Friday, July 25, 2008


Title: Hidden

Author: Eve Kenin

Published: July 2008

Genre: Futuristic Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Series, Book 2: Could be read out of order. This book is very loosely tied into Book 1, through references to characters/events.

From the Author Site: Tatiana has honed her genetic gifts to perfection. She can withstand the subzero temperatures of the Northern Waste, read somebody's mind with the briefest touch, and slice through bone with her bare hands. Which makes her one badass chick, all right. Nothing gets to her. Until she meets Tristan. Villain or ally, she can't be sure. But one thing she does know: he has gifts too-including the ability to ramp up her heart rate to dangerous levels. But before they can start some chemistry of their own, they have to survive being trapped in an underground lab, hunted by a madman, and exposed to a plague that could destroy mankind.

Review: Hidden was definitely better than Driven! Loved the heroine and hero (T & T). Their attraction was explosive (pun intended). The book takes you back to the post-nuclear holocaust world and the Northern Waste. This time we follow Tatiana (Wizard and Yuriko's lost sister) through her three-step plan to save the world from Gavin Ward and his genetically created plague. The first step of her plan to save the world has her searching for Tolliver. As she searches the Northern Waste, she runs into an unsettlingly attractive man called Tristan and his strange band of followers. And it's lust at first site for both of them.

LOVE Tatiana! A girl after my own heart. I found her three step plans, because more that three steps was too complicated, to be very amusing. In each situation she seemed to make a three step plan of attack/investigation. Her continuing comments of being a late bloomer (due to her late development of powers that both her siblings had and her increasing lust for Tristan) kept me chuckling throughout the book. And she can kick ass! She is definitely not the poor, weak sister/friend as she was described in Driven.

I enjoyed trying to figure out the enigma that is Tristan. He was very much the mysterious stranger. A scientist that is trying to find a cure for a plague as well as a warrior. We know that he is more that he seems through the hints that he drops throughout the story. This keeps both the reader and Tatiana intrigued. His attempts to keep himself sane with the whole we-are-one philosophy was kinda funny. Especially since it kept Tatiana on her toes and as a very literal person myself, I could relate to her confusion.

This was a definitely a page turner. I didn't like having to keep putting it down for mundane things like sleep and work. The story is fast paced and more seamlessly delivered than Driven. I am certainly looking forward to Yuriko's story (I hope its next!).

Keeper?: Definitely

Recommendation: I would recommend it to any who read romance and also to those who enjoy a good action/adventure novel.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

Monday, July 21, 2008


Unlike many, I didn't get out to see the Dark Knight (but will indeed see it soon), but did manage to finish a book. ^_~

Title: Driven

Author: Even Kenin

Published: September 2007

Genre: Futuristic Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Series, Book 1

From the Author Site: Raina Bowen knows she can handle herself just fine against anything the harsh Northern Waste throws at her. Until it throws her an enigmatic stranger called Wizard. First, she has to haul him out of a brawl he can't hope to win. And next, her libido is shooting into overdrive at the feel of his hard body pressed against hers on the back of her snowscooter. But there's something not quite right about this guy. Before she can strip bare Wizard's secrets, they're lured into a race for their lives, battling rival truckers, ice pirates...and a merciless maniac with a very personal vendetta.

Review: I really enjoyed the story. Set in a post nuclear holocaust world in the great Northern Waste (couldn't figure out if it was northern Canada or Siberia but exact location doesn't really matter to the story, just that it really really cold). Raina Bowen needs money to hide (both herself and her sister) from a vindictive and outwardly respectable man who virtually owns the Northern Waste. She is depending on a stranger, Wizard, to get her the necessary paperwork she needs in order to have a chance at win the race to Gladow Station with her shipment and get the big cash price. So basically its the Iditarod with semi-trucks, instead of dogs, with the added excitement of being chased by evil ice truckers from hell toting big guns.

Raina Bowen was a good strong female character. She had a hard life growing up with her loser dad, but has manage to stay true to herself. Sweet and soft-hearted at her core with her exterior wrapped with strength and determination and a wicked knife! What did bother me a bit was that here she was a trust-no-one-because-everyone-is-going-to-betray-you gal and all of a sudden she's rubbing elbows with virtual strangers. She comments about it but there was none of the expected wariness in being surrounded by potential betrayers. Granted, they too are wanted, but still it was a bit hard to adjust to her sudden new friends.

I found Wizard (very interesting name) highly amusing. Loved that he was practicing his smiles and trying to get used to emotions. And we can't forget his compliments (what girl doesn't want to be told that her "eyes are appropriately spaced") and courtship gifts of impenetrable titanium body armor! Wizard made me think a lot about Nalini Singh's Judd Laurens from Caressed by Ice. Both are recovering/reforming assassins who used to work for evil. Both are trying to blend with their new environments with some success. Both are trying to deal with emotion and are very literal. Though I think Wizard would win the who's-most-literal contest.

