Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stronger: By Micahel Carroll



All Gethin Rao wants is to be like every other boy his age. But normal twelve-year-olds aren't blue. And they certainly aren't thirteen feet tall. That's what happens when his superpowers kick in. And from that moment on, his life is never the same. Treated as a villain--a monster--Gethin spends the rest of his life on the run or as a prisoner in a secret military facility.
When he finally escapes, he falls in with a group of superpowered teens and becomes the one thing he never thought he'd be: a hero. But as the years pass by and he takes the name Brawn, Gethin learns that being a good guy is a lot more difficult than he thought.


It's hard to exactly explain Stronger without giving away many if not all of the secrets of the other five books in the series (and the book of short stories that also helps clear up some mysteries). But what I can say with certainty is that any book that makes you want to drop everything you're doing and go re-read an entire series is one fantastic book.

Stronger acts as a rubber band tying the prequels and Quantum Prophecy series together. It spans the length of all of the books in the series (starting before the events of Super Human and ending during the events of Absolute Power). Readers MUST read the series before getting to this gem of a book. Stronger will answer many of the questions that readers have been pinning for since the publication of Super Human. What happened to Abby, Lance, and Thunder, and how did the events that lead up to Quantum Prophecy tie together with this rag tag group of superhumans.

Of course, what I found most impressive was the way that Carroll created such a complex setting for each of the characters. Brawn, a known villain through most of the series is much more than he seems, he is caring, protective, and most importantly a little boy turned monster who only wants to go back to the life he had before he was turned into a monster. Other characters true colors are also revealed. Readers will get to see from the eyes of Brawn some of the terrible manipulation that Max had done to the other superheroes for years. Even Ragnarok is explored in more detail, adding color to prominent character readers know very little about.

All in all Stronger was fantastic. It has tons of action, ties together many of the loose story lines, and is filled with strong well-crafted characters. Most importantly, Stronger is well written and captivating. Readers won’t be able to put down this book until the last pages, and even then they will have the uncontrollable urge to re-read the other books in the series. All in all a must read book for a must read series.

9.5 out of 10


Publisher: Philomel

Published: June 14, 2012

Price: $16.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Stronger-A-Super-Human-Clash/dp/0399257616/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340738002&sr=1-1&keywords=stronger

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blue Blooded Vamp: By Jaye Wells



Sabina Kane is on the hunt. Her prey: Cain, the father of the vampire race and the one who murdered her family and her friends. Unfortunately, Cain is hunting Sabina, too.
The one man who holds the key to defeating Cain is, of course, Abel. A mage with secrets to spare and, hopefully, the power to match it. Unfortunately, for Sabina, he's in Rome and may not want to be found.
Sabina sets out for Italy with her friends, Giguhl and Adam Lazarus, to track down the only man who can get her the revenge she hungers for. But will he help her or oppose her? And just who is Abel, really? Worst of all, when Sabina figures out the goddess Lilith has a plan for her-she realizes this trip is getting deadlier by the minute. As they say: when in Rome-SURVIVE.


It's hard to end a series.
And even harder to end a series well.
Jaye Wells does the nigh impossible in ending the Sabrina Kane series in a fashion that should have readers dab their eyes and shaking their fists in excitement.

Well's series spans five books and to be honest I didn't know how the series could continue after the events in book three. That said, Well's does a fantastic job keeping the story going, creating characters that are fasinating, and keeping readers at the edge of their seats.
In this final installment readers will be shocked from the first chapters to the last pages. Blue Blooded Vampire is full of action, funny and endearing characters, and a captivating story that will keep even the most reserved reader hooked. Further, readers of the series will be excited to see familiar faces from all over the series pop up in unsual and interesting ways.
All in all Well's creates a conclusion that is better than expected. Blue Blooded Vampire is chop full of action, magic, and fun characters. Many secrets are brought to light and readers will be happy to know much of the lose strings are tied. All in all a conclusion for a great series.


Publisher: Orbit

Published: June 1, 2012

Price: $7.99

Wake of the Bloody Angel: by Alex Bledsoe



Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.

For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel, went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned.

To find the truth, and earn his twenty-five gold pieces a day, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew…and his even more legendary treasure.


I've been a fan of the Eddie Lacrosse series since it first began with The Sword Edged Blonde. Eddie is witty, brave, strong, and experienced enough not to be a complete idiot bumbing into battle, while at the same time finding himself in a number of scrapes and situations, usually making for amazing adventures.
The other characters that Bledsoe has introduced over the series have also been interesting and have added to the story and ambiance in interesting ways. But my favorite of these side characters has to be Angelina who readers see in every book and who we know almost nothing about.
Wake of the Bloody Angel opens with a no hold barred adventure into Angelina's past. Reader's will be shocked and giddy with the secrets uncovered, secrets so dark and buried as to rival Eddie's own. Of course reader's will also rejoyce with the reintroduction of Jane to the series. Jane is tough, complicated, and leathal, and who better to lead Eddie to the seas to catch a pirate than a pirate, turned pirate catcher, turned sword jockey.

