Bookstooge's Reviews On the Road

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

The Lord God Made Them All - James Herriot

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.

 

 

 

 

  1. Review of Book 1

  2. Review of Book 2

  3. Review of Book 3

  4. Review of Book 4

  5. Review of Book 5

  6. Review of Book 6

 

 

 

 

 

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

A Shadow of All Night Falling - Glen Cook

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

 

 

♪Some of My FAVORITE Things♪ (Part 3)

The idea for this series of posts was inspired by Lashaan at Bookidote. He asked what some of my favorite books were during my initial start of my Malazan Journey.  That got me thinking, as I do have a “favorite” tag that I use in Calibre. So I did some exhaustive investigating [typing in “favorite” and hitting enter in Calibre is a real workout!] and out of the roughly 2900 books that I’ve read since 2000, there are around 300 that earned the Favorite moniker. There are a bunch of Favorites that are duplicates, as I’ve obviously re-read some of my Favorites time and time again.

 

However, listing 300+ books all in one post seemed like information overload. Therefore I have decided to do a much smaller list each month until the end of the year. You will get to see what I like in manageable doses and I get “thought free” posts.   Win-Win all around. I’m simply listing them Alphabetical by Author with just a word or four attached.

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Duncan

 

Sky Swords
The Gilded Chain
Lord of the Fire Lands

 

These were the original King’s Blades books and quite the tale they were. Considering that the  story is circular due to some funky time stuff, I am looking forward to re-reading these at some point in the future

 

 

David Drake

 

Lord of the Isles

 

I actually enjoyed the whole Lord of the Isles series and not just the first book, but didn’t feel like listing all 9 books. If you like the first book, you’ll like the the rest of the series, as Drake pretty much cut-n-pastes for all 9 books. Magic and violence in a fantasy setting.

 

 

David Eddings

 

Enchanters’ End Game
Magician’s Gambit
Castle of Wizardry
Queen of Sorcery
Pawn of Prophecy

 

I came to the Belgariad in highschool and have loved it ever since. In theory, I love his Elenium (Diamond Throne, Ruby Knight & Sapphire Rose) more, because it deals with one knight, but in all honesty, it doesn’t hold up as well. Still good, just not as good.

 

 

DC Comics/Dan Jurgens

 

Return of Superman
World Without a Superman
Death of Superman
Superman/Doomsday Hunter/Prey

 

This whole story arc in the comics world is what cemented my love for Supes. It also etched into my mind that Superman looked like this. He’s a man who has gone through a lot, he’s not some boy [I’m looking at you New52 Superman] fresh faced and off the farm.

 

sfpep133

 

 

 

Dennis Schmidt

 

Way-Farer

 

I ran across Way-Farer when I was in middle school. I thought it was a standalone story for over a decade until I went on a road trip to Newfoundland and in a little used bookstore ran across the sequel. Turns out there were 4 books in total. Sadly, while I enjoyed the rest, they just didn’t have the magic of the first. But swords and zen in a science fiction setting? Yes please.

 

 

Don Pendleton

 

Tennessee Smash
Acapulco Rampage

 

Pendleton originally penned 37 novels about a vietnam vet who returned to the United States to hunt down the mafia who had killed his family. The series was called Mack Bolan: The Executioner. It is pretty pulpy 60’s, 70’s and 80’s stuff but these 2 stood out. The series did continue, but under various ghost author’s names.

 

 

Edward Roe

 

His Sombre Rivals

 

Published in 1883, this book was one of the finalists for my Best Book of 2015.  A story of loyalty, friendship, unrequited love and honor, I couldn’t have asked for a better story.

 

 

Evan Currie

 

Heirs of Empire
An Empire Asunder

 

Currie has written a bunch, but this series, The Scourwind Legacy, is probably his best to date. One of those Indie’s who has proved me wrong and I’m glad of that. Space Opera and super soldiers.

 

 

Frank Herbert

 

Dune
Dune Messiah
Children of Dune
God Emperor of Dune

 

What can I say? I am going to be re-reading the Dune Chronicles this year. It is epic in scope and time and scale. Dune is probably one of the finest books I’ll ever read.

 

 

George MacDonald

 

The Princess and the Goblins
The Princess and Curdie

 

The Princess and Curdie was the first book I owned as a child that was in hardcover. I bought it in 2nd grade and it has not left my side yet. A great children’s duology.

 

 

 

 

 

So there is March’s Favorites. Life is going to be busy for the rest of the month [car stuff, etc] so I suspect my posting schedule will be rather erratic at best.

 

dog_reading_bio_book-wide

 

  1. Some of My Favorite Things I
  2. Some of My Favorite Things II

United States of Japan ★★☆☆☆

United States of Japan - Peter Tieryas

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.

 

★★☆☆☆

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

♫My Little Po-- *ahem* TBR♫

 

Someone said they had a big tbr…

 

biggerlist

 

 

I am not a List Aficionado,  but I  like lists. I have my Favorite lists, my TBR lists [and my TBR is a list of books I am actually going to read, not just a list of books I might someday, sometime, maybe perhaps, get around to reading]. I make grocery lists. I make Wish Lists on Amazon. I do the schedule for Children’s Story for church. I make lists of my Magic: The Gathering cards.

 

 

So to celebrate lists, I figured I’d post what is currently on my Kindle. That way you can see what is on my TBR for the next 6-12 months. When I finish one series, I simply replace it with another from my Calibre TBR list. Calibre is a fine piece of free ebook managing software. It is also where I keep my reviews offline. The numbers in parentheses are the number of books I have in that series that I still need to read. So without further ado, here’s a list of series I’m reading:

 

 

Dread Empire  by Glen Cook [3]

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott. [1]

Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters [10]

Omega Force by Joshua Dalzelle [5]

Blood on the Riek trilogy by Sand Mitchell. Warhammer novels [1]

Forgotten Realms: The Harpers by various and sundry [15]

The Sackets by Louis Lamour [13]

Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson [9]

Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky [9]

The Polity series by Neal Asher [14]

Count to the Eschaton by John Wright [1]

Books by Patricia McKillip [17]

Alex Hunter by Greig Beck [3]

Chronicles of Dune by Frank Herbert [7]

Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patrica Wrede [3]

Tales of Shikanoko by Lian Hearn [2]

The Space trilogy by C.S. Lewis [2]

Malaz Empire by Ian Esslemont [5]

Night Angel by Brent Weeks [2]

7Th Sword by Dave Duncan [3]

The Swan’s War by Sean Russell [2]

Chess Team Adventures by Jeremy Robinson [9]

Misc:

  1. Warrior King
  2. Guns of the Dawn
  3. Dreams of Distant Shores
  4. Infinity Engine
  5. The Twelfth Imam
  6. The City of Mirrors
  7. Revenger
  8. Lord of Light
  9. Indomitable
  10. A Fire Upon the Deep
  11. United States of Japan Currently Reading

 

The nice thing about having such a variety of series is that it takes me 6-8 weeks to cycle through them all, so I never feel like I’m reading something stale. And as you can see, several series only have 1, or 2, books left, so then I just replace them, thus continuing the cycle of fresh reading. The other bonus that it has for me, is that I don’t have to “choose” what book to read next. I simply read the next book of the next series. Back in ’11 or ’12 I tried to do the whole “read whatever the heck I feel like at the moment” and it ended up as a disaster. This type of thing definitely doesn’t work for everyone and I’d be very hesitant to recommend it, but it works for me and how I read.

 

 

Now here’s a funny Cyanide & Happiness comic strip about lists to end this post:

 

list

 

 

bookstooge
ps, I am always available for a little bank-robbing, IF, you can guarantee that the cops will show up and we’ll go out in a blaze of gunfire and glory. Cops are negotiable, as I will settle for private security, mercenaries, aliens or even super-heroes, but the Guns & Glory are non-negotiable.

Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3)

Spider-Man 2099 #2: Nothing Ventured - Peter David, Rick Leonardi

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 & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Series: Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3

Author: Peter David

Artist: Rick Leonardi

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comics

Pages: 68

Format: Digital Scan





 

Synopsis:


Miguel O'hara, brilliant geneticist, is working for Alchemax, one of the Mega-Corporations. He is working on genetically imprinting various aspects of other creatures onto humans so as to make them more fit for various Alchemax jobs. So far none of the prisoners assigned as test subjects have survived.

 

Due to his smart mouth and bad political sense, Miguel gets on the wrong side of Tyler Stone, CEO of Alchemax. Stone injects Miguel with a synthetic drug that bonds to his dna and forces him to keep working for Alchemax, or he'll die of withdrawal symptoms. In desperation, Miguel returns to his Alchemax lab and re-imprints his own dna pattern onto himself in an effort to cleanse himself from the drug bonding.

