Monday, January 30, 2012

REVIEW: Enterprise: The First Adventure by Vonda McIntyre



A wonderful introduction to the universe of Star Trek: The Original Series. The depth of the characters given by McIntyre was exquisite and the background of reminiscence was beautiful as it gave even greater depth to the individuals and their world. More than anything I loved the tiny mentions sprinkled throughout the book of quirks and aspects of alien-ness, such as Mr Spock becoming lightheaded from the lighter gravity of the Enterprise. Even more was the devotion to give an alien race, and one newly discovered, their own view of the universe and the differences in interaction and language as she did between the crew of the Enterprise and the flyers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

REVIEW: When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka


 A poetically written work that flows beautifully through the emotions of the family. The division of the book into chapters with a point of view of each family was a wonderful idea. As a whole a book which draws powerful emotions and causes a deep look into the past.
It was truly the small aspects in the book which made it so real and emotional.  The daughter's feelings shown through her words and the actions we are told of through the boy.  The daughter cut up a rope and she drew away from the boy as she became a woman.  The boy also gave away a great deal of the mother's thoughts as he sees her wonder through the life at camp and lose herself in memories of the past.  Even when they were released there was the feeling that nothing had changed.  They still slept in the same spots and they stayed safe in their routines.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Laptop Giveaway at Sparkling Reviews



I have been attempting to get my hands on one of these for a giveaway for sometime. And now here it is! One lucky winner will win an Alienware M18x Gaming Laptop. This is going to be sent directly from Dell. So before you enter please make sure that Dell ships to your country.

Alienware™ M18x: The Most Powerful 18" Laptop in the Universe!
  • With powerful graphics options, including NVIDIA® SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™ technologies, the Alienware M18x delivers desktop performance in a mobile chassis. 
  • Put the competition to shame with an optional factory-overclocked Intel® Core™ i7 Extreme processor.
  • If an 18.4" full HD display isn't big enough, you can wirelessly blast 3D games and HD content to any properly equipped external display. Note: 3D viewing requires additional equipment, sold separately2.

Relentless Power

Get desktop performance in a laptop-sized package. It's the ultimate unfair advantage: the Alienware M18x laptop delivers the power you need to obliterate anyone or anything that stands in your way.

Alienware M18x Overclocked Logo RedOverclocked to Overpower: Overpower your online enemies by upgrading to a factory-overclocked Intel® Quad Core™ i7 Extreme CPU to 4.0GHz featuring Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 for powerful performance and lightning speed.
Alienware M18x
Advanced Memory Options: The Alienware™ M18x laptop comes locked and loaded with up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM3 at speeds up to 1600MHz for the ultimate multitasking experience.
Alienware M18x
New Hybrid Hard Drives: It's a win-win situation for every gamer: the SSD performance you crave, with the HDD capacity you need. Are you looking for the colossus of hard drive options? Select an optional dual RAID 0 configuration for extreme performance.
 
Head on over to  Sparkling Reviews and enter to win!

Monday, January 16, 2012

REVIEW: The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

A very difficult book to read it never the less was interesting in some aspects. The style of writing is very fluid and I find myself enjoying the way the author integrated both questions and his own thoughts in a way that has me thinking a great deal. This is one of the few books which does not have me not wanting to finish due to it being written in second person. Instead the work is in a way speaking with me on the subject and yet not lecturing either. It is rather strange, and yet it does bring a great deal of thinking, the way that Camus has statements throughout the book that are ended by question marks. It is almost as though he is questioning both himself and the reader. The same is true for the times that he ends his questions with periods as though he does not want an answer but merely wishes to have the question stated.
The distinction being made between logic and emotions is one that is familiar to me, by way of Star Trek. The distinction is constant throughout the Original Series as Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock and their continuous spats about the virtues of logic as opposed to emotions.
Much of what Camus speaks of is immediately applicable to real life and as such allows me to understand to a greater extent that which he desires to communicate to his readers. Furthermore the shifts of topic flow so smoothly that at times I am hardly aware of the change.

The style of writing is very fluid and I find myself enjoying the way the author integrated both questions and his own thoughts in a way that has me thinking a great deal.  This is one of the few books which does not have me not wanting to finish due to it being written in second person.  Instead the work is in a way speaking with me on the subject and yet not lecturing either.  It is rather strange, and yet it does bring a great deal of thinking, the way that Camus has statements throughout the book that are ended by question marks.  It is almost as though he is questioning both himself and the reader.  The same is true for the times that he ends his questions with periods as though he does not want an answer but merely wishes to have the question stated.
The distinction being made between logic and emotions is one that is familiar to me, by way of Star Trek.  The distinction is constant throughout the Original Series as Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock and their continuous spats about the virtues of logic as opposed to emotions. 
Much of what Camus speaks of is immediately applicable to real life and as such allows me to understand to a greater extent that which he desires to communicate to his readers.  Furthermore the shifts of topic flow so smoothly that at times I am hardly aware of the change.
The later half of the Myths of Sisyphus Camus delves into the subjectivity in relation to personal life choices and view of the world.  The idea that anyone can have and aspect of their life which they devote themselves to and find fulfillment in.   Any individual can find an aspect or as the case of Don Juan in a specific emotion.  Don Juan's life fulfillment is to be in love at all moments of his life.  It does not matter that the love is not specific to one individual but rather he feels that he allows his partners to experience love at least once in their life.
Concerning the section on conquest:
It is said that actions speak louder than words but how does one judge actions? One can only judge one's self by their own standards; whether or not these standards fit with those of the society.  What can you judge them against? Any one person can judge another by only two criteria. They can judge the person by their own standards and by the standards set by their society.   In the context of conquest, where does action stand in relation to thought? Thoughts are in my opinion far more important as thoughts can be twisted to allow any action to be the most logical or even the best in the long run no matter how strange or terrible the action in question is.

Monday, January 9, 2012

REVIEW: Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta by Yellow Bird

The introduction at the start of the text is an intriguing tale all on its own as it tells of the basis behind the story and the life of the author. It is incredible to read of how many times he story was plagiarized and rewritten. I strongly recommend than anyone who reads his book reads all of the 50 page introduction.The story itself is an unusual one. The 'hero' of the book is a bandit and murderer and yet is the one whom the reader is driven to look up too. The detail is beautifully done concerning all aspects of the tale. The descriptions, the characters, and the very aspects of violence contained within the pages masterfully done to illicit a reaction from the reader and a respect for Joaquin Murieta. In a way, the novel being written to give the state a hero is the very reason that one would hope for a happy ending. Practically all tales that feature a hero have the hero coming out "on top," or in this case, escaping to life a happy life.  This doesn't justify the revenge but rather causes the reader to mentally justify it so that their hero could win.  There are few who actively wish to see the ero fail.The novel is quiet detailed in many aspects including the environment and the individuals that populate it.  And in turn the violence is then given just as much attention as the rest of the 'world' and may seem to be more highly detailed as opposed to other writings due to this attention to detail.

Monday, January 2, 2012

REVIEW: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


It is unusually written. There are chapters that are from a completely different point of view and style of writing. The flow of the book is wonderful in that it moves from person to person to place and to creature in such a way that it does not seem out of place. The changes that the family go through are ones that most people today would never conceive of. Changes in the family dynamic, in their way of life, in their very morals and views of the world. Despite the wonderful body and depth of the novel I must admit that the final page is rather creepy.
 It is interesting to note how the flow of the novel exists in the way that Steinbeck moves from one character to the next, despite the points where he seems to jump to a seemingly random individual or character as it was for chapter three with the turtle.  In the first chapter the focus is on the dust which can be viewed as a character in itself as it plays an important role throughout the novel.  The chapter also gives a glimpse of what is coming in the later part of the novel with its intrusion of the houses.  The second chapter starts at the truck-stop and follows the truck driver as he speaks with his hitchhiker Joel.  The chapter ends with Joel leaving the truck driver to drive on leaving Joel behind, this sort of gives the impression that we will be following either the driver or the hitchhiker and yet this is not so.  The third chapter starts without a focus on the side of the highway itself and ends with the turtle and its impact with the truck (likely that of the truck-driver from the previous chapter.  Then in chapter four Joel reappears as the focus and meets up with the turtle on his journey.  The seemingly random change in view is actually a flow from character to character to get the reader to their final 'destination' character.  I really like how Steinbeck did this as it gives a greater variety to the book and yet remains cohesive.
Another aspect I found interesting was the inclusion of so many animals and the amount of detail given to them.  The pill bug is tramping through the grass and the death of the red ant by the turtle.  There is the cat at the abandoned farmhouse that is told of having eaten the entrails of the rabbits the men skinned and how it approached and interacted with them.  Even more intriguing is the attention paid to the dogs. There is a good portion of a page in chapter eight given to a group of dogs going after the lone female among them.  Then later when Tommy arrives at Uncle Johns ranch he is greeted by two dogs which are given personalities and their own viewpoints on his arrival.  And later at the second to last page of chapter ten Pa calls for the dogs and only one comes, but Pa states that there were three.  Why were only two dogs introduced and we are not informed which dog leaves. Why is that?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

To Be Read

Current List for 2012

        To Be Read
1. Wedlocked by Bonnie Trachtenburg
2. The Time in Between by Maria Duenas
3. Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland
4.Your Soul's Plan by Robert Schwartz
5. Aaron & Keja: Time Dragon by Linda Nelson
6. I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At
7. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
8. In Their Blood by Sharon Potts
9. Eon's Door by J.G. McKenney
10. 12 by Jeffery Marcus Oshins
11. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
12. Torn by Erica O'Rourke
13.Yesterday's Treasures by Richard Denning
14. The Return of Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman
15. Invisible River by Helena McEwen
16. Daughter of Dreams by Marshall Miller
17. Much Ado about Russian by Kerry Roskwood White
18. The Shadow #7 by Maxwell Grant
19. The Shadow #16 by Maxwel Grant
20. Something Inside of Me by Chikota Webb
21. Tighter by Adele Griffin
22. This Can't Be Life by Shakara Cannon
23. The Haunting of Wolf Haven by Debbie A. Heaton
24. Trophy by Paul M. Schofield
25. The Briton and the Dane by Mary Ann Bernal
26. The Arm of the Stone by Victoria Strauss
27. Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson
28. Another Bad-Dog Book by Joni B. Cole
29. Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress by Chrisine E. Schultze
30. Hellucination by Stephen Biro
31. Shadow Cay by Leona Bodie
32. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
32. Red Smoke Rising by
33.Jockey's and Jewels by
34. Shaman's Blood by
35. Dancing in the Shadows of Love by
36. The Burning Sky by
37. Cassie Draws the Universe by
38. Warriors of the Cross by
39. Stray: Touchstone Part 1 by
40. Children of the Elementi by
41. The Traveler's Companion by
42. Dreams of Gray by Maurice Lawless
43. The Price by Joseph Garraty
44. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
45. The Hunter's Moon by O.R.Melling
46. The Book of Dreams by O.R.Melling
47.  The Summer King by O.R.Melling
48. The Light-Bearers Daughter by O.R.Melling
49. Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover
50. Darker Angels by M.L.N. Hanover
51. Vicious Grace by M.L.N. Hanover
52. Killing Rites by M.L.N. Hanover
53. Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett
54. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
55. Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
56. Miscellanea by Brian Libby
57. Star Trek 9 by James Blish
58. Star Trek 10 by James Blish
59. Star Trek 11 by James Blish
60. Star Trek 12 by James Blish
61. Star Trek: The New Voyages by Sondra Marshak & Myrna  Culbreath
62. The Galactic Whirlpool by David Gerrold
63. The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar
64. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
65. Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
66. West by West by Jerry West and Jonathan Coleman
67. Broken Evolution by
68. The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard