Saturday, March 22, 2014

Harry Potter: Sorcerer's Stone (first review by Jessica Kosinski)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (AKA: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)

by J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (1997)

It would be difficult for anyone not to have at least some knowledge of what has become the Harry Potter Universe (HPU). When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first released, it became an instant classic. Children and adults alike became immersed in it.

I personally jumped on the HPU bandwagon a few years late. I caught a bit of the third movie when it came out on TV and got hooked, soon acquiring all of the books and movies that had come out to that point. I then proceeded to purchase each new book and movie as soon as they came out. It would therefore be impossible for me to review the book version of Sorcerer's Stone without at least acknowledging a few major issues between it and the rest of the HPU.

Sorcerer's Stone the Book Versus the Movie:

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Burn (first review by Tonya Cozad)

by Linda Howard

Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition 
(August 31, 2010)  
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 0345486579 
ISBN-13: 978-0345486578

Linda Howard is one of the writers that I enjoy reading. Her book, The Burn, is one of her latest ones that I just finished. I actually bought it several months ago, and started the prologue, only to put it down and walk away. I just wasn’t getting into it then. However, this last week, I had some extra time, so I picked it up again, and started it.

The book starts really differently than her normal books. I discovered that the prologue is actually a chapter midway through. The first chapter starts several years before, and the book works its way to the present. The setting is about a young lady who wins the lottery. A Very Large Lottery, and how she not only deals with all that money, but what happens to friends, family, and her life.

The second part deals with being a wealthy woman who goes on a charity cruise with her new friend. Only her friend doesn’t make it, due to a very specific reason, and what is supposed to have been enjoyable cruise becomes a nightmare-hostages, international intrigue, and yes, love (with Linda’s good love scenes) and death!

It was a very solid read. I enjoyed it-I certainly enjoyed the young lady who is named Jennifer. She has my sense of woman-ness (if that’s a word), and my sense of outrage with a mouth to go with it! I would rate this as a #4. I certainly had to put it down for a while, but I definitely wanted to come back.

TL Cozad

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)

I Wear the Black Hat
by Chuck Klosterman
Publisher: Scribner, July 2013

ISBN-10: 1439184496 
ISBN-13: 978-1439184493

Available at Amazon 

What is it about our fascination with characters that, by any normal standard, would not be welcome into our lives, and the way they keep us riveted to our chairs watching them on media programs or reading them in books? People talk about the worst of them and try to understand them long after they are gone (like Hitler), are alternately horrified and amused by the bad boys and their antics (like Charlie Sheen or Alec Baldwin), and keep bringing murderers back to life over and over again (Hannibal Lector is reappearing in cable, and Norman of Psycho fame is back again). Really? Are they role models? Does it somehow help us? Are we drawn to evil? Is it the dark side of human nature that we can't get rid of?

Chuck Klostermann has taken on the task of sorting this out. While he's not sure he's got the answers, he's certainly taking a close look at the phenomenon. "I Wear the Black Hat" takes note of our penchant for paying more attention to the bad guys than the heroes (who can be unutterably simple and boring), and our tendency, over time, to remember the bad guys more clearly because they are a puzzle. Do they choose to be bad or is the choice made for them by outside forces? Do the cartoon-ish villains in old melodramas tying maids to the railroad tracks have anything in common with the author of "The Prince," Niccolo Macchiavelli? Which is worse, a villain-on-purpose, or one that can't help himself?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mirror, Mirror, the Reflections of Queen Snow White

Do you ever wonder if happily ever after truly is? Those of us who have lived long enough realize there is much more to life than the simple ending those old fairy tales used. What happens when the bills come in? What happens when children get sick or parents get old? We rarely see beyond the first story, Shrek not withstanding. Sometimes I make my own stories up but they are not nearly so nice as the original story. David C. Meredith not only brings us a story of Queen Snow White after that famous ending but takes us to a point in her life where she is at an all time low. This is a poignant story giving us an insight to Snow White and, as with all such tales, giving us lessons we can take home.

 The Reflections of Queen Snow White
by David C. Meredith
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