It’s a Hit and Miss for “Star Wars” Novelization

There’s something about reading the scenes and dialogue that come alive in a movie that brings a new perspective. Whether it be what thoughts ran through a character’s mind in a particular moment, to how a setting is described, an extra dimension is added to the overall story. That’s why when I discovered that there was a novelization of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” published, I was curious to see how author Alan Dean Foster would interpret the first good “Star Wars” film in over three decades. (Please note that there are descriptions regarding the plot up ahead, but nothing too spoilery. If you, for some reason, still haven’t seen the film by now, this is where I advice you to stop reading.) Continue reading


Anders’ Debut Novel is a Weird, Whimsical Read

Last summer, a fellow writer of mine brought to my attention an announcement on the upcoming debut novel from io9 chief editor Charlie Jane Anders, “All the Birds in the Sky.” It had an intriguing synopsis, as it follows two people, a witch and an engineering genius, who were friends in early adolescence and reunite as adults living in San Francisco. Their timing is spot-on, for it’s just as when the world is thrown into chaos,  and it may require the combined efforts of both of them to do something about it.

Following its released on January 26th, I read it, all the while with the anticipation to fall in love with it. After all, there was a blurb on the back cover who compared the novel’s spirit to that of David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” (which is one of my all-time favorite books). However, by the time I reached the final page, I found myself feeling more at odds about the book than wanting to praise its glory. Continue reading

Rambling Thoughts and Stubborn Love Define Maycock’s Debut Novel

Living away from home for the first time can bring on a whole new set of challenges – and in Heather Green’s case, some of which can be quite hilarious. With a cheerful disposition amidst the hardship her family has been going through the past several years, she embarks on a new chapter of her life as she becomes a new housemate in a residence that formerly comprised of only guys.

Through the misadventures of forgetting alarm codes, lessons in cooking (better), and having one too many drinks when out at the local bar, Heather feels right at home in her new home (and, unintentionally, captures the heart of one of her housemates). But when things take a turn for the worse and Heather winds up down a dark path, she must find it within her to accept the aid of those who really, truly care about her. Continue reading

Mitchell’s Adrenaline-Inducing “Slade House” is a True Page-Turner

Imagine walking into a house that you never realized was there before, and by the time you realize that you are in great danger, it’s too late to leave. That’s the basic premise for David Mitchell’s horror story, “Slade House.”

Described by The Guardian as “‘The Bone Clocks’s naughty little sister in a fright wig,” the novel follows a house run by twins with mystical abilities who, every nine years, open it to lure specific individuals to feast on their souls; souls from such unique and different individuals that are satisfying in the ongoing goal for immortality for the twins. Three individuals- an offbeat teenage boy, a divorced police officer, and an insecure college freshman- fall victim to the duel tyrants, before their origin story begins to unfold, and the beginning of the end starts to take shape. Continue reading

Amidst Flawed Writing, “No-No Boy” is an Important Book to Read

There are books that may come across in life that you realize you must read at least once; not only for the story, but also for the valuable context. Some are given to you through your school’s curriculum, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Anne Frank: The Diary of  Young Girl.” At the same time, there are those that likely never make it to your required reading list, and therefore you find yourself in a position where you get to decide whether its worth your time reading or not. In the case of John Okada’s one and only novel, “No-No Boy,” I knew that this was a worthy read. Continue reading

Ozeki Writes Interesting Analyses in “The Face”

You may recall my review I did last year on Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale for the Time Being.” I loved reading that book, for it was truly an engaging story she had written. Since then I’ve learned quite a bit about Ozeki and she has quickly grown to be an author I’d love to have a conversation with one day.

Recently in a time of needing time to kill, I decided to randomly search her name in the Kindle shop, just to see what I could find. Along with “A Tale for the Time Being” as well as her previous novels, I also happened across a fairly short autobiographical piece that was published this year called “The Face;” where she conducts a three-hour experiment of staring at her face in a mirror and jotting down her observations. Intrigued not only by the synopsis, but also the cheap price to download it to Kindle, I bought it and started reading. Continue reading

Much is Explored and Gained From Miyazaki’s Memoirs

Hayao Miyazaki is a renowned auteur in not only his native Japan, but also the world. A masterful storyteller and director of some of the best animated films, he is one of the two founding directors of the renowned Studio Ghibli. He’s created a number of films that has captured the imaginations of children, as well as the hearts of adults. His films- such as “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Princess Mononoke,” and the Academy Award-winning “Spirited Away”- often incorporate magical elements, the power of flight, the value of nature, and headstrong female protagonists who overcome the odds that are thrown their way.

With his career spanning nearly 50 years, it would only seem right that he would have more than something to say about it all. That’s why in 2009 and 2014, Miyazaki fans everywhere were treated to two collections of essays and interviews he has done over the years; “Starting Point: 1979-1996” and “Turning Point: 1997-2008.” Continue reading