Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Elizabeth is Mine by Kate William, 195 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield never planned on straying from her longtime boyfriend, Todd Wilkins. But then, she'd never met anyone like Devon Whitelaw. Not only is Devon devastatingly sexy, he's also brilliant-and impossible for Elizabeth to resist. Elizabeth tries to break up with Todd gently, but the more she pushes him away, the tighter he clings. Can Elizabeth make Todd understand that she no longer loves him...without breaking his heart? Todd's going insane with jealousy. Why would Elizabeth pick that arrogant jerk Devon over him? Todd needs to prove how much he loves Elizabeth-quick. And he's got the perfect plan-he'll ask her to marry him! If that doesn't work, Todd will only have one option left to make Devon Whitelaw go away.

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris, 327 pages

I always look forward to the next Sookie Stackhouse book, aka, the inspiration for the HBO series "True Blood." It was with great eagerness that I picked up #12 in the series, "Deadlocked." From what I've read online, a lot of people are sick of the series and feel it should just die already. However, I did enjoy this latest entry, though I find the books bleaker as they go one. Too many people that our heroine loves die or betray her. This one is no different. Sookie is faced with problems from every part of her life. Felipe de Castro, the vampire king of Louisiana, has come to town to find out what happened to his right-hand man, whom Sookie and her vampire lover Eric were instrumental in killing. Sookie's relationship with Eric is experiencing problems, complicated by the fact that a dead woman has been found on Eric's front lawn. The girlfriend of her friend and boss seems to want to do her harm. I got so caught up in all the plot developments that I didn't see the final 20 pages or so coming, especially the last few. And I think I can now predict how Harris will wrap up the series, which I believe she's supposed to do in another book or two. But I still plan to see things through to the end.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, by Jennifer Reese, 295 pages

Although I love reading cookbooks, I didn't check out "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" to get new recipe ideas. I was more interested in what the author thought was best to make and what was best to buy. She's pretty diverse and thorough, touching on everything from sausage to Worcestershire sauce. I enjoyed her conversational style and descriptions of how she went about attempting to make things she'd never tried before, but I can't say that she inspired me to make anything homemade that I'm not already doing. I'm not going to make lard (gag) or butcher a chicken (double gag), nor am I going to bother with condiments such as mustard or ketchup. Frankly, who has time? I know I don't. I think I do pretty well considering that most of my meals are made fresh and don't come from a box, a jar, or a takeout container. But overall this was a thought-provoking, entertaining book that probably would be more inspirational to someone who doesn't already spent a lot of time in the kitchen.

Dead Inside: Do Not Enter (Notes from the Zombie Apocalypse) by the Lost Zombies, 160 pages

Danya found this a sad book, and I have to agree. "Dead Inside: Do Not Enter" tells the story of the zombie apocalypse through a collection of random notes found in a backpack. It's kind of an epistolary "World War Z." What happens when a world-wide super flu meets a government experimenting with vaccines in a top-secret facility? Yep, zombies run amok. Each page of the book contains an entire note or a piece of one, scrawled on everything from grocery lists to greeting cards to the back of receipts. Some of the notes are confessions, some are instructions to loved ones, some are pleas for help. The notes range from the early days when people were being felled by the flu, to a world where the living dead far outnumber and prey upon the living. Early reactions of puzzlement and concern soon give way to panic and resignation. If you're a zombie fan and want something to read in one sitting, give "Dead Inside: Do Not Enter" a try.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shambling With The Stars.

By Jesse Petersen, 35 pages.
I confess, I only read this for the BINGO sheet, but it was tolerable. I maintain that I am still SO OVER zombies, but go download this eBook now if this is the only space you're missing on the bingo sheet.  It took me like 20 minutes to read.

Puns of Steel by Scott Hilburn, 126 pages

I was at Books-A-Million for over an hour, so this was a fun way to kill the time. A hilarious comic collection filled with tons of punny comics.

Don't Roll Your Eyes at Me, Young Man! by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman, 128 pages

A Zits collection. What can I say, another afternoon at Books-A-Million with my youngest this time.

White Cargo by Don Jordan & Michael Walsh, 320 pages

I had known about a little about the history of indentured servants in America but hadn't realized just how long and widespread it was, and just how horrible it actually was. The first slaves in America weren't black, they were white Englishmen. How is that not taught in our history classes? People not only sold themselves into years of servitude to pay their way to the new world, but also as a means of paying off debts. Also, it was used as a way to punish and transport convicts. These people were beaten, starved, and worked to death, often serving years past their original agreed upon time. White slaves outnumbered black slaves for years and years in America, with the slaves coming from England, Ireland and Scotland. It proved to be a highly profitable business for those involved, with transporters even resorting to kidnapping to fill cargo holds with people to work the tobacco fields. The transports from England stopped after the outbreak of the American Revolution and picked up for a short time after the end of the war, with the English government transporting the dregs of their convicts as a final revenge upon the upstart Americans. With America no longer as a dumping ground, the English then turned to Australia as a solution. All of the people proud of their early settler ancestors may want to consider the fact that those ancestors could have been sent here as a way of avoiding a death sentence.
This was an eye opening read, one that I won't soon forget.

License to Dream by Pat Brady, 127 pages

I enjoy reading comics before going to bed some nights because it's a great way to wind down for the evening. We have about 30 different comic collections on Jason's nightstand so I can just roll over and pick one up if I feel like it. I got hooked on the Rose is Rose strip when I lived in Jefferson City and got the St. Louis Post.

What Would Dewey Do? by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum, 127 page

It's still a ways off till we get the geniuses behind Unshelved to visit the library, but it's never to early to enjoy one of their comic collections. If you haven't discovered Unshelved yet, you are in for a treat. It's a comic devoted to the craziness that is a public library, not only the patrons but the staff themselves. Pick one up today and enjoy it, it's what Dewey would want you to do.

Humongous Zits by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman, 255 pages

Another comic collection featuring Jeremy, and his parents, who seem to exist only to embarrass him. That is the only reason Jason and I find for getting out of bed many days, how can we totally embarrass Renee that day?

My Bad (Zits Treasury) by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman, 262 pages

Anytime a Zits book gets brought into the house, a fight usually ensues over who gets to read it, with the book disappearing into various people's bedrooms. Having a teenager in the house, the comics hit home way too often.


By Neil Gaiman, 80 pages.
I really enjoy Neil Gaiman's weird little brain. Or weird whatever-size-brain he has.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sandman: Season of Mists.

By Neil Gaiman, 224 pages.

Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art by Gene Wilder (250 pgs)

I do like the occasional biography/autobiography, so I picked this one up, no knowing much about Gene Wilder other than that I love his hair and he is funny.

This book wasn't intended as an autobiography as such, but more a series of connected events:  Because this happened, then this happened, and then that, and he married Gilda Radner (his 3rd wife).  That sort of thing.  The looking back at how one certain event/choice can effect a whole chain of events in life.

Gene Wilder is VERY honest in this book.  That means that some things I learned maybe took the "glow" off of the celebrity.  Darn.  They ARE just human.   I don't know if he is someone I would get along with or not, but he is a very interesting person and very talented.  I have certainly added a few movies to my "must see" list because of what I read here.

The Monkees: The day-by-day story of the '60s pop sensation by Andrew Sandoval (304 pgs.)

I am a huge fan of The Monkees and was happy to find a book about them that I hadn't read before.  Well, let me say that the subtitle of this book is painfully accurate.  The day-by-day stuff is mostly made up of incredibly minute details of recording sessions... not quite what I was looking for, but not all UNinteresting.

There were also many quotes and stories that were new to me or in addition to other information that I had previously heard/read.  Those and the photos did make this book worth going through.

The strangest thing about this book was the style in which it was written.  It was divided into years and then each small section was labeled with a date.  The information in that section was then written in the present tense as if it was current news.  It would refer to something that was going to happen tomorrow... though that tomorrow was 45 years ago!  It actually made things a bit confusing to read.  I'm also not certain if the random fitting quotes put in were actually from the day being discussed.  It often seemed like they were reflections of the time instead of actually on that day, but no specifics were in the text.

I'd only recommend this to someone who REALLY is into the Monkees.

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder (304 pgs.)

The penultimate book in the "Little House" series (though originally where Laura ended it) and my all time favourite.  I'm sure I've read and re-read... and now listened to... this one more than any of the others.  Laura is a young woman and being courted by Almanzo and teaching school to help keep her sister, Mary, in the college for the blind.  She finishes her own education during terms when she is not teaching.  Past the uncertainty of her early teen years, she embraces the excitement and romance of growing up and preparing to start out on a life of her own.

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (320 pgs.)

I continue to listen my way through the "Little House" books.  "Little Town" is still my 2nd favourite of the series.  Laura is changing from a girl to a young woman.  Maturity and all that come with it are sneaking up on her.  She actually becomes a schoolteacher before her 16th birthday (something that I USED to think would be really cool) and is being courted by Almanzo Wilder without even knowing it.

Zombie Parents by Scott & Borgman, 128 pages

This is the the one comic that almost every day my husband, myself, or my 16-year-old will exclaim that we're sure the creators have a camera in our house taping us. It really hits home for the relationship between the parents and Jeremy and between the husband and wife. So, when I go to Books-A-Million with my kids for a hour or two, this series is one I'll pick up usually to read.

Fuzzy Logic by Darby Conley, 128 pages

I think my favorite strips are the ones featuring Bucky and the ferret next door. Bucky is one crazy little cat.

I'm Ready for my Movie Contract by Darby Conley, 128 pages

Another Get Fuzzy collection, what can I say, I really enjoy them.

The Get Fuzzy Experience by Darby Conley, 128 pages

Get Fuzzy is one of the snarkiest comic strips out there, so I always get a kick out of reading them. So I felt a craving to re-read one of the collections we own. Bucky is probably my favorite character.

What Jessica Wants by Kate William, 199 pages

Is Jessica Wakefield losing her touch? She can usually wrap any guy around her finger. But Devon Whitelaw, the seriously sexy new guy in town, won't give her the time of day. Of course, Devon's coldness only makes him more intriguing. Jessica swears she'll make him hers. In fact, she'll crush anybody who stands in her way... including her own twin! When Devon becomes Elizabeth Wakefield's new chemistry lab partner, she can help but notice how attractive he is. Who wouldn't? Still, she only has eyes for her longtime boyfriend, Todd Wilkins. But the more Elizabeth works with Devon, the more impressed she is  by his brilliant mind. In comparison, Todd seems...well, sort of ordinary. Will Todd be history when Devon goes after Elizabeth's heart?

Dead Inside Do Not Enter by The Lost Zombies Community, 160 pages

This is probably one of the saddest and coolest zombie books I've ever read. It's not a book per se, with a storyline and characters, but is instead a collection of notes and such left behind by survivors and victims during the zombie outbreak. It features explanations of why people did what they did, notes looking for loved ones, and suggestions for survivors.

Big Nate and Friends by Lincoln Peirce, 222 pages

Another fun graphic novel in a series that has my kids completely hooked. I love how totally confident Nate is of his abilities, he kind of reminds me of my youngest.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, 346 pages

As a Jane Austen fan, I was very pleased that the library book club read this for it's July selection. We had a few who had never read Jane Austen before, so it was a nice treat. Elinore is the oldest sister, practical and level-headed, responsible for keeping her sisters and flight mother on an even keel. Marianne is the middle sister, romantic and prone to extreme attractions. Margaret is the youngest sister who plays an almost non-existent role in the book. When the sisters' father dies, the substantial bulk of money goes to their older half-brother, who has promised to look after them and their mother, but he is quickly convinced by his wife that what money the women has is enough for their few needs, and the extent of help his father expected was nothing more than help moving to a new home.
Settled in a new cottage rented to them by a distant relative, the women quickly settle into country life, filled with all the little excitements such as visiting family and affairs of the heart. Jane Austen always does a wonderful job of bringing her characters and settings to life. One of our book club members said she enjoyed Austen most for the conversations, and I must say I agree. There is always a misunderstanding of the heart, disappointed affairs due to the lack of fortune on the girl's part, and then true love. One of the other members felt that this book was more like a soap opera or teen romance, and it's kind of true. Austen wrote romance and intrigue in such a way that authors today are still copying her.

Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen, 133 pages

I'm a fan of Jane Yolen so when I read a review of this book on Unshelved's Friday book reviews, I was intrigued. Henry is a small, smudgy boy, who doesn't seem to have any real talent for magic. But when the Wizard's Hall is threatened by the beast of a dark wizard, Henry, also known as Thornmallow because he's prickly on the outside and squishy within, realizes that all he can do is try his best to save his school and new friends.
I'm surprised this book hasn't enjoyed a new fan base because it reminds me a lot of Harry Potter. I really wish Yolen had developed it into a longer book, this was more like a novella. I'm pretty sure Rowling must have read this book and gotten some of her ideas from it. For fans of Harry Potter going through withdrawal this is a nice little treat.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves, 343 pages

I'm admitting right away that I have mixed feelings about this teen book. Perhaps I shouldn't have read it right after finishing a dark, serious work like "From Hell," which, like "Ripper," is about Jack the Ripper, or taking a Jack the Ripper tour while in London. "Ripper" was very well-written, more so than a lot of teen books I've read, and I look forward to future books by this author. However, I found myself unable to suspend my disbelief, an important part of reading and enjoying fiction. Amelia is sent to live with her wealthy, aristocratic grandmother in London after her mother dies. Amelia's mother was estranged from her own mother, so she and Amelia moved around a lot as she worked to support them as a governess. As a result, Amelia had a non-traditional childhood that made her fiercely independent, a bit of a street-fighter, and uncomfortable with living a boring life of leisure. To teach her gratitude, Amelia's grandmother sends her to work at a women's charity hospital in London's seedy East End. Yeah, I didn't by that. A class-conscious aristocrat would never send her 17-year-old granddaughter to work with prostitutes and other unfortunate women. But Amelia loves the work ... until Jack the Ripper starts slaughtering former patients from the hospital. Again, I think this is a totally fabricated connection; I've never read anything about the victims being connected by a hospital stay. Finally, Amelia starts to exhibit precognition, as well as a psychic connection with Jack the Ripper. And the supernatural angle takes off from there. There's also a weird subplot connecting to the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The whole book was just entirely unbelievable. I think I would have bought into it more if it hadn't used the Jack the Ripper angle. That being said, I will still read future books by this writer, even if she continues the series.

American Splendor and More American Splendor by Harvey Pekar, 320 pages

I've seen the movie "American Splendor," as well as read various works by Robert Crumb, Pekar's friend and sometimes illustrator, but I couldn't recall if I'd ever read any of the "American Splendor" comics. Well, they've been gathered in this volume as "American Splendor and More American Splendor." Reading this collection is like reading a traditional novel or memoir. Unlike many graphic novels, which I can usually zip right through, "American Splendor" is meant to be read carefully and savored. These are stories from Pekar's everyday life, ranging from encounters he has with people he meets walking the streets of Cleveland, to his job as a government file clerk, to his attempts at finding love and even matchmaking for his friends. These are things all of us would experience in our own lives, but in Pekar's hands they seem funnier, more poignant, more truthful. The illustrations, by a number of respected artists, represent a variety of styles. Loved this book
. Now I want to watch the movie again, as well as dive back into Crumb's works.

Dark Life by Kat Falls (297 pages)

The oceans rose, swallowing the lowlands. Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor - the Dark Life.  15 year old Ty has spent his whole life living deep undersea. When outlaws attack his homestead, he finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from Topside, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and discovers some dark secrets to Dark Life. Secrets that threaten to destroy everything.

I had heard of this book a couple years ago when it first came out and thought the premise sounded really interesting, though this was before the dystopian genre got so popular. Now, in the huge flood of end of the world novels, this one just sort of blends into the crowd.  Not a bad book overall, but not really anything super special.

Gay Men Don't Get Fat by Simon Doonan (254 pgs.)

I chose this book when looking for a book that had already been blogged about.  I'm not sure if I liked it or not.  There were times that the book was quite funny and times when the over-the-topness was just too  much.  I guess I had trouble getting into the spirit of the exaggeration (and also of a social group that is just WAY above me... the fashion loving, designer name types) and, instead, kept trying to fit my life into it.  Other than during the fun of a Gay Pride festival, I just haven't associated with such a flamboyant character.

Also, the over-use of French got on my nerves because I couldn't always figure out the meanings from context.