 

Unbeknownst to Miguel, one of the other scientists, who has taken the brunt of Miguel's acid wit, is also working that night. Said scientist sabotages the imprint program by overloading it with spider dna. A huge explosion happens, Miguel lives but with talons, fangs and messed up vision. He escapes the lab but a bounty hunter is hot on his trail.

 

Realizing he has to throw the cyborg bounty hunter off of his trail so he won't know it is Miguel O'Hara he is chasing, Miguel puts on a mexican day of the dead costume made from unstable molecules, which will allow him to use it without slicing it to ribbons with his talons. He attacks Venture, gets captured, escapes and defeats Venture and comes across a cult to Thor.

 

The origin story ends with Miguel taking a phone call from Tyler Stone, who wants to discuss “Spiderman”. Thus a new Super Hero is born.

 



My Thoughts:


Holy smokes!!! I had totally forgotten just how short comic books were. These scans had all the ad pages removed, so they're only about 22-24 pages each. I think most comics ran about 30 pages back in the 90's, so you're talking an advertisement every 4th page. Glad I don't have to deal with that now.

 

This is my first time reading Spiderman 2099 so let me back up and give just a bit of history about me and the 2099 comic line. I'll be as brief as possible. I started seriously reading comics in 1991 and in 1992 started my first subscription with Silver Sable & Her Wildpack. This took up all of my money but I began haunting the semi-local comic stores and the grocery stores where comics were sold. I saw Doom 2099 in December of '92 and that was my introduction to 2099. I bought the first 4 issues of Doom then bought the first couple of issues of Punisher 2099 from my friend Cam who had bought them but he didn't like them. That brought me to mid '93 and I was just plum out of money. So while I realized that things were really hopping over at Spiderman 2099 I just couldn't afford it. Plus, the first several issues sold out wicked fast and trying to get back orders was, while not impossible, much harder than it was today. I've always liked Spidey, I've always wanted to see what Spidey2099 was all about and since I'm in a manga funk, I figure this will be a good break from that while still keeping my toes in the visual medium.

 

I bet this would have blown the socks of my teenage self. Flying cars, armed police/guards using flying cycles, cyborg bounty hunters, evil corporations, evil CEO's personally injecting drugs into their most brilliant workers. Check, check and checkity-check! Now, I am reading this as an “experience” and not as just a book to read and review. If I just read this, it would be very hard to overlook the puerile nature, the complete lack of logic, the utter and complete “boy'ishness” of it. As an “experience” though, it sure is fun. Memories, memories, memories.

 

These first 3 issues comprise the Origins storyline. We'll see how future volumes pan out. I will not be surprised if I just up and quit in disgust at some point or just let it peter out [ha, get it, Peter Out, Miguel In?]

★★★☆☆



Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3)

Spider-Man 2099 #3: Nothing Gained - Peter David, Rick Leonardi

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 & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Series: Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3

Author: Peter David

Artist: Rick Leonardi

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comics

Pages: 68

Format: Digital Scan





 

Synopsis:


Miguel O'hara, brilliant geneticist, is working for Alchemax, one of the Mega-Corporations. He is working on genetically imprinting various aspects of other creatures onto humans so as to make them more fit for various Alchemax jobs. So far none of the prisoners assigned as test subjects have survived.

 

Due to his smart mouth and bad political sense, Miguel gets on the wrong side of Tyler Stone, CEO of Alchemax. Stone injects Miguel with a synthetic drug that bonds to his dna and forces him to keep working for Alchemax, or he'll die of withdrawal symptoms. In desperation, Miguel returns to his Alchemax lab and re-imprints his own dna pattern onto himself in an effort to cleanse himself from the drug bonding.

 

Unbeknownst to Miguel, one of the other scientists, who has taken the brunt of Miguel's acid wit, is also working that night. Said scientist sabotages the imprint program by overloading it with spider dna. A huge explosion happens, Miguel lives but with talons, fangs and messed up vision. He escapes the lab but a bounty hunter is hot on his trail.

