Talking Undead

I was invited to participate in my first podcast hosted by Ronan Mullin. You should check out this guy, he has good content. Our topic, The Walking Dead TV show, zombie tropes, and revolving themes. This was recorded before the show finished up it’s sixth season so there is no talk about that cliff hanger ending.

Before you give a listen, be aware, we all know each other and our discussion was in good faith. We finished this recording by playing a round of The Walking Dead Board Game which I lost and became a zombie!

Enjoy the listen.

https://soundcloud.com/rmullin280/the-walking-dead

Back to the Farm!

via The Walking Dead — Ronan Mullin

Book Review: Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler

Another ARC from my job and it in no way sways my review.

Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler is the fourth book in the X-OPS Series. It is a paranormal suspense romance if the cover didn’t give some of the genre away.  Kidnapped and experimented on, Minka escapes the laboratory cage from scientist’s who torture. On the run she is found by Special Forces soldier, Angelo. Can she trust Angelo, the only thing that can calm the beast inside, when she’s not even sure she can control herself around him. Angelo recognizes a hybrid when he sees Minka and to help get her to safety he calls his former team leader, Landon. But Minka and the beast inside are only calm when Angelo is near so Angelo’s protective instincts kick in and sticks with Minka, falling for the other each moment together.

I haven’t read any other books in this series and wasn’t confused when placed in this world. The world building was strong. The dialogue and characters were developed. The storyline was fun, and interesting with shady government cover ups, evil corporate dicks, as well as friends that help strengthen Minka’s control.

What I like the most about this book was the growth Minka’s character had through the story. She really gained a believable amount of confidence and strength. It had nice action sequences especially at the end. I like the therapy sessions featuring other shifters (I’m sure from other books) and the small glimpses into their lives.

I would recommend this book to people who like this genre. Can’t wait to read more of the people and shifters in this world.  This title will be published March 1st, 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

bookcover Tyler

 

 

Book Review on A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

I received an ARC from my job. It in no way sways my review. I have read Deanna Raybourn’s Julia Grey series and I loved them so I was excited to hear the author is writing another historical fiction series with another strong female protagonist at the center.

Veronica Speedway has no attachments after burying her aunt. She is finally free to resume her travels abroad with scientific studies involving her passion, butterflies. But when she returns home from the funeral finds an intruder that tries to kidnap her. With help from Baron Maximillian von Stauffenbach they defeat the kidnapper. The Baron reveals he knows about her past and believes she is in danger. Offering a ride to London and the promise to answer her questions she excepts. But when he drops her with an old friend of his, Stoker, for protection she finds herself thrown into an exciting adventure when the Baron is discovered murdered.
This was an amazing novel. The book is fast paced and keeps the adventure moving, fun, and never dull. I really enjoyed Veronica Speedwell. She is nothing like Julia Grey but still very likable. She was smart, stubborn, and funny. She is not the romanic troupe readers of historical fiction have been bombarded with and it’s refreshing. I loved her fight to be the independent woman not excepted during those times. Stroker was a little hard to pin down. He is grouchy and tight lipped about his past. I thought he could be prickly but he definitely grows on the reader. It could be because of the interaction and relationship between Veronica and Stroker. Their dialogues throughout the book are smart conversations and arguments which grows and helps the characters see each other as equals.

I can’t wait to read more mysteries involving these characters and see where their relationship can go. I’m sad to say goodbye to Lady Julia Grey but Veronica Speedway is a worthy successor. I am certainly recommending this book to others.

A Curious Beginning  By Deanna Raybourn

Classic Number Six: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Still trying to read a classic a month and June’s read was Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Published in 1869, it is astonishing the then future technology that was imagined in this Science-Fiction novel. It tells the story of Professor Aronnax after he, his servant Conseil, and Canadian whaler Ned Land wash up on Captain Nemo’s submarine the Nautilus. They embark on an underwater adventure that takes them around the world.

First off, while reading this, I had to keep reminding myself the technology thought up for this novel was ahead of it’s time. I did skim over some Verne’s extensive scientific descriptions but the action and plot were really riveting. There is a clear picture painted of this underwater world and I loved the descriptions of the life under the sea. The author leads his characters and the reader to the red corals of the Red Sea, lost shipwrecks from historic battles, and the discovery of Atlantis. And the pace of the story improves when the characters use diving suits to go pearl hunting and fight a giant squid. The biggest mystery is not in the depths of the ocean but the people themselves. The reader is the witness to the curious Captain Nemo’s decisions and it is only hinted at why the Captain choices to exile himself from the world. While I’m okay with the mystery of the Nemo’s past and motive, it does make you wonder about a man who will give a whole pouch of pearls to a poor Indian pearl diver but at the end destroy the lives of so many and leave his men up to a possible devastating fate.

I think this is a very worth wild read if you can get pasted the scientific jargon. It will not be a read for everyone but I am happy I read it.

