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J. Surowiecki RSS Feed (Hanover Park, Illinois)

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The Secrets of Starpoint Mountain
The Secrets of Starpoint Mountain
by Bill Albert
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.78
14 used & new from $10.72

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Had No Problems With My Copy, March 24, 2008
I don't know what that other reviewer got, but I had no problems whatsoever with my copy of "The Secrets of Starpoint Mountain."

I received this book as a gift and had an enormous amount of fun reading it. I hadn't read a fantasy novel in such a long time and this certainly rekindled my interest in the genre as a whole!

"The Secrets of Starpoint Mountain" has quite a lot going for it, namely in the form of its strong and well thought out heroine, Gallif. The reader, along with Gallif, will encounter elves on both sides of the forces of good and evil, skeletons, as well as the mysterious Giant Lords. Fantasy fans of all ages will find a lot to like about this novel.

I eagerly look forward to the continuation of this series. It will be quite interesting to watch all the characters develop as the story progresses.

Bravo, Monsieur Albert. Bravo!

Who The Hell Is John Eddie?
Who The Hell Is John Eddie?
Offered by DVD-PC-GAMES
Price: $14.99
21 used & new from $5.76

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Eddie is New Jersey's version of The Ramones, July 28, 2003
Much like The Ramones, John Eddie is appreciated only by his fans. Also like The Ramones, John Eddie will be appreciated long after he is gone. And also like The Ramones, John is far too talented for his own good.
With all the homogenized radio stations across the country, it's a shame that a lot of this album isn't getting the airplay it deserves.
His newest album is a creative mix of songs. In an attempt to cross over, he's sprinkled in some country tunes along with some genuinely fun rockers.
Those who dislike "Let Me Down Hard" will learn to appreciate it when their hearts are broken a time or two in the near future. If you don't care for it, you just can't relate. Check back when you can.
Forty isn't a radio track. That's part of the joke. Sorry if some of the others don't get that joke. It's still funny and as he said live, "This song could go on forever." Hope it does, John. I hope it does.
As a live act, there is none better. Saw him this past Friday in Chicago and left after his set. There was no need to see Southside Johnny. I'd already seen the talent.
John Eddie's work is F-U-N. He has obvious fun performing it. He has obvious fun recording it. You will have fun listening to it. His live album is still his best, but as a studio album, this is a whole heck of a lot of FUN. The hidden tracks are great and deserve airplay.
For those of you keeping score.... he's lying. He's 44. (New lyric.)
I know who the hell is John Eddie. Pity more people don't. They should.

Triggerfish Twist: A Novel
Triggerfish Twist: A Novel
by Tim Dorsey
Edition: Hardcover
43 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything but the kitchen sink, June 5, 2002
Just as I was lamenting my completion of the final Douglas Adams book (see other review) along comes my annual literary fix of Tim Dorsey.
"Triggergfish Twist" kept me laughing, chortling, guffawing, and well... generally tittering like a whackaloon.
This H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S novel has everything: a mime, Tom Jones music, The Beam of Death, Trivial Pursuit, Ernie and Bert the homeless Christ and Antichrist, a well placed fade-out, a Crisco based life form, Velveeta, chicken salad sandwiches, Alsatian yodeling, thoroughbred ferrets and everyone's favorite encyclopedic-homicidal-lunatic Serge A. Storms!
I laughed. I cried. I got anxious and hysterical ... but then I've been on an emotional roller coaster since age 11.... I get like that sometimes.
"Triggerfish Twist" is the best Tim Dorsey novel so far!
SUPREMELY RECOMMENDED! Read this one! Pretty please! With sugar on top!

The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time
The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time
by Douglas Adams
Edition: Hardcover
117 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So long Douglas and thanks for all the laughs!, May 24, 2002
I purchased Douglas Adams' posthumous book exactly one year and one day after his extremely untimely passing. I have always thought that there is something inherently wrong about losing one's idols. "Salmon of Doubt" is a prime example of how wrong it truly is.
"Salmon of Doubt" is so absolutely and quite wonderfully Douglas.
This collection of articles, interviews, random thoughts and unfinished novel is an genuine treat to read. His unmistakable voice shines through on each and every page. For someone who professed to agonize over the whole "writing thing", Douglas did it with a style that is often imitated, yet never will be duplicated.
I was delighted to see "Cookies" make its way into this collection. I laughed when he included in the 4th Hitchhiker's novel, and was fortunate enough to hear him retelling this true story. He had everyone at this Chicago hotel bar in absolute hysterics some years ago, reliving the moment. I have never forgotten it.
"Maggie and Trudie" also stands out as one of my other favorite entries here. As does "The Private Life of Genghis Khan". The interviews included also give a further glimpse into this marvelously gifted man.
There is no doubt in my mind that the ever-so brief "Salmon of Doubt" story/novel itself would have been a joy to read had he been around to finish it. It would have worked perfectly well as the next Dirk Gently (or possible 6th HH) novel. I found myself reading this portion quickly, watching the pages dwindle and knowing it was going to abruptly end. It did. Now I'm left wondering what happened to Dirk and Desmond the rhinoceros. It's going to bug me till the end of time. Which I am sure would thrill Douglas to no end.
I'll have to ask Douglas when I see him at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe how it all ends.

