Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe


Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



That was fun, but it actually got rather disturbing too.

This reminded me a bit of Marvel Zombies, where the writers take the familiar (and beloved) Marvel characters and throw them to the wind. It's an alternate universe, so anything can happen. The shit can really hit the fan because in the main Marvel universe, nothing has changed.

This time around we get to see what might happen if Deadpool were to really back up the junk that's always coming out of his mouth. I mean, really. What would happen if the dude seriously snapped?

He'd fucking kill everyone.





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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Beyond This Dark House


Beyond This Dark House
Beyond This Dark House by Guy Gavriel Kay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I really don't like poetry. But this is pretty readable, and I wasn't surprised since I like Kay's poetry that filters into his novels.

Favorites are the title poem, and "Guinevere at Almesbury".





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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: Game: a Thriller by Anders de la Motte

Game: A ThrillerGame: A Thriller by Anders de la Motte
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received a free ebook ARC copy of this book from NetGalley. Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Okay, here's the deal. It took me almost two weeks to read this. I'm not planning a long review, because I'm honestly tired of thinking about this thing and want to wash my hands of it. I feel that I owe NetGalley a review for providing the free copy, so here goes.

There were some good things about this book. The premise: conspiracy theory and a secret Game which can be accessed by specially chosen players on a special cell phone. Cool idea. The book starts out with a bang, jumping right into the action with our protagonist, HP. HP is what he goes by, after his initials. Fine. The game seems exciting at first and soon becomes more dangerous and criminal.

The book had good pacing. The action doesn't let up for long and jumps right back in. Lots of twists and turns. A well built Bourne type mystery/thriller. For that, it's enjoyable.

However, that's just the surface of things. The more deeply we get into the plot, the more we see just how unrealistic it is. I like when "coincidences" get tied together, but here it seems that everything is part of it. And it's just hard to suspend belief and go with it. By the end, it's become rather silly and I kept hoping it would....just...stop.

But the more important negative to this book are the characters. The main characters, that is. Some of the supporting ones are decent enough and used well. But the main two? Damn.

Rebecca is the female lead here. She's a cop with a backstory, lots of stuff making her bitter and angry and out to prove that she's capable. Yeah yeah. Fine. But she's so stupid it's not even funny. She keeps getting great marks in all of her trainings, and they're building her up to be the chosen one, but she's dumber than a stump. Especially where HP is concerned.

HP should stand for Huge Prick. I mean, this is one of the most despicable characters I've ever read about. And we get most of the book through his point of view? God.

I'm wondering if de la Motte meant for HP to be tongue in cheek, or funny or what. But he's not funny. He's an amoral piece of work. Suffering through all the internal dialogue this guy tells himself is pretty bad. Especially after one of his sexual conquests.

I mean, does anyone really think of himself as the "Prince of Penetration" or the "Ayatollah of Fuck n Rolla"? And think of that as a positive quality. Come on. I'd wonder if even an egotistical, sexist douchebag would think of himself this way.

But what is HP's Achilles Heal? His love for his sister. Really? We're supposed to believe that the only moral compass this dude has is a woman? That he respects any female enough to change his behavior, to spend 10 months in prison, for instance? Not when he's the "Omnipotent Pope of Pussy-Crashing", I'd wager.

Anyway, where I felt that the author was trying to make HP funny and pathetic, he failed at making him sympathetic. And he's not funny. I was laughing, but not because the character was amusing. No, I laughed where the writing describing the internal dialogue of this character was laughably bad.

Two stars, and that's only because there were some good twists and turns along the way. HP himself gets shyt for stars.


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Storm is Over

By J.R. King, @OfficialJRKing dedicated to Claire Davis....

Monday, December 16, 2013

#PrayForClaire

I know a lot of people have become desensitized to the bad shit that happens in our world, and in our country every day. I have, I admit it.

"Oh crap, another school shooting. That sucks." *clicks -back- to return to Justin Bieber gossip*

Yeah, I get it. No one likes to think about this shit. It's far away, happening to people I'll never know. It's sad, but wtf can I do about it?

