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review 2017-06-05 12:50
Most perfect of the crossovers!
Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War - Tamra Bonvillain,Angel Hernandez,Stephen Molnar,Mike Johnson

And this is pure AU, given what happens at the end.   It's pretty much a fanservice story: wouldn't it be fun to see Green Lanterns, and Red Lanterns, and all the color Lanterns in the Star Trek universe?   (Nu!Trek, by the way.) 

 

Even better, we get to see some Star Trek characters as wielders of the rings.   Hal Jordon, the first Green Lantern to meet the Star Trek crew, gives a brief description of what the rings are, and what they can do, as much for the crew as the readers who are Trekkies, but not acquainted with the Lanterns.   (Honestly, some of this spiel, like the parts about colors being tied to one emotion and how the ring chooses its bearer was good for me: it either refreshed information or gave me information about the colors and how they match up that I didn't know.  I was curious, so I looked up the Lantern oaths for different colors, and all the different versions when applicable.  It was a fun little rabbit hole, to be honest, and I know officially know more about the Lantern Corps than I did before!)

 

I'm still confused by the ring question: why can some be taken off others, and Green Lantern rings cannot.   Still, this could be something that I don't know about, and it could have to do with willingness to bear the rings, at least of different colors.   I mean, I can come up with reasons and I'm barely familiar with this franchise, so maybe I'm making too much of this.   I do think that it should have been explained more in the text, but I understand that it was a heat of the moment thing, thus turning it into a catch-22: if any character had stopped in a life or death situation to explain the situation, it would have felt like forced exposition.

 

The characters were true to themselves, at least the ones I know.   Even Jordon, whom I've read about and seen on some shows, seemed in character but someone who is more of a DC fan would be able to speak to that better than I.   I assumed everyone was done well on the other side.   I know barely anything about Sinestro - bad, bad man, bears a ring, enemy of the Green Lanterns - and that came through.  I wouldn't be able to tell you more about his particular character, or characteristics. 

 

The illustrations were gorgeous, with lush colors for all the rings.   Again, not so much with the DC side, but I thought everyone was incredibly well illustrated from the Star Trek side of things.  I found myself less interested in the art gallery of all the covers at the end, although there were some that really emphasized the crossover in nice, but simple, ways and those covers did catch my attention. 

 

I know the hope is probably futile, but just letting everyone know, I would snap up issues of a sequel to this in a heartbeat.

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review 2017-02-14 22:03
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism - John Donvan,Caren Zucker

I feel I must give the warning that the way most of the population with autism, and most people with mental disabilities, have been treated in the past was awful until recently. This book is about that history. We have come a long way from what used to common in terms of care and treatment of this population, we still must continue to move forward. In order to do so I feel it necessary to learn the history. This is a great place to start.

 

This is respectfully told, as respectful as possible considering the horrors of the past. There is a lot to be learned here. Much of the population that has experienced these things are still around, this helps to understand the reasoning behind so much of what I experience when working with my older individuals at work. I really like that this big book was not filled with a ton of medical information. 

 

I really recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject.

 

About The Authors:

 

JOHN DONVAN is a multiple Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC and the moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series. Find him on Twitter at @johndonvan.

 

CAREN ZUCKER is a Peabody award-winning television news producer, a twenty-five-year veteran of ABC News, and producer and co-writer of the six-part PBS series “Autism Now.”

 

Amazon US

 

I received a review copy from Blogging for Books.

JOHN DONVAN is a multiple Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC and the moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series. Find him on Twitter at @johndonvan.

ABOUT CAREN ZUCKER

 

JOHN DONVAN is a multiple Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC and the moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series. Find him on Twitter at @johndonvan.

ABOUT CAREN ZUCKER

 

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review 2016-08-19 14:19
A unique adventure and a very personal and emotional one. I loved it
A Boy Made of Blocks - Keith Stuart

Thanks to Net Galley and to Little, Brown Book Group UK and Sphere for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a unique book. Yes, I know all books are unique in one way or another, but this book is unique because it deals with something that is always going to be unique to the person experiencing it. If being a father doesn’t come with an instruction manual, being the father of a child within the autism spectre not only comes with no instructions, but it also shakes and spins around the world of those involved. Keith Stuart, the author, draws from his personal experience of fatherhood (his son Zac was diagnosed with autism when he was seven years old) to write a fictionalised account of learning to know your child in his or her own terms.

