31 August 2013

August Movies!

The Wolverine: got suckered into buying expensive tickets. Apparently, Regal spiffed up one of their theaters, put in better seats and funky blue lights, and decided to charge a few extra dollars for it.  considering we had two different armrests fall apart at the regular theater when we saw Pacific Rim, I think the money would have been better spent amongst all the theaters.  When we picked the time and paid for tix it seemed off but I just went with it but when I realized the difference I was a little ticked.  Anyway, the movie.  Wolvie is a favorite of mine and and I have a bit of a crush on Hugh Jackman (though now i can reverse it and say it is because he looks a bit like my husband) and I was pleased with the movie.  a couple bits were a little weird (his relationship with the heiress) but overall I enjoyed it.  a 6.

Robot and Frank: a bittersweet movie that was both more and less sad than I thought it would be.  Frank is an older man who seems to be in his 70's.  His kids are worried about his failing memory and get him a helper robot who cooks, cleans and talks to Frank.  Frank used to be a jewel thief and begins to teach the robot his skills, which actually improves his mental state.  Then the two start planning a real job.  It was funny and a really gentle movie.  I quite liked it.  A 6.

The Darkest Hour: ugh.  a 3-D movie B got from McKay's.  it was less than awesome.  pretty cliched, unsure why the aliens seem to be actively killing people as they are close to invulnerable to standard weapons and powerful enough to get the resources they want easily.  a 3.   

The World's End: AWESOME SAUCE! Terribly good.  Funny as hell and the more i read about the little touches they did in making the movie (like the names of the bars all mean something and reference what happens in them) the more i want to see it again!  a 7. 

30 August 2013

I so love this challenge!

This challenge, hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, is always so much fun, even when, like last year, I don't succeed.  Reading others' blogs and reviews for this challenge is almost as good as reading the books themselves!  This was also the very first challenge I joined waaaay back in 2007 when I started book blogging.  

As I am taking 3(!) classes this fall, I am going to play it safe and just commit to Peril the Second, reading 2 books.  I am sure I'll watch a few movies and accomplish The Peril on the Screen too!  

The Estella Society is hosting a group read of The Historian.  I actually started that one a few years ago and never finished, so perhaps I will join in on that read.  Here are a few options I have for another book:
  • Seven for a Secret by Lindsay Faye (a mystery and an ERC from Librarything.  I'm reading the first in the series right now but it doesn't count for RIP as I've been working on it a couple weeks)
  • Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist (zombies)
  • Grave Goods by Arianna Franklin (mystery) 
  • Feed by Mira Grant (more zombies)
  • The Shadow in the North by Phillip Pullman (YA mystery)
Surely I can get a couple read by October 31st? wish me luck!


26 August 2013

Bloody Jack

A YA AudiobookBloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer is the story of a young orphan girl who dresses as a boy and gets taken on as a ship's boy by the HMS Dolphin just prior to the Napoleonic Wars.  This works fine as long as she's a starving 12 year old but as she gets properly fed and grows a little the deception becomes more difficult for her to continue.  When she starts to have feelings for 

Parts were hilarious (Jacky sneaks off to a whorehouse while on shore leave to get the facts of life explained to her) and parts felt very familiar as I so enjoyed the Aubrey/Maturin series.  The whole thing is in first person though and at times I got really annoyed with Jacky's style of speech.  Bits drifted over into stream-of-consciousness freak-outs occasionally and were hard to listen to.  Imagine listening to the thoughts of someone having a panic attack.  That's the writer, not the reader, though but it would have been easier to read (aka skim) in print.  So, while i may continue the series at some point, I think I will read it rather than listen.  a 5. 

24 August 2013


I finally finished Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.  It's long but I enjoyed it.  It is about....a lot of things.  Cryptography and internet privacy/security, WW2, family, friendship, life and death, that sort of thing.  It was originally published in 1999 and parts feel very much from that time; the state of the art internet tech of the book is found on the cheapest smartphone today.  However, a LOT was incredibly current like the discussions about privacy, online currency, and preventing genocides.  It was action packed but the action was spaced between long sections of really intelligent people doing interesting things.  I wonder how many boxes of Cap'n Crunch this book is responsible for selling (at least one i can confirm) and how many people use Randy's classifications for people of men/dwarves/elves/wizards (i've adopted it)?  I can't say it is my favorite of his but worth the 45(!) hours i spent listening to it. It is not where I would recommend starting but I think if you've read Snow Crash or Reamde and liked it, you'll like this one.  a 6. 

18 August 2013

Hawkeye: Little Hits

I read the second collection of the new Hawkeye comics!  Volume 2: Little Hits expands on the storylines started in the first collection, introduces some new characters and brings back some previous ones.  We get a few glimpses of the Avengers but mostly more of Hawkeye's life away from them.  I think the best issues in this book were the Hurricane Sandy one as well as Pizza Dog, a comic from the perspective of Clint's dog.  The art and colors are just gorgeous too.  I'm a Hawkeye fan!  a 6!

16 August 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling

I admit, I picked this one up because I knew who the author was.  The Cuckoo's Calling is noirish mystery, which is definitely something I enjoy reading, but I don't think it would have popped up on my reading radar if Rowling hadn't been outed.  It makes total sense to me that she would write a mystery.  What is the Harry Potter series but one big mystery story, punctuated by various other mysteries spanning one or more books.  This book is a modern mystery with the private eye on the verge of bankruptcy, the investigation no one thinks he should take, the twist and turns.  I really liked this one, much much more than The Casual Vacancy, which I never finished.  I liked the detective, Cormoran Strike, and i really liked Robin, his temp secretary that stays with him through the book.  She's smart and competent and caring and just so good to read about, as opposed to the fast talking moll who has a crush on her boss.  The mystery is good, if not incredibly new, and the book is a little long.  The characters completely make up for any problems though.  I can definitely recommend this one and if she writes more I will read them!  a 6.   

09 August 2013

Verily, A New Hope

I consider myself an inhabitant of many different nerddoms.  While I don't quite reach "lunatic" level in any of them, I enjoy lots of things.  Star Wars is one, Shakespeare's plays are another.  When I read that someone had written Star Wars as a Shakespeare play, I knew one book I was definitely reading this summer!  I even got it pretty quickly from the library.

I liked it a lot.  There was a Chorus, which isn't usually a favorite of mine, but for this story there is just too much that needs explanation or narration.  The structure really works as a play and the author does a great job of translating the dialogue and action into iambic pentameter. 

Here's the bit where Vader and Obi-Wan meet in the Death Star:

Vader:       For certain, I have waited, Obi-Wan,
                 And now at last we meet together here:
                 Our destinies once and for all fulfill'd,
                 The circle of our lives is now complete--
                 A student was I when I left thee last,
                 But now I am the Master over thee.
Obi-Wan:   Thou art a Master, Darth, I know 'tis true,
                 But only evil hast though Master'd yet.

There are also a ton of lines that are almost lifted from Shakespeare such as Luke saying "Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears".  I definitely had some giggles recognizing the lines.  If you enjoy Shakespeare then give this one a shot.  it's a 6 from me!

01 August 2013

The LAST Batch of Required YA reading!

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill: a verse novel about the girls who accused the villagers in Salem of being witches.  Verse novels are weird!  They're made up of individual poems, from half a page to 3 pages long.  The poems together tell a story.  In the case of this book the poems are in the voices of three different girls.  For me, I liked it but it wasn't the type of thing you can just read a few pages of then put down, like you might with regular poetry.  I started it 3-4 times that way and had to keep going back and rereading it.  I finally read a big chunk and realized that was how to do it.  Reading large sections made following the action much easier.  I think I liked it but i probably need to read a few more. a 5. 

We also had to write a paper defending a challenged book.  I read The Chocolate War first and ended up writing my paper about it but I also read two others for some different options.  

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier: a classic of YA lit that i never read in school.  Boy at a Catholic school refuses to participate in the school's chocolate sale.  Pretty amazing book to be published in the 1970's, very "fight the man" even when "the man" is your peers.  great meditation on bullying and peer pressure.  a 6.  FYI, the cover on Amazon is lame.   

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden: really sweet, non-graphic "young girls fall in love with each other" novel. I was super surprised this was published in 1982; it really feels very modern.  about the only things missing are cell phones!  I liked this one a lot.  a 7.

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause:  want a quickie "vampire falls in love with a human girl" that was actually well-written 15 years prior to Twilight?  try this one.  Klause should so sue Stephanie Meyers....a 5.