Wednesday, August 31, 2005

#58 The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Date Started: Monday, August 29, 2005
Date Finished: Wednesday, August 31, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
I'm not really sure how I felt about this book compared to the Broadway musical and the Andrew Lloyd-Webber movie. Of course, the primary thing missing is the MUSIC... which I so love. It really makes the whole thing for me. Given that, the book was obviously a translation as the English is not necessarily written in a way that a native speaker would say or write it. Also, it was written back in 1911 so the language spoken in France at that time was also more proper than that which is spoken today. Given that, I can't say that it was difficult to read, just not as smooth as today's native English writers.

About the story itself, as was mentioned in the foreword, some liberties were taken with the musical and the movie, which in my opinion actually made it a bit better in some respects. But the book also went into more depth on the history and architecture of the Paris Opera House itself which you don't really get from the musical or the movie. All in all, I'd say they tend to complement each other fairly well, and I appreciate reading the book after having seen the Broadway musical twice, and I also have the extended DVD edition of the Lloyd-Webber movie in my personal DVD collection.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

Monday, August 29, 2005

#57 Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy

Date Started: Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Date Finished: Sunday, August 28, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 stars
I liked this book okay, though there were a number of things I didn't like about it as well.

The author doesn't appear to believe in the subject matter she's writing about, in this case Shaminism. All the "you're going to think I'm crazy" and "I can't believe that I'm doing this" got old for me after awhile. I'm not sure why others didn't perceive this too. Or perhaps they did and simply felt the same as the author, as if the subject of Shaminism is a fantasy or myth. I don't know exactly, except to say that I prefer writing where such paranormal events are accepted as the norm, aka Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, instead of the author constantly trying to convince her audience that the practice of Shamanism is real.

Despite this, the subject matter itself kept me reading on. I was hoping that Joanne, the main character, would finally begin to embrace her shamanistic background and stop doubting and criticizing her abilities, which she did eventually. But the author's hesitancy in the belief of her subject matter still showed through despite this.

Oftentimes, the words or actions of the characters seemed contrary to previous events, making some parts of the story seem somewhat disjointed, though this seemed to even out a bit about half way through the book.

I liked the story line itself though and think the author has a lot of potential going forward as it appers this is going to be an ongoing series. This is after all a first novel for her.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

#56 The Hearse Case Scenario by Tim Cockey

Date Started: Friday, August 19, 2005
Date Finished: Wednesday, August 24, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 9 stars
I just love Hitch! I certainly wouldn't push him outta my bed were he to saunter by. ;) Though I wonder, with his smart-ass sarcastic comments all the time, if I'd get sick of him after awhile. Naaah...

Anyhoo, I didn't want to put this one down and am looking forward to the next book, which I'd sent off to HallieK before reading it so that I could mail both of these back to yllus at the same time. (She's going to mail it back to me when she's done.) Thanks again to yllus for introducing me to yet another great author!

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

#55 Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich

Date Started: Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Date Finished: Thursday, August 18, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 stars
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. I guess I should've figured that seeing as it was Evanovich, which I guess is the reason I signed up for this ring in the first place. :)

Anyhoo, going in I was afraid that being one of Evanovich's first novels, it was going to be strictly romance, the kind of stuff I usually hate. But I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, there were a few things that bugged me... the way she stressed at least once every few pages that Ivan had pirate blood running through his veins for instance. As if that's supposed to make him some really sexy dude! Unfortunately, the media has warped the public's perception of pirates such that they're seen as romantic and dashing heroes, which is really not the case at all. Pirates were never the gorgeous "Johnny Depp" type creatures portrayed by Hollywood, but were thieves, who would go days, months even, without bathing, thought nothing of slicing the throat of a "trusted" friend if it meant a bigger share of the pie for them, etc. So as I read, whenever there was reference to Ivan's "pirate blood", I'd have to force myself to see the Johnny Depp type of pirate instead of the dirty, rotten scoundrel type. But that was really the only part I didn't like...

On the up side, the action was swift and interesting, with a bit of intrique, and even a ghost thrown in. And Evanovich's humour, though not quite up to par with her Stephanie Plum series, was evident throughout.

All in all, a fun read and a book I'd certainly recommend to other Evanovich fans.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

#54 D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton

Date Started: Saturday, August 13, 2005
Date Finished: Tuesday, August 16, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 6 stars
There were some things I liked better about this one and some things I didn't like as much. For starters, like I mentioned for the B book, I noticed Grafton getting a bit too overly detailed sometimes about things I really didn't care too much about. Like spending 2 pages to detail the layout of an attic??! I found my mind wandering and had to go back and reread these sections to make sure I didn't miss anything important... which I didn't, but still, by the 3rd or 4th time I ran into this, I was groaning inwardly.

Beyond that, the story itself was good, and as in previous stories, the ending was a surprise. I also like that Kinsey's character is beginning to show a few more female characteristics, and I like that she finally gave in to some of her temptations with regards to Jonah. I'm hoping she continues in this direction in later books.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more info and links.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

#53 The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Date Started: Friday, August 5, 2005
Date Finished: Saturday, August 13, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 10 stars
Going in, I was unsure whether or not I'd like this book since I haven't really read much from the historical fiction genre. However, it blew me away! And I learned a great deal about Tudor England, Henry VIII, and Queen Anne Boleyn in the process.

This book is based on historical fact. At the back of the book is a Q & A with the author and she claims that the only fabricated parts are the feelings and thoughts of the individuals in the story. As she says, and I quote, "The history is the skeleton and the fiction is the breath."

Were this not a bookring book, I'd hang on to it and share it with as many people as possible. I may end up seeking out another copy of it anyway so I can do just that. :)

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

#52 Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Date Started: Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Date Finished: Friday, August 5, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 9 stars
This was a great fantasy book, and very different from the type of book I'm used to from Gaiman. It's more of a fantasy with faeries, pixies, gnomes, and the like instead of the dark and freaky stuff that he usually writes (although I really haven't read enough of his work to claim to be an expert). This would make a suitable story for both young and old.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

#51 The Naming of Parts by Tim Lebbon

Date Started: Monday, August 1, 2005
Date Finished: Monday, August 1, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 9 stars
Woohoo! Finally passed the 50 mark. Not sure whether I'll make 100 or not, but it's a goal to shoot for at any rate. :)

This was a good, quick, spooky read. The author's use of imagery really made the entire scene come to life with vivid clarity. The colors in the landscape, the way the zombies moved, it all added up to an enjoyable trip for the imagination.

I was left hanging at the end... I wasn't sure whether it was intentional or whether I was supposed to surmise the ending based on other events in the story. I don't want to give too much away for anyone who reads my entry but hasn't yet read the book, but with regards to what they would find when they reached the coast, Jack said he thought he knew, and since he knew what was going on before it happened in many other parts of the story, he's probably right here too. However, I couldn't figure out what it was that he thought he knew. Maybe it's that you're supposed to be left guessing and never really know. :)

I'd never heard of this author before Laurie shared this book so I'm interested in checking out more of his work. BookCrossing journal page for this book can be found at

Monday, August 01, 2005

#50 C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

Date Started: Sunday, July 31, 2005
Date Finished: Sunday, July 31, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 6 stars
I still think book B was the best of these three. In this book, I thought I had the bad guy pegged from the start and I turned out to be right. There also seemed to be less action going on in this one, a bit more mellow than the others, or perhaps it's just due to the other stuff I've been reading.

BookCrossing journal page for this book: