Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Week in Books and Media

Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1)Feed by Mira Grant  (Horror)  - I wrote a lovely long review of this book because I was so pleased with it and then promptly forgot to save it.  Sigh...

Anyway, the world has changed with the advent of the zombie uprising. While traditional news reporters were still debating whether or not zombies existed the bloggers were out reporting on how to save oneself and destroy the zombies.  Now bloggers are at the cutting edge of news reporting and Georgia and Shaun Mason are leading the pack (and the ratings). After being selected to become the official bloggers reporting on presidential candidate Peter Ryman, Georgia starts to notice that an unusual number of his supporters have been infected and have turned into zombies. As she investigates, she and her brother find that it is a conspiracy on a national scale. Now they just have to report on it before they also become the undead. Highly recommended and I can't wait for book two in the series.

DwellerDweller by Jeff Strand (Horror) - When Toby was eight years old he found a monster in the woods. Instead of eating him, the monster seemed to want to be friends. Bullied in school and with no other friends to turn to, Toby befriends the monster. Unfortunately when Toby is in high school, their friendship starts to take a dark and disturbing turn.  This was an intriguing horror novel that followed the friendship between a monster and a boy. 

Watermark: A Novel of the Middle AgesWatermark by Vanitha Sankaran (Historical) - Auda, daughter of a paper maker, mute and an albino, is caught up in the terror of the Inquisition when her actions lead the head inquisitor to decide her father is consorting with unbelievers. Although the plot is a bit unbelievable at times, this is a fantastic novel about a strong woman choosing her own path against overwhelming odds.

Except the QueenExcept the Queen by Jane Yolen, Midori Snyder (Fantasy) - When fairy siblings, Serena and Meteora are banished from the fairy kingdom they must learn to navigate New York City as humans (with a few special powers). They make friends, master strange new technologies and eventually even make friends. When forces conspiring to bring down the fairy queen discover their presence, the lives of their friends are threatened. Jane Yolen really can't be beat when it comes to traditional fantasy. This is a beautifully written novel.

Sparrow RockSparrow Rock by Nate Kenyon (Horror) -  My question when reading post-apocalyptic novels is why the only survivors seem to be under the age of 25?  Granted, I have taken quizzes that suggest I have the survival skills of a kumquat but really, is it so much to ask that I survive the apocalypse so that I can then be eaten by horrific, genetically engineered bugs?

Pete and a group of his high school friends visit a friend's grandfather's bomb shelter to enjoy some illegal substances. When they open the hatch, they find that a series of nuclear bombs have detonated destroying the world as they know it. They promptly retreat to the bomb shelter to wait it out. Unfortunately nuclear fallout is not all they have to fear....

Galileo's DreamGalileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (Science Fiction)  - This is one of the powerhouse authors in the Science Fiction world today and his complex novel follows the life of Galileo...and Galileo's mysterious trips to Europa, the second moon of Jupiter. Every time he visits this other future world, his own reality shifts and bends.  I did feel like this was a bit of an homage to Galileo rather than Science Fiction novel but there is no questioning the skill this author brings to this work.

The Sorcerer's HouseSorcerer's House by Gene Wolfe (Fantasy) - Ex-Con, Baxter Dunn, wanders into Medicine Man and promptly inherits a mysterious house. He encounters terrifying murders, mysterious women, fey creatures and a house that is always changing and never the same. I am still trying to decide what I think of this one.


The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Two-Disc Special Edition)New Moon - Drama, drama, drama. Edward the vampire is several hundred years old (I think) and yet, he says things like "I don't want to exist in a world without you in it." Suck it up, vampire boy and deal with it. I really don't remember High School being this dramatic but then again, I wasn't in love with the undead.

And yes, the movie was still kind of entertaining.

Leap YearLeap Year - A friend and I have a standing date to get together once a month. Sometimes we have movie night; sometimes we go out to dinner. We also have a track record for watching the worst movies EVER.  This movie night kept our streak going nicely.  Leap Year was very, very slow. The two main characters had very little chemistry, the pacing was slow and it just didn't satisfy.

Whip It - Yes, I watched this last week but during this month's Drinking Book Club we watched it again. I have to say, watching it with a group made it much more fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Week!

So much fun in my life these days that I don't know how to catch you all up, but luckily my bloggy friends have taken care of that for me.  See here and here.

I have also been in a reading frenzy lately.  Five books last Saturday for a new personal best!  Here is a quick and dirty rundown.

I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver)I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells - John Wayne Cleaver is certain he is destined to become a serial killer. After all, how else do you explain his name? Or the fact that he doesn't understand empathy and thinks about killing, a lot?  Still, he doesn't particularly want to become a killer so he develops rules for himself. For example, when he finds himself stalking someone, he has to ignore them for a whole week.  When someone makes him angry, he compliments them.  These tricks seem to be working until a series of gruesome murders suggest he is not alone and John decides to let his own monster come out to play. Supernatural elements and unexpected plot twists keep you enthralled throughout this clever novel.  This has a Dexter feel when reading it but the supernatural elements make this very different book.

WWW: WatchWWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer - When Caitlin Decter was fifteen years old she underwent an experimental treatment enabling her to see the world for the first time. With vision also comes an uncanny ability to also see World Wide Web space and something new and extraordinary, a new sentient entity Caitlin decides to call Webmind.  As Webmind grows and develops, Caitlin enlists the help of her parents and doctor to help it learn about ethics and empathy. But a government group called WATCH has also discovered Webmind and now it is up to Caitlin to help Webmind save himself from destruction. This was a thought provoking look at the origin of consciousness.  Plus, anyone who quotes Verner Vinge is tops in my book. I did not read the first in the series since I am focusing on books published this year and it all made sense to me but other reviewers recommend reading them in order.  WWW: Wake is book number one in the trilogy.

The Parisian Prodigal: A Fools' Guild Mystery (Fools' Guild Mysteries)Parisian Prodigal by Alan Gordon - Set in 1205, this was a very witty, historical novel.  Theophilos the fool and his lovely wife investigate the murder of a prostitute by the long lost brother of the Count.  I loved the historical detail in this mystery novel and the Fool's Guild was particularly fascinating.  This is part of a series but I thought it could stand alone easily.

The Tale of Halcyon Crane: A NovelThe Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb - A Gothic romance that was interesting but I would have liked to feel a bit more dread when reading it. It just wasn't quite "spooky" enough.

The Resurectionist by Wrath James White - There was lots and lots of gore in this one which is a plus for the Horror genre but it just wasn't very well written.

Darkness on the Edge of TownDarkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene - I like apocalyptic type books so I actually liked this one quite a bit but there just wasn't enough terror to make it truly horrifying.

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells - I usually like urban fantasy but could not get past the repeated references to killing magical beings with "the forbidden fruit". (apple wood, apple juice, etc...) Am I the only one that finds this giggle worthy?

Gardens of the SunGardens of the Sun by Paul McAuley - This one was pretty good with genetic engineering, space travel, murders, war, in short, everything a good SF novel needs but it just lacked that something special that keeps me up reading until 2 am.

Return of the Crimson Guard by Ian C Esslemont - Definitely not a stand alone.  I read about 100 pages and still didn't know what was going on.  It gets glowing reviews though so I am going to have to go back and read the first one when my committee is over.

Whip ItWhip It - I can't say I loved this movie and would watch it over and over again but I was entertained by it. Instead of the beauty pageant route, the main character longs to be in the Roller Derby. Lying about her age she joins and finds she has an aptitude for it. It is a girl following her dream story with the requisite best friend conflict and love interest with issues.