Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review - Seed to Harvest


Contains the novels Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster.

In her classic Patternist series, multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Octavia E. Butler established themes of identity and transformation that echo throughout her distinguished career. Now collected for the first time in one volume, these four novels take readers on a wondrous odyssey from a mythic, primordial past to a fantastic far future.
In ancient Africa, a female demigod of nurture and fertility mates with a powerful, destructive male entity. Together they birth a race of madmen, visionaries, and psychics who cling to civilization's margins and back alleys for millennia, coming together in a telepathic Pattern just as Earth is consumed by a cosmic invasion. Now these new beings--no longer merely human--will battle to rule the transfigured world.

My Review

Octavia Butler is one of my favorite sci-fi authors and the reason I really got into sci-fi. This was one series of her's that I had not read and really wanted to since it contains some of her earliest work. It contains four books: Wild Seed (1980), Mind of My Mind (1977), Clay's Ark (1984) and Patternmaster (1976). The order of the books in the series compared to their publication dates makes the disconnect between the books more understandable.

Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind explain how the Pattern comes about and Doro and Anayanwu are characters that flow through both books. Clay's Ark is the book that just seems like a filler. It's a book to explain the Clayarks that exist in Patternmaster but doesn't do a good job explaining their connection to the first two books. Also the past/present chapter movement made it a hard book to follow at times. 


My overall rating is Good. If Clay's Ark was better connected to the other books, I could give it a higher rating.

This is part of the Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge

My Little Pocketbooks

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Diversity on the Shelf 2014

My Little Pocketbooks

So I have decided to challenge myself this year to read different types of books this year. I also hope to read some books that I already own or that are on my to-read list. This challenge will help me accomplish both. 

The following is from the host's website.

Challenge Details
1. Any book (by any author) with a main character that is a person of color qualifies for this reading challenge, as well as any book written by an author of color. The goal is to encourage readers have a more diverse reading experience and to support diversity in the publishing industry by reading and reviewing books by or about person of color.

2. The challenge will run from January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014 (books read prior to 1/1/2014 do not count towards the challenge). You can join anytime before 12/1/2014. Sign up at My Little Pocketbooks

3. Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio).

4. Novellas, Short story collections, Poetry, Graphic novels/manga, Children Books, and all genres are allowed. 

5. Books can be of any publication date. 

6. You can choose your books as you go or create a list in advance. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.

Join the Challenge
To join the challenge, grab the Diversity on the Shelf 2014 Challenge button and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. 

You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, Libib, etc., just as long as you have a dedicated shelf for the Diversity on the Shelf 2014 Challenge and your profile is not private. The point of linking up is to have a place where people can see what you’re reading.

Pick a Level
Choose how many diversity centered books you would like to add to your “read” shelf in 2014:
1st Shelf: Read 1-6 books
2nd Shelf: Read 7 -12 books
3rd Shelf: Read 13 - 18 books
4th Shelf: Read 19 -24 books
5th Shelf: Read 25+ books
Once you pick a level you can go higher and read more books but you cannot go down a level.

If you'd like to participate in the Diversity on the Shelf 2014 Reading Challenge, please sign up, and if you have a blog please spread the word by grabbing the button and post about your participation.
If you need some ideas for what to read go to the original POC Reading Challenge blog.
There will be giveaways along the way, theme reads and a giveaway at the end for the participants who participate each month and completes the challenge.

I'm going to start myself at the 2nd shelf level. Good thing I can go up if necessary. Some of the books I plan to read are listed on my Goodreads page and I'll add as I find other books to read. The plan is to post updates as I go along. Hopefully I can keep up with it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

#1's Reign Supreme

The games have been played and we’re down to four. Baylor, UConn, Stanford, Notre Dame. This is the second time in history and first time since 1989 all four # seeds have made it to the Final Four.

How did these teams get here?

Stanford – 35-1
Stanford ran through the Pac-12 undefeated, winning both the regular season and tournament titles. Their lone loss of the season was to Connecticut in November. In the tournament, Stanford won easily over Hampton and West Virginia. The Cardinal pulled away from a good South Carolina team in their Sweet Sixteen matchup. Duke had no chance against their speed in the Elite Eight pairing.

Connecticut – 33-4
Connecticut has been and up and down team all season despite their record. The Huskies won the Big East Tournament over Notre Dame after losing to they twice during the regular season. They also lost to Baylor by five and St. John’s shocked them with a buzzer beating one point win. In the tournament, UConn has looked like the team they were expected to be at the beginning of the season. They beat Prairie View A&M and held Kansas State to a record low of 26 points in their first two games. Penn State couldn’t get their offense going against the Huskies stifling defense in their Sweet Sixteen matchup. Kentucky kept the game close in the first half but UConn pulled away in the second half of their Elite Eight game.

Notre Dame – 34-3
            Notre Dame ran through the Big East only hitting one bump against West Virginia in a surprising loss late in the season. Early in the season Notre Dame loss big to Baylor in the preseason WNIT final, 94-81. Their only other loss came to UConn in the Big East Tournament final. In the tournament, the Fighting Irish beat Liberty and California easily in the first two rounds. Notre Dame dismantled St. Bonaventure in the Sweet Sixteen holding them to 35 points and only 13 in the first half. Maryland could not defensively keep up with the Irish and were held to 49 points.

Baylor – 38-0
            Baylor has been on a roll all season going undefeated into the NCAA tournament. They easily won the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles. This season they only had a few close games against nationally ranked competition. They won by five over UConn in December and by seven over Texas A&M in February. They also had a close call against Texas Tech, winning by five in February as well. In the tournament, the Lady Bears have handily beaten their opponents including UCSB and Florida in the first two rounds. Georgia Tech and Tennessee both put up valiant efforts but they were no match for Baylor.

Preview of the games

Stanford vs. Baylor

Simply put, Baylor has to keep playing like they have to win this game. Everyone has contributed to the team’s wins, not just Brittney Griner. They are the most well rounded team left in the tournament. Odyssey Sims has to make sure to not force the ball into Griner because Stanford has speed all over the court.

Stanford has to play a quicker pace than they are used to and work more on fast breaks to avoid having to go inside against Griner. The play of the Ogwumike sister, Nnemkadi and Chiney, will be key for the Cardinal. They will also have to get other players involved because Baylor will key in on both of them.

Overall I think this will be a good game but I don’t see Baylor losing. Too many weapons and they have looked exceptional in every game I have seen them in this season.

Connecticut vs. Notre Dame

This will be their fourth meeting of the season and it will be a good one. UConn got the best of Notre Dame in their last meeting in the Big East Championship. For UConn to win this game, they have to get a lot from their center Stefanie Dolson. She has to play well on both ends of the court, especially defense where she will be guarding fifth-year senior Devereaux Peters. Bria Hartley and Tiffany Hayes will also have to have big games to make a difference.

Notre Dame has to get Natalie Novosel involved in the game. She has hit 24 of 28 free throws in the tournament. Many of her attempts came from driving to the basket and taking the contact. The play of Skylar Diggins will be huge in this game as well. The better she plays, the better the team plays.

This game is a toss up to me. I think Notre Dame has the experience on their side to win. They also want to get back to the title game to make up for losing last year to Texas A&M. I think that motivation, along with playing a constant rival, will give them the advantage.

We'll see how my picks turn out later tonight. The games can be seen on ESPN starting with UConn vs. ND at 6:30 and Stanford vs Baylor at 8:30 pm. The games are also available via live stream on ESPN3.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

30 Days of Music - Children's Story

Slick Rick is one of those true storytellers and this song is the best example. I can see the story as he goes through the verses without even seeing the video. That's what happens when you use the words to create  the visuals. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30 Days of Music - Feels Good

Tony! Toni! Tone! was one of the great groups from the 90s. Musically they made me want to hear their songs.

"Feels Good" is one of my favorite songs by Tony! Toni! Tone! This is from their second album The Revival. No special reason but the beat is infectious. Check it out below.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New music coming out soon!

This year has been full of great music and June will be no different. I have been waiting to hear from these artists and the anticipation is killing me.

Ledisi - Pieces of Me - 6/14
Starting the month off is Ledisi with her follow up to Turn Me Loose. The title track is a empowering song explaining exactly who she is. "Shut Up" is another great song to haters to keep her name out of their mouths. She is having an online listening party on June 9th. Click here to listen.

Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun - 6/21
I have been waiting for this album for so long. Jill has posted snippets of some of the songs and they sound good so far. She's going on tour this summer with Mint Condition, Anthony Hamilton, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Doug E. Fresh. Needless to say I will be in attendance. Jill and Anthony both put on great shows so I know it will be good.

Kindred the Family Soul - Love Has No Recession - 6/28
Kindred has left Hidden Beach as well moving on to Shancie for their new album. The first single, "You Got Love" is catchy and the video is a nice complement to the song. I'm looking to hear more tracks because I wasn't a big fan of their last album.

If you know of other albums that are coming out this month, let me know. Always looking for new music to listen to.