Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on DVD – movie review

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on DVD
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on DVD

Broke down and rented the movie Beyond a Reasonable Doubt from Redbox – I got tired of waiting for it at the library. I really wanted to see this because I like Amber Tamblyn, known for her role in Joan of Arcadia and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and am depressed her TV series keep getting canceled so any chance to watch her is good for me. Plus Michael Douglas, known for his role Disclosure and Romancing the Stone, was in this as well as Jesse Metcalf , known for his role in Desperate Housewifes and John Tucker Must Die, (not too much of a positive for me but he does a decent job in this movie). Overall, I’d categorize this movie as a Corrupt Law Murder Mystery with a twist. I did enjoy this movie better than Law Abiding Citizen and it didn’t have nearly the violence as Law Abiding Citizen or the action but you actually are given a character background with this movie so that you care what happens to the characters. And what I really liked about this movie was that it was throwing hints and clues my way the whole time and they didn’t hit me in the face until the end of the movie. Then I was like, ohh, that why he was limping when he got out of bed and oh, that’s who kept calling him and little things like those that tied the movie together when that final climatic scene was played.

The general synopsis of the movie plays out that a news reporter from Buffalo gets his big break after winning an award for a documentary. The news reporter C. J Nicholas, played by Jesse Metcalf, is trying to make it big and thinks he’s found his news story in a theory on how a high-profile criminal lawyer is winning all of his cases by planting evidence after the murder has happened. This Criminal Lawyer in question, Mark Hunter, played by Micheal Douglas, is running for Governor. Jesse strikes up a relationship with the Hunter’s Assistant D.A., Ella Crystal, played by Amber Tamblyn.

Unbeknown to Ella, Jesse finds his job in jeopardy as cut-backs are being made. Now, despite his bosses telling him to let his theory about Hunter being corrupt go since he doesn’t have proof, Jesse set out to find proof. He convinces his photojournalist coworker to help him frame himself for murder by documenting C.J. purchasing pieces of evidence after a murder has happened and setting C.J. up for a crime he didn’t commit – they just have to wait for the perfect crime to come up. And gee, imagine that, one perfect crime comes along rather quickly for C.J. He and his partner work fast to plant C.J. at the top of the suspect list and it works. Ella is shocked by C.J.’s arrest and sets out to investigate C.J.’s claims that Hunter works with a head detective and somehow they are planting evidence after the crime occurs to get Hunter’s convictions in court.

Amber Tamblyn plays Ella Crystal in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Amber Tamblyn plays Ella Crystal in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
C.J. Nicholas played by Jesse Metcalf in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
C.J. Nicholas played by Jesse Metcalf convicing his co-worker to help C.J. frame himself for murder

The drama and tension builds as we watch Amber sift through the evidence and work towards proving C.J.’s innocence. Hunter and the head detective pick up that something is off with this murder and work fast to enter evidence after the fact during the trial – incriminating blood found on the pants that C.J. was to have worn during the murder. All the data that C.J. and his partner recorded as proof that they bought the supposed evidence after the crime is lost in a horrific accident. Now its a matter of life and death after C.J. is convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection. I was really into this movie and enjoyed watching it unfold. I won’t share too much more but I hope I shared enough for you to want to go out and get a copy.

You can purchase a copy of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on DVD and some other suggestions by clicking on the Amazon.com images below:

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Make It or Break It Season 1 Episode 18 – The Great Wall – TV series review

Make It or Break It - Mondays on ABC Family

Make It or Break It team

Okay, the next Make It or Break It episode aired on Monday, February 22, 2010 – Season 1 Episode 18, The Great Wall. In this episode, it seems some time has gone by and the US National Team is that much closer to competing against China in China without Emily or Kaylie. The girls are starting to realize that not going to China could ruin their careers. Sasha has promised them that China will come to them and Sasha is working the girls harder than ever to make them better than ever so they’ll beat China when China comes to the Rock to compete with Kaylie and Emily. The opening scene is Sasha timing the girls from the Rock on a 5 mile run up a hill. As they get to the top of the hill, Kaylie complains about how hard Sasha is working them and as Sasha is explaining this is how you become a champion and that is how Payson got to be at the top before her injury, who should come running up the hill at that moment but none other than Payson! She’s training again. Payson’s back surgery seems to have been a success and she is going to Physical Therapy while doing some training exercises at the Rock. Payson is only waiting on the therapist to give her the go ahead to start doing Gymnastics again.

Sasha Beloff played by Neil Jackon
Yummy Rock Coach Sasha Beloff played by Neil Jackon. I think I watch this show just for glimpses of him

Cut away to Payson’s mom on the phone discussing selling their house because the insurance didn’t cover Payson’s surgery. On top of that, we find out that if the Rock is going to host China, it’s going to cost them around $30, 000 so they need to come up with some cash to cover the cost. The Rock mom’s decide on a Bingo night raffle where half the proceeds go to the winner of the jackpot and the other half goes to the Rock. While the mom’s are deciding this, we are finding out that Sasha hasn’t even invited the Chinese to the Rock yet. He’s waiting on the hope that China will beat the US and then he’ll issue a challenge to the Chinese team – a true competition at the Rock against the better US National team members, the ones the committee held back from the competition in China. Summer is shocked that Sasha would lie to everyone especially after all the plans the Rock moms are making to earn money to host China. As the competition draws nearer, the tension builds. After the US loses, Sasha issues a challenge to the Chinese team during a national press conference, calling out the committee for leaving the National Champion behind and saying that China didn’t get to compete against the real American Dream Team. Now everyone is left waiting for the decision. And now everyone knows that Sasha didn’t have it in the bag for the Chinese to be coming to Rock. Kim is shocked that Summer knew and didn’t say anything, she even implies that something might be going on between Sasha and Summer. While all this drama is going on, the Rock mom’s and other Rock team members find out that Payson’s parents are considering selling their house and the Rock mom’s decide to rig the jackpot so that Payson’s mom wins and maybe the money will be enough to save their home.

Characters Damon and Razor from Make It or Break It
Two of Emily's love interests - Damon (on the left) and (Razor on the right)

To add to the drama, the Bingo night is going to be held at the Pizza Shack where Emily works and technically is not supposed to be working per the Rocks rules but Emily has to work to make ends meet financially at home. In walks the Rock Moms and Kaylie and her brother Leo. If you remember back a couple of episodes, Leo took a shine to Emily. And right now, Emily is not doing too well on the Damon front after he lied to her about his music gig, didn’t call her for a couple of days and then, of course, she found out he was in jail – even better. Emily is dealing with major trust issues and has 3 guys that like her, 2 of which work at the Shack. Razor finally realized that Emily still cares for Damon and is trying to do the good friend thing and step back. Leo, well, he has no loyalty to Damon and is quite happy to be seeing Emily again so when the Rock Mom’s walk into the Shack and Emily freaks out about someone blabbing about her job at the Shack to Sasha, Leo helps Emily out by giving Emily his sweater to hide her work uniform. Damon is eaten with jealously watching Leo flirt with Emily and he’s trying hard to get back into Emily’s good graces and all Emily is trying to do is focus on training and succeeding and getting to the Olympics. Leo, being a gymnast understands what Emily is going through and helps her realize why she’s having trouble landing a higher difficulty vault. Emily hugs Leo for his advice and Damon decides he’s going to stop struggling with his music and get his act together and be the guy that’s right for Emily and heads for the music studio.

The Bingo night is a success and the mom’s pull off rigging the jackpot. While the $10,000 won’t cover all the bills, it’ll help the Keeler’s out. As we’re watching Bingo night unfold, we also are watching Sasha waiting by the phone to find out if the Chinese have accepted the challenge. Just when it looks like Sasha gave up hope and was going to head home, the phone rings and – it’s not the Chinese. It’s the EVIL committee woman calling to tell Sasha he doesn’t stand a chance in hell of the Chinese coming to compete against the Rock. That he’s gone beyond the bounds of committee and there’ll be hell to pay when they get back to the US. Sasha, disappointed, closes up the Rock and heads to his trailer. As he’s walking down the stairs, the phone rings again. This time its the Chinese! They’re coming – POO on you evil committee woman! 🙂

Payson’s therapist okay’s her for starting gymnastics again but she lies to her mother and doesn’t jump right up on the beam. No, this episode actually ends with Payson walking away from the uneven bars, fear evident on her face.

Sasha shares the news about China accepting the invitation to come to the US and compete against the Rock with Summer and well, let’s just say that Kim was right about something going on between these two. How Summer manages to resist him as much as she has is beyond me. I’d be on that like white on rice.

So, we are left wondering will the Rock athletes be up to the challenge against China? Will Payson overcome her fear? Will Summer leave the Rock so Kim can have her job back or will Summer stay for Sasha? There’s more drama to watch and I am looking forward to the next Make It or Break It episode. Hope you’ll watch it with me.

Law Abiding Citizen on DVD – Movie Review

Finally found time to watch Law Abiding Citizen that came on out DVD this Tuesday, 02-16-10. Now, before I rented this from a Redbox machine, I tried getting a copy from my local library and in the process of checking out the movie on the library website I read their version of this movies violence level and it said something to the effect that it has extreme violence, a brutal rape scene and something more long those lines. This made me hesitate about renting this movie since truthfully I’m not in to movies like SAW that are all about violence for violence sake. Luckily I didn’t let that mis-leading statement hold me back from renting this movie because, trust me folks, there are WAY more violent movies out there this day and age and this movie  hits a violence scale of maybe a 6 out of 10.  After seeing The Last House on the Left, my scale for violence has shifted dramatically and it’ll be while before a rape scene can traumatized me as much as that one scene in the Last House.

*minor spoilers that shouldn’t ruin the movie for you because, really, if you don’t figure it out when the movies rolling than I can’t help you* 

What I did like about this movie was that it wasn’t as predictable as I find a number of movies today. When Clive, Gerald Butler’s character, kills his inmate, sure, you can see it was gong to happen but it stumped me as to why he did it. What was the reason behind his killing the inmate? Was the guy part of the attack on Clives’ family? Was he another killer that got a lenient sentence? And if the goal was to get Clive locked up in solitary – again – why? What could he do from there? The movie did make me think and I like movies that can do that. 

Arrest scene from Law Abiding Citizen
Aww, they made him put his pants back on.

I had a bit of hard time concentrating  since – and don’t hate me for this but I only just figured it out – I’m not that big a fan of Gerald Butler as an actor. I actually had him confused with the actor that played Denny Duquette on Grey’s Anatomy – Jeffery Dean Morgan  – and was sightly disappointed when it wasn’t him. Although, when Gerald strips down in the movie, I did take a moment or two to appreciate that he has a rather finely muscled body. Another thing that threw me out of the movie was what the hell is up with Jamie Foxx’s lips in this movie? I know he has a goat tee there but for some reason it made his mouth so dark it was distracting. Jamie’s usually a decent looking guy but there were moments in the movie,  and I’m going to blame them maybe on the lighting,  were he just looked off. 

Jamie Foxx - Law Abiding Citizen
Perfect example of how the lighting made Jamie Foxx's lips too dark and unflattering

I think  what was missing from this movie , and I figured it out since I kept comparing it a lot to Last House on the Left, that it didn’t do the prep work for making the viewers care about the characters. There wasn’t a build up to the destruction of the family. It was a wham, bam and your dead ma’am attack. We didn’t have the time to actually feel for the characters or to feel for Clive’s loss so that when he starts his crusade, we weren’t with him on his motivation. Yea, I know, “What’s my motivation?” is cheesy but it’s what really helps a movie stand out. 

I do have to say that as the movie progresses you do get a better idea of Clive’s motivation and the fact that it’s not a hit you over the head reason makes more of an impact later on with the movie. Mainly, the unpredictability is what makes this movie not fall into the ‘I just wasted two hours of my life’ category. 

Plus, I did have a couple of  ‘peeking through my fingers’ moments so it did work on the suspense level. And the violence is definitely upped near the end. I will say, for getting vengeance, Clive was masterful and creative in his methods. I even squeaked at the cell phone moment. 

For those of us that have felt shorthanded by the justice system, this movie does appeal to our feelings of  ‘helplessness’  when dealing with the courts and that feeling of ‘ it’s just not enough punishment for what that criminal did to you’. Ultimately I really liked what Clive’s true message  was that had him destroying most of Philly’s legal department to get across. And in the end, Jamie Foxx’s character, Nick Rice, finally did learn what Clive’s’ lesson was all about. 

So if you’re looking for a movie with enough twists to keep you guessing mingled with some rather impressive spillage of blood as well as a true message to get across, Law Abiding Citizen just might meet those requirements for you. And now, a side by side comparison of Gerald Butler to Jeffrey Dean Morgan just so you don’t think I’m way off getting those two actors mixed up from a distance: 

Gerald Butler
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Jeffrey Dean Morgan - okay, can you see the resemblance between these two?

You can pick up your own copy of Law Abiding Citizen and Last House of the Left by clicking on the Amazon.com Images below: 

               

Make it or Break it – Season 1 EP 17 – TV series review

Make It or Break It - Mondays  on ABC Family
Make It or Break It team

Okay, this update will be short and brief since I haven’t finished watching the whole episode but this is when I finally figured out who the Doctor that might be able to fix Payson’s back is – DEANNA TROI from STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION! OMG! Her looks have changed so much and having not seen her in her Blue STNG uniform made it a little harder for me to recognize her in episode 16 – Save the last Dance. What finally made me realize she’s Deanna Troi was her voice! Make it or Break has some really amazing stars from other TV series – Candance Cameron Bure , DJ on Full House, Peri Gilpin , Roz from Frasier and now Marina Sirtis, Deanna Troi from Star Trek Next Generation – its awesome! If you haven’t had a chance to watch this gymnastic drama, try to catch up on the episodes either on HULU or ABC Family.com. Okay, going to finish watching episode 17 now…

**UPDATE**

Finished watching Hope and Faith, Season 1 EP 17 and I was RIVETED! It was one of the most dramatic episodes yet. Watching Payson’s mom deal with the guilt of Payson being injured while on her watch was heart wrenching and it finally revealed why this one last hope was something she was so afraid to believe in – Kim, Payson’s mom, didn’t want to risk her daughter getting injured again on her watch if something should go wrong with the surgery.

Kelly Parker in the bathroom after listening in on Lauren and Emily.
A smug Kelly Parker armed with new gossip to hurt team Rock.

To top it all off, we watched our 3 National Team Members, Emily, Kaylie and Lauren deal with trying to get back into the US Olympic team committees good graces after they performed so badly when they had to work with Marty as their National Team coach for the first time. The drama comes to a peak when Kelly Parker, who by the way – the actress is doing an amazing job of making me hate her character – found out about the affair between Kaylies mom and their coach, Marty. She uses this information to strip away at each Rock team members confidence and it works all too well. When Kaylie fails to perform her Double Arabian in the National’s practice meeting and Marty instructs her to take it out of the routine, Kaylie rightfully balks. Marty’s telling her she’s not consistent and has to go with the lower scoring move just moments after Kelly ripped her emotions out from under her by spewing her venom with the knowledge she knows about Kaylies’ mom’s affair. Kelly went one better and implied that Kaylies friends told her all about the affair and, well, truthfully, Kaylie should know better than to trust them because no one really wants to be her friend. So you can bet that Kaylie laid into Marty and let him know she knows about the affair and then Kaylie stormed out of the practice. Sasha tried to go after Kaylie, with Summer following on his heels, but both just missed Kaylie as she pealed out of the parking lot. Sasha turned to Summer and asked her if all of this was just because Marty abandoned the team when they needed him the most and Summer tries to prep Sasha by asking him to keep calm and then she explains it is not because Marty left but why he left. Cut to Sasha storming into the gym and slugging Marty in the kisser. Yea, Sasha.

While all this drama is going on, Lauren is still stewing about Emily’s mom dating her dad. In a stellar Lauren move, Lauren visits Emily’s mom and starts to spin this tale about how Scott, her dad, is a sex addict. It’s amazing how many people underestimate Emily’s mom, Chloe. Lauren didn’t pull any wool over Chloe’s eyes with her tale. Lauren only succeeded in letting Chloe know she knew that Scott and Chloe are seeing each other. Chloe tries to reach Scott right away and of course only gets a call back from him as Chloe’s walking into the Rock on the day of the Nationals practice. While Scott and Chloe are discussing the fact that Lauren knows about them seeing each other and how Chloe had to tell Emily right away because Emily couldn’t find out Lauren knew before Emily did – Emily stormed out of the Rock and overheard the whole conversation.

Angered, Emily huff’s back into the gym and confronts Lauren – more angry that Lauren didn’t tell her about it and that Lauren was fishing around for information. Lauren strikes back with some vicious words about Emily’s mom, her mom’s fashion sense and how strapped for money Emily’s family is and the two girls start shoving each and come pretty close to blows. The argument is broken up by Marty who tells Emily to do her vault and Lauren to chalk up. Emily goes to do her vault routine and misses.

Kelly moves over to the chalk and starts chipping away at Lauren by bringing up that 2 were down and there was one more to go. She gets rather vicious and hits Lauren hard by striking at Lauren’s abandonment by her mother. Lauren’s cool exterior breaks and she flings chalk into Kelly’s eyes. This is when Summer must have finished telling Sasha about Marty and Kaylie’s mom because he comes in swinging. All this drama happens with in the first half hour of the show.

That night Sasha calls the girls back to the gym and assures them the disaster practice will be kept private and that they need to bring their fighting game face the next day for the Committee practice. And the girls do. They hit all their moves and stick their landings but when the time comes to call the National Team Members going to compete in China, Kaylie, the National Champion, and Emily are left home. Lauren is somehow invited. Sasha is stunned. His team performed skills at higher levels than the other girls and they performed them better than the other girls. He confronts the committee woman and finds out it was a rigged practice from the get go. The committee has made up their mind and determined that Sasha’s girls are rouge. She even reveals the committee is well-informed of the fuss that went on at the practice the night before – a practice the committee should know nothing about and blatantly says, the girls didn’t really stand a chance.

Kaylie and Emily are stunned and left wondering why? They worked so hard, performed so well, proven themselves and they were still snubbed. Moments after the revealing conversation with the committee member – read evil witch – Sasha approaches the girls, and to be cliché, he had steam coming out of his ears. The girls ask why and Sasha doesn’t hold back in telling them its a political move and that they were deemed rogue. The girls ask, well what do we next? Sasha tells them, “They think we’re rogue now, they haven’t seen anything yet.”

Payson going in to surgery
Payson moments before she is wheeled into back surgery

The episode ends with Payson being wheeled into surgery after her parents struggled for days with just telling Payson about it and then after telling her, dealing with the potential risks of the surgery and as mentioned earlier, the guilt. We are left wondering how the surgery goes and what the Rock plans next in their bid to compete in China. I am really looking forward to the next new episode. I hope it’s as packed as this one.

Amazing Race 16 – its Here!

Amazing Race 16 - first road block

So caught most of Amazing Race Sunday 02-14-10 – night and finished it up this Monday, 02-15-10, afternoon. Amazing Race seems to be trying to up their viewership polls because these are not just your average people from Wisconsin running the race this year. We’ve got people from Big Brother, Rodeo brothers, Miss America pageant contestant, Caite Upton, a grandmother that runs marathons, undercover officers mixed in with posh not so rough-and-tough lesbians, a couple of high school sweethearts, and attorney moms along with a few others.

The race starts off with the teams trying to find their way to LAX via public transportation. I found the posh lesbian’s comments rather funny – apparently buses are not the way they roll, lol. The incentive for getting to LAX first was getting on the earlier flight and while the lesbian couple, Brandy and Carol, made it on the faster form of public transportation, they were beat out by 3 other couples once they got to LAX. Those couples were:  Newly dating couple Jordan & Jeff, sweethearts Dana & Adrian and Mom attorneys Monique & Shawne. Brandy and Carol began to hope something delayed the earlier flight- be it Weather or mechanical maintenance and it seems the airline gods were listening  to the couple because the first flight was indeed delayed.

 Thinking they were getting ahead of the pack, cowboys Jet & Cord attempted to exchange their money for Chile dough and was given Brazilian cash. Now all the teams were on the 2 nd flight to Santiago, Chile. Once they get to Santiago, Chile, the teams had to travel to Valparaiso and find Ascensor Villaseca by buses. Jet and Cord tried to get on the bus and found out that Brazilian money does not spend the same as Chilean dough.  As one of the cowboy’s ironically commented, “Apparently, American money spends better in Chile than Brazilian.”

Once the teams arrived at Villaseca, they had to do a revamped version of the high wire act by crossing a 120 ft in the air above a valley  the length of football field on a rather thin clothes-line  wire while hanging on to another clothes-line parallel to the one they stood on. Some teams took to this task and made quick work of it – others had some major difficulty. Once the teams crossed the high wires, they had to take one of Valparaiso’s 120-year old funiculars, the Ascensor Artilleria, down the hillside.  

After that, the teams had to paint the town. Apparently, the salt is so bad in the town that the town actually pays to repair the worn paint to restore the houses. The teams had to select a color of paint and find a matching colored house and fill in a small section with their paint to receive their next clue. A number of the teams had trouble figuring out the houses they were supposed to paint, which were pretty much right on the street near where they collected the paint cans and ladders. Most missed the street because they took the less steeper route in search of their houses. One team even got so lost, they wound up in a residences home that was being renovated and wasn’t even part of the race.  The father and daughter team,  Steve and Allie, provided some humor when they started to paint this persons house and the people actually working in the house showed up and said in the native tongue,  “Look, I don’t even know what they are doing here.” Steve and Allie quickly realized they had the wrong house for painting. Another team, brothers Dan and Jordan, lost a paint brush. So for those of us sitting at home – it’s not as easy as it looks to haul paint cans, brushes and ladders to a house with matching paint and paint the house.

Jordan and Jeff from Big Brother
Jordan and Jeff were the first team to make it to the pit stop

Jordan  and Jeff , Big Brother contestants, were the first to complete the paint the town task and were told by the next clue to:  make their way on foot to the Pit Stop at Palacio Baburizza, a 90-year old chalet.  Jordan and Jeff reached the Pit stop first. Brent and Caite were next but they incurred a 30 minute penalty because they failed to take the funicular down the hillside. Brent and Caite had the unpleasant wait of watching the following five teams come in before their penalty was up:

2.    Monique & Shawne – attorney moms
3.    Jet & Cord – cowboys
4.    Steve & Allie – professional baseball coach and daughter
5.    Joe & Heidi – married couple
6.    Carol & Brandy – lesbians

