killer and Lucas finds her but too late to save her. The suspense keeps  building up , because the povs switch from between  the characters. One moment you're with Lindsay (female cop) while she's in the tank about to drown but still alive and the next you're with Lucas looking at the tank with Lindsay's body floating in it. There' are also some povs from the killer ( only one if I remember right).

It's a relatively happy ending I guess. They kill the killer but his partner ( his son) gets away. Sam joins the BS/CU and marries Lucas.

All around great book. except for this one thing. It's probably really obvious or maybe an ambiguous thing . but the last line. Sam offers to tell Lucas his fortune ( BTW Sam is a psychic who use to work as a fortune teller).  To which he says ( the last line of the book)

"No need, I already know how the story ends"

How does the story end!?


Monday, October 8, 2012

Think out Loud #6

Think Out Loud.
This is a weekly meme used for bloggers
to post something they would normally not post.
So, post whatever YOU want!

Right , so Halloween is coming or has gone by. I never know when it's Halloween until the actual day or day after when somebody points it out. It isn't a thing that's celebrated in my country. Anyways getting dressed up as a scary person or now and days it's just getting dressed up in costume. So this week how about a small (virtual) Halloween party. Actually I just wanted to share my ideas of what I'd dress up as for Halloween.
I'd either go as Jane Rizzoli , female character from  the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen or as Evelyn
 from The Mummies Return! I love her cuz she's a  librarian. Although I might not wear the skirt.

                    Jane Rizzoli

Yeah, yeah, technically those aren't costumes.I don't care!
What or who would you go as?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Sandman , Vol.1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings" which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl, Death.GOODREADS
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator(s): Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg
Letterer: Todd Klein
Series: The Sandman  

How would you feel about life if Death was your older sister?

As a whole this makes a fantastic collection of the Sandman comics. Rich with several  mythological characters and famous figures from the comic world.

 Volume 1 consists of issues 1-8. It follows Dream as he's accidentally kidnapped by a wizard ,who then out of fear imprisons Dream in a glass bottle. When the wizard had summoned Dream I was disappointed because the thing that had appeared was not what I expected Dream to look like. He looks like an alien with a flies head. Only later do we see that it was Dreams mask (one of his objects of power) which is taken from him later. I was thrilled and surprised because The Sandman looks a lot like Neil Gaiman or maybe Mr Gaiman goes around dressed as The Sandman. Unruly hair ,long dark raincoat. Or maybe he is The Sandman.

#1 and #2 follows the Sandman as he is captured and imprisoned in the bottle . While he waits to exact revenge he sits silently watching his captives while the world sleeps restlessly. Years pass and the Sandman finally escapes and then takes his revenge but must still find his lost objects (the ruby, helmet and pouch) #2 Imperfect Hosts, is where the sandman goes back to his world to find it in ruin. He then summons the Fates to inquire about the whereabouts of his lost objects:
The pouch is with one of my  favorite Englishman, John Constantine . The helmet with a demon in hell and the ruby with a member of the Justice League . This issue also sports a cameo of Batman and Robin. Notable figures are the Fates and Cain and Abel.

#3 Dream a Little Dream of Me, Constantine's appearance was something I was looking forward to but it was a bit disappointing. Then again that might not be saying much because I liked Keanu Reeves as Constantine. I have read one of the Hellblazer issues: in comparison, it's the same Constantine . The same level of cynical and depressing atmosphere. Dream finds Constantine and they go look for the pouch , which Constantine's ex-girlfriend stole. Although it wasn't what I expected it's one of my favorite issues (in this volume).

#4 A Hope in Hell, This is another of my favorites from this volume. Dream goes to hell to retrieve his helmet. He encounters Etrigan (a demon and half brother of Merlin), dream also finds hell in a different state. Lucifer is no longer sole ruler. He shares his rule with Beelzebub and Azazel. When Lucifer is introduced I was shocked because he looked like one of the damn  Bee Gees! That's not what a person expects, you know? . The demon who has Dream's helmet challenges him to a duel for the helmet. Dream wins , but Lucifer questions him "why should he let him leave  unscratched or leave at all". Dream blows me away with the  manner he escapes , he is a hope in hell and that's the reason they should let him leave.

#5 -#7, Passengers, follows the search for the Ruby. Doctor Destiny escapes Arkham asylum and hijacks a car with a woman in it. Doctor Destiny is going to get the ruby which he's altered to only work for him. Dream finds it first but the ruby resists him and takes some of his energy . Doctor Destiny shows up and takes the ruby. He plans to make the world go mad and be the king . #6 24 hours, Doctor Destiny's killing time in a diner while the world goes mad. He keeps the people in the diner there for 24 hours driving them mad and making them kill each other. Doctor destiny is twisted and really insane. Only after all the crazy has happend does Dream show up.  #7 Sound and Fury, dream challenges Doctor Destiny to a fight in his world. Dream tricks him into destroying the ruby, which gives Dream his powers back. Dream restores the world and returns Doctor Destiny to the asylum. and the world sleeps soundly.

#8 The Sound of Her Wings, This is my number one favorite. We get to meet Death, Dreams sister. She dresses in all black and has the same black unruly hair as her younger brother. She's death but she's full of life.    This issue follows dream and his sister while she reaps the living.

This comic is rated 18+. It does have some nudity and graphic scenes where people kill each other and are murdered .  There's a lot of death. The sandman has a lot of names. Morpheus, King of dreams, Dream and others I suppose. There's even a martian from the Justice League who knows him (which says something about his age). This comic has a lot going for it, good writing, good characterization and the art is pretty good if not creepy at times. It's also fun to read and meet characters you've know from other stories.So why wouldn't you read it?


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Moon Called ( Mercy Thompson #1 ) by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself.

This has been on my TBR list for a  while now and turned out to be exactly what I had expected. A fun , fascinating and engaging world of shapeshifters and other supernatural beings.

Mercy is a great character . I love her personality and the way she handles things. She's intelligent, practical and has some good instincts. She's also very kind but not a push over.And independent. I love the fact that she's a mechanic and there are also some other female characters with interesting jobs . They're  two other female pack members. One of which is a fire fighter and the other a teacher.

The book is set in a society that knows that there are supernatural creatures and later in the book the werewolves make themselves known to the society. Mercy is a skin walker and can change into a coyote but she was raised by werewolves, this makes for an interesting dynamic between her and the weres. All the females hate her, because she's not a were and she's beneath them. Wolves trump coyotes I guess. It's also fascinating to read about the dominance issue. Female pack members have to be submissive to the male members (because they're the dominant ones). Mercy has a good understanding about the chain of command in a pack and plays along.

The plot was engaging: Mercy's neighbour is a werewolf (alpha to the local pack) and has a daughter. She's close with them. They get attacked and the girl gets kidnapped. Mercy takes Adam to Bran (the alpha to the pack that raised her). Then there's speculation about motive to the attack and kidnapping of Jesse. I like a bit of mystery to a book, because I'm also speculating and guessing along .  But I was all confused and nothing made sense so I had to take back seat and be Watson while Mercy plays the role of Sherlock .

Mercy's eclectic circle of friends was pretty attractive. She's friends with werewolves, a gay werewolf (Warren) , a gremlin,vampires and a cop . Her circle is only going to grow in future books.

This is also suppose to be a romance book, but here wasn't much of that going on. At least not in my opinion. We are introduced to her background in this book, friends ,family. ex-lover and by the end she's dating or goes on a date with Adam.

There is a sub-plot ( a small) one where Mercy tells Kyle (warren's boyfriend ) that Warren's a werewolf and that's why he's sometimes distant.

I'm happy I finally got around to reading this book and it was fulfilling. I'd recommend it to anybody who enjoys all the drama in True Blood . There isn't any sex in this book ( in case you're one of those) but then again this is only book one in the series. It just kinda reminds me of True Blood only I prefer this series to a blond crazy person.

Also that cover is awesome!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Easy by Tammara Webber

A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

(Mature Young Adult/ New Adult)GOODREADS


 The reason I picked this book up. 1. the cover, 2. I'm girl and I occasional love a mushy-romantic-predictable-dramatic love story. 3. The "mature young adult/new adult " tag got my attention as well.

The book starts off when Jackie leaves a party and almost gets raped and she's then rescued by the guy, Lucas. This is very predictable: guy saves girl, they fall in love. Yes, it is  mushy and I'd have initially given it a 3. But the book doesn't overly surround the romance it also addresses the college situation and life. Jackie almost got raped and didn't report it . Later on the potential rapist rapes another girl. Jackie didn't tell her friends because she thought  they wouldn't believe her. She later does and her best friend/room mate turns out to be really supportive , they take defense classes provided at the college.

The heroine is likable and at first a bit annoying.

 ""The whole thing was a competition to see who could get how far, and I could never figure out if there was more luck or skill involved, or some unknowable combination of the two. People rarely said what they thought, or revealed how they felt. No one was honest""

These are her thoughts on dating. I agree you like a guy, so you  don't tell him you like him and pretend you're interested in someone else or play some other game. come on!  Although she plays the stupid game she redeems herself and her character becomes likable and normal .

The there's Lucas, the hero. Pierced and tattooed Lucas. Lucas has a traumatic past and carries this guilt around. He's a great hero in the story. and he can cook!  too good to be true!

Lucas/Landon frustration!

In the book Jackie misses out on 2 weeks of economics class and has to make up for it. So her professor makes her get a tutor so she can get up to date on the material she missed. She has a busy schedule so she and the tutor, Landon correspond through e-mail. She likes Landon too,they kind of flirt a bit. It reminded me of that movie with Tom Hanks and that chick (you've got mail?). This was new for me: to read these correspondences between the characters (a new  kind of dialogue between them). It was also annoying because she likes Lucas but was also curious about Landon. It was so annoying I stopped to go look for spoilers to make sure it was one person (becauseI hate the triangle thing!).

This is a refreshing book to read and an easy one. It (slightly ) reflects the way young men and women socialize ( text ting/e-mailing) and also the hazards of college live for girls. So it's not just a mushy romantic love story and that's what gives it the 4/5.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Think Out Loud #5

Think Out Loud.
This is a weekly meme used for bloggers
to post something they would normally not post.
So, post whatever YOU want!

This week I'd like to tell you about one of my favorite book people. yeah, he's technically a fictional character but he's well.... not amazing. He's rude, mean, filthy and insane. He's Mr Bernard Black from the BC show Black Books. 

Meet Bernard Black. Bernard is an anti-social, heavy drinking chain-smoker who owns a small London bookshop - an unusual vocation, given that he detests customers and delights in physically and verbally abusing them at every opportunity. His best (and only) friend in the world is his lunch time drinking partner Fran, a neurotic and boyfriend-desperate woman who owns the pretentious arts and crafts shop next to his. Bernard is cynical, abrasive and lazy, and is perfectly happy that way - but his life takes an unexpected turn when he sells 'The Little Book of Calm' to hyper-stressed accountant Manny Bianco, who against all odds ends up swallowing it. When the dust is settled, Manny will have a new job, Fran will have a new friend, and Bernard's life will be far more surreal (if that's possible). 

