Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ET & Philosophy...

Oom Oom by D.J. Webber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A boy (Joe Hills) and an Alien (Oom, from the planet Llevro) meet on a drought-ridden farm in the Australian Outback. Oom is in exile from his home planet, come to Earth to commune with those of a Higher Order (than humans? Blue Whales, maybe?) Joe Hills is a curious boy..intrigued by the Big Questions of life..which makes him an Exile, of sorts. Together they find water to save the Hills' farm from foreclosure..and dastardly neighbors. This could be characterized as "ET-with-Philosophy", since it touches on issues such as Multiculturalism, Save The Whales, "Is there life beyond Earth?"..the Big Questions..dealt with in a timely, non-patronizing manner.

Of course there are Caricatures...and a cameo by a pair of "Scully & Mulder" wannbes. George W Bush shows up at his manic, Patriotic "best"...but the whales steal the show..seriously. Who knew that they were the wiser species on this Earth? Not I.

I had my doubts about this book, at first, but came away with a good read. The presentation of ideas was clever and non-didactic. Might just give the YA audience some food-for-thought. My only quibble was the Editing. Could have been tighter...reined in the story's rambling a bit more.

All in all, a good, thought-provoking story. Won't set the world on fire but can start a slow-burn, nonetheless.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Threshold Threshold by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"First off, this is not Horror of the Splatter Sort...Paleontological??? Yep...this story is Ages Old yet as contemporary as...yesterday...Ms Kiernan is a trained Paleontologist..so her premise of "some old horror/monster" is not far-fetched..but the story is FETCHING with teeth to spare...read this, and her novel SILK..you won't be disappointed..but you might not sleep so easy, for a few nights, either...

bon chance
Jude" ( )

Friday, February 5, 2010

Something Different

Grace After Midnight: A Memoir Grace After Midnight: A Memoir by Felicia Pearson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First off, the title caught my interest...GRACE AFTER MIDNIGHT is not GIRLZ IN THE 'HOOD....it speaks of deeper, stiller waters...Ms Pearson grew up in the 'hood, and by a simple twist of Fate..found a way out...through TV...through the HBO series THE WIRE....through Michael K Williams, who was a member of that show's excellent cast. By essentially playing herself, Snoop (in real life) was able to quit The Life (Thug, drug dealer) and enter the world.

Born a 3-lb, cross-eyed crack baby in East Baltimore...Ms Pearson was a GIRL IN THE 'HOOD....on the stoop...on the corners..in the alleys...in court..and in Jessup (the Women's Penitentiary) at age 15. This is her story, told in her words, in her rhythm...no excuses, no Sugar Coat.

I don't usually read celebrity Bios..especially those written by the under-30 set...but, as i said, this one reached out to me. I am an unreconsructed fan of THE WIRE...and lament its passing (but all good things should end when it's their time)....it's glorious triumphs and imperfections..The character of SNOOP..with her raspy voice...her Corner Boy threads..her nail gun and bucket of quicklime.was an especial favorite...hell, i wanted to bring her home..to liven up the town where i live...

This book will never win a prize in the white world..but i thought it was a compelling read....not "fluff" , or just a voyeuristic peek at a lifestyle i'll never live. Ms Pearson lived THE LIFE and then turned it around..into something better for herself....through Luck, or Fate, or Grace...one.

4 Stars

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cozy...but a Good Mystery..in spite of itself

Still Life (Three Pines Mysteries) Still Life by Louise Penny

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"Still", indeed..but more like "still waters" It took about 120 pages before this book "kicked in"...I was focusing on the townspeople of Three Pines, and not enjoying their company very much...too many neuroses in the air. Somewhere around page 117, however, something 'clicked" and i began to focus on the investigative team, headed by Inspector Gamache..plenty of neuroses there, but at least those people had a job to do..a plan

i don't usually like COZY mysteries...too often they are heavy on the 'cozy" angle..and the "mystery" gets short shrift...but Ms Penny is very good at pacing her story...and dealing out the Clues in a timely, if tame, fashion. I figured out the Perp's identity early on, which did not detract from reading the actual End-of-Story..

Flawed characters trying to live decent lives, often in spite of themselves...and the Police who step in to clean up the messes when things go terribly awry

I have the second book in the series...waiting in the wings....maybe i'll actually read it

3 Stars