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Bookstooge 2017 Part 5

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

The Green Dragon

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Sep 25, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 6:45pm Top

September's Roundup & Rambling

Dang good month overall!

Oct 1, 3:35am Top

>6 BookstoogeLT: So what is lungstuff?

Oct 1, 3:52pm Top

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

Oct 1, 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, 4:32pm Top

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

Oct 1, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 7:42pm Top

Mr Mercedes Buddy Read Update - 27%

Self explanatory I believe...

Oct 7, 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, 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 10, 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, 5:02pm Top

>32 BookstoogeLT: Love your synopsis!

Oct 10, 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, 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, 9:00am Top

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

Oct 11, 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, 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, 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, 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, 7:55pm Top

Oct 16, 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, 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, 9:16am Top

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

Oct 18, 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, 5:11pm Top

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

Edited: Oct 19, 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, 7:41pm Top

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

Oct 19, 8:10pm Top

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

Oct 19, 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, 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, 9:45pm Top

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

Oct 20, 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, 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, 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, 2:37pm Top

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

Oct 21, 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, 8:41pm Top

Survival Saturday - Tortilla Soup

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

Oct 22, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 7:09am Top

Super Popstar Bookstooge!

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

Oct 25, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 11:30am Top

Stinger quote

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

Oct 30, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 7:12am Top

October's Roundup & Ramblings

A real mixed bag of a month...

Nov 2, 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, 5:28pm Top

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

Nov 2, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 7:45pm Top

Survival Saturday - Pasta Alfredo

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

Nov 11, 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, 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, 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, 7:11pm Top

Starting the Week off Right - On a Mountain Top!

I think the title pretty much says it all.

Nov 14, 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, 5:38pm Top

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

Nov 14, 8:17pm Top

Book Haul

In a Winter Wonder Land *sings*

Nov 15, 10:24am Top

>97 BookstoogeLT: Great photos!

Nov 15, 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, 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, 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, 9:58pm Top

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

Nov 17, 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, 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, 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

Yesterday, 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!!!


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