Friday, June 29, 2007

Clan of the Cave Bear - 5 stars

Summary of Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel:
When her parents are killed by an earthquake, 5-year-old Ayla wanders through the forest completely alone. Cold, hungry, and badly injured by a cave lion, the little girl is as good as gone until she is discovered by a group who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. This clan, left homeless by the same disaster, have little interest in the helpless girl who comes from the tribe they refer to as the "Others." Only their medicine woman sees in Ayla a fellow human, worthy of care. She painstakingly nurses her back to health--a decision that will forever alter the physical and emotional structure of the clan. Although this story takes place roughly 35,000 years ago, its cast of characters could easily slide into any modern tale. The members of the Neanderthal clan, ruled by traditions and taboos, find themselves challenged by this outsider, who represents the physically modern Cro-Magnons. And as Ayla begins to grow and mature, her natural tendencies emerge, putting her in the middle of a brutal and dangerous power struggle.

This is an excellent book! People have told me that only old ladies read these her books, and while I've noticed that to be true, it doesn't mean that others shouldn't read them. You can learn a lot from the book, and the movie is does not do it justice. You really get to love the characters, and feel for them, and understand how hard life used to be. I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Code Name: Princess - 3 stars

Summary of Code Name: Princess by Christina Skye:
This slim but action-packed sequel to Skye's previous romance, Code Name: Nanny, stars navy SEAL Hawk MacKenzie and hotel investigator Jess Mulcahey (sister to FBI agent Summer Mulcahey, the heroine from Nanny). The pair come together under tumultuous circumstances when Jess, pretending to be minor royalty, bribes a hotel manager into upgrading her to a nicer room, which turns out to be Hawk's digs. Although the hotel has changed locks, it doesn't deter Hawk, who gains entry with a "highly illicit piece of technology" and catches her in the shower—a plot twist used in Skye's last book. Hawk is hot on the trail of a stolen government lab animal, and Jess is afraid the hotel staff will seek revenge on her for a bad review. Neither has the time or patience for the other's drama, but they are thrown together time and again in the genre's usual fashion—chasing the bad guys through the fog and rain of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, easing sexual tension in a stalled hotel elevator and tracking down the lab animal, an adorable koala bear.

This book is so cheesy. It's written well, but some parts just seem very silly and unbelievable. It's a good book to read for fluff. I may end up reading the previous book, since it uses some of the same characters, but it's not like I'm in any hurry.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Leave it to Psmith - 4 stars

Summary of Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse:
A debononair young Englishman, Psmith (“the p is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan”) has quit the fish business, “even though there is money in fish,” and decided to support himself by doing anything that he is hired to do by anyone. Wandering in and out of romantic, suspenseful, and invariably hilarious situations, Psmith is in the great Wodehouse tradition.

This book is hilarious! I could not stop cracking up laughing. I love how everyone's lives are conveniently intertwined and fate seems to be everywhere. I highly recommend reading this book for the entertainment value. It's easy to read, too, and goes quick. The summary isn't very good,but that's ok. It's basically that Psmith tries to get a girl, who works for a man whose relatives are trying to steal his sister's necklace. Complicated but easy to follow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nerds Like it Hot - 4 Stars

Summary of Nerds Like it Hot by Vicki Lewis Thompson:
Hollywood makeup artist Gillian McCormick wouldn't normally be caught dead on a cruise aimed at single geeks. But as the sole witness to a murder, hiding out may be her only chance at staying alive. With P.I. Lex Manchester guarding her, and a voluptuous disguise in place of her plain-Jane wardrobe, Gillian should be safe... if she can resist a titanic attraction to Lex that's making her fantasize about some extra-naughty cruise activities...He's rediscovered his inner nerd...Lex thought he had left behind his nerdy ways, but his suave demeanor has no chance against Gillian's bombshell image and the smart, sexy woman within. And when the scent of seduction wafts through the sea air, what's a red-blooded male to do?And the passion they've found is about to get out of control...With a passenger list that includes a mobster on a mission, a cross-dressing sociopath, and hundreds of lusty nerds, Lex must find a way to keep Gillian safe-and prove that he's truly her nerd for all seasons...

Like all her nerd books, Thompson succeeds at hooking up every character with someone, or most characters at least. It seems she doesn't like them to get lonely. I liked this one because the sex wasn't immediate, and happened at just the right time. However, I wonder about her nerds because they are getting less and less nerdy with each successful book. I wouldn't have called Lex a nerd at all, and she could have done much better to make it seem so. However, the concept of the nerd cruise made it worthwhile. I do wish she didn't use the stereotypes so much, as not all nerds look like they have no fashion sense.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, and forgive her for the issues I have with it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Mote in God's Eye - 5 Stars

Summary of The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle:
In the year 3016, the Second Empire of Man spans hundreds of star systems, thanks to the faster-than-light Alderson Drive. No other intelligent beings have ever been encountered, not until a light sail probe enters a human system carrying a dead alien. The probe is traced to the Mote, an isolated star in a thick dust cloud, and an expedition is dispatched.

In the Mote the humans find an ancient civilization--at least one million years old--that has always been bottled up in their cloistered solar system for lack of a star drive. The Moties are welcoming and kind, yet rather evasive about certain aspects of their society. It seems the Moties have a dark problem, one they've been unable to solve in over a million years.

This is the first collaboration between Niven and Pournelle, two masters of hard science fiction, and it combines Pournelle's interest in the military and sociology with Niven's talent for creating interesting, believable aliens. The novel meticulously examines every aspect of First Contact, from the Moties' biology, society, and art, to the effects of the meeting on humanity's economics, politics, and religions. And all the while suspense builds as we watch the humans struggle toward the truth.

This is a very engaging book. It's innovative and captivating. Despite being written over 30 years ago, I found it very plausable. The aliens were delightfully unique and realistic to what we may find in the universe. Their ways of life were wonderfully non-human. I strongly recommend this book to others, as it is well worth the read.

Adam's Navel - 3 Stars

Summary of Adam's Navel by Michael Sims:
Are we more than the sum of our parts? Perhaps, but it's fascinating nonetheless to look at our noses, ears, feet, and other bits as isolated evolutionary stories. That's just what Michael Sims does in Adam's Navel, an amusing collection of bodily facts. Sims wrote the book while laid out recovering from back surgery, jotting free association musings about whatever body part he had in mind. The result is a set of chapters with such titles as "Skin Deep," "The Not-Quite-Naked Ape," and "Our Steed the Leg." Besides anatomy and evolution, Sims turns to literature, movies, comics, and pop culture to glean references. He doesn't have patience for puritanical or non-egalitarian attitudes toward body parts, defending Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues against a "conspiracy of silence" and dismissing Camille Paglia's "nonsensical argument" that male urination is superior to that of females.

This book was interesting, but not what I was expecting at all. I thought it'd be more about what real reasons we have for body parts, not random speculation and stories that have nothing to do with why we have it. It's good for a one-time read but I wouldn't recommend buying it if you plan on re-reading books.