Monday 31 January 2011

Zombies Calling - Faith Erin Hicks

Zombies Calling
Faith Erin Hicks

SLG Publishing

ISBN 9781593620790

After reading The War At Ellsmere, by Faith Erin Hicks, I was eagerly anticipating diving into this graphic novel. But, it was not quite what I was expecting. I am not sure what I wanted, but I feel I did not get it with this book. It was well written, and the illustrations are amazing. The joke of comparing university life to being a zombie and stuck in a zombie film was charming at first but wore thin. I really liked the three main characters and hope Faith returns to them in a future volume, for I would definitely pick it up. I loved the info at the back of the book about the development of the story and the characters. I will read it again, but it is not one of my favorite graphic novels.

Books By Faith Erin Hicks:

The War At Ellsmere
Zombie Calling

Online Comics:

Random Comics

Saturday 29 January 2011

The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan - Kane Chronicles 1

The Red Pyramid
Kane Chronicles Book 1

Rick Riordan
ISBN 9781423113386

Carter and Sadie Kane have their world turned upside down in one night. They are siblings raised apart. Carter was raised while travelling the world with their father, an Egyptologist. Sadie was raised with their maternal grandparents in London England. On one of the two days a year they are allowed to spend together, instantly their lives are changed forever. On that fateful night the Egyptian God, Set,
and his siblings are released from their long entrapment. Set traps their father and they must find a way to free him.

Exploring a slew of Egyptian myths and legends, the story is a history lesson wrapped in a thrilling adventure that spans time and continents. In a world where Egyptian magic still exists, and all the old legends have more truth than just myths, it is superbly written and intensely addictive; this story is amazing and leaves you desperate for book two.

Books By Rick Riordhan:

The Kane Chronicles
The Red Pyramid
The Kane Chronicles Book 2 - May 2011
The Kane Chronicles Book 3 - May 2012

The 39 Clues series

The Maze of Bones
The Black Book of Buried Secrets
Vespers Rising (2011)

Tres Navarre Series
Big Red Tequila
Widower's Two-Step
The Last King of Texas
The Devil Went Down to Austin
Mission Road
Rebel Island

Camp Half-Blood Series Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Lightning Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan's Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian
The Heroes of Olympus
The Lost Hero
The Son of Neptune
Companion books
The Demigod Files
Demigods and Monsters
The Ultimate Guide
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Graphic novels
The Lightning

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Barry Lyga - Author Profile

Barry Lyga is the author of a number of Young Adult and teen novels that all seem to garner numerous accolades. Born in 1971 he now lives and writes in the southwest. His books explore many intriguing issues, death, dying, deek and Goth subcultures, teacher student affairs and more. His books are awesome and we thanks him for taking some time from writing his current project that he affectionately calls 'the book that will kill me' to answer a few questions for us at Book Reviews and More.

1. Barry you often give writing advice on your blog, in fact you have over 40 articles on the topic. What advice do you wish an artist had passed on to you early in your career, which you only learned through experience?

Probably the best advice was encapsulated in my very first blog post on writing advice: It takes a million bad words to get to the point where you write something worthwhile. I never really understood that until it happened to me. I was given that advice by a friend sometime in my mid-twenties, but by then I'd been trying to get published for a long time (and failing ? my first story submission was at the age of twelve). So, I wish someone had told me that years earlier ? I might have worked a little harder and not been as easily depressed by those early failures and rejections.

2. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

I shudder to think of it! I have tried other ways of earning a living and none of them were even remotely pleasant. They all sucked. I suppose if I couldn't be a writer, I would try to be involved in some other sort of creative endeavor ? videogames or something like that.

3. One of the greatest strengths in your books are the characters, they are so solid and believable. The characters you create, are they reflections of people you know, composites of different people you know or entirely your creations?

The answer is...yes! All of the above. Some are reflections, some are composites. Some are versions of me. And some of them ? like Kyra ? are entirely created from whole cloth.

4. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

It was an eclectic mix as a kid: Paul Levitz and Alan Moore (comic book writers). Joe Haldeman and Stephen King (genre writers). Bruce Springsteen. And believe it or not, Edgar Allan Poe and John Milton.

