Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rarity from the Hollow | Robert Eggleton

*This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

This book is told mainly from the perspective of Lacey Dawn, an 11-year-old girl who lives in The Hollow, a hamlet hit hard, economically and socially, by the closing of the coal mine. Physical abuse is the norm in just about every household. Fortunately for Lacey Dawn, she has a friend, DotCom who tells her that she is destined to save the universe and he has been helping her become intelligent enough to help her family and do the job she's been born to do. 

Review:

I have to admit, the first few chapters of this book were tough to read. Eggleton served as a Child Advocate for many years so he knows, almost too well, the realities of domestic abuse. If you can make it past those chapters, however, the rest of the story is an interesting adventure where the adults are childish and the child has to be the responsible one. 

Naturally, a book like this isn't for everyone. There's a lot of inappropriate humor, but it really works for this book. No other type of humor could come from this situation. I found it interesting that the humor even spread to some of the alien races encountered. I also appreciated how easily humans from a poor town were able to negotiate the best in the universe using techniques unknown to advanced alien races. 

So, while I wouldn't normally read this kind of book, I do appreciate Eggleton's style and how organically the story moves along. Again, yes, a lot of the humor is sex based, but it works for the characters involved. If you can get through the first few chapters, you'll likely enjoy this book. Also, all author proceeds are donated to child abuse prevention. 4 hoots!

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag



I subscribe to a few booktubers and, every now and then, they do a Book Tag video. They have been tagged, or are starting a tag, with a theme. Aria Mia Loberti did a video on the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag and it sounded like fun. Not to mention, she and I have similar dislikes and I want to assure her she's not getting only hate from people who watch her video.


1) A popular book or series that you just don't like.

I can honestly say that I've never understood the appeal of Twilight. The first book was loaned to me by a friend in grad school who was certain that I would love it and want to immediately read the next book. After I read the first one I gave it back to her and said "no thanks" to the rest of the series. I seriously do not get why people like it.

2) A book/series that you love that others seem to hate.

This one is going to require a bit of a cheat because I've never really read anything that people really hated. I'm going to go with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter because I feel the movie generated a lot of negativity towards the story itself and it is a little embarrassing to say "I really liked Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!"

3) A love triangle where the person didn't end up with who you wanted.

Again, I'm gonna cheat a little. I really did not care for Faramir and Eowyn. I didn't necessarily want her to be with Aragorn, but I still feel that Faramir deserved better than to be someone's second choice. I get that they were happy together and all that, but the way I read Eowyn's realization that Faramir was a better fit, made it really seem like Faramir was her "silver medal" and Faramir is too good of a character to be treated like that.

4) A popular genre that you never reach for.

Romance. If you know me, you know I like my love stories to be secondary or tertiary to other aspects of the story. I also don't generally read Historical Fiction, but I don't know how popular a genre that is.

5) A popular/beloved character that you just don't like.

Mare Barrow from Red Queen. This is another series that I just didn't care enough about to read past the first book and Mare was a big reason for it. I have never before felt so strongly the need to smack some common sense into a character. I consistently felt like she was overconfident in her plan and her overconfidence was definitely her undoing.

6) A popular author you just can't get into.

In line with the previous tag, I have to say, Victoria Aveyard. I really don't understand the draw to her series, but I also don't understand the draw to Twilight. To me it was impossible to become emotionally invested in her characters. I really didn't get a good picture of the world she was creating (apparently she was going for a bit of an Ancient Rome theme). If you enjoy her writing, continue reading, but I will not pick up any of her books. I just can't.

7) A trope that you are tired of reading about.

I'll admit, I'm a bit burnt out on dystopian future settings. It seems like so many books are based on a relatively near future where things have clearly gone wrong or are about to go very wrong. It's getting old and is making me look at every book and think "how is this going to all go wrong?"

8) A series you have no interest in ever picking up.

Game of Thrones. I know, I love the fantasy genre. I love adventure. But I'm not at all interested in the Game of Thrones series. I think it's because the entire thing feels more like a soap opera than a fantasy story and I have no interest in that much drama.

9) A movie or TV show you enjoyed better than the book.

There's gonna be a lot of hate from this one, but The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have often admitted that The Silmarillion is the only Middle Earth book that I didn't have to force myself to read. The trilogy just goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and it killed my reading speed. Now that I think about it, maybe that's also why I have no interest in Game of Thrones, I have trouble with 500-600 page books, regardless of topic.


So, how many of these do you agree or disagree with? How much hate have I generated with this post? Please feel free to leave comments. I will make sure I respond to all of them.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ex-Isle | Peter Clines


Summary:

In the fifth book of the Ex-Heroes series, a couple of stories are happening at the same time. Barry (Zzzap), St. George and Madelyn (Corpse Girl) go on a goodwill mission to a man-made island Barry found on his trip back from around the world. At the same time, one of the main food supplies for The Mount has burned up in a Los Angeles wildfire, so Danielle (Cerberus), Cesar (The Driver), Gibbs and the Supersoldiers are all sent to Project Eden to jump-start things and bring in more food. Naturally, things go wrong in both stories.

Review:

I read this book in two days. For two days, I had no interest in any other hobby or book. I was tempted to call in sick so I could just read. That's how good this book is!

I've never hidden the fact that Clines' writing style always gets me feeling amped up. He is incredibly talented at combining action and gore with hope and geeky humor. He writes amazing build-up and battles. The best part is, he is also able to surprise me, all while giving me all the clues that I've needed to figure out what the surprise is going to be. Everything in this book that happens, you COULD see coming, if you pay attention to all of the clues, but even when I think I'm paying attention, all the clues lead me to a different conclusion than is written. 

The dialogue, as always, is amazing. I cannot praise these well-rounded, fully developed characters enough. If you're at all interested in superheroes acting human, you will enjoy this entire series and seeing these characters evolve. 

Really I only have one complaint about this book, which I can't talk about at all because of spoilers. But I cannot fault Clines. Yes, it involves my absolute favorite character, possibly my favorite superhero ever, but it's story essential and I was warned in the early parts of the book. Still doesn't make me happy about it.

I have to say, this is a wonderful continuation of the Ex-Heroes series that lived up to all my demanding expectations. 5 Hoots!

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mars One: Humanity's Next Great Adventure | Norbert Kraft, MD

*Image and ebook provided by NetGalley

Summary:

A collection of essays answering vital questions about the Mars One project. Namely how the chosen astronauts will survive, physically and mentally. What kinds of technology we still need to develop. Where the funding for the project will come from. It also includes a short story about an average day of the first four colonists.

Review:

Like many people, I am skeptical about a one-way trip to Mars However, I would be very happy to have my skepticism be proven wrong. The world needs something to look forward to, something for all of us to be proud of and be a unifying thing. If this works out, the colonization of Mars could have one of the strongest impacts on our world. 

My favorite thing about this book is that it shows that this venture was not taken up lightly. Research has been done and is still being done, to make sure that everyone who goes to Mars survives it. There has also been considerable work in weeding out personalities that just wouldn't make it or would be difficult for a team to work/live with. 

As far as readability, there were a couple of things here and there that were of less interest to me (one essay specifically addresses legal issues). But if you have any interest in space travel, technology, survival, or even psychology, you will find this book interesting. At the very least, I learned that, while I'd love to support this project, I am not candidate material. I think I'm okay with that.

For a non-fiction book, I found it to be a pretty easy read and one that I'd like to see revised as the project moves forward and more understanding of practicalities develops and new technologies become publicly available. Who knows how much of the content of these essays will need to be updated in the next 10 years? I happily give Mars One 4 hoots and would love to read any and all revised editions.

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