The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist #1) ★★★★☆

monstrumologist (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Monstrumologist
Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Author: Rick Yancey
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 452
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

12 year old Will Henry has been taken in by Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, as both his parents died in a fire and Will’s father worked for Dr. Warthrop. This is his story, recorded from a series of journals written much later.

Dr. Warthrop is a monstrumologist and he makes it his life to study monsters. When a graverobber brings the corpse of a headless monster to Dr. Warthrop, events from the past begin to catch up with the present. Dr. Warthrop’s father was also a monstrumologist and it turns out he was trying to domesticate the anthropophagi and brought some to America. Now they have bred and attacked and killed a family in New Jerusalem.

Dr. Warthrop brings in a professional monster hunter, Dr. Kearns and they, along with Will Henry and some former soldiers from the town of New Jerusalem must seek out and kill the nest of anthropophagi. Led by a cunning matriarch, the anthropophagi won’t succumb easily. It doesn’t help that Kearns appears to be an immoral killer who lives for the thrill of it. Who will live and who will die? Nobody important to the continuation of the series dies, if that’s any comfort.

More importantly, are these journals true or is the old man claiming to be Will Henry just a nutcase who died alone and ungrieved?

 

My Thoughts:

Lovecraftian through and through. While not cosmic horror, it is horror meant to be beyond that of mortal ken. It is also written to mimic someone writing from the 1880’s’ish, so if you don’t like Dickens, you might have some issues with the style and pacing.

Horrific, brutal and harsh. Mentally, emotionally, physically.

Will Henry might be 12 years old, but this book is in no ways meant for a 12 year old. Blood, brain matter and gore. Warthrop is the worst sort of person, forgetting his own humanity and never recognizing it in others. He is the quintessential Mad Scientist and I hated him. Will is going to grow up with scars so deep that he’ll probably end up dying while doing his duties. Much like his father, who probably died due to Warthrop’s hidden experimentation.

It was really hard to read this book and enjoy it. Will is abused by Warthrop mentally and emotionally and pushed beyond his physical limits, not because Warthrop is out to hurt him,but because Warthrop is obsessed. This was a true Horror genre book to me.

It was well written and since I enjoy Lovecraft AND Dickens, the style didn’t bother me one bit. In some ways it reminded me of a version of Frankenstein, but with all the gore and violence noted. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it just seemed very Frankenstein’ish to me.

I’ll continue the series on but I’ll be taking note of the tone of the series and adjust myself accordingly.

★★★★☆ 

bookstooge

 

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Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles #5) ★★★★☆

duneheretics (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Heretics of Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #5
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 484
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

1500 years have passed since Leto II, the God Emperor of Dune, has died and relaxed his iron grip on humanity. After his death came the Hard Times and the Scattering. Humanity spread out to stars beyond count. Only now, they are returning and they want control of the Old Empire. Ix has produced mechanical space navigating machines and the Tleilaxu produce the Spice by the ton from their axlotl tanks.

The Bene Gesserit are still playing their genetic game. They have been continuing the line of Duncan Idaho gholas through a connection with the Tleilaxu. They have also been keeping their hand in the Atreides gene line and their top protector, Supreme Bashar Miles Teg, is an Atreides who’s mother was Bene Gesserit. She also trained Teg in the Bene Gesserit ways.

At the same time, a young girl named Sheena starts communicating with the worms. She comes under the Bene Gesserit’s control and they’re plan is for her and the latest Duncan Idaho to mate and have lots of little worm talkers. Things don’t quite go as planned.

Honored Maitres, some of the returning forces, attack several Bene Gesserit worlds and put Sheena, Duncan and Teg all in danger. Teg is captured, levels up under torture and escapes. He rescues Duncan and eventually Sheena and they go off in a No-Ship. No-ships are invisible to guild navigators and other prescient beings.

The book ends with the Bene Gesserit planning on being conquered by the Honored Maitres and planning on subverting the Tleilaxu for their own purposes.

 

My Thoughts:

I was able to appreciate just how this is the beginning of a new Dune trilogy. The first, Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune all form a tight weight on one side of the see-saw. God Emperor of Dune is really the pivot point and here we begin to see the other side of the balanced weight. It is almost exciting to realize such a literary device.

