Posts Tagged ‘intelligent’

Jurassic Park

July 30, 2012

Author: Crichton, Michael

Title: Jurassic Park

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1991

Number of Pages: 399 p.

Geographical Setting: Multiple Locations in the United States and Costa Rica

Time Period: 1989

Series: Has a sequel, The Lost World

Plot Summary: In this thrilling, fast-paced science fiction story, a genetic engineering corporation, InGen, successfully clones 15 species of dinosaurs.  Hoping to feature these previously extinct creatures in the greatest theme park of all time in an island off the west coast of Costa Rica, the visionary of the project, John Hammond, brings a group of people to evaluate it, including a paleontologist, Alan Grant, a paleobotanist, Ellie Sattler, an investment banker, Donald Gennaro, a mathematician, Ian Malcolm, a computer system analyst, Dennis Nedry, and Hammond’s two grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy.  While the theme park initially lives up to its fascinating premise, the underlying instability and chaos of the organization are apparent when an employee turns off the park’s power and security grid to steal dinosaur embryos for a competing genetic company, Biosyn.  The action that follows is a nightmarish fight for survival against several Tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptors, and other dinosaurs as every character tries to leave the island alive.  The novel alternates between the points of view of many different characters, although Ian Malcolm and his illustrations often serve as the main narrator and framework of Michael Crichton’s concerns regarding unregulated science and technology. As in many of his novels, Crichton uses clear language and technical details to tell a suspenseful and compelling story about the dangers of bioengineering and people’s desire to use science and math to control nature and the world.

Subject Headings: Genetic Engineering; Clones and Cloning; DNA; Dinosaurs; Prehistoric Animals; Amusement Parks; Business Sabotage; Scientists; Eccentric Men; Billionaires; Islands — Costa Rica; Science Fiction; Suspense Stories; Adventure Stories; Thriller Stories;

Appeal: fast-paced, compelling, dangerous, dramatic, foreboding, menacing, suspenseful, thought-provoking, thrilling, multiple points of view, flawed and recognizable characters, strong and interesting secondary characters, sympathetic characters, action-oriented, cinematic, violent, imaginative, issue-oriented, descriptive, detailed, informative, intelligent, persuasive, scientific, thoughtful, unique, vivid, well-crafted

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: unique, thrilling, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life by Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan is an intriguing book about the politics and legal issues surrounding a real significant dinosaur discovery and excavation.

A Clone of Your Own?: The Science and Ethics of Cloning by Arlene Judith Klotzko is an informative and thought-provoking book about the moral and legal issues and history of stem cell research and cloning.

Blindsided: Surviving a Grizzly Attack and Still Loving the Great Bear by Jim Cole is a fascinating book about a grizzly bear that attacks the author during a trip to Yellowstone National Park and how despite his injuries, he still has empathy for grizzly bears and other animals that are still trying to survive in the wild.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston is an action-oriented, detailed science fiction thriller about Tom Broadbent who receives a journal from a dying man, Stern Weathers, in New Mexico that a murderer and the government is determined to get because of its description of the location of a special completely preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Shock by Robin Cook is a suspenseful and thought-provoking story about two Harvard graduate students Joanna Meissner and Deborah Cochrane, in Boston, Massachusetts, who investigate the use of their eggs at a fertility clinic and in the process, confront firsthand the hazards of cloning.

Esau by Philip Kerr is a fast-paced scientific story about Stella Swift, a paleontologist, who receives a fossilized skull from America’s greatest mountain climber, Jack Furness, and organizes an expedition to the Himalayas to investigate the possible new species that the skull represents.

The Easy Hour

August 3, 2011

Author: Leslie Stella

Title: The Easy Hour

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 265

Geographical Setting: Chicago

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Southside born and raised Lisa Galisa (it rhymes!) sells sportswear at Chicago’s Fishman’s Department Store, her retail existence barely more ambitious than dreams of earning the coveted brown senior salesperson name tag and portraying Maria Callas as part of a storewide Greek Islands marketing theme. When Lisa helps her friend Fred launch a popular retro-themed club night—the Easy Hour—in a local Bridgeport tavern, her path crosses that of infamous socialite Honey Dietrich, and before long she is taking memos as her personal assistant. Soon Lisa—when not confiding in gay best friend Tim Gideon—is spending her time planning an Easy Christmas party for Chicago’s elite, and falling in love with Ray Fuchet (also rhymes!), laid-off schoolteacher/part-time Fishman’s janitor and Aristotle Onassis to her Callas. Has Lisa finally come into her own? Can she bring her Easy style to high society Chicago? Stella’s second novel is a witty, sharp story of one girl’s chance to climb a little higher, albeit with her offbeat family and friends in tow. Readers who enjoy a lively, clever, light-hearted story with humorous female characters, a little bit of  fashion and more than a little irony should take note.

