Coming Soon

Billy Tibbles and his boisterous family are at it again! "Why must I always be the one who remembers everything?" said Dad. The journey to Gran and Grandad's seems endless when Dad keeps having to drive back home for the rest of the family to collect things that they have left behind...

Coming Soon

Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders...

Coming Soon

Set in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United States, The Malacca Conspiracy is a bone-chilling tale of terrorism on the high seas, of political assassination and nuclear brinkmanship...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Graphs and Matrices

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:43 AM 0 comments
ISBN: 1848829809
Graphs and Matrices provides a welcome addition to the rapidly expanding selection of literature in this field. As the title suggests, the book’s primary focus is graph theory, with an emphasis on topics relating to linear algebra and matrix theory. Information is presented at a relatively elementary level with the view of leading the student into further research. In the first part of the book matrix preliminaries are discussed and the basic properties of graph-associated matrices highlighted. Further topics include those of graph theory such as regular graphs and algebraic connectivity, Laplacian eigenvalues of threshold graphs, positive definite completion problem and graph-based matrix games. Whilst this book will be invaluable to researchers in graph theory, it may also be of benefit to a wider, cross-disciplinary readership.

Sign Languages (2010)

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:42 AM 0 comments
ISBN10: 158121006X
What are the unique characteristics of sign languages that make them so fascinating? What have recent researchers discovered about them, and what do these findings tell us about human language more generally? This thematic and geographic overview examines more than forty sign languages from around the world. It begins by investigating how sign languages have survived and been transmitted for generations, and then goes on to analyse the common characteristics shared by most sign languages: for example, how the use of the visual system affects grammatical structures. The final section describes the phenomena of language variation and change. Drawing on a wide range of examples, the book explores sign languages both old and young, from British, Italian, Asian and American to Israeli, Al-Sayyid Bedouin, African and Nicaraguan. Written in a clear, readable style, it is the essential reference for students and scholars working in sign language studies and deaf studies.

The Magicians' Guild

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:41 AM 0 comments
ISBN: 006057528X
"We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician."This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work -- until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders . . . and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

The Novice

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:34 AM 0 comments
ISBN: 0060575298
"Even if a magician's powers surface of their own accord, he will soon be dead if he does not gain the knowledge of how to control them."Alone among all the novices in the Magicians' Guild, only Sonea comes from lowly beginnings. Yet she has won powerful allies -- including Lord Dannyl, newly promoted to Guild Ambassador. But Dannyl must now depart for the Elyne court, leaving Sonea at the mercy of the lies and malicious rumors her enemies are busy spreading . . . until the High Lord Akkarin steps in. The price of Akkarin's support is dear, however, because Sonea, in turn, must protect his mysteries -- and a secret that could lead a young novice mage deep into the darkness.

Charlaine Harris - Dead to the World

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:32 AM 0 comments
ISBN: 0441011675
From Emma Bull's War for the Oaks to Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, from The X-Files to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, creators are mixing old European myths and legends with modern American pop culture. Incorporating influences ranging from blaxploitation movies and erotic novels to tabloid staples like UFOs and Elvis, authors and directors are creating a new mythology for the strip-mall, tract-house, cell-phone America of the new millennium.

Joomla! Bible (ReUp)

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:31 AM 0 comments
ISBN-10: 0470509570

Hi-Fi News - February 2010

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:30 AM 0 comments

Stop Sweating and Start Living and No Sweat

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:28 AM 0 comments
After years of struggles, I discovered the REAL reason for my underarm sweat problem … and after two weeks of self-treatment I cured the problem.In fact, in the 10 years since, I've never been self-conscious about raising my arms in public. I have never worn an undershirt to soak-up my sweat, and I have never had a sweaty armpit (except during intense physical exercise).In “Stop Sweating and Start Living,” you'll learn exactly how I, and over 14,500 people who've read my ebook, stopped underarm sweat for life!

