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Bookstooge 2017 Part 5

This is a continuation of the topic Bookstooge 2017 Part 4.

This topic was continued by Bookstooge 2018 Part 1.

The Green Dragon

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Sep 25, 2017, 9:18pm Top

Spring Snow
Yukio Mishima
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, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Spring Snow
Series: Sea of Fertility #1
Author: Yukio Mishima
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Japanese Lit
Pages: 399
Format: Digital Edition


Kiyoaki, son of a wealthy samurai family, has been raised in the Ayakura household. The Ayakuras are an ancient royal family and the Matsugae's hope that some of the Ayakura's polish will rub off on Kiyoaki.

The Ayakura's have a daughter who is in love with Kiyoaki. However, Kiyoaki is the forerunner of the emo-goths and so self-absorbed that he ignores or repels anything having to do with anyone else. He rejects Satoko's love and she is then affianced to a direct descendant of the Emperor.

Kiyoaki loses it, starts a torrid affair with Satoko without thinking about any of the consequences. Satoko becomes pregnant, is forced to abort the baby and in response joins a nunnery. Kiyoaki refuses to believe that Satoko would spurn him and in the process of trying to get her attention, catches pneunomia and dies.

My Thoughts:

Ugh. And that pretty much sums up every single feeling I had about this book. It was “Literature” with a Capital L.

It was beautifully written and the translator did a fantastic job of keeping that beauty intact. However, nothing could disguise the pathetic, childish, self-centered, disgusting character of the main character. Kiyoaki was a typical young man but without getting any of his sharp corners ground down by his parents or his friends. So at the end, he cracks and breaks.

This was reading about the worst of people, just because the author felt like writing it. In the introduction, by the publishers, they give a little history of the author. He killed himself at the age of 45. If his mindset continued like this book, it's no wonder.

This was supposed to be a tetralogy, but I'm not sure how this can be a series since the main character dies. From the tone of the book, I'd guess that the series is all tied together by some esoteric “Idea”. Ugh. Again. I will NOT be reading any more by Mishima.


Sep 26, 2017, 1:19pm Top

>1 BookstoogeLT: Oh dear, the Sea of fertility quartet is on my Tbr pile. I may not be reading it soon. I do love your synopsis; I'm guessing it was not taken from the back of the book!

Sep 26, 2017, 5:36pm Top

>2 Sakerfalcon: Oh no, the synopsis from the book makes it sound like something I'd want to read. Sadly, that is not the case :-(
If you do get around to them, I'll be interested in what you have to say about the other books...

Sep 27, 2017, 4:16pm Top

Going to be doing a buddy read of Stephen King's Mr Mercedes with a friend from Booklikes who crossposts on Wordpress:

Mr Mercedes Buddy Read Pre-Post

Sep 28, 2017, 6:06am Top

The Praxis
Walter Jon Williams
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Praxis
Series: Dread Empires Fall #1
Author: Walter Jon Williams
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 454
Format: Digital Edition


The Shaa rule the known universe under the precepts of The Praxis, a series of laws that are constant and reduce the amount of chaos in the empire. All races bow to the Shaa and have for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years.

But the Shaa have died out and only one remains. This is the story of the Empire once that Shaa dies.

We follow a young Navy puke, Gareth Martinez, as he goes through the tumultuous time. Single handedly preventing another species, the Praxids, from taking the Shaa's place, Martinez rises to captain of his own ship and becomes a hero.

We also follow Caroline Sula, last member of the disgraced Sula household. In the navy, trying to rebuild her fortunes, Sula is a pilot with a huge secret. She's not actually Caroline Sula.

My Thoughts:

This was a decent read. The only other books I've read by Williams have been in the Star Wars universe and ONE book back in '09. So he's practically a new-to-me author.

So this is Space Opera, in the finest tradition. Huge Empires. Factions spanning galaxies. Armies beginning the titanic struggle for supremacy of said Huge Empire.

But what is Space Opera without some leading characters with great voices? So we get Gareth and Caroline. Decent enough, but honestly, if I carry the Opera comparison over, they don't have the projecting, hall filling voice that a main character needs. They're not bland amateur voices but they aren't the mature voices of huge fat people belting out an aria at the top of their lungs. I'm hoping our two main characters chub up a bit by the end of this trilogy * wink *

Having read enough Science Fiction, I knew what was coming as soon as it was revealed that the last of the Shaa was dying. So the overall plot is no surprise, but I have to admit I was hoping the disintegration would start a little faster. I guess I'll have to wait for the next 2 books for that to take place.

Also, Space Opera means Space Battles. Man, I HATE space battles. It's tough to describe 5 minutes of action that stretches out for days. It is BORING, even when the author skips all the boring in-between times. Bleh. Give me marines with super rifles blowing the crap out of aliens any day! I hope there is some of THAT in the next 2 books.

★★★☆ ½

Sep 30, 2017, 8:03am Top

Alistair Reynolds
2.5 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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Revenger
Series: ------
Author: Alistair Reynolds
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA-SF
Pages: 411
Format: Digital Edition


Adrana and Fura Ness run away from home and join the crew of a spaceship that looks for treasures from older civilizations. They are “Bone Readers”, which allows them to communicate with other Bone Readers on other ships. They're first mission sees them attacked by the Dread Pirate Bosa Sennen (make sure you said that part like Andre the Giant does in The Princess Bride) and Adrana is captured, Ness hides in the walls of the ship and one other of the crew, Porzor, survives. Fura and Porzor are rescued and Fura, who is under age, is taken back to her ailing father.

Back home Fura is given drugs to keep her docile and fed the story that her sister is dead, not alive and captured. Fura resists, hooks back up with Porzor on another ships and plans how to rescue Adrana and get her revenge on Bosa Sennen.


Fura tricks the crew to get some special armor, makes them a target for Bosa Sennen, kills all the crew on Bosa Sennen's ship and takes it over. She rescues her sister but Adrana, who now believes in the cause that Bosa Sennen was fighting for, and Fura pretty much becomes Bosa Sennen in all but name.

/End Spoiler of Everything

My Thoughts:

This was not my first book by Reynolds and for that I am intensely grateful. I read Beyond the Aquila Rift just last year in fact. What a great book. So I KNOW at what level Reynolds can write.

Unfortunately, this was deliberately written to be sold in the YA genre and it shows. I'd actually recommend this to a 12-14 year old and once they'd gotten used to Reynold's name, introduce them to his other stuff when they hit the mid to late teens.

My biggest issue. The slang words used. I am going to just list the ones that I can remember:
1. Glowy
2. the grey
3. the squawky
4. the Swirly
5. gubbins
6. the viewy
7. lungstuff

There were more,but those stuck out the most. A mature society doesn't talk like that. A closed, insular society would but that disappears when homogenization takes place. Only teens talk like that, making ordinary things just a little bit different to make it their own. Needless to say, every time I read the word “lungstuff” I was completely thrown out of the book.

My other issue is Fura Ness. She goes from being a naive, tender young thing to a complete bad ass who glows and has a metal hand but she can't think for crap. She has no plan, she has no tactical training, no fighting training, nothing in fact but the Righteous Anger of her Cause. She is presented as someone as tough as Bosa Sennen by the end of the book, but there is nothing to back that up. Being hard emotionally and having some real anger issues aren't going to actually do you squat when facing trained professionals. But this being a YA book, it IS enough.

For a review by someone who has read more Reynolds than me admittedly, not a hard goal to reach, please check out Manuel's review of Revenger.

Now that I have read this, I'm spurred on to track down Reynolds' other books so at least this book has that one good point.

★★☆☆ ½

Sep 30, 2017, 6:45pm Top

September's Roundup & Rambling

Dang good month overall!

Oct 1, 2017, 3:35am Top

>6 BookstoogeLT: So what is lungstuff?

Oct 1, 2017, 3:52pm Top

>8 zjakkelien: I'm 90% sure it is air...

Oct 1, 2017, 4:31pm Top

>6 BookstoogeLT: Interesting word list. I was always under the impression that "gubbins" was North Country English rather than teenspeak. Leastways, I'm sure the father of some kids I was in primary school with in the '50s used the word, and he came from Yorkshire.

Oct 1, 2017, 4:32pm Top

>9 BookstoogeLT: Noooooo. Seriously? That is too stupid for words!

Oct 1, 2017, 5:22pm Top

>9 BookstoogeLT: Oh, well, that's a nicer picture than what I was imagining. I was thinking of the gunk people hack up out of their lungs!

Oct 1, 2017, 5:30pm Top

>10 hfglen: You might very well be right. But being an upright and righteous American, there is only "American" and then "those other languages" :-) So I can't tell the difference between slang. By the way, what does "gubbin" mean in North Country English?

>11 zjakkelien: Yeah, that word in particular really drove me out of the story.

12> Funnily enough, THAT is the picture I always had at the word. So reconcile that with the word air and you have a complete mess. Blurgh...

Oct 1, 2017, 5:59pm Top

My first Mr Mercedes Buddy Read Update

Oh man, this might be the toughest King read to date. I'm gutted already.

Oct 2, 2017, 4:37am Top

>13 BookstoogeLT: Let me illustrate with an example. The Yorkshireman concerned spent his retirement crafting a magnificent model (1:12 scale, at a guess) of a steam locomotive, perfect in every detail. The bits that made it or any subsystem work would be referred to as "the gubbins". By the way, it's what you may think of as an "inverse-sheep" word -- there's no singular form.

Oct 2, 2017, 6:04am Top

>6 BookstoogeLT:, >9 BookstoogeLT: - There is, potentially, a slightly more sophisticated reason for the slang - this is a future world that's lost it's past. It's lost all the science and technology development and the understanding that underpinned it. Societies have risen and fallen, and from the ashes new peoples have stolen and borrowed the artifacts that still work, but don't have the background to understand them.

So they have automated medical suites that can fix bodies, but the people around them don't know how bodies work. It's not just a teenage protagonist, but also a teenaged society finding it's way in the universe. I thought Reynolds had been quite clever with this, and it allows quite lot of mis-direction and potential future plots.

Oct 2, 2017, 6:29am Top

>15 hfglen: From the context then I'd go with the guess that Reynolds used it like it was supposed to be used.

>16 reading_fox: A whole teenage society. That's even worse than I thought! How did you compare this to some of his other books? I've only ever read his Beyond the Aquila Rift so I don't have much to compare it to.

Oct 2, 2017, 6:52am Top

>17 BookstoogeLT: - He's a great personal favourite author I've read them all I think - except Aquila rift which is on my wishlist - and reviewed most of them. I've met him once, he's quiet and interesting to hear speak.

He's best known for revelation space which is darker. Long- 7 books, and covers what I call deep time. Instead of light sails they use cryo-preservation, and long long journey times. Some very strange aliens. It's definitely not YA, but not explicit either.

There then followed a series of standalone novels. of which century rain was my favourite - time travel noir, with a great look at society - and his most recent other work is the blue remembered earth trilogy, somewhat lighter and happier in tone, and an excuse to get elephants into space.

All of his writing is hard-sf. No known physical laws are broken, (eg no hyperdrive/jumpships etc) mass and energy are legitimately conserved and manipulated (eg no battery powered super weapons). He's also what I think of as a "proper" sf writer, in that it's not just a different backdrop for a fantasy story about people, but an way of looking at today's society, and the potential outcomes of possible trends in politics/technology and worldview - (he's not just reliving the cold war though! cf far too many other authors!)

Oct 4, 2017, 7:02am Top

The Phantom Tollbooth
Norton Juster
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition
Series: ------
Author: Norton Juster
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Children's Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover


Milo is a discontented, bored little boy. Until one day he gets a tollbooth and goes on an adventure to rescue the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. With his friends Tock the Watch-Dog and the Humbug, Milo will learn the importance of words and numbers and just how they can affect everything.

Milo completes his adventure and once back home realizes just how big of a place our world is and how much there is to do. No more boring days for Milo!

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books I read as a kid and that has stuck with me ever since. I couldn't remember every detail, but the clever word plays and number games always stuck in my head. So when I saw this 50th Anniversary Edition a couple of years ago I had to pick it up. Of course, it's taken me several years to actually get around to reading it.

It is a children's book so some things are childish. But even now, I never felt like Juster was trying to talk down to his audience or dumb things down. I enjoyed the heck out of this. I had forgotten just how quickly everything happens. Bam, Bam, Bam.

If you've never read this book, I highly recommend you do. It is good even for adults. If you happen to know some kids, I'd even higherly recommend this to them.

This 50th Anniversary Edition had a forward from Maurice Sendak which was actually from the 35th Anniversary Edition and several “How the Phantom Tollbooth Affected Me” stories from various people at the end of the book. I wasn't impressed with Sendak's blabbing and will definitely be skipping that if I read this again. I WAS looking forward to the various stories at the end, but sadly, I only recognized 1 or 2 names and nobody told a good story. It was all the same “I love it, my children loved it, the dog loved it.” blah, blah, blah. It did make me wonder who all those people were whose names I didn't recognize. Maybe someday I'll care enough to look them up, but not now.

To end. The story was fantastic, the addons, ie the forward and the stories at the end, not so much. Ignore those, read the story and have a wonderful time!


Oct 4, 2017, 10:44am Top

> 19 Some of us (re)read this a year or so ago. I think everyone loved it. It definitely lived up to my childhood memories.

Oct 4, 2017, 11:36am Top

>5 BookstoogeLT: I read this a few years ago, and remember almost nothing of it. Which is telling. The Walter Jon Williams I liked best, I think, is This is Not a Game.

Oct 4, 2017, 5:15pm Top

>20 Sakerfalcon: I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like this book. Of course, that's not a large number of people, but still.

>21 stellarexplorer: I really enjoyed This is Not a Game as well.

Oct 4, 2017, 5:16pm Top

>19 BookstoogeLT: I have vague memories of running across the movie by chance as a child. I think I was sick or something, and it kept me mildly entertained for a while. I’m not sure if I ever realized it was a book.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:49pm Top

>23 YouKneeK: I JUST found out today that this was a movie. You could have floored me with a feather. I do not approve of that fact.
I'm not watching this movie on principle!!

Oct 4, 2017, 6:52pm Top

>24 BookstoogeLT: LOL, I remember so little about it that I couldn’t even tell you if you’re missing out. Since books are usually better, I suspect not.

Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 9:18pm Top

Disappearance of Winter's Daughter Kickstarter Info

Kickstarter for Disappearance of Winter's Daughter starts tomorrow at noon eastern standard time. More info on my wordpress, which has a link to Sullivan's post, which has ALL the nitty gritty.

Oct 6, 2017, 2:32pm Top

Dancer's Lament
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, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Dancer's Lament
Series: Malaz: Path to Ascendancy #1
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 418
Format: Hardcover


Before there was Cotillion and Kellanved, there was Dorin Rav and Wu. Taking place in the city of Li Heng, this is the story of how they became partners.

The plot of the book, however, is how the city of Li Heng survived a besiegement by a jumped up king who thought he was somebody. The 4 mages of the city, under the direction of the Protectress (a tiste liosan) end up confining Ryllandaras, the man-jackal in a magical prison. The Itko Kan'ians, the besiegers, have the help of a Jaghut and it takes the Protectress unleasing the full might of her Warren of Light to drive back the besiegers.

Wu, and Dorin, have plans to take over the city during the turmoil but they simply aren't strong enough and end up being exiled from the city. But now they are partners and can begin working together.

My Thoughts:

Finally. A Malazan book that I can simply sit down and read straight through and enjoy fully without feeling like I'm juggling 3 different 5000 piece puzzles all mixed together. You have no idea how much that upped my enjoyment of this book.

I think Esslemont showed his true colors with this book. He is a good standard fantasy writing kind of guy. His Malazan Empire novels felt very much like he was trying to copy Steven Erikson's style and it just didn't work for me. But this? Besides Gardens of the Moon, this was the most enjoyable Malazan book that I've read. Now I am really looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.

In the Malazan books, Cotillion/Dancer and Kellanved were shadow'y characters doing things behind the scenes and never being fully fleshed out. Even when they were supposed to be main characters, they were actually hiding and felt like side characters. This time, they were simply people. It was refreshing.

There were lots of hints and little asides from other Malazan characters, so if you're one of the Book of the Fallen fanboys who who loves unlocking a ton of meaning from 2 sentence fragments, you'll still have something to chew on with this book. The rest of us can simply sit back and enjoy the story.

In Esslemont's The Return of the Crimson Guard the malazan army unleashed Ryllandaras and in this book we see how, and why, he was confined. It was nice to make a clear cut connection between one book and the other instead of having to guess and speculate and turn my brain into 77 pretzels to make my pet theory fit.

Another aspect of this that I enjoyed was the lack of Existential Despair philosophy. Everybody was NOT whining about how meaningless their lives were. In fact, they acted like real people and didn't even think about that. Dorin and Wu had to survive, plan how to take over a newly discovered Warren of Shadow and see if they could take over the city. Not much time to sit on their fat asses and complain about how hard they have it (unlike almost every Steven Erikson character. Man, that guy has his characters doing more talking than doing, in the middle of freaking battles for goodness sake!!!).

To end, I really enjoyed this book. A lot. In fact, I plan on buying it in hardcover, I enjoyed it so much. How don't know how much more of an endorsement I can give a book. * grin *

★★★★ ½

Oct 6, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>27 BookstoogeLT: That one is in my "to buy" list but I've been waiting because I saw it's part of a new series. Does it read as a stand alone? I'm not sure I want to wait years for the next book doesn't work as stand alone. I like to read Malazan books close together.

Oct 6, 2017, 5:26pm Top

>28 Narilka: It works really good as a standalone. It tells a completely self contained story that wraps up by the end. If this had been the only book, I would have been satisfied if nothing had changed. If it helps, the next book, Deadhouse Landing, comes out later this year. I'm jumping on that like a starving hyena!

Oct 6, 2017, 7:42pm Top

Mr Mercedes Buddy Read Update - 27%

Self explanatory I believe...

Oct 7, 2017, 8:58pm Top

Survival Saturday - Intro Post

Kicking off a new foodee oriented series of posts. Once a month I'll be making and eating a survival food package and letting everyone know if I completely wasted our money or not.

Oct 8, 2017, 9:49am Top

The Fire in His Hands
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, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Fire in His Hands
Series: The Dread Empire: A Fortress in Shadow #1
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 212
Format: Digital Edition


Micah * insert really long family moniker that nobody cares about * is visited by an “Angel” riding a winged horse carrying a cornucopiea. Micah changes his name to El Murid and begins proselytizing all the tribes that have fallen away from the True Faith. This of course sets him on a collision course with the powers that be. He marries a girl and her brother becomes his general. The powers that be don't take him seriously and so things progress to the point where the whole area is torn apart.

The powers that be end up hiring mercenaries. In one of those mercenary troops is a guy named Braki Ragnarson. We met him in the previous trilogy. We find out how he left his land and joined the mercenaries.

More fighting, El Murid appears to have won the day and Haroun, a younger son, inherits the Crown and begins a guerilla warfare to take back the kindgom.

My Thoughts:

El Murid and Haroun were both mentioned in the previous trilogy but weren't a big part. So I wasn't sure how to place them at first. But with the introduction of Ragnarson, it all clicked. This A Fortress in Shadow sub-series is a prequel to A Cruel Wind trilogy. What confused me right off was that there didn't appear to be anything to do with the Dread Empire. I am wondering if perhaps the Dread Empire is the empire that fell hundreds of years ago and not the Eastern Empire we are introduced to in A Cruel Wind. But that contradicts everything I know from those books. Whatever.

I knew things were going to be bad once that blasted Star Rider gave Micah a mission. That guy is bad news and I hate him even more now. What an illegitimate offspring of a donkey's backside!

The overall story took years and we'd skip years or months inbetween paragraphs. It wasn't always clear that time had elapsed or it felt very rough. I just held on for the ride. This was as much political machinations and maneuvering between factions as it was about actual battles.

The story ends with Haroun taking up the Invisible Crown and becoming the King without a Kingdom that we know. We actually are introduced to his son in the A Cruel Wind series so we already know that Haroun has a lifetime of fighting ahead of him with no success. Not sure how the next book, or two, will deal with that. I don't actually know how many books are in the A Fortress in Shadow series. I just don't care enough to go look for it.

★★★☆ ½

Oct 9, 2017, 6:50am Top

Oct 10, 2017, 4:42pm Top

The Confession of Brother Haluin
Ellis Peters
2.5 Stars

Due to Catholic theology being discussed in this review, I'll be including a link to my wordpress below if you feel the need to comment :-D

Cadfael on Wordpress

Oct 10, 2017, 5:02pm Top

>32 BookstoogeLT: Love your synopsis!

Oct 10, 2017, 5:42pm Top

>35 zjakkelien: Thanks. Sometimes it is really hard to summarize a whole book in a paragraph or two. But I have to be honest, I'm getting better at it :-D

Oct 11, 2017, 6:39am Top

Dark Matter
Blake Crouch
3 Stars

Due to some of the religious nature of this review, I'll be providing a link to my wordpress account below.

Dark Matter on Wordpress

Oct 11, 2017, 9:00am Top

>37 BookstoogeLT: Sounds like the TV show, Fringe.

Oct 11, 2017, 10:29am Top

>38 MrsLee: THAT'S the show I was thinking of but couldn't remember!!!!!!!!! Thank you! It was exactly like a story arc in Fringe. Sigh, nothing new under the sun indeed...

Oct 11, 2017, 5:45pm Top

How to Survive and Thrive in Church
Doug Batchelor
4 Stars

Due to the religious nature of this book and the review, I'll also be providing a link to my wordpress review as well.

How to Survive and Thrive in Church on wordpress

Oct 12, 2017, 5:54pm Top

Joshua Dalzelle
3 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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Redemption
Series: Omega Force #7
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition


Taking place 3 years after the previous book, Omega Force has fallen apart due to Cristoff abandoning one of the Omega Force members when they can't fulfill one of his missions. Jason tries to keep the team together but when he can't, he gives up, moves to a beach front world, becomes a delivery boy with Lucky the robot and pretty much lets himself go. He also completely burns his bridges with Kallea when rescuing Crusher.

When the princess for another galaxy spanning Empire, rivaling that of the ConFed, is kidnapped, it appears that war is going to happen and billions could die. The princess's handmaid escapes, on Jason's old delivery ship, he's involved whether he wants to be or not. The only way to rescue the princess and prevent interstellar war is to get the gang back together. But when one Super Power wants you dead and a clique within the other is plotting to take over, things might be harder than expected.

But Omega Force always gets the job done. And with this job, they have the thanks of the King of an Empire, with “mysterious” problems along its other borders. And a princess that has the hots for Cap'n Jason. * wolf whistle *

Almost like Dalzelle is setting up future story installments.

My Thoughts:

This starts off with a barely functioning Jason, drunk as a skunk getting helped along by Lucky. It was rather disconcerting, as we don't get WHY Omega Force fell apart until some time later.

In many ways, this felt like Dalzelle ran out of ideas for within the ConFed and so kind of rebooted the whole Omega Force thingamajig. I didn't feel that it was handled real well, especially with how things with Kallea went down. Relationships, even fake ones in books, shouldn't get treated like a drama prop.

Other than that, this was exactly the same in tone as all the previous Omega Force books. If I was in a cranky mood like I was when I read Dark Matter I'd probably rip into this more. But I don't expect much from these, so I don't have to give much in a review. These are like Forgotten Realms for Science Fiction.


Oct 13, 2017, 6:46am Top

Bane of Malekith
William King
1.5 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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Bane of Malekith
Series: Warhammer: Tyrion & Teclis #3
Author: William King
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Digital Edition


DNF @ 27%

My Thoughts:

Nothing was happening. I was not in the mood for some b-quality fantasy book to give me a modicum of entertainment. This was no worse than the previous 2 books but that is damning praise. It was like eating spaghetti but without any sauce or meatballs or spices.

I am really not having good luck with the Warhammer universe. Savageddt has suggested I try some Gotrek and Felix. My only reservation is that those books appear to also be written by William King and I'd really like to try someone else. Guess I'll be spending some time this weekend checking some other Warhammer series out.

★☆☆☆ ½

Edited: Oct 14, 2017, 7:55pm Top

Oct 16, 2017, 8:38pm Top

Line War
Neal Asher
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Line War
Series: Polity: Agent Cormac #5
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 580
Format: Digital Edition


Erebus, the rogue AI that has been corrupted by Jain nodes, is on the path to destroying the solar system. With fake attacks and whatnot, he manages to clear the way to Earth itself. Standing in his way is the haiman who committed murder for a jain node and Ian Cormac.
Cormac has been running all over the Polity, ostensibly chasing down Erebus but in reality picking up clues that lead him to only one conclusion. ECS, the Head Honcho AI, colluded with Erebus right when Erebus first found jain nodes. Its justification was that humanity was stagnating,but with millions and possibly billions dead, Cormac puts the smack down on that particular AI and kills it. A submind takes over but with the spectre of Cormac haunting it should it ever decide to go so outside of bounds.
The Dragon Sphere takes Mika and allows her access to Jain AI, which in turn allows her to deal with the gabbleduck/Atheter AI, possibly.

My Thoughts:

Nothing from my original review from 2010 has changed. This was a particularly wordy story and there were a lot of details that just didn't need to be there. It really bogged the story down. Instead of an adrenaline filled gorefest of robots and monsters I got an indepth tour of things I didn't care one whit about. That's why I knocked half a star off this time.

There is still a lot of action but sometimes it felt like it was really hidden away. Also, Cormac played a MUCH smaller part. The biggest thing he did was at the end when he killed ECS. I guess this just didn't stand up to a re-read as well as some of the previous books. The ideas were really cool the first time around and covered up all the weak points. This time around, I was seeing the weakpoints.

I had forgotten that the Atheter memcrystal came into play so early in the Polity books. I just read a big part of it's conclusion in the Polity: Transformation trilogy last year. That is one nice thing about re-reads, seeing various threads that you'd forgotten about being more deeply woven into the story.

I do wonder if we'll ever see Agent Cormac again. He hasn't shown up, that I'm aware of, in later Polity books. But if we don't, I'm completely satisfied with how this 5 books sub-series ended.

★★★☆ ½

Oct 17, 2017, 4:38pm Top

The Night Parade
Scott Ciencin
1.5 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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Night Parade
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #4
Author: Scott Ciencin
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 310
Format: Digital Edition


Myrmeen, ruler of a successful city, is approached by her ex-husband. He tells her that their only child never died but that he instead sold the baby girl into slavery to pay off his debts. After lopping off her ex's head, Myrmeen calls together some of her former compatriots, who are all Harpers.

Their research leads them to the conclusion that every so many years a hideous group of supernatural beings kidnaps children for nefarious purposes and said group is known as the Night Parade. The group finds Krystin, Myrmeen's daughter but in their rush to leave the city, things happen, people die and the Night Parade is no longer content to let them be.

The Myrmeen and Co group meet up with a vigilante who has a magical item that he uses to kill the Night Parade. They all start hunting down the badguys, For The Children, and the Night Parade hits back, hard. Harpers die left and right, betrayals happen even after death and hardly anybody is who they say they are.

Krystin was a plant to lure in Myrmeen, the Night Parade are barren creatures from another realm that they can't return to and through the Power of Luv, Myrmeen and Krystin rack up a serious body count of all their friends and tear away the shadow hiding the Night Parade. The Night Parade is prevented from ever recruiting more members and Myrmeen finds out that her biological daughter is being raised in a neighboring kingdom as a Poet Princess. Myrmeen lets her go and sets off on living life with Krystin as her stand-in daughter.

My Thoughts:

Wow! And here I thought Red Magic bad. This is the kind of Forgotten Realms book that gives the series its b-class, sub-standard, fantasy is crap, kind of reputation.

I suspect that Ciencin was told to write for horny 13 year old boys, as there were lots of descriptions of generic cleavage and legs and beauty and desire and crap. Sadly, the rest of the writing I'm not sure that even a 13 year old boy would put up with. Maybe?

Myrmeen. Where do I even start? She doesn't think, she reacts at all the wrong times, she doesn't consider anyone else but herself and then the eyerolling, gag inducing saccharin sweetness of her desire to be a mom. It was done wrong and it was done lazily and it was done stupidly. It doesn't help that she seems to be attracted to every male she comes into contact with and that every single one of them dies. Seriously, she's worse than a black widow.

The only reason I'm not complaining about the other characters is because except for Krystin, they ALL die. That's just laziness to me. Don't know how to handle someone's future? Easy, kill them off. Don't know how to engage your readers on a gut level? Easy, kill off a trusted companion. Don't know how to even write effectively? Easy, kill somebody.

If you stuck a gun to my head and forced me to answer the question, which was worse, this book or Bloodwalk I would be really hard pressed to know what to say. I have had a recent string of bad books in the Forgotten Realms and I have to wonder when it is going to end. This Harpers series is on life support and it'll only take 1 more stinker to sink the ship. I just hate wasting my time on trash.

While I rated this 1/2star higher than Bloodwalk, I am giving this book the “Worst Book of the Year” tag as its Mother/Daughter thing was so badly done that I felt nauseous. Bravo! And it turns out that this is the first book to have that dubious honor. Double Bravo!!

★☆☆☆ ½

Oct 18, 2017, 9:16am Top

Is it wrong of me to hope you read more bad books? The reviews are so entertaining :)

Oct 18, 2017, 9:37pm Top

>46 Narilka: I am glad somebody is getting some enjoyment out of these stinkers. The only thing that I get out of it is just how abysmal some books are. These keep me grounded and make me really appreciate the few 5stars that I read each year.

And they show me that I DO have some taste :-D

Oct 19, 2017, 5:11pm Top

>46 Narilka: Hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited: Oct 19, 2017, 6:23pm Top

The Punch Escrow
Tal Klein
1/2 Star

Due to the nature of this review, I have disabled comments on wordpress, and not provided the body of the review here.

Oct 19, 2017, 7:41pm Top

>49 BookstoogeLT: half a star!! wow. Did you bother to finish it or just throw it out the window?

Oct 19, 2017, 8:10pm Top

>50 Darth-Heather: I dnf'd it at 42% :-(

Oct 19, 2017, 8:36pm Top

>49 BookstoogeLT: Half a star?? Yikes. You've had a couple bad ones in a row. Time for something better!

Oct 19, 2017, 8:44pm Top

>52 Narilka: Yes, I am particularly discouraged at the moment. I don't even want to pick another book tonight...

Oct 19, 2017, 9:45pm Top

>53 BookstoogeLT: Is it time for a Hogfather re-read yet? :)

Oct 20, 2017, 6:46am Top

>54 YouKneeK: I'm hoping something on my shelf will perk up my interest. I NEED something feel good that I'll like for tonight. A short paperback I can read in one sitting. Hogfather just might do it...

Oct 20, 2017, 6:47am Top

Mr Mercedes Buddy Read - 95%

The story is done, just have the afterwards by King to read. The post spoils the ending, so read at your own risk.

Oct 20, 2017, 9:07am Top

Picking a favorite to reread is usually how I treat myself after a string of baddies. You have to be careful to pick a reread that isn't from your distant past though, because sometimes the Suck Fairy visits favorites from the past, and that is almost worse than reading a bad current book.

Oct 20, 2017, 2:37pm Top

>57 MrsLee: Yeah, I've had that happen before :-( That is never a good time...

Oct 21, 2017, 4:34pm Top

The Compleat Bolo
Keith Laumer
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Compleat Bolo
Series: ----------
Author: Keith Laumer
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 320
Format: Digital Scan


A collection of short stories and whatever you call a 50page story, not really a short story but not a novella either. Anyway, stories about the evolution of the tanks known as Bolos. From their mechanical beginnings to their self awareness to their “we're smarter than humas so lets help them out”ness.

Bolos are loyal, brave, determined, nigh unstoppable and better representatives of humanity than any human. In other words, they are great mechanical main characters without the Skynet vibe.

My Thoughts:

I really needed this read. After The Punch Escrow I needed something to remind me that not all humans are bastard baby killers. So of course, I read a book where tanks are the main characters.

The humans in these stories are props for the most part. While they figure more prominently in earlier stories, as the stories progress the Bolos take center stage more often than not. Honor and duty are big points in these stories and I actually teared up at one story about a bolo sacrificing itself to save the humans. Sometimes I'm so weak.

This is probably more of an actual 4star book, but when compared to Punch, it rockets up. Some of the problems might be insurmountable for some. While this book was published in 1990, the stories come from the 60's through the 80's. In places, it shows. Word plays making fun of a politician's name McCarthy anyone?, communications, the 40 people in the one town on one world all talking like Jeb Clampet. I read more “hick talk” in this short book than I have in a long time.

Having read this in the 90's soon after it came out and then during college and then again in '01, I can't say that I'm exactly unbiased. I like this collection of stories. I've never been tempted to try the full length spin off Bolo novels by other authors though. This book I recommend. Those others, try them at your own risk.

★★★★ ½

Oct 21, 2017, 8:41pm Top

Survival Saturday - Tortilla Soup

For my first real foodee post, this stuff turned out pretty good.

Oct 22, 2017, 2:14pm Top

Mr Mercedes
Stephen King
3 Stars

The Review, with Spoilers!

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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Mr Mercedes
Series: Bill Hodges #1
Author: Stephen King
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 449
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis: Spoilers!!

A madman runs through a crowd of jobseekers, using a stolen Mercedes. He is never caught and the detective in charge, Bill Hodges, retires and always regrets that he never caught Mr Mercedes.

Then Mr Mercedes sends a letter to Bill, taunting him. And the chase is on. Mr Mercedes wants to break Hodges and make him commit suicide while Hodges wants to catch Mr Mercedes. Other people get involved. Things get personal for Hodges with the death of a lady friend. Mr Mercedes decides to go out with a bang at a teeny bopper concert put on by the nations latest and greatest boyband.