The story overall was intriguing and interesting enough (even with the little bits of annoyance) to keep me flipping the pages. The characters and situations were plausible, for the most part, and appealing to my sense of adventure.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: I would recommend it to any who read romance and also to those who enjoy a good action/adventure novel.

Rating: 4 of 5

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dead To Me

Title: Dead to Me

Author: Anton Strout

Published: February 2008

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Stand Alone/Series: Book 1 of Simon Canderous

From the Author Site: Possessing the power of psychometry has meant a life of petty crime and failed relationships for Simon Canderous, but now he's gone over to the good side. A recent recruit to New York City's underfunded and (mostly) secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs, Simon's learning his way around mazes of red tape, office politics, and the basics of paranormal investigation. But it's not just the paperwork that has him breathless...

After Simon spills his coffee on (okay, through) the mysterious ghost of a beautiful woman—who doesn't know she's dead—he and his mentor decide to track down her killers. But Simon's not at all prepared for the strange and nefarious plot that unfolds before him, one involving politically correct cultists, a large wooden fish, a homicidal bookcase, and the forces of Darkness, which kind of have a crush on him.

Review: I was pulled into the story at the very first chapter! Due to some unfortunate timing in other life activities, I was not able to finish it in one sitting, but I certainly wanted to that.

You really get emotionally tied to Simon Canderous from the very beginning. There he was trying hard to keep a girlfriend when his powers go crazy on him, and she, of course thinks that he has been reading her secret diaries, dumps him like a ton of bricks. And like any other government agent, he is underpaid and overworked due to budget cuts. But unlike the drudgery of a government job, working in the Other Division of the DEA keeps Simon on his toes while he keeps trying the hit the curve balls life keeps throwing at him. And his poor love life, first a ghost, a very attractive ghost, but dead none the less. Then its the Enemy!

I loved the whole idea of the DEA (that is the Department of Extraordinary Affairs). And the department names and the names of the different groups were highly amusing, not to mention the different pamphlets and training seminars at the DEA! My personal favorite is "DEA or DOA, Your Choice"! It reminded me of all the ridiculous reading material I have to read whenever I start at a new company. Though I wish my reading was more interesting, who wouldn't rather read "Witty Banter to Ease Any Paranormal Situation" than "Manual Data Recording Rules".

As for the setting, it was based on modern date New York City but with the twist that there really are zombies, vampires and ghosts around and the average person just doesn't see them. And thanks to the Department of Plausible Excuses, the government continues to keep the average citizen in the dark to the extraordinary world. Although it isn't a very original world, it was done quite well and was made quite believable. Of course the government is keeping secrets from the general public and they could be hiding the extraordinary world from the general public! Most of us will never know what they are hiding.

I will definitely pick up the next adventure of Simon Canderous!

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: It was fun to read and the characters were delightful. Not for someone who is looking for romance, but definitely for everyone who love a good story.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

Monday, July 14, 2008


Working sure does cut into the reading time. But weekends are still free to hang out with friends and to go to the movies.

Movie: Hancock

Genre: Action

Rating: PG-13

Movie Blurb: There are heroes, there are superheroes, and then there’s Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility - everyone knows that - everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock’s well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough - as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn’t the kind of man who cares what other people think - until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock’s greatest challenge yet - and a task that may prove impossible as Ray’s wife, Mary insists that he’s a lost cause. See preview here.

Review: This is Will Smith's summer release for this year and I have to say I expected better. Hancock was an interesting story but overall poorly thought out and written. The well-intended acts of heroics that this hero performs seemingly causes more harm than good. Sure the bad guys are caught and people are saved, but the cost of the collateral damages is quite high: police cars destroyed, building and roads are badly damaged. And Hancock is not very lovable. He is a drunk, sarcastic loner who seems to go out of his way to annoy and has a large disregard for public opinion.

Enter Ray Embry, do gooder, a bit too goody-goody to be very interesting. Hancock saves his life and he decides to improve Hancock's public image. First he invites Hancock to dinner, much to his wife's dismay and son's delight. Then 'pitches' Hancock with the 'I can improve your image' spiel. For some unknown reason, or perhaps we are to assume that because Ray is treating him nicely, Hancock follows along tamely with Ray's ideas and goes to prison where he gives up alcohol and attends some anger management peer counseling while waiting for the world to miss him. The whole motive/inter-struggle of the hero was sadly lacking, there is no 'ah-ha' moment when the hero realizes that he can do good and make a difference.

The story had so much potential, but it all seemed to be watered down and very blase. Sure the surprise twist was interesting and it raised our hopes for a more dynamic action. But again I was left wanting. As twists go, it was fabulous, but unfortunately it went no where. That pretty much sums up the movie. Lots and lots of potential that went no where. A renter or better yet wait until its on TV and watch it for free.