Maybe not a damn thing. But then, if one special person can be touched by a little effort, a few clicks of a mouse, why not go for it?

I don't even know who I hope to touch with this, or what. Maybe I'll get nothing out of it but a place to express it all. And maybe that's enough.

Last Friday, a young lady was critically wounded at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. Some of the students live in Littleton as well. That's a place y'all might have heard of.

It was another school shooting. Hell, it was another school shooting in Colorado. Desensitization begins, or does it? Not for me.

I live in Georgia now, but I spent a good chunk of my childhood/early adult life in Aurora, Colorado. My parents and two brothers, plus a young nephew and two nieces all live in Aurora still. I went to Smoky Hill High School and graduated in 1985.

During my senior year, I really followed our football team, attending nearly all of the games. One of these was an away game at Arapahoe High School, and I still remember that trip. (We also played Columbine that season, but it was at a neutral site in the playoffs)

So yeah, I know this community. I had a job after high school that sometimes took me in these areas. Columbine hit me pretty hard in 1999. Arapahoe hit me Friday.

Claire Davis is the 17 year old senior that's still in critical condition at a Littleton hospital. She suffered severe head trauma and is in a coma, though she is currently in stable condition.

A wave of love and compassion has spread over the internet for her, and for the community she's a part of. For the other kids that go to that school, as they deal with the tragedy and try to focus on studying for final exams.

If you've read this far, I'll ask one more thing of you. Pray for Claire's recovery. If you don't pray, think a nice thought. Hug your children. Love your daughters and sons. Let them know it.

And if you would like to light a candle for Claire, by all means.

Follow on Twitter for a little bit. It will touch your heart if you just watch the posts as they scroll by.

#PrayForClaire

#ArapahoeStrong
#ColoradoStrong
#get1Dtoclaire
#ArapahoeHighSchool
#WarriorStrong
#PrayersForArapahoe

I'll be posting more on this. This is why I haven't been reading much. This is why I haven't watched much. This is why I ignored football all weekend. If I get on your nerves, at least this is a place you don't have to look.

But I hope some of you will....

tl;dr version: #PrayForClaire

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Triumph Over Tragedy: an Anthology for the Victims of Hurricane Sandy


Triumph Over Tragedy: an Anthology for the Victims of Hurricane Sandy
Triumph Over Tragedy: an Anthology for the Victims of Hurricane Sandy by R.T. Kaelin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Tl;dr version: A solid collection of new SF/F stories, all for a good cause. This was put together in a hurry, to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. For that, I’ll forgive a number of typos I saw; they were pretty minor anyway. The stories are very good for the most part, and some are excellent. There really isn’t a bad egg in the whole carton.

See below for comments on each story, if you don’t find that idea too painful:

“Old Leatherwings” by Elizabeth Bear. This was a decent story, though the ending left me a bit unsure. Had an American folklore feel to it. 3 stars.

“Quick” by Mark Lawrence. A story set in his “Prince of Thorns” world, this was an enjoyable tale of a young man’s encounter with a witch. And the results. 4 stars.

“When You’re Dead…” by Michael Stackpole. This was fun. A little humor thrown in with this account of a man trying to escape a death trap. 4 stars.

“Tradition” by Michael J. Sullivan. Here we have a tale set in Sullivan’s world of Riyria, though one doesn’t have to read the series to enjoy it. This could have been a folk tale told around a campfire in Elan. Great story with a clever twist or two. 4.5 stars.

“Death Between the Stars” by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I really enjoyed this engaging tale of space species racism (specism?) with a few twists of its own. 4 stars.

“Hell Matter” by Jean Rabe. A Twain-esque story with a boy, some river pirates, and narrated by a cat. Alrighty then. It’s an interesting little journey that our cat takes. 3 stars.

“The Adjoa Gambit” by Rick Novy. Here’s a glimpse of society in the future. It was pretty interesting, but brief. I’d say I was interested enough to want to see more of it in a longer form. 3 stars.

