Monthly Archives: October 2017

TV Round-Up: Star Trek: Discovery: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

dsc-107-rev-3-640x318Strange that an episode featuring a never-ending time loop where a lot of the crew dies in the course of defending the ship would be one of the most entertaining, fun and light episodes Star Trek: Discovery has given us.

And yet, “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” achieves just that.

A lot of that can be chalked up to the presence of one Harcourt Fenton Mudd, who wants to sell Discovery’s secret weapon to the Klingon in exchange for a lot of money. (I’d argue that Mudd may be lying a bit there since it’s fairly obvious that he has an iffy relationship with the truth.  It doesn’t seem too huge a stretch to think that Mudd has bartered with the Klingons to set him free in exchange for handing over Discovery to them.  That would go a long way toward giving Mudd more motive to reset the timeline when he finds out who Burnham is and she kills herself.  Mudd may need that extra money to pay off whatever debts he’s accrued and would rather spend his life running from, rather than marrying Stella).  Continue reading

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Comic Book Friday: Marvel Masterworks: Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 14

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 14Collecting a dozen or so issues from the mid-70’s run, Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 14 showcases a successful comic book and character treading water for close to three-hundred pages.

Yes, Harry Osborne finally goes over the edge and embraces his inner Green Goblin. But like his father before him, he will conveniently forget that a)he’s the Goblin and b)Peter Parker is Spider-Man by the time anyone in authority arrives. Harry’s transformation is teased across multiple issues (and I believe they started planting seeds as early as issues in the last collection). But the return of the Green Goblin lacks the emotional punch it could or should have, possibly because the last time we saw Spidey tangle with the Gobin it was one of the high points not only of the character but one of the iconic turning points in comic books.

Other villains include the return of the Molten Man and Mysterio and new threats like the Mind Worm and the Grizzly. Yes, you read that right. Spider-Man spends not one but two issues battling it out with a former wrestler who has an enhanced grizzly bear costume and has decided its time to give J. Jonah Jameson his comeuppance for ruining his wrestling career. And yes, I’ve just re-read that sentence and I know how silly it sounds. The comic book presentation isn’t much better.

Of course, the infamous start of a certain saga that nearly killed Spider-Man as we know it in the 90’s is also beginning here. So, maybe part of my lack of love for this collection of issues is knowing where it will all pay off in twenty years’ time. Or maybe it’s just that writer Gerry Conway’s stories don’t really add all that much to the Spidey canon. Look, I know not every issue from my favorite era of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko were masterpieces. But at least there was always some hook, some threat or some narrative point to keep me interested. That’s not often the case here. These issues feel like they come down to a formula for writing and Conway’s just happy to plug in various characters as we move slowly between battles with that issue or arc’s central villain. It comes down to Spidey meets villain, Spidey gets his you-know-what handed to him by said villain, Spidey as Peter beats himself up about it and interacts with the supporting cast, Spidey goe out and find the villain again and the battle goes Spidey’s way this time. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s all so formulaic in nature — and I think reading the issues close together in a collection like this only underlines this. I can’t help but think if I read these monthly as they originally came out (or were reprinted), I might end up enjoying them a bit more. Or be more forgiving of certain tropes that seem to show up issue after issue like clockwork.

This collection is Spider-Man fully on cruise control. And in a collection that features the Spider Buggy (yes, that was a thing!), that’s pretty damn ironic.

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TV Round-Up: Star Trek: Discovery: Lethe

dsc-106-rev-05-640x318Years ago, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens classic Trek novel “Prime Directive” opened with a paragraph talking about how badly Starfleet misjudged the men it put into the center chair of the constellation class ships during TOS era.  It pointed out that a large majority of these captains came to a less than ignominious end, citing examples from TOS episodes as the basis for this.

Watching “Lethe,” I felt like this opening paragraph not only applied to the constellation class ships in Starfleet but also to other commanders from the TOS era.  Continue reading

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Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts: Wish I’d Thought Of It!

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.).

  1.  Finished a short story in Hugh Howley’s new collection, Machine Learning, in which a Roomba helps bring about the end of civilization as we know it. The story itself is pure and total genius and makes me wish I’d thought of it!
  2. In honor of Halloween, I’m listened to the new audio version of The Dead Zone. And reminded again of just how much I love Stephen King when he’s at the top of his game.
  3. Also reading Sleeping Beauties, King’s collaboration with his son Owen. I’m far enough into the book now that I am just enjoying the story and not looking for signs of who wrote which section.
  4. Free comic books on Saturday! Our library participates, so we plan to drop by with Shortcake Saturday morning.
  5. benson.jpgWas sad to hear of the death of Robert Guillaume earlier this week. I have fond memories of my dad letting me stay up with him to watch Benson on Tuesday nights when my mom went to choir practice. I watched all the way to the end and am still kind of sad we never found out how the final cliffhanger turned out. Benson was running against Governor Gatling to be the governor and just as the results came in, it said “To Be Continued.”  Part of me always hoped we might get a reunion and find out someday. Guess that won’t be happening now.
  6. What does it say about me as a person that I judge all politicians by whether or not they measure up to Governor Gatling? He had a story for EVERY occasion.
  7. So, Tennessee’s best player on offense got busted for possession and is suspended for this weekend’s game against Kentucky. I foresee mocking texts from my cousins who pull for UK headed my way late Saturday evening.
  8. goodplaceIt’s getting to that point in the television season when I have to decide what stays in my watching rotation and what goes. I’ve got a couple of things stacking up on the DVR and trying to get to them isn’t always easy. That said, I’m catching up on The Good Place, which has been even better in season two (if you didn’t watch season one, go and watch it now while avoiding SPOILER) and I’m caught up on Star Trek: Discovery and Impractical Jokers. 
  9. Can we talk about The Big Bang Theory for a minute? I still watch because my wife enjoys it, but I’ve got to say my enjoyment is rapidly dropping. I’ve noticed a pattern in long-running Chuck Lorre shows. The first few seasons have the characters digging at each other, but there’s still a heart to it and I feel like these people care about each other. Now, I just feel like it’s people yelling and being so hateful to each other that I question why they’d hang out at all any more. Anyone else feel like this or is it just me?

