Bookstooge's Reviews On the Road

Without a Good SFF Book, Life's Road is Hell.

Scientific Progress Goes "Boink" (Calvin and Hobbes #6)

Calvin and Hobbes: Scientific Progress Goes "Boink" - Bill Watterson

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Scientific Progress Goes "Boink"

Series: Calvin and Hobbes

Author/Artist: Bill Watterson

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comics

Pages: 128

 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Having read 6 years of comics [I believe each book covers a years worth of weekly strips] in just over 1/2year most of the shine has worn off. Calvin gets into trouble, Calvin annoys the babysitter, Calvin fights with Hobbes, Calvin and Hobbes have an adventure.

 

It Is The Same.




The Boy with the Golden Legs (Eyeshield 21 #1) (Manga)

Eyeshield 21, Vol. 1: The Boy With the Golden Legs - Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: The Boy with the Golden Legs

Series: Eyeshield 21

Author: Riichiro Inagaki

Artist: Yusuke Murata

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 208

Format: Digital Scan

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Sena has graduated from middleschool and makes it into the highschool he was aiming for. Sadly, the same bullies who used him are also attending. With the encouragement of a childhood friend named Mamori, Sena joins an afterschool club. He joins the Football Club, planning on being the manager but the quarterback has recruited Sena for his speed, earned by running from the aforementioned bullies.

Now Sena and the other 2 members of the club must recruit 9 other members for at least one day for their first game. Can Sena survive a Football game when he can't even stand up to bullies?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

My goodness, I enjoyed this. While I am not a big fan, I understand and enjoy football and can follow a game just fine and this series is not a serious series, at least not starting out. The Quarterback is constantly shooting off guns and rocket launchers and missiles [it IS manga after all] and practically kidnapping players. The humor is very much right down my alley.

 

Sena makes for a great main character. He is the classic underdog: small, picked on, cheerful, full of optimism and with a hidden talent that just needs to be teased out. His childhood friend Mamori is going to be the obvious love interest, even while being a year or two older than him. She hangs out with him, stammers and blushed around him way too much to be anything BUT the love interest. And she gets roped into being the manager for the team when it becomes painfully apparent that Sena can't organize anything to save his life. So she won't just be a blushing rose but an integral part of the story.

 

The whole idea about Eyeshield 21 being an alter-ego for Sena to hide him so the other sports teams won't steal him away is properly "Manga". It is ridiculous, over the top, silly and it totally works. It also allows for a good bit of setup with other football teams and the whole idea of scouting your opponents to discover their strengths and weaknesses.

 

If you're worried about this being bogged down with "sports" knowledge, have no fear. No previous knowledge of football is necessary but  the creators give you just enough of the rules at the critical moment so you know why "X" or "Y" needs to happen, or not. Kind of like a Chess Grandmaster explaining how a particular piece moves without explaining the whole game.

 

I started this series back in '09 and stopped when I caught up to the series [it didn't end until Volume 37 in 2011]. I didn't write any reviews then, as I wasn't reviewing manga but I do remember enjoying it immensely and that didn't change with this re-start of the series. I am really looking forward to reading the rest.




Going Dark (The Red #3)

Going Dark - Linda Nagata

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Going Dark

Series: The Red

Author: Linda Nagata

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 465

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Shelley is the team lead of a group of individuals who are working directly for The Red. They seek to end Existential Threats [ie, world ending, world changing] before they can occur.

But Shelley isn't prepared for The Red to be a fallible program and when it appears to fail him, Shelley must decide if he'll continue to let The Red run his life or if he'll start controlling himself.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was the most overtly philosophical of the books and hence we spend a good bit of time in Shelley's head. You know what? Shelley is an idiot. He has tossed aside his own brains and expects The Red to be his god and to be the kind of god that gives him everything on a platter. He forgets that The Red is a program and nothing more. In many ways, this was the story of Shelley growing up and beginning to rely on himself and other people instead of an ephemeral bit of code.

 

There is just as much action as in the previous books. Pulse pounding, boot thumping, bullet shattering action. Shelley is always one step from dying, either from the enemy or from his relying on The Red and considering how the author has treated him in the previous books, you just never know if he'll make it or not.

 

There isn't much resolution really. Shelley just decides to stop relying on The Red and be a fracking man. Hoo Ra!




SPOILER ALERT!

Blood of Angels (Straw Men #3)

Blood of Angels - Michael Marshall Smith

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Blood of Angels

Series: Straw Men

Author: Michael Marshall

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 422

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Nina and Ward are dragged back into an investigation, of a potential female serial killer. At the same time Paul, with the help of the Straw Men, escapes from custody and begins to put into place a horrific plan. A former Straw Men is dragged back into service and a young man of Straw Man parentage is roped into Paul's plan.

 

Nina is kidnapped and Ward and Zandt are distracted from thwarting Paul's plan. And it is revealed that the Straw Men have been around destroying Civilization since Atlantis and now they intend to begin again.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I was kind of going along for the ride until the author stated that Jesus was just a man who faked his death and secretly lived out the rest of his life in Europe. I don't have a problem with conspiracy theories about the Church or saints or what not, but when you baldly deny Jesus' claim of Divinity, then you've moved into Blasphemous territory. I take that rather seriously.

 

My other issue is with the series as a whole. The Straw Men themselves, in fact. They are presented as this group of evil people bent on murder and mayhem but with the tight control of a genius. They have persisted for untold time and continue strong. I just don't buy it. Evil, by its very nature, is destructive and eventually self-destructive. You might have individuals who can control themselves while allowing evil full reign in their life, but never groups of people and even those individuals must at some point succumb themselves. A group dedicated to evil will rise, prosper and then decay and fall, usually to another group.

 

Other than those 2 things, this was an ok read. I'm not a big fan of Conspiracies and Grand Paranoia, so some of the appeal of this series just wasn't aimed at me.




It's Break Time...

Got some family stuff going on and I need to take a break from people so I can react appropriately. Otherwise it might BE hammer time instead of break time.

 

Got a couple of reviews to post throughout the week, but that will be about the limit of my actions here. Have a good week and I hope to be back next weekend.

 

 

 

 

Can't Touch That!

 




Thraxas and the Sorcerers (Thraxas #5)

Thraxas and the Sorcerers - Martin Scott

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Thraxas and the Sorcerers

Series: Thraxas

Author: Martin Scott

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 186

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The Sorcerer's Guild needs a new Leader and everyone is meeting in Turai. Each City State is putting forth its top Sorcerer for the job. Unfortunately for Turai, their top Sorcerer is a thazi addled addict who can't even walk straight, much less run a Guild of the most powerful people in the realm.

So it is up to Thraxas and others to buy, threaten, cheat, extort and whatever else is needed, to get the votes for their Sorcerer. And Thraxas has been made a Tribune, so he's officially back in the Politics Game.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was a murder mystery mixed with rigged elections and so much dwa that it felt like I, the reader, was practically swimming through the stuff. So pretty much, just like all the previous books.

 

I have the omnibus, The Complete Thraxas, and have been reading these on my phone, back to back. I think I reached my limit here. Need to take a break and put these back into the regular queue.

 

I like these and want to make sure that I keep on liking them.




The Summoning (The Return of the Archwizards #1) (Forgotten Realms)

The Summoning - Troy Denning

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: The Summoning

Series: The Return of the Archwizards

Author: Troy Denning

Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 356

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Galaeron, an elf, is on patrol guarding the crypts from tomb robbers. He and his band come across a group of humans who are invading, but not stealing anything. Galaeron casts a spell that somehow interacts with another spell and it opens a hole in a magic barrier, that a wizard was on the other side of. On the other side were also magical creatures who use magic and live on it.

