lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Tom Holland is pretty great as Parker/Spider-Man, espcially the 15-year old rookie part of it.  Michael Keaton's Vulture falls into the mid-range of Marvel villains, right on the edge of the top tier, as he has actual motivations and some personality beyond I Am The Bad Guy.  Among the character cameos is a very stealth set-up for Miles Morales using Donald Glover.  Oh and Jacob Batalon's sidekick/best friend Ned was pretty good.
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
Easily clears the low bar of being the best of the DC-Cinematic universe films.  And beyond that is a good film all on its own.  Gal Gadot shows a good deal more range and talent than I had been expecting.  The Paradise Island sequences are excellent, as are the Diana & Steve Go On a Quest.  Plus Pine & Gadot have some excellent chemistry, that makes the somewhat rushed romance feel believable.  Some of the mythological back-story is a bit of a mess, including the climatic Final Battle.  But a solid, entertaining and enjoyable movie.  If nothing else, gives some hope that the upcoming Justice League and Aquaman will also be worth seeing.
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
January:
Short Fiction: Seanan McGuire's Snake in the Glass, Ursula Vernon's Razorback and Jim C. Hines' Chupacabra's Song

New Reads:
Robert Jackson Bennett's City of Stairs
Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast
(editors) John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey's the End Has Come:  Third in a triptych of apocalypse-themed short fiction anthologies.  The last focused on post-apoc survival and rebuilding.
Ilona Andrews' Magic Stars: A "Kate Daniels" series novella focused on Derek and Julie.
Tanya Huff's Third Time Lucky: Collection of short comic works about an immortal wizard.
Lexie Dunne's Superheroes Anonymous & Supervillains Anonymous: Gail is nicknamed "Hostage Girl" because villains think she's super-hero Blaze's girlfriend.  And then we he leaves town she ends up getting super-powers herself.
Michelle West's The Broken Crown
Andre Norton's Tales From the High Hallack vol.1: Collection of "Witch World" short stories.
Delilah Dawson/Kevin Hearne/Chuck Wendig's Three Slices:  A short story from each writer's setting.  All with a cheese divination theme.
Kevin Hearne's Staked: Latest "Iron Druid" book with, shockingly, many vampire opponents.

Rereads: None

Graphic Novels/TPBs:
Garth Ennis/Jonh Mcrea's The Demon: Hell's Hitman

Total: 13

Febuary:
Short Fiction:  Django Wexler's the Shadow of Elysium, Delia Sherman's the Great Detective, Joe Abercrombie's Two's Company, Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Presents: Action Dude Vs. Doing the Right Thing and Brian McCellan's Ghosts of the Tristan Basin

New Reads:
C.E. Murphy's Baba Yaga's Daughter the Tales of the Old Races:  World building short fiction for Murphy's "Old Races/Negotiatior" series.
N.K. Jemison's the Fifth Season:  Excellent read, even if the flash-back part of the story somewhat overwhelms the "now" bits.
Daniel Polansky's the Builders:  Like if Sam Peckinpah directed a "Redwall" movie.
Peter Clines' Ex-Isle:  Supers vs. zombies AT SEA.
Nicola Griffith's Hild:  Iron age Britain historical fiction yumminess.
Greg Van Eekhout's Dragon Coast:  One more crazy heist, one more group of nasty cannibal wizards.
Michael McCloskey's Trilisk Supersedure
T. Kingfisher's the Raven & the Reindeer: Ursula Vernon's Snow Queen adaptation.
Daniel O'Malley's the Rook:  What if you woke up with no memories of your life but were told you were one of the leaders of England's super-powered, super-secret spy orginization.  Oh and some of your co-workers wanted to kill you for what you used to know.
(editor) Eric Flint's Ring of Fire IV:  Most recent pro-anthology for the "Ring of Fire" series.
Georgette Heyer's the Quiet Gentleman:  I've liked other Regency Romance style books, but this one didn't really work for me.
Sherwood Smith's Whispered Magics:  Collection of Smith's short fiction.
Joe Haldeman's All My Sins Remembered:  Such a depressing ending.  Soooo bleak.

Rereads: None

Graphic Novels/TPBs:
G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Dan Slott/Christos Gage/Guiseppe Camuncoli's Ms. Marvel: Last Days vol. 4:  Short arc leading into whatever last year's summer crossover event was, with some Spider-Man team-up filler.
Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodriguez' Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega:  Used part of the tax refund to finally finish up the series.
Stjepan Šejić's Sunstone vol.4:  Argh!  Open lines of communication people!
Joe Casey/Nick Dragotta/Brad Simpson's Vengeance:  Better than average Marvel mini-series that got lost in the Big Events.

Total: 19

March:
Short Fiction:  Seanan McGuire's Swamp Bromeliad & Velveteen Vs. the Consequences of Her Actions, Alyssa Wong's a Fist of Permutations in Lightning & Wildflowers, Melissa Marr's the Maiden Thief, Carrie Vaughn's That Game We Played in War Time, Caighlan Smith's the Weather, Dave Freer's the Changeling & the Phooka and David D. Levine's Discards.

New Reads:
Stephen Leather's Once Bitten:  Meh vampire fic.
Seanan McGuire's Chaos Choreography:  Latest "InCryptid" novel, going back to Verity Price and a reality dance show reuinion.
R.J. Ross' Shadow Boy:  Most recent "Cape High" book that wraps up the Evil Presidential Canidate arc.
(editors) Walt Boyes/Bjorn Hasseler's Grantville Gazette vol.62-64
Ken Liu's Grace of Kings.  The rise from peasant gangster to Emperor.
Orest Stelmuch's the Boy From Reactor 4:  Ukrainian and Russian gangsters, Chernobyl and hockey.
George R.R. Martin's A Knight the 7 Kingdoms:  Collection of the Duncan & Egg/Hedge Knight stories.
Tamora Pierce's Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, Shatterglass, the Will of the Empress & Melting Stones.  Bingeing on nearly all the remaining "Circle of Magic"
(editors) Will Shetterly/Emma Bull's Liakek 1:  First in a shared-world anthology series.
Joe K. Lansdale's Savage Season.  Stupid Sundance preview week making me think I could record all of Hap & Leonard so I had to read the book instead.  Good book though.
Jeff Vandameer's Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance:  I heard there was a television adaptation for this trilogy in the works.  If they get it right it will be super-creepy and amazing.
K.J. Parker's Downfall of the Gods.  One goddess' long scam against her pantheon, though I'm unclear as to her motivation.

Rereads: None

Graphic Novels/TPBs:
Shannon, Dean & Nathan Hale's Calamity Jack:  Steampunk/fairy tale mash-up sequel to Rapunzel's Revenge
Ananth Hirsh/Yuko Ota's Lucky Penny

Total: 22
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is probably the best part of this movie.  Which makes the decision to adapt a certain piece of old comics canon seem foolish.  Beyond that, good acting from lots of talented people (except the scowling ghost of Dennis Leary who I'm pretty sure was just a cardboard cut-out they kept showing) and some excellent action scenes.  Pity they were all wrapped around a fairly muddled movie with unclear direction and too many sub-plots...
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Started off July with Faerie After, the finale to Janni Lee Simner's post-WW3 vs. the elves trilogy. Much of the book deals with learning to move past grief and loss...

After that was Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night, probably my favorite of his adapted movies, even if this was my first time reading the actual story. One of his best I think...

Got the e-arc of the next "Ring of Fire" book, 1636: the Devil's Opera by Eric Flint and David Carrico. It meshes together several of the ongoing series from the anthologies, the Madeburg Musicians and Madeburg PD. Plus its set during the end part of "Saxon Uprising", which all together gives it a bit of a smooshed together feeling, like the individual pieces weren't enough to hold together a story on their own. Plus I like the original "Symphony For the Devil" title better...