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Spotlight: Never Apart by Romily Bernard

I’m privileged to participate in the blog tour for Romily Bernard’s new novel, Never Apart.

I’ve read it and it’s a great novel. I highly recommend picking it up!


Never+Apart+CoverHow many times would you die for love?

What if you had to relive the same five days over and over?

And what if at the end of it, your boyfriend is killed…

And you have to watch. Every time.

You don’t know why you’re stuck in this nightmare.

But you do know that these are the rules you now live by:

Wake Up.

Run.

Die.

Repeat.

Now, the only way to escape this loop is to attempt something crazy. Something dangerous. Something completely unexpected. This time…you’re not going to run.

Combining heart-pounding romance and a thrilling mystery Never Apart is a stunning story you won’t soon forget.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon AustraliaAmazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

About the Author

 

romily_bernard

Romily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a literature degree. Since then, she’s worked as a riding instructor, cell-phone salesperson, personal assistant, horse groomer and exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service representative. . . . She’s also, of course, now a YA novelist. So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed. Romily currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her debut novel, Find Me, won the Golden Heart Award for YA Romance from the Romance Writers of America in 2012.

Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is LyingA quintet of stereotypes from a John Hughes movie walk into detention one fateful Monday afternoon, but only four make it out alive.

Each of the survivors — the athlete, the cheerleader, the academic, and the drug dealer — had good reason to want to see the victim silenced. Simon Kelleher runs Bayview High’s infamous gossip blog app and his next post contained juicy details that could cause grief and heartache to each of the survivors. But was that post enough of a motive to kill Simon? And if it was, which one of these four is guilty of the crime?

The central mystery of who killed Simon and why drives Karen M. McManus’ debut novel One of Us Is Lying. And the story starts with teenage stereotypes, each of the characters doesn’t remain a stereotype for long. One of the highlights of the story is watching McManus build each of the characters through shifting point of view segments while both validating and challenging our initial assumption of each character. Whether it’s the academic, Bronwyn who was presented with a chance to keep her collegiate dreams of going to Yale alive or Jake, the drug dealer who is trying to overcome his family’s dysfunctional history, McManus’ narrative weaves the lives of the so-called Murder Club into something more than just your standard murder mystery. Continue reading

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Filed under audio book review, audio review, audiobook review., book review, review, young adult

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts: YA Edition

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.).

  1.  Finished John Green’s new novel, Turtles All the Way Down, last night and I’m having mixed reactions to it.  On the one hand, the way Green puts us inside the head of his OCD character makes it a compelling, fascinating read.  On the other, it feels like a  YA novel where the teens are far too precocious and witty for their own good.
  2. oneofusFinally closing in on the end of the audiobook of One of Us Is Lying.  It’s entertaining enough, but I’ve got some issues with parts of it.  If you’re not familiar with it, the premise is that five kids walk into detention and only four walk out.  One kid dies from an allergic reaction to peanut oil and the other four are left looking like suspects.  Told from shifting first-person perspectives of the four surviving students (each one out of a John Hughes movie), I can’t help but get a bit frustrated at the adults in the novel, especially the police.  They’re fairly ineffective and seem to not be investigating anything beyond our four suspects for long stretches of the story.  Meanwhile, our suspects band together and start to Scooby Doo what’s really happened and happening.  I wonder if the audiobook with its ten-hour runtime is contributing to this.
  3. I see that One of Us Is Lying has been optioned as a tv-show.  I think it would work as a single-season mystery.
  4. Finally starting to get over the cold that Shortcake brought home from daycare.  It’s not been fun.  I hate taking prednisone because I feel like I’m about to bust out my skin and then I have insomnia.  I sometimes wonder if the cure is worse than the disease.
  5. The Vols need a new head football coach.  I like Butch Jones, but after Saturday’s debacle, I can’t see how he stays.  Nice guy who is going to get fired. That said, I do NOT want Lane Kiffin to come back like a subset of Vols’ fans want.  He’s a violation waiting to happen and he dumped us in the middle of the night to jet for USC.  I can forgive, but I won’t forget.
  6. After a week off from exercise due to illness, I got out and ran for the first time yesterday.  And it was glorious. Great weather for it.  Alas, my phone reset in the middle of my run, meaning that RunKeeper didn’t track the whole activity, thus bringing up the age-old dilemma of “If I ran but RunKeeper didn’t track it, did I really run?”
  7. So many shows I want to catch up on, so little time.  Seriously, I need to make a list and just starting being intentional about what I watch and catch up on.  First up may be finishing Stranger Things season so I can watch season two when it drops next week.  I’ve also got to find time for Bosch, The Man in the High Castle, most of the Netflix Marvel shows that aren’t centered on Daredevil and 13 Reasons Why.  And this list doesn’t include Game of Thrones (I stopped in season four)!

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