Grumpy Book Grrrl

a reader and writer

Out now! Gorgeous cover alert!

I super liked this muchly. It was just a lot of romantic fun and fast-paced reading. It’s a bit of a fairy tale re-telling. Selah is “seneschal-elect” of her country and will inherit the title after her father. She is eighteen, a bookworm, naive, a loner, and knows nothing about the world around her.

Well, something huge happens and her world is shattered, destroyed, eyes opened, etc. etc. She is forced to start a journey which was engineered by her (evil) stepmother.

I won’t go into the specifics about her father and stepmother because it’s a major plot point. But the meat of the story finds Selah on a ship with a crew she doesn’t know, sailing for Europe to find… a husband.

On the outside, that might appear to be cringe-worthy, but it worked for me. This was fun escapism. The two suitors we meet are Bear and Torden. Bear hails from England and Torden is from Asgard. The world is a mish mash of our world and an alternate reality. Some places can be found on our maps and some have been changed or embellished. It’s fantasy, so why not?

I think Selah starts out with self-esteem issues, but she grows by the end. The insta-love might be a turnoff for some, but in my view, it made sense based on the circumstances.

The crew ends up being a rag tag bunch made up of all skin tones, gender, and ages. I don’t recall any LGBTQ rep whatsoever, but there was PoC rep.

A rebellion might be stirring against the imperial queen who I’m sure must show up in the next book. I’m really excited to see what happens next!

Thank you Edelweiss and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review!

Release date: June 25, 2019 by Knopf Books For Young Readers.

Reading the blurb at Goodreads will spoil you for book one, and we’re still a bit over two weeks out from release day, so I have to be careful about revealing too much.

If you haven’t started this series yet, the setting is a post-apocalyptic garbage dump, environmentally ruined America run by corporations. Most organic beings outside of humans are genetically-engineered, or altered with cyborg implants.

Robots and artificial intelligence play a pretty big role. There have been random human mutations – people suddenly getting weird abilities due to, who knows, maybe radiation or other funk in the atmosphere, etc.

Lemon Fresh plays a MUCH bigger role here. Cricket and Ezekiel are back. Eve is back, only much more stabby. There are new characters, surprises, gut punches, crazy religious shenanigans.

I LOVED it! Those who loved book one, you should be satisfied with this. Those who haven’t started, read book one, and then this releases June 25th!

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital eARC to read and review. I adored it!

Release date: June 11, 2019. Publisher: Crown Publishing.

I have been a huge fan of Blake Crouch’s for years and was honored to receive this ARC from Netgalley and Crown. I was fairly certain I would like this book, but I had no idea just *how* much. I LOVE stories like this.

In the words of David Tennant playing The Doctor on Doctor Who:

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.”

It’s timey-wimey, people. This book had me thinking all the deep thoughts and that is what I live for!

The story is told from the POVs of Harry, a NYPD detective, and Helena, a scientist. Helena creates a machine she hopes will help Alzheimer patients. A wealthy sponsor ends up taking her invention a whole other way.

It’s split into four “books.” At the beginning of each are awesome quotes like this one:

“We are homesick for the places we have never known.” – Carson McCullers

I won’t say too much because spoilers, obviously. But I highly recommend this one! I really loved the “weirdness” of Wayward Pines, but this may be my new favorite Crouch book.

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing an eARC to read and review.

This is when I really started liking the Marvel movies. Thor is my favorite Avenger. This was directed by Kenneth Branagh, and it is a superior movie. In my view, this one had the most (and best) humor. Chris Hemsworth is perfect as Thor and no one could have played Loki better than Tom Hiddleston.

Thor is exiled to Earth by his father, Odin, after he acts like an arrogant manchild, not worthy of Mjolnir.

What impressed me is that NONE of the females were stereotyped and sexualized. Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, plays a scientist in jeans, button-up shirts, and jackets. Her assistant, Darcy Lewis, played by Kat Dennings, is portrayed with smart-ass humor and is also fully clothed. Sif, the Asgardian warrior, played by Jaimie Alexander, is also portrayed in a respectable kick-ass manner.