Hodges, with help, prevails and Brady, aka Mr Mercedes, ends up in a coma.

* very weak cheering *


My Thoughts: Spoilers!!

Did a buddy read of this with BookCupidity. Unfortunately, due to life circumstances, BC wasn't able to participate as much as hoped in the back and forth. However, I was able to do a couple of updates as I read this, so this review is pretty much a compilation of those updates.

First, and most importantly in my mind, there is NOTHING supernatural going on in this book. This is just a detective thriller about chasing a madman who is halfway intelligent. I read King, once a year in October, for his supernatural, other worldly, stuff. So that was a huge disappointment for me.

Second, the whole relationship between Brady the villain and his drunk mom. It was incestuous and while they never actually had sex, it was clear that they toed that line. It turned my stomach. Also, being inside Brady's mind was not a pleasant experience nor was it one I ever wish to repeat. Which leads into the next point.

Third. I am done with King now. Every year I vacillate about whether I'll keep reading him. He can write a heck of a story. He draws me in every time and makes the characters and situations come to life. But this? It was just filthy and disgusting and I am done using my brain as a filter for that kind of thing. In some ways that is a relief, as I don't have to wonder every year what I'll be exposing myself to in my next King read, but there is also a tinge of regret as I know that King has some great stories that I probably would have really enjoyed. But there are things that are not worth desensitizing myself to just for entertainments sake.

And the ending, where Brady wakes up from his coma, caused by being bashed in the head multiple times to prevent him from blowing the plastic explosives at the concert, was just lame. That should have happened in the 3rd chapter and he is then possessed by supernatural powers and Hodges goes toe to toe with Evil Incarnate. THAT is what I expect from a King book. This was like a weak version of the Strawmen Trilogy by Michael Marshall, in tone.


Oct 23, 2017, 11:56am Top

>61 BookstoogeLT: Thanks for taking one for the team! I am relieved to be able to take this one out of my TBR. I haven't kept up with King since Insomnia - I felt quite let down by that one, compared to all the years spent devouring his earlier work.

I like your suggestion for what this book COULD have been :)

Oct 23, 2017, 7:42pm Top

>62 Darth-Heather: You're welcome. I just don't understand why he cut the supernatural out completely. I think he should rewrite the book according to my outline and release it as the "fan preferred edition" or something :-)

Edited: Oct 23, 2017, 7:44pm Top

Vermin Supreme Gives You "The Finger"

In which I simply have too much spare time on my hands (haha) during work today.

Oct 24, 2017, 3:57pm Top

Louis L'Amour
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Sackett
Series: Sacketts #8
Author: Louis L'Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 160
Format: Digital Edition


William “Tell” Sackett decides that since his younger brothers are so successful that he needs to do something important too. So he finds a hidden valley with a gold mine and a beautiful lost woman.

Gets hunted by golddiggers, some gunslingers out for revenge for their dead brother and a banker. Now THAT is scary! Just imagine the banker from The Bank of Evil in Despicable Me.

The beautiful woman rejects him because he's such a “savage killer”. Then he rescues her again, kills most of the badguys, gets shot and hooks up with the beautiful woman, who sees the error of her liberal, big city, gun hating ways.

Oh, if only more stories had that kind of happy ending.

My Thoughts:

Besides Ride the River, this was the most enjoyable Sackett story yet. It is also one of the simplest and straight forward ones as well. As well as eye rollingly western tropish. But that is WHY you read L'Amour.

When I married Mrs Bookstooge, if I had known that all I needed to do to get her to agree to me owning a gun was rescue her from a mountain, in a blizzard while being chased by desperadoes, well, that would have totally changed the equation. And doing it while carrying a wounded man who had tried to kill me? Psshawwww! But obviously, real life isn't that simple. I had to prove to her that her wishes came first for 9 years.

Honestly, I don't think that Tell Sackett was as big a man as me! I'd like to see him put up with some of the people I have. Of course, he'd probably just shoot them and have done. Ahh, the good old days

* huge grin *

★★★☆ ½

Oct 25, 2017, 7:09am Top

Super Popstar Bookstooge!

One of those "I've got words to get out, so here goes" kind of posts.

Oct 25, 2017, 5:59pm Top

>66 BookstoogeLT: Ha, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered any assembly-type instructions that were words only. That would make for an interesting challenge! I have trouble with instructions that have only pictures and no words. I usually have to stare at them for a really long time to figure out what Blob A and Blob B are, and I can only guess which verb I’m supposed to execute in relation to the two blobs.

I usually listen to pop music in the car, and Enya-style songs elsewhere. I say “Enya-style” because I just plugged “Enya” into Pandora one day, spent a couple sessions thumbing-up and thumbing-down stuff, and now it just plays stuff I like and I neither know nor care what most of it is.

The bad milk is awesome. :)

Edited: Oct 25, 2017, 8:17pm Top

>67 YouKneeK: I was thinking of the old Haynes car repair manuals. They've got some pictures, but not at the place you need them or of the part they are actually typing about. I bought one for my first car and after that, never again.

I know exactly what you mean by Enya style. I've pretty much done the same thing with Blackmill :-)

When I saw that bad milk pix, I just started laughing because it was so perfect...

Oct 26, 2017, 9:28am Top

Mobile Suit Gundam: The ORIGIN #12
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Encounters
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam: The ORIGIN #12
Author & Artist: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover


Amura and Char continue and finish their fight. Char ends up taking a rocket launcher and blowing up the spaceship which Kycillia is on, thus completely destroying House Zabi and the leadership of Zeon. Everyone gets out safely and a bunch of the kids exhibit newtype mental powers, ie, they have a connection with Amuro while he's escaping. The main story ends at page 160.

What follows for the next 100+ pages are 3 smaller stories. One taking place in the past, with the birth of Char. One after the peace agreement between the Federation and Zeon in which Sayla is almost abducted to be used by Zeon loyalists as a new rallying point. The final story is of one of Amuro's friends being engaged to Fraw and begging Amuro to not take her away from him. Amuro realizes all his ties to the past are now cut and decides to go back to space and begin the work of helping humans, spacenoids, earthers, newtypes and oldtypes to all get along as one united family. Thus ends the ORIGIN manga.

Then there are 10-20 pages of interviews with various people involved in the manga. I skipped those, as I didn't care one bit.

My Thoughts:

First, it's been over 18months since I read the previous volume. Way back in March of 2016. I think I stopped because the library didn't have this final volume yet and I was slowly buying them. So they sat on my shelf. But now I've read the whole series and I have to say, Good Stuff to the series as a whole.

This ending volume got bumped down a 1/2star because of the pie in the sky utopian idealism exhibited in the storyline. I know that is the foundation for the Gundam franchise, starting with the original series back in 1979 but to see it so plainly stated here kind of made me cringe. The underpinning of it all is that Newtypes won't have war because they can understand each other through their shared mental connections. It is based on the idea that Man is basically good. Sadly, as a Christian, I know that isn't the case.

When the story ended at the 160 page mark, I was kind of shocked. I was barely over half way through the book and bam, the main story is done. Thankfully, the 3 other stories fill in a good bit. The prequel story about Char's birth I was really “meh” about, as I didn't care about the past. But the other 2 stories that took place after the ending, they were good wrap ups. Pretty much an Epilogue and I was satisfied with the story closing on them.

I think I would have enjoyed this final volume a little more if so much time hadn't elapsed since my last read. The tension, the impact, the “what will happen” feeling, that were all building up in the previous 11 volumes had gone. Kind of like a bicycle tire that has sat in the garage for 18months. Whenever I re-read this in the future, I'll definitely make sure to read the whole series at a regular pace and I hope that would make a difference.

Once again, I would have bought these even if I hated the story just for the quality of the books themselves. The hardcovers are sturdy and the pictures on them are fantastic. The paper itself is a joy to turn. It is heavy and glossy and it was made to be felt as you turned the pages. The color artwork mixed in with the regular black and white was balanced perfectly. I never felt thrown when it switched from one to the other. I also liked that this was oversized and so could see the detail of the artwork better. This was not your typical manga sized released. This was a very high quality release and I'm glad I've got them.

I recommend this for the story, as the Gundam franchise is so quintessentially “manga/anime” and I recommend the books from an artistic viewpoint as well. It is always good to have a high quality production to judge everything else by. They are expensive though. MRSP is $30 and some volumes are as low as $20 but still, you're looking at a couple hundred of dollars. That is an investment. Borrow them and if you are as smitten as I was, then starting buying a book at a time.

★★★★ ½

Oct 27, 2017, 6:47am Top

Surviving a Bad Book - Shadow's Rise

Another monthly installment about surviving a bad book. This author was just a rank amateur. And I'm using "rank" correctly there.

Oct 27, 2017, 9:22am Top

>70 BookstoogeLT: I love these posts! Thank you for taking the hit so the rest of us don't have to!

Oct 27, 2017, 4:43pm Top

>71 Sakerfalcon: You are very welcome. Thankfully, these have all been spread out over the last 17 years, so it's not like I've been hit by a barrage of bad books all the time. But my goodness, some of them ARE real stinkers :-)

Oct 28, 2017, 2:28pm Top

The Scarab Path
Adrian Tchaikovsky
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Scarab Path
Series: Shadows of the Apt #5
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 721
Format: Digital Edition


The Lowlands are not at war but Stenwold knows that won't last. In an effort to help Che get over the death of her lover Acheaos and to fulfill his mission of finding new allies, Cheerwell is sent as an ambassador to the near mythical city of Khanaphes, where a small Collegium delegation has been studying their history. When Che finds out that the whole city is supposedly Inapt, she jumps at the chance, figuring she can find a way to fix her own Inaptness.

Thalric, now Regent and forced lover of Seda the Wasp Empress, finds himself the target of high level assassination attempts. He is also being drawn deeper and deeper into the Empress's bloody magical rituals and it is destroying his soul. The Empire is trying to co-opt the natural enemies of Knanaphes and Thalric jumps at the chance to get away from the Empress and figures he'll be safe from assassins as well. Thalric is given the ambassadorship and he believes he is trying to find allies in Khanaphes, not knowing that the Rekef are working with the Many of Nem, scorpion kinden, to destroy Khanaphes.

Totho the halfbreed, after rebelling from the Empire and running off with Drephos, has started his own Arms Dealer company called the Iron Glove. He is in Khanaphes to expand his market but everything takes a back seat when he finds out Che AND Thalric are in the city. He ends up fighting for the city and eventually realizes that Che will just never be his.

Everyone meets up in Khanaphes and nothing goes according to anybody's plans. The beetles are not Inapt, the Collegium delegation from before is either dead or mad, Thalric is still being hunted and no one can believe that the Scorpion horde attack will be any different from all the previous times.

Che and Thalric hook up for mutual survival, awake the Masters of Khanaphes the Slug kinden, the original masters of magic, save Khanaphes, find out that Che is being haunted by Tisamon's ghost and then they both go chasing after said ghost when it is freed from its ties to Che and begins to hunt for its daughter Tynisia.

My Thoughts:

Every time I go into this Shadows of the Apt re-read, I wonder if the book will be as good as I remember from my previous read. So far, every book has been as good, if not better, than the original read. This was one of the better times.

My only complaint was Che. She can be a real Debby Downer and at times is just frozen with self-doubt, recriminations and fear. It is awkward to read about and rather embarrasing actually. But she's not that way ALL the time and most of the time I liked reading about her. But that is the only reason I knocked a halfstar off, other than that, this would have been a 5star read.

Tchaikovsky can write! I know I say that in these reviews, but I just sat back half way through this book and thought about it. He has talent and it's obvious he's worked hard as well. The combination of hardwork, practice and talent make for a fantastic book, or series in this case. It isn't just that he can follow the rules of grammar, etc, but he knows how to use his words outside of the written rules. It is kind of like watching a true martial artist. They can take any formalized move in their art and turn it into a thing of beauty just by executing it.

I liked the story this time around, a lot. It is really interesting how the Apt races want to not only turn their backs on magic but pretend it never existed. With Che being Inapt now, she must learn to do away with that attitude. It separates her from so many people, because they don't believe it and she can't explain it. The Battle for Khanaphes was awesome! The Khanaphir were just not ready for modern warfare and it was only thanks to Totho and his Iron Glove associates that the city even stood a chance. But even that wasn't enough and it was only through the magic of the Slug Kinden that Khanaphes survived. But even then, they aren't a very nice Kinden, very much an old Master Race of Inapt magicians. But no worries, they just go back to sleep, like the sluggards they are.

Finally, I enjoyed how Tisamon has gone from a hero, albeit, a somewhat broken one, to a ghost who will do anything and use anyone to further its aims. I know he plays more of a part in later books, but right now, I can't really remember how and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all works out.

Completely recommended, but definitely part of a series. Start at the beginning and enjoy!

★★★★ ½

Oct 29, 2017, 11:30am Top

Stinger quote

Reading McCammon's Stinger and so far, it's not bad but not blowing me away either.

Oct 30, 2017, 9:19am Top

>74 BookstoogeLT: Stinger isn't exactly great literature, but I think this is one of his better ones. It seems like it would make a really good cheesy movie :)

Oct 30, 2017, 7:13pm Top

>75 Darth-Heather: Thanks. Glad to know it is one of his better ones. That gives me something to judge it in context of trying more of his stuff, ie, I probably won't :-D

Oct 30, 2017, 7:14pm Top

The Sorceress and the Cygnet
Patricia McKillip
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Sorceress and the Cygnet
Series: Cygnet #1
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 235
Format: Digital Edition


Corleu, a wayfolk man, gets lost with his love in a fog. He escapes, only to find it was all a setup by powerful characters from what he assumed was only folklore. The Gold King, the Blind Dancer, the Fire Bear, the Warlock and others all promise Corleu the return of his love and any wish he desires if he'll only find and deliver the heart of the Cygnet to them.

Nyx Ro has spent the last 9 years running from her responsibilities as Holders Daughter and gone far and wide across the land, learning more of magic than anyone even knew existed. Her Hold, symbolized by the Cygnet, is now in danger and Nyx must decide what she'll do. What she does is teach Corleu the magic he'll need, for she desires the power of the heart for herself.

Meguet Vervaine, sworn champion of Hold Ro, is without magic but she won't let that stop her from stopping Corleu OR Nyx. Only it turns out she isn't without magic, but filled with a different kind of magic, one to protect the Cygnet.

Everyone comes together in one climactic showdown, where it turns out that the Fairytale Powers were there simply to show Nyx her way, to awaken the powers within Meguet and to show Corleu his roots.

The book ends with them all eating cake and singing kumbaya around a campfire. That's me being a smartass, not how the book really ends. Just in case you couldn't tell.

My Thoughts:

When I first read the Cygnet Duology in '07 I was particularly annoyed with Corleu for being a muzzy headed muckerhead. That hasn't changed one bit in 10 years. I still found him just as annoying and stupid this time around as I did last time. I don't know if it is because I'm pigheaded or my Yankeeness or what, but if someone starts trying to manipulate me, my reaction is to just stop. There are consequences to that kind of in/action, but I just put my feet down. Corleu, and like characters, tend to float along like dandelion seeds being blown hither and yon, simply reacting to the threat right in front of them without thinking about what it means or anything. That always sets me off.

Thankfully, Corleu isn't the focus for the whole book. He's the focus for the first third, then Nyx gets her third and then Meguet gets her turn.

I have to admit that I skimmed some of this and I know that when you do that to a McKillip book you miss out on details. Basically by the end I still had NO clue why the Constellations all ganged up against the Cygnet or what they actually accomplished. I felt a bit like a muzzy headed muckerhead myself to be honest. Definitely a book I want to re-read again in the future to try to tease out the real meaning hidden in all the words.

This is not a McKillip book I would broadly recommend to just anyone. If you've read all her other stuff, then try this. But don't start with this,not at all.

★★★☆ ½

Oct 31, 2017, 5:45am Top

Robert McCammon
3 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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Stinger
Series: ----------
Author: Robert McCammon
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 542
Format: Digital Edition


2 Aliens come to the dying town of Inferno, Texas. One takes over the body of a 6 year old girl and the other takes anything it wants and turns it into a human/scorpion hybrid thingy. One is chasing the other and the whole town of Inferno is now involved.

Taking place in one night, we follow various townspeople as they do their best to survive not only the night but the threat to all of humanity that the Stinger represents. Lots of people die, the whole town has a coming together change of attitude and the good alien wins and steals the starship to go back to its planet to fight against the forces of the bad alien, who gets blown up by old dynamite.

My Thoughts:

Sadly, after my Stinger Update, there was no mindblowing'ness. This felt exactly like McCammon's The Border and while that's not bad, there was nothing in this book to make me want to read more by the author.

As much as I rant/complain/whatever about hating touchy-feeling'ness in the books I read, I still do want some characterization. In this story there were just too many people who were all focused on, hence diffusing any possible connections. And the characters that did have some page time, well, they felt very forced. The 2 young men who were leaders of their respective gangs, coming together as friends after the attack, yeah, yeah, yeah. The cowardly sheriff who overcomes his fear and while not a hero, at least isn't hiding. The airforce officer who stops the planes from shooting down the good alien right at the end and thus ending his career. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then you have the good alien who takes over a 6 year old girls body and her parents.

