Monday, September 30, 2013

The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger #4)

The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger Novels) - Stephen Hunter   Author: Stephen Hunter

4 of 5 Stars

This really should have been called Swagger puts down his Gun, and picks up the Sword.
I really enjoyed the story. But considering that I'll take fantasy over military, anime over hollywood, that doesn't come as a big surprise.
The backstory, the blood, the plotting, the guts, the wicked intense fight/battle at the end, it was great. When Swagger took on the 4 or 6 yakuza to save the swordpoliser and to get the sword back, that was cool.

BUT. The whole time I read I was rolling my eyes. Swagger is an old man, lets face it. He might be a very fit old man, but he's an old man who is a sniper. He is NOT a samurai prodigy.
So when he became Insta-swordsman in a week and took out yakuza left and right and THEN took out the main swordsman, who has been practicing since he was 14'ish, I just threw up my hands and said "Fine, make Swagger be a swordsman. I like the story, I just don't care.".

This was an awesome story. But it wasn't a Bob Lee Swagger story, even though Hunter named the main character that.

So if you've liked the previous 3 books, I think you'll like this one. If you realize the inherent, internal inconsistencies and aren't bothered by them.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Child of the Ghosts (The Ghost Books #1)

Child of the Ghosts - Jonathan Moeller
Author: Jonathan Moeller

4 of 5 Stars

This was a straight-forward fantasy yarn about a young girl who loses it all and in the process of gaining her revenge becomes one of the Kingdom's top agents.This was a simple yet engaging read. A bit unpolished in places, with a year of training going by in about 2 paragraphs. But all the important parts, they were well fleshed out and written ok.

I think I waited a little too long before writing this post. More of the pertinent details have slipped my mind.

Had this book recommended to me by my cousin and I am glad he did.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would

Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would: A Fresh Christian Approach - Chad W. Thompson

Author: Chad Thompson

4 of 5 Stars

 This was a tough book to deal with. The first half of the book is Thompson recollecting what it was like to grow up realizing he was homosexual, and wanting to change that.
He gave some real, concrete advice on how to show love. He also made very plain that we are not to show conditional love, conditional on their changing. We are to show love and let the Holy Spirit do the inner work.

I have to admit that there were several times that I reacted to what Thompson was saying without really reading WHAT he was saying. That in and of itself was an eye opener for me.

The latter half of the book was more "fact" oriented. He shows how many of the rejections that homosexuals deal with, he deals with from the homosexual community as an ex-gay.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: On Silver Wings

On Silver Wings
On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, but due to one particular grammatical idiosyncrasy, had to bump it down a star. Stopped noticing it after a couple of chapters.

Plotwise, I found this topnotch. Super-soldier woman jets in, overcomes all odds, discovers aliens, helps the locals create a militia and eventually drives off the badguys.

Have to see how the rest of the series holds up.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: Conflict of Honors

Conflict of Honors
Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this, but it was more "romance" oriented than [b:Agent of Change|288771|Agent of Change (Liaden Universe, #8)|Sharon Lee||280180]. Also, since I'm reading these Liaden books in published order rather than chronological, there was no reference to the events in AoC.

I liked the action, the idea of "balance" between trade houses and merchant warfare. Nothing like seeing people use their brains to destroy an enemy than pure brawn.

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Review: The Citadel Of Chaos

The Citadel Of Chaos
The Citadel Of Chaos by Steve Jackson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ok, after 3months of banging my head against a metaphysical wall, I gave in and googled and USED the walk through.
Not a bad story, and I probably could have done it on my own, if I'd taken the time to pay attention to what I was actually doing instead of just wandering around and crashing through whatever door took my fancy.

The main reason I read/played this was because way back in '91, I played [b:The Warlock of Firetop Mountain|429142|The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy, #1)|Steve Jackson||1725977]. I LOVED it. Of course, I was a just minted teen, so what did I know? So I wanted to see if this would hold up, or even closely approximate the feeling I got from that first play.

Sadly, but practically known ahead of time, it didn't give me that euphoric high. While filling a backpack with spells and choosing your stats might be exciting, for the first time, I have since grown up. Computer games like Heretic and Hexxen took me to the next level and I never moved past them to full on RPG'ing.

So this was nostalgic. And we all know what happens with things that are nostalgic. Thankfully, this hasn't ruined my fond memories of yesteryear, it just means I won't be playing these books any more. Leave the past to enjoy itself.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review: The Thousand Names

The Thousand Names
The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually started reading this because of the author's name. I kept singing "Django, Django Wexler, King of the wild Vordanians" [sung to the tune of Davey Crockett] until I got sick of it. Then I sang it a couple more times :)

I liked the story a lot more than I thought I would. Not a big fan of the musket era of weaponry, but this worked well.

However, due to some of the morals the author introduced, which I'm guessing will be expounded on in later books, I've decided that this will be enough for me.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: William Shakespeare's Star Wars

William Shakespeare's Star Wars
William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this. Unfortunately, as much as I like the idea, I simply found it tedious.

Shakespeare tells a good story. Lucas made a good movie with New Hope. I've also read the book New Hope and found it very lack luster.

The same issues that plagued the original novel plague this. Star Wars is simply not a good book story. It is a great movie, but a failure as a book.

And while this might be a great novelty item, that is all it is. A gimmick, a show, something "new" and "unusual". It doesn't have enough spine to stand on it's own feet.

I cut this book down just like Vader does to Obi-wan*.

*spoilerized for the ONE freaking person who doesn't know it, ends up reading here and then bitches in the comments. Consider yourself warned, you social outcast.

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Monday, September 09, 2013

Review: Daemon

Daemon by Daniel Suarez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantastic read! A lot of fun, intense action and techno-suspense. I'd like to thank Jeff for recommending this book to me.

Take the basic Terminator plotline of a supercomputer and sublimate that AI into a yes/no program that has been programmed by a genius now dead and see what it can do. If the programmer is smart enough, it can do almost anything.

And Sobol is a world class genius. It is fascinating to see all that he planned before he died. He recruits the right people for his cause and makes use of their training in various areas. It was kind of scary actually, to see the plan unfold.

Then you have the opposing team. A police detective, a mystery hacker, a government woman authorized to take the Daemon down. All interacting, failing and being overwhelmed. And seeing the almost inevitable march of the daemon is great. It gave me a sense of doom, which is hard to do.

The couple of things that kept it from being a 5star. Technobabble out your ears! I'm sure it is accurate, as Suarez thanks some programmers/hackers at the end of the book, but it become a little overwhelming. A scene of an underage girl being drugged and used for a sex video. Not "super" graphic, but graphic enough that it stood out in my mind. And finally, the completely overwhelming'ness of Sobol/Daemon. It was just too smart imo. Several times I felt like it was the bogeyman with unlimited threat power.

One warning. It does end on a cliffhanger, so make sure you have the sequel, [b:Freedom (TM)|7132363|Freedom (TM) (Daemon, #2)|Daniel Suarez||7394861], on hand.

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Friday, September 06, 2013

Review: Goblin War

Goblin War
Goblin War by Jim C. Hines

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed this book overall, I found my enjoyment to be less than what I had from Goblin Hero, which in turn wasn't as good as the first book, Goblin Quest.

And I didn't care for [b:Libriomancer|12844699|Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)|Jim C. Hines||17995680] either.

Jig has been a good read as a trilogy, but I think I'm done with Hines. Goblin War wrapped up the storyline, but it seemed to focus as much on Shadowstar and another goddess as much as it did on the goblins. Old hasbeen gods can be a good trope, but it has to be done right and Hines didn't work the magic for me.

Jig and the side characters. Jig is almost exactly the same as he was when we met him. Which considering he's a goblin, isn't surprising. But that as well as the "new set" of side characters for each book indicates to me that Hines can't flesh out and grow his characters. He should stick to stand alone books so that weakness doesn't show through.

I DO recommend this Jig trilogy, as it is funny, completely off beat, whacky and a nice change in the fantasy genre.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Review: The Man in the Brown Suit

The Man in the Brown Suit
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, almost as good as [b:And Then There Were None|16299|And Then There Were None|Agatha Christie||3038872].

We get to follow the adventures of a plucky young Brit gal who is bored. She gets involved in a murder mystery that turns out to have much wider implications. She travels to South Africa, is almost killed several times, makes new friends, finds and falls in love with a REAL man and gets to deal with one of the best villains I've read yet.

The Colonel. What can I say about them. I suspected from the start who they were and enjoyed them the whole way through. and I enjoyed them at the end as well. They were a classy villain. Made the book worth it just to meet the Colonel.

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Sunday, September 01, 2013

Review: To Ride a Rathorn

To Ride a Rathorn
To Ride a Rathorn by P.C. Hodgell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really thought about giving this 4stars, but Hodgell's use of character's killed that for me.

I really don't care for having a character barely introduced, so little that I dismiss them as a side character of no note, only to have them come back in 3 chapters playing a pivotal point. It makes me go "huh?" and gives me verbal whiplash.

Other than that, this was right along the lines of other books. Thankfully, we do get more Jame and less Tori and so the story seems to advance a little more. Lots of little laugh out loud moments that seem to pepper this series and make it worth while.

One thing I am finding hard to stomach is the idea of the intermarrying of bloodlines, on a MUCH closer relationship than what happens in the real world. I have to admit, it gives me the heebie jeebies...

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