lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Mom didn't think this movie qualifies as a musical.  Me, I say the way every sequence, big or small, is perfectly choreagraphed to the soundtrack makes it a musical.  And that soundtrack is pretty amazing.

Also its a really good crime (reluctant crook subgenre) movie.  The love interest could maybe have used a little more depth but Lily James is still pretty good with what she has to work with.  Ansel Elgort is a delight.  And the high-end talent make for a great supporting cast of quirky crooks.
lurkerwithout: (television)
Breaking Bad s.5:  There was a bit of a slog early on, basically when Walt's ego and pettiness get too irritating.  But man, those last four episodes.  Brutal.
Catastrophe s.3:  I'd planned on stretching this out for the whole weekend, but then I just couldn't wait to see where things were going to go.  Rob and Sharon are such broken, wonderful, vulgar, hilarious characters.  Plus Carrie Fisher returning as Rob's mom in the last episode.

lurkerwithout: (television)
Dramaworld: Cute show about a fan of Korean romance dramas who is drawn into their world. Stars the daughter from Santa Clarita Diet. Short episodes as well.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Netflix series. NPH makes for an absurd and buffonish villain with flashes of cruelty. Patrick Wharburton is excellent as Snicket and the older kids do well showing a combination of weary perseverance, hope, dashed hope and familial support.

Breaking Bad: Season 4: I'd watched the first third of this a few months back but needed a break from Walt's hubris and ego. Also Hank really grew on me as he investigated the hell out of Fring's organization.

3 Movies

Aug. 11th, 2015 08:40 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Trouble Man: So you've got Mr. T who is hired by to find out who's knocking over floating craps games and keep a gang war from breaking out.  And then that leads to some murders in a pool hall and a frame-up by crooked cops.  And it all ends in a big shoot-out in the rented out top floors of a luxury hotel which are all offices and a swanky apartment.  Anyway Robert Hooks' Mr. T is one chill cat...

Catch Me If You Can:  That was a lot of federal resources dedicated to catching one non-violent check fraud person.

Adaptation:  That, that was not where I was expecting things to go.  Also, always odd to get reminded that Nicholas Cage CAN be a good actor.  And not just a sometimes fun, hammy actor...

3 Movies

Jan. 13th, 2015 09:25 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Snowpiercer:  In the future the remnants of humanity will survive frozen Earth aboard a train.  Onboard the train, rigid-caste system dystopia.  Outside hellish icy deathscape.  Clever bit of scifi that makes good use of its unusual set-up...

The Wolf of Wall Street:  Three freakin' hours of Leonardo DiCaprio as Wall Street scumbag.  That DiCaprio can make his character somehow sort of likeable despite his scumminess saves what would otherwise be a taxing slog of greed, tits and coke...

Let the Bullets Fly:  Chinese bandit masquerades as a town's newly appointed mayor and then gets in a three-way conflict with the local gangster/nobles.  Where Chow Yun Fat's bandit chief/mayor are two of the conflicts' sides...

3Movies

Feb. 3rd, 2014 07:31 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
The Cat Returns:  Its that same old story told so often.  Girl rescues cat from traffic.  Kingdom of Cats declares themselves in her debt and mess with her life.  Girl goes for help from magical cat that used to be a statue.  Girl is kidnapped into the Kingdom of Cats.  You've probably seen it a million times...

Pain & Gain: Michael Bay should concentrate on making movies about stupid real life criminals instead of shaky cam giant robots and alien ninja turtles.  'Cause this was pretty darn entertaining...

Despicable Me 2:  Cute love story and Gru the Dad bits are great.  But there really isn't an antagonistic spark with the villain of the film like there was in the first one...
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Bradley Cooper's FBI agent busts con artist couple Christian Bale and Amy Adams and makes them work to bust other con artists.  Which leads to a sting on the mayor of Camden, NJ.  And then members of Congress and the Mafia.  All three leads are more than great, but Jennifer Lawrence's supporting part as Bale's manic/depressive wife is a scene stealer.  I was also impressed by Louis C.K. as Cooper's often overwhelmed suprevisor...

3 Movies

Nov. 5th, 2013 09:17 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Rare Exports:  Child of Finnish reindeer herders must rally his family and neighbors against a recently unearthed evil.  All while trying to stay off the Naughty List...

Killer Joe:  Small time crook hires crooked cop to kill his mother for the insurance using his sister as collateral.  Things go downhill from there...

Warrior:  Two estranged brothers both end up in a World Championship cage fighter tournament.  One is a war hero AND deserter.  The other is a former cage fighter turned school teacher...

3 Movies x2

Aug. 9th, 2013 06:31 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
The Campaign: Beyond Will Ferrel punching a baby I wasn't expecting to find this funny. But it was and touching at times. I was honestly pleasantly surprised by this. Plus Will Ferrel does punch a baby. Also a puppy...

The Long Good Friday: Bob Hoskins is a London crime boss having a weekend party to convince some American investors to help him with his big, legitimate real estate project. And then someone starts killing his people and blowing up his stuff...

Salmon Fishing in Yemen: The title kind of sums it up. Yemen royal wants to build up a river and then stock it with salmon. Quietly funny with lots of great acting work...

Frankenweenie: Boy loves dog. Boy loses dog. Boy plays God in violation of all natural law and gets back dog. Later more dead pet related mayhem...

The Bourne Legacy: Doesn't really bring anything new, but I like seeing Renner as an action super-spy. Makes me think a Hawkeye movie is possible. And remembering Renner from the Unusuals makes me think a Fraction version Hawkeye movie is possible...

The Devil's Double: Based on the true story of Uday Hussein's body double. Reminded me a lot of the Last King of Scotland, as again you've got a basically decent person who gets shackled into the life of sociopathic monster...

3 Movies

Feb. 9th, 2013 06:38 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Kill the Irishman: Ray Stephenson as Danny Greene an Irish mobster in 70s Cleveland. Plus Vinnie Jones, Val Kilmer, Cristopher Walken and Vincent D'Onfrio...

We Bought a Zoo: This movie is exactly as cute and fluffy as you'd think...

Gunless: Paul Gross is an American gunslinger hiding out in Canada. At one point he gets his dreamy self beat up by overzealous Mounties. Who he asks mid-beating what happened to Canadians being polite?
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
October is somewhat unusual in that I don't see a single reread on the relatively short list. Even Harry Harrison's The Works of Harry Harrison didn't include anything I'd already read. Not even the Stainless Steel Rat story which serves to introduce Jim deGriz' nemesis and future wife. Of the remainder, really only "Deathworld" truly stands out for me still...

Four new supers stories for October. Though Marion G. Harmon's Bite Me: Big Easy Nights is more an urban fantasy about a vampire character who previously appeared in a regular supers setting. Though I think any supers New Orleans ends up being the urban fantasy corner of that world. Also I'm not sure which I have more of, vampire-themed fiction titled "Bite Me" or "Life Sucks"...

Of the other three, Adam Christopher's 7 Wonders was a bit a dissapointing mess, though I did like some of the background character concepts that show up late in the book. Blake M. Petit's Other People's Heroes has the whole hero vs. villain thing having evolved into something faker than pro-wrestling, but it still manages to build a big heroic climax. And Mathew Hughes' the Damned Busters is worth a read if only for the lead. Who seems to be autisic, though somewhere on the high-function end. And it seems to help in his using an "accidental" demonic summoning to become a super-hero...

Two new "Honor-verse" books from Weber in October. First Shadow of Freedom was an eArc and part of the Talbott Cluster side-series. Enjoyable, but it feels like it cuts off nearer the middle of the story then the climax. Second, is the next YA "Stephanie Harrington" prequel Fire Season, co-written with Jane Lindskold. Manages to create a sense of danger using secondary characters, since fans of the setting already know its too soon for the leads to be under a real threat of dying...

With Downpour, I'm almost caught up with Kat Richardson's "Greywalker" series. I was happy that this one stepped away from the vampire related stuff to concentrate back on a more ghost/spirit-centric story...

Got to the newest of Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" books, the Woman Who Died a Lot. Very little BookWorld this go, with the story being centered around Thursday getting a new job, the consequences of time travel no longer being possible, an escaped memory-altering psycopath, illegal cloning and plotting by the Goliath Corp. Oh and the threat of God smiting the entire town...

I'd picked up the 2nd and 3rd "Nikki Heat" books, Naked Heat and Heat Rising on the cheap for my Kindle and finally got around to them. And then went and grabbed Frozen Heat. Enjoyable, if light-weight, mystery/police procedural stories. Much like the tv series they're sort of inspired by. I do still wonder who they tapped to ghost them...

Patrick Weekes' the Palace Job is a wonderfully fun "Ocean's 11" style caper story. With sword fighting and martial art masters and ancient artifacts and virgin-obsessed unicorns and more. All part of an attempt to break into an unbreakable vault on a floating island city...

I'm not even sure how I even found Rebecca Gable's Settlers of Catan novelization. But curiousty over the concept led to me getting a pretty darn good historical fiction story with a large group of Viking's working to colonize an out of the way and mostly undiscovered island...

And finished out October with a pair of David Drake's "Lt. Leary" books, Some Golden Harbor and When the Tide Rises. The first has newly made Commander Leary and Warrant Officer Adele Mundy tasked with stopping a planetary invasion with only the most limited of resources. The second has Leary, Mundy and their shipmates sent stiffen a rebellion of a group of worlds against their Alliance enemies. But the rebel leaders seem to be even more half-hearted in their drive to secede then was initially believed...

Total books: 16

3 Movies

Nov. 4th, 2012 06:21 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Chico & Rita: Animated movie about a pair of pre-Castro Cuban jazz musicians who fall in love and screw it up because of stupid and the fickleness of fame. Lots of great music of course...

The Raid: Redemption: Malaysian action movie where a SWAT team goes after a drug dealer in his fortified apartment building. And then things get all FUBAR. And then ass kickings and shootings and lots of violence happens...

A Cat in Paris: Animated movie about a cat who lives with a police detective's daughter during the day and goes out at night with a burglar. And then some gangsters get involved and so the little girl has to be saved by the burglar. And lots of running around the roofs of Paris...
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Lets squeeze the August list in just under the wire. Again. Starting with Ben Aaronovitch's newest "Rivers of London" book Whispers Underground. I do so enjoy this sereies with its mix of humour, police procedural and urban fantasy. This time around the copper/wizards are investigating the murder of a U.S. Senator's son in the London Underground...

The second scifi book by Michael McCloskey, Trilisk AI, is still pretty good. Though not without some annoying flaws. He uses the "characters training for a mission in VR" a bit too much. And what should be a major part of the end climax happens basically off-screen...

Three Jim Hines books in August. First a collection of his short stories, Kitemaster & Other Stories. The titular story, with pseudo-Chinese air elemental wizards with kite familiars was especially good. Then one of his earliest books, Goldfish Dreams which draws from Hines work with teens, is a non-fantasy story about a college freshman dealing with the sexual abuse she suffered from her older brother as a child. Along with the regular life-changes of living away from home for the first time. And finally Libriomancer, Hines' new urban fantasy about wizards who withdraw pretty much anything from books...

After the roommate introduced me to Ilona Andrews and their "Kate Daniels" books I then ended up grabbing the three books from their "Edge" series; On the Edge, Bayou Moon and Fate's Edge. Where the setting has the mundane world, the magic world and a mixed-world between the two. After the first book, each books seems to have a secondary male character from the previous book acting as joint protagonist and romantic interest for a new female protagonist. A little bit formulaic, but still fun and I'm interested to see if the basic trend continues with the next book drops in November. Also from the Andrews' in August was the most recent "Kate Daniels" Gunmetal Magic. Though its actually about Kate's best friend and partner Andrea Nash, werehyena gun-bunny. She and her ex-boyfriend have to work together investigating multiple murders at a reclamation site that leads to a war between ancient gods...

Courier Ryb by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, is a pair of short stories for their Liaden scifi setting. Though the second short adds more to the setting, I'd say I liked the titular first story a bit more...

I forget whose short story was the reason I picked up Westward Weird, edited by Martin Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes, but its a good collection. With various Western steampunk/fantasy/zombie mash-ups...

Noah Chinn is a long-time internet friend, from way back in time to my Kenzerco Forum days. So I was more than willing to grab his two e-books just for that. And happily both are pretty darn good. Trooper #4 is what seems to be an actual original twist on the zombie apocalypse sub-genre. And Bleedig Heart Yard manages that perfect balancing act for an urban fantasy between horror and humour...

Col Buchanan's Farlander is a more than competently written and put together series. And its story about a prince of an evil empire marked for death by religious assassins after killing a woman under their protection is interesting enough. But the theocratic evil empire is a bit too Chaotic Evil super-crazy and super-evil for me to buy that they would become a world conquering threat...

Another anthology, this time Tanya Huff's February Thaw. Several good stories here, including a "Victoria Nelson"/"Smoke and" tie-in tale...

Got around to the Mira Grant prequel novella Countdown. Which follows the start of her zombie "Newsflesh" series. And for the simple phrase "goggie" Sean McGuire will pay. And not because it made me cry. Which it didn't. At all. And no one can prove otherwise...

And in between all this new book reading, took a pause to reread Martin Millar's Curse of the Wolf Girl. Because I can always use some werewolf and fire elemental family drama. Plus I always want to give super-emo, super-deadly Kalix MacRinnalch a hug. A very careful hug...

the Way to Glory is David Drake's 4th "Lt. Leary" book. Good stuff for those looking for "Master & Commander" in space...

With Labyrinth, I finally get back to Kat Richardson, with 5th book in her "Greywalker" books. Lead Harper Blaine is back from London and has to scramble to protect her friends from being caught between warring vampires. With both sides looking to make use of her ghost-world influencing powers...

Mur Lafferty's Playing for Keeps isn't the best supers book. Its probably not even in my top twenty. To be fair I've been reading a LOT of prose supers lately. But her story about 2nd-rate supers banding together against crazy super-villains and corrupt "heroes" is still pretty enjoyable and her good guys are more than likeable...

Paolo Bacigalupi's fantasy novella the Alchmemist is a nice break from his usual dystopian future. Not that there isn't plenty of dystopia in his setting where using magic now accelerates the growth of a kind of poisonous, thorny kudzu plant...

I don't know what it was about Claire DeWitt & the City of the Dead by Sara Gran that made me put it down after only a half-dozen chapters. Maybe it was the overly detached and generally unpleasant lead...

On the other hand Kate Elliot's latest fantasy false-history "Spiritwalker" series is easily my new favorite thing from her. I just devoured the first two books, Cold Magic and Cold Fire and am eagerly awaiting the third sometime next year...

From that lots of supers pile, next up is James Maxey's Nobody Gets the Girl. The lead, Richard Rogers, is someone who has become nearly totally unnoticeable, after a time travel incident mostly writes him out of existence. Which makes him an ideal agent for heroic super-scientist Dr. Know...

Lee Goldberg is a television and print mystery writer with a large back list. His King City was an impulse buy from a Daily Deal offer. And its a pretty good book, about a too ethical for his own good cop who gets assigned to the city's worst section with little to no back-up after taking down his own squad for being corrupt. Though I think the end is a bit rushed as Goldberg hurries to tie up several different plot threads...

Hugh Howey's Wool is a very interesting take on a post-apocalyptic setting. With several mysteries, power-mad bad guys and even some romance...

Barbara Hambly's the Time of the Dark is a nice variant on the "real" Earth people drawn into magical world trope. While I do wonder if maybe her two "regular" heroes adapt a little fast to their new setting I did like it enough that at some point I'll grab the next book in the series...

Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon is a finely-crafted, stand-alone fantasy. But one that could easily be the set-up for a larger series. Plus its always good to get a fantasy series that doesn't draw at all from a Euro-centric background...

And finally for the month Maps & Legends a collection of essays by Michael Chabon on storytelling, history and religion...

Total books: 30
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Once again just getting the last month done before the current one ends. Starting off with the Kevin Anderson edited Blood Lite III: Aftertaste urban fantasy anthology. Which was pretty lackluster overall. Even old favorites like Jim Butcher have fairly weak offerings in this one. In fact, as far as I can recall, all three volumes of this series have been less than stellar, with none making my 50% or more enjoyable stories test to keep...

Much better was the reprint of Wild Cards with the two new stories added, edited by George R.R. Martin and Dark & Stormy Knights, another urban fantasy anthology, edited by P.N. Elrod. The "Wild Cards" series has long been a favorite, so two new stories was just icing on replacing my worn-down original copy of volume one. And Elrod's anthologies have a high ratio of quality...

I love Baen's offering of election Advance Reader Copies. I mean fifteen bucks is normally about twice my max for an e-book. But I can't resist getting things like the newest "Ring of Fire" novel, 1636: Papal States by Eric Flint & Charles Gannon three months early. This one finishes up the Italy centric arc started previous by Flint & Andrew Dennis...

Got Check Wendig's Dinocalypse Now as part of a Kickstarter drive. Its a fun pulp-adventure story that serves as an introduction to "Spirit of the Century" rpg. The book is full of psychic dinosaurs, jet pack adventurers, talking gorillas and angry cavemen with a cliff-hanger ending...

No Wake Zone is the sequel to C.E. Grundler's Last Exit to New Jersey. You'd think Hazel Moran's friends and family would have figured out that lieing to her for her own good doesn't work. I mean it went really badly the last time...

The roommate got into writers Ilona Andrews from one of their short stories. And I can't blame him since I devoured thru the first five of their "Kate Daniels" books, Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds and Magic Slays over several days. The series is set in a world where technology is failing as magic rises into ascendcy. Kate Daniels, the lead, is a merc and troubleshooter dealing with shapeshifters, vampires and guilds of would be paladins in a altered Atlanta...

In fact I liked them enough to grab up the various short stories and novellas for my Kindle. Magic Dreams and Magic Mourns are regular expand the setting style shorts. Curran and Fathers & Sons retell portions of the previous volumes from the view point of the main romantic interest for Kate...

Also from the Andrews, but unrelated to "Kate Daniels", was the novella Of Swine & Roses, a story about feuding magical Houses, teen romance and a pig related curse...

I'm still not sure about the Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter. Its a good book and I am intrigued enough to want to know what happens next. But something about most Multiple Earth stories just doesn't click with me. I'm not sure why, maybe its something to do with Quantum...

Charles DeLint's Little Grrl Lost is nice YA book which puts a would be punk Little into his Newford setting...

Got to several of my backlog of Kindle Deal of the Day books in July. Starting with Heat Wave by Richard Castle. A decent enough modern mystery/crime book, where I'd be interested in checking out the rest of the series if I find them on the cheap. I do wonder who they have ghost writing them...

Also tv related is the Cold Dish by Craig Johnson, the first in the "Longmire" series the recent A&E show was adapted from. I'm definitely wanting to check out the rest of this series, but $12.99 is well above my normal price limit on an eBook. And I couldn't remember the author's damn name the last time I was at the used book store. Also Lou Diamond Philips captured his character's voice perfectly in the tv show...

I was a bit let down by the other two Deal books. Alison Croggon's the Naming is a pseudo-Gaelic/Celtic fantasy that reminded my a bit of Lloyd Alexander. But man, the book just slogged along at times. Its the first in what is obviously meant to be an epic story, but I can't find myself willing to wade thru the next books. The other book, Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage just failed to connect with me. I found myself giving up about 3/4 of the way thru. The book wasn't helped by the guest introduction basically spoiling the ending in discussing the story...

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi is in the same world as his Ship Breaker, where much of the south-eastern U.S. is devastated marshland. I like the touch, where China attempted a peace keeping mission against the many American warlords...

Mira Grant's Blackout brings her "Newsflesh" trilogy to a close. And its a pretty fucking bad-ass ending, what with the giant conspiracy and the surprise resurrection and all...

From the roommate insists I read this pile, Eric Flint & Dave Freer's Slow Train to Acturus has an alien civilization making first contact with a Terran Generation-type colony ship. Pretty good and interesting directions the various human cultures evolved in. Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle the Mote in God's Eye was a scifi classic I'd never got to. And I own a few of the pair's other books. But I found myself having to constantly remind myself that they wrote this in the 70s to try and get past how antiquated the futuristic culture seemed. Especially given the one non-white character being a underhanded, conniving baddie...

Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots are an enjoyable pair of super-heroes in zombie apocalypse world. I'm hopeful that Clines will put out a third book in the series...

And finally Kitty Steals the Show is Carrie Vaughn's most recent "Kitty Norville" book. With werewolf radio host Kitty going to London and the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies. With Kitty and her family meeting up with various old friends and foes, looking into the vampire's Long Game and helping a ghost have a family reunion...

Total Books: 28
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Fright Night - Colin Ferrel make for a very happy mass-murdering vampire. Though I've got to wonder how their world isn't overrun with bloodsuckers given the ease of creation the movie sets up. But most importantly I really want that rockabilly cover of "99 Problems" from the end credits...

The Big Year: A lot more interesting than I'd thought going in. Seriously, a movie about a bird watching competition? But Black, Martin and Wilson make it work...

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: The most recent version, directed by Fincher. And the sequence with the social worker/parole officer/whatever almost got me to switch the channel. Also the ending drags more than a bit...

M

May. 30th, 2012 03:26 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Legendary film pioneer Fritz Lang's first talkie movie. Set in 30s Berlin it follows the case of a serial pedophile and murderer played by Peter Lorre at his creepiest. The killer ends up being hunted by both the police and the entirety of the Berlin criminal underground...
lurkerwithout: (Reading cat)
Since there are only a couple hours left for April, I should probably get around to doing my March book list.

Starting with Ian Fleming's Live & Let Die. Which was really surprisingly racist. I mean enough that I had to give up on it about a quarter way in. I guess I'll never know if the scene where James Bond runs across the backs of a pond full of alligators was just added for the movie...

Read the latest Grantville Gazette, the 40th and still edited by Paula Goodlet. Also picked up the eArc for the next "Ring of Fire" book, 1636: Kremlin Games by Eric Flint, Goodlet and Gorg Huff. Its set in Russia over several years and is an expansion from one of my favorite sets of stories from the Gazettes...

Borrowed a new urban fantasy from the roommate. Well magical milspec maybe. Myke Cole's Shadow Ops: Control Point is a decent first book, with basically a super-hero forced enlistment thing going on, except with magic instead of other types of super-power origins...

Then more of Sharon Lee & Steve Miller's "Liaden" space opera series. Plan B and I Dare follow various members of the series protagonist noble family as they basically go to war against the shadow espionage organization at the heart of their own government. Still lots of psychics and space stuff and swashbucklery. And Lee & Miller's Turtle aliens quickly made their way onto the top of my favorite alien races list...

Also got some new David Weber books, the newest "Honor Harrington" book Rising Thunder and the prequel young adult A Beautiful Friendship for the same setting. RT does have a lot less in the ship battles and more in the political maneuvering and group meetings. The other follows the teen-age Stephanie Harrington, one of the first humans to bond with one of the settings psychic Sphinxian Tree-cats...

After that was three eBooks I'd had on pre-order for a while. Starting with Seanan McGuire's series starter Discount Armageddon. A fun book where the lead attempts to balance her desire to be a pro-ballroom dancer with her family tradition as cryptozoologists. Then the latest from Patricia Brigg's "Alpha/Omega" werewolf series, Fair Game. With the fallout from the end of a hunt for a serial killer that preys on supernatural people looking to have a huge impact on both of Briggs' series in that universe. And lastly a new "Temeraire" series. Crucible of Gold has Temeraire and Cpt. Laurence called back into service and ending up enmeshed with the powerful Incan Empire...

A few books then from the Kindle cheap deals section. Karen McInerney's Dead & Berried was a pretty good murder mystery, part of her "Gray Whale Inn Mysteries" series. Though the tiny bit of supernatural element added into the very end felt tacked on and out of place. Kate DiCamillo's the Magician's Elephant was a truly delightful and enchanting children's book. Wonderfully evocative and charming. Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles was an ok if predictable bit of teen melodrama with a disappointing ending. And finally Jim Lynch's the Highest Tide was a nice enough coming-of-age story, mostly noteworthy for some interesting ocean biology stuff...

Also decided to check out a pair of choose-your-own-adventure series that have been partially converted over to the Kindle. Amazon has the first two of Joe Dover's "Lone Wolf" books and the first four of the "Fighting Fantasy" series. Flight From the Dark, the first "Lone Wolf" book worked very well and even had a lot of expanded content added. Deathtrap Dungeon had a much more frustrating save point system. Which given how easy it was to die in it caused me to give up after a half-dozen attempts...

Started on a new scifi series from the roommate's collection with Tobias Buckell's Crystal Rain. Enjoyable, once I got used to nearly everyone speaking all Jamaican style...

A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith was a fun little young adult piece. With princes in disguise, kidnappings and noble balls and games and such...

The relatively short Clementine by Cherie Priest is a fun sidestory in her "Clockwork Century" series. Less of the zombies and more of the air pirates and spy-adventureress joint action...

I picked up Brian Clevenger's Nuklear Age on the cheap because I love both his webcomics and Atomic Robo. And that was in spite of Clevenger's own warnings that his rookie work was terrible. And man was he not kidding. The thing is just DIRE. Hilariously so at times. Still not amusing enough that I didn't tap out barely a quarter way in...

After that I needed a palate cleanser, so I went with a reread of Harry Turtledove's Guns of the South. Where time traveling South African white supremacists arm the Confederacy was AK-47s so that they'll win the Civil War. Good stuff...

Then another piece of alt history. Or at least alternate universe history with Matt Ruff's the Mirage. The big concept here is that the role of the Middle East and the United States are reversed at 9/11. With Christian fundamentalist terrorists based out of the U.S. hijacking several airliners and crashing them into skyscrapers in Baghdad in the United Arab States. Good story, creative twists and interesting lead characters. Though I'm still a bit unsure on how I feel about the ending...

And finishing out the month with a pair of Ed McBain's "87th Precinct" books, the Mugger and the Con Artist. Prose in these was a bit overdone at times, but I still might pick up some more of the series to give it more of a taste...

Total books: 25
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
I wanted to like this more than I did. I mean three female burglurs on a revenge-based heist sounds pretty good. Don't have to worry about the moral implications of cheering on the thieves when they're stealing from the drug crew run by the abusive husband of the head thief's sister. Especially after he throws his wife out of a moving car...

But the movie splits too much of its focus between the burglary crew and the grey hat head enforcer of the mob guy. And it has several scenes that I can't even understand the purpose of. Like when one of the women gets her hand broken. For stealing. Except there is no explanation as to what she was stealing or why her employers (who are drug smugglers and money launders) would then let her go back to work for them. Or that scene where the head burglar, after getting out of jail attacks some dude with a bat. Why'd she do that? No idea...

Perhaps I was just missing something in the translation. But those several inexplicable sequences, a few overly complicated portions of the heist plan and the general lack of real character depth keeps this from being a movie to recommend...
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
October ended up having a larger than average number of books I just didn't care for. And for most it wasn't even that they were bad as that they didn't click with me. Like Colin Harvey's Winter Song about a barely habitable arctic colony world and it vaguely Norse-ish inhabitants. Or Kevin Anderson & Doug Benson's Ill Wind which looks at a bio-engineered plague that ends up eating everything made from fossil fuels. Or Anthony Neil Smith's Yellow Medicine, a pulpy book about a crooked cop who ends up the frozen backwoods of Minnesota after getting caught being a crooked cop in Missouri. Actually this one with its collection of psycho gangsters and possibly terrorists begins to edge into being a bad book more than a bad fit...

Also on the free classics front, H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau just didn't do anything for me. I still like the concept of Dr. Moreau and his island of beast/men, but the book itself? Enh. And as for Robert Louis Stephenson's Kidnapped? All I can say is the young lead in this one is no Jim Hawkins...

And normally I like Tanya Huff, but her short story collection Nights of the Round Table just has two stories that left me totally cold. Both dealing with Evil Overlord/Queens who are hyper-competent and somehow unbeatable and thus really, really boring...

But really the only one for the month that I'd classify as genuinely bad was Duane Swierczynski's Fun and Games. Which has simply ludicrous premise. That the ruling elite of Hollywood has some kind of death squad made up of wannabe actors, directors and writes who can get to anybody and make it look like an accident. So stupid...

Anyway, over to the stuff I actually enjoyed for October. Starting with a Vorksogian novella by Lois M. Bujold, Winterfair Gifts. A story from the perspective of one of Miles' armsmen during his wedding, that takes place between A Civil Campaign and Diplomatic Immunity...

Then some Bernard Cornwell, with an American Revolution military history fiction, The Fort. And if Cornwell is at all accurate, then man Paul Revere was a giant tool...

October also saw me getting another of friend Joe Selby's books to beta read. This time a Young Adult book in a pseudo-Middle Eastern fantasy setting called Prince of Cats. Needed a little tweaking, but another one from him that I can hopefully one day pick up a published copy of...

From the borrowed from the roommate's shelf list we start with Mira Grant's Feed. Which is a near future zombie Earth book. With the title being a reference to the zombies and to the protagonist's jobs as bloggers who join the press corps of a presidential candidate. Grant really impresses, not just for her skills at dialogue and story. But in how well thought out her world building is, especially in the "science" of her setting's undead plague...

Then the new Lev Grossman, the Magician King, his follow up to the Magicians. This one actually manages to be even more bleak than the first, with its partial focus on the non-Wizard School magical community...

After that was the two latest Gaunt's Ghosts books by Dan Abnett, mostly because I got the roommate the most recent as a birthday gift. Blood Pact has Gaunt and his men slowly falling apart as they spend an extended period stationed way behind the lines. Until a potential turncoat and the Chaos forces sent to assassinate him prod them back into being bad-ass action soldiers again. Salvation's Reach. has the Ghosts taking part in a dangerous mission against a Chaos research station. Plus they're working with Space Marines. Warhammer 20K Imperial Space Marines a crazy hard-core...

Also got the newest Terry Pratchett, Snuff, last month. A new Sam Vimes sub-series book, with a focus on goblins, the Disc's lowest intelligent species. Some excellent scenes with Vimes and Willikins his butler and Vimes and the country gentry and Vimes and Young Sam learning about poop together. This one lacks a bit in the Big Bad department, but the always wonderful characters makes up for that small lack...

Reread the first two Beka Cooper books by Tamora Pierce, Terrier and Bloodhound again. In expectation of getting the final book in the trilogy towards the end of the month. And then my copy got delayed from Amazon, so I didn't get to it until November. Oh well, still some of my favorites...

I finished up the month starting on David Weber's "Honor Harrington" scifi space opera/military series. In part because Baen has the first two, On Basilisk Station and the Honor of the Queen available as free e-books, with the rest at $5 each. So after Honor's first two stories ended the month with A Short & Victorious War and Field of Dishonor. Good military space battle stuff, with technology premises that make them similar to wooden ship and cannon type stuff. And the politics of Kingdom of Manticore remind me a lot of Elizabeth Moon's "Familas Regnant" series. In a good way. The only slightly annoying quirk I found was Weber uses a lot of info-dump exposition to world build. Where a character will go to use something or think about something, which then turns into a big expository thing. Not the worst way to drop world build info, but it was noticeable...

Total books: 21
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Ok, so lets do this again...

Started off July with the most recent (#36) "Ring of Fire" Grantville Gazette e-book anthology. Which like the Ring of Fire 3 "pro" anthology features more than a bit on airships in the altered past. I'm still hoping for some more Russia updates. I know people are working on them from the occasional foray into the Baen's Bar forum, but none seem to be ready. Pity, Russia and the Barbie Consortium are probably the two side groups I'm most interested in. Oh and the various musicians...

Then I gave Timothy Zahn's far-future espisonage series another chance, trying out the Domino Pattern. They're just not clicking with me. But happily I see he's done another "Star Wars" EU book, so I've got that at least...

After that I went to the roommate's collection and Bernard Cornwell's "Grail Quest" series. Harlequin, Vagabond and Heretic follow an archer in the army of prince Edward III during the Hundred Years War. So in addition to that hunt for the Grail going on in the background, you get the Crecy battle, among others...

Got the new Stephanie Plum, Smokin' Seventeen, that month from Janet Evanovich. Which meant first rereading the previous sixteen over seven days. It looks like I burned through four of them all on the 12th even. Enjoyable series, but it really is like snack food...

Read a couple more anthologies last month as well. First Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow. Urban fantasy with many of the usual suspects. Fun Harry Dresden and the Cub's Curse one by Butcher and a nice vampire one from Patricia Briggs...

Steampunk edited by Ann & Jeff Vandemeer was another of the roommate's. Decent enough in places, though many of the short stories really feel kind of incomplete. And the editorial intro's really kind of grated on me. But it does include a short piece from Michael Moorcock and a follow-up to the Diamond Age from Neal Stephenson...

Got the finale to Jim Hines' "Princess" series, the Snow Queen's Shadow. A bittersweet ending for Cinderella, Snow and Sleeping Beauty, but a good read. Though I do keep dwelling on the probable fate of the poor ship's cat. And just getting so damn angry. I should go over to Hine's journal and yell at him. Poor kitty...

Of course July also saw the long awaited release for George R.R. Martin's Dance of Dragons. Which has more Jon Snow and Tyrion and Daenyrs and even a couple people I thought were dead. And who don't even come back as vengeance zombies. So yay for that...

Though it didn't have the wait time, I was looking forward to Jim Butcher's new "Dresden Files" Ghost Story. Which is full of the usual perfect storm of Heartwarming, Heartbreaking and Awesome. Plus we find out who shot Harry at the end of Changes. And a nice twist at the end...

And I finished the month with the very last "Spenser" book from the late Robert Parker. Sixkill was good and all, and I've still got a pile of unread stuff from his backlist, but dammit I'm gonna miss Parker...

Total books: 28

Profile

lurkerwithout: (Default)
lurkerwithout

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
23 45678
9 101112 13 1415
16 17 181920 2122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:41 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios