This post first appeared on My Sheroes at KMRandallAuthor.com.
***Please note, if you have not seen The Last Jedi yet and are one of the few who have not already read about the whole movie in detailed analysis from the hundreds of articles written in the wake of its debut, then this may contain spoilers.
When it comes to Star Wars, you have a wide fan base, from new generations of movie lovers to old. You have the fans who watched it as children with wide eyes filled with wonder and grew up loving movies. Now, as adults, these hardcore Star Wars fans have expectations that may never be satisfied. I am, of course, addressing the mixed reviews the latest installment, The Last Jedi, received from its rabid fans. No matter how well something is done, when you add to something so beloved as Star Wars many years later, the purists are going to take some issue with something in the universal rules or character development. I get it. I don’t agree with the negativity in this instance, but I get it.
Although I grew up watching the movies, and even remember seeing the Return of the Jedi in the movie theater when I was about four years old (Jabba the Hutt just stands out in my brain), I would not classify myself as a fanatic. I like the movies a lot. But I’m not the one who bought the tickets as soon as they went on sale or collect Star Wars Legos. That’s my husband, who is a Star Wars junkie. He’s not your average fan boy, his inner geek only shines in these moments. So perhaps that is why his love of Star Wars is still intact, and he thought the newest movie was awesome. But like many, his favorite so far of the new ones has been Rogue One. It’s gritty and dark. Blah, that was too sad for me, although inspiring. So on with my review of The Last Jedi.
What I Liked:
•As I’ve said in the past, Star Wars presents strong female characters. The strong character development of Leia was before her time, followed in more contemporary times by Jyn Erso and Rey. These woman have agency, they have character, and they are the heroes in the story. Leia as the resistance leader in The Last Jedi is emblematic of a time when women are rising and leading contemporary rebellions against an administration perceived by many to be deeply corrupt and unjust.
•I absolutely fan-girled over the connection between Kylo Ren and Rey. Not in an, I’m totally shipping over them (that’s just too complex a relationship to root for), but the mystery and meaning behind that connection is fascinating. She’s the light in the force, he’s the dark in the force, and despite their mental connection being created by Snoke, they have chemistry and a desire to help the other one find the right side. I’m intrigued to see where their connection takes us in the next movie and whether Kylo Ren can be redeemed. Do they have a deeper connection than we even know yet? I find it thrilling.
•The dual perspectives I didn’t realize I was even watching until it was posed so eloquently in an article I read, was Poe Dameron’s and Admiral Holdo’s. Earlier in the movie, you see through Poe’s eyes, the man who wants to be a hero, who doesn’t run away but takes risks and sometimes without much thought uses violence to try and win the day, and as the audience, you root for him. But then the flip side is revealed when you see Admiral Holdo’s perspective and fully grasp the whole picture. I delight in such writing and the delayed awareness of how brilliant it was.
•Leia’s use of the force was one of my favorite parts. In canon, she’s always been force sensitive. In a dire moment when she’d die otherwise, she’s able to harness her sensitivity and use it to save herself. It’s truly an amazing send-off for the character and symbolic of the strength both Leia and Carrie Fisher have within.
ªAs my brother pointed out, Yoda was messing with Luke just like always. Once he drew this parallel for me, the scene with Luke and Yoda became that much more meaningful and funny. Now everyone, pause for a minute and watch this video:
•I admit, while I agree wholeheartedly that Rey’s parents being junkers allows her character to illustrate that greatness can come from humble beginnings is really relevant and awesome, I was a little disappointed at the revelation. I have come to embrace it more fully, but I think the hype for two years around who her parents were was the primary reason for this letdown.
•I don’t like when people I like die, so I was a bit peeved that Luke bit the dust in this movie. I get the whole, forging a path for the new generation and letting the old ways die, but come on.
