Mandated Disclaimer / Explanation of Ratings

The books (television series and films) that I review here are usually purchased by me, won in a giveaway, or provided free of charge by the authors or publishers in exchange for a fair, honest review.  I am NOT paid for a review by anyone, author or publisher.  Nothing will affect my review and/or rating, not even friendships with the authors.  Obviously these reviews are my own opinion and doesn't have to be agreed to by anyone else.  That is the fun of opinions, we all have them.

Rating System

1 - Severely flawed.  Not worth the paper it is printed on. Might be DNF (Did Not Finish).
2 - Problematic.  A struggle to finish.  Might be DNF (Did Not Finish)
2.5 - Still a struggle to finish, but the potential is there.
3 - Enjoyable, a pleasant read.
3.5 - Perfectly lovely to read.  Well worth the time.
4 - Something special that has captured my interest/attention. Compelling, good enough to recommend to others.
4.5 - As close as you can get to perfect, but still may have missed a spot. It can be something jarring, something that pulled me out of the story. It is unexplainable, but just isn't the perfect score.
5 - As perfect as perfect can get for me. It hits all my buttons, emotional and otherwise. These are the keepers.

Erotic means the heat factor is beyond graphic, very explicit descriptions.
Hot is just below erotic.  While there may be some invention involved in the lovemaking, it is mostly normal with some additional descriptive factors.
Sweet can be little or no sex, general descriptions.

Movie Review: Love Between the Covers

"A glimpse into the world of the women who create and consume romance novels."  This film shows the people who write and read the books that sell a higher percentage than any other genre in the publishing business.  Yet rarely get respect, only derision.

I honestly don't believe that I would've watched this film if it hadn't been for Sarah Wendell talking it up in a recent tweet.  I've seen and read too many disparaging works on the romance industry, the writers, and the product.  Some of my favorite authors participated, from Nora Roberts to Jayne Ann Krentz to Beverly Jenkins to Eloisa James, and many more.

I have to admit to a bad flashback during the Pitch part.  I had a book that I was about a third finished writing and pitched it to a bored representative from Harlequin back in the early 90s at the Romantic Times convention in San Antonio.  I was already nervous, but her disinterest and rudeness had me destroying the book and going back to fanfiction.  She thought my premise was unrealistic.  It was about a person who lost all their money and their job being forced to live on the street.  "That would never happen in real life."  Kinda put me off both pitching as well as Harlequin.

Anyhoo, back to the film.  There was a section on ereading and epublishing that was nicely handled.  I found the work on making covers to be very interesting.  I recommend anyone who reads, writes, wants to write romance to check this film out.  It is available pretty much everywhere, from On Demand to Amazon to iTunes.  4.5 out of 5, only because I wish it had been longer!

Book Review: Lone Star by Josh Lanyon

Dancer Mitch Evans had fled Texas for New York City and success, leaving behind his closeted first love, Web Eisley.  Years later, after catching his current lover cheating, Mitch returns to Texas to settle his deceased father's estate at last.  He didn't expect to run into Web, now a Texas Ranger.

There is magic when Mitch and Web are together.  Misunderstandings, hot-headed reactions, different times, all tore the two young lovers apart.  Time and distance have helped to heal, but being together again will complete that process.  I've never been disappointed by Josh Lanyon, although I wish Mitch had decided to buy the dance studio in town.  Maybe later if it is still available.  4.5 out of 5.

Book Review: Hitler Triumphant edited by Peter G. Tsouras

A series of essays written by top historians and military analysts that discuss alternate realities that could have happened if some pivotal moments had ended differently.
I have to agree with other reviewers in that this book started wonderfully, but slowly began to get less so. I'm not certain why.  Perhaps some entries were too detailed and not in a good way.  Maybe this is something that shouldn't be read at one sitting, instead spreading the stories out.  I lean toward the latter on that.  3.5 out of 5.

Book Review: Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel by Patrick Smith

The author of a column in Salon magazine called "Ask a Pilot", Smith shares many of the questions that he has received over the years. Although he claims he isn't getting too technical, he really did.

I think this book would appeal more to people who already know quite a bit about flight or are interested in the science and the nuts and bolts of flying. Not really what I was expecting. I also found it a slow read. A struggle to finish, although every time I thought "that's it, I'm done", he would discuss something that caught my interest. Just not often enough to raise this rating. 3 out of 5.

Book Review: Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh (aka Zoe Archer)

The Wicked Quills of London 3

Jeremy Cleland, vicar and third son of the Earl of Hutton, has been directed by his father and uncle to discover who the Lady of Dubious Quality, a writer of erotic romance, could be.  The Earl believes that once her identity is revealed, the scandal will put an end to her lewd books.

The erotic fires are really turned up in this installment.  Jeremy's search leads him to places, physical and emotional, he never expected.  It also brings him to Lady Sarah Frampton, a woman he comes to love, but can never have.  Their separate paths lead to each other, not smoothly, but ultimately where they need to be.

This installment is chock full of emotions, very intense.  As they used to say, "I laughed, I cried".  And I really did.  4 out of 5.

Movie Review: Er Ist Wieder Da (Look Who's Back)

I was bored and looking for something to watch on Netflix when I stumbled across this subtitled German film.  The basic setup is that, somehow, Adolf Hitler didn't die.  Instead he awoke at the site of his former bunker in the year 2014.  Everyone thinks he is a comedian, not realizing that he is simply continuing to use the problems in modern day Germany, similar to those in 1933, to lure people to follow him.  He finds himself gaining a bigger audience with postings on television and YouTube.  It is based on a book by the same name.

What is most frightening about the film is that it could very well happen.  Not the real Hitler coming back, but someone gaining power using Hitler's methods.  In fact, I think most of us could admit that we are seeing some of this in our current politics.  4 out of 5. 

Book Review: The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel

A serious and detailed look at the renowned John Ford film, from the backstory to the book to the film itself.

The basic synopsis of the film is that a young girl (played as a child by Lana Wood, as a near adult by 16 year old Natalie Wood) is kidnapped by Comanches who slaughter her family.  Her uncle (John Wayne) and adopted half-breed brother (Jeffrey Hunter) spend the next five years searching for her, but for very different reasons.  Her brother wants to bring her home. Her uncle wants to kill her, an "honor killing", because by the time they find her she will have had sex with the Indians, even if unwillingly.

The backstory of real abductee Cynthia Ann Parker is gone into in great and fascinating detail.  Kidnapped at 9, recaptured by whites 24 years later, separated from her sons and Comanche family, an object of stares and gossip.  The fate of her son, Quanah Parker, a man who saw the reality of the white man's invasion and knew how to use it for the best benefit of his family and friends, both white and red, is also subject to great detail.

The story of the author, Alan Lemay, is provided.  His experiences in Hollywood are shown as a way of explaining his cynical change in his treatment of the Natives from his first book to The Searchers  as well as his refusal to have anything to do with the film.

By the time we make it to the film itself, we are already almost halfway through the book.

While I recognize the quality of the work involved, this is not a film that I will rewatch when it airs on television.  As someone proud of my maternal Blackfoot ancestry, this hits too close to home.  Especially since my paternal grandmother, both in Oklahoma Indian Territory, was much like Ethan.  She disliked when I would proclaim my mixed heritage.

Reading this book is seriously like reading multiple books.  I appreciated that the author was honest about the film, both the good and the bad, as well as the people it was loosely based on.  He shares the reactions of critics and future directors, some of whom revere Ford's films to this day.

I loved this book from start to finish.  5 out of 5.

Book Review: No Dream is Too High by Buzz Aldrin

Part memoir, part self-help book, part motivational.  Buzz uses his own life and those of his friends as lessons on reaching for the stars and beyond.  If you're looking for a straight biography, look elsewhere.  But if short chapters that deal with how out of the box thinking can change the world, this may be the book for you.  3.5 out of 5.