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Bookstooge's Q1 Part II

This is a continuation of the topic Bookstooge's Q1 Reviews and Ramblings.

The Green Dragon

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1BookstoogeLT
Feb 20, 3:18pm Top

Just splitting the topic so it doesn't get too unwieldy...

2BookstoogeLT
Feb 22, 10:01am Top

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)
Frank Herbert
5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #1
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 611
Format: Kindle digital edition


Synopsis: Spoilers

Mortal enemies, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, through political machinations, end up trading control of Arrakis, Dune. The one planet that produces the Spice; an addictive substance that prolongs life, allows the gifted to see glimpses of the future and cannot be artificially reproduced.

Baron Harkonnen has secretly allied himself with the Emperor though and through trickery, deceit and the use of the Emperor's Elite Forces, destroys the Atreides line on Dune. Unknown to him, however, the scion, Paul and his Bene Gesserit trained mother Jessica, have escaped to the desert where they fulfill prophecy for a group of desert dwellers known as the Fremen. Unrivaled warriors, the Fremen believe Paul is the long prophesied savior who will turn Dune into a paradise world. Paul, a product of millenia of Bene Gesserit breeding plans and living in conditions where he is infused with Spice at every turn, takes the next step in human development. He can see the Future, like it was the Past.

With his ability to now destroy the Spice, and hence destroy the Imperium, Paul ascends the Imperial Throne. The Future is firmly set and Paul Muad-dib is at the reins.

However, The Saga of Dune is Far from Over.

My Thoughts:

Phracking Fantastic, what a good book. I read it in '11 and then again in '16 and I found that 5 years seems to be a good amount of time between re-reads. While I enjoyed it this time around, the frission I experienced in '16 was not there. Some things do need a bit of time between tastings.

Since I do plan on re-reading the whole Dune Chronicles, I was keeping an eye out for little glimpses of the future. Not a lot to see, really. Which just cements my thoughts that while Herbert wrote this as a series, Dune itself was really meant as a standalone novel.

The ONLY thing that stuck out to me as a negative was the little dialogue about ecology that the dying character Kynes has with his dead father. While he knows it is a hallucination, it just comes across as Herbert allowing himself to talk about a subject that he's interested in but not strictly related to the immediate plot. It is much more detail oriented than is needed for an understanding of the “Turn Dune into a Fremen Paradise”, ie, a world with Earth normal weather.

I also read this with an eye towards how the Prequels books by his son had influenced me or my perception of events within the book. Honestly, it was very hard to tell. It did feel like I was more influenced by the rest of the Chronicles and the future they hold then anything that came before. But just the fact that I have read the prequels fills in little gaps in my mind that I might not even notice.

3mattries37315
Feb 22, 11:13am Top

Great review. I've always heard that Herbert started off writing a novel about an ecological disaster but then over time it was changed into what Dune turned out to become, but Herbert wanted to subtly warn about the Earth becoming a dune-like planet. I never knew if all of that was true and if I'm even remembering correctly what I heard, but that came to mind when you discussed Kynes' ecology dialogue.

4BookstoogeLT
Feb 22, 11:26am Top

It could be. It certainly pushed the Middle East/Islam/Oil/Imperialism buttons and I think someone who wanted could make Herbert be saying almost anything they wanted him to be saying :-)

5AHS-Wolfy
Feb 22, 2:43pm Top

>2 BookstoogeLT: It really is a fantastic book and while none of the sequels live up to the original thee are some that are pretty decent too. There's even another attempt on th ehorizon to make another film version. Details can be found here for those interested.

6BookstoogeLT
Feb 22, 4:38pm Top

>5 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks! It seems about time for another movie version. I'm certainly ready for one :-)

7YouKneeK
Feb 22, 5:28pm Top

>2 BookstoogeLT: Thanks for reminding me of yet another book I really want to read and can’t seem to get to… ;)

8BookstoogeLT
Feb 22, 8:31pm Top

>7 YouKneeK: Glad to oblige. But in all honesty, you should definitely try to work it into your long range plans. Even if you hate it, it's one of those "seminal" works of SF...

9Narilka
Feb 22, 10:18pm Top

>2 BookstoogeLT: I loved reading Dune. Maybe I should reread it soon. I'm about at that 5 year mark.

10suitable1
Feb 22, 11:23pm Top

Q: What's the best order for reading the Dune series?

A: Start with Dune and then quit.

11ScoLgo
Feb 23, 12:14am Top

12Sakerfalcon
Feb 23, 5:08am Top

Dune is one book that never disappoints on a reread - it really is as good as I remember it being.

13BookstoogeLT
Feb 23, 12:32pm Top

9> 5 years worked really well for me. 1 year, not so much. I'm going to try again in 5 and see how that works. If it works well, well, then I've got a plan for the quite foreseeable future :-)

>10 suitable1: Heretic!
but for the run of the mill reader, I'd agree.(Or for ScoLgo)
For those of us who aren't run of the mill though ;-)

>12 Sakerfalcon: This is my 7th time I believe, reading it and it hasn't failed me yet...

15MrsLee
Feb 24, 9:43am Top

>4 BookstoogeLT: Something which, IMO, means a story is an excellent one. That's why I'm such a Tolkien fan. I haven't read Dune yet, but it is on my list.

16BookstoogeLT
Feb 24, 5:16pm Top

>15 MrsLee: I was discussing Dune rereads with someone over on Wordpress and I realized I've read it 6 or 7 times since the 90's. I'm not sure there is another fictional book that I've ever read that many times. And I still like it :-D Hurray!

18BookstoogeLT
Feb 25, 8:31am Top

Children of Time
Adrian Tchaikovsky
4 Stars

19Narilka
Feb 25, 7:57pm Top

>17 BookstoogeLT: That addicted to reading meme is accurate lol

20BookstoogeLT
Feb 25, 8:48pm Top

>19 Narilka: It made me laugh heartily when I saw it. And there have been too many times where I've stayed up til midnight just to read "one more chapter" :-)

21hfglen
Feb 26, 2:21am Top

>20 BookstoogeLT: Wot? only 'til midnight? The true addict keeps reading deep into the wee small hours -- if dawn doesn't interrupt the reading!

22BookstoogeLT
Feb 26, 8:00am Top

>21 hfglen: Not if they have to get up at 5am on a regular basis to do their job :-D
Ok, maybe in my 20's I might have been able to stay up all night and then work all day, but not anymore...

23YouKneeK
Feb 26, 8:59am Top

>22 BookstoogeLT: I’m with you there. :) Well, not with the 5am part… I get to sleep in until 6am if the cat cooperates.

Up through my early 20’s there were definitely some reading all-nighters, but I learned many years ago that I enjoy my day better if I’m well-rested. I’m more effective at work, so I’m less likely to have to stay late to finish something I’m struggling with, and I’m more likely to have enough time and energy after work to enjoy reading.

>21 hfglen: So you see, the true addict makes the hard choice at night to turn out the light so they can ultimately get the most benefit out of their reading time. ;)

24BookstoogeLT
Feb 26, 9:11am Top

Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1)
Patricia Wrede
5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Dealing with Dragons
Series: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1
Author: Patricia Wrede
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 244
Format: Kindle digital edition


Synopsis: Spoilers

Cimorene is an unusual Princess in the Kingdom that sets the Standard for Normal. It doesn't help that she has several older sisters who all Normal Princesses. After trying to learn magic, cooking, horseback riding, fencing and other various unsuitable activities for a Princess, Cimorene finds out that her parents are going to marry her off to get her of their hands. Not being particularly enamoured of the idea, Cimorene takes the advice of a magic frog she meets in the garden and sets off to find herself a dragon. A dragon that will keep everyone away from her.

Cimorene is taken under wing ha! by Kazul, who happens to like cherry jubilee, one of the few desserts that Cimorene knows how to make. As knights and princes come and go, Cimorene stumbles upon a plot by wizards to cause problems at the next choosing of the Dragon King. With the the help of another Princess, a Stone Prince and a local witch from the Enchanted Forest, Cimorene exposes the plot, foils the wizards and allows Kazul to become the next King of the Dragons.

My Thoughts:

This was humorous, delightful and cute. There wasn't a single thing I didn't like with this story. It was fun. Sometimes in the midst of epic fantasy tomes or the weighty thoughts of science fiction classics, you need a break. I didn't know I needed a break, but when I started reading this, I realized I needed to be charmed and this book charmed me from beginning to end.

This was written in such a way that an adult like me could enjoy it fully and yet it seemed accessible all the way down to middle grade readers, perhaps even precocious elementary ones. To be able to reach that full spectrum is the mark of an author who knows her craft.

Don't have much else to say beyond the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I was tempted to just read all 4 of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles right in a row. But much like cherry jubilee, you cannot gorge yourself without some consequences. So I'm pacing myself and now I am REALLY looking forward to the next books.

25BookstoogeLT
Feb 26, 11:31am Top

>23 YouKneeK: When work went south for the land surveying business starting in '08, I got my security guard license and started doing night security until '14 or so. Those couple of years drained every bit of reserve from me and now if I don't get 8hrs of sleep, I'm toast. Unlike my wife, who only needs 5-6, grrrr...

26YouKneeK
Feb 26, 12:46pm Top

>25 BookstoogeLT: For me, 7 hours is the magic number. I’m jealous of people like your wife. :) If I’m tired, I’m good for nothing, and I hate having that foggy feeling in my brain.

27BookstoogeLT
Feb 26, 6:44pm Top

Autumn Daughter, Dragon Child
Lian Hearn
3.5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Autumn Princess, Dragon Child
Series: The Tale of Shikanoko #2
Author: Lian Hearn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 289
Format: Kindle digital edition


Synopsis: Spoilers

Shikanoko raises his 5 “sons” and slowly regains his powers so that he can confront the Abbot again. The boy emperor hooks up with some entertainers and becomes a monkey trainer. The boy emperor's protector and Shikanok's love interest, is out on her own, pregnant with Shikanoko's child.

Shikanoko finally confronts, and defeats, the Abbot but in the process loses control of his 5 spider children, who are only getting stronger and stronger in magic. Shikanoko's lover dies at the Abbot's hand and the boy emperor's child companion, who was taking care of Shikanoko's child, drowns along with his kid.

And in defeating the Abbot, Shikanoko gives himself fully to the forest magic which controlled his mask. He is no longer in control of his destiny. Happy Endings all round!

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this more than the first book, Emperor of the Eight Islands. Partially because it wasn't as depressing. Which, given my synopsis, is kind of hard to believe, but it's true.

Given that this is a japanese fairy tale, I am not expecting a happy ending to the series as a whole. Even in this book, Shikanoko loses his love, his child, his chance at determining his own destiny and quite possibly ANY happiness for the rest of his life.

Makes me thankful my life is as boring as it is.

If you like slightly depressing stories filled with magic, heroes, swords and warriors and like eastern existentialism, this series should make you miserably ecstatic.

28BookstoogeLT
Feb 27, 6:55am Top

Time-Out 0 (Eyeshield 21 #22)
Riichiro Inagaki
4.5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Time-Out 0
Series: Eyeshield 21 #22
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 210
Format: Digital Scan


Synopsis:

The battle for the game continues between the Devil Bats and the Naga.

Monta wins the catching game against both Ikkyu AND Agon, thus allowing a crucial 4 seconds to remain on the clock. Sena's legs are done. He has one play left in him and that is it. Hiruma is pulling out every single trick he can think of to keep the dream of going to the Christmas Bowl alive.

The rest of the Naga watch as their top players are countered and it shakes them. Agon isn't shaken, but neither does he learn. He knows that his talent has been enough before and he's going to stick with that.

The volume ends with 4 seconds on the clock and 8 yards to go for the Devil Bats to tie the game up. Not Fair!

My Thoughts:

Holy smokes, another nail biting, adrenalin pumping volume of Eyeshield 21! It was awesome to see the various members of the Devil Bats match the Naga in ability and come back from an impossible point deficit.

Honestly, since this is still the same game started 2 books ago, (or was it three?), I don't have much to say. There is no resolution and I'm not one to talk about specific plays within a game since it doesn't mean that much to me. Monta catches the ball, Sena runs the ball, Hiruma throws the ball, The End.

It is kind of a double edged sword, being a social football fan. Since I'm not that into it, I don't care about the details as much, but if I were into the details, I'd probably give up in disgust as it wouldn't match real life; this is a manga after all. It would be like me reading a Land Surveying Manga, hahahhaa. Goodness, the very idea makes me cringe, as I could see something like cutting down whole forests with one “power” swing of a machete or bouncing the laser off of multiple objects and getting the info from each bounce, just silly things like that. That wouldn't be real, but to someone who doesn't know surveying, it would just be cool.

I actually groaned at the end of this volume, as the manga-ka lets the reader believe the game is lost for the Devil Bats for at least 3 pages. Then I groaned again, and louder, when the volume ended and there were 4 SECONDS left on the clock. All I can say is that they had better finish this game next volume and give me some “slice of life” segments to break up all the “football”. It's getting pretty danged serious and needs some lightening up again.

29BookstoogeLT
Feb 27, 8:18pm Top

Wrath of the Great Guilds (Pillars of Reality #6)
Jack Campbell
4 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission


Title: Wrath of the Great Guilds
Series: Pillars of Reality #6
Author: Jack Campbell
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 280
Format: Digital edition


Synopsis: Spoilers!!

Mari and Alain must face the combined might of both Great Guilds and the Empire in an attempt to stave off the Storm of Destruction prophecied.

Dividing her army in parts, Mari sends the majority of it to another city and only takes a small force, but many great arms, with her to Dorcastle. There, she and Alain inspire the troops, unite the factions and fight off dragons and gatebuster bombs.

Dorcastle has 7 walls. Mari's forces are pushed back to the final wall and are about to lose even that when the other army she had separated out arrives to rescue them, turn the tide and allow the Daughter of Jules a complete and utter victory.

Now Mari can allow her world to develop technologically and the first thing they do is use the world far speaker they found in an earlier book. And someone answers back.

My Thoughts:

Almost all of this book was the battle scene at Dorcastle. Close to 60% is my guess. It was great. Much like Minas Tirath's 7 walls, Dorcastle provides plenty of room for lots of action. Mages and their dragons, Mechanics and their bombs, the Empire and their numberless cohorts, all fodder for the advanced weaponry Mari brings with her. It also showcases how she utilizes Mechanics, Mages and Commons, with all their various strengths and weaknesses. Alain's vision of Mari is constantly at the forefront of his mind and Campbell never lets the reader forget it.

This is definitely young adult but I did appreciate the fact that Alain and Mari were married a book or two ago. The romance was there, but it wasn't angsty, unsure love. It was growing, committed love that wasn't based just on their feelings.

There were only 2 things I didn't care for and I knocked off a 1/2star for each.

First, Campbell loves big, powerful, DUMB villains. Much like in his Lost Fleet series, where the 2 “official” sides do the same thing over and over and the main character Jack “Black” Geary, takes advantage, here we have the Heads of both the Mage's Guild and the Mechanic's Guild doing the same thing in the big battle that has NOT worked before against Mari and Alain. It just made the Guild leaders seem incredibly inept and stupid and you wonder how someone so dense got to the place of authority that they are in. Of course, it might have something to do with Campbell being a retired navy officer and perhaps reflects his actual experience with higher echelon officers. Pure speculation on my part though.

Second, no character development. It has taken me over 25 books of Campbell/Hemry to realize this (Lost Fleet, Lost Fleet:Beyond the Frontier, Lost Stars, JAG in Space, Stark's War) so it kind of came as a shock to really realize that he can't write growing characters beyond a certain point. It is the kind of writer he is and he needs to write accordingly. And now that I know this, I will also adjust my expectations accordingly.

Now I know I've highlighted the negatives mostly. But obviously, I've stuck with this 6 book series until the end and given the final book 4 stars. That does say a lot without me having to write a lot. Nothing in this book is going to make you feel that you wasted your time or overturn all the good in the previous books. This is a good solid book to end a good solid YA series.

31clamairy
Mar 2, 8:17pm Top

>2 BookstoogeLT: I loved most of this series. Well, all of the ones Frank Herbert wrote himself at least. I haven't read past Chapterhouse Dune. I'm not one of those who thinks they got worse as time went on. In fact I thought God Emperor of Dune was as good as the first. Maybe I'll try listening to them. It might tickle a different portion of my brain.

>24 BookstoogeLT: This series was one of my daughter's favorites. I'd say they're second only to Harry Potter in her eyes. I saw the whole series on sale recently at Amazon and now I'm regretting not snagging them.

32BookstoogeLT
Mar 3, 6:48pm Top

>31 clamairy: I liked all 6 books. The final 2 by Brian H and Anderson, while finishing the story, I'm not so keen on. But yeah, Herbert could write when he really wanted to.

Were the Enchanted Forest books hardcover or kindle? I have the SFBC hardcover omnibus edition but sometime it would be nice to pick them up individually in hardcover.

33BookstoogeLT
Mar 3, 6:49pm Top

Don Quixote Update: Chapters 40-52

In which I get back up on my horse and begin writing again, as I've been pooped out for most of the week.

34clamairy
Mar 3, 8:36pm Top

>32 BookstoogeLT: They were YA sized trade paperbacks. (Which is still smaller than the regular size but bigger than mass market PBs.) She took them out of the library a few million times before I bought her the set so they are in pretty decent shape.

Did you ever read his The White Plague? I had the flu when I read it back in the 90s. Even though I was hooked I was never able to separate the distress caused by the illness from the pleasure of the book. It's not that highly rated compared to the Dune books, so maybe it wasn't just the flu.

