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Ashley Bell: A Novel
Ashley Bell: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $13.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Koontz novel, but not in the top 5, December 14, 2015
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I won't go into summarizing the plot, since it's already been done enough by other reviewers.
When I read Dean Koontz comment in an interview that this is one of his top five favorite books, I became really excited to read a book on par with Watchers, my personal Koontz favorite, and the author's favorite as well (according to his updated comments in the latest edition of that novel). So, I was expecting something I would enjoy so much that I would read multiple times like Watchers, Odd Thomas, or the Christopher Snow series. A world with wise canines, love stories, humorous characters, all mixed in with a suspenseful and supernatural plot. But after reading Ashley Bell, I was just a little disappointed because, while the book itself is a great read, it can't be put into the same class as those other books, and I was surprised that Mr. Koontz actually included it in his top 5 favorites.

What makes those other books great and a bit lacking in this one are those witty characters, brave yet scared with always time for a quick snide remark. Great relationships, either romantic or friendships. Yes the main protagonist DID have a best friend and a strong romantic partner, they were not really part of the "present" narrative. We learned about them, not through conversations and shared adventures, they were introduced to us as almost references to what their relationships COULD have been like if they were an active part of the current action.

I think if Dean Koontz hadn't said it was one of his top 5 favorite books, my expectations wouldn't have been so high and I wouldn't have been waiting for the Golden Retriever, for example, to become a bigger part of the story. I wouldn't have been waiting for Bibi and Pogo to be driving in the Honda, escaping from the bad guys while shooting off witty, snarky lines at each other. But I DID enjoy the book, on it's own it stands up very nicely as long as you don't compare them to Watchers or Odd Thomas..

Not his best, not his worst, but if you're a Koontz fan, well worth the read. The pages move quickly, the story always leaves you guessing, and despite what some reviewers have claimed, the ending is not as bad as some make it out to be. One thing I like about Koontz novels are they generally have happy endings. But many times also have endings that leave you feeling like there is some unfinished business. So while this book is lacking in certain areas, overall it is still classic Koontz, all the way.


Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel
Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "!", January 14, 2015
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I gave this eighth and final Odd Thomas book five stars. According to the definitions associated with the stars, I did indeed "love it." Some Dean Koontz fans might argue and debate whether this final book was as good as the others and might give it a four (or less), when comparing it to other books in the series. But if you are a fan of the Odd Thomas series, I don't see how you could not love this book too.

There has already been much speculation as to how the book would end, many guessed right, and some were close. But never wanting to be a spoiler of stories, I will not mention anything to give away the climatic ending. Except to say that one of the reasons I like Dean Koontz books so much is that they always leave me feeling good after reading the last page. I hate novels where the hero or heroes of the story fight the antagonists, while simultaneously endearing them to you, only to have the end of the story either leaving you with more questions than before you started reading, or by leaving you feeling depressed because of their demise or inability to totally "save the world". In short, I hate sad endings. And in most of Dean Koontz's books, some good guys perish, and sometimes endings are not so cut and dry, but they almost always leave me feeling good at the end. And Saint Odd is no exception.

The final page, which had no words (you'll understand when you see it), left me with a big smile on my face, and prompted a contented sigh.

Other things I can tell you, without giving anything away, is that this final chapter in the adventures of Odd Thomas, found the exact right balance of action, character growth and interactions, thrills and humor. A trademark of any great Koontz novel.
And as others have suggested, you don't NEED to read the previous 7 books, but I feel you would be doing yourself a disservice and not enjoy the full potential of this book if you didn't read them.

My favorite Koontz book is "Watchers", and probably always will be. But the Odd Thomas series comes in a very close second to my favorite. In some ways, it's just as good and perhaps even better than "Watchers", only in different ways (apples and oranges). So, in conclusion, if you are an Odd Thomas fan, this book is a "must-read". If you enjoyed other Koontz books but haven't read Odd Thomas, I suggest you start from the beginning and enjoy the full adventure to it's exciting and riveting conclusion.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2015 2:17 PM PST


Concealed in Death (In Death, Book 38)
Concealed in Death (In Death, Book 38)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.99

24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking character conflict and drama, February 18, 2014
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EDIT: Interesting. My original review did not get approved and for the longest time I couldn't figure out why.
And then I realized that I mentioned the nickname given to Chief Tech Richard Berenski. Okayyyy then, sorry Amazon, I changed it for anyone who might have been offended. *rolling eyes* Now on to the review:

I'm not a professional writer by any means, but one thing I know is that the rule of thumb for storytelling is conflict...as in conflicts between characters. The best scenes from the In Death books are when Eve and Rourke have a massive blowout fight. Or when any of the characters have any kind of conflict between them: Peabody and McNab, jealousy, or Mira tries to get Eve to open up, or when Nadine and Eve argue about "what's on the record", or any of the hundred of other possible combinations of characters conflicting with each other.