Of course while the characters are well written and fun, the main attrations to this book are the action and the mystery, and this book just so happens to have them in droves. Eddie is forced to fight pirates, discover who or what leaving only dead empty ships floating in the sea with only the medical chests taken, and find one of the most famous treasures in all of history. All in a days work for this sword jockey.
All in all, Wake of the Bloody Angel was a fast fun read. It gave me and will give readers all that was expected and more. I found myself finishing it with two days just because I had trouble putting it down. There were swashbuckling adventures, monsters, and shocking discoveries that shake the foundations of the some of the main characters. A great summer read that I would have no trouble recommending.
Publisher: Tor
Published: July 3, 2012
Price: $14.99
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wake-Bloody-Angel-Eddie-Lacrosse/dp/0765327457/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1340304352&sr=8-3&keywords=eddie+lacrosse

Friday, June 1, 2012

Interview: Safety Not Guaranteed: Jake Johnson and Kiran Soni


We had the chance to sit down with Jake Johnson and Kiran Soni from the movie Safety Not Guaranteed during SXSW 2012. Here's what they had to say.


If you had to sum up the movie in three sentences what would you say?

KS: Three people travel to investigate a man who claims that he has built a time machine. Did he? Did he not?
JJ: [Laughs] Okay.
KS: It changes their lives forever.
JJ: one of the weirdest trailers. Okay I would say a story about people who in one way or another feel like they have to go back in time either emotionally or physically and a love story happens – or maybe two weird love stories happen.

The movie is based on a 1997 classified ad. Do you know anything about whether there was actually a classified ad?

JJ: I know there is a real classified ad that a guy wrote and he was in the movie. He was the old guy in the actual post office.
KS: It was in a magazine – Backwoods Home Magazine – so I guess it was not in the paper, but he did write that. I know he got the rights and stuff.
JJ: The guy is a character, but I’m not one hundred percent sure he believes that classified ad. But he’s one of those guys that I’m really not sure.
KS: Yeah, you just – when you meet him, he talks about guns.
JJ: We’re really glad he did the movie. He came to Sundance too.
KS: We weren’t at that screening, but people were excited.

What was your favorite part about shooting the movie?

KS: Mine was shooting the movie! It was awesome.
JJ: It was one of his first big jobs. You killed it.
KS: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was really great to work with Jake and Aubrey – I feel like we have the same sense of humor in some ways. We just got to hang out and just have fun and then shoot the movie occasionally. It just felt really relaxed and even between takes we were doing weird improv-y characters and we were in the car for hours and would lose our minds and it was just a weird funky four weeks and it was really fun. After it was over, I was like “wow, I really appreciated that. As it was happening, it was just like a blur.”
JJ: It was a lot of fun to shoot. I really enjoyed when Colin let me get on the go-cart and get weird.

What is your favorite time travel book or movie?

KS: Growing up, I really liked Back to the Future, but I really like Jurassic Park – If feel like it’s a time travel movie, because they are seeing things from the past – that’s kind of a weird thing. But that’s one of my favorite movies.

At the screening, everyone was cracking up at the hungover scene where you were still a little bit drunk in the background. Did this acting come from experience, improve practice?

KS: A little bit of everything. I’m really surprised that people find that moment a really big thing. I just thought I was lucky to be in that shot – be there that day – but I heard that people were laughing at that. We hadn’t shot the whole ending sequence at that point, so I was just winging it. I was like I guess this was a long night for him and then after we shot it, it makes sense now I guess.

Your relationship is really strong and a key and essential part of the movie. Did you spend a lot of time off set really getting to know each other and preparing for that, because it was really touching?

JJ: Yeah, we did.
KS: We did and we didn’t.
JJ: What do you mean we didn’t? We were right next to each other all the damn time.
KS: But it moved so fast. We didn’t even prepare before.
JJ: We shot the movie in a month.
KS: Right.
JJ: SO we didn’t do sixth months of chemistry. But in terms of making a movie…
KS: We became friends very fast, I think all three of us.
JJ: They put us – Colin put the three of us together a lot. Duplass came in and did all of his in two weeks. But they shot him out in the middle and we were there the whole time. And Colin wanted Karan and I to be together a lot so that it would be real, so we spent a lot of time together.

Did you get to eat a lot of pie when you were doing…

JJ: No, we didn’t actually eat any pie. Everything with Genica was shot in a day.

Have you ever been in a movie shot that fast?

JJ: No, never like that. I’ve been in stuff that goes quick, but never to the point that an entire story – like Genica – was shot in a Thursday. You wake up that morning and are kind of like – I hope it works today – I hope it doesn’t suck today.
KS: How many weeks was Ceremony?
JJ: About six weeks. A lot more than this. Significantly.

Did you do any pranks on set to each other?

JJ: Do you remember any pranks? I don’t really remember any pranks. We were together a lot, so we messed with each other a lot.
KS: Aubrey and Jake got into some weird characters when we were there.
JJ: I know Aubrey got bed bugs. She had weird bites on her and she did not have a sense of humor about it.
KS: She was not happy about it.
JJ: That’s not a prank I did, but I thought it was funny for her to be like there is another bite on my arm!
KS: “I’m dying! I’m dying today!”
JJ: I’m in the bed right next to her, and I’m like I don’t have a bump on me.

If you could actually go back in time what would you do?

KS: I would go back to the time and place where they were having auditions for Slumdog Millionaire. I would get in on that.
JJ: That’s a good one. I’ll go back to being a kid before the Wonder Years and try to take Fred Savage’s job. We would just go back and try to get other people’s acting jobs.
KS: So much happier.

Personal curiosity – what is the last video game that you played?

KS: I played Final Fantasy 13 was that the new one or 12—yeah that’s the last one, but it’s getting to the point where it’s too hard for me. I always stop like halfway through until it’s not easy and you have to do too much. I play a lot of RPGs and stuff, but when those get too hard, I’m like ok next.
JJ: I’m kind of an old man with video games. Bejeweled in my phone – does that count? I’m super good at Bejeweled.

You have a very touching scene and many scenes – did you pull from personal experience?

JJ: I think for most of Jeff I didn’t want to do anything based on my real life. What I like about Jeff is that I think he’s an asshole. When I was talking to Colin about the part, when we were discussing it, he said we’ve got this movie that is optimistic and hopeful, and a unique character in Kenneth and Aubrey believes in him, and if you do it, we need you to be an asshole, so that we can counter that. And I love that. And then I thought for the break-up where he gets his heart broken, I went into ex-es in my life, and thought, and I’m married now, and I thought if my  wife said to me out of the blue, it’s over, I tried to think about that as much as I could…in the one day that we were shooting that part. That and actually being really tired. And Being like what the fuck – we’re on page 9?! Let’s do this in three days, Colin!
What attracted each of you to the roles and the movie in general?
JJ: well, he got it.
KS: Yeah, I was lucky enough to be in it. I didn’t even read the script.
JJ: It’s called audition book the job.
KS: Yeah, audition book the job, but then I did get the script about the day before I was supposed to read with them, like two hours before.
JJ: Halfway done shooting the movie, he’s like, this script is pretty good.
KS: OH I’m in that scene, that’s pretty good.
JJ: Oh you guys are in this movie too?
KS: But I guess I really like the character and was intrigued and was like “what is this” because they give you a scene from the start and the middle and the end, so I was like whoa what just happened – what are they talking about. Then when I read it I was like, yeah this is really cool.
JJ: Parts I look for are parts that have – I don’t necessarily need to be the lead in a movie, but I look for a character that has a full arc, so I think if a character can have a beginning a middle and an end, and that character that at the end gets to go crazy, that’s great. At the end of the day, we have to do it, but it’s gotta be fun to do. When I was reading it, I was like, okay Jeff’s an asshole…he’s mean, he’s mean, he’s mean, he’s crying on a go cart. And the cat Genica, who we obviously make comments about how she is unattractive and big. In real life, she’s an attractive woman, but the way it was written, she was supposed to be a FAT…she is more attractive than we thought, but it’s just because when she auditioned, she was the best actress for the job. But I also felt that’s going to be interesting= that’s going to be fun. His character actually genuinely falls in love with her and I felt like – I like this guy.

The go-cart and carnival scene – were there other rides?

KS: There was that one where I was staring.
JJ: Yeah, that’s right. There was the blond – I don’t know her name – one of the girls – those guys came in for the scene and they were game for everything.
KS: Yeah, we tried all of these scenes with us watching them.
JJ: There was one ride that’s your basic…
KS: It was just a horse going up and down and I was sipping a beer and watching…
JJ: Yeah Colin was like why don’t you go ride the horse or whatever. This girl does it like she’s in a damn porno movie.
KS: She’s like I’m not getting cut from this movie and went for it.
JJ: Literally like members of our crew – our sound guys were like -----There were eight minutes where they didn’t cut the camera.
KS: And I was just sitting there watching. And they were like no, watch more, now smile a little bit…
JJ: It was really creepy. Colin is a director that I love, but I will say, he sometimes whisper directs that out of context can sometimes be really creepy. He’ll be like “Jake, on your knees, look up, look up…” You’re like “EW!” I know you want me to look at the sun because it’s a big moment, but it feels disgusting.
JJ: Not a lot was cut out, because we only had … the other ending stuff
KS: because a lot of other stuff happens….

