Friday, May 30, 2014

My Week in Review: dGeek is in dHouse

dGeek is in dHouse

This week I discovered something pretty awesome for all the geeks and the geek wannabes. (Geek wannabe, that would be me, just so you know.) David Hewlett -of Stargate Atlantis and Dr. Rodney McKay fame- has started a vlog on Youtube, the dGeek Diaries.

I've only seen two so far, but they're fun, and full of all things geekery.


In this video, David talks about how to make people think you're a genius. Something he's had quite a bit of experience with as Rodney McKay.

The Writing Corner


I've been working on rewriting a secondary storyline in Rodney and the Gonjii, because certain things just weren't working. It gave me a little trouble -I think I've rewritten the first part of it four or five times, coming at it from different angles and perspectives. But now, I think I've finally found the way to tell it. I'm waiting on some feedback, to make sure it's as successful as I think it is, but after that I will write like the wind, Bullseye.

The Reading Nook

I finished two books this week:

  • The Dragon Business by Kevin J. Anderson. With it's 21st century jokes and knowledge mixed with its medieval setting, this book was reminiscent of the Shrek movies, sans ogres. This is a hilarious and irreverent tale of knights in (mostly) shining armor, damsels dodging distress, and conmen. At times, I thought the 21st century influence was a little too heavy; it messed with the supposedly medieval setting, which at times annoyed me, but this was obviously the way Anderson wanted the world to play out. I'm chalking it up to my own personal peeve and giving this book four stars.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. With the movie coming out, I finally decided to stop avoiding this book. It was not quite what I expected. I still haven't fully decided whether I liked it or not. It's a good read, an interesting experience, and I'm glad I read it. The book deals with and talks a lot about death. I found the continual talk of nothing after death and oblivion depressing, although the story was intended to be uplifting despite the subject of terminal illness. Again, I realize this comes down to personal opinion. This was a good book, though I will caution you there is a lot of swearing. I give this book four stars.
In this week's video, In the Spotlight, I talked about audiobooks and one narrator in particular I have come to admire, Katherine Kellgren. Seriously, narrators have talent.


So that's my week. How has yours been?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day

Remember those who have paid the ultimate price, those who have served, those who have dedicated their lives to protecting you and this country. They deserve our support, our respect, and our heartfelt thanks.

Thank you. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Crystal Bridge by Charlie Pulsipher

This week, I finished off a sci-fi book that blew my mind. More than that, it actually got me more interested in science and science fiction again

Check out my book review of The Crystal Bridge, book one of The Lost Shards series by Charlie Pulsipher. I gave this book five stars and, yeah, you should probably read it.

This booktube video kind of turned into a look at the sci-fi genre as a whole because I realized that I don't read as much sci-fi as I like to think I do. The book has great plot and fun characters, but I loved how brilliantly it handled the sci-fi elements. They weren't dumbed down; Pulsipher doesn't shy from complicated science, but he makes sure you understand it through example and context. This book made me feel smart. I grasped the technological concepts, instead of sitting back and scratching my head (as happens with me and sci-fi).

Did I mention great plot? Fun characters? Oh, and dragons. Definitely don't forget those.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Is Anyone Else As Excited for The Librarians As I Am?

Part Warehouse 13. Part Indiana Jones. All Librarian.

If you haven't seen TNT's three Librarian movies, now is definitely the time. They follow the adventures of the Librarian (not a librarian, but THE Librarian) as he collects famous and infamous historical items with mystical properties.

And now, it's coming to the small screen! 'The Librarians' TV show is coming soon. Major characters from the films will all have recurring roles and CHRISTIAN KANE. I've missed this guy since Leverage.

Check out the trailer:


I'm so FREAKING EXCITED! I've been wishing for a show like this.

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Week in Review: The Scavenge-Word Hunt

The Scavenge-Word Hunt

Several years ago –during a NaNoWriMo dare to use the ‘word of the day’ every, um, day– I came across one of the most wonderful words I have ever heard.

Defenestrate. To throw something out a window.

What is so wonderful about this? Honestly, I think I love the fact that there is a word with such a specific meaning. I love that there is actually a single word that relays the action of throwing something out of a window. How cool is that?

I have been on the lookout for this word ever since. Like an adventurer seeking ancient treasure, I have kept an eye and ear out during movies, TV, and books, waiting to hear just one genuine use of this literary gem. I try to use this word myself whenever I can, but as one might imagine, those opportunities to slide ‘defenestrate’ into casual conversation don’t often present themselves. (Can't you see someone throwing this into an argument? "I'm so angry, I could defenestrate you!") I have yet to see anyone actually employ it.

At least, until this week.

Super special bonus points are awarded to Numb3rs (season 2, episode 5) for granting me the first success this four year scavenger hunt has yet produced. Granted, it wasn’t mentioned off-hand, but it tickled me pink to hear it all the same. It gives me hope that this word will rise from obscurity. All the time I’ve spent waiting and watching, after all the heartache and despair, and it has all paid off. 

I knew it would happen someday. I just knew it.

Vocab Fab:

Speaking of rarely used and little known words:

  • Promulgate: Promote or make widely known
I pulled this from Kevin J. Anderson's The Dragon Business (which is so far hilarious). Anderson makes a point, every time he uses this word, of saying how rarely it is used and that the characters have never actually heard it in a sentence before now. Maybe this is the trick to using 'defenestrate' on a more regular basis...

Writing Corner:

Revise, rewrite, realize something doesn’t work, repeat.

Reading Nook:

I finished two books this week:

The Crystal Bridge by Charlie Pulsipher, which gets five stars. This is sci-fi and, while I like to think that I read sci-fi, whenever I try to pick one up I have the hardest time getting into it. Not so much with this one. The hardcore sciencey (that is totally a word) elements of this story is what really drew me in, which is frankly astounding, considering how much I hated science in school. Really, really hated it. I never could wrap my brain around a lot of it. I’m hoping that –in addition to providing a great sci-fi adventure romp with distinct fantasy elements right down to mentions of Tolkien and elves– The Crystal Bridge may have sparked a new interest.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, which gets four stars. I recently watched the BBC miniseries by the same name and absolutely loved it, which meant I had to read the book it was based on. Or in this case, books. If you’ve seen the miniseries, let me warn you that each of its three main storylines is pulled from three different Gaskell novels. (Cranford centers around Miss Matty and Mary Smith.) This is a very sweet book about the small English town of Cranford and the people who live there, and the audiobook's narrator gave a wonderful performance. It’s definitely a different kind of story for me because it’s more about the everyday lives of people in a period community than a particular storyline or event. Whenever I read Gaskell’s work, I always feel that I get a genuine slice of the time, unspoiled by artistic license. But maybe that’s just me.

What are YOU reading this week?

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Favorite Quote from the Fellowship. Seriously.

So I'm cuddled on the couch, re-watching the Fellowship of the Ring for the first time in years, on single-digit volume late late at night, trying not to wake anyone in the house, and it hits me. This movie is epic. Stunning. In all ways awesome. And I realize what my favorite line is.

"Let's hunt some orc."

Not some poignant quote on humanity, not a beacon of hope or optimism in the midst of the dark, not a moment of valiance and bravery. Not the stirring love of Aragorn and Arwen, the devotion of Samwise Gamgee, or the strength and determination of the Fellowship.

Nope, I like "Let's hunt some orc." Complete, of course, with the dramatic shink as Aragorn slams his dagger into its sheath, Gimli's battle cry, and Legolas's rather bloodthirsty smile. Every time it makes me grin. Every. Single. Time.

This may say something about my psychological condition, but really I think it just explains my penchant for action movies.

In other news, referring to my post on Friday concerning the wonderful days of May and its effect on the kitchen chalkboard, this happened:

 Can I just say I love my family?

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Week in Review: May the Fourth Be With You

May the Fourth and Other Things

For Star Wars day (May 4), how could I not write on our kitchen chalkboard 'May the Fourth Be With You'? It was quite beyond my capacity to resist. Little did I know then what I would be starting.

Next, from my sister, came the logical 'Beware Revenge of the Fifth.' And then 'Return of the Sixth'.

Everyone has jumped onto the bandwagon now, and I think this might last us through May. I'm really hoping so, anyway.

May the Seventh is Just like Heaventh

Ain't it great that it's May 8?

Ain't it fine, this May 9?

We could probably use another infusion of creativity, but I love rushing over every morning to see what new message awaits. Because I'm like that.

Speaking of Star Wars...


Vocab Fab

Mien (MEEN) Being expressive of personality or attitude: demeanor

I grabbed this from the Merriam-Webster Online word of the day. This feels like one of those words that isn't used unless you're trying to use it. So I dare you. Use mien in a sentence next week. Do it! Do it!

The Writing Corner

It's coming, coming, coming. In fact, I need to finish this blog so I can get some writing done before work. Yahoo.

My biggest issue this week was distraction. I kept thinking about another project that I've put aside, my unfinished NaNo novel from last year, titled Old Haunts. It's one of my all-time favorite projects (to date) but it needs a lot of work. A LOT of work. On that note, can anyone recommend some good paranormal mysteries?

This other project needs to wait and simmer until I finish Rodney and the Gonjii but *sob* it doesn't want to! 

Ahhhh, writer problems...

Reading Nook

I did not finish any books this week. Rewatching the Lord of the Rings has cut into my reading time. I'm still enjoying The Crystal Bridge by Charlie Pulsipher (SCI-FI! I'm loving the sci-fi!) and Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.

What are YOU reading this weekend?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Enthusiasm and Spoilers: A Thin Line

This is a hysterical sketch by one of my favorite comedy shows, Studio C, about Spoilers. So first, watch this.

This is how my sister is with books. I kid you not. I’m not even allowed to tell her who my favorite character was, if the narrator is funny, or read her a clever one-liner from the dialogue. I can make absolutely no mention of ANYTHING from a book that she hasn’t read, because from that she can detect something vital about the plot.

This has begun to affect my reviews. Sometimes when I’m reviewing a book, I want to talk about how intricate the plot is, how subtly the author brought about an unexpected twist, and how unexpectedly mind-blowing every aspect becomes. But these are things that I restrain myself from saying.


Because if I tell you that there is an awesome twist ending, if I tell you that I thought I had it figured out halfway through the book and I was WRONG -even without revealing specific details or ‘spoilers’- you’re going to expect a twist. You’re going to dissect the story as you read it, picking out the red herrings for what they are, and quite possibly coming to rest on the actual twist ending now that I’ve warned you about how completely off-guard it caught me.

It might not be mind-blowing for you. That twist ending might not be so twisty.
So when I say ‘This book is amazing’ or ‘This book blew my mind’ I am purposefully restraining myself from giving too much away, from spoiling your own mind-blowing experience.

Then again, maybe that’s just me. Is everyone this fastidious when it comes to books and reviews? I could be a weirdo at the wrong end of the pool, but I’d rather tell you it’s a ‘quality book’ then to inadvertently spoil what was such an enjoyable surprise to me.

(Previously published at

Friday, May 2, 2014

My Week in Review and the Best Book I've Read in Ages

The Best Book I've Read in Ages

You know that moment. When you start a book, and every word is just delicious. You wonder What is it that makes this book so wonderful? And why isn't EVERY book like this?

It's not as if I've only read bad books in recent memory. On the contrary, I've read quite a few good ones. But none of them hit me quite like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I couldn't put this one down. Just the right mix of fluff and substance, it was beyond delightful. It was incredible.

I can't help trying to figure out what made this book so incredibly perfect. What raised it above other books that are 'good' or even just 'okay'?

Was it the time period? It takes place in 1946, just after WWII, and within the last few weeks, I've become fascinated with this era.

Maybe it's the subject? It's about an author, trying to find the topic for her next book. I'm an author. I love books about authors.

The characters, the love story, the ever underlying theme of hope and friendship? Or was it just a good book that fell into my lap, at precisely the moment I wanted to read it? How strange if that's how all our favorite books are discovered, if it's only a matter of taste, reader's craving, and timing.

There are probably various answers as to why it is only every so often we encounter a book that we just can't get enough of. I don't know the hard and fast one. I only know that this book is incredible, and you really must give it a try.

Vocab Fab

  • Vociferous: Vehement or clamorous speech
  • Unctuous: Excessively or ingratiatingly flattering; oily

The Writing Corner

Progress on my revision of Rodney and the Gonjii is slow-moving, but moving nonetheless. The most difficult obstacle at the moment is re-organizing everything. I mentioned before that this novel has been in the works for seven years. This means I'm coming up against issues that are a direct result of my inexperience during my younger writing years, like a failure to pre-plot, think things through, or keep a written record. I kept pushing reorganization into a corner, preferring to focus on the writing, but I can't avoid it any longer.

This is going to be messy.


The Reading Nook

This week, I finished two books:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I rated this 4 stars, and you can check out my video review of it right here.

The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer (4 stars). This week's audiobook was one of those things I vowed never, ever to read. Abridged. What is the point of abridging a book I ask you?! Nevertheless, I was convinced to put aside my own feelings about the ruthless removal of print by one very important factor. This audiobook -a regency romance- is narrated by Richard Armitage. And it's wonderful. Not only is it RICHARD ARMITAGE, but he's also an excellent narrator.

I also started Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, which is making it's rounds in the booktube community. This YA has a very interesting and gritty concept --a Homicidal Land of Oz and a Dorothy turned evil. Unfortunately, there was far too much swearing in it, and I didn't get far.

And what about YOU? What are you reading?