A Reading Challenge for 2015

reading_challenge

It looks like it could be a fun challenge to try during 2015! Continue reading

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Review: Alone Forever: The Singles Collection by Liz Prince

Alone Forever: The Singles Collection

As I’ve said in the past, one of the fun things about NetGalley is skimming through the comics and graphic novels section and finding treasures there I might not have heard of before or might have overlooked.

Liz Prince’s Alone Forever: A Singles Collection is one such collection. The series of comic strips examine Liz’s attempts to find love in the modern dating world that includes things like OK Cupid and texting your feelings to someone and then awkwardly waiting for a reply (this cartoon reminded me a lot of the Seinfeld episode where George tells his latest date that he loves her, only to not get a response.).

For the most part, Liz’s observation are self-deprecating, witty and amusing. I can’t help but hope she’s exaggerating some aspects of these stories, if only for her own sake. But having been out there in the dating world once upon a time, I have a feeling that some of the more extreme quirks aren’t necessarily all that exaggerated.

This collection was a quick, pleasant read and it’s one that makes me curious to see what else Prince has to offer. I may have to seek our other collections by Prince or just surf over to her web site and see what other observations on life she has to offer.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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All Good Things: A Star Trek Podcast, Episode 31: Subspace Communications

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After a week off due to illness and winter weather, we’re back with the latest installment of All Good Things.   In this episode, we discuss the latest news of the day in the Trek universe.

Please note: This episode was recorded two days before Leonard Nimoy passed away.   We will probably have a full podcast devoted to Nimoy and his legacy in Trek for the next installment.

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/p4ysc-5422cf/initByJs/1/auto/1

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Musing Mondays: Favorite Genre

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Starting off the week with Musing Mondays, hosted by Should Be Reading.  

This week’s random topic is: What’s your favorite genre? Why?

Science-fiction is my favorite genre.  It’s the section of the bookstore or library that I gravitate toward first (assuming they have a separate section for sci-fi, of course!) and that I enjoy browsing to find new works, catch up on some of the previous novels I’ve missed or consider re-reading.    There are a lot of things I enjoy about the genre — the diversity of authors and stories, the exploration of the future and making predictions about what could be around the next corner.  I also enjoy that the stories and novels  can be the starting point for conversations and deeper looks at the meanings behind things or the commentary it could be making on our world today.  And sometimes there are just some thrilling stories that keep the pages turning.

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Way Back Wednesday: Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks by Ben Aaronovich

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We’re halfway to the weekend and that means it’s time for Way Back Wednesday hosted by A Well Read Woman.   The purpose of this meme is to look back on those books that made a special impact on you and that you love to read.

This week’s entry comes from the Target line of Doctor Who novelizations.   In the days before we could collect Doctor Who on VHS or DVD, there were the Target books, which adapted just about every broadcast Doctor Who story for the printed page.   A majority of these were written by one-time script-editor Terrance Dicks (and I’ll probably get to at least one or two of those adaptations in a future installment), but there were other writers in the range.   As the books caught up to the stories airing on our screens, there were times that the original script writer would adapt his or her work for the printed page, often adding in scenes that didn’t make the broadcast due to time or budgetary reason or giving deeper background to scenes or character development.

Remembrance of the Daleks Novelisation Cover“Remembrance of the Daleks” falls into the category of a script adapted by the original writer and one that expanded on an already great story and made it even better.

Featuring the seventh (and my favorite) Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, “Remembrance of the Daleks” aired during the show’s twenty-fifth season and celebrated the anniversary of the long-running show.    The Doctor and Ace are back in 1963, just days after the original TARDIS crew began their adventures together and find themselves helping a para-military group that is caught between two warring factions of Daleks.  Both sides want the mysterious Hand of Omega, a Time Lord artifact that each side believes will give them the upper hand in their civil war and their drive to conquer the universe.    Continue reading

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Review: Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

Heir to the Jedi

In his introduction to Heir to the Jedi, Kevin Hearne says that the inspiration for his first novel set in “a galaxy far, far away” was a question that many Star Wars fans of a certain age may have pondered when The Empire Strikes Back made its debut — how did Luke Skywalker go from a novice in the Force to being able to pull his lightsaber to him in the ice cave on Hoth?

The movie series doesn’t give us any answers or explanation, but Hearne’s novel does. Narrated by Luke, Heir to the Jedi takes place between A New Hope and Empire and not only gives looks at how Luke developed his Jedi powers before he headed off to Degobah for training but also some of the realities of the day to day running of a rebellion. Hearne lets us spend some time with a few old favorites and introduces a few new characters for this novel that quickly grow on Luke and the reader.

I’m sure that fans who read every single page of the Extended Universe novels will be annoyed to learn that LucasFilm and Disney have rebooted the novels. But as a reader who fell behind on the EU and increasingly felt like the cool kids were having a party that I wasn’t invited to, I’m happy to see the novels get a reboot and start fresh. And if Heir is any indication, these novels are in good hands and headed in an interesting direction as we all count down to later this year when Episode VII arrives on our movie screens.

The combination of one of my favorite genre universes with one of my favorite genre authors is pays off extremely well here. Hearne quickly settles into the Star Wars universe and you can tell he’s having a great time answering a question that has consumed his curiosity over the years. He ties in enough continuity to keep Star Wars fans happy but still keeps the novel accessible and entertaining enough that a casual reader can drop in and enjoy a well done tie-in novel.

This is a solid example of a tie-in novel done right.

And I hope that Star Wars fans who haven’t dipped their toes into the wonderful urban fantasy universe that Hearne has created will like what they read here and pick up one or more the Iron Druid Chronicles.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Pop Culture Heroines

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish) looks at the top ten heroines from popular culture.  My list will include heroines from comic books, movies, tv shows and books.

1. Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird.  It’s one of my favorite novels, so you knew it had to make the list.   Scout’s first-person narration of Mockingbird is just one of the many highlights of this great book.   I will admit I’m a bit nervous about the upcoming “sequel” that will hit shelves later this year.  This book is so close to perfect to me that I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a second installment can’t possibly live up to my expectations.

2.  Barbara Havers from the Elizabeth George mysteries.  — I look forward to each new Elizabeth George novel not only for the tightly plotted mystery, but for a chance to catch up with my literary friends Inspector Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers.  Havers isn’t what you’d think of as your “typical” heroine, but I can’t help but love her, flaws and all.  Barbara enjoys foods that aren’t good for her, smokes too much and has a tendency to speak before she thinks.   Her fashion sense is questionable and I often delight in the outfits that George chooses to describe her wearing in each installment.   And yet for all that, she’s still a great partner to Lynley and a fascinatingly compelling character.

Anne-of-Green-Gables-The-Sequel23.  Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables series.  This one’s kind of a mixture of the character presented in the novels and the various mini-series starring Megan Follows that aired when I was growing up.  Red-haired Anne Shirley is sent by mistake to the Cuthberts, who wanted a boy to help around the farm.   Anne has a tendency to dream huge dreams and to say the wrong thing.  She’s also prone to mishaps.   And I can’t help but love the character.

4.  Ramona Quimby from the Ramona books.  Growing up, I read the Ramona novels over and over again.   Beverly Cleary’s creation, who is allowed to grow up over the course of each novel is one of best things in all of literature — children’s or otherwise.  From her confusion at how long she should sit at her desk to her fights with older sister Beezus to trying to understand how a new baby will affect her family, Ramona feels more like an old friend than a literary character.   Continue reading

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Musing Mondays: Discussions

It’s time again for Musing Mondays, hosted by Should Be Reading.

This week’s random subject for conversation is this question:

Do you enjoy debating / discussing the books that others are currently reading? Why, or why not?

As with a lot of things, it depends on the book. I’ve been involved with several book discussion groups and have found that some books, while very enjoyable to read, don’t necessarily lend themselves to an in-depth conversation.

One example I can think (that is done by a LOT of sci-fi/fantasy discussion groups when they first begin) is Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Don’t get me wrong here — the book is wonderfully witty, well observed and out and out funny. But I’m not sure it lends itself to discussion beyond looking at “well, what was your favorite funny part?”

(I suppose if you were willing to look deeper at it and look at the various versions of the story that Adams wrote over his lifetime (the radio series, the novels, the TV show, the movie), you could get some more out of it. But I’m not sure if this might be homework above and beyond reading the book.) Continue reading

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