Lens Artists Photo Challenge #38 – Weathered or Worn

Ballcarbery Castle was once the home of the McCarthy family, built around the 15th/16th century.  Now it is being reclaimed by nature, exposed to the weather as well as some tourists and cows.

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It was my favorite of all the ruins we visited in Ireland.  Around every corner there was some new beauty.

Apparently you cannot get this close to the castle anymore, but it is still worth a trip to Cahersiveen in County Kerry to see it.

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You can find more weathered and worn things at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

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Higher Further Faster, baby

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Here’s my Captain Marvel review, only slightly late.  My brief, spoiler-free assessment: it was a solid movie, but slightly disappointing to my high expectations.  I would put it in the middle of the MCU in terms of quality, around Doctor Strange or Ant-Man.  Captain Marvel as a character was pretty satisfying, but some of the execution of the movie was lacking.

More details and spoilers below! Continue reading

Saying Goodbye

Last week my kitty got sick quite suddenly and passed away, so it’s been a pretty rough time for our family.  Even if you guys didn’t know it, Jolee was instrumental to my blog because he always curled up next to me to keep me company when I was writing or reading.

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We named him Jolee because he was a mix of black and white, therefore grey, and therefore reminded us of the grey Jedi Jolee Bindo from Knights of the Old Republic.

He turned out to be a grouchy busybody, just like the KOTOR character. 😀  He really liked to cause trouble and once jumped into the Christmas tree.  (He never tried it again. It was a very wet, prickly tree.)

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His favorite toy was BB-8.

Yet he was so patient with our one-year-old son, and he always slept with me when my husband was on business trips.  He kept me company for hours upon hours as I played video games, worked on my novels during NaNoWriMo, blogged, read, or napped.  He had the softest, silkiest fur ever.

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Cats are weird.

Jolee was with our family for nearly six years.  It wasn’t nearly enough.  We miss him every day, even just when we walk in the door and he’s not there to greet us.

Helper cats.

Thank you for adopting us as your family, Jolee. We love you always.

 

Taking Flight with Captain Marvel

I haven’t had a chance to see the Captain Marvel movie yet, but you can bet I will. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on the comic on which it’s based. The 2012 run of Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick was my first superhero comic.

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cptmarvel1Captain Marvel doesn’t really seem like the hand-holding type.  She’s sassy, not too patient, and when she gets upset, she just wants to hit something.

Yet somehow she was the one beside me, coaxing me as I took my first step into a larger world.  Because I finally read my first real superhero comic, and it was Kelly Sue Deconnick’s 2012 Captain Marvel series.

I know plenty about superheroes, because I’ve watched a lot of DC and Marvel animated series.  That’s actually how I first heard of Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel: I knew that somehow she was responsible for Rogue’s powers of flight and super-strength in the 90s X-men cartoon.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the rise of comic-book movies to the mainstream in recent years, but now I’m thinking that if I enjoy them so much, maybe I should actually, you know, read comic books?

I do read plenty…

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It’s National Book Review Month!

Several years ago, SUNY Geneseo created National Book Review Month to “give readers an outlet to bring lesser known works to the forefront.”  This year, NaRMo falls in March, so if you’ve read a book recently (of any genre, including “including children’s books, drama, non-fiction fiction and poetry”), you can go to the NaRMo website and submit a review for publication there.  The only real rule is that the review must be between 100 and 1,000 words, though the website does have some great tips for crafting a review.

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Although I’m not a book blogger per se, I’ve been talking about books since the very beginning of this blog seven years ago.  To my mind, there are three main reasons I write reviews of books.

First, to help other readers.  This seems pretty obvious.  Reviews can help people decide whether they want to read a book or not, which is especially useful when they are going to be spending their hard-earned money on it by buying it.  I personally like to read the 2 star reviews of books on Amazon, because those tend to have more specific, useful critiques than the one- or five-star reviews.

Second, to help the authors.  Many independently published authors depend on reviews on blogs as well sites like Goodreads and Amazon to entice new readers.  When a book only has a dozen or so reviews, every one counts.  So every time I read something by an indie author (often one of my blogger friends), I make sure to review it somewhere to give them some free publicity.

Last, to help me.  Part of the reason I started this blog was to have a space for my thoughts on books and other media.  Reviews are sometimes a way for me to process what I read, as well as an outlet for me to share my thoughts.  Like an internet-wide book club or something.  I do try to avoid spoilers in my reviews, but sometimes I dive a little further into analysis than a proper review does.  I also like to do brief reviews when I don’t have too much to say about a book.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about reviewing books over seven years.  I can’t even claim that I’m good at it now, and I’m certainly still learning.  Here are a few things I’ve picked up since that first review.

  • Give a picture of the book cover.  Not only does it give your post some visual interest, but it also helps people remember the book better if they come across it again.  Of course I prefer to take a pic of my own copy if possible, but most of the time I just end up using an image of the cover art.
  • A short summary is helpful to give some context of the book.  I’ve been using snippets from Goodreads summaries recently (with attribution of course).
  • I like to review both books that I know many people have read (so I can have a discussion) and also some that I know will be new to readers (so I can convince them all to read it, and then have a discussion).  I also tend to stick to the sci-fi/fantasy genres here on the blog, though I do go outside that occasionally for a special book.
  • For trilogies or series, I will often write only one review for the whole thing (though I often focus on the first book, which helps avoid spoilers).  Since I’m not a book blogger with ARCs or anything, my reviews aren’t usually about current releases, and I’m not sure that anyone wants to read a review of just the third book of a trilogy from five years ago or something.  If you haven’t read the first two already, what’s the point?  And if you have read the first two, but not the third, by now, well, that seems weird, too.

Okay, I’ve babbled long enough.  Do you guys enjoy writing book reviews?  Will you participate in NaRMo this year?  I’m going to try to post a review for NaRMo next week, as I’ve read several books recently.  Have you guys enjoyed reading my reviews?  Even better, have you read any books because I recommended them??