Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Indomitable Fortress (Eyeshield 21 #24) (Manga (non) Monday) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title:        The Indomitable Fortress
Series:     Eyeshield 21 #24
Author:    Riichiro Inagaki
Artist:      Yusuke Murata
Rating:    4 of 5 Stars
Genre:     Sports Manga
Pages:     200
Format:   Digital Scan




Synopsis:

The Oujou Highschool is hosting a festival and the Devil Bats attend. Some to have fun, some to spy. With all that they see, the Devil Bats go for a quick 3 day counter-training program to hopefully deal with what they learned.

Then the fateful game between the Devil Bats and the Oujou White Knights begins. It will be an epic battle between individuals and between 2 teams that have simply dominated to this point. There are no more tricks, no more time to do special training, no more people to pull in at the last moment. It is now Mano E Mano and one team is going to go on to the Christmas Bowl and one team will have its dreams crushed forever.



My Thoughts:

It's been quite some time since I read Then Came the Showdown! [Vol 23] and I was just in a manga slump. So today I decided that after church, I was going to sit down and read this volume,no matter what. It also helped that I needed something much lighter than the Deadhouse Gates Readalong that I've been participating in with Dragons&Zombies. I also wanted to sneak in one more book before April ended so I could at least list a double digit number instead of a single number :-(
[Yes, as much as I may naysay and decry, I am VERY aware of my numbers]

The Festival was fun. The kind of humor that Eyeshield 21 excels at. The stupidest guy from the White Knights and the stupidest guy from the Devilbats end up in a quiz show against each other and it was just so perfect that I laughed my head off.

Which was good. Because the game is going to be intense and drawn out. This is one of the battles that we've been waiting for since the earliest books. It is raining and the atmosphere is appropriately gritty. Things start off explosively, with both sides immediately giving it 100% from the get go and leaving no reserve for later. This will be a game of stamina and whoever folds first will be crushed.

I am preparing myself for this game taking at least 3 books. The other time a long drawn out game was shown, I did find myself getting bored so we'll see if that happens again.

★★★★☆








Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Architect of Aeons (Count to the Eschaton Sequence #4) ★★★☆ ½


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Architect of Aeons
 Series: Count to the Eschaton Sequence #4
 Author: John Wright
 Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
 Genre: SF
 Pages: 397
 Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:

The Hyades emmissary makes it to earth. Since Montrose and Azarchel were both exiled to the outer limits of the Solar System, they couldn't participate. They do come back, learn that the Hyades simply vacuumed up all the humanity they wanted and sent them to colonize uninhabitable planets.

Earth, the moon and Jupiter are all now planet brains. Montrose and Azarchel go their separate ways, do their separate thing, plot and counterplot until it is time for Rania to return. Passing thousands of years in sleep or otherwise, we see humanity change, morph, mature and just begin to take their place in the larger cosmos.

The book ends right before Rania is supposed to return. So there is at least one more book. Bugger that!



My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this much more than the previous book. The time skips become huge, sometimes 10's of thousands of years. So I just wasn't as invested in the story, hence it made it easier to just coast along.

Honestly, the whole “will Humanity be free or be slaves” thing going on between Montrose and Azarchel is getting a bit boring. You can only upgrade humanity so many times before it loses its “oomph”. And how come Montrose and Azarchel keep being smarter than even living planets? It doesn't make sense, no matter how much Wright starts bringing in “alternate Monument data” and other such rubbish.

This is Empty Calorie Science Fiction. There is nothing wrong with it, as long as you know you are getting that. I was under the impression that this was the final book so I was a bit pissed off when I reached the end and bam, Rania hasn't returned and there was still no resolution. But unlike the previous book, I wasn't bored. So take from that what you will.

★★★☆ ½





Friday, April 21, 2017

The Great Controversy (Non-Fiction) (Audio) ★★★☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Great Controversy
 Series: -------
 Author: Ellen White
 Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
 Genre: Non-Fiction
 Pages: Lots of Minutes
 Format: Audio Edition





Synopsis:

A history of the True Church, the Remnant, according to Ellen White. Also goes into the details of the Tribulation and makes plain the prophecies written in Daniel and Revelation about the end of the world and Jesus Christ's Second Coming.



