Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sunday Post #127



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

I'm glad January is almost over, this month has gone by fast and I'm happy about that. I'm looking forward to spring even if the winter has been mild for the most part. We didn't get the blizzard that came through last weekend but it has been cold here- I'm ready for warm breezes. And it did snow midweek. I did get some reading in and watched a few shows- I haven't done very good with catching premieres but I've been binging Orphan Black. 

I wasn't sure I'd like Orphan Black at first but after a few episodes I love it. It's pretty funny too- some good writing. Hard to believe the same actress plays all the different clones.  

In stray cat news- he (or she) is still around, but I still haven't gotten close. I put out a box with a blanket to sleep in, but I don't know if he's using it. Whenever I peek out there late at night or in the morning he's not in it, but the food still disappears. :) So... 

LAST WEEK:

Cover Characteristics
Top Ten Tuesday 
A Dance with Dragons  
Beyond the Books Something Won
Bookcover Spotlight

NEXT WEEK:

MON- Cover Characteristics 
TUE - Top Ten Tuesday  
A Dance with Dragons 
THUR-  
FRI - Bookcover Spotlight   

NEW ARRIVALS/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:

Sanctuary BayThe Immortals (Olympus Bound #1)

BLOGOSPHERE: 

Paper Fury asks Is It Possible To Read Too Much? 

Book Minx reviews Ladyhawke for Film Fridays. 

Cornerfolds reviews The Kiss of Deception

It Starts At Midnight has an awesome recap/ discussion post on The 100 premiere. 

Like the Game of Thrones theme? Here Jenny O'Connor (of Circa Paleo) and her sister Kelly do the theme song. Pretty good. Circa Paleo are often on the Renaissance faire circuit. 



Is this a cool pic or what? You can see the expanded version here- courtesy of agnidevi at Deviant Art. The Fellowship traveling through the Misty Mountains...

Far over the Misty Mountains by agnidevi


Friday, January 29, 2016

Bookcover Spotlight #33



This is one of those redesigned 007 covers, I've spotlighted one or two before as I just really like the style of them. I like that she has a knife and I imagine is not afraid to use it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Beyond the Books Something Won

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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: Something(s) You've Won

This is a fun one this week. I used to say "I never win anything" but that's not actually true. In the few years I've been blogging I've won a fair share of giveaways and whatnot. This past fall for COYER I won some swag from a Twitter chat, and I won a nice scarf from Book Snob a while back. I've won a few git cards as well, including three in the last few months. And... I got this baby from Deb at Readerbuzz this past fall, and it turned out to be a great read! 

Eight Hundred Grapes

Probably the biggest thing I've won though is a trip to the Omni Rosen (now known as the Rosen Centre) in Orlando. It was part of a package I won through a store drawing- I just dropped a card in the box and voila! Imagine my surprise...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Dance with Dragons

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

Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week we are checking back in with Jon and Daenerys. 

Jon takes the new recruits into the forest north of the Wall so they can say their vows before a heart tree. Even the men who did not grow up worshiping the old gods have chosen to take their vows there, and so Jon leads them himself. As they ride north Jon tells Iron Emmett that he's sending him to Long Barrow to be commander there, with Dolorous Edd as his second and an all female complement of wildlings. They approach the grove and their scout tells them that there are wildlings in the grove, and a giant too. 

Jon approaches the grove with his people, and when the giant wakes up they almost come to blows, but Leathers saves the day by speaking to the giant in the Old Tongue, calming him. They say their vows and head back, and the giant passes the Wall. Jon finds on his return that he has a letter from Stannis, informing him that the king had taken Deepwood Motte. The letter says that Stannis had unexpected help- Alysane Mormont of Bear Island and her men had hidden in fishing boats and fallen on the ironmen along the shore, taking them and burning their ships. More northmen have come to Stannis' cause as news of his victory spread. And Jon thinks about Mance and the spearwives who went with him, south to find and rescue Arya if they can. 

COMMENTARY: 

As I reread this I realize Martin spends most of Jon's time divesting himself of allies- this time it's Iron Emmett and Dolorous Edd. Knowing how Jon's story plays out I can see why he did it, although it's a bit irritating.  

Daenerys

Dany and Barristan are outside the city overseeing food distribution to the sick people. The Astapori refugees are camped outside the walls, but Dany doesn't dare let them in the city or the sickness will spread. Dany takes it upon herself t help the sick and burn their dead, against her adviser's wishes. She returns to the city and must meet to discuss her wedding preparations, then she meets with Hizdahr. He informs her that Yunkai will accept peace, as long as she pays them in gold and gems, allows slaving to resume and installs Hizdahr as king. Barristan interrupts with news that the Stormcrows have returned and Daario wants to see her. 

Daario tells her there are four free companies marching against her, along with the Yunkish and their various allies. One of the free companies is the Second Sons, led by Brown Ben Plumm. They have deserted Dany's service and gone over to the enemy. Dany is shocked, and orders that the city be closed to prepare for siege. She meets with Daario privately and sleeps with him, something she's been wanting to do. 

COMMENTARY: 

This is all just setup for the battle of Meereen which we don't even get until the next book. All this mneuvering and preparing reminds me of Jon's arc, where we basically get a bunch of wheel spinning plot wise until the big thing happens at the end. Having read this several times I realize it now. Still, it's entertaining in its own way just because the characters are so interesting. But this feels like a non essential. Oh, and Dany finally gets her sexy times on with Daario the rogue. Whee! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday



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's topic is a Freebie! I'm going with  Books That Would Make A Good Movie. 

For all I know this may have been done before, but if it was it was before my time so... yeah. There are so many good books that never make the jump to the big screen, and I got to thinking about which favorites I want to see. So, here we go. 

Vitro (Corpus, #2)

Vitro is the story of a girl who goes to an isolated island to find her mother, who is a scientist there, but when she arrives she finds that they are developing humans from test tube embryos- almost like clones- and things of course go badly. I think this would make a good movie, and I highly recommend the book as it is very good. You can check my review here

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Newford)

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest  is a whimsical tale, almost a fairy tale, about a girl who lives on the edge of a great forest and is turned into a cat. She of course regains her human form but not until after some thrilling adventures and fun talking animals.  

Panic

I liked this story about a high school game played for money, if you survive.  

The Blue: A Novel

The Blue would make a good movie, with the exotic locales (South Pacific) and the secrets and lies aboard a yacht full of free spirits... until one of them bites it. This was a good read

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick (Perry & Gobi, #1)

Au Revoir Crazy European Chick is a fun book about Perry, who takes their exchange student to the prom- only to find that she is a Lithuanian assassin with a job in NYC. She drags Perry with her and he'll be lucky to survive the night. This would be a fun comedy/ actioner.  

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)

A School for Unusual Girls was an intriguing book, and could make a good movie with the right cast. There are four girls along with Georgie, the main character, and if the casting hit it they could be an awesome ensemble. 

Eight Hundred Grapes

Eight Hundred Grapes would be a great comedy/drama about Georgia, who runs back home to her familys Sonoma vineyard after discovering her fiance has been keeping a secret from her. She has to analyze her life and decide what she truly wants- marry the man of her dreams (?) and move to London, or stay and take over the vineyard. Or something else entirely. This was a really good book and I'd love to see it on screen. 

Get Even (Don't Get Mad, #1)

Get Even was fun, about four girls who take it upon themselves to mete out some justice to bullies and mean girls and even asshole teachers if necessary. Of course things get complicated, and when people die it gets way out of hand. I sort of thought of Pretty Little Liars here, they'd have to distinguish it in some way, but it could work.  

Blackbird (Blackbird, #1)

I would be all over this if they made a movie out of it. Blackbird is about a girl who wakes up on a subway track with no memory of who she is- but there are people after her in a twisted game where people are hunted for sport. 

Emilie and the Hollow World (Emilie, #1)

Emilie and the Hollow World would be a tough one to make work, but if they could pull it off it could be good. It's sort of steampunk meets Jules Verne, with airships and a world within a world, a great ocean with isolated islands and a fascinating merfolk race. 

Planet of Exile

This one is a personal favorite. Planet of Exile is an older science fiction tale about a long lost colony on a distant planet who are stranded and slowly dying out. It has a lot of similarities to Game of Thrones in that the seasons can last a generation, and there is a threat from the far north. Rolery is a native girl who falls in love with a man from the colony, and their forbidden love must survive the onset of winter and a barbarian invasion from the north. And not just barbarians, but the dreaded snowghouls as well. I love to see this as a movie if done right. 

Fangirl

Fangirl would be a great movie with the right cast. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

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  is Piano(s). Not an easy one... can we go back to moons? Seriously where are all the piano covers? And if everyone else has a ton and says "this week was easy" I'm going to be so pissed... :) 



I gave up at five this week, I have no idea where I would have found any more. So... which are my faves? 

   


I'm a big fan of the Peanuts books so it was nice to find these purely by accident. I like the first one more, with the whole crew represented (there is a piano there if you look close). And green- I like green. 

 

This cover is just whatever, it's going for that noir look I guess but doesn't do much.  

  

Want is a nice cover, not spectacular but I do like the mask.  



I actually like this one a lot, it's simple with her playing the piano and for some reason it works. It would be this one or Peanuts Vol. 5- I'll go with Peanuts for the fun factor. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sunday Post



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

A quiet week, it's been cold but the snow has stopped for the most part. I did a bit of reading and caught up on a few shows, and started a few others. It looks like winter around here, it's bleak and cold and snowy. I am looking forward to spring and sunshine and longer days. Winter has its own beauty of course, a kind of melancholy allure that I'm sometimes in the mood for. And then other times not so much! 

There's been a stray cat around, I noticed him sleeping up against the house. I put out some food and water and hoped to lure him close so I can see if he belongs to someone, but he's keeping his distance. He's eating the food though. :)  

As I mentioned last week I finished up S2 of Black Sails, and S3 starts this weekend. Since I don't have Starz I'm going to miss it, and will have to catch up later via Prime. It's too bad because the end went out on a high note and I'm excited to see where they go next. The S3 premiere of The 100 was this week as well, and I was a little disappointed actually. Not much happened, although the crew did sing along to a Violent Femmes song- so that was a highlight. 

Last week I reviewed Need and had a discussion post on the story elements of Star Wars The Force Awakens, where I speculated on what they could have done with the story. Feel free to stop by and share your thoughts. 



LAST WEEK:

Cover Characteristics
Top Ten Tuesday 
Need
A Dance with Dragons  
Bookcover Spotlight

NEXT WEEK:

MON- Cover Characteristics 
TUE - Top Ten Tuesday 
A Dance with Dragons 
THUR-  Beyond the Books- Something Won
FRI - Bookcover Spotlight   

BOOKISH NEWS:



Julie Mulhern's new book on the Country Club Murders has a cover per her Facebook page

The Conspiring Woman (Victorian Bookshop Mystery #4)

I won a copy of this over at Dollycas' site 

BLOGOSPHERE: 

Melissa Lee's Many Reads talks about synopsis and how you use them in your reviews.

Of Dragons and Hearts inaugurates her new feature Gone to the Movies with a review of Romancing the Stone.   

The Scribbling Sprite has a neat feature called Title Tangents, where they take a list of book titles and create a paragraph from those titles. Fun! 

The Hardcover Lover shares her playlist for The Spectacular Now.  

Here's the Violent Femmes tune they were singing on The 100 last night. 



Here's a look at S3 of Black Sails.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Star Wars Discussion Post



 Since I thought Star Wars The Force Awakens sucked I thought it would be fun to imagine where the Star Wars story could have gone. But where would I have liked to see it go? Well, I'll tell ya. Keep in mind this is just a selfish, for-me exercise so if my ideas seem terrible too, that's fine. You can let me know in the comments. Better yet, I'd love to hear what your ideas are. What would you like to see in Star Wars? 

Here's a few things I wish they had done. 

Have Luke actually in the movie. For more than a minute. After all the hype, to have him only show up at the end is ridiculous. 

Ditto for Artoo and threepio.  They are the heart and soul of the original trilogy in some ways, and I think they are the ideal way to bring humor into the story. If you watch the original movies they were the comic relief, and could have played that role again, as well as providing a bridge to those earlier stories.  

Leia should have had more to do. She does nothing in Force Awakens, and she was so sarcastic and badass in the originals that that was sorely lacking here I thought. Find a way to keep that spark while at the same time acknowledging that she's older, wiser, more measured perhaps. Leia had no fire in Force awakens. 

Han Solo is (sadly) getting older so having him revert to smuggling is silly. It just doesn't look realistic. He was a general in Return of the Jedi, he should have still been with the Alliance or whatever- have him lead from a position of authority and experience and pass the torch to Rey that way. It took me out of the story a bit to see a guy in his 70's trying to run around like the old days. 

Skip the Maz Kanata crap. After Han warns Rey that she is unpredictable she turns out to be like someone's sweet grandmother. Nothing mysterious or dangerous about her- remember how Yoda was kinda mysterious at first? I yawned pretty much at that whole scene. 

Have the cast interact on some important worlds. Have you noticed that, except for the prequels, we never see Core worlds or important Imperial/ Republic worlds? Like Coruscant. I would have liked to see Leia be an important person in the Republic on Coruscant, with Han there grousing about incompetent bureaucrats or some such, and waxing nostalgic about his days gallivanting about in the Falcon. Since Rey is apparently a pilot all by herself, she could have taken the Falcon with Han's blessing and you pass the torch that way. It's not like Han really did anything on the ship that Rey couldn't do anyway, apparently. 



We could have seen Lando too maybe, and Luke. Having them all on Coruscant would have been cool- Luke could be researching the old Jedi ways and If they're going with the "search for the Jedi temple" angle, like they alluded to, where better to start than on Coruscant? Imagine Luke exploring Vader's residence, or finding hidden secrets in the Emperor's palace- the possibilities are endless!



Instead our heroes hang out on places like Jakku and other places in the middle of nowhere. 

If we are going to revisit familiar worlds, how about Dagobah? Yoda lived there for years, and Luke had an important test in the Dark Side cave. Maybe there's something there (an old Sith temple?) that plays a role in the story, and Luke has to return. Maybe Rey has to go in and have her own test, while Luke remains outside.  

Forget the Starkiller stuff. A third superweapon was just too much. Many have said, and I agree, that they were doing okay with setting up the new characters, and with the bad guys after Luke or whatever they could have had a chase and showdown at the end without any of the starkiller crap. They were just trying too hard to ape the original trilogy. 

Regardless of how they do it, they should have had Luke, Leia and Han together. One last hurrah, with the banter and camaraderie we remember. You could have had tension between the leaders of the Republic and Luke, showing how maybe the Jedi and the secular leaders don't see eye to eye. Putting Leia in a tough spot opens up lots of dramatic opportunities. 

Show us cool places like maybe Corellia (Han's homeworld) or a space station or the shipyards where they build Star Destroyers. Whatever- just something new. Science fiction means you can do anything- wow us. Don't just show us Tattooine and name it Jakku. They did some neat things, like the crashed star destroyers but I would have liked to see more. We used to get Cloud City, asteroid fields, stuff like that. 



And lastly, at the risk of aping the originals (which I've been complaining about)- I need more Jawas. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Dance with Dragons

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

Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week  we revisit Tyrion on his way to Meereen, and check back in with Bran who is now with the greenseer. 

Tyrion and Jorah are aboard the Selaesori Qhoran on their way to Meereen, and they have Penny with them, the dwarf girl they picked up in Volantis. Moqorro is also aboard a red priest Tyrion tries to draw Penny out but she rebuffs him, blaming him for her brothers death. Tyrion learns that it was an Osmund who hired her and her brother to perform at Joffrey's wedding. Moqorro tells Tyrion he sees shadows of those who are also seeking Daenerys- and one most of all, a tall and twisted thing with ten arms and a black eye.  

COMMENTARY: 

This chapter is another that feels unnecessary. The character of Penny seems utterly unessential to the plot, and nothing happens here other than some foreshadowing. 

Bran

Time is passing as Bran sits on a weirwood throne and sees things through the ravens. He hears the songs of the children of the forest at times. They call themselves those who sing the song of earth.  Bran and Meera have given some of them names- Ash, Leaf, Scales, Black Knife and Snowylocks. Also Coals. Their true names are too long for human tongues, Leaf tells him. Leaf is the only one who speaks the common tongue. 

The last greenseer says his name was Brynden, and Leaf tells them that most of him has gone into the tree. Meera says that Bran will be around after they are gone. It is easy for him now to slip into Summer's skin, but now he also slips into the birds. He realizes that someone else was in the raven he entered into, and Brynden explains that the singers (children of the forest) leave a part of themselves in their ravens, and that they taught the First Men to use raven as messengers but back then the birds would say the words. 

Brynden explains that one man in a thousand is a skinchanger, and one of a thousand of those can be a greenseer. Jojen tells him that the weirwoods ARE the old gods, and that the singers become part of that when they pass into the trees. Months seem to pass and we learn that there are more than three score living singers, and the bones of thousands, in the cave and that it goes very deep. There is a river that flows deep and goes to an underground sea, and there are bottomless pits and ways that lead to the center of the earth. Leaf says even the singers haven't explored them all ,and they've lived for a thousand thousand years. 

The singers are small, with brown skin and eyes like a cats that can see in the dark, and they only have three fingers with claws instead of fingers. Bran asks where the rest of them have gone, and Leaf says they have gone into the earth, the trees. Before the First Men they dwelt all through Westeros, and had long lives but few numbers. They are in decline now and the giants are almost gone as well, the unicorns are almost gone (there are unicorns in Westeros?), and the mammoths down to a few hundred. The direwolves will last the longest, Leaf says, but in the end there is no room for such in the realm of men. 

Jojen and Meera go to the river, way down, and Bran goes in Hodor's skin after they leave. He doesn't want them to know he's using Hodor, and he thinks that the big man doesn't fight him anymore when he takes over. Bran finds singers that are basically part of the trees, like Brynden, and he thinks they're dead until he sees their eyes move and one tries to talk. Bran thinks he might be like Brynden someday, not eating or drinking but seeing through the trees and birds. 

Jojen is getting quiet and there's something going on there- Meera says he's sad and his greendreams have shown him something. Eventually Brynden says it is time for Bran to take the next step and become a greenseer. He is told by Leaf to eat a paste of weirwood seeds, and does so. It tastes terrible at first, then becomes better as he goes and Brynden tells him to go into the trees. He does so, and has a vision of his father Eddard Stark cleaning his sword at Winterfell. The past apparently. Brynden tells him that the weirwoods do not move in the river of time, and that he and Bran can use them to see the past. 

"Once you have mastered your gifts, you may look where you will and see what the trees have seen, be it yesterday or last year or a thousand ages past."

  When he sleeps he has a vision of Winterfell in the past, and we see Eddard praying to the heart tree that they will "grow up close as brothers"- I'm assuming he means Robb and Jon- and that his wife can forgive him. then we see a young Eddard and apparently Lyanna dueling with branches- she looks like Arya. She's older and beats him. He sees other things, a pregnant woman who asks the heart tree for a son to avenge her, a girl kissing a knight as tall as Hodor, a dark eyed youth shaping weirwood branches into arrows, men in furs and chainmail, and finally a blood sacrifice. 

COMMENTARY:

We know of course that the greenseer is Brynden Rivers, also known as Bloodraven. This is one of those chapters where Martin gives us a lot of information, and he imparts it without info dumping for the most part- we learn it though conversations and skillful exposition, but it's a lot of info. Fascinating info though, as we finally learn about the children of the forest. 

It's a little disturbing that Bran wanders the caverns in Hodor's body at times, and thinks no one must ever know. Eek. Bran has never had a teacher on warging, like Jon has (sorta) so he doesn't know what to do and not do, but some part of him knows it's wrong to use Hodor like that. 

There's a lot going on in this chapter. I liked the glimpse of Eddard and (presumably) Lyanna. And what's going on with Jojen? We do not see him after Bran eats the paste, and may have theorized that Jojen was IN the paste- that the singers sacrificed him to open up Bran's powers. If so that's disturbing.