5. What authors influenced your writing style and format?

I'm not sure how to answer this in a fair and accurate way. There are so many influences on me that I can't really point to elements of my style and say which one(s) contributed to each different element. I think all of the authors listed above influenced me in big ways, but I was also influenced by John Barth and Tom Perrotta.
6. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

The process of writing the actual book itself was discussed pretty thoroughly on my blog. Getting TO the writing from the idea is sort of tricky. What many people don't understand is that an idea is the easy part. Ideas are cheap. The tough part is figuring out which ideas are worth pursuing, which ones are valuable and interesting and worth the time and effort it will take me to write and you to read. Usually when I have an idea, I just try to put it out of my head, believe it or not. I figure that if an idea is worthwhile, it will stick with me. If time goes by and I keep returning to that idea and adding to it and obsessing over it, then I figure it's probably worth delving into. At that point, the process from my blog takes over.

7. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

I'm a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen and Warren Zevon, both wordsmiths in their own ways. When I'm writing, I tend to listen to a random mix of their music, but I also like to crank some old eighties/nineties rap, like Public Enemy or Ice-T. The hard bass gets my blood pumping and helps me slip into a writing rhythm.

8. What is your favorite character you created and why?

Probably Kyra, from The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl and its sequel, Goth Girl Rising. You know, when I created her, she was only supposed to be in the book for a few chapters, to perform a sort of wish-fulfillment role. She was going to be for Fanboy the friend and the impetus that I wished I'd had at the age. Her job was to say some really awful, really true things and then disappear. But she wouldn't go away. She wouldn't shut up. I found myself falling in love with her. So she became more important than originally intended. Then my agent read the first draft of the book and said that there should be even MORE Kyra, so I added even more of her and that just cemented her in my soul forever.

9. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

I wouldn't say I get glimpses of what they're up to "now," but I have an inkling of what's in store for them down the road. These aren't definitive, written-in-stone facts, mind you, but more like notions. I have a sort-of notion for how Josh from BOY TOY will turn out in college. I have a notion of what Fanboy and Goth Girl's senior year in high school will be like. I'm pretty sure I know what fate holds for Kross and the Council of Fools. But nothing as dramatic as Ms. L'Engle's! And at this point, nothing strong enough to hang another book on for any of those characters.

10. What of your books is your favorite and why?

Impossible to say, really. They're all too different from each other to compare them fairly. I will say that Goth Girl Rising has a very special place in my heart because 1) it's about Kyra, and 2) a lot of people said I wouldn't be able to write convincingly from a girl's point of view, but now I get e-mails from girls who tell me I did.

11. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

That's tough! I'm not sure it's my place to tell anyone what books would make them a well-rounded person. Hell, I'm not sure I can even say that I'm a well-rounded person. And with only ten books… There's such a wealth of information and knowledge in the world that it's almost impossible to be well-rounded reading so few books. But how about this ? I'll offer up ten books that would make someone an interesting person:

Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis
A History of God by Karen Armstrong
1984 by George Orwell
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Henry V by William Shakespeare
Njalssaga by Anonymous
Parallel Myths by J.F. Bierlien
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
The Unfinished Game by Keith Devlin

There you go. A smattering of great literature, history, religion, and even math. But it's woefully Western-oriented and white-male-dominant, lacking a true diversity. (It's not quite as bad as it appears at first blush because the Armstrong and Bierlien books delve into Eastern history and religion, but it's still not anything that's going to result in a well-rounded person.)

12. With you comic and graphic novel background, could you list 10 comics or graphic novels someone should read who is just starting to read them?! Believe it or not, I get asked this question all the time and the thing is this: Comics are not a monolith. There's no one comic or list of ten comics that will appeal to everyone. It's like saying, "What are ten books someone who's just starting to read books should read?" Your answer changes depending on the person's age, literacy level, interests, previous media experience, etc.

13. In Archvillian, you make the main character the bad guy, yet readers find themselves cheering for him. Do you think you can sustain that excitement through the trilogy?

I hope so! The point of Archvillain is evolution. Right now, Kyle appears to be a bad guy who sees himself as a good guy. So will he become a true good guy? Will he embrace evil? How will his perspective on himself change, and how will the perspectives of those around him change? Each book tilts a little in a certain direction, so we'll see what people think by the end of the third book.

14. Your books are also marketed mainly to teen and youth and yet I have read them and recommended them too many adult friends who loved them. Do you see yourself writing a book aimed at a the general fiction audience?

Some would argue I've already done it ? Boy Toy in particular ended up in a lot of adult hands. But, yeah, the time will come when I write an adult book. I already know what it will be, in fact. Now I just need to find the time to write it!