Classic Number Five: The Stranger

I’m falling behind on the classic challenge. I started and finished my May pick, The Stranger by Albert Camus, late. I bought this book at The Last Bookstore while I was on vacation and I’m so glad I did. What a great read although like many classic it is not a fairy tale. There is no happily ever after. Many may find the first person narrative boring since the main character, Meursault, is indifferent to all that is happening around him. The book starts with Meursault at his mother’s funeral. He express no remorse, and returns home. I had trouble with this scene. I felt it exhibit the expectation of certain emotions from others in different situations. But as the story goes on he is unaffected by the neighbor who abuses his dog, or a woman. The day after the funeral he meets, Marie. They go swimming, go to a comedy film, and he lives the appearance of a normal life. He expresses no issue with helping write a letter for his other neighbor, Raymond, to a girl who did him wrong. This indirectly gets him involved with the girl’s Arab brother. After a confrontation where Raymond is cut with a knife they return to the house. Meursault goes back out for a walk and ends up killing the Arab.

Part two of the novel follows Meursault’s thoughts during the trail and sentencing. He is prosecuted more for his moral character than the murder. After the trail Meursault finally has a moment of clarity when a priest comes to help him find solace and save his soul but Meursault sees “the benign indifference of the universe” like himself. Neither he or the world doesn’t pass judgement. Everyone will die and he finds a kind of freedom in this fact.

I can see this being a tough read for some. It is hard to follow Meursault and his lack of emotions. Readers will forever try to figure him out. This read will help you understand existentialism and make you think about life and how you relate to everything around you.

Classic Number Four: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I decided to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum as my fourth classic after seeing the Supernatural: Slumber Party. While watching the episode and their darker take on this classic I realized I have never read the book. The episode does reference the books as well as the movie. I think it was when the character, Charlie played by Felicia Day, was gushing and defending this childhood classic that I decided I needed to read it.

I was delighted with the differences between the book and movie. The movie will forever be a classic in it’s own right but the book is a bigger adventure with Dorothy meeting and making even more friends. The flying monkeys aren’t as scary but become a companion. All the characters grow and while they are all on the same adventure they grow individually finding they had what they seek all along but needed some encouragement along the way. The difference I loved between the movie and book are the passage of time is in both worlds and that the shoes are silver in the book. Maybe because the movie made red shoes such a set thing in the Oz culture and made it appear in the movie that Dorothy’s adventure was just a dream.

I think what will always make this a classic is the need others will feel to use it in their own work, reinvent, and keep it fresh.  I would recommend this to anyone looking for a book to read to their child or looking to give them something to start their reading love. It wasn’t a difficult read. The writing was straight to the point in any character’s motivation or description. A magical read.

Classic Number Three: Northanger Abbey

I decided to read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen for my March classic. I have mentioned before that I did try to read Austen’s Persuasion last month and felt I wasn’t in the mood, I tried again and again I wasn’t in the mood. I realized I never read Austen’s Abbey and needed a short classic since time was running out. I started reading this classic and was captured. As Austen mentions in the beginning of the novel the main character Catherine is not your normal heroine since she is an impressionable, trusting young woman but she grows and learns. By the end Catherine is a strong, classic, and a lead in the wheel house with others Austen famous heroines.

I must say I liked this novel. This classic novel is Austen’s Gothic parody. Catherine’s love for reading the genre and over active imagination adds humor to the novel. There is a great scene where Catherine is snooping and unlocks a mysterious cabinet expecting to find something horrible, and finds only laundry bills. You feel embarrass for her naivety but she has to fall a few more times before she learns to control her imagination. Northanger Abbey also deals with situations common to teenagers today. Catherine learns lessons about peer pressure, bullying, and reading people. I was angry by the Thorpe’s manipulative, and ambitious ways but, by the end of the novel, Catherine learns to read people and can move on into her happy ending wiser.

Favorite Quote: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not the pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Classic Number Two: Little Women

I vaguely remember the basement in the house I grew up in before it was refinished. It was dark gray cinderblock walls with workbenches, boxes, and wooden closets with canned goods. During the clean up I remember one of the boxes had books. I felt awe. I was young and seeing books that thick with tiny print amazed me. I was only allowed to pick one book from the box and I picked, Little Women by Louise May Alcott. I thought it would be about tiny women living in a big world (forgive my naivety, I was really young). I finally decided to read it because this pretty book has sat on my shelf too long. I didn’t read it all the time since the 1922 edition is fragile with a worn binding.

I didn’t love Little Women. It was a very moral based read and could be slow at times. Each chapter could stand on it’s own with a lesson learned. Now days a woman doesn’t need a good marriage to reach true happiness but it was a different time when this story was written and many lessons, like not allowing money to control you, can still apply today. Some chapters I enjoyed more than others. There wasn’t much excitement or enthusiasm behind most life events. Maybe this style or writing is what left me less emotionally attached to the four sisters. If I only read the Little Women portion of the book I may have given it four stars on my Goodreads account but I must say I was surprised when what I expected to happen didn’t.

