Monthly Archives: June 2018

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Brief Cases

Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
Brief Cases (The Dresden Files, #15.1) 
by

Jim Butcher (Goodreads Author)

50275498

Amy Caudill‘s review

Jun 29, 2018  ·  edit

For readers who are not familiar with Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series, this collection of short stories offers a sampling of glimpses into a vast urban fantasy world.  In Dresden’s universe, faeries and wizards walk among the ordinary, unsuspecting populace, supernatural beings can be either good or evil, and some, such as Bigfoot, simply seek to live their lives in peace.

For fans of the series, these shorts “fill-in” some of the gaps the author feels exist in his chronology complete with commentary as to where they fit in continuity and why they are necessary.  Butcher includes stories involving both major and minor characters in his universe, with rarely seen points of view from sundry inhabitants of both the mortal world and the “Nevernever.”

I found myself drawn into this collection very quickly; though they are short stories they are filled with well-developed characters, vivid scenes, deep plotlines, and plenty of action to satisfy most any audience.  I award this book 4.5 stars and plan to check out more of the series for myself in the near future.

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The Incredibles 2 – Review

My husband and I managed to see this over the weekend, no kids in tow! It’s amazing to think it’s been fourteen years since the original was released. What’s even more amazing is how an animated feature film that’s family-friendly can be so relevant to today’s world. Thanks to Matt Watson for sharing this post.

Matt W Watson - Future Failed Writer

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Pixar are about the only studio that can get me to the cinema to see a super hero franchise. When the sequel was first announced, I thought that they were leaving it a little too late in the superhero zeitgeist, but it turns out that the fad never ends. With the core Avengers series not wrapping up until next year, and several franchises in various phases of reboots and reimagines, it appears as though Pixar were right on the money.

Their were children in the theatre, which was weird. I assumed that this franchise was for people who watched the original fourteen years ago, and had spent the time in between not doing much of anything. Except waiting.

It’s only just occurred to me that some of us could’ve had kids of our own in that time. I’m glad I’m not one of them. 80% of the…

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Amy Caudill’s Reviews: Artemis

Artemis by Andy Weir
Artemis 
by

Andy Weir (Goodreads Author)

50275498

Amy Caudill‘s review

Jun 22, 2018  ·  edit

Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara is just your typical small-town girl-she works hard to make ends meet, hangs out with friends at the neighborhood watering hole, fights with her devoutly religious father, and occasionally runs afoul of local law enforcement.  That is, she’s typical until you take into account the “small town” is actually a colony on the moon, and she augments her work as a courier with running a smuggling operation that is mostly ignored and tolerated by the Artemis government.

As far as smugglers go, Jazz has integrity and a conscience-no weapons, no drugs, nothing overly dangerous for the fragile bubble-domes that support life on the unforgiving surface of the moon.  So when she’s approached by wealthy businessman Landvik Trond to sabotage an entire industry whose by-product is life-giving oxygen, she has to think twice.  When said businessman is murdered in his own home and Jazz finds the body, she knows she’s in trouble.

Jazz learns from the Artemis governor, Ngugi, that the man sent to kill Trond and herself works for a powerful Earth-side mafia organization with designs on taking over the colony.  She then enlists her friends and allies to find a way to stop the takeover bid.  However, a glitch in the life support systems leaves Jazz the only person awake and capable of stopping everyone on the moon from being killed.  The smuggler with a conscience chooses to risk her life to save the inhabitants of the domes she calls home.

In Artemis author Andy Weir skillfully weaves sci-fi with action, thrills, and gangsters in a book that transcends genre.  Parts of the story reminded me of Total Recall, particularly the oxygen drought and the journeys on the surface in EVA suits, but the story of Jazz, told in first person, is unique and special in so many ways.

The complex central character is both an anti-hero and a heroine in her own right.  She is self-involved and openly runs an illegal operation, but despite that she is a good, moral person who will go to any lengths to protect her family and friends.

This book was a choice for my local book club and I had not seen so much as a summary of the action before I began reading. I will say the novel was completely different than my expectations, but I was hooked from the very beginning. I rate this book a full five stars and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of empowered female characters, sci-fi or thriller stories.

Coming Home

A home is more than a house.  /www.dreamstime.com

Dorothy said it best when she repeated the mantra, “There’s no place like home.”  I could ask one hundred people and probably get one hundred different definitions of the word “home.”

For some the term invokes images of a physical building, for others it’s a person or group of people, and for still others the word implies a concept.  Most of us equate “home” with feelings of warmth, safety, and belonging.  We all desire a safe place, where we will not be judged for being ourselves, where we can find acceptance and love.

