08 JulSummer catch up! Books 9-14

In an effort to catch up on my missing blog posts, I bring you books 9-14 in as cop-out short reviews….

Bossypants

 

Tina Fey is one of my nerd girl heroes. That said, when she released an autobio of course I had to read it! I devoured Bossypants by Tina Fey in only a few days. Written with her typically humour, this book had me busting a gut. Four stars.

 

Pyongyang

 

Pyongyang by Guy Delisle is a great travel journal graphic novel. Working at an animation company in North Korea, it’s interesting his perspective inside this locked down country. Though it can be dark at times, Deslisle infuses the story with a fair amount of humour. Four stars.

 

Paths of Disharmony

 

Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony by Dayton Ward was by far my favourite of the Typhon Pact books. It brings together many threads that appeared in the other three books. I really like the tension in this book, with difficult balances dealing with the fall out of the Borg war and the creation of the Pact. It also plants the seed for the Vanguard series, which I didn’t have much interest in until I read this book. Four stars.

Unbroken

 

Unbroken by Rachel Caine is the last book in the Outcast Season series. While I haven’t enjoyed this series nearly as much as the Weather Warden series, this was my favourite book from the quartet. It brings the series full back in line with the WW series timeline, as Cassiel and Luis have to decide whether to fight with the Wardens or fight for their own cause. Four stars.

I've Got your number

 

I’ve Got Your Number is the latest book by Sophie Kinsella. Light and fluffy, it was what you might typically expect from the author. Though the situation was pretty unbelievable (the heroine steals a phone from a garbage can when she loses hers), it still made for a cute story. Three stars.

 

Burma Chronicles

 

Burma Chronicle by Guy Delisle is another travel journal graphic novel. This time it’s the author’s trip to Burma, this time with his family. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as his other because I found it focused more on his friends and their follies than it did his life in the country. Still interesting though. Three Stars.

01 JulForgotten History 22

Forgotten History My latest Trek read was Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History by Christopher L Bennett. The second book in the DTI series, it acts as both a sequel and prequel to the first.

The sequel part comes in when the DTI team is investigating the mysterious appearance of a starship not of this time period. The vessel is trapped in an anomaly of sorts, keeping it in several timelines at once. What’s more surprising – and frustrating for the DTI agents – is the fact that this is a Constitution-class starship with the warp signature from the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701. That can only mean one thing: James T Kirk.

The prequel part comes when the DTI agents begin digging into their archives to find traces of this mysterious ship, labeled Timeship Two and attached to the DTI. The book begins to delve into almost every temporal happenstance that involved the Enterprise and her crew throughout the Original Series and the Animated Series. Ultimately this part is the story of the creation of the DTI.

Overall the book was okay. I love the characters of Lucsly and Dulmur, their humour, and Lucsly’s continuing hatred of Kirk. I love the concept of the DTI. It’s an agency charged with the safe keeping of the timeline without doing any time travel. And though they are a Federation agency, they aren’t run by Starfleet. I always find it refreshing to see another angle of the Federation, and this book definitely provides it while staying in the Trek universe.

I also enjoyed the fact that it deals with the issue that history isn’t always accurate. History is written by the victors to make themselves look good, and in this case, has been molded to make the original DTI Director Grey look quite noble despite the fact that she didn’t live by her morals at the end.

Admittedly though, I found the first half of the book boring. Whereas in the first book previous temporary events were addressed as mentions or through the eyes of these new characters, most of this book’s events happen at the point of view of TOS era characters… even if they are new ones. I would have liked to see more from our current timeline DTI characters.

I enjoyed the second half more when we really got to see the issues and investigations around Timeship Two.

I do have to applaud the author for what was likely a fair amount of research to tie all these stories together. It would be tough to keep track of it all, let alone weave them all into a cohesive tale.

Though my rating in the end was three stars, I hope to see more from this series!

29 MayWatching the Clock 18

Did you know I started a Star Trek book club on Goodreads? No? Well then what are you waiting for, go join!

DTI Watching the ClockIn preparation for the club’s first official pick – DTI: Forgotten History by Christopher L Bennett – I wanted to read the first book in this new Trek series. Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock by Christopher L Bennett asks the question.. when our favourite characters go mucking about with time travel, who deals with the repercussions?

Enter the DTI team.

If you’ve seen the Deep Space 9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”, then you’ve already met two of this book’s main characters. Lucsly and Dulmur are introduced in that episode, investigating the temporal incident where the Defiant ends up back in the NCC-1701′s era. And though this incident is mentioned in the book, it’s not what the story is about.

The Department of Temporal Investigations is tasked with protecting the timeline and making sure nobody violates the Temporal Prime Directive. Of course with personalities like Kirk, Picard, Janeway et al who keep mucking about with time travel, the DTI have their work cutout for them.

The story largely centers around Lucsly and Dulmur, though we’re introduced to other DTI agents and their DTI duties.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. Time travel Trek episodes tend to be some of my favorites, so so I can’t say I’m surprised I liked this one. I especially liked the fact that while it is a Trek book, it’s not Starfleet-centric. It’s nice to see another slice of Federation life. The fact that for once Starfleet has a watchdog is great. As fun as it is for our known crews to go jumping around time all willy-nilly, there are consequences to their travels.

I also enjoyed the fact that this book showed us more than one team from the department, and that each team member’s experiences are different. Though my initial impressions was that the story was going to be told from Dulmur’s point of view, it actually goes between our leads. The book also jumps back and forth within it’s own timeline as it world builds for the DTI. I can imagine it was a tricky for the author to have so many jumps between time and character, and not confuse the reader with all the threads he was telling. He did a masterful job of keeping things tied up together.

Many of the storylines we find in the various TV series were brought together as well, which is an effort in itself.

My only complaint with this is that while I didn’t find the jumps in time confusing, the time stamps themselves were. I’ve never had an easy time figuring out Trek’s stardates, so the alternative calendars added a bit more confusion for me. However if I ignored them and just focused on the Downtime / Present time indicators I had no trouble following the timelines.

I’d also like to warn interested readers that this book has a high level of tech talk and technobabble in it. Though I enjoy the technical side (I play an engineer in the Trek RPG I’m a member of, so I’m used to techspeak myself), I can see people who aren’t used to it having to pay a bit more attention.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It had shades of Men in Black, James Bond, and many other spy books. I give this four stars! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into the next one.

20 MayBlack and White 17

I’m going to work backward on my list, because I don’t want to start forgetting some of these most recent books. I know it’ll make the older reviews I need to write a little more tricky to do. But alas, it’s my own fault.

Black and WhiteAnyway, book 17 was Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlyn Kittredge. I can’t really remember how I stumbled across this book. It’s been on my TBR list for a long time, but it wasn’t available in print anymore (that I could find, anyway). So on my recent holiday I wanted to take my ereader, it was the perfect book for me to download and take.

In a future world where superheroes walk the streets, former best friends Callie Bradford (Iridium) and Joan Greene (Jet) are now mortal enemies. Jet is a straight-laced, by the book superhero who is charged with the task of protected the city of New Chicago. Iridium keeps one of New Chicago’s sectors under her boot, practically running the underworld. They haven’t seen each other for over five years, until a mysterious plot begins to have them running into each other.

I really enjoyed this story! I wasn’t certain I would because I tend to have a love-hate relationship with Urban Fantasy. But because my own story writing has taken me in this direction, I’ve decided to read more into the genre.

As a co-authored book, Kessler writes as Jet and Kittredge writes as Iridium. I likely wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t seen someone post this on Goodreads. The story flows back and forth between the two smoothly, with only the odd gap in chronology. It also jumps back and forth in time, which can sometimes grate on my nerves. But in this story it serves the purpose of building the world in which Jet and Iridium live, as well as constructing how these two former best friends became mortal enemies. It was a realm that was fun and different, and it was nice to have female superheroes as front and center.

The action in this story is continuous, and I didn’t really find any points where I wanted to put it down. I have to give the disclaimer that a few points were predictable, but not to the point that it took away from the book.

All in all I really enjoyed this book – it was refreshing! I give it four stars. Can’t wait to read the second book!

08 AprTransformation Space 8

I’m afraid this is going to be a short review, since I’m starting to fall behind in writing up my reads…. The gap between when I’ve read this and now that I’m reviewing is getting big!

The good thing about getting the next book in a series, is that I have the next book in a series and get to read the rest of the story – relief! The bad thing about getting the next series, is that it could be the last book in the series and when I’m done reading it there’s no more – bummer!

Transformation SpaceThat’s where I found myself as I went into the fourth and final book in the Sentient of Orion series by Marianne de Pierres, Transformation Space. I’ve been loving this series and was itching to get my hands on this book, but I wanted to pace myself so that I don’t blast through it too quickly.

In this book, all the threads come together. War is breaking out across the Orion League of Sentient Species (OLOSS), between them and the extropists.

Whereas the first book had much slower pacing as it developed the story, Transformation Space ends things on a bang! The pacing barely slows to give the characters a breath. Again I found myself not wanting to finish the end of a chapter because I knew it would bring a change of character’s perspective – but then the new character started and I didn’t want to stop that one.

One thing that I’m not certain about is the biozoon Insignia’s want of Mira’s daughter. Nova does have a stronger tie to the biozoon, but apart from that I’m not sure the point. It was the only one of the threads that I felt could use a better wrap up.

All in all I loved this series, and it will stay in my bookcase for an eventual reread. Five stars! Now to see if I can track down some more of the author’s books, since they can be tricky to find in Canada!

31 MarOrganizing the Bookshelf

It’s been quiet around the blog – apologies! New job means less time for read and writing.

But here’s another video!

04 MarCanadian Pie 7

Canadian PieReleased in October, Canadian Pie by Will Ferguson is a collection of the author’s works: from his travels across Canada, to scripts his written for radio shows and the Olympics, to articles he’s written over the years. It’s a funny and satirical look on Canada.

Every Canadian should read at least one of Will Ferguson’s books. And if you haven’t yet, then shame on you. The funniest writer in Canada, Ferguson often offers great insight into the things that make us Canadians.

I have to admit, my favourite section is about “Big Objects by the Road”. When I was little I used to love it when driving across the Manitoba plains we would come to something huge next to the road. I’d insist on stopping (we seldom did). Thinking back, I think my favourite things were the catfish outside of Smitty’s in Selkirk or Happy Rock in Gladstone. The Lower Mainland seems to miss out on the “Big Objects by the Road” phenomenon.

This latest book definitely lives up to the rest. A lot of his stories left me with a serious case of giggles, if not a full on laugh out loud. Others were definitely touching.

Loved this book and recommend it. Five stars.

06 FebBy the Book 6

While waiting for the next Trek book to come in at work (since I’m reading them in release order, and my pile had run out) I decided to go back to the beginning of the Enterprise books and read through them.

Enterprise: By the BookEnterprise: By the Book by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch is the second of the Star Trek: Enterprise books (so early was it published, it doesn’t fall into the Star Trek titling yet). The crew of the NX-01 are out exploring, when they come across their first planet with sentient life, not yet discovered by the Vulcans. The species is just warp capable, and even though T’Pol urges caution, Captain Archer decides to make first contact. It gets bungled through a misunderstanding, but it leads to the discovery of a second species on the planet.

All in all I enjoyed this book. It was easier than other Trek books I’ve read lately. The plot wasn’t overly complicated, but it was still a fun read. I also liked the fact that it was more lighthearted than some of the Trek books I’ve read lately, one that deals with the optimism and hope of early Starfleet. Could be why Enterprise was my favourite series.

About every second chapter surrounds some of the crew in the mess hall, trying to find something to pass the time. I like the fact that entertainment was something not thought of for the mission, and so the crew have to come up with their own ways to keep busy. This one group starts up an old fashioned (for the time period) pen and paper Role Play Game. Though it doesn’t contribute to the overall of the story, it’s a neat insight into the off hours of the crew – particularly in a time before holodecks.

The most difficult thing with this book was that the last Enterprise book I read was The Good That Men Do. It was hard to forget a lot of the development that the characters have gone through between By the Book and Good That Men Do (not to mention what happened in the shows). In this one, the characters are still fresh faced and naïve to what they might find in space. That said, it was fun to go back to the beginning of Enterprise, and has made me want to rewatch the show!

I give this book three stars; definitely give it a try!

06 FebSailor Moon Vol 3.

Sailor Moon Volume 3This is just a quick little review for book #5: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon 03 by Naoko Takeuchi.

I love the cover! Sailor Mars is definitely my favourite Sailor Scout. I always have to say she’s much nicer in the manga than she is in the TV show, along with other characters. Even though the story progresses more quickly than the show, I’ve found that the characters and story has far more development than the show ever did.

It’s definitely re-ignited my passion for Sailor Moon again!

29 JanLaguna Cove 4

In the mood for chicklit, I’d picked up an omnibus of Alyson Noel books that came out over the summer. Having read an enjoyed her only adult chicklit, I figured her young adult fiction would have a similar feel.

Was I bummed when I found I was wrong.

Laguna CoveThe first book in the omnibus is Laguna Cove. Anne has moved to the west coast due to her parent’s divorce, and she’s not happy about it. As the new girl in school, she meets Ellie, Chris, Lola, and Jade. Chris teaches her how to surf, and they eventually start dating. The group parties. There’s a surfing competition.

Overall, I really didn’t like this book. It felt like pulling teeth for me to get through this, since there was no plot at all. I almost stopped several times because of this, but I pushed on with the hopes it would get better.

It didn’t.

When I say there was no plot, I mean it. There was no climax, no reason to worry. It’s just shallow teenage girls worrying about their shallow teenage girl lives. Even when things start to get worrisome – Jade’s friend who gets into trouble – we never really find out what happens. The friend moves away and the next chapter there’s no mention of him again.

For the most part the telling of this story is really choppy. The chapters are two pages long, and in them you don’t really get a good glance into their friends lives. Anne’s parents just divorced, and now her mother is getting remarried. Anne’s upset, but the most we see is her have a hissy fit and nothing more. We don’t really see that tension play out.

The characters are shallow and other than that, have no personality.

Then there’s Jake, this random twenty something hired by Anne’s father as an errand boy. For whatever reason he lives in the house with Anne, and doesn’t serve much purpose except to be a thorn in Anne’s side. The story could have easily been told without Jake.

All in all I’d avoid this book. There are much better young adult books with actual story lines on the market right now.

Zero Stars. I’m not even going to bother with the second book in the omnibus.