Friday, January 26, 2007

Review: The Makeover Takeover by Sandra Paul

Title: The Makeover Takeover
Author: Sandra Paul

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: October 4, 2002
Publisher: Mills & Boon
ISBN: 0263829758
ISBN-13: 9780263829754

An office romance—with a unique twist!

Efficient secretary Lauren is in love with her bachelor boss Rafe Mitchell! Lauren's fought her attraction for as long as she can remember, but now she's finally had enough of watching the steady stream of unsuitable women come in and out of Rafe's office. She decides it's time for Rafe to notice her! But his reaction to the new improved Lauren far exceeds her expectations...!

My rating:

The usual schtick with the secretary crushing on her boss and the boss never noticing, until the secretary gets a magical makeover that brings that certain glimmer in the boss' eyes.
Been there, done that, have the condemning book evidence to prove it.

Quite predictable, yet the little twists and turns, and a few funny scenes prevent this story from becoming a total bore.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Review: Last Chance for Marriage by Sandra Paul

Title: Last Chance for Marriage
Author: Sandra Paul

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 1, 1992
Publisher: Silhouette
ISBN: 0373088833
ISBN-13: 9780373088836

Home economics teacher Amy Larkin refused to be daunted in her quest for a husband. Armed with her trusty new guidebook to marriage, Amy knew that finding the perfect mate would be as easy as pie. It was just a matter of the right ingredients—a dash of this, a pinch of that and voil√†! Wedding cake!

Amy was crazy, Jake Weston decided. Certifiable. With her cookbook approach to marriage, his childhood nemesis shouldn't be unleashed on the unsuspecting bachelors of California. Especially since she'd informed him that passion was out, and practicality in—and particularly since she'd looked so sexy when she'd said it. But when she tried to recruit him to find likely prospects, Jake knew it was time to take matters into his own hands....

My rating:

Ugh. I have sort of a love/hate relationship with this little book. I'm a sucker for romance and happy endings...and old-school Harlequin/Silhouette titles, but this one...There are as much good things I could say about it as there are bad ones, so I'm stuck somewhere in the middle, undecided whether I like it or not.

It is a cute little number, but you do have to read it just for relaxation and send your brain to fetch the newspaper or something. Because if you, God forbid, involve your brain cells, all the cons of the story will overlap the good stuff and you'll want to hurl it into the wall...I know what I'm talking about.

It could've been a great story if not for the heroines harebrained plan of snatching herself a husband using a "self-help" book, a cooking book on how to get yourself a husband, apparently written by a highly intelligent woman. So intelligent she uses Dr. in front of her name. Yeah, I bet that book is quite a bestseller.
And why has the heroine decided to apply home-economics skills to get herself a husband? Because she's turning thirty and refuses to stay single after that. Wait, isn't this supposed to be going on in the nineties? Are we sure we didn't somehow ended up in a time-traveling machine?

Anyway, because she's so stubbornly following everything the doctor woman wrote in her little wonder-book, the heroine doesn't see what is right in front of her eyes...A hunk...On whom all the little devious plans described in the book have apparently worked.
And when she finally sees what is right in front of her eyes and the hunk finally decides he's had enough of all the lesser hunk parading through his house and takes the big step, the heroine gets even more stupid...Instead of being overjoyed, because her idiotic planned worked—on the guy she's secretly had a crush since childhood!—she refuses to believe it, because there's no way it could've worked...Hmmm, magical book, girl!

So she rejects him and hightails out of town. He, the hunk that he is, is pouting and moping, but does nothing to follow her, because that would diminish his hunkiness...And it's once again on the heroine to set things straight and the heroes hunkiness is salvaged and they live happily ever after.

Reading though what I wrote I can't believe I even gave it that rating, but it's much better when you read the whole story. Still, switch the brain off, or else...Consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Review: Trojan Odyssey by Clive Cussler

Title: Trojan Odyssey
Series: Dirk Pitt
Author: Clive Cussler
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 20, 2004
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0141016949
ISBN-13: 9780141016948

In the final pages of Valhalla Rising, Dirk Pitt discovered, to his shock, that he had two grown children he had never known-twenty-three-year-old fraternal twins born to a woman he thought had died in an underwater earthquake. Both have inherited his love of the sea: the girl, Summer, is a marine biologist; the boy, himself named Dirk, is a marine engineer. And now they are about to help their father in the adventure of a lifetime.

There is a brown tide infesting the ocean off the shore of Nicaragua. The twins are working in a NUMA underwater enclosure, trying to determine its origin, when two startling things happen: Summer discovers an artifact, something strange and beautiful and ancient; and the worst storm in years boils up out of the sky, heading straight not only for them but also for a luxurious floating resort hotel square in its path.

The peril for everybody concerned is incalculable, and, desperately, Pitt, Al Giordino, and the rest of the NUMA crew rush to the rescue, but what they find in the storm's wake makes the furies of nature pale in comparison. For there is an all-too-human evil at work in that part of the world, and the brown tide is only a by-product of its plan. Soon, its work will be complete-and the world will be a very different place.

Though if Summer's discovery is to be believed, the world is already a very different place...

My rating:

A giant, prestigious, floating hotel finds itself in the path of a hurricane. The only salvation for the guests is Dirk Pitt.

Of course, NUMA saves the day (once again), but in the storm's wake there are clues to an ancient mystery with shocking implications.

I picked up this book solely thanks to the movie Sahara, and before I knew the movie and the book were like night and day.

Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed. The descriptions were flat, the characters one-dimensional at best, and the action was lacking.

A grandmaster of disappointment!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Review: Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler

Title: Valhalla Rising
Series: Dirk Pitt
Author: Clive Cussler
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 26, 2022
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0140287973
ISBN-13: 9780140287974

Pitt and his trusty pal Al Giordino track the sinking to the boardroom door of a multinational conglomerate called Cerberus, whose evil CEO has designs on the world's oil supply. He'll do anything to keep Egan's advanced engines and secret formula for frictionless oil off the market--even sabotage another vessel, this time a luxury passenger submarine. By the time our heroes have foiled the mastermind's nefarious plots, they've also uncovered the existence of a working submarine nearly a century before one actually existed--irrefutable proof of a Viking landing on the Hudson River--and the remains of the British sailor who inspired Jules Verne's Captain Nemo.

My rating:

A luxury cruise-liner powered by a state-of-the-art propulsion system sinks in a blaze of glory.

Once again, Dirk Pitt is on hand to bring the passengers to safety and investigate the tragedy.

There's also another shady organization with a huge megalomania complex-

This is another predictable, utterly improbable tale about the exploits of Dirk Pitt and his buddies at NUMA.

The action once again falls short, the descriptions are dull, the characters one-dimensional, making the reader regret the precious hours spent reading instead of doing something else.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Review: Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler

Title: Atlantis Found
Series: Dirk Pitt
Author: Clive Cussler
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: January 18, 2001
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0140287965
ISBN-13: 9780140287967

When mysterious black obsidian skulls and other artefacts of an exceedingly ancient culture begin to turn up in odd places, Pitt jumps in with both feet. It soon becomes dangerously apparent that a powerful, amoral group of fanatics calling itself the Fourth Empire wants the strange discoveries to remain underground. Pitt teams up with a beautiful red-haired expert in ancient languages to decipher the meaning of the artefacts. They were made 10 millennia ago in a then-temperate Antarctica by a seafaring civilization advanced enough to predict its own destruction by a comet impact. Now the Fourth Empire (whose literal and figurative progenitor comes as no surprise) is predicting a similar disaster in only a matter of months and preparing to take control of the Earth.

My rating:

An ancient artifact is found in Colorado and lo-and-behold, Dirk Pitt appears to, yet again, save the day, and the archeologists buried deep underground due to a freak explosion.

Mysterious artifacts start popping up all over the globe, apparently carrying a message of global Armageddon.

And there is, lo-and-behold yet another shadowy organization that tries to accelerate said Armageddon.

Yet another masterful example of a predictable plot, repetitive descriptions and language. There was nothing even remotely pulling in this plot. Any slower and it would all have gone backwards.

It was extremely hard for me to finish the book and it made me wonder whether reading the phone-book might be more entertaining.