I don’t care how people dress, but it is refreshing to finally see women written as strong and smart instead of *just* hot.

There is some diversity here with Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Tadanobu Asano as Hogan, but not a whole lot? There is still no LGBTQ+ rep at all as far as I have been able to detect.

Overall, this is a keeper, one that I own, and have watched multiple times.

★★★★★

 

Release date: June 4th 2019. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division.

Elisabeth Scrivener is an orphan raised in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries. These libraries guard grimoires, books of sorcery. Elisabeth’s dream is to become a Warden, warrior types who protect the libraries and the innocent from grimoires that would harm people.

Elisabeth finds herself rejected from her home and must partner with a sorcerer named Nathaniel Thorn. Villains are uncovered, dark magic unveiled, and Elisabeth rises to the challenge of defending everything she holds dear.

This book was flat-out master-level story-telling. Margaret Rogerson is such an incredibly talented writer. I felt like I was on a true journey while reading this because the story took several unexpected turns. In my view, it evoked feelings of familiarity with The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and even The Spiderwick Chronicles (but no faeries).

Some of the books/grimoires were brought to life by the author with individual personalities, humor, and spookiness. My favorite character, though, hands down, was Silas. You are going to LOVE him! I won’t say any more because of spoilers, but this is a real gem!

Thank you Edelweiss and publisher for providing an eARC to read and review.

 

It’s six months later. The US Government is hassling Tony Stark to hand over his Iron Man tech, which of course he resists. He is also dying because the palladium core that makes the Iron Man suit work and keeps Tony alive is poisoning him.

Mickey Rourke plays scientist Ivan Vanko who uses the same arc technology to build weapons to use against Stark in order to avenge his father. Sam Rockwell plays Justin Hammer, Tony’s rival in the weapons industry. They team up.

Vanko is your basic smart criminal villain with a criminal father who dies, so the son blames the Starks for everything. The standard villain template for a LOT of superhero stories. Villain with Daddy issues (see Black Panther for another example).

I was annoyed that Tony kept his health problems from everyone. I suppose I can somewhat understand why he does it since he has always kept everyone at arm’s length and only engaged in superficial (sexual) relationships and public events. His parents died when he was young. Etc.

His (pretty much only) friend, Col. Rhodey Rhodes ends up taking one of the other prototypes to the military after Tony spirals out of control at his birthday party. He thinks it’s his last one, give the guy a break. But of course, no one knows.

Hammer ends up making a deal to replicate Stark’s Iron Man tech with the military and Vanko. The movie, once again, is full of testosterone, guns, bombs, stuff blowing up. I really think Marvel started these movies with the male 18-34 age group in mind.

The females are very much stereotypes, sexed up, boobs on display, tight outfits, one -dimensional. The relationship drama with Pepper Potts annoyed me. It’s The Big Misunderstanding. Tony doesn’t tell her what is going on with him personally, so they are fighting and existing in an alienated situation. It’s all resolved once he communicates. This is a trope I really hate in books and movies.

It’s not that I have any issues with women dressing how they want – I don’t. It’s the way they engage with the men that bothers me. Agent Carter got all jealous and spiteful in the first Captain America. Here, Pepper Potts plays the overly-emotional “I can’t handle you being a superhero” part here. (Of course, once communication is established, this is solved.)

I had completely forgotten Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Agent Coulsen were in this! I think I liked this one better than the first just because of their presence. Black Widow is completely sexualized but I can allow it since that is her whole assassin method. Seduce, then kill. They never see her coming.

I just wonder, though, what happened to Vanko’s poor cockatoo, Irina???

mv-ivan-vanko

★★★★☆

The following is a new entry and continuation of The Crisis of 2050, started last week. (851 words)

Veronica “Roni” Forward was retrieved from the bottom of the gorge and brought back. She was traveling by herself on a road trip, after the death of her mother. Her father had passed from cancer years back and her mother succumbed to obesity just a few months ago. The doctor told her it was a heart attack when he presented her with the urn full of ashes. She had no children and decided to take a road trip to Oregon to visit Mt. Hood. She was a nurse and hoped to find employment there.