Meet Bernard Black:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vampire Hunter D volume 3 by Hideyuki Kikuchi , adapted and illustrated by Saiko Takaki

The third volume of the popular Japanese series comes to America in Vampire Hunter D: Demon Deathchase. The vampire hunter known only as D has been hired by a wealthy, dying man to find his daughter, who was kidnapped by the powerful vampire Lord Meierlink. Though humans speak well of Meierlink, the price on his head is too high for D to ignore and he sets out to save her before she can be turned into an undead creature of the night. In the nightmare world of 12090 A.D., finding Meierlink before he reaches the spaceport in the Clayborn States and gets off the planet will be hard enough, but D has more than just Meierlink to worry about. The dying man is taking no chances, and has also enlisted the Marcus family, a renegade clan of four brothers and a sister who don't care who they kill as long as they get paid. Beautiful illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano complement the post-apocalyptic plot, filled with chilling twists. Co-Published with Digital Manga Publishing.GOODREADS
* the description of the manga belongs to another edition. The edition being reviewed is adapted and illustrated by Saiko Takaki.

First off, I'm not familiar with the other two volumes or the story arc. This is my introduction to this manga. Not knowing certain things did bother me: like why the hell does D have a face or an ugly speaking face on his hand or why he's so mysterious and why the old guy seemed to know him. I guess being ignorant of D's background made this less impressive but it doesn't really ruin the plot,  it just makes a person curious so it's safe to read this as a stand alone. Then again I don't know why you would start at 3 when you should start with one.

The plot is predictable , I mean vampire falls in love with human, they run away, dad is disgusted, hires hunters,  girl hunter sympathizes because she likes D, a dramatic scene where the Meierlink gets killed and then human girl impales herself because she can't live without him. Predictable. 

What made it interesting was the characters and the illustrations. D's mysterious and I don't get him. Then there's the Marcus clan ( a bunch of morons, moron clan) and the Noble vampire who kidnaps the damsel. Then there's the 3 assassins from some village. They all die and the way they kept coming back was surprising and frustrating. I mean die already!

As for the illustrations. Lets see: the body of the characters ,their cloths (in this case I mean the men's cloths) are done really well and are amazing. But the faces aren't as attractive as the clothes . The faces are weird looking in my opinion but the expressions are unique and eye-catching. 

There are three female characters in this manga. I hated them all.  There's the damsel; who almost gets raped then saved by this guy who then tries to rape her and again gets rescued by a Marcus brother . Then there's the female Marcus member: she's suppose to be bad ass but is being sexually abused by her "brothers" and one of the assassins who's in this really skimpy outfit (how do you fight in that?!). The word "sexist' is swimming around in my head, but I'm not sure if I should use it. It is what it is. The assassin used her body as a weapon, the Marcus girl's a reasonable fighter but kind of weak and the damsel's too kind and naive. plus the other two aforementioned ones have these huge boobs. Maybe not extremely huge ones, but they're very apparent, noticeable. like they'd poke you in the eye or something. how do you fight with those?!

Predictable plot and crappy female characters aside, it's still a fun manga to read . I didn't know it was set in the year 12090 A.D and that this was also a science fiction manga, that wasn't as apparent in this volume as the boobs ,but one of the reasons I'd give it a try if ever I come across another volume.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Red Dragon (Hannibal lecter #1) by Thomas Harris

Lying on a cot in his cell with Alexandre Dumas's Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine open on his chest, Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter makes his debut in this legendary horror novel, which is even better than its sequel,The Silence of the Lambs. As in Silence, the pulse-pounding suspense plot involves a hypersensitive FBI sleuth who consults psycho psychiatrist Lecter for clues to catching a killer on the loose.The sleuth, Will Graham, actually quit the FBI after nearly getting killed by Lecter while nabbing him, but fear isn't what bugs him about crime busting. It's just too creepy to get inside a killer's twisted mind. But he comes back to stop a madman who's been butchering entire families. The FBI needs Graham's insight, and Graham needs Lecter's genius. But Lecter is a clever fiend, and he manipulates both Graham and the killer at large from his cell.
That killer, Francis Dolarhyde, works in a film lab, where he picks his victims by studying their home movies. He's obsessed with William Blake's bizarre painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, believing there's a red dragon within him, the personification of his demonic drives. Flashbacks to Dolarhyde's terrifying childhood and superb stream-of-consciousness prose get us right there inside his head. When Dolarhyde does weird things, we understand why. We sympathize when the voice of the cruel dead grandma who raised and crazed him urges him to mayhem--she's way scarier than that old bat in Psycho. When he falls in love with a blind girl at the lab, we hope he doesn't give in to Grandma's violent advice.
This book is awesomely detailed, ingeniously plotted, judiciously gory, and fantastically imagined. If you haven't read it, you've never had the creeps. --Tim Appelo GOODREADS
This is a book I bought on sale at my local bookstore and it was worth it. It's a classic but disturbing psychological thriller. One of the motivations for buying this book is the movie and also because I wanted to know more about Hannibal Lecter.