I learned, when published, part two was a second book, Good Wives, which continues their story and this is where I struggled. The second half is where the story considerably slows downs. I can’t put my finger on what changed. Everything just seemed more mundane. The interesting bits of their lives are farther apart and gets buried. If I was going to rate this portion of the book separately I would give Part two, two stars.

I rated the book three stars out of five stars. If I ever come back to this classic I will not continue past part one.

Little Women 1922 Little, Brown, and Company Edition.

Classic Number One

The first classic I picked up for the 2015 Classic Challenge was picked with another classic in mind. I read The Time Machine in sixth grade and was thinking how I enjoyed it but how little I remembered of the classic. I decided it would be better to read something I hadn’t read before so instead of a repeat in the classic category I would stay with the author. The War of the World by H.G. Wells is a classic that has created a rememberable radio show and epic movies but as any creative work they are nothing like the book.

I was surprise when I learned this novel is a sharp satire about British Imperialism. There is a comparison Wells makes about not judging the Martians to harshly and remember how ruthless our own species have been. He mentions, “The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants.” It is a theme that never goes away. It will always remain a classic. It is surprising that a novel label Science fiction a hundred years ago now reads stockily realistic. Much of the Martian’s science, Heat Rays and Gas, that destroys Victoria England seem very real reading today.

If you decide to pick up this classic don’t expect an action sequence every few pages. Action is few and far between the narrator questioning the human race and the self.

Bookshelf Decisions

I’m trying to keep the spending down. For me this isn’t hard when it comes to things like cloths or extracurricular activities but books, they are my spending weakness. I’ve been doing well lately. I have mostly borrowed from the library and friends. There hasn’t been too many books I’ve come across I feel I need to own. I’ve been pretty happy reading them and giving them back. I’m very proud when I’m able to put down the books I find in book stores and simply check it out of the library. It has saved space on my bookshelves already overflowing with read and to-read copies of dozens of books. I now have a set of books I feel I need to own and in hardcover no less. 

The book series is The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I love the story, the characters, the settings, and the cover art. I’ve tried to win them in Goodreads giveaways but I’ve had no luck. The good news, the hardcover is still available for the first book in the series. Since this thought has been on my mind since the release of the third novel in the series I decided to look up the damage this purchase would cost my wallet and the outlook is not good. I understand what I wanted but it still hurts when you see the $56 dollar price tag. But that total was all the individual books added to the cart. Next, I looked up to see if they have a box set. It looks like the box set is not out yet and not planned to be released until late October but with a $52 tag. I think I will wait and keep an eye on the price of the box set to see if it decreases before October. Maybe by October my wallet will be a bit better, the set will be somewhat cheaper and I can justify a great series on my bookshelf. If you haven’t read The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series my short review is below of why I think it’s worth the read.

Daughteros SmokeAnd Bone
Daughter of Smoke & Bone Box Set

I came across this book because of Vaginal Fantasy, a book club introducing me to romance genre books with strong female leads in the urban fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction. The first book is called The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and as I said above it is by Laini Taylor. This story is about Karou, a blue haired, tattooed, knows multiple of languages, art student, and orphan living in Prague. To her sassy, sarcastic, lovable best friend, Zusana, Karou is a girl who draws amazing monsters in a sketch book. What Zusana doesn’t know is Karou’s demons are real and the only family she has known. Karou is just trying to get over her crummy ex-boyfriend and do her job, collect teeth for her beast like foster father Brimstone. As Black Hand prints start showing up on Brimstone’s portal doors in cities around the world what comes to past is a history with no good or evil but a muddled gray of sides.

This book is labeled young adult but I believe it can appeal to an adult audience. The author has an impeccable writing style. The world building and setting is clear, imaginative, and beautiful. The characters are unique. I liked Karou, Brimstone, and the shop full of teeth. You know that Karou’s job to collect teeth is serious business when it is on the black market in exchange for wishes. Taylor doesn’t disappoint when the reader learns what the teeth are being used for. The romance that develops in the second half of the narrative slows down the book a bit but the mystery of the characters and their pass is what kept me reading. When the story ended I was left with more questions and looking forward to the sequel.

Favorite Quote:

“You were true to her, even if she was not to you. Never repent of your own goodness, child. To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of great strength.”
“Strength,” she said with a little laugh. “I  gave her strength, and look what she did with it.”

I want to thank Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton (the girls from Vaginal Fantasy) for opening my mind to wonderful books I would have missed out on like this one. I’ll write a review for the second book in the series, Day of Blood & Starlight next week. Maybe this will help me make some bookshelf decisions by then. 

Covers
All Three Books In The Series (Love Cover Art)