Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Will Post More, I Will Not Fall Behind!

I Promise, I promise.

I have about four entries that are in the works and they've been in the works for a while. I would finish them now but the battery on the MacBook is at 9%. I'll keep up to date, I will I will.

Ok, enough of that. Back to the writing....or the charging of the MacBook.

More to come from the LL!!!

(I like referring to myself as the LL, makes feel like The Rock.)
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Deadline by Mira Grant

Deadline gets me back into the zombie swing of things though, like its predecessor, its a zombie book that is not really a zombie book but it has zombies....sort of.

The set up is, there was a zombie outbreak over a decade ago and life has normalized as much as it can in a world where zombies are real. The virus is still out there and outbreaks can happen if you "amplify" for whatever reason thus becoming a zombie. Blood tests are abound to make sure you won't amplify so we're talking about major paranoia. Add in the shift in news and media since the outbreak, as the established media poo-pooed stories of zombies so no one really trusts them anymore. Enter the blogger, your man on the street so to speak with a mic and a camera who is going to give the news to you as it really is, no filter.

That's the world of Deadline, and it's predecessor, Feed. This book shifts the narration to Shaun Mason from his sister Georgia Mason from the first but it still follows the Mason blogging crew as they investigate, more like get swept into, another conspiracy involving the Kellis-Amberlee virus, the virus that caused the zombie mayhem. I was eager to see this play out as Shaun is the risk taker of the two with Georgia being more practical. I thought we would get a more actiony story this time around but that really isn't the case. This was more of the conspiracy tale and there were points where the paranoia is ratcheted up and one point in particular stands out as the tension builds and you feel the paranoia the characters feel and then...well I'll leave that for you to find out. My one big disappointment with this book however is that Shaun turns into a bit of a whiner. All right, we get it already dude, no need to whine for the whole book. He was the tough, reckless action man in the first book, here he is just a whiney little bitch. I was hoping someone, anyone, me perhaps, would slap him and snap him out of it. Some character try but he goes back to whine central. That and the "cliffhanger" ending is pretty much telegraphed.

A solid entry but not as great as I hoped.

My Grade: B-

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - The A, B, C Murders by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie Mile Trail Torquay, English Ri...Image by iknow-uk via FlickrIt's hard to believe that these mysteries were written almost a hundred years ago but let me tell, you, they do stand the test of time. If you've read my reviews or even just seen the types of books that I read, you can tell that I have a taste for the fantastic. Whether they be zombies, wizard detectives, or British exorcists, the stuff that's right up my alley tend to be a little out of the ordinary. The Agatha Christie mysteries are fairly ordinary mysteries on the surface. No zombies or wizards or vast governmental conspiracies but they are all out of the ordinary in how well done they are and how they keep you wanting to finish the mystery and see if you've had it pegged all along.

My first encounter with an Agatha Christie mystery was back in the 80's when my family just got cable and Evil Under the Sun was on HBO almost every day it seemed. That was where I was introduce to Hercule Poirot, played by Peter Ustinov, and has drawn me to read the Poirot mysteries almost thirty years later. Now the premise of The A, B, C Murders is one that you may be familiar with since it has been copied in some form ad nauseum. Poirot is taunted by a killer who sends him letters proclaiming Poirot cannot catch him as he murders people according to the alphabet. What I really liked about this Poirot mystery was the feeling that Poirot was a bit helpless and and was stumped. From the other Poirot books that I've read, and from some other mystery books, shows or movies, you can fall into the lull of knowing the good guy is going to prevail and in the end you know Poirot will figure it out but Christie does a masterful job of leading you along with Poirot wondering how long he will be stumped.

No spoilers here so read her books, I command you! Another excellent entry into the series and it has even gotten me to add some Miss Marple mysteries to my read pile.