My Thoughts:

I suspect ones' appreciation for this book will vary according to how much weight you put on Ellen White being a prophetess. If you believe that she was, you'll take this book in the spirit in which it was written. Much like the Book of Acts, statements of fact. If you don't believe she was a prophetess, you'll have to dismiss much of this book. And if, like me, you're ambivalent or on the line, there will be lots you agree with and lots you'll dismiss.

I go to an Adventist church and I keep Saturday, the 7th Day, as the Sabbath. I also have no problems with modern day prophets. Revelations makes it clear that there will be 2 final prophets in the end days and layered prophecy about John the Baptist makes it clear that there will be a second “Elijah” to foretell about Christ's second coming.

With all of that being said, I am not convinced that Ellen White was a prophetess with God's authority inspiring her writings. She was a Godly woman who was smart and I don't automatically dismiss her teachings, but much of what she writes can only be accepted if you believe that she had the authority to say it in the first place. Her re-interpretations of the Millerite calculations about the dates in Revelations leave a LOT to be desired [ie, they're vague as all get out. Which is contrary to her claims of having worked it all out. If you can't say when Christ is coming back, don't say you can]

The good side of things is the emphasis on the Sabbath as the Commandment that most of the church has thrown aside. I'm a big Saturday Sabbath keeper, always have been and its just refreshing to hear someone say so without a lot of the flummery that modern protestants use to justify Sunday as the Sabbath [as opposed to the Lord's Day].

I listened to the audio version put out by the Ellen White Estate, which was free at http://ellenwhiteaudio.org/great-controversy/ and narrated by Dennis Berlin. I put it on my phone and listened to and from work. So I'd get little chunks here and there. I started this last September. In another month or two I'll probably download another of White's books and start listening to it as well.

★★★☆☆


Monday, April 17, 2017

Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt #2) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
 Title: Dragonfly Falling
 Series: Shadows of the Apt #2
 Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
 Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
 Genre: Fantasy
 Pages: 692
 Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:

The Empire defeats a supposedly unbeatable Ant City with new weapons and we are introduced to the Head Artificer of the Empire. A half breed named Drephos. He takes Totho under his wing and Totho ends up throwing his lot in with the Empire so that he can make what he wants and take the respect he feels he deserves.

The Empire makes an alliance with another Ant City that has a grudge against Collegium. With the city of Tark out of the way, the Vekken can take Collegium. Stenwold must muster the forces of Collegium to throw back this attack.

Cheerwell is captured and escapes. Salma is captured, escapes and begins a guerilla war against the Empire. Tisamon and Tynisia go to the last surviving Mantis stronghold so that Tynisia can earn her Master Swordsman badge.

We are introduced to the Wasp Emperor; a young, insecure man who ends up with a Mosquito kinden as counselor. This Mosquito promises him eternal life if he can get ahold of a certain object of power. A disparate group is sent to Collegium to recover this box and ends with one of the group going off on their own to sell the box to the highest bidder.

Fighting, fighting, fighting!



My Thoughts:

I powered through this. It is just one massive battle scene after another. You get a reprieve, just long enough to catch your breath, before Tchaikovsky throws you head first into another fight. I read the second 50% of the book in one afternoon and I almost felt like gasping when I was done, the battles were so palpable.

We also learn that Magic isn't quite so gone as many of the Apt kinden would like to believe. As long as there are InApt kinden, magic will continue to exist. So far, all the magic I've seen is pretty bad stuff. Taking fears, darkness, rage, hatred and a lust for power and turning them into usable power. There is no Gandalf the Grey kicking around this land. Magic was used for subjugation and that was why the Apt kinden overthrew their masters hundreds of years ago and claimed the land.

The politics of the Empire begins to take a big part of the book as well. It is not nearly as monolithic as presented in the first book. There are political factions as well as Security factions and the Empire has truly gotten big enough that people are beginning to think of taking some of that power for themselves. It makes the Rekef [the Security people of the Empire] a much more scary thing, as we see it begin to fracture and be used for personal power instead of being an Idea.

