Jan 11, 2018

Book review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysics for People in a HurryAstrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Exactly as described

The title tells you everything you need to know about this book and it was perfect for someone like me who spends their work commute reading.

It was a super quick read and just a beginner level of astrophysics. So if you haven't read any topics on the subject, it's a great place to start.

But there are no deep answers in this book, and there shouldn't be. There is still so much about the universe that we do not know or understand yet. It will make you feel important and insignificant at the same time.

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Jan 8, 2018

Book review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga #2)Now I Rise by Kiersten White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lada is brutal, cruel, destructive and I adore her. The retelling of Vlad the Impaler as a woman is fascinating. Lada has had to literally cut her own way into the world when no one would take her seriously as the Prince of Wallachia. But she inspires and makes people listen even if she doesn't have a gentle touch.

Her brother Radu has his own mission as he acts as a double agent in Constantinople. His inner turmoil is very well done as he contends with his love for another man, which is not at all accepted during that time period.

While Radu and Lada spent the book apart, the two often thought of the other and tried to consider what their sibling would do. one has grace and cunning while the other has brutality and perserverance. They perfectly complement each other.

Great book. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series.

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Jan 6, 2018

Book review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)The Falconer by Elizabeth May
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve read a lot of books lately that have included fae: Throne of Glass sequel, Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices series) and now The Falconer.

The Falconer was the worst of the bunch. I didn’t dislike it, but I certainly didn’t love it.

Unfortunately, when I put the book down, I felt annoyed. Even though I know it’s a trilogy, I expected there to be some kind of resolution in part of the story line before I would have to move on to the next book – much like the Throne of Glass series.

That’s not the case and The Falconer ends with a cliffhanger that seems to stop right in the middle of an important scene.

I was excited when I first started the book. There were some good elemnents. I noticed the steampunk themes and hoped there would be a bit more exploration into that, but instead there were just a few mentions of some devices used in the world. And Aileana is supposed to be an inventor, but the tools aren’t on display very often.

The writing was good, and I did enjoy how May put the story together. But it’s not a good thing when you put down a book and say out loud, “Well, that was annoying.” That was me.

Not sure I will continue with the series. I’ll put the rest of it in a ‘maybe’ pile.

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Jan 3, 2018

Book review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I actually wound up liking this better than the first book in the series. Finally, I got to see Celeana, the assassin, which is what she has been billed as. The first book didn't really show much of that. But the character had great growth in the second book. I also loved the banter between Celeana and Chaol.

While I didn't agree with every choice made in the book, it wasn't my book to write. At least, Maas made the moments meaningful, and didn't waste people for the sake of having them in a book.

My only complaint was that A LOT happening without really happening. I felt the book could have been a bit shorter. Overall, though, I loved it.

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Jan 1, 2018

Book review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear MartinDear Martin by Nic Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's a fascinating read especially with the way we are so aware of what is happening around the country with police brutality toward African-Americans. Reading 'The Hate U Give' was difficult because of the tough nature of the story. 'Dear Martin' is no different.

In this case, Justyce, an African-American teen is the center of the story. He gets put in cuffs by a police officer even though he wasn't doing anything wrong. He deals with the conflicting sides of growing up in the hood and going to prep school, where he doesn't feel like he fits in either place. He also has to have "the talk" about being black in America - it's not just about what to do when getting pulled over by cops, but also conducting yourself in every day life.

I'm thankful that Nic Stone wrote this book, but also sad that it's the type of book that needs to be written. While fiction, it certainly feels like something that could happen in any community, which makes it heartbreaking.

This is another important read. Because even though Justyce has to go through unbelievable heartache and inner turmoil, there is still hope. That's an important notion to hold on to for everyone.

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Oct 19, 2016

RECAP: Supernatural Season 12, Episode 1

It’s alright Cass, computers scare us too.

When Supernatural’s first episode aired in 2014, the goal was to get through one season. Then it was three and finally five seasons, where Eric Kripke’s vision for the brother’s story was realized.

So when the show aired its 12th season premiere last Thursday, it needed a way to keep it fresh.

Supernatural delivered by bringing back a long dead character – Mom.

We knew Mary would be back because of the devious cliffhanger from last season, but three months might not have prepared us for all the emotions when Dean and Mary were finally reunited, even if she did knock him to the ground first. No one messes with Mama Winchester.

Mary and Dean’s scenes were some of the most poignant and humorous of the episode. Dean recapped her life with John to prove who he was. Mary was saddened when she learned her sons were both hunters – the one thing she didn’t want for her children. I could have watched an entire episode of Dean and Mary talking while sitting on a park bench because we got to see what Dean always wanted. Remember, all the way back in Season 2 in “What Is and What Should Never Be” when the djinn granted Dean his greatest wish it was that his mother was still alive.