Guitar For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:26 AM 1 comments
ISBN:978-0-7645-9904-0

iPhone Design Award Winning Projects

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:25 AM 0 comments
ISBN-10:1430272341

High-Performance Construction Materials

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:23 AM 0 comments
ISBN:9812797351
This book describes a number of high-performance construction materials, including concrete, steel, fiber-reinforced cement, fiber-reinforced plastics, polymeric materials, geosynthetics, masonry materials and coatings. It discusses the scientific bases for the manufacture and use of these high-performance materials. Testing and application examples are also included, in particular the application of relatively new high-performance construction materials to design practice. Most books dealing with construction materials typically address traditional materials only rather than high-performance materials and, as a consequence, do not satisfy the increasing demands of today s society. On the other hand, books dealing with materials science are not engineering-oriented, with limited coverage of the application to engineering practice. This book is thus unique in reflecting the great advances made on high-performance construction materials in recent years. This book is appropriate for use as a textbook for courses in engineering materials, structural materials and civil engineering materials at the senior undergraduate and graduate levels. It is also suitable for use by practice engineers, including construction, materials, mechanical and civil engineers.

A Survival Guide for Working With Bad Bosses

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:21 AM 0 comments
ISBN:0814472982

Under Control: Governance Across the Enterprise

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:19 AM 0 comments
ISBN:1430215925
With the economic crisis that began in 2008, a long-standing trend toward increased regulation is becoming a flood. The clamor for improved enterprise risk management and the complexity of multinational compliance present executives with a dramatically new array of challenges.

Technical Support Essentials: Advice to Succeed in Technical Support

Posted by Life Explorer at 11:12 AM 0 comments
ISBN:1430225475
Technical Support Essentials is a book about the many facets of technical support. It attempts to provide a wide array of topics to serve as points of improvement, discussion, or simply topics that you might want to learn. The topics range from good work habits to the way technical support groups establish their own style of work.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Never-Bored Kid Book by Joy Evans

Posted by Life Explorer at 7:04 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-1596731554
Review:While being engaged in fun activities, your children will be practicing important age-appropriate skills such as visual discrimination, sequencing, small muscle coordination, following directions, reading, and critical and creative thinking.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:47 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-1594487569
Review:Girl in Translation is a coming of age story that intertwines what it means to be an immigrant with the values of family, a sense of duty, and hope for the future. Kimberly and her mother find themselves in New York looking for a better future than the life they'd known in Hong Kong. They are, unfortunately, at the mercy of Kimberly's aunt and uncle as they are quite indebted to them for arranging green cards and for taking care of medical bills for Kimberly's mom (who has had TB) as well as paying for their accommodations to New York.

When the story starts Kimberly is a middle school age girl who speaks and reads some English but not enough to create any real level of understanding of her surroundings. Her mother speaks almost no English. They've just arrived and their mother's sister (herself with a story that I won't spoil) has arranged an apartment and a job. The apartment is a heat-less, roach and rodent infested slum tenancy, and the job working at a sweatshop making pennies for long hours. The Chinese culture is front and center here and it is interesting to understand why Kimberly and her mom would agree to these conditions. The sense of duty, of obligation, runs strong - and they have very little other options and no choices. It certainly brought me back to stories my grandparents talked about as immigrants themselves and how they arrived in America and the struggles they faced. I think many of us have lost this sense of our past, of the struggles of our ancestors and how it really was when you arrived at Ellis Island (or how it could be)

As time passes they manage by making noises to frighten the various other non human tenants of their apartment and tape garbage bags to the broken window panes. Various people enter their life but they keep very much to themselves, afraid of what others would think if they knew the true situation. At first Kimberly struggles in school with her limited English skills but she soon picks things up and shows herself to be the star student she was back in Hong Kong for science and math.

Meanwhile both she and her mom work in the sweatshop for the pittance they get paid. Their life is undeniably hard and there is a marked contrast between the way things are for them and what Kimberly sees in school. The scenes in the sweatshop are particularly disturbing and it is unsettling to say the least to know that this type of thing exists not only in the USA but all over the world.

As high school approaches Kimberly receives a scholarship to an exclusive private school. All is not perfect though as there is such a contrast between her impoverished life and the immaculate and sprawling landscaped school grounds and beautiful buildings. It is really the first time Kimberly feels that she can escape the life she's been living and sets the stage for the choices she will make for the future.

