Monday, November 30, 2015

Cover Characteristic #7

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 theme- Beds

This was fun this week- I couldn't find a lot at first but once I started looking at old mysteries I got luckier. There are some great old pulp covers out there- and the taglines are often hilarious.  

Anyway here's what I went with. A mix of old and new- let me know what you think. 

Epitaph for a Tramp- seriously?

My favorite this week? Tough one, but I might go with Dead in Bed.  Or The Big Sleep.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sunday Post #119

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

This week was Thanksgiving and it's a four day weekend. I plan on doing a bit of reading and some Netflix too. I started watching Black Sails and I kinda like it. Anne Bonny is awesome. It's not on Netflix though so I've been buying the episodes at Amazon. I also listened to the Super Serials podcast of the Hunger Games (thank you Katherine for recommending this one) - that was fun. 

The weather was hit or miss this week. It warmed up mid week but will be cooler this weekend. The sun is out a bit as I write this, after two days of rain- Thanksgiving was rainy.  

This week will be another Cover Characteristics, as well as Top Ten Tuesday and a Star Wars post on Wednesday where I will discuss my thoughts on the upcoming movie. 

I've decided to join the Cloak and Dagger challenge hosted by Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My! I almost did this one last year and thought this year I'll take the plunge. I don't do a lot of challenges but this one looks fun. 

SciFi Month runs all through November- you can check out the details here. #RRSciFiMonth and @SciFiMonth.

And... Little Red Reviewer this week announced Vintage Science fiction Month is returning in January. You can find all the details here. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)

A Princess of Mars is the first in the John Carter series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Written in 1912, it tells the story of John Carter, a gentleman and Civil War veteran from Virginia who finds himself transported to Mars. Alone on a world of dead sea bottoms and strange creatures, he is soon captured by Tharks, the great green warriors who roam Barsoom (as they call Mars) in great rampaging hordes. Carter finds that his swordsmanship, combined with an extraordinary agility owing to the lesser gravity on Mars, gives him a great advantage over the natives, and he soon earns a respected position among the warlike Tharks.

Then Dejah Thoris, the beautiful princess of Helium, is captured by the Tharks and Carter risks all to protect her. This earns him the enmity of the Tharks, and soon Carter and Dejah Thoris must flee in an attempt to return the princess to her home. Carter of course falls in love with her almost immediately, in typical Burroughs fashion, and we have the usual misunderstanding due to his ignorance of Martian customs. Carter has a friend among the Tharks however, the honorable Tars Tarkas, and when the rival nation of Zodanga threatens Helium, Carter and Tarkas must risk all to save Dejah Thoris.

A Princess of Mars kicked off the subgenre of science fiction known as sword and planet, or sometimes interplanetary romance. Invariably this formula involves a man transported somehow to another world, where he meets the most beautiful woman imaginable and (of course) wins her hand, having found his true home. He is usually an expert swordsman as well, naturally. I read these as a kid and was enthralled, although the series seems to drop off in quality as they go on (the first five are generally considered the best, although I would really only recommend the first three).

 A Princess of Mars has swordplay and love in the face of hopeless odds, loyalty and betrayal, airships and atmosphere plants, savage monsters and exotic cities beneath the twin moons of Mars- it is a true science fiction classic and a fast read. It has aged somewhat as the writing style is wordier than we're used to nowadays, but if you want to read the book that probably launched a thousand others, this is the one.

Bookcover Spotlight #24

Savage Pellucidar (Pellucidar, #7)

Savage Pellucidar is a Frazetta figure in a prehistoric setting, with a sabertooth tiger as a companion. Notice her hair sticking to the spear- Frazetta did that a few times- is her hair sticking to blood on the spear?

I like the sense of a lost world- the moss on the gnarled tree roots and the somewhat bleak nature of the scene. This is the seventh book of the inner earth tales. I don't think I've read this, although I did always like Frazetta's covers. He had a distinctive style...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beyond the Books Thanksgiving

Beyond the Books is a meme hosted by KissinBlueKaren where every week she throws out a topic to discuss. Link up at her blog and get to know your fellow bloggers!

This weeks topic: Thanksgiving! 

My family has a pretty traditional get- together, we do the turkey and the usual side dishes- mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, the works. Maybe macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole...  

I do like to have a ton of appetizers and snackies and have been known to spend a ton on them. 

Desserts? I'm not big on pies, although pumpkin pie works for me this time of year. 

And of course the long 4 day weekend doesn't hurt! I'm thankful for that alone! 

A Dance with Dragons- Jon IV/ Tyrion V

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

Jon is inspecting supplies beneath Castle Black, and we learn that there are tunnels all over underneath the place, called wormways. It's how the Nights Watch get around quickly in the winter when the snows are high. The situation is not good (this is Game of Thrones, what's new?) - they have a lot of food stored but Bowen Marsh says they will go through it fast, especially with Stannis' people. 

Afterward Jon is summoned before Stannis, and when he gets there he sees that Massey and Horpe have returned (they're the two that Stannis sent south on some mission). Stannis asks him about Mors Umber- he tells him that Horpe and Massey want Winterfell, and Massey wants Val as well. Stannis is more inclined to give Winterfell to Karstark, after he offers it to Jon again and Jon refuses again. 

Jon advises Stannis to go to the mountain clans and ask for their support, and then to march on Deepwood Motte. He says the clans, Flint, Wull, Norrey, Liddle will fight for him.  


Jon is skirting the edge of neutrality by offering Stannis counsel on how best to proceed in the north. Can't blame him though, as the alternative is bleak. 

Tyrion V

The Shy Maid is still heading downriver and they pass another boat, from which they learn that Volantis is at war and that Nyessos and Malaquo are for it. Griff remarks that Illyrio paid Nyessos for his support and they should own him, but Tyrion thinks that the Volantene might have reason to fear the dragon. An argument breaks out and Tyrion reveals that he knows who Young Griff is-and Griff as well.  

COMMENTARY: The big news here of course is the revelation about who Griff and Young Griff are. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top Ten Places I'd Like to Eat Turkey

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back to The Broke and the Bookish so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week is a Thanksgiving freebie- so I went with Top Ten Places I'd Like To Eat Turkey. 

1) Rivendell- Tolkien described Rivendell this way.

"Elrond's house was perfect, whether you liked food or sleep or story- telling or singing (or reading), or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. "

Works for me! I can't think of a better place to have a turkey feast, and then laze it off afterwards. Listening to stories of the old days and the lore of the elves, before a roaring fire in the Hall of Fire perhaps. Here is what Gandalf says of the Hall of Fire.

"Here you will hear many songs and tales- if you can keep awake. But except on high days it usually stands empty and quiet, and people come here who wish for peace, and thought. There is always a fire here, all the year round, but there is little other light."

2) The Shire- -another Middle Earth pick. How could one not want to have a feast in the Shire? I would think that would be the hobbits' specialty. Maybe at Bag End, or at the Green dragon Inn.

3) Highgarden - seat of House Tyrell in Game of Thrones.

"You must see Highgarden. You'd love it there, I know you would. We have a great masquerade the night of the harvest moon... you should see the costumes, people work on them for months."

4) Winterfell- probably the polar opposite of Highgarden, certainly less luxurious, but still a great place to have a feast. More in the northern medieval- esque way, granted, but still... imagine a great steaming turkey in the smoky, high raftered Great Hall, with torches on the walls and dogs fighting over scraps. Okay maybe not the typical Thanksgiving- but the ale would be flowing, anyway...

5) Endor- the forest moon and home of the Ewoks. Okay I know the Ewoks suck, but their tree top villages are kinda cool. Might be a neat place for a feast and a hang out- or maybe Lothlorien would be a better choice if you want to eat among the trees.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cover Characteristic

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 theme- Fish

I had a bit of trouble with this week's theme- I usually try to find something in my preferred genres, or at least close- but that wasn't happening. So I just picked more or less whatever I found. 

