01 January 2016
31 August 2015
Breakout (book three of the Dred Chronicles trilogy by Anne Aguirre) picks up pretty much right where book 2, Havoc, ended and, in keeping with the rest of the series, is pretty much action-packed all the way through.
Our heroes (Can you refer to a group of murderous convicts as heroes? In this series, yes, yes you can.) are in dire peril from page one and the tension barely lets up *at all* until at least ¾ of the way through the book. That last ¼ is largely epilogue-ish and that is completely okay with me. Readers *needed* that well-paced resolution and closure after going through so much physical and emotional trauma with these characters.
And these characters. I love them. People: She made me love hardened killers. What else is there to say about how great this series is?
If you’ve already read Perdition and Havoc, I can’t imagine any reason you wouldn’t be picking up Breakout and, like me, devouring it as soon as possible.
But for anyone who hasn’t started the series yet … if you’re into action-packed (violent) Space Opera with thought-provoking subtext on human nature and peppered with dark humor and unexpected turns … The Dred Chronicles will satisfy.
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01 July 2015
by Karl Kesel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a fun read. The art was great, the stories were fun and interesting and had more depth than I was expecting, in some cases (and a little less in others.) And Harley was ... Harley.
Though she's been portrayed as a much darker character in other series (which I've also enjoyed), I really had fun with this return to a lighter, funnier version of Harley. This Harley is very similar to the Harley of B:TAS, visually and personality wise. Though this Harley gets a little more depth and credit for her brains. Which is one of it's points of appeal to me.
One of my favorite things about Harley is that, yeah, she's totally crazy (and has terrible taste in men), but she's also smart. I think it's a disservice when writers "forget" her backstory as a brilliant psychiatrist - there's so much more meat to her when it's acknowledged and integrated that Harley "gets" people: She understands their damage and how they think and she plays on that to her advantage. She even understands her own damage, though she chooses not to acknowledge it. Those traits make for a more interesting character with opportunity for real depth, even when it's played "light".
There are some neat, subtle moments in this volume that touch on Harley's personal psychology and backstory and speak to the fact that she's smarter and deeper than others give her credit for. I'm hoping for more of that in the next volume, which I'll be reading asap.
Overall, I liked seeing Harley "take a break" from her Mistah J and step up from sidekick status in these not-always-entirely light-hearted stories. There were some very funny moments mixed in with some great scenes of Harley just being a totally kick-ass chick, which is always one of my favorite character traits. What's not to love?
View all my reviews
15 June 2015
Technically, I don't actually do "tech support".
But the reality is, when you have a tiny department, you do a bit of everything. So, as much as I'd love to just hide in my office all day doing my happily antisocial, introverted admin stuff... I end up having to actually *gasp* talk to our staff users pretty frequently.
I thought it might be fun (or at least cathartic) to jot down some of the more interesting and frequent conversations I have as an in-house “IT Guy”. (And by “interesting” I mean, “aaaaarrrrrggghhh” and by “frequent” I mean, “OMFSM IF I HAVE THIS CONVERSATION ONE MORE TIME, MY HEAD MIGHT EXPLODE.”)
So, counting down the Top 5 conversations I have pretty much every week, ranked on a scale of 1 to I-Will-Cut-You:
5) If it was a snake ...
User: I know I asked you this before, but ... (insert very simple question or task here)
Seriously, would it KILL you to just save the answer/instructions from the LAST 10 times I sent it to you? No, hey, it's cool. I totally have nothing better to do than to Google stuff for you allllll day long.
4) The Accuser
User: My password doesn’t work. It worked yesterday. *side eye* Did you change something?
Me: Is your capslock on? Did you accidentally type a comma instead of a period in your email address? Can you try carefully typing your email address and password one more time?
User: Oh, it’s working now. What did you do?
Yes, dear, it's a conspiracy. I get off on logging in and changing passwords at night, just to fuck with you.
3) I have no idea how this happened.
User: I’m getting all these funny pop-ups?
Me: Turn it off. Don’t touch anything. I’m sending someone.
2) Just Make It Happen
Manager: I want X.
Me: OK, here’s a few questions we need to answer to make that purchase.
Manager: *provides partial answers to half the questions*
Me: Okaaaay. How about I give you a call and we can have a chat and figure this out?
Manager: OMG why are you making this so hard? I told you everything you need to know.
You filled in the line next to "Quantity?" with the answer "Sure". How is that even a thing?
Just Make It Happen 2.0
Manager: I want THIS device.
Me: Okay. You know that can't do X, right?
Manager: Yes, yes. I want THIS one.
Me: Here you go.
Manager: Good. Now make it do X.
Me: Um, remember when we told you it can't do X? That was because it can't actually do X.
Manager: OMG WHY DID YOU EVEN BUY ME THIS DEVICE THEN?!
Okay, are you just gaslighting me now, or what?
And in the coveted #1 spot:
1) I AM THE IT GUY!
Less frequent, but still highly stab-worthy, are the occasional men (and it's almost always men), either of the vendor/sales flavor or the new-to-our-organization variety, who don't realize the feminine voice on the other end of the phone is, in fact, the friendly neighborhood "IT Guy".
THAT conversation usually follows some variation of them assuming I’m a secretary and asking me to get a “real” IT guy for them.
Yeah. I’ll get right on that, Sport. You totally just moved to the top of the list. Probably not the list you were expecting, but it's a list.
01 January 2015
The end of the year means my annual "What I read this year" post.
As always, this is more of a record for myself. But I love recommending books I enjoy to others, too. So if someone peruses this list and sees something they might not otherwise have read, that's awesome, too. Let me know! :)
(or: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.")
It seems 2014 marked the end of several favorite series for me:
I actually re-read the first two books in this trilogy that centers on a hitwoman and her mentor before starting this final book. I was glad I refreshed my memories on the first two, because the character development arc of the heroine's journey probably would have lost of some momentum by the long break in between if I hadn't. As it was, this was a satisfying conclusion to the story.
I have mixed feelings about most of these books, not because they were unsatisfying: They were all good reads, every one! But because ...
... yeah, it's like that.
I'm going to really miss some of those worlds and characters.
Maybe my mourning for those imaginary friends had something to do with the other interesting trend I noticed for 2014 ...
I don't think I'd read any "zombie" books before 2014. But apparently I must enjoy this previously unexplored genre, because, unplanned, I ended up reading more than a few books - whole series even! - on the subject:
But wait, there's more!
There were, obviously, many other books I read in 2014 that didn't fit these categories. A few other favorites:
The Whole Shebang
12 months, 78 books, 19,364 pages