The Micro Reviews From Planet Procrastination: Escape from the Bloodthirsty Giraffe of the Hunger Games Nebula!!!

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Last time on The Micro Reviews From Planet Procrastination:

Our intrepid heroes inadvertently opened up a wormhole while journeying to the planet Neptune in the Solar System (so named by the “dominant” inhabitants of the third planet). Due to a badly planned mass nap, none of the crew discovered they were grossly off-course until the Lieutenant in charge (an incompetent but generally well-intentioned individual named Huh) awoke from his slumber to the sight of a huge blue planet, very unlike the frozen Neptune, looming in front of him.

Despite knowing his crew would not be pleased with him for falling asleep on the job and in doing so pressing the Create Wormhole controls, Huh wasted no time in awakening them by activating the ship-wide alert siren. Waking up suddenly from a good nap is not the most pleasant experience, and being woken up suddenly via a load siren trumps the plain sudden awakening in order of unpleasant experiences. As the standard alert siren for the Micro Reviews ship is the high-pitched, and impossible to ignore, shriek of Procrastination’s native Skreeeeeeet (a small animal similar to Earth’s bats, named in a onomatopoeic manner because its discoverers were too busy fleeing the awful noise with all six of their arms blocking their ears to come up with a more fitting one), the crew did not exactly wake up in good moods.

Commander Whatzat Distraction stomped down the corridors to the main control room, steam positively erupting from his three sets of ears (this may have been just a figurative expression of anger, but then again the siren could have been so piercing it heated his brain and caused some of it to reach a gaseous state and flee out the nearest exit. Most likely the former). He arrived to the already chaotic scene of several senior crew members, in various states of undress (and various very embarrassing sets of bed attire) talking all at once, and quite loudly at a cowering Lieutenant Huh. When the Commander finally got all the crew members to calm down (one of the first things one learns in Commander training) and heard the whole story from the stuttering mouth of Huh, he quickly decided that an irritating awakening was of no importance when ones ship is in an unknown section of the Universe, about to collide with a pretty intimidating, and very blue planet.

Showing a rare moment of decisiveness, Commander Distraction ordered the crew to ready the landing gear and scan the planet’s atmosphere and surface to see if it was suitable for an exploration team – in his expert opinion if they were going to crash-land on a strange planet anyway, they may as well land with style and investigate a little. An initial scan showed what Lieutenant Huh had first suspected – the blue planet was quite dead, and there were none of the basic requirements for sustaining life. The exploration team donned their survival suits and helmets and when the ship landed with barely a bump, disembarked. When the Chief Scientist, Doctor Flurry Waitawhile took a sample of the blue earth she discovered that it was in fact a fine dust of organic, and recently living, matter covering the surface of the planet which itself was hard, inorganic, and not very kind to her six feet. A spin through the Universal Microscopic Matter Machine (or UMMM) told her that the blue powder use to be a large cold-blooded life form (or several of them in fact) which were most likely the former inhabitants of the planet (this made her feel a bit uncomfortable and she sorely wished she could rush back onto the ship and wash her shoes).

As the team explored the surface further they started to ponder what could possibly wipe out the natives of an entire planet so seamlessly, because there was nothing as far as their collective eyes (four each) could see except the blue dust of the deceased and the sinister black trees. Doctor Waitawhile scanned one of the trees with the Handheld Material Matching Machine (HMMM) and found that whatever it was composed of wasn’t on their vast database. They certainly weren’t trees, living or otherwise as the make-up wasn’t close to any organic material, but it also wasn’t similar to any known minerals the Micro Reviews had encountered in their millenia of voyaging through the Universe.

It wasn’t until Assistant Geologist Ponder  noticed a gold glint on one of the “trees” branches that they had any clues to what had occurred there, and the clue was certainly not a happy one. Closer examination of the gold object showed that it was a tiny pin, the kind often seen attached to clothing for decorative, or bragging purposes (in the case of an awarded pin) which showed the simple design of a sleek bird flying through a hoop with an arrow held in its sharp beak. At the sight of the pin Chief Cultural Advisor Daydream McDillydally turned from his healthy natural shade of green to a pale, soupy grey. He recognised the pin as a key cultural symbol from the Earth craze “The Hunger Games” and if it indicated what he thought it did, then they were all in serious danger.

