Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: The Dragon Factory

The Dragon Factory The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joe Ledger is the supernatural Jack Bauer. The Dragon Factory even has a countdown clock. So, I wasn't totally sold on book one, but it was good enough for me to give book two a spin and I'm glad that I did. How can AIDS, Nazis, clones, unicorns, and a potential ethnic cleansing on a massive scale all be tied together? The answer: apparently seamlessly if you are Jonathan Maberry. I will fully admit that I went into this with heavy skepticism. I'm still not ready to call this "horror" per se, but it is certainly a thriller. You owe it to yourself to give it a spin.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: Wanderers : Ragnarök

Wanderers : Ragnarök Wanderers : Ragnarök by Richard A. Bamberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a really enjoyable start to a series. It sets the table nicely and slips in some good back story to flesh out Raphael Semmes, the main character. I would have liked a few more callbacks to his training, but maybe that will be parceled out as the series draws on. Beast is hands down my favorite character. A Harley/Manticore? Could there be anything cooler? The friend who gave me this series as a gift knew what they were doing as I can't wait to plunge further into this world.

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Review: Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life by Joe De Sena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I will say first that this can almost come off as a bit preachy, sort of like the mindset a former smoker can get once they kick the habit. In other words, almost militant. The thing is, De Sena believes in what he says and does that strongly. Did I suddenly get the desire to go organic or give up ice cream? No, but I am more conscious about QUANTITY. I have lost almost 30 pounds since embarking on Spartan races. This year, at age 52, I am going to earn my Trifecta. I have met a few of the elite runners at some of the events, and they really are embracing this life. There might be points here that you don't fully jive with, but you will find something that speaks to you. And NO!!! This is NOT a workout book. It is cognitive...about mindset.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Flip This Zombie

Flip This Zombie Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not totally thrilled with the first book in the series. It got a bit too "whiny" for lack of a better word. There were moments that managed to shine, but it was just not ringing for me. I had already snagged books 2 and 3, so I chose to give it another shot. I am very glad that I did. There is some nice stuff going on here. It is a couple trying to make their lives work in an apocalypse. Enter mad scientists and bratty kids and it surprised me at how well it all worked. On to book three with some really good narration by Cassandra Campbell to make my long drives just a bit more pleasant.

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Review: Eat Slay Love

Eat Slay Love Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one had all the potential to get crazy. just never really did (for me). Now, that said, there is enough here to continue with the series for me. I just felt a bit disappointed with this one. I thought that it fell back on some of the weaknesses from the first book.

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Review: United States Of Apocalypse

United States Of Apocalypse United States Of Apocalypse by Mark Tufo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've read almost everything by Tufo and Rosamilia. Some I've liked, some not. It's the nature of the game. This absolutely did not work for me. It almost smacked of a money grab. The story has NO resolution. If this was going to be a series, that would be one thing, but to end like these stories did is a huge disservice to the readers that follow both of these men.

There were times when Tufo's narrative almost reminded me of Whitley Streiber's "War Day" but then it would fall back on this Talbot thing. I get it. He is the franchise name, but the writing should be enough, and most of his fans will read a menu if he wrote one, so falling back on the MT thing felt forced here. As for the BT/Talbot dialog (normally a Tufo strength) this felt like it was a cut-and-paste from all the previous interactions between the pair. Okay, so BT was a cop, next make him a sailor, then a biker, construction worker, and Native American and you get the entire Village People line-up. I found Talbot's insistence that he should be cut some slack instead of treated like a criminal when he was just trying to move forward with his life a laugh for my own personal reasons. And the callbacks to aliens and zombies were just pointless. The reader/listener gets it. You write a good zombie series and a decent syfy tale.

Rosamilia had a good story going and to end it like it did was a poor choice. I feel like I got invested in a really cool series (like Firefly) and the had the numbskulls in the network tower kill it after season one. My biggest complaint is his dialog. He said...she said...he said...she said... Give the readers more credit for being able to follow the conversation.

My last complaint is the narration. While Ms. Whelan was okay, just not memorable, I guess I went in expecting something special from Runnette after all I've read. This for me is where the Emperor's New Clothes comes into play. If so many say he is great, then he must be...right? Maybe. If he had more than one tone to his voice, could give character to a female voice in some way. I'm not saying shrill Monty Python stuff, but something...anything would be better than what I heard. And then there is the breathing. All the hitches, breaths, and gasps during the narration were beyond annoying. I can't stand by and say what a great outfit the emperor is wearing here. Sorry, the truth is that he's naked. Find a narrator that can edit that noise out during post-production.

Overall, I can't give a thumbs-up vote for this despite the impending backlash from the mob. I've never padded a review, and won't start now. Both of these writers have received good reviews from me for other works, sadly, this ain't one of them.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: Catalyst - A Rogue One Novel

Catalyst - A Rogue One Novel Catalyst - A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting prequel to the stand alone Star Wars adventure, Rogue One. What is perhaps the best part about this little story is how it sets up an in-depth backstory of the Erso family as well as Orson Krennick. Tarkin makes his appearance as well and this is really a good story whether you are a Star Wars junkie, or even just a casual fan.

The narration is adequate, but sometimes the background sound effects can become annoying. A bit overdone at times.

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