Monday, July 25, 2016

Cover Characteristics Robots

Cover Characteristics is a meme by Sugar and Snark- every week a characteristic is selected and we post 5 books with that week's theme.  

This week's pick- Robots/ Androids  

This week I decided to go with robotic/ android cover art- this is one I've been wanting to do for a while. 

Alex + Ada #12

I decided to include some comic covers this time around- I like this one for the simplicity of it.
Alex + Ada #10

This one reflects a bit of a love triangle in the story. 

Alex + Ada #5

An interesting cover- really captures the anguish which is at the heart of this series. 

Obviously an old school cover but I am intrigued by the robotic arm.

Robopocalypse (Robopocalypse, #1)

This one's just kinda freaky. 

Robots and Empire (Robot, #4)

Another older cover- art is by Michael Whelan.  

Freak of Nature (IFICS, #1)

I remember seeing this around a year or two ago- always liked this cover. 

Fractured Innocence (IFICS #2)

Nice cover  - but my favorite part of this is the title. 


This one is kinda terrifying.

Revolution 19 (Revolution 19, #1)

This might be my fave- this or the first Alex and Ada.

And for a bonus...  

This is a great movie about artificial intelligence.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sunday Post #152

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

It's been a pleasant- but HOT- week with temps in the 90's. Reading has been okay- I'm getting through about a book a week which is good for summertime. Didn't make it to the beach but there are some festivals going over by the lakeshore. So maybe this week. In show news I'm pretty much caught up on everything, and I'm looking for something to watch on Netflix. I've been binging so much the last few months that I've gone through pretty much everything on my list. 

I reviewed The Girls in the Garden this week and it just might be one of my favorites of the year so far. I also talked about Weird Titles in books and had the usual discussion on A Dance with Dragons as well as Bookcover Spotlight. There are a few movies I'd like to see but I never seem to make it to the theater... and the Olympics are getting closer. Two weeks to go!

The Girls in the Garden

This Suicide Squad promo dropped this week and it looks as fun as ever. 

And I'm listening to...

Last Week

Cover Characteristics 
Top Ten Books Set Outside The US
What's Up With Weird Titles? 
A Dance with Dragons-  Cersei II/ Tyrion XI
Bookcover Spotlight  

Next Week:

Cover Characteristics 
The Bookish Time Travel Tag
A Dance with Dragons-  The Kingbreaker/ The Dragontamer
At The Edge of Summer my thoughts 
Bookcover Spotlight 

Here's some pics I took in the last week or so.


Stone Cold Blonde (A Steve Conacher Mystery)

Time Siege (Time Salvager #2)The Wanderers (The Wanderers, #1)


Boats Against the Current talks about book covers

Here's the first poster for the new Star Wars movie. 

And here's a nice look at it. 

And here's a nice clip from the Jason Bourne movie. 

Dark Matter is picking up after a somewhat shaky start. Here's a fun clip from the last one. 

This is kind of funny. 

Word is that S4 of Black Sails will be its last. 

A fun Star Wars image.
 death star

Time Portal at DeviantArt. 

Time portal by tsonline

Outer space bar- you can see part of the ship outside along with a spectacular view. Full image found here

This is an older science fiction book cover- artist credit here. I like the roiling sea, the reddish sun going down and the mer-creature. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Girls in the Garden

The Girls in the Garden starts out with a party and a girl in a coma. Pip and Grace are brought to the Victoria Park development to live after their father goes into a hospital for his mental illness. Their mother is a bit distracted and they make friends with the other kids in the complex- there's a mix of upscale and more modest homes and they all back onto a communal garden area, complete with a rose garden and paths and even an enclosed "secret" garden. It sounds like a wonderful place for kids to hang out- but one night after a summer party in the park Grace is found unconscious- and there are signs of an assault.

The story is told from the point of view of Pip, her mother Clare, and Adele who lives across the park. And a fascinating story it is. Clare deals with being a single mom while Adele has a beautiful home, three daughters that she homeschools, and a husband who is popular with the kids- perhaps too popular with some of them. Grace is hospitalized after the incident and while Clare and Pip try to hold it together, and figure out what happened, it's Adele who starts digging into the secrets and lies that permeate the community, even as the police are doing the same thing. I loved switching from Pip's perspective to Adele's- both had fascinating personalities and such a different perspective on things, and both were equally compelling.

This story explores the question of how well do you really know someone- your kids, a husband or wife, family? Adele realizes over time that in some ways she doesn't know her kids at all- even though they live together, the kids have their own world in the park and it's a little scary to realize that in real life there's a lot of things we don't know about the people closest to us. To me that was the message of the book- how much do you really know? And does it matter? Here it clearly matters as we slowly learn more about what happened that summer night.

There are some chilling moments towards the end where we discover things that tie everything together, and I enjoyed trying to figure out what happened. Each revelation was a peek into a society centered around the park, where kids grow up too fast and parents don't realize it, where clues and links to past events provide a context to what happened. The only real complaint I have is the explanation at the end seemed a little bit contrived, perhaps a smidgen unrealistic considering how young the kids are, but overall this was a fantastic read that explores family and kids and what happens when it all goes wrong. One of my favorite reads of the year.


For those who've read the book I wanted to talk spoilers a bit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Reviews #7

"I've Seen The Other Side Of You" looks at the tension on the ship after the crew's recent escape from the security moon where they were held captive. Two wants to take on the corporations in the wake of One's death, and the three newcomers find their access to the ship restricted- which seems prudent since neither we or the crew know very much about them. Android, meanwhile, cannot re- establish her neural link with the ship, due to the injuries she sustained on Hyperion-8. So she shuts down to effect repairs- and then bad stuff happens.

Basically this episode is one of those exercises in what happens when people lose their memories? Two, Three and Four are all uploaded with their old memories, back when they were criminals- so they get to sneer and be ruthless and Five has to figure out a way to survive and restore them to their, um, new selves. Or whatever. Of course she does so in the end but we learn a few things- we get a glimpse into what made Two the way she is (er, was), we find out that Arax is the mole onboard, and we also find out that the crews old memories are available- but they decide not to upload them as Android warns it could make them into their old criminal selves again. I'm not sure any of that really makes sense, but whatever. A moderately entertaining episode.

I think Dark Matter has a lot of potential, I really liked S1 with the slightly claustrophobic feel aboard the Raza and the dark themes- and three episodes into S2 I'm not sure where this is going but I'm cautiously optimistic. This show isn't as polished or as well written as say a 12 Monkeys, like I said last week, but it is keeping my interest.

Speaking of 12 Monkeys- this week The Memory of Tomorrow  is the final episode of S2. We finally get to find out who the Witness is- but more on that in a moment. First we start off with Cole and Cassie in 1959, exchanging presents for Christmas. Awww... we want them to be happy, but of course it's not to be. The much ballyhooed appearance of Madeleine Stowe as a guest star happens- Cole encounters her on the street and time just... stops. It happens again and Cole finds her in an insane asylum. Guess what? She's a Primary... or something. She tells Cole he can go back to 1957 and try again to stop the paradox... the only problem is doing so will erase the happiness that he and Cassie have found in the last year.

The other wrinkle is- Cassie is pregnant. Yay Cole and Cassie- congratula- wait that's not going to happen if Cole does his thing. And sure enough... he does, drinking the red leaf tea or whatever and going back. And he doesn't tell Cassie- which is the biggest problem I have with this one. I HATE it when a show does that- I can't see him not telling her. Shouldn't she have a say? Anyway Cole succeeds and he and Cassie are pulled back to 2044. The happiness of their time together is erased- or is it? Later Cassie remembers their time together- yay! But what does that mean?

It's nice to have the band back together. Cole and Cassie, along with Jones, travel to Ramse's location and mount a rescue, along with Jennifer and the Daughters. Everyone in one place! But things go wrong, because of course, and Ramse ends up with Olivia and her dissidents while Cassie is snatched away just before the bad guys get away via time displacement. Argh- they're separated again! And no- Deac gets taken out after valiantly defending Jennifer. He really grew on me- if he's truly dead that's a shame.

