Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bookcover Spotlight #47

The Vacationers

I like this one for the summery vibe. 

Silicon Dawn

Silicon Dawn (Silicon World #0)

Silicon Dawn is a dystopian where androids, or mechs, are everywhere and humanity feels threatened by them. Adam is a mech who has just arrived on Earth and he is a state of the art model, with capabilities far beyond human. He pairs up with Jane Malveaux, a cop who doesn't like mechs (to put it mildly), and together they have to solve some particularly gruesome murders that seem to have their root in anti- mech hysteria. Like most books of this kind the emphasis is on what makes us human? Adam discovers that he does have feelings and attachments to people and this complicates his life, making him more than just an android doing a job. Malveaux also has to re- examine her beliefs and feelings when her and Adam are thrust into situations that shake up her preconceptions.

I thought this was well done for the most part, and I enjoyed the dynamic between Adam and Malveaux. there are some chilling moments as they discover that things are even worse than they initially thought, and I thought the evolution of their relationship seemed realistic. There were a few things I thought happened a little fast, but then this is just over two hundred pages so it's not a long book, and therefore by necessity I think we have a slightly  faster timeline. I also enjoyed the world, the author seems to be going for that rainy, neon drenched Blade Runner feel and I think he succeeded for the most part.

This is billed as a prequel to Silicon Man, which I haven't read but probably will. I'm curious to see what the next book is like since it takes place ten years after the events of this story. It will be interesting to see what developments in mech technology that are hinted at here look like. Also I was impressed at the way questions were raised about what it means to have a personality, when does an AI become human or have feelings- and what happens once they do?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

12 Monkeys S2x03

1944. We start out listening to Bing Crosby's "Pistol Packin Mama" as a young couple get ready for a night out. They're not going however- a woman shows up and kills the woman getting ready, and a man downstairs does the same. They take the couples place and head to Columbia University for some fancy event. The woman says "Our entire lives have led to this moment. The world will be forever changed." Okaay then. Meanwhile in the future Dr. Adler is telling Jones that there are temporal spikes throughout the timestream ever since the Messengers went back in time.

He says it's almost as if the structure of space/time is collapsing. Of course it is. And Jones is clearly frustrated, both with the anomalies and with the Dr. Eckland situation. She tells Adler "My suggestion is we all just get used to the new normal." Good luck with that. And then we have Cole and Deacon kicking the crap out of each other- apparently Deac was interrogating Ramse again and Cole took exception. Cassie arrives to break it up and they all seem to disagree about just who the asshole is. Deacon says he trained Cassie like he trained Cole, and her and Cole are definitely not on the same page. It's fascinating seeing the twist in the relationships here.

They have the picture from last time of 1944 so they know something happens there. Apparently a scientist was involved in a bio weapons program for the government and he was killed at Columbia University in '44- bingo. The killers- a man and woman- were never found. Cassie doesn't want to go back but Jones tells her she needs to help Cole navigate that time period- if Cole fails, they all fail. So... they go back.

They agree to rendezvous at the Emerson hotel if anything goes wrong. Cole goes back and then it's Cassie's turn. Deacon tells her to be careful, and she tells him to behave- they're quite cozy, aren't they? Cassie arrives in '44 during an air raid drill- and when she goes to the Emerson she attracts attention due to her attire. The hotel has a dress code and is about to throw her out when Cole shows up and tells the clerk she's his wife- after all, they don't give rooms to unmarried couples! Ah, the 40's. Turns out Cole has been there 2 months waiting for her. He tells her he's been drinking whisky sours and she's like "You like it here." He's like "What's not to like?"

They arrive at the gala and split up and Cole gets talking to a guy at the bar while Cassie sees Vivian with the scientist Dr. Crawford. Cassie and Cole are too late to save him, but they see a drawing of the red monkey. And we jump to the future where Ramse sees his son and then Jones comes to talk to him. She tells him she can no longer protect him. Jones hates him because he was involved (however tangentially) with the virus which killed the three people she loved. Okay I get that, but to just turn him over to Deacon- and not let him see his son again- that's cold. Just when I think I like Jones she does something like that. Back in '44 Cole and Cassie realize there's another Crawford- a son. The Messengers killed the wrong one.

Turns out the son is in a mental asylum. Apparently he's a "primary" and the Monkeys are coming for him. Cole and Cassie get there and it's already started- they're always late- and the kid escaped, but they see that he drew a red forest on the ceiling. They're caught flat footed by the Messengers (are these two inept or what?) and Vivian gets away with Cole.