 

Realizing he has to throw the cyborg bounty hunter off of his trail so he won't know it is Miguel O'Hara he is chasing, Miguel puts on a mexican day of the dead costume made from unstable molecules, which will allow him to use it without slicing it to ribbons with his talons. He attacks Venture, gets captured, escapes and defeats Venture and comes across a cult to Thor.

 

The origin story ends with Miguel taking a phone call from Tyler Stone, who wants to discuss “Spiderman”. Thus a new Super Hero is born.

 



My Thoughts:


Holy smokes!!! I had totally forgotten just how short comic books were. These scans had all the ad pages removed, so they're only about 22-24 pages each. I think most comics ran about 30 pages back in the 90's, so you're talking an advertisement every 4th page. Glad I don't have to deal with that now.

 

This is my first time reading Spiderman 2099 so let me back up and give just a bit of history about me and the 2099 comic line. I'll be as brief as possible. I started seriously reading comics in 1991 and in 1992 started my first subscription with Silver Sable & Her Wildpack. This took up all of my money but I began haunting the semi-local comic stores and the grocery stores where comics were sold. I saw Doom 2099 in December of '92 and that was my introduction to 2099. I bought the first 4 issues of Doom then bought the first couple of issues of Punisher 2099 from my friend Cam who had bought them but he didn't like them. That brought me to mid '93 and I was just plum out of money. So while I realized that things were really hopping over at Spiderman 2099 I just couldn't afford it. Plus, the first several issues sold out wicked fast and trying to get back orders was, while not impossible, much harder than it was today. I've always liked Spidey, I've always wanted to see what Spidey2099 was all about and since I'm in a manga funk, I figure this will be a good break from that while still keeping my toes in the visual medium.

 

I bet this would have blown the socks of my teenage self. Flying cars, armed police/guards using flying cycles, cyborg bounty hunters, evil corporations, evil CEO's personally injecting drugs into their most brilliant workers. Check, check and checkity-check! Now, I am reading this as an “experience” and not as just a book to read and review. If I just read this, it would be very hard to overlook the puerile nature, the complete lack of logic, the utter and complete “boy'ishness” of it. As an “experience” though, it sure is fun. Memories, memories, memories.

 

These first 3 issues comprise the Origins storyline. We'll see how future volumes pan out. I will not be surprised if I just up and quit in disgust at some point or just let it peter out [ha, get it, Peter Out, Miguel In?]

★★★☆☆



Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3)

Spider-Man 2099 #1 - Peter David, Rick Leonardi

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 & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Series: Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3

Author: Peter David

Artist: Rick Leonardi

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comics

Pages: 68

Format: Digital Scan





 

Synopsis:


Miguel O'hara, brilliant geneticist, is working for Alchemax, one of the Mega-Corporations. He is working on genetically imprinting various aspects of other creatures onto humans so as to make them more fit for various Alchemax jobs. So far none of the prisoners assigned as test subjects have survived.

 

Due to his smart mouth and bad political sense, Miguel gets on the wrong side of Tyler Stone, CEO of Alchemax. Stone injects Miguel with a synthetic drug that bonds to his dna and forces him to keep working for Alchemax, or he'll die of withdrawal symptoms. In desperation, Miguel returns to his Alchemax lab and re-imprints his own dna pattern onto himself in an effort to cleanse himself from the drug bonding.

 

Unbeknownst to Miguel, one of the other scientists, who has taken the brunt of Miguel's acid wit, is also working that night. Said scientist sabotages the imprint program by overloading it with spider dna. A huge explosion happens, Miguel lives but with talons, fangs and messed up vision. He escapes the lab but a bounty hunter is hot on his trail.

 

Realizing he has to throw the cyborg bounty hunter off of his trail so he won't know it is Miguel O'Hara he is chasing, Miguel puts on a mexican day of the dead costume made from unstable molecules, which will allow him to use it without slicing it to ribbons with his talons. He attacks Venture, gets captured, escapes and defeats Venture and comes across a cult to Thor.

 

The origin story ends with Miguel taking a phone call from Tyler Stone, who wants to discuss “Spiderman”. Thus a new Super Hero is born.

 



My Thoughts:


Holy smokes!!! I had totally forgotten just how short comic books were. These scans had all the ad pages removed, so they're only about 22-24 pages each. I think most comics ran about 30 pages back in the 90's, so you're talking an advertisement every 4th page. Glad I don't have to deal with that now.

 

This is my first time reading Spiderman 2099 so let me back up and give just a bit of history about me and the 2099 comic line. I'll be as brief as possible. I started seriously reading comics in 1991 and in 1992 started my first subscription with Silver Sable & Her Wildpack. This took up all of my money but I began haunting the semi-local comic stores and the grocery stores where comics were sold. I saw Doom 2099 in December of '92 and that was my introduction to 2099. I bought the first 4 issues of Doom then bought the first couple of issues of Punisher 2099 from my friend Cam who had bought them but he didn't like them. That brought me to mid '93 and I was just plum out of money. So while I realized that things were really hopping over at Spiderman 2099 I just couldn't afford it. Plus, the first several issues sold out wicked fast and trying to get back orders was, while not impossible, much harder than it was today. I've always liked Spidey, I've always wanted to see what Spidey2099 was all about and since I'm in a manga funk, I figure this will be a good break from that while still keeping my toes in the visual medium.

 

I bet this would have blown the socks of my teenage self. Flying cars, armed police/guards using flying cycles, cyborg bounty hunters, evil corporations, evil CEO's personally injecting drugs into their most brilliant workers. Check, check and checkity-check! Now, I am reading this as an “experience” and not as just a book to read and review. If I just read this, it would be very hard to overlook the puerile nature, the complete lack of logic, the utter and complete “boy'ishness” of it. As an “experience” though, it sure is fun. Memories, memories, memories.

 

These first 3 issues comprise the Origins storyline. We'll see how future volumes pan out. I will not be surprised if I just up and quit in disgust at some point or just let it peter out [ha, get it, Peter Out, Miguel In?]

★★★☆☆



 

 




 

Got'dem Manga Blues!

I don't know what it is, but I just haven't felt like reading manga recently. I skipped this week's Manga Monday and I'll probably be skipping the next one, or two, as well. All of which is really just an excuse to write this post and post this picture:

 

 

Feel the blue...

 

 

I have a feeling today is going to be "one of those" days. Bookstooge out.

 

bookstooge

The One Kingdom (The Swan's War #1)

The One Kingdom - Sean Russell

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 One Kingdom
Series: The Swan's War #1
Author: Sean Russell
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 544
Format: Digital Edition





 

Synopsis:


Magician's don't die. If they're powerful enough, they can exist without going through Death's Gate.

Hundreds of years ago, the children of the most powerful magician the world had ever known were each given a gift from their father. Their choices split the One Kingdom and resulted in death and devastation.

 

Now, the families of the Renne's and the Wills have their own feud that could tear apart the fragile peace of the land. One of the Renne's is determined to make the peace last while his family plots to assassinate him for such thoughts. The Wills plot to strengthen themselves through marriage with an outside family, the Innes. The Innes are being “guided” by a man who is much more than he appears and much more dangerous than they know.

 

At the same time, 3 young men from the Northern Vale take a trip down the river to buy horses. They come across a man name Alain and their misfortunes/adventures start. They come into contact with a Naga, the embodiment of the daughter of the magician.

 

The Naga, Alain and the Guide are all so much more than the people around them know. Can the land survive the return of the Children?

 

 



My Thoughts:


I went into this really wondering if I was going to like it as much as I did back in '09. Thankfully, this lived up to my memories and my current expectations of a good book.

 

This is a slow book. It meanders like the river that much of the story takes place on. In many ways, the river itself is a character, at times benevolent, at other times very malevolent.

 

Besides being a slow book, it is also very character driven. The Valemen trio start out as the main characters, but Russell deftly moves from group to group, from individual to individual in such a way that I never felt either bored or wanting something else. There is a lot of description of landscapes and what surrounds the characters but for whatever reason I didn't blow by it like I usually do in other books. I was able to sit back and take it in.

 

Where I have described Patricia McKillip's writings as “silk”, Russell's writing is like a river. Some times meandering, some times fast and furious, some times appearing calm, some times dragging you along a current you don't even realize you are in. I felt like I was sitting in a boat going down a river while reading this. Why I was intrigued instead of bored, I do not know. But I loved this story.

 

I also like how Russell portrays magic. It is something dangerous, subtle and never good. It destroys those who use it and hurts those around them. It is not flashy fireballs or the calling forth of demon lords. It is influence, power, strength, persuaviness and the ability to bend others to your will. It is scary.

 

So another fantastic re-read. Definitely glad that I bought this in hardcover.