15. How did Glen Gordon Caron win you over to option Boy Toy to make a film of the book?

He was just honest with me. We had lunch and he told me what he loved about the book and then we talked about certain aspects of it that would be difficult to translate to film. And what was really refreshing was that he didn't try to tell me how easy it would be; he told me it would be hard. I respected that enormously and I knew that it meant he would take it seriously.

16. Would you like to see the Fanboy and Goth Girl, Goth Girl Rising done as films or miniseries?

I think it would be fun to see each book as a movie.

17. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

I would add the word "critically" to that, but, yeah, I generally agree. I get asked by kids a lot of times: "What should I major in in college in order to be an author? Do I have to major in English?" And I always tell them to study whatever they find interesting. That it's not so much WHAT you learn as that you learn how think critically, how to examine the world in some way, how to come to conclusions, how to be a reasonable and thoughtful human being.

18. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Yikes! That's a tough one. Just off the top of my head, I would say:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
The Bible (mostly 'cause it's long!)
Paradise Lost by John Milton
'salem's Lot by Stephen King
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Bullfinch's Mythology
Njalssaga by Anonymous
Fortune and Glory by Brian Michael Bendis (because you have to have something funny)

Thank you again Barry for answering the questions and blessings on you and your future projects!

Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)

Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)

I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Down Time (2018)
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)

Brookdale High:
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)

Bang (2017)

Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)

The Flash Series:
Hocus Pocus (2017)
Johnny Quick (2018)
Tornado Twins (2018)

Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)

Unsoul'd (2013)
After The Red Rain (2015)
The Secret Sea (2016)
Thanos Titan Consumed (2018)
The Hive (2019)


Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Four Minutes
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Her Decade
The Life Cycle of Stars (Ignition)
When I Die
The Autopsying of Michael Edward Morgan
Meet Me Tonight

Contributed to:
Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Airborn - Kenneth Oppel

Matt Cruse Book 1
Kenneth Oppel
Harper Collins
Browse Inside
ISBN 9780060531805

It was weird going back and reading the first book in this trilogy after reading the third novel, but it was well worth it. In this story, set in an alternative world where airplanes were never developed
and airships still rule the skies, Kenneth Oppel has created an amazing world, full of adventure and wonder.

The story focuses around a trip from Lions Gate to Australia aboard the ship Aurora. Young Matt Cruse and Miss Kate de Vries meet on this journey. In this story we have pirate attacks, ship wreck, an uncharted island, undiscovered species and much, much more. With amazing characters and plot twists I could not put the book down. It is a great read and another awesome book by Mr. Oppel.

Books by Kenneth Oppel:

Half Brother (2010)
The Devil's Cure (2000)
Dead Water Zone (1992)
The Live-Forever Machine (1990)

Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
This Dark Endeavour (2011)
Such Wicked Intent (2012)

The Silverwing Saga
Silverwing (1997)
Sunwing (1999)
Firewing (2002)
Darkwing (2007)

Airborn Series
Airborn (2004)
Skybreaker (2005)
Starclimber (2008)

Children's Fiction:

The King's Taster (2009)
Peg and the Yeti (2004)
Peg and the Whale (2000)
Emma's Emu (1995)
Galactic Snapshots (1993)
Cosmic Snapshots (1993)
Follow That Star (1992)
Cosimo Cat (1990)
Colin's Fantastic Video Adventure (1985)

Barnes and the Brains
A Bad Case of Ghosts (1993)
A Strange Case of Magic (1994)
A Crazy Case of Robots (1994)
An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs (1994)
A Weird Case of Super-Goo (1997)
A Creepy Case of Vampires (2002)

Friday 21 January 2011

The Unknown Soldier - Linda Granfield

The Unknown Soldier
Linda Granfield
North Winds Press
an Imprint of Scholastic

ISBN 9780439935586

Linda Granfield does an amazing job of highlighting the tradition of the unknown soldier, both the history and tradition of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice but whose names were lost. One of the greatest features of the books is that Granfield looks at the memorials to unknown soldiers from around the world:

The United States
New Zealand

She has amazing photos and side stories to highlight the different memorials. Interspersed with the stories of specific memorials are stories, tales and traditions of honoring fallen soldiers, a short history of symbols seen on graves and tombstones, and the reminder that we should never forget.

