Queen & Country Vol. 1: Operation: Broken Ground by Greg Rucka

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in 2014, 4 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Greg Rucka, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Queen & Country Vol. 1: Operation: Broken Ground by Greg Rucka

Queen & Country Vol. 1: Operation: Broken Ground by Greg Rucka with art by Steve Rolston

Genre: Spy Thriller, Graphic Novel
Series: #1 in the Queen & Country Series
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Short Version:
This is the first in a spy thriller series featuring a tough but troubled female protagonist.

Why I Read It:
I really enjoyed Stumptown by Greg Rucka and have heard good things about this series.

The Book:
From the publisher:

As part of the Special Section of Britain’s Ministry of Intelligence, Tara Chace is one of a handful of operatives they call when they need to clean up a mess, or to make a new one. It’s certainly a world of questionable morals. For instance, is it better to assassinate a general in the Russian mafia, to take his life, rather than allow him to peddle more guns and drugs in underprivileged countries? Tara’s bosses seem to think so. But the Russian mafia ask their own questions–once someone has taken the life of one of their officers, can they continue to let that person live? Greg Rucka peels back the lid on the traditional espionage story to reveal the nastiness inside, and Steve Rolston brings it to life with stunning clarity.

My Thoughts:
One of the things I liked about Stumptown by Rucka was the strong but damaged female protagonist. In Queen & Country he gives us another similar character in Tara Chace.

This is post cold war (but pre-9/11 in this volume) spy stuff and it’s good. Tara is one of a team but the story revolves around her in this volume. She starts out with a successful sniper attack followed by a mostly successful getaway. Things turn ugly when she becomes a target and the bounty on her head brings an attack to the London Headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).

Tara’s teammates and bosses are an interesting bunch and the cast includes connections with MI5 and the CIA. This is not glamorous Ian Fleming spy adventures. These people have tough jobs that challenge their ethics and it’s hard on them.

Steve Rolston’s art is pretty stark black and white drawings. It’s very spare but manages to convey a lot of emotion. It’s a good compliment to Rucka’s story.

I will definitely be continuing with the series. If you like espionage stories I highly recommend it.

 

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Nutshell Review – Audiobook – How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Cressida Cowell, David Tennant, Uncategorized | 0 comments

How to Be Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, Narrated by David Tennant

HowToSpeakDragonese

Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy
Series: #3 in the How to Train Your Dragon series
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2006 for the book, 2013 for this audio edition
Length: 3 hours, 12 minutes
Read by: David Tennant
Source: Library


The Book:

From the author’s website:

Climbing on to a Roman Dragon Rustling ship by mistake in your first ‘Boarding an Enemy Ship’ lesson is bad enough. But to then discover that Alvin the Treacherous is also on board proves to Hiccup he couldn’t have been more wrong, especially when he steals his copy of How to Speak Dragonese. Can Hiccup save the dragons and the day?

My Thoughts:
This series is making fabulous road trip listening for us. I’m often hesitant to start an audiobook on a shorter trip because we end up having to finish listening to it separately. These are shorter and just keep us giggling no matter how bad the traffic.

David Tennant does an amazing job with the narration. You can almost hear a slight smirk in his voice. The character voices are fun and fit the wacky names in the book.

This time the story involves Roman soldiers, kidnapped heirs, a blood feud between the Hairy Hooligans and the Bog-Burglars. Hiccup gets some help from fun new allies who I hope show up again in future books.

Let your inner 8 year old have fun and listen to this series.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

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Take a look at the new decor!!

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Blogging/Reading, Uncategorized | 12 comments

I’m back and things look different around here. There are still a few tweaks that need to be done but I couldn’t wait to show off the new design.

Thanks to the wonderful Kayleen at Booyah Creative my blog has a beautiful new look and a new home.

When I decided to make the change from Blogger to Self-Hosted WordPress I knew that I could probably do it myself but it would me much less stressful to turn the project over to someone with experience. Thanks to the recommendation from Michelle at That’s What She Read I contacted Booyah Creative about the migration and while I was at it a whole new design.

I am so happy with what Kayleen has done. She was able to take my photograph from our January weekend at the Oregon Coast and use it as inspiration for my blog design. I love how she used the colors of the chairs in the photo as the theme.

Now the work begins for me. I have to get comfortable using WordPress after years of using blogger. There are some older posts that need some editing and cleanup but that’s minor.

Hope you like the new look!

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Changes are in the works

Posted by on Sep 13, 2014 in Blogging/Reading | 1 comment

On Sunday the 14th the migration process to move this blog from Blogger to WordPress.org will begin.

I’ll be back on Monday with a whole new look

I’m excited about the change and can’t wait for you to see the new design.

You may experience some issues with the blog until the migration is complete. If this happens please come back on Monday.

In the meantime any comments left after this post might not make it over to the new blog so you might want to come back later to leave a comment.

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Weekend Update – The Prosciutto Pasta Edition

Posted by on Sep 13, 2014 in Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 7 comments

3a915-weekendupdate

This pasta dish has it’s origins in a Sunset cookbook I picked up at Powell’s probably 20 years ago. It appears to be out of print but there are used copies out there.

Fresh Ways With Pasta includes a recipe called Linguine with Prosciutto and Olives. I’m not sure what ever prompted us to try this dish because it just seemed like such a weird combination but it quickly became a favorite of ours.

The recipe as in the book is included at the bottom of this post

Over the years we have modified this mostly by increasing the amount of toppings. We also use dried pasta. A bit more of each ingredient than the recipe originally called for makes for a better balance. We have also discovered that the leftovers reheat well in the microwave so making more than we can finish in one meal is not a problem at all.

Start with Pasta, Green Onions, Prosciutto, Pimento Stuffed Green Olives, and Cherry Tomatoes.
(as always – click on the images for a larger version)

A note on the prosciutto: Have the meat department slice it a bit thicker than they normally slice prosciutto. You’re going to chop it up and give a quick sauté and if it’s too thin it’ll just disintegrate.

Chop up the prosciutto, onions and cherry tomatoes. Drain the olives.

Heat up some olive oil and sauté the prosciutto for just a little bit. Add the onions and keep stirring.

When the onions have softened up a bit toss in the olives.

This will take a few minutes to heat them up. I wait until The Hubster is draining the pasta to add the cherry tomatoes. They only take a little bit of warming up and then it’s time to pour the toppings on the pasta.

Add Parmesan or my preference which is a blend of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago that my local market carries.

We usually have a Grenache or Pinot Noir Rose with this dinner.

Edenvale Grenache and Matello Pinot Noir Rose

Here’s the original recipe which in my opinion doesn’t have enough of any of the toppings. It’s kind of weird but so yummy.

Linguine with Prosciutto and Olives, Courtesy: “Fresh Ways with Pasta”

The fragrance and sweet-salty flavor of prosciutto permeate this dish and mingles with the stuffed olives, linguine and bright cherry tomatoes.

Ingredients:
8 ounces dry linguine (or one package 9 ounces fresh linguine)
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (including tops)
1 (3 ounce) jar pimento stuffed olives, drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a 5 to 6-quart pan, cook linguine in 3 quarts boiling water until al dente (8 to 10 minutes for dry pasta, 1 to 2 minutes for fresh pasta), or cook according to package directions.
Drain well and transfer to a warm serving bowl.
While linguine is cooking, heat oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring often until lightly browned (about 3-4 minutes).
Add onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften (about 2 minutes).
Add olives and tomatoes and cook, shaking pan often, until olives are hot (about 2 more minutes).
Pour prosciutto mixture over linguine and mix lightly using two forks.
Transfer to a warm serving bowl.
Sprinkle cheese on top to taste.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

 

Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Nutshell Review:Fables Vol. 11: War and Pieces by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014 in 2014, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Mark Buckingham | 0 comments

 

Fables Vol. 11: War and Pieces by Bill Willingham

Fables Vol. 11: War and Pieces by Bill Willingham et al

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Series: #11 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 201
Source: Library

 

The Book:
This volume 11 is a compilation of issues 70-75 of the comic series.

From the back cover:

Fables Attack
The final battle between the free Fables of the mundane world and the Empire occupying their former Homelands is about to begin, and the scrappy storybook heroes have already managed to even the odds considerably. With his previously unstoppable wooden soldiers neutralized, the Adversary is about to get his first taste of high technology in the form of steel-jacketed bullets and laser-guided bombs. But the ruler who conquered a hundred different worlds didn’t do it by fighting clean—and he’s still got a surprise or two left to spring on the residents of Fabletown.

My Thoughts:
Every time I think I have read my favorite of the Fables series I pick up the next one and change my mind.

This time around the war with the Adversary finally happens but not before a couple of side stories. First Boy Blue is finally ready to tell Rose Red how he really feels but has he been in the Friend Zone too long?

Next is a fun espionage tale starring my favorite spy, Cinderella. When you need a spy, Cinderella is the one you want to hire,

The rest of the the volume is the multi-part story of the final epic battle between the free Fables and the Adversary and his forces. It’s surprising, thrilling, and even amusing. The panel layout in the climactic scenes is multiple brightly colored vertical panels that are perfect for increasing the tension and immediacy as the action speeds up to the final moments on several battle fronts at the same time.

As the epilogue fills in the story amid the aftermath there are surprises and hints that despite the downfall of the Adversary things are not going to be smooth sailing in the Fables world.

If you haven’t started this series you should.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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