As Kimberly tries to balance the demands of a top notch private school with her work both at the school and at her aunt and uncles sweatshop one of the boys there becomes Kimberly's friend, later destined to be something else. To see how a young boy can grow up in that environment and struggle and work towards a better future is heartwarming.

Just when you think you know what will happen the ending has a huge twist. I won't spoil it other than to say I almost cried.

I adored this book. It was comfortable and, in spite of the tragic content in places, the author did a wonderful job of making you feel it without spending your reading time in abject misery. The characters are extremely rich and vibrant and interesting. The world introduced feels as foreign as China to me and it is hard, as I've noted, to reconcile the fact that this type of thing happens all the time within the America I grew up in.

I also really enjoyed the Chinese sayings interspersed throughout the book. Instead of saying you are ungrateful you say "your heart has no roots". Although Kimberly struggled with learning this "Chinese" (what was being said indirectly or in a different way) I really enjoyed it. It is a part of the culture that is so different than the direct American way.

Girl in Translation flows smoothly and Kimberly ages as you press on, waiting to see what will happen, where she will end up, and if she can escape her situation and have a bright future. As bright as she is was my hope for her. An enlightening story with an interesting cast. Highly recommended!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:39 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-0385341004
Review:What a wonderful book! Having just finished this one, I am still smiling and thinking of the characters. Had I the time and money, I'd be booking a trip for Guernsey right this minute. As it is, I feel as though I've already visited and been made to feel at home. Set in both London and Guernsey Island, this novel follows author Juliet as she becomes friends with the inhabitants of the island shortly after the end of World War 2. Told in epistolary style, Juliet learns of the occupied island and its deprivations, as well as the resounding spirit of the people who live there. As she writes, she becomes more and more intrigued with the stories of the people who survived the hard times, and she decides to create a book based on their experiences. In order to gather more information, Juliet moves temporarily to the island and soon finds herself immsersed in the culture and relationships. This is absolutely one of the most delightful books I've read all year. The characters are real, the relationships are unique, and Juliet is hysterically funny, as well as warm hearted and genuine. I did have a bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight in the beginning, but once I caught on, I was enthralled. The pages just fly by and while you will learn a little of what happened to Guernsey during World War 2, you will learn much more about love and friendship. Highly recommended!

Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:35 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-1565125605
Review:Stripped of everything after his parents' untimely death, twenty-three-year old Jacob Jankowski has failed to sit for his veterinary exams at Cornell, left with no home and no future, the country struggling through the Great Depression, bartering in goods instead of money. Hopping a train that by chance belongs to The Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, Jacob hires on to care for the menagerie, his training an entre into this bizarre world; but as the novel begins, Jacob is an old man, restricted to an assisted living home, his memories sparked by a nearby visiting circus and a creeping helplessness that assaults his ageing body: "Age is a terrible thief. Just when you think you're getting the hang of it, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back." The story is related in the somber tones of the Depression, the hardscrabble and often unscrupulous business of a traveling circus and the heartless despots who make their fortunes on the backs of men who must do anything to survive. Star performer Marlena, an equestrian, is sensitive to the needs of her horses, although her mercurial husband, August, the trainer, is obsessively jealous and given to unspeakable cruelties. Uncle Al, Benzini Brothers circus owner-by-default, is a ruthless businessman who cares little for man or beast, engaged in a quest for fame to rival the great Ringling Brothers. With his advanced training in veterinary medicine, Jacob does his best to protect the animals from their harsh existence, especially Rosie, an elephant purchased to replace Marlena's lead horse. Jacob and Rosie share an affinity for one another, the huge creature at times almost human. Because of his growing affection for Marlena, Jacob suffers August's increasing affronts, caught in a cycle of inevitable violence, certain of a reckoning. In chapters that move flawlessly back and forth in time, from the rowdy circus atmosphere to the antiseptic corridors of the assisted living home, the world is viewed through Jacob's perspective, as he rages helplessly against the decrepitude of old age and the secrets of the past. In prose both poignant and infinitely tender, Jacob dwells in both worlds, revealing the wounds of the past and the sorrows of the present. In one touching scene, Jacob awaits a family member to escort him to the circus, yearning for the Big Top with every fiber of his being, craving the familiar sights and smells of that pivotal summer of `31, the roustabouts, the kinkers, the rubes, the animals. The denouement is devastating, as inescapable as the indifferent world that turns a blind eye to the vagrants of the 30's. Yet Jacob's spirit retains the essence of his kind nature and a respect for others, a man who will not be broken by circumstances. All is redeemed in a coup d'grace that will leave the reader strangely satisfied and richer for having met this raggedy tribe of miscreants and lost souls.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:32 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-0399155345
Review:A new classic has been born. Kathryn Sockett's "The Help" will live in hearts and minds, be taught in schools, be cherished by readers. The three women who form its core, idealistic Skeeter, loving Aibileen, and sarcastic, sassy Minny, narrate their chapters each in a voice that is distinctive as Minny's caramel cake no one else in Jackson, Mississippi, can duplicate. These stories of the black maids working for white women in the state of Mississippi of the 60s have an insiders' view of child-rearing, Junior League benefits, town gossip, and race relations. Hilly is the town's white Queen Bee with an antebellum attitude towards race. She hopes to lead her minions into the latter part of the century with the "enlightened" view of making sure every home in Jackson, Mississippi, has a separate toilet for the help. Her crusade is, she says, based on clear hygienic criteria, which will save both blacks and whites from heinous diseases. Despite the fact that the maids prepare the food, care for the children, and clean every part of every home, privy to every secret, many of the white women look at their black maids as an alien race. There are more enlightened views, especially those of Skeeter, a white, single woman with a college degree, who aspires to more than earning her MRS. Skeeter begins collecting the maids' stories. And the maids themselves find the issue of race humiliating, infuriating, life-controlling. Race sows bitter seeds in the dignity of women who feel they have no choices except to follow their mamas into the white women's kitchens and laundries. Aibilene says, "I just want things to be better for the kids." Their hopes lie in education and improvement, change someday for their children. There is real danger for the maids sharing their stories as well as danger for Skeeter herself. The death of Medgar Evers touches the women deeply, making them question their work and a decision to forge ahead, hoping their book can be published anonymously and yet not recognized by the very white women they know to the last deviled egg and crack in a dining room table. The relationships between the maids and the white children, the maids and some kind employers, including "white trash" Cecilia Foot, illuminate the strange history of the South. The love Aibileen shows for Mae Mobley matches the love Skeeter felt as a white child from her maid-nanny Constantine. There is never a dull moment in this long book. It is compulsively readable while teaching strong truths about the way the United States evolved from a shameful undercurrent of persistent racism to the hopes and dreams of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Ultimately, will the next generations children learn (and be taught) that skin color is nothing more than a wrapping for the person who lives within?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:29 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-1849162883
Review:A 24-year-old computer hacker sporting an assortment of tattoos and body piercings and afflicted with Asperger Syndrome or something of the like has been under state guardianship in her native Sweden since she was thirteen. She supports herself by doing deep background investigations for Dragan Armansky, who, in turn, worries the anorexic-looking Lisbeth Salander is "the perfect victim for anyone who wished her ill." Salander may look fourteen and stubbornly shun social norms, but she possesses the inner strength of a determined survivor. She sees more than her word processor page in black and white and despises the users and abusers of this world. She won't hesitate to exact her own unique brand of retribution against small-potatoes bullies, sick predators, and corrupt magnates alike. Financial journalist Carl Mikael Blomkvist has just been convicted of libeling a financier and is facing a fine and three months in jail. Blomkvist, after a Salander-completed background check, is summoned to a meeting with semi-retired industrialist Henrik Vanger whose far-flung but shrinking corporate empire is wholly family owned. Vanger has brooded for 36 years about the fate of his great niece, Harriet. Blomkvist is expected to live for a year on the island where many Vanger family members still reside and where Harriet was last seen. Under the cover story that he is writing a family history, Blomkvist is to investigate which family member might have done away with the teenager. So, the stage is set. The reader easily guesses early that somehow Blomkvist and Salander will pool their talents to probe the Vanger mystery. However,Swede Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is no humdrum, formulaic whodunit. It is fascinating and very difficult to put down. Nor is it without some really suspenseful and chillingly ugly scenes.... The issue most saturating The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that of shocking sexual violence primarily against women but not excluding men. Salander and Blomkvist both confront prima facie evidence of such crimes. Larsson's other major constituent elements are corporate malfeasance that threatens complete collapse of stock markets and anarchistic distrust of officialdom to the point of endorsing (at least, almost) vigilantism. He also deals with racism as he spins a complex web from strands of real and imagined history concerning mid-twentieth century Vanger affiliations with Sweden's fascist groups. But Larsson's carefully calibrated tale is more than a grisly, cynical world view of his country and the modern world at large. At its core, it is an fascinating character study of a young woman who easily masters computer code but for whom human interaction is almost always more trouble than it is worth, of an investigative reporter who chooses a path of less resistance than Salander but whose humanity reaches out to many including her, and of peripheral characters -- such as Armansky -- who need more of their story told. Fortunately, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in English translation will be followed by two more in the Millennium series: The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Air Castle that Blew Up. I can't wait. Larsson also made a 200-page start on a fourth book, but sadly he succumbed to a heart attack in 2004 and his father decided the unfinished work will remain unpublished. I recommend this international bestseller to all who eagerly sift new books for challenging intellectual crime thrillers, who luxuriate in immersing themselves in the ambience of a compellingly created world and memorable characters, who soak up financial and investigative minutiae as well as computer hacking tidbits, and who want to share Larsson's crusade against violence and racism.

