Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

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Title: Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

Premise:

A group of graduate students is caught up in a web of intrigue, with Vin Drake and his microbiology company, Nanigen, at its center.  The students find themselves alone in dangerous wilderness and they have to use all of their scientific training and knowledge to try and survive.

My thoughts:

The first thing you need to know is that I LOVE me some good Crichton!  I read my first Crichton books in middle school when I found Terminal Man and Andromeda Strain on the school’s bookshelf.  So when I found this book at the thrift store, I was very excited to read a new book by this beloved author.

Honestly, I still haven’t arrived at a decisive conclusion about whether or not I truly like Micro.  The story is definitely Crichton in concept, but the writing doesn’t always match his style.  Obviously this book had input from Richard Preston, and I think that’s probably where it fails in stacking up to Crichton’s other works.  Crichton had a precision in his writing which is missing in parts of this book.  My other criticism is that the characters tended to get preachy about nature at very odd times.  Who would launch into a speech about the superiority of nature when they’re trekking through jungle on a very tight timeline to save their lives?  Well, apparently these people would.

Even though I wasn’t blown away by the writing, the premise of the story was great.  It brings up some questions about technology and the ethics of how we use it, as well as exploring the tiny world all around us.  When you shrink people down so that the ground becomes a jungle, all of the creepy crawlies get a whole lot scarier.

I recommend Micro to Crichton fans.  You’ll want to read it to round out your knowledge of all of his works, but it probably won’t be your favorite.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence & gore
  • 1 sexual encounter
  • Profanity

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Complete Year One by Nick Abadzis & Robbie Morrison

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Title: Doctor Who : The Tenth Doctor Complete Year One by Nick Abadzis & Robbie Morrison

Premise:

The Doctor recently had to leave Donna Noble behind and is currently traveling alone.  During one of his adventures he bumps into a young lady named Gabriella Gonzalez, whose family is caught in the middle of an alien invasion.  Gabby helps the Doctor set things right and accompanies him on several more intergalactic journeys.  Includes comics #1-15 of the Tenth Doctor Year One series.

My thoughts:

I saw this at the library and just had to check it out!  Doctor Who?  Yes, please!  This is my first foray into Whovian comics.  I sort of expected this book to feature characters we had met in the TV series, but it brings in a whole new cast of characters.  At first I wasn’t sure about Gabby, but after getting to know her through the stories, I’ve come to appreciate her spunk and determination.  The storytellers did a great job of capturing David Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor on the written page–his mannerisms, way of speaking, looks.

Don’t expect a completely seamless artistic experience when cracking open this big, honking book.  It was illustrated by a variety of artists, some of them with widely differing styles.  One of the stories is fairly gruesome as it deals with the subject of WWI.  I wouldn’t want my middle schooler getting his hands on that, but you’ll have to be the judge for your own kids.

I recommend Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Complete Year One to Doctor Who fans.  If you love David Tennant, you will want to see the Doctor’s additional adventures!  I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of these!

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence & gore (particularly in “The Weeping Angels of Mons”)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale

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Title: One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale

Premise:

The earth is being decimated by an alien species that is harvesting all of its technology.  A traveling band of humans is trying to salvage as much history as they can while staying one step ahead of the aliens.

My thoughts:

This was a really unique book.  The landscape and characters are interesting and imaginative, but definitely on the bleak side.  Imagine big swaths of the earth just cut right out.  And freaky aliens who are scooping up anything on earth which contains technology.  That will give you an idea of just how desolate the earth is in this story.

The action centers around a group of children who are out exploring and accidentally draw the attention of the aliens.  They try to evade them, but end up right at the heart of the alien enclave.  I won’t tell you the end because that would just wreck the story, but it’s satisfying.

I recommend One Trick Pony to fans of dystopian science fiction.  If you like aliens, this would be right up your alley!

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Empyrion: The Search for Fierra by Stephen R. Lawhead

empyrion-fierra

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Empyrion: The Search for Fierra is a book which my husband recommended.  It’s an older book, but one he enjoyed as a young man.  Now it’s my turn to enjoy it!

Premise:

Orion Treet is hired to take part in a mission to check on the status of a space colony which has been established by a private company.  Three others are a part of the team and they successfully locate the colony on a far distant planet, but something has gone horribly wrong.  Not only have they arrived in the wrong time period, but they’ve also stumbled into a dystopia.  Their reception is less than ideal, and they must find a way to escape and find the Fieri, the other group of human descendants.  Can they find the answers to what went wrong and make things right again?

My thoughts:

I liked this book a lot more than I expected to.  It’s a unique story about how a human society develops, removed from the influences of Earth.  The setting is interesting and the supporting characters are unique, if a bit odd at times.  Yarden, Treet’s love interest, is definitely an enigma.  The end of the book segues into the next, when Treet continues his mission to keep Fierra safe.  I left out a lot of details, but I didn’t want to totally ruin the story for you.  It’s more fun to discover Empyrion for yourself.  🙂

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, but it will probably have to wait a little while.  We’re scheduled to move in a few days and I don’t want to tote library books along with us!

I recommend this book to teen and adult fans of science fiction.  It’s a unique and entertaining adventure story, which I think you’ll really enjoy.

Favorite quotes:

“Treet had to admit that he did indeed like living; it was, after all, one of the things that made life so worthwhile.” (p.2)

“To be alive and know you were dying and know too there was nothing you could do about it, thought Treet in one of his lucid moments, was surely the worst trick of a whole universe full of lousy tricks.” (p.343)

Possible Objections:

  • A little violence
  • A bit of bad language
  • Religious commentary (There is a distinct good vs. evil undertone to the book, which can easily be ascribed a Christian influence.)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

After the End by Amy Plum

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This is not the kind of book that I would normally pick up, but seeing as we’re in the middle of moving, my choices are limited.  I’ve packed up almost all of our chapter books and it’s been quite some time since I’ve gone to the library to pick out a book for myself.  My choices were limited to a couple of books that my 11-year-old son had checked out.  Something is better than nothing, right?  Please note that my commentary will probably spoil the story for you, if you haven’t already read it.

The premise of After the End is quite interesting.  It’s about a girl, Juneau, who harbors some kind of pharmaceutical anti-aging secret, but she doesn’t even know about it.  She grew up in Alaska in a tiny community that lived off the land.  As a child, she had been told that the rest of humanity had either perished in WWIII or were ruthless scavengers who must be avoided at all costs.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to find that her entire clan has been abducted, she ventures out into the wider world to search for and rescue them.  What she finds completely rocks her world.  Not only is there a thriving metropolitan city mere hours from her home, but WWIII never happened.  For some reason her entire life seems as if it’s been a sham.  The adults in her clan have lied to her and she doesn’t know why.

Fast forward a bit, and Juneau is being tracked by two different groups who are trying to get something valuable that she harbors.  She meets up with the son of one of her pursuers and they go on an adventure to try and find her people, while evading their pursuers at the same time.  A love interest develops, though it’s quite tame by today’s standards.  (Thank goodness–there’s nothing more annoying than a couple of teens spouting off about how they can’t live without one another.  Yes, you can.  Start acting like rational people, please.)

Juneau also has remarkable powers throughout the book, with the explanation being loosely rooted in Gaia and eastern mysticism.  To be fair, it alludes to the idea that all spirituality is really just tapping into the same source, no matter what you call it.  This spiritual/superpower part is a bit confusing because it doesn’t have any good explanation.  I guess readers are just supposed to accept it at face value.

Towards the end of the book, Juneau’s love interest, Miles, is wounded and she performs the rite on him that is performed on all the members of her clan.  Presumably he becomes like her, though that is left wide open at the end.  When I finished the book, I thought, Wow, either that’s one of the worst endings around or they are setting it up for a sequel.  It looks like there is a sequel.

While I like the premise of the story quite a lot, the execution was just so-so.  The flow of the story is a little strange, but that is partly because the chapters alternate between being told from the perspective of Miles and Juneau.  Also, it’s not super believable.  For example, for being such a bad guy, Miles’ dad is rather dense when he leaves Juneau virtually unattended at his home, allowing her to easily escape.  Whatever.

The story was interesting, and if you’re young and not in the market for great quality literature, it will probably satisfy you.

Possible Objections:

  • Bad language–not a lot, but encompassing most cuss words.
  • A little romance–kissing and one person lying on top of the other.

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi: Death on Naboo by Jude Watson

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We also read Death on Naboo, another novel in the Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi series that we thoroughly enjoyed!

Ferus is now in prison, slowly wasting away, but still trying to plan his escape.  He learns that a former acquaintance of his, Clive, is also imprisoned and has been planning an escape for some time.  Together the two of them make a last-ditch effort to gain their freedom.  Meanwhile, Ferus’ accomplices are also planning to break him out of prison.  Their escape and rescue plans happen to overlap and they accidentally meet up and are able to work together to escape.

Naboo, Padmé’s homeworld is in the Empire’s sights as a world to be taken over.  Against the rules of the Senate, the Empire has been stocking weapons in one of Naboo’s main hangars.  Ferus travels to Naboo to keep Malorum from finding out the secret that he so desperately seeks.  He wants to destroy Darth Vader with it, but Obi-Wan warned Ferus that if that is allowed to happen, the future of the galaxy would be in great peril.  Malorum must be stopped!

Malorum makes it to Naboo and coerces the secret of Padmé’s babies from her grandmother.  Because of a staged power-outage he isn’t able to transmit the information and must carry it himself.  During the staged accidental explosion of the hangar (by Ferus’ accomplices and Naboo’s forces), Ferus confronts Malorum and the two duel.  Ferus is the better opponent and defeats Malorum, whose secret goes to the grave with him.

We very highly recommend the books in this series!  They rock!

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi: Underworld by Jude Watson

Underworld-w

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I’ve gotten a little behind on our Star Wars chapter books.  We finished Underworld some time ago, and I didn’t bother to post about it.  We’ve just been enjoying our reading too much.

In Underworld, Ferus attempts to locate other Jedi at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.  It isn’t until he gets inside that he realizes he’s walked into a trap.  The Empire has spread rumors about the Jedi prison, luring free Jedi to their death.  In a sinister scene, Ferus encounters a room full of lightsabers, representing all those who’ve been caught so far.