There's a forword by Thomas Harris before the first chapter, in which he explains his first encounter with Hannibal and how he became a recurring character in these books.  For some reason this gave me a foreboding feeling about  reading the book. A few chapters into the book was disturbing because Will goes to the house of one of the families that was murdered and walks through the scene. It's so well written that the gruesomeness of the scene scares and disturbs you.

Will's character is a well fleshed out one and so are some of the other  characters. He's suffering some trauma from the last case he worked on in which he had caught Hannibal. Crawford, an FBI agent working on the "Red Dragon " case asks Will to help him because it's similar to the Hannibal one and Will has a mind for these cases. Will can project  other peoples points of view and he can feel what their feeling. This is what makes him good at his job even tho he hates it.

Eventually Will decides to consult Hannibal on this case. If you pick  this book only for Hannibal then you should know he only has few scenes but significant ones. When Will first visits him in the mental institution (pg75), this scene has a kind of sinister and foreboding atmosphere to it. Hannibal is a sociopath and a trained psychologist. He feels no guilt about the people he's killed  and no shame about it. What makes him even more scary but also intriguing is the way he can read people and manipulate them. If you'd met this guy on the street you'd be charmed, you wouldn't suspect he was a sociopathic murderer!

The book picks up the pace when the murderer ,called from the start of the book the Tooth fairy, sends Hannibal a letter. The FBI intercepts this letter and try to communicate with the tooth fairy. This doesn't work out so well in the end.

Further into the book we start reading chapters and passages about the Tooth Fairy, Francis Dolarhyde.Who thinks there's a Red Dragon living inside him. To him murdering people is a process that will change him into the Dragon. Francis is obsessed with William Blake's painting of The Great Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed in the Sun. *behold on the right ->
I'm even creeped out by this painting ,so I don' get his obsession with it.

This painting is the explanation to the title. It's called the Red Dragon because of Francis obsession with the painting, but there are several other references about dragons throughout the book: When Will finds a Chinese character carved into a tree near one of the victims houses, which appears on Chinese mahjong pieces and marks the red dragon or the red finger print powder called dragons blood.

He has it tattooed on his back , he has printouts in his house.  Francis chapters are fascinating to read because there are flashbacks to his past : when he was born with a facial disfigurement (hare lip) , living with his grandmother and how he was treated by them and his mother an step siblings. Seeing how he was and how he is: leaves me with the question that if he was in a healthier environment , would he have become a murderer?

Francis changes when he meets Reba McClane. This is my favorite part. Francis and the Dragon separate. The dragon now has an individual voice that sounds similar to his grandmother, telling him he doesn't need Reba and he should kill her. Francis attempts to become one again with the Dragon by breaking into a museum and consuming the actual painting of the Great Red Dragon.

Things don't work out in the end. Francis fakes his death and then tries to kill Will. The killers dead but the book doesn't really have a happy ending more like a depressing one. Everything's explained in the last chapter and on the last page Will goes on about somebody named "Shiloh" which is confusing.

I'd definitely recommend this to anybody who enjoyed the movie or is just interested in a good book about the criminal Psyche. The characters are well developed and the writing is amazing and easy to follow.


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