Archive for June, 2009

Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop – Simon Guerrier (Sci-Fi)

I borrowed this from the library 3 weeks ago (it’s due tomorrow!) and hadn’t planned on actually reading it… for some reason, I just couldn’t muster the courage to pick up a book based on the beloved show, because I didn’t want to waste my time with some cheap, contrived version of Doctor Who. Also, I tend to have a strict policy against reading books based on TV shows (okay, fine… I admit I’ve read some Star Trek & Star Wars books… so sue me!). Then, I read on someone’s thread (I can’t remember who, augh! Sorry!) that they had just read several Doctor Who books and enjoyed them. “Hmmm”, said I, “Perhaps I’ll give it a go after all.”

Well, read it I did, just this afternoon in a few hours. It was a quick, fun read that made for an entertaining diversion from the work I should have been doing. Oops. But I couldn’t put it down! I thought the writer did an excellent job of capturing the Doctor (Tennant’s version) and Martha, with their signature phrases and personality traits and all. Even the ending sort-of made sense, in the Doctor Who-y sort of way that we’ve all come to love and cherish.

Needless to say, I was surprised and very pleased to have enjoyed this one so much. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more.

Rating: 3.5 coffees out of 5

InterWorld – Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves (YA)

Intriguing concept, fast-paced story, and enough world-building to make me wonder if they ever wrote a sequel… apparently the concept they use for this novel was originally an idea the two of the authors came up with for a TV show, but no one was interested. Then, about a decade later, a publisher mentioned to Gaiman that people might like to read this book (go figure, considering Gaiman’s success), so they dusted it off, polished it up, and published.

I’m going to be very disappointed if nothing else was written/will be written based on this multi-universe concept. I think it was very well done, and many of the usual problems with traveling between alternate realities (ie. consistency of time, questions of gravity on alternate Earths, etc.) were actually addressed or commented on. Fairly intelligent for a YA novel of this variety, if I do say so myself.

It’s well worth the evening spent devouring this one!

Rating: 3 coffees out of 5

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The 39 Clues – Book 2: One False Note

- Gordon Korman (Children’s Fiction)

Again, a strong story with continuous action that will appeal to young male readers in particular. In my review of the first book, I said I was really rooting for this series to succeed, and after reading book 2, I reaffirm my statement! I won’t say much, since you’ll need to start with book 1 (Maze of Bones) but it’s a quick, enjoyable read that’s fun for children and adults alike. I think the idea of having different authors for each book is also an excellent concept, and I didn’t find there to be any continuity or tone issues between these first two books.

Rating: 3.5 coffees out of 5

Why Don’t Cats Like to Swim?: an Imponderables Book – David Feldman (Humor/Reference)

This was a fun read to pick up and go through in segments. It’s basically one of those ‘random question and answer’ books, and I have to admit, I learned a few new facts that I don’t think I’ll ever forget: for example, ever wonder why you can’t buy shelled ‘cashew nuts’, though you can buy all other nuts still in their shell? It’s because… *drum roll please*… cashews aren’t nuts, they’re seeds! Mmm-hmm, it’s true! And if you want to know more, read this book (or you could Google it, but which one is more fun?).

I’ll be the first one to say, it makes great bathroom reading. *heehee*

Rating: 2.5 coffees out of 5

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3
Jun

Branching Out

   Posted by: Faith    in Creating Coldcuts

Today, I started writing a small report/ebook in an area I’m interested in. It concerns a topic of great interest, and I came up with it on the fly, thinking that it was probably something I could write the fastest out of all the other ideas I have. I spent a few hours doing a bit of research to complement my existing knowledge, and I made a brief topic outline.

So far, I’ve written about 2000 words and I’m still in section #1, sitting at page 5. When I was discussing the ideal size of a small report like this with my husband, he suggested 15-20 pages. Hmm… evidently I’m a bit more long-winded than I thought. I could break it up into smaller chunks… but I don’t think that would suit the topic.

Either way, if I can write 2-4k on this each day, it should be done fairly quickly, and I think it will be a good product. It’ll take a day or so to edit, format, and include images – and get a website up to sell & market it on – but I think it will be helpful to those who need the information.

That’s something that drives me a bit nuts about the internet… yes, there are piles of information out there, but more often than not, you need to visit 10-20 websites to get all the information you need… especially with a topic where you need to be very thorough. What I like to do is read as much as I can about a topic, let it mull about in my brain, and then condense it all into one place. I’ll include opposing viewpoints, the various suggestions from all my sources, and then indicate what I believe to be the most logical solution.

It’s my hope that writing small reports or ebooks like this will be genuinely helpful to those who are looking for the information… because as long as I can continue to find topics that I know something about and that I have a passion for, I really don’t mind writing non-fiction material. As much as I’d love to sit around and write stories all day, the truth of the matter is that it isn’t really affordable right now… and to succeed in this business, you need to branch out and be flexible.

Hopefully I can keep that writing fire burning and maintain the necessary level of productivity…

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Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of “The Little Mermaid” – Debbie Viguie (YA)

This is my second foray into the ‘Once Upon a Time’ series of retellings, and after Belle, this one had a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite make it for me. I realize that the original story had few details and could be easily re-imagined in a variety of ways, but I thought Viguie took it too far and was unable to capture the magic and tragedy of the original fairy tale. Too many secondary characters who seemed forced into place, combined with a happy ending that felt far too Disney-esque (in fact, there were many occasions when I wondered whether she was retelling the original version or the Disney version, which was frustrating), made this one less than outstanding for me. I would have liked to see an element of the original tragic ending, but somehow refined to be wondrous and optimistic… oh well.

Rating: 2 coffees out of 5

Big Boned – Meg Cabot (Chick Lit)

This is the third book in a series, after Size 12 Isn’t Fat and Size 14 Isn’t Fat Either. I quite enjoyed the previous two… I thought they were light, funny, and entertaining. Book 3… not so much. I think maybe Cabot just wanted to wrap up her characters from the previous two books, because this one suffered from a severe case of “nothing happens”. These are supposed to be pure escapist chick lit mysteries… and while the previous two books have a ridiculous mystery and silly action while the heroine keeps trying to solve a crime when she knows nothing about police work, this one had, well… uh… I remember she had a protein shake at one point and thought it was gross… that was exciting… or not.

I read it all the way through in one sitting (because I was forcing myself to relax, hah), but I think I could have done without this one. My verdict is: read the first two, then stop and don’t bother with this one. It’s not necessary, and it’ll spoil the smile on your face from the previous two.

Rating: 1.5 coffee out of 5

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