Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Week in Books and Media

Eternal Hunter by Cynthia Eden 
The author has created an interesting paranormal world and her characters are complex and likable. However, between the mystery and the interactions with other characters I didn't feel like I got to spend enough time watching the romance develop. There was lots of sex (apparently a must for the shapeshifter crowd) but not enough of the two characters interacting in other ways so this ended up feeling like a cross between an erotica novel and a romance.

Beyond the Night by Joss Ware
This one is billed as a romance but it was so much more.  I really enjoyed this novel and was impressed by how well the author merged romance, SF/Fantasy and Adrenaline into a premise that worked well. The characters were likable and it was easy to see why the two main characters were drawn to each other. I loved that the hero quickly realized that the heroine needed to feel in control and let her take over in a variety of situations instead of turning into Mr. Alpha Male to show how manly he was. The ways the heroine chose to protect herself felt plausible given her background and her choices made sense. And really, having a post-apocalyptic romance that works is quite an achievement. However, considering it as a romance, I would have liked to see a bit more emphasis on the relationship building aspect. I also would have preferred a more believable (or at least more complete) explanation of the magic involved in the apocalypse.

Death at the Alma Mater by G.M. Malliet
The character and setting were interesting (set in England at a university fund-raising weekend) and well done and I really liked the detective but the mystery itself was a little too slight and didn't really give the reader the tools needed to solve the crime.

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
This was one of my book discussion group reads and it was a quick lighthearted read.  There have been several weight loss memoirs along the way and this was one of the more humorous of the bunch.  Possibly because of her reliance on humor, her weight loss dealt with the physical aspects of the problem but never really addressed the mental issues that caused them. Most of us who don't deal with that aspect of weight gain end up re-gaining the weight back over and over.  Look elsewhere for a weight loss manual and read this for the humor.

America, America by Ethan Canin
Another book club book. While I recognized the skill the author brought to this novel of American politics, I was largely untouched as I watched the drama unfold. This has been hailed as a "great American novel" and it is certainly skillfully executed but I put it down and didn't give it another thought until I was trying to write this quick review (a sign it left me a bit cold.)

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Wow! Unlike the last novel, I could not put this one down and felt vaguely hostile about having to stop halfway through to come to work.  The setting was unique (even for a fantasy novel) and the characters were engaging. One of the best things I have read this year.

Love Happens
I watched this on movie night and it was tedious. I could not for the life of me figure out why the main character would want to date Jennifer Aniston's character. I think they were going for clever and quirky but I thought she was awful. The most touching scene in this romantic comedy was with the main character and his ex father-in-law. Call me crazy but I want to feel a little emotional when the actual romance is happening.

The French Chef with Julia Child
A friend is deeply enamored of this series and said she is having a wonderful time learning to cook with the DVDs.  She is young enough that she didn't grow up with her mom watching these but I do remember seeing Julia when I was much, much, much too young to cook. As I watch these I remember how charming and intensely likable Julia is. I do wonder if, in today's society, she would be as reviled as every successful woman in television seems to become. Oprah, Martha, Rachel Ray, etc... all hated intensely in today's society.

The Tick
I was at a friends for an impromptu movie night and she pulled out this TV series. I could not stop giggling as I watched it.  Now I need to go find the rest of the series or haunt her house until I get to watch the rest.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This was another we watched on movie night that just happened to be on TV. It had these mysterious things called "commercials" that we had to watch in order to see the movie. Do you know how long it has been since I have seen a commercial?  I was still dating the last ex (okay, I have no idea how many years ago that was) and I had actual cable to accommodate his KU basketball obsession.  Anyway, I love these books and movies with a passion and, if you don't, you are a bit of grinch.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season
I like geeks and nerds way more than I should so this TV series charmed me. I love when they go into their neighbor's house and reorganize it while she is asleep (or maybe I just want someone to do that for me.)  It probably doesn't help that these guys remind me a bit of one of my BFFs. And yes, using that label when you are no longer 14 is just sad, but I couldn't help it. It just suited the moment.
Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred
I am really loving the yoga class I take on the weekends but can't get to classes during the week and on a couple of nights I don't have an hour to devote to it. So I decided I needed a supercharged workout that wasn't quite so long. This DVD features three 20 minutes workouts and the beginning one is hard enough that the next day you can feel it. It is a little hard on the knees since the trainer is inordinately fond of jumping jacks so I am still trying to decide if I should buy a copy or try a few more options.  At the very least I will probably go scavenge Half Price Books to see if they have a super cheap copy.

1 comment:

Average Jane said...

RE: Such A Pretty Fat - I thought she did a decent job of exploring at least some of the emotional reasons she had trouble losing weight. She talked a lot about how she realized how she was stuck in an immature mindset that she had to break out of.

You're welcome to come over and watch the other episodes of The Tick anytime. :)