Novels

Review: The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

by on Mar.10, 2011, under Articles, Books, Entertainment, Novels

You know that feeling when you pick up a book for the first time and you hope the story will be good? Not just good but that kind of story that makes you feel something.

Because there are really two kinds of stories. The kind that tells you something, informs you of some fact or concept and then there are the stories that make you feel something.

The Hunger Games is one of the latter.

The Hunger Games is a three book series by Suzanne Collins. This is her second work, her first being a series of five books called the Underland Chronciles. She has also written for several children’s shows prior to becoming an author. When the Hunger Games movie comes out, she’ll be adding major motion picture writing to her curriculum vitae.

Suzanne tells a masterful story through her three books, the first titled The Hunger Games, where we meet our heroine Katniss who slowly introduces us to a post-apocalyptic future where the remnants of humanity have been split into twelve districts, ruled by a despotic Capitol. Years in their past the twelve districts attempted to rebel against the Capitol. They failed. As punishment, every year since, each district is forced to celebrate The Hunger Games, where two teenagers from each district, one boy and one girl, are selected randomly to participate.

In the Hunger Games, these children are subjected to instant fame in the technologically advanced Capitol before being forced into a deadly technologically manipulated game arena where the only real rule is: Only one child may leave alive. Blood sport, for the entertainment of the Capitol citizenry and a constant reminder to the districts that they can not win.

But if the districts have failed, will Katniss?
(continue reading…)

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An evolution of how stories are told

by on Mar.09, 2011, under Art, Articles, Books, Computers, Entertainment, Information Technology, Internet, Music, Novels, Podcasts, Short Stories, Technology, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

So one of the topics I am very much interested in is the evolution of media and information technology. One of the budding areas that we are watching grow into its toddler, if not teenage, years, is the ebook. To keep the metaphor going, it really is only a matter of time before our teenager starts experimenting in order to figure out what they really are. But first lets talk about where stories, in the form of books, have been going.

Aren't they cute?The popular e-readers of today are trying desperately to copy books. This is because books have an established niche of readership that keeps them afloat financially that has been steadily declining since the invention of video. Declining but not being erased. Actually since the internet became popular, we’ve seen an increase in the amount that people read daily, thanks to email and websites.

The internet gave birth to what I’ll call the first evolution of story, that being the jump to self published internet fiction, which you can find all over the internet in audio and written form if you try. Serialized web novels are popular these days, along with terabytes of fan fiction and much more. But this evolution doesn’t hold up economically for most authors, at least not until recently. There has been another slower evolution, the eBook.

[feed]More on the site, including a peek at a possible evolution beyond eBooks.[/feed] (continue reading…)

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Book Watch: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

by on Mar.04, 2011, under Articles, Book Watch, Books, Novels

And our next entry in the Book Watch series, so soon after the first. You’d think I actually read regularly or something…

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Date Started: Feb 23rd, 2011
Date Ended: Feb 27th, 2011

Really had a hard time putting it down. I’m glad I started reading it after the series was completed. Suffered I feel a little from the “clueless” teenager syndrome but otherwise had a great character and a brief glimpse into an interesting world. Let’s see if the sequels hold up.

View all my goodreads reviews

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Book Watch: Agatha H and the Airship City

by on Feb.26, 2011, under Articles, Books, Novels

Starting a new article series based upon my usage of Goodreads, a website that encourages you to track what you read. I just finished my first book while using this tracker and they gave me this nice little format below to tell everybody so here you go:

Agatha H and the Airship City (Girl Genuis)Agatha H and the Airship City by Phil Foglio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Date Started: ~Feb 09, 2011
Date Finished: Feb 21, 2011

Good book. Rather short. Provided some great insight compared to the comic.

View all my reviews

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Agatha H and the Airship City follow up

by on Jan.24, 2011, under Articles, Books, Comic Suggestions, Comics, Entertainment, Novels

So I’m rather lucky! I got my copy of Agatha H and the Airship City in the mail last week. Turns out according to Phil Foglio, the book’s first printing is already sold out at the distributor level. So no new books till February 28th!

Okay so that isn’t exactly something to celebrate about unless you’re actually Kaja or Phil, but really you should be happy for them. A second printing is impressive for a hardbound book, even if the book had a small print run. I don’t know how large of a print run Agatha H had but still!

So Phil has set a new goal for us. The Foglio Studios have set up a pre-order for the second printing of the book on their website and the idea is to pre-order so much that the publisher will be forced to make a third printing! Unheard of! So go pre-order!

And while you’re at it, go read the comic.

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Girl Genius Day: Buy Agatha H and the Airship City today!

by on Jan.12, 2011, under Articles, Books, Comic Suggestions, Comics, Entertainment, Novels

I posted about this a week ago, but today is Girl Genius day! It’s a day to do something mad sciene-y and/or steampunkalicious! Please no destroying the world, that would ruin GG day for everybody else out there.

It’s also the day to buy this:

It’s the first Girl Genius novel I’ve ever heard of, and today is the day Phil and Kaja have designated at “buy the book day!” in an attempt to raise rankings and awareness of the book. If you’re a fan of the comic series you’re probably already considering do this, but if you aren’t go take a look at the comic. It’s a free online comic of adventure, romance, and MAD SCIENCE, and one of the best comics you’ll ever read.

Anyway you can buy the book here at amazon or find more details about where to get it in book shops at the girl geinus book website.

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Girl Genius has a book!

by on Jan.05, 2011, under Articles, Books, Comic Suggestions, Comics, Entertainment, Novels

Apparently Phil and Kaja Foglio somehow managed to write a Agatha Heterodyne book without me hearing a single word about it. At least until now. Luckily I heard about it before Girl Genius day!

Girl Genius day is the day you should buy this book. January 12th. This is an attempt to increase the book’s rankings that day, which will be good overall for marketing.

If you aren’t aware of Girl Genius, you really should be reading the comic Girl Genius. It is a ongoing online comic of adventure, romance, and MAD SCIENCE! I occasionally post pages from it do to their humorous content but the story itself is where it work shines.

So remember! Januray 12th! Buy this book!

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FEED by Mira Grant

by on Dec.08, 2010, under Books, Novels, Opinions, Reviews

I just finished this book titled Feed by Mira Grant.

I listened to the audio book version and it kept me up past midnight last night.

Actually I listen to a lot of audio books ever since I discovered podcasting and authors who podcast their novels.  I listen to them on my drive to work and when I exercise, generally. I wish I could listen to them at work but more often than not, I actually want to hear what the story is saying which requires more focus than I can give.

I mentioned the above because I wanted you to understand my habits when listening to an audio book. And when I say that the book kept me up past midnight, that meant that I was actually listening to the book outside of my car or exercise routine. I was actively deciding to sit and listen to the book. Actually even prior to that, I was taking slightly longer routes to work in order to have more time to listen to this book.

It is a really good book.

So now you know my opinion. What about the book might make you you like it?

Well to offer an interesting tagline the book is about Zombies, Politics, and Bloggers.

Did that catch your attention? If not, there’s plenty more. The book is set in a post-zombie world where blogging was one of the few news outlets to actually report on the zombie outbreak as it happened, saving millions of lives and earning itself a place as a credible news and media source. Set in the not too far future, the story followed two journalist bloggers as they report on the presidential campaign race and follow one candidate campaigning across a zombie and stumble upon conspiracies and politics that could get them killer ratings. Emphasis on killer.

The book provides a new and interesting look at a possible zombie future. Great science fiction. Compelling characters, and an amazing story. I’ll likely be gifting this book to at least one or two of my friends this holiday season. I haven’t read a zombie book this good since World War Z.

If you want more information, the book has two websites. A semi-viral advertising site (http://www.thefeedbook.com/) which also has the first chapter available for free to read or listen. I highly suggest listening. The site also has links to where you can purchase the book, and lots of interesting tidbits which will be fun to read once you’ve read the book, although I can’t vouch for how interesting they are before. The author also has a website that has information on the book which can be found here (http://miragrant.com/index.php).