If it it’s not obvious, I give this movie an A+. I think I’ve become a bigger Star Wars fan than I was ever before because I feel like it can be used to inspire those who have decided to become rebels in their own right, who are fighting for the light. I actually had written this review shortly after seeing it, but the page closed on me and I lost it all. So while that was a bummer and it’s taken me an extra week to re-write it, reading some of the smart analysis on the movie has clinched my love for it. Here’s a quote from an article written on Bitter Gertrude by Melissa Hillman that just makes the meaning behind the film that much deeper:
“The nearly all-white, overwhemingly male, privilege-based way of thinking that celebrates war culture and toxic masculinity and that created the First Order has to go, both in the larger world and as it’s internalized in our hearts and minds, and in its place will be something entirely new, created by diverse young people who are walking away from war culture, walking away from toxic masculinity, walking away from systems of privilege … The future is brown, and female, and brilliant, and fierce, does not give even one single fuck about the way things used to be.”
This is old news…so I probably shouldn’t bring it up. But I just came across this information and just could not help myself! Apparently, Sony has picked up The Wheel of Time series to be made into a TV series, following on the coat tails of Games of Thrones. I just recently read the first book in the series, and while I have 13 more to go, I am truly ecstatic! I really hope that this comes to fruition and doesn’t plummet into the pit of Goonies 2, where we were promised another movie, and then nothing. And yet, they still keep saying it might come, but now who knows in what form, or when?
So let’s hope this really does get made, even if it stinks. I’m excited to see happens.
I panicked when I saw this. Is Netflix revealing my viewing habits to the world?!
I am one of their subscribers that has in fact watched their new Christmas love story called, A Christmas Prince.
I sighed a big PHEW when I read the rest of the article. I was safe, I’d only watched it once.
So, I’m not one of the crazy viewers Netflix is concerned about. Right?
It’s normal to watch one holiday special after another, isn’t it? As long as I keep watching a different one every night?
::stares off into space dreaming of the Hallmark Channel::
I entered a world these past few days that I have not entered before. My experience with science fiction/horror for years was a child’s memory of “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal…” Enter center stage, a mini alien tearing open a guy’s stomach from Space Balls.
Yes, I honestly thought this was incredibly disturbing and horrific for years, until I actually saw the real thing. Once. And never again.
So, I was a bit shocked as I began reading this — not just because this is a genre I have worked very hard at pretending does not exist, but also because I felt I was reading something from a completely different author.
Absent was the usual sarcastic humor that twists and spans throughout the story from Kozeniewski. Instead, this was dark. Not dark funny. Just dark, with a hearty side of tentacle porn. It brought images of HR Giger’s artwork to mind.
So, considering this is a genre that gives me nightmares, I will concede that it is quality work. It is dark, disturbing and carnal. I have to say I feel oddly closer to the writer, for no other reason than perhaps there was something raw about this story that I feel exposes a vulnerability? A kink? Or reminds me of someone from my past? I don’t know, maybe all three, but this was an excellent, gruesome creation. And even though I was uncomfortable for the duration, and I am sure that it will haunt me for longer than I care to admit, I accept that it is well-written and a welcome addition to its genre.
Synopsis: Doctoral student Paige Ambroziak is a “station bunny” – she’s never set foot off the deep space outpost where she grew up. But when she’s offered a small fortune to join a clandestine salvage mission, she jumps at the chance to leave the cutthroat world of academia behind.
Paige is convinced she’s been enlisted to find the legendary Manifest Destiny, a long-lost colonization vessel from an era before the corporations ruled Earth and its colonies. Whatever she’s looking for, though, rests in the blood-like seas of a planet-sized organism called a fleshworld.
Dangers abound for Paige and her shipmates. Flying outside charted space means competing corporations can shoot them on sight rather than respect their salvage rights. The area is also crawling with pirates like the ghoulish skin-wrappers, known for murdering anyone they can’t extort.
But the greatest threat to Paige’s mission is the nauseating alien parasites which infest the fleshworld. These lamprey-like monstrosities are used to swimming freely in an ocean of blood, and will happily spill a new one from the veins of the outsiders who have tainted their home. In just a few short, bone-chilling hours Paige learns that there are no limits to the depravity and violence of the grotesque nightmares known as…THE HEMATOPHAGES.
THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY:
Stephen Kozeniewski lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.
CONNECT WITH STEPHEN
*I received a free copy of each story in exchange for an honest review
So…last night I didn’t feel like doing anything except lying on the couch and checking into a story. I have tons of books waiting to be read, but impulsively I clicked buy on this title. I have a bad thing for shapeshifters. And well, this was a book about hot shapeshifting men. It’s the inner beast thing, I think. You can guess at my mood last night.
I don’t read romance/erotica often, so I was not sure how to compare this story to others. It’s a simple read with much naughtiness. The buildup could have lasted longer and Arran’s use of sweetheart was a bit nauseating. But the naughty parts were executed well and overall I enjoyed the quick read that it was. It was an interesting set, with a shapeshifter community trying to co-exist among annoying and nosy humans.
I appreciated the age of the characters being in their 30’s. I could relate to that and the characters were likeable enough to allow me to cheer for their success.
If you are looking for a light and tantalizing read that might make you feel something down under, then I recommend this story. You can find it on Amazon for 99 cents in Kindle format or $9.99 in paperback.
Synopsis: It’s a new world. Shifters are no longer a secret and they’re ready to fight for their right to live free.
Everything is different.
Six years ago, the Registration Act forced shifters out into the open and the world changed. Towns were created to provide a safe haven for those shifters who chose to follow the law, and those who didn’t were declared rogue.
Heartsridge is one of the few shifter towns in existence, guarded and protected by special teams of bears and wolves. Their job: to protect the right for shifters to live and love, and for the space to run free as nature intended. Because not all humans found the truth easy to accept–that they’re no longer the dominant species. Tourism keeps the town thriving, humans able to visit and stay for a week, but then they have to leave.
It’s the law.
As the Alpha of Bear Team South-One, it’s Austin Ford’s job to secure the perimeter of the town from possible threats and make sure the visiting humans follow the rules. No exceptions, and that includes the beautiful, curvy human woman he finds trespassing in his forest. Defiant and frustratingly stubborn, everything about the gorgeous human calls to the bear inside him. Before he’s even had chance to snarl, she’s got the furry oaf of a bear wrapped around her little finger, leaving the man confused and trying to catch up. But he has his suspicions. He’s pretty sure he’s just met his fated mate.
Unlike the other tourists, Leona Kelly isn’t visiting Heartsridge to snag a shifter. She’s here to find her missing sister. A woman on a mission, she has no interest in shifters, no matter how devastatingly attractive they might be. Or he might be. Austin. The big, burly bear shifter who’d thrown her over his shoulder and hauled her out of the forest. He says he wants to help, but can she trust him? Then a shocking discovery changes everything. Leona no longer wants to leave, but she’s not allowed to stay. Austin is the only one she can turn to for help.
But why is he helping her? And what could he possibly want from a human who doesn’t belong in his world?
**This 53,000 word novel contains naughty language, fully realized love scenes, and big, burly bear shifters who only have eyes for their fated mates. HEA guaranteed.**
by Deadman, Theresa Braun, Wallace Boothill, S.J. Budd , Gary Buller, S.E. Casey, Calvin Demmer, Philip W. Kleaver, Sylvia Mann, William Marchese, John Palisano, Christopher Powers, Leo X. Robertson, M.R. Tapia
I never thought I would be a horror reader. Honestly, just not my usual jam. However, these days I find it appearing more and more in my inbox. That being said, sometimes I find myself actually enjoying the story. One can get extremely creative with horror. There are so many dark corners one can unearth that no one else has dared to put into words. As a result, I find that I am much more critical when evaluating the success of a horror story. I am looking for it to evoke strong emotions in me and to show the originality of the author.