My Grade: A-

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Monster Nation by David Wellington

Cover of "Monster Nation: A Zombie Novel&...Cover of Monster Nation: A Zombie NovelI finally made it Monster Nation on my read pile after reading a few other David Wellington books in rapid succession a while back, the books being Monster Island, Plague Zone and 13 Bullets. I have a soft spot for Wellington who got his start writing chapters and posting them online and then finally got a book deal to publish his online serials, so while I could have read Monster Nation online for free, I decided to show my support with my wallet and plunk down my twelve bucks and but the book.

This is a prequel of sorts, taking place during the outbreak (if that's what you want to call it) and causes of people turning into zombies. It follows two main characters that are on a collision course (cliche, zing!), one a women who doesn't quite die, much like Gary of the first book, and a by the numbers military man, trying to figure out what is going on and how to stop it. That's pretty much it. Since you know where things head from the first book, the fun from the book comes from how we get there. There is some fun in there but it's at times slow going and the feeling of inevitability of getting to a world overrun takes over and I found myself at times just waiting to get there.

The end product is mixed for me. Like I said, there is some good stuff in there and is an interesting twist on the genre in that the cause is not the ever popular viral outbreak but something else which I won't spoil. To sum it up, solid but not as good as Monster Island.

My Grade: B-

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Hercule PoirotImage by elena-lu via FlickrAll hail Project Gutenberg! From them I was able to download a could of classics on my iPad and one in particular just happened to be the first mystery featuring the legendary Hercule Poirot. The only downside to the Project Gutenberg download was that no images come with it and there was one at one point but it's only a minor quibble.

Now, I've read some Poirot books before so I am going out of order in a series for a change but it was nice to get the first Poirot appearance under my belt to get a base for how the character changes, if he does at all, through the books. I've seen some of the Poirot movies, the American made movies, and the first thing that really stuck out about the literary Poirot was how quirky and OCD-ish he is. Now I wonder if that stands up through the books as I go through them.

On to the plot of this one. An elderly widow, who was left a nice sum of money from her late husband, is found dead one morning and foul play is suspected. In comes the renowned detective Poirot to have a look and see if the obvious is really that obvious or are there layers of intrigue and deception afoot. Of course there is and Christie does a masterful job of adding characters with not only a measure of depth to them without getting too bogged down in them all the while adding them as suspects and removing them as suspects only to add them and remove them time and again. Here we get our fist glimpse of Poirot in action and in reading Christie mysteries I cant help but compare them to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, of which I've only read one and in that one, the key clue wasn't portrayed to the reader so I felt a little cheated as there was no possibility for the reader to figure out the mystery. With the Christie mysteries, the ones that I have read so far, all of the clues are presented and it's a matter of piecing them together with the motives of the characters to solve the mystery.

Reading this book hooked me and now I am going to read through the Poirot series. I've read some others from Christie and the ones that I have read, including this one are all tip-top and I constantly amazed how the mysteries hold up almost 100 years later. Rating this with the other Poirot mystery that I have read, I would rate this one on par, both so far excellent mysteries.

My Grade: A

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles" | Video on

Since I am on a bit of a TED kick, watching many of the videos and such, I figure I'd mention the TED talk on filter bubbles. Combined with a discussion on the ILI listserve made me want to post about it.

The concept is that much like can people live in social bubbles so to speak, only interacting and being exposed to certain people and certain types of thinking, that this phenomena can happen online as well. Companies like Google and Facebook tailor what you see and what comes up on your feed or search results based on what you click on so your results are personalized. Now that may be good for some people as they get what they normally seek out, this new bubble is being decided for you. Good or not? You decide for yourself but the ol' LL thinks this is a tricky road to go down. So much for the free flow of information in the web.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Apocalypse of the Dead by Joe McKinney

Fresh off the heels of reading McKinney's Dead City, I decided to download Apocalypse of the Dead on my iPad and give that one a whirl. Now, this book is a loose sequel in that the setting and circumstances are pretty much the same (the setting changes a bit) but the characters are different.

Here we get McKinney pushing his boundaries and showing his writing chops a bit by moving the story around to various different characters and groups that will, inevitably, all come together at some point. The trick to doing that is not to be too confusing and not spreading things so thin that the reader can't keep track. Luckily, McKinney does a fine job in that department and keeps the story focused and a solid direction.

The take on this zombie tale is what sets it apart from other run of the mill zombie tales and is the story building around the creepy Koresh-like pastor. We've seen a lot of post-apocalyptic books go for the power abuse by the military but this take is a new one for me and a welcome departure from the standard zombie fare.

All in all, I can safely recommend this book for fans of zombie books rather easily. Some may have an issue with the jumping around a bit but I didn't find that to be a problem. It's interesting territory to go in and a solid direction at that.

My Grade: B+

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey

Felix "Fix" Castor is back!

And boy does it feel like a reunion with an old friend. That seems to be a popular feeling with me nowadays as I said the same thing about the latest Dexter book and felt the same way with the most recent adventure featuring Joe Ledger.

This entry in the series picks up basically where the last book's cliffhanger left us, Fix trying to find Asmodeus. Things have not gone well for Felix in the meantime with an alcohol binge fueled by the guilt of Asmodeus' escape and killing spree. Now he has to get his act together and figure out what Asmodeus is up to and he needs to do it right quick before Asmodeus can wreak any more havoc. This leads to all sorts of questionable decisions be Felix and some unlikely alliances and one "alliance" that I was particularly looking forward too.

I might have said this in past reviews of the Felix Castor books, but they do progress nicely and move and a better pace than the earlier books. Word is that there is one more book planned but I am not sure where else to go after this book but I look forward to what Carey has planned for Felix Castor.

My Grade: B

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - The King of Plagues (A Joe Ledger Novel)

Book three from Jonathan Mayberry starring Counter-terrorism agent extraordinaire , Joe Ledger, brings the series back to the roots of the first book in the series, Patient Zero. I was having a discussion about Joe Ledger books with a friend of mine, who was the one that turned me onto Patient Zero, and she said that she wasn't going to pick up The King of Plagues because she couldn't stand The Dragon Factory. I liked The Dragon Factory as it was more of an actioner, but I agree with her that it didn't have the same feel as Patient Zero.

The King of Plagues recaptures that Patient Zero feel and I think a good part of recapturing that feel is the return of some characters from the first book that I won't give away but it made me cheer a bit inside to see them back. Another way this brings things back is the plot of of our dastardly villains this go around, we are back to bio-terror. Sure you could say that the last one was bio-terror in that there were bio-engineered thingies (a pure technical term) but this is the stuff that strikes a cord with people today, the viral threat.

To complete the feel of the first book, we get Joe Ledger kicking ass, which to be fair, he did a lot of in The Dragon Factory. My main gripe with the last book was that the DMS was sort of reactionary, basically stumbling in the right direction and here we get the DMS being pro-active in seeing through leads and solving some mysteries to drive them in the case. There was a little bit too much lamenting some of the things that happened in the last book for my liking as I like books that can stand on their own and not need the previous to know what's going on and that is the case in this book. Also the references to the first book with some of the background on returning characters may turn new readers off and they may feel that they don't know fully what is going on. If you are a dedicated reader of the series, though, you should be in good shape and I think that The King of Plagues will have you looking forward to more Joe Ledger books.

My Grade: B+

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Dexter is Delicious

Man, was it fun to read a Dexter book again, and a good Dexter book to boot (one of them wasn't that good). I find Dexter books to be like hearing from an old friend again and catching up on what he's been up to. I know that sounds cliche, the whole 'old friend' thing but Dexter books are like that. I think it's the voice of Dexter, the way he speaks to the reader and lets you in on what others aren't allowed to hear. You are privy to his Dark Passenger and what he really thinks and feels and I think that is part of appeal that makes the reader feel close to Dexter.

That connection to dear ol' Dex, is what keeps you around in Dexter in the Dark, which is by far the weakest of the series, but you won't have to worry about that with this installment. Upon hearing of the premise, I was afraid Dexter is Delicious would go that route though. Here is the setup, Dexter deals with cannibals, and not just that, vampire rip off cannibals to boot. Holy Twilight Batman! Fear not, Dexter is back and while not in prime form, it's good enough.

As we begin, Dex is settling in to family life with the birth of his daughter and is having very fatherly thoughts such as giving up his side 'job' to be there for his daughter and set a good example. Sprinkle in difficult Deb, blood thirsty children and a surprise visitor from Dexter's past and you've got a good mix for some fun and deliciously awkward moments that have come to signify the literary version of Dexter. My main gripe is that the mystery is not quite a mystery as, I think, it was telegraphed way in advanced but it was still fun to see it all play out. If you're a Dexter fan, I'd bet that you'd enjoy this entry and really sink your teeth into this one (ok, I just had to say it).

My Grade: B

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Dead City by Joe McKinney

Back in my zombie fiction kick, I picked up Dead City by Joe McKinney from the local B & N as I have seen it on the shelves and some reviews online for it. Now, being a seasoned vet of zombie lit, I set the bar fairly high for them. They should embody many of the aspects of what makes the genre so interesting to many people. They should be frightening, smart and portray a sense of the impending doom that you cannot stop like the creeping death that is crawling slowly towards its characters. That is to say that they have to be formulaic. On the contrary, many zombie books can be dull in that they've covered the same ideas that have come before it. But, it should still feel like a zombie book, and I have a particular book I've reviewed in mind when I say that. I want a zombie book with teeth, a little bite but with some new aspects to it. I want the survival aspect to is as well and here, to me, is where a lot of the smarts come in. I want to see characters doing smart things, being pushed to be creative and inventive in how they are going to make it through this catastrophe and that goes for any survivalist book like The Road and not just zombie books.

I am done with seeing people to dumb, silly and inane things. I know that story, where you show how people are fallible and fall apart in extreme situations, how they get greedy and self interested and short sighted. Been there, done that and in way too many stories. I am also done with the seedy side of post apocalyptic fiction. You know the ones, the 'people do horrible things when law and order is broken' sort of stories. Again, been there, done that. Let's get onto something different with the zombie genre so it doesn't get stale and become a parody of itself that so many other genres have become.

Where is this rant going? Well, it brings us the Dead City. Plain and simple, I liked this book. I didn't love it but I liked it. I liked it because it focused on the day of the disaster and the survival story of one person through the day of the outbreak. Plain and simple. His struggles to come to grip with what was happening and how the outbreak unfolded. I have some minor quibbles with some of the stuff in there such as him not making his family the priority when the outbreak occurred but overall this book hit the notes I want to see in a zombie book and did something that I haven't seen a lot of in zombie books and that is take us through the outbreak as it is happening. All too often we see the aftermath and the survival that ensues and I do like that stuff but I found this take a bit refreshing. Now I am working my way through the loose sequel, Apocalypse of the Dead.

My Grade: A-

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Monday, April 25, 2011

What is peer-review?

Comic on the quality of different methods of p...Image via WikipediaI present an article that talks about that very topic. I've spent the last couple of years teaching information literacy and one of the big topics I cover with the classes I am invited it to speak to, is about peer review. Why is that? Because students by-in-large do not know what it is and I've found that instructors expect them to know what it is or explain it in a way that still leaves them a little confused about it.

So read up! Does it cover everything you wanted/need to know about peer review?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The End and the Beginning

Berkeley CollegeImage via WikipediaCutting out the overly dramatic nonsense, I just wanted to get down my thoughts/feelings on the moving on from my first library job at Berkeley College.

My time there was great and I am very appreciative for the opportunity they gave me to come in, basically, straight out of library school. They gave me the latitude to grow and explore the profession all the while teaching me the ins and outs of day-to-day operation of a small library. The fact that it was a small library let me get a broad range look at a lot of areas of librarianship that may get lost in bigger institutions. When serving on search committees at Berkeley, that is an area that I tell interviewees is a big plus, at least for me it was.

The people there were great as well. They even threw a surprise going away lunch for me my last week which warmed my heart (and filled my belly). My boss, Jim, is a cool cat and he gave me the latitude to be me so to speak and share in the responsibilities of making that library work day in and day out.

So, goodbye Berkeley College. My time with you was invaluable time well spent. Best of luck and I will keep in touch.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Nightlife by Rob Thurman

Cover of "Nightlife (Cal Leandros, Book 1...Cover of Nightlife (Cal Leandros, Book 1)Another recommendation review, and this one gave me the book to read too. Nightlife is the first book featuring Cal Leandros who is half human and half something else. Fitting quite easily into the ever growing pantheon of Dark Fantasy (Urban Fantasy or whatever you want to call it), Nightlife has all the trimmings of a classic entry into the genre. You've got your emo main character in Cal, short for Caliban, along with his kick-ass half brother Niko as well as a menagerie supporting cast ranging from a teen psychic (and possible love interest for Cal) to the comedic relief character of Longfellow.

So, what's not to like from this book? Well, actually, quite a bit. Reading this book made me appreciate and look more at, pacing in books. The pacing in this book was terrible. There seemed to be no movement in the big mystery of what was going on. We ended up with a lot of faux-witty banter between Cal and Niko and while that did show, in-depth, the level of their love for one another as brothers, it got very tedious. I felt like the book was trying too hard to be witty and funny instead of the humor and camaraderie naturally flow from the characters.

Those two major flaws had me struggling to finish the book and finding out the plan of the big bad is what kept me going to the end. I will probably, at some point, read the follow-up book because that was given to me as well but will be in no rush to read it.

My Grade: C-

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Updates and Reading Lists.

Books on a bookshelf.Image via WikipediaAs you can gather from my last post and some of my tweets, I will be leaving my post (haha, pun intended) at the small college library that gave me my start in the world of librarianship, to take a tenure-track job at the university where I earned my library degree. With no doubt I am excited about the new position and a little nervous, wanting to do well and prove that I belong and all that stuff.

I am also very appreciative to the college library that gave me that start and was so very helpful and nurturing in giving me the opportunity to develop my skills and allowing me the freedom to experiment and try new and exciting things. So off I go but not for another month or so, and going from one place to another will not mean that the blog will end (in case anyone was wondering).

I've also been keeping busy with the reading but I am behind on the reviews. I have started reviews on the second Sandman Slim book and the fourth Felix Castor book. In the hopper for me to finish reading:

Nightlife by Rob Thurman
Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey
The Information by James Gleick
The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by P.K. Dick

Character Rick Deckard has a hard time resisti...Image via WikipediaI remember seeing Blade Runner as a kid and being totally blown away by the visuals. The draw was quite simple, and I think it was the draw the studio was going after as well, Harrison Ford in a sci-fi movie, obviously shades of Star Wars. As a kid, I don't think I 'got' the movie. I liked the way it looked but felt it was a little dull. I wanted to see Han Solo kicking some tail and shooting up replicants but I didn't get the subtlety and subtext of the film though it did resonate with me on a level I wasn't sure what that level was. Deckerd was cool and little did I know that this was my first real look into that noirish hero archetype that I really dig now that I am all grown up (on some level).

After seeing it again years later, I started to get some of the things that were going on and missed as a kid and I started getting into the writings of P.K. Dick, first with the short stories and eventually making my way to Blade Runner or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep as the novel is called.

A funny thing happened when I started reading the novel, I didn't like it. I stopped a few chapters in and there it sat in the back of my bookshelf for almost ten years. I guess I was looking for it to be more like the film and as I should have guessed seeing some of the adaptations of his short stories turned to movies, Hollywood changes a lot around (I am looking at you Minority Report). In this case though I thought the changes were for the better in the film. It was tight, had focus and Deckerd had that noir vibe that he didn't have in the book.

So, spent on zombie books, I looked around there was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep staring back at me so I gave it another shot. Deckerd still had that everyman thing going on and not the cool cat thing Harrison Ford had but there was something in that everyman-ish quality that I was finding intriguing that I hadn't felt with him before. He wasn't the seasoned, polished Blade Runner that Ford had going in the movie, he was just a guy finding his way, waiting for the big break in his career that this situation, hunting down the replicants in place of the injured senior Blade Runner, could provide him. This Deckerd is concerned with mundane things like getting a new pet, hopefully a real one and not a android pet, that makes him relateable on that on that everyman-ish level.

Now, as I said before, the book is different from the film though the main premise is the same, Deckerd the bounty hunter, tracking down escaped replicants. How it goes down is very different but many of the themes stay intact though I will admit that I was a little bit disappointed that the famous Roy Baty speech that Rutger Hauer gives in the film wasn't in the book. To me, that speech made the film because it showed the human-ness of the replicants that is missing from the book.

Conflicted as I am and not doing a very good job of separating the film from the book, I do recommend the book but if you've seen the film, I am not sure there is anything you'd get from the book that you wouldn't get from the film.

My Grade: B+

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Kill the Dead by Robert Kadrey

Kill the DeadImage by Rrrrred via FlickrKill the Dead is the second Sandman Slim book by Robert Kadrey which piqued my curiosity in the series after seeing it on a number of Top 10 lists for Urban Fantasy in 2010. I decided to read the first Sandman Slim book, cleverly titled Sandman Slim, though the review for Kill the Dead that I read said I didn't really need to read the first book and it seems like they were lying a bit.

Kill the Dead picks up shortly after the end of Sandman Slim and if you didn't read the first book, there would a lot that you would not get right away or just go right over your head. Kadrey does a good job of getting you up to speed but I think there would be a little lost if you hadn't read Sandman Slim. Kadrey also doesn't waste any time getting back into things with an action piece right off the top and let's face it, that's why you would read something like this anyway, for some hard nosed action. I also like that Kadrey has no problems going for the brass ring and bringing in the heavy hitters. What does that mean? Read the book and find out.

I've read too many books that are looking to drag things out for the sequel or to continue the series that it sometimes feels that things aren't progressing or going anywhere anytime soon. Not this series (of two so far). Kadrey keeps the action moving and, in a departure from the first, the development of Stark (Sandman Slim) beyond the sociopath bent on revenge to....something else. He was fairly one dimensional in the first book but here, in amongst the action pieces, we get some growth with Stark that added a change a pace as the one tune Stark gets stale after a while.

I highly recommend the Sandman Slim books if you're into that sort of thing, fast paced action of the urban fantasy variety. I can't wait for book three!

My Grade: A

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey's Sandman SlimImage by Chorazin via FlickrA few weeks ago, I catch this list of the top Urban Fantasy Books of 2010 on Geeks of Doom, and numero uno on the list is the second Sandman Slim book, Kill the Dead. So, if I'm going to check out the what they say is the number one book, then I should read book one of the series.

My impression was that Sandman Slim it a bit of a rip-off. He's Harry Dresden meets Joe Pitt. He's the guy who can wield some pretty bad mojo but unlike Dresden, he doesn't care who is in the way or who he has to go through to get what he needs. Before I go any further, here's the set-up. Stark (Sandman Slim) used to run with some bad boys who could all toss around some magic. Stark has potential but he's too busy playing the bad boy type, pissing everybody off, including some in his circle of magic users. So one day, they turn on him and banish him to hell where he spends the next eleven years enduring all types of torture and developing the rep of a demon killer from fighting in the arena and surviving, thus earning the nickname, Sandman Slim.

After escaping from the heat locker downstairs, Stark goes all out to get those that sent him there with, as I mentioned above, little regard for who or what gets in his way. Now, I've had some message board discussions with others that read Sandman Slim and Stark's one tone act turned them off. There was really no growth or change to the character and he spent basically all of the book being a bad ass with the fight first as ask questions later mentality. And those people were right about Stark....but damn if it wasn't a fun ride along with him.

For me, this was a fun little book. At times I thought, this is what Harry Dresden could do if he ever went off the deep end. Action galore, snappy dialog, and too-cool characters pepper Sandman Slim like Manny used to on the Green Monster. If action fiction with a little bit of supernatural is your thing, I recommend Sandman Slim. Plus, it gets you closer to Kill the Dead, which you don't need the this book necessarily to read, but it helps out.

My Grade: B+

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Monday, January 31, 2011

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

Some spot on ideas here and some that I have been talking about for years. I guess I just needed to be able to draw.

Ed's Mini Book Review - The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

Thebook of fateImage by cdrummbks via FlickrSo the trick worked on me. I saw a few episodes of Brad Meltzer's Decoded on TV ( I want to say the History Channel but I'm not 100%), and that got me to buy one of his books to see what he's about, writing-wise and such. I'm sure that was a goal of his with the show, if you like the show, go buy some of his books.

Going in to reading this, I couldn't help shake the obvious Dan Brown comparisons, especially after The Lost Symbol, Brown's long awaited pseudo-sequel to The Da Vinci Code featuring the return of the much beloved Robert Langdon. The Book of Fate promises much of the same as The Lost Symbol, secrets, symbols and the Freemasons.

Yeah, it's pretty much a cheap knock-off. I don't think I would have minded it that much if it actually had at least a little of the Freemason mystique going for it. It really was a let down from that stand point. The real mystery of the book is the mystery of any mystery book, who's in on it. Not much on the masons or the titular Book of Fate. It was just your standard thriller. Below standard if you expect, as the book is billed as, a mason mystery. I will give it this, the writing and the pacing is pretty popcorn like a Dan Brown book. That is the say it moves well and can be easily digestible by the masses. That may get me to give Meltzer another chance with another book but if that is more of the same, then I'll drop his books all together.

My Grade: C-

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey

Thicker Than Water is book four of the Felix Castor series by current X-Men scribe Mike Carey. Castor is a British exorcist, making his lining in modern day London and gaining a bit of a rep. As with many fictitious gumshoe characters, he's got his detractors with the local police as well as three books worth of enemies built up.

This latest outing has Castor in a bit of a 'fix' as he is called to a scene by to police to explain why 'F. Castor' is written in blood at a crime scene. Back are some old police friends that are not too keen on Mr. Castor and are looking to send him up the river on this one so Felix is against the clock a bit to solve the mystery before the cops get enough proverbial rope to hang Felix. Sprinkle in a generous portion of Rafi, Felix's best chum who happens to be possessed by a major demon, and Juliet, a demon in her own right trying to live among the humans and you get that supernatural ensemble cast that is such a staple of the Urban Fantasy genre.

I think that the series keeps getting better. I wasn't sold after the first book and picked up the second because I was short on reads but I am so glad I did. The biggest improvement for me in the series is the pacing which was like molasses in the first book and now moves at a good clip for a series which averages over 400 pages an installment.

Solid from beginning to end, Thicker Than Water, gets a thumbs up from the LL.

My Grade: B

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy New Year 2011Image by [ Mooi ] via FlickrHappy Holidays out there!

Going to focus more on writing this upcoming year (then again I said that last year. Baby steps).

I am also putting together the reading list for this upcoming winter season and an article on LibGuides (finally!).

Hope you had a safe and happy holiday season.

Now, gearing up to get back to work for 2011.

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