Cross Country Nerds

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A dear friend, who knows my propensity for nerdities emailed me, over a year ago, about a friend of hers that had just written a science fiction book and was looking for bloggers to read it and possibly blog about it. I always love discovering new books and authors and I really love to use my blog to highlight the great artistry and work that other people are accomplishing. So I eagerly started to read “A Time to Reap: The Legend of Carter Gabel” by Jonas Lee.  (check out my interview with Jonas and review of the book and then go forth and read!!) And I loved it! So I wrote a blog and connected with the author, Jonas.

Come to find out, we had much more than a love of science fiction in common. And we became instant social media friends! Tweeting the latest rumors about Star Wars and discussing shows like The Flash and Arrow.

It’s funny how these days you can become friends with someone and never see them in person. It’s a standard of our time period. I have countless friends on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook that I feel like I know well, but have never met and may never get the chance to meet. Or chat with face to face.

This is not the case with Jonas Lee. Tonight at 8pm est, we will be chatting live on Google Hangouts. Exploring topics like Star Wars, Marvel, DC, what it means to be a nerd in the 21st century, what it was like ‘growing up nerd,’ and anything else nerdy, geeky, dorky or otherwise! If you have something you want us to talk about, by all means tweet it to us at #CrossCountryNerds

He lives in South Dakota. I live in Florida. If not for the wonderful world of the world wide web, we might never have met. Watch what happens next and…

We hope to virtually see you lovely nerds there tonight!! Here’s the link: Cross Country Nerds

NITC Book Club: Star Wars Edition

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This week I’m reading the first book in The Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson, Jedi Search.

Don’t forget (as if you could) none of these are official canon anymore. So the events in these books are mere Legends. Simply good stories that may or may not have happened. I like to think of them as an alternate universe.

In Jedi Search we see the New Republic desperately trying to create alliances across the galaxy and bring new planets into their governmental system. Han and Chewie are sent on a diplomatic mission to Kessel (yes that is the very same Kessel that Han references in A New Hope) where they run into an old smuggling associate, one who has a grudge against Solo. Their mission goes awry and they are forced to work down in the dark spice mines of Kessel.

 Luke is on a mission to seek out new Jedi to teach about the ways of the Force while also trying to advance Leia’s force training. Jaina and Jacen Solo have returned from their seclusion as sassy 2 year old children who barely know their parents and are finding out their own force sensitivity.

Meanwhile, a new threat emerges. One that could turn the tide in the fight against the remnants of the Empire. A threat set into motion 10 years before by the deceased Grand Moff Tarkin himself.

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May the Force be with you…always!

Nerd in the City Book Club

Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion

by Elizabeth L. Cline

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October is fair fashion month and I had the opportunity to attend a panel moderated by author Elizabeth Cline at the TrimLab a couple week’s ago. Which then prompted me to pick up her book.

About 6 months ago I was sent down the road to fair fashion, what it’s all about and what it means for my life. If I wasn’t already ignited to change my shopping habits, this book would have done the trick! I had cut out Forever 21 because their production practices are very questionable, but I was still holding onto H&M. The lesser of two evils, right? Well after reading this book, I can’t really continue to shop there. And have made the commitment not to shop at any fast fashion chains. I also have committed to having no fast fashion in my web series, So…This Happened, as of Jan. 20th. (We filmed a few episodes before this conviction.)

What I loved about Over-Dressed is that it delves deep into the problems our country currently faces with production, overspending, high volume of waste and the general mindset that fashion is disposable. The amount of clothing that people purchase and throw away is at an all time high. And big, fast-fashion companies like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara are rendering small boutique designers virtually extinct. When you are able to get a “fashionable” top for $5 at Forever 21, why would you pay $150 for something from an independent zer0 waste designer like Tabii Just or Daniel Silverstein? Quality has turned from “well made” to “good enough.”

Cline talks a lot about her own experience with fast fashion and while reading her story, it felt like it could have been my story. When Cline walked out of an “Kmart with 7 pairs of canvas flats,” that was the moment she started her wake up call. The journey she goes on will enlighten you to what is happening in our world right now and really make you think about how you shop!

Definitely give this book a read and allow it to challenge the way you think about fashion and shopping. Do you know what your wearing? Who made it? It’s quality? These are the kind of questions Elizabeth dared to ask herself and will ask you if you let her.

Get it here.

Star Wars EU Review

The Old Republic: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn

Revan has quickly become one of my favorite books, not only in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but among mainstream fiction as well.

This Jedi turned Sith Lord, turned Jedi again plays a pivotal role in The Old Republic as well as the broader Star Wars Universe itself. In fact, Darth Bane (a series also penned by Karpyshyn) later discovers Revan’s holocron which spawns the reinstitution of the Rule of Two among the Sith.

Perhaps it is author, Drew Karpyshyn’s history as a game developer that gives his writing another dimension. At times it feels like you’ve entered the gaming world instead of merely picked up a good book. His imagery is strong and his characters are visceral. In fact, a lot of Revan’s story plays out in the Bioware game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

After fighting in the Mandalorian Wars, Revan and his friend Malak get caught up in a series of mysterious trails taking them far beyond the Outer Rim to the ‘Unknown Regions,’ where they discover the Sith waiting patiently for a chance to strike back at the Jedi Order. Malak and Revan are confronted by the evil Sith Emperor, and are turned to the dark side through his powerful influence.

Able to finally break away from the Emperor’s control, Revan and Malak begin to “establish their own Empire. Resulting in the Jedi Civil War. Revan is betrayed by Malak and is captured by a young Jedi Knight named Bastila Shan.” (Wookiepedia) Eventually Revan’s memory is wiped and he returns to the Jedi fold and marries Shan.

Karpyshyn’s novel begins after these events, once his memory has been wiped and he has been married to Bastila.

If there is a story that I would love to see played out on either the big or small screen, it is Revan’s story! A definite must read if you are at all interested in (obsessed with) the Star Wars Universe.

Review: A Taste of Blood and Wine

A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

It’s becoming a tale as old as time. No… not Beauty and the Beast, but rather, Beauty and the Vamp. You know the one… Girl meets mysterious boy. Girl is resistant at first but becomes mesmerized by mysterious boy’s charms. Boy ends up being the princely undead. Love story ensues.

What I liked most about Freda Warrington’s take on this (encroachingly overused) theme is that she makes the traditional vampirical mythology her own. Which I don’t usually enjoy. But her alterations serve to enhance not only the story itself but the strength of her vampires. No wooden daggers or holy water can hurt these vamps. Neither can sunlight destroy them (or make them sparkle.)

Warrington also brings in a very untouched upon concept by exploring the origins of basic vampire existence and ultimate creation. As well as introducing some compelling religious debates. The existence of God and Satan in a world where vampires roam the earth.

Blood and Wine’s veritable ‘Edward” is a vampire named, Karl who comes to the Neville family in order to search out a way to destroy his own kind using science and laboratory studies.  Karl’s counterpart is Charlotte Neville. A quiet, reserved, ‘ugly duckling’ member of the Neville family. Always left in the shadow of her beautiful and charismatic sister. Charlotte and Karl embark on a very exciting journey to save one another and keep their love undead!

I’ve been dying to read a vampire/ human love story where the heroine doesn’t end up sacrificing her warm-blooded, human existence to become a murderous blood sucker. (Buffy never did!!!) Guess you’ll have to read this one to find out if she does or doesn’t! No spoilers here!

All in all this was a very enjoyable book!! I fully recommend giving it a read.

Thanks to Titan Books!