10 PRINT “Heart of Code: The Impossible Fortress”

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak Published: February 7th, 2017 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Genre(s): Young Adult, Fiction, Coming-of-age Format: Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins The Impossible Fortress hits the exact right notes of eighties nostalgia without turning into a catalog of bygone pop culture. It definitely opened a flood of memories …

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The Girl Who Wasn’t: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

LIFEL1K3 is the rare book that I mostly enjoyed until the end soured me on the whole thing. It’s a mash-up of a lot of genres and tropes, which gives it a certain amount of madcap charm, but it squanders that good will with some draggy pacing, an overload of teenage angst, and a final twist that feels like a gotcha moment designed only for shock value. It’s also overstuffed with plot and world-building, so it’s almost impossible to summarize succinctly.

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Modernized Space Girl: Barbarella, Volume 1

First, some caveats about this review of the new Barbarella comic written by Mike Carey: I’ve never seen the Jane Fonda movie, so I watched the trailer to get a feel for it because it felt like a necessary entry point.

I also read the first volume of the classic comics by Jean-Claude Forest so that I’d have a baseline to compare against the rebooted series. From a writing standpoint, I’d say that the two versions of Barbarella are on close to equal footing, but the art in the modern version just does not do the character justice.

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The Little Death of Reality: Alt-Life

Alt-Life is the story of what happens when two horny French people volunteer as beta testers for an all-encompassing VR experience that lets them escape from the polluted, dying Earth. Once you’re inside the VR devices, which look like giant red eggs full of undulating cilia, the system integrates with your body and you live out the rest of your life on the inside.

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The Silliest Quest: Kill the Farm Boy

Kill the Farm Boy is a silly book that sends up and undermines some well-worn clichés of the fantasy genre’s hero narrative. It asks questions like “What does it mean to be the Chosen One?” and “Who deserves to be a protagonist?” and then unloads goat poop on them. This succeeds with varying results.

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Infinitely French: Infinity 8, Volume 1

If I didn’t already know that Infinity 8 is a French comic, reading it would make that crystal clear. It has a French feel about it, from the art reminiscent of Moebius, to the laconic dialogue scenes, to (most tellingly) the glimpse of casual nudity and the protagonist who wears a skin-tight spacesuit straight out of 1950s pinup illustrations.

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Desert Island Reads

The ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood has a miniature bookstore in their lobby curated by One Grand Books. They ask actors, artists, writers and other creatives to pick their ten “desert island reads” and explain their choices. Browsing through these selections is a great way to kill time while you wait for your movie to start. Some …

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The Self-Made Detective: IQ by Joe Ide

Joe Ide’s debut novel, IQ, won’t revolutionize the detective genre, but it does tell an entertaining story about well-drawn and complex characters. It wasn’t the most exciting crime novel I’ve ever read, but I’d be happy to follow the future exploits of Isaiah Quintabe wherever they lead.

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Insert Gritty Reboot: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie

Maybe Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie would have resonated for me a bit more if I’d ever read Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. Instead, I’ve only ever seen their cover illustrations and imagined the sort of squeaky-clean peril they might get themselves into. I think, though, that I still wouldn’t have gotten much from this too-serious gritty reimagining of the classic teen mysteries.

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That Which Unravels: The Readymade Thief

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose Published: August 1st, 2017 Publisher: Viking Genre(s): Adventure, Thriller, Mystery Format: Hardcover Length: 384 pages I originally picked up The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose because the cover caught my eye, but the summary and a few blurbs from some of my favorite authors finished the sale. I started …

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The Fire Inside: Heroine Complex

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn Published: July 5th 2016 Publisher: DAW Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Superheroes Format: E-Book Length: 378 pages I love stories about people with mundane jobs who exist in the orbit of someone extraordinary – like a personal assistant to a superhero, for example. It’s a fun mental exercise to think about what …

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