Friday, April 25, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - April

I read this book after my son met the author at a recent book talk at our town library.  Logan didn't have time to read this, as he had a book on his list for the DCF talk the next week but his friend read it and Logan wanted to support him at the author visit.

I picked it up not know this was to be a series and not knowing what the subtitle of the book was.  Both caveats are important to me.  First, while this is the first book in a series and does set up future books, the NEED to continue reading is muted...not as strong as say, The Hunger Games, which read as one large story, not as continued adventures starring the same characters.  Second, the subtitle of the book kind of ruins a few surprises.  The characters receive a few clues early in the story that I enjoyed figuring out with them.  If I knew the subtitle of the book before starting, I would have found myself impatient with the slower reveal.

The story takes place in a steam-punk alternate Earth in the near future.  In this world, the lands we thought we knew and had explored where only half of the story.  Great areas of the planet had been hidden.  This book follows the adventures of the three orphan children of one of the world's greatest explorers.

I really liked the book at the beginning but, while I did enjoy it, I found myself a little impatient towards the end.  I understand the characters were hungry but it was such a prevalent issue that I expected more to come of it. It definitely ended well and I will be checking in again.

I'm not doing this justice.  It was a fun read.  Someone referred to it as Hardy Boys meets Indiana Jones which doesn't seem far from the truth.  I would recommend it for 4th to 8th grade readers....especially reluctant readers who like adventures and mysteries.

This week I read TWO books! (Yay vacation!)  The first was Brad Meltzer's "The Fifth Assassin".  I have been a fan of Meltzer's work ever since I stumbled across his novel "The Tenth Justice" and recognized he named a lot of the Justices after characters in "The Watchmen".

After several stand alone novels, Meltzer is working towards creating a true series of books. A likable main character and an intriguing, historically-based premise (dating back to Washington), this has all of the earmarks of a series with long legs.

After "The Fifth Assassin" and a rewatching of both "National Treasure" movies, I had a hankering for some mystery and intrigue.  However, I finished this with an audible "Meh".

Overall I found it somewhat disappointing. Brown continues his habit of not naming some characters and keeping chapters pronoun free to throw you off, but once the big baddie is revealed, you realize there was no real reason to keep him shrouded in mystery.

Additionally, I don't mind when movies don't translate a character speaking in a foreign language, as I can usually tell what is going on by tone and body language. I found myself frustrated at times when some of the foreign language was translated...but not all and not consistently!

Lastly, I did grow tired of Tom Hanks...err...Robert Langdon knowing EVERYTHING thanks to his eidetic memory. I find it okay for the gaps to be filled with info dumps on occasion...but the main character doing it constantly gets to be too much

What is The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, you ask? 

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. More details HERE

Why not check out some of the other folks who are writing about what they read this month?

1.The Armchair Squid2.My Creatively Random Life
3.Wishbone Soup Cures Everything4.Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi
5.Huntress6.Servitor Ludi

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"One of these things is not like the others..."

I don't even pretend to understand how Facebook tracks the things I do or like or how the algorithms are created.  But a colleague put a picture on their FB wall and I liked the sentiment and I like the lady so I liked the picture.

Once I did, I was invited to like these things that were "similar"....Now I don't know a whole lot about MacFarlane....maybe he is a big supporter of autism research or what not, but something didn't seem right about this....

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cinema Sunday: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Currently #25 on my flickchart list
My son was a little bugged that he hadn't seen a movie when it opened at midnight.  He good-naturedly ribs me occasionally that I took The Armchair Squid to see The Avengers midnight opening....neglecting to recall that at the time, my son was 8 and not up to a midnight showing.

Our original plan to see this movie on opening night was derailed by my current quest to obtain my master's degree...I had class last Thursday, Friday and Saturday making it impossible to fit in a screening.

So we made plans to go to the latest showing possible this past Friday night.  We had so much fun on our Father-Son Night Out.  The previews rocked.  During one, I said we needed to see the movie advertised in the theater...Logan replied "On another night like this!".  He was easily the youngest member of the audience and reveled in that fact.

When the movie was over, we both started babbling about the Easter Eggs we caught and were eager to see it again.  Logan pegged it as his second favorite movie in the Marvel Universe.  I put it third behind Captain America: The First Avenger.  We both have The Avengers first.

I sometimes have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that we live in a world where the SEQUEL to a Captain America movie holds the box office record for April releases.  Where I would get a SEQUEL to a Thor movie and enjoy it even more than the first Thor movie.  Where I would have THREE Iron Man movies to rank and be okay with not liking some of them!!

Someone recently posted on-line that they could imagine themselves as an old man lecturing kids on the days when there were so few good superhero flicks growing up.  I remember the days of having to hang my hat on the first Superman movie and some of the second Superman movie.  I remember convincing myself that the first few Batman movies were enough to hold me over until...some day.

Now I'm waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy, a second Avengers movie, an Ant-Man movie....


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