Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books

N is for Nerds! #AtoZ Challenge



N is for NERDS!


NERDS unite! It stands for  NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society

Combining all the excitement of international espionage and all the awkwardness of elementary school, NERDS, featuring a group of unpopular students who run a spy network from inside their school, hits the mark. With the help of cutting-edge science, their nerdy qualities are enhanced and transformed into incredible abilities! They battle the Hyena, a former junior beauty pageant contestant turned assassin, and an array of James Bond–style villains, each with an evil plan more diabolical and more ridiculous than the last.

Doesn’t this sound like so much fun? I’m so glad it’s now cool to be a nerd!  Let’s see what else I have for you; hmmmmm….

How about


Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective

You might remember I met the author, Octavia Spenser, at BEA and then I reviewed her book, which I LOVED! Here’s the link to the review.

YAY for NERDS and Ninjas! What could be better?

Books Feature Friday Young Adult

Robert Beck discusses Envisioning a Protagonist

Here’s my friend FunBobby discussing how authors do what they do.

In 1971 when I was twelve years old, I saw “Goldfinger” on television for the first time. This movie instantly captivated me! I loved a villain, Auric Goldfinger, who had the audacity to attempt to break in and enter what at that time was the most heavily guarded institution on earth—Fort Knox! I loved the villain’s bodyguard, Odd Job—a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut! I loved all the cool gadgets and ultra cool car that James Bond drove. Most of all however, I loved the character of James Bond himself! Here was a handsome, dashing hero who could do no wrong. I went to bed that night imagining I was him.

dawn of the knightThat same year I saw another movie on television titled, “Our Man Flint.” Derek Flint was the American equivalent of England’s James Bond and America, not to be outdone by the British, made their hero even cooler! Not only was he both handsome and dashing, he also had a superior intellect with an encyclopedia mind and he fought using a very cool martial art style! Much cooler than James Bond’s simple fisticuffs!

Finally, and around the same time, I began watching reruns of a 1960’s Western/action/spy series titled, “The Wild, Wild West.” James West as portrayed by the actor Robert Conrad was a secret service agent in the employ of President Grant. He was heroic, dashing, fought using a martial art style, and was extremely handsome. I used to go to bed at night imagining whole stories where I was the best of all three of these characters.

In my late teens and early twenties I happened upon a 1960’s young adult action series titled, “Chris Cool: Teen Agent” by Jack Lancer. In the series Chris Cool is an eighteen year old secret agent/operative in the employ of a secret US government agency. The series only lasted six books and after reading them, I decided that if I ever were to write a book, it would be about a teenage operative type character.

Jump forward to this present day. Three years ago I decided to finally write my book/series and this is how I came up with the character of Lance Rock. His named, rugged and tough sounding would be the exact same name of a boy I actually grew up with! When I was younger I thought that was the coolest name any boy could have and I was quite jealous of my friend Lance. My character Lance would be raised and trained by the US government’s former top covert operative. Think Jason Bourne now retired, taking a young boy under his wing and then teaching that same young boy, Lance Rock, everything he knows for twelve straight years! My character Lance would be handsome—incorporating the best looks from my favorite spy characters. He would also be muscular, having been trained in several different martial art styles for many years. Finally, he would have an IQ bordering on genius level. I had created the ultimate teenage hero.

I stepped back to gaze upon my creation and it dawned on me that while I had created a “perfect” spy-type teenage hero, I had also made him boring. A literary character with all those traits (although feasible and possible) would be boring to read about. Lance could do almost anything and I needed him to have flaws to make him “human” and “believable.” As you read through the story you will discover his weaknesses and flaws. He is prone to pride, recklessness, brashness, nosiness, insecurity around girls, and other traits, (both positive and negative) that illuminate his humanness. However, he is willing to admit his mistakes when confronted about them by others and his conscience! Being a teenage boy I have him battling his hormones throughout the story as he struggles to be in the presence of two exceptionally beautiful girls. Lance is a flawed character with exceptional skills and abilities, but I guarantee you’ll find yourself rooting for him as he battles evil in all its monstrous forms!

Coincidentally, I too, dreamed of being James Bond.  Only at the time when I was a girl, there were few powerful female characters, unless of course, you count Nancy Drew, whom I love, but it’s just not the same.  The young man FunBobby is talking about from the book Dawn of the Knight.  Here’ s preview:

In this thrilling and suspenseful action/romance novel, a fatherless Canadian high school boy, Lance Rock, has been raised and trained by the United States government’s former top operative. For his senior year, Lance decides to travel to California in the hope of finding a girlfriend as well as freedom from his regimented life. Once there, he inadvertently ends up in the home of a mother and her two teenage daughters. He is forced to use his skills to defend them and himself from the woman’s ex-husband—a crime lord who has been terrorizing the family for over a decade!

Sounds great, huh?  Download it here: Oh and Funbobby? Maybe the next book can have a gun toting, coffee drinking, librarian/crime fighter?





The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – My Thoughts

I don’t normally do this sort of review but I have so many thoughts on this I needed to share.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarsonIf you have a jaded view of the world and believe that most people are inherently evil and the world is full of misogynistic child abusers then The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a must see movie.  I read the book several years ago while on vacation in Aruba.  To be sure, this is not a vacation read.  I was disgusted and angry but invested in the characters so I could not put the book down (in my mind that is what makes a successful read).  When I finished reading the book I vowed that I would never read another one of Stieg Larssons’ books.  I gave the book away with a caveat about how violently misogynistic it was.  When I discovered the author died I understood: anyone who has this much vile garbage inside of them was not a healthy individual.

When the movie came out, however, I was intrigued.  NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” gave it a good review and my interest piqued.  The trailer looked interesting and the more reviews I read the more I needed to know.  I battled with my psyche because I knew the violence would upset me and I was afraid I’d walk out of the movie, something I’ve only done once or twice (The cook, the something and her lover).

So.  There are no spoilers in this review, however, be advised that if you have not read the book, you may be disgusted on many many levels.  James Bond’s Daniel Craig is not very believable as a middle aged journalist (except the middle aged part) but Rooney Mara is exceptional. Her accent sounds spot on and she embodies the character that I envisioned in my head while reading the book.  Craig’s accent, not so much.  He is pretty, though.  The movie is long and at least one storyline was not followed through and was kind of muddled, but since the movie was already over 2 hours, you can understand why.  They could have eliminated a sex scene or two to allow for storyline completion.

The movie holds true to the spirit of the book. Thanks to Hollywood, the violence is not as bad as in the book (as I remember), but it is still unnecessarily graphic.  Yes there is sex in the movie and while it’s not gratuitous, the violence is.  If you do not like violence then this is not a movie you will enjoy.  It is violent against women, children, Jewish people, and animals.  It certainly makes Swedish people look bad, but then again, if you believe all people are inherently evil then you are not surprised.

Did I mention that the movie seemed to be marketed to a younger set, with the loud screaming music and the slick opening credits, but the theater was full of middle aged people like me?  What’s that about?

I feel like I need a trepanning to empty the visuals from the movie out of my head so I can rest. Maybe a cuppa coffee will help.

I give it three paws.



Have you seen it? What are your thoughts?