 

 



 

 

  1. Review from 2009

 

The Reluctant Swordsman (The Seventh Sword #1)

The Reluctant Swordsman - Dave Duncan

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 Reluctant Swordsman
Series: The Seventh Sword #1
Author: Dave Duncan
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 321
Format: Digital Edition





 

Synopsis:


Wallie dies. The End.

 

Ok, not really. In fact, he wakes up in the body of a magnificent warrior who is a Seventh Sword, the highest rank possible. He also wakes up into the middle of a power struggle between corrupt warriors, priests and some “gods”. Specifically, Wallie has been chose by a goddess to be the divine instrument of her will in the current game.

 

Forced to recognize tht he is in a different world, in a different body and that the gods are real, Wallie must play along or die.

 

 



My Thoughts:


This had the same fingerprints as Duncan's The Great Game trilogy. As such, there is a lot of mocking of religion in general and very not-subtle jabs at Christianity. This type of thing might not bother you at all, so your mileage is definitely going to vary from mine.

 

The story was great, the setup very good, the action was fast and furious and overall I really enjoyed my read.

 

But just like going on a picnic in a beautiful field with my wife, if I place the blanket over an ants' nest, those little buggers are going to bite me and cause some annoyance and that's what I'll remember instead of the good time I had. Duncan's jabs were like little pin pricks and it made it very hard to just sit there and enjoy my time. I've read enough of Duncan's various works to know that he doesn't always take potshots at religion and I've truly enjoyed those books. Therefore, it's deliberate on his part and that just makes it all the more unpleasant.

 

I'm going to give the second book a chance when I cycle around to it, but if it has the same smug dismissive attitude as this one, I'll be stopping there.

 

 



 

 

 

Don Quixote: Part II: Chapters 1-4

Don Quixote de la Mancha (Oxford World's Classics) - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Charles Jarvis, E.C. Riley

Up to page 515

 

Italics are what I penciled in the margins

 

The block quotes are quotes from the book.

 

Everything else are just my thoughts as I’m typing along here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

 

In which Cervantes tells us why he wrote Part II. A rambling couple of pages of no significance.

...I know very well what the temptations of the devil are, and that one of the greatest is, the putting it into a man's head that can write and print a book, which shall procure him as much fame as money, and as much money as fame:

Ok, so the indie attitude is as least 400 years old. I give up...

 

 

Chapter 1

 

In which it is evident that Quixote is not better and is as loony as ever.

 

'That is true', quoth the priest; who being delighted to hear him talk so wildly and extravagantly,

I am getting whiplash from Quixote's friends. One minute they're super concerned and bringing him home in a bloody cage, the next they're encouraging him in his madness. Oy vey!

 

 

Chapter 2

 

In which Sancho reunites with Quixote and in the process of telling him what the villagers think of him, fires up Quixote's imagination. Great.

 

In the meantime, tell me, friend friend Sancho, what do folks say of me about the town?

Glory hound!

 

 

Chapter 3

 

In which a student/professor, who is a fan of Quixote's, comes to visit and they talk, inciting Quixote to go back to his Knight Errantry ways.

 

and historians, who are fond of venting falsehoods, should be burnt like coiners of false money.

Quixote sure changed his tune. Used to be that the books of Knight Errantry were truer than the Bible

 

...in order to the compiling histories, or books of any kind whatever, a man had need of a great deal of judgement and a mature understanding;

...not withstanding which, there are those, who compose books, and toss them out into the world like fritters!

Ha, sounds like Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

Chapter 4

 

In which Quixote is in bad company [Sancho and the Professor] and falls prey to his delusions of Knight Errantry once again.

 

...if this master of mine had taken my counsel, we had ere now been in the field, redressing grievances, and righting wrongs, as is the practice and usage of good knights-errant.'

Why do Quixote's friends the barber and the priest, along with Quixote's niece and housemaid, even allow Sancho into the house? The man eggs him on and with the professor, Quixote doesn't stand a chance of thinking straight.

 

They agreed upon this, and that they should set out eight days after. Don Quixote enjoined the bachelor to keep it secret, especially from the priest and Master Nicholas, and from his niece and housekeeper, that they might not obstruct his honourable and valorous purpose. All which Carrassco promised...

Bad company indeed!

 

 

making-pancakes_c_6166133

Much like Quixote himself

 

 

Sinners (Monster Hunter Memoirs #2)

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners - Larry Correia, John Ringo

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: Sinners
Series: Monster Hunter Memoirs #2
Author: John Ringo & Larry Correia
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:


Gary Stu bangs an underage Elf [she was only 45] and when her vengeful trailertrash relatives chase him down, he requests a transer to the New Orleans MHI office.

 

Once there, the action is non-stop, the monsters relentless and the MCB are the good guys too. Magic is on the rise, for no reason anyone can tell and even two-bit sorcerers can suddenly raise powerful elder beings.

 

But even Gary Stu can't kill ALL the monsters. Shackleford the IV and Earl come into town with the Happy Face group to help out. But Mardi Gras is coming and things are going to go apocalyptic.

 

 



My Thoughts:


This was MUCH better than Grunge. Most of it was that Chad, otherwise known as Gary Stu, is just too busy to do anything else except narrate MHI adventures. Which means that there was only one theological reference [which was sketchy as all get out] and two cockhound stories about girls.

 

The rest of the book was totally focused on saving New Orleans from a huge influx of monsters. It was the type of story that I expect when I read an MHI book. Guns, carnage and death abound. Agent Franks gets involved near the end and I've always liked stories that included him, even before reading Nemesis (MHI #5). The end, where MHI, MCB [Monster Control Bureau] and even some civilians fight a horde of monster crawdads and just about everybody dies except Chad, Agent Franks and one or two others, was tough to read. It's never enjoyable reading about the destruction of the good guys.

 

I do hope the 3rd book comes out soon, as there are several instances of burrows appearing, people disappearing and vague references to some new power arising. The local Vampire Lord calls it a “tourist” and it is apparently what is causing the influx of power. But we don't get to that part of the story yet. It is referenced but the full implications and the real action concerning it haven't come about. Honestly, that is what I wanted to read about.

 

Looking at Correia's website however, it doesn't appear that the third book, entitled Saints, will be ready any time soon. He just turned in his parts of it to the editor and now the fitting together must commence. But after this book, I am looking forward to it. Unlike after the first book where I really questioned if I wanted to read this one at all.

 

To sum up. Good MHI book, lot less bad theology, lot less boinking of chicks and the inclusion of Agent Franks. Good stuff.

 

 



 

 

 

  1. Review of MHM #1: Grunge

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1)

The Way of Shadows  - Brent Weeks

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 Way of Shadows
Series: Night Angel #1
Author: Brent Weeks
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 659
Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis: Spoilers


Azoth becomes apprenticed to Durzo Blint and becomes Kyler. Magic, politics, love and death all roll into one super messy ball.

 

Kyler becomes the possessor of a magic ball that gives him extraordinary powers. And just as he's gaining them, he's forced to kill his master and watch his city fall to invaders. Throw in a prophet, some other magic balls, a complete godking of evil, best friend becoming king and teen love and you have this story in a nutshell.

 

Oh, don't forget the violence. Lots and lots and lots of violence.




My Thoughts: Spoilers


I had forgotten just how brutal this book was. It was heart wrenching to see everything falling apart for Kyler. Yes, he's successful in apprenticing under Blint, but by the end of the book, all Kyler has is his life and the life of the girl he loves. He sees, and we experience, everything else going to the pit. Friends? Dead, killed, imprisoned. Mentors? Poisoned, paupered, destroyed. It is all torn away.

 

The book ends on a slightly hopeful note, as the city nobles and craftsmen flee and destroy everything to deny it to the invaders. Kyler is alive, even though he died. The legend of the Night Angel has taken seed and the invaders know “something” walks the shadows. The prophet has set things in motion to stop the godking from total domination. The War has Started.

 

The writing definitely shows that this is Weeks' first book and is not nearly as polished as his Lightbringer series. Nothing stood out as wrong, but some things weren't just as “right” as they could have been.

 

To end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book again and both cheered and groaned at the triumphs and tragedies woven throughout this story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Previous Review from 2009

 

An Empire Asunder (Scourwind Legacy #2)

An Empire Asunder - Evan Currie

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: An Empire Asunder
Series: Scourwind Legacy #2
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 310
Format: Digital Edition





Synopsis:


The Scourwind Twins have saved the Empire from being taken over but it is civil war. Lydia is doing her best to rule and Brennan is growing into his new role as cadreman and warrior.