Wire Mesh Mothers
Wire Mesh Mothers
by Elizabeth Massie
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
58 used & new from $0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a horror novel by any stretch of the imagination, May 22, 2002
Wire Mesh Mothers is yet another novel (in a recent string of novels) that is entirely mislabeled under the banner of "horror". Nothing could be further from the truth where this one is concerned.
There is absolutely no sympathy to be had for the main character of Kate McDolan. She's an unhappy, spoiled upper-class little brat. She is trapped in a loveless marriage of her own creation. She is despondent over her inability to relate with her own son and resented as a teacher by the small town yokels.
She opts to one day "conveniently kidnap" the nightgown-wearing, one-dimensional-stereotypical-loner/weirdo, Mistie Henderson.
Kate's preposterous intent is to steal herself and Mistie, relocate to Canada and live happily ever after with her hippie friends from college. A better life for both of them is her ultimate vision. The preposterous turns to the ludicrous when their departure is ruined before it even begins. Kate is carjacked by a 15 year old small town-Cops reject-gangsta-wanna-be named Tony (a.k.a. Angela.)
I found it incredibly difficult to fathom that a fit, 38 year old teacher could not have overpowered a scrawny 15 year old kid ONCE throughout this entire story. Kate comes out of this ordeal with more damage to herself that is reasonably possible.
Tony (Angela) herself annoyingly shifts personas throughout the novel. She's a grade school drop-out amazed at the interior of a no-tell motel one moment... a first rate actress finagling a ride out of ridiculously cardboard-cutout (read: doofus) secondary characters the next...all generously combined with a cold, methodical foul-mouthed murderess every other moment of the story.
The story stops dead in the final pages, without any sort of concrete resolution. A world of entertaining novels awaits you out there... regrettably "Wire Mesh Mothers" is not one of them.

Drift (Doctor Who)
Drift (Doctor Who)
by Simon A. Forward
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.95
28 used & new from $1.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by its cover, May 9, 2002
The artwork for the Doctor Who novel "Drift" is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous covers in the entire series' line. It conveys the chill and solitary feeling one would experience in a blizzard. I adored the novel for its cover more so than the story within.
About a quarter of the way into it I found myself doing the book equivalent of channel surfing... that is... skimming pages until I got to passages that mentioned either the Doctor or Leela. I would start reading at that point, as I really didn't care for a majority of the characters in this particular installment. But that's just me.
It's been interesting in recent adventures to see past incarnations out of the United Kingdom and in what is ostensibly foreign lands to fans of the series. This one was just a little below par story-wise. If this were an episode of the series... it would have been similar to "Image of the Fendahl" or "Underworld." I didn't care for those particular episodes, but I watched them just the same.
Two stars for the brilliant artwork and the fourth Doctor's ever-so brief appearances in the story.

Verdigris (Doctor Who (BBC Paperback))
Verdigris (Doctor Who (BBC Paperback))
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
25 used & new from $5.52

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fondly Re-visting the Early 70's Adventures, March 22, 2002
If I may borrow one scene from the novel...the third incarnation of the Doctor is surmising the story so far to fellow Timelord, Iris Wildthyme:
The Doctor started ticking off on his fingers. 'Let's see. We've got the disappearance of all UNIT personnel, excluding the Brigadier, and Mike Yates, who has turned into a cardboard shadow of his former self, we've got a spacecraft full of very irate, hand-bag worshiping aliens hovering above the planet, we've got a forest of deadly trees on fire, a mysterious green man who seems to be our sworn enemy, and, on the other hand, we've got killer robot sheep and the safety of Jo and Tom to account for. Is that a fair summary?"
That's exactly what you get when you read Paul Magrs "Verdigris'. A classic romp back into that magical time of Dr. Who known as the early half of the 1970's!
1973 finds our exiled Timelord and his assistant Jo Grant, relaxing in his home in the English country. He is visited by his self-proclaimed paramour, Iris Wildthyme and her assistant Tom. Her arrival is, shall we say, less than welcome. She has a working Tardis and the Doctor is still in exile on Earth. To make matters worse, Iris is constantly telling him things that have yet to happen to him.
I have quite enjoyed the references to the Doctor's residence made in this and several of the other novels. The concept round out the character and adds a lovely dimension (pardon the pun) to the man.
Magrs does a grand job of capturing the heart(s) of the Pertwee era. This could easily have been shot for the series and it would have fit comfortably well.
This has something for everyone. The third incarnation at his suave best, Jo Grant at her inquisitive best, the hamlet that the Doctor calls home away from his lab, an appearance by the Master and the entire staff of UNIT working in a grocery store.
Verdigris is a fun read. This scores a high 3-1/2 stars with me.