I am also realizing, on this re-read, that there is no Super Group to win a few battles and turn the tide. This is a battle for survival and very few characters are guaranteed that. Achaeos apparently dies as do boatloads of side characters. Stenwold Makers corp of spies keep getting wiped out and it is brutal to watch. This might be a fantasy series, but it really does show the ugly side of war.

This was just as good a read as the first time back in '10. It just was a bit darker for me.

★★★★☆






Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ride the River (Sacketts #5) ★★★☆ ½



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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title:         Ride the River
 Series:      Sacketts #5 
Author:    Louis L'Amour 
Rating:     3.5 of 5 Stars 
Genre:     Western 
 Pages:      192
 Format:   Digital Edition 



Synopsis:

Echo Sackett, the youngest descendant of Kin Sackett, must travel to Philadelphia to sign some papers upon which she will get $3000. All is not as it seems through and greed and corruption must run their course.

Echo gets her inheritance, but it is a long way back to the hills of Tennesee and the corrupt lawyer has hired thugs and murderers to get that money back. Being a Sackett, Echo isn't too worried. She knows the land, she has a gun and she has a mission. With a little help from a Chantry [another family associated with the Sacketts], Echo shows that the Sackett blood hasn't thinned one bit. And now that the Sacketts have spread all over [it is 200 years since the last book], Family Loyalty rears its head and when one Sackett is in trouble, the rest come running.


My Thoughts:

I have been waiting for this book for 5 books. This is a Western, Sackett book. Echo is the fiercely determined, independent main character of the story. I really enjoyed reading her story.

Being a woman, L'Amour doesn't have her get into brutal fistfights with some other characters, but that is what the Chantry was for. As well as a possible romantic angle. It all worked pretty well.

The sense of urgency, of running, of having to make it to “home” to be safe, came through loud and clear. Echo might have had a gun and known how to use it, but she couldn't just shoot everyone and lollygag her way home. And since she's the tracker and the shooter, she's the one who must stay safe.
This was what I wanted in a Sackett book. Urgency, guns, chivalry, evil characters, people defending themselves [!!!] and everyone taking responsibility for their actions, good or bad.

I've added the cover of the edition I read, but here are a couple more that have existed through the years. From the redneck hillbilly look to the more modern characterless look, you can really see how the story has changed its face to appeal to the readers. Makes me wonder about us readers through if that first cover really sold the book?



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ride-the-river


★★★☆ ½ 
bookstooge

  1. Review of Book 4

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Parched Sea (Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #1) ★★☆☆ ½


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Parched Sea
 Series: Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #1
 Author: Troy Denning
 Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
 Genre: Fantasy
 Pages: 310
 Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:

The Zentarim, followers of the god Cyric, are trying to forge a path through the desert to establish a lock on future trade routes. This “forging” includes the pacification of the tribes of the desert, whether by bribery or coercian, the Zentarim don't particularly care. The tribes must either support the Zentarim or perish tribe by tribe at the hands of the lizard mercenaries hired by the Zentarim.

Into this situation comes Lander, a relatively new Harper. He has been chosen to oversee the situation and do what he can to unite the tribes against the Zentarim. He comes across a lone survivor of one of the tribes, an outcast young woman named Ruha, who has been outcast for her magical powers. Now it is up to these 2 to convince children in the guise of tribesmen to confront a force that only promises riches.

With the help of a god, Ruha and Lander can do it. But the victories that the Harpers win are not without cost, as Lander finds out.




My Thoughts: Spoilers

I've read enough Forgotten Realms books to know when I've hit a good one or a bad one pretty soon from the get go. Unfortunately, this was a typical Troy Denning book, which means it was mediocre pablum, even given the context of the universe he was writing in. So this was not a good book.

The Harpers sub-series is written by enough various authors that I'm not giving up on it just from the first book, but I have to say, this does not bode well.

Lander was not a very engaging main character and when he dies near the end, it was more of a “meh” moment than anything else. Ruha is more of token “woman” than anything even while becoming more central to the story than Lander. For a Harpers novel, they certainly didn't play much of a part. The little bit I did see of them makes me wonder if I'm going to enjoy their adventures or not. They seem to be meddlers and instead of taking direct action, manipulate others to do their work [dirty or otherwise] for them. While they claim to be proponents of freedom, etc, they sure don't act like it.

