Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd - Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd 
One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
 
 3/5 stars (liked it)
I really enjoyed the writing style and the voice of May Dodd.  It really made be believe that everything in these books were 100% real.  May Dodd along with some of her friends went through a lot in the course of a few months.  All the women were escaping something and in the case of May, the Insane Asylum.  They all found life with the Cheyennes to be rough but enjoyable and some even grew to love their spouses.  I like how you find out what happens to each women at the end along with May's descendents.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Review: Nights in Rodanthe - Nicholas Sparks

Nights in Rodanthe
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks comes a tender story of hope and joy; of sacrifice and forgiveness -- a moving reminder that love is possible at any age, at any time, and often comes when we least expect it. At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman. Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend's inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne's perfect getaway will be ruined -- until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort -- and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.

3/5 stars (liked it)
A short quick book to read.  I had forgotten to bring my book and have had this sitting at my desk so I thought I would read it.  Like any other Nicholas Sparks book that I've read they follow the basic formula.  A couple quickly fall madly in love, something happens to separate them and the endings aren't usually happily ever afters.  Good book to read at the beach or when you're stuck inside in a snow storm.
 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fall 2012 TV

Oh TV, how I've missed you.  Well not really since I do watch TV year round.  I just missed some of my shows I normally watch that have not been on all summer.  So here are the fall premiere dates for shows I watch or will watch.  All times are in Central Time.

Monday, August 13th
Grimm (NBC) - 9:00PM (will resume regular nigh Fri 09/14 8:00PM) Season 2
Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt of the Portland Police Bureau learns he is descended from a line of "guardians" known as "Grimms," charged with keeping balance between humanity and the mythological creatures of the world. Throughout the episodes, he must battle against an assortment of dangerous creatures, with help from his friend Monroe (who is a reformed creature), and his partner Detective Hank Griffin.
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Monday, September 17th
Revolution (NBC) - 9:00PM Season 1
Revolution takes place in a post-apocalyptic future. Fifteen years earlier, an unknown phenomenon permanently disabled all advanced technology on the planet, ranging from computers and electronics to car engines, jet engines and batteries.  People were forced to adapt to a world without technology, and due to the collapse of public order, many areas are ruled by warlords and militias. The series focuses on the Matheson family, who possess an item that is the key to not only finding out what happened fifteen years ago, but also a possible way to reverse its effects. However, they must elude various enemy groups who want to possess that power for themselves.
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Monday, September 24th
Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) - 9:00PM Season 3
Hawaii Five-0 is an American police procedural drama television series and a re-imagining of the original 1968-80 television series.
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Wednesday, September 26th
Modern Family (ABC) - 8:00PM Season 4
This mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles the unusual kinship of the extended Pritchett clan, a brood that includes patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neill), his younger Latina wife, Gloria, and her preteen son, Jay's daughter, Claire, and her family, and Jay's son, Mitchell, who lives with his partner, Cameron.
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Thursday, September 27th
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 7:00PM Season 6
The show is centered on five characters: roommates Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, two physicists who work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech); Penny, a waitress and aspiring actress who lives across the hall; and Leonard and Sheldon's equally geeky and socially awkward friends and co-workers, aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz and astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali . The "geekiness" and intellect of the four guys is contrasted for comic effect with Penny's social skills and common sense.Over time supporting characters have been promoted to starring roles: Leslie Winkle, a physicist colleague at Caltech and, at different times, a lover of both Leonard and Howard; Bernadette Rostenkowski, Howard's fiancée and subsequent wife, a microbiologist and former part-time waitress alongside Penny; and neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler, who joins the group after being matched to Sheldon on a dating website. Bernadette and Amy became prominent characters after Penny and Leonard stopped dating.
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Friday, September 28th
Fringe (FOX) - 8:00PM Season 5 (final season, 13 episodes)
The series follows Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop and Walter Bishop, members of a FBI "Fringe Division" team based in Boston, Massachusetts under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses "fringe" science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe.
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Sunday, September 30th
Once Upon a Time (ABC) - 7:00PM Season 2
Emma Swan, who was abandoned at birth, is contacted by Henry, the son she gave up for adoption years ago because he needs her help. Henry believes that Emma may actually be the missing daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, whom according to his fairytale book, sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen's curse. In Storybrooke, the magic has been forgotten, but these fairytale characters are alive and well -- under a curse and forced to live in this modern-day world and have no memory of their former lives.
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The Amazing Race (CBS) - 7:00PM Season 21
Reality game show in which teams of two race around the world against other teams, with the first-place team winning $1,000,000.
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Wednesday, October 3rd
Supernatural (CW) - 8:00PM Season 8
Supernatural tells the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who were introduced to the world of the supernatural when they were young boys. After a demonic force murders their mother, the boys and their father embark on a quest to hunt down and vanquish this demon. All the clues leads them down a path of the supernatural and they must find a way to save the lives of unsuspecting victims. Each episode focuses on one particular urban legend.
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Thursday, October 11th
The Vampire Diaries (CW) - 7:00PM Season 4

The series follows the life of Elena Gilbert a 17 year-old girl, who falls for a 162-year-old vampire named Stefan Salvatore.  Their relationship becomes increasingly complicated as Stefan's vicious and malevolent older brother Damon Salvatore  returns with a plan to wreak havoc on the town and a revenge against his younger brother. Both brothers begin to show affection towards Elena, mainly because of her resemblance to their past love Katherine Pierce. It is revealed that Elena is a descendant of Katherine, who eventually returns with plans against the trio.
The series is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, a town charged with supernatural history since its settlement of migrants from New England in the late 17th century. Other story lines revolve around the other inhabitants of the town, most notably Elena's younger brother Jeremy Gilbert, her best friends Bonnie Bennet and Caroline Forbes and their mutual friends Tyler Lockwood and Matt Donovan. The town's politics are orchestrated by descendants of the original founding families, all comprising a "Founders' Council". Some of the founding families of Mystic Falls include the Salvatores, the Gilberts, the Fells, the Forbes and the Lockwoods. They guard the town mainly from vampires, although there are other supernatural threats such as werewolves, witches and ghosts and hybrids.
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Beauty and the Beast (CW) - 8:00PM Season 1
Detective Catherine Chandler is an intelligent, take-no-prisoners homicide detective who works with her police partner, Tess. Many years ago, Catherine saw her mother being murdered by two gunmen...two gunmen who would have killed her as well, except for the fact that something stepped in and saved her life. Today, Catherine has grown into a competent and strong woman, but she still believes someone human saved her life, not an animal. While investigating a recent murder, a clue leads Catherine to Dr. Vincent Koslow, a man who was apparently killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2002. Of course, it turns out that Vincent is actually alive, and he's the same man who saved her life. But he's been in hiding for the last 10 years because his condition leads him to turn into a beast when he becomes enraged. After meeting with him, Catherine makes a deal: she'll keep his secret if he can help her with her mother's murder. Their partnership continues to grow and, of course, the pair find themselves drawn to each other.
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Sunday, October 14th
The Walking Dead (AMC) - 8:00PM Season 3
Based on the comic book series of the same name, The Walking Dead tells the story of a small group of survivors living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.  Most of the story takes place in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and then the surrounding countryside, as the survivors search for a safe haven away from the shuffling hordes of predatory "walkers" (as the zombies are referred to in the show) who devour any living thing they catch, and whose bite is infectious to humans. The plot is focused primarily on the dilemmas the group faces as they struggle to balance their humanity with their survival against the zombie horde, and later, how they cope with members being killed and deal with other human survivors they encounter, many of whom are dangerous and predatory themselves.
The group is led by Rick Grimes, who was a sheriff's deputy before the zombie outbreak. At every turn they are faced with the horror of the dead walking again, the changing dynamic of their group, and hostility from the scattered remains of a struggling human populace who are focused on their own survival now that the structures of society have collapsed.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: Off The Grid - P.J. Tracy

Off the Grid (Monkeewrench #6)
On a sailboat ten miles off the Florida coast, Grace MacBride, partner in Monkeewrench Software, thwarts an assassination attempt on retired FBI agent John Smith. A few hours later, in Minneapolis, a fifteen-year-old girl is discovered in a vacant lot, her throat slashed. Later that day, two young men are found in their home a few blocks away, killed execution-style. The next morning, the dead bodies of three more men turn up, savagely murdered in the same neighborhood.

As Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth struggle to link the three crimes, they learn that there have been similar murders in other cities around the United States. Piece by piece, evidence accumulates, pointing to a suspect that shocks them to the core, uncovering a motive that puts the entire Midwest on high alert and Monkeewrench in the direct line of fire. Before it's all over, Grace and her partners, Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, find themselves in the middle of a shocking collision of violence on a remote northern Minnesota reservation, fighting for their lives. 

3/5 stars (liked it)
I started reading this series by the suggestion of a family member plus it takes place in Minnesota, which is where I live.  This books starts off pretty much where the last one left off.  Grace is on a boat with John and Leo is in Minneapolis carrying on with his life.  Grace and Leo need to sit down and have a serious conversation to figure out what their relationship really is.  Leo is jealous of John and thinks they're sleeping together.  While Grace views John as a good friend and just needed a change.  I had guess a lot of the things that would connect to each other but that epilogue sure threw me for a loop.  I hope another book gets written soon.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent - Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
Tris (Beatrice) is really growing as a person in this book.  She is getting over the grief of losing her parents and having her former faction destroyed.  Four (Tobias) is also dealing with issues of his own.  We also meet other Divergent people.  I cannot say much for fear of giving too much away.  But I liked this book better than the first one.  We get to know other characters, yet we are left with questions.  The ending was such a great cliffhanger!  I can't wait for the next one.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Book Review: Two For The Dough - Janet Evanovich

Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum, #2)
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie's bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso - a suspiciously wealthy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend - the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli - who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch - only makes the hunt more thrilling...

Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol packing Grandma Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move... and his next move might be Stephanie's last.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This book actually made me laugh out loud.  I love Grandma Mazur, she's the type of grandma everyone would love to have around.  She's tough and says what's on her mind.  Stephanie is tough on the inside but always getting into situations that are not good for her.  Morelli is sort of, kind of, not really a love interest for Stephanie.  He's a cop that will sometimes look the other way when it comes to Stephanie.  All around a fun book to read and a fast read. 

Book Review: Messenger - Lois Lowry

Messenger - Lois Lowry Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight.  ...