Monday, January 16, 2012

#11: Wayfinder- C E Murphy

There is something wonderful about reading that allows the reader to escape the world they live in and be part of another for a while. This isn't necessarily always a pleasant escape as some book and their worlds are much worse places to be in than our own. The beauty of books is that they become par of you, good or bad, and you have more that is part of you (yes even if it is the most outlandish fictional tale ever).

Lara Jansen, less than a year ago was just an apprentice tailor in Boston with a quirky habit of knowing when people are telling the truth. Then she met Dafydd and went to the faery world of the Barrow-lands. She learned she was a Truthseeker and her abilities were needed to solve a murder and to put a stop to a a war. Dafydd is now missing and the Barrow-lands are on the verge destruction. Lara must harness the dangerous power of the staff and find a long forgotten truth that could take them down the path of mending or destroy what is left.

I have read a great many of C E Murphy's books because there is something interesting that she does in all of them. She takes a modern character and setting and does a mash up with mythology/stories/legends and creates a seamless tale. I love the blend of the two worlds. Another thing I love about C E Murphy is her ability to create a strong female character that I not only admire but can relate to. This is a consistency throughout her books that is nice. I also like that her character are just everyday people with jobs that are thrown into a world most of us only dream of.

#10:STNG: Loosing the Peace -William Leisner

Okay before I write this review I want to state what must already be an obvious fact. I am not reading these Star Trek books in order at all. That said it's not because I don't want to read them in order but these just happen to be the one I bought. Part of me did have an secret motive when buying them thought, my favorite character is Beverly Crusher and I loved the relationship between her and Captain Picard so I wanted to know what happened, I wanted the story to keep going (as I always do) so I bought the books that might meet that criteria (with the obvious exception of the early books and definitely The Captains' Honor).

The war with the Borg has ended but that doesn't mean that things go back to normal in the Federation. There are millions and millions of people who have lost their homes. There is much work to be done and Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew must work through their trouble and help those who have nowhere to turn. 

 I loved this book. I read two thirds of this book on the day I bought it and quickly finished the rest of it the next day. This story was good because it highlighted the rebuilding that had t take place after the Borg attack. Too often tv shows/book/movies will pass over the aftermath of a major event because it is anticlimactic. Leisner makes this story engaging and relate-able. Not only are we exposed to what the Federation must deal with but also how the events of the Borg attack affected individual crew members. The story wasn't focused on some major war but rather what comes after and how people who were so important during war time now fare in a time of peace. We are forced to examine the question , "in a world used to and destroyed by war can there be peace afterward?"

#9: STNG: The Captains' Honor - David & Daniel Dvorkin

1/9/12 SPOILER

Hmmm two book in one day? I attribute this largely to the fact that I saw a total of four customers today at one of my jobsand that I settled into bed around nince pm but I wasn't tired in the least. Anyway I finished another Star Trek book, however difficult I found this one to be.

The peaceful planet of Tenara has come under attack by the merciless M'Dork. While the ship Centurion is charged with the duty of protecting Tenara the Federation errs on the side of caution with these recent attacks and send the Enterprise to assist them. However, Captain Picard and Captain Lucius Sejanus of the Centruion have very different stances on the situation.

This was not by far one of my favorite books (Star Trek) that I've read, in fact it was my least favorite. The issues I have with this may seem personal however that is what these entries are. One irritating omission for me was that of excluding Dr. Crusher from the senior staff and almost from the book completely. While the story didn't need a large presence by Dr. Crusher the fact that the senior staff was said to be complete without her was inaccurate. I don't hid that she is my favorite character but in accuracy to the established character was bothersome. Also I had issues with the ending. The story started with the M'Dork attacks/threat and the authors never effectively concluded that story line. The issue was left unresolved which I find frustrating as a reader/fan/writer.

Not to be entirely negative I did find the way Roman history was included and integrated into a planet no where near our own interesting.

#8: STNG: A Fury Scorned - Pamela Sargent & George Zebrowski

Another one bites the dust so to speak, another day and another book. And yes it was another Star Trek book. This time however, I jumped back in time. The last several books I've read happened well after the end of the show and after all four of the movies. This book is back during the show's run.

The Enterprise has been sent on a mission of mercy. Euripidus III is in peril . The planet of 20 million people is at the mercy of their sun which is about to go super nova. The Enterprise now faces a dilemma, should they save children and artifacts from the doomed planet or should they try a risky experiment Data has come up with? Captain Picard faces a tough decision and like anyone he wonders "how do I know what is right?"

I trouble with this book at first for two reasons. The first was the rapidness with which the point of view shifted between characters. It's nice to see the different points of view, however, for a while it seemed like the POV was constantly shifting which made reading the first part of the book, and even some of the later parts difficult. The second issue was one of my own doing. I was reading between fifteen and twenty years after these events. I then had to go back in time and readjust to what time I was in and character changes. I had to back to befroe Data died, before Will and Deanna were married and on another ship, and before Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher were married and had a child. My advice: read books in order it's easier.

The story was quite good and very much like the show. The scenario was a believable voyage and mission for the Enterprise and her crew. (Aside: have you ever notice how ships are considered female yet it was believed that having a woman on board was bad luck)

#7: Star Trek Typhon Pact : Paths of Disharmony

Well, I am no longer at my book a day pace, however, it is a bit of a crazy pace and would be difficult to keep up while working. Regardless of how long it took me to read this most recent book it was well wroth it because it was a great book that kept me reading.

Capain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise are on a diplomatic mission to Andor, a world plagued but reproductive issues on top of a world ravaged and raw after the Borg invasion. There is a new approach to the reproductive issues of the Andorians but many on the planet disagree with this approach. Picard and his crew are sent to help with a conference on the issue. But ever present are the watchful Typhon Pact. There may be more to their involvement than there appears.

I haven't read any of the other Typhon Pact books nevertheless I was able to follow the story fine. My favorite part of this book was that it was not a book about war (be it Borg or Romulans). This was about the other work the Enterprise does, the diplomatic part of it. It was like watching an episode of the show. Ward did a wonderful job of creating a story that included all the characters and fit into a series but works as a  stand alone book as well. This book was like so many episodes of the show, there was a scientific problem and a cultural problem that requires the skills of the Enterprise crew. While the boks about wars with the Borg, or Romulans, or whomever are good and entertaining there was more the show than conflicts and war. While they are equipped for conflict their mission is of anthropologists to explore new worlds and new cultures and to help with cultural and scientific problems of the know world.

#6:STNG: Greater Than the Sum-Christopher L. Bennett


I have to state here and now that the reason i have been reading so many Star Trek the Next Generation books is because I love the characters. Maybe it's the writer in me or something else but characters are one of the best parts of the story also one of the most important, without good characters the story goes flat. The hardest part for author's of these type of books is that they didn't create the characters themselves, the characters have been created and given life by actors most for over seven years.

When the Starship Rhea finds a cluster of carbon planets inhabited by a strange new life form they stop to investigate. The Borg have also found these lifeforms and the crew of the Rhea. These lifeforms have a way of transporting great distances in an extremely short period of time a tool deadly at the hands of the Borg. So the Federation has dispatched the Enterprise to handle the Bord and the new lifeforms.

Some might find this book difficult because it delves into the characters personal life more than some might like. The story is good, well developed, and engrossing. The character stories as I said factor critically in this story not without a point though. The personal stories play into the larger plot making what might appear fanciful indulgences of the writer important to the story. Though some may argue the personal stories are irrelevant and nothing more than fanfiction I disagree. Te show worked well because there were engaging stories/missions but also because of the characters. The characters are critical, the magic of these books and the show comes from the seamless bled of both elements. People want to be able to relate to what they read/watch so by showing us the personal lives we have something to relate to in a setting of the future.

#5: STNG: Q&A: Keith RA Ce Candido

Continuing my astounding pattern of a book a day (at least astounding for me seeing as how I feel like I'm constantly at work). I have finished yet another Star Trek the Next Generation book. When I told someone about my current reading pattern they were skeptical saying "They're only a hundred pages right?" And just so everyone knows they are all over two hundred pages most three hundred plus.

Anyway over the course of our lives we meet people and most leave an impression either good or bad. Then there are people you pray you will never see again, it is no different for Jean-Luc Picard. Q has plagued Captain Picard's life since episode one of the show (Encounter at Fairpoint). As is standard Q procedure the crew fo the Enterprise is faced with a problem . . . the end of the Universe. They must figure out what Q is up to and try to stop the inevitable.

This book was hilarious, as with the show Q in this book brings with him loads of humor. The great thing about this book was the shifting perspectives. We got to see not only the Enterprise crew but got to the Continuum (everyone's name being Q is slightly confusing at first) and even for a brief period other ships and Starbases. Here we get to know more about Q and the Continuum and see how and why certain events unfolded. The Q character, as complex and strange as it is, makes it difficult to write however, DeCandido does so making you laugh out loud and fall in love the character all over again.

#4: STNG: Resistance-J.M. Dillard

Days off are meant for running errands, doing necessary household chores, relaxing, and getting caught up on your reading, or in my case ahead. Today on my unexpected day off I did all of these things including finishing yet another book.

Again I have plunged into the world of the starship Enterprise and her crew. Captain Picard and the and other familiar crew member s are back on board the Enterprise and exploring space as they have for well over two decades. This trip, however, is one of the first as well. As so many of the old crew have moved on the old members must now get used to new faces filling old friends' positions.

The ice breaker activities will have to wait as an old foe is moving to rebuild the Empire Picard and the others have crushed, twice. The Borg are back and in a very un-BOrg like fashion they are pissed off. Captain Picard must again face an enemy he knows all too well. Starfleet believes the Borg to be crushed and doesn't believe Picard, now it's up to him and the crew of the Enterprise to take on the Borg . . . again.

Dillard take on a topic so often done on Star Trek it may be over done, the Borg. With so much done ont he Bod it would be difficult to keep it entertaining, but Dillard does. Really for the frist time we get to experience the Borg with the crew and feel their reactions to the threat of the Borg. We feel Picard's anger, live Crusher's fear, and Worf's unrest. Dillard takes up on board with the crew and puts us in their positions, even in their heads.

#3: STNG: Death in Winter- Michael Jan Friedman

It's official I have a serious problem, well two problems I guess. Problem #1 I have read three book in as many days. #2 I have no life enabling me to read three books in three days. Problem number one is only a problem because I'm going to plow through the books I have in record time. There is an upside though, my roommate has a ton of books I haven't read and I work in a bookstore.

Obviously I haven't run out of Star Trek books yet which is cause for much rejoicing, since I'm allowed to further indulge my nerdiness. These books take me to  world where I am lost in it's places and characters even when I'm not actually reading the book. While I was working today I found myself thinking about what I was reading and not what I was working on (granted I was just scanning and pulling inventory).

This book takes place shortly after the fourth Star Trek The Next Generation movie (Nemesis). As Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces many changes the most difficult is the departure of his friend Dr. Beverly Crusher from the Enterprise.

When Dr. Crusher goes MIA on assignment it is up to Picard and some of his former Stargazer crew to complete her mission and (most importantly to Picard) locate Crusher and bring her back safely. This book is wonderful for Next Gen fans with great characters, a well developed story, and an old foe who has again reared their ugly heads.

#2: STNG: Hard Rain- Dean Wesley Smith

Okay space cadets it's time to take a tip with me across time and space out into the stars and to . . . 1940's San Fransisco.

Another Star Trek the Next Generation book under my belt and this one was fantastic. I love it when things I love cross over. For example, when the character I love from the Next Generation are thrown into a good 'ole noir mystery. Captain Picard, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Data, and several other crew members must go onto the holo deck to solve a case that could save all of those in the program but also all the lives on the Enterprise.

So back in 1940's San Fransisco, Dixon Hill, PI, Luscious Bev ( his steady gal), and Mr. Data (his right hand man) must find their prize. As time is running out for the Enterprise and her crew the key to survival could be in the 40's but the question is where?

I loved this book it was well written and expecting and funny. The episode where Picard, Crusher, and Data go into the Dixon Hill program was one of my favorites so to see it continued in a fashion as a book was excellent. Smith did well combining the world of the Enterprise and the world on the holo deck. It was a great mystery perfect for it's setting on the holo deck and a story worthy of the Star Trek name.

#1: Star Trek the Next Generation: Rogue Saucer- John Vornholt

Okay, okay I know what you're all thinking I posted on here that I was going to keep up with my blog and not get behind like I started to at the end of last year. Though I haven't been writing on here I have been writing in the book journal I said I was going to keep and have been busy reading quite a few books. Since I'm now forced to play catch up I'm going to date the next several entries and write them as they appeal in my journal. Also I have read several Star Trek books so I will abbreviate the beginning portions of the title for Star Trek the Next Generation books as STNG.

So I have this quirky obsession with tv shows and movies I like, I never want the story to end. So like any other nerd I go out and buy the books based on the tv shows/movies I love. This can be a hit or miss thing sometimes the books are wonderful and story true to the characters already created other time I wish I'd never read them.

Currently I am reading all the books based on the show Star Trek the Next Generation. I lvoe the show because it's character deep. Rogue Saucer is the second Star Trek novel I read and it was fantastic. This novel is set while the show was still running but written after the show ended. This has the advantage of know what happens in the show but the difficulty of not altering events or revealing things that haven't happened yet.

While the Enterprise saucer receives much needed repairs the hull take and experimental saucer and in typical Star Trek fashion nothing goes according to plan. Now with the Enterprise separated and so is it's crew, they will face challenges they never expected.

Reading this book I fel like I was watching an episdoe of the show. I was laughing and commenting on the book like I would the show. The characters were true to the show and the store was a believable one consistent with the show.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!! Here I sit in front of my computer with my nose stuffed fuller than a turkey on Thanksgiving and hacking my lung up ready to start a 2012 and a new book count. 2011 was a decent reading year for me (probably thanks to the fact that I wasn't in school this year anymore and I was working in a bookstore for a majority of it.) I ended 2011 with 75 books on record for the year. There are a few I read that I didn't write about on here that I may write about because they were excellent books that I think everyone should read.

This year as well as keeping a blog about my reading adventures I have decided that I'm also going to keep a written journal of them as well since as I have mentioned I like writing by hand more than typing on a computer. I'm hoping that hand writing my reviews about the books I read will help me keep better track on here as well.

On the topic of new beginnings and resolutions I am here and now making a resolution to put my writing on the front burner again and not make any excuses why I'm not pursuing it. Yesterday I received a letter from a magazine I had submitted a story to back in November. They had decided not to use the story I sent them. I wasn't upset like most people instead I figure it's a step in the right direction at least I'm getting my work out there and looked at. I have started a folder that is in with all my other writing in a folder labeled "Character Building".

Happy New Year Everyone! Enjoy!