Book N Tech

Monday, December 30, 2013

Broken Allegiance

Overview
       Mark Young's latest detective crime novel features an aging cop Tom Kagan who is trying to stop a Mexican prison gang leader who has gone rogue in a fast paced thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the end, forcing you to write an e-mail to Mr. Young begging for more. Part of the reason Broken Allegiance won the Book N Tech Editor's Choice Award was the fact that Mr. Young was a former cop who knew the streets, which enables him to write something that seems legit.

Review
     The novel starts off relatively slowly which is good because it introduces you to the story correctly. If your a big mystery novel reader then you'll see a few easter eggs, but then the novel takes you into the good part. The book really does have the Oculus Rift (Virtual Reality headset) type of experience I look for in a book. You'll be taken away with it.

Rating
   5/5 Sorry for my typical glowing reviews but once again a book in a category that I love but don't read very much (due to IMO a lack of good books in the category) this was amazing. Kudos to you Mr. Young and thank you for protecting us when you did serve.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Carthage High School Robotics


So, I am in advanced robotics at school but I haven't really had time to make a site for robotics. Our class has gotten start with the Arduino Uno board and kit that came along with it. There is the tutorials page where you can get started with Arduino Uno too. So if you like robotics, or technology/engineering in general, visit the site and also write a comment.
Check it out at www.robots.plyhost.com.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Editor's Choice Awards 2013

Well in this Christmas season I'd like to spread some holiday cheer by presenting the first annual Book N Tech Editor's Choice Awards! In this post I'll show you the covers, title, and short blurb of the books I've chosen in their respective categories and the book of the year! For this year I really can't say I could choose an overall winner because that would be comparing apples to oranges in my opinion. All the books I received in the queue were great though! Sorry that you have to scroll so much! Also due to varying cover sizes there were some formatting problems.

Science Fiction

The book was a great read and my favorite in the science fiction category because of the main character Ack Ack Macaque. He's a real charmer for all the science fiction fans with his hard demeanor. Good job Mr. Powell on making an excellent science fiction novel all can enjoy. 
Buy the book! http://amzn.to/1cwcIyN





Action

A fun faced paced adventure action book that takes a comedic look at action, love, and all the other aspects of life. Some of my favorite parts are the various nerd movie references and Mr. Wood's writing style. 
Buy the book: http://amzn.to/19KNAlG






Non-Fiction 

Ah the infamous non-fiction "Jesus book!" Well lay your possible anti Christian thoughts aside this book provided kindly by BookCrash for free was amazing. Not biased toward Christianity at all or mean spirited it just tells a great story in 30 days for you to reflect on your faith and an amazing book trilogy.
Check the review out: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/11/finding-god-in-hunger-games.html
Buy the book: http://amzn.to/19nKlCK



Steampunk

Probably one of my favorite steampunk adventures I have ever taken thanks to the amazing writing style the author Mrs. Hudson provided with the double life living psychiatrist Max Mason and his lovely assistant Amber. Some might argue the lack of backstory for the post apocalyptic (in so many words it looks like one) setting makes it feel rush I rather enjoy it. Can't wait for the next in the series to further the story!
Check the review out: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/08/dr-homebrew.html
Buy the book: http://amzn.to/1c5ibqd



Dystopian

Iron Mountain (Arc)
Sadly still not out yet but this book was simply phenomenal. A great sequel the previously reviewed Flotilla by author Daniel Haight noted for his "dark humor and crackling narrative." The book really continued a great story for that I am eternally grateful! When the book cover and link to Amazon are available I will add them.
Check the review out: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/12/iron-mountain-review.html
Go to the website: http://flotillaonline.com/


Thriller

Wow. A beautiful cover. Great story. Excellent ending. All of these aspects form to make Discretion a killer Christian (however you want to slice it) thriller that's worth your dollar. The writing style is consistent throughout the story providing a great adult story. Still would argue with the author that the extra added adult content is unnecessary but still a great story.
Check the review: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/09/discretion.html
Go buy the book: http://amzn.to/19cHIxQ




Western


Remember the classic Mark Twain novel that you read in grade school and did your book report on? Well Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer come back in a surprisingly good novel that doesn't bear the marks of typical fan fiction novels.
Check the review: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/10/redemption.html
Go buy the book: http://amzn.to/19eFS2H





Art

Looking for an amazingly done comic series that is perfect and fun for the whole family? Well artist Nick Seluk has done an amazing job by making Lars the Awkward Yeti and his various webcomic drawings some even featured in media campaigns like Taco Bell. The artwork shows for itself how amazing it is.
Check the review: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/10/lars-awkward-yeti-book-review.html
See the interview: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/10/interview-with-creator-of-awkward-yeti.html
Buy it! http://amzn.to/1dBohBo

Detective Thriller

Are you a big fan of the classic cop/detective thriller? Than read Broken Allegiance by Mark Young a former cop himself. The book is written from the point where you can tell they have been in involved in the business making it feel more genuine. Plus the author handled the book review request properly and very professionally. The review is coming shortly.
Check the review: pending
Buy the book! http://amzn.to/1hCQNWb




Short Story

MG Mason's novelette was an excellent detective cyborg story set in the future somewhere in Europe where Climate Change was real and times were hard. The book was a bit preachy on certain topics but it was easy to overlook and a really great read! No offense to the author but the original artwork (pictured) looks a lot better than the new cover but still the story was a great read. Hopefully there will be a followup.
Check the review: http://bookntech.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-weight-of-reason-review.html
Buy the book!: http://amzn.to/1cwoR78


And... that's a wrap! Congratulations to all the winners and I hope everyone has a great Christmas!
Book N Tech Book Reviewers
Ezekiel Carsella (senior)
Kevin Anthony (senior)
Mani Lea DeShong (new)
Emily Koons (new)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Drift Mania | Gameplay app review



Drift Mania is a free game you can download in the Windows Store for Windows 8+. I was impressed at how smooth it runs on a low end computer. The graphics are not bad at all and the game is fun to play if you like drifting. You can upgrade and buy cars with the money you get for drifting.

I give this app a 5/5 because it's free, fun to play, and smooth graphics.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot

       Well I recently got a Windows 8.1 Asus T100 tabtop and aside from the keyboard dock suddenly dying I really like it... along with everyone else I've shown it to. They all say, "oohhh Windows tablet" and refer to the commercials or the Microsoft Surface. Long story short, whenever they ask about a certain app I get scared because a) the official isn't in the store b) the third party version sucks c) probably won't come to Windows.
 
       Some of the prime examples are Instagram, Vine, Snapchat (big one in my school), Candy Crush Saga, Big Buck Hunter 2014, most AAA mobile games, and YouTube. Even though Windows Phone has either the officials or an excellent alternative to these none of those wonderful apps are there for me when I need them most. I love Windows 8 with the whole design language and compatibility with desktop apps (I'm surprised I only downloaded Office 2013 and Google Cloud Printer), but (unless Android virtual machine works) things like Bluestacks or Windroy can't work with my camera and are laggy complicate the problem further. My only Android a resistive screen Skytex Gingerbread tablet I've put through a lot (I typed a few papers in Google Docs on her) and even with a calibration app the screen is impossible to type on to the point I can't login to Snapchat.
 
       If Microsoft had Windows at least allowed Windows Phone apps to run on it or preferrably like it is rumored to unite the app stores that would be dandy. Then I could at least play Angry Birds Go! or other Windows Phone exclusives. Even with the announcement of Viber today (still a ripoff IMO because you have to have a smartphone to use it) the app situation looks bleak and the linkage of the Stores is really a stopgap solution. I mean no Soundcloud app? Still I'm glad they have a lot of the basics covered (still no fps games in store).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Iron Mountain review


Overview
     Remember the amazing Flotilla the novel I reviewed by independent author Daniel Haight? Well he's back with his latest installment in the Flotilla series featuring teen hero Jim Westerfield running all over the California coast from racist militia, drug dealers, and terrorists during an epic meltdown with his sister and some new friends. The book was a beautiful mix of tragedy, comedy, and dystopia without offending a soul or being conspiratorial.

Review
     Well this is a little teaser since... It won the Book N Tech Editor's Choice Award in the Dystopian Category! Good job Team Flotilla on the good editing job and the facts used (accurate weapons, emergency plans, etc) in the book which made the book vastly appealing to a prepper and book reviewer like me. The storyline was real and very relatable making me happy, happy, happy on the inside impatiently waiting for the third. All of the thematic elements come together to make a story that anyone would enjoy.

Rating
  5/5 Editors Choice 2013 winner this book is worth our beautiful modern designed award for many reasons, but the main is the highly relatable plot story, characters, and settings. It does what the book was invented for: put you in someone else's awesome adventure.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Despicable Me | Gameplay and App review



Many people know and enjoy the Despicable Me characters and now there is a game app for Windows 8.1 to enjoy them even more. In this game, you get to be one of the minions and dodge things, run away from Vector or whoever, and etc. The app is free and is a 140mb download and installation so you can get it easily. I give this app a 5/5 for it's unique character's, gameplay, and fun.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bing Maps Preview (3D) | App Review


 
Bing has come up with an app called Bing Maps Preview where you can view anything on Earth in 3D. It is probably similar to Google Earth but this might take up a little less resources from the computer. You can find it in the Windows Store for Windows 8.1+. I give this app a 5/5 for it's ease of use and coolness.
 
 


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holiday Buyers/Gift Guide 2013

Holiday Buyers Guide 2013

Happy Holidays from BookNTech
As the holiday season rolls through, we decided to give you gift ideas and information for the techie one. We hope that this will make it easier on you whether you know a little or alot about technology.

Remember, if you have any questions, just comment below⇓


Tablets / Hybrids
Microsoft
Surface 2 Pro
-Intel Core i5 Haswell Processor
-Windows Pro 8.1
-10 inch 1080p ClearType
-USB 3.0 and Pro Pen
-Mini DisplayPort
-Up to 8gb RAM
-Up to 512gb Solid State Drive storage
$899+
>
Apple
Ipad Air
-A7 processor
-iOS 7
-9.7 inch Retina display
-Lightning connector
-1 pound
-Facetime
-Up to 128gb storage
$499+
>
Google
Nexus 10
-Dual core A15 processor
-Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
-10 inch 2560x1600px
-Micro USB
-Micro HDMI
-2gb RAM
-Up to 32gb storage
$399+
>

Smart Phones
iPhone
5s
-4 inch Display
-iOS 7
-A7 processor 64-bit
-8 MP Camera
-Up to 10 hrs (on 3G) Talk Time
-Up to 250 hrs Standby
-1136 x 640p
$199+
>
Blackberry
Z10
-8mp camera
-4.2 inch Display
-Up to 10 hours talk time (3G)
-Up to 13 days standby time
-QUALCOMM 1.5 GHz
-Blackberry 10 OS
-16 GB storage
$399
>
Nokia
Lumia 929
-20 MP Camera
-5 inch full hd 1080p x 1920 AMOLED display
-Microsoft Windows Phone 8
-13.83 hours Talk Time
-880 hours Standby
-Up to 32gb storage
Learn more

Newest Software
Visual Studio
2013 Pro
-Visual Studio is a high end productivity IDE application for developers.
-The unified development experience to create compelling consumer and business applications across devices and the cloud.
$499
>
Photoshop
CS6
-Adobe Photoshop is a high end, image editing software.
-Adobe® Photoshop® CS6 software delivers even more imaging magic, exciting new creative options, and the Mercury Graphics Engine.
$900
>
Windows
8.1 Pro
-Windows 8.1 Pro offers enhanced features to help you easily connect to company networks, access one PC from another, encrypt your data, easy multiscreen, etc.
-Windows 8.1 is free for Windows 8 users.
$199
>

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hill Climb Racing | App Review



     Hill Climb Racing game is a simple but fun app that does have some physical properties behind it. The game let's you customize and upgrade vehicles and maps. When I showed this game to a friend, he plays  again and again, and says, "this is addicting" which absolutely true. This app get's a 5/5 for it's simplicity and fun.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book N Tech Black Friday party


  Do you like to party? Do you enjoy music from ALL genres except screamo? Hate shopping?

       Well here at Book N Tech we are throwing a virtual dance party over at Turntable.fm! Thanks to some friends I was told about the awesome virtual party site which sadly is shutting down shop December 3rd. As much as I would love to keep it going all good things must come to an end. Anyway we will have the party room open as of now till the end of Black Friday. Make sure to share with friends during this Thanksgivvukah holiday season! :)
Below is the site where music will be played!
http://bit.ly/1ggIped  (http://turntable.fm/book_n_tech)
Make sure to share with friends by using the hashtag #bookntech and it will show up on the widget on the right!

The Son's of Cain

                                     

Overview
I never knew that there was a healthy number of thrillers all based on a group of guys with a lot of power doing a whole lot of bad over a long period of time. This particular story has a reporter gone hero bankrolled by an influential friend who is a "non acting member" of The Sons of Cain trying to take down the influential men for attacking him while working on a story. 

Review
Very solid plot concept that reads like butter. The character development was fine and actually very believable and worked to perfection. The ending wasn't premature and the book really forces you to read it because it is so well written. Also thankfully the language is kept clean and the book would be suitable for 13 and up. Only thing is I felt too many people got killed but that's my personal opinion. 

Rating
4/5 A solid thriller with a classic unlikely hero done right. Plus it had a perfect ending with believable characters doing amazing things with Biblical proportions. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Last of the Titans

Overview
    After the suspicious death of his family, former Air Force Captain Kirk Cule discovers hidden journals and the covert world of his father; a good man drawn into a power struggle that could lead to worldwide nuclear annihilation. Kirk enters the murky world of a rogue CIA Special Actions Group Chief, an exceptional madman named Donner Bly, his deranged obedient associate, and foreign entities, as they race to unearth and launch the one remaining nuclear-tipped Titan Inter-continental Ballistic Missile. All have different motives....all have different goals. But who will succeed as they battle to possess The Last of the Titans. 

Review
    Oooh! Classic battle of anti-hero and hero emerges as the plot is developed into a thriller that is filled with fun backstories. The book starts off a bit boring with long winded paragraphs and an ominous threat from the CIA. I kinda liked it. The book started to get a bit stagnated especially if you have a low attention span. Then it started to heated up a bit like a slow boil. The tea kettle sure did whistle though and the ending was real well not predictable unless you are a master reader. 

Rating
4/5 Good solid plot, character development, and the whole bag of goodies just the book takes a bit to get to a nice place. Really recommend it if your into military. 
http://www.amazon.com/Last-Titans-Darryl-D-Bowman-ebook/dp/B00F6G62M8/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1385184874&sr=1-2&keywords=the+last+of+the+titans

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Robots


      With wars, famines, and other natural disasters it looks like robots are to be the future. If there is anyway to survive in a hostile environment then using robots to do highly dangerous things like infilatrating an enemy position robots are the way to go. Thankfully schools have been training teens like at my school to make and use robots. There's so many possibilities with robots, you can make a robot that dances, you can make a robot that can drive around and much, and so much more! We were given a robo kit with the program and we get to keep all the parts which I'm really happy about so I can build robots on my own at home! It only cost about $200 to enter which is cheap if the future is at stake. Fairly good price and well worth the money!

      A great place to buy a robotic kit would be at say your local RadioShack, hobby store, or online at a retailer like Amazon.

   If your school is offering a Robotics Program I recommend you to join! It is well worth the money and it's very fun and you will learn so much.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fitz - A Father. A Son. And A Gun.

Fitz

Overview
Sometimes Fitz would look at himself in the mirror, an expression of pathetic eagerness on his face. He was a dog in the pound, wanting to be adopted. He'd smile. What father wouldn't want this boy?

Fifteen-year-old Fitzgerald—Fitz, to his friends—has just learned that his father, whom he's never met, who supports him but is not a part of his life, is living nearby. Fitz begins to follow him, watch him, study him, and on an otherwise ordinary May morning, he executes a plan to force his father, at gunpoint, to be with him.
Over the course of one spring day, Fitz and his father become real to one another. Fitz learns about his father, why he's chosen to remain distant and what really happened between him and Fitz's mother. And his father learns what sort of boy his son has grown up to become.

Review
Let's just say that this book is great, especially since it kept my short attention and was realistic at the same time. No space invaders or shenanigans. It's sad to say that many people get stuck in these situations where they don't get to see there mom or dad but that is what makes this story great and understandable.

Rating
This book gets a 5/5 stars because it was realistic and kept my attention. It would be considered a smaller one, less than 300 pages or so. I would recommend this book to high school people because that's exactly what this guy is, a high schooler.

You can find this book at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fitz-mick-cochrane/1108939552?ean=9780375846113

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pawn of Innocence

Overview:

Camile can hardly believe the luck of her chance encounter with a tall dark stranger, one that eventually leads to what she believes is sure to be a sizzling vacation romance, but she slowly learns chance had nothing to do with it, and unlucky is the word that begins to best describe it as events take a terrifying turn. She quickly finds herself knee deep in a web of lies and deceit, and the object of an abduction that turns out to have far reaching consequences. Once back home, however, she is blissfully unaware of the secrets that seem to be common knowledge to her friends and family, then, she overhears a conversation that leads her to uncover the shocking truth of her abduction, and sheds light on something she thought she would never have to face again. Him.

Review:
After reading this book all I can say is…whew. This book started and ended clearly, no confusion at all. As for the middle of this book, the author created obstacle after obstacle just to get us to the point we all were expecting. She took romance to a new level by adding a bunch of mystery, action and drama in the middle. Now, I think she did a bit too much in the middle and can easily cut some things out.

The story follows Camille, a daughter of a rich guy who makes weapons. She’s feeling crowded by all the extra security he has following her to keep her safe and decides she wants to escape the constant spotlight. That could easily be the entire plot of the book but is honestly just a small fraction.

There’s just a ton of different plots and plots twist in the book. It takes us from one extreme to the other. This author covers a ton of different genres. Some readers may enjoy that while others may simply take it as overkill. Overall, she managed to start and finish the book well. And even though there’s so much going on in the middle: from kidnappings, to trips, to proposals, to therapy, the book never got muddled or confused.

I need a smoke break after this one and a long nap.

Rating:
4 out 5 Stars

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Against Her Will

Overview
      A dramatic book set in London about a gorgeous young lady who encounters one of the worst things ever: rape. She is raped and has a weird time trying to get over it (kinda hard to relate to as a man and even jumping over gender barriers still doesn't make any logical sense). The book is well.... special. hehehehe

Review
     Got the book with little fanfare and after reading some reviews on Amazon... I had to prepare myself for a bad book. Actually wasn't too bad. Just I felt the place it really fell was character development. The character development was all over the place. The MC was so bi-polar I'm surprised they didn't give her medicine for it. The rest of the characters were fine I just felt her recovery was really dragged out beyond reality.

Rating
    3.7/5 Books good just the character development needs re-working. Otherwise I felt the book had an ending I didn't really expect it was close though.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Finding God in the Hunger Games

Overview
     Thanks to BookCrash I got a print copy of this really good 30 day devotional linking the Bible, Christianity, and life to the uber popular trilogy the Hunger Games now a movie. The book does contain a few spoilers and is looks to be marketed towards people who might be casual fans to the hardcore junkies.

Review
     The book was amazing let's say that. I wanted to read the entire book in one sitting but I paced myself. As a big Hunger Games trilogy fan the book really connected with me on many levels. The good thing about the book is it's biggest draw: the tie in to the Hunger Games. Surprisingly the author found a lot of ways to connect faith to the Hunger Games which surprisingly was devoid of  any faith at all. Not even atheism which is surprising in a dystopian novel of that caliber. The book did an amazing job and I can't see a place where it fell short.

Rating
    5/5 If you are a fan of the Hunger Games or are reading it for a book club this would make a great addition to have. Thanks to the kind people at BookCrash for providing me with a reviewers copy!.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Privatizing Freedom

Overview
      Sherman Safel is an ageing MI6 field operative whose proficiency of espionage and cold-blooded murder has more than taken its toll on his conscience. But in a world where global privatization is almost absolute: this old dog must put aside his emotions and screw on his silencer as the world enters its darkest era yet. But what happens when business becomes personal? 

Review
      The book is a long read. Much longer than I'm accustomed to and prolly not made for the ADHD minds of YA readers, but don't be alarmed the book is like a James Bond movie. Thrilling, makes you wonder if the good actually wins in the end, and a great MC anti-hero in the form of Sherman Safel obviously working for MI6 vying to save the world. Essentially he does and does it in style and awesomeness with some wit and sarcasm thrown in. 

Rating
    4/5 If you enjoy a nice long read of thrilling proportions this is for you. Read with caution because it is awesome. ;)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Flotilla

Overview
      Flotilla is a dystopian story in which a messed-up teen named Jim is thrown into the ocean, literally and figuratively, to become both a survivor and a hero. Jim leaves an addiction rehab center to join his father aboard an experimental colony off the Los Angeles coast raising fish through the process of mariculture (open-sea fish farming).  This floating city is also a dangerous ecosystem, filled with strange and dangerous characters.   Daily adventures reveal that the colony has become a conduit for drug-dealing, gambling and human trafficking.  Fortunes have been created that people will lie, cheat or kill to protect.  Jim is forced to accept that second chances can come with strings attached. 

Review
     This was my only book I reviewed back on The Fireplace blog so this is kinda of a merge between the old and new. Book was good. Really good. So good it's been nominated for the upcoming Book N Tech Editor Choice award for best YA dystopian novel. One of the better things is the Main Character: Jim. He's a dynamic teen going through typical teen troubles like drugs, violence, and getting attacked by pirates (the struggle right?) The dialogue is rich and easy to understand and get down with. The story line is a bit slow for some young tastes but the rich tale is hard to put down. 

Rating
   5/5 A really good science fiction YA dystopian fantasy good for 13 and up. It features a real life kid (Jim Westerfield) facing problems in his home both on the sea and at home plus he has all the same most kids have. So if you like what I've talked about I heavily encourage you to go and grab you a copy. (BTW the sequel comes out on Black Friday!) 
http://flotillaonline.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Flotilla-Daniel-Haight/dp/061556254X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336852156&sr=8-1

Friday, November 1, 2013

Computer History


The computer is in fact an astonishing  invention. When the computer was first made it was called the abacus which is used to perform basic tasks. Every computer supports some kind of input, processes, and outputs. When computers were starting to be made, there were different generations of the computer. In this article I'll take you through three, basic generations. 

First Generations computers- First electronic computers used vacuum tubes, were huge, and complex. The computer was programmed using plug boards and switches, supporting input from an IBM card reader, and output to an IBM card punch. The computer took 167 square meters, weighted 27 tons, and consumed 150 kilowatts of power.

Second Generation computers- They came a lot thanks to the invention of the transistor, which then started replacing vacuum tubes for the computers. Transistors consumed less power, produced less heat, and were much smaller compared to the first generation computers.  The second generation computers are obviously much bigger compared to today's computer's but were a vast improvement over the previous generation.

As you can tell there  are a lot of changes with the computers today then there were when computer has first came out. They have made the computers smaller so they could be more movable then the first and second generation computers. The computers today are a lot smaller  than some of the first computers ever made, but are so much more powerful it's mind boggling. So if you were to learn something new about computers, it's that technology has changed a lot  to get computers and laptops where they are today.
 




Monday, October 28, 2013

World, Incorporated


Overview:
If your nation failed in its most desperate hour, who do you think would step into its place?

A solitary man approaches a farmhouse through a vast wheat field in the American Midwest. Few know his name or his past, not even his employer, the CEO of World, Incorporated, who barely understands or cares what drives him. The CEO has called him by the codename “Sliver” since they met, and for the last four years Agent Sliver has efficiently accomplished covert missions that might ultimately give the company an edge on its competitors. But this is no ordinary tale of corporate espionage:
World, Incorporated is one of five “supercorporations” which, having overthrown the world’s governments in the wake of decades of growing financial turmoil, spend their near-limitless resources competing with each other for global supremacy in the post-national society of 2058. They compete to accumulate the greatest share of loyalty from the world’s population, employing both great public works and clandestine sabotage of their rivals to do so. Sliver is an agent of the latter, and he is very good at his job.

This captivating action-thriller, a "1984" for the information age, follows a conflicted young man along his often violent path to revenge and redemption in a 21st century dystopia. Unknown to that man, the mission awaiting him in the farmhouse ahead will not go as planned. Nothing will be the same after.

Review:
Dreadful cover but I want you to relax Tom because you wrote an amazing story. First, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way. I care little about grammar, I’m always searching for a great plot first. But the author delivered on grammar for those out there who are concerned about that area.

The story is about an agent named Sliver who works for the corporate juggernaut World, Inc. He’s basically an assassin even though he runs away from that title as if it's a cross-eyed girl with no teeth. (I’m trying to be funny)

Does anybody like Dr. Who? Because I do and in a way this writer adopts the whole companion thing from that series. Throughout the story he’s accompanied by his talking ship, a young girl named Kelly and a cyborg named Rex. His group of friends who call themselves the Shredders also appear. Sliver and all the people I just mentioned are characters you want to hang out and play Mario Kart with. Nobody made you want to stop reading, they were all enjoyable characters.

Another cool character in the story was Shawn Chase. He’s kind of the John Stewart/Stephen Colbert type of “journalist”. Those two comedians play a big role in politics and the politics was heavily present in this story. I loved every bit of it, ranging from the news blog entry dedicated chapters, the corporate takeover, taxes, credits and nukes…oh my. As a political junkie that all made me happier than a Government Shutdown or State of the Union night.

Of course there’s the main plot, which focuses on Silver’s hate for a CEO named Carnegie. We eventually learn the disturbing reason behind his hatred for the man.

The story opened strong, even though we had to get through a bit of character description before the action. I loved how even though it was set in the future, it felt as if the story could take place today. I researched the author aka cyber stalked him and based on his profile it’s not surprising he managed to put together a story like this that makes politics seem “hip” and throw in some cool action scenes.

As for the ending, it didn’t catch me off guard but the lead in was entertaining.

Rating:
I would recommend this book to my friends and enemies, 4 out of 5 stars. Tom, dude, give that cover a major face-lift. At least consider putting an awesome new world flag with some corporate logos all over it on the cover.


Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008IXJ32W

Hive Monkey

Overview
      In order to hide from his unwanted fame as the spitfire-pliot-monkey who emerged from a computer game to defeat the dangerous corporation who engineered him, the charismatic and dangerous Ack-Ack Macaque is working as a pilot on a world-circling nuclear powered Zeppelin. But when the cabin of one of his passengers is invaded by the passenger's own dying doppelganger, our hirsute hero finds himself thrust into another race to save the world - this time from an aggressive hive mind, time-hopping saboteurs, and an army of homicidal Neanderthal assassins!

Review 
      The main reason I got this book (requested from NetGalley) because the title reminded me of a comic book series called Hit Monkey. Well the book was pure awesome first off living up to the high expectations I set for it. All I gotta say is this, If you like all-nighters this is for you because the plot is so amazing you can't put it down. From the amazing quality of the book's formatting, to the artwork inside and outside, and the amazing story line. I gotta give Gareth Powell credit thou for the amazing story he's weaved that will string you along every. single. plot. twist. Just read it if you really wanna know what I speak of. 

Rating
    5/5 When I get awards up this is totally winning Steampunk novel of the year. Hands down brethren. Yeah it had all the classic symptoms like steampunk airships, the brass goggles, etc but I've never seen a monkey and some weird other stuff thrown in. Well done Mr. Powell.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Splinter

Overview
      A surprsingly good space opera incorporating crazy religions (the Millennial Gnostics) and billions of innocent people caught up in the crossfire! Splinter is that crazy science fiction space opera you've wanted to read but couldn't find it in your local bookstore... until now.

Review
     Great. Just great. Crazy religions and the whole nine yards fully appealed to me. I mean it started off very well, then kinda dipped into a lull, then gave me a rush of excitement. The book was good for the plot story it offered. Either I wasn't the biggest fan of the plot story or it wasn't executed well enough is all up to you the reader, but the way Sherri Moorer wrote it was beautiful. Plain and simple. Didn't hurt it had a nice cover.

Rating
     4/5 Overall a nice read (bit long but worth it in the end) if you like space opera's/futurist science fiction with apocalyptic endings and crazy religions tied in. Doesn't hurt she's a Carolina girl!
http://www.sherrithewriter.com/2/post/2013/10/life-as-inspiration.html

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Windows 8.1 //Lloyd's POV



     There are many obvious changes that are good in Microsoft's Windows 8.1. Some things, like the pin new apps to the start screen by default is gone though. For some reason, my start screen apps don't close after I close them because task manager still shows them open. To prove it, when I click on the app again after being closed, it opens up like it was still open, say like IE or news goes to the exact page I was on instead of the home.
     Definite improvements can be seen on the UI. The customization and options reminds you again that Windows still let's you choose. The nice start button on the desktop is a nice touch and a signature thing for Windows. A great thing for those who favor cloud storage and access from anywhere will be pleased to see that SkyDrive is like a second storage drive and backs up documents and more. Overall, the Windows 8.1 update, that you can get from the store, has many good improvements including cloud storage, UI, and more options.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lars the Awkward Yeti book review

Overview
      Well this marks change. Change as in the first picture book I'm reviewing! Lars the Awkward Yeti is a popular webcomic that we interviewed the author of earlier. Now he decided to put his best artwork into an awesome book with a preview of an upcoming book!

Review
    Well I guess I can't comment on the story line, plot, or other things but I will say the picture quality was amazing. I showed it to a few friends one a science nerd and they were laughing at some of the puns and Lars's awkwardness. I really liked Lars as a character even though I have strong feelings about discrimination against comic book characters (they always getting into some kind of bad situation). The book felt expensive like it was done right. I'd go as far to say the caliber of a Big Nate or Diary Wimpy kid good.

Rating
    5/5 I felt no fault with it (except I wish there was more) especially since the artwork was so darn fancy. Like legit go to the back couple of pages and see the beautiful artwork! Anywho make a buy regardless of your taste in comic because you will find it appealing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Art Center new Surface blades ideas



     Windows 8.1, Surface 2.0, and now cool new Surface touch cover ideas (blades), with the help of the Art Center. Another busy year, and great concepts, in my opinion. Also, there is a chance that Microsoft could make this open to 3rd parties and developers. Anyway, great ideas and I hope that this will put them in the right direction.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interview with the creator of The Awkward Yeti Nick Seluk!

Overview
     Nick Seluk is an artist/illustrator/baller who is the designer of The Awkward Yeti webcomic featuring Lars the Awkward Yeti now available in print! The happy/proud owner of a Webcomic with 50,000 + likes on Facebook, 1,233 followers on Twitter, and various other strong social media presentations. Surprisingly the webcomic is actually FUNNY unlike some other people who make some really weird stuff that doesn't make sense and looks subpar.

Interview

Me: How long have you been doing artwork/illustrating?
Nick:  I've been drawing comics since I was a kid. I used to make full-length nonsensical comics with characters I had made up during middle school classes. Even in college when getting my degree in Psychology, I was doing freelance comics on the side for fun. I could never quite figure out how to make a living with it, but I have always loved doing it so it never really mattered.
Me: What was your inspiration/what got you started in comic book illustration?
Nick:  I have always had a fascination with comics since reading The Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes as a kid, and growing up during the golden age of the Simpsons. My grandpa was also a cartoonist - he did comics for the local school board, for his naval ship in WWII, and always incorporated his cartoons into greeting cards and letters to family and friends. 
Me:  What is your drawing process? As in do you have a certain soundtrack, routine, or does inspiration bless you randomly?
Nick: I find that I get my best ideas when I'm relaxed, unplugged, and things are quiet. Some of my most popular comics were thought up while taking a 15 minute break from technology in my backyard. When I get take my idea to the computer, I always have Pandora playing to keep me focused.
Me: Where did you get Lars the Awkward Yeti from?
Nick: . Lars was based on an acrylic painting I did several years ago. I tried my hand at the art scene quite unsuccessfully, but the painting of this awkward yeti always intrigued me. One day a friend and I were discussing it and I decided the yeti would be a unique subject for a children's book. I spent a few months developing a very simple children's book starring The Awkward Yeti, then made a Facebook page where I shared the book and a few of my old illustrations and The Awkward Yeti webcomic. What was originally intended for kids ended up being a character for all ages, but that's why the page still follows a "G-Rated" format now. 
Me: What are your thoughts on your recent Kickstarter? 
Nick:  The Kickstarter was a great experience. I was amazed by the support from family, friends and fans. Now that most rewards have been sent out, I look forward to seeing how I can use the new resources to grow awareness for The Awkward Yeti, and hopefully sell a few books at comic conventions and on amazon.com.

We'll you heard it from the illustrators mouth now it's time for you to (hopefully) support the man by buying the book or even just giving him a like on FB or follow on Twitter. All info is below. 
The Awkward Yeti
Facebook
@TheAwkwardYeti
Tumblr
Book on Amazon

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Super Born: Seduction of Being

Overview
      The B.I.B exists! A super hero born during halftime with special powers in Scranton, PA with well some other females rises to the occasion. Let's just say the book was filled with vivid scenes of what a super hero that is real and female would look like.

Review
     After an unnormally short overview I really wanted to just jump into the review. Let's just say the book will keep you hooked. Just that it's long. A looonnngg book. I expected to finish it in like two days but hey no worries right? Couple things was I really liked the tie in of the book and the real world (always like that). Second the main character the B.I.B felt so real to life besides her superpowers. I mean she well (spoiler!) almost dies because she got attacked by the mafia! Characters like that are really attractive to me because I hate people who are invincible. Couple things wasn't too happy bout 1) Vivid scenes and profanity, 2) Website wasn't the best looking 3) Book cover feels copy and paste. Cover picture is great just the rest brings it down for me.

Rating
 4/5 Good book that has a great storyline. It read a bit like a feminist novel so I was surprised a white man wrote it. Love the portrayal of women as superheroes and how well it was done.
http://www.amazon.com/Super-Born-Seduction-Keith-Kornell/dp/0982645201
https://www.facebook.com/SuperBorn
http://thebib.org/

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

American Alligator

Overview
     Fan of Swamp People? Really like or are intrigued by essential living dinos known as alligators? Then this a wonderful book for you. Filled with bunches of facts, observations, and things your probably don't know about an elusive but highly popularized species of reptile written in a way not to bore you like the book you read for your Doctorate thesis. Written by a retired biologist who spent 30 years in the outdoors seeing this fascinating subject of fame up close and personal.

Review
     As a fan of the uber popular Swamp People reality TV show on History channel and a cryptozoologist enthusiast this struck several chords inside of me. I highly enjoyed the way he told the story of the alligator in a way where it didn't feel like reading the boring section of the newspaper or a really boring bibliography. It felt to me like a feature article (i.e Rick Bragg) something with some flair but highly informational. Book was great if you don't get offended easily (i.e strong Creationist, Cryptozoologist, or take offense to any even if light to non criticism of Swamp People) even if you do it still makes its points.

Rating
     5/5 Loved the book and the vast amount of information involved. It really expanded what little I knew about the history of alligators. I really love zoology/paleontology plus Swamp People really expanded my love for the highly armored Apex predator so this just fed into something I already enjoyed. High Recommendation. If I had an award on the site I'd give it one. Or several.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Redemption

Overview
      I'm dead serious: someone somewhere needs to send me a crappy book so I don't look like a free 5 star giver. I don't know if I am too easy on books, am not critical enough, or I just somehow get excellent books all the time. Well Redemption (as seen on the beautiful cover) is the added tales of excellent classic characters Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Now older, better writers, and more mature they go from the Confederate army to different paths ultimately to meet up in Redemption, Colorado for 1 goal. Book sound amazing? Well probably because it is.

Review
     From the cover to the story the book was amazing. It flowed well, it read easily, and I loved the angle it came from. The book came alive, but felt more than a typical Western novel. It had a really good story to it and felt like a true Mark Twain story. It just felt so authentic I forgot Mark Twain has been dead a LONG time.

Rating
    5/5 Really loved the book and couldn't fine one thing wrong with it! I'm sorry people that I haven't been on some epic rant about why a book is bad because well authors are churning out great content.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Xbox One tech

Xbox One’s Powerful New Time-Of-Flight Sensing Camera

 


     I recently installed Visual Studio Pro for our robotics at school and one of the things we chose to add was the Kinect Software Development Kit (SDK). I have no clue if we will get to experiment with Kinect but we are very eager to try it out. I mean our class would have a hay-day figuring this thing out. It looks like it has the potential of also replacing our expensive and slow 3D scanner. With many features, this device is definitely on our wish list and to do list. Kinect would not only be educational, but also a fun way to experiment, problem solve, and even beef up on programming!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pepe

Overview
    Books this good usually don't show up on my radar. Yeah, I get a LOT of good books, but this was in a whole different category. It had a story I could associate with. A poor kid who didn't know his true identity suddenly is thrown into something he never would have imagined. Thankfully I'm not poor, I know my identity, but this premise is something you see happening all the time. Anywho the book itself was well formatted.

Review
     Well the book was flat out amazing. From the storyline, to the plot, to the characters, to the writing prose. The book was simply amazing. No more to really say. One thing I must say is the cover is much too busy for my likings. I mean if you want to use it as artwork it be great but a much more simpler cover be nicer something less sci fiey. Still I must admit the book was targeted for nerds/geeks/other people.

Ratings
   4/5 Excellent nerd sci fi totally deserving your money.
http://www.amazon.com/Pepe-Robby-Charters/dp/1461073553
http://www.robbycharters.co.uk/

New York on 41 Mega Pixels

     This video shows you the power of the 41 megapixel phone. Yes, this video was shot on a Nokia Lumia 1020 through 41 blocks of Manhattan.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nuclear bomb nearly exploded over NC in 1961

    

     You might be thinking, "what does this have to do with technology or books?" The incident was saved, thank goodness, to a low voltage switch that was the only thing between the US and a big catastrophe. It seems funny if you think about it, "how could we accidently nuke ourselves?" The story was from a declassified U.S. document published by a British newspaper.
     The incident happened in 1961 when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina, after a B-52 bomber broke up in midair, stated on MSN.  Because of the newer and more powerful technology, the explosion would have been 260 times more powerful than the device dropped on Hiroshima.
     According to MSN.com, when the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device and it was only the final, highly vulnerable switch that averted a disaster. In the document, Parker Jones, a senior engineer in the Sandia National Laboratories responsible for the mechanical safety of nuclear weapons, concluded that "one simple, dynamo-technology, low-voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe."
     The bomb behaved like a nuclear weapon in wartime with it's parachute and trigger mechanisms engaged. One hydrogen bomb fell into a field near Faro, N.C., and the other into a meadow. So all is well and let's pray that that does not happen again. You can read the story and watch the video on http://news.msn.com/us/nuclear-bomb-nearly-exploded-over-nc-in-1961-paper?ocid=ansnews11&stay=1

Microsoft back at New York Fashion Week

     I'm not much into fashion but here is a short documentary of New York fashion week and technology. Technology, fashion, pretty ladies, etc.

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