Superhero Generations

29 03 2016

Author: Carrie Vaughn

After the Golden Age Dreams of the Golden Age

After the Golden Age
(9780765325556) April 2011
Dreams of the Golden Age
(9780765370105) January 2014

The first generation of superheroes in Commerce City are the result of a mind alteration experiment gone wrong. Their creation, though, is a good thing for the city. There may be a super villain or two, but the rest are dedicated to helping the city. Things start to unravel when their identities are revealed.

In book one, we have the story of the next generation. The estranged daughter of the 2 main super heroes, Celia, is the target of frequent abductions. She doesn’t have any powers, but the mind-reader of the team can always find her. This book culminates with the handing over of the reigns from the first gen super heroes to Celia, their daughter. Along the way the history of the super heroes (and villains) is revealed. A thoroughly engaging tale. Young Adult and above. Female lead character.

In book two, it’s the story of the 3rd generation of superheroes. Much younger, mid teens, just exploring their powers without their parents knowing. Not so. The parents give them free reign to explore their talents, without interfering. They watch though.

A new villain arrives from another city, with a collection of new supers that do not have the same loyalty to Commerce City. They are only discovered in the final chapters, when Celia is kidnapped, again. The final shootout between all the supers is quite exciting.

Again, the leads are female (villains older males).

Excellent reading. Read both books over Easter 2016.

Both tales are suitable for Young Adult readers. There are a lot of good YA targeted books out there that may not appear on the main SciFi/Fantasy shelves, and are great reads none-the-less. I got both books from Amazon as they weren’t available for kindle. The first came as a hardcover and the second as a paperback (with much smaller text, of course) – both at the same price.

A Love Story

27 01 2013

Innocents by Cathy CooteInnocents by Cathy Coote
ISBN: 0802139272
Australian Author
amazon link

A 16 year old school girl meets a 34 year old teacher. They fall in love and move in together. She’s a bit of a tease and draws the animal in him to the surface. Things go too far, and the stresses threaten to break the relationship.

This story is told from the girl’s point of view. She explains why she’s at fault (not him). It avoids issues that such taboos generate in the community, and concentrates on the love they have for each other. Her innocent perspective, of course. It’s well written.

It’s a (different) love story. A quick read – enjoy! 3.5/5

Two tales of “Life Interrupted”

26 01 2013

Teenage AmnesiacMemoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
ISBN-13: 978-0312561284
Tags: Teen, Young Adult,
High School
Naomi’s accident results in amnesia. She can’t remember the last 4years – her parents divorce, mother’s remarriage, her new step-sister, her boyfriend/s. A good read. Memoirs-Teenage-Amnesiac-AMAZON







Torn By Stephanie Guerra

ISBN-13: 978-0761462729
Tags: Teen, Young Adult, High School
Ruby comes into Stella’s life, alienating her from her friends, and introducing her to a different lifestyle. Ruby leads a detatched sort of life, doing things that unsettle Stella, but she manages to not stray – much! A tame-ish story, and a pleasant read. Torn-Stephanie-Guerra-AMAZON

Torn is not as rich, in characters and story, as the Amnesiac tale.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac 3.5/5
Torn 3/5

Win8 Touch Tablet vs iPad #1

10 12 2012

SonyDuo11UltrabookFirst Looks:

Before upgrading my desktop to Windows 8, I thought it would be good to try it out on a small portable device. And, the only way to really test it would be on a touch screen. Two devices caught my eye: the Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook and  Sony VAIO Duo 11 Ultrabook. Base models in each range are

  • Intel® Core™ i5-3317U Processor 1.70 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.60 GHz,
  • Full HD: 1920 x 1080
  • 4GB Dual channel DDR3
  • 128GB Solid State Drive
  • Intel® HD Graphics 4000
  • 11.6 inch screen (Sony), 12.5 inch screen (Dell)
  • Windows 8 (64bit) – not the RT version

Both have a screen that flips from laptop to tablet mode. My $$$ were spent on the Sony machine (as seen on the desk on the channel 10 news – so thats why the Channel 10 app was so prominent in the store!!). It’s my intention to compare its abilities against the iPad. So far, there are a few things that the iPad does better

  • Touch: The Sony might be a touch tablet, and have much the same touch gestures as the iPad, but many of the regular Windows applications aren’t touch aware (apps from the windows store are different) . It’s annoying when you can’t just spread the fingers to zoom in on such a small screen.
  • I wasn’t able to get the Zinio reader to install on Win8
  • iTunes had to be the full application – apps vs applications terminology will get messy
  • IE-10 was friendlier than Chrome on Win8 (small screen and half-screen keyboard are annoying)
  • Narrow portrait mode on Win8 wasn’t as nice as the screen proportions on the iPad. So far i think it’s too narrow.

I’ve only had the Win8 machine for a few days. Part 2 of my adventures will follow soon.

Books read in 2012

2 09 2012

MyBooks last 12mths – 2012
This PDF is a preliminary list of the books I have read this year. I will add reviews soon.

More YA (Young Adult) authors have crept into my reading list. Some like Marissa Meyer and Veronica Rossi’s books are debut novels – both the beginnings of series that are expected to have sequels annually until done. L.E. Modesitt’s Magic of Recluce anniversary issue could be YA too, except for it being in the regular SciFi&Fantasy shelves instead of the special younger reader sections of the book store.

Oath of Fealty

24 05 2010

Oath of Fealty (Hardcover)
by Elizabeth Moon
Publisher: Del Rey (March 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345508742
ISBN-13: 978-0345508744

Gathering Momentum, April 24, 2010
This is the first book of Elizabeth Moon’s “Paladin’s Legacy” trilogy. As such it is laying the background for a looming war. A war in which old magics return.

With Mages able to transfer to other bodies, who can you trust?

The book expands more on the powers of the Marshals of Gird, Tir, etc

The main characters are drawn from Paksenarrion’s old cohort. The Duke who becomes King of the half-elven kingdom of Lyonya, the Captain who becomes Duke of Verrakai after her evil mage family is caught in a treasonous coupe attempt, and another captain who inherits the former Dukes’ (now King) lands and fighting forces.

Paksenarrion plays a background/supporting role.

A good read, although a bit slow for the first third. I will re-read “The Deed of Paksenarrion” before the next book comes out. Can’t wait.

24/05/2010: This book is already out in Paperback in Australia. Today I read Borders misleading blurb about the book. “Kieri is King of a divided land. Human and Elves live in an uneasy peace, newly united under their mixed blood ruler. And they face a common enemy, so unity has never been more important – or harder to achieve. Kieri must try and bind his people together, but a legacy of war has devastated the land and torn apart communities, leaving death and resentment in its wake. The King is also facing great pressure to marry, and consolidate his rule with powerful allies. But will Kieri choose and elven bride, or a human suitor? And will his warrior background allow him to navigate the difficult politics of a fractured realm? ”

Have they even read the book. It looks a lot like the probable synopsis for the next book.

On Elizabeth Moons website the accurate blurb says:
“In Oath of Fealty, book one of Paladin’s Legacy, two neighboring realms each get a new king–and both kings face personal danger and social unrest. An estranged daughter must take over her family’s realm and send her evil adult relatives to prison–or face a charge of treason. And a former mercenary captain inherits the entire company. Assassinations, conspiracies, brigands, wars and rumors of war…will it never end?”

Anyway, I have also just finished reading “The Deed of Paksenarrion” and its prequel “The Legacy of Gird” where Paks and Kieri are mentioned at the conclusion, so I expect the “Paladin’s Legacy” series to link in at some stage – maybe book 3.

Malcolm McLaren Dead @ 64

12 04 2010

22/Jan/1946 – 8/Apr/2010

Never mind the Sex Pistols.
My favourite Malcolm McLaren lagacy is his “Paris” jazz album (1997) – bliss.

Daily Mail (UK)
NY Times

Paris album on Amazon (read the reviews).

The Windup Girl

29 03 2010

The Windup Girlby Paolo Bacigalupi
ISBN 978-1597801577, Hardcover
Night Shade Books, 2009

I have just finished reading this book.
All I heard was raves about this book and author – best book of the year?? Not to me. But an interesting read nonetheless.

It’s set in Thailand, post global warming and civilization collapse. An unstable warlord society in which the displaced strive to recover past glories/power.

International commerce is via clipper ship or dirigible. Genetic engineering of crops etc has lead to plagues that have decimated populations. Theres still the risk of a new variant emerging any time.

Picture the city in Blade Runner, minus the rain and technology. The cover makes the city look grander than the image portrayed in Paolo’s prose.

The Windup Girl is a genetic engineered creature who has been bread to serve as assistant, translator and slave to her Japanese master. She is discarded in the Thai city, and becomes a show piece in a Thai strip club. Following severe abuse she kills some very important personage and flees into the city. It is just one of many triggers that sets off a power stuggle in the city.

Tower and Hive: Anne McCaffrey

24 01 2010

1) The Rowan; 2) Damia;
3) Damia’s Children; 4) Lyons Pride; 5) The Tower and the Hive
ISBN 0593023582 (Bantam) Hardcover, 1990
ISBN 0593023749 (Bantam) Hardcover, 1992
ISBN 0552139122 (Corgi) Paperback, 1994
ISBN 0552142182 (Corgi) Paperback, 1994
ISBN 0593043243 (Bantam) Hardcover, 1999

This series documents the history of a dynasty of Telepaths and Kinetics that serve humanity for inter-stellar communication and shipping.

It all starts with a baby caught in a mudslide. She has the mental scream to keep Altair’s talents on edge until she’s found. As the sole survivor of a tradgedy, she becomes a state ward and is educated by the planets’ Prime telepath/kinetic. At a relatively young age, she is shipped off to Callisto to assist Earth’s Prime in the busy home system.

It’s a lonely life, but she’s soon joined by Afra Lyon.

Their lives are tuned upside down when alien bugs (hive minded) attack outer colony world Deneb. Their Prime, Jeff Raven, shouts a warning back to Callisto station to enlist their support. All the talents unite, and the invaders are destroyed.

Jeff and the Rowan marry, having wayward child Damia. Afa rescues Damia again and again until one error gets her sent to Deneb. As she matures, she is assigned as Prime for the new tower on the mining world, Aurigae. While out in space looking out for more hivers she meets mind to mind with an inter-galactic voyager. He turns out to be predatory and it takes a mind meld, with Afra and her brother as focus, to overcome and destroy him.

Afra marries Damia, and they have many children…

Somewhere in there, another sentinent species (Mrdinis) contacts the humans to join with them to defeat the hivers.

The last 3 books detail Damia’s childrens efforts, in conjunction with the Mrdinis, to chase down the hiver worlds and eliminate their capacity to wage war again.

Well written. I loved the first 2 books best, but the whole series is well worth reading. I first read these books as they were released. It was great to re-read them now, as a complete series. The ending was not as I remembered – must have confused it with some other tale.

The Catcher in the Rye

19 07 2009

by J.D.Salinger
ISBN 978-0140237504
c 1946

This is the tale of Holden Caufield’s journey home at term break. It’s told in the “first person” from Holden’s perspective.

He’s been expelled and hopes to get home before his parents get the official letter.

He’s having a run of bad luck, and something in the past has left him jaded. He isn’t getting along with his teachers, and the school, tagging them as phony.

He comes from a privileged New York family (father is a lawyer). Cashed up with $100-ish he rents a hotel room and goes out for a night on the town. Naive in many respects, he is lucky to survive the experiences. I don’t think the story would be realistic in today’s New York.

The story is very well written. It is quite detailed, painting a rich canvas of life in the vicinity of Central Park.

A good read.

Strange, but I don’t remember reading it at school, so it’s my first read. Doesn’t enthuse me to read other works by the author.

I picked it up because Christopher Barzak’s novel “One For Sorrow” was said to be as timeless. Maybe..!! – jury is out! Both have some elements that do age – New York has changed since the 1940’s – Small town USA, today, has all these new technologies that can’t help but influence Barzak’s tale.

Barzak’s tale has some supernatural elements, whereas Salinger’s is a clean/direct/realistic narrative.

Read them both – make your own decision.

books by christopher-barzak