Posts Tagged Hollywood

Xanthan Gumm – Robin Reed

Storyline: I could chew on Xanthan Gumm all day long! Ms. Robin Reed takes our normal and almost boring planet, Earth, and makes it extremely interesting and exciting.

Xanthan Gumm is a sweet little guy that’s not from Earth, but has been a fan of our movies for an extremely long time.  Xanth (as he likes to be called) flies to Earth to star in the Movies that he and all of the other creatures in Galactic Central have been watching and studying for decades.

Only upon his crash landing and subsequent trials, tribulations and troubles does he realize that it’s going to take a lot more than he originally thought to be the next big Movie Star. Instead of instant fame, it might even take as long as week!

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed some minor grammatical (incorrect pronoun or character’s name, capitalization and punctuation) issues throughout the story, with an increase in formatting problems (spacing, paragraph indentation, random characters) towards the end of the book. These are easily corrected by another read-through by a beta reader.

Character Development: The main character, Xanth, is adorable in his naive and innocent outlook on humans and their way of life.  Xanth isn’t dumb, he’s just very literal. Apparently, things are more straight-forward in Galactic Central than they are on Earth. He is very easy to love and the reader only wants him to be in the Movies. Xanthan almost makes the reader wish that life were as exciting as the Movies.

General Les S. Moore is likeable even in his misguided and misdirected patriotism. He is driven by his desire to protect Earth from the enemy, be it the “Commies” or otherwise. Apparently, Xanth falls into the “otherwise” category. With his overbearing mother helping to push him towards his ambition along with his over-the-top chin, General Moore will stop at nothing to achieve that goal.

Writing Style: Ms. Reed’s use of an “intergalactic” vocabulary is completely made up, yet very believable and just absolutely adorable. Her use of pop culture references is refreshing and helps move the story along quite well.

Continuity: No issues with continuity noted. The red cars remained red.

Overall Rating: 4

This story, with some minor editing for content, could easily translate into a Pixar or animated Disney film. I can almost hear Tim Allen’s deep voice as General Les S. Moore and Ewan McGregor’s soft voice full of awe as he tells everyone of his plans to be in the Movies.

Ms. Reed gave me a series case of the giggles in several points throughout the story.  Xanthan Gumm is a great lighthearted and sweet story about a little guy who just wants to make it big – something that even we, as somewhat oblivious humans, can relate to. I recommend this book to just about anyone with a great sense of humor and a true appreciation for the Movies and achieving the American Dream. Or at least trying to achieve it.


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Crashed: A Junior Bender Mystery – Timothy Hallinan

Storyline: Timothy Hallinan has Crashed through any tired clichés about a burglar in L.A.  turned detective mystery.

Junior Bender is your average guy… Drives an average car. Is newly divorced. Has a 12 year old daughter. Lives in L.A. Oh and he’s a burglar – an above average, quite talented burglar actually.

Junior has been, ahem, “hired” to help figure out who is trying to sabotage a highly expensive, highly anticipated adult film starring the world’s best known former child television star.

Only after meeting 22 year old Thistle – the burned out, strung out and just barely coherent “star” – does his conscience really start to bother him. Though, what truly bothers him the most is the fact that it seems like no one cares about her and that someone is out murder her.

It’s a tough call for Junior: let the show go on or call the whole thing off and risk paying the ultimate price?

Grammar/Spelling: No issues with grammar or spelling.

Character Development: HA! Junior Bender is what I would be if I were going to be a burglar: talented, clever and witty. (Well, I’m all of those things now, but I’d know how to pick a lock or two as well!) Mr. Hallinan created a character that is both whip-smart and resourceful. Even though Junior’s “associates” are down at the bottom of the list of invites to a Sunday afternoon ice cream social, Junior still carries out the dirty work with a great mixture of class, charm and charisma.

Writing Style: The writing style is wonderfully descriptive and his attention to detail is incredible. It seems as if Mr. Hallinan either did a lot of research on the art of stealing art or that he’s harboring a secret… Care to share anything, Mr. Hallinan? I won’t tell!

The dialogue is realistic without being too clichéd. Even the bad (and seriously stupid), Hacker, was a perfect personification of everything you’d expect in a corrupt L.A. cop.

Best line in the story? This one right here: He was wearing black leather gloves as though to conceal the tiny biceps in his fingers.”  Where do you guys come UP with this stuff?!

Continuity:  No problems with continuity.

Overall Rating: 5+

I wish I could find a more unique way of saying this, but this book could easily translate into a movin’ picture! Up on the big screen in Technicolor (Do they still use that?), for all the world to see! I’ve already picked out the actor to play Junior Bender… let’s just say his name starts with “Ry-“and ends with “-an Reynolds.” Perfect!

I’d recommend this book to everyone (except maybe the younger audiences because of the adult language, violence and drug usage) who likes to enjoy what they’re reading. I mean, if you don’t like reading great work, then I wouldn’t recommend this you because you’ll be sorely disappointed with how great Crashed: A Junior Bender Mystery by Timothy Hallinan truly is.  

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