Review: Stain

Stain by A.G. Howard was released in January. I am trying to get better about finding the new releases as they happen. This is one I am really glad I saw my library had available. I had to wait a minute because others read it ahead of me. This book is not a retelling of a fairy tale. I was expecting to see bones of something familiar – and although there are a few references, this is definitely it’s own story. Supposedly it’s based on “the princess and the pea” but I think it’s got significant legs of it own. Lyra can’t talk and usually a “silent” protagonist is really difficult, but Howard does a good job. My biggest critique is how long it takes to get to what I felt was the “meat” of the book. The first 1/3 of the book or so has a perfect tone of a fairy tale. But it takes too long. I think

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Review: Binti Trilogy

Over the holidays I read the Binti Trilogy (Binti, Home, The Night Masquerade). Now, I was intrigued because it’s Nnedi Okoafor (I lovedAkata Witch). So Binti went on sale and I picked it up. I didn’t realize these are novellas, so they are quick little reads and thoroughly enjoyable. What I love about Okoafor is her great twists on genres. In Akata, she brought african mythology to the traditional western fantasy genre. She approached a similar idea with Binti. The main character, Binti, is brilliant and imperfect in some of the best ways. I don’t want to spoil the plot, and I’m not sure I can sum up beyond the first few pages of book 1 without spoilers. So… let’s just say the plot kept me so engrossed I was sad to leave the universe she had built. I firmly believe Binti and her companions have further adventures – they have to. They are too good together not to get into more shenanigans. My

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Review: Frankenstein

Whew – that was. Interesting. So I knew the story pretty damn well. Despite not reading it before, I really felt like there were few surprises. The only big surprise to me was the super-secret of how he made Frankenstein. That is one the movie-makers really confused me on with the whole lightning thing. I even went to Gutenberg and searched “lightning” – it’s only mentioned 5 times in the whole book and all AFTER the monster is created. I was looking for that!! Ok, I’m not going to stress about spoilers because…. well the book was originally written in 1818 and anything 200 years old (Damn, I wish I’d read it last year) I think should be pretty fair game. If you need to, you can go to Wikipedia, although it definitely is worth the read. Now, for my take on the book. I think Frankenstein made the monster up because he is mentally ill. I don’t know enough psychology

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Review: Dragon Pearl

I devoured this book in a way I don’t normally these days (I try to savor a good book). It came out on Tuesday. I got a library notification it was automatically checked out for me. I downloaded it in the morning. Started reading at lunch. Came home and finished it. Now I am trying to decide when/where to go pick up a physical copy to put on my shelf. I expect I’ll be reading this again and again over the years. This is a middle grades novel, so it is marketed for ~11-14 year old kids. It is not however childish. It deals with issues that are very, very real – gambling addiction; honor (and recognizing the dishonor of adults); trust and friendship and betrayal – of all kinds; and definitely death. These aren’t childish ideas or themes and Yoon Ha Lee does not shy from them nor preach about them. They are facts of life and must be

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Review: Writing “Bad” reviews

Interesting conversation popped up this week that made me want to respond. Read this: https://www.theringer.com/pop-culture/2019/1/10/18176366/bad-reviews-jeff-weiss-a-o-scott-greta-van-fleet-post-malone-bohemian-rhapsodyThen Read this: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2019/01/12/yes-theres-a-point-to-bad-reviews-in-2019/ So I ran across these through Scalzi’s blog (I like his blog, I find it funny and enjoyable). I read these in the order I recommended to you. I then decided I don’t think Scalzi or Harvilla hit on some of the important things I think make a “bad” review actually very valuable. In the past year I think I’ve only post two “bad” reviews – and both of those I would definitely put in quotes because even on those… well let me link them and then defend them:Simon Sinek: https://librinlatone.com/2018/11/20/review-simon-sinek/Freedom: https://librinlatone.com/2018/08/07/review-freedom/ I think there are two reasons people would/should read a review (negative or positive): either they find the review itself entertaining OR they are looking for an informed opinion IF they even want to read a book (or watch a movie, go to a play, etc.). If those are the

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Review: Early Access Games

There has been a been hullabaloo in the gaming world lately over “Early Access Games.” This is really on the tails of a larger conversation of “unfinished releases” which are more and more common. Just go watch some early reviews of Fallout 76 or Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 – and their “day-one-patches” which are basically the same size as the game itself. I’ve played a good handful of Early Access games. I always go in knowing they are a gamble. They are promises from the developer that they will finish, but “finishing” a project is a mutable idea. I’ve worked on several projects where the line of “done” moved back and forth for damn good reasons – you run into a hurdle that you just don’t have the time or money or energy to meet the original line. Or you moved the line and then had to move it back again. The bad about Early Access (EA for short)

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Resolutions: Books

So for 2018 I did the “Goodreads Challenge” – and if you aren’t on Goodreads, I recommend it – I love being able to add stuff in the library or bookstore or wherever to my “to read” list and go back later to re-find the things I couldn’t pick up at the time but want to read. Sorry, that’s my plug for the week. I set the challenge of reading 60 books in 2018. I ended up reading 62. Now, I counted anything that was on Goodreads. All my re-reads, all my new books, audiobooks – everything. I read a lot. I never felt like I had to go find a short book to fit in the challenge. There were 2 books I started and gave up halfway through (rare, but it does happen!) In 2019 I set the goal of 12. This year I am going to work on reading some of the classics I’ve always missed for one

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Review: Aquaman

Let me begin by saying, this review WILL have spoilers. The non-spoiler review is that this a fun movie. If you like the Fast and Furious franchise, I think it’s safe to say you will enjoy this (James Wan, also directed F&F7). I didn’t know this going in, but when my husband told me afterwards, I could feel the similarities. It’s a fun rompy-action movie with great special effects. Ok, so everything after this might be spoilery. Fair warning. Let me begin with the good. The action scenes are GOOD. Not always great, some of them might have gone one a fraction too long for me, but it was VERY GOOD. They were well choreographed and well shot (no shaky cam or other shitty camera tricks). The characters styles fit their personality (I always hate when the “well training tiny dude takes on gianormous dude hand-to-hand”). The colors were spectacular. It felt like a comic book. Nolan’s Batman was good, but I am

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Review: Christmas “Artists”

This is NOT a review on Christmas music.  This is a review on the artists who cover Christmas music. A Lot of them are doing this wrong.  This is not opinion.  It’s FACT.  If an artist doesn’t have the skill to make a song their own, they need to follow directions someone else gave them.  Anything else is wrong. Let’s start with the ultimate example of an artist “covering” a Christmas song right.  Jingle Bell Rock.  In 1957, Bobby Helms put out a version of the classic “Jingle Bells” but in his own tune.  From the very first note you know this isn’t “Jingle Bells” – this is Jingle Bell Rock.  There is never doubt that he took the “Jingle Bells” song and made it his. Now, when you are listening to a singer “cover” something like “Silent Night” or “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” you probably can sing along because you know the words. People love singing along.  What is wrong with the

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