Vivian has Cole restrained and says he doesn't know how important he is. Tommy meanwhile (the kid) says that the Witness has spoken and he is supposed to die, that they need it for the world of chaos and the red forest. Tommy exchanges himself for Cole and when they try to save him he goes with Vivian willingly- Cole says they're trying to cause a paradox. They break in to stop her just as she stabs Tommy- and everything goes crazy. Looks like they might be stuck in 1944 for a while. And in 2044 something weird is happening.

The 100

So Pike is brought to Polis and things have changed... for the worse. People are being strung out and apparently tortured- they're stepping through puddles of blood and Kane is like WTF? Jaha seems to be running things now. They're passing chips out left and right and Pike grabs Ontari- you gotta give the guy credit, he's doesn't mess around- but his own guys jack him up. I'm sorry I don't buy the Grounders just going along meekly with all this, but whatever. Or maybe they're not going along- the ones refusing the chip are the ones being strung up?

Kane is next- take the chip, Jaha tells him. Kane throws it away- go Kane!- but ALIE says chill down, we need him to find Clarke. Abby says leave Kane to me (what's she going to do? THAT should be interesting) and ALIE says they still have a 3% rejection rate. Does that mean only 3% of Grounders are resisting? Then we go six months earlier and everyone is still on the Ark, and Pike is summoned before Jaha, Kane and Abby. Back when they were all assholes. They want Pike to train the 100 in wilderness survival for when they hit the ground. Pike agrees, and in shuffles the 100.

The 100 season 3 episode 13 Harper Jasper

Cut to now and Bellamy and crew are heading for Luna, but they hit a roadblock and have to stop. They set out on foot and find that the village... is not a village but just some rocks piled up. Octavia is not happy. Pike is thrown into a cell with Murphy and Indra is there. Payback time! Indra's not playing around. Meanwhile Bellamy and Octavia have words and she can't forgive him yet. He walks away and they discover by accident a way to light a signal fire.

Abby tries trick Kane pretending she's with him but it doesn't work and when he doesn't give up Clarke's location they basically crucify him. Crazy. Then we get a Bellarke moment- nice, on the shore. Clarke tells Bell that O will forgive him in time, but will he forgive himself? They hug and it's a nice moment but as usual something happens and- frogmen? They're captured by scuba diver Grounders and given a vial to drink if they want safe passage- Octavia takes it and passes out. They have to drink if they want to go- so Clarke says "Together" and her and Bellamy drink. Awww...

The 100 season 3 episode 13 Bellarke hug

At this point I was like where in the fuck is this going? Scuba diver Grounders?? But I'm loving it at the same time. Back to the Ark and if there was ever any doubt that Jaha is worse than Pike, that's settled here. Pike knows he's not reaching the kids, so he tries a different tack- he beats the crap out of Murphy and everyone freaks. I guess he's trying to toughen them up? Indra meanwhile is about to kill Pike in the present, and Murph and another Grounder tell her to stop- they need him.

We then get an Imagine Dragons song as the kids are loaded aboard for their flight. I guess a theme of this episode is consequences, or payback? You could argue both Kane and Pike are getting some karma from things they've done in the past. Anyway Jaha threatens to shoot Abby if Kane doesn't give up Clarke and the others, and he apparently takes the chip to save her. Clarke and crew wake up and they're with Luna, and Clarke offers her the chip- to be the next Commander- but Luna says no. Then they see that they're on a massive oil rig or platform of some sort, out at sea. I wondered when that rig from the opening sequence would show up! Kinda awesome. I guess that explains the scuba people? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Let's Talk About Book Spoilers

Book spoilers are a hot topic for book bloggers- with all the blogs out there and Goodreads it can be easy to get spoiled for our favorite books. Katherine at I Wish I Lived in a Library had a great post  about this very topic, and it got me thinking. I often write book reviews where I want to talk about the book in depth- and that includes spoilers, because how else can you really get into it? But I don't because most readers don't want the book spoiled. So... what to do?

I also think spoilery reviews are helpful to me if down the road I come back to jog my memory of the book. If I'm just writing in general terms that's not going to help me remember. And let's face it, as book bloggers we read a TON of books- we can't remember it all. Add to that the fact that many bloggers say they don't read reviews anyway until after they're read the book, and I've wondered if I should just review away and add a spoiler tag.