The last several books there have been almost no character conflict at all. It's been just pages and pages of dry detective work, following leads, interviewing people, arranging and rearranging Eve's crime board. I'd even settle for "Chief Tech Berenski" getting a little cranky with Eve because she's trying to rush him!

Some people are saying that Roberts isn't writing these books herself anymore. Well, I wouldn't even mind it that much if whoever IS writing these books would put a little more action, conflict and emotion into the stories.
So far I'm only halfway through, and I don't even know if I can finish Concealed in Death. I literally keep falling asleep whenever I start reading it. And so far, halfway through, the most dramatic thing that happened is Eve had a dream about the victims, but even her dreams are getting boring!

UPDATE: I'm STILL not done with the book (I'm about 70% done according to my Kindle). And I have to admit things did pick up a little bit around the halfway mark. We finally got away from the dry detective work of making phone calls, visiting relatives, writing reports and knocking on doors (sometimes those things can be exciting, but not in this case) But halfway through we are finally starting to see a little bit of interaction with the characters. As other reviewers mentioned, a deeper look into Mavis's past, the charming visit with the Mira's, and talking with some of the young girls that are currently living in the home for girls.
Those scenes are better than the beginning of the book, but it's still all a far cry of the gripping and emotional scenes that are true page turners in all the earlier books. As hard as I try, I cannot make myself get into this book, that's why its taking me so long to finish it. I'll read a few pages, get bored, and move on to something else, only to come back to it maybe later in the day or the next day or two.

I really hope Ms. Roberts takes these reviews to heart and understand that the people leaving these negative reviews are not trying to trash the author. We all love the author and we all love the In Death books. But by being honest and speaking our mind, we hope that Nora will make an effort to turn things around and start writing future books in the series like she did in all the earlier books. We have a lot of emotional investment in the book and all the characters, and to see them written so unlike they used to be (like watered down versions) is very distressing to me (and most likely many other fans as well)
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2014 9:56 PM PST


Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium [Blu-ray]
Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Billy Joel
Price: $16.49
46 used & new from $9.72

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, eventful concert but..., January 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Definitely worth owning if you are a Billy Joel fan, and especially if you are a New Yorker (or ex-New Yorker like me), history in the making here and a great send off for Shea Stadium and it's fans.
Great song list, most of the hits are performed, and with a few surprise guests. Paul McCartney was a great bonus!
I saw Tony Bennett on the song list for "New York State of Mind", and thinking 'great, Tony Bennett, whats that old fossil doing here?'. But I tell you, I was blown away, he was excellent and actually showed more energy than Billy Joel.
Which brings me to one of the negative things about this concert and one of the reasons I didn't give it 5 stars.
Many of the songs, Billy looked and sounded like he was struggling and that his energy was flagging. Sometimes he sang with very short, quick singing, sometimes almost talking, like he was out of breath and having trouble belting out the tunes. I know he's not as young as he used to be (none of us are), but to me it really showed.

The other negative is the band. While individually, they all seemed like a very talented group of musicians, but compared to Billy's old band, they just didn't quite capture the magic. I would have loved to have seen at least some of his previous band mates from The Stranger era.

Anyway, those things didn't make me regret buying this excellent concert DVD, but the bottom line is there are better video concerts out there.


These are the Voyages: TOS, Season 1
These are the Voyages: TOS, Season 1
by Marc Cushman
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from $24.33

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best behind the scenes Star Trek books ever!, December 11, 2013
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As I mentioned in another review about another Star Trek behind the scenes book, I pretty much own every non-fiction book about Star Trek ever published, even the clunkers, which this book is definitely NOT.
I have to give this book 4 and half stars because it comes jam packed with so much information, a lot of it new and previously unreleased, it is one of the most objective and informative of all the Star Trek books out there.
So why not 5 stars? Well, as others have already pointed out, it would have been near-perfect if included some color photographs. Even the Amazon description of this book shows several color pictures, which are not in fact in the book. I felt like it was kind of false advertising. And there were also some factual inaccuracies in the book. One of them right on the back cover, where it claims that the author, Marc Cushman, wrote "Sarek" which features the FIRST TNG episode to feature a character from TOS. Ummm, what about McCoy showing up in TNG's premiere episode with his nice little stroll down the ship's corridor with Data?

