Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I used to pour over these sorts of tales when I was in junior high and high school. Recently, I had a rekindled interest, but had a difficult time finding anything that really shared the stories of Loki, Thor, Freyja and all the rest. My "finish date" on this is deceptive as I have probably listened to it 3 or 4 times.

If you want to take a trip into proper Norse mythology, this is the perfect book. The audio version has the added bonus of being read by the author, Mr. Gaiman. I would consider this a must read simply sue to the superb concept of how these stories were once used to explain the world as seen through the eyes of the Norsemen.

View all my reviews

Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I have to admit that I grabbed this on a whim with no expectations. In the end, I found some really good points in here. Was it ground-breaking? No, but often you simply need to hear somebody put into words what your mind knows so that you refocus.

Overall, I can't say there was anything in this book that I scoffed at, and it was presented in a manner that might initially be off-putting, but if you got past the title, then chances are you won't have too many issues with the presentation.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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. Only...it 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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

Review: Patient Zero

Patient Zero Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, I guess I came in with different expectations. Yes, this is technically horror/zombie related, but it is more of a "Jack Bauer" sort of tale. It has a lot of action and features a main character that is apparently the baddest man around because he always gets the drop on people and can kick anybody's behind he meets...oh yeah, and he gets the hot girl after the required will they/won't they period.

Honestly, when reading anything "zombie" related, it requires a degree of reality suspension, but Maberry does do a great job of melding real science into the work. Not sure how far I will travel with Joe Ledger, after all, I wasn't a fan of McGyver and this is a souped up version in a lot of ways. It leaves an open ending of sorts that I had a hard time swallowing with a key villain, but I guess that helps to propagate a series.

As for the audio version, well narrated with a voice that fir. Great pacing and no attempt to overdo it when female voices were needed.

View all my reviews