Quickly and breathlessly he told the rest of the team about The Hunger Games Nebula, a bizarre dust cloud located on the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy which had spontaneously appeared shortly after the Hunger Games fandom on Earth had been established. He had heard about the fascinating phenomenon from a colleague who had been studying it for several years. Apparently the cloud was formed from pure fan energy and was composed of hundreds of details from the books and subsequent films which the fandom embraced. Aliens from all over the Galaxy flocked to the Nebula as tourists, wishing to see the miracle, but this activity in turn attracted a deadly predator, a by-product of the fandom’s creation.

The predator was referred to only as the Bloodthirsty Giraffe because it somewhat resembled the tall, placid animals that dwell in Earth’s continent of Africa. The beast was said to be a terrifying thing that towered over many smaller ships, its long serpentine neck supporting a massive head filled with rows of dripping teeth. Personal accounts varied as not many who had encountered it survived, and those that did were too traumatized to give a clear description, but the repeating characteristics were its immense size, deadly jaw, anywhere from a dozen to a hundred legs that propelled it toward its victims, a set of black, fathomless eyes and the blood-curdling scream it emitted before attacking. McDillydally had heard that little could stop the beast in its rampage, it didn’t obey the basic laws of Physics for it was a creature formed from pure energy, and that when it ate its prey only a fine dust remained, adding to the famed Nebula.

The exploration team looked down at the blue film of dust covering the planet with new-found disgust and horror, and McDillydally began to sweat profusely, his wire spectacles slipping down his double nose. In a moment of unanimous terror the team forgot their exploration and hurriedly headed back towards the ship just as a bone-chilling scream sounded behind them…

And now for the reviews:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hungergames

A thrilling start to an amazing YA dystopian trilogy. Even though I had seen the film adaptation previously I was still hooked in the whole way through, and emotionally invested. Suzanne Collins has earned another fan girl!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Cover - Catching Fire

Wow. Even better than the first book with further character and plot development and insight into the different districts. I read it in 3 days and whenever I wasn’t reading it (like when I was at work) I wanted to get back to it as soon as possible. I can’t wait to see how they bring it to the big screen 😀

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

MOCKINGJAY-jacket

An action-packed and highly intense final installment to the trilogy. I shed a few tears at several points near the end, both out of sadness and joy and I gasped so many times its surprising that I didn’t pass out from excess oxygen O.O

Blood, Guts & Whiskey by Various

Blood, Guts and Whiskey

A fine collection of Neo-Noir short stories. Some were sad and tragic, others were bizarre and funny, and pretty much all of them included crime (usually of the bloody and organised variety) and alcohol so it certainly lived up to its name.

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

tears of the giraffe

Another lovely book in this very entertaining series. McCall Smith’s words drip with a deep love of Africa, its culture and its people and this instantly transports you there. I am completely in love with the clever and kind-hearted Mma Ramotswe, her hilariously uptight Secretary/assistant detective Mma Makutsi, and the sweet Mr J. L. B Matekoni and I am so glad there are many books in this series 🙂

So there you have it my splendiforous Bookbaggers – the second installment in the rebooted Micro Reviews Saga! Sorry this one’s a bit longer than the last – as the action continues I suspect that will happen more and more, but I’ll try to keep them relatively short for you – I know I don’t like to read giant slabs of text in a blog post! Also a special shout out to Vasiliki– I know I said it was less sinister than it seems, but then it just sort of turned (as stories do) and ended up MORE sinister…opps 😛 Hope you enjoyed it ‘tho!

As with the last installment, feel free to sound out your opinions or predictions in the comments, or in an email and as always:

Happy Reading!

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Notable Quotable #37

And for a moment she imagined that she saw a giraffe peering down through the trees, its strange, stilt-borne body camouflaged among the leaves; and its moist velvet cheeks and liquid eyes; and she thought of all the beauty that there was in Africa, and of the laughter, and the love.

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Notable Quotable #36

Just before she reached the Mochundi turnoff, where the road ambled down to the source of the Limpopo, the sun began to rise above the plains, and for a few minutes, the whole world was a pulsating yellow-gold – the kopjes, the panoply of treetops, last season’s dry grass beside the road, the very dust. The sun, a great red ball, seemed to hang above the horizon and then freed itself and floated up over Africa; the natural colours of the day returned, and Mma Ramotswe saw in the distance, the familiar roofs of her childhood, and the donkeys beside the road, and the horses dotted here and there among the trees.

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Notable Quotable #34

She did not like these chickens, for a number of very sound reasons. To begin with, there was something unprofessional about having chickens in a detective agency, and then, quite apart from that, the chickens themselves irritated her profoundly. It was always the same group of chickens: four hens and a dispirited and, she imagined, impotent rooster, who was kept on by the hens out of charity.

Top 10 Female Characters

1. The Hon. Phryne Fisher

Phryne Fisher Mysteries  by Kerry Greenwood

Phryne Fisher is an unflappable flapper in 1920’s Melbourne. She has a beautiful house with loyal attentive staff and a wardrobe of stunning dresses and pant suits. Oh, and she’s a private detective who drives fast and carries a well-concealed gun. I freakin’ love Phryne Fisher! She is such a witty and clever character and she somehow solves crime while looking fabulous and sleeping with an array of beautiful young men. If I could have the wardrobe of any book character it would be Phryne Fisher’s (with the figure to match :P), but besides that and her gorgeous home, she can keep her life – she encounters murder WAY too often! I have read the first 8 Phryne books and so far Kerry Greenwood has written 18, so I have plenty of Phryne fun ahead of me 😉

Even glamorous while taking tea

2. Corinna Chapman

Corinna Chapman Mysteries  by Kerry Greenwood

As I have said before Corinna Chapman is my kinda woman – a plus-size gal who enjoys a good muffin, G & T’s and cats. She also is a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer which gives us something else in common 🙂 I’m on the 3rd book now (Devil’s Food) and once again loving Corinna’s pop culture references and accidental detecting. There’s only 2 more books published 😦 but since Kerry Greenwood is a machine when it comes to churning out series, I’m sure there’ll be more 🙂

Corinna on the cover of the first book: Earthly Delights

3. Flavia de Luce

Flavia de Luce Mysteries by Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is the coolest 11-year-old I have ever read about! She is a budding chemist with a special passion for poisons and she spends most of her time day-dreaming about poisoning her two awful sisters (or performing practical jokes on them involving chemistry). In the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Flavia develops a new passion – detective work – when she discovers a corpse in the pumpkin patch. By the second book, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Flavia is quite confident in her detective skills as she rides about town on her trusty bike, Gladys, looking for clues. The novel’s are set in the 1950’s in the English countryside and it is this setting that makes Flavia’s character all the more wickedly funny. She definitely isn’t the typical good little English girl, and that’s why I love her! I look forward to reading the new book, A Red Herring Without Mustard and the upcoming I Am Half-Sick of Shadows.

Flavia on trusty Gladys

4. Sally Lockhart

Sally Lockhart Mysteries by Philip Pullman

Another female detective! Sally Lockhart is another woman who doesn’t fit the mold of her time. Even before her detective work she worked as a Financial Consultant, which is thought to be a job not befitting a Victorian lady, but Sally isn’t an ordinary Victorian lady. She uses her good looks and the fact that she’s an innocent-looking 16-year-old girl to find out things that would be impossible were she a full-grown man, and she does so with her trusty pistol close at hand. I’ve loved Sally’s spunk in the first two books: The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, and I look forward to more adventures in The Tiger in the Well and The Tin Princess.

Billie Piper as Sally in the tv adaptation

5. Sookie Stackhouse

The Sookie Stackhouse Series/Southern Vampire Mysteries  by Charlaine Harris

Regular readers probably saw this one coming! Sookie is a great character both in the books and in True Blood, but mostly in the books. She is a great mix of sweet Southern belle and kick-ass vampire/were-loving part-faerie telepath. She has a hilarious inner monologue, and while she makes some stupid mistakes, mostly she’s quite smart and strong. If you read my recent post you will know that I’m nearing the end of the Sookie Stackhouse series, but once I’ve finished all the current books I will wait patiently for more 🙂 plus I always have the 3rd season of True Blood and seasons after 😛

Not your average waitress

6. Valkyrie Cain (AKA Stephanie Edgley, Darquesse)

Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy 

Valkyrie Cain is the kick-ass partner of skeleton detective Skulduggery Pleasant. She is an Elemental (which means she can throw fire, control air to lift herself and other neat stuff) and since the 4th book (Dark Days) she is also a Necromancer and stores shadow power in a ring. Her real name is Stephanie Edgley but she had to take another name when working with Skulduggery so that her name wasn’t used to control her, and she chose Valkyrie Cain. Darquesse is her “True Name” and has only been known to her in the last two books. That’s plenty to make her one of my fave female characters, but I also love the back and forth she had with Skulduggery (or any one else that takes her on) and pretty much everything else about her 🙂 Basically, she rocks.

A kick-ass fire-throwin' gal 🙂

7. Mma Precious Ramotswe

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall-Smith

I’ve only read the first book or this series (which has the same title as the series) but even from that (and I have to admit from the wonderful tv adaptation) I have grown fond of Precious Ramotswe. She is bright and vibrant and larger than life, and she always seems to make solving mysteries look like a piece of cake. I also love how she’s so tricksty when it comes to making criminals spill their guts – it makes me laugh every time! There is currently 12 books in the series with a 13th to come, so I’m sure as I go on I’ll love her more and more.

I think the cartoon her is so cute!

8. Anna

Mister God This is Anna  by Fynn

I’ve already gushed enough over this book in a review and my Top 10 books of all time post so I won’t do it again, but I’ll just say that Anna has to be in this top 10 because she’s such a special, memorable character. I recently found out that there are 2 other books in the Anna Biographies when I didn’t even know it was part of a series! So I will be finding Anna’s Book, and Anna and the Black Knight and will most likely fall in love with her even more. I wish I knew an Anna 🙂

So cute!!!

9. Sophie Hatter

Howl’s Castle Series  by Diana Wynne Jones

Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle (as well as the sequels Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways) is a hilariously feisty character that had me laughing out loud many times. I loved the  Hayao Miyazaki animated movie Howl’s Moving Castle but until I saw it in the library I didn’t even know it was based on a book. If you’ve seen the film and thought Sophie was a riot then you must read the book, because she is even funnier on paper and it is such a magical story. She isn’t in Castle in the Air much til the end but every moment that she is, is gold! I haven’t gotten to House of Many Ways yet, but it is in one of my piles so I hope to get to it soon 🙂

Sophie as she looks in the film (before the spell)

10. Luna Lovegood

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling 

Ever since “Loony Lovegood” popped up in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix I’ve thought she was the bees knees! Luna is just so wonderfully weird and a space cadet (which I identify with) and she has come out with some classic lines. I also like her odd accesories such as the butterbeer cork necklace, dirigible plum (radish) earrings, and the Spectrespecs.

Loony is awesome 🙂

Journeys to Botswana, Ga’Hoole and the Lands of the Idlewild

Morality For Beautiful Girls By Alexander McCall Smith

 Last week a received a couple of books in the mail that I had been anticipating for a while. I discovered that when I’m on holiday and expecting something in the mail, I get quite aggravated with the letterbox. If out all day, I simply come home one day and find a parcel, which is an awesome way to end a long day 🙂 but when I have a lot of time on my hands, it seems like parcel day will never come 😦 

The first one I received was Morality for Beautiful Girls, the third in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. This particular book was more exciting for my mum than it was for me, because I’m only up to the second book, Tears of the Giraffe and mum was aching to read the next book.

The next one I received I was more excited about: Guardians Of Ga’hoole Book Two : The Journey By Kathryn Lasky.

Guardians Of Ga'hoole Book Two : The Journey By Kathryn Lasky

The Journey is the second book in the Guardians of Ga’hoole series by Kathryn Lasky. They’re meant to be for kids, but I never let that stop me – especially when owls are involved 😀 I read the first book in this series earlier in the year and absolutely loved it, so I’m excited to read more owl-ish adventures 😉

And thirdly, when I finished Digital Fortress I reached for the final two books on the “from my bro” pile and after a quick eeny meeny miney moe I had a new book to read:

Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two : Lamplighter By D.M. Cornish

the second Monster Blood Tattoo book, Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish. My brother was excited by this because he has been bugging me to get onto the second book since I gave him the third book for Christmas.

 
Looks like I have lots of journeys in front of me 🙂