But those things can be forgiven and possibly even overlooked because the reader is way too busy soaking in all the information about TOS' first season. After you are done reading about Gene Roddenberry, his life, his attempt to sell a network such a unique concept as intelligent science fiction for television, the birth pangs of that series, you are then led to each episode in the first season. And every episode gets the full treatment, plot synopsis, favorite quotes, the author's assessment of the episode (which is usually more hit than miss), the ratings for that episode (and comparing the ratings of the shows for the other two networks at the time), and of course the story of the episode's production. Starting from script timelines (who wrote what and when), shooting schedules, production notes, and of course interviews with the cast, crew and creative teams.

So the bottom line, if you already have a whole shelf of behind the scenes Star Trek books, you'll definitely want to add this one to your collection. It's not the kind of book that you read through once or twice and be done with it. You'll find yourself pulling it off the bookshelf on a regular basis and referring to it whenever you watch another episode.

I can't wait until the next volume is released that will feature Season Two. And I'd even be willing to pay a couple of dollars extra if the author could manage to squeeze in some color pictures, maybe even if it's just a color inset, in the middle of the book that features 10 pages of glossy color pictures. Kind of like what "Captain's Logs" did in their book. Buy this book, if you're a Star Trek fan and like hearing about what went into making the show, you are going to love it!


Star Trek Vault: 40 Years from the Archives
Star Trek Vault: 40 Years from the Archives
by Scott Tipton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $28.13
43 used & new from $12.78

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A large "vault", but feels kind of empty, December 11, 2013
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As someone who can claim that he owns almost every single non-fiction book about the making of Star Trek ever published, I can say that this is definitely not one of the best, and in fact if you are like me and DO own most of the "about Star Trek" books, you could probably even skip this one. Information-wise, this book tries to cram the stories of all the Star Trek series, movies, and even merchandising, but unfortunately with so much to tell, it doesn't amount to much information at all. I would think that to pull off such a huge task successfully you would have to divide it into several books, much like Marc Cushman's "These Are The Voyages" series is attempting to do. (As of this writing, there is only the first season published of that title). But like another reviewer stated, it seems like this book is just skimming the surface of all things Trek. Just sampling the tip of each incarnation's iceberg, without even coming close to telling the whole story, especially when so much of it focuses on merchandising material from the series.

There are so many books, written by so many people (cast members, producers, writers, fans, even stuntmen) and each of these books have a unique perspective and a slightly different story to tell. If you want to know about budgets and production problems you could read Justman's and Solow's book, for example.
But this book seems to lack direction, just a mish-mosh of information, pictures and reproduced items (such as reproduced banners, blueprints, party invitations, and collectable baseball-type cards neatly tucked into pockets glued on to the pages. A somewhat unique idea amongst Trek books but still not enough to feel satisfied when you are finished. I came away feeling that each chapter devoted to one Star Trek TV or movie series was way too short, and a new chapter began before you even realized it
The quality of the colored pictures are great, but again most of the pictures are printed in other Star Trek books or even can be downloaded online from one of the many Star Trek fan sites.

With the exception of the merchandising pictures and reproductions, there is really nothing new to see here. And even many of those reproductions can be found in another book called "Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History", another so-so book about behind the scenes Star Trek. Recommendations, Mr. Spock? The previously mentioned "These Are The Voyages", "Captain's Logs", or the classic "The Making of Star Trek", all do a better job of telling the Star Trek story. But if you're a collector, like me, you'll probably end up purchasing it anyway, browse through it once or twice and stick in on your bookshelf in between the other Trek books you have.


Condemned of Space
Condemned of Space
DVD
Price: $1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before Galaxy Quest there was Lost In Space!, December 6, 2013
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I'm a big sci-fi fan. I love Star Trek, Firefly, Stargate and other quality sci-fi TV shows and movies. Lost in Space was definitely NOT a quality sci-fi show. But what it is (and we can finally see it in perspective all these years later) is the funniest, campiest Sci-Fi Comedy show you'll ever see.
The things that the robot and Dr. Smith say are just LOL hysterical. I mean c'mon, the people who wrote those lines definitely weren't taking things too seriously.
I haven't watched this show in many years. But when I watched this episode I went from being in a bad mood to laughing so hard that I forgot about what I was so upset about and had a fun time watching several more episodes.
So for that, I give it 4 stars for being a great Sci-Fi Comedy.