★★☆☆ ½





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Line of Polity (Polity: Agent Cormac #2) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Line of Polity
 Series: Polity: Agent Cormac #2
 Author: Neal Asher
 Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
 Genre: SF
 Pages: 676
 Format: Scanned Digital Edition





Synopsis:

A rogue scientist begins working for the Separatists that Cormac had a runin with in the previous book. Skellor, said rogue scientist, has discovered a stash of Jain technology. Jain tech is forbidden by the Polity and as the book goes on, we learn why. Cormac is sent out after Skellor before he can become catastrophically dangerous.

At the same time, a rebellion is brewing on the planet Masada. Under the control of rigid belief system that is against A.I. Rule, the theocrats have been in communication with the dragon. With predictable results. The Polity gets involved, the dragon gets pissed off and a lot of people are going to die.

When Skellor takes over the Masada system, it appears that things have indeed gone “Catastrophic”. With a whole planet to loot and play with, Skellor has grown into something beyond human and his abilities are just beginning. It is up to Agent Cormac to deal with Skellor, deal with the theocrats and deal with the offspring of the dead dragon: thousands or millions of dracomen.

Thankfully, Cormac is a Prime Agent indeed.




My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this just as much as my previous read in '10. I kept the 4star rating, instead of raising it, because it is evident that Asher is as much a fundamental zealot as I am, but his god is Science and he hates any other belief system. The main difference is that he writes books and interjects that zealotry into his books while I just interject my fundamentalism into small blog posts. So that might not even cross your radar at all.

This is what I like about Asher's Polity books. Monstrous inhumanity preying upon everything. In later books we found out how terrifying Jain tech truly is. Whole stellar civilizations destroyed by it. Here we see it gaining a foothold in humanity's playground. It might not be sentient, but it has a Directive. We are also introduced to some alien species, namely, Gabbleducks and Hooders. Gabbleducks roam the surface of Masada eating whatever and babbling words. Hooders eat everything, are impervious to most weaponry and eat their victims alive and by slowly dissecting them with a whole arsenal of claws, blades, etc.

Another thing I like about the Polity books is the exploration of the bounds of what it means to be alive. One character who died in the last book comes back as a golem, ie, a recording of the brainwaves put into a near-indestructable metal body. He thinks about what it means for him to have gone from human to golem and how that affects things. Even if I disagree with Asher's conclusions, I am fascinated by the questions and how the questions even come about.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this and have no problems recommending this series to anyone looking for a bloody good time. Emphasis on bloody.

★★★★☆






Saturday, April 08, 2017

Death's Legacy (Blood on the Reik #3) (Warhammer) ★★★☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
 Title: Death's Legacy
 Series: Warhammer: Blood on the Reik #3
 Author: Sandy Mitchell
 Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
 Genre: Fantasy
 Pages: 416
 Format: Scanned Digital Edition





Synopsis: Spoilers

Rudi and Hanna are on the run, yet again. They head to another big city so Hanna can attempt to join another magic college and Rudi can work. Hanna gets turned away, pretty much goes darkside and joins her mother. Rudi gets captured by the witch hunter and imprisoned at a major temple to Sigmar. There he learns his heritage and finds out that his own parents were going to use him as a vessel to hold a demon prince, only the ritual was aborted. Now Rudi has a demon entwined with his own soul.

Now Rudi must work with those who were trying to kill him to free his soul. He must not die or the demon will be freed and destroy the continent. Meanwhile Hanna has joined one of the dark gods and has her own plans for Rudi.

Rudi survives betrayal on all levels and ends up being entombed alive with a ritual that will keep his soul attached to his dead body, thus denying the demon access to it. The book ends with Rudi contemplating the coming hundreds of years as he has to lie in the tomb and moulder away.




My Thoughts: Spoilers

I went and looked up some Wiki info for the Warhammer novels. They have ended and apparently it is because the dark gods win and everything is destroyed in the final series or two. So that is the tone of everything. Even if the good guys can hold off the forces of chaos, it doesn't matter because we the readers know the ultimate end.

This was not a good series to get introduced to the Warhammer universe. The story was good and the ideas were neat, but my goodness, Mitchell's writing was technically correct, but more time was given describing their journey (in which nothing happens by the way) than when things were hopping. Long stretches of boringness that should have been excised from the book by a good editor. VERY pedestrian writing.

I saw Hanna's betrayal coming from book 1, but I did not expect it to take the shape of the game of gods that it did. I was expecting something more personal but this worked pretty good. Hanna wanted Rudi dead to release the demon, which would have been weakened by the priests of Sigmar. Hanna and company would then have swooped in, killed the demon, gotten major kudo power points for killing a demon and that power would have allowed them to take over the temple of Sigmar in the name of their god. Which would have weakened Sigmar and strengthened their god. But reading chapter upon chapter of Rudi doing research while in prison to get to that? Boring. I thought about giving this 2 ½ stars but the ending pulled it up that half star.

Finally, the covers for this trilogy. They've looked really cool. They look like what I want to be reading about in a universe called Warhammer. Scary looking, bad ass beings of power with huge weapons. If the story contained within had only lived up to the bar set by the covers. I feel cheated.

I've got my next Warhammer trilogy that I'm going to read, but I wish I could find someone who could point me to a good beginning point.

★★★☆☆





Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Enemy Within (Omega Force #4) ★★★☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Enemy Within
 Series: Omega Force #4
 Author: Joshua Dalzelle
 Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
 Genre: SF
 Pages: 279
 Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:

Omega Force has parted ways from their secret covert ops with a small star system government. When violence breaks out across several systems and the Confederacy begins taking over the systems in the name of stability, and Omega Force's liasion is accused of fomenting said rebellions, Captain Burke springs into action.

Rescuing a beautiful starship captain, infiltrating a secret ConFed military prison, hijacking a broken starship destroyer, Jason and Crew are kept rather busy. Of course, when your enemy turns out to be the son of your former patron, things get sticky. Throw in rogue politicians who want an Empire and you have action out the wazoo.

But no worries! Jason Burke, Captain Extaordinaire, is in charge. He gets things done.




My Thoughts:

Not a bad Military Science Fiction story. The writing is as rough as ever, but not quite as blocky in the writing as previous books. I don't know how to describe it any better than that.

The romance here, between Burke and the starship captain, isn't well done. It is there, but it feels as artificial as the writing describing it. I'd probably complain (maybe) if there was NO romance, but honestly, I'd rather do without this in this kind of story. It just shows that Dalzelle has a lot of growing as an author to do before he can write a character based story. Hopefully he'll do that growing.

★★★☆☆





Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Raven in the Foregate (Brother Cadfael #12) ★★★☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Raven in the Foregate
 Series: Brother Cadfael #12
 Author: Ellis Peters
 Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
 Genre: Mystery
 Pages: 244
 Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:

A new priest is installed in the town [as opposed to being at the abbey] when the old priest, Father Adam, dies. Where Father Adam was an easy going, accepting man who loved his flock even when they strayed and was friends with all, Father Ailnoth is a whole nother matter.

Moving boundary stones, calling into question whether a man is a freeman or surf, refusing to interrupt his prayers to give last rights to a dying baby and then not allowing it to be buried in the church grounds because it had not been shriven, excommunicating a young woman for her wandering ways, beating the boys who he was supposed to be teaching, Ailnoth has turned the town against him. So when Ailnoth turns up dead, there are more suspects than you can shake Father Ailnoths ebony staff at.

The war between Empress Maude and King Stephen is still going on and their vassals fortunes rise and fall according to how things are going. One young man is on Maude's side and of course gets involved in the death of Father Ailnoth while falling in love with a local girl.

Cadfael solves the mystery. The End.




My Thoughts:

This is book 12 in the series. If you've stuck around this long, this book will not dissuade you from continuing.

I am finding that I am liking the historic aspects of the novel more than the mystery, as it gets boring with somebody “dying” and then solving who/why, etc. I am not a big mystery fan, so it helps keep my interest by showing other things.