Ferus and Trever then try their luck at finding a group of people called The Erased, those who’ve shed their identities and gone into hiding on Coruscant from the Empire.  They hear of a place called Solace and make it their goal to find it and see if any other Jedi are left.  In this adventure we encounter Dexter Jettster (diner owner) and a group of various other Erased.  They agree to accompany Ferus and help him with his mission.

The group makes it down to the crust of Coruscant, many levels deep, and finds someone to guide them to Solace.  What will happen next?

Another interesting thread to the story is the relationship and rivalry between Malorum and Darth Vader.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Until next time…

The Berserker

Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi: Dark Warning by Jude Watson

Dark Warning-w

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The boys and I have finished Dark Warning, the second book in the Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi series.  Book number three is waiting on a library shelf for us to come pick it up.  As usual, the book kept my boys nestled in close, listening spellbound to the action going on in this galaxy far, far away.

In this story, we pick up where we left off with Obi Wan, Ferus, and Trever.  They’re still on the run from the Empire, but learn that there may be other Jedi still alive.  Ferus has to learn how to work with The Force again, and see if he can pass the test to become a full Jedi.  His own doubts are the most difficult thing for him to overcome.  Obi Wan and Ferus have success in finding another Jedi and two more people (Toma & Raina) to join them in their quest to find and harbor fugitive Jedi.  The end of the book finds Obi Wan returning to Tatooine, and Ferus continuing his quest to locate the last remnants of the Jedi and bring them to a safe haven.  Ferus can’t understand why Obi Wan would turn his back on the Jedi, for some secretive mission.  Though the two worked together for a time to help plant the seeds of the rebellion, they must now part ways and pursue their own objectives.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi: The Desperate Mission by Jude Watson

Desperate Mission-w

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The last chapter book that the boys and I read together was Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi: The Desperate Mission. It’s a novel for kids, with the story taking place while Obi-Wan is on Tatooine watching over Luke.  At this point in time Luke is a baby or toddler and Obi-Wan, advised by Qui-Gon Jinn, is able to leave on another mission.  He attempts to track down Ferus Olin, a man who left the Jedi order before he became a full Jedi.  Ferus is living on a planet called Bellassa, and leading an underground group that is fighting against the Empire.  Obi-Wan’s mission is to find Ferus and escort him to safety.  Ferus has a major part to play in the formation of the Rebel Alliance.  What exactly he will do, we’re left to guess.

My boys very much enjoyed the book and were caught up in all the action and intrigue.  You’ll meet some familiar characters, and some you’ve never heard of if you’ve only watched the Star Wars movies.  It’s a fun read-aloud if you have kids who are into Star Wars.  We’ve already started the second book.  Presumably we’ll find out what happens with this Ferus guy.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Nerdy Mummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us by Rosanna Pansino

Nerdy Mummies Cookbook

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The Nerdy Mummies Cookbook is so much stinking fun!  It’s the kind of cookbook that you marvel at, thinking, I could never make that!  In reality, I’m sure it just takes willpower and time, but who has those?

Anyhow, there are several sections: Math & Science, Space, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Gaming, Tech & Web, and Geeky Treats.  Each section contains several recipes that somehow fit that category.  The types of recipes included are cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pie, gelatin, cake pops, sweet rolls, hard candies, crispy treats, cheesecake, s’mores, and a soda-ish beverage.  So, don’t get this book if you don’t like sweets.

In the front of the book, you’ll find some basic recipes for cake, cheesecake, etc. that are used as the base for the fancified culinary creations.  In the back, there are some templates that are required for various recipes.

This book is high quality, well-formatted, and has exceptional photography.  I’d highly recommend it to all geek and nerd types.  You’ll get a kick out of it and I hope that you’ll try one of the recipes, too!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

Nerdy Mummies Cookbook 2

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The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us by Rosanna Pansino

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Title: The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook by Rosanna Pansino

Premise:

Rosanna Pansino shares her recipes for a variety of amazing geeky foods.  These culinary creations will earn you serious cool mommy points!

My thoughts:

This cookbook is so much stinking fun!  It’s the kind of cookbook that you marvel at, thinking, I could never make that!  In reality, I’m sure it just takes willpower and time, but who has those?

Anyhow, there are several sections: Math & Science, Space, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Gaming, Tech & Web, and Geeky Treats.  Each section contains several recipes that somehow fit that category.  The types of recipes included are cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pie, gelatin, cake pops, sweet rolls, hard candies, crispy treats, cheesecake, s’mores, and a soda-ish beverage.  So, don’t get this book if you don’t like sweets.

In the front of the book, you’ll find some basic recipes for cake, cheesecake, etc. that are used as the base for the fancified culinary creations.  In the back, there are some templates that are required for various recipes.

This book is high quality, well-formatted, and has exceptional photography.  I highly recommend it to all geek and nerd types.  You’ll get a kick out of it and I hope that you’ll try one of the recipes, too!

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Nerdy Mummies Cookbook 2

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