New Books & Novel Discoveries (March 2019)

So it would seem March has finally been the fabled light month that I often think is going to happen but rarely actually does. It was honestly very close to being a month where I didn’t buy a single physical book at all, but impulses got the better of me as a walk turned into a trip to the bookstore just to browse, which turned into buying a book. I guess that’s just how it goes.

Anyway, on to the books!Read More »

Book Review – Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Lost Stars

Released as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series of media, Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is a standalone Young Adult Star Wars novel with a largely original cast of characters. It follows the lives of two childhood friends, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, starting when they are only children on the day their home planet of Jelucan is annexed by the Galactic Empire. Growing up with aspirations of joining the Imperial Academy and one day becoming pilots, the pair are inseparable as they work to achieve their dreams. But war looms on the horizon as rebel forces become more and more prominent, thrusting them into a conflict that forces them down opposing paths and challenges whether bonds of loyalty and love for each other can survive the ravages of war.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 27, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Fragile ThingsI’ve admittedly not made a whole lot of progress on Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, though I have read a few stories since last week. I’m starting to notice an intriguing trend in the last few stories I’ve read in this book, which revolve around a young person having a haunting experience with abandoned property/houses. Each story was effective in their own way, while also having a number of elements in common. I wonder if this is happenstance, or will continue in some way throughout this book. I know most of these stories were published before being collected here, but I think it’ll be interesting to keep an eye out nonetheless.


Recently Finished

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1The first book I finished over the weekend was volume one of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, which I posted a review for yesterday. This is my second time reading the book after many years, and while a lot of the story was familiar I didn’t realize just how deep some of the literary cuts were in this book. There were some obvious ones I was ignorant to the first time around—I had no knowledge of the plot of Dracula so had no idea who Mina Murray was—but this book is positively packed with references. By all accounts nearly every named character is somebody from literature.

Lost StarsI also finished Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, which I should have a review up for soon. This book was intensely sentimental and melodramatic in certain ways and I am not ashamed to say I ate it right up. Romance isn’t typically a particular draw for me, but set in the galaxy far, far away against the backdrop of the Galactic Civil War I enjoyed it immensely. It helps that Gray did an excellent job of crafting both characters, with opposing viewpoints, who are both sympathetic and likable in their own right. I hope we get a follow-up story for these characters some day.


Reading Next

The WonderPart of me wants to focus my energy on reading Fragile Things now, but I always meant it to be a supplementary read. That being the case, I think I will start The Wonder by Emma Donahue soon, another book from my scrappy little list. It’s a book I remember little about, but I think that’ll be a nice change of pace to what I’ve been reading recently, with events of Star Wars so well known to me and League volume one being a re-read.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Comic Book Review – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1

In this first volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O’Neill introduce a reimagined Victorian England of 1898, a world wherein characters and events from Western literature of that period and into the 20th century exist. The titular League is formed by Mina Murray, corresponding with MI5 agent Campion Bond (007’s ancestor), who brings together a menagerie of people with exceptional powers and abilities to help combat threats to Britain. After being assembled, their first task is to recover cavorite, a remarkable material with anti-gravity capabilities, that has been stolen by Chinese crime lord The Doctor for his own nefarious purposes.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 20, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Fragile ThingsI’m only read a handful of stories from Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman since last week, but so far I’m continuing to enjoy the book, which doesn’t really come as a surprise to me. I especially enjoyed one story with a ludicrously long title, where a writer of literature in a world of Gothic horror wants to write about mundane, everyday things, which in his reality is complete fantasy/genre fiction. Something unfortunate I am noticing in my reading, however, is my reaction to some of the poems, of which there have only been a couple so far. I retain almost nothing about these poems after I’ve finish them, which I find regrettable. I don’t want to linger on them too long either though.

Lost StarsI’m pretty far along into Lost Stars by Claudia Gray now as well, which I’m enjoying very much. I don’t have a lot of experience with such books, but by all accounts this book is very YA, but I’m enjoying that quite a lot. The dual protagonists’ story at the Imperial academy transitioned into events from the original Star Wars films pretty quickly and I really enjoy the way they’re integrated. The biggest, impactful moments from those films ripple into their lives in big ways, but the book isn’t pretending these characters secretly had crucial roles either. They remain background characters and I really like that, because it becomes easy to believe they’ve really been there the whole time.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, though I expect there will be more than one sitting here next week.


Reading Next

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1Well, well, well, here we are a week later and I didn’t make up my mind on a comic book to read in time. For shame. That being said, I actually have made up my mind on a comic to read, I just haven’t started it yet. It’s the first volume of the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. I actually read this book years and years ago, but never had a look at the second volume. In prep for eventually acquiring that, I decided to read volume one again. On my first reading I barely had an understanding of who these literary figures were as well, so I’m hoping my reading experience will be very different this time.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Movie Review – Alita: Battle Angel

AlitaPoster

Alita: Battle Angel is a cyberpunk action film directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring Rosa Salazar as Alita. The film is based on a Japanese manga series published in the 1990s called Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita in the English translation) by Yukito Kishiro. The film takes place in the year 2563, 300 years after a devastating interplanetary war known as “The Fall” has left human civilization in ruins. That is, except for Zalem, the last sky city that remained after the war. Iron City dwells on the ground below, where refugees from all across the world congregated to flee the catastrophe. While searching through a scrap pile ejected from Zalem, cyber surgeon Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers a disembodied cyborg with a still-living human brain. Taking her home and restoring her with a new body, the cyborg is named Alita by Dr. Ido after she regains consciousness and finds she has no memory of who she is or where she came from.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 13, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Fragile ThingsI started reading Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman the other day when I had trouble falling asleep. The introduction section was the same as that in Smoke & Mirrors—Gaiman went through each story giving a little blurb about what he remembers when writing it, or something to that effect. I skipped that this time around. I read that section first before and retained almost nothing. I’d like to be able to appreciate what he’s saying, so I’m going to read the stories first (though it nags at me that I’m skipping over a section). The first story was a Lovecraftian re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes and I honestly wish it were a whole novel.

Lost StarsI also started reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray last night. Though noticeably more YA than the other Star Wars books I’ve been reading, I’m really enjoying how zeroed-in the story is on ordinary people so far. It’s following two young aspiring pilots on a world in the Outer Rim. It’s interesting to see events from their more naive perspective, such as the arrival of the Empire when they came under their rule. They see it as greater civilization finally coming to their world, and while there are hints to the darker truth, you can see how some citizens would view the Empire as something positive.


Recently Finished

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I finished reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, and posted my review yesterday. It was one of the easiest 5 out of 5’s I’ve ever given. I was expecting to find the book interesting, but I was really not expecting such delight from reading a science book. It’s great as a detailed overview of the dinosaurs’ time on Earth, but honestly I could have read a book on each period. There were some great chapters on tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaur species and I’d love to read more extensive chapters on other species. I might have to dive deeper into reading about this subject.


Reading Next

With two books just started, I’m once again at a loss regarding what I’ll read next. I should pick up a comic book, but I’m currently cursed with indecision on that front. This is pretty silly considering the physical and digital stack of them that I’ve got languishing, but here we are. I’m sure I’ll decide on something by next week, but I’m pretty sure I said that last week. Whoops.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte is a nonfiction paleontology book published in 2018 that tells the story of the dinosaurs. It starts from their emergence on a dramatically changed Earth in the Triassic period, to their growth into dominance in the Jurassic period, and finally their peak in the Cretaceous period before their catastrophic end. Though surely only a snapshot into an extensive scientific field, what it offers the everyday reader is a vivid look into what scientists currently know about dinosaurs and how they have learned what they know. In doing so the book also presents an equally valuable glimpse into the field and lab work of paleontologists throughout history and in the modern era.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 6, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursReading this week has been a little more slow-going, so I’m still in thick of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steven Brusatte. That being said, I’m still enjoying the book immensely. I really like how it gets into the evolutionary history of how these creatures likely functioned, such as how sauropods evolved to be so massive and how they could maintain such huge sizes. There is a great balance between the history of these eras and anecdotes about work in the field, including where fossils can be found today and why. Excited;y telling people facts I’ve learned from what I’m reading is a simple joy that I haven’t had with a book in a long time.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, which I again attribute to it being a slow week for me. With no more Berserk to read I was not compelled to pick up and read a comic book. Oh well, there’s always the week to come.


Reading Next

Fragile ThingsI still intend to read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray next, but I can’t help but think I need to read something else concurrently to bump up the numbers on my finished books a bit. Skimming my scrappy little list right now (literally) I have decided also start Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman soon. I always prefer a short story collection as a concurrent read, and what better than another of Gaiman’s. Turns out one of the stories within is connected to American Gods as well. Marvelous!

Until next week, thank you for reading!