There is a lot of talking going on in this book and I mean a lot. Monologuing, diatribes, half-finished sentences, blah, blah, blah. Herbert gives us all the unnecessary in excruciating detail while completely ignoring a fantastic action story. But hey, that’s typical Herbert for you. In many ways, this could have been as exciting a novel as Dune with its huge scope and action scenes. Teg and Duncan are running from a planetary invasion of Honored Matres for goodness sake. Sheena is balancing between the Sisters and the Rakian Priesthood and the Bene Gesserit are dealing with Face Dancers that can mentally imprint and BECOME that person, to the point that the Face Dancer loses its own self-identity and forgets that it is a Face Dancer. Those are all completely awesome ideas.

And Frank shoves them off to the side to talk about control and sex and government and esoteric religious ideas. Don’t get me started on the sex. Not graphic, but it is underlying everything. Reading my review from ’12 when I last read this, it was obvious that that was what stood out to me then. This time I was able to look past it a little, but still, it is like the Spice. It is in everything, it is everywhere and you can’t get away from it.

dunefreud

It doesn’t get much more Freudian than THAT!

The main reason this gets a 4star rating and not a 4/12 or 5, is because so many of the ideas are cloaked in half-sentences and unfinished thoughts. That kind of writing infuriates me. If you have a clever idea, or a big idea, or just a plain old hum drum idea, state it! Don’t hint at it, don’t take an upskirt photo surreptitiously, don’t hem and haw around the edges. Grab that sucker, throw it down on the bed and ravish it! As you can tell, Frank’s freudian obsession with sex has overcome me and now everything I say or do will have some sort of sexual connotation.

So I’m going to end this review. Read this book ONLY if you’ve read the previous 4 and liked them all. Not liked them a little bit, but liked them a lot. You’re going to need that “like” to get you through.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

 

Book Haul … ♪In a Winter♪ Wonderland♪

Well, it is a good thing I climbed that mountain on Sunday. I got in to work today and this is what I saw:

 

 

Winter is no longer coming. It is HERE!

 

Thankfully, today was also the release of Deadhouse Landing by Ian Esslemont. I loved Dancer’s Lament so much and read a couple of reviews that put Deadhouse Landing on the same level that I pulled the trigger and bought them both at our local bookstore after work today.

 

 

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These are going to look good on my shelf with all the other Malazan books I own.

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In the running for Best Book of the Year. 

 

 

Yep. Helping keep our local book store in business. Which brings up another story. Have patience if you’d heard me ramble about this store. The employees at this bookstore ACT like they want to go out of business. Every time I go in there I feel like I’m a bother and a nuisance. When I ordered these 2 books last week, the lady at the register actually had the gall to ask me for the isbn of the books when I asked her if she wanted the author or titles. Next time I go in, I swear I’m going to ask for “That red cover book about that famous guy. You know, the one everyone is talking about? Maybe it had a green cover and was about a women? But you know, that famous one I saw on The View 2 months ago”. Serve them right if I did that.  Same place that told me to go look on amazon for a specific hard cover edition of a book. But anyway….

Always glad to plunk down some hard cash, or plastic as the case may be, for some quality story in a dead tree.

 

bookstooge

Starting the Week Off Right – On a Mountain Top!

So our small mens group met for breakfast and then some of us headed out to climb a local mountain. It was a great time. High 30’s on the climb up, then once we passed the treeline and got to the summit, it got windy and cold! Must have been below freezing. There were a lot more people up top than I thought would be there in November.

The hike up was tough. It was steep, icy and I was wicked full from a breakfast of hashbrowns, scrambled eggs and keilbasa.  Sometimes something that tastes good isn’t the best idea. But diner food sure does taste good! The hike down was much easier. We did a lot more talking too, as we weren’t all huffing and puffing.

By the time we got down I was beat. My knees hurt, I felt like I’d worked a full day and I was ready to sit on the couch for the rest of the day. But I’d had some good exercise, some good fellowship, some wonderful views and a lot of brisk, fresh air. What more can you ask for? This is the way to start a week!

 

All pictures should be clickable for higher res versions

Survival Saturday – Pasta Alfredo

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For all the Why’s and Wherefore’s of Survival Saturday, please visit the Intro Post. Thanks!