The other thing that stood out to me was the lack of guns. Apparently, the only people who have guns are either the law enforcement officers or a crazy gang member who has a huge stash of guns along with dynamite. Nobody else has guns. IN TEXAS. That is like writing a story about the city of Boston and writing all the drivers as polite people who follow the rules of the road and are safe drivers. It just ain't so! That whole town should have been bristling with guns and that phracking alien wouldn't have known what hit it.

There was also no sense of menace, no atmosphere. Competent enough writing but nothing outstanding or great.

For all that complaining, I still enjoyed this read. The alien burrowing through the ground and snatching people and creating dopplegangers with metal teeth and stuff? That was cool. When it happens to a horse, even cooler! Then when the dopplegangers are just appendages and can turn into people sized scorpions? Awesome! Blowing it up with dynamite in its own ship? THE BEST!

With all of that, I don't think I'll be reading any more McCammon. Neither of the 2 books of his that I have now read make me want to read any more. If I had no tbr and that is all the library had, then I'd dive right in. But I have a huge tbr and hundreds of books I WANT to read. “Ok” just doesn't cut it in that situation.

Oct 31, 2017, 8:55am Top

>78 BookstoogeLT: I'm glad you at least explored McCammon a bit. I haven't read the other one you mention, The Border, so I don't really know how that compares. But, if you ever do try him again I would recommend Boy's Life or his short story collection, Blue World, which is very much like a bunch of Twilight Zone episodes.

Oct 31, 2017, 9:17am Top

>77 BookstoogeLT: I had similar feelings to you when I read The sorceress and the cygnet years ago. I do want to go back and reread it though to see if I get more from the book on a second time, and continue to the sequel which I've never read at all.

Oct 31, 2017, 5:05pm Top

>79 Darth-Heather: Thanks for the rec. I might try that short story collection, as I tend to have a good track record with single author collections like that. And twilight zone'ish, sold!

>80 Sakerfalcon: I actually dived right into the sequel today, The Cygnet and the Firebird, because I didn't want to wait 6 weeks to see what happens :-)

Nov 1, 2017, 7:12am Top

October's Roundup & Ramblings

A real mixed bag of a month...

Nov 2, 2017, 5:14pm Top

Bookstooge Lawyers Up!

If you've ever been curious about that gpl 4.0 license I put at the beginning of my reviews, this post will answer ALL your deepest and darkest questions.

Nov 2, 2017, 5:28pm Top

>83 BookstoogeLT: That was pretty interesting actually. Did you just google to find your reviews stolen?

Nov 2, 2017, 6:04pm Top

>84 Narilka: I was actually searching out a review thief on GR at the time and decided to check some of my own reviews. It was just a google search. I had rather short reviews, so it was easy to copy/paste one paragraph into google and see where it led me...

Nov 2, 2017, 6:47pm Top

>83 BookstoogeLT: I think I’d gathered the gist already from various things I’ve seen you say over the years, but it was interesting to read the whole consolidated story. :)

Nov 2, 2017, 8:03pm Top

>86 YouKneeK: It was good for me to spell it out too, so now I can point people to that post instead of having to type it all up.
Of course,now I have to remember that I wrote that post :-D

Nov 3, 2017, 5:47pm Top

The Cygnet and the Firebird
Patricia McKillip
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Cygnet and the Firebird
Series: Cygnet #2
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 315
Format: Digital Edition


Taking place 2 weeks after the Sorceress and the Cygnet, we follow the continued adventures of Nyx Ro and Meguet Mervaine.

A magician invades Ro Holding looking for a hidden key of Chrisom's. Nyx and Meguet foil him. At the same time a magical firebird that turns everything to jewels and gold with its cry comes to Ro Hold. Nyx figures out it is an ensorcelled young man and in her studies he, she and Meguet all go to the land of Saphier. Where the first magician lives as well.

Saphier is ruled by the son of a magician and a dragon and he, Draken, wants ALL THE POWER. And he wants Ro Hold. It is up to Brand (the ensorcelled young man, who happens to be Draken's son), Nyx, Meguet and Rad (the first magician) to put a stop to Draken's quest to conquer all of time and space.

The dragons solve it all because the humans are annoying them.

The End.

My Thoughts:

SO MUCH BETTER THAN The Sorceress and the Cygnet. There is no Corleu. In fact, there are no stupid characters; confused, unsure and discombobulated characters, but not an idiot in sight! And that pushed this book right into traditional McKillip territory. Beautifully worded phrases, symbols and pictures with much deeper meanings, lyrical prose that you have to follow like a song. It was everything that I like about McKillip.

I found this more polished, more lyrical and more fantastical than Sorceress. Sorceress was a rough fairytale told by farmers after a tough season of haying. Firebird felt more like a courtly bard singing a story before the entire court. Obviously, with me being King Bookstooge, I prefer the latter.

I was glad to have read the duology so close together. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed Firebird so much if I didn't have the immediate taste of Sorceress still on my mental tongue.

This, along with Austen, is the kind of romance that not only can I stand but actively enjoy. It is understated but powerful, much like a current in a river. Too many authors rely on the rapids of the river for their romances and it always upsets my literary canoe and tosses me into the drink. I don't like that. But this, this is like gliding down the Mississippi on a shady day. You can't ask for much better.

★★★★ ½

Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 5:45pm Top

2 Non review posts today:

Introducing my next Manga series
Introducing the Oh My Goddess! manga.

Daylight Savings Movie Spoof
The Tyranny of Big Government Ends Tonight!

Nov 6, 2017, 7:06pm Top

Wrong Number
Oh My Goddess! #1
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Wrong Number
Series: Oh My Goddess! #1
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 160
Format: Paper copy


Keiichi Morisato dials the wrong number from his dorm room and ends up on the Goddess Hotline. Thinking it is a joke by his seniors, he wishes that the young woman who appears before him be his girlfriend forever. Belldandy is a real goddess and Keiichi's wish comes true. He and Bell are now part and parcel.

This leads to many hijinks, as the Ultimate Power does whatever it has to to keep them together.

Belldandy becomes a student at Nekomi Tech, where Keiichi is learning to become a mechanic/engineer/something. Suddenly, Keiichi has gone from Zero to Hero with the beautiful Belldandy at his side. Sadly, it's not all fun and games as jealously rears it head.

But between Keiichi just being a nice guy and Belldandy actually loving him and being a goddess, they'll work things out. But can Keiichi keep everyone from finding out that Bell is a goddess? And when the book ends, his little sister has just moved in with them.

My Thoughts:

This was just pure fun. It was light and fluffy and romantic and pretty much what every single guy wants to happen to him. Back in the day, this hit my romantic spot right on target, as I was short, thought I was a really nice guy and knew a couple of young ladies who I thought were goddesses.

Now, being married for just under a decade, this was still just as fun. I laughed out loud several times. Being written by a guy, about a guy, I think this will appeal to males more? It is really tough to tell though. I'd certainly recommend at least reading this book to check out if you like the over-arching idea.

The art is a little rough, but in the kind of way that gives it character and uniqueness, not in a slap-dash kind of way where it seems the manga-ka was drunk that day and couldn't be bothered. The piece I've included here is a great representative of the art style for this volume. Bell and Kei sitting on the roof of their temple/home. I'm going to try to include a sample from each volume so you can see the evolution of the art style as Fujishima grows more into his role as a mature manga-ka.

It is episodic. This was written chapter by chapter and released in a weekly or monthly magazine in Japan. Darkhorse just published the chapters in one book and there aren't clear dividing lines at all between chapters. In fact, there aren't chapters at all. Which can make it feel almost whiplash'y as you jump from one adventure straight into another. But hang on and you'll have a good time. A lot of info is thrown at you, such as Keiichi being at a tech school, having a sister, etc, etc, but it is never overwhelming. Belldandy is the bell of the manga and she always takes center stage.

I am really glad this was so fun.


Nov 9, 2017, 8:40pm Top

Player of Games
Iain Banks
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Player of Games
Series: The Culture #2
Author: Iain Banks
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 417
Format: Digital Edition


Gergeh, the greatest game player, of any game in The Culture, is bored. His materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle is wearing thin and since the Culture is all about materialism and hedonism, he's in for a bad time.

Thankfully, Gergeh gets in touch with Contact, a branch of the non-government that deal with contact between The Culture and other spacefaring races. A newly contacted race is an actual Space Empire, something the Culture doesn't want around because an Empire is full of violence and dangerous ideas. Thankfully, this Empire is completely bonkers over a Game.

Gergeh is the Culture's Representative in the Game that will decide who the next Emperor will be. It is a purely symbolic gesture for Gergeh, as he cannot become Emperor. But the Empire wants to show its citizens that no outside “Culture” can tell them what to do or beat them at their own game.

Of course, Gergeh beats them all, by the skin of his teeth, sets in motion the downfall of the Empire as its very psyche is shattered and once back in Culture Space, suddenly all is well with Gergeh and he's satisfied with his inane, empty and completely meaningless life. Score one for The Culture!

My Thoughts:

First, Neal Asher's Polity Universe has been likened to Banks' The Culture novels and after reading this, I can see why. However, where Asher gives us characters who are in the thick of things and have a brain and have a modicum of moral backbone, Banks gives us characters who have been coddled since before birth and live a life of ease and pleasure so stultifying that it made me feel stupid just reading about it.

Now, onto what I really thought of this.

This is all based on the assumption of humanistic materialism. Basically, there is nothing but matter and the interactions of matter. There is no God, there is no soul, there is no afterlife, there is no Meaning. Everything is pointless drivel in the end because you just die and become somebody's snot. If I was a believer in this, I'd just go around and kill as many people as I could for the pure thrill of it and the adrenalin rush.

Gergeh, the main character, is just about at that point. But he's had all bad things removed from his genes, because obviously anything bad must have a material cause and it must be in the genes.

I was told over and over how great the Culture was, how so many advances had been made, how gene-tweaked everyone was to make them better people in all ways. And yet Gergeh is a bored, selfish, narcissistic (I like that word and use it a lot) bastard. His every thought, desire and action gives lie to what we're told about the Culture. At least Asher is a bit more honest in his Polity books about people wanting to swan off after about 300 years or so.

I was recommended this as the first Culture book to read and I'm glad I did. It was engaging and fun once Gergeh started playing the Game in the Empire, But that didn't happen until almost the 40% mark. That first 40% was a killer for me.

I plan on reading more, but if I continue to react to the rest of the books like I did this one, I probably won't last the entire series. I feel like I broke out in a bad case of “Righteous Judgement” while reading this.

Maybe I completely read this wrong and Banks is being a satirist about The Culture? But I don't get that vibe.

★★★☆ ½

Nov 11, 2017, 7:45pm Top

Survival Saturday - Pasta Alfredo

Now THAT'S what Survival Food is meant to be like!

Nov 11, 2017, 9:13pm Top

>93 BookstoogeLT: I’ve been enjoying these posts! I’ve never tried any sort of survival food, unless you count the freeze-dried ice cream at the D.C. Air & Space Museum I had as a kid...

I'm surprised that, so far, it sounds like they taste better than I would have thought. One thing I noticed about both of the meals you’ve tried so far is that they both call for butter? (Required for this one, and optional for the tortilla soup one?) What are the odds of actually having butter in a doomsday situation, beyond maybe the first few days?

Nov 11, 2017, 9:55pm Top

>93 BookstoogeLT: & >94 YouKneeK:, I had the same thought. You may need to retry these recipes without the butter too just to be thorough.

Nov 12, 2017, 6:18am Top

>94 YouKneeK: & >95 Narilka: Yep, that exact butter thought has been in my mind too.

I've also been thinking of situations, or trying, where there is no food but still have electricity. Nothing really springs to mind except for specific disasters where roads are just gone but the main infrastructure is intact. No electricity means I'm going to need a LOT of firewood :-)

Nov 12, 2017, 7:11pm Top

Starting the Week off Right - On a Mountain Top!

I think the title pretty much says it all.

Nov 14, 2017, 10:33am Top

>91 BookstoogeLT: in my opinion they don't get any better, and frequently worse. After all the hype I splurged on the 1st three and didn't really enjoy any of them. Banks has a huge inventive talent for world/universe building. It's just a shame he can write neither characters nor plot. I really wanted to like these a lot more than I did.

Nov 14, 2017, 5:38pm Top

>98 reading_fox: Thanks for that input. I'm glad I didn't put any money down then :-)

Nov 14, 2017, 8:17pm Top

Book Haul

In a Winter Wonder Land *sings*

Nov 15, 2017, 10:24am Top

>97 BookstoogeLT: Great photos!

Nov 15, 2017, 4:28pm Top

>101 MrsLee: Thanks! I'm no camera buff, but even I can tell that the photos I take with my phone are a million times better than my first digital camera back in '98 or so :-D

Nov 15, 2017, 9:26pm Top

Heretics of Dune
Frank Herbert
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Heretics of Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #5
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 484
Format: Digital Edition


1500 years have passed since Leto II, the God Emperor of Dune, has died and relaxed his iron grip on humanity. After his death came the Hard Times and the Scattering. Humanity spread out to stars beyond count. Only now, they are returning and they want control of the Old Empire. Ix has produced mechanical space navigating machines and the Tleilaxu produce the Spice by the ton from their axlotl tanks.

The Bene Gesserit are still playing their genetic game. They have been continuing the line of Duncan Idaho gholas through a connection with the Tleilaxu. They have also been keeping their hand in the Atreides gene line and their top protector, Supreme Bashar Miles Teg, is an Atreides who's mother was Bene Gesserit. She also trained Teg in the Bene Gesserit ways.

At the same time, a young girl named Sheena starts communicating with the worms. She comes under the Bene Gesserit's control and they're plan is for her and the latest Duncan Idaho to mate and have lots of little worm talkers. Things don't quite go as planned.

Honored Maitres, some of the returning forces, attack several Bene Gesserit worlds and put Sheena, Duncan and Teg all in danger. Teg is captured, levels up under torture and escapes. He rescues Duncan and eventually Sheena and they go off in a No-Ship. No-ships are invisible to guild navigators and other prescient beings.

The book ends with the Bene Gesserit planning on being conquered by the Honored Maitres and planning on subverting the Tleilaxu for their own purposes.

My Thoughts:

I was able to appreciate just how this is the beginning of a new Dune trilogy. The first, Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune all form a tight weight on one side of the see-saw. God Emperor of Dune is really the pivot point and here we begin to see the other side of the balanced weight. It is almost exciting to realize such a literary device.

There is a lot of talking going on in this book and I mean a lot. Monologuing, diatribes, half-finished sentences, blah, blah, blah. Herbert gives us all the unnecessary in excruciating detail while completely ignoring a fantastic action story. But hey, that's typical Herbert for you. In many ways, this could have been as exciting a novel as Dune with its huge scope and action scenes. Teg and Duncan are running from a planetary invasion of Honored Matres for goodness sake. Sheena is balancing between the Sisters and the Rakian Priesthood and the Bene Gesserit are dealing with Face Dancers that can mentally imprint and BECOME that person, to the point that the Face Dancer loses its own self-identity and forgets that it is a Face Dancer. Those are all completely awesome ideas.

And Frank shoves them off to the side to talk about control and sex and government and esoteric religious ideas. Don't get me started on the sex. Not graphic, but it is underlying everything. Reading my review from '12 when I last read this, it was obvious that that was what stood out to me then. This time I was able to look past it a little, but still, it is like the Spice. It is in everything, it is everywhere and you can't get away from it.

The main reason this gets a 4star rating and not a 4/12 or 5, is because so many of the ideas are cloaked in half-sentences and unfinished thoughts. That kind of writing infuriates me. If you have a clever idea, or a big idea, or just a plain old hum drum idea, state it! Don't hint at it, don't take an upskirt photo surreptitiously, don't hem and haw around the edges. Grab that sucker, throw it down on the bed and ravish it! As you can tell, Frank's freudian obsession with sex has overcome me and now everything I say or do will have some sort of sexual connotation.

So I'm going to end this review. Read this book ONLY if you've read the previous 4 and liked them all. Not liked them a little bit, but liked them a lot. You're going to need that “like” to get you through.


Nov 15, 2017, 9:44pm Top

>103 BookstoogeLT: LOL, this new Freudian influence adds an amusing element to your reviews, but it might get you into trouble in some real life situations. :)

Nov 15, 2017, 9:58pm Top

>104 YouKneeK: Ha, it certainly would! :-D

Nov 17, 2017, 5:34pm Top

The Monstrumologist
Rick Yancey
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Monstrumologist
Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Author: Rick Yancey
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 452
Format: Digital Edition


12 year old Will Henry has been taken in by Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, as both his parents died in a fire and Will's father worked for Dr. Warthrop. This is his story, recorded from a series of journals written much later.

Dr. Warthrop is a monstrumologist and he makes it his life to study monsters. When a graverobber brings the corpse of a headless monster to Dr. Warthrop, events from the past begin to catch up with the present. Dr. Warthrop's father was also a monstrumologist and it turns out he was trying to domesticate the anthropophagi and brought some to America. Now they have bred and attacked and killed a family in New Jerusalem.

Dr. Warthrop brings in a professional monster hunter, Dr. Kearns and they, along with Will Henry and some former soldiers from the town of New Jerusalem must seek out and kill the nest of anthropophagi. Led by a cunning matriarch, the anthropophagi won't succumb easily. It doesn't help that Kearns appears to be an immoral killer who lives for the thrill of it. Who will live and who will die? Nobody important to the continuation of the series dies, if that's any comfort.

More importantly, are these journals true or is the old man claiming to be Will Henry just a nutcase who died alone and ungrieved?

My Thoughts:

Lovecraftian through and through. While not cosmic horror, it is horror meant to be beyond that of mortal ken. It is also written to mimic someone writing from the 1880's'ish, so if you don't like Dickens, you might have some issues with the style and pacing.

Horrific, brutal and harsh. Mentally, emotionally, physically.

Will Henry might be 12 years old, but this book is in no ways meant for a 12 year old. Blood, brain matter and gore. Warthrop is the worst sort of person, forgetting his own humanity and never recognizing it in others. He is the quintessential Mad Scientist and I hated him. Will is going to grow up with scars so deep that he'll probably end up dying while doing his duties. Much like his father, who probably died due to Warthrop's hidden experimentation.

It was really hard to read this book and enjoy it. Will is abused by Warthrop mentally and emotionally and pushed beyond his physical limits, not because Warthrop is out to hurt him,but because Warthrop is obsessed. This was a true Horror genre book to me.

It was well written and since I enjoy Lovecraft AND Dickens, the style didn't bother me one bit. In some ways it reminded me of a version of Frankenstein, but with all the gore and violence noted. I can't quite put my finger on why, but it just seemed very Frankenstein'ish to me.

I'll continue the series on but I'll be taking note of the tone of the series and adjust myself accordingly.


Nov 18, 2017, 5:42pm Top

Surviving a Bad Book - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Read this 7 years ago, still full of white hot rage against it. I guess I didn't really survive this one :-(

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 9:47am Top

The Rage
Richard Lee Byers
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Rage
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Year of Rogue Dragons #1
Author: Richard Lee Byers
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 356
Format: Digital Edition


The Cult of Dragons is alive and well. They are trying to bring about a prophecy, interpretated by their found, Sammaster, that states the undead lichdragons will one day rule the world. Dragons go through a periodic phase of “Rage” where they lose all reason and kill and destroy mindlessly. That time is happening now across all of Faerun and the Dragon Cult plans to make the most of it.

Opposing them is a small group of adventurers who are sucked in against their will. Becoming allied with a shapeshifting dragon AND an undead vampirric dragon, this group starts out simply trying to save one town. This leads to the discovery that Sammaster is somehow controlling, and increasing The Rage, for his own purposes.

Now it is up to this ragtag group of human priest, halfling, arctic dwarf, human/golem hybrid and various dragons, to save humanity from an all encompassing slavery at the hands of eternal lichdragons.

My Thoughts:

Finally! Another enjoyable Forgotten Realms book. I was starting to think that I'd have to give up on FR altogether after my last couple of forays which encompassed The Night Parade, Blood Walk and Red Magic. Those were just plain bad. Thankfully, Byers has a pretty good track record with me and FR. I've never given his stuff below a 3star and his Haunted Lands Trilogy was a solid 3.5 across the board.

This lived up to past reads and my expectations for the future. It was a solid read. Given it is Forgotten Realms and some things are just part of that, Byers is still a good author and it shows in his storytelling here. I think that is one thing I've really enjoyed about Byers. Beyond his qualified writing, he can tell a good story. Too many FR books are just “conflict in a fantasy setting”. Byers tells stories that I want to read about.

I've ALWAYS wondered why the world wasn't overrun or ruled by dragons. It had to be something more than that they were rare. I believe this trilogy will clue us in as to why they are so rare and why they're not bigger players in the FR realm.

A disparate group that hates and loves itself and bickers constantly while they try to singlehandedly save the world? It works this time. I do have to wonder though, since Sammaster is a former Chosen of Mystra, will other “big name” Forgotten Realms characters become involved? Say Elminster or Blackstaff or Alustriel? Not really keeping track of the timeline,so those characters might have been gone for 100's of years for all I know.

Ok, going to add a Forgotten Realms date to these FR reviews from now. Man, as if real history isn't bad enough!

Date: 1373 DR (Dale Reckoning)

★★★☆ ½

Nov 20, 2017, 9:37pm Top

Leader of the Pack
Oh My Goddess #2
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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Leader of the Pack
Series: Oh My Goddess! #2
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paper Copy


Now life as a couple for Kei and Belldandy begins. They have to find a house/apartment for Megumi, stop Sayoko from trying to steal Kei to drive Bell away from Nekomi Tech, win a bet against another racing club with Bell as the the prize, deal with the System Force not working and no longer trying to keep Kei and Bell together and if ALL those things weren't enough, Family Problems.

Yep, Belldandy's older sister Urd is tired of watching Kei fumble around, so she comes to Earth to seduce him to give him the confidence to go all the way with Bell. She breaks a few rules and hence gets her goddess license curtailed and ends up having to live with Bell and Kei.

It doesn't appear that Kei will EVER get to be alone with Belldandy.

My Thoughts:

Cute. That's probably the best word to describe this volume. I did notice the chapter breaks in this volume, as each chapter was titled. Definitely showing its magazine roots. No over arching plot really, just adventures of the week type things. It works for now.

Sayoko is really setting herself up to be a rival to Bell and yet we as the readers know that she simply can't BE a rival since she's only human. She does show a few flashes of humanity so we do know she's not just a complete witch.

Kei is pretty spineless. His senpais make up a rule book for the beach and one of the rules is that he can't go into where the girls are staying, so he can't visit Belldandy. IT'S A MADE UP RULE!!!! Sigh, but he doesn't break it, nor does he show enough intelligence to work around it, until the very end of the stay. Eh, it just shows why he didn't have a girlfriend in the beginning and gives LOTS of room for character growth.

Bell is pretty and shows touches of jealousy, love and anger whenever the situation needs it, IF Kei is involved. In some ways she's just as oblivious and naive as Kei, even while being a goddess.

We find out that Bell has family and Urd comes to visit. Without being salacious, Urd is just plain wicked hot. But she's a liar and doesn't think about the consequences of her actions, so you know she'll be providing some good comic relief. Also, her interest in Kei is really non-existent, so no family love triangle drama. Thank goodness for that!!!


Edited: Nov 21, 2017, 5:31pm Top

Voice of Mars
Glynn Stewart
1/2 Star

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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Voice of Mars
Series: Starship's Mage #3
Author: Glynn Stewart
Rating: 1/2 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 310/Abandoned
Format: Digital Edition


DNF'd at 13%.

My Thoughts:

Due to some of the moral subject matter, I abandoned this book and will not be reading any more in the series.

☆☆☆☆ ½

Nov 22, 2017, 6:29pm Top

Flight of Fancy
Spiderman 2099 #8
3 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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Flight of Fancy
Series: Spiderman 2099 #8
Author: Peter David
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 23
Format: Digital Edition


The conclusion to Spidey's fight with Vulture 2099. What more can you ask of 23 pages?

My Thoughts:

So, I wish I had read this with the previous 2 volumes that dealt with Vulture. This concluded Spidey's fight with Vulture and honestly, not much happens. They fly/web around and punch each other and Miguel reveals that he's a lapsed Catholic when the fight goes into a church, but other than, nothing really.

Mig's brother Gabe and his girlfriend Kasey hook up with some people a comic book style group of tough mofos who want to help Spiderman. Only Gabe knows who Spidey is, so his actions are a bit stilted and you know at some point in the future he'll reveal to someone that Miguel is Spidey.

I am reading these on my 15in laptop and I have to admit, it is a struggle to read some of the text. In some cases I just looked at the pictures of Spidey and Vulture fighting and ignored the teensy-tinsy bit of dialogue. Whenever I finish/give up this series, I plan on re-reading my Silver Sable collection that was the pride and joy of my collection back in the 90's. She had a 3 year run before being folded back into the general Spiderman universe. Then I shall see if the dialogue is still tiny. Basically, am I getting old eyes or is the digital a crap scan? * grin *


Nov 23, 2017, 6:14am Top

Brotherhood of the World Tag

Not nearly as pretentious as it sounds. More of a "Getting to know you" tag.

Nov 23, 2017, 7:18am Top

>112 BookstoogeLT: That was a fun post to read. I was wondering what was up with all the bold words until I got to the end. :)

Nov 23, 2017, 12:35pm Top

>113 YouKneeK: Yeah nothing like a little subliminal mind control on Thanksgiving :-D

Nov 24, 2017, 9:04am Top

Deadhouse Landing
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, Librarything & by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Deadhouse Landing
Series: Malaz: Path to Ascendancy #2
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover edition


This time Wu, who takes on the moniker Kellenved part way through the story, and Dancer, set their sights on the Island of Malaz. Their eventual goal is to take over the island proper, but for now they're settling for taking over and running the black market. They buy a rundown inn as their headquarters and keep the staff on, a group of Napan renegades headed by one woman named Surly. Kellenved is continually exploring shadow and drags Dancer along with him. They tame the Hounds of Shadow, look for the Throne of Shadow and generally cause trouble and action wherever they go.

In the tradition of previous Malazan books, we also follow quite a few other characters and storylines.

Tayschrenn. He is an outstanding priest of D'rek but when his mentor dies, Tay's lack of political and human interaction dooms him when a corrupt Invigilator takes over. Ends with him fighting ALL the priests of D'rek and taking refuge in the Deadhouse on Malaz Isle under Kellenved's protection.

Tattersail is the lover of Mock, self-proclaimed Duke of Malaz. But while Mock is quite content with doing a little raiding here and there, or none at all if he can get away with it, Tattersail wants more. So when an alliance with the new King of Napan, Surly's brother, is proposed and a joint attack against a mainland town is the clincher, it comes as a surprise to all when Mock is gung-ho and Tattersail has deep reservations. And Tattersail is right, of course. It's a trap. She also finds out that Mock has been sleeping with the help over the years and so she leaves him to go to a battlemage school somewhere.

Surly and Company. They are tied tightly to Kell and Dancer's storyline but also have their own, as Surly still isn't convinced that she can't take the fight for the Kingdom to her brother and prevail. Mainly about them realizing they need to throw in fully with Kellenved and let their own imperial dreams either die or hybernate.

In a surprise to me, we also get a short little arc dealing with the rise of Kallor. That guy is one evil son of a gun!

My Thoughts:

Two or three issues I had with this book.
One, I tried to start this just reading it at my lunchbreaks at work. I was hoping to draw out how long I could read it so as to lengthen my enjoyment of it. That just wasn't working as winter is here and I'm not always at the van for lunch.
Two, I ended up binging on this yesterday on Thanksgiving, but even then it was interrupted by cooking and eating and walks and whatnot. So my brain felt as full as my stomach, which let me tell you, was VERY full.
Third, I had read some reviews at various places and they were nothing but fanboys squealing like little girls about how wonderful this book was. My instinctive reaction to that is to hate the item in review even while knowing nothing about it. It's the “It is popular so I hate it” reaction. Said instinct usually serves me well but sometimes it does lead me astray.

Yeah, I'm fanboying with those other losers. Well, except for Powder&Page. She's not a loser :-)

This was just awesome. Tons of action, lots of characters who we know from later books are introduced. Almost too many for my taste, but since this is just a trilogy and Esslemont had 10+ books worth of characters to shove in, I'm surprised there weren't more.

Dancer and Kell weren't nearly so big a part of this story like they were in Dancer's Lament. But when we did spend time with them, it was almost ALL shadow related or dealing with the hounds. I am not a dog person, at all. But I've always liked the Hounds of Shadow and seeing more of them here was great. We're also introduced to ototoral and moranth munitions.

In some ways I felt like I was drowning in the non-stop action and go,go,go'ness of it all. Which was a good problem to have. I said it in my review of Dancer's Lament but I feel that Esslemont has really come into his own with this trilogy. These are different even from his Novels of the Malazan Empire in tone and style and it's for the better. Erikson might excel at writing lush, super-cryptic and despair filled books, but Esslemont is writing some fantastic action here.

I bought this on release day and have no regrets whatsoever about it. It was that good! Also another contender for Best Book of the Year.

★★★★ ½

Nov 24, 2017, 11:55am Top

You make these books seem really nice, but I wonder if it is for me. If I would like to try it out, should I start with Gardens of the moon? And what would you say has the focus, the story, the world, or the characters? (Or something else?)

Nov 24, 2017, 12:45pm Top

>116 zjakkelien: Gardens would be a good place to test the waters. If you read it and hate it, the rest of the Malazan books, either by Esslemont or Erikson, probably won't do it for you.

Nov 25, 2017, 4:01pm Top

The Dragon Never Sleeps
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, Librarything & by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Dragon Never Sleeps
Series: ----------
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 449
Format: Digital edition


Humanity rules their part of space, The Canon. With the unstoppable force of the Guardships behind them, Canon forces enforce peace, their peace, whereever they go.

One House wants to stop that. One alien wants to stop that. One other branch of Humanity wants to stop that. But that House is ruled by a megolomaniac who wants to live forever through his forbidden clones. But that alien lives by a code of honor that is unbreakable. But that branch of humanity is enslaved to psychic mind leeches.

On the Guardship side of things, you have insane Guardships. You have nascent sentient Guardships. You have humans who live their lives over and over through cloning without ever remembering their past. You have a Humanity that is stagnating and possibling beginning the long road to its twilight.

And the stories take place with all of those characters and characteristics. Greed, War, Peace and Survival.

My Thoughts:

I had no idea of the background for 99/100ths of the time. I really enjoyed my time, but if you try to figure out the backstory or the history, you're sunk. It doesn't exist except in Cook's mind and he doesn't let slip hardly anything. This is a very “here and now” kind of story, even while taking years in story time.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading this. I didn't feel like I had to understand anything. I just sat back, let the story unfold and let it roll over me. It was extremely complicated but since I wasn't trying to disentangle anything, it was actually rather simple. I was along for the ride. If I had been in an investigative mood I'm sure this would have driven me bonkers. But I wasn't, so it didn't.

I don't know that I could have told you that this was the same Glen Cooke who wrote the Black Company novels. It was a standalone book and even its style seemed standalone. I will say that it was dense and while it claims to be only 449 pages, it felt like the longest 449 pages I've ever read. Not a bad thing, but it was a long read.


Nov 26, 2017, 7:49am Top

Double Digit Victory

In which my quest to complete my offline review library takes another significant step forward.

Nov 29, 2017, 5:38pm Top

November Roundup & Ramblings

Not the best month, not by a long shot.

Nov 30, 2017, 6:05am Top

Donkey Butts!

The things you'll find while browsing Amazon, sigh...

Nov 30, 2017, 6:24am Top

>121 BookstoogeLT: LOL, that was an odd picture for them to select for the deals page. Or maybe it was actually a very clever strategy since it did get you to click on it! ;)

Nov 30, 2017, 6:35am Top

>122 YouKneeK: Yeah, maybe someone somewhere thinks they're a genius? It just made me laugh though. I'm scrolling through electronics and doodads and boardgames and then wham, blue donkey butt. Definitely made the evening!

Nov 30, 2017, 8:39am Top

I was fairly amazed when I found that one could purchase/rent sheep and or goats from Amazon for grazing your wild weeds.

Nov 30, 2017, 4:14pm Top

>124 MrsLee: Now I am shocked too!

Nov 30, 2017, 5:32pm Top

>124 MrsLee:, >125 zjakkelien: LOL, me too. I wonder if they’re trained to avoid the domesticated weeds. ;)

Nov 30, 2017, 7:38pm Top

>124 MrsLee: Really? I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, as Amazon is just the middleman and takes a cut. But still, who would rent out sheep and goats?
Now I have the image of some poor goat herd spinning a sob story about his dead grandmother and sick wife and 17 starving children :-D

Dec 1, 2017, 8:41am Top

There are some local farms around here that will rent their goats - they bring them every day by truck and set up a temporary pen around the area you want cleared. Goats will eat just about any kind of vegetation; there is even one farm that specifically advertises theirs as poison-ivy removal services.

I hadn't heard that Amazon was figuring out a way to make money off this though. They really do have everything, I guess.

Dec 1, 2017, 9:31am Top

>127 BookstoogeLT: In the Oakland/Bay Area, you can see the goats which are brought in busily eating up the weeds on the sides of the freeway and hills. It reduces the fire danger, because in California, weeds quickly become tender in the summer months.

Speaking of odd Amazon occurrences. Were we? Well, we are now. Yesterday my boss opened up a box from Amazon. This was a laptop she had ordered. It came in last week, right before the holiday, so she waited until yesterday to open it, when she had some time to spend getting used to her new laptop. When she opened the box, what should greet her eyes but a layer of bloody bones! Yes, they were in plastic bags and labeled "beef bones for dogs" but since she had not included that in her order, it was quite the shock to receive it with her laptop! They didn't smell that great after sitting a week, either. Yuck!

We have had a lot of fun musing if this is the new way to dispose of the body. Wondering who did what at Amazon, whether the mafia had a problem with my boss, is this a new type of biodegradable packaging material, etc.

Dec 1, 2017, 12:09pm Top

>128 Darth-Heather: & >129 MrsLee: Wow, wow and wow.

See, little things like this is why it's fun to hang out around here :-)

Dec 1, 2017, 12:39pm Top

>129 MrsLee: At least it was not a horse's head!

Dec 1, 2017, 2:38pm Top

>129 MrsLee: WOW!!! And YUCK!!!

Dec 1, 2017, 6:22pm Top

Joel Shepherd
1/2 Star

Dec 2, 2017, 7:13pm Top

Midnight Tides
Steven Erikson
3 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 & by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Midnight Tides
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #5
Author: Steven Erikson
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 684
Format: Digital edition


We follow the Tisti Edur grayskinned Tisti as they come into the world of Malaz. Fast forward several thousand years later and they have dwindled. They attempt to gain back their pre-eminence by declaring Empire and going against the only other Empire in the region. The main Edur stories center around the Sengar family. One of whom becomes the Emperor and the pawn of the Broken god.

We follow the human Letheri Empire as they attempt to subjugate the last remaining pocket of resistance to their Empire and way of life, the Tisti Edur. The main Letheri storylines follow the Beddict brothers. One is the King's Champion, one is a dissolute genius who can manipulate money with barely thinking about it and the final Beddict was a former envoy whose knowledge was used for conquest and not peace.

Lots of little stories interweave between them all and a little more is revealed about the Broken god.

The conflict between Edur and Lether is the framework of the whole story.

My Thoughts:

This was a 4star story that was dragged down with the chains of Erikson's pointless soapbox philosophizing hijacking his characters and turning them all into despair filled, spineless, wusses.

Why can't the man just shut the phrack up and tell the story?!?!?

Gardens of the Moon was a fantastic story and there was very little pontificating. Maybe a small dab in the corner. This book, Erikson took a 5foot roller and bloody whitewashed the story with the crap. Every time you turned around another character was whining about their forsaken feelings and how they weren't even worthy of having such degrading feelings because they were such infinitely unworthy motes in an infinite universe. It was pathetic and ruined the book for me.

The story, the clash between Edur and Letheri was great. A couple of magic battles, some mundane battles and then a showdown in the palace itself. All the while the Broken god is laughing to himself and furthering his own plans.


Dec 3, 2017, 3:08pm Top

Doctor Strange

I finally get around to watching Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Decent about sums it up.

Dec 4, 2017, 7:30pm Top

Moon Over Soho
Ben Aaronovitch
3 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 & by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Moon over Soho
Series: Peter Grant #2
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 306
Format: Digital edition


Peter Grant must figure out why jazz musicians are falling over dead for no apparent reason they're jazz musicians, so the Universe itself kills them, duh! and why there appears to be a rogue magician on the loose, when there aren't supposed to be ANY magicians on the loose, rogue or otherwise.

My Thoughts:

First. Jazz. I hate the stuff. I'd stick one those super long q-tips from Nightmare on Elm Street into my brain before voluntarily listening to the stuff. I find it disgusting. So to have the whole book be about jazz musicians did me no favors whatsoever.

Second, and more important, was the gratuitous lust scenes between Grant and one of the side characters in this book. It bordered on the pornographic and was not something I want in my entertainment. Making the connection between Grant and the character, Simone could have been handled so much less sleasily and still gotten the same affect at the end of the book.

My respect for Aaronovitch took a nosedive and I don't plan on reading any more of the Peter Grant/Rivers of London books.


Dec 5, 2017, 9:26am Top

>136 BookstoogeLT: Yeah, the sleaze bothered me too, but I have heard from others that it pertained to that one character and does not continue in the series. I haven't read the next one yet. I have the next two on my tbr shelf, so I will try them, but even though I like a lot of things about this series, it doesn't make me want to grab the next and read it right away.

Dec 5, 2017, 4:44pm Top

>137 MrsLee: Yeah, someone who's value judgements I trust told me it isn't like that for the rest of the series (to date) but it's too late for me. My trust in Aaronovich was broken...

Dec 6, 2017, 4:12pm Top

Prodigal Son
Dean Koontz
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 & by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Prodigal Son
Series: Frankenstein #1
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 498
Format: Digital edition


Deucalion, otherwise known as Frankenstein's Monster, has been hanging out at some Zen Buddhist Monk Temple Mountain Retreat kind of place. But when Victor Frankenstein, now known as Victor Helios, appears on the scene, Deucalion knows that Victor is continuing his attempts to create a new breed of humanity and replace the old with the new.

At the same time, a mass murderer has appeared and this gets the New Orleans PD involved. Carson O'Connor, the sole caretaker of her younger autistic brother, is partnered up with Michael Maddison. They are the chief detectives and their goal is to bring this scumbag to justice.

Both of these events overlap. Can Deucalion put a stop to Victor's plan to exterminate humanity and can Carson find a killer who kills for the perfect body part? One of these gets answered and the other will take the rest of the series to answer.

My Thoughts:

I would classify this as an urban fantasy police procedural.

Deucalion's part is much smaller than I had hoped. He starts the ball rolling but then just kind of disappears. Koontz writes at the beginning that he started this whole project for a tv show and it really shows. When things moved over to Carson and the serial murderer side of things, I felt like I was reading a detective murder tv show.

In many ways I felt like this had the supernatural side of things that was missing from Koontz's Odd Thomas series. Victor Helios is truly one scary guy and while he's supposedly dabbling in super science, it really comes across as “magic”. Victor is cruel, intelligent, ruthless and so dedicated to his view of Materialism that it blinds him to anything else. This introduces certain flaws into his character and weakness that can be exploited.

There is a much longer story arc going on. I liked that the serial murder case was solved. It gave a good ending so I felt like I had actually finished a book. Yet the arc dealing with Victor and his plans to overthrow humanity seems big enough to fill the rest of the series with no problem.
I enjoyed my time reading this and look forward to the rest of the series. This is my second foray into Koontz territory and so far I'm pretty pleased. I always thought of him as second rate Stephen King horror wannabe but these books are showing me just how wrong I was. He's writing some good thrillers.


Dec 8, 2017, 7:22am Top

Orb Sceptre Throne
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, Librarything & by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Orb Sceptre Throne
Series: Malazan Empire #4
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 850
Format: Digital edition


A golden mask is uncovered in the plains outside of Darujhistan. It belongs to the spirit that raises Tyrants up again and again. This time it calls the Segulah into its service. They and the Moranth, ancient enemies, duke it out until the Segulah are freed from the Golden Mask's domination, then they go back to their little Island Nation.

Kiska and Leoman of the Flails are in limbo, looking for Tayschrenn. They find him, restore his memories to him and they all return to do whatever hidden thingamajig Tayschrenn wants to do.

Also deals with various characters attempting to loot the fallen Moonspawn, all hoping to find the Throne of Night.

Plus about 6 other smaller threads dealing with such characters as Coll, Kalam, Baruk, Kruppe and others that we were introduced to way back in Gardens of the Moon.

My Thoughts:

When I initially read this back in 2012, I was not impressed at all. I still hadn't gotten that Erikson and Esslemont created bigger than life mythos for their characters, whether individuals or as a people, just so they could tear them down. So my thoughts regarding the Segulah were that they were the Pristine Warrior Culture; those thoughts were not only dashed, they were trampled into the dust on my first read and my rating and review reflected that.

This time around, what a difference. I didn't have those misconceptions about the Segulah and so their story didn't bother me. The only thing that really bothered me was the fact that there were just so many story threads going on. Some of those threads had nothing whatsoever to do with this book, ie, Kiska, Leoman and Tayschrenn but simply pushed an overarching story forward. I don't care for that. Other than that, I was pleased as punch.

It was sad to see characters from Gardens of the Moon becoming old or giving up in spirit. Coll turning into an old, wine addicted, fat counselor was especially sad. Baruk's subsumption by a demon seemed very cruel, considering how much he'd sacrificed for his city. And yet that is what happens to old heroes. They fail and a new generation must step up.

While I complained about the multiplicity of threads, they were tightly woven together and even the thread about Tayschrenn didn't detract from overall affect. It really was one story being told even if it took awhile for them all to get tied together.

This book is why I like to re-read things. My mind was completely changed from last time and I went from almost hating this book to really loving it. Most of that change was on my end and my perspective and expectations. 17 years of reviewing and I still marvel at how our expectations can shape how we react to a book. I was semi-dreading this re-read but it turned into a jewel instead.

Pretty satisfied this time around.


Dec 9, 2017, 7:01pm Top

Pretentious Wanker
1 Star

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Light
Series: Kefahuchi Tract #1
Author: M. John Harrison
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 432
Format: Digital edition


So much purposeful distortion that I'm not even going to bother to try to put up a synopsis. Trash like this isn't worth it.

My Thoughts:

I wasted my time reading this bloody piece of bolluxy crap.

The author is a clever fellow. You can tell because he's always having his characters do drugs, have sex and vomit. Nothing speaks more cleverly than multiple times of vomiting. Even as I'm typing I'm vomiting, on the floor, so that this review will be so much more cleverer.

I was expecting a real SF story. What I got was some pretentious wanker's drug induced hallucinogenic anal excretions.

This is the kind of writing that I would expect a brainless Oscar/Emmy/Whatever Winner to nod sagely about and say something along the lines of * insert typical hollywood soundbyte blather * or some Literati to talk about its 77 different layered meanings to each of us. In other words, total bs.

To close, this book brought me close to Patrick Rothfuss levels of rage.


Dec 9, 2017, 7:35pm Top

>141 BookstoogeLT: LOL… That’s all I have to say, just LOL. :)

Dec 9, 2017, 9:38pm Top

>142 YouKneeK: Part of my frustration was that someone had reviewed book 3 and made it sound fantastic so I tried the trilogy. I hate when someone talks up a piece of trash book...

Dec 10, 2017, 12:14am Top

Where is the Patrick Rothfuss review? Now I want to read that!

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 8:27am Top

>144 cmbohn: I didn't write a review about Rothfuss. That particular ball of rage has been an ongoing, growing thing. More of personal stance.
To summarize though:
Rothfuss, on his blog, before any of his books were released, stated plainly that his trilogy was completed and he would release one book a year. He released name of the wind and blew everyone away. Before it was released, or soon after, he got picked up by a publishing house. Rothfuss then backpedaled like crazy telling everyone that the remaining 2 books needed some polishing, so book 2 would not be released the next year. 4 YEARS later book 2 was released. now, almost 7 years later, we haven't seen hair nor hide of book 3. I don't expect to ever see it.

So Rothfuss is worthy of the dull spoon method of execution for his lies and misdirections and I would pay money to be the one to be the executioner.

Frothing rage sums up my feelings :-) Hope that helps to clarify...

Dec 10, 2017, 2:23pm Top

Survival Sunday - The Breakfast Edition

A Survival Saturday post, a day late :-)

Dec 12, 2017, 8:39am Top

The Sundering
Walter Jon Williams
3 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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Sundering
Series: Dread Empires Fall #2
Author: Walter Jon Williams
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 454
Format: Digital edition


Plucky young hero, Gareth Martinez, wins battles against the horrible Naxids using unthought of tactics using “mathz”.His terrible older brother schemes to make lots of money and gain power.

Plucky young heroine, Caroline Sula, who is really a street rat, wants to marry Gareth. Gareth wants to marry her. But the damnable Gene Checking Office kills her dreams like a fly. In fear and distress, Sula spurns Gareth only to have Gareth's older brother (the power hungry one, in case you missed it) arrange a marriage for Gareth with a beautiful woman from a powerful, but poor, Clan house. Sula, with broken heart, joins the French Foriegn Legion, to forget her troubles. Well, she actually joins the newly birthed anti-Naxid force, to oppose them when they take over the capital world.

The Drama. The Pathos. Find out what happens to them both in our next episode of General Dread Empire Hospital!

My Thoughts:

Pure Space (Soap) Opera.

I've read enough Jack Campbell Lost Fleet books to know that new tactics against stodgy old tactics almost always means insta-victory. There is nothing wrong with that as long as that is all you want. Because that is all you're going to get with this book. Gareth is not a genius, he's just trying out new things against people who aren't used to new things. In 5 to 10 years everybody will be trying out new things and seeing what works and writing new military engagement doctrines.

Sula brought this book down for me. Her knee-jerk reaction to Gareth's proposal and revelation that they'd have to have a gene check wasn't enjoyable to read about. The parts of the story where she's fighting the Naxid as they take control of the capital planet was much better and I wish there had been a lot more focus on that part of things.

Overall, this was pretty decent. Nothing great, nothing inspired but also nothing terrible. If you're craving Space Opera, I'd recommend this to scratch that itch.


Dec 14, 2017, 7:03am Top

Jack Campbell
3 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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Vanguard
Series: Genesis Fleet #1
Author: Jack Campbell
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 333
Format: Digital edition


Humanity is expanding to the stars and old Earth and the original Colonies are tired and are inward looking. Anyone with a dream can go forth. And so can anyone looking to fleece said dreamers.

This is the story of how the civilization we came to know in Campbell's Lost Fleet series came into being.

A Geary is on Glenlyon and forced to protect it, understaffed and undercut by the very politicians who placed the burden on his shoulders. He must defend his planet from another star system that wants to claim jump and take over. He must also make an Alliance yes, the beginning of THE Alliance with another star system for mutual benefit and protection.

Mele Darcy is a former Earth Marine who is tasked with protecting Glenlyon on the ground. With a volunteer force, she must take over the enemies base and stop their incursion before it is too late.

Both are successful. And at the end of the book, given their hat, a pat on the shoulder and a “thank you but we no longer need your services” speech from the damnable politicians whose asses they just saved.

My Thoughts:

I actually had to put this down at one point because I was so pissed off at the politicians in the book AND the main characters. Campbell, a former military man, is very big on having his good characters play by the rules even when others are doing everything to bend or break those rules. Intended or not, it has always come across to me as “the rules are the rules so we keep them because they are rules” and not because of any deeper meaning BEHIND the rules. Laws are simply social constructs and outside of a few moral laws, I consider laws to be neither inherently good or evil. So when one group dismisses the laws, that contract is now null and void between me and them.
Example: Shooting someone is illegal. But if someone breaks into my place, they have broken that compact and I have every right to pull out my shotgun and shoot them. If I see someone breaking a window into my place and I yell out, “Hey, get the heck out of here” and they don't leave, I have the right to shoot them.
Campbell argues, through his characters, that you don't have the right to shoot them UNTIL they are fully in your house and pawing through your underwear drawer.

Obviously I am being a bit hyperbolic there, but it gets my point across. It makes for very ethical characters which is nice to read about but it can also be incredibly frustrating if your philosophy is different. I am a huge home defense advocate and am unabashedly an American Nationalist and should things ever go into space, I'd be a planetist :-) But that's another discussion.

There was just as much ground pounder action as there was space fighting and I really enjoyed that. Campbell can write some engaging battles and it is fun to read. I'll be reading the rest of the series as they come out but I don't think I'll be buying these. I've bought all the Lost Fleet, Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier and Lost Stars books but this one, it wasn't good enough to buy.

I'm not sure if coming into this new or having the whole Lost Fleet under your belt would be better. I suspect having all of his previous books would make this a better read, as you're invested in characters whose ancestors you're now reading about in the Genesis Fleet books.


Dec 15, 2017, 10:44am Top

With Mercy Toward None
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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: With Mercy Towards None
Series: The Dread Empire: A Fortress in Shadow #2
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 268
Format: Digital edition


The El Murid Wars that are referenced in the Cruel Wind trilogy.

These are a series of wars between El Murid and his captains and the northern kingdoms, not just against Haroun and his guerilla warfare group. A tide of warfare that sweeps in first one direction and then another.

Each side seems to be on the cusp of victory when something happens to reverse their fortunates. Talented generals die, politics interfere, etc, etc, etc.

We are also introduced to a young Mocker and see his rise and how he becomes intertwined with Ragnarson. We also see how Ragnarson goes from a mercenary recruit to a leader of his own mercenary group.

My Thoughts:

When I was reading the Cruel Wind trilogy I remarked how I felt that I was missing out because the characters were referring to certain incidents that we the reader had no idea about. Well, this A Fortress in Shadow duology answers all of those questions.

Glancing through other reviews, I've seen the word “sweeping history” used a lot and I have to admit, that is probably the best way to describe this book. At some points we get right down and dirty with the characters, seeing how they think, seeing events that shape their thinking and then we'll suddenly zoom out and 2 huge battles that reverse the course of everything get 2 paragraphs. Cook is following a small group of individuals and really walks that line of showing their individual story within the context of the larger scope of all that is going on.

In many ways, it seems that Steven Erikson and his whole Malazan world is modeled more on this Dread Empire series than on Cook's Black Company. By modeled on, I actually mean “wholesale lifted from”. I don't know that I have seen so many ideas and plot points and characters and working out of things used so much so similarly. Of course, it could be that I'm just starting to get enough books under my belt to finally notice the cyclical nature of writing from one generation to another. Which wouldn't be cool as I'd have to become an even more jaded, cynical and grouchy old coot to handle it.

The writing wasn't quite as rough as the previous books but it was by no means a smooth vanilla coke zero.


Dec 15, 2017, 10:54am Top

Any chance you've read either the Sandman Slim series or Blue Blazes series? Or maybe have read reviews of them from someone you trust?

I'm considering these for my brother's gift. He's autistic, so I have to look for specific things. If I had time, I'd get them and read them myself first, but I left it too late. He loves horror movies and games, so is fine with gory scenes, but he is very uncomfortable with adult situations, so I have to avoid anything with graphic sex scenes. I can't find any reviews that specify one way or the other so I'm hoping to get firsthand advice from someone who knows for sure. Any thoughts?

Dec 15, 2017, 11:22am Top

>150 Darth-Heather: Sorry Darth, I have not read them.

I did check out the reviews on GR and Mike the Paladin (an older christian man whose judgement I trust) was not impressed but he didn't mention anything about graphic sex, so I'm guessing that's not an issue?

Also on Booklikes there was no mention of graphic sex.

On wordpress, one reviewer did include this quote:
"L.A. is what happens when a bunch of Lovecraftian elder gods and porn starlets spend a weekend locked up in the Chateau Marmont snorting lines of crank off Jim Morrison’s bones. If the Viagra and illegal Traci Lords videos don’t get you going, then the Japanese tentacle porn will."

So while it doesn't sound like there are instances of graphicness, that type of thing is still mentioned.

From everything I've seen, it's the kind of book that I'd avoid personally or rate really low and never read any of the sequels.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Dec 15, 2017, 12:48pm Top

>151 BookstoogeLT: thanks so much for checking into it, I appreciate that.

I'm not personally interested in these books either, but I think they would suit Tommy's taste. He's 25, so I'm sure he's aware of sex things that might be mentioned; he just can't deal with descriptions that cause vivid mental images, especially ones that are kinky or violent. It turns out that sort of stuff pops up in lots of places. Most of us would just breeze past whatever parts don't interest you, but he gets these images stuck in his mind and they bother him, so I try to vet any reading material before I send it to him.

I'm also considering a series called Alice In Deadland. Have you heard anything about it?

Dec 15, 2017, 1:05pm Top

>152 Darth-Heather: Strike two!
However, looking at various reviews, this seems to be the general consensus for all "real" reviews:

"Point 5: the writing style is crude and amateurish and inconsistent. Honestly I can name 10 fanfic writers off the top of my head who write 10 times better. Maybe if one of them had handled this book I could have finished it."

So it would seem to be a interesting premise of a story but very poorly executed. So it depends on how much that would matter to your bro.

Dec 15, 2017, 1:11pm Top

>150 Darth-Heather: I read Sandman Slim. I hope to read more in the series. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I vaguely remember a little sex, but not graphic. I think it was a set up toward the beginning of the book, setting up a major plot point.

I didn't say anything about sex in my review. It is graphic in violence though, and is pretty grim at times. but not as bloody as some horror is, and not mindless as I recall.

Dec 16, 2017, 8:11am Top

The Heretic's Apprentice
Ellis Peters
3 Stars

My review talks as much about the theology as the murder mystery so I'll be providing a wordpress link as well.

The Heretic's Apprentice - Wordpress

Dec 17, 2017, 7:04am Top

Blake Crouch
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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Pines
Series: Wayward Pines #1
Author: Blake Crouch
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF, Thriller
Pages: 315
Format: Digital edition


I am usually not one to worry about spoilers in my reviews. However, this book is predicated on the tension created by the main character, and hence the reader, not knowing what is going on. So read further at your own risk. I'll make the last paragraph a quick summary of how I felt about the book without any spoilers so you can have something to read if you're worried about spoilers.


Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke wakes up next to a river. He stumbles into town, apparently called Wayward Pines, without much memory of anything. He is taken back to a hospital where it is revealed to him that he and his partner were hit by a mack truck and he left the hospital without permission. Little things aren't adding up though and Ethan's inner self keeps warning him.

Alone, with no money, no weapons, no vehicle, no way to contact his superiors, Ethan must survive whatever is going on at Wayward Pines. He does remember that he was tracking down some other secret service agents who disappeared after investigating Wayward Pines.

When he comes across his ex-partner, who is now inexplicably aged 30 years and runs into another woman claiming to be from the 1980's, Ethan is completely confounded. Then when it becomes obvious that the road doesn't lead out of the town and all the ways out on foot are fenced off, Ethan knows SOMETHING isn't right.

Ethan finally escapes, only to fall into the hands of David Pilcher, a super rich, super smart genius who has predicted the end of humanity due to gene and environmental failure. Pilcher has setup Wayward Pines as the last bastion of Humanity and it is now 1000 years since Ethan walked the earth. Humanity is no more and what humanity became, brutal carnivores that were intelligent but without enough intelligence to build a civilization, now roams the desolate earth. Pilcher deep froze his 1000 chosen in the hopes of restarting humanity and by the end of the book Ethan chooses to become his right hand man and enforcer.

My Thoughts:

My very first thought when starting this was that Ethan was doing some sort of cross reality transfer between blackouts, much like the main character in Ted Dekker's The Circle series. Something was obviously off, but I had no idea what. After the second time when Ethan pulls some bone headed, gut reaction, thing, I just decided that I wasn't going to figure out what was going on and to let Crouch chauffeur me to the end of the book, like he was going to do no matter what I wanted.

It was a very frustrating experience but not at all bad. It was meant to be frustrating and I felt so much sympathy for Ethan even while yelling at him in my head. He didn't know what was going on and I had no idea what was going on, so I couldn't even call him on being stupid. And he really does some stupid things. For a former military vet AND a secret service agent, he didn't strike me as aggressive enough or willing to do what was necessary. Now, he's injured and without money or much clothing, so some of it is understandable. But if you wake up in a town where other Secret Service agents have disappeared and even the sheriff is acting weird, you steal some clothes, some money, a car and get out. And when the road loops back and you're weirded out, head out cross country on foot, but BE PREPARED! It wasn't until he was being chased by the blood thirsty mob of townsfolk that he really started showing his qualities as a vet and agent.

The revelations by Pilcher about his Frozen Chosen hahaha and the state of the Earth was really interesting. Of course, Crouch's assertion that humanity would e/devolve into some kind of super predator is so much bs that I knocked a star off just for that. For frack's sake, genes don't work that way. If there was a breakdown in the gene code, you'd simply have a massive die off of humanity. I'm a diabetic being kept alive by 1st world tech, so I fracking know. Genes breaking down would lead to massive deaths at births and any that survived would be crippled in body and or mind and would be killed off by nature in one form or another. It would NOT turn us into super predators that could survive the conditions. But with all of that, I have to wonder where the next 2 books are going to go? How do you fight a whole world over run by creatures like that?

Overall, I enjoyed my read of this; much better than his blankety blank Dark Matter and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the trilogy as I have no idea what those 2 books could possibly contain.


Dec 17, 2017, 7:10pm Top

Surviving a Bad Book - An Enemy Reborn

Another entry in the Surviving a Bad Book series.

An Enemy Reborn

Dec 18, 2017, 11:26am Top

Final Exam
Oh My Goddess #3
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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Final Exam
Series: Oh My Goddess! #3
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paper edition


Various chapter stories usually with comedic overtones. Belldandy is crowned Queen of Nekomi Tech. Belldandy and Kei go on a date only to have it ruined by Urd and Sayoko. Megumi invites the motor club over and Urd has them play a magical game of Life.Kei has to take exams but ends up with a brainless double that gets dressed up like a girl taking it for him. Finally, Sayoko's cousin attends the Tech and tries to make moves on Belldandy with rather predictable results.

My Thoughts:

This was a very humorous volume. What stood out to me was the dinner date between Kei and Bell where both Sayoko AND Urd interfere. Sayoko to try to steal Kei from Bell. Ok, an aside here. I still don't understand why Sayoko is SO determined to steal Kei. It makes for a great ongoing plot point but I really do have to turn my brain off to accept it. Urd interferes because she's on a mission to get Kei and Bell together conjugally. And yes, conjugally is a real word, I looked it up to make sure! So, during this dinner date Sayoko is trying to be a third wheel and Urd sees it. Urd enchants a roasted turkey to life and it jumps off the serving cart and begins running at and attacking Sayoko. I just about died laughing.

Of course, things aren't quite so funny when Sayoko's sleazy cousin shows up and tries to force Belldandy to abandon Kei and be his girlfriend. It had real stalker/rape vibes and while it was shown as something bad, the fact that a character was acting like this at all was a reminder that I was reading something from almost 30 years ago. I don't remember this type of thing being an ongoing issue in future volumes but I'll definitely be more aware of it now.

On to the art!


This is a very simple and clean piece of art but at the same time it really expresses everything I like about Belldandy. It's obvious she's no ordinary girl, as evinced by her sitting on top of a power pole. At the same time her femininity is in no way compromised. The long flowing hair, the simple shoes, the dress with the sash and apron, the small smile. It all comes together to show a beautiful woman who is extraordinary but not a sexpot. I think that Fujishima did an excellent job of creating beauty without salaciousness. * thumbs up *


Dec 19, 2017, 8:09am Top

My thoughts on the 2017 Ghost in the Shell live action movie:

Ghost in the Shell

Dec 20, 2017, 8:03am Top

The Human Factor
Joshua Dalzelle
3 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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Human Factor
Series: Omega Force #8
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 250
Format: Digital Edition


Jason and Omega Force are back and on track. Only to get pushed off a cliff when they find out that human bounty hunters are looking for Jason.

Humanity has allied itself with a little known species and has been given the slipdrive and a new planet. All the aliens want in return is the old drive from the ship that Burke destroyed in Savage Homecoming. This is all being done in secret with only a select few knowing about the wheeling and dealing. One of those select few cuts her own deal with the aliens, takes over the colony planet and strongarms Earth into making her its ruler.

Now it is up to Jason, with no help, to save Earth again. Of course, one of the girls saves his bacon. But is it the former military captain who is now an Admiral, or the Pretty Pretty Princess? The mystery, the enchantment, the romance of it all!

By the end of the book Earth and everyone on it now knows they are a 1bit player on a very large stage.

My Thoughts:

The Galactic Princess girl from the previous book is pretty much dismissed. Kellea saves Earth but only because Lucky writes her a note telling her that Jason still loves her. Come on, a fracking battle robot has better relationship skills than these 2 humanoids? I don't like relational drama in my books. Jason is still acting like an 18 year old boy instead of the man he is. For all that the Princess was the focus of the previous book, I also didn't like how she was just shelved when it wasn't convenient for her to be around. It felt VERY heavy handed by the author especially after how she was so played up before.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the rest of the book. Probably one of the best Omega Force books so far. There is so much potential here and it's really only limited by the author's imagination. I hope he's up to the task of thinking of new, cool storylines and doesn't fumble and turn this into one of those “it's obvious the author has no idea what to write so he just threw some stuff onto the wall to see what sticks” kind of things.

Writing relationships is definitely not Dalzelle's strongpoint and I hope that he either does a lot of practice and gets better or just leaves it alone in future books. If he can avoid making “relationships” a prop in his stories, he'll probably be ok.


Dec 21, 2017, 8:26am Top

The Skinner
Neal Asher
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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Skinner
Series: Polity: Spatterjay #1
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 433
Format: Digital Edition


Sable Keech, a dead ECS agent, is a member of the Anubis cult. When he died 700 years ago tracking down infamous slavers who sold their product to the Prador during the Prador War, he was reified and continued his hunt for the Eight most prominent members. Jay Hoop was their leader and Sable has accounted for the other seven members. Rumors bring Sable to the world of Spatterjay, named after Jay Hoop. A world where a peculiar virus gives immortality but with the risk of becoming inhuman.

Janer, a human who was indentured and now works for, a Wasp Hivemind, is on Spatterjay on orders from the Hive. He doesn't know why and in all honesty, he doesn't want to know why. But the Hive wants to expand and a world outside of the Polity would suit it perfectly. Janers is along for the ride and the promise of ten million new carth shillings, enough to allow him to be free of the Hive forever.

Erlan. Young hooper. A hooper is someone with the virus. A young hooper is anyone infected for less than 200 years. She was infected and then left Spatterjay to explore the galaxies. But now she's back and she's not sure she wants to keep on living. Her mission is to find Captain Ambel and either have him kill her or show her how to live, as all the Captains of Spatterjay are over 700 years old.

Throw in a Prador trying to clean up its trail from the Prador War 1000 years ago, one of the Eight who isn't dead, Jay Hooper who is now a 12foot tall monstrosity that is practically unkillable, some mercenaries and a couple of AI's and you've got yourself quite a story!

Oh, I forgot to mention the sentient Sails, which might just try to take the planet for themselves.

My Thoughts:

This was the best Polity book by Asher so far. It had super bloody ultra violent action. It had dead people, it had the Skinner. That thing is surviving even after having its head cut off and kept in a box by Captain Ambel. Hiveminds and Prador and the list goes on and on and on.

While the Prador War was mentioned in passing in the Agent Cormac books, it was more of a blip than anything. Here, while it was 1000 years ago, we get a lot of information about it that helps develop the Polity into a more realistic society. It isn't all knowing and all powerful and the Prador War showed that. That is a good balance to some of the power we saw in Agent Cormac where it appeared the Polity just rolled over everything.
If I had to recommend a place to start the Polity books, this would be it. It is filled with awesome new ideas and the action and thrillaminute ride never stops. The other thing is that while this is part of a trilogy, it tells a complete story. The Skinner is brought to justice, each of the characters finds closure in one way or another and there are no dangling threads “forcing” you to read the next 2 books. You could read this and see if Asher's style is for you and if it isn't, you don't have that “incomplete” feeling that a lot of series rely on these days.

This is a good sized book. This edition is only 400+ pages, but when I read it back in 2010, it was over 700 I think? Probably those larger numbers were based on a paperback edition. Either way, this is not something you skim through in an afternoon. I spent a day and a half devouring this and “devour” is a good word. Everything on Spatterjay is trying to eat something else, all the time.

I also liked the introduction of the Hive Mind. Sadly, beyond a couple of short stories in some of his later collections, Asher never really delves into this aspect of the Polity. So don't get too excited about it as it never pans out.

As a re-read, this almost came across as a new book. I remembered the basic details of Spatterjay being a world where everything was eat or be eaten and that there was stuff to do with the Prador and that a dead guy was involved. But honestly, this book and my review from 2010 are part of why I now review the way I do. That review did nothing to help me remember what I had read, while I'm hoping this one does when I decide to re-read it again in another decade or so.

Last time I rated this 4 stars. This time around, with it still being so enjoyable and such a fun read, I'm slamming that up to 5 stars.


Dec 21, 2017, 5:20pm Top

A Book Haul Post

Put up some pictures of my various Michael Sullivan books since I just got his latest in the mail on Wednesday.

Dec 21, 2017, 6:30pm Top

I'm too lazy to search your blog. How did you like the first Ryria series, Revelations? Sullivan is on my list to read at some point and I was thinking of starting here since that series is finished.

Dec 21, 2017, 7:18pm Top

>163 Narilka: I LOVED Revelations. It's what got me hooked on Sullivan. I found his writing to be light and amusing but still telling a good fantasy story. Don't expect too much and just sit back for a tale and you'll have a good time.

Also, I'd agree with starting with Revelations.

Dec 22, 2017, 8:58am Top

Grey Seer
C.L. Werner
3 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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Grey Seer
Series: Warhammer: Thanquol & Boneripper #1
Author: C.L. Werner
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 296
Format: Digital Edition


Thanquol is a skaven magician, one of the Grey Seers. After having several of his plots foiled by Gotrek and Felix, Thanquol is sent on a dangerous mission to Altdorf, capital of the Empire, to recover the Wormstone, a huge piece of warpstone that will give its user tremendous power.

Of course, being skaven, Thanquol plots how to seize the stone for himself or at least how to use it to climb up the rungs of power. But since his “allies” are skaven too, they all are also planning on how to take it for themselves.

Upon finding out that the Stone is actually weapon more effective against skaven than humans, Thanquol plots on how to wipe out the city of Altdorf AND the skaven city of Under-Altdorf, thus gaining prestige and favor with the Council of 13. A human wizard of Altdorf has been keeping an eye of the skavens and with his cronies does his best to stop said plan. The other skavens of Altdorf also do their best to stop Thanquol, since dying isn't really what they want to do.

The book ends with Thanquol's plan going awry yet again, most of the skavens fighting him dying and most of the humans fighting the skavens dying.

My Thoughts:

First off, Boneripper is just a name that Thanquol gives to his current giant rat bodyguard. It's almost more of a title than a name, as he seems to go through them at a pretty rapid pace. Now that I know that, I won't be expecting a real duo as main characters.

I've not read any of the Gotrek and Felix books, which I gather is where Thanquol is originally introduced. From the little bit that is referenced, I'm not sure I WANT to read those books. They sound like a right pair of brutal thugs. Given, I'm getting that from Thanquol's viewpoint, but even still.

So, I finally read a book about the skavens. Giant magical rat people with all the characteristics of rats. Cowardly, self-serving, backstabbing and generally bad guys. You'd think that would depress me but for some reason it really didn't. What DID get me down was how the humans opposing the skavens were just as much scumbags, even the wizard guy. With characters like that fighting against Chaos, I'm kind of glad Chaos ends up taking this world.

I keep going into these Warhammer books thinking they're alternates to the Forgotten Realms books. Ha, not even close. Warhammer is bleak, bleak, bleak. It is a good thing I have a month or two between them. Any sooner and I'd be overwhelmed and have to defenestrate myself, which just wouldn't be cool.

I'll definitely be finishing this trilogy. I've also got 2 more Age of Legends trilogies to work through but after that, I don't know that I'll be staying in this world anymore. It's just too bleak and depressing for me.


Dec 22, 2017, 9:08am Top

>165 BookstoogeLT: Defenestrate… that is an awesome word that I don’t remember ever seeing before. I can see applications for both definitions that came up in my search. Since I plan to take up muttering, as influenced by WOT, I expect I will be muttering about defenestrating people quite a bit in the future…

Dec 22, 2017, 10:33am Top

>166 YouKneeK: It's a great word, especially since we live on the 3rd floor :-)

Dec 23, 2017, 12:59pm Top

The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter
Michael Sullivan
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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter
Series: Riyria Chronicles #4
Author: Michael Sullivan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 344
Format: Digital Edition


Royce and Hadrian are hired to avenger the death of Genevieve Hargrave who is the daughter of Gabriel Winter, a rich merchant. She married Leopold Hargrave, the Duke of Rochelle and Winter is convinced that Leopold married her for her dowry and then murdered her. But no body has been recovered. So Winter wants the duo to find out what happened to her and then avenge her death with a fountain of blood, a fountain he is willing to pay for with everything from his coffers.

Once the duo reaches Rochelle, things don't quite add up. At the same time the head of the Church of Novron is calling for a new King and every noble must be present to be in the running. This leads into Church politic'ing and a desire for revenge by a Mir, a half-human, half-elf named Villar.

Villar wants to murder all the nobles, take over the city of Rochelle and make it the capital of a new Mir city-state. What looks impossible isn't so when it is revealed that he has the help of dwarves who can bring stone golems to life.

All this time Genny is alive and held captive by a faction of the Mir who just want equal rights in the town and a peaceful resolution to everything.

Everybody collides in a finale of bloody death but thankfully Hadrian and Royce rescue Genny, she is reunited with her husband who really does love her and events are set in motion that will have repercussions in the Riyria Revelations series.

My Thoughts:

Most Important!

This ebook says it has an ISBN of 978194336317 but if you can count, that is only 12 numbers. The hardcover I got through the Kickstarter has the correct isbn listed as 9781943363117. Goodreads still has it wrong. Business as usual for that place!
/End Important

I really enjoyed this read. The banter, the danger, the mystery. It all came together just like every other Riyria book has. There is a flavor, a tone, to the these books and Sullivan keeps it unique and never strays from it. I like that.

I also liked that we didn't have to wait until the end to know if Genny was alive or dead. She had her POV almost from the beginning and while it lessened that particular mystery, it simply increased the tension on other parts as I tried to figure out WHAT was going on and who was motivated by what.

I tore through this in about a day and a half. Kind of sad since I had been waiting 2 years since Death of Dulgath but hey, I'm not going to waste time artificially stretching my read out. I paid my money and I'm going to get my enjoyment Right Now!

Now that I've read this, I kind of want to re-read all 6 Riyria Revelations books and the previous 3 Riyria Chronicles books. Just to get a fuller picture. Also, to see how Sullivan's writing has progressed. Well, maybe in a year or two. Honestly, I'd really like to wait until there are 6 Chronicles books to balance the Revelations books and then have a go. But since Sullivan is independently releasing these through Kickstarters and he has contractual obligations for other books, I doubt that will happen any time soon.


Dec 23, 2017, 7:10pm Top

Sunshine Award - The Grumpy Cat Edition

In which I subvert one of those holly jolly awards/tags that makes everyone sick to their stomach.

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 7:54am Top

The Ring of Winter
James Lowder
2.5 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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Ring of Winter
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #5
Author: James Lowder
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: Digital Edition


Artus Cimber, a former harper, has been searching for the Ring of Winter for over a decade with almost no success. However, when a fellow Adventurer member comes back from an expedition in the deepest, hottest jungles where dinosaurs live and tells of a freak snowstorm that saved his life, Artus knows he's hot on the trail.

Taking off in the middle of the night with his only friend, an older mage, so that the Harpers can't pressure him in any way, Artus's journey doesn't start well. The ship they paid passage to be on forces them to be regular sailors and the captain is an insane witch woman. Artus ends up killing her. Artus and Pontifex finally make it to Dinosaur Land, only to be attacked by members of the Cult of Frost, who are led by Kaverin Ebonhand. Kaverin also desires the Ring of Winter as it supposedly endows its controller with immortal life.

Pontifex dies, Artus is on his own. Sets off into the jungles with a local guide, only to find out it is a magician in thrall to Kaveron. Artus is captured by goblins, thrown into a pit of a monster that they worship and escapes with the help of 2 talking wombats named Byrt and Lugg.

I am NOT kidding.

Kaveron gets all the goblins to unite and attack the city of Mezro which had 7 magical guardians. One of them revealed that he had had the Ring of Winter but that he couldn't control it and so threw it into the testing chamber where new magical girls, errrr, guardians were tested and chosen. Artus goes after it, gets it and saves the city because he CAN control the Ring.

Everybody who is still alive is happy and Artus realizes that he's still a Harper at heart and now with a super powerful artifact he can do lots and lots of good things. Yippeee!

My Thoughts:

This was a perfect example of an author forcing the character to act like the author wanted without regards to any past actions, feelings or explanations. Artus starts out as an impetuous, selfish idiot. He hates the Harpers, puts others in danger without regard when searching for the Ring of Winter and generally acts like an ass. The shazaaam, he gets tested by the god Ubtao and suddenly he's the soul of wisdom, discretion and goodness.

The talking wombats? Besides getting him out of the monster pit the first time, and talking in fake british accents, dropping all their “h's”, etc, they were pointless. Which leads into all the side characters. There were so many that none of them really got to be “real” people. Kaveron was the perfect example. He's the leader of the Frost Cult, has stone hands due to fighting with Artus in the past, is in thrall to the mad god Cyric and can make magical icemen assassins. Yet he loses control of a small goblin tribe? He was just a name attached to a vehicle that moved the plot forward. People are introduced and in a lot of cases, die off within 10-20 pages. I gave up trying to keep track because I never knew if someone introduced was a long term character or just another meat bag for the mill.

I felt like this had too many elements contained in one story and it diluted the whole focus on the Ring of Winter. Well, I'm giving the Harpers sub-series one more book and then if that book doesn't get a 3.5star rating I'll be done. I'm not 12 or 14 years old.

And the Ring of Winter? It should have been a wicked super awesome cool artifact. Kind of like this M:TG card looks. But no. It is as disappointing as the rest of the book.


Dec 25, 2017, 11:55am Top

Dec 25, 2017, 6:50pm Top

Got to love Grumpy Cat :) Merry Christmas Bookstooge!

Dec 25, 2017, 7:07pm Top

>173 Narilka: Merry Christmas to you to Narilka! Now that I've got 2 Grumpy Cat books, I figure I can start a Revolution, or something ;-)

Dec 25, 2017, 8:15pm Top

>174 BookstoogeLT: It's the beginning of a fine collection at the very least :)

Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 8:16pm Top

>175 Narilka: Yep, the journey of a 1000 miles begins by sitting on the couch and not going. Now THAT'S Grumpy Cat Philosophy in action

Dec 25, 2017, 8:32pm Top

>176 BookstoogeLT: Love it!! :)

Dec 25, 2017, 8:34pm Top

>172 BookstoogeLT: I enjoyed looking at your shelves! And I also enjoyed seeing just how physically long this WOT thing is. It’s not quite as impressive when I’m just looking at progress dots and page counts. :)

Dec 25, 2017, 8:36pm Top

>178 YouKneeK: I think WoT is going to go down as the First in Ultra-Epic Fantasy. Whether future readers will hate or love, I have no idea :-)

Dec 26, 2017, 9:22pm Top

Mojave Crossing
Louis L'Amour
3 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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Mojave Crossing
Series: Sacketts #9
Author: Louis L'Amour
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 160
Format: Digital Edition


Tell Sackett has a bagful of gold and some unknown people on his trail. In some little town he helps out a damsel in distress and ends up shot, robbed and without water in the Mojave Desert.

Being a Sackett, that's not enough to kill him. So he sets out after his assailaints. He catches up with the Damsel in Distress and finds out there is a lot more to her than he first thought. He gets involved with an old Mexican Pirate who fought his granddaddy and tracks down the man who has his gold. Only to find that another Sackett is acting as his bodyguard.

But since blood is thicker than gold, both Sacketts do the right thing and lots of badguys die and they head off into the sunset.

My Thoughts:

This felt very disjointed. In the previous book Tell was all setup to get hitched and settle down and now in this book he's out and about and getting involved with another woman? It kind of gets explained, but at first I didn't even realize I was reading about the same character as in Sackett.

Everything felt that little bit off for the whole book so it was hard to get into the flow of things like the previous books. I would almost say that this was a “commitment” book on L'Amour's part to fulfill a publishing contract more than an actual story. It just didn't have that same feel. I know that's not very helpful to anyone who hasn't read it but that's my take away from it.

I hope the next one is a little more of what I expect.


Dec 28, 2017, 3:51pm Top

Bookstooge & the Invisible Reader

Wherein I whine, a lot!

Dec 28, 2017, 8:59pm Top

Love Potion #9
Oh My Goddess! #4
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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Love Potion #9
Series: Oh My Goddess #4
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 117
Format: Paper Edition


Sayoko and her cousin Aoshima continue their scheming to break up Bell and Kei so that they can have their respective picks. Of course, with Urd running interference and Bell's love of Kei, things never turn out for the dastardly duo like they had planned.

There are also several instances of completely ridiculous things being overlooked and ignored. How do you bulldoze a clubhouse that is also a mechanics garage, overnight and have NO repercussions? You really have to enter the spirit of the manga, ie, campy and silly and just flow with it.

The other major plot point is the introduction of Mara, demon first class. While a very androgynous looking fellow, Mara is indeed a fellow. Somehow he's tied to a Demon music cd and he ends up in cahoots with Sayoko, promising to get rid of Bell so Sayoko can be Queen of the Campus and have Kei all to herself.

While Mara is foiled at every point, he's not banished and it's obvious he's here to stay and cause nothing but problems.Yet another recurring character. The character list is really starting to grow.

My Thoughts:

Every chapter was once again a single episodic adventure. Now, most of them revolved around various schemes by Sayoko and Aoshima so the whole book kind of felt more like a romantic comedy than anything.

I can't really remember what part Mara ends up playing in future volumes, but I think he's the beginning of the multi-volume story arc. It's also our first introduction to the opposite of Belldandy's family. Fujishima is obviously thinking ahead and planning on opening up this world for a full on experience. Having extra powerful beings, on opposite sides of the moral spectrum, is the obvious way to go.

Urd is involved, but not nearly so much as in the previous book. She really is eye candy and comedic relief. The funny thing is, she “represents” eye candy more than she actually is. That makes for a surprisingly clean “smexy” fun drawings without going anywhere near smut. Of course, this is still male driven fantasy, so you get little bits like this. And how cute is a mini-Urd anyway?


Now on a different note. I am reading the original Darkhorse release manga. I am finding that the chapters are out of order in regards to the original intent and that that has been rectified with the re-release of the OMG manga in it's original numbered format. Not that I'm going to go out and suddenly buy volumes 1-20 just to be a completist but I am realizing that I'd recommend people start with the new numbered versions and not these “Titled” Darkhorse editions.


Dec 30, 2017, 5:08pm Top

The Sea Watch
Adrian Tchaikovsky
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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Sea Watch
Series: Shadows of the Apt #6
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 720
Format: Digital Edition


The city of Collegium is trying to catch it's collective breath since the cease-fire agreement with the Wasp Empire has gone into affect. Stenwold Maker continues his job as an embassador and is trying to get 2 more Ant Cities to at least become trading partners with Collegium.

Of course, the Wasp Empire has it's own agents in the city and they are doing what they can to undermine Collegium for when the Empire resumes it war footing.

At the same time, it is revealed that the Spider Family Aldenrael, which pretty much rescued Collegium during the last war with Vek, has been preying on Collegium ships and playing pirate. When one of those “pirates” is killed and turns out to be a minor Aldenrael member, the entire Spider Nation goes on the warpath and prepares an armada to take over Collegium.

Since that's obviously not enough, it turns out that there is an entire underwater culture of Kinden, which wants to invade and take over Collegium as well. Stenwold is kidnapped by these kinden while dealing with the other 2 issues (Wasps and Spiders) and gets sucked into another whole world. He must survive, escape and somehow broker a peace deal with these Sea Kinden. To seal the deal, he must find the lost ruler who is now a young man.

Neither the Empire nor the Spiders want peace, so treachery continues to abound and things look really bad for Collegium. Until Stenwold finds the heir, brokers a deal with the Sea Kinden, sinks a whole bunch of Spider ships and wipes out a nest of Rekef Inlanders (Wasp agents) in Collegium.

Now it's back to business as usual with the Wasp Empire being the main threat.

My Thoughts:

My Review for This from back in 2011 still stands true as all get out.

This was the perfect way to end my reading year, on a very good note. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and since it's been 6 years, enough things were dulled that it wasn't a slog. In many ways, this re-read made me appreciate Tchaikovsky's writing skills even more. I liked this book. I begrudged my time away from it and made the most of when I was reading it. I read the final 30% this afternoon in one sitting.

To see Stenwold having almost everything taken from him (Che's not returning from Khanaphes, Arianna's demise, Teornis's betrayal, Sten's capture and imprisonment under the sea) and not have it break him? I thought Tchaikovsky did a fantastic job of creating Sten and turning him into someone I want to cheer on and hope that things work out for. He was a true Hero, even if deliberately not cast into the Warrior Knight mold.

It was also nice to simply have the focus be on one character. Stenwold is our point of view for the whole book and everything is through him and revolves around him. It made for a nice linear read. It also wasn't a puzzle with trying to fit 5 different storylines together. Sometimes I like complexity but other times I just want something straight forward. Tchaikovsky gave me that in spades with this.

When I bought this series in trade paperback (I'm going to try to do a shelfie of just these 10 books for the last book) I almost immediately had buyers regret as I wasn't sure I was going to like them enough to read them again. Well, this re-read has grabbed those regrets and tossed them into the Marianna Trench. These have been BETTER this second time around and I'm already looking forward to another go in 10 years or so even while I'm not finished this first Re-read!


Dec 31, 2017, 7:06am Top

December Roundup & Ramblings

Last post for 2017. Been a really good reading month!

Dec 31, 2017, 7:40am Top

>184 BookstoogeLT: I often wonder how I could fit in more reading time, but I don’t think I’m dedicated enough to try your methods!

Dec 31, 2017, 8:01am Top

>185 YouKneeK: Yeah, and honestly, you run out of Grandmothers pretty quick ;-)

Dec 31, 2017, 12:35pm Top

Dec 31, 2017, 12:41pm Top

>187 Narilka: Thank you! Mrs B didn't laugh, so I'm glad somebody did!

Dec 31, 2017, 12:50pm Top

>188 BookstoogeLT: I laughed when I read it, but then was hesitant to post my refutal that you could just get new wives with a fresh set of grandmothers as needed. And so I let the moment pass. (I bet she REALLY wouldn't find that funny!)

Dec 31, 2017, 1:23pm Top

>189 YouKneeK: Actually, that is really funny! :-)

Dec 31, 2017, 1:47pm Top

Bookstooge’s thread… a safe haven for the morbid. :)

Dec 31, 2017, 2:12pm Top

>191 YouKneeK: Except for dead pet jokes. I've found there are a lot of people in the green dragon who are pet lovers. I swear, I feel safer making dead granny jokes than I do dead pet jokes.
So I'd qualify this as a Semi-safe zone...

Dec 31, 2017, 2:34pm Top

It has been fun following you, and I'm glad you've joined us. Looking forward to your 2018 threads.

Dec 31, 2017, 3:06pm Top

>193 MrsLee: Thanks MrsLee. Hope to have another great year in '18!

This topic was continued by Bookstooge 2018 Part 1.

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