“Hero” by R.T. Kaelin. This is a neat little story about twin mages escaping a prison in a storm. It seems it’s part of a larger series (Terrene Chronicles), so serves as a small glance at the world-building. I enjoyed it, but it ended abruptly. 3.5 stars.

“Big Apple, Small Serpent” by Ari Marmell. This was a weird little one, with the main character a cobra in a zoo. It had a decent flow to it though. 2.5 stars.

“The Pope of the Chimps” by Robert Silverberg. That was pretty good. A real in-depth look at plausible chimp evolution. More realistic than the Planet of the Apes movies at least. 3 stars.

“I Am Made of Every Color” by Jaym Gates. Now that was a bizarre story. Not normally my cup of tea, but it was written well enough to keep my interest. 3 stars.

“Spoils of War” by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This was great. A glimpse into the world of The Shadows of the Apt series, which I’ve been curious about for awhile. This short story reminded me a bit of two Stevens: Erikson for the world-building and state of a war in progress, and Brust for the caste system that everyone lives under. I’ll definitely be checking out the series. 4.5 stars.

“Orphan Train” by Vicki Johnson-Steger. A very engaging account of a little girl in an orphanage who boards a train bound West, where the children are chosen by their adopted families. It was good, and the ending crept up on me before I expected it. 3.5 stars.

“Holocaust” by Maxwell Alexander Drake. Powerful. A grandfather tells his story of how he survived concentration camps. It’s what you think it is, until it isn’t. 4 stars.

“Wrap” by Alex Bledsoe. Very short, but vividly written. Once again, I’m impressed with Bledsoe’s style. 4 stars.

“The Gift of the Dragons” by Stephen D. Sullivan. I liked this, but something was off. The story was good, I liked the characters, and I’m intrigued by the world Sullivan is giving a glimpse of. But still, something wasn’t right. The dialogue didn’t fit just right, maybe. Still, I’d be curious in looking into his other Blue Kingdoms work. 3.5 stars.

“The Kid in the Park” by T.L. Gray. This was really cool. Only a few pages, but very well written. 4 stars.

“Duncan Derring and the Call of the Lady Luck” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Eh. Space setting adventure of a mercenary/hero for hire rescuing a pleasure barge. It was ok, but full of cheese but very little sauce. 2.5 stars.

“Day of the Shadows” by Donald J. Bingle. Not sure if this is fantasy, or just straight up historical fiction with a myth driving the plot. It was a decent read, but not one of my favorites in the book. 3 stars.

“Angels of Mercy” by Erik Scott de Bie. A fun little superhero(ine) story. It had a Watchmen feel to it, only lighter. 3.5 stars.

“Hearts Desire” by C.S. Marks. I liked that. A good story with the holidays approaching, 4 stars.

“Spurn Babylon” by Tobias S. Buckell. That was ok, but nothing spectacular. I guess it’s a bit of social awareness going on, but I’d rather just have escape. 2.5 stars.

“Parting the Clouds” by Bradley P. Beaulieu. The narrative was good and the story was interesting, but it wasn’t my favorite in the book. Some of it felt like it had been done before. Still, it was a decent read. 3 stars.

“The Burning Servant” by Steven Saus. Enjoyable account of a former slave and her secrets about Sherman’s march at the end of the Civil War. Creepy and well written. 4 stars.

“The Caretaker of Mire” by Gregory A. Wilson. Wasn’t crazy about it at first, but it grew on me some. 3 stars.

“The Last Incantation” by Alex Shvartsman. Very awesome take on wizards and their magic. This had some real potential, but was too short to get going much. 4.5 stars.

“Welcome to New York” by Addie J. King. Here’s one that looks like an introduction to a bigger urban fantasy series. If so, I’m interested. This was a pretty cool glimpse. 4 stars.

“In the Glimpses” by Matt Bone. Speaking of glimpses. I wasn’t crazy about this one, written in the form of a journal entry. Interesting, but not great. 3 stars.

“Coal: 1938” by Doris Stever. That didn’t make much sense, but it was too short to be too annoying. 2 stars.

“Undivided” by Marian Allen. This one was pretty cool. More like, it hinted at some world-building that might be worth exploring in a longer format. This story was decent, but the potential is there for much more. 3 stars.

“Among the Stars” by Sarah Hans. Great story. A shorter than average one, but it didn’t need to be long. Don’t tempt the fates – it never works out. 4.5 stars.

“Sergeant Argent’s Moment in the Sun” by Rob Rogers. This was a fun superhero based story with a twist. The writing style was a little hokey, but it was cool. 4 stars.

“Sperare Victor” by Tim Marquitz. A cool little story of a chance at redemption. 4 stars.

“Shadowlands” by Elizabeth Waters. A retelling of sorts of the Orpheus myth. It was pretty good, though nothing too surprising. 3 stars.

“Wish Upon a Star” by Janine Spendlove. A modern fairy tale. Literally. Decent though. 3 stars.

“A Happy Mother Takes Away Pain” by C.J. Henderson. Here we get a little Eastern flavor, with witch type powers and a djinn. Pretty cool. 3 stars.

“Katanoi” by Philip Athans. Here’s a decent tale about a guy in a prison ship that crashes on a strange planet. Might be a cool universe to explore in a series here. 3.5 stars.

“Don’t Wake Me Up” by Tracy Chowdhury. We’re eased into this one, and it soon becomes very intriguing. Only to end in a rush, jumpy and abrupt. That’s a failing of many short stories. Still, good potential for a larger tale. 3 stars.

“One Good Deed” by Bryan Young. This was a pretty fun space opera type thing. 3 stars.

“The Battle Rose” by S.M. Blooding. Planes vs. airships and mages and treachery. Cool stuff. I’d be curious to see if there was a larger series. 3.5 stars.

“The Ring” by Timothy Zahn. There’s a moral to this story, methinks. And there’s always a price. 3.5 stars.




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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: Being Kalli


Being Kalli
Being Kalli by Rebecca Berto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I received a free eARC copy of this book in exchange for a review.

So what the hell. This is not my normal reading fare. But...

I met the author some time back on GoodReads and saw a blog post where she was looking for some feedback on a project she wasn't sure about. The early chapters of "Being Kalli" were posted on her website. Curious as the premise seemed...interesting...I checked it out. I only read a little, but found the story and character interesting. I didn't finish it as I really don't read long works on the computer, and by the time I checked back, I couldn't find it.

So here we are. Rebecca Berto asked if anyone was interested in checking out an advanced reading copy for the book, Being Kalli. Oh yes, I remembered that project and was still curious, so I offered to read it. Hey, seemed like she might could use a male perspective. One that usually reads fantasy, horror, sci-fi, or thrillers.

Meanwhile, I'd recently read Precise, a novella by the same author. In that, I'd discovered that I liked her style. It was safe in that it was free, short, and more of a contemporary story than a romance or anything erotica. Safe.

This baby right here is not safe. Noooooo....

It's quite fucking hot. lol

But really, though there are certainly hot moments, and a romance does eventually come into focus, what had me hooked right away was dat ass on the cover Berto's writing style. Yes, this is a story long before it's anything else. A story with intriguing characters. Kalli is such, and so are her friends. Even more is her family. The drama and history with the family really drives this book.

So it's more of a great story with the occasional hot sex scene. You know, I watch Game of Thrones (thanks, Terri). I can hang with that. So to speak.

In all seriousness, this is a well written story about a young lady and her family. Her best friend Scout (same name as one of the all time great female leads) is fantastic and I love her story as well. The romance isn't heavy handed, and the sex scenes are handled well too. They don't feel awkward and uncomfortable. At least, not in any unintended way.

The stories of Kalli and Scout would make for a good movie too. They just might have to give it a good "MA" rating. Yeah.



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