In this collection there were only a few tales that stuck with me that I could remember days afterwards. The first, would be Never Sleep Again by the familiar Calvin Demmer. A mystical murder detective tale that really felt like an episode from the X-Files. I saw what I had been missing from Demmer in this story and was pleasantly surprised. I went back and checked who had written it and I was delighted to notice it was Demmer’s. I think this story really highlighted Demmer’s growth, since it was one of only four stories from this collection that really stood out to me.
The second story I enjoyed was Bitten, by Christopher Powers. Ever since Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark published that story about a spider laying eggs in the skin of someone, I find spider stories super creepy. So they stick with me long after I am done reading. It is actually the only story from this anthology that I have not forgotten any parts about. As a result, I feel the story did what it was intended to do — give me the heebie jeebies. This is amusing to me because I actually don’t mind most spiders in real life. I just don’t like them hanging over me in bed.
Legend Trippers by Theresa Braun also stuck out at me. I like stories about urban legends. It makes reality feel a bit more mysterious. Braun did a good job reinventing the tale.
Lastly, my most favorite tale from this anthology would be Eclipse at Wolf Creek, based on the West Virginia Mothman legend. I really felt connected to the characters and enjoyed the characterization of granny.
A horror novel is never complete unless murder ensues. All four of my favorites were full of death and dismemberment to tickle that little creepster inside you.
Synopsis: From the time we are young, we fear the monster under the bed or in the closet, making it impossible to sleep without a nightlight. Then, we hear stories of Bigfoot, and maybe even the Mothman around campfires. When we are adults, we wonder if there might actually be supernatural creatures lurking in the shadows. Are these tall tales and urban legends only metaphors for what horrific things humanity is capable of—or do monsters exist?
Go to some terrifying places with this cast of authors. You will be dragged into mystifying realities where demonic fairies hide, where devil monkeys lure carnival-goers to their demise, where Goatmen seek to destroy their prey, and where the goddess of death puts out a hit on victims of her choice. These shocking tales will have you biting your nails and locating that childhood nightlight. Because, in the end, we all know monsters do exist.
I hesitate whenever people write memoirs. To me, it sometimes can hint at a bit of arrogance/self-importance. So my hand hovered and stalled not sure if I wanted to embark on this journey. Alas, my curiosity got the better of me and I checked it out of the library. It sat in my bag for weeks, unread and unloved. The pages started to curl and somehow a small stain began to grow on the side.
It was a book I had purchased for the library I work at. So, my guilt was limited regarding the wear the book was taking (while living in my dark and cold bag). I thought it would appeal to the young folks. Being a gamer myself, I knew the footprint Felicia had created for gamers and girls alike. I’ll admit that my desire to buy it, while filled with good intentions for other readers, also harbored a dash of personal interest on my part. What RPG gamer hadn’t seen The Guild by now?
So…months later, I finally unearthed it from my jam packed bag and cracked the spine (yes, I abuse books) at lunch one day…and didn’t want to stop reading. I had to pry my eyes from the page.
I felt a kinship with her story. While I was not home-schooled, the geek reflections and interests from her youth, were 100% me. I had lived a very similar internet lifestyle from the ages of 12-16. My internet days started with Prodigy, where I frequented role-playing chat rooms and had a string of (mostly male) companions. The modem dial tone was the soundtrack of my youth and to this day creates giddy excitement within me. Prodigy was my happy place that I wish still existed, it was here I connected with young and old geeks just like me! We rolled virtual combative dice ::roll:: and quibbled witty remarks at one another while we shared drinks at various medieval styled virtual bars.
Then from 16+ video games became my obsession. Final Fantasy started the true love and then in college I can without hesitation admit I was addicted to World of Warcraft (WOW). It was completely normal for me to clock 12 hour gaming sessions with online friends and foes. My body would ache from sitting all day and I developed painful carpal tunnel that still plagues me today. I even sucked in family members to embrace the addiction.