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter (312 pgs.)

This book, a bit of a twist on the norm for Amish fiction, has some pros and cons.  The cast of characters is a bit contrived, but it did end up making for an interesting bunch.  The conversation, as is often the case in Christian fiction, tended to be stilted and often just not believable.  There were also several stories to tie into one and that kept each story very shallow.

That said, it was still an enjoyable book.  It's a light read and you KNOW that it's going to be a happy ending, so the fun is in seeing just how she's going to get us there.

The inclusion of quilt pictures, a pattern, and a recipe are pluses, too.

Murder On The Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett, 293 pages

I so want to go live in Booktown, with all it's speciality book stores. Except, I wouldn't want to end up as one of the dead bodies that Tricia seems to stumble over on a regular basis. These are definitely what you would call cozy mysteries, but their very well-written ones, enjoyable from page one. Watching the relationship between Tricia and her sister develop over the books has been an additional treat. Now for the long wait for the next book in the series to come out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin, 367 pages

Hmmm. Maybe I should start calling myself a "herbivore" instead of a vegetarian. Perhaps by switching labels I will stop encountering people who a) get defensive and offended when they learn I don't eat meat; and b) ask with more hostility than curiosity, "Well, what *do* you eat for protein?" Sigh. Somehow, I doubt it will make a difference, other than confuse them if they don't know what "herbivore" means. Anyway, whether you're an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore, you should check out this cookbook. Based on a popular and acclaimed blog of the same name, "Herbivore" is chock-full of beautiful color photographs and scrumptious-sounding recipes. Instructions are very clear and accompanied by additional information that might be helpful, such as how to make a balsamic reduction or store herbs and spices. Some of the recipes might seem kind of fussy and frou-frou, but many are hearty, accessible and easily made. I just wish it weren't so hot. With temperatures in the triple digits, I have had little desire to cook creatively lately and have been subsisting on quesadillas, omelets, and taboulleh. But I look forward to trying the Tempeh-Filled Potstickers and Stuffed and Baked Polenta when it
's not a hundred and freaking three degrees outside.

Pick Another Check Out Lane Honey by Joanine Demer (329 pages)

After reading a few coupon books, they all kind of blend together and repeat stuff. I also follow this lady online as well. There were some good tips and pointers and this would be a good read for those who are new to couping in general.

All in Good Time by Tara Kuczykowski and Mandi Ehman (307 pages)

The authors of this book both have websites and daily emails that I keep up with on a daily basis. I enjoy their time and money saving tips. I thought this had a good selection of tips for everyone and they offered tips on just about everything from home mantience to children.

Heart Attack Proof by Michael Ozner, MD (276)

I stumbled across this book when I was on my way to find another book in our new section. As a daughter of a man who had his first heart attack at 36 and died at 44 of Heart Failure, as well as a grandpa with similar heart problems, becoming heart healthy is a must for me. Since my father's passing I have had a desire to get healthier, its easier said than done but now that I have a little one, its a top priority!This book is meant to be read over the course of 6 weeks, I read it all at once but I got some great tips and ideas on how to change things to become heart healthy. Some parts were very medical and not for your average person but it was an overall good book. 

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule (212 pages)

I really like this author, she takes a creative and almost hippie like fashion in all that she does. I really enjoyed reading this book and I found some new creative ways to nurture my son and make everyday more meaningful. Some of the great projects I am going to do are the "love letters" to your child on his or her birthday and creating a "banging wall" in our back yard. I really like how the ideas in this book were simplistic and thoughtful and how the author values experiences and family over worldly possessions...something I think too many people have lost today.

Miss Don't Touch Me Vol. 2 by Hubert & Kerascoet, 92 pages

I'd discovered the first book and really enjoyed it. The second one takes the book in a different direction, with Blanche seeming a lot less in control of her life. The artwork is still very amazing, with the story being attention grabbing. The sad thing is that the 3rd book hasn't been translated into English yet. I may have to learn French.

Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, 403 pages

I love Christopher Moore, with "Lamb" and "The Stupidest Angel" being some of my favorite books. So, I was eager to pick up his newest book. This covers the artist scene in Paris in the 1890s, especially right after Vincent Van Gogh's death. What if Vincent didn't kill himself? What if there is a central color running through a lot of the the great pictures of that time destroying the artists?
This was an odd read, as all of Moore's books are. It was different from his other books but still very Moore-esque.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sandman: Dream Country

By Neil Gaiman, 160 pages.

"The problem with getting what you want is having what you once wanted."

The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien, 448 pages

As a huge fan of historical English fiction, I was intrigued to read about a time period that I knew little about. King Edward, his queen, and his concubine were brought to life in "The King's Concubine" by Anne O'Brien. Filled not only with characters that grabbed the reader's attention, this time period was also filled with conspiracies and schemes galore.

The Borgia Mistress by Sara Poole, 406 pages

"The Borgia Mistress" is an intrigue filled historical novel, with Francesca as a strong central character. Sara Poole has brought to life the Papal Court of Pope Alexander VI and his quest for a lasting legacy of the Borgia family. As the third book in this series, it can stand alone but is better enjoyed read in order due to the rich and complex back story.
The rest of this review can be found at www.NightOwlReviews.com since I read it as an Advanced Readers Copy for them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lio's Astonishing Tales from the Haunted Crypt of Unknown Horrors by Mark Tatulli, 221 pages

One of my favorite comic strips.

Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirce, 216 pages

I can see why these books hold such an attraction for my kids. They are really fun.

Big Nate Out Loud by Lincoln Peirce, 223 pages

Big Nate starts a band with his friends called Enslave the Mollusk.

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce, 216 pages

I'm working my way through these books just so I can know what the attraction is for my kids. They are fun books with Nate as an adorable character. This one featured lots of fun information about Ben Franklin also.

Savvy by Ingrid Law (352 pages)

Mississippi Beaumont (nicknamed Mibs) cannot wait for her 13th birthday. While she's excited to become a teenager, she's more excited to finally get her savvy--the super power that everyone in her family receives on their 13th birthday.  Mibs's older brother Fish can control water, her mother has the ability to do everything perfectly, and her oldest brother Rocket can produce electricity.

Unfortunately, a few days before Mibs's birthday her father is injured in a car accident. While her mother and Rocket are at the hospital the preacher's wife throws Mibs a party.  However, Mibs is convinced that her new savvy can help her save her dad, so she and a few unexpected guests climb aboard a bus that they think is headed toward the hospital. Instead they find themselves headed in the wrong direction and toward a whole heap of trouble.

The first chapter will hook readers, even those less than enamored with fantasy will enjoy this fun, lively adventure.  Who would not love the idea of a secret savvy?  And readers will be happy to know that the sequel Scumble is already published, so they don't have to wait to join Mibs on her next adventure.

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (448 pages)

This was complete fluff, but funny and worth my time.  I was cracking up before I managed to finish the first disc.  A great summer read (or listen)!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, 560 pages

I'd checked this graphic novel out before I left for London back in June but didn't have time to read all 560 pages of it. And I'm glad I didn't have time until now, for I have a much greater appreciation of the information contained within. While in London, I took a Jack the Ripper walking tour one quiet Sunday night. The tour started at the Tower of London tube station, by the oldest Roman wall in the city, and ended in the East End. Our guide was well-known "Ripperologist" Donald Rumbelow, a London police sergeant turned author. It. Was. Awesome. We stopped at all the murder sites, now unrecognizable and drastically changed, but our guide was excellent at setting the scene, as well as key locations in the mystery, such as the doorway where the murderer scrawled a cryptic but inflammatory message in his victim's blood. Hundreds of theories abound as to the identity of Jack the Ripper, but this classic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell details one of the more enduring ones: that the murderer was the British royal family's physician William Gull, who was murdering prostitutes to conceal the indiscretions of a member of the royal family. The book is long and well-researched. It gave me goosebumps to see the names and drawings of the places that I visited -- some locations no longer in existence, but others, such as the Ten Bells pub and the churches, still in use today. "From Hell" is dark, disturbing, violent and sexual, as befitting its subject matter. Definitely not a book for kids or the faint-hearted. My only complaint about "From Hell": Alan Moore adds some whacked-out talk about The Fourth Dimension, a bunch of metaphysical stuff that completely went over my head.