The 5th Wave

The aliens have unleashed 4 waves of death upon humanity. The first, an electronic pulse to render all machines useless. The second, tsunamis to destroy coastal cities. The third, an avian plague called The Red Death. The fourth, Silencers, a race of humans implanted with alien intelligences as fetuses, an enemy we didn’t see coming. The 5th is upon us. Cassie, a 16 year old surviving on her own is one of the few left alive on earth. Armed with an M-16 and a teddy bear, she searches for her little brother with the hunky and mysterious Evan. Zombie, was an up and coming athlete when he was “recruited” by the military and forced into a cruel boot camp to train as an alien killer.

This book, although large, is an amazingly fast read! And although, I have been a little burned out of post-apocalypse stories lately, this one caught (and held) my attention. There is a little bit of something for everyone: survival after societies fall, military training (complete with offensive drill sergeant), family drama and just a dash of what might be romance. I loved The 5th Wave from beginning to end and would recommend it to…everyone!

Posted in Book Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

The Long Halloween

The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb

The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale was the inspiration of the recent Batman reboot by Chris Nolan. I love the trillogy of films but had never read The Long Halloween and suddenly felt like that was a travesty.

The films are not exactly a rewrite of the story of The Long Halloween but the mood is similar, dark and corruptible. The Long Halloween centers around a mysterious serial killer who is taking out Gotham’s bad guys on notable holidays, starting with Halloween. Gordon, Dent and Batman discuss this vigilante with differing opinions about the criminality of someone who is killing criminals. Batman, determined to catch Holiday (as he/she has been dubbed by the media), searches for clues high and low, but all seem to lead to dead ends.

Meanwhile, Gordon and Dent celebrate the deaths of Gotham’s enemies with a nagging worry that they can’t find the killer. The reader is lead around several red herrings before the really Holiday is finally revealed and don’t worry, I won’t give that away. You will see a lot of familiar characters from the movies, Valcone, Catwoman, The Joker and some that we haven’t seen in a while like Poison Ivy (a personal favorite).

So while you won’t recognize any plot points from the movie,  you will recognize the feeling of hopelessness and listlessness. The heroes of the book are battling someone that is helping them out, in a way. This conflict of interest ensures that fans of the movies will like The Long Halloween.

Posted in Book Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

Kate’s To-Read Shelf

I was going to update you all on whatever book I had just finished, but I spent a good chunk of this week mired in reports (interesting reports…but still not exactly exciting fiction). So instead I am going to give you a list of what I have sitting on my bed stand and piling up on my desk.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: the sequel to Shadow and Bone I have had it sitting around forever I wish I had more hours in the day! The first one is so great!

Half Lives by Sara Grant: have absolutely no idea why I put this on hold. But I am sure that past-me read some fabulous review and future-me will love it!

The Manhattan Projects v.1 by Jonathan Hickman: read a great review of this graphic novel online and just had to put it on hold. You would think since it is so short I would bump it up the list…but there are others that take priority!

Hooked: when addiction hits home: is delightfully small non-fiction book about addiction. Working with so many people in treatment I find that reading books about addiction and therapy can help give me perspective.

Proxy by Alex London: set in a society where you can sign up to be someone’s proxy and take whatever punishment they incur, this book sounds like an adrenaline rush! Second to the top of the list!

And now to what I am actually reading!

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan: gargoyles are apparently in!

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen: I may be a bit biased because I know the author but I am only one chapter in and it is fabulous! Set in Kansas City it takes place a long time (not clear on this yet in chapter one) after a war with China. Madeline comes from a long line of Landrys, heir to the family fortune she is expected to find a husband and start having heirs; but Madeline wants to go to university instead…more details to come as I read! You can read it yourself when it comes out February 4, 2014.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

Posted in Book Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

Watch out, Bub

As a connoisseur of bad movies and superheros, Wolverine is right up my alley. Light on plot but full hard-hitting action, this movie will satisfy the longing for another X-Men movie, but won’t quite slack your desire for a good film.

I, a mega-fan of Wolverine, was ready for camp, but when your movie starts off with a touching truce and growing friendship between Logan and a grizzly bear, I couldn’t quite suspend my disbelief. Once Logan gets to Japan things start to look up. It doesn’t stay peaceful for long as Logan is caught up in one family’s internal struggle for control of Japan’s most profitable company. Throw in some sneaky samurais, fast car and a red-head who see’s the future and you have a great mix for some action.

There is a great high speed fight on a bullet train, an attack by yakuza assassins and a crazy mecha destroyer (in true Japanese fashion). It has all the action you want from a superhero movie with very little plot to get in the way. I wouldn’t suggest paying premium prices to see it but it might be work a matinee ticket.

Posted in Movie Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

Shark Week: take a bite out of reading!

Following the chum left in the wake of Sharknado, Shark Week is here! That means it is time to bask in the glory and horror of these masters of carnivorous mayhem! While movies and TV specials can make us tremble at the thought of dipping our toes in open water, I have learned it is the unseen shark that is the most frightening. The possibility of the prehistoric eating machine lurking under the waves that teases our amygdala and raises the hair on the back of our necks. Sometimes your imagination is even worse than reality. And so I give you (drum roll please….) the best shark stories there are!

Jaws by Peter Benchley 

The classic book turned into a classic movie…It starts off with a gruesome description of the shark’s tools of destruction: the fins, the teeth, the ways it can sense you and hunt you down. After a quick bite to eat, this book will keep you out of the water and on the edge of your seat as you imagine a shark far worse than anything Hollywood could dream up

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton

Another, more inspiring, book turned movie for your enjoyment. This one is a great book to read after Jaws for a pick-me-up. All about the struggle of surviving a shark attack and getting back in the water and up on the board!

Left for Dead: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis by Peter Nelson

Now that you are feeling better about sharks, I think it is time to re-instill some healthy fear with this book about the accident of the USS Indianapolis that left 1,199 sailors in shark-infested water. Only 316 made it out of the water alive four days later. After learning about the USS Indianapolis’ fate in the movie adaptation of Jaws, 11-year-old researcher Hunter Scott was inspired to discover the series of mistakes that lead to the ship colliding with a Japanese submarine.

Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton

We will end this list on a happy note with a cute story of two friends who debate who’s toy is best, shark…or train!

Photo Credit: Ken Bondy via Compfight cc

Posted in Book Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

I Am Legend

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Author Richard Matheson died two weeks ago at the age of 87. Although I was familiar with some of Matheson’s work, I had not read his most famous novella, I Am Legend. Robert is the last man in New York City after a massive epidemic that turned everyone into vampires. By day he sharpens stakes, makes runs to the abandoned grocery stores for dry goods, and maintains his generator and the protections around his house. By night they come. Crowding around the doors and windows they call to him, begging him to come outside.

The loneliness is enough to drive a man insane, but to have to listen to them every night is almost too much for Robert. But after binge drinking for three days, Robert sobers up and realizes that he needs to either kill himself or move on, he chooses the later. Getting as many medical texts as he can carry from the library (yay!) he starts to investigate the cause of the disease. Are his efforts in vain? Will he find a cure for the plague that wiped out humanity?

It is a fast read, and amazingly scary (I felt very anxious during several parts). Matheson is a master of suspense and this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. I Am Legend also includes short stories by the author, make sure you don’t miss Prey, the thrilling tale of a murderous doll come to life!

Posted in Book Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

And You Thought The ACT Was Bad

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Everyone has felt the pressure around standardized tests. The thought, real or imagined, that how you perform in this one moment will decide the rest of your life. While we may be lending a dramatic flair to our own examinations, that fear is real for Cia. She has been chosen along with 3 other classmates from the 5 Lakes Colony to participate in The Testing. Every year, the best and brightest high school graduates are brought to Tosu City to undergo a series of exams that will decide who goes on to University. Of the 108 students that enter the capital city with Cia, only 20 will be accepted to University and go on to be the future leaders of their country.

The night before Cia leaves for The Testing, her father, who graduated from University 30 years ago, warns her that The Testing is more than what it seems. He can’t remember everything, Testing candidates memories are wiped before going on to University, but he feels there is something more sinister going on. He warns her to trust no one. But in her classmate Tomas, Cia thinks she can confide her secrets. But no one is what they seem, and some Testing candidates are willing to take out the competition, permanently, in order to get ahead. Will Cia pass the tests? Or will she pay the ultimate price for failure?

Fans of The Hunger Games will love The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. Not all your favorite characters will get out of the book alive, but Charbonneau adds the extra allure of mental tests, logic tests and memory wipes to take the book past a rewrite of The Hunger Games plot. The best part is that the sequel, Independent Study, comes out in January, 2014, guaranteeing that fans won’t have to wait long to pick up the story. Not to mention that the book has already been optioned for a movie by Paramount Pictures. Get on the bandwagon now!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Books Taking Over the Big Screen

At my last count there are at least six movies in theaters right now based on books (no comment on how true they are to their source material. Here are some shout outs to currently playing and soon to be coming big screen adaptations!

World War Z by Max Brooks came out as a blockbuster staring Brad Pitt today. Be assured that I will be seeing this one!

It might take me a week to get around to it because I will be seeing Much Ado About Nothing is coming to Kansas City this weekend! Finally!

You have a lot of great super hero movies like Man of Steel, Iron Man 3 and coming-soon The Wolverine based on some of my favorite comic books! (also included in this list: R.I.P.D.)

And Hollywood loves to bring the classics to life in technicolor like The Great Gatsby and Oz the Great and Powerful.

Last but not least is Pacific Rim which is loosely based on Evangelion, one of my favorite animes! I can’t wait to see the Evas come to live in this movie!

Posted in Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

Much Ado About Josh Whedon

Words (and tears) cannot contain how I feel about Joss Whedon. When I think about him I want to both hug him and punch him, laugh and cry, jump up and down squealing with glee and fall into a depressed coma. The master of mixed emotions has done it to me again! For months, I have been tortured with hints and glimpses of his beautiful adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. But alack! I am to be tortured longer! For it is not coming to any Kansas City theaters yet!

For you hardcore Whedon fans, you probably already know that this movie is filled with your favorite actors (from Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers). But did you know it was also all filmed at Whedon’s house? That is right! We not only get to spend two glorious monochromatic hours with our favorite actors, but we get to do it inside Joss Whedon’s home!!!! (Okay, well not inside, but you get the idea)

Who doesn’t want a sneak peak and where Joss Whedon wakes up every morning, where he drinks is coffee, where he swims? Come on people! This movie is guaranteed awesome, not just because everything Whedon touches turns to pure sparkly goodness, but because it was written by the most famous playwright ever!

Just look at it…take it in…let out that high pitched squeal that only small dogs can here and bask in the glory of Much Ado About Nothing. Then we need to get together and force a theater in Kansas City to show it.

Posted in Movie Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Charlie and Nate have grown up on the same street. The two, forced into play-dates as children, could not be more different. Charlie, kind and a little shy, is the captain of the basketball team. Nate is the outspoken and geeky president of the robotics club. Although not even on the same social ladder, the two have always been on good terms…until now. When the school announces that the decision about funding the robotics club’s trip to a national competition or new uniforms for the cheerleaders will be left up to the student council, Nate decides to run for Student Body President. When the pom pom mafia finds out they register Charlie for the race without his knowledge.

Pitting two unlikely friends against each other, both sides get involved in some less-than-savory politics and earn the ire of the Principal who pulls funding for either project. Left penniless the robotics club and the cheerleaders become uneasy allies in a robot derby. The cheerleaders fund the necessary additions (chainsaws and spikes) to the robotics club’s creation, in the hopes that their combined talents can win the $10,000 prizes to fund both endeavors. With the geeky robotics team members working with the preppy cheerleaders, nothing can possibly go wrong…

With a drawing style that reminds me of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim and a plot reminiscent of Bring it On, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is bound to be a favorite!

Posted in Book Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment