Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Star Wars: Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber

via Wookieepedia
A long time ago in a blog post way, way in the past...

I read a novel that combined two things I hold true in my heart, zombies and Star Wars - the real Star Wars, not those prequel abortions (with the slight exception of Revenge of the Sith as I have a soft spot for bad guys winning). I discovered the novel in the most absurd way - I discovered it on 4Chan. Before Star Wars: Death Troopers, I never heard of Joe Schreiber. To be honest, I never did much venturing to read some of his none Star Wars books. I'm thinking about it now, though.

Darth Scabrous, the Sith Lord, discovered a lost plan from a predecessor. A elixir for immortality. All he needs is the Murakami orchid, an orchid so rare that it can only be found in one location - the Jedi Agricultural Corps. In order for the orchid to remain alive, it must be accompanied by a Jedi with plant growth skills. When a bounty hunter kidnaps Hestizo Trace and her orchid charge, her brother, Rojo, finds himself on a rescue mission on Odacer-Faustin, home to a Sith academy.

It's easy to overlook all the major players of this novel when cutting it down to a summary. The fact alone that it opens at the Sith academy leads the reader to believe that every character plays some important role - and they do, sorta. Maybe. They carry their own plot line, if that means anything to you.

What keeps me from loving this novel is Schreiber's insistence on killing every single character that I loved. Even though I know it's rare for a Jedi and Sith to work with each other, it's still bothering that none of them ever, well, meet. 

Star Wars: Red Harvest is available on Amazon and for Kindle, as well as, at Barnes and Noble and for Nook.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Book Hunter Sells

So with a kid on the way, I decided it was time to start clearing some of my clutter - that includes, sadly, a few of my books. Whatever I don't sell, will wind up in storage or donated - possibly. At the moment, all I have for listed on eBay is a few issues of Playboy. I'm new to the whole eBay selling - can you tell? - so bear with me. Check out the link on the side bar.

For issues, check under the break:

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine by Peter Straub

Every so often, I'll come across a book and wonder what I just read. When this happens, I either put the book down and go for a walk, or I turn to the first page and try again. I went for a walk today.

The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine tells the story of two lovers - an older man and the daughter of his client - throughout the decades. Think Memento, if Memento ended with the beginning, as well. 

Normally, I'll rehash some of the events for summary purposes, but I don't know what I read, so I can't. I know that they're on a boat. That Sandrine is a bit independent. That they both fell in love with each other the moment they met each other. That Ballard might have something to do with the mob. That, on the yacht, an invisible bird-speaking servants run the show. And thrown in there is a giant bug in a cage, which they might be eating, or they might be eating toucan.

In short, it's a little like Naked Lunch without any real interest from me. 

The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (I'll link this later, if I remember as the service is currently disabled).

Oh well, until next time - keep on huntin'.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to Train Your Dragon

Today was an impromptu movie day in the Children's Department of the library. Because three assistants were working, we chose a movie each - Kung Fu Panda 2, How to Train Your Dragon, and Legend of the Guardians

The first film was Kung Fu Panda 2, but because I went to lunch, I didn't finish, so I won't be "reviewing" it. And because I went to lunch, the movie I had chosen - Legend of the Guardians - was left for last, when I went home. Therefore, the only movie I actually saw was How to Train Your Dragon

For the most part, I think the film was picked solely because we're reading the book for that International Book Discussion. However, as I was warned, the movie pretty much just steals the title, some of the character names, and takes nothing of the plot. That is to say, the film is way more enjoyable than the book. I know, I'm sure my book hunting license is being revoked as I'm typing this.

Like the book, Hiccup is the old boy out - he's not Viking material and a constant disappointment to his father. He's the laughingstock among his peers. Unlike the book, the Vikings are at war with dragons, not dragon trainers. Toothless isn't exactly toothless. And there's this blonde girl name Astrid, the token love interest of our would-be hero. Instead of teaching his Viking brethren a new way to train their dragons, Hiccup shows them a way to coexist.

On the scale, I'd give How to Train Your Dragon a 4.5. It's an enjoyable cartoon with an animated cast of voices - you work that out for yourselves. Let's not forget it also made a slow day more bearable. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

How to Train Your Dragon is available on Amazon for BluRay and DVD.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

I picked up Anya's Ghost before the weekend last week to read after finishing up with How to Train Your Dragon. However, Cowell's fantasy story about a boy and his dragon was less than captivating that I never got around to Brosgol's graphic novel. And this morning, when I finished reading How to Train Your Dragon, I started reading Erin Hunter's Warriors: Into the Wild - the first book of the original series, which is currently only $0.99 for Kindle. I also purchased this e-book on Friday before the weekend started. Before continuing with Into the Wild this afternoon, I decided to take a crack on Brosgol's book. I didn't intend to devour it so quickly - it's common for me to do this with a graphic novel, so I do attempt to pace myself - but it's just so entertaining that I couldn't put it down. 

It's a great book - funny, cute, and creepy all in one. However, the thing that I found most disturbing is how I found this book in the department I work in - the children's! I'm not an uber conservative person - if you look at my posts, you'll see this - but there are just some things I think aren't suitable for juvenile readers. Suggestive sex is one thing, manwhoring is another. Let's not ignore the creepy part of the book, which I won't reveal for fear of posting up spoilers.

The story follows Anya Borzakovskaya, a Russian immigrant who has spent most of her adolescent life erasing her cultural past in order to fit in. Your typical misanthropic teen girl who secretly pines over the jock boy and obsessing with her weight. One day, as she walks off some steam, she falls into a well where she discovers the remains of a girl who died over ninety years ago. To make things worse, the same girl is still taking up residence there - her ghost, anyway. When a piece of the girl's bones escapes with Anya, Emily Reilly - the ghost's real name - begins to haunt Anya's life - which is welcome. Emily helps Anya cheat on tests and improves her social and love life. But there's something off about Emily Reilly and Anya sets off to see what secrets her otherworldly friend has taken to her graven. What she discovers not only puts her in the line of trouble, it also threatens those she loves.

Anya's Ghost is a captivating read, perhaps for a young adult reader rather than a juvenile one. It's one part quirky, one part horror, and completely entertaining. Most young readers might relate to some of the everyday perils Anya finds herself in, regardless if they're immigrants. 

You can find Anya's Ghost on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Remember when I stated that we were to read Wonder Struck for the International Book Discussion at the library? Yeah, well, the book changed because the price was too, well, pricey. So the library picked How to Train Your Dragon, a thinner, less expensive novel written by - possibly - a less pretentious writer. Great, that's sixteen dollars I won't be seeing again. On the upside, at least I didn't have to pay for this one. 

Co-worker Mike C. told me not to "cheat" and watch the movie thinking it was the same thing. Apparently, it's not. And a book hunter would never make such a novice mistake. So I cracked the novel and started reading. I was anticipating a short read. At least it didn't take me as long as Wonder Struck. Easier on the back, too.

How to Train Your Dragon is you're typical hero book. The wimpy Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third is bullied by the piggish Snotlout. Aside from Fishlegs, Hiccup's the laughing stock of the Hairy Hooligans. It would probably be okay if Hiccup were just another Viking's son, but he's the son of Stoick the Vast, the chief of the Hairy Hooligans, meaning Hiccup is next in line. Not if Snotlout has something to say. Undermining everything Hiccup is, Snotlout thinks of himself as the next chief. So much so that when the boys pick their dragons - a rite of passage into the Hairy Hooligans - Snotlout picks a Monstrous Nightmare - a dragon only meant for the chief and his son. When trouble arises while picking their dragons, Hiccup gives up his dragon in order to save Fishlegs from exile. He returns to the dark dragon cave to retrieve another dragon for himself, grabbing a mysterious dragon that he "felt" was there. When Hiccup discovers the only remarkable thing about his dragon is how remarkably small it is, well, that's when things start getting interesting.

Like I said, the book's pretty much your run of the mill hero story. It's the same archetypal character. From Frodo Baggins to Peter Parker to Harry Potter, it's the small guy can save the world idea. And Hiccup and his small dragon, Toothless, prove just that. Cowell does present us with a story worth reading, but I can't imagine how the other books will differ from the same, basic idea - Hiccup, the boy you can't see as a hero, doing heroic things. And I can't see me reading them.

How to Train Your Dragon is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.