Pretty Little Liars #8: Wanted by Sara Shepard

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:24 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-0061566172
Review:Alison "Ali" DeLaurentis: a bright, popular girl who led a clique of other rich, indulged girls. The others are more like satellites than actual friends as they know Ali is a powerful ally to have. They drop designer names every chance they get. They live in Rosewood, a suburb of Philadelphia on the Main Line. Ali, known for insidious cruelty has plenty of secrets. So do the other girls, all of whom have good reason to want Ali to do a permanent disappearing act. Aria, an attractive, athletic brunette who was glad to escape Rosewood for Iceland. She has a yak-fur bag to which she is inordinately attached. In every installment in the series, you can count on her to reach into that damn yak-fur bag for something. I admit I did get rather sick of that damn yak-fur bag. Aria's father accepts a teaching position there and for 3 years, Aria and her younger brother by 2 years Mike, learn Icelandic and absorb Icelandic culture. Unlike Mike, Aria wants to remain in Iceland. She has a painful non-Ali related secret - she caught her father cheating with another woman. Early in the series, Aria had an affair as well and her mother was involved with a man who tried to seduce Aria. She moves in with her father, new stepmother and sibling-to-be. Spencer, the grind who sputters at the drop of a designer hat. She earns As and other academic plaudits for real. She has long been eclipsed by her favored older sister, Melissa and has a history of bird dogging Melissa's boyfriends. The second time she does this, her cold-hearted family ostracizes her. To make a bad thing even worse, they even canceled her credit cards without telling her and stopped inviting her to meals. Melissa, a pompous Drama Queen has long reveled in her Favored Daughter status and you just want to kick her in the shins. Hanna, the former fat girl now turned femme fatale is the weakest link in the chain. Bulimic and insecure, she clings to whoever's wardrobe is most in vogue. These girls all drop designer names and flaunt fashion like it's going out of style. Hanna's relationship with her divorced mother is more like business associates than family. (Hanna's mother works for a company called McManus & Tate, which sounds like a spoof of the advertising firm of McMann & Tate in "Bewitched" [1964-72]). Her father's fiancee Isabel has a daughter Kate who is Hanna's age and Hanna feels that she has been replaced by Kate. In this installment, Hanna receives tickets to a high end fashion show that she believes her mother sent. She invites Kate and Kate's two satellites to join her, only to discover the tickets were a hoax. A is back in town, messing with the girls' minds again. Kate and the Satellites drop Hanna, which turns out to be a good thing in the long run because Hanna is then able to reconnect with the mother she thought had jumped her ship. Emily is still discovering that love comes in the most unexpected places. A bisexual, she finally accepts that part of her life and it is possible that Alison might have shared her feelings? As the mysterious A continues to tamper with the girls' minds, Emily is all the more convinced that A is telling her that it is past time to come out. Perhaps Alison has something to do with whoever A is? More mysteries abound. The DiLaurentis family trots out yet another family secret, one who has devastating repercussions on the lives of all of the girls as well as the casualties from the previous installments and the man who was arrested as being A, the Advanced Stalker. But was he? In the penultimate book, a man was arrested for stalking the girls as A, but the question of his guilt remains. The DiLaurentis' family secret leads to clues and even more questions about to do with the A incidents. Over time, readers will ride the A train to find out who A really is and what this secret means to the Pretty Little Liars, as the Rosewood 4 are called. The Eagles' 1976 classic "Hotel California" is the town of Rosewood's Anthem as Rosewood and this series is a place where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. I loved the series and the conclusions (yes, conclusions) are very cataclysmic!

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga) by Stephenie Meyer

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:18 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-0316087360
Review:To preface this, I'll say up front that I loathe love triangles. They're trite plot devices that are very rarely executed well, and that's just one of the huge problems with Eclipse. It's a love triangle that, according to the author, was designed for Bella to make a choice. Really? Was there any shred of doubt over what option she was going to go with? Unfortunately for Eclipse, about three quarters of the book involved pitting Edward and Jacob against each other in a quarrel over who Bella loves more (and again, really?). Sure, it's great to be loved, but in this instance it just makes everyone look bad. Jacob comes off as too sexually forceful, Edward looks like a lump on a log reciting the same "if it's good for Bella, it's good for me" line, and Bella looks more selfish and whiny than usual. Sure, Bella was whiny and annoying way before Eclipse, but she puts on a grand display here and it makes one long for a point of view change. Anyone. Jessica's point of view would probably be preferable. The rest of the book is about some killings in Seattle that, of course, mean Bella is in danger, which, naturally, means Edward has to act like a psycho boyfriend intent on saving her from herself. Early on he attempts to keep her house bound by ripping the spark plug out of her car, and while I thought that was a little melodramatic and creepy he one ups himself constantly after that. No wonder Bella kept grumbling and sighing whenever he kept swooping in to tell her where not to go and why. Then there's the marriage issue -- he wants to, she doesn't (it's embarrassing, you see...far more than having to tell one's family you intend to become a vampire in the near future because marriage is so much more shocking) -- but it's not like Bella has a say in the day that's supposed to be hers. She literally doesn't. It reminded me a little of an arrangement than a celebration with the amount of groaning and wincing Bella does concerning the upcoming nuptials. What disturbed me more, besides the rickety plot, the endless comparisons to Wuthering Heights (the author studied literature in college, I get it. most of us college educated people did and I still don't see the need for comparisons to Heathcliff and Cathy), and the annoying love triangle, was how self-deprecating Bella was. How she constantly went through the book saying how unworthy she was of everyone, how at fault she was of everything, how clumsy, stupid, selfish (that one I actually don't argue with), immoral, weak, helpless, pathetic, and frighteningly normal she is. Sure, it's hard to have immortal, strong, mostly male friends, but as a woman I'd like to see Bella shed that "oh well, I'm just a little weak girl, woe is me, I'll just sit in the corner and die now" attitude without having to become a vampire. At every turn in Eclipse Bella depicts herself harshly, and the story does nothing to turn that around. She's the one that wants to have sex outside of marriage (which is too immoral for virtuous Edward), she's the one that's too weak to do anything other than be babysat, and for the most part the story agrees with her. The men (with the exception of possibly Alice) are the selfless heroes by the end, and the women are selfish (Bella), shallow (Rosalie), and bitter (Leah). Where have the strong female role models gone?

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga) by tephenie Meyer

Posted by Life Explorer at 6:11 PM 0 comments
ISBN:978-0316067935
Review:It might seem redundant to dismiss the fourth and final Twilight novel as escapist fantasy--but how else could anyone look at a romance about an ordinary, even clumsy teenager torn between a vampire and a werewolf, both of whom are willing to sacrifice their happiness for hers? Flaws and all, however, Meyer's first three novels touched on something powerful in their weird refraction of our culture's paradoxical messages about sex and sexuality. The conclusion is much thinner, despite its interminable length. [...] But that's not the main problem. Essentially, everyone gets everything they want, even if their desires necessitate an about-face in characterization or the messy introduction of some back story. Nobody has to renounce anything or suffer more than temporarily--in other words, grandeur is out. This isn't about happy endings; it's about gratification. A sign of the times? Ages 12–up. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown

Posted by Life Explorer at 9:34 AM 2 comments
ISBN:978-0310272151
Review:It's the Fourth of July, and rather fitting that I've just turned the final page of Don Brown's new geopolitical thriller, The Malacca Conspiracy, as the book has a decidedly patriotic feel. With our nation's capital, Washington, DC, as one-quarter of the exotic, landscape quartet along with the far-flung destinations of Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Mr. Brown has the reader traveling the globe without ever having to leave the comfort of her bedroom slippers. And true to form, the rockets glare and the fireworks explode off each page of this novel leaving me satiated, but still wanting more. From reading all five of Mr. Brown's novels, I have discovered that he is the master of the plot, moving the story along seamlessly with grace and detail, and the skill of the masters of his time. He had me chomping at the bit to know what was going to happen next. The book has something for everyone. With a flair for the dramatic and penchant for sniffing out percolating controversy, Don Brown keeps the reader on the edge of his seat. Gentleman readers will love the high-stakes action and the geopolitical implications. Although the author has a knack for seeing the future having predicted the 2008 shooting war between Russia and Georgia in his novel, Black Sea Affair, I hope his crystal ball is on the fritz this time around, and our country is safe from the any of his fictional fireworks. As for the ladies, don't be fooled by political and military undertones. The author has brought back two popular characters from his first three books in The Navy Justice Series, Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian, and the sexual tension between the two sizzles like the burgers and dogs on your grill. Happy 4th and enjoy this and all four other Don Brown novels.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Posted by Life Explorer at 9:23 AM 0 comments
ISBN:978-0739377710
Review:Just as Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" is held up as the trilogy to which all fantasy trilogies are inevitably compared, I've little doubt that Larsson's Millenium series will play that benchmark role for mystery thrillers over the next few decades. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" is an incredibly worthy successor to the previous two books in the trilogy. And toward the end, there will be moments when tears are brought to your eyes. Larrson knew precisely how to play with timing, rhythm, and wording to pace the story and its ending just right. I'm hard pressed to even guess how else he could have ended this series. The story follows the natural conclusion of the events in the first two books as everything dovetails toward a "behind-closed-door" trial. Larrson did a very good job of the first part of this book that takes place in the hospital where Lisbeth is recovering. I really enjoyed reading things from her perspective, then spinning out to others involved and each of their limited pieces of the evolving puzzle. And things just get better as the book moves along. Frankly, once you hit part three of the book, it's almost impossible to put down. I picked it up just once...just to read a chapter or two in the second half of the book...only to find that three hours had gone by and the book was over. Larrson's tying up of many loose ends throughout the book - and this is key - throughout the book (not all in the last few chapters like so many other writers) is masterful. And that emphasizes the one tragic aspect of this final book: knowing that we will never again be graced with Larrson's storytelling mastery.

ICON

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ICON

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Are We There Yet? by Billy Tibbles

Posted by Life Explorer at 3:10 AM 1 comments
ISBN: 978-0-00-720785
Review:Billy Tibbles and his boisterous family are at it again! "Why must I always be the one who remembers everything?" said Dad. The journey to Gran and Grandad's seems endless when Dad keeps having to drive back home for the rest of the family to collect things that they have left behind. And just as he is about to completely lose patience, Dad realizes that HE has forgotten something very important indeed! Children will delight in poring over the detailed illustrations in this hilarious story.
 

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