Security Lights
Security Lights
Price: $0.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Are you kidding me ????, October 17, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Security Lights (App)
A fifth grade student decides to try and make an app. With absolutely no experience he gets half way done and uploads it to the marketplace. Complete with annoying full screen ads right in the middle of the app, plus his little friend writing a 5 star review, even though he didn't even download it, you got yourself THE worst app ever made. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself. UNBELIEVABLE!


Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 3 [Blu-ray]
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 3 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Star Trek Next Generation
Price: $42.03
38 used & new from $29.55

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny...and more!, April 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is in response to those giving this product one star for being too expensive:

I got my set today and have watched three episodes so far. Even though I already own the first two seasons in Blu-Ray, I'm still totally blown away by the quality of the picture. It is just amazing to see such a clear image and vibrant colors and updated special efx.

Things I've noticed so far that I could not have noticed from the regular DVD's : In the first few episodes Wil Wheaton has some really bad acne problems going on and every tiny little mole and pimple show up amazingly clear (okay so that's NOT so awesome, but it's there), I've noticed a smudge of eyeliner under Dr. Crusher's eye for an entire scene, a dirt stain on the Captain's sleeve, but my favorite thing to do is to pause the playback when they show computer text on the LCARS screen. You could never read what the designers wrote until now, and let me tell you, they had a really warped sense of humor. I was actually laughing out loud at some of the things they wrote in "Ensigns of Command" for the Sheliac Treaty. I won't spoil it, you'll have to discover it yourself.

And finally, along with the hi-def bloopers, we finally get to see footage of David Rappaport as the original Kivas Fajo in "The Most Toys". Again, that alone is worth the price of admission, a very rare (albeit sad) treat for TNG fans.

I don't have a lot of money, I'm out of work on disability and have to make every penny count. But I can tell you I would have gladly paid more for this set of episodes, and I can't wait until the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th seasons to come out. I'll never get tired of watching TNG in this format, it's truly beautiful work they've done in putting all this together!

EDIT: You know I just realized something that some of you might already have figured out, ALL of the 1 star reviews, with the exception of one (so far) are not even reviews for the Blu-ray set!!!
If you look carefully at the sub-headings, you'll see that all those reviews are either for the DVD or for ONE episode from Amazon's Instant Video! These reviewers were reviewing the right thing but AMAZON lumped those reviews together with the Blu-Ray reviews. So I have no doubt that when a person reported poor quality video while trying to stream one of these episodes, if you don't look closely enough you won't even realize they are not talking about the Blu-ray set.

NOTE TO AMAZON: Could you please do a better job of organizing these reviews. You are putting these 1 star reviews mixed in to this product that are not even meant to be here!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2013 1:58 AM PDT


Frankenstein
Frankenstein
DVD

3.0 out of 5 stars Par for the course, January 4, 2013
This review is from: Frankenstein (Amazon Video)
In the tradition of all the movies based on Dean Koontz books this one unfortunately was par for the course. In general, it's very difficult to do justice to a novel within a 1 1/2 to 2 hour film. Unless you do a mini-series like Stephen King did, but you still can't pack all the details into it. And yet, like Koontz's other Hollywood attempts, this one is worth watching (if for nothing else) just to get an idea what these characters might look and sound like. Now I can go back and reread Koontz's Frankenstein series and picture Parker Posey as Carson.

So if you're a big Koontz fan like I am, it's worth at least one viewing. Compared to the horrible jobs they did with trying to bring The Watchers to the big screen, I'd say they did a slightly better job on this one. But I think Phantoms was probably the best attempt.

There are so many things that could have been done better in this movie, with minimal effort and expense, but I think that once Koontz dropped out of the project it kind of just got finished in limbo. The extra effort to make this movie really good just wasn't there. I was kind of hoping they would have made it into a series or even mini-series, and see if it might have improved as it went along.

I agree with the other reviewers that you should definitely read the books first, and then watch this movie. If you haven't read the books, you're only getting like one-tenth of the whole story from this film.


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