Monday, December 3, 2012

Suzanne Collins' Fiery Tale...

If you haven't heard of Suzanne Collins, the Hunger Games or Katniss Everdeen by now, you're one of those Doomsday Preppers living with your head, and the rest of you, underground...a sad state of affairs for you...
But, seriously, Suzanne Collins' the Hunger Games is a legitimate phenomenon that took the world by storm when it was first published and grew even bigger when it was translated to the screen last year. I knew the movie was coming out so I read it...(Yeah, I'm one of those people who like to read the book before they see the movie)...and was completely surprised and delighted with how well the story was written.
The story continues with Catching Fire, where we see how Katniss and her family deal with the trappings of fame, the rumblings of rebellion and the constant underlying threat of President Snow, who Katniss and Peeta forced to declare them co-winners of the Hunger Games in the first book, finding a way to pay her back for that bit of defiance. And find a way he does...
It's called the Quarter Quell and all of the winners of the Hunger Games, past and present, are getting thrown back into the ring to fight and die once again. Not something to look forward to if you barely survived with your life in one battle royale already, not to mention the fact that people are possibly trying to mold you into the symbol of the resistance. It's safe to say that life is definitely no crystal stair for Katniss...
...But it makes for great reading. Run. Pick this up or download it before the movie next year.

                                                                    Suzanne Collins

Friday, November 30, 2012

Greg Rucka's Non-zombiefied Walking Dead

Greg Rucka is one of my favorite writers, right up there with Robert B. Parker, Octavia Butler, Laurell K. Hamilton and Jim Butcher.
I discovered the Atticus Kodiak novels after I read Mr. Rucka's work on Batman and Wonder Woman, repsectively. Like his comic work, Mr. Rucka's characters are very believable and his dialogue and exposition are top-notch. All of this is in evidence in Walking Dead: A Novel of Suspense. (Incidentally, the novel is named for the threat one of the bad guys makes to Kodiak, promising that he is dead, but he doesn't know it yet.)
Earlier, in the book Critical Space, Atticus was blackmailed into helping Drama, one of the Ten, a group of elite assassins, get from under them and in doing so, his whole world changed as he learned how to become a killer under Drama's tutelage. Then in Patriot Acts, he became an international fugitive and fell in love with Drama, whose real name is Alena Cizkova. At the end of that book, they're living and hiding in Georgia in the former U.S.S.R. It's an almost idyllic existence until, a neighbor, who has ties to some very unsavory people, end up dead along with most of his family, except for his fourteen year old daughter who is kidnapped and taken into sex slavery. The girl was close to Kodiak and Alena both and he decides to follow the trail and rescue her from the slavers.
In a chase that stretches from Georgia to Amsterdam to Las Vegas, Kodiak works to get the girl back, threatening the life he's built and pissing off all the wrong people.
Will Kodiak and Alena survive? I'm not giving that away. You've gotta read the book and believe me, it'll be worth every minute spent.

Greg Rucka

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Obama Wins again...Thank God!

According to Peter David on his blog (, several years ago, Mitch McConnell declared that the GOP's top priority was making President Barack Obama a one term President.
As we saw on Tuesday, November 6th, the GOP failed and with President Elect Obama recieving over 50% of the popular vote and 332 electorial votes, we can safely say that the majority of America knows good leadership when they see it and wanted to Keep The Change moving Forward...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Common's uncommonly good memoir...

Hello all...
After a some time away from this blog (I've been concentrating on my other blog, Facets of Creativity, plz go and check it out...) and welcoming a new baby girl into the world, I'm back and just recently finished Common's memoir, One Day It'll Make Sense, that he wrote with Adam Bradley. I have to say, it was a really good and very enlightening read.
I already knew of Common back when he was called Common Sense and his first album, Can I Borrow a Dollar? came out. It was cool because finally there was a Hip-Hop artist out of Chicago, which was very close to me since I grew up in NWI, so his book filled in a lot of blanks and revealed a lot of the Common, the artist and Rashid Lynn, the man.
He's had many albums out, my fave being 2000's Like Water For Chocolate, and gained major notoriety as a recording artist and an actor. His success wasn't overnight and the book details the beginnings of his life and career and how he got to where he is today.
Each chapter started with a letter written to someone close to him and the story told in the chapter reflected the content of the letter, kind of like a teaser at the beginning of a TV show. He talks about his beef with Ice Cube, how he was forced to shorten his stage name to Common and how he got his first acting gig.
If you enjoy Common's music or his acting, you should definitely pick this book up and learn more about him.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zoe Saldana is a bad girl...