Rating: 2.75 of 5

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Blues

On my drive home yesterday I heard a new amazing blues band. It was interesting that they were only kids but had the classic blues sounds. They are called the Homemade Jamz Blues Band

Check them out on NPR.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Algebra Required?

As I was driving to work, I was listening to NPR, as usual, I discovered that our 'beloved' govenator (CA Gov. Arnold) has decided that all eighth graders should be require start taking algebra.

Now being a part of the whole 'nerd squad' and all, math was easy for me, but I remember my sister literally crying through algebra. I'm not sure that it would make students more prepared for life. Who's used algebra in everyday life? I think we'd be better off bring arts back to schools.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Have You Read...

This looked like a cool idea... Uh... copied from Christine who go the idea from Kristie(j) who got the idea from Naida...

So here's the list of the 100 most popular books per LibraryThing.

Green = Read
Blue = TBR
Red = Wishlist

1. Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone by J.K. Rowling (32,484)
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling (29,939)
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling (28,728)
4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) by J.K. Rowling (27,926)
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling (27,643)
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling (27,641)
7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (23,266)
8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (21,325)
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling (20,485)
10. 1984 by George Orwell (19,735)
11. Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics) by Jane Austen (19,583)
12. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (19,082)
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (17,586)
14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (16,210)
15. The lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (15,483)
16. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (14,566)
17. Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) by Charlotte Bronte (14,449)
18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (13,946)
19. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (13,272)
20. Animal Farm by George Orwell (13,091)
21. Angels & demons by Dan Brown (13,089)
22. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (13,005)
23. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (12,777)
24. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (12,634)
25. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien (12,276)
26. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (12,147)
27. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (11,976)
28. The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, Part 2) by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,512)
29. The Odyssey by Homer (11,483)
30. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (11,392)
31. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (11,360)
32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11,257)
33. The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, Part 3) by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,082)
34. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (10,979)
35. American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman (10,823)
36. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (10,603)
37. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (10,537)
38. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (10,435)
39. The Lovely Bones: a novel by Alice Sebold (10,125)
40. Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card (10,092)
41. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman (9,827)
42. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman (9,745)
43. Dune by Frank Herbert (9,671)
44. Emma by Jane Austen (9,610)
45. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (9,598)
46. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Bantam Classics) by Mark Twain (9,593)
47. Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club) by Leo Tolstoy (9,433)
48. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (9,413)
49. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (9,343)
50. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (9,336)
51. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (9,274)
52. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (9,246)
53. The Iliad by Homer (9,153)
54. The Stranger by Albert Camus (9,084)
55. Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (9,080)
56. Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (9,027)
57. The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (8,960)
58. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (8,904)
59. Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (8,813)
60. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery - (8,764)
61. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (8,421)
62. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (8,417)
63. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (8,368)
64. The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition) by John Steinbeck (8,255)
65. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (8,214)
66. The Name of the Rose: including Postscript to the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (8,191)
67. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (8,169)
68. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (8,129)
69. The complete works by William Shakespeare (8,096)
[The complete works? Uh... Hamlet, Orthello, MacBeth, King Richard III, Much ToDo About Nothing, Julius Cesar, Romeo & Juliet, MidSummer Nights Dream, Henry V and I did see the Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abbreviated by the Abbreviated Shakespeare Company - that counts right?]
70. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (7,843)
71. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (7,834)
72. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (7,829)
73. Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library) by William Shakespeare (7,808)
74. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) by John Steinbeck (7,807)
75. A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (7,793)
76. The Alchemist (Plus) by Paulo Coelho (7,710)
77. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (7,648)
78. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Oscar Wilde (7,598)
79. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk (7,569)
80. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (7,557)
81. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) by Philip Pullman (7,534)
82. Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan (7,530) TBR Pile
83. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (7,512)
84. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (7,436)
85. Dracula by Bram Stoker (7,238)
86. Heart of Darkness (Dover Thrift Editions) by Joseph Conrad (7,153)
87. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (7,055)
88. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (7,052)
89. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (7,043)
90. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics) by James Joyce (6,933)
91. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel (Perennial Classics) by Milan Kundera (6,901)
92. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (6,899)
93. Neuromancer by William Gibson (6,890)
94. The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Classics) by Geoffrey Chaucer (6,868)
95. Persuasion (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (6,862)
96. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (6,841)
97. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (6,794)
98. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (6,715)
99. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (6,708)
100. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (6,697)

Pretty good for an engineering science nerd: 58 read, 3 TBR and 5 wishlist. Though by default some of these are duplicates aka if you read the Chronicles of Narnia, you would have read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

I want to know why there is no Dr. Seuss, Rudyard Kipling or Stephen King!? No Scifi greats like Asimov or Heinlein either but Douglas Adams made it? Strange.

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