It is an amazing book for young and young at heart to remind them of those who have gone before us.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Jason W. Eckert - Author profile

Jason Eckert is an enigma wrapped up in a riddle. He is easily one of the most brilliant people I have had the pleasure of meeting, and yet he is down to earth, approachable and very outgoing and easy to get along with. I have heard him described as a genius and heard that he was a computer science prodigy in his youth. He knows more about computers than anyone I know. So at Book Reviews and More we thank him for taking a few minutes out of his busy teaching and writing schedule to answer some questions.

1. Jason as a technology writer you have covered wide and varied topics, Exchange, Linux, UNIX, BES and more. What was your favorite technology book to write and why?

I'd have to say Exchange, because it covered a great deal of unchartered territory. No other Microsoft Official Academic Curriculum (MOAC) existed beforehand on that subject and most authors wanted to stay away from Exchange because it was such a large and complex topic. I had fun with it and added lots of extra material, including a chapter on BES/ActiveSync.

2. Who were some of the technology authors who shaped your writing style?

I haven't read many technology books at all - technology is just something that you do and talk about later. That being said, I would say that my writing style is a combination of Kurt Vonnegut, Steven Levy, and Douglas Coupland - comical, informative, and to-the-point. That seems to work for most people who want to learn quickly.

3. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

I've always thought the primary purpose of higher education was to inspire students to learn about themselves, and in the process, learn about the world around them. Since life is shaped by different experiences over time, this allows students to understand what they want to do, and gives them the ability to reach their full potential in those areas (if they wish to do so). I'm a good example of this - before higher education shaped my though processes, I thought that higher education was just about getting laid.

4. What is it like teaching from textbooks that you have written?

It is good and bad. It is good because you don't have to read the textbook before the course, and it is bad because you can't blame any weird sections on the author (What was the author smoking? Actually, I know. Nevermind.).

5. What was the hardest technology book you wrote and why?

My Exchange textbook, because there are literally thousands of different configurations and PowerShell commands that I needed to test in order to fully cover each topic in the textbook. The Linux and UNIX books I wrote have far more commands and concepts than Exchange, but I've been doing UNIX for over 25 years and Linux for almost 20 years - I wrote nearly everything in those books from the top of my head without testing.

6. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

It first involves being asked by a publisher to write a book on a certain topic (the publisher will get requests from colleges/universities and if the demand is high enough, they will pursue it). After you accept the textbook project, you purchase large amounts of Starbucks coffee (your blood-caffeine level should always be above 10mg/dL). Next, you create a conceptual map of the topics within the book using cue cards and stick them on a whiteboard. Then, you organize the cards such that prerequisite concepts are always introduced before others that rely on them, and ensure that each topic flows to the next one (this step takes several days and may require additional caffeine consumption). Once this is done, then you can submit your outline and estimated pages/chapter to the publisher for approval. When it comes to writing, you start writing Ch.1 (called an Author 1st draft or A1) and submit it to your Developmental Editor (DE) who checks it for structure, submits it to 4 reviewers for feedback, as well as a Technical Editor (TE) who verifies all information and a QA team that tests all lab exercise steps. During this time you are already working on the A1 for Ch.2. The DE then collects the feedback from the reviewers, TE, and QA team and sends it to you. You can incorporate this feedback into your A1 and resubmit it to the DE as an Author 2nd draft (A2). By this time you are probably working on the A1 for Ch.3. Next, the DE sends the A2 to a copyeditor (CE) that checks grammar/spelling - the CE will often ask you for clarification when it comes to technical jargon and phrasing. By this time you are probably working on the A1 for Ch.4. Finally, the DE sends the copyedited A2 to the composition group which composites the textbook into its final form (positions notes, figures, tables, and so on using a style guide specific to the publisher). These are called first page proofs (FPPs), and you must go through them to ensure that everything looks good. By this time you are probably working on the A1 for Ch.5. Now can you see why the Starbucks is needed? After the final chapter goes through this process, the book will likely be printed within 2-3 months (called the Book Bound Date or BBD).

7. You teach part time and write part time, what does your typical day look like?

If I'm teaching a morning class from 8:00am to noon (which is most of the time), I wake up, prepare a daily quiz from the topics we covered the day before, browse through the topics I need to cover for the day, and assemble a lecture in my head on my way to work. Then I guide people through these topics during the day - this will involve me writing diagrams on the whiteboard, showing students certain items on the projectors in the classroom, walking around the room telling students what to configure on the computers to match what we talked about, and stopping to help the odd student who has a typo/problem. It is a combination of theory and hands-on training throughout the whole four hours. When I get home, I first see what tasks the DE has sent me and I handle those first (since they are often time-sensitive on the publisher's end). Then, I continue writing for the chapter that I am working on. This will often involve playing with different technology and configuration in my lab setup at home and will look radically different from one day to the next, or even one hour to the next. As a result, I fit my personal schedule around the needs of that day. If I must wait to install software in the afternoon, I'll probably just go get groceries and finish the writing later that night. Similarly, there are just some times that I don't feel like writing - during those times, I'll switch to personal-life mode for a while and pick up the slack later in the week or on the weekend. I find that I accomplish much more when I want to write, so by doing this, I'm able to minimize the time it takes to write a book while balancing home and work life.

8. What fiction books or authors do you enjoy or recommend?

There are far too many to mention here. I read about 3-5 books per month - you can find my favorite fiction, sci-fi, non-fiction, and bio reads at

9. With how much fiction your read and recommend on your blog, have you ever considered writing fiction? If so is it a project we might see in the near future?

Not a chance. I like reading fiction, but I have no interest in writing it. For me, it is like playing the piano - I like playing for personal pleasure, but I have no desire to make a living from it.

10. What were your favorite books and authors to read as a youth?

When I was a kid, I liked to read anything by Douglas Adams, William Gibson, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, or Kurt Vonnegut. I was a pretty strange kid.

11. Who are some of your favorite authors or books now?

When it comes to authors, I'd have to say Daniel Suarez, Douglas Coupland, Neal Stephenson, and Robert J. Sawyer. When it comes to individual books, there are many that you can find @

12. You mention often that you now read fiction almost exclusively on your Kindle, if Amazon was to make drastic improvements to the Kindle what new features or options would you like to see incorporated?

Time travel, a photon cannon, a Darth Vader voice pack, and 9TB Wi-Fi.

13. Many computer books come with a support CD with supplemental material and often included is the PDF of the book. However with eBooks come the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means, is this a concern for you an author?

Technically, obtaining any eBooks for personal or research use is not illegal in Canada (Section 29 of the Canadian Copyright Act - the Fair Dealings clause). As an author, I'm not concerned about this at all, and I don't think that publishers should be either. For a $100 textbook, about $20 is for printing/distribution costs, and $80 is intellectual property (editors, compositors, QA, reviewers, authors, organizational costs and profit). If publishers move to digital content, colleges/universities can roll the cost of the eBook ($80) into the tuition of the course like we do at my college. What this does is eliminate the used bookstores at colleges/universities, increase the predictability of the publisher's revenue stream, and allow them to focus on publishing more books for less money (since there are no used bookstores reducing new orders). In short, eBooks can only be good for the academic textbook market.

14. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

Nope - I never listen to music while writing. But if I did, I think UNIX/Linux/Mac books should be written while listening to AC/DC, Microsoft books written while listening to Disturbed, and BlackBerry books written while listening to Raffi.

15. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you nurture that dream?

I first got a taste of writing when I helped Dr. Peter Chieh with his Nuclear Chemistry textbook (I was his TA for the course at the University of Waterloo), and I've liked writing ever since.

16. What are your favorite technology books that you have ever read?

There is only one technology book that I've ever liked - "Life with UNIX" by Don Libes and Sandy Ressler (1989).

17. If someone had limited time but wanted to learn a new technology skill set, what would you recommend to them?

Take a course in it at a local college or university. In IT, I'm often required to learn new technologies, and I prefer to sit a course and have an expert explain it to me. Two summers ago, I sat a two week, part time course on Adobe Illustrator because I couldn't figure it out on my own over the previous four months and was getting frustrated. After the two week course, I was a pro.

18. If someone what to write certification books or training materials how would you recommend they go about starting?

That is a difficult one to answer since publishers usually give you a call because they heard you were an expert on some topic through trusted IT circles (that is how I started). It is also a small world when it comes to academic publishers, and publishers are more likely to ask an existing academic publisher to write a book in almost all cases. So the best advice I would give people is to build connections within the college/university market, network with publishers where possible, and perhaps even send publishers a sample of your technical work.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

That's an easy one: How to build and sail small boats by Tony Read Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft by Thor Heyerdahl The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts : How to Find, Identify, and Cook Them by Katie Letcher Lyle The Bounty of the Earth Cookbook/the Practical Classic on How to Cook Fish, Game, and Other Wild Things by Sylvia G. Bashline Seawater Desalination: Conventional and Renewable Energy Processes (Green Energy and Technology) by Andrea Cipollina, Giorgio Micale, and Lucio Rizzuti SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John Wiseman Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive by Les Stroud How to Survive in a Jungle: Without Being Savaged by Wild Animals, Poisoned by Plants, Attacked by Hunters, Biten by Snakes or Starving to Death by Anita Ganeri and Rob Shone Bushcraft Skills and How to Survive in the Wild: A Step-by-Step Practical Guide: A complete handbook to wilderness survival--all the knowledge you need ... illustrated with over 300 color photographs by Anthonio Akkermans Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

Deadlines are never absolute, apply Starbucks liberally, and have fun!

