Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Quitting!

What bookish things do you want to quit? The people over at The Broke and the Bookish want to know!

There really are no series I want to abandon, or no tropes I'm sick of, or no authors I've bagged, so I had to come up with some other random things!

Bookish Things I want to Quit
  1. I want to quit feeling guilty if I don't like a book and decide to abandon it right from the get go.
  2. I want to quit worrying about what I can't read and just enjoy what I can.
  3. I want to quit feeling weird if I love too many books and have the desire to give them all five stars!
  4. I want to quit worrying that YA has taken over my classics reading.
  5. I want to quit waiting to the end of the day to fit in reading time.
  6. I want to quit buying ebooks and then never reading them!
  7. I want to quit accepting book review requests, but I just, I just...
  8. I want to quit wondering what happened to Markus Zusak's latest writing endeavor and just have an MZ book to read already!
  9. I want to quit revising my MS and finally get it sent out to some beta readers.
  10. I want to quit making this list because I can't think of anything else I want to quit!
Ha! That was the pretty much the silliest list I've ever written. How did your list turn out? I'll be by to see! I hope.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Review Discussion: The Martian by Andy Weir

Book: The Martian by Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun
From: Bought at BYU Bookstore a few months ago

Short Synopsis: It's the third manned mission to Mars. On the 6th day there, a dust storm threatens to destroy the ship that will take them home. So they decide to abort their mission and escape. But an accident occurs and one of the crew gets hurt. The rest of the crew try to find him the storm, but they can't. It appears he's dead, so they continue on and leave. A bit later, this abandoned crew member wakes up and finds out he's alone on Mars. With his smarts and his sense of humor, he manages to figure out how to survive until someone, he hopes, can rescue him.

My Response: I've been seeing readers rave about this one for a long time now it seems. I've avoided it because of reports that it was so science-y. I figured I'd find that boring. Well, it WAS science-y and I didn't understand much of those parts and I admit to skimming a paragraph or two here and there, but, BUT, the story and the humor and the fun and the intensity was amazing and all deserve the praise. I found the writing to be interesting in the sense that the author didn't worry much about all the billions of things we learn at writing classes and conferences and etc. He didn't worry about word choice, or changing tense, or flipping in and out of different POVs . He just wrote the dang story and had the most awesome fun voice ever. And it worked. I loved it. I especially loved learning that he shared this story on his website for free and his readers begged him to put it in Kindle format so they could have and savor it and read it over and over again. So he did, picking the cheapest way possible (99 cents) to distribute it. And then it flew to the top of the Kindle best selling list until he had people begging to publish it traditionally and to turn it into a movie.

I can't even imagine. What a crazy thing that must have been!

And now the movie. I haven't seen it yet. Hoping to fit that in this week. But from what I've been hearing, the movie also lives up to the hype and Matt Damon kills it. Can't wait.

Bottom Line: Loved it, despite the heavy science talk. The voice and style made this story and all the science talk, while interesting, doesn't distract from the story itself.

Let's Talk About: I hear that NASA "approved" this book. I don't even know what that means! I've never heard of such a thing. But I guess it has something to do with the fact that all the science checks out. That this REALLY could have happened, given the possibility that we ever get a man to Mars. I find this all fascinating. What do you think? What are your feelings on heavy science in your stories? How do you feel about space and traveling to other planets?

Other Reviews:

Personally, I couldn’t get enough of his gallows humor, his smarts, his snark, and his impatient streak. From The Little Red Reviewer

The book touched all kinds of buttons in my geeky heart; space travel, real science that not once relies on some made up magical science to save the day, funny, suspenseful, surprising and unabashedly entertaining. From So Many Books

All that said, The Martian is an entertaining and enlightening story about the hazards of interplanetary exploration, a cautionary tale of sorts, but one that celebrates the problem solving expertise of those in charge of the program. From Book Chase

The Martian is an intelligent and witty science-based story that reminds its audience of human abilities and perseverance. From That's What She Read

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Heroes Reborn: Season One Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Back in the day I did the weekly recap thing of Heroes. One of my first blogging memories! And I loved it. I recreated that when I did the same thing last season of The Walking Dead. Which I plan on doing again this season. But in the meantime, I thought I'd have fun with Heroes Reborn, and come full circle with the whole blogging Heroes thing.

And I'm already behind! Last week the show opened by doing two episodes in a row. Here's what happened and what I thought. (Beware spoilers!)

We learn quite quickly that there was a huge disaster a year before the story opens again. It happened right in the middle of a gathering of evolved humans... Evos. Noah Bennet was there, and he somehow survives. But he thinks Claire was there too, and that she did not survive. (Which doesn't make sense given her power, yes?) We come to learn later that his memory has been wiped and that he doesn't really remember what happened, which is not good at all.

There's a couple who was also there, and their son was killed. They are out for revenge. They want to hunt down and kill all the Evos.  They are ruthless. Zachary Levi is one of these bad guys. He's scary! He tries to kill a teenager Evo, but some unknown someone saves this boys life. (This kid is played by the boy who played Peter Pan in OUAT.) We follow his story and learn he can make things disappear. He learns that they go wherever he's thinking about at the moment. He's got a nice girl on his side... and her boyfriend who thinks he made his terrible step dad disappear, but he really didn't. There's some guy following him and we have no idea what he's all about, but he seems to be helping at the moment. He can make people do whatever he wants. So he's obviously an Evo too.

Meanwhile, in Japan, there's a boy who is a video game nerd and in the course of winning a game called Ever- something, he gets a clue that leads him to a girl who happens to be the star of that game. That's right, she can turn into a the video game. She's on a quest to save her kidnapped father.  They join forces. She fights both in the game and in the real world. We have no idea what this all has to do with the other Evos, or how it will tie in yet.

Noah goes back to the paper company to track down Molly who can find any Evo. There's this nerdy comic relief guy who is sort of helping Noah in this quest. They almost get shot down by the bad couple, but they escape.

Meanwhile, in a Mexican neighborhood of East LA there's a guy with powers who is being a sort of Daredevil type vigilante. He gets killed and his brother is going to take over. They are also an underground railroad for helping Evos, Because oh, I forgot to say that the world blames the big disaster on the Evos and all of them are in major hiding.

At the end, we find out that Molly has been found by another bunch of bad people who we don't really know that they want yet.

And that's the first couple of episodes!

Joanne,  the wife half of the couple who wants to go kill all the Evos
Malina: Who we really haven't meet yet!
Luke, the husband half of the couple who wants to kill all the Evos
Noah Bennett, who all know and love
Carlos, the guy who is going to take over the vigilante/underground railroad job
Miko, the girl who can jump in and out of her dad's video game
Tommy, the kid who can make people disappear

I found it to be engaging and fairly intense, just like the Heroes of old. Noah so far is the only original cast member that we've seen, though I know they've teased others. I'm quite taken with the kid that can make things disappear.

Episode three finds our new vigilante trying to figure out his place. In the meantime he gets the crap beat out of him because he messes with people who have powers and he has none. And our ruthless couple trying to figure out if they still want to go around killing people. And something is happening to Luke, the Zachary Levi guy. Noah is trying to remember what happened during the past year that he can't remember. He needs Molly to help him, but she is now in the hands of other bad guys who want to harness her power in order to track down all the Evos. We learn that something strange happened in the hospital on the day of the disaster. And Tommy is just trying to be normal, but his mom has another panic attack and the episode ends with them in a car crash.


So much happening, which is the awesome thing about this show!

Anyway, I think I'm sufficiently hooked. How about you? Have you given it a try? Were you an original Heroes fan? What do you think of this one so far?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Banter Topic Two: John Green

Once upon a time I discovered John Green. And I loved him from that very first video I watched. It just went on from there. When I learned that Jenny didn't so much love him, I was like... wait, what? How can you NOT? 

And thus, another Book Banter was born!

Jenny Says:

This one is tricky because I don't hate John, he just annoys me.  

Reason 1: His You Tube Video Blog

To be honest I haven't watched too many of these but while everyone else is heehawing at him, I just sit there looking confused. Some  of the things he says are mildly funny, I guess, but talking really fast and clever editing videos doesn't make you a comedian. I guess his brand of funny isn't mine because I just don't get it. 

Suey Says:

When we discovered his videos, we binged watched, one after the other after the other and never got sick of them. I'm not at all bothered by the fast talking, I love it. And the editing, of course that doesn't make a person a comedian, it just makes him a fabulous YouTuber. Something that because of him, tons of other people are doing and becoming. It's a whole new thing and he started it. That's cool. And I look back and think, now why didn't I think of the? I could have used YouTube to talk to my sisters and we could have become famous and had a gazillion people copy us and then start a conference about it and... and... and... 

Here's a recent video just in case you haven't ever watched him and want to know what we are talking about here:

Jenny Says:

Reason Two:  His Books

Oh, John. Please, in the name of all that is holy, stop writing books about yourself! Everyone of his main characters, if you pay attention, is totally him! Slightly nerdy, lanky, a wallflower, not one of the "in crowd". I could go on and on but you just have to read the books and pay attention and you'll see what I'm saying. Why does he do this? Is it because he's so small minded he can't reach outside himself and create a character that's different from him? Or is he actually in therapy for his chronic fast talking and the therapist has assigned him to write stories about himself to help discover his inner self? Who knows, but for some reason he just can't seem to stop writing about himself. Even The Fault in our Stars is about him...as a girl! Sigh! 

Suey Says:

So  I get that his books may seem like he's just writing about his own life things, but all authors do that! ALL! Why pick on John? And I maintain that the reason his books are so popular is because everyone can see themselves in his characters!  Here's what I said to Jenny as one of my reasons I love John Green. I will copy and paste:

I love that he’s relatable. He’s normal. He’s gets people. He’s geeky like we all are. He owns up to it. He embraces it. He makes other geeky nerdy kids feel proud of that. He makes people feel like they can do anything. Because if he, a nerdy guy, can do it, we can all do it.

Also, along these same line I had this to say:

I love that he’s smart and funny and witty. I love that he says things that make me think. I love that he says things that make me feel.  I love the way he says things  and the words he uses. I think he’s a great writer full of real emotion.  

Jenny Says:

Reason 3 :The Women

I could just say that all the women in his books are type cast characters that are all exactly the same. Sexy but they don't know or believe it, angsty, gritty cursers. See where I'm going with this? What bothers me isn't exactly that they are all the same but it's the type of same that they are. I think John ,bless his diseased mind, is trying to send the message that women are beautiful no matter their issues or beliefs but that's not what I'm getting. I believe John just has a type and in some twisted way is writing about himself getting this type. 

Suey Says:

Alaska and Margo have similar characteristics, but I don't see the same type cast in An Abundance of Katherines or The Fault in Our Stars. Yeah. I just don't see it. Once again, I think people fall in love with these characters for a reason... we see ourselves in them. 

And one final point that I want to make as a reason to love John:

He uses his fame to teach and inspire other people. I mean, he’s probably pretty busy, and yet, he makes videos about history and literature and gets people excited about them. (His brother Hank does the science-y videos.) I love that he has so many projects all for bettering others. He has inspired so many people to go out and do their own projects and start their own things and be their own kind of creative. It’s just cool. And I love it.

Here's an example of one you should all love:

Bottom Line: I find John Green to be funny and inspiring. And he writes books that people can relate to.

And don't forget, be sure to go see Jenny's take on the subject!

So my readers... what do you think? Are you a John Green fan or does he annoy you?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Reading Recap September 2015

Favorite Picture this month:
Stormy clouds

Here are the books I read this month:

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: A strange girl and a strange boy get together to solve a mystery of missing friend. 

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead: Some friends deal with issues of growing up. 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: A girl on a train sees something weird out the window and gets herself involved in a murder mystery.

Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard: What if the boy you love dumps you, hits his head and forgets that he dumped you?

Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage: A girl and a boy follow clues left by the girl's father and discover the mystery of their underground village.

Favorites of the month: Bone Gap and Goodbye Stranger. 

Plans for October:

  • read (re-read) Dracula for book club
  • finish The Martian
  • read The Canterville Ghost for the newly formed family book club
  • read Stitching Snow and The Tightrope Walkers for the Beehive Award long list
  • continue working on Year of Origin for critique group
  • read Saints and Boxers during readathon
  • I can't remember what else!

How did your month go? What plans do you have for October?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#SLCC15: My Comic Con Experience

I know you could all probably care less (or is it couldn't care less, I can never get that right!) about who I saw and what I did during Comic Con, but I still have to record it for posterity, you know? Or at least for me to read over next year, and maybe the year after that just to remember. :)

Day One: Thursday

Right of the bat, we had some issues parking. . . our normal spot was full! But we finally figured that out and arrived around 3:15 pm on Thursday. So the first Q and A panel we ended up in was Scott Wilson, aka. Hershel from The Walking Dead. He was very low key. Interesting, yes. But not too exciting. They doubled the room that we normally hang out in (usually there are two rooms but they combined them into one huge one that seats 4500 people!)  and we were toward the back for that first panel, so when it ended, up to the front we ran! Part of the craziness of comic con is fighting for seats. There's such a strategy involved. And what fun is going if you only see them on the jumbo-tron and not their real live faces, right?

Anyway, we got closer for the next one which was Chekov from the original Star Trek. He was a spry little old man! And cute! He wore a baseball cap that put his whole face in shadow which made me crazy and the moderator kept trying to tip it back. Finally he (Walter Koenig) just took it off. It was pretty funny. He had some great Star Trek stories.

After the cap came off!

After that was Studio C which is a local group with funny shows on YouTube. I've never watched them, but I hear they are... funny. We stayed put to keep our seats for the next panel which was,

The Weasley Twins! They were awesome! But guys, they don't have red hair. Gasp. I know. But they had beautiful brown hair and were so cute. The moderator asked them rapid fire favorite questions and they answered as one, with the same answers in the exact same tone. It was awesome. Someone asked them which one of them was the good twin and which one the bad. We all determined that Oliver is the bad and James is the good. They seemed to agree. I have to admit, I was drawn to James just a touch. (He's the one that played Fred in the movie.) I don't know why, he just exuded that cute shy boy charm.

Oliver (aka George) on the left, James (aka Fred) on the right.

After that we actually left the ballroom and the Q and A's to wander around. We took a few pictures, observed the cool costumes and strolled past Celebrity Row to see who was "out."

Then we got in line for the class we wanted to go to at 8:00 about ghost hunting. That guy has some interesting stories indeed! I tend to believe him, but I know many would just roll their eyes and find him completely full of it.

We lasted the whole day! After that it was over! And we went home to sleep.

Day Two: Friday

We got up and picked up Kami and her brother on our way to the convention. We arrived about an hour early and Toto and I went straight to the line for Jenna Coleman, aka Clara, the current companion in Dr. Who. We waited in line for awhile, but they let us in pretty quickly and we got fairly good seats in the front section. We waited for probably 40 or so minutes inside and then finally, our marathon day of Q and A panels in the huge ballroom began!

Jenna Coleman was cute and fun. We learned that this current season of Dr. Who, the one that just started, is her last season and in fact she has already shot her final Dr. Who scene. So that's sad. And now I wonder who the next companion will be!

Waiting in line.

After her it was supposed to Rory, also from Dr. Who, but he had to cancel at the last minute. Sad!! So, there was an hour of no one! Did we leave our seats? NO! We moved closer and were actually on the seventh row now, and just to the left of center. On an aisle too! Perfect! We were not leaving. So we sat and read and had a little nap and ate our snacks.

Reading and waiting.

The crowd behind me.

Then it was 1:00 p.m.  Time for the Sean Astin panel! Oh my word that entire 4500 seat place filled completely up and no wonder. He was awesome! He came out riding on the top of the golf cart (they use those to get the celebrities around from spot to spot) down an aisle. The crowd went wild. And then he ran from side to side of the stage until we were crazy from screaming. He was great and told the awesome story about filming that final scene, carrying Frodo on his back, and the monologue he had. He said he wanted to do it over and over and over again so they let him until it was dark. And they were all (director included) weeping by the time it was all over. He is amazing.  (Full panel video right here! You can really get a feel for all the screaming we do at these things.) Anyway, I could have had that one go on for an hour or two longer, but nope. There was more to come!

Up next was Sebastian Stan who stars in Captain America. He's the friend, Bucky and in Winter Soldier he's (SPOILER) the Winter Soldier! And he is really quite beautiful with the most amazing smile. He was raised in Romania and spoke some Romanian for us, which was cool. I need to watch this Winter Soldier movie again that's for sure. :) (Full panel right here if you want to watch!)

I tried to get the smile.
The smile!

Did we leave yet? We did not! I wanted to go see Dean O'Gorman so so bad, but he was in a different room, But I did not want to leave our seats! So we stayed and saw Felicia Day.... again... like we did last year. She is funny and cute and a blast to listen to, but I haven't seen her in one dang thing! And Dean was Fili in The Hobbit and I'm sure I would have loved him, but.... I stayed in the ballroom.

Here's what I gave up in order to keep my seats! Gah! I'm crazy!

After Felicia was Anthony Daniels aka. C3PO and the highlight of the whole comic con for us. He was a riot! He didn't do a Q and A but instead pretty much did a stand comedy routine which included lots of Star Wars stories. I loved it! I was riveted! He made us bow down to him like the Ewoks did in Return of the Jedi and we thought we'd die laughing. He was great! (I cant find a full panel video of him yet, but when I do it will go here!)

The day was not over yet! Up next was Christopher Gorham. I'm not very familiar with him except for the movie The Other Side of Heaven. Most people know him from Covert Affairs. But I guess he's been in a gazillion things. I need to look some of them up and watch. He's way cute!

Our naked eye view. :)
What he looks like in case you didn't know.

Now it's 6:00 p.m. and we still didn't leave our seats! Because next on the line up was Manu Bennett and I love him! We saw him last year and I was hooked. So we stayed again and he is just so sweet and nice and genuine and perfect. He plays such bad guys (Azog, Slade Wilson and Crixus) but he's such a nice guy in real life.

Whew. And then.. and then... we left the ballroom! We'd arrived there about 10 am and now it was 7 pm. NINE hours sitting there watching one celebrity after another and I LOVED it! The day goes by so so fast and it's so much fun! (P.S. No, we didn't leave to go to the bathroom or to eat. I brought snacks and we were too excited to worry about the bathroom!)

We went to one more class, a small panel, about psychology and fandom. I hoped they'd explore the idea that being a fan of anything is a positive thing for your mental health. They touched on that, but mostly they talked about how people identify with the mental health issues that various superheros suffer and how it helps them get through it. At any rate, it was interesting.

We were tired after that and left, with Kami and her brother, and got food at Village Inn.

And now, I must explain a thing. So the big headlining name of the con, Chris Evans, was to be doing his Q and A panel in the ballroom the next morning, Saturday at 10:00 am. They decided that instead of having people camping out to get a spot in line to guarantee they get in the room, they'd do a lottery and award 4500 people of the 120,000 that attended, a spot in the room. They said if you won, you'd get an email on Friday. I checked my email all day long and nothing. Oh, well. I'm not that into Chris Evans, but I truly did want to be "in the room" so I could have a good spot for Ian Somerhalder who was right after Chris!

During that last class at 7:00 p.m. the email popped up saying I was a winner! WOOT! My time to show up the next morning was 8:20 am! Wow! (Keep in mind it's a 45 min drive from my house to the convention.) But I was excited! Yay! Good thing Toto had to do a violin thing on Saturday morning, because I only won ONE seat!

Day Three: Saturday

So I got up at 6:30 am. Left my house at 7:00 a.m. Arrived in the parking lot at 7:45 am. Found my line at 8:00 am and was ushered into the building about 8:10 am. I was one of the first groups in, so had pretty decent seats. We squished altogether, all strangers, yet friends. And I did make friends with the two people seating next to me because we had TWO hours to kill! The panel didn't start until 10:00 am (as mentioned above!) So that was fun.

Well, the time arrived and no Chris. 10: 15 and no Chris. 10:30 and no Chris. We started getting pretty restless. Man, they were stalling and it made me crazy. I wish they could just come out there and tell us how it is and what's going on. But they don't. They make it seem like ANY SECOND NOW we are going to start!

Well, finally at 10:40 Chris came out. SCREAMING! And he was awesome. And he answered a question .And then out popped Anthony Mackie, the other star of Captain America. SCREAMING! And then Chris answered another question. Then out popped some girl who I don't know at all... Hayley someone who plays Agent Carter, also in Captain America? I think? Anyway.. SCREAMING! (Video of all this right here.) And then Chris sort of answered another question. And now it's 11:00 am and they told him he had to go. He was on stage for TWENTY minutes! So we won the lottery, got up at the crack of dawn, and sat waiting for him for 2 1/2 hours for TWENTY minutes! I was bummed. The rest of the time was Anthony Mackie doing Q and A like a normal panel and he was great and funny and it was awesome. So. It was fun. But still. (Full panel of ALL this excitement to be found here! Including the push up challenge. And you don't even need to win a lottery!)

Love this shot.

And three of them. 

Once that was over at about 11:45 I scooted over to get more center (I didn't manage to get closer) for Ian. I was so excited! His Q and A panel started at noon. It came. It went. No Ian. 12: 15 no Ian. Again with the stalling, again with the "just a few more minutes!" thing. Just tell us people. HE"S NOT HERE YET! Or whatever. Anyway. Finally at 12:30 he came out and SCREAMING! He was as cute as expected. He was got on his environment soap box, as expected. He was just pretty much what I expected. All 20 minutes we got of him before he had to go. Sigh. (Here's the naked Damon story someone caught on video in case you're interested.)

I took a lot of crappy pictures. Here's a few of them!

My family showed up by that time so I saved seats and they joined me. Then next panel was going to be a promo and sneak peek at Con Man, a video series coming up. I had no idea what it was but Alan Tudyk was supposed to be skyping in and Sean Astin was also involved, so I decided to stay put, again, instead of leaving to go to a local author panel. And it was good that I did because guess who was actually there and NOT on skype after all! Alan Tudyk! He walked in on the stage IN THE FLESH! Much much SCREAMING! (Here's the full panel including the surprise appearance of Alan.) I was so excited. I tired to get into his panel last year and didn't make. So, I got to see him this year! He was funny. And they web series looks like these guys making fun of fans and conventions, so it looks like a riot.  I may even have to watch it! Here's a trailer in case you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about:

Con Man - Preview from Con Man Web Series on Vimeo.

Then we stayed again for the voice actor panel. These guys are amazing with their voices and they read the Harry Potter script in silly funny cartoon voices. But I know none of them! So, it's funny but sort of not funny too. For me. The room was filled with 4500 people who laughed and laughed and laughed. The panel went for two hours, but we left (YES WE LEFT!) after one hour. It was 3:00 pm I'd been in there for seven hours.

We all split up (Toto was actually with her friends that day and they did some fun stuff, including shaking Anthony Daniels hand!) and I found myself at the Neon Trees panel. They sang to us at the end.

Then I stayed there (this was int the smaller big room) for Urban Fantasy so I could at least say I saw Terry Brooks and Jim Butcher. They were cool, but the subject ended up being kinda boring. Gasp. I know. Maybe I was just tired. Then I was going to leave, but suddenly all the family showed up to see Stars of YouTube! So I stayed. Three hours in that room! But it was fun and low key.

Then we left to ran BACK to the ballroom to see John Barrowman. We sat in the back for him (see what happens if you leave that room? You sit in the BACK!!) and enjoyed his stand up comedy act. He's funny, but he does tend to cross a line for me now and then from funny to crass. Oh, well. He sang and I could listen to him sing forever. See what I mean:

I was pretty tired after that, but went to one more panel about UFO's and crop circles. LOL! When that was over, Toto was done with her friends we left and went home, but not before we got dinner at Five Guys.

Whew! And that was our experience! I loved it! So much fun. I decided that the thing I truly love about this event is the energy. I thrive on that energy. It is tangible. And it's amazing. I love screaming for stars. I love seeing what they are like when they aren't acting. (OK, Some of them were acting even then, but still.) And I just think it's a blast.

I was sad to not see Dean O'Gorman and I missed Robbie Amell when I decided to stay to the voice actor thing. And I was sad that Rory from Dr. Who wasn't there. And I felt gypped about the whole Chris Evans thing even though I won the lottery. And I feel bad that I didn't support the local author stuff. But those were the only sad bits. The rest was awesome.

As you can see, I have a different strategy and am happy to stay in that big room and just see person after person come across the stage. Wandering "the floor" as they call it is fun, but that tends to stress me out. And I'm not interested in buying stuff and I'm too shy to talk to the stars, and can't justify paying for pictures, so I find the fun in just seeing them do the Q and A's.

Six months and we'll do it all again!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage

Book: Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage
Genre: MG steampunk dsytopian
Rating★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
 For: Review and supporting local authors
From: Received for free from Netgalley. All opinions are my own. Released September 29, 2015.

Short Synopsis: Trenton lives in a society that's hidden themselves from the world by creating an underground city. They fear creativity and invention. They blame all the bad stuff that's happened to them on progress and forward thinking. This makes life for Trenton especially hard since he is a thinker and a creator. And he keeps getting in trouble for it. As the book opens, he is assigned to work on the farms instead of the machines, and he's so unhappy. But he's pretty distracted as he deals with this because he meets a girl who just happens to be the daughter of the most notorious inventor of the city. And when he (Trenton) finds an interesting gadget, this girl, Kallista, thinks it's been left by her father (who is no longer with them). This leads the two of them on a sort of crazy treasure hunt with a prize at the end they did not at all expect.

My Response: This is one of those stories that has lots of fun and games such as building stuff, puzzles, riddles, mystery and adventure, mixed with some pretty thought provoking ideas like is creativity good or bad, do you trust history, should you blindly follow... just to name a few. I was surprised at some of the deep issues this society and these kids are dealing with. The ending was awesome and had me glued. The twist was great and quite unexpected and I am totally left wondering what happens next.

Bottom Line: The writing was fun, the characters were fun, the story was fun! It was all fun!! Fun, but mixed with lots to think about and lots of awesome stuff smart kids will eat up.

Let's Talk About: So, what do you think about creativity? Good or bad? LOL! JK!! You know, I am so into creativity that it felt almost sacrilegious for the people in this story to suggest otherwise. It makes you want to stand up and say... WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?? Which, I suppose, is the whole point and the hope that kids reading it will feel the same way. Don't you think? Are you a champion for creativity?

Other Reviews:

What I myself liked best about the book is that it celebrates creativity and the questioning of received wisdom, without being didactic about it. From Charlotte's Library

It’s an ideal middle grade read that should appeal to a wide range of readers, and likely introduce them to some genre concepts they haven’t encountered before. From Views from the Tesseract

There is just so much to love in Fires of Invention, with its blend of science, nature, physics, a mechanical dragon and a story that was both interesting and fun for me and my kiddo to read. From Log Cabin Library

The adventure is fast paced and you will be visualizing this new society as the levels inside the mountain come alive. From Always in the Middle

Also, here's the trailer which I saw played several times on the huge Jumbo-tron at Comic Con this past weekend in front of thousands of people. Great marketing!


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