Saturday, November 26, 2016

Monstress | Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda


This book is truly an exemplification of the term "hauntingly beautiful". Liu's storytelling and Takeda's art style combine to create a world that looks so beautiful, but harbors many dark secrets. And considering the dark things that are open knowledge, that's saying something. I had some trouble at first because I don't like kids getting hurt, even kids that aren't human, but the payoff of continuing was worth it. 

There are a lot of things going on in this book. Many smaller stories entwined in the larger one. Fortunately it's easy to keep track without stumbling over plot holes. If anything, finding out how these stories are linked actually adds to the intrigue. 

This volume is a great start to, what I hope will be, a long series. I want to know more. Plus, I only threatened to not read the second volume if anything happened to my favorite character. You'll know who she is. She's the adorable one. 4 hoots!


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Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Last Sacrifice | James A. Moore

*Image and book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.


In the world of the Five Kingdoms, it is common knowledge that the Grakhul will come at any time and take people to be sacrificed to the gods, leaving behind heavy, ornate coins in place of the people. Always four of them. Brogdan McTyre was on his way home from his mercenary work when he was told that all four of his family, (wife, son and twin daughters) were taken. Mad with grief he gathers a small army and disrupts the sacrifice. The gods are not happy.


This was a very good read. During the first few chapters I was worried it was going to be considerably bloodier than I like, and there is plenty of blood throughout, but after a while it took a back seat to the story and characters. Moore does a wonderful job of world building and establishing characters. Just about every chapter had a section dedicated to one character or another's perspective, but not in a confusing way. I was never unsure of who I was reading about. 

The Last Sacrifice has a steady pace and has an excellent exposition to action ratio. I was never bored while reading this and I never felt like I was missing out on something. There are a lot of individual stories mixed up in the overarching story line so the fact that I didn't get them confused is evidence of Moore's skills.

Probably my favorite part of this book is how Moore ended it. I've gotten tired of authors trying to get me to read the next book by ending the first one with a cliffhanger. Moore does an excellent "here's where things stand" chapter and trusts that the bigger story is interesting enough to get you to want to read the next one. He is correct, for me anyways. I am quite interested in finding out how Brogan is supposed to kill the gods before they destroy the world. 

This book is not for everyone. It's more of a book for people interested in fantasy, with a tolerance for bloody fight scenes. Four hoots!


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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sci-Fi Movie Book Tag | #RRSciFiMonth

Hi everyone! It's that time of year again, Sci-Fi Month!!!!!!! Science fiction is my favorite genre (tied with fantasy, I'll admit) so I'm always happy to participate in #RRSciFiMonth. If you want more details,  click the picture above for a link to the main page.

In honor of Sci Fi Month, I'm going to do a Sci-Fi Movie Book Tag. I'm sure there are other versions of this tag, and I'm not actually tagging anyone (though if you want to use this tag, go for it!) It's the first tag that I've created so I'm kinda nervous about how it'll go. Anyways, here's what I've got for the Sci-Fi Movie Book Tag!

1) Alien - A book series that should've ended long before it did.

For this one, I'm going to have to go with either the Xanth series or the Dragonriders of Pern series. Yes, these are two of my favorite series of all time, but I stopped reading them after a while because I kinda got bored with them. It was sad to see them go and I know I would have been sad had the series stopped, but I think that'd be better than getting bored with them.

2) Tremors - A scary book that also made you laugh.

I gotta give this one to Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. Not only did it make every subsequent trip to Ikea slightly unnerving, but it legitimately terrified me. There were several moments, though mostly in the beginning, that also made me laugh so I gotta give this one to Hendrix.

3) Ghost Busters - Your favorite classic.

This may be my childhood speaking, but my favorite classic book is, hands down, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It was a tradition for my great-grandfather to read the story to his kids and the family has continued loving that story. And not just at Christmas, either.

4) Evolution - A book you love that no one else seems to like.

Don't get me wrong, there are so many books and so many preferences that I don't mind being the "only one" to like a book. I get it, there are just too many out there to be informed of all of them. That being said, I do wish I had other people to talk about all the Hellboy novelizations out there. I have so many Hellboy books that aren't the graphic novels and yet, I don't really know anyone else who's read them. They're always so good. The writers really get Hellboy and his associates and I'm always on the lookout for new ones.

5) The Thing - A book where the bad guy wasn't who you thought.

It ain't often that a book can legitimately surprise me. I've stopped reading thrillers and mystery novels because of this. So when the bad guy from 14 by Peter Clines was revealed I almost yelled out loud at myself "how did I not see that coming?!" I was legitimately kicking myself because, in retrospect, it was so obvious! Yet, while reading, I thought nothing of the signs and warnings. I was so happy to be surprised.

