Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review (Sort of): The Word Exchange

The Word ExchangeThe Word Exchange by Alena Graedon


I received a free copy of this book through the First Reads program at Good Reads. I also was given an eARC by NetGalley.

While I appreciate these freebies, I shouldn't have clicked those buttons to put myself in the running for them. I started this book tonight, and was quickly going, "eh..wtf?"

It's just...no...

Earlier this year I read a book called The Book. It was a dystopian near-future tale about electronic reading devices replacing real books and eventually controlling what we think, etc. I don't want to compare this to that (I'll get to that in a minute), but some of that basic plot is here again. Or so it would seem, if I could understand the plot.

I also don't want to compare them because this is well written. I mean, I can't understand it, with all the big words and gimmicky language, but I can at least see that this author knew what she was doing. She had genuine fun crafting a story of language with language through language. Or something. I don't get it, but I can see that it's done well.

The Book was just rubbish. I won't even mention the author, as I don't feel this is the place to criticize his work. Or rather, his piece of dystopian paranoid claptrap filled with spelling and grammar errors.

This book obviously had some hard work put into it. That's why I feel kinda bad not continuing with it. But since I don't get it, and can see that it's just going to annoy me and take a huge amount of time away from my reading schedule, I'm going to take a pass.

Thanks go out to the publisher for the freebies. I do appreciate them.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review: Sky High, Bone Deep

Sky High, Bone DeepSky High, Bone Deep by N.M. Harris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this eARC from NetGalley.

For real? Did I just read this? More importantly, why?

I don't really screw around with erotica very often, but every once in awhile I need a reminder of why that is. I generally don't mind sex scenes in my books if they're written well enough, but that's not an easy thing to pull off.

As is so often the case, the dialogue was pretty atrocious and the scenes themselves were described in an embarrassing way. The overall writing wasn't horrible though, and maybe with a little more room to maneuver, the author could have satisfied more.

Still, I guess it worked alright as a quickie.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: The Wrong Quarry

The Wrong Quarry (Quarry #11 - Hard Case Crime #114)The Wrong Quarry by Max Allan Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book through the First Reads program on Good Reads.

Wow, that kicked ass! 4.5 stars, easily. I've read Max Allan Collins before, and enjoyed his work, but this really hit the mark more than I expected.

This is the 11th Quarry novel (though the 5th published by Hard Case Crime), but it was the first one I've read. It looked like I could jump right in with this and not be confused by missing the previous books, and it seems this was right. Collins provided a nice summary of Quarry's career before this book, and I didn't feel lost or confused at all.

Needless to say, I'll be reading more of Collins, specifically more of the Quarry books. This is definitely a series I can get behind....

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: The Wraith - Welcome to Christmasland!

The WraithThe Wraith by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free eARC of this book from NetGalley.

How cool was that? Joe Hill is one of my favorite authors, both for his graphic novels and his stories of prose. Well, this was a blending of the two. Hill takes a favorite villain from his awesome book NOS4A2 by the name of Charlie Manx and gives us his backstory, in comic form.

So yeah. How cool was that?

It came out beautifully too. 4.5 star beautiful. The story wasn't quite as good as that in NOS4A2, but it was still pretty damn compelling. And the artwork from Charles Manx Paul Wilson III was pretty spot on brilliant. This stuff was just as creepy in comic form as I pictured it when reading the novel.

So a prequel bonus for Joe Hill fans, or a great introduction to his work, this fits the bill. And if you like Easter Eggs....

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: The Goddard Affair


The Goddard Affair
The Goddard Affair by Scott Marlowe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another riveting tale in the saga of the Assassin without a Name.

The world is starting to really fall together with each entry, making the reader want more. Of course, they'll want it with wine.



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Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: The Strain, Book One (Graphic Novel)

The Strain, Book One (The Strain, Volumes 1-2)The Strain, Book One by David Lapham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free eARC of this graphic novel from NetGalley.

Not to be confused with The Strain, Volume 1. This baby is actually both volumes 1 & 2, comprising the adaptation of the entire novel, The Strain. I was pleased to discover that this was a massive graphic novel set, covering issues 1-11. I read the original novel a few years ago, so I was glad to get hold of a graphic novel that was that whole book, rather than a fragment of it.

That said, the story was very good here. It was very consistent with the novel, keeping the spirit of the original story while transforming it to a reader friendly visual form. Some adaptations don't work, losing the author's storytelling voice. But del Toro and Hogan's story is still here with this one, to go along with some pretty good artwork.

As a fan of the series, I must say I'm happy with the transformation. I'm also looking forward to the upcoming television series...

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Review - Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie

Half a King (Shattered Sea, #1)Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free eARC copy of this on NetGalley.

Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie, say he can tell a good yarn. @LordGrimdark does it again with Half a King.

There were some standard coming of age fantasy things here, but Abercrombie handled them well. He made the characters interesting enough that I cared what happened to them. And he even packed a few surprises and twists in there along the way. Maybe I should have seen some of it coming, but I went with it and was surprised in all the right places. Pleasantly so, most of the time.

So, was this book YA? That's the question. It certainly didn't feel like "kids stuff" other than the fact that the main character was himself a young adult/boy coming into manhood. I guess the lack of f-bombs would qualify it, though....

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Review: One Was Stubborn


One Was Stubborn
One Was Stubborn by L. Ron Hubbard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I received a free copy of this book by winning a First Reads giveaway on Goodreads.

So I've been reading several of these L. Ron Hubbard "Golden Age" story reprints over the last year or so. All in all, they're enjoyable reads. Nothing to make me look back and wonder why he didn't win any literary awards or anything, but the man could spin a yarn. This one is no different, except that it was the first of these little books that was Sci-Fi. The previous ones were mystery, adventure, western, or pirate stories. It's good to see a range of Hubbard's stuff, because until these things started coming out, I always thought of him as a writer of Sci-Fi. But he was much more diverse than that.

Then to pick this up and read some of his early sci-fi work was interesting. It had a similar tone to the other Golden Age stories, with cheesy 1940s adventure dialogue and plot. A far cry from what we would eventually see from Hubbard before his death, with the Mission Earth series and Battlefield Earth. Those were so much more complex, it's surprising that they're the same author.

But yes, it was cool to go back and (again) read some of Hubbard's early work. I'll probably tick off a few more of these before I'm finished.

Oh, and since this one was a collection of three stories, I'll include my comments for each one that originally appeared on my status updates:

"One Was Stubbron" - the title story. Well, this was an odd duck. A sci-fi story set in the future with an old man sticking to his beliefs (or non-beliefs) in the face of a new messiah. It was comical but a bit too philosophical at the same time. Pretty abstract, though the first person narrative kept it going. Interesting ending to it, though.

"A Can of Vacuum" - this story was better than the first one. Still sci-fi, though this one is seen from a military hazing angle. Poor new guy?"

"240,000 Miles Straight Up" - this story was obviously written a bit later than most of the Hubbard I've been reading, as it focuses on a Cold War race to the Moon. Some humor and intrigue, with another twist for an ending..."



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