Subject Headings: Women’s clothing industry; Chicago—Fiction; Retail trade; Love stories; Women—Humor—Fiction

Appeal:  Humorous, intelligent, light-hearted, offbeat characters, Chicago setting, romantic, sarcastic, sweet, pop-culture references, sarcastic, hipster culture, brisk pace, witty, family issues

3 terms that best describe this book: Witty, intelligent, offbeat characters

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women, by Simon Doonan (eccentric female characters, humor)

Groovy Chick’s Guide to Shopping and Style, by Bang on the Door (fashion, hipster culture, humor)

Pretty in Plaid: A Life, A Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase, by Jen Lancaster (sassy humor, fashion, feminine perspective)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Night I Got Lucky, by Laura Caldwell (offbeat characters, romantic tone, strong female lead character)

The Bitch-Proof Suit, by Dee-ann Black (fashion, women’s humor, lead character faces personal challenges in business and relationships)

Cat’s Meow, by Melissa De la Cruz (quirky female character, romantic tone, fashion humor)


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

March 17, 2010

Author:  Alan Bradley

Title:  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Genre:  Mystery

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  370

Geographical Setting: Great Britain

Time Period:  1950

Series:  Buckshaw Chronicles, Book 1

Plot Summary:  Eleven year old Flavia de Luce’s life revolves around her home chemistry lab and her fascination with studying and creating poisons.  As a motherless child of an emotionally absent father obsessed with stamp collecting and with two older sisters who are so wrapped up in their own interests that they barely acknowledge her existence, Flavia is getting tired of her quiet (and boring) life.  All of that changes the day she discovers a murdered man in the cucumber patch of her family’s garden.  As the police investigate the crime and find clues that appear to tie her father to the crime, Flavia decides to open her own investigation into the crime that happened in her own backyard.  In adventures that take her back to her father’s childhood boarding school, deep into the world of high end stamp collecting, and involved in a theft of royal proportions, Flavia finds more excitement than she had planned.

Subject Headings:  Stamp Collecting, Murder, Poisons, English Country Houses, Boarding Schools

Appeal:  atmospheric, deliberately paced, details of philately (stamp collecting), direct, eccentric, historical details, humorous, intelligent, quirky, resolved ending, rural, suspenseful

3 terms that best describe this book: suspenseful, intellectual, charming

Similar Authors and Works:


Wicked Plants:  The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart.  This book focuses on Flavia de Luce’s favorite type of garden plants—the ones that can kill you.  Stewart’s book is an A-Z compendium of plants whose nature has been put to nefarious use to kill, maim, or injure throughout history.

The Error World:  An Affair with Stamps by Simon Garfield.  This memoir chronicles the author’s own obsession with philately while also examining the evolution of stamp collecting.  Where once a common hobby among children, collecting has increasingly become a hobby based on shrewd investment, finding a one-of-a-kind stamp, and obsession.

Upstairs and Downstairs: Life in an English Country House by Edward Hayward.  Flavia de Luce is growing up just as the social structures and affluence that allowed Buckshaw manor to survive are beginning to wane.  This well-illustrated book examines English country houses such as Buckshaw and the power dynamics in English society that allowed them to exist and that ultimately led to their decline.


The Broken Teaglass: A Novel by Emily Arsenault.  This mystery features two young lexicographers who find clues to an old murder case hidden in the files at the dictionary company where they work.  The clues (presumably left by a former employee) in the citation file lead the main characters on an offbeat adventure to find the killer.

Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes (Emma Graham Mysteries #1).  This series also features an adolescent female detective.  Emma Graham works at her family’s resort hotel, where she stumbles upon the mystery of a 40 year old drowning that may not have been an accident after all.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl.  Blue Van Meer, the teenage daugher of an emotionally distant academic, finally finds a home to settle into after years of moving around the country.  However, just as she finds a circle of friends just as clever as she is, they start to die mysteriously, leaving Hannah to piece together the truth.

Name: Amanda

A Grave Talent

October 28, 2009

Title: A Grave Talent

Author: Laurie R. King

Publication Date: 1993

Number of Pages: 342

Genre: Mystery

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, CA and Northern California

Time Period: Present Day

Series: Kate Martinelli mysteries, 1

Plot Summary: Two weeks before Christmas, the naked body of a young girl is discovered on the grounds of a small, reclusive community located outside of San Francisco. Over the next eight weeks, two more bodies are discovered. All three victims share similar traits. They are kindergarten-aged white girls with brown hair from upper-middle-class families who disappeared from their neighborhoods in the middle of the day. Veteran police inspector Alonzo Hawkins and newly promoted Detective Kate Martinelli of the San Francisco police department are assigned to investigate the case. Because the victims’ bodies were found on the property of a community that lacks electricity, telephones and also restricts vehicular access, Hawkins and Martinelli focus their search for the killer among the community’s unusual and eccentric residents, especially the haunted and enigmatic artist Vaun Adams who spent nine years in prison seventeen years ago for the murder of a six-year-old girl. Hawkins, known for being gruff and intimidating, and Martinelli, desperately trying to keep both her personal life and her lifestyle choices private from those she works with, forge a productive working relationship as they struggle to decipher the multitude of clues that will lead them to the killer’s identity in this complex and exciting mystery.