Fatalis: A Novel
Fatalis: A Novel
by Jeff Rovin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
63 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's Cheese, Gromit! Cheese!, March 21, 2002
If I may paraphrase the claymation character Wallace: "Cheese, Gromit! This novel is made completely out of cheese."
It's easy to see how the novel "Fatalis" may have been optioned for a film.
Certainly all the ingredients are in place: The rugged and handsome widower Professor. The plucky, attractive and independently wealthy newspaper reporter. The Napoleon-esque, Viet Nam veteran sheriff. The noble and introspective Native American mentor. And let's not forget the stars themselves, the thawed out, toothy, super-intelligent pussy cats.
"Fatalis" is a novel that is written for a long wait in an airport terminal and/or a flight stuck out on the tarmac. The chapters are extremely short. Some less than two and a half pages. The characters are two dimensional, and the dialogue is at times preachy. The sabertooths (or is that saberteeth?) come and go as they please; both on land and at sea. People get gobbled up without so much as a fight.
Another reviewer made a very astute comment. It's absolutely amazing how fully armed police-officers and national guardsmen are taken down in a matter of nano-seconds. Meanwhile, in various points throughout the story, our hero Prof. Grand, manages to elude becoming Meow Mix by using a stick, a stone and handmade prehistoric noisemaker.
Fans of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 will no doubt throw out one-liners as they read this novel. I know I did. It's cheese from beginning to end. And it's not even Wensleydale! All that was missing from the novel's climax was the obligatory . . . . THE END ??? to complete the cheesy monster movie feel.
2-1/2 stars for the Sabertooth Cats. I was rooting for them throughout the novel.

Bullet Time (Doctor Who)
Bullet Time (Doctor Who)
by David McIntee
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from $0.87

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My favorite companion meets my least favorite Incarnation, March 14, 2002
If I may paraphrase:
"You're nothing like the Doctor I knew." says Sarah.
"Perhaps you never really knew the Doctor." replies the 7th incarnation.
I'll be honest, I was never a HUGE fan of the Doctor's seventh incarnation. The character became more of a puppet-master. Someone who manipulated events behind the scenes, knowing well in advance the outcome of his actions. This stole a lot of the charm away from the character and the series for me. So, author David A. McIntee was fighting an uphill battle to keep my interest as a reader from the get go.
I picked up this novel as it was a pairing of my favorite companion from the series with an incarnation she'd never encountered. The three star rating (2-1/2 really) is basically for the truly impressive handling of the character of Sarah-Jane Smith.
She's aged well and still as tenacious as ever. There are no lengths she would not go to in order to get a story and the novel "Bullet Time" is no exception. I found her portions of the tale most entertaining. I also quite enjoyed the sequences with the Eastern Branch of UNIT.
I didn't hate it, nor did I fall madly in love with it. The character of Sarah-Jane has traveled with the Doctor far longer and experienced many more adventures than any of the other companions. I was just hoping for some of that old magic and chemistry between them to pop up somewhere during "Bullet Time." It never did.
Another line of the 7th incarnation's that bothered me is paraphrased as follows:
"The Doctor you knew is long dead." That line sort of soured the novel as a whole for me.
"Bullet Time" will no doubt enterain fans of Sylvester's character. He is represented well in this story. It just didn't thrill me as other novels in this series. A fair review for a fair installment.

Say Anything
Say Anything
DVD ~ John Cusack
89 used & new from $0.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Cusack's 2nd Best Movie of All Time, March 14, 2002
This review is from: Say Anything (DVD)
There is no denying that "Say Anything" is quite simply one of the best films of all time!
HOWEVER...John Cusack's best role will always be that of Walter Gibson in "The Sure Thing".... which needs to be released on DVD IMMEDIATELY.
"Say Anything" is a different film than "The Sure Thing." It is in a class all by itself. It is quite simply marvelous, poignant and forever endearing. It deserves so much more than 5 starts! 10 stars for this beautiful film.
What can be said about this film that hasn't already been said? It is the perfect love story. Lloyd meets girl. Lloyd falls in love with girl. Girl's father objects to Lloyd. Lloyd loses girl. Lloyd wins her back. True love reigns.
This DVD is PACKED. Worth every cent you will pay should you wish to own a classic gem. There is commentary by director Cameron Crowe, John Cusack, & Ione Skye!! (Right there, worth the price!) There are so many behind the scenes stories and anecdotes to be listened to here. There are theatrical and television trailers, 10 deleted scenes, 13 extended scenes & 5 alternate scenes with commentary!! What more could you want?!
DO NOT miss out on owning this DVD. If you've by some chance never seen "Say Anything" do yourself a favor and do so right away! You're truly missing out.
SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT HAVE SEEN IT.... No matter how many times I have seen this masterpiece, I still get choked up when Lloyd tells Diane, "You've just described every success story." And then we wait for the "ding" along with them.
And then... the "ding." CUT TO BLACK. (Gets me every time.)
I love this movie. Absolutely love it.

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