Kubo and the Two Strings: A Review

Once every week or so, a friend comes over to my house for a long standing movie/tv night with the roommates. I’ve occasionally skipped out if I’ve had other things going on, missed an episode or two of the series they’ve been watching, or have placed writing time (productive) over movie time (consumptive). This week is a week that I’m glad I did not skip out. This was the week we watched a charming film called Kubo and the Two Strings. Continue reading

NerdCon: Stories 2015 !

Good day, gentle readers! Today I’m finally bringing you my long overdue recap of the wonderful NerdCon; Stories 2015. This post is long and a bit ramble-y, so most I’ll sum it up at the top by saying that this was one of the best conventions I’ve ever been to, all of the presenters were amazing, and driving 3000 miles can give you a pinched nerve in your shoulder.

The first few days are road trip related, skip to the middle if you just want to read about NerdCon.

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Book Review: Hit

Good day, friends, strangers, and web crawling robots! It’s time for another book review. Since I was in the air last week, I diverted once again from my big stack of books from home and switched to an audiobook (I get motion sick, so me reading on planes is a bad idea for everyone) of Hit by  Delilah S. Dawson! Here’s a BookPeople link (support local) and the audible link (in case you need the words read to you).

The basic (spoiler-free) premise behind Hit is that America’s debts have been bought out by a huge bank. In order to get rid of freeloaders, the bank offers two choices: pay in full, or become a debt collector for a period of five days. Anyone unwilling or unable to do either will be killed by their debt collector. Hit follows Patsy, a seventeen year old girl, as she starts her five days of indentured servitude with a list of ten names.

Dawson’s writing style is fast paced and easy to understand, a plus for an action novel. There are elements of comedy and romance woven unobtrusively throughout. It’s a coming of age story. It’s a mystery. It’s an action adventure road trip thriller. It’s less genre blending and more genre smoothie making, but the result is quite tasty.

This book claims to be Teen/YA. As a thirty something year old, I’d say that it can also be enjoyed by folks a bit older (or I’m just really immature) . Either way, don’t be put off by the label/shelving.

Goodreads/Amazon/Bookpeople also claim Hit is dystopian. That’s the part I find the most interesting about this book. It’s not really dystopian, not in the traditional sense. One of the most unsettling things about this novel is how normal everything is for everyone else. It’s pre-dystopian. You, as the reader, get to see the birth of a dystopia, and that’s really freakin’ cool. Like, worthy of ALL CAPS COOL. There’s also a message about handling debts and not building a life on credit that really might be why it’s classified as a YA book, so it can reach people for whom it’s not already too late.

Now, my biggest disclaimer. This book is from an unfinished series. If you’re the type of person that will reach the end, scream “MOTHERFUCKER!” and spend a few minutes glaring at the back cover hoping that the next novel will spring fully formed from the author photo, then, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s no ending-of-the-first-lord-of-the-rings-movie, but there’s also not everything wrapped up in a nice bow with subtle hints there might be more.

Since this is the first audiobook I’ve reviewed, I want to give a shout out to Rebekkah Ross for an amazing performance. She truly exemplified the character of Patsy, managing to pull off quirky-semi-sullen-but-mostly-cheerful teenage assassin. I look forward to hearing her (hopefully) read the next installment.

TLDR: Fast-paced action/adventure/road trip/thriller/coming of age/pre-dystopian mystery. YA-ish. Quite enjoyable. Best first line I’ve read in a while. (5/5)

Book Review: Aftermath

Today’s book review bring you my thoughts on Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath.

Most of you might have noticed that a fair number of my posts have started with “Flash Fiction Challenge:” and in the little blurb before each story, I include a link to the blog at terribleminds.com, the wordy-talky-type-place hosted by none other than Aftermath’s author, Chuck Wendig. This is my roundabout way of saying that I came to this story on a different lead than a fair number of folks reading it.

I grew up on Star Wars. Being a bit too young for the theatrical release, I still managed to wear out a Betamax copy of Return of the Jedi. More specifically, the Tatooine portion of that film. Once they got to the live action care bears, my five year old attention span wandered, and I never quite grew out of it. I was excited as anyone when the prequels were announced, and just as disappointed with how they turned out (though I still think 2 & 3 are watchable, but that’s the subject of another blog post). I gave up three episodes in to the clone wars cartoon, and, most relevant to this, I’ve never read any of the Expanded Universe books. I picked up this book because a) it was announced as official cannon and b) written by a writer who’s works I’ve read and enjoyed.

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