Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sunday Post #47

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Another busy week- kinda crazy at times. Traveling for work and real life issues kept me from finishing my current read (again) but I did sneak a few comic trade paperbacks in, so at least I got a review up and have a few more on the way. Should be a good week coming up since I have a book I'm almost done with and several more comic reviews on the way. Summer is finally here and the weather has been awesome. I'm looking forward to spending some time at the lakeshore and getting up to northern Michigan for vacation soon. 

In other news, I joined the COYER Summer Vacation hosted by Michelle at Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life and Berls at Fantasy Is More Fun. Since pretty much anything can be read for this one, I decided to jump in. Should be fun...   and since I've been reading trades I can use them for my COYER goals. :) 

Speaking of which, I've been reading some good TPB stuff lately. The Winter Soldier books have been solid. My review of Winter Soldier Winter Kills is here


Some fun updates over at Rapid City Recess- meteor showers, a cougar sighting (?) and mushroom hunting. Great blog by the way. Great photography too... 

Here's an interview with Anne Groell, the editor of George RR Martin's Ice and Fire series, answering questions about The Winds of Winter and what it's like working with George. Worth a read.  

Like comics? Well Karen and Doug run a great blog over at Bronze Age Babies- and this post looks at the old spinner rack (remember those?) Even better- want to see what comics were on sale any given year and month? Check out this amazing resource at Mike's Amazing World of Comics. Just plug in the date and publisher (Marvel, DC, whoever) and away you go. 

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I stumbled across this blog - the Meereenese Blot. Lots of essays here on the state of the series and especially concerning Jon and Dany's story arcs. Worth a read if you want to dig a little deeper... 

So how was your week? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Winter Soldier Broken Arrow

Winter Soldier, Vol. 2: Broken Arrow

Winter Soldier: Broken Arrow by Ed Brubaker picks up after Winter Soldier (aka Bucky Barnes) has  regained his memories and is on the side of the good guys again. He and Black Widow are in a relationship and are working for SHIELD now. The story is about a Soviet sleeper agent (who was trained by the Winter Soldier) awakening from stasis with no memory of who he is. Apparently, like the Winter Soldier himself, these agents were placed in stasis between missions, sometimes for years at a time. It takes years for his memory to return, but when it does he holds Winter Soldier responsible for not freeing him (or something- to be honest the plot is a little flimsy). So he sets a plan in motion to exact revenge by hitting him where it hurts- closer to home than Winter Soldier would ever expect.

Like most of the Winter Soldier stories this has an espionage, Jason Bourne feel to it. I like Winter Soldier and Black Widow together, they make a good team. The execution of the story seemed a little thrown together at times, I thought WS and Natasha got played a little easily- but it's a fun read. The story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and is continues in the next volume Black Widow Hunt. I'll be checking that out to see where the story goes next.

I really liked the portrayal of Winter Soldier in the Captain America movie- a little more brooding, a little more dangerous- but he was like that in the comics too before he got his memories back. Now that he's a good guy he reads a bit like a generic superhero- he still has some of the angst it would be nice to see a little more edge to him. I also liked the central role Jasper Sitwell plays in the story- I remember him from old issues of Iron Man back in the day. He was a villain in the Captain America movie of course, but I like him better as a good guy.

This is a good story but I'm already reading the next one and the action ratchets way up there. Read this one and then that if you want the full story and a pretty good thrill ride. There's some cool guest stars in the next one too...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Top Ten World I'd Like To Visit

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 is Top Ten Freebie week so my topic is... Top Ten Worlds I'd Like To Visit. 

The big kahuna of course is... Middle earth. Seriously, for fantasy fans... who wouldn't want to go there?    

The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, #1)

Next up for me... Narnia.  

The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" (The Chronicles of Narnia, #3)

There's something about Narnia... the lamppost, the mythical creatures, the sense  that children can go there but adults often cannot. It would be nice to visit Cair Paravel and gaze out over the sea...   

My third choice would be Westeros, from A Game of Thrones. Why Westeros, you may ask? After all, the place is nasty right? Well yeah... but think of all the sights to see. 

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

DinotopiaI like the concept of the Victorian explorer finding a land where dinosaurs and people coexist.  

The Star Wars universe.    

The 100 Acre Wood of Winnie the Pooh fame. Probably the most relaxing place on this list... I could hang out at the Big Stones and Rox, or maybe the Bee Tree (as long as you don't mess with their honey), and of course Pooh's house.  And isn't there a bridge around there somewhere? 

Peanuts Treasury

Emilie and the Hollow World (Emilie, #1)

Emilie and the Hollow World was a fun YA fantasy about a girl who stows away on a ship and finds herself on an expedition to the hollow world. The thing that I liked about this world was the merpeople and their city- the way it was described, I immediately wanted to go there. Here's a link to the first chapter on the author's website. My review here

Lost Horizon

The mythical valley of Shangri- La, where people live in peace and have extended lifespans. A hidden valley in the Himalayas and a place of refuge from the outside world...  

So what are your picks?   

COYER Summer vacation


COYER Summer Vacation is here! COYER is hosted by Michelle at Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life and Berls at Fantasy Is More Fun. COYER runs from June 21st - September 5th- all summer long! This year it's a little different- any kind of books can be read, not just e- books. Full details can be found at Michelle's post

I've decided to do COYER, it sounds like fun and I have a ton of books I want to read over the summer- so why not? There will be readathons, twitter parties and all kinds of fun. So what are my goals for COYER? Well I'm shooting for at least 3 books a month. That doesn't sound like much, but with the way things have been going lately and with work- that will keep me busy. And if I get more- bonus! I'll probably try for a mix of new books and some old favorites to keep things fresh.

A big thanks to Michelle and Berls for hosting this and keeping it flexible. Great idea you guys!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sunday Post #46/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

This has been another eventful week, with lots going on. May has been crazy. As usual I'm looking forward to summer and some lazy days in the sun. Preferably by the water... 

With reading time at a premium, I decided to do some quick, easy reads. I'm going to review the Winter Soldier comics and started this past week with Winter Soldier: Winter Kills. This week I'll be reviewing Winter Soldier: Broken Arrow and maybe some other comic stuff if I have time. You can check out my review of Winter Kills here

Oh and I realized my blog is a year old on June 8th. Actually my first reviews went up in 2012 but June is when I started blogging regularly. So we'll go with that. Not sure how I'll celebrate it, but I'll think of something.   

Happy Memorial day weekend!




Perry's Killer Playlist (Perry & Gobi, #2) Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order, #1)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Winter Soldier: Winter Kills

Winter Soldier Winter Kills Vol 1 1

Winter Soldier: Winter Kills tells the story of Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, as he spends his first Christmas as a free man since 1944. For those who don't know (or haven't seen the Captain America: Winter Soldier movie), Bucky was Captain America's sidekick in WWII. A tragic accident caused Bucky to fall to his- or so everyone thought. Turns out (this being comics) that Bucky didn't die- he was found and revived by a secret Soviet program and brainwashed into being a deadly assassin. He and Captain America (who also survived suspended animation) eventually met and Cap used the Cosmic Cube to restore Buck's memories. It happened a little differently in the movie... but same difference. Bucky/ Winter Soldier is now on the side of the angels, and trying to readjust to life in the modern day.

So here Bucky is spending Christmas Eve alone, and wandering the streets of New York City- until he receives a call from Nick Fury, director of SHIELD. Nick needs him to stop the Young Avengers (don't ask) from raiding a HYDRA base and getting in over their heads- he agrees to help but the deal goes down anyway and Bucky leads them in battle. He then goes his own way and we find him at a cemetery, paying his respects to two special people- one a victim of his days as Winter Soldier, the other a comrade in arms from WWII. Bucky and Captain America were part of a team called The Invaders during the second World War, and Bucky is at the grave of Toro, an old friend and one of the founding members.

Namor the Sub- Mariner shows up, and he and Bucky meet face to face for the first time in some years. This to me was the highlight of the story. Bucky asks Namor to tell him how Toro died, and when Namor replies that it's not a short tale, Bucky replies that he really doesn't have anywhere he has to be...

This is a powerful story at the end, although there's probably more of an impact if you know the history of these characters. Having grown up reading the Invaders, I was surprised how affected by it I was. This stuck with me for a while after I read it- what more can you ask?

Winter Soldier: Winter Kills was a one shot comic reprinted in Captain America: Civil War #1. You can read a free digital sample here.

Teaser Tuesday #23

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To 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.

"All right," he says, and looks at his watch. "I'll give you an hour. If you're not back by then, I'm going to look for you. Deal?"

Shattered by Teri Terry


This week I'm picking Shattered again from Teri Terry, for my tease. I haven't started this yet but I'm looking forward to reading this next, and seeing how the trilogy ends. Will Kyla find her real family, and her memories too?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Godzilla- review

This movie could have been so good. A big budget remake of Godzilla, with updated special effects and an emphasis on Godzilla as a force of nature that can't be stopped. What's not to like? Well, as it turns out- a lot, especially if you want to see a lot of the big green guy. I went to see this last night, and man was I disappointed.

The movie starts off okay, with what appears to be old footage of nuclear testing and submarines disappearing at sea- stuff like that. Information flashes on the screen but is quickly whited out, as if it were classified info. Kinda cool, and sets the tone for a cover up of the monster's existence. That was all fine- it's just the rest of the movie I didn't like. It turns out the 1950's nuclear testing was not just testing- they were actually trying to kill Godzilla. I liked that- cool idea. But it's all downhill from there.

The main problem is- Godzilla is hardly in the movie. I think the movie is half over or more before he fully appears, and after that brief appearance he doesn't really show up again until the end. Instead we get to follow these people affected by the crisis, but it just dragged on and on, and I started getting restless. I just didn't care that much about these characters, and that's all you get. The acting was fine, although I thought Bryan Cranston's character was a little too hysterical- good grief. The cover up bits were kinda good- I mean if monsters were really out there, sure the government or whatever would probably try to hide it, until they couldn't any more. But even that was just okay, not excellent.

I get that director Gareth Edwards wanted t portray Godzilla as a force of nature, and the scenes where the big G is traveling through the water with just his spikes sticking up were cool. But Godzilla is a monster, not an "alpha predator" (as they refer to him) or an ecological balancing force. Godzilla should be running amok And the monsters he has to fight? Lame. Give me Rodan or Ghidorah the three headed monster- with today's special effects Ghidorah could have been just crazy.  But no- MUTO's instead. I remember reading recently a spoiler of the plot, talking about MUTO's, and thinking surely the movie won't be that dumb. Well, it is.

The final showdown was also weak. Some of those old Godzilla movies, silly as they were, had extended battle scenes where the monsters would all throw down. Not here. All the money they spent on this film and you hardly get any action. I was expecting a long, drawn out battle royale, and was very disappointed. I was like, that's it?

For the money I spent I should have went to see Captain America again.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sunday Post #45/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Wow, what a week. It's been a rollercoaster ride of sorts with lots going on, and only some of it reading. We're so busy right now and I've been working out of town, so finding reading time has been difficult. The next few weeks might be a little touch and go with reviews, but I have some good books I want to review and lots of fun stuff planned.     

I mentioned last week that I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. There hasn't been a lot of time for it but when I have been able to log on I have to say- it's been fun. It's kinda addicting... :) 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Teaser Tuesday #22

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To 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.

"I don't know. She left, " she says, and abruptly walks away. 
Did she leave, or was she stolen? She climbed into that car of her own free will. 

Shattered by Teri Terry  


My pick this week is the conclusion of the Slated trilogy. I'm a big fan of these books, they're a great dystopian read but rather than end of the world stuff it's more of an oppressive future where the government mindwipes people that don't cooperate. Kyla is an awesome heroine who wants to find out who she really is...but how can she do that when everything is a lie? This should be a mindbending read. You can also read my reviews of Slated and Fracture if you want.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sunday Post #44/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Well this has been an interesting week. I got some reading in but not as much as I would like. Lots of stuff going on in the month of May. Should be busy, but hopefully I can sneak a few books in too. Also Shattered came out this week- book 3 in the Slated trilogy. Didn't even know it was out, I was at Barnes & Noble and there it was. Awesome.  

In gaming news, I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic this week. As if I need more things to take up all my time.   

Monday, May 5, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

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.

I saw the theme for this weeks Top Ten was books and artwork so I was in. These are all covers I have really enjoyed over the years- and in picking these it's made me wonder if I shouldn't go back and revisit a couple of these. So here we go...

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles De Lint and Charles Vess.

The Crystal Shard (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #1; Legend of Drizzt, #4)

The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore, cover art by Larry Elmore.

Golden Fool (Tawny Man, #2)

Golden Fool by Robin Hobb.

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. Ted Nasmith (along with John Howe) are two of the best Tolkien illustrators out there, for my money.

Renegades of Pern by Anne McCaffrey.

A Time of Exile (The Westlands, #1)

A Time of Exile by Katherine Kerr

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sunday Post #43/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

This week was pretty good, I got a couple reviews up and got some reading done.  It's been cold and rainy all week but today the sun is out and looks like a good day.

There's a cool new game coming called 20,000 Leagues Above The Clouds. They describe it as Baldur's Gate meets Pirates!, with steampunk. 

Review: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

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

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a fast- paced, rollicking thrill ride through the streets of Manhattan with a high school senior and his prom date- a lethal assassin with an agenda of her own. Perry is forced by his mother to take their Lithuanian exchange student to the prom, as a sendoff before she goes back home. Perry just wants to go to New York City and play with his band- they have a gig in the city for the first time. Perry plans to skip out of prom early and make the gig- but little does he know that Gobi, the exchange student, has a plan as well. A plan that involves getting to NYC and carrying out five assassinations!

Perry and Gobi head for the prom, and Perry soon finds that there is a lot more to Gobi than meets the eye- and that there is a reason she came to live with his family. Car chases, gunfights and all manner of havoc ensue, and before long Perry and Gobi find themselves in for the night of their lives.  The story starts out pretty realistic, which I liked, but as it progresses things get a little implausible. I mean there's only so much shooting at cops, fights with gangsters and assassinations you can pull off in a few short hours in Manhattan before you start thinking yeah right- but it's fun throughout and the snappy patter between Perry and Gobi works for the most part.

The blurb for the book says it's a John Hughes movie meets La Femme Nikita, and I can see that a bit. The pace is brisk and the repartee between Perry and Gobi is fun. One thing that irritated me was the passage of time in this story- for example we're told that it's 3 am at one point and they're at one location, then we're told it's 3 am at another location, but it takes fifty minutes to get across town between those two point. So there's a fast and loose quality going on there. This is a minor quibble I suppose, it's better to just go with the flow and enjoy the ride, which I did for the most part. This is a fun book - a little over the top at times, and not always very realistic, but a thril ride nevertheless and I had a lot of fun with it. The book has a great ending, and I'll be checking out the sequel Perry's Killer Playlist.

One other thing- if you take the dust jacket off, the book cover (front and back) is a map of Manhattan including Central Park. Kinda cool.

A couple excerpts:

"Hold up," Chow said, dropping the hip-hop affection entirely. "We are talking about the same foreign exchange student here? The one that kicked those guys' asses at the prom?"
"Wait," I said, "what?"
"You didn't hear about that? Shep and Dean? That's what I was going to tell you. After Whittaker punched you, she came back and finished it. She put them both in the ER, dude. Ambulance ride on prom night. Where were you?"

"It's just a tango. It is like sex, except with clothes on." Then, squeezing me closer: "Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot, you do not know how to do that  either. "
"Oh, ha-ha."
"Relax. Just follow my lead."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is a story of technology run amok. A wealthy man hires a team of scientists to clone dinosaurs and creates a park to display them. Of course things go wrong... very wrong. I've seen the movie (and the sequel) several times but never read the book- after seeing a recent review on another blog I decided to take the plunge. I'm glad I did.

The book starts out laying the groundwork and we meet all the players. Right off the bat the book differs from the movie, with a lot of more detail and nuance. At the same time the main characters- Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm- seem very similar to the movie versions, right down to the dialogue. You can really tell that Michael Crichton wrote the screenplay as well as the book. Ian Malcolm in particular- he was totally Jeff Goldblum to me as I was reading.

The park is located on an island off the coast of Costa Rica, and the owner and developer John Hammond is forced by the attorneys representing the investors to send Grant, Ellie and Malcolm there to check it out for safety. The problems start out fairly early and soon the entire island descends into chaos as systems fail and dinosaurs escape from their enclosures. I was struck by how the entire book is basically an ongoing crisis- the characters are thrust into all kinds of predicaments, from going over waterfalls to, at one point, fighting a pack of velociraptors with a rocket launcher! There a re a lot of things that happen that are not in the movie- so if you're a casual fan of the franchise the book is not necessarily required reading, but if you're a big fan the book might really be for you. There's a lot of suspense right from the beginning, and Crichton masterfully ratchets up the tension and reveals new details.

Overall this was a fun read, I wanted to keep going and it was hard to stop because the crisis just keeps getting worse. I was starting to wonder if anyone was going to survive.