To this day, I am still friends and have met many of those people I gamed with when my addiction was at its pique. Felicia’s addiction lasted 2 years, mine lasted more like 10. I still feel the draw every time an expansion is introduced. I have dipped my toes back in every time, but life just does not have enough hours in the day anymore. Ultimately, I want to play more than just one game the rest of my life. So, I stick to single player RPG’s now more than anything else. They have a beginning and end. There are no real friends in the single world, but I know then I won’t feel the compulsion to make those connections that take up so much time I no longer have to give. I have control over my hours again. And I don’t have to deal with douche teenagers anymore, which is always a plus.
So back to the book because that is the purpose of the post. This is Felicia’s memoir, not mine. It was an excellent read. She writes like she talks. I felt Felicia in the pages. It was honest and hilarious. She comes across as a chatterbox, full of childlike excitement. Endearing and often hilarious, but at times exhausting to be around. I appreciate her role in helping to make gaming more acceptable in the mainstream world. And I appreciate her candor and honesty. This is a great read for those who are familiar with her work or for those who just want to connect with another like minded geek. She’s a lover who grew up when meeting anyone with similar interests was like finding the gold at the end of the rainbow. It was not always normal nor cool to be an internet/gaming geek. Telling people you were a fantasy obsessed individual was something you hid not shared in my universe. So much has changed since those basement playing Prodigy days, both good and bad. I still hesitate to reveal my geeky-ness to people, never knowing who will judge. But thanks to people like Felicia, I feel the judgement less frequently now. More and more, gaming and geeky-ness is becoming embraced by the world and it’s not such a scary place to have passions anymore (as long as you forget about the black stain of Gamergate).
If you are a gamer, a fantasy lover, a geek who was always looking to find a way to fit in, then Felicia will likely speak to you and you will feel a connection to her story. If you are the type of person geeks had to hide from, then I recommend this to help enlighten you. You can find the book on Amazon for $8.80 in paperback, $10.99 in hardcover, and for $11.99 in Kindle format.
Synopsis: From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.
The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world… or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.
After growing up in the south where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons”, Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.
Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.
Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.
Connect with Felicia
I had the pleasure of interviewing Martin Berman-Gorvine, the author of Monsters of Venus, which is the sequel to Seven Against Mars. This tale is a mix of realism and science fiction for YA readers. I had previously read his stand alone novel Heroes of Earth, a tale of teens who battle the evil empire.
Martin is a seasoned writer, both professionally and personally. He writes intelligent science fiction that weaves in historical events. An interesting combination that is sure to intrigue many young readers.
ALL ABOUT MARTIN
His website is www.martinbermangorvine.com, his Facebook page is www.facebook.com/martingorvine, his musings on books, politics and life can be found at http://martianperspective.blogspot.com, and he tweets at @MeshuggeWriter. He lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with his wife, a teenage son, three orange tabby cats, two shy kittens, and a sort of Muppet dog.
Not all of her tales excite me, but when she delves into the magical world, she usually strikes right. The Wild Ways, is a continuation of her Gale Women series that deals strictly in magic.
I was happy to dip my toes back into this world and explore another story line that of Charlotte (Charlie) Gale, a musical wild child.
If you are looking for mythical creatures from dragons to selkies, this story will fit the bill.
It took me a couple chapters to feel engaged and connected to Charlie, but eventually her character began to unravel and I found myself growing to like her more as the story evolves. Charlie is a lesbian and I really enjoyed this character depiction choice. Her sexuality played a role in her character development and I felt enhanced her real personality.
Tanya knows how to tell a good story. She is a prolific writer and has written more stories and genres than I can remember over her long career. She is always worth picking up. If you are a dreamer then I think you will enjoy this blend of fantasy and reality. She makes you believe that goblins hide in everyday mines and dragons walk in human skins.
Synopsis: Alysha Gale’s cousin Charlotte is a Wild Power, who allies herself with a family of Selkies in a fight against offshore oil drilling. The oil company has hired another of the Gale family’s Wild Powers, the fearsome Auntie Catherine, to steal the Selkies’ sealskins. To defeat her, Charlotte will have to learn what born to be Wild really means in the Gale family….