It was November and the roads were slippery due to a recent freeze. Roni wasn’t accustomed to driving on winding roads through a canyon, and she was cruising too fast. It was at least a hundred feet or more to the bottom of the canyon. Her car slid off and tumbled over the edge. What a strange life, she thought. I’ll see you soon, Mom and Dad, and then she fainted. She was unconscious when the car finally collided with the earth at the bottom of the gorge.

“Ms. Forward? Can you tell me what your first name is?” She heard a voice speaking through the fog. She opened her eyes and saw a nondescript hospital room.

“My name is Veronica. What has happened?”

“You were in a horrible accident. Crashed your car down a steep ravine. They brought you back. Isn’t that grand?” The nurse smiled beatifically.

“But how? I should have been crushed in the fall.”

A curtain was pulled aside, and a doctor strode in and sat in a rolling chair, pulling it aside Roni’s bed. The nurse left. “Ms. Forward, how are you feeling?”

“Like crap. Wondering how I’m alive.”

“We retrieved you from the crash site. You were dead. We revived you earlier. We had to inject nanotech and metalbone to repair some of the more serious injuries.”

“But why? I didn’t even know this was possible. Why me?”

“Well, you’re a nurse. Citizens in the healthcare industry are some of our most valuable population. We needed you.”

“What if I didn’t want this?”

“Why wouldn’t you? The nanos will extend your life span and you’ll never get the flu again. Isn’t it amazing how we’ve yet to cure that?” The doctor chuckled.

“How much will my life be extended?”

“Well, we’re not sure yet. Estimates place it at twenty to thirty years, but the tech is still in the experimental phase.”

“So, I’m a test subject?”

“You’re alive. I would expect a bit more gratefulness. The cost of your surgery was more than I make in five years! This tech is so advanced, you’ll be moved to Recovery today.”

“How long have I been here?”

“Less than twenty-four hours.”

Roni was stunned. She had died in a devastating wreck and been resurrected by nanobots and metalbone – because she was a nurse? There had to be millions of nurses around the country and the world. Weren’t there? She had never left The Unified States and her family was never involved in politics or watched vidcasts.

“Will this tech alter me, my personality?”

“It hasn’t before. You should be fine. You will probably be healthier, stronger, smarter than you were before! It’s like being upgraded. What an honor.”

Roni would decide how much of an honor it was on her own. “How come you didn’t need my permission for this…procedure?”

“Since The Crisis of 2050, all healthcare professionals are to be preserved at all costs. Doctors, surgeons, nurses…we’ve had to make some tough decisions where psychology and counseling is concerned. You work in operating rooms. This places you in a very different category than, say, a social worker.”

“I was…unaware of exactly how the Crisis had affected society. I guess I just did my job and spent time with my mother and friends and didn’t pay much attention. My error.”

“Yes, well, we have training guides if you are interested in learning more. I would advise it. You will be given a week off with pay and then expected to return to your duties. A transfer to Oregon will be arranged at a further time.”

“How did you know about Oregon? I hadn’t told anyone about that.”

“Well, per protocol, your thoughts were downloaded right after we revived you, just in case the procedure didn’t take.”

“What would have happened if it didn’t take?”

“We would have downloaded them into a spare. They would have processed your memories, including your experiences as a nurse, and assumed your place.”

There was no technology like this known to the public, Roni was certain of it. “What are spares?”

“Extra humans – those in comas or homeless people, illegal immigrants, abortionists, drug addicts, those who refuse to abide by Reform. It’s completely painless and legal, and those people can recover their License for Liberty and become productive members of society again. Thankfully, though, we didn’t lose you.” The doctor patted her hand, rose, and checked some readings on the medical equipment attached to her.

Roni lay in the bed, speechless and overwhelmed, tears welling in her eyes.

Photo by Gerd Altmann/geralt from Pixabay.

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