Thursday, November 23, 2017

Top Ten

Top Ten

Top Ten is the first book I've read by Katie Catugno and I thought it was a lot of fun. Gabby and Ryan are total opposites who are thrown together by circumstance and the friendship that results is surprising to them both. Ryan is the super outgoing hockey player guy who all the girls want, while Gabby is quieter, has anxiety issues and doesn't like to do anything Ryan does, at least when it comes to parties and all that. But... somehow their friendship works. And is it more than friendship? They both wonder that at various times, and in spite of some near misses, their friendship stays mostly intact. But if friendship becomes love, what then?

I really liked this look at a high school friendship/ romance. We all know what high school is like, and I thought Catugno did a great job capturing the hits and misses, the angst and terrors of first love, as well as the minefields that come with high school as a whole. Gabby's family was a hoot too, they're very stable and play Monopoly every Friday night- a family event that Ryan gets invited to (or invites himself) and loves to be a part of, even though he could care less about Monopoly. And the problem for Ryan is his home life is not very good.

So Ryan, in spite of being party boy, loves spending time with Gabby and considers her his best friend. She feels the same, even though they're so different. Both initially are interested in more, but then reconcile themselves to being friends only. Ryan is one of a few people who doesn't just expect Gabby to "get over" her anxiety, and while she occasionally worries about being seen as his sidekick, he makes it abundantly clear he doesn't see it that way.

I thought the portrayal of anxiety was done well, and the story is divided into ten chapters, each one showcasing an event in their high school years or just after, and I thought that worked well. The ending is iffy, some may love it and some may hate it- I was kind of hoping for a slightly different result- but I think it does work. I really enjoyed this book and will most likely read more of Cotugno's work. If you want a fun, breezy contemporary this is a good choice. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things 2 takes everything about the first show and kind of amps it up to eleven (no pun intended). It's like the first show on steroids, in a good way. The performances are great, the story is better, and it was just a lot more satisfying for me than the first one. I liked the first one a lot, mainly for the atmosphere, but I didn't love it- but I can clearly say here that Stranger Things 2 is at times pretty awesome.

This post will be spoilery. So it's a year later, roughly, and Eleven is still missing (although Hopper's been hiding her), the Hawkins lab is still operating, and the kids are trying to come to terms with what happened the previous year. Mike of course was smitten with Eleven, so he's carrying a lot of sorrow for that as she is presumed lost after the battle with the Demogorgon. Will is messed up too from his encounter, so it's almost like the group has PTSD. Hopper of course made an arrangement with the lab to keep things quiet, as long as they agreed to keep bad things out of Hawkins. When it's clear that bad things are back, however, is when everything begins to unravel.

 Some kind of shadow monster is bleeding through from the Upside Down, the other dimension where the Demogorgon was from, and Will starts having weird dreams or whatever that show a link. Between that and the ending of last season, we know there's something there, some connection. I thought everything was creepier and scarier this time around, more intense- they definitely ratcheted up the suspense. The characters were about the same for me- the kids were at times great and at times irritating, Hopper and his choices are problematic for me, Eleven is as enigmatic as ever . I felt like the story was advanced well and I liked some of the riskier things they did- for example the Kali storyline in which we meet another lost child and see how she is making her way after the lab. I was skeptical of that angle but that storyline kinda won me over.

I'm just going to list some things I liked and disliked for the rest of the review.

LIKED: 

Mad Max was a great new addition, a breath of fresh air.

Paul Reiser as Dr. Owen. Finally, we have a villain who is nuanced, and not just one dimensional- although to be honest, he's not really a villain. He actually cares what happens to the people of Hawkins, and while he seems a bit sinister or smug initially, he's actually not a bad guy. So refreshing.

The atmosphere- as creepy as the first time around, maybe more so.

The music- great choices.

Winona Ryder as Joyce- I liked her a lot more this time.

Kali's crew- I groaned initially when I saw we were getting an entire epsode of them (can you say spin-off?) but I felt like that episode worked, and actually enjoyed it a lot. With a lot of runaway type shows happening lately (The Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, as well as other spinoffs of superhero franchises) it was interesting to see the Duffer Brothers' take on that angle.

"She's never wrong," Lucas's dad tells him when he asks how he keeps his mom happy. That was a fun exchange.

DISLIKED: 

Eleven treated Mad Max like shit, which I know initially was a smidgen of jealousy, but I felt like that was douchey and she should have gotten over that. I'm not always a big fan of Eleven anyway, though.

The kids- yeah on the one hand I love 'em, they're fun, but they can be SO irritating too. Especially Dustin. He just does some of the dumbest things. Dart, anyone?

The Billy storyline. So annoying, and pointless. All of his scenes were a waste of time.

Hopper and Eleven. He keeps her in a cabin alone for a year?? And only realizes at the end that maybe that was, um, bad?

The whole Murray storyline. Murray was the slightly paranoid investigative journalist who pushed the conspiracy theories, and while he had a little good dialogue with Jonathan and Nancy, he felt mostly unneeded?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For

  

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back to The Broke and the Bookish so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week is Top Ten Books I'm thankful for. An interesting topic- kinda thought provoking- this could go so many ways, there are so many. So this is just ten that come to mind- I'm sure I'll think of others after I'm done. :) 
 

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

I could probably put the whole series in here, but I'm going with the most recent book because it may be my favorite. So many cool things happening. 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)


A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)


Planet of Exile


Big Little Lies


The Shark Club 

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

Fangirl.  

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

The Black Island (Tintin, #7)

I love the Tintin's. 

Tuesday Tagline #66

Sidekick

Two best friends. One girl. Served with a side of bacon. Kind of an offbeat choice?  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Favorite Book Titles II

The Girl from the Sea

This is the second part of my look at favorite book titles. A lot of times it's the combination of title and cover art that draws me in, or other times it's one or the other. In this particular case though there's something about each of these titles that I think really works, or is just evocative to me. Which are your favorites- let me know!

THE COURTS OF CHAOS

Something about this one? It just oozes mysteriousness...

The Courts of Chaos

RED EYE OF BETELGEUSE

This is old school SF all the way, with evocative titles and inspiring artwork. Okay, sometimes. Still this puts me in mind of some star- spanning galactic adventure.

Red Eye of Betelgeuse (Perry Rhodan - English, #40)

PLANET OF NO RETURN

Another Golden age SF pick. I mean that's a pretty uncompromising title, and the backdrop with a moon or planet in the background- it just has atmosphere. 

Image result for planet of no return pulp

THE SNOWS OF GANYMEDE

I like titles that evoke a sense of place, and where better than a moon of Jupiter to do that?

The Snows of Ganymede

RADIO SILENCE 

Okay moving on from old school SF. I love this title because to me it speaks to loneliness maybe, or sorrow of some kind, or maybe just wanting to be understood?

Radio Silence

THE LIFEBOAT CLIQUE

Right there you know something is going on, otherwise why are they in a boat?

The Lifeboat Clique

HALF-OFF RAGNAROK

Looks like a fun book. I just like that title.

Half-Off Ragnarok (InCryptid, #3)

DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY

With a title like that you gotta wonder...

Dead Girls Society

THE ENCHANTRESS OF WORLD'S END

More old school craziness. Seriously though- that title??

The Enchantress of World's End (Godwane Epic, #2) 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sunday Post #220


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

It's been a quiet week, not a lot happening. Just trying to heal and be as active as I can. It's frustrating that I can't do more, but it will come. So I've been reading, I finally broke the logjam that was Top Ten- I liked the book but was just stalled out on reading. And Netflix- another great way to pass time- I just need to figure out which show I want to try next. Tough life I know!    

I drafted the first post about my experience as a heart patient- I've been wanting to share some of that journey since I got out, and my post will be up on Wednesday the 29th.  

Last week I reviewed Ringer and this week will be Top Ten. And I've got some books I'm really geeked for so the coming weeks should be great, reading- wise. In the meantime take care of yourselves and enjoy the weekend!    

Ringer (Replica, #2)Top TenInto the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1)

Song of the week



PULP COVER OF THE WEEK: 

Related image

NEW ARRIVAL/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:

Barbary Station (Shieldrunner Pirates, #1)

BOOKISH LINKS



Bar Space Station



Cargo Bay entrance



Wanderlust prt I




My writing prompt: Sweat trickled down her forehead and for a moment she forgot the buzzing of insects, the biting of gnats, as she stared into the temple threshold. Somehow she could sense it was cooler within, and the quiet of it appealed as well, after the shrieks and cacophony of the jungle. The two guardians to either side of the entrance were so weathered as to be almost unrecognizable, and the vines hanging down added to the foreboding quality of the place. But there was a strange light within- and how could they turn back now? 



Jungle Pond prt 1 (notice the temple entrance in the background)  



Floating (the large version is nice- I love the moon) 



White Rocks



Blue  



Pinterest

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