35BookstoogeLT
Mar 3, 9:08pm Top

>34 clamairy: I actually own White Plague. That was my second Herbert book after Dune and it has a place in my literary heart even with it's rather bleak tone...

36BookstoogeLT
Mar 4, 9:03am Top

Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis
3.5 Stars

In which I do touch up on Theology, however lightly.

37MrsLee
Mar 4, 10:54am Top

>36 BookstoogeLT: That is a trilogy I keep meaning to reread. I read it so long ago that only snips and pieces remain, but I think it was the first scifi I ever read.

38BookstoogeLT
Mar 4, 1:09pm Top

>37 MrsLee: I think that honor for me goes to the Mushroom planet duology (?). But this HAD to be near the beginning of the queue :-)

39BookstoogeLT
Mar 5, 11:34am Top

Night of Knives (Malazan Empire #1)
Ian Esslemont
4.5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Night of Knives
Series: Malazan Empire #1
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 308
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis: Spoilers

On the night of a Shadow Moon, when the division between our world and the world of the Warrens thins, Kriska and Temper have an adventure.

Kriska is a young thief who wants to join the Claws and get off of Malaz Isle. But nobody takes her seriously and even her aunt wants her to stay inside this night. Getting caught up in the battle between Kelenved & Dancer and Surly. Also involved in the mix is Tayschren, master mage, Surly's cadre of Claws and a group of cultists dedicated to Kelenved as a god. Kriska has to survive the night and all the terrors it holds.

Then we have Temper, a former soldier of the Malazan Army who has deserted. The desertion saved his life, as he was one of the Shields of the Swords, a might warrior protecting Dassem Ultor, the First Sword of the Malazan Empire, the mightiest warrior alive. The problem was, Surly doesn't want heros in her army and she has begun to purge them. Temper runs to Malaz Isle to become a lowly guardsman to survive. But others know his secret and on this night of Shadow Moon, Temper will be used once again, just as he was before.

My Thoughts:

Man, I had forgotten, or never realized, just how much foundational information Esslemont packs into this book. There is a lot about Dassem that I didn't realize was important but will definitely impact my read of future Malazan Book of the Fallen books. Chronologically this comes before Gardens of the Moon but I wouldn't recommend reading it before unless you're doing a re-read of everything Malaz.

There are some great battles here. Hounds of Shadows everywhere, monsters springing out of various Warrens, magical assassins fighting magical cultists, a hidden group of people trying to protect the whole Isle from some underwater threat, it all weaves together into one night of blood the likes of which the Isle has not seen in ages.

This was a short book, clocking in just over 300 pages. For a Malaz book, that is practically a short story. But as I was reading, it was dense. It had so much packed in that I felt like I had read a 500 page book by the end. I didn't mind that feeling at all, but others might and it is something to keep in mind if you decide to delve into this universe.

One downside, which is typical of the Malaz books, is that there are no real answers to any of your questions. Inferences, asides, round about explanations of Subject X which reveals bits about Subject Y. Nothing direct, nothing concrete. It is building a bridge in your mind. Esslemont gives us the materials and a rough architectural plan but it is up to us, the readers, to actually build the bridge and succeed or fail on our own. Some will see that as a weakness and others as a strength of the writing. I'm ok with it but have to admit, I'd prefer a bit more concrete facts baldly stated. Oh well, I'm not going to get it and neither will anyone who reads these books.

40BookstoogeLT
Mar 6, 7:57pm Top

Then Came the Showdown! (Eyeshield 21 #23)
Riichiro Inagaki
4 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and links at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Then Came the Showdown!
Series: Eyeshield 21 #23
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 210
Format: Digital Scan


Synopsis:

The Devil Bats win against the Naga, at great physical cost to each player. Then we follow the other 3 games of the day and watch new teams and new techniques come to light.

The volume concludes with the Devil Bats taking a day off to rest,but they all end up at the clubhouse anyway, so obviously Hiruma uses that time to get some stuff in. The next battle is agains the White Knights and as things stand, the Devil Bats do not stand a chance against them.

My Thoughts:

After having drawn out the game against the Naga for 3 volumes, the last 4 seconds of the game, and the win, felt rather anti-climactic. It did come down to a battle between Hiruma and Agon and Hiruma's year of practice and 1/10th of a second paid dividends. Agon ate dirt and I was pretty happy. He was a scumbag and I wished he'd been broken instead of just beaten in the game. I wanted his soul crushed, his spirit destroyed, his very will to live extinguished. As you can tell, I didn't like him.

The short little episodes showing the highlights of the games by other teams just didn't work for me either. After a 3 book game, it felt very rushed and like it was a scheme for getting info to the readers without telling a good story. I know that Sena/Eyeshield 21 and the Devil Bats are the main characters, but for goodness sake, a little balance wouldn't hurt things.

There was nothing wrong with this volume at all beyond the imbalance, but it was noticable enough for me to ding a star off.

41BookstoogeLT
Mar 7, 4:57pm Top

An Empire Asunder (Scourwind Legacy #2)
Evan Currie
4.5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: An Empire Asunder
Series: Scourwind Legacy #2
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 310
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

The Scourwind Twins have saved the Empire from being taken over but it is civil war. Lydia is doing her best to rule and Brennan is growing into his new role as cadreman and warrior.

Corian, exhibiting signs of madness, begins Operation Godstrike, all the while vaguely hinting about some unknown threat that apparently nobody but him is aware of or prepared to do something about.

It is strike and counter-strike as the Imperial forces clash against the Alliance forces. Throw in Mira Delsol, former cadrewoman turned Pirate and you have some serious action.

My Thoughts:

For whatever reason, Currie is hitting all the right buttons with this series for me. I enjoyed my time reading this above and beyond the normal. That is not to say I think this is going to be a SF classic or that it will wow you. In fact, I suspect most people looking on would give it 3-3.5 stars.