Then the newest Garrett book from Glen Cook, Wicked Bronze Ambition. Which has Garrett dealing with his future in-laws and all their friends. Who are all basically upper class, crazy wizards. I enjoyed seeing that Cook was continuing the Morley Dotes/Belinda Contague relationship as well, though not making it easy for the pair...

I actually thought Sherwood Smith's Banner of the Damned was going to be a prequel to her "Inda" series. Instead its set several centuries after those books...

Ex-Communication is the 3rd in Peter Clines' supers vs. zombies series. This time around the Hollywood survivor community is introduced to an additional supernatural threat. And a new kind of zombie in the form of a strange teenage girl...

Also finally got around to reading the first of Lois McMaster Bujold's "Chalion" books, Curse of Chalion. Which meant, of course, then rereading Paladin of Souls and the Hallowed Hunt...

Constellations is the first collection of "Liaden" short fiction by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I'd read a few of their short pieces but they're scattered all over and there are like a bazillion of them. So this reprint series definitely makes me happy...

Steven Gould's Impulse is the third book in his "Jumper" series. It follows the daughter of the lead characters from the previous two books as she both develops her own teleportation abilities and enters public school for the first time. While I didn't like it as much as Jumper it was a definite improvement over the 2nd book, Reflex...

I picked up the Monster's Corner an anthology of semi-horror edited by Christopher Golden on the cheap somewhere. It only had a few clunkers in it, but also not many memorable or outstanding pieces...

Neal Asher's the Deperature is a near future dystopia/space exploitation book. Parts of it made me wonder if it is meant as a prequel to his "Polity" series. Which I'll probably get a better idea of once I pick up the next two books in the trilogy...

Finished out July rereading David Weber's "Safehold" series, getting to Off Armageddon Reef, By Schism Rent Asunder, By Heresies Distressed and a Mighty Fortress. All of which leaves me impatiently waiting until next February for the next book...

On the free range short fiction, only three for July. Susan Palwick's "Homecoming" is a girl goes to sea disguised as a boy story. Nathan Ballingrud's "the Monsters of Heaven" is a sad story of loss and angels. Well, sort of angels. And Jeffrey Ford's "Rocket Ship to Hell" a bar story about a private enterprise attempt at a spacecraft crewed by artists...
Total Books: 17
lurkerwithout: (Book on bed)
Started the month by rereading David Weber's "Honor Harrington" books. From At Basilisk Station to A Rising Thunder. Including the, then, two Talbott Cluster sub-series books Shadow of Saganami and Storm From the Shadows. Though I didn't reread the two co-written by Eric Flint. The main thing that I get from mass reading of Weber is the ability to just skim past his tendency to infodump. The dozen plus books in the series definitely goes by much quicker that way...

Later in the month also got the newly released Midst Toil and Trouble by Weber, the newest of his "Safehold" books. I was pleased to see one supposedly dead character brought back. Though I was hardly alone amidst Weber fans to guess at it happening...

Numerous anthologies for September as well. Many Bloody Returns and An Apple for the Creature, two more themed urban fantasy collections edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. The pair's anthologies tend to have a higher than average number of enjoyable stories to them. Just below the urban fantasy collections edited by P.N. Elrod. Whose short story collection Lunch Time Reading I also read that month. The short story where vampire Jack Fleming meets Harpo Marx sticks in my memory...

Other collections include the 43rd volume of the Grantville Gazette. Which if nothing else may push the number of total gay characters used in the "Ring of Fire" books and short stories up into numbers needing two hands to count. And lastly a collection of Jim Hines' short pieces, Sister of the Hedge. Two of the stories from that are basically early character drafts for Talia/Sleeping Beauty from his "Princess" series and the ass-kicking dryad from Libriomancer...

Two Ravens & One Crow is a novella from Kevin Hearne that serves as a bridging book dealing with the fall-out from Hammered and the set-up for Trapped of his "Iron Druid" series...

D.B. Jackson was a new one for me. With his Thieftaker being a urban fantasy set in Pre-Revolutionary America. Interesting blend of magic and real historical figures...

Other new urban fantasy from Mike Shevdon's "Fayre" with Strangeness & Charm and Seanan McGuire's "Octobor Daye" with Ashes of Honor. Both share having plots centered around half-breed daughters trying to master newly discovered powers while dangerous people try to take advantage of them...

From the e-author set I decided to check out Ian Thomas Healy. First with a set of free stories, Graceful Blur about a speedster hero looking to set a new land speed record, the Scent of Rose Petals which has a normal person remembering a love affair with a super-heroine and the Mighty Peculiar Incident at Muddy Creek a time-travel/western story about a train robbery. I enjoyed those so I picked up his Just Cause. A good supers book, though it doesn't have much really unique to it...

Hidden Cities is the third book of Daniel Fox's pseudo-China fantasy series. Much of the book is the various players from the first two books re-maneuvering and re-aligning themselves...

Finally got around to Elmore Leonard Raylan, which is basically a sequel to the books the show Justified was adapted from. Which makes it fitting that it feels like a mashed together adaptation of the 2nd season...

Robin Maxwell's Jane: the Woman Who Loved Tarzan makes me wish she'd follow-up with a Dejah Thoris book...

And finally Dodger the latest from Terry Pratchett. Which feels like a Dickens/Discworld mash-up without actually being set in the Discworld. Which isn't to surprising given that several prominent Ankh-Morpokh characters are loosely based around historical Victorian Londoners used in the novel...

Total books: 31
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: (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: (Book on bed)
Opened the month up with Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn, a mix of near future fall of civilization and ancient myth. And while I enjoyed Vaughn's modern paranormal werewolf call-in radio show host series, this one just didn't work for me. I don't know if it was the set up or the asshole Greek gods, but I just didn't care for it...

I was much more pleased with the second Vaughn book I read in the month, After the Golden Age, a supers book about the non-powered daughter of a super-hero couple. Not a perfect book, but enjoyable...

Got the final Beka Cooper book by Tamora Pierce, Mastiff early in the month as well. A bit more morose in tone than the previous ones, but overall a fine ending to the trilogy with Beka and her law dog partners being brought in to track down a kidnapped prince by a very ruthless and arrogant cabal...

After that I ended up buying a whole mess more of David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series. Flag in Exile, Honor Among Enemies, In Enemy Hands, Echoes of Honor, Ashes of Victory and War of Honor. So books five thru nine in series. I do enjoy Weber, but he's got a some noticeable writing tics. As I mentioned last month, he's got a tendency to do huge info-dumps of expository dialogue or just description. Which I'll admit on a few occasions led to some "don't care, don't care skim skim skim" during bits of world building or tech description. Especially the later. Really I'm more space opera than hard scifi so I don't really care most of the time how the widget works. I'm fine with a bit of Trek techno-babble to hand wave things. Still, I don't doubt there are plenty out there who love getting the details. And another quirk of Weber's is related to that. He can give a seemingly unneeded amount of back-story to minor characters. Many of whom end up very, very dead within pages. Still, I'm within a couple books of being caught up on the main series and I'm tracking down both various side-books, collaborations and anthologies AND dipping into some of his other series so its not like its a huge turn off for me...

And while skimming thru Baen's e-book selection (specifically the free section) I came across the Baen 2011 Free Short Story anthology. A nice collection, including two scifi writers I hadn't heard of before, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller's "Liaden Universe" and Michael Z. Williamson's "Freehold", whose stories intrigued me enough that I'll be checking them out in more detail at some point...

Sadly the same isn't true of Dani & Eyton Kollin's the Unincorporated Man. Borrowed that one from the roommate's collection and its story about a future where every person in a publicly trade corporation and what happens to that society when an unincorporated cryogenic revival is dropped into it didn't work for me. Which means I'll be giving the other two books in the series a pass...

Happily though, my next book was a new "Shadows of the Apt" book by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Heirs of the Blade follows several of the characters in the Dragonfly Commonweal lands. Very enjoyable, though a bit of a bridging book setting things up for the renewal of the threat of the Wasp Empire...

Also got a new Grantville Gazette in November, the 38th. Which reminds me, I really need to get around to transferring all the Baen e-books I bought that month to my computer so I can transfer them to my Kindle...

The roommate also pushed Jim Butcher's Spider-Man novel, the Darkest Hours, on me and I was more than pleasantly surprised by it. Its set sometime during the J.M.S. run on the comic but before Spidey joins up with the Avengers. Though his use of both M.J. and the marriage, as well as a partial face turn by the Rhino, makes me even more annoyed with "One More Day" and parts of "The Gauntlet" all over again. But for Spider-Man fans who have avoiding the comics out of disgust, this is an excellent way to get a Spidey fix...

Finally got around to picking up a copy of the Lois McMaster Bujold novel, Falling Free. Which is an early book by her that serves as something of a prequel to the Vorkosigan books. A bit rough in spots, but nice...

Got the second of Larry Correia's "Grimnoir" series, Spellbound. Which are about magically powered super-humans in the 1920s. Very pulpy and fun, though Correia is a bit of a gun fetishest. Not as much here as in his "Monster Hunter" series, but there is still some of it...

Also on the always meant to get around to reading list is Jane Lindskold's Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls. If only because I love that title. Which made me think this would be a fantasy book. But its actually a dystopian near future one with a bit of psychic powers thrown into the mix...

Then it was Mira Grant's second zombies vs. bloggers "Newsflesh" books, Deadline. Which follows up on the conspiracy exposed in Feed and takes things to a whole new level of Oh Fuck Me. I'm pretty sparing with getting into zombie stuff, because it honestly gives me screwed up dreams, but Grant is a definite keeper...

And then I finished up the month with an early fantasy book by Patricia Briggs, Masque and the sequel to it she wrote much later, Wolfesbane. Even with some re-editing for a new release the first book is very much a first novel. Not a bad book about mercenary/spy/mage girl versus the Giant Evil Wizard, but definitely full of some well-used fantasy tropes and rough first-book-out-of-college edges...

Total books: 20

Megamind

Sep. 6th, 2011 04:26 pm
lurkerwithout: (eastman)
You know when you remove Superman's humility and self-sacrifice, its really easy to understand Lex Luthor's desire to snuff him. Anyway, funny movie. Also, more super-villains should have musical accompaniment...

KTAW #16

Feb. 19th, 2011 03:59 pm
lurkerwithout: (Lil' dream)
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lurkerwithout: (eastman)
A big dumb fun action movie. Seth Rogen was..well Seth Rogen as a costumed vigilante. Jay Chou made an excellent Kato. Christopher Waltz played his crime boss with this kind of stunned bunny thing that worked well with him being a violent sociopath. Really my biggest problem with the movie was wondering where they found a copy of Coolio's "Gangster's Paradise" on vinyl...
lurkerwithout: (Reading cat)
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Incognito words by Ed Brubaker, pictures by Sean Phillips and colored by Val Staples

Incognito is the pallate cleanser project for Brubaker and Phillips between Criminal story-arcs. And its them going back to the mixing of noir and espionage and super-heroes that they did with Sleeper. But mainly its a tight story about a former super-villain in the witness protection program. Zack Overkill and his brother used to be two of top men for the Black Death. But Xander ends up dead and Zack gets given a choice. Testify and give up the super-powered life or get vanished down some hole forever. So now Zack is a file clerk, killing time and living the life of a schmuck when he isn't getting hassled by his case worker. Until the drugs that keep his powers in check stop working...

For those who've witnessed Brubaker and Phillips' work together on Criminal or Sleeper this one should be an easy sell. And if not, Incognito makes for a good spot to introduce yourself to their skilled noir stylings...
lurkerwithout: (Portrait)
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I am Hardback Book-Man! With the power of multitudes of pages!

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And my weakness is mirrored doors! Wait...

Ok, I guess my weakness is my evil mirror-verse me. Who DOESN'T have a goatee. And who is Mass Market Paperback-Man?

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