Fishing with RayAnne: A NovelA Fish Out of Water (Beginner Books B-23)Mermaid Wisdom: Enrich Your Life with Insights from the DeepOut of My MindCirca NowSo Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide, #4)Bluefish

I kinda like Fish Out Of Water mainly because of the fish's expression. And the fish jumping out of the fishbowl is kinda interesting. Which one do you like?

I guess So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish is my fave.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sunday Post

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

This was a good week with lots of stuff going on. The weather alternated between sunny and mild to blustery and cold late in the week. I watched a lot of Netflix and read too, occasionally.

The HoHoHo readathon was last week and I won a $10 gift card from Christy's Love of Books. Thanks Christy! And all the challenge hosts did a great job. I also spotlighted my Top Ten Planets for SciFi Month and reviewed Illuminae as well. Next week I'll have a Thanksgiving edition of Top Ten Tuesday as well as Beyond the Books and my thoughts on A Princess of Mars- my last post for SciFi Month.

It's snowing as I write this and the trees and lawn are white. We're supposed to get a fair bit this weekend so it should be interesting.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Top Ten Planets

This week I'm doing an extra Top Ten post for SciFi Month. I thought I would take a look at some planets in science fiction. Which planets out there would I want to explore? There are so many, but here I've narrowed it down  and some of the reasons why I think they would be awesome to visit.

Yavin IV - introduced in the first Star Wars movie and the site of the Rebel base. The Rebellion took up residence in an old Massassi temple, and in the Star Wars Extended Universe books I believe Luke Skywalker formed a Jedi academy there or something. I haven't read EU books so I only know sketchy details of those.

Dagobah- I think there are a lot of secrets hidden on the swampy world of Dagobah- after all Yoda chose this place as his refuge. We get a few hints during Luke's time there that not all is as it seems on that world.

Altair-4 Perhaps the wildest planet of all would be Altair-4 from the classic Forbidden Planet. A mysterious force running loose on the planet, a terrifying id monster personifying the baser impulses a long vanished race, unstoppable and invisible- what's not to like?

Here's a cool scene where Dr. Morbius shows his visitors the Krell wonders- the great underground city/ machine that runs constantly and can make any thought a reality.

Tatooine. Home of Luke Skywalker, jawas and Jabba the Hutt. And the infamous Mos Eisley spaceport.

Coruscant. the capital of the Empire, formerly of the Old Republic- the most important planet in the galaxy? Imagine the sheer scale of this immense city- planet, all the things to see.

Cloud City on Bespin. A tibanna mining colony and the site of Luke Skywalker's first encounter with Darth Vader.

Barsoom- the Mars of the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. A world of ocher sea bottoms and decadent cities, of barbarian hordes and airships.

A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)

Retro Venus. Perhaps a gleaming spaceport are the only signs of human civilization on such a world, but who knows what adventure could be found in the swampy interior, or in a ruined city festooned with vines shimmering in the humidity, or even beneath the waves of a storm tossed Venusian ocean?


Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

Illuminae is a science fiction tale set in the far future where man has colonized the stars and interstellar travel is commonplace. It's also a YA novel written in an unconventional format- the story is told entirely from reconstructed emails, IM's, and files put together by the Illuminae group, an organization that is tasked with reporting incident that happened a year ago. Kady Grant and Ezra Mason are two teenagers on an illegal mining colony that comes under attack from a rival megacorporation. Survivors of the attack are taken onto a military battlecruiser, the Alexander, and a science vessel the Hypatia. Along with a third ship, the group flees to reach a jump gate so they can return to inhabited space. Pursuing them is the megacorp that damaged the Alexander.

Things go from bad to worse when the enemy ship closes on them at the same time as a mysterious virus runs rampant, causing people to go nuts. Compounding the problem is the AI (artificial intelligence) on the Alexander, known as AIDAN. Damaged in the assault, the AI begins to behave erratically, putting everyone at risk. Against this backdrop, Kady and Ezra (who are on different ships) try to stay alive and rekindle their relationship.

This is one of the more interesting science fiction books I've read. Much has been made of the unconventional format of the book, and it's interesting to say the least. Schematics of the ships along with emails and documents present a dossier- like narrative that is truly original. Some have said this detracts a bit from getting to really know the two leads, and I agree with that to an extent, but by and large the writing is good enough that we still can engage with these characters.

The story is harrowing at times but also funny. Kady is a hacker and some of the stuff she does, especially early on, made me laugh. The action begins right from the first page as we learn about the initial attack, and things really get intense just before the halfway point. Not that it's boring before that- far from it. It's just that the intensity level shifts into overdrive in the second act.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Top Ten Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back to The Broke and the Bookish so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week is Top Ten Quotes From Books Read in the Last Year. 

Guaranteed to Bleed (The Country Club Murders #2)

She didn't look sorry. She looked drunk. 

Eight Hundred Grapes

I shook my head and whispered at Bobby, "Tell him I'm not here." 
"Sure," Bobby said. "She's right here." 
He handed the phone over. 

Big Little Lies

"I'm the only one left holding a grudge. They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know. "

The Deep End

I climbed out of the car. "It's dinner at the country club. what could possibly happen?"
Famous last words. 

Big Little Lies

"I picked something with lots of sex, drugs and murder," Madeline had said, "so we have a lively discussion. Ideally there should be an argument." 

Big Little Lies

"Everyone was drunk. It was actually a great night until it all went to shit."

Heir to the Jedi

"She's a wanted ship now," I reminded her, but Leia shrugged it off. 
"The Millennium Falcon is wanted everywhere. We just change the transponder codes and it's fine."

Guaranteed to Bleed (The Country Club Murders #2)

Alice still looked furious. Howard still looked green. Kizzi looked happier. She carried a glass of clear liquid with ice cubes and a lime floating in it.

Eight Hundred Grapes

Finn turned back for just a second. "Hey, Georgia..." he said. 
"You know that you're still wearing your wedding dress, yes?" he said.

Big Little Lies

"I remember one- night stands," said Madeline wistfully. "The things I did in the nineties. Lordy me. I hope Chloe never finds out. 

Teaser Tuesday #55


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at A Daily RhythmTo participate you grab your current read, open to a random page and share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INLUDE SPOILERS (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away. You don't want to ruin the book for others). Share the title and author. 

The lights from the police cruisers sent flashes of red through the front window's glass bricks. A turquoise feather floated by and I blew it away from my face.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cover Characteristic #5

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 theme- Books

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreThe BookstoreThe Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a HistoryMore Weird Things Customers Say in BookshopsI'll See You in Paris

These are probably my favorites.

I'll See You in Paris

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sunday Post #117

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

The temps took a nosedive this week, but the sun was out so the days weren't too bad. It feels like late fall, the leaves are down and it's starting to feel like the holiday season. Then late in the week we got blustery winds and sleet, even a bit of snow. Now the sun is back out and there's a beautiful blue sky- looks like a great fall day. Thanksgiving is in two weeks. 

SciFi Month is half over and there have been a lot of good posts. You can find the schedule here. This week I posted What if Luke and Leia Were Together and got some great responses. And the HoHoHo readathon started. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bookcover Spotlight

This Alien Shore

This is a great cover image. I have not read this, but I'm very intrigued by the art. I'm assuming they're on a space station of some sort- it looks like you can see space and some other structure through the window- I like how there are different colors upstairs and down. The lower level strikes me as a nightlife for some reason, while the upper level looks like a concourse area. Who knows? The fun is in the interpretation. A feast for the imagination!

Comic of the Week #14

Starfire 3 Variant Cover

The variant cover for Starfire #3. I'm not very familiar with this character, but I like the tropical setting here and the nighttime vibe.