Mini Book Reviews – September 2016

Time for some mini book reviews! All the following reviews are for the audiobook versions.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I’m very, very picky about the kind of fantasy novels I choose to read. I don’t like too much magic or tons of fantastical creatures. World building has to be complex but not so complicated it becomes confusing and frustrating. All this on top of great characters and storytelling.

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Book Review: Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

MINOR SPOILERS ONLY FOR THE BOOK STAR WARS: BLOODLINE, BUT THERE ARE SOME MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS:

In a recent blog post about The Terminator, I cited Ripley from Alien as the first modern film action heroine—and she is the first who was the protagonist. But it’s Star Wars’ Princess Leia, in a supporting role, who’s the true seminal character in modern film.

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Mini-Reviews of Books I’ve Recently Read

It’s been a while since I’ve done some book reviews, so here are some books I’ve read recently that I have particularly enjoyed. Since I have little time to read, I mainly listen to audiobooks while at work, so these are all reviews of the audiobooks. Continue reading “Mini-Reviews of Books I’ve Recently Read”

Book Review: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

I am a huge fan of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, his epic tale of the first 100 colonists on Mars.

(Still waiting anxiously as of this writing for the TV adaptation. Hello, hello–any news on casting yet?)

I’ve read some of his other books, but none of them have captivated me in quite the same way as the Mars books.

Until now.

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10 Things I Love About This Character: Ellie Linton, The Tomorrow Series

Last year I wrote an article about the “strong female character” which was very well received. (It was even featured by WordPress in their “Freshly Pressed” section.) Since then, I’ve been thinking about doing a series devoted to individual characters that I consider “strong.”

This series will not be limited to female characters–I will include male characters–and may even decide to write about a few that aren’t human.

As I said, I’ve been toying with the idea for a while, but really got excited about starting it a few weeks ago. Because I encountered a character that I believe is perfect to kick off this series.

I had heard many good things about Australian writer John Marsden’s young adult Tomorrow series. The first book, Tomorrow, When the War Began, first came out over 20 years ago, in 1993. There are seven books in the series, and a sequel series called “The Ellie Chronicles.” I finally downloaded the first book from Audible and was immediately blown away by the characters and the story.

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Movie Review: The Divergent Series: Insurgent

MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR THE MOVIE INSURGENT:

I enjoyed the first movie in this series, Divergent. Based on the first novel in Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA series, it boasted good casting, energetic direction by Neil Burger, creative envisioning of Chicago after an apocalypse, and a tight screenplay. All these elements helped make it a decent, entertaining effort.

The second book in the series, Insurgent, is not as strong a novel as Divergent. In fact, it’s a bit of a mess, with a very convoluted plot and a lot of new and unmemorable characters introduced, some killed off before you got a chance to care about them (or even remember their names).

The third book is a complete miss. I wrote about why I disliked Allegiant in a detailed and spoiler-filled review here.

Still, I had hopes that when it came to the subsequent films, the filmmakers would expand on what worked in the other two books and fix what didn’t. A not-good book doesn’t automatically mean a not-good film. (Ever read the novel The Godfather? Jaws? The movie versions are much, much better.)

Unfortunately, now in the hands of director Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) the movie not only doesn’t fix the problems of the book, it actually highlights them–and adds even more.

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Book Release Day: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After

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Happy Halloween and Happy Book Release Day for Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After!

Blurb: When it comes to fairy tales, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. Things so morbid and grotesque, so sinister and diabolical, they haunt your imagination; warnings from generations past that still manage to terrify. Continue reading “Book Release Day: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After”

Cover Reveal: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After

Last year I took part in Project REUTSway, a writing competition that had writers twist classic fairy tales with horror elements. Two of my stories–“Earlobe” and “Deadman’s Ball”–were chosen for an anthology entitled Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After. Today is the cover reveal!

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Blurb: When it comes to fairy tales, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. Things so morbid and grotesque, so sinister and diabolical, they haunt your imagination; warnings from generations past that still manage to terrify.

Release Date: October 31, 2014 Continue reading “Cover Reveal: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After”

A TV Adaptation of Your Favorite Book is in the Works! Time to Panic!

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This past week, two TV projects based on books were announced:

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars), is in development at basic cable channel Spike.

Stephen King’s time-travel novel, 11/22/63, is in development at the streaming service Hulu TV.

May I take a moment to express how much I love these books? Continue reading “A TV Adaptation of Your Favorite Book is in the Works! Time to Panic!”

Pop Culture Roundup April 2014

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1. Stephen Colbert will replace Dave Letterman as host of the Late Show.

Dave Letterman announced he would retire in 2015 and people barely got time to speculate about who would replace him. It was quickly announced that comedian Stephen Colbert, host of The Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report, would be the new host. Continue reading “Pop Culture Roundup April 2014”

Pop Culture Roundup March 2014

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1. The Oscar telecast didn’t totally suck!

I was not crazy about host Ellen DeGeneres’ opening monologue (look, Liza Minnelli is fair game, but don’t insult her to her face on live TV where close to 1 billion people can see her reaction) but otherwise she did a good job. I thought the “selfie” segment was cute, and so was calling up for pizza. Both moments had genuine elements, such as nominee Lupita Nyong’o’s brother Junior jumping in with some of the biggest stars on the planet for the photo and a real pizza guy distributing the pizza.

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My Review of the Movie Divergent, Where I Don’t Compare it to That OTHER Franchise

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MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR THE MOVIE DIVERGENT:

There was once an episode of All in the Family where Edith was recounting the story of how she hit a car with a can of cling peaches (in heavy syrup). Archie got so sick of hearing her say cling peaches, Edith began replacing the words with “Mmm-Mmm.”

I am so darn sick of reading reviews about Divergent comparing it to The Hunger Games (and alleged “think pieces,” like this especially jerky one by Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman) that any time I feel compelled to do the same, I’m going use “Mmm-Mmm” instead.

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