Review: Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Martin

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan: Book CoverSuper Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan

            • Pub. Date: August 2011
            • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
            • Format: Hardcover , 304pp
            • Sales Rank: 120,838
The story of Nintendo’s rise and the beloved icon who made it possible.

Nintendo has continually set the standard for video-game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape.

The saga of Mario, the portly plumber who became the most successful franchise in the history of gaming, has plot twists worthy of a video game. Jeff Ryan shares the story of how this quintessentially Japanese company found success in the American market. Lawsuits, Hollywood, die- hard fans, and face-offs with Sony and Microsoft are all part of the drama.

Find out about:

• Mario’s eccentric yet brilliant creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, who was tapped for the job because was considered expendable.

• Minoru Arakawa, the son-in-law of Nintendo’s imperious president, who bumbled his way to success. 
• The unexpected approach that allowed Nintendo to reinvent itself as the gaming system for the non-gamer, especially now with the Wii Even those who can’t tell a Koopa from a Goomba will find this a fascinating story of striving, comeuppance, and redemption.

David’s Thoughts:

The Super Mario Bros. franchise is by far the most popular video game franchise with over 240 million games sold. So how did Nintendo, originally a trading card company, create a best-selling game about a plumber? In this book, the author, Jeff Ryan, walks the reader through each stage of Nintendo’s development of Mario, from arcade games to the Wii console. He talks about the decisions made by Nintendo while creating each new game, and how competing companies responded.

As an avid video gamer, I found this to be an interesting and fun read. There are lots of “Wow! Really?”, facts about the video game industry. The writing is clear and easy to read. There’s very little techno-babble or corporate legal discussion that would put off a casual reader. The only problem I had with this book is that the other seems to be too big a fan of Nintendo and readily put down other companies. While I understand that he wouldn’t have written the book if he was a fan, I was looking for a bit more impartiality.

Overall, a good read that highlights not only the video game industry, but says a lot about what people, as a culture, look for in our entertainment.

David’s Rating:


3 Penguins – would give 3.5 if there were half a penguin

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Review: Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Smokin' Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum NovelDetails:  Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

  • Pub. Date: June 2011
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Format: Hardcover , 320pp
  • Sales Rank: 18
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. 
Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.
Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.
With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.
The hardcover edition of Smokin’ Seventeen contains two smokin’ hot stickers inside!
My Thoughts:
As always, Stephanie finds herself in an odd situation at the beginning of book 17 in the Stephanie Plum Series.  At the end of the last book, we found the bail bond building destroyed and now bodies are showing up in what remains of the grounds.  She also finds herself face with another set up from her mother and tracking down a man who thinks he is a vampire.  Don’t worry there are plenty of appearances by both Ranger and Morelli.  
This series has always made me laugh out loud the situations that Stephanie finds herself are crazy and just down right funny.  I will say that for me this book was not as funny as some of the previous.  Okay, I take that back the 2nd half of the book was not as funny.  I know that it must be very difficult to keep the same level of banter between family members and situations going through such a long series.  My favorite part of ever book is wondering when Ranger is going to show up out of the blue with all of his hotness!  This man is almost too much for me.  I love the bad body.  Don’t get me wrong Morelli and his dog are nice too but I love the mystery that is Ranger.  And as always some awesome car end up being destroyed when Ranger lends them to Stephanie because as always something happens to hers.  
I have been waiting for a “vampire” to show up in one of these novels and I think that Janet Evanovich did a great job creating a way to bring this popular culture into The Plum Series.  
I was a bit frustrated with this story because it just seemed so predictable from the very beginning but I know that I know this author writing style well and what comes with that is knowing where the story will head.  
All in all, this was worth the read and I will be waiting for the next one to come out.  
My Rating:
3 and 1/2 Penguins.  Good story but could have been a bit stronger in my opinion with more mystery
*I purchased this book.  All opinions are my own.

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Diversion Press Celebrates their 3rd Anniversary: Blog Stop: I Can Make-out With Any Girl Here

About Diversion Press:

Diversion Press has been in business since 2008.  We are a small publisher looking for quality books.  We are a traditional publisher and DO NOT accept pay from authors to publish their works. We review all proposals, approximately 125 per month, and select books that seem to have the best fit with our goals and interests. Currently we have published 15 books ranging from children’s, young adult, history, non-fiction, and poetry. We are always happy to hear from authors and customers, and bloggers and reviewers.

Our Mission Statement:

We will maintain high standards in the books that we publish to ensure that our readers receive a quality product and that our authors and press are respected for their efforts. 

I Can Make Out with Any Girl HereI Can Make Out With Any Girl Here
By:  Ryan Nemeth 
Yellow Snow Books, an imprint of Diversion Press 
Fiction, Humor 
Distributed by Ingram and returnable 
ISBN:  978-1-935290-03-2 
Paper, 188 pages 
Release Date:  November 15, 2010

Blurb From Diversion Press:

Donny Blake spends his first semester as a college student at Kulhman University doing the 
typical college student activities–partying, picking up girls, studying, and trying to avoid Ugly 
Jen. When the bank starts giving Donny free money and his French teacher expresses interest in 
him, Donny comes to the realization “I can make out with any girl here”. Will it all far apart 
when ants move into Donny’s room and stolen fetal pigs attract the administration’s attention or 
will he make it through his first semester of college? Find out through diary entries, text 
messages, e-mails, and police reports. I Can Make Out with Any Girl Here–the story of Donny 
Blake’s first semester at Kulhman University. A must read for all students about to enter college, 
college freshman, current college students, or those just wanting to remember what it was like.

My Take:

This was a very funny if not exaggerated take on a college student’s first semester on campus away from the rules and regulations of parents.  The book is written as somewhat like a journal – at least for most of the book there are a few newspaper articles and transcripts from various events.  It touches on everything from making new friends (or not), to relationships, money management, and just getting into trouble that you never would expect.  I used this book as my teaser for teaser Tuesday this week and was amused at the hypothesis people had for what was going on in the book.  I did not share that it was a humorous story so it got to be very interesting. Overall, I think that the book was funny but is probably better suited for a man looking back at his college days instead of a women reading it.  The connections to how the character feels would be easier for a man to understand.   There were times during the story that I just had to shake my head at what Donny thought or was doing.  I still enjoyed the funny commentary.

My Rating:

I would give this book 3.5 stars.  While it was funny and amusing, it is not something that I would pick up and read again in the future.  A one time story for me.  Now this opinion might be different from different readers.  

From the Author:

I am pleased to announce that the author of I Can Make-out with Any Girl Here, Ryan Nemeth has agreed to join us today to help Diversion Press celebrate.  Here is a picture he had to share, along with a quick comment to go along with it.

Hannah and Holly Blossom, “The Blossom Twins” — professional wrestlers from Manchester, England, who have both read and loved the book!

Please leave either Ryan or Diversion Press a comment here.  

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