Friday, February 23, 2018

The Stranger In 0-G

I was given an e-copy of The Stranger in 0-G by Kate Bassett for review.

This book was offered as an erotic science fiction, and although I do not generally review erotica, The Stranger in 0-G intrigued me enough to give it a look.

The story is one of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage of duty to her family. She is married to a worthless, abusive husband, and has a somewhat spooky daughter.  The eroticism comes at the hands (and other appendages) of... you guessed it; The Stranger in 0-G. 

The story was interesting enough to hold my attention, and not just because of the erotic content. As the beginning of a series, The Stranger in 0-G sets up the story well. Set in a world similar to ours yet with startling differences, we have the bones of an entertaining story.

I do have one serious problem with this book. That is the editing, the copy I downloaded from Smashwords is in serious need of a good proofreader. Not typos exactly, but words in the wrong place, unneeded words, and left out words. Too many to be overlooked. It did impact my overall enjoyment of the book. Because of this I have given it fewer stars on sites which require that arbitrary rating system than the story itself deserves.

The second much less serious problem was the internal consistency of the characters. We have characters who are well described as physically different from your run of the mill human. Yet when we get into the erotic passages those differences seem to disappear. Not unforgivable, to be sure, but it let that passage fall a bit flat for me.

Overall, The Stranger in 0-G is a decent beginning. With a good proofreader and just a touch more internal consistency, author Kate Bassett will have an excellent series here. Enjoy!


It's All Fun And Games

I won a print copy of It's All Fun And Games by Dave Barrett in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

This book is so much fun! The premise is not new here, a fantasy role play game becomes real. But as someone who played D&D often in the 1980's, I know this particular fantasy has been indulged by many players, me included. The reader does not need to be an experienced gamer to enjoy this story, but it doesn't hurt either.

Although the book does not specify whether it is the beginning of a series, it certainly lends itself to becoming one (I seriously hope it does).

Fortunately, our band of questing teens catch on quickly and do hold well to their character histories and descriptions. The adventure is at times brutal and graphic, then humorous and fun, overall very entertaining. Sword and sorcery fantasy at its best.

It's All Fun And Games is well developed escapist middle grade to YA fantasy that older fantasy role players will enjoy. No language issues, no sex, violence (not particularly gruesome), and like the games it is based on, the characters need to think, not just react.

Great start to what I hope will be a fun, escapist series. I recommend It's All Fun And Games by Dave Barrett. Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Construct 11 Part 1

I won a print copy of Construct 11 Part 1 by Anna Lynn Miller in a Goodreads giveaway.

Construct 11 is a futuristic, dystopian society masquerading as a Utopian society (how do you think this is gonna work out?). Faintly reminiscent of Logan's Run.

Author Anna Lynn Miller does an outstanding job of bringing the reader into this closed society. Construct 11 refers to a building erected post nuclear war. The current timeline is so far removed from the war as to refer to the time as "New Clear".

This story is sooo goood! I was captivated immediately. The perfect society is starting to come apart at the seams (wouldn't be much of a story if it wasn't), or at least is not as perfect as it would like to believe. I'll let you decide that one. A refreshing aspect of Construct 11 is that the lines of conflict are not defined by age or gender or even societal status. It's nice to not have young vs old or male vs female and the like.

The author does a great job of staying grounded in the world she has created. The story remains internally consistent throughout. The characters are true to the premise. I found no inconsistencies which would upset the flow of the read.

Joy of joys! Our author does not resort to the dreaded, hated, vilified, and totally without redeeming social value cliff hanger! Since this is the first book in a series, of course the ending has to be structured to keep us interested, and it does that. So thank you, thank you, thank you Ms. Miller.

As I said, first in a series (#2 is already out). I recommend you check out Construct 11 Part 1 by Anna Lynn Miller. A great escapist read.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What Could Go Wrong?

What Could Go Wrong? by Dixie J Whitted was another gift that I wanted to review.

A short collection of single frame comics, What Could Go Wrong? is just a lot of fun. Dixie Whitted is also the illustrator, and the artwork is great.

The comics have a kind of Gary Larson bent, reminiscent of The Far Side. Fits my offbeat sense of humor.

I guess it's a spoiler but I have to describe my favorite: A vampire is writhing on the floor and his pretty victim is standing over him saying " and after the pepperoni pizza, I had several pieces of garlic bread..." Now that's funny. Enjoy!


Crime Rhymes: From Bad To Verse

I received a print copy of Crime Rhymes: From Bad To Verse as a gift, not necessarily for review, but what the heck.

 Crime Rhymes is a collection of limericks, poems and a short story all with a crime theme. I'm not a big poetry fan, but I do enjoy limericks.

I did read the book in one sitting, it was hard for me to not go on to the next, and the next and just one more. The difficulty came when I read the short story at the end. Not because of any flaw with the story, it was a good Sherlock Holmes deduction and I really enjoyed it. The difficulty was after reading so many limericks and poems I kept trying to read with that cadence. I had to keep telling myself "it's not a poem!"

Crime Rhymes: From Bad To Verse by Dixie Whitted is good for a chuckle when you need a literary break. Enjoy!


Uber Diva

I received an ecopy of Uber Diva by Charles St. Anthony for review.

I had very mixed reactions to Uber Diva. 

First, I did enjoy the book. It's funny, sarcastic and irreverent. I'm not sure it will be all that helpful to aspiring drivers, but I also don't really believe that is its goal.

The book is a quick read, it only took about an hour or so for me to read. I started, as I usually do, just to get a feel for the book and stayed with it till the end, which speaks to its readability.

I do feel Uber Diva is written for a younger, more urban audience than a 62 year old resident of a small rural area in north Idaho (three cars on the street at one time is a traffic jam). Definitely a big city feel.

The language. I don't really have a problem with graphic language, but Uber Diva could make a career Navy person blush. Herein lies my strongest reaction. With abundant use of slang terms for both male and female genitalia, F-bombs, and some very inventive name calling, I was surprised when the author used asterisks for the dreaded N-word  (n***a) yet dropped the mother f-bomb in all its fully spelled out glory in the very next sentence. Really? You have the testicular fortitude to use every offensive word possible but edit that one word? Interesting.

Anyway, if you can deal with the language, Uber Diva is a funny book. I do like Charles St. Anthony's snark. Enjoy!


The King's Tournament

I was given an ecopy of The King's Tournament by John Yeo Jr. for review.

This book pretty much has it all for fantasy readers; goblins, centaurs, humans, sentient trees, trolls, sorcery, swords, Japanese martial arts weapons, sex, violence, love, honor and intrigue. And even more than that. A very well realized story, I really enjoyed it.

The only real negative was the incidents of repeating word for word short passages. At first I thought it just an editing glitch, but as it happened more frequently, it appeared to be a literary device. Didn't work that well for me. I did tend to skip over these passages when I encountered them.

The story itself was great. A reader could look at the tournament as a type of quest with kind of a Survivor vibe. The tournament takes place on an island and they even mentioned voting people off. We have all the scheming and alliances you would expect.

The action is graphic, the sex less so. Lots of twists and turns, surprises and sorrows. I actually had a hard time putting this book down (pesky things like dinner and such getting in the way). Well defined characters, some sympathetic, some not so much.

All in all, The King's Tournament by John Yeo Jr. definitely qualifies as a Goodread. I recommend it. Enjoy!


Monday, February 12, 2018

How to Remove a Brain and other Bizarre Medical Practices

Author (and doctor) David Haviland sent me an ecopy of How to Remove a Brain and Other Bizarre Medical Practices.

How to Remove a Brain... is a fun read. Especially if you enjoy bizarre humor (and yes I do). The procedure for removing a brain was actually one of the few practices I already knew. Some of the others are downright hilarious. If you are not careful you may actually learn something.

A couple things I learned: What it means to be a "toady" and where "blowing smoke" came from.

We see a lot of things that make us think "are you kidding me? They really believed that?" I had a lot of fun reading some of the examples to my wife.

Dr. Haviland has an engaging style and that wonderful dry British humor (humour) that I enjoy.

While I rarely review non-fiction books, How to Remove a Brain and Other Bizarre Medical Practices, by David Haviland is very entertaining and informative and I'm glad I gave it a chance. If bizarre yet true humor tickles your fancy, try this one out. Enjoy!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

4 Screenplays

I won a print copy of 4 Screenplays by Robert Lampros in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I have read several of Mr. Lampros' works and have enjoyed them all. 4 Screenplays, while a bit of a different format, is every bit as entertaining.

Having never read a screenplay before, I can not speak to how these four stories stand up as screenplays officially. What I can speak to is how good they were to read. Given the minimalist style of writing, Mr. Lampros does an excellent job of painting the mental picture of his stories. From the existential conflict of the Christian school teacher, through a retelling of biblical prophesy, crime action, and a murder mystery demonstrating that there are always consequences to be paid for our actions, though the consequences do not always come immediately. The writing is very evocative, keeping us in the moment throughout.

I actually read this book in two sittings. It was so riveting I just couldn't put it down. It is the best example of his work I have yet to read. If you are familiar with Mr. Lampros' work, you know what high praise that is. He is an incredibly talented writer. These 4 Screenplays would make great films.

The only two negatives: First, the title. 4 Screenplays? Accurate to be sure, but no pow! No pizzazz! Don't ask me what title would be better, that's not my job. Okay, not a serious complaint. Second, and even less serious, what he does to the Lamborghini is just wrong. Okay, it was a Diablo, but c'mon Robert, it is still a sweet ride.

4 Screenplays by Robert Lampros is such a good read, I highly recommend you check it out. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Somewhere in San Diego

Author Dennis Macaraeg sent me a print copy of Somewhere in San Diego for review.

Somewhere in San Diego is the second book in the Somewhere series, the first I have read by this author.

It is a break-neck paced action story with main characters racing against time to save the fiance of one's partner. Oddly enough, the character who is trying to save his fiance gets very little print. He is actually a subordinate player.

Our heroes are a man and woman who should be together but aren't due to their history. They are reunited by the current circumstances. In the midst of the life and death perils they face we witness their working through relationship issues. This strained my credulity a bit as I find it difficult to think they would be focusing on their relationship while being hunted by bad guys looking to kill them. But maybe that is just me.The action of the story was almost relentless. We did get short interludes to catch our breath, but then bang! it's on again.

There is plenty of sexual tension, and outright sexual activity, interwoven with the blistering action. Very graphic at times. Yes, sex and violence in the same story. For all the action and intrigue, the story wrap-up fell a bit short for me. The action side of the story line was wrapped up in one paragraph. The resolution of the relationship issues got several pages. So, we have a romance with action overtones rather than an action story with romantic overtones. Not a bad thing by any means, the story is good, the action tight, if maybe a bit overwhelming given that we actually have a romance here.

Somewhere in San Diego by Dennis Macaraeg is a good overall read. Enjoy!