But we couldn’t just sit on the bench all day because Sam is out there and has no idea that Dean and his mother are both alive. The two make it back to the bunker and find Sam’s blood. Sam has been shot at the end of last season, but luckily it hit him in the leg and doesn’t seem to too disastrous. Castiel shows up after being banished and now they are on the hunt to find Sam, but not before taking a trip down memory lane.

Mary sees ‘Baby,’ the 1967 Chevy Impala that Dean inherited from his father, and gets all happy as she stares at the back seat. Dean smiles back and nods his head before realizing this is not the memory he wants burned into his brain. He was probably conceived in the back of that vehicle – and kids everywhere were grossed out for Dean.  

As Mary tries to grasp this new world filled with smartphones and angels, she should provide some interesting moments in future episodes. Although the same may not be said for the British division of the Men of Letters storyline. Sam had been shot in the leg, cleaned up by a veterinarian, and tortured for information. But seeing as how Sam has been tortured by Lucifer himself, there wasn’t anything that Lady Toni could do that would break him.

In fact, he nearly escapes, but the episode ends with Sam still stuck in the basement of an old house with Lady Toni looking as though she has no idea what she got herself into. It’s been reported that the Men of Letters will be enemies and allies throughout the season, but so far the storyline dragged as the intent of the Men of Letters isn’t clear just yet.

We know they are smart. They are bad asses. They also have really cool toys. But they also weren’t interested in helping before. So why now?

It would have made more sense to reach out much sooner and give assistance to Dean and Sam to make America as demon-safe of England. Since the last demon-related death occurred in 1965, it would have been nice to offer some help. Ah, but then we wouldn’t have a season 12.

The tough part for Sam is he thinks Dean is still dead and doesn’t know someone is out there looking for him. And we will be a gooey mess when Dean and Sam are reunited again.

Those weren’t the only storylines in the season premiere. Lucifer is still free and leaving a slew of bodies in his wake as he searches for a vessel. Crowley is on the case looking for the Big Bad Man.

Quote of the episode:
Mary: “Is that a computer?”
Castiel: “Yes. I don’t trust them.”

Oct 4, 2016

Book review: Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1)Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker was my first Brandon Sanderson book. The NY Times bestseller author’s books hadn’t come through my to-read list before, but I picked up this book based on a review I read online.

It probably wasn’t the best Sanderson book to start with – but it wasn’t a bad book by any means.

What I liked:
- The world Sanderson created is unique and fascinating. The way colors and Breath control the wealth of a person has created a dynamic world with an interesting caste system.
- The characters were likable. There were a number of people that Sanderson introduced in Warbreaker, including princesses, gods and regular folk.

What I didn’t like
- The end of book felt rushed. The entire book felt as though it was building up to this flashpoint, and while it got there, the payout didn’t feel as great as the lead up.
- Some of the middle parts of the book dragged a bit as the different parties were setting up their plots.

The story was compelling and the world unique. It certainly made me want to check out another one of Sanderson’s books. I hear there are books even better than this one. Warbreaker did provide a couple of twists, which I appreciated and enjoyed.

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Jun 8, 2014

What I wrote about this week

I recently attended BookExpo America, and I am still sorting through all the notes for articles I plan to write. There should be at least four or five more articles in the works from BEA.

This is the second year in a row I attended the event. The first year, I was completely unprepared for it while I brought a little bag and carried too many books. I was smarter this time around by limiting the books I picked up and bringing a much bigger bag.

Here are the posts from Teleread on my trip to BEA so far:

Publishing houses -- at least Simon & Schuster -- not avoiding fan fiction

Novelry looks to be the online bookstore when it comes to discoverability

Over at Books and Pals, where I get a chance to read indie books, two of my reviews were posted. One was on a fictional baseball book and the other took place in a dystopian future.

Hang a Crooked Number

Far Out

May 17, 2014

The Dresden Files on sale today from Amazon

There are a number fans of The Dresden Files, and Amazon is offering a nice deal for them today.

The e-books from The Dresden Files are just $1.99 each today. The Dresden Files are a series of mysteries with the main character being Harry Dresden, who is a private investigator and a wizard.

If you always wanted to pick these books up, now today (Saturday) would be a good time.

May 12, 2014

Book accessories for under $5

Everywhere I look, I see owls.

I think owls have replaced mustaches as the next trendy thing. My nieces have owl everything I noticed. They made a mother’s day card for grandma, it was decorated with owls.

So here’s a cute gift for someone who likes owls, and likes to read. These i-clips owl magnets page markers are only $3.55.

As a bonus for anyone who likes to read in the dark or in poor lighting, here is a portable, foldable LED reading light . You can clip it to a book, or likely on the edge of on e-reader. I used to have something similar for my Nook, but I certainly didn’t pay $1.54 for it, which is the price right now on Amazon.

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, check out these Tiffany paper bookmarks , which are $1.50 for 12.