 

This Survival Saturday’s Selection, for the discriminating gourmand amongst my readers, is Pasta Alfredo by Legacy Premium.  It might be tough to tell from my pix, but this stuff is REALLY vacuumed sealed. It has a little thingamajigger inside to boot! Just so you know it’s legit vacuum. Once again, all pictures should be clickable for ease of viewing.

 

Things Needed:

6 Cups Water

2 tablespoons butter

1 Package Pasta Alfredo

 

Ingredients:

Pasta (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), Coconut Oil, Maltodextrin, Corn Starch, Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes), Whey, Sea Salt, Garlic, Onion, Sodium Caseinate, Maltodextrin, Butter (cream, water, salt), Parsley, Non Fat Milk, Yeast Extract, Butter Milk, Spice, Dried Cane Syrup, Silicon Dioxide, Natural Parmesan Cheese Flavor, Mono & Diglycerides, High Oleic Acid Sunflower Oil, Disodium Phosphate, Carrot, Natural Flavor, Tocopherols, Ascorbyl Palmitate.

 

Allergens/Additional Info:

ALLERGENS
Wheat, Milk. This product is produced on equipment that also processes products containing Egg, Soy, Milk, Tree Nuts and Peanut.
ADDITIONAL INFO
  • Pouch Makes 6 Prepared Cups
  • Net Weights 4 serv. = 13.6 ounces
  • 386 grams
  • Non-GMO
  • Vegetarian
  • Uses Sea Salt
  • No Trans Fats
  • Low Cholesterol

 

Directions:

4 servings/1 Pouch – Bring 6 cups water to boil. Slowly whisk in entire package. Reduce heat to a medium boil. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Let sit 3-5 minutes prior to serving.

Once again, I used a bamboo spoon instead of a whisk and it seemed to be ok.

 

Impressions:

This package of Pasta Alfredo had a LOT more in it than the Tortilla Soup. It’s a big selling point on the Legacy page about how much you get. It also made a difference that this was a pasta based dish and not just a thick soup.

It had a pull tab to open it, so I didn’t need scissors like I did with the Tortilla soup package.  Little things like that might not make a huge difference, but if things are so bad that you’re eating this stuff involuntarily, then something little like that just might make your day that much easier.

Once we brought the water to boiling and stirred in the package, we stirred it every 5 minutes and left the cover off. The package said to simmer for 15 minutes and the online directions [which I included] said for a medium boil. We simmered for 15 minutes and then upped the temp and boiled for another 5. It was pretty soupy at the 15min mark. With the additional time and temp it was a bit thicker. Next time I’d definitely do the boil for the whole time.

There was a lot. Definitely more than the 2 of us could eat in one meal. The 4 servings was for real this time.

 

Mrs B enjoyed her bowl’s worth. I think it helped that today was only in the high 30’s and a nice hot bowl of noodles is exactly what she calls for. She said it was better than some of the frozen dinner varieties of alfredo she’s had in the past. She really enjoyed it and claimed the leftovers. Did I mention how big the portions were?

Me, on the other hand …. I found it rather bland. There was a hint of “alfredo” but reminded me more of a campbells cream of mushroom soup with noodles. I was satisfied after one bowl and had no desire to eat more. She got no fight from me about the leftovers. I think some salt and pepper sprinkled on a bowlful might have helped.  This was exactly what I expected from “Survival Food”; serviceable and something to wolf down to fill your daily caloric need.

Once again, we both took a flintstones multi, as it appears that ALL survival food is more caloric than anything.

With this being non-spicy and cheesey noodley,  neither of us foresee any problems or need for a Later Impressions. If something really bad comes about, I’ll make a comment 🙂

 

bookstooge

 

–All Survival Saturday Related Posts–

 

This Week in Review

Man, what a load of a week. It just started bad and never really recovered. Hence my lack of posts for most of the week. Prepare for some whining!

alg-crying-baby-jpg

whah, whah, whah!

 

Monday. Working in the road, setting the new centerline for the Town, so they could begin construction. Almost got run over by some jerk in a large utility van/truck. I had a can of spraypaint in my hand and let off a jet. THAT got him to stop. Then had a verbal altercation with him as he was justifying himself about not giving a damn about me actually being in the road. Had a talk with my boss, as almost tagging vehicles is NOT company approved action. I knew that was coming though, and agreed, so it was ok. But still, getting talked to by your boss, no matter how necessary, is never “fun”.