While team Dan and Jordan would have come in fourth, they did find out that losing the paint brush would incur a penalty and had a 15 minute wait that dropped them down to 8th place.  While all this is going on and team after team after was coming in to the pit stop for this leg of the race – Adrian, poor Adrian, was still trying to cross the high wires. As the final teams arrived, Brent and Caite’s penalty ran out and they snuck in just behind Dan and Jordan in 7th place. As the last 2 teams made it in, it became quite apparent that Adrian and Dana were going to be the first team eliminated from the race. Here is a list of the order the teams as reached the final pit stop for the first leg of the race:

1.    Jordan & Jeff – Big Brother contestants

Dana and Adrain - childhood sweethearts
Dana and Adrian were the first team eliminated

2.    Monique & Shawne – – attorney moms
3.    Jet & Cord – cowboys
4.    Steve & Allie –  professional baseball coach and daughter
5.    Joe & Heidi – married couple
6.    Carol & Brandy – lesbians
7.    Brent & Caite –  Miss America contestant and model
8.    Dan & Jordan – brothers
9.    Michael & Louie – Undercover detectives
10.    Jody & Shannon – marathon grandmother and her granddaughter
11.    Dana & Adrian  – childhood sweethearts  – eliminated

Contestants that have completed 1 roadblock:

CAITE, JORDAN,  DAN, BRANDY, ADRIAN,LOUIE,ALLIE, SHANNON, JOE, SHAWNE, CORD

Looks like this race is setting up to be tougher and I know, sitting on my couch at home it looks really easy – especially when the camera man is pointing out exactly where the clue is and I haven’t just spent the last 10 hours on a bus or plane – but I hope it pays off and is truly a bit more challenging. Some of these tasks in the past have made me wonder – really? And you’re having trouble with this? Although if there was ever a food challenge where I had to eat star fish – the game would be over for me, lol. So the next race is on – and I am looking forward to it – hope you are too.

Dead Witch Walking, A Rachel Morgan, novel by Kim Harrison – book 1 review

Kim Harrisons first Rachel Morgan book, Dead Witch Walking

I must share my other Alternate History Paranormal mystery romance author with you – Kim Harrison. If LKH’s steamy sex is a little to0 graphic for your reading leisure, then check out Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. Below is my abstract/review I posted on ShvOOng a while back. I’ve re-read this series almost as much as I have the Anita Blake series and this series came out 10 years later. Truly, a good read.

The world is a different place since the Turn. Who would have thought that a genetically engineered tomato could forever change the world when it took on a deadly passenger in the form of the T4 Angel virus? A virus that wiped out most of humanity – enough that those formally thought of as Fairy tale creatures took advantage and came forth for the world to see. Rachel Morgan is a witch – not a Warlock that can’t stir her own spells but an earth witch. A spunky, sexy, tall, athletic, frizzy red-haired witch who has reached her maximum tolerance of crappy assignments from the I.S., Inderland Security, a task force set up to police those the humans can not and are not capable of handling.

Kim Harrisons' "Dead Witch Walking" novel
Married Pixy.

The novel, Dead Witch Walking, by Kim Harrison, starts off with Rachel’s impetuous decision to quit the I.S – something that most never do and those few who do – don’t survive. Her last tag for the I.S. is a Leprechaun that failed to properly report a pot of gold. While scouting out her tag, Rachel runs into an old work associate – Ivy Tamwood, of the living vampire Tamwoods. A vampire born and not created, living caught between two worlds, Ivy struggles everyday with her innate urges that come from being formed with the vampire virus percolating since birth.

Rachel hitches a ride with Ivy, their tags and Jenks, Rachel’s pixy back up. Rachel shares her desire to leave the I.S. which leads to the startling revelation that her old co-worker, Ivy,  and her current pixy backup, Jenks,  want to leave the I.S with Rachel. So begins the new life for Rachel, Ivy and Jenks – Ivy manages to buy out her contract with her entire living and undead savings, Jenks being a pixy means no one will miss him and Rachel…well Rachel was lucky enough to incur the wrath of the I.S. since they couldn’t go after a Tamwood for breaking their contract, Rachel was the I.S.’s next target and now no one will deal with a Dead Witch Walking.

A spelled paycheck, the lost of her apartment in the Hollows and small spells that detonate when no ones around to see it are just a few of the things that Rachel faces shortly after her bid for freedom. Miraculously she lands on her feet, moving into her new office – a church. Now she is living on Hollow ground that will protect her from the undead vampires, weres and she will be living with Ivy so she has the added protection of the Tamwoods family name. The kitchen and garden are more than a witch with a price on her head could hope for plus the garden lends a home to Jenks and his family of 54 children. Don’t underestimate the power of a pixy and the humor of the muttered commentary Jenks shares. The phrases are so unique that laughter is inevitable.

Only, the attacks on her life won’t stop until Rachel finds a way to pay off her contract and she focuses all her efforts on bringing down the untouchable Trent Kalamack, species unknown. Ivy, Rache and Jenks set up office and home in their church and Rachel uses the old spell books to find a way to bring down Trent. The adventure is only beginning as Rachel discovers so much more about herself, her powers, the true bonds of friendship, surviving against all odds and what true evil Trent Kalamack is hiding. With stellar dialogue, imagery and the ability to alter history so smoothly you fall under the spell of the Hollows, Kim Harrison takes you on a journey of action, sorcery, mystery and adventure. Grab your guide to dating a Vampire, make sure you’re on hollow ground and curl up with some good old pizza if you dare….Rachel Morgan’s fight to survive awaits you in Kim Harrison’s, Dead Witch Walking.

The first book in the Rachel Morgan series can be purchased by clicking on the Amazon.com image below:

 

Quicksand by Iris Johansen, Eve Duncan series – book review

Quicksand by Iris Johansen, Eve Duncan series book review

Here is another review on ShvOOng.  Enjoy!

Anyone who has lost a child or had one never come home can instantly feel Eve Duncan’s burning desire to find her Bonnie. As the seventh book of the Eve Duncan series by Iris Johansen, Quicksand, draws the reader into Eve’s search. Ever since Bonnie had gone missing and the truth was revealed that the killer who original claimed Bonnie’s life had lied, Eve has been following every clue, lead and hint to find her Bonnie and bring her home.
 

Eve Duncan Series
Bring them home. Bring the children home.

As part of this search, Eve became a Forensic Sculptor and tries to bring other lost children and people home to their families. After a recent facial recreation, Eve was given 3 names of possible kidnappers for Bonnie. Long time companion, Joe Logan, has been working to hunt down these possible suspects and that is where this adventure begins. Follow Eve, Joe, Miguel and Montolovo as they trail a deadly predator in the hopes of finding Bonnie. Powerfully written, the reader moves along with Eve as she tries to hold onto her relationship with Joe without letting go of her search for Bonnie.

 Pursuing old avenues that left Eve jaded and filled with mistrust, Megan Blair is brought in to assist in the search for the latest victim, a small boy. For all those out there who doubt and are filled with disbelief, it is easy to share the feelings of shattered hopes, constant disappointments and utter disdain for the money and publicity driven charlatan psychics that preyed upon Eve during her weakest moments. Eve soon discovers that maybe, just maybe there might be more out there than either she or Joe can comprehend. That maybe she isn’t coping with her lost by hallucinating nightly conversations with her Bonnie. Eve might just have to accept that she is open to outside possibilities and sensitive enough that her Bonnie can visit her and that ghosts really do exist.
 Emotionally charged, page turning excitement pulls the reader alongside the characters on this fast pace chase, leaving the reader rooting for good to prevail, evil to get what’s coming to it and most of all, for Bonnie to come home. Curl up, leave the night-lite on, dive in and prepare to hunt down a vile predator in Iris Johansen’s, Quicksand.

Quicksand can be purchased by clicking on the Amazon.com image below: