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TV Round-Up: Star Trek: Discovery: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Ep8-6-11-3-17After taking a week off for some wacky time-travel fun, Star Trek: Discovery gets back to the business of the war with “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.”

CBS Digital originally intended for this episode to serve as the mid-season finale.  And while it does end of a cliffhanger, I’m glad they’ve decided not to just leave us hanging on these developments for the next couple of months.  Don’t get me wrong — it’s strong, solid episode but I think I would have been annoyed if this was where we left things until January.  Continue reading

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Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose

Closer Than You Think (Romantic Suspense, #16; Cincinnati, #1)Seeking to escape from her patient turned stalker, psychologist Faith Corcoran changes her identity and relocates to Cincinnati to begin a new life in her grandmother’s home. Her desire to have a quiet life off the radar quickly goes sideways when Faith comes across one of two kidnapping victims on the lonely road to her new home. Now, she’s drawn into the investigation and its lead investigator, Deacon. Will they be able to figure out how Faith’s stalker might be tied to this new kidnapper before time runs out on the other kidnapping victim?

Billed as “romantic suspense,” Karen Rose’s Closer Than You Think is chock full of both. Faith and Deacon’s instant chemistry screams off the page, despite multiple warnings from Deacon’s co-workers that he shouldn’t get involved with a victim in a case he’s investigating. The suspense factor comes from the investigation into where the other girl is and what the potential connection is to Faith’s family and her past. Continue reading

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Review: Vengeance by Newt Gingrich and Mark Early

Vengeance (Brooke Grant #3)On what should be the happiest day of her life, Major Brooke Grant’s world is shattered when a terrorist sets off a car bomb just seconds before she walks down the aisle. Seems that Brooke has ticked off the terrorist leader, the Falcon, who has declared a jihad on Brooke for events in a previous installment of this series. And while a fluke saves Brooke from destruction, the Falcon’s bomb is able to wipe out her friends, family and the president of the United States all in one fell swoop.

The Falcon then decides to make sure the United States knows what it’s like to feel terror and uses a high-profile Arab reporter to issue a threat to wipe out three U.S. cities with nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, several U.S. citizens are seized for possible connections to the plot, putting an Islamic Congressman in a precarious position and the newly installed U.S. president wanting to make sure that the U.S. hits back and hits back hard. Continue reading

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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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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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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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Star Trek: Discovery: Choose Your Pain

MV5BMGI3MmY1NWMtY2IxOC00MWEzLTg4OTMtNGE1ZGM3YmRmZTVlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzQ0MDUyMzg@._V1_With “Choose Your Pain,” Discovery begins to dig a little deeper into its characters and some interesting questions surrounding the exploration of the final frontier.

While being held prisoner by the Klingons, Lorca is called out by Harcourt Fenton Mudd (better known as Harry in a call back to the original series) over Starfleet’s perceived arrogance at heading out into the final frontier and expecting the rest of the universe to be fine with it.  Mudd argues that Starfleet failed to take into account how parties that weren’t Starfleet officers might react to this – from the humans who already had business in space to the various alien races that humanity would encounter during its exploration of the final frontier.  In some ways, Mudd’s argument echoes the concerns the Vulcan’s had about turning humanity lose into the stars without some kind of guidance or training wheels that we saw repeatedly on Enterprise.  And, on some level, Mudd has some valid points, whether it’s the fact that Lorca destroyed his own ship or that Starfleet has started a war with the Klingons that is having a huge impact on the rest of the galaxy.  It certainly has had an impact on Mudd himself, though a lot of what let Mudd to that cell is his own doing. Continue reading

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