Wednesday I was working sick, as was Mrs Bookstooge. We were a real matched pair that day.

old-couple

Not quite that old, but I’m definitely that grumpy looking!

 

Thursday I found an embedded, partially engorged deer tick on my thigh. When I removed it, it didn’t look like the head came out, so I had to head to Urgent Care to get that taken care. They put me on doxycycline and that’s been making my stomach upset.

browndoggroup

Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting!

 

Then, on top of all that, I’ve been dealing with hardware and software issues at work. Some of our survey equipment is pushing 12years and so it’s starting to fail. I bought a new to us data collector and getting it updated, connected, configured, etc, etc has been a real process. I’m still not done and will have to come into the office after Sundown tomorrow to finish things up.

allegro-mx

 

And after writing 18-19 posts in the last 3 weeks, I was feeling some word burnout. Not bad, but definitely didn’t want to just sit down and start typing stuff up, like this post  *grin*

Saturday is going to be church, then the above mentioned work after Sabbath. Sunday I’m climbing a local mountain with some guys from church. That’ll be fun, if it doesn’t kill us. 40degrees is going to be the high temperature and once we get above the treeline I suspect the windchill will be well below freezing. I’m no Idris Elba, but I’ll give him a run for his money!

ep-171009439

 

 

bookstooge

The Player of Games (The Culture #2) ★★★☆ ½

playergames (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Player of Games
Series: The Culture #2
Author: Iain Banks
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 417
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Gergeh, the greatest game player, of any game in The Culture, is bored. His materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle is wearing thin and since the Culture is all about materialism and hedonism, he’s in for a bad time.

Thankfully, Gergeh gets in touch with Contact, a branch of the non-government that deal with contact between The Culture and other spacefaring races. A newly contacted race is an actual Space Empire, something the Culture doesn’t want around because an Empire is full of violence and dangerous ideas. Thankfully, this Empire is completely bonkers over a Game.

Gergeh is the Culture’s Representative in the Game that will decide who the next Emperor will be. It is a purely symbolic gesture for Gergeh, as he cannot become Emperor. But the Empire wants to show its citizens that no outside “Culture” can tell them what to do or beat them at their own game.

Of course, Gergeh beats them all, by the skin of his teeth, sets in motion the downfall of the Empire as its very psyche is shattered and once back in Culture Space, suddenly all is well with Gergeh and he’s satisfied with his inane, empty and completely meaningless life. Score one for The Culture!

 

My Thoughts:

First, Neal Asher’s Polity Universe has been likened to Banks’ The Culture novels and after reading this, I can see why. However, where Asher gives us characters who are in the thick of things and have a brain and have a modicum of moral backbone, Banks gives us characters who have been coddled since before birth and live a life of ease and pleasure so stultifying that it made me feel stupid just reading about it.

Now, onto what I really thought of this.

This is all based on the assumption of humanistic materialism. Basically, there is nothing but matter and the interactions of matter. There is no God, there is no soul, there is no afterlife, there is no Meaning. Everything is pointless drivel in the end because you just die and become somebody’s snot. If I was a believer in this, I’d just go around and kill as many people as I could for the pure thrill of it and the adrenalin rush.

Gergeh, the main character, is just about at that point. But he’s had all bad things removed from his genes, because obviously anything bad must have a material cause and it must be in the genes.

I was told over and over how great the Culture was, how so many advances had been made, how gene-tweaked everyone was to make them better people in all ways. And yet Gergeh is a bored, selfish, narcissistic (I like that word and use it a lot) bastard. His every thought, desire and action gives lie to what we’re told about the Culture. At least Asher is a bit more honest in his Polity books about people wanting to swan off after about 300 years or so.

I was recommended this as the first Culture book to read and I’m glad I did. It was engaging and fun once Gergeh started playing the Game in the Empire, But that didn’t happen until almost the 40% mark. That first 40% was a killer for me.

I plan on reading more, but if I continue to react to the rest of the books like I did this one, I probably won’t last the entire series. I feel like I broke out in a bad case of “Righteous Judgement” while reading this.

Maybe I completely read this wrong and Banks is being a satirist about The Culture? But I don’t get that vibe.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge