Monday, September 19, 2016

#BookmarkMonday (8) -Confucius

"No matter how busy you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance." -Confucius

My library has a constant flow of weird and wonderful cardstock bookmarks and this is just one of many I've picked up from work.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

TTT: Ten Books I Wish Were TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish

This week's TTT is TV themed in honor of the fall season start up (woohoo!). There were so many possible lists to choose from. So I wound up doing two. My second -Favorite Cancelled Shows- can be found here.

I knew I had to do a list of Books I Wish Were TV Shows but when I sat down to write it up, the weirdest thing happened. I drew a complete blank.
It was bad. And I knew I could write a really, really good list for it too. I'm almost as obsessive in my TV watching as with my reading. (Okay. YES. Occasionally more so. Occasionally.) I figured I just needed some brainstorming help, so I posed the question to my aunt and my sister to kick-start my brain. It totally worked, too.

Then I basically wound up with three lists, instead of one. Buckle up.

Amanda's Top Picks:
-Surprising no one, my top series of all time would make a fantastic television series. It's got it all: action, humor, magic, secret civilizations, and 12-year-old criminal masterminds.
-Again, surprising no one.
-Seriously, skip the movie talk and go straight to a TV series! Really, anything by Brandon Sanderson could be used.
-Whether a reboot of the Harry Potter series as a TV show or a completely new story BASICALLY ANY TV SHOW THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE WIZARDING WORLD WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. But especially the Marauders. Right?
-One of my favorite series and it would work so well as a TV show
-Okay. So I still haven't read the entire series. But even I know this would be amazing.
-I understand there's a film currently in the works, but a TV show would be equally fantastic. More opportunity for character development and more time to spend in the setting and universe.
-Simple. Just carry on from the I, Robot movie, throw in more details true to this trilogy, and voila! I mean, you already have an audience set up in the fans of FOX's prematurely cancelled Almost Human starring Karl Urban and Michael Ealy (albeit that's a while back now).
Bonus points if Chi McBride is recast as the precinct's lieutenant. Because Chi McBride.
And Mr. McBride totally ties into my other TTT list for the day. Because you can only get so far Googling Chi McBride before the Pushing Daisies images taking over.
-I adore the book and the movie was great. But wouldn't it be hilarious to do a 'Fantasy Island' or 'Loveboat' type show based in Austenland, with new characters and stories every week from an ever-changing celebrity cast? Seriously, why isn't this a thing yet?
-I didn't love the ending of this series (I've been wondering if I'd feel differently about it now), but I always remember thinking it would make an amazing TV show, with each book treated as a season.
-Nuff said.
-Come on! It's like the perfect holiday special wrapped up with a bow!

The Aunt
Jo-D's Top Picks:
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson)
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
-but a prequel dealing with the first rebellion, back when there were 13 districts, when Mag and Snow were children.
Little Women & Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

The Sister
Stephanie's Top Picks:
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
-Fabulous idea!
Dead City by James Ponti
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
-See what I mean? Literally any Brandon Sanderson series.
The Last Apprentice by Joseph DeLaney
-She can't even talk about the movie. It's too painful. She feels a TV series would give it the proper treatment it deserves.
Ella Enchanted/Princess series by Gail Carson Levine
Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
-Could not agree with this more!
Lockwood & Company by Jonathan Stroud
Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
-Don't let us down, Netflix!
Edge Chronicles by Chris Riddle and Paul Stewart
Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey

The aunt and sister put together such good lists I might have to rope them into all my Top Ten Tuesday posts!
What are you dying to see on the small screen?

TTT: Favorite Cancelled Shows

Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a weekly book meme. Today's theme is TV shows and I couldn't make up my mind whether to list Favorite Cancelled Shows or Books I Wish Were TV Shows. So I did both.

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish
Gone too soon applies to everything on this list. EVERYTHING.

Battle Creek (CBS)
This show really deserved a second chance. (Ironic, considering #2 on this list). My Worth Watching review basically sums up what an amazing show it was -writing, execution, cast, crew- but it's a crying shame this show didn't survive its first season. It racked up good review ratings and die-hard fanbase, but the viewership odds were not in its favor.

Second Chance (Fox)
I fell in love with this show and I fell hard, as my Worth Watching review/spotlight can attest. Much as I love it, at least I can see why it was cancelled.

A rare and beautiful gem among television shows, it ran one season in 1993-94. Starring Bruce Campbell as a Harvard-educated-lawayer-turned-bounty-hunter, Brisco County Jr. made the western/science fiction show a thing long before Firefly. (Sorry, Joss Whedon.)
And I'm laughing now because I just found out this was on Fox.

The Middleman (ABC Family)
This one's hard to describe, so I'll let the internet do that: Struggling female artist Wendy Watson, recruited by a secret agency, struggles to wrap her head around her bizarre new job -- fighting dangers humanity isn't prepared to face -- under the guidance of a handsome and relentlessly wholesome hero who calls himself "The Middleman" in this tongue-in-cheek adventure series.

The funny thing is, the series was literally one episode away from a satisfactory ending. It ran 12 episodes when the 13th would have connected everything together, answered questions we didn't even know we were asking, and finished off the series nicely. While we never did get this elusive missing episode -we did get the next best thing. After the fact, almost the entire cast sat on a Middleman panel at SDCC for a live reading of the episode 13 script, with show creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach acting as moderator and narrator. It was beautiful. It's also on YouTube.
Also, this guy:

And speaking of Mark Sheppard...
Firefly (Fox)
You knew it had to be coming. And no, Universe; we will never get over this.

Life (NBC)
Life was his sentence.
Life was what he got back.
Life is what they cancelled.
If you want to see the bottom lip wobble on any of my family members, just intone that little gem. We all loved this show.
Homicide detective Charlie Crews served 12 years for a crime he didn't commit, but now he's back on the job with a few new quirks -prison habits, a Zen philosophy, and an insatiable craving for fresh fruit. The show is equal parts zany and poignant.
Fun fact? Created by Rand Ravich, who also created my #2 heartbreak, Second Chance.
My dad and I fell in love with this show about an immortal medical examiner. It was fun and I always thought it was pretty clever; what's a crime show without a good quirk now a days? 

Young Justice (CN)
Another show that just shouldn't have been cancelled. But hey -those Netflix season 3 rumors just started up again, so here's hoping.

Agent Carter (ABC)
Admittedly, I haven't finished season 2 yet, but I was disappointed when this wasn't renewed. It had everything -the time period, the snark, so much Marvel origins potential, and Peggy Carter.

Pushing Daisies (ABC)
If you haven't heard of Pushing Daisies, you're hanging out with the wrong crowds. Lee Pace, Chi McBride, Kristin Chenoweth, AND NARRATED BY JIM DALE. (Yes, narrator-of-the-Harry-Potter-audiobooks, THAT JIM DALE.)
With a single touch, Ned can bring the dead back to life. But one more touch will kill them again. Permanently. It's a zany mystery series and love story with fantasy elements, beautiful cinematography, wonderful wordplay, and the occasional musical number. (Because yes, THAT Kristen Chenoweth, too!)

And if you thought the early 90s were as far back as I'd go -you were wrong! It had four season running from 83-87. I've just been introduced to this show and I LOVE it. While it had four great seasons, and they did give us as satisfactory an ending as they could swing with the cancellation, I would have loved to see more of this show.

Don't miss my Ten Books I Wish Were TV Shows!
I understand the pain. Share some of your favorite cancelled shows.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

ARC REVIEW: Gears of Revolution by J. Scott Savage (Mysteries of Cove #2)

by J. Scott Savage
Mysteries of Cove #2
Shadow Mountain Publishing
Available: September 20

4/5 stars
PG for some fantasy violence
Recommend for anyone who likes steampunk or dragons or steampunk dragons

The Review
[There will be SPOILERS of the events from the first book, Fires of Invention.]

When last we left Cove, super-mechanics Trenton Coleman and Kallista Babbage showed their underground civilization that the outside world wasn't a poisonous death trap of technological pollution. They proved they had been lied to for years. They also proved that inventing wasn't a sin and that machines could be used for great and wondrous things. They learned the true name of Cove -Discovery, once a haven for scientists and inventors. They even killed the dragon that attacked their city.



That was the other little secret they uncovered.

Then they managed to kill the dragon that attacked their city.

Now, Kallista is determined to find her father, the eccentric and brilliant inventor Leo Babbage, who escaped the city and left another puzzle of clues behind for her to follow. With Trenton's help, they follow Leo's path aboard their majestic mechanical dragon Ladon to a far off city called 'Seattle', dodging dragons of the scales and blood variety along the way.

You're sold on this already, aren't you? I don't blame you. I love, love, LOVE this premise so. freaking. much.

While just as much of an adventure as Fires of Invention, the intrigue for Gears of Revolution really kicked it up a notch. Plus, Savage delves even deeper into the 'steampunk' culture with the introduction of the Whipjacks -technological superior social outcasts with fantastic accents and slang- and their charismatic leader, the 'dimber damber' Cochrane. (Oh yep. Loving it.)

And once again, Savage regales us with new inventions and throws in some political and social discord for Trenton and Kallista to contend with -because obviously dragons aren't enough of a challenge for them. Gears also takes the world on a darker turn, because the city Trenton and Kallista find next is more brutal, more savage. (No pun intended*) This Seattle has a survival-of-the-fittest mentality unseen in the peaceful Discovery and it's interesting watching Kallista and Trenton deal with this unpleasant jolt of reality. It adds a new angle for them and I like the affect it has on their characters, coming from a city where everyone has enough to eat to seeing a place where some have to resort to desperate methods just to keep from starving.

Kallista and Trenton are still awkwardly adorable, since they both relate far better to machines than people (especially each other). They are learning to interact better (which, again, is adorable) but they still need some work on their dealings with others. Which is part of the fun!

Kallista comes a little into her own in this sequel. Up to now, she has been dutifully following the clues left behind by her father, but I like that we see a touch of perhaps not exactly resentment, but the idea that these games her father loved to play aren't exactly her cup of tea. I like seeing this side of Kallista and I'm excited to see where it takes her from here.

One thing I mentioned specifically in my review for Fires of Invention was the portrayal of Trenton's mother, who disapproves of the machines Trenton loves so much, and of the complicated relationship between them, and I have to say, I love it even more in the sequel. Since they reached a better understanding of each other last book, Savage successfully starts deepening their relationship and I love watching every minute -even though there aren't very many! (Next book, maybe. Next book...)

Fires floored me with the reveal of dragons, and Gears wowed me with the further depth of this world. Whereas Discovery had hidden away from the reality of dragons, the city built from the remains of Seattle designed a religion around them. (Whoa is right.) The Order of the Beast is exactly what it sounds like. The core of the religion is a worship of the 'holy beasts' and its role in society is basically the peace they claim to have brokered with the dragons.

I would have loved to see The Order of the Beast explored more within the story; I'm a worldbuilding nerd like that. We do get one of these 'Red Robes' as a prominent character and I devoured the tidbits of this whacked out religion he fed us. He also raised some very interesting -and uncomfortable- questions about the nature of dragons. And Kallista is uncovering questions about the dragons on her own. The deeper Savage takes us into his world, the deeper we see the story go and I love this progression!

There a couple of great new characters in this book. Aside from the aforementioned Cochrane, head of the motley eccentric Whipjacks, we also get Ander -a member of the dragon-worshiping Order of the Beast who has questionable motives- and Plucky -a young Whipjack with awesome mechanical leg braces who has questionable motives. You might be sensing a theme here.

But even with all this fantastic new content, one of my very favorite moments in this book actually involves old faces, specifically Mr. Darrow and his son, Angus. It's not much of a spoiler. So I'm going to tell you about it.

As you might recall, Angus isn't much of a fan of Trenton and Kallista. He's actually a bit of a bully, just like his father. Angus has always intrigued me, though, and he's one of the characters who really stuck in the back of my mind. There is a moment in Gears when Trenton finds his path blocked by Mr. Darrow and this happens:
"You're a coward and a fool," Trenton yelled as he ran past. "And one day, your son is going to realize it."
Remember that Trenton isn't much of a people person; I don't feel like this line is spoken out of spite or even that Trenton is lashing out. This is just the truth as Trenton sees it.

So why am I so hung up on this? It's a tiny moment. A single line. It's never addressed again and, to be honest, Angus and his father are barely in this story, so it's not that important in the grand scheme of things. But I'm really excited to see the aftermath of this single line. Because it makes me realize WHY I'm so interested in Angus Darrow. This kid has a great core. He has good instincts and qualities -like wanting to protect his people at all costs and vehemently opposing any threat- he just has a bad example in his bully father and has been taught too many lies.

What Trenton says here is painfully true. It's exactly why I'm chomping the bit for book 3. Because some day Angus IS going to realize it and that might very well be the day a Great Character is born. That's a day I want to see.
So, Angus:
I loved how Savage ended this book. It's an epic finale and I cannot wait to get my hands on book 3. Gears of Revolution, with its new setting, new characters, and whole plethora of dragons has been a blast. But it's also a build up. The deeper we dive into the world of this series, the closer we get to the really meaty question, and it is waiting for the answer to that that has me on the edge of my seat.

Overall, it's a fantastic continuation to the series and even more fascinating than its predecessor. The whole time I was reading this, my big recurring thought was: I can't wait to see how that unfold next time!

Oh, right. Did I mention that blessedly beautiful AIRSHIP?

An ARC of this ebook was provided courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review

*Okay. Pun totally intended.

Monday, August 29, 2016

#BookmarkMonday (7): Austen Party

hosted by Aloi @ GuiltlessReading

Guiltless Reading
#BookmarkMonday is a weekly meme that started in 2009.
Click the widget for more details!

One of the perks of working in a library -at least for me- is finding the notes left by my friend and coworker with thoughts on the book I happen to have on hold. Little does she know I keep them all. Muahahahahahaha!

This is my newest addition, found tucked into The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan:
It reads: Hahaha! You're hilarious. Now you have to have an Austen party.

Well, it wasn't my plan -I'm actually researching Regency England- but apparently now there's no getting out of it. Anyone know some good British recipes? (Seriously, send them to my Pinterest account.)

What's your favorite Austen novel?
I'm going to be totally cliche and say Pride & Prejudice, though I will admit, my current favorite Austen adaptation is the Emma Thompson Sense & Sensibility because Alan Rickman's Colonel Brandon somehow became my Austen soulmate within the last year. (When did that happen?!)
You know what, I don't even care. Ya'll can have Darcy. Brandon's mine.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #5 -Which Character Outside the HP World Would Do Well at Hogwarts?

Harry Potter Moment of the Week
started and hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts
& co-hosted by Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows

Which character outside the Harry Potter world would do well at Hogwarts?

1. Artemis Fowl
Admit it. The thought of little Arty -criminal genius known for exploiting magical creatures- wandering around with a wand sent a chill down your spine. Can you imagine the adventures? The mischief? We got a taste of what Artemis would be like with magic, but I'd love a longer look at that. He would dominate every class Hogwarts offered; Hermione Granger would become a name of the past. And obviously he'd be sorted into Slytherin, so I imagine he'd be a new favorite of Professor Snape. (Though I think Artemis would secretly prefer McGonagall's dry wit.)
I seriously love this.

2. Princess Cimorene

by Alecueous (via Deviantart)

Cimorene has determination and skill in spades. What she wants, she goes after, no matter what. Even being called a 'Mudblood' wouldn't phase her. She'd douse that wizard with soapy lemon-scented water. Our unconventional princess has already shown a penchant for magic and I would love to see her duel Professor Snape.

3. Charles Wallace Murry
Why not? The kid seems to grasp the inner workings of the universe without blinking. Just make sure he doesn't experiment too much with the Dark Arts; wouldn't due to have him come under someone else's influence again.

4. Toph Beifong

Mostly, I want to see her hanging out with Fred and George. Peeves could take some lessons from her.

5. Georgiana Darcy
An education at Hogwarts should, of course, be a pinnacle in the upbringing of an accomplished lady. (Let the fanfictions commence.)

I woke up this morning and realized I missed someone very important.

6. Inigo Montoya
Our favorite vengeful Spaniard could definitely learn a thing or two at Hogwarts to further his quest for revenge, though I think we all know he couldn't in good conscience simply revert to using and Avada Kedavra spell. There's no honor or skill in that, but a few divination spells would certainly narrow down that search time. (And Hogwarts training could definitely be useful in the life of the Dread Pirate Roberts.)
I haven't decided yet whether Inigo would be sorted into Slytherin or Gryffindor, because he's got qualities for both.

This was such a fun question to do! I've been giggling the whole time. ^_^
Who do you think would do well at Hogwarts?   

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ten Books That Have Been on My Shelf From Before I Started Blogging

Ten Books That Have Been on My Shelf From Before I Started Blogging That I Still Haven't Read Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish

Oi! Hello, you lot! I saw this topic for today last minute and couldn't resist because -sadly- I know it will be a really quick and easy one for me to write up. (ouch)

1-3. I, Robot; The Naked SunThe Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov
After seeing -and loving- the film I, Robot starring Will Smith, I found the title at my local used bookstore. This would have been, gosh, six or seven years ago? Yikes. Of course, once I got the book home I realized it wasn't the story of which the film is based -it's an anthology of short stories all based off Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. With a little research, I did learn that Asimov wrote a series of sci-fi/mysteries, starring an old-school police detective, Elijah Baley, partnered up with a robot, R. Daneel Olivaw. Now, the first book of this series, The Caves of Steel, I DID READ AS SOON AS I BOUGHT IT. I even liked it, though it's still about as different from the I, Robot film as the anthology of the same name, just on the other end of the spectrum.
So why didn't I finish reading the series if I liked it?
Because I'm insane and have too many books, that's why.

4-10. The Young Unicorns; Troubling A Star; A House Like a Lotus; An Acceptable Time; The Arm of the Starfish; Dragons in the Waters; Meet the Austins by Madeline L'Engle
Right. So I discovered A Wrinkle in Time at an early age -arguably my first exposure to science fiction- and listened to that probably four or five times before I realized it was a quartet. I don't think I ever got around to finishing the quartet, specifically Many Waters until my late teens. Possibly early 20s. It's been awhile. (The change of main characters to Sandy and Dennis, the jumping back in the timeline, the different tone of the story -it all threw me off for awhile. But it's good!) Obviously, this didn't stop me from collecting as much of L'Engle's work as I could. I know these books are part of at least two different series; more accurately, following different genealogies. As I recall, these books all take place in the same 'universe'. Some are about the Murrys and Calvin and their successive generations and there's also a series about the Austins. Once upon a time, I could tell you the order, even if I hadn't read them.
It is far past that time.

11. Sahara by Clive Cussler
Again. Saw the movie. Loved the movie. I started reading this book -even got a decent chunk into it, I think. I don't remember why I stopped. Other books at the time with due dates, probably. I do that a lot. But I have read at least one other Cussler -Valhalla Rising- and I keep telling myself I'm going to start this series because I love so many things about it.
As a side note, Sahara and National Treasure make for a fantastic double feature!

12. Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves
It was cheap. I'd heard the name 'Neil Gaiman' a lot. It had a cool cover. Still haven't gotten farther than that.

I'm stopping here, but believe me when I say this barely makes a dent. And considering all the unread books I've bought since I started blogging?
This is why I'm finally -FINALLY- going to instigate a TBR A Month feature into my reading schedule to start cleaning those out. Though I'm probably going to get a cooler name for it. You know. Me and cool names. Suggestions are totally welcome, by the way. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

What are some of your oldest unread books?