What’s next for Safety Not Guaranteed?

KS: The movie comes out June 8.
JJ: Film District is behind it. Film District bought the US distribution, and we’re really excited – they did Drive, and we think that this isn’t just company talk – we think it’s the perfect home for it. We think that they are really excited about it, so I think they’re going to give it a real push. We just gotta get people to come out and see it. It’s gonna be a platform release, so it’s going to be the big cities and then if people go, then it will expand.  I know it’s starting in NY, LA, Seattle, and Portland.

**** Safety Not Guaranteed Opens in NY, LA, Seattle, and Portland on June 8th. ****

Interview: Safety Not Guaranteed: Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza


We had the chance to sit down with Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass stars of the movie Safety Not Guaranteed during SXSW 2012. Here's what they had to say.
So if you had to sum up the movie in the three sentences, what would it be?

AP: Girl is sad.
MD: Boy is crazy.
AP: Girl and boy time travel.

So you were borderline crazy the whole time trying to decide if we could believe you were crazy or if this was real. How did you strike that balance?

MD: Well the script is very, very good. So it wasn’t like I was thinking about it all the time or having to tow that line. The dynamics are all in there. The key for me was to really play the bourgeoning relationship with Aubrey’s character. There’s two stories at work here. Yes, there’s a funny, interesting time-travel movie but it’s also…there’s an emotional core about these damaged people who feel they need to time travel in the first place…it’s an interesting profile, when you feel you need to escape. So I leaned a little bit heavier on I just tried to play it straight and not go for too many jokes and the level of crazy…that almost takes care of itself because of how the script plays out.

Both of you have a background in improv, was the movie primarily script based or did you have a lot of room to improvise you scenes?

MD: It was very script based.
AP: It was very script based, but we definitely played around with some stuff.
MD: There’s a scene where we’re on the beach, just after our first training together. We knew what that scene was about, and so we got to play with the dialogue and find new moments. Particularly in the later scenes, when you know your characters well, you can throw out little surprises but the DNA of the story and of the script was the same.

Aubrey, your role was written specifically for you, did you know the writers?

AP: No. I mean, no. I didn’t know them
MD: Just like writers do…I do it at times. You just hope that she will like it.

So they just approached you with the script and said “please, please, please”?

AP: Yes. We have similar representation also, so I heard about them, but I didn’t know them personally. They just gave me the script and I read it and loved it. So it worked out.

So what about the movie? What made you [Mark] produce it?

MD: I just loved the script. Very simple. The idea of a time travel film that is kidn of a sensitive, odd-relationship oriented time travel film, it was very exciting. I had never seen that before. I loved Aubrey and Jake’s work. It seemed like we could be helpful to the movie in that they’d been waiting around a while to get the amount of money to make the film and Jay and I have made a career out of NOT waiting and just taking the available materials and just getting it made. It just seemed like the right fit.

In terms of shooting the movies, what was your favorite part?

MD: I liked having weird breakfasts together with you in the morning. You getting your panic attacks.
AP: Those were nice.
MD: Those were really fun.
AP: Those were fun.
MD: Aubrey and I worked out a couple of times, in the gym, though there may have been fleas in there.
AP: I got bed bugs.
MD: That was super cool.
AP: It was pretty fun being on the actual time machine. Those days were really awesome. There was an actual time machine and we got to go on it.
MD: The day we actually traveled to 1963 was also amazing.
AP: Yeah, I watched my parents being born.

You train for your voyage in the movie learning martial arts and shooting guns, how was that?

AP: I was really freaked out using the guns. We shot it really fast and I had never done that before…just shooting guns in the forest. It was scary, but it was fun.
MD: It didn’t help that I was running all around you while you were shooting. You kept yelling, “I’m going to shoot you, STOP MOVING.”
AP: He was really going for it.
MD: I grew up in Oregon, so…guns…psh.

[To Mark] You lived in Austin for a while, what’s your favorite breakfast joint? I love a good breakfast joint.

MD: Yeah I lived here for 6 or 7 years. My favorite restaurant of all time here is Polvo’s. I lived there.
AP: What kind of food is that?
MD: It’s Mexican. It’s just the best.
AP: What? Why didn’t I go there?
MD: I don’t’ know, don’t get mad at me.
AP: No one told me about that one.
MD: Yeah, Polvo’s is the shit.

****Safety Not Guaranteed opens June 8th in Portland, NY, LA, and Seattle****