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Alright folks, ya’ll have seen me talk about my cat, Jonesy, and you know I’m a fan of books. So, when another blogger thought to combine the two, I figured I aught to tell you guys about it. She’s selling off her extra books, including signed copies and audio books, to support the Rozzie May Animal Alliance. She’s got 166 books up for grabs at a minimum donation of $5 each. There are more details in her blog post through the link below.

http://katetilton.com/catsfork8-fundraiser-book-sale/?utm_source=Kate+Tilton%27s+Book+Bloggers&utm_campaign=4f6ca7da56-%23CatsforK8+reach+out+%28bloggers%29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6f3077897d-4f6ca7da56-132404113

 I not quite live blogged it, and I’ve knocked around what kind of movie I think it would make (this without seeing the movie that they did make), so let’s end this terrible run on sentence and get on to the review.

I’ve talked about this book before in my not quite live blogging of it. So, given what I’ve already said and about a week after reading it, let’s take a swing at reviewing this thingy.

Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill, currently in “book of the movie” reprints as Edge of Tomorrow, is a relatively short military sci-fi march through one man’s development from green recruit to hardened warrior. The aliens arrived on Earth, they adapted a shape to work best in the environment, and they proceeded to destroy as much of the life on Earth as possible. They eat dirt and pass it as poison. Where they swim, the oceans no longer support life. The surviving nations of the world have banded together their militaries to destroy this threat, the Mimics.

All You Need is Kill is a fairly solid piece of genre fiction all told, though it isn’t without its issues. While a number of minor characters were mentioned in the various focus loops, they never really became anything more than set pieces. While this works for the book over all, it keeps the impact of anything that happens to them from really being there. This is the Keiji Kiriya show featuring Rita Vrataski and, while that works really well to show how different Keiji and Rita are as people and giving a great sense of isolation, it also lead to me not really caring if anything happened to the set piece minor characters. I also feel that the reveal about the mimic’s nature made them feel like, I don’t know, less somehow. They didn’t stop being dangerous, it just took away some of the mystery.

I’m also inclined to say that there isn’t a great deal of “show” in the novel. Again, this isn’t to the novel’s detriment for the most part. Having Keiji mostly talk about his development into a Mimic slaughtering machine just further reinforces the feeling of isolation, but I would have liked to have “seen” more of him watching Rita fight to figure out how she does things, more of him interacting with the other members of his squad and then slowly drifting away from them as more loops passed. I’d have also liked to see more lead up to the book’s climax. There was some, but not nearly enough.

So, to wrap it up, what’s the verdict? All You Need is Kill is a solid book that plays well off of the tropes Sakurazaka uses, and while it has some minor issues they mostly work in its favor rather than being detrimental to the book’s story. So, while there were some things that I did not enjoy, I give it a four out of five.

On Alternate Universes

Don’t run off to quickly on this one, but I’ve been watching the Rizzoli and Isles TV show a lot recently and it’s left me thinking about the differences and similarities in the characters.  Same thing with the Injustice comic to the main DCU. Possible spoilers ahead kids, I’m gonna get to ifing.

 

I like alternate universes, especially when fan cannon comes into play, seeing how little changes effect the characters and their world.  Like, what would happen if the Surgeon, the first Rizzoli and Isles villain, had died in the first book instead of being paralysed at the end of the second.  That would have definitely effected the second book, there would have been no Surgeon to have an Apprentice, so there would have been no need for Agent Dean to be called in, so he and Rizzoli wouldn’t have met at that time or under those circumstances.  They probably wouldn’t have had sex or gotten married. This could have resulted in Rizzoli taking longer to cool down.  I’m not even sure how that would have effected her working with Isles.

 

Change it a little more, make Isles more similar to her TV persona, more open and friendly but socially uncomfortable.  How does it change things?  The characters in the books aren’t as friendly as their TV counterparts and Isles was introduced in the second book, when Rizzoli was still very abrasive and closed off.  While not a ton is done with Rizzoli and Isles’ non-work interactions in the books, by the end of the last book it is more than safe to say that they’re friends even if to a less touchy extent than on the show.  How would a different Isles  change that?

Heck, switch gears.  What happens if, instead of Batman, we have Detective Bruce Wayne of the GCPD?  He’s still richer than the Catholic church, his back story is still more or less the same, same intense training before returning to Gotham, he just decides to become a cop to clean up his city rather than Batman.  It could still have the Robins in various ways, Dick Greyson as a junior detective who gets partnered with Bruce would work easily, especially since he was a police officer in some of the older Nightwing comics. Jason Todd could show up as either another partner, if they wanted Dick to move to another precinct or division, or an informant of Bruce’s who later becomes suspect and gets killed by the Joker as a result.  Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake would make awesome CSI type characters.  There’s a ton that could be done with that, both as a Gotham Central esque book focusing on that and to see what would happen with the rest of the DCU’s heroes without Batman there.

They did something similar with The Nail, where Superman wasn’t found by the Kents and was instead raised by and Amish couple.  He didn’t become Superman until much later on than in the main world and his world reflects that.  I really like seeing stuff like that even if it doesn’t have a lasting effect on the main continuity.

That’s about it for now, I could go on about stuff like this for novels and novels and more.

After at least five months, closer to six, of losing interest in the middle and general ambivalence towards everything I’ve finished reading a book.  This probably doesn’t mean a ton to the rest of internetland, but holy shit does it feel good to me.

So how was the second half of Edge of Tomorrow?  I really enjoyed the part focusing on Rita becoming the Full Metal Bitch.  I liked seeing her and Keiji connect and work together, it was kind of nice to see them both having someone who understood what was going on.  What I’m not a big fan of was the ending.  It isn’t that it was poorly written or that it didn’t fit the rest of the book, in fact if I’m being honest I don’t know that anything else would have really worked properly, but it wasn’t my favorite ending to a novel either.  It also struck me that revealing what the Mimics were made them feel a bit less, not threatening, but just less as a thing.

Overall, I enjoyed the book though and would read more by this author.  Not sure that I’m gonna go see the movie though.

So, it’s been about a week and , as usual, work and life and not really being able to pull an idea for a post together has kept me from posting the things.  Aside from that, I’m about a third of the way through Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Edge of Tomorrow, originally published as All You Need is Kill here in the US.  I picked it up because the blurb reminded me of an older sci-fi work my dad used to tell me about where the soldiers it focused on were revived and forced to keep fighting every time they died in battle and it went on for decades or more.  After reading a little of it I got him a copy of it too as a Father’s Day gift.

So far our hero, Keiji Kiriya, has figured out that the time loop only seems to work for him and he’s decided to make the best of that to see if he can eventually survive the second day of the loop.  I admit, the first few chapters felt overly repetitive but that’s because they take place before he’s figured it out, when the battle is still just a nightmare.  Not sure if I like how solitary the narrative is, I get that he’s the only one to remember the loops (at least as it’s been revealed so far) and is just focusing on making himself better because that’s really all that can be done.  It just feels a little weird that all the minor characters are as static as they, purposefully, are and as seemingly unimportant.  It’s a book where everyone is a red shirt so far and the big reason that strikes me is because I’m used to the cast being more present in the story, so it’s strange to just get glimpses of side characters and then nothing.  It doesn’t hurt the story, I don’t think, it’s just taking some getting used to.

These Are Words

So, this blog has been pretty well dead for so long that I can’t even remember what my plans were for it last time I posted.  I’ve been dealing with problems in school and with work and with life in general, and I just kind of let this fall by the wayside.  I don’t have a review today, and I won’t tomorrow, but I’m going to start posting things, maybe live blog the book I’m reading or something to that effect.  But after all the stuff that’s happened I’m putting down words and staking my place on the net again.

Revisiting a Thing

So, this is me bringing up something that bugs me with a lot of romance novels and resulted in my burning out on them pretty hard.  The thing in question is of course, the alpha male lead, the guy whose chest thumping bravado and sheer force of will sweep the heroine off her feet and on and on.  He shows up a lot and, more often than not, could easily be another book’s pushy asshole who won’t leave the female lead alone, that’s a problem.

I focused on this a bit in my review of Alpha Instinct, with Connor disregarding Ana’s requests that he let the mundane police deal with a problem rather than going after it himself.  In this case it’s played as “oh he’s so protective of her, he just can’t stand for them to go unpunished” and to set up a later book, when honestly it would have been better for the pack in the long run if they had let the cops deal with it.  He seriously murdered two dudes in cold blood for having attempting to hurt “his” woman, that’s taking taking charge way too far.

On the other hand Blood and Bullets shows us what happens when the alpha male is moved from the romance novel to heading an urban fantasy novel.  The result isn’t bad so much as boring and repetitive.  Chalk isn’t a character who should be boring, but his being an alpha male was focused on more than his actually doing anything to his detriment.  As a concept, Chalk is kind of over played but also kind of awesome, he’s the Punisher but against the things that go bump in the night.

So, essentially, my problem isn’t so much with the character type as with how far writers take it any more and how prevalent it is.  Like, if I only saw one of these guys for every third or fourth romance novel, that would be great.  Seeing more romance novels with a variety of male leads would be amazing, if more than a little unlikely.  I want to see guys who’re sensitive, guys who’re there for the female lead when the standard romance novel jerk ex breaks her heart, and guys who’re assholes to everyone but the female lead and admit it.  Let’s get some more variety going here.

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it lovelies? Things have gotten crazier at work, so I’ve been away from things more often than not and, again, I’m making a “no promises” stab at coming back to the blog and my reviews. To kick that off, I’ve got a guest post for you from the author of Iron Shinto regarding her writing and her experiences with metaphysics and how the two connect.

How has your experience with the metaphysical affected your writing?
When I was five, I was visited by a vision. I’ll never forget it, I was running down the stairs and the entity, a girl with dark hair, stopped me in my tracks. The spirit said that I would go through a deeply challenging time in my life, but would resurface, later in life, with unimaginable joy and fulfillment. That vision stayed with me. In middle school, I would sit quietly at my desk adding up the years to figure out exactly when my life would turn around.

And then I forgot. I got busy, my work and the stress of family life took over and I was completely overwhelmed and in desperate need of a vacation. My husband, daughter and I decided to go to Hawaii.

When the plane landed in Honolulu, I remember feeling the difference in the atmosphere as I disembarked. The air made me somehow, remember that there was a part of me that knew…something…what was it?

Never mind, I was in Hawaii it was time to see the sights! So, I sped off to see Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and then headed home for an afternoon nap before an evening luau. As I drifted toward sleep, I heard my name being called. In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful young woman with dark hair, who said her name was Moaahuulikkiaaakea’o Haanaapeekuluueehuehakipuunahe’e—Moa for short.

And then I remembered.

Forgetfulness can feel like holding a beach ball underwater. The ongoing effort can be draining over time and when the memory surfaces it brings with it, a tremendous relief.

When I write from this “remembering” place, I find I am relaxed and open, which is always a great place from which to write.

Tell us about your writing process.
Every day is different. Sometimes words pour out faster than I can write or when I’m not near a computer so I have to grab a grocery receipt and quickly squeeze in all the juiciness that comes forth. Other times, I space out the writing and sit in a busy cafe listening to snippets of stranger’s conversations.

One thing is consistent. I do not judge myself, my writing or my process. If I do, I stop and give myself time to let that go. Then I begin again and pick up where I left off.
The stories come in, in waves of loveliness, or shards of anger, or slippery plots that I have to chase around and around to find my path. Whatever my course, I stick with it, I can edit later and I only edit after I let it all out–every last bit.

After I’ve done all of the above, I write a loose outline. It doesn’t include numbers and I’m the only one who knows what it means. Parts are in my head, parts are on receipts, tucked in the depths of my purse or in my computer, labeled with the story, date and version.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes both! My favorite part of writing is having a conversation with my characters. In fact, early in the process of writing “Iron Shinto,” I hit a wall with my main character, Mina. My incredibly wise editor, Rebecca Gummere, suggested I chat with her. That event broke open the story in a way I never could have created, had I done it any other way.

Here’s what I did:
I wrote out the questions ahead of time and made an appointment with my character, just as I would with anyone I know. Then, when it came time, I sat in a private place and had a visit with Mina.

I asked the questions and waited for the answers. Sometimes they came in right away, other times I had to relax and let the answer come. A few times, I had to stop and say, “How can I tell if I’m making this all up?” and my answer was simple, “I can’t.”
But, as I chronicled my conversation, made note of all the directions, nuances, twists or straight-always, I noticed that I felt “in the flow.” I kept these conversations up and would even have the occasional disagreement with Mina.

In the end, I knew I had to let the self-editing, judging and critic go and allow my character to tell me about her journey.

What advice would you give other writers?
Persistence is everything. When you feel low, do a search on how many times famous writers were rejected. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle was rejected 29 times before it was published. Or read inspirational books by authors who have weathered the storm, “Bird by Bird,” by Anne Lamott is a good one.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
With the Moa Series, I had no doubt that I wanted to publish these books. I needed to have complete control over the layout (to highlight the incredible illustrations by Sydney Shiu), the cover as well as the marketing and distribution. Best of all, I get all the royalties and no one owns the rights to my book, but me. Things have gone better than I could have possibly imagined!

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Books and book publishing are alive and well! However, the way they will be purchased, read and distributed is a whole different story.

Whatever changes occur in the publishing world and new technologies that pop up, I know I will continue to write and read and I am absolutely others will too.

 

 

About Tricia Stewart Shiu
Tricia Stewart Shiu is an award-winning screenwriter, author and playwright, but her passion lies in creating mystical stories. Her latest series, The Moa Books, which includes “Moa,” “The Statue of Ku” and “The Iron Shinto,” were, by far, her favorite to write.

Iron Shinto (ISBN: 978-0-9840020-8-5, 2013 Human Being Publishing, 208 Pages, Available on Amazon in Paperback, $12.95 and for $6.99 on Kindle 978-0-9840020-6-1 or on the author’s website http://humanbeingcompany.com/

Media Contact: For a review copy of Iron Shinto, or to schedule an interview with Tricia Stewart Shiu, please contact Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Communications Book Marketing, 734-667-2090, Cell: 248-705-2214 or scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or http://www.book-marketing-expert.com

Alright guys, here’s the guest post I promised you all yesterday. Here’s Krista Holle on her latest book, The Wind Whisperer, enjoy!”

We can all relate to contemporary fiction and this can be either good or bad. We all know what it’s like to ride a roller coaster, struggle through an algebra exam, or eat a greasy hamburger from McDonalds. While reading contemporary fiction, we understand the modern lingo and the reasons behind people’s behavior. To some people a contemporary setting can be “comfort food”, but for others the day to day life can be a bit mundane. I personally have always been more attracted to reading a historical setting.
Life a person doesn’t usually experience is more of an adventure to me. I would love to safely experience life on the Titanic or break free from the tower of London. I’ve yet to receive training from a Renaissance painter or swing from a vine in Africa. What I wouldn’t give to swim with the selkies in the blue waters off Scotland or experience life as a 13 year-old Bali bride. Historical fiction writers sweep you away to expected places in time!
While living on land once owned by Pocahontas, I was inspired by the natives that once roamed the forests around my home. In The Wind Whisperer, fifteen-year-old Anaii is unlike the other girls from her village. She alone can hear the constant whisperings of the wind spirits and can “see” when the enemy tribe is getting ready to attack. Because of this, Anaii is scorned by the other women and is a protected commodity to her father the chief. But getting out from her father’s nose might not be easy, especially after Anaii falls in love with an enemy warrior.
In The Wind Whisperer, the reader will experience the crowded life of a bark longhouse, and taste the syrupy stew that’s been simmering over the fire for days. They will feel the damp moss between their toes and experience a good old-fashioned “striping”—a punishment they will not soon forget. The reader may even fall in love (more than once) and have to make the excruciating decision between their soul-mate and their best friend. It’s life in primitive Virginia and far away from most people’s comfort zone. We can all relate to contemporary fiction, but as for me, I say bring the history on.

I rise again from the ashes of obscurity and the internets to admit that I haven’t had much happening lately. I should have a ton of reviews ready to go in early February, but that doesn’t help us now.

The good news is that I’ve got a guest post for you that’s going to be up tomorrow after work from indie author Krista Holle. Her bio has this to say about her:

Krista Holle is an award winning author who stepped up her writing after reading Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. It occurred to Krista that there is an insatiable audience of women and girls who want to read books filled with stories about true love—not just vampires. When Krista is not writing, she loves to collect seashells, watch movies, and eat obscene amounts of pizza. Krista currently resides in Montpelier, Virginia with her husband, four daughters and an eccentric cat with a weird attachment to the family’s socks.

Look forward to it lovelies and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

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