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Reviews Written by
Douglas P. Murphy "Author, The Griffon Trilogy Pt I" (Charlottesville)

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Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Thriller With More Complexity, 7 July 2012
I found this second book of the trilogy more interesting and satisfying in a lot of ways. It continues in a blend of several genres with elements of science fiction, fantasy and futurism. The writing style along with the plot has gathered more momentum. The basic elements of the plot remain the same: Katniss against the Capitol. Katniss has an energizing and intersting personality and her facility with a bow and arrow makes her a female Robin Hood of this strange reality she inhabits. There is more intrigue and more plot twists in this volume. The Capitol ramps up its efforts against its citizenry and all the odds seem stacked against Katniss, Prim, her mother, Gale, Peta and the others. There are casualties and mishaps galore in the struggle which is difficult to describe without giving away important elements of the plot. The mysterious District 13 makes a reappearance but its complete significance is not revealed. This situation of course leads one into the last volume. Read it! Selected-The Strange Story of Captain Jennings


The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Wild and Colorful Ride, 23 May 2012
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)
The book carries the reader swiftly from the start to the end in a story that has a very personal feel within the framework of a very compelling adventure. It is told in the first person through the eyes of Katniss who gets embroiled in the Hunger Games, an event akin to the ancient Roman gladiator fights in the Coliseum. The arena even has the underground rooms and tunnels like the Coliseum. However, unlike ancient Rome the Hunger Games takes place in the framework of advanced technology with frequent technological surprises along the way. The story of Katniss's participation in the Games reveals the structure of an oppressive society where the aristocrats or oligarchs in the Capitol control those living in the 12 districts. Those in the Capitol hold all the wealth and power and privilege while those in the districts suffer in poverty and food shortages and oppression. Like a good adventure story there is plenty of action as well as a web of relationships and interpersonal stories. All these operate within the framework of a society that monitors and controls its citizens very closely.The Dark Room Conundrum


The Key to Rebecca
The Key to Rebecca
by Ken Follett
Edition: Paperback

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple but Suspenseful, 11 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Key to Rebecca (Paperback)
World War II. North Africa. The Germans (Rommel) against the British. The balance of the struggle is uncertain. Enter Alex Wolf, spy for the Germans. The story begins with a murder that quickly sets the tone. Wolf aligns himself with a local dancer who becomes his ally in the struggle to obtain and transmit damaging intelligence to the Germans.Pitted against him is the British officer Van Damme, widower, with a young son, allied with another women. The struggle between these two groups swings back and forth but overall Wolf has the upper hand from all points of view including his willingness to employ any ruthless means to transmit intelligence to Rommel that will tip the balance of the war in favor of the Germans. He obtains intelligence that has that potential and what happens then should be determined by the reader for the oppotunity to follow a suspenseful plot with frequent surprises.Selected-The Strange Story of Captain Jennings


Rigged
Rigged
Price: £5.03

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspense, Drama and High Stakes In The Business World, 2 July 2011
This review is from: Rigged (Kindle Edition)
This book has a promising plot. A kid from the wrong side of the tracks in NY applies himself and secures an Ivy League education and then enters the workforce with unexpected opportunities for achievement in the world of business. This opportunity specifically takes the form of the NY Mercantile Exchange where great fortunes are made in aggresively defended turfs. These turfs, however, are ethnically closed and not the traditional proving grounds of people with Harvard Business School educations. This HBS educated kid not only applies himself to the challenge of succeeding at the "Merc" but he also, with the help of a mid-eastern colleague, attempts to clone the Merc into the mid-east environment. The plot could have been fleshed out better with more depth and dimensionality. It feels more like a short story than a novel. The author also seems to imply that a mid-eastern Merc somehow serves a greater cause for humankind, but one can clearly see that the opportunities it presents only include greater wealth for the already wealthy. I kept thinking, why should anyone care? Nevertheless I think the story is interesting and colorful and an opportunity to see aspects of the business world one does not normally see.The Griffon Trilogy: Part I


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3)
by Stieg Larsson
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overall But Quality Varies, 4 April 2011
Lisbeth Salander of course resides at the heart of this book like the eye of a huricane around which all sorts of heavy winds blow. Mikael Bomkvist, the journalist, Erika Berger, a colleague and lover, Annika Giannini, Blomkvist's sister and a feminist lawyer, the police, Milton security, Alexander Zalachenko who is a Russian defector and Salander's father, various sections of the Swedish governement, a motorcycle gang and a doctor are examples of some of these winds that create quite a storm of action and suspense and intrigue. The most interesting character, at least to me, is Salander herself, the quasi autistic savant with world class hacker skills and contacts. The book is a about love, sex, justice and injustice, murder, politics gone awry as well as tormented relationships and the pros and cons of the power of the media. The author does a great job of interweaving multiple threads of a story and wrapping things up nicely in the end in a dramatic courtroom scene. The book gets a little tedious in parts where the story gets bogged down in some details that aren't all that interesting but the finish was masterfully done. Also, sometimes the characters sound the same in their thought processes. Overall this book is quite interesting and fun especially if you like pollitical intrigue with some of the darker sides of life thrown in the mix. The Griffon Trilogy: Pt. I


Some Girls: My Life in a Harem
Some Girls: My Life in a Harem
by Jillian Lauren
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.27

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Salacious As It Sounds, 29 Dec. 2010
The author recounts key aspects of her life in this memoire that focuses mostly on her stint at a courtesan in a harem for the royal family in Brunei. Prior to this interlude in her life she reviews aspects of her upbringing with her adoptive parents that alternate from endearing to abusive (the latter occurring from her father, a broker with a penchant for playing show tunes on the piano).From an early age she pursues a course as an actress and continues this at NYU where she stays only for a short time before dropping out. To make ends meet she turns to one of life's oldest professions and this ultimately leads to time in the royal castle/compound where she caters to the needs of the royal family, specifically the males but with considerable material benefits. Most of the action in the harem has to do with the infighting and competition within the ranks of the women who come from many different countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, etc. Life in Brunei is luxurious but restricted as well as "monitored." The author tells her story in the first person with warmth, color, humor, candidness and a good writing style. For the most part she manages to carry the story along and keep one entertained.


The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook
The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook
by Ben Mezrich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced Drama, 27 Dec. 2010
A handful of characters dominate the plot of this book: Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and Sean Parker. All but Parker, the originator of Naptster, were undergrads at Harvard during the formation of Facebook. Despite the academic intensity of Harvard Zuckerburg manages to devote hours and hours to the development of this "social network" as does Eduardo. The Winklevoss twins are trying to launch their own internet social networking site and for a while have recruited Zuckerberg who sends several emails detailing his purported progress. However, when he launches Facebook, the twins become enraged, feel betrayed and spend a good portion of their time trying to thwart Zuckerberg or wrest some level of compensation. This conflict is secondary only to the one that grows between Eduardo and Mark. These two start off as close friends and colaborators but grow apart as Facebook becomes Mark's number one priority in life while Eduardo divides his priorities between facebook and finishing his Harvard education. Eduardo is the CFO and a founding father but is not a computer whiz kid. Sean Parker, a veteran of Silicon Valley, helps to expand Facebook through his West Coast connections and a fast talking, wheeler dealer style. Sean and Eduardo face off with one of them rapidly and decisively becoming the loser. These struggles in combination with the speed-of-light growth of Facebook and its ultimately culture defining and changing influence nationally and internationally set the course of the book. These main dramas receive color and further interest from the social lives of these personalities as well as the culture and fraternities of both Harvard and Silicon Valley. I thought it was a great read.


Wishful Drinking
Wishful Drinking
by Carrie Fisher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous Confessional, 22 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Wishful Drinking (Paperback)
This book reads very quickly with a steady flow of wit with a dry, at times sarcastic but nearly always ironic tint. Written in the first person as if the author were pouring out her heart over an early morning coffee to a confidant, the book appears to take a very intimate course about Carrie's Fisher life from childhood through to her present status which is post electroshock therapy for depression. A cast of very famous people flows through her life, beginning of course with her parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. The first is glorified while the second fairs poorly. There is an attempt to seek an explanation for her later battles with drugs, alcohol and a bipolar disorder, but to me strong reasons do not appear. Expected milestones pass such as her father's infidelity with Elizabeth Taylor, Fisher's marriage to Paul Simon, as well as lesser known anecdotes such as one involving Bob Dylan and Carrie Grant. The book has the tone of a tell-all autobiography but clearly a lot of history and background is not revealed and to me it seems that the humor attempts to divert one from deeper issues. Overall the book is interesting and entertaining but it still leaves one wondering.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy Book 1)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy Book 1)
by Stieg Larsson
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychological Thriller, 24 Nov. 2010
By the time I got to this book I had already seen the movie and read The Girl Who Played With Fire so perhaps it is understandable that I didn't quite like as much as the second one. There is more background development in this one with less action. Blomkvist's history with the Wennestrom company and his conviction for libel are explained as well as the family history of the Vanger family, a wealthy dynasty with dark secrets and twisted relationships galore. Lisbeth Salander's background is in part explained and her rather eccentric personality that somehow endears itself to the reader with all its intriguing and bizarre attributes. Salander is a whiz kid on the computer, a top echelon hacker, and a misunderstood, abused member of society that makes an unlikely hero. How these three focus points of the story merge into one gripping mystery is quite a creative feat for the author. The ultimate linking point, a mysterious disappearance, unfolds with gruesome surprises and action.The Griffon Trilogy: Pt. I


Eleven On Top (Stephanie Plum 11)
Eleven On Top (Stephanie Plum 11)
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars 10 For Humor 1 For Suspense, 6 Nov. 2010
This book is entertaining. Stephanie Plum careens from one improbable situation to the next with witty dialogue and easy-to-read narrative that makes the plot move along briskly. The characters are a little cliche-the strapping, sexy Morelli who is both lover and hero for Plum fits a certain stereotype to a T. Plum, herself, is quite engaging, and the is the kind of person who stumbles into one hilarious predicament after the other with a group of equally colorful colleagues. However, the book appears to me to center more around a diverse set of interesting characters and their relations rather than an intricate crime plot full suspense and mind bending developments. Basically, several people disappear and an unknown enemy of Plum hounds her with menacing messages. Plum, the ex bounty hunter, and Morelli and others chase this trail.The Griffon Trilogy: Pt. I


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