Even if you aren’t a fan of zombies or horror, consider reading the excerpt to this book. For those of you who love grounded science fiction and zombies, this book is completely for you.

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Mogworld, Serialized

by on Dec.08, 2010, under Articles, Books, Entertainment, Novels

So there is a book out there called Mogworld. It is written by internet famous Yahtzee Croshaw.  Most famous for his video series Zero Punctuation hosted by The Escapist. You might have seen one or two of this stuff appear on this blog before.

Anyway I’m here to talk about his book, Mogworld. It is a book about a video game, and the characters who live inside of it. It is also about a man who has a single purpose in his existence.  He wants to die and he can’t.

A comedy in line with Yahtzee’s own brand of sarcastic and absurd humor, I found myself enjoying this book enough to suggest it to my friends who regularly play video games of the roleplaying variety. It is a good book. I didn’t find myself racing to read it every evening but I plowed through it averagely.

And now you can to, without any investment.

The first part of Mogworld (not the entire book) is being serialized at ABC.Net.Au. Click here for the first chapter. More sections will be released until Part 1 is over, at which point you can go buy the book yourself or go ‘eh, not worth it’.

I figured I liked the book, why not let you give it a try too?

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Gifting: Part 4, eBooks, iTunes, Wishlists and Gift Cards, oh my?

by on Nov.11, 2010, under Articles, Computers, Novels, Opinions, Roleplaying Games

So in Part 1, I started this way too long article about eBooks and gifts.

In Part 2, I rambled about Amazon and iTune’s ebooks and asked a question that I didn’t really answer.

Around Part 3 I stated that this article would finally finish next post.

The end!

Okay not really. But I’ll restate the issue I am puzzling out.

How do I communicate to the people wanting to purchase books for me what particular eBook vendor or file format to use and are there methods for them to actually gifting these books?

My problem seems to be that I have conflicting interests, based upon what I’ve written so far. I wish to have people gift me eBooks for my iPad. However Apple hasn’t seen fit to support this model of economics for it’s eBooks in it’s service. Amazon’s wishlist is useful but its interface means that directing people to purchase something in a way that is more than ‘click here and buy’ is difficult and risky.

So my proposed solution is gift cards.

Solution: Giftcards

Gasp! You say. I would never stoop so low as to give my near and dearest Nojh a gift card. That is for estranged family and no so close friends. To which I say in a fake european accent, poopy weenier!

Heh. Poopy weenier.

I actually heard/read/watched an article last year regarding the economics of gift giving and that the actual ratio of happiness to money spent ratio is significantly hire when giving gift cards than actual gifts over the long haul. IE that people who receive gift cards very specifically go out and buy what they want and like, as it isn’t rent money or savings money, its extra money they can spend on themselves. I think this kind of assumes that you get them the right gift card, of course. For example giving me gift cards to clothing stores? Not so much.

Additionally gift cards are supposed to be better, economically, for stores. Meaning that if everybody gave gift cards, and the occasional gift they were sure someone else wanted, then economically it would be better for all, including stores, as the massive return lines associated with the day after new years is actually economically detrimental. Supposedly. I might be remembering wrong. It seems counter intutitive.

That being said, I’m still going to guess gifts for my friends because I like gifts but I think, for my e-Book solution, I’m actually going to put gift cards up on my Amazon wish list, with the note that I plan to purchase books with the cards. And maybe the occasional iPad game.

Final Thoughts

Obviously this isn’t optimal. My friends want to purchase something specific for me. And this also doesn’t cover independent distributors or gaming PDFs, although gaming PDF webstores have built in wishlists so I could go fill that out and then perhaps put a link to it in my Amazon wish list.

I guess ultimately this basically required me to have some faith that the people who are interested in purchasing things for me are willing to look at the details of the items I’m asking for.

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