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Top Ten Tuesday: Pick It Up



This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us what are some of the factors that go into picking up a book to read.  There are a couple of things that will lead me to pick up a book or put it on reserve at the library.

  1.  I have certain authors who are on my “automatic” list.  Among them are Stephen King, Elizabeth George, Laura Lippman, Michael Connolly Garrison Keillor and John Scalzi.
  2. If it’s a Star Trek: New Frontier offering from Peter David.  I love this series. One of the few on-going series I’m not behind on reading, too!
  3. If the book is recommended by Stephen King.  King used to have a regular column in Entertainment Weekly that offered his thoughts and recommendations from pop culture. I found that nine times out of ten if King recommends a book, I will probably enjoy it.
  4. If the book gets good buzz from reviewers with whom I share similar tastes.
  5. The cover grabs my attention.  Yes, I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but if you’ve got good cover art that grabs my attention, odds are I’ll at least try the book.
  6. If it’s a series that I enjoy and the last installment ended on a cliffhanger.
  7. If I see a trailer for a movie or TV show based on the book.
  8. If it examines the making of a favorite TV show or movie.  It’s kind of like an extended, in-depth special feature on the DVD or Blu-Ray!

Those are a couple of things for this week.  I’m sure I could think of a half dozen or so more, but those are some of the big ones.


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Comic Book Friday: Hawkeye, Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon

Hawkeye, Volume 1: My Life as a WeaponMy first thought when I heard Marvel was producing a new series centering on Hawkeye was that it was a marketing thing to cash in on the heroes’ new-found popularity thanks to the cinematic universe.

But then I heard the buzz that there might be more to this than meets the eye. Add in that the new series is written by Matt Fraction, author of the brilliantly subversive Sex Criminals comic books and the series had my interest.

So when my local library got in the first collected edition of the new Hawkeye, I picked it up. Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: 24 Legacy Noon to 4 p.m.


The debut of 24: Legacy brings up a (semi)philosophical question.  Is the real-time format or Jack Bauer the star of the show?

Four episodes into the “worst day” of Eric Carter’s life and the answer still isn’t clear.  

It’s easy to forgive certain things Jack Bauer did or to accept them as simply part of the power of Baur because we’ve spent ten days together.  Seeing Carter act with a similar reckless abandon to what Jack used in order to get the job done and damn the consequences doesn’t necessarily feel earned yet.  In the first four hours, Carter has used a large concrete pipe as a shield to take on terrorists, got himself arrested in order to steal $2 million in cash from a police squad and, as hour four ends, is breaking out of CTU in order to try and get a list of potential terrorist cells back. Continue reading

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Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It EndsAs the winter semester begins at Opportunity High School, most of the student body is assembled in the auditorium for the principle’s welcome back message. There are a few exceptions to this from the track team preparing to defend their state title winning streak and the two guys trying to break into the principle’s office to get a look at their permanent records.

A few minutes after ten, the doors to the auditorium are bolted shut and the first shots ring out. Former student Tyler has something to say and he’s going to say it to everyone gathered at the business end of several guns and multiple rounds of ammo.

For the next hour, This Is Where It Ends puts readers in and around Opportunity High School, watching events unfold through the eyes of multiple narrators who all ask the same question, “How did this happen here?” As the story unfolds, we find out just what drove Tyler to plan and carry out the attack on his classmates, teachers, and administration as well as feeling the desperation of those in and around the school as they struggle to survive Tyler’s attack.

The opening pages of This Is Where It Ends channel the confusion and terror of a high school shooting incident. But it’s once Tyler settles in and begins to demand that the student body listen to him now that the novel slowly begins to lose its focus. As the possible step stones to this event are slowly uncovered, Tyler more like a comic book villain while the characters around him spend a lot of time wondering if they could have contributed to or stopped this attack somehow. Included in the narration are Tyler’s ex-girlfriend, his sister and the girl he sexually assaulted on prom night. And while these characters offer different insights into who Tyler who then and is now, it never quite gels into something more. There’s also a great deal of teenage angst thrown in along the way that feels a bit out of place at times in the story that’s unfolding.

The novel also isn’t helped because it feels like it’s working too hard to make the adults appear as useless and ineffectual as possible. As the shootings begin, the track team is outside training for the upcoming season. The track coach is less effective at finding a way to address the situation and calm the fears of his team than one of his students (who happens to be Ty’s ex-girlfriend and is a member of the ROTC). I’m not asking that the adults be superheroes that can somehow magically stop the rampage that Ty goes on, but it would be nice to feel as if one or two of them was somehow portrayed as having a bit more sense.

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Review: Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Distress SignalsThe runaway success of “Gone Girl” has created a new sub-genre in the mystery/thriller section. It seems like every other book that comes out these days cover blurb touts it as being in the “same vein as ‘Gone Girl.'”

And while there have been a few books that have come close to capturing the page-turning intensity of Gillian Flynn, there have been more than a few that felt like pale imitations of the original.

For the first third of “Distress Signals,” it feels like Catherine Ryan Howard has tapped into the same vein Flynn did with “Gone Girl.” Only to see it all fall apart the more Adam Dunne digs into the disappearance of his fiance, Sarah. Continue reading

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Top Ten Tuesday: New Authors


Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us to reflect on 2016 and the new authors we’ve read.  Here are some of the new authors I’ve read (in no particular order).

  1.  Shari Lapena
  2. Kerry Lonsdale
  3. J.L. Baumann
  4. Emily Foster
  5. Ruth Ware
  6. Kate Horsley
  7. Caroline Kepnes

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Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful


As we get ready for my favorite holiday this week, Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) gives us a open-ended Thanksgiving theme.  Instead of a list, I thought I’d just write a little bit about what I’m thankful for this year. Continue reading

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