Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Floating Loose by Jill Beck

book-floating-looseJust about the only silver lining to a terrible, no good, very bad summer cold is that reading is about the only thing I’m capable of doing and I can get caught up on reading! One of the books in my read pile  was Floating Loose by fellow Boroughs author, Jill Beck. I try to keep my reviews pretty spoiler free but sometimes a little one will slip in there.

There are a lot of good things about this particular story – Rylie is easy to get attached to, and not just for the reader. Before I had kids of my own, I would have identified with her on a different kind of level but I can’t separate out the mom now and I just want to wrap this girl up in the warmest blankets and hug her. It’s a sweet journey with a few pretty wicked curves thrown in there. At first, I was a tiny bit wary because of Rylie’s age but only because I have a teenager of my own. Honestly after that initial reaction, it didn’t matter and was, as it should be, just a little detail of the whole. It is, ultimately, the story of a lost girl who doesn’t quite know what it is she is looking for, or what she’s missing, until she has a chance to find it.

The changing of the heroine’s name off and on should be really confusing but it isn’t (kudos to Ms Beck on that one!). The characters are nicely well rounded but flawed enough not to be too good to be true. I get a little wary of private all girls school stories sometimes because they can be overwhelmingly catty but there’s only really two or three instances of bitchery and one of them you see coming from a mile away.

In short – if you also have a thing for lost orphan stories or sweet coming of age stories, you’ll enjoy it. It’s well written, sweet, engaging, and, best of all, full of growth across the board and not just for the main characters.

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The X Files and All The Feels

I’ve done my less personal reviews of the X Files for the Geek Girl Project – See Part One and Part Two but there are some personal feelings I have about it that don’t really belong there.

I’m not shy about talking about my mother, from whom I inherited the crown to this, my fabulous Geekdom. She introduced me to all the best things. I remember watching Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Buck Rogers with her when I was very small. One day we had an earthquake during Wonder Woman (we lived in Washington at the time). (I admit, my father – the guy who doesn’t do fantasy or science fiction except for what I write – took me to see Star Wars – that was never Mom’s cuppa.)

Then came the X Files. It was treated differently than all the other shows we’d watched together. From the moment the pilot aired, we were solid hooked. It was an order pizza, turn out the lights, unplug the phone event every week that we could share as a family, me, my mom, and my brother (though I don’t think he remembers it much). Other people joined us or didn’t, depending on schedules.

The revival has stirred a LOT of emotions for me. My mom always identified pretty heavily with Dana Scully – an intelligent woman, a feisty redhead who didn’t need a man to be considered a whole person by everyone around her. I nearly burst into tears when Dana came on the screen. Gillian Anderson has aged well and reminds me a great deal of my mother, especially during her strawberry blonde/ soft red phase (before she discovered the copper penny color she loved so much).

It was hard to watch the show and not have someone to throw around speculation and theories after it was done. My family puts up with me doing so anyway but it isn’t the same. I could put them here and air them out but that is also not the same. I guess it’s the one social interaction that I do want to be face to face.

Watching now feels a lot like watching then and that’s awesome. It’s hard to recapture that kind of magic but, for me, I think it’s been quite good at managing. I know that, if my mom were still around, we’d at the very least be on the phone the moment it was over if not making the effort to watch together. That’s the part that makes watching hard. It’s a little like watching Babylon 5 without her or ST:TNG or Sea Quest or VR 5 or Earth 2 (we really watched them ALL). It feels the same watching Doctor Who.

I’m not kidding or exaggerating when I say that watching the new episodes feels like coming home to visit with old friends. It really does. I’ll watch them all and love them but they’ll all make me a little sad too, make me miss my mom a little bit more. She would love what they are doing as she would not have enjoyed how they left the line they are tugging. I’ll be watching. Just as I always have. When it’s done, I will miss it all over again.

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Annoyed

There’s a great deal I want to write about today but most of it is going to wait until tomorrow. Instead, I’m going to bitch about diets – not mine but my father’s diet. We went out to lunch at Eat N Park. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that my dad is a cardiac patient and as such, he follows a pretty strict diet because if he doesn’t, he ends up back in the hospital! Eat N Park has always had a nutritional pamphlet and that pamphlet is why he chose Eat N Park over Bob Evans (which has the massive kitchen guide)  or one of the little local diners (where you have to actually talk to the cook). It seems that Eat N Park has decided (according to the local manager) to discontinue the practice of having actual paper pamphlets on hand, instead, directing their customers to Google it or something about an App. I missed a large part of this conversation as my dad and stepmom got there first.

I’m a little put out by the fact that, when the MANAGER realized that there was a dietary issue with a customer who, for whatever reason, could not access the pdf nutritional information he did nothing. He did not get his own phone and access the information, he did not offer to look it up on a computer or ask the kitchen. Nope. His one and only response was that corporate discontinued that practice.

I don’t know if their allergy information is contained in the same way but if it is, that’s just asking for a reaction. I know it’s shocking in this day and age but not everyone relies solely on the internet for their information/communication. My dad’s phone isn’t always smart (often it has trouble connecting to the internet) and my stepmom has an old flip phone. It seems to me that a great number of people who need to be checking the salt content of a dish or sugars and carbs are exactly the kind of people who don’t necessarily have a smart phone with the ability to check nutritional information.

Seriously, what happens if the network goes down?

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The Crow

I recently reread the original graphic novel by James O’Barr. I watched the movie years and years ago when it first came out. I’ve watched it on pretty much every format it’s been available on. I owned it on VHS and DVD both. It resonated with me deeply in ways I didn’t quite  understand until I was older – a bit like Dune did.

I am about to compare the two pieces. This will mean spoilers if you haven’t read it or watched it. I realize it’s not the sort of thing that everyone likes or gets, but it is well worth both reading and watching. Both are disturbing in their own ways, both are poignant and beautiful and dark. Obviously, I really enjoy The Crow. If you read past this, don’t blame me for spoiling things.

As far as comparing the two, it’s interesting. Both are excellent, awesome things in their own right. There are some differences, but I think there had to be, especially with the girl. Sherry in the comic, Sara in the movie. She was given a far bigger role in the movie than she had in the comic but it was a way to tie it all together. Having someone who knew Eric in life and after gave us a sense of continuity. It also allowed us to immediately trust the sole good cop in the whole movie (split between two cops in the comic without going into depth really with either of them).

There were bigger changes than that. The biggest change is that the movie gave the bad guys a motive for the crime against Eric and Shelly. In the comic, it’s more of a wrong place and wrong time sort of thing than a mission oriented crime. In the movie, the gang of thugs sets upon them for a reason, they were not random targets. I am undecided on this change. It takes away from the senselessness of the crimes that brought Eric back as the avenging angel he is.

The additional characters brought in made the movie richer but their absence does not effect the comic at all. It is the same story. The finale is a little less drama-filled but that doesn’t mean the comic was less than the film in any way.

The rest of the differences were visual, the setting made darker, more dismal with the backdrop of fire and anarchy. It worked very well for the film. And I was overjoyed to discover that all of my favorite lines of dialogue came directly from the comic.

I’m not sure how I feel about a remake of the film at this point. I want Hollywood to find original material. We haven’t had a She-Hulk movie or a Wonder Woman movie yet. Or Lady Death (I would so watch that). There are plenty of comics that haven’t been done that they need to quit mucking with the ones that have. The original movie, despite the differences from the source material, was incredible. From what I’ve read, they’re wanting to stick closer to the source material but, as much as I enjoyed the comic, I think the choices made for the movie worked for that movie with the tone and sound and feel of it. I don’t want to see it messed up and Hollywood seems to love messing up things I love.

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Filed under Comics, Movies, Reviews, Spoilers

Took Me Long Enough – Watchmen

I watched the movie years ago and enjoyed it. I bought the full glossy graphic novel for my brother that Christmas but I never got one for myself. Barnes and Noble had a sale and I saw it available for my Nook. It’s one of those things I’d been meaning to read for a long time and just hadn’t gotten around to it. Now I’ve read it and I am very glad I did.

It does belong on those lists of things people ought to read. And it cements Rorschach as one of my favorite characters ever. I do like to think of alternatives to his ending, like maybe the nonlinear Dr. Manhattan doesn’t rip his atoms apart but merely moves him some time into the future where humanity is back to normal, bickering amongst each other and in need of some masked heroes. Because that time will surely come and probably more quickly than it should. Ozymandias may have understood humanity – in the short term – but it won’t last. The peace is artificial and, at some point, when enough time passes without incident, it will be a fluke, not an invasion. It is a short term solution at best.

When I first saw the movie, I thought Jackie Earl Haley did a fabulous job as Rorschach. Now, having read the book, I can’t see anyone else doing half as good a job in that role. Also, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian was a brilliant bit of casting. The rest seem pretty interchangeable to me – the actors did excellent jobs but really, it could have been almost any decent actor in those roles. Except Ozymandias. He just wasn’t as “larger than life” as his graphic novel counterpart. But that’s all set dressing and of little importance.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled Hellblazer and the much too long list of books I want to read. Next up, Richard Kadrey’s Metrophage. I know I’m way late in reading it but I discovered Kadrey through his Sandman Slim books (so awesome) and I need a fix between now and when the new Sandman Slim novel so I’m giving this one a shot.

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The Geek Girl Project

Yesterday I said something about good news in all the muck going on right now. Today, my first post for The Geek Girl Project went up! Hopefully, it will be the first of many.

A recap of Season Seven, episode one of SyFy’s awesome Face Off. Read it. Face Off Season Seven.

 

 

 

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Review of Sha’Daa Pawns

There is this awesome horror anthology series I’ve been fortunate enough to write for a few times now. The Sha’Daa is a shared world series about the apocalypse. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed writing for them. In Sha’Daa Pawns, my story, Dust, was ridiculously fun to write.

In any case, there’s a review floating around out there and I wanted to share it.  Aphelion

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