Now Galaeron and others must trust Melegaunt the Netherese wizard that he can return the floating city of Shade and destroy the Phaerimm before they destroy the last stronghold of the elves.

Only nothing is ever simple. Galaeron has been infected with dark magic and must fight every negative thought as it twists him closer and closer to becoming his own evil shadow. Elminster the Mage is convinced that Melegaunt has much deeper plans than saving Evereska. The Elf Lords are being bull headed and listening to no one, thus allowing Evereska to be besieged and over run.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Netherese are just bad news. I learned this from my jaunt with Erevis Cale and I'm pretty sure that pretty boy/drow Drizz't and Company had some bad times with them as well. So to read about them as potential saviors just smacks of backstabbing and double dealing waiting to happen.  That is one of the problems with reading Forgotten Realms books rather randomly like I do. I know things that the characters don't, I have seen the future written in stone and sometimes, just like Paul Maud'dib, I get lost in the Timestream.

 

However, this book was a hot mess. At first I thought it was because I started this when pretty tired and hence my faculties weren't all on campus. But since this took several days I realized it was the author and not me. It was rushed. Tons of action but certain events were given one sentence to happen then referred to for paragraphs and paragraphs. One example: in a battle scene Galaeron, Melegaunt and the others are on a mountain side and before I know it, they're at the top of the mountain fighting. I go back to see what happened and somewhere there was a landslide that allowed them easy access to the top but I couldn't see how this happened or why or when. Lots of instances of the characters making connections and me being "huh? where did that come from?" from it.

 

The changing viewpoints didn't work for me either. Usually it isn't a problem but this time around it was. It was random, just to show what was going on. We didn't necessarily stick with specific characters beyond Galaeron and Company and made for plot whiplash, especially when someone is referred to once and then 3 chapters later we get a whole chapter about what they're doing.

 

While I'm not a huge of Drizz't the Drow, I'm even less of a fan of Elminster so his inclusion didn't do it for me either.

 

I hate to say this, but it wasn't organically put together.  I don't expect a lot, or very much at all to be honest, from Forgotten Realms books but I do expect to be able to follow along. I am not in my dotage yet.  I'll be reading the rest of the trilogy just to see how the plot resolves, but my goodness, I sure hope the cohesiveness of the writing gets better.




Tron

Tron - Brian Daley

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Tron

Series: ----------

Author: Brian Daley

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Genre: Movie Novelization

Pages: 186

Format: Kindle digital scan

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Flynn came up with several smash hit games, only to have them stolen by another man who leveraged that fame into the position of CEO at Endcom. Flynn is on a crusade to prove that those were HIS games and that HE deserves that position. With the help of Bradley and Laura, friends who are still employed at Endcom, Flynn breaks in and starts to hack the system.

Little does he know that MCP has taken control of the company and it doesn't want Flynn around. Zapped into an electronic world, Flynn must hook up with Brad and Laura's alter ego's and take down the MCP from the inside. As a mythical User, Flynn has powers at his fingertips not known to mere programs. With the help of Tron the Warrior and Lori the shaper, Flynn is on a journey to survive and destroy the MCP.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I am a big fan of the movie Tron. I acknowledge it's complete 80'sness but that is part of the appeal. It is the Electronic 80's in all its Glory.

 

Sadly, this book was deadly boring. Boring that I really wanted to DNF this. But my love of the movie overcame and I soldiered on. Kind of wish I hadn't and started something else. Daley was a good author and his own works showcase that pretty well but this, it was just boring. I know I'm saying that lot, but that was what kept striking me in the face over and over.

 

Wouldn't recommend this at all and if it wasn't for the movie being so cool, I would give this an easy 1 Star.




Thraxas and the Elvish Isles (Thraxas #4)

Thraxas and the Elvish Isles - Martin Scott

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Thraxas and the Elvish Isles

Series: Thraxas

Author: Martin Scott

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 186

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The royalty of Turai are trying to strengthen ties with the Elves. They send a delegation to one of the Elvish Isles to help celebrate. At the same time, Thraxas is coming along at the request of one of the Elves, who was his friend during the War with the Orcs. Unfortunately, he's coming along because said Elf's daughter is accused of trying to destroy the Sacred Tree AND killing the Head Priest. Makri comes along because she's literally chased out of Turai by some thugs.

On the Island, life is pretty usual for Thraxas. No one likes him, no one will answer his questions, there isn't enough Beer and gambling opportunities abound.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I say this for every book, but it is true: This was FUN!

 

Thraxas just stumbles along through the case and because of pure dumb luck, every time, solves the case. Makri gets to fight, Thraxas annoys everyone in authority and money and beer, in great quantities, are gathered and lost.

 

And everything is the fault of of the drug Dwa.




7 Score and 16 Weeks Ago...

...I joined Booklikes [give or take a few weeks there].

 

It really feels like this:

 

 

 

 

So are there any questions anyone wants answered? Leave them in the comments and around the 21st [the date of my joining here] I'll do a post with the answers and maybe some more coherent thoughts about sticking around this joint this long.




SPOILER ALERT!

Outriders (Outriders #1)

Outriders - Jay Posey

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Outriders

Series: Outriders

Author: Jay Posey

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 448

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:  Spoilers

 

Lincoln Suh [I had so much fun in my head saying Sir! Suh, Sir!] is a man who IS the definition of Special Forces. But when he joins the Outriders, things get kicked up a notch. First off, they kill him. Just to make sure they can electronically store his brain.

The Outriders take on missions that the Government not only denies, but actively opposes, but needs done.

 

Someone is trying to fan the flames of war between Earth and Mars and it is up to the Outriders to find out who and prevent it.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I didn't enjoy this as much as Posey's Duskwalker trilogy, but it was still very good. My only gripe was the eye-rolling obviousness of the solution to the villain that nobody in the story still gets. If you have death proofed soldiers who can come back to replicated bodies [much like the Cylons in the new Battlestar Galactica] don't you think that others might have that same solution? Other than that particular bit of denseness, I have NO complaints.

 

I liked that Lincoln was not a raw recruit with "potential" and we get to see his rise. Instead, he's already a fully mature [and the older I get, the more I appreciate that kind of character in the books I read] soldier who is willing and able to take on whatever is needed. I still want heroes in my stories.

 

It didn't "feel" very science fiction'y to me, even while taking place on Mars, Space Stations and space ships. Which means that I'm either getting very jaded or that Posey did an excellent job of not making the surroundings the main point of the story.




Calibre Just Got Better...

I started using Calibre earlier this year when I was looking for a good cataloguing program for my reviews. I've been using it since '06 or so to manage my ebook collection, but never for cataloguing purposes.

 

But it has been growing in utility and I just found out that in the newest release [2.67] that the creator, Kovid Goyle, has added the functionality of half stars for rating. It has always had a 5 star rating column, but now that it has the half stars I'll be going through and using that for all my books instead of just leaving it blank and looking at my review.

 

I love it when a program fits your needs perfectly.




Ross Poldark (Poldark Saga #1)

Ross Poldark - Winston Graham

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Ross Poldark

Series: Poldark Saga

Author: Winston Graham

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Ross Poldark has returned to Cornwall from a stint in the army and fighting those upstarts in the colonies. Sadly, his father has died, his servants have spent his livelihood on drink and the woman girl he loved, believing he was killed, has agreed to marry his cousin.

Now Ross must restart his life, with an old drunk couple for servants, a young waif as a cook, a family that looks down upon him and woman who wonders if she made the right choice.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I started watching this on Netflix and was really enjoying it. When I found out it was a 12 book series I stopped watching so I could enjoy the process of reading.

 

This was good. I am not usually a fan of historical fiction, as History and I know each other but have no interest in the other, kind of like second cousins. But a good story is a good story even if it doesn't have Space Marines.or Dragons.

 

The "drama llama" factor didn't get too high for me, which considering everything, I was very thankful for.  I am kind of afraid that Ross will end up in some kind of emotional love triangle with his former flame Elizabeth even while he's married to Demelza. If so, or if "things" happen, I'll be stopping this series. Marital unfaithfulness is not something I take lightly, even in my fiction reading.




SPOILER ALERT!

A Natural History of Dragons (A Memoir by Lady Trent #1)

A Natural History of Dragons  - Marie Brennan

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: A Natural History of Dragons

Series: A Memoir by Lady Trent

Author: Marie Brennan

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 335

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

 

Isabella has always wanted to know more about dragons, ever since she was a young girl. But living in Victorian Times limits her options severely.

Thankfully, her parents are smart and marry her off to a man who is also interested in dragons. Before you know it, Isabella has wheedled her way into an expedition to study dragons. An expedition where she learns how rough the outside world is, where they uncover a scheme of great wealth and eventually where her husband dies.

 

All told from the perspective of Isabella, now Lady Trent, in her 80's as she looks back over her life.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

The only other Marie Brennan book I've read was Doppleganger, and it was so bad that I DNF'd it back in '10. With that in the back of my mind, I went into this read with a bit of hesitation.

 

Thankfully, this was a grand read and it scratched that Victorian itch I get every couple of years [and which I usually fill with a Jane Austen]. I liked the Memoir style and the interjections by Lady Trent kept things from getting too intense. Watching Isabella go from a young girl who bribed her maid to let her read books from her father's library to a young widow who has to figure out how to get on with life, Isabella comes across as a real person, which for a fictionalized woman in an alternate world with dragons, is pretty good.

 

At times I wondered if I was reading the same author as Doppleganger but I guess the genre and memoir style were more to my liking and that always helps.




Omega Rising (Omega Force #1)

Omega Rising - Joshua Dalzelle

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Omega Rising

Series: Omega Force

Author: Joshua Dalzelle

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 205

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Jason Burke, former Special Forces, is hiding away in the mountains after being disilllusioned by those in power. One night he sees an aircraft go down and he runs over to see if he can give aid.

It's a spaceship and before he knows it, Jason is gallivanting around the galaxy. Being betrayed by robots, crossing the galaxy mob, freeing slaves and gathering a group of heroes to make Space a better Place.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

The origins of the A-Team in Space! Seriously, that is what this is. And it was a boat load of fun.

 

The writing started out a little rough and if I hadn't already read Dalzelle's Black Fleet trilogy, I probably would have consigned this to the DNF/Indie pile but after the first chapter things evened out.

 

Don't expect deep characterization or philosophical points hidden below the surface. You'll get guys shooting things and blowing the crap out of stuff, In Space!  Of course, since this is the Origin Story, we find out how everyone comes together instead of a Do Gooder Story. But I'm sure our Intrepid Team, the Omega Force, will be on the look out for Evil, in all its forms and race to the rescue at a moments notice.

 

Definitely wouldn't recommend this as a first intro to Dalzelle due to the rough writing but as a second series, I foresee a lot of fun ahead. As long as it doesn't devolve like some of those other mindless action series [I'm looking at you The Warlord].




Note to Self: remember on booklikes that ..

  • Combining stray editions found when searching for books or after adding a missing edition = report/flag the book from the book page.  It helps librarians if list each edition's booklikes URL (including the book page reporting) in the comment.
  • Read reviews on booklikes of books I am reading or shelving positively.  Check the reviewer profiles for recent activity to find people to follow.  Booklikes is lonely when someone has few followers/followed and at least you have a book (possibly an entire genre) in common.
  • Reading Lists when menus are working are upper left "dashboard" menu choice under the "apps" menu.  When menus not working, at http://booklikes.com/apps/reading-lists .
  • Discussion Rooms when menus are working are upper left "dashboard"; when not working they are at http://booklikes.com/groups .
Reblogged from Debbie's Spurts



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