Review: Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi

Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John ScalziBecause many fans first entry point into the sci-fi/fantasy world is Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, it can be easy to assume that writing funny genre pieces is something that just about anybody can do. But a look at the myriad of pale imitators who have tried and fallen short continues to prove that being funny on the printed page isn’t as easy as it first appears.

Every once in a while an author comes along who is able to channel what made Adams and Pratchett work so well. And while not all of John Scalzi’s works have been a “laugh riot,” he has shown the capacity to land his jokes more often than not. Continue reading

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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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Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next DoorAs a rule, I don’t peak ahead at the ending of novels.

But there are some books for which exceptions have to be made. And Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door turned out to be one of those.

When their babysitter cancels at the last minute, Marco convinces his wife Anne that they can leave their infant daughter home alone while they attend a dinner party next door. If they take the baby monitor with them and take turns checking on their daughter every half hour, nothing could possibly go wrong.

Coming back home from the party, they discover the door ajar and their baby kidnapped. The police are called in and things just aren’t adding up on how and who could or would have kidnapped the little girl. As the investigation deepens, secrets about not only Marco and Anne are revealed but also about their neighbors and Anne’s parents. In short, everyone has something to hide when it comes to the kidnapping.

I have to admit that about a tenth of a way into the novel, I had to skip ahead and see how certain events played out. I didn’t want to ruin any of the twists or character revelations (I luckily didn’t) but instead wanted to find make sure the baby didn’t come to any harm. As a new parent, the idea of someone kidnapping an infant daughter gave me the cold sweats and I didn’t want to continue the story if the outcome was extremely negative. Continue reading


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Top Ten Tuesday: Under the Tree


With only a few days left until Shortcake’s first Christmas, it’s time for the Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).  This week’s topic asks us what book-ish items we’d like to find under the tree.  I’m breaking this down into a couple of books I’d like and some items I’d like to read and share with Shortcake.

  1.  The Fifty Year Mission, Volumes 1 and 2.  The oral history of Star Trek from the original series to the Kelvin films covers over 1,o00 pages and I’d love to have hardback copies on my shelf.
  2. These Are the Voyages, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.  The Fifty Year Mission gives a great overview of the original series.  These books take a look at the series episode by episode.
  3.  Illustrated Harry Potter books.  When it’s the appropriate time, I hope that Shortcake will like Harry Potter.  I think these would be fun to read to her.
  4. Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss.  I love reading to Shortcake but some of the good Seuss’s books are a bit of a challenge.  This two-disc CD has some of the more tongue-twisting stories on it read by professional thespians.  We checked this one out from the library and listened while riding in the car.  She seemed to enjoy it.
  5. The Golden Book versions of the Star Wars saga.  These look like a lot of fun to read with Shortcake.
  6. The Little Blue Truck.  I love reading this board book to Shortcake.  Part of it could be that it encourages the reader to make silly sounds while reading it.
  7. Corduroy.  We checked this out of the library and enjoyed it.  I’d love for Shortcake to have her own copy.
  8. DC Super Heroes Board Books.  There are several books in this series that look like a lot of fun to read with Shortcake.


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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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Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks, Episode 2


Confession time.  I loved the first half of “Victory of the Daleks.”

I know the story is one of the more reviled of Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor. But as a classic Doctor Who fan, the first half was a pure delight.  Seeing the manipulative Daleks, pulling the strings of the gullible humans all while the Doctor tries to convince everyone that they’re really up to no good felt like a writer Mark Gatiss channeling “Power of the Daleks” for a modern audience. Continue reading

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Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks, Episode 1


During my teenage years, I picked up a photonovel copy of “The Power of the Daleks” at a sci-fi convention.   The original script for the long-lost story was put together with the telesnaps (photos of the actual episodes) in an attempt to give fans a chance to see what the watching the serial back in 1966 might have been like.  At the time, I figured this would be a close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.”

When I first got on-line, I discovered the Doctor Who fan community and the practice of sharing the off-air audio from lost serials with each other.  Thank to the generosity of a fellow fan, I was able to acquire the audio from several lost serials that I eagerly listened to, imaging what it might have been like to see the story back during its original airing.  At the time, I figured this would be as close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.” Continue reading

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