Subject Headings: Child murders – Northern California; Women painters – Northern California; Women detectives – Northern California; Lesbian detectives; Child murder investigation – Northern California; Serial Murders – Northern California; Police; Strangling; Murder suspects; Crimes against children; Northern California; Mystery stories, American.

Appeal: engrossing, urgent, fast-paced, compelling, detailed, eccentric secondary characters, intriguing, police detectives, series characters, lesbian relationships, feminism, strong, action-oriented, character-centered, intelligent, complex, investigative, resolved ending, detailed setting of San Francisco, detailed setting of a rural primitive community, dramatic, enigmatic, psychological, emotionally-charged, suspenseful, candid.

Three terms that best describe this book: Dramatic, Investigative, Enigmatic

Red Flags: violence against children, murder of children

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Sacrifice by Clyde Phillips –Newly promoted Lieutenant Jane Candiotti of the San Francisco police department attempts to balance her private life and her professional life while investigating two separate but possibly related murder cases in San Francisco. (Mystery, character-centered, strong intelligent female protagonist juggling personal and professional life, San Francisco setting, series, police detectives, women detectives).

No Defense by Kate Wilhelm – Defense attorney Barbara Holloway agrees to defend a young widow who claims she is being framed for the murder of her husband in this legal thriller. (Mystery, fast-paced, detailed, complex, psychological, strong intelligent female protagonist, rural community setting).

Cop Out by Claire McNab – Australian Detective Inspector Carol Ashton investigates a possible case of fratricide while trying to keep her sexuality secret from her coworkers in the male-dominated Sydney police force. (Mystery, strong intelligent female protagonist, feminism, lesbianism, police detectives).

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Lesbian Detective Fiction: Woman as Authors, Subjects, and Reader by Phyllis Betz – Examines lesbian detective and mystery fiction to see how lesbian characters are represented and how their public and private lives intersect in the stories.

Free Land: Free Love: Tales of a Wilderness Commune by Malcolm Terence – Anthology of stories from residents of the Black Bear Ranch, a community created for individuals who wanted to create a counter-cultural society.

Northern California: An Explorer’s Guide by Michele Bigley – Detailed description of Northern California including cultural attractions, natural wonders, and history.

Name: Maggie

The Big Love

June 7, 2009

Author: Dunn, Sarah (read by Eliza Foss)

Title: The Big Love: a novel

Genre: Women’s lives & relationships/Audio Book

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 240 p. (Audio book version: 6 unabridged CDs)

Geographical Setting: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Time Period: present day (2000’s)

Series: (if applicable) N/A

Plot Summary:

Alison Hopkins is a journalist who is unexpectedly left by her live-in boyfriend, Tom. Alison works for a Philadelphia paper, writing a relationship advice column even though she has had one previous lover and is not at all experienced in love and romance. At first she is heartbroken, but after a while she uses her newfound, single life to gossip with friends, and engage in a series of relationship adventures, all while hoping Tom will come back to her. She jumps at the opportunity when her boss, Henry, expresses romantic interest in her which creates an exciting, romance-filled adventure. The narrator accurately expresses Alison’s restlessness and the thoughtful manner in which Alison muses on everything from her Evangelical Christian upbringing to men’s behavior all while maintaining the intended introspective and smart tone.

Subject Headings: Jilted women; single women; women columnists; Men/Women relationships; breaking up (interpersonal relations); office romance; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; humorous stories; Chick lit

Appeal: Introspective, smart, witty, humorous, relaxed, engaging, self-absorbing, arresting, dialogue-filled, contemporary, musing, restless, intelligent, thought-provoking, character-centered, reflective, detailed setting of Philadelphia, intimate, sophisticated, thoughtful

3 Terms that best describe this book:

Witty, introspective, smart

3 Relevant Non-Fiction works and authors:

John Spelman, Philadelphia & The Pennsylvania Dutch Country, a Lonely Planet travel guide to the Philadelphia area where The Big Love takes place.

Jan Goldberg, Careers in Journalism, is a guide to help those interested in pursuing a career in journalism.

Mira Kirshenbaum, Women & Love, is an owner manual for the heart. It discusses psychological aspects of man-woman relationships for the strong and smart woman.

3 Relevant Fiction works and authors:

Carole Matthews, With or Without You, is a compelling novel about a woman whose live-in boyfriend has left her and how she faces crossroads in her life while being newly single.

Andrea Semple, The Ex-Factor, a racy romp though Martha Seymore’s life as a newly single woman. She’s a self-assured, relationship-advice columnist who learns from past mistakes and rediscovers the joys of dating.

Lani Diane Rich, Ex and the Single Girl, is about Portia Fallon, who fears she’s attracted to commitment-phobic men, like the other women in her family. It’s a funny, predictable and sweet romp with quirky and likeable characters.

Name: Natalie Ochockyj