Finally watched "Colombiana" last night. I originally was kind of hesitant about watching it. Y'know, the whole Bad Girl with Big Gun thing and the best part of it being that Zoe Saldana was in the movie.
I was pleasantly suprised.
First off, it was written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, who also have the very successful films, "Taken", "The Professional" and "The Fifth Element" under their belts. Luc Besson doesn't do one dimensional stories, whether it's a perfect being discovering themselves while saving the world, a father searching for his daughter and tearing Paris apart as he does it or a cleaner passing along his knowledge and learning to live and love for the first time in his life, he has more going on than just the mayhem on screen. That was definitely the case with "Colombiana."
The story openes in Bogata circa 1992 with Cataleya's (Zoe Saldana) parents being killed in front of her by men in the employ of Don Luis. She escapes thanks to her father prepping a way out of Colombia and passage to get to relatives in Chicago. Her uncle Emilio, played by Cliff Curtis, is a career criminal, like her father, and tries to direct Cateleya out of a life of crime, but all she sees is revenge and he reluctantly educates her in the family business and wetworks.
We smash cut 15 years later and discover Cataleya has become a very successful assassin who is able to get to anyone, anywhere. Unfortunately, her preoccupation with revenge threatens to expose her to the FBI, who have been chasing her for years and Don Luis. It all comes to a head when Cataleya's boyfriend (Michael Vartan) takes a photo of her and his friend, wanting to do a background check on his boys' mysterious girlfriend, ends up getting her found, along with her remaining family.
The ending is predictably bloody, but the violence isn't gratuitous or spattered across the screen.
A lot of the critics didn't like the movie, but though it's not exactly high art, it is a good story with a lot of action and a lot of heart.

Obviously, she knows how to handle a

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Notes on the Passage...

I recently finished "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. It was an awesome book, not to mention long. (800 pages! I didn't know what I was getting into because I got the Kindle version of the book.)
The story starts in the present with a U.S. Army sponsered expedition to a remote part of the Amazon to somehow use the attributes of  the vampire bat (Regeneration and longevity) in soildiers. Something happens where the whole of the expeditionary group is killed except for the lead scientist who makes it back to the States. Additionally,  a little girl named Amy, who has a strange affinity for animals, gets left at a convent in Memphis by her mother. She's taken into a government facility in Colorado to be part of the same vampire bat experiment. Twelve death row inmates are inoculated with a viral substance that was developed by the scientist who escaped from the Amazon.
As expected, the experiment goes wrong and the real fun begins...
Smash forward to 100 years in the future and most of humanity has been wiped out by a vampire-like group called Virals. In a colony of survivor's we meet Peter Jaxon, a survivor who is a member of the Watch, the people who are the equivilent of soldiers. We follow him as he struggles with finding his place among the Watch, since his brother is considered the golden boy and Peter has an intense curiosity about the world before the Virals took over.
Mr. Cronin is a gifted storryteller and whether it's now or the post-apocalyptic world of the Viral ravaged future, all of it feels real and believeable. All the characters are engaging and ultimately very human. The Virals, who remind me of the vamps in "30 Days of Night", are frightening and savage and seem a totally implacable foe until Amy retuns to the story, looking about 13-14 years old, but is actually over 100 years old, and saves Peter during an attack on a scavanging run.
From that point, a lot of questions that Peter has start to get answered and he gets his heroes' quest and grows into the man he longs to be.
I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of sprawling epics like Stephen King's "The Stand" or "The Lord of the Rings". The book is being made into a movie slated to be released in 2013 and a sequel called "The Twelve" is coming out a little later out this year. Yes, I will be getting it and continuing on this journey.

                                                         The U.S. cover

                                                       The U.K. cover

                                                    The Mass Market Paperback cover