September 2013

The first book in the Corinna Chapman mystery series.

Publication year: 2007
Format: Audio
Narrator: Louise Siversen
Running Time: 10 hrs

Once, Corinna wanted to become an accountant. In order to finance her studies she became a baker and now she owns her own baker, Earthly Delights, in Melbourne. However, her bakery is not in the best of places and so she starts the book giving CPR to a junkie who has taken an overdose right in behind her door. When the EMTs save the addict, she turns out to be less than grateful. But the Soup Run’s tall, dark and handsome man Daniel turns out to be very grateful, and interested in Corinne, to boot.

Someone sends threatening letters to every woman in Corinna’s building calling them “scarlet women” and unsurprisingly, they want to find out who is behind it. Also, someone is poisoning the drugs which the addicts use and several addicts have already died. Daniel wants to find out the guilty party.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Jason is a young drug addict who comes to Corinna’s door wanting a job and she gives him one, sweeping the floors. She doesn’t pry into his life, enough though she wants to, and slowly they start to trust each other. Meroe is a witch and she runs her own business, the Sibyl’s Cave. She and Corinna a great friends. Even though Corinna is mostly self-employed, she has to young women who sell her break when she’s not in the shop. Kylie and Gossamer dream of being actresses and have to maintain a very low weight. They change their hair color almost daily and behave otherwise like teenagers. Then there’s Dionysius Monk. He’s one of Corinna’s neighbors, a former classics professor and still obsessed with classical history.

This is a great beginning for a new mystery series.

Today the topic of Top Ten Tuesdays is Top ten books I want to see made to a movie or a TV show (in a perfect world).

There are so many choices here!

Actually, after the success of the Harry Potter, LOTR, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies I’m a bit surprised we haven’t seen very many similar fantasy movies but I guess most books are easier to make into TV shows than movies, at least if you don’t want to chop off majority of the book.

Here are my current choices:

1, The Amber chronicles by Roger Zelazny
The various alternate universes are very cinematic and I think they could be done well today.

2, Jocelynn Drake’s Dark Days series
The books could easily be made into a TV show.

3, Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series
With the success that Walking Dead has, Priest’s world of zombies and steampunk could be great.

4, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards
Either a series of movies or a TV show about young wizards. Surely there must be a lot of Potter fans who would love it?

5, Jim C. Hines’ Princess series
I think a TV show would be better for these books.

6, Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series
A cross between Grimm and Once Upon a Time? Come on, TV moguls!

7, Liz Williams’ Chief Inspector Chen series
Another lush world just waiting to be translated into a TV show.

8, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Spirit Ring
I think this book could be a great movie with a clear setting and a short, self-contained story.

9, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series
Victorian Egyptologists who solve crimes!

10, Peters Clines’ Ex-Heroes
Zombies and superheroes! I’m a bit surprised these books haven’t been made into movies already.

A Buffy the vampire slayer novel, although set in 1940, before the show started.

Publication year: 2001
Format: print
Page count: 353
Publisher: Pocket Books

Spike and Dru are vampires and lovers, and apparently quite popular characters. Spike is one of my favorite characters, ever, so I was quite exited to read this book.

In March 1940 Spike and Drusilla are in New York and Dru is bored. So, she wants a very special birthday present: the mythical Freya’s Strand, the necklace of the Brisings. Her birthday is, of course, the anniversary of the day when she was made a vampire. Spike, of course, will do anything for his lady love and they are looking for someone who knows where the demon Skrymir, the Strand’s owner, is. Spike gets the information and soon the duo is sailing to Norway. However, because the war has started, their journey is a bit rough; the Germans sink their ship and the vampires have to invade the German submarine to get to their destination. But the demon is quite powerful and he doesn’t want to just give the magical item away. Instead he proposes a bargain: if Spike and Dru kill off the prospective Slayers under the Watchers’ Council’s protection, he will give the necklace to them. Spike and Dru are just too happy to agree.

The current Slayer is Sophie Carstensen, a Danish girl, and her Watcher is Yanna who is a seer. Sophie is willful but very determined and capable. She also loves Yanna dearly and is worried that Yanna’s gift of sight will drive her insane at some point. When the book starts, they are on the trail of Gorm who used to be Denmark’s king a thousand years ago. Yanna’s visions warn her of the coming war but Sophie doesn’t want to leave her country before killing Gorm.

Sophie is very similar to Buffy, except that she doesn’t have a circle of friends and she’s an orphan, so the only person she worries about is Yanna. She’s even blond and beautiful. We’re introduced to several Slayers in waiting, as they are called, and they are somewhat different. All of them have been identified as potential Slayers and the Watchers are training them, as Kendra and Faith were trained in the series. I quite enjoyed the potentials but there wasn’t much time to get to know them.

The plot is quite fast-paced but has some repetitive elements: Spike and Dru go after a potential and kills her. For a Buffy book, this book has a lot of pretty gruesome violence and death. Of course, the main characters are Spike and Dru who were quite known for their evil and violent ways in the series. And the setting is during a war. Unfortunately, that also means that characters introduced in this book are killed of pretty quickly and there’s not much room for character development. Also, the book deviates from canon.

The books starts off focusing on Spike and Dru, with Spike as the POV character. However, fairly soon, Sophie becomes also a POV character and then Yanna and even Skrymir steal the spotlight from the vampires. Like I said, I’m a fan of Spike and so I rather enjoyed the book.

A stand alone Buffy the vampire slayer book.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Page count: 164
Publisher: Archway

This is only the third book based on Buffy. It takes place during season 1.

Summer vacation is nearly over but a carnival has come to Sunnydale. Buffy is anxious because she witnesses a pack of coyotes dragging a pet dog away. Xander and Willow assure her that coyotes come to the town during summer. Buffy, Xander, and Willow head to the carnival. To every one’s surprise, a gorgeous carnival girl latches onto Xander and a handsome man wants to date Willow. However, Buffy thinks that the carnival people are more than a bit strange. When she tries to warn her friends, they just think she’s jealous.

This was a quick read but unfortunately not very good. The main idea was interesting but I thought more could have been done with it. I enjoyed most of the funny scenes set in the carnival.

However, some characters were out of character. In this book Giles seems to be working for Buffy. She orders him around and he accepts it. Also, Willow’s only character trait seems to be her crush on Xander. Both of them are curiously clueless about any danger and neither of them finds it at all suspicious that two people are suddenly interested in them – after the first season episodes where they both had suspicious dates. The ending is also a bit abrupt.

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