For me though, it has this: a coming of age story without angst and whines. No crap about “romance” and “feelings” taking precedence over your duty and responsibility. You are a Scourwind and you run the Empire, you don't whine like a baby. A young lady becoming an Empress. Sure, she might write in her journal, but we the readers aren't subjected to that or every bloody thought in her head. The story gets told. A young man becoming an elite warrior in the shadow of his dead older brother. He's not some tortured, broken individual who just needs the love of the “right woman” to “fix” him. Neither of these Scourwinds are BROKEN and Currie doesn't fall into the trap of making the story about “fixing” them. Grrrrrr, you don't “fix” people. That pisses me off and I hate that in a story. And there is NONE of that, not even a hint, in these books and I really like that.

The other thing I really liked was the continuing glimpse of the world. With the new ship, Delsol is able to go atmospheric and realizes that humanity is in a box. It is obvious that Corian knows a lot more about the whole situation but in his arrogance thinks he's the only one capable of facing the situation, whatever it may be. We the readers aren't privy to it.

Currie's writing is improving with each book and while his earlier books were pretty rough around the edges, I am glad I started reading him. I was really enjoying his Odyssey One series and I have the next book of that on tap, but I really hope he sticks with this series for a bit and finishes things up before becoming too distracted with other series, old or new.

Finally, I like the covers. They are a huge step up from the first couple of books that had very obvious amateur covers desperately trying NOT to look like amateur covers. These books have the kind of covers that I want in hardcover on my shelves just because I like how they look. Sadly, that is not an option and I'm not going to change my “no paperback” rule for Currie. He hasn't reached that status, yet. Chris McGrath is the artist and here's a small list of some other covers he's done:
Aeronauts Windlass
Star Wars: Kenobi
Alloy of Law
Daughter of the Sword (I broke my “no paperback” rule for Steve Bein. Love his books that much)
Dresden: Changes


I didn't do a Cover Love in my February Roundup, but for March's Roundup, this one is definitely going to be a contender.

42BookstoogeLT
Mar 9, 6:52pm Top

Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1)
Brent Weeks
4.5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Way of Shadows
Series: Night Angel #1
Author: Brent Weeks
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 659
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis: Spoilers

Azoth becomes apprenticed to Durzo Blint and becomes Kyler. Magic, politics, love and death all roll into one super messy ball.

Kyler becomes the possessor of a magic ball that gives him extraordinary powers. And just as he's gaining them, he's forced to kill his master and watch his city fall to invaders. Throw in a prophet, some other magic balls, a complete godking of evil, best friend becoming king and teen love and you have this story in a nutshell.

Oh, don't forget the violence. Lots and lots and lots of violence.

My Thoughts: Spoilers

I had forgotten just how brutal this book was. It was heart wrenching to see everything falling apart for Kyler. Yes, he's successful in apprenticing under Blint, but by the end of the book, all Kyler has is his life and the life of the girl he loves. He sees, and we experience, everything else going to the pit. Friends? Dead, killed, imprisoned. Mentors? Poisoned, paupered, destroyed. It is all torn away.

The book ends on a slightly hopeful note, as the city nobles and craftsmen flee and destroy everything to deny it to the invaders. Kyler is alive, even though he died. The legend of the Night Angel has taken seed and the invaders know “something” walks the shadows. The prophet has set things in motion to stop the godking from total domination. The War has Started.

The writing definitely shows that this is Weeks' first book and is not nearly as polished as his Lightbringer series. Nothing stood out as wrong, but some things weren't just as “right” as they could have been.

To end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book again and both cheered and groaned at the triumphs and tragedies woven throughout this story.

43YouKneeK
Mar 9, 7:06pm Top

>42 BookstoogeLT: I remember really enjoying this when I read it several years ago. It’s one reason I look forward to reading the Lightbringer series once he finishes it.

I actually would like to re-read this one again someday too, especially since I don’t remember the story very well. If only I had infinite time to read. :) I tried it on audio a year or so ago as a compromise versus re-reading in print, but it didn’t go well. I still liked the story, but the narrator was too melodramatic. It got more annoying the longer I listened. I made it through about 8 hours before I gave up, and those were some pretty painful 8 hours.

44BookstoogeLT
Mar 9, 7:44pm Top

>43 YouKneeK: I have finally decided that audio isn't for me for pleasure reading. As for re-reads and infinite time, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to read everything so why even try? I like Book X, Y and Z, I'll read them, several times over the decades. After this year though, I won't be re-reading on such a scale for along time...

45AHS-Wolfy
Mar 10, 6:55am Top

>42 BookstoogeLT: I've had this book (and the rest of the trilogy) sat on my tbr shelves for quite a while. I really should get around to reading them sometime soon. Your review helps give it a push so thanks for that.

46majkia
Mar 10, 8:52am Top

>39 BookstoogeLT: Hmm. Since I just read his new book about the series, Dancer's Lament , maybe I need to re-read Night of Knives.

47Narilka
Mar 10, 9:23am Top

>42 BookstoogeLT: I have that series in my TBR. Maybe I should bump it up the list.

48BookstoogeLT
Mar 10, 8:03pm Top

Sinners (Monster Hunter Memoirs #2)
John Ringo
3.5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Sinners
Series: Monster Hunter Memoirs #2
Author: John Ringo & Larry Correia
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

Gary Stu bangs an underage Elf she was only 45 and when her vengeful trailertrash relatives chase him down, he requests a transer to the New Orleans MHI office.

Once there, the action is non-stop, the monsters relentless and the MCB are the good guys too. Magic is on the rise, for no reason anyone can tell and even two-bit sorcerers can suddenly raise powerful elder beings.

But even Gary Stu can't kill ALL the monsters. Shackleford the IV and Earl come into town with the Happy Face group to help out. But Mardi Gras is coming and things are going to go apocalyptic.

My Thoughts:

This was MUCH better than Grunge. Most of it was that Chad, otherwise known as Gary Stu, is just too busy to do anything else except narrate MHI adventures. Which means that there was only theological reference which was sketchy as all get out and two cockhound stories about girls.

The rest of the book was totally focused on saving New Orleans from a huge influx of monsters. It was the type of story that I expect when I read an MHI book. Guns, carnage and death abound. Agent Franks gets involved near the end and I've always liked stories that included him, even before reading Nemesis (MHI #5). The end, where MHI, MCB Monster Control Bureau and even some civilians fight a horde of monster crawdads and just about everybody dies except Chad, Agent Franks and one or two others, was tough to read. It's never enjoyable reading about the destruction of the good guys.

I do hope the 3rd book comes out soon, as there are several instances of burrows appearing, people disappearing and vague references to some new power arising. The local Vampire Lord calls it a “tourist” and it is apparently what is causing the influx of power. But we don't get to that part of the story yet. It is referenced but the full implications and the real action concerning it haven't come about. Honestly, that is what I wanted to read about.

Looking at Correia's website however, it doesn't appear that the third book, entitled Saints, will be ready any time soon. He just turned in his parts of it to the editor and now the fitting together must commence. But after this book, I am looking forward to it. Unlike after the first book where I really questioned if I wanted to read this one at all.

To sum up. Good MHI book, lot less bad theology, lot less boinking of chicks and the inclusion of Agent Franks. Good stuff.

49BookstoogeLT
Mar 10, 9:07pm Top

>45 AHS-Wolfy: Always glad to help push people over the literary cliff :-D

>46 majkia: I am really looking forward to Dancer's Lament. I hope I get to it this year.

>47 Narilka: The Night Angel trilogy is a good way to try Brent Weeks out. It's a trilogy, it is finished and while it is his debut work, it still shows his style and chops.

50BookstoogeLT
Mar 12, 10:44am Top

Don Quixote Part II: Chapters 1-4

Starting to get back to Quixote and Sancho instead of the wretched side stories.

51BookstoogeLT
Mar 14, 10:03am Top

The Reluctant Swordsman
Dave Duncan
3 Stars

52BookstoogeLT
Mar 16, 7:48pm Top

The One Kingdom (The Swan's War #1)
Sean Russell
5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The One Kingdom
Series: The Swan's War #1
Author: Sean Russell
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 544
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

Magician's don't die. If they're powerful enough, they can exist without going through Death's Gate.
Hundreds of years ago, the children of the most powerful magician the world had ever known were each given a gift from their father. Their choices split the One Kingdom and resulted in death and devastation.

Now, the families of the Renne's and the Wills have their own feud that could tear apart the fragile peace of the land. One of the Renne's is determined to make the peace last while his family plots to assassinate him for such thoughts. The Wills plot to strengthen themselves through marriage with an outside family, the Innes. The Innes are being “guided” by a man who is much more than he appears and much more dangerous than they know.

At the same time, 3 young men from the Northern Vale take a trip down the river to buy horses. They come across a man name Alain and their misfortunes/adventures start. They come into contact with a Naga, the embodiment of the daughter of the magician.

The Naga, Alain and the Guide are all so much more than the people around them know. Can the land survive the return of the Children?

My Thoughts:

I went into this really wondering if I was going to like it as much as I did back in '09. Thankfully, this lived up to my memories and my current expectations of a good book.

This is a slow book. It meanders like the river that much of the story takes place on. In many ways, the river itself is a character, at times benevolent, at other times very malevolent.

Besides being a slow book, it is also very character driven. The Valemen trio start out as the main characters, but Russell deftly moves from group to group, from individual to individual in such a way that I never felt either bored or wanting something else. There is a lot of description of landscapes and what surrounds the characters but for whatever reason I didn't blow by it like I usually do in other books. I was able to sit back and take it in.

Where I have described Patricia McKillip's writings as “silk”, Russell's writing is like a river. Some times meandering, some times fast and furious, some times appearing calm, some times dragging you along a current you don't even realize you are in. I felt like I was sitting in a boat going down a river while reading this. Why I was intrigued instead of bored, I do not know. But I loved this story.

I also like how Russell portrays magic. It is something dangerous, subtle and never good. It destroys those who use it and hurts those around them. It is not flashy fireballs or the calling forth of demon lords. It is influence, power, strength, persuaviness and the ability to bend others to your will. It is scary.

So another fantastic re-read. Definitely glad that I bought this in hardcover.

54YouKneeK
Mar 18, 9:04am Top

>53 BookstoogeLT: At least you have enough sense to take a break instead of turning your entertainment into a chore.

55BookstoogeLT
Mar 18, 9:54am Top

>54 YouKneeK: Yeah, nothing will kill it quicker than forcing myself.
Now that I'm reading all these fantastic re-reads, everything else is just paling. The Dark Side of upper rating books. No one warned me about this!

56BookstoogeLT
Mar 18, 11:52pm Top

Spiderman 2099 #1-3
Comic Books

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and links at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Series: Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3
Author: Peter David
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 68
Format: Digital Scan


Synopsis:

Miguel O'hara, brilliant geneticist, is working for Alchemax, one of the Mega-Corporations. He is working on genetically imprinting various aspects of other creatures onto humans so as to make them more fit for various Alchemax jobs. So far none of the prisoners assigned as test subjects have survived.

Due to his smart mouth and bad political sense, Miguel gets on the wrong side of Tyler Stone, CEO of Alchemax. Stone injects Miguel with a synthetic drug that bonds to his dna and forces him to keep working for Alchemax, or he'll die of withdrawal symptoms. In desperation, Miguel returns to his Alchemax lab and re-imprints his own dna pattern onto himself in an effort to cleanse himself from the drug bonding.

Unbeknownst to Miguel, one of the other scientists, who has taken the brunt of Miguel's acid wit, is also working that night. Said scientist sabotages the imprint program by overloading it with spider dna. A huge explosion happens, Miguel lives but with talons, fangs and messed up vision. He escapes the lab but a bounty hunter is hot on his trail.

Realizing he has to throw the cyborg bounty hunter off of his trail so he won't know it is Miguel O'Hara he is chasing, Miguel puts on a mexican day of the dead costume made from unstable molecules, which will allow him to use it without slicing it to ribbons with his talons. He attacks Venture, gets captured, escapes and defeats Venture and comes across a cult to Thor.

The origin story ends with Miguel taking a phone call from Tyler Stone, who wants to discuss “Spiderman”. Thus a new Super Hero is born.

My Thoughts:

Holy smokes!!! I had totally forgotten just how short comic books were. These scans had all the ad pages removed, so they're only about 22-24 pages each. I think most comics ran about 30 pages back in the 90's, so you're talking an advertisement every 4th page. Glad I don't have to deal with that now.

This is my first time reading Spiderman 2099 so let me back up and give just a bit of history about me and the 2099 comic line. I'll be as brief as possible. I started seriously reading comics in 1991 and in 1992 started my first subscription with Silver Sable & Her Wildpack. This took up all of my money but I began haunting the semi-local comic stores and the grocery stores where comics were sold. I saw Doom 2099 in December of '92 and that was my introduction to 2099. I bought the first 4 issues of Doom then bought the first couple of issues of Punisher 2099 from my friend Cam who had bought them but he didn't like them. That brought me to mid '93 and I was just plum out of money. So while I realized that things were really hopping over at Spiderman 2099 I just couldn't afford it. Plus, the first several issues sold out wicked fast and trying to get back orders was, while not impossible, much harder than it was today. I've always liked Spidey, I've always wanted to see what Spidey2099 was all about and since I'm in a manga funk, I figure this will be a good break from that while still keeping my toes in the visual medium.

I bet this would have blown the socks of my teenage self. Flying cars, armed police/guards using flying cycles, cyborg bounty hunters, evil corporations, evil CEO's personally injecting drugs into their most brilliant workers. Check, check and checkity-check! Now, I am reading this as an “experience” and not as just a book to read and review. If I just read this, it would be very hard to overlook the puerile nature, the complete lack of logic, the utter and complete “boy'ishness” of it. As an “experience” though, it sure is fun. Memories, memories, memories.

These first 3 issues comprise the Origins storyline. We'll see how future volumes pan out. I will not be surprised if I just up and quit in disgust at some point or just let it peter out ha, get it, Peter Out, Miguel In?

★★★☆☆

57BookstoogeLT
Mar 19, 12:09pm Top

My Little Po-- *ahem* TBR

A fun little post about lists and my current list of books I am working my way through.

58Narilka
Mar 20, 6:05pm Top

>57 BookstoogeLT: That's a lot of series you're working on.

59YouKneeK
Mar 20, 6:16pm Top

>57 BookstoogeLT: I’m all in favor of lists and organization! It’s fun to read how (and if) other people organize their reading.

I have a few book-related lists myself, including a short list with my tentative reading plan for the next several books. Currently that list goes out through the last Discworld book, including the standalones I plan to read in-between them. Sometimes I switch books in and out of the list, but I usually do follow it pretty well. It makes things easy, and the books wouldn’t be on that list if I didn’t want to read them.

I don’t have a series rotation list, which probably doesn’t surprise you at this point. :) I do have a series-related list more appropriate to my own reading quirks, though… a “To Read When Series Finished” list. I keep it sorted so that series most likely to be completed soonest sort to the top. Every once in a while I check the list and move a series over to my main TBR list after I verify it seems complete.

60BookstoogeLT
Mar 20, 7:18pm Top

>58 Narilka: It really is. But that way, I NEVER feel like I "just read" series X and get bored. I'm definitely not going to go higher, because I am finding that any more time between books in a series and I'm losing stuff, even in 6-8 weeks. I am actually wondering about shrinking it down by 4 or 5 just to see if it helps out.

>59 YouKneeK: I really like reading List type posts as well. I've gotten all sorts of ideas, even if I never use 99% of them. I guess I'm just a 1%. ha.

One thing I have found is that people are so individual that they need to work out what is best for them. Not what they want, but what actually works. I might say I want to lose 10lbs by jogging everyday, but what might actually work better is if I just cut icecream from my diet altogether.
Not that I'm going to do that, mind you. I'm not crazy :-)

I also have a relative who is rabidly anti-list. She just hates them. And she's a mother of 4, homeschools and is surviving. How she does it, I don't know. But if my idea helps 1 person come up with their own idea that works for them, even if it takes a couple of years, then I feel like my post was more than just me blabbing.

61Narilka
Mar 20, 8:29pm Top

>60 BookstoogeLT: Seeing your list made me slightly curious about my own but I'm not sure I'll actually go about making a list of what series I'm still working on. I have a couple series that I deliberately read far apart so I don't burn through them too fast, like the Discworld. These days I almost always break up a series with one different book in between to ensure I don't get bored or feel overwhelmed by the series length if it's a long one. Sometimes I just need time to process before I start on the next one but don't want to NOT read in between, if that makes sense.

62YouKneeK
Mar 20, 8:48pm Top

>60 BookstoogeLT: I figure anti-list people must, if nothing else, have a much better memory than I do.

63BookstoogeLT
Edited: Mar 21, 6:11pm Top

United States of Japan
Peter Tieryas
2 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: United States of Japan
Series: ---------
Author: Peter Tieryas
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Alt-History
Pages: 400
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

Japan and Germany win War World II. Japan takes over the West Coast of America and completely destroy all American culture and replace it with their own. Having the upper hand in technology, the Japanese establish the United States of Japan.

Now in 1988, one man...
Is Fighting Back. With Giant Robots, Nukes and Robo-swords. He is the technological Wizard and is going to restore the American Ideal of Freedom!

Ha. Fooled you. This is some piece of crap about a coward and a disgraced Secret Police woman fighting a little bit before being killed or seriously wounded. Not going to lie.

My Thoughts:

The best thing about this book was the cover. That is one awesome cover. Beyond that, this was Alternate History from the view of the little people ie, the people without a lot of power to actually affect things. If you like that sort of crap, then this book is definitely tailor made for you.

For those of us who are not enamoured of fake history, who went in thinking that there would be giant robots fighting all over and cool and awesome rebel battles, this was beyond a disappointment. Replace the cover with some grimy war victims in a bombed out city and you'll have a better representation.

I am not a fan of reading REAL history. So why should I WASTE my time with FAKE history? I just figured that the description was trying to rope in the literati and that the author would actually give me a kick butt action story. No such luck. At least I now know not to try any more by Tieryas.

From a purely technical standpoint, my only gripe was the word choices and phrasing employed by the author. It kept throwing me out of the story. Only use a little known or little used word if it fits better than the common word usually employed. And by fits better, I'm talking “ochre” versus “orange” versus “cinnamon” kind of difference. Not “orbulianicus” instead of “round”.

What a bloody waste of my time. I hate Alt-History. So take my venting with a gigantic grain of salt.

★★☆☆☆

64BookstoogeLT
Mar 23, 8:25am Top

Some of My Favorite Things Part 3

Yep, time for another Favorite books post.

65YouKneeK
Mar 23, 6:18pm Top

>64 BookstoogeLT: I read probably half a dozen George MacDonald books when I was in high school, although I can’t for the life of me remember any real detail about them. Looking at a list of his titles, a few stand out that I’m sure I read, but only The Shepherd’s Castle gives me the slightest niggling of a memory of the content. I remember enjoying them at the time, though.

Our school library had a really limited selection of books in general, but they had some of MacDonald’s books, so it was inevitable that I would at least try his work. My study hall period took place in the school library during 10th grade. Guess who did no studying and a lot of reading that year? The next year, my study hall class was again asked for volunteers to do their study hall in the library. My hand shot up instantly and my teacher gave me a stern look and said, “No, not you.” Hmph!

66BookstoogeLT
Mar 23, 7:59pm Top

>65 YouKneeK: Yeah, he wrote a lot of early Christian inspirational novels, good old morality plays. But it was in dialect, so it never really took off.

And who needs to study at school? You can do that at home :-D

67BookstoogeLT
Mar 24, 7:07pm Top

A Shadow of All Night Falling
Glen Cook
3.5 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A Shadow of All Night Falling
Series: The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #1
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 256
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

A young boy watches as his mother is burned as a witch. In consequence, he eventually goes to the Dread Empire and learns all he can of magic. Upon his return, he destroys all the sorcerers and breaks the Kingdom.

Looking into the future, he sees that the fate of the world will revolve around him and a woman. He spends hundreds of years in preparation. Said woman falls in love and marries another man. Her sorcerous brothers get involved, as does another immortal man and some armies. Varth will do whatever he has to to get the woman on his side to save the world.

But Varth's powers came at a cost. The Dread Empire has waited for hundreds of years for Varth to be the perfect unknowing pawn and today, the cost of his education comes due.

My Thoughts: Spoilers

First off, there is a character who is named The Mocker. He starts out fat and silly and talks in the 3rd person. I would say that Steven Erikson pretty much lifted this character wholesale to create his character of Krup, the spy master of Darujistahn in his Malazan Book of the Fallen series.

You alse see a lot of pre-Black Company ideas being formed here. I haven't read enough other Cook to tell if he trots out certain ideas in every book/series or if this is just a “fantasy” thing for him. Either way, this reads like Black Company, the Rough Draft.

It's a fun story and I thoroughly enjoyed my time. Also a good book to shove into peoples' faces if they ever start talking about fates, predestination, and how things are out of their control.

Thankfully, this ends much like most of the Black Company books. So it's your call if that's happy or not. I was satisfied with how things turned out.

★★★☆ ½

68BookstoogeLT
Edited: Mar 25, 7:35pm Top

The Lord God Made Them All
James Herriott
Unrated

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Lord God Made Them All
Series: All Creatures Great and Small #7
Author: James Herriot
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 388
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

Even more stories from the Vet. And apparently he goes to Russia, or something.

My Thoughts:

I abandoned this at the 10% mark. I just couldn't take any more cutesy stories about animals or the people. The people just pissed me off. So I endured for almost 40 pages. Then when he starts off about him going to Russia, and preparing his reader for that adventure, I just gave up.

Almost 400 pages was too much and I had really reached my limit of animal stories about 2 books ago. Nothing wrong with this book, hence the Unrated rating. I am using this as a lesson to teach myself when I need to abandon a series sooner.

69BookstoogeLT
Mar 26, 8:42am Top

A Milestone

A maudlin post in which I reveal my Secret Agenda now that I am a "Power to Contend With".

70BookstoogeLT
Yesterday, 6:21pm Top

Dreams of Distant Shores
Patricia McKillip
4 Stars

The Review:

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Dreams of Distant Shores
Series: ----------
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 290
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

A collection of short stories and a novella showcasing McKillip's writing style and preferred story content.

My Thoughts:

The majority of this book is taken up with the novella, Something Rich and Strange. I read that back in '05 and wasn't very impressed then and this time around nothing improved. That is the reason for the 1 Star deduction.

Now, the rest of the stories, they were excellent. They were what I EXPECT from McKillip. My favorite was about an artist who draws the Gorgon's mouth and it becomes his muse, until it convinces him to fall in love with a real life girl who then becomes his true muse. Not being an artsy guy myself, most of the time I poo-poo stories dealing with art. However, this story, appropriately entitled The Gorgon in the Cupboard, drew me in and made the artist character sympathetic enough that even I was able to like him. The counter-story about the woman who becomes his muse, is poignantly sad and heartwrenching and provides a sad canvas upon which a happy story is drawn.

The Forward by Peter Beagle I could have done without. I am not a fan of Beagle, so his musings on meeting McKillip at various times came across as self-serving and very faux-humble.

If I ever read this again, I'll just skip the novella and concentrate on the short stories.

★★★★☆

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