Sometimes home is not so much a location that we go or occupy, but an ideal, a dream of what can be, or what we aspire to.  What we call “home” in our heads or hearts could be a  memory from childhood, even if the physical site no longer exists.  (If your home fits into this category, then you can say you carry it with you wherever you go.)

Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time working on projects around my personal nest.  I’ve decluttered, painted, planted, and visited every home improvement store within a fifty mile radius. I’ve helped my husband assemble a video doorbell system, and watched technicians install new appliances.  Why all the fuss?  For the sole purpose of breathing fresh life into the space my family and I have called ours for fourteen years.

I work from my home, so it’s even more important to me that the place I live is comfortable, attractive, and neat.  Separating my work and other activities is not always possible, but at least I can create a space where I don’t mind spending my time.

At the end of a long day, I am more than ready for some quiet time to unwind, to read a book or watch TV with my husband, and just enjoy being home.  Does this make me a homebody?  I don’t really mind the label.  As nice as it can be sometimes to get out, or go away, I always look forward to returning to the place we call home.

 

 

 

 

Reading is Good for You!

Good news for all the bookworms out there! Indulging in our favorite hobby is actually good for you. Check out this post from Janice at jemsbooks.wordpress.com

Jemsbooks

This is a post from 2017 that I wanted to share again. It is extremely important to know about the value of reading not only for your mind but for your general health. Read on…..

Jemsbooks.com 

Books for all ages!

When we read a book it is like traveling around the world, or to outer space, or to a land that only exists in a writer’s mind, or into the mind of a killer, or into the animal kingdom, or on a visit to an exotic location, or into the world of faeries or science fiction.

We can go wherever we choose to go! All we need to do is pick up a book about whatever interests us. There are millions of books available online, in book stores or libraries to choose from. We can escape for as long as we choose to read.

Did you know that reading…

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Amy Caudill’s Reviews > Origin

Origin by Dan Brown
Origin (Robert Langdon, #5) 
by

Dan Brown(Goodreads Author)

50275498

Amy Caudill‘s review

When Harvard professor Robert Langdon accepts an invitation from his friend and former student Edmond Kirsch, technology guru and futurist, to attend an announcement at Spain’s Guggenheim museum, he has no idea what to expect.  He is aware of Kirsch’s flair for drama and near-prophetic insight into the trends of scientific breakthroughs, but that hardly prepares him for the multi-media presentation Kirsch is about to unveil.  Langdon doesn’t expect his former student to claim to have once and for all answered the most basic questions for humanity-where do we come from? Where are we going?  He certainly doesn’t expect Kirsch to be murdered in front of a live audience, before he can answer those questions.

Robert Langdon has had his share of adventures in the four previous novels from author Dan Brown, but none are quite like this.  Once again, Langdon’s knowledge of symbolism and art history allow him to puzzle through clues and hidden meanings most would overlook, as he seeks to fulfill Kirsch’s last wish and release his presentation online to a swelling audience that includes religious and anti-religion fanatics, scientists and conspiracy theorists.

Accompanied by Ambra Vidal, the museum director who has ties to the royal palace of Spain, Langdon uses the clues left behind by Kirsch and a remarkable AI the technologist developed named Winston to uncover the code needed to activate the presentation and perhaps change the world.  Unfortunately, Kirsch’s assassin is still at large and has new targets-Langdon himself and Vidal.

Meanwhile, insiders in the royal palace discover a link between Kirsch’s murder and an anonymous call from the palace just before the event.  Did someone inside the palace order Kirsch silenced?  Suspects include the crown prince, who is revealed to be Ambra’s fiancée, and Bishop Valdespino, the ailing king’s oldest friend.  Or are they all the innocent victims of a conspiracy perpetuated by the rival Palmerian church, where the assassin is a member?

As always, Brown delivers a story that draws deeply from the art, history, and scenery of its locations.  He spins tales involving codes and intrigues from the ages, and weaves them seamlessly into plots full of action and mystery. Origin, though, adds another element from its doomed character, Kirsch, that of science fiction.  This tale includes a surprising supporting character in the form of Winston, the next-generation computer AI that possesses the ability to act and influence the world, and take creative license with his creator’s instructions.

I will say this is the first time I’ve been able to pick up on some of the twists in a Dan Brown novel before they were revealed, but I was not able to do so until almost the end of the massive 456 page book.  The scope of the story, the believability of the plot, and the epic journey still rate this book 5 stars and I would recommend it not only to current fans of Brown, but anyone interested in mysteries, sci-fi, and action/adventure stories.