Thanks for shedding some light on your process of writing technology books and your advice for reading and life.

Books by Jason W. Eckert:
Guide to Linux+ (ISBN: 0-619-13004-0)
Guide to UNIX Administration (ISBN: 0-619-13041-5)
Linux+ In Depth (ISBN: 1-59200-062-2).
Guide to Managing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network (ISBN: 0-619-12029-0).
Guide to Linux+ - 2nd Edition (ISBN: 0-619-21621-2).
Linux+ In Depth 2005 (ISBN: 1-59200-728-7).
Novell's Guide to CompTIA's Linux+ (Course 3060) (ISBN: 1-4188-3730-X).
SUSE Linux Administration (Course 3037) (ISBN: 1-4188-3731-8).
SUSE Linux Advanced Administration (Course 3038) (ISBN: 1-4188-3732-6).
Microsoft Windows Vista Guide (ISBN: 1-4188-3757-1).
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop Administration (ISBN: 1-4283-2227-2).
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Security (ISBN: 1-4283-2223-X).
RIM Academic Textbook BCP-211: Supporting BlackBerry Devices in a Microsoft Exchange Environment
RIM Academic Textbook BCP-213: Supporting BlackBerry Enterprise Server in a Microsoft Exchange Environment
RIM Academic Textbook BCP-410: Managing BlackBerry Enterprise Server in a Microsoft Exchange Environment
Microsoft Official Academic Course (MOAC): Exchange Server 2007 Exam 70-236 (ISBN: 978-0-470-31227-8).
Guide to Linux+ - 3rd Edition (ISBN: 978-1-418-83721-1) - published in January 2011.

Books Contributed To:
Advanced Guide to Linux Networking and Security (ISBN: 1-4188-3539-0) by Ed Sawicki - 2005
70-290: MCSE Guide to Managing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment, Enhanced ISBN: 0-619-21752-9) by Brian McCann, Dan DiNicolo - 2005
70-293: MCSE Guide to Planning a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network, Enhanced (ISBN: 0-619-21754-5) by Brian McCann, Byron Wright - 2005
Microsoft Official Academic Course (MOAC): Windows Vista Configuration (ISBN: 978-0-470-06958-5)

Monday 17 January 2011

Oink? - Margie Palatini and Henry Cole

Margie Palatini (Author)

Henry Cole (Illustrator)


ISBN 9780545036238

I have never encountered this author or the illustrator previously; it is a pity as we enjoyed this book immensely. This book is witty, fun and really funny. This is the story of Thomas and Joseph, two pigs. The other animals on the farm are not happy with them. They smell, eat swill and stink. The hens, the rabbit and the duck want to help them be happy. But things are not always as they appear. The story is great fun and the illustrations are full of small details children pick out.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Cyborg - The McKissack's - Clone Codes Book 2

Cyborg: The Second Book Of The Clone Codes
Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick L. McKissack and Joch McKissack


ISBN 9780439929851

Book one The Clone Codes, was an incredible story set in the future with a new kind of underground railroad for clones and cyborgs. It was amazing, and I could not wait for this one to come out. I was disappointed when I received my advanced copy. It seemed so thin. With only 107 pages of text from preface to end of text, and 144 pages with the endnotes, I was not expecting much. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Set in a future when clones are basically slave labor, and cyborgs, humans who have replaced 3/5th of their parts with synthetics and have lost most of their rights also, are implanted with chips and tracked.

The Cyborg Act of 2130
For the security and general welfare of the cyborg race, these protections have been established on this the 7th day of October, 2130.

