Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A book review. KiTE by Bill Shears

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted, but I have another book I read that I'd like to share with you.

It's called KITE: A Novel in Earth Orbit.
written by Bill Shears.

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This book is science fiction set at a time when Earth has advanced to the point where space travel is a common thing. They've built casinos in space, developed more advanced space stations, have space motels, and rich people can go cruising space in their own personal spaceships. With all of the space travel came lots of space debris and so KITE, and other Orbital Maintenance ships were created to clean it all up so some hapless space traveler didn't crash into the junk.

Kite is the last one up there, piloted by one person at a time for three month stints. Mason Dash is the pilot who we follow in this book. His wife Janet is a computer genius and Dash is more of a glorified garbage man, but he loves it. He even gets to shoot lasers at the junk that's too big for the sweeper so it can fit nicely into the compacter to be disposed of as it burns through earths atmosphere.

Dash is more of a happy go lucky kind of guy, who just wants to finish up his years and get that pension he's been working for so he can retire with no worries. He has a computer simulated woman named Sheila, who started out as a "toy" to keep him occupied and talk to on his long days, but when his wife Janet adds some of her own personal touches, Sheila begins to change. She gets a personality, and makes choices on her own.

Unknown to Dash or any other pilots or maintenance employees, the computer system on Kite begins to develop consciousness on its own. He_Ra as he finally calls himself (he changes names every time you read about him) begins a hostile takeover and eventually gains control of Kite. Sheila, who has actually stowed away this time instead of just talking to Dash from Earth is key to preventing He_Ra from making a mess of Kite. Dash is working on figuring out who is on the space station that has been empty for years, and what they are doing there so secretly.

I must admit that when I began reading this, it took awhile to get into. I didn't like Dash at first, because he just didn't seem likable, but as I progressed through the book, he started to become more interesting.
Sheila, though she was only a computer program was the one I really liked to read about as she began to change and morph into her own being instead of just a computer simulated woman.
The parts in the book where it talked about how things were progressing inside the main computer system on Kite were somewhat confusing, but eventually became easier to understand when I just let myself know I would never understand it fully, and just tried to get a clue as to what He_Ra was doing.

Anyway, to put it simply. It was an interesting book, but I did take longer to read it than many other books I've had in my hand. The second half moved much faster than the beginning. I wonder if it was because there was very little real life action happening. Just some speculation and wondering as Dash tried to figure out what was going on. Once things got moving, I finished it within the day.

If you're into entertaining Sci-Fi, and have some time to kill, I'd tell you to go for it. If you are looking for something deep and moving, this probably isn't the book you're looking for.


For the authors website click here

If you'd like to order it, click here


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

BOOK REVIEW Star Scout Rising First Trail. Vol 1

I am branching out on my blog and trying something new. I received a book from a new author, and I get to tell you all about it.
STAR SCOUT RISING First Trail vol 1 by Gary Darby

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This book was interesting to say the least so I'll start at the beginning and tell you first impressions. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by the cover, but I had mixed feelings about it. I loved the top half, but the creature depicted on the cover really bothered me. I had to actually cover it with my hands to ignore the awful animal. But then, I couldn't keep my eyes off it trying to figure out what it was.

Once inside the book, it got much better.
Some things I noticed as I read it. There was a strong relationship to the way the Boy Scout program, and this Junior StarScout program, the main character Del Baldura was a member of, work. There were also hints and references to some events hundreds of years into our past.

Del is a Jr. StarScout team leader over a group of five Jr. StarScouts doing one of their final field exams before they are sent on their no notice final exam in a remote area of Earth in the year 2433. Del joined the StarScouts to try to find out what had happened to his father who had mysteriously disappeared on a mission and was thought to have turned traitor, though Del doesn't believe it.

There are good guys, bad guys, bad guys pretending to be part of the good guys, and so on. At first it was hard to keep track of who was what, but at the end, it becomes clear. (you'll have to read it to know)

The weird creature on the cover? Well it does come in to play. It is the creature the Jr. StarScouts are supposed to track on their field assignment, but come to find out, it sure packs a punch and those fangs are dangerous. As they are tracking it, and almost come close to capturing it, a band of Extra Terrestrial Poachers nab the creature, and kidnap one of the Jr. StarScouts who had been recording it. The other Jr. StarScouts sneak on board the ship to try to rescue her before it takes off and end up captives as well.

They travel around the galaxy, doing things the poachers want them to do in order to earn their freedom and learn a lot about themselves and how their training in the StarScout program has helped them manage what comes at them. There is even one place where Del has the chance to leave the poachers behind and save himself, but he remembers the oaths he took as a StarScout and saves them, even though it means he's still under their control.

Interspersed through the story is a back story and information about Del's missing father, his Uncle Jak who is a decorated StarScout himself and a group called the Gadion Faction who are an organized crime group headed by one mean and ruthless man who just wants more power, though he's considered the most powerful man in all the galaxies.
At times this back story confused me since I was just getting into the flow of the story, especially during some really action packed sequences, then the author did a few flashbacks to explain, throwing me off for a moment until I realized what had happened.

Mr. Darby has great story telling skills, got me really involved in the story, got me to care about Del and really want to know what happened to his father, though I still don't know for sure. There is some comic relief, a little bit of romance, some danger and intrigue, and life defining moments. Though it isn't resolved in this first book, he did a fantastic job making me want to know what comes next. The end of this book isn't the end, just a pausing spot and I'm a little irritated I have to wait for the rest, but I've felt that way about many books in series. It is science fiction, and not what I normally read, but I don't regret the time I spent on this book and look forward to what comes next.

If you'd like to buy it you can click here for more information.

If you prefer the kindle, click here.

The authors blog is here where you can see other reviews of this book.

Hope you enjoy it.
Laura



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In which you'll learn about my personality from my TV shows

I just wanted to share a little bit about me and what I'm like by telling you some of my favorite TV shows.

I love Psych. I'm watching it on netflix, episode after episode when I have free time. (And even when I don't) I love how Shawn and Gus have such a fun friendship and solve all kinds of quirky crimes and murders.

I love Bones. About a forensic scientist who helps the FBI solve murders when all that is available to the crime is bones. Dr Brennan makes me laugh at how she's so logical, and all things of common sense go over her head, but over the years she's become more human thanks to Agent Booth.

Castle is another favorite. Castle is a crime novelist who shadowed a New York City detective and has developed a crush on her. She was the basis for his latest heroine. Castle ends up bringing some help to the force since he looks at crimes in a different way since he writes in the minds of the bad guys.

(though I like these shows, I am in no way capable of writing about crime or solving murders or anything, but it sure is fun to watch.)

And on to other shows. I love Phineas and Ferb. It's a cartoon on the Disney Channel about 2 step brothers who have a pet platapus, (Who happens to be a secret agent that fights against the Evil Dr. Dufensmirtz) and the brothers come up with all kinds of things to keep them occupied during the long summer days and really annoy their older sister with their antics since they so such outrageous things, but never get caught by their parents.
These shows are currently not showing, but can't wait to find them on hulu again: Warehouse 13, and Eureka. Hope they come back soon.
Some more I enjoy occasionally: Lie to Me. Monk. .. but don't want to go on and on.

Now I'm curious to know what you like to watch. And what fantastic shows out there am I missing???


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dr. Seuss = Genius

I know I'm a little late on this, but it was Dr. Seuss's birthday this past week. My kids enjoyed some Dr. Seuss related activities at school and on Friday they were invited to bring their favorite book to school for a read-a-thon.

My daughter took a library book she had, but my son in 1st grade took Hop on Pop. That is his favorite one since he can read it all by himself without feeling like he's struggling on every other word. He read it every day for weeks for his reading homework. I must say Dr. Seuss was definitely a genius. I know he wrote other books besides the common ones you hear about for young readers, but I haven't read any of them. I may be simple, but I love his early reader books. Especially the rhyming ones.

Fox in Socks, and Oh Say Can You Say are some awesome tongue twisters, but I love the "Oh the Places You'll Go." He gives such good advice and fun reads with such simple words. No one will ever be able to write like he did and be as loved.

As a side note, I saw a post on Facebook, though I don't remember who posted it. It said something about how their child's school was doing a week long Dr. Seuss week, but with Presidents day the week before, not much was said about two of the most important Presidents of the United States history. I totally understand her concern, but I think I also understand the reason Dr. Seuss is so celebrated. Just seeing my own son love reading when he pulls out a Dr. Seuss book makes me have hope that he'll find success in school. Learning about the Presidents will come, but for now, I'm totally in favor of schools doing something in honor of an amazing author.

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?