6) Star Trek - Your favorite retelling of a classic story.

I'll admit, this is kind of a tough decision so I'm going to name both contenders for favorite: Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Pride, Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. Both of these books were based on classics that I either didn't like or only cared for a little. I read them because of all the hype around one and for the fun of the latter. I was not disappointed. PPZ is one of the few books I've re-read in recent years, not just because the movie was released. 

7) Wall-E - A character so adorable you couldn't put the book down.

I'll admit, this one is a more recent read, but Ella Patel, main character in Rise of Io is exactly the kind of lovable troublemaker that I find adorable and love to read about. She practically made the book for me and was consistently making me laugh. I couldn't put down the book because I wanted to know what she was going to do next, pranks or otherwise. 

8) Doom - A book that didn't translate well to other mediums.

Hands down, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde as a video game. If you don't know, the 1988 NES game of the same title is one of the worst video games of all time. This is more the fault of the developers than the book because the player is never told anything about how to play it. As a result, random people and things hurt them and your character dies before any real progress can be made. 

*Personal Note: I'd love to see a Pride, Prejudice & Zombies video game with mostly female PCs and you have to find the right balance between civility points and fighting points so that you can progress in society and continue being able to kill zombies. 

9) Transformers - A favorite book or series, if only because of the nostalgia factor.

On my bookshelves, I have a copy of The Grasshopper Trap by Patrick F. McManus. I've had it for years but have only read it, maybe, once or twice. The reason I have it? It's a family favorite on my Dad's side of the family. These stories were so well read in the family that, every time we got together, everyone would get the joke when the stories were referenced. I'll admit, I still think on the stories often, but I just don't have as much interest in reading them as I used to. But I'll always cherish them.

10) Star Wars - A book or series that blurs the line between sci-fi and fantasy.

I'm going to give this one to The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The first book was a brilliant blend of science and fantasy with doctors treating the vampirism as a disease. Don't get me wrong, by the third book in the series it was strictly fantasy, but that first book had so much science. It was such an intriguing attempt at applying science to the fantastical/supernatural. 

So, that's my first ever original book tag. What'd you think? What books/characters would you pick for these? Please feel free to leave comments or links to your own version of the tag. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe | Charles Yu


Charles Yu is a time-machine repair man who spends most of his time in a pocket universe with just his computer, TAMMY (who's avatar looks like a sexy librarian) and Ed, a dog that exists, yet doesn't. Mentally he's been in a kind of stasis since his father disappeared in time. He rarely visits his mother whose retirement plan is reliving the same hour every hour for the rest of her life. Everything gets thrown off, however, when he sees his future self walking towards him.


I was introduced to Charles Yu via an anthology (Press Start to Play). After reading the entire book, his short story was the one that stuck with me the most, so I knew I had to pick up something else, anything else, that he'd written. When I was at the bookstore, I found this one and bought it. At the checkout, the woman behind the counter even told me "That's a really good book!" So, going in, the standards for this book were set quite high. Yu delivered and then some.

This book is so very different in all the right ways. The combination of scientific, linguistic and narrative terminology to explain time travel was humorous and sensible at the same time. The observations and experiences are poignant and resonated with me long after I finished the book. Though I've never experienced many of the things the main character does, I still felt him to be incredibly relatable. I felt his pain, his dad's pain and his mom's pain. For a book about science fictional universes, this book feels very well steeped in reality. This book made me laugh and almost made me cry. 

I really want to talk about plot points, even jokes, but I'm so afraid of giving spoilers. This entire book is an experience and I don't want to ruin that experience for anyone who may read it. I cannot emphasize enough how beautiful this book is to me. The entire experience of perception versus reality, free will versus fate, I immediately wanted to read it all over again.

When I finished reading, I experienced a kind of high that I don't get from a lot of books. The kind where I didn't want to pick up any other books for hours because I was in such a good mood over how beautiful this book is. I smiled for the rest of the night. I'm recommending it to people with even a slight interest in science fiction. 5 Hoots!


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Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety | American Association of Patriots

*Book received from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.


This compilation of pamphlets from The American Association of Patriots is an enjoyable combination of satire and cat puns. I swear, each section must have been written by someone who challenged themselves to add as many cat puns as possible. I'll admit, I love puns, but even I was kinda getting tired of how many instances of "Expurrrrrt" and "Pawsitively" there were. Still, there is some legitimately good information in here, just replace "cat" with "kid". The importance of talking to your kids about gun safety, about online safety, and other things are legitimate concerns. Still, if you don't want to take this thing seriously, you don't have to. Just sit back and enjoy the puns and cat pictures. ^_^


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