Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Who Killed Randy Ratphink? The Postmortem Adventures of a Fried-Brain Hippie!

Who Killed Randy Ratphink? The Postmortem Adventures of a Fried-Brain Hippie (the only time in this review I'm typing all that out!) by Jerry Flu, was given to me for review.

Jerry Flu, if that is his real name (and reading the book will prove it isn't) has perpetrated a rollicking anti-establishment adventure with Who Killed Randy Ratphink? (see? told you) Actually it is a memoir told in flashback (appropriate), as a who dunnit. Very clever way to present the story.

Being a child of the times this story is set in (in which this story is set?) I really enjoyed this trip (pun intended) down memory lane. Though I did not live the lifestyle Randy did (I'm not sure how many actually did) I can identify with the tone of the tale.

You know by now I don't do spoilers, but since the title kind of gives it away, Randy is dead, and before he "goes into the light" he wants to know who killed him. Reasonable desire. This is how we get to here a great portion of the story of his life.

A mere glance at the cover of this book will suggest to the reader that there is sex, drugs, and rock & roll to be found within. It's not a tease, it's all there and then some.

Who Killed Randy Ratphink is (in my humble opinion, and that's why your reading this, right?) well written, well paced, action-oriented, paranormal fun! It should probably come with a "kids, don't do this at home" disclaimer but what the hey.

So, if you are in the mood for a light-hearted (yeah, I know it's a murder mystery) irreverent look back at the "tune-in, turn-on, drop-out" generation, Who Killed Randy Ratphink? is just what you're looking for.

By the way, when my time comes, I'm heading straight for the light. No way I want what happened to Randy to happen to me! Enjoy!


Another by the way; shame on Barnes & Noble for not offering this book!

Sunday, March 20, 2016


No, I'm not yelling the title at you, that's the way it's presented. Author, poet and photographer Shawn Lacey gave me an e-version of A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A CROSS BORDER COMMUTER for review.

Although arranged in chapters named for the months of the year, A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A CROSS BORDER COMMUTER reads at times like a stream of consciousness presentation of inspirational poetry, humorous poetry, general humor and photographs. A very interesting manner of presentation for me as I am not the country's foremost authority on, or fan of, poetry. But I did enjoys this.

I particularly enjoyed the irreverent comedy. My question for Shawn Lacey is: I don't wear sandals, is barefoot ok? (You'll have to read the book to get that one). Not an especially long book at 206 pages (according to Goodreads) and considering most pages are formatted for poetry, this was a fun and fast read.

I did not follow the authors advice to consult a poetry expert while reading his work, but I think I did ok. The only problem for me was the photography. On the platform of my e-reader; small and black and white, the pictures didn't come through well. I would expect a print copy, or even a tablet platform would display the photography better.

All in all, a fun use of a few hours. Good job Shawn (if I may be so familiar)! Enjoy!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

The City of Wizards

I was offered a free ecopy of The City of Wizards by George Mazurek for review. Brilliant person that I am, I downloaded the book on the wrong day and wound up paying for it (I rarely pay for it).

Fortunately for all concerned, The City of Wizards was worth it.

As the title implies the story is tale of magic. Not sword and sorcery because... no swords! Even with out swords there is plenty of action in this fairly short quick read. There is also romance, troubled of course. There is even a Wrestlemania style magic competition (Wizardmania?)

The City of Wizards is a nice story if you don't feel ready to commit several days to a longer book. It moves quickly to ARGGHH! a cliffhanger ending!

There are obviously more installments to come, and I for one am interested in how the main story is resolved. Lovers of magic, action, romance, intrigue and justice will not be disappointed by The City of Wizards.

The disappointment (and it's minor) for me comes from the length of the book. Many important details are glossed over; the history of the main character for one, and, the city of Averot'h itself. It felt like a lot was sacrificed for brevity. Advice for author George Mazurek, slow down. You have a good story here, take the time to flesh it out more. Both for the characters, and the world you're creating. I'm confident your audience will stick with you through a longer work. I know I will. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hell Road Warriors

At last! I'm reviewing a book I had to pay for! And yes it's a Deathlands book. Hell Road Warriors. There are 120 entries in this series, so be glad I'm not reviewing them all at once.

I know James Axler is a house name and several different authors have written books in this series. To tell the truth, I don't go find out who actually wrote each one, sue me.

It's no secret I love the Deathlands series. Post-apocalyptic fiction is one of my favorite genres. Hell Road Warriors is another good entry in the series. It takes place in Canada. I found it quite different from the usual Deathlands adventure. As I said it's a good entry in the series, but in my opinion, not the best.

Things that struck me; most of the redoubts in the deathlands are pretty well cleaned out by this time in the series yet in Canada they are pristine and just being discovered. Although there is plenty of shoot 'em up action, to me everything just seemed to flow too smoothly for the companions. Doc Tanner was definitely portrayed differently than I am used to, more feeble and confused than usual. In fact all the main characters seem to me to have been toned down. I expect over the top portrayals of Ryan and the Gang. Just felt kind of "vanilla" to me.

I'm sure die hard Deathlands fans will strongly disagree with my assessment, but hey, it's how Hell Road Warriors read for me.

I don't think fans of the series will be put off by Hell Road Warriors, I wasn't. I've got three more waiting on my shelf (I space them out to treat myself), and I look forward with eager anticipation to reading them.

Bottom line; if you are a Deathlands fan, you will like Hell Road Warriors, I just would not suggest it as the book to hook a new reader. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Touched by a Phoenix

I received a print copy of Touched By A Phoenix, by Sophia Byron for review.

This book is identified on the back cover as an erotic romance. Had that been the only identification given when I was offered the book, I'd have declined. Fortunately, this book is much, much, more. It is also a very good action/adventure story. It also has aspects of fantasy, and even spirituality.

There is a section about 100 pages long that was literally impossible to put down, the action was that good. The entire book is very close to 600 pages long so it's not a quick read per se. The erotic passages definitely live up to that moniker, they are scorching! Again, erotica is not my first choice in genres, and there is a lot of it here. Not so much as to put me off the book. In fact I found it very interesting to note the differences in sexual passages written by a female author versus others I have read by male authors. The sex in Touched By A Phoenix is presented as an emotional connection rather than just gratuitous body bumping.

The action picks up as the story progresses, and the reader finds themselves engrossed in a top notch action/adventure/espionage story. The relationship of the main characters is not diminished at all when the action takes center stage (page). At first I was worried that author Sophia Byron would not be able to carry the intensity of the romantic story line over into the more action oriented parts of the story. I need not have worried. The intensity and suspense flowed and built to a great climax (pun not intended, but you have to admit it is a pretty good one).

Another thing I really liked was that after the action story line was resolved, the book didn't end there. This is often a complaint I have, abrupt endings with little to no epilogue. Although Byron does not identify it as such, there is a very satisfying epilogue here.

I believe my copy of Touched By A Phoenix is an ARC, so I won't belabor the typos, not too many but vile and vial are not interchangeable ('nuff said).

Touched By A Phoenix, by Sophia Byron though primarily an erotic romance, does have much more to recommend it. There are bad guys, humorous sidekicks (Demi is great), cool cars, and plenty of action. A very good read over all. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Theory of Irony: How Jesus Led to Moon Golf

I was given an e-version of The Theory of Irony: How Jesus Led to Moon Golf in exchange for a review.

Author Erik Von Norden has written a history book, which had it been in my high school history classes, would have made them a lot more interesting. The crux of the book is that "The best laid plans..." well, you know the rest. He highlights how the plans of men more often than not wind up with, if not opposite outcomes, at least unintended outcomes which have greatly shaped the world as we know it.

Von Norden focuses mostly on European "Royalty" and a succession Catholic Popes who strained the idea of "Christian" actions well beyond the bounds of decency and brotherly love. The stories did sort of drop off after the Industrial Revolution (probably because too many of the imbeciles he highlights are still around and too powerful to piss off), but it does show that the status-quo of current political sleaziness is no new aberration, merely business as usual. Politics and politicians have inhabited a cesspool for as long as politics and politicians have been around.  

The research alone for this work must have been staggering. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the history shared here (the author does provide copious references, but to be completely honest, I didn't do any fact checking), but if not true it should be. It seems to me to be way too much trouble to go to for a lie. Very entertaining and enlightening stuff to say the least.

The author has a great way of imparting his lessons. He appears to possess a singularly dry wit which I greatly enjoy, as I have been accused of the same.

The Theory of Irony meticulously traces European and Eurasian history developing the premise that mankind has survived and even flourished in spite of itself and its penchant for doing the stupidest possible thing at the worst possible time. Fear not, there are examples of American screwups as well.

You might get the idea that The Theory of Irony is a spoof or at least a lampoon. I assure you it is not. It is told by an author who has an eye for the absurdity and just plain goofiness of human behavior and a humorous way of sharing it.

I do not usually review non-fiction works (you've probably noticed this by the dearth of non-fiction books listed here in my blog). I believe this is only the second (the first was my wife's book, so there you go) I've actually reviewed. I'm glad I took the risk of stepping out of my fictional world to read The Theory of Irony by Erik Von Norden, it's too weird to be fiction, so it must be true. Enjoy!