I am getting a bit tired of “young man comes to Shrewsbury, gets involved in a murder in some way and escapes with the help of a local lovely and they go off to X to get married”. This young man, Benet, showed some real promise as a Class A Donkey's Head. He was an idiot and I was hoping something terrible would happen to him. Oh well, he wasn't the one responsible for Ailnoth's death and since he's leaving, I'm hoping I won't have to read about him again.

Other than that, this is a Cadfael mystery. He does things in his little herbarium, pokes around the scene of the crime, and solves things.

★★★☆☆










Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Specialist, Blood Oath (Spiderman 2099 #4 & 5) ★★★☆☆

 This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and links at Goodreads & by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Specialist, Blood Oath
 Series: Spiderman 2099 #4 & 5 
Author: Peter David 
Artist: Rick Leonardi 
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars 
Genre: Comics 
Pages: 48 
Format: Digital Scan





Synopsis:

Gabriel O'Hara, brother to Miguel, our erstwhile Spiderman 2099, gets involved with a woman who is on the wanted list by one of the Corporations, namely, Stark-Fujikawa. She is taken in front of Gabe by some Super Samurai. Gabe immediately runs to his big brother to cry for help. Miguel is being wooed back to Alchemax by Stone himself.

To get out from under Stone's eye, he accepts reinstatement and immediately takes Gabe's call. Miguel, affectionately known as “Miggy”, dons the suit and rushes to rescue Gabe's latest girlfriend. He rescue her from the Samurai and then starts a very public battle with the Samurai, who is named The Specialist. He starts the fight to test his own capabilities but unbeknownst to him, “Spiderman 2099”s movements are being watched by Alchemax and publicly broadcasted.

The Public Eye, a sort of private/public Security Force are under orders to capture Spiderman, but one of the higher ups takes things into his own hands and has his forces fire on Spidey. These 2 volumes end with Spidey falling to the undercity of New York.


My Thoughts:

“Miggy”? That really is the tone here. A ton of one liners and cutesy quips. Miguel is desperately trying to keep his identity as Spiderman secret from Stone but fooling the CEO of a Mega-Corp isn't easy.

Gabe, as the token relative, is a real idiot and I foresee a lot of drama coming from his direction. The Specialist was a bit overblown as a character and was more about showing off how another Mega-Corp worked than as a serious threat or evil villain. It's hard to take him serious when he's spouting off about “Honor” and “Chivalry” while taking a graffiti artist in to be a human experiment.

We also get a few panels of Doom 2099. I like that character and hope he's more involved even while he has his own comic line from the time.

★★★☆☆









Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dreams of Distant Shores ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,  Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
 Title:        Dreams of Distant Shores
 Series:      ----------
 Author:   Patricia McKillip
 Rating:    4 of 5 Stars
 Genre:     Fantasy
 Pages:      290
 Format:   Digital Edition





Synopsis:

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




My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

★★★★☆







Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small #7) DNF@10%


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title:       The Lord God Made Them All
Series:     All Creatures Great and Small #7
Author:   James Herriot 
Rating:    Unrated 
Genre:     Non-fiction
Pages:      388
Format:   Digital Edition 
 





Synopsis:

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




My Thoughts:

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

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









Friday, March 24, 2017

A Shadow of All Night Falling (The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #1) ★★★☆ ½


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
 Title: A Shadow of All Night Falling
 Series: The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind #1
 Author: Glen Cook
 Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
 Genre: Fantasy
 Pages: 256
 Format: Digital Edition 


 





Synopsis:

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

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

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




My Thoughts: Spoilers

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

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

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

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

★★★☆ ½








Tuesday, March 21, 2017

United States of Japan ★★☆☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
 Title: United States of Japan
 Series: ---------
 Author: Peter Tieryas
 Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
 Genre: Alt-History
 Pages: 400
 Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:

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

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

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




My Thoughts:

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

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

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

From a purely technical standpoint, my only gripe was the word choices and phrasing employed by the author. It kept throwing me out of the story. Only use a little known or little used word if it fits better than the common word usually employed. And by fits better, I'm talking “ochre” versus “orange” versus “cinnamon” kind of difference. Not “orbulianicus” instead of “round”. 
 
What a bloody waste of my time. I hate Alt-History. So take my venting with a gigantic grain of salt.

★★☆☆☆