The Cyborg Codes
  • All cyborgs must be registered with the Bureau of Cyborg Affairs (BCA).
  • Those that are cyborgs must live within designated areas set aside on the Moon Colony. If a cyborg desires to live or work elsewhere, it must acquire BCA permission.
  • It is mandated that cyborgs may not serve as officers in the World Federation of Nations' defence forces or serve in any national law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyborg children must attend one of four cyborg academies based on test scores and abilities.
  • All cyborgs over the age of 16 must be employed.
  • Cyborgs need permission from the BCA to marry or have children.
  • The BCA will provide cyborgs with medical insurance and health-care needs.
  • Cyborgs cannot inherit real property.
  • Cyborgs can only participate in amateur or professional sports within the Cyborg Leagues."
This story continues almost immediately after book 1 finishes. Leanna, a clone raised as a normal child, Carlos, a boy genius, RUBy, a super and Houston Ye a young cyborg, are still in the thick of it. The new Chancellor of the WFN, Taylor Graham, has passed the Wholer Act, declaring any human with as many as 1 synthetic part is now considered a Cyborg and subject to the Cyborg Act.

The Aliens called the O. have appeared to Taylor Graham and told him they will prevent humans from exploring beyond the solar system as we are not prepared. Leanna must gather the different groups in the Liberty Bell movement, and the Cyborgs, and fashion a cohesive movement to resist this new law. But things are not as they appear, and some friends might not actually be allies.

The story is just really getting interesting when it ends, and we must wait another year for book three to conclude the trilogy. This is a great second instalment in a series, but with the size, I would have preferred one large novel, or even combine books 2 and 3 if they are only going to be a novelette of about 100 pages.

The Clone Codes Trilogy
The Clone Codes - Book 1
Confessions of a Cyborg - Book 2
The Visitors - Book 3 (February 2012)

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Escape From Lego City - Sticker Book - Sonia Sander

Escape From Lego City
Lego City Sticker Storybook
Sonia Sander
ISBN 9780545280952

This is the first Lego City Sticker book, Escape from Lego City. Four prisoners have escaped from jail and as they disperse across the city; you help create the story through the use of over 90 stickers. Each page is a photo of a scene in Lego City constructed from real Lego. Each page also has between 4 and 12 stickers that you choose where to add, to help tell the story. With 16 pages to the story and the large format it will be fun to read and to help finish illustrating with the stickers. It is bound to be a hit with young readers.

Lego City Adventure Books:
Fire Truck To The Rescue
Help Is On the Way!
Calling All Cars
All Aboard!
Ready For Take Off
Build This City
City Adventures Sticker Book
Work This Farm
Fight This Fire!
Lego City Heroes!
Trucks Around The City
Escape From Lego City
3, 2, 1 Liftoff
All Hands On Deck
Fire In The Forest!
Catch That Crook!

Lego Star Wars Books:
Save The Galaxy!
Anakin: Space Pilot 3D
Darth Maul's Mission

Sunday 9 January 2011

List of Favorite Movies 2011

Favorite Movies and TV Shows 2011

Dexter - Season 5
Tron Legacy
Season of the Witch
Hustle - Season 7
The Green Hornet
Legend of the Gardians of Ga'Hoole
Cars 2
Fast Five - AKA Fast and the Furious Five
Kaze No Stigma - Series 1
I Am Number Four
Cowboys & Aliens
How To Train Your Dragon
Dexter - Season 6 

I started keeping track of the books I finished reading in October of 1995, and movies watched in January of 1996. I have lists for:
All Books Read by Year
Favorite Books By Year
All Movies and TV Series Watched by Year
Favorite Movies and TV Series by Year

I also do a Top Ten List of books each quarter and for the year. They can be found here. I was also asked to pick a Top Ten Catholic Books I have read, you can find that list here (and occasionally I add a note when I come across something exceptional.)

Saturday 8 January 2011

List of Movies Watched 2011

Movies and TV Shows Watched 2011

Dexter - Season 5
Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy
17 Again
Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Narnia #3
A Goofy Movie
Season of The Witch
Toy Story
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
Lion King I
Lion King II
Lion King 1 1/2
Robin Hood (2010)
Rocky 1-6
Mr & Mrs Smith
Death Race 2
Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Dark Knight
Mama Mia!
Mama Mia!
The Expendables

Hustle - Season 7
Hard Target
The Green Hornet
Monsters VS Aliens
Legend of the Gardians of Ga'Hoole
Shreck 1-4
Cars 2
Winnie The Pooh - 2011
Fast Five
Kaze No Stigma - Series 1
I Am Number Four
Barbie in the Nutcracker
Barbie as Rapunzel
Barbie of Swan Lake
Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper
Barbie: Fairytopia
Barbie: Mermaidia
Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow
Barbie Mariposa
Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus
The Barbie Diaries
Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses
Barbie as the Island Princess
Barbie and the Diamond Castle
Barbie in a Christmas Carol
Barbie Thumbelina
Barbie and the Three Musketeers
Barbie in A Mermaid Tale
Barbie: A Fashion Fairy Tale
Barbie: A Fairy Secret
I Am Number Four
Cowboys & Aliens
The Incredibles
Fast 5 - AKA Fast and the Furious Five
X-Men First Class
I Am Number Four
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
The Brave Little Toaster
How to Train Your Dragon
Dexter - Season 6
Sherlock Holmes (2009)  

I started keeping track of the books I finished reading in October of 1995, and movies watched in January of 1996. I have lists for:
All Books Read by Year
Favorite Books By Year
All Movies and TV Series Watched by Year
Favorite Movies and TV Series by Year

I also do a Top Ten List of books each quarter and for the year. They can be found here. I was also asked to pick a Top Ten Catholic Books I have read, you can find that list here (and occasionally I add a note when I come across something exceptional.)

Friday 7 January 2011

List of Favorite Books 2011

Favorite Books 2011

Airborn - Kenneth Oppel
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories - Holly Black
Tunnels - Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams
Invasion - CHAOS Book 1 - Jon S. Lewis
Shades: 17 Startling Stories - Arthur Slade
Ghetto Cowboy - G. Neri
Black as Night - Regina Doman
40 Days to Optimal Health - Church Health Center - Dr. Scott Morris
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
A Long, Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan
Lone Wolf - Wolves of the Beyond 1 - Kathryn Lasky
Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale - Holly Black
Conspiracy 365 January - Gabrielle Lord
Fugitives - Escape from Furnace 4 - Alexander Gordon Smith
Why God Matters - Karina Lumbert Fabiam and Deacon Steven Lumbert
Shadow Wolf - Wolves of the Beyond 2 - Kathryn Lasky
Red Glove - The Curse Workers Book 2 - Holly Black
Conspiracy 365 February - Gabrielle Lord
Children - Maggie Clark
The Capture - Gardians of Ga'Hoole Book 1 - Kathryn Lasky
Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles - Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Gregor The Overlander - Underland Chronicles Book1 - Suzanne Collins
The Journey - Gardians of Ga'Hoole Book 2 - Kathryn Lasky
The Prophecy of Bane - Underland Chronicles Book 2 - Suzanne Collins
Project Dad - Todd Cartmell
First Day On Earth - Cecil Castellucci
The Rescue - Gardians of Ga'Hoole Book 3 - Kathryn Lasky
Bluefish - Pat Schmatz
Circle the Truth - Pat Schmatz
Mousetraps - Pat Schmatz
The Unwritten Girl - Unwritten Book 1 - James Bow
This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein - Kenneth Oppel
Breaking Up: A Fashion High Graphic Novel - Aimee Friedman and Christine Norrie
Rose Sees Red - Cecil Castellucci
The P.L.A.I.N. Janes - Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg
Janes in Love - Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg
Boy Proof - Cecil Castellucci
The Queen Of Cool - Cecil Castellucci
Beige - Cecil Castellucci 
Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods - Underland Chronicles Book 3 - Suzanne Collins
The Siege - Gardians of Ga'Hoole Book 4 - Kathryn Lasky
Empire of Ruins - Hunchback Assignments #3 - Arthur Slade
The Brimstone Key - Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicle 1 - Jon S. Lewis and Derek Benz
Beauty Queen's - Libba Bray
Mrs. Estronsky and the U.F.O. - Pat Schmatz
Clockwork Prince - Invernal Devices book 2 - Cassandra Clare
Shideshow - Ed. by Deborah Noyes
Watch Wolf - Wolves of the Beyond #3 - Kathryn Lasky
The Start-Up - Sadie Hayes
The Visitors - Clone Codes Book 3 - The McKissacks

Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk - Megan McDonald and Peter H Reynolds
The Battle Begins - Underworlds Book 1 - Tony Abbott

I started keeping track of the books I finished reading in October of 1995, and movies watched in January of 1996. I have lists for:
All Books Read by Year
Favorite Books By Year
All Movies and TV Series Watched by Year
Favorite Movies and TV Series by Year

I also do a Top Ten List of books each quarter and for the year. They can be found here. I was also asked to pick a Top Ten Catholic Books I have read, you can find that list here (and occasionally I add a note when I come across something exceptional.)