Alex, the protagonist, is a man in crisis. His relationship with his wife is so problematic that at the beginning of the book she’s sent him out of the house on a trial separation. He spends most of the book at a friend’s, Dan, with whom he shares childhood experiences and a trauma that has marked him more than he is willing or able to acknowledge.  Alex is a good man trying to do the right thing, but unable to explore his own difficulties, or to acknowledge how his inability to let go makes it impossible for him to help himself and others.

He is confronted once and again with the need to be different, to try and listen and learn. And he discovers an ally in a computer game, Minecraft. The author, who reviews computer games for several publications, has talked about his  experience of sharing the game with his own son and how that allowed him to show his creativity and to share a safe space with others. Although I’ve never played Minecraft, the descriptions of how the game works and the effect it had on both, Sam (the boy in the story) and his father is well rendered and easy to follow. The game and its effect over Alex also allows for some truly beautiful and insightful moments. Witnessing Sam’s sheer joy at understanding the rules of the world around him and being able to use them to create a new order and to have meaningful relationships with others is a great moment that the reader shares with Alex. He makes mistakes, he can be jealous, possessive, and cowardly at times, but he eventually does what is best and dares to push himself. As he states towards the end, his son guides him and shows him the way. If at the beginning Alex sees Sam as a problem he doesn’t know how to deal with and can’t see a future for him, by the end everything has changed. He discovers that Sam understands more than he ever realised and also that he is his own person. And a pretty impressive one at that.

The novel, written in the first person, makes us see and share the world from Alex’s point of view, and although we might not always agree with what he does, he is a fully-fledged human being, with his weaknesses and his strengths. We get to care for him, as we care for all the rest of the characters, who are also complex, confused and glorious human beings.  There are the small family dramas, the highs and lows of everyday life taken to extremes, and they all rang true to me.

I have no children and my experience with children and adults within the autistic spectrum is mostly professional (I have worked as a psychiatrist and have some experience in an Asperger’s service) but I would happily recommend this book to anybody with an interest in the subject, whether they like or not to play computer games, or to anybody who enjoys novels based on characters and their experiences (rather than action and adventure), and who are happy to be exposed to extremes of emotions (yes, I did cry, sometimes happily, others not so much). It is a beautiful and heart-wrenching book at times that ends up in a hopeful note.  I loved it.

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review 2016-07-08 17:07
The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes
The Eagle Tree - Ned Hayes

This is a beautifully well-written book that will open your eyes to the beauty and the need to protect the trees that are around you from the tree-tops down to their roots. This book will also help in understanding those that are on the spectrum and how they see those around them.

Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent falls—and despite the state’s threat to take him away from his mother if she can’t keep him from getting hurt. But the young autistic boy cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests.

One day, March is devastated to learn that the Eagle Tree—a monolithic Ponderosa Pine near his home in Olympia—is slated to be cut down by developers. Now, he will do anything in his power to save this beloved tree, including enlisting unlikely support from relatives, classmates, and even his bitter neighbor. In taking a stand, March will come face-to-face with some frightening possibilities: Even if he manages to save the Eagle Tree, is he risking himself and his mother to do it?

I loved this book! I highly recommend this book to tree huggers, people interested in climate change, nature lovers, hikers, or anyone that has ever climbed a tree even if you were to scared to climb down.

"I believe in trees. I can touch them. And they have true names."

"Trees do not require you to make certain sounds to be understood. They are simply present and ready for you to climb at any time. Trees are easier."

"Sometimes I think I would like to be a tree. Sometimes I think I am a tree, just located temporarily in a moving body, like one of the Ents from the Lord of the Rings"

"You cannot own all of a tree," I said.

"Sometimes I wish it was not so hard for me to make myself understood. I wish I could plug an electric cord from my brain into someone else's ears so that they could hear how I think and I could understand how they think."

"Human beings are on the cusp of destroying all of God's great natural world, which was originally gifted, according to the scriptures, to the human race, who would function as stewards of this great Earth. We have not been every good stewards in the last century."

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review 2016-01-16 16:08
Interesting combination of two legendary heroes
Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War - Tamra Bonvillain,Angel Hernandez,Stephen Molnar,Mike Johnson

 

 

Hal Jordan and the newer version of the Enterprise crew (see last two films) come together and we get to see Sinestro, Atrocitus, Larfleeze, Star Sapphire, Saint Walker, Nekron, Klingons, Romulans and Gorn. As forces combine and split in the struggle against Nekron, alliances are made which result in victory.

 

Quite engaging and entertaining, this combination works well and the artwork is well-executed. Worth a look.

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