I've also thought about doing two reviews- one spoilery and one not. I did that once with my review of A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin. It's just too cumbersome though to do that. Then I thought maybe a discussion post about a book, with a spoiler tag- that way people can discuss the book spoilers and the discussion post would be for that.

What do you think? I guess I'm curious to know if people would read a spoilery review or discussion post or if they would just skip it. Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Game of Thrones "Home"

We start off with Bran dreaming beside The Three eyed Crow-  dreaming of Ned as a boy. Ned is sparring with Benjen and Lyanna shows up. Yes!! I think this is the first we've seen of her on the show? And Hodor talking. His real name is Wylis. I don't think we knew that? And a child of the forest tells Meera that Bran will need her down the road. I thought this was a nice beginning- for the second week in a row the show opens nicely.

Game of Thrones - Home

Then it's off to Castle Black. Time's up Davos. Alliser and his crew are about to break in when the giant shows up, along with the wildlings. That's what I thought would happen. Loved it when Davos drew Longclaw though. Someone's dumb enough to shoot the giant with a crossbow, and ends up the worse for it. I thought Alliser and Tormund would go head to head, but they're thrown in cells- and that's that.

I thought Jaime and the High Sparrow was kinda lame. The Sparrow called Jaime's bluff, and frankly I much prefer book Jaime to this guy. He's not bad, but I think book Jaime is more sardonic, more confident, and basically more badass. Not even close. Tommen then asks Cersei to help him be strong. Kid, you could do way better- she'll just wreck you.

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Maybe the best line of the night- from Tyrion? He discusses the dragons with Missandei and Varys, and then goes to see them. They're not eating, and he says dragons in captivity will waste away. Time to feed 'em. Although what he does is free them from their chain- pretty gutsy. Varys by the way is like eff that- he stays at the top of the stairs! That look on his face was priceless. Interesting the dragons don't roast Tyrion.This will certainly fuel a particular theory in the fandom...

We check in on Arya and she's thankfully no longer on the outs with the Faceless Men. And shocker of the night- Ramsay kills Roose. Didn't see that coming- anyone who's read the books knows that extremely unlikely to happen, given how they're portrayed, but there it is. And who's the Karstark guy?  Harrion Karstark is still unaccounted for in the books, but this is the show so maybe they're changing all that. Sansa and Theon talk and he wants to go home. Speaking of home- we then go to Pyke and get to see Balon bite the dust. This happened a while ago in the books, and some thought the Faceless Men did it, but here it's clearly Euron. We're going to get the whole Greyjoy kingsmoot storyline apparently.

And... Davos goes to Melisandre for help. She's obviously having a crisis of faith, but he presses her.

Cover Characteristics

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- Ferris Wheels  

This week we're heading to the carnival or the fair for the big wheel. This almost feels like a continuation of last weeks- I guess it is kinda- and an interesting topic, with lots of possibilities.  Every carnival seems to have a big wheel of one sort or another- some people love 'em and others want nothing to do with them. How about you- are you a fan? And do you like going to the carnival? 

Undertow (Undertow #1)Nowhere Girl (Cate Austin, #4)  All the Missing GirlsAt Bluebonnet Lake (Texas Crossroads, #1)CarniepunkThe Amusement Park Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #25)

This one's not bad, I like the different colors of the seats. 

This is probably my favorite of the bunch- I like the night sky, the lights and the sense that anything can happen at a carnival. The wheel and the roller coaster in the back just make me want to know more.

This one isn't bad, I was actually looking for a Divergent cover with a wheel since it plays a role in the book, but didn't see one. This is kind of interesting with the fire though.

I like this one a lot too, both for the old time seats and the colorful natures of it.

Undertow (Undertow #1)

You know something's going on here and it's not good. It's got a tense quality to it and if I remember right this is a merfolk type story, so there's that. One of the better ones.

 Nowhere Girl (Cate Austin, #4)

This one's not bad, I like the lights and again the sense that the carnival is a vibrant and colorful place.

All the Missing Girls

Seems a little ominous with the dark clouds and just the whole atmosphere of it- and shouldn't the wheel be lighted?

At Bluebonnet Lake (Texas Crossroads, #1)

Romance at the fair...


The creepiest one on the list, and yes I used it last week, but it's a great cover. And there is a Ferris wheel way back there...

The Amusement Park Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #25)

The only cover I found where you're actually up in the air and I liked that perspective. A solid cover.