 

Corian, exhibiting signs of madness, begins Operation Godstrike, all the while vaguely hinting about some unknown threat that apparently nobody but him is aware of or prepared to do something about.

 

It is strike and counter-strike as the Imperial forces clash against the Alliance forces. Throw in Mira Delsol, former cadrewoman turned Pirate and you have some serious action.




My Thoughts:


For whatever reason, Currie is hitting all the right buttons with this series for me. I enjoyed my time reading this above and beyond the normal. That is not to say I think this is going to be a SF classic or that it will wow you. In fact, I suspect most people looking on would give it 3-3.5 stars.

 

For me though, it has this: a coming of age story without angst and whines. No crap about “romance” and “feelings” taking precedence over your duty and responsibility. You are a Scourwind and you run the Empire, you don't whine like a baby. A young lady becoming an Empress. Sure, she might write in her journal, but we the readers aren't subjected to that or every bloody thought in her head. The story gets told. A young man becoming an elite warrior in the shadow of his dead older brother. He's not some tortured, broken individual who just needs the love of the “right woman” to “fix” him. Neither of these Scourwinds are BROKEN and Currie doesn't fall into the trap of making the story about “fixing” them. Grrrrrr, you don't “fix” people. That pisses me off and I hate that in a story. And there is NONE of that, not even a hint, in these books and I really like that.

 

The other thing I really liked was the continuing glimpse of the world. With the new ship, Delsol is able to go atmospheric and realizes that humanity is in a box. It is obvious that Corian knows a lot more about the whole situation but in his arrogance thinks he's the only one capable of facing the situation, whatever it may be. We the readers aren't privy to it.

 

Currie's writing is improving with each book and while his earlier books were pretty rough around the edges, I am glad I started reading him. I was really enjoying his Odyssey One series and I have the next book of that on tap, but I really hope he sticks with this series for a bit and finishes things up before becoming too distracted with other series, old or new.

 

Finally, I like the covers. They are a huge step up from the first couple of books that had very obvious amateur covers desperately trying NOT to look like amateur covers. These books have the kind of covers that I want in hardcover on my shelves just because I like how they look. Sadly, that is not an option and I'm not going to change my “no paperback” rule for Currie. He hasn't reached that status, yet. Chris McGrath is the artist and here's a small list of some other covers he's done:

  • Aeronauts Windlass

  • Star Wars: Kenobi

  • Alloy of Law

  • Daughter of the Sword (I broke my “no paperback” rule for Steve Bein. Love his books that much)

  • Dresden: Changes

 

I didn't do a Cover Love in my February Roundup, but for March's Roundup, this one is definitely going to be a contender.

 

 

 



 

 

 

  1. Review of Book 1

 

Then Came the Showdown! (Eyeshield 21 #23) (Manga Monday)

Eyeshield 21, Vol. 23: Then Came the Showdown! - Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata

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 & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Then Came the Showdown!
Series: Eyeshield 21 #23
Author: Riichiro Inagaki

Artist: Yusuke Murata

Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 210
Format: Digital Scan





Synopsis:


The Devil Bats win against the Naga, at great physical cost to each player. Then we follow the other 3 games of the day and watch new teams and new techniques come to light.

 

The volume concludes with the Devil Bats taking a day off to rest,but they all end up at the clubhouse anyway, so obviously Hiruma uses that time to get some stuff in. The next battle is agains the White Knights and as things stand, the Devil Bats do not stand a chance against them.




My Thoughts:


After having drawn out the game against the Naga for 3 volumes, the last 4 seconds of the game, and the win, felt rather anti-climactic. It did come down to a battle between Hiruma and Agon and Hiruma's year of practice and 1/10th of a second paid dividends. Agon ate dirt and I was pretty happy. He was a scumbag and I wished he'd been broken instead of just beaten in the game. I wanted his soul crushed, his spirit destroyed, his very will to live extinguished. As you can tell, I didn't like him.

 

The short little episodes showing the highlights of the games by other teams just didn't work for me either. After a 3 book game, it felt very rushed and like it was a scheme for getting info to the readers without telling a good story. I know that Sena/Eyeshield 21 and the Devil Bats are the main characters, but for goodness sake, a little balance wouldn't hurt things.

 

There was nothing wrong with this volume at all beyond the imbalance, but it was noticable enough for me to ding a star off.