It was nice to see Jones kick a little ass in this one- that image of her with a shotgun and a cigarette was a hoot. Cleaning house! And she has a dog. And her daughter wasn't too shabby with the weapons either! But we end with Cassie in 2163- they're in the future now, not the past- and Cole is determined to go and save her. And the big reveal... the Witness is- the child. Cole and Cassie's child will be the Witness? I was kinda hoping that wouldn't be the case- but at least now we know. Although on this show you never really know.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Dance with Dragons Cersei II/ Tyrion XI

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

This week it's time to check in with Cersei and see what she's been up to. Not much actually, as she is still in her cell waiting for her Walk of Atonement. A traumatic experience to be sure, and one that will change her- but will it really? Cersei in the books seems a bit more erratic, more dangerous, than the version on the show... and you never really know what's going to happen. And then we're going to check in with Tyrion, who last time had just bet everything on a desperate gamble to join the Second Sons. They're a mercenary group that were with Dany and changed sides- and now represent Tyrion's last hope for freedom and survival.


Cersei is afraid and debating whether she should go through with the Walk of Atonement or risk all on a trial, but she knows that won't work. You almost feel sorry for her here as the idea of walking naked through the streets clearly terrifies her, as it would anyone.

Cersei raised her head. Beyond the plaza, beyond the sea of hungry eyes and gaping mouths and dirty faces, across the city, Aegon's High Hill rose in the distance, the towers and battlements of the Red Keep blushing pink in the light of the rising sun.

It's a tough slog and she falls several times, trash is thrown at her and she's totally devastated by the end.

There will be more, and worse. These creatures have no sweeter joy in life than jeering at their betters. 


Tyrion is in the tents of the Second Sons signing papers awarding each name one hundred gold dragons. This is the price he has to pay to be free from the Yunkish and join the free company. Farther down the amount changes to one thousand coins. Then at the bottom the amounts are ten thousand coins for Kasporio and Inkpots, and one hundred thousand for Brown Ben, as well as fifty hides of land, a castle and a lordship. After he signs their book making him a Second Son, he goes through the company steel to get some armor and weapons. It's all junk basically and he has to deal with Penny complaining but he tells Jorah that the goal now is to get the Second Sons to switch sides again and join Dany.

Not a lot happens here other than Tyrion joining the mercenaries, although there is a little back and forth between him and Brown Ben Plumm. Tyrion has successfully saved them by being smart and getting them away from the Yunkish- now he has to stay alive as a member of Brown Ben's company. He'll be working with the ledgers though so that's pretty safe. And of course once he gets to Dany he may not be a Second Son for long?

What's Up With Weird Titles?

Rocks Fall, Everyone DiesThe Land of 10,000 Madonnas

This post was inspired by a comment over at It Starts At Midnight- I made a crack about weird book titles and how that could be a post, and after that conversation I got to thinking. There have been so many book titles lately that just... I don't know, mystify me? Or make me curious. YA titles in particular can be interesting at times. So here we're going to talk a bit about book titles- the good, the bad, and the WTF-ery.

Now weird is subjective. My weird may not be your weird, but for purposes of this discussion I want to look at not only weird titles but titles that seem pretentious or whatever. This is all in the spirit of fun, so if I mention a favorite title please don't be offended- I'm just talking about titles that I find funny or whatever.

So I'm just going to show a few that have caught my eye or I've been like, what?? These could be great books for all I know- but the titles are... interesting.

Exit, Pursued by a BearSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaThe Porcupine of TruthI Woke Up Dead at the MallBright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled, #1)The Distance Between Lost and FoundA History of Glitter and BloodDaughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5)The Last Boy and Girl in the WorldCure for the Common UniverseLearning to Swear in America

You get the idea. Again, these might all be great- but the titles are just kinda weird. Or vague or not really clear what the book is about. They probably make perfect sense once you've read the book. Does anyone else get annoyed at titles like these though? Maybe it's just me... and once I look at the synopses often a book like this has a message or explores a theme that's actually pretty important.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare...  so says the synopsis. Actually it sounds like this could be a very moving book- and I don't want to make light of it because it covers a serious topic. But it's one of those titles that if I saw it on a bookshelf I would have no idea (I mean, presumably cheerleading) but other than that...

So... what do YOU think? Weird or vague titles- like or dislike? Or don't care either way?