The Lives of Tao (The Lives of Tao #1) ★★★★☆

livesoftao (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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Lives of Tao
Series: The Lives of Tao #1
Author: Wesley Chu
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 464
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Tao is an alien. An amorphous creature that along with a whole ship of his kind, crashed on Earth 1 bajillion years ago. They cannot long live in our atmosphere but have found that if they inhabit a terrestial life form, it protects them. And they can communicate with and in some cases control, their host. Tao has been in symbiosis with some of the greatest characters in human history, as the aliens want humans to advance enough so they can build them a spaceship to get the aliens back home.

Some hundreds of years ago the aliens split along lines of domination and mutualism in regards to humans. The Gengix want to dominate humans and force them into endless wars to produce better and better tech, hence getting the Gengix home quicker. The Prophus, of whom Tao is part, want humans to advance peacefully so the Prophus leave the planet in better condition than they found it when they all leave.

Tao’s latest host was killed and Tao had to inhabit Roen Tan, a lazy, fat, apathetic and generall all around useless piece of humanity. But Tao, a high ranking Prophus, doesn’t let Roen stay that way. With help from other Prophus members and humans working for the Prophus, Roen is turned into a decent fighting machine. Which is good, because the Gengix end up kidnapping his girlfriend and training mentor and he has to lead a group of special forces to rescue them both and find out just what the Gengix are up to.

 

My Thoughts:

If you had had me read Time Salvager and this back to back, I would have sworn they were written by different people. Glad I didn’t give up on Chu after TS was such a phracking load of debacle’ness.

Now, with that being said, I still didn’t care for Roen Tan for the entirety of the book. His attitudes were everything I’ve ever despised, namely, that selfish apathy that is impermeable to any and all reason and takes the path of least resistance every single time. He got better by the end but was still thick as mud sometimes and had me shaking my head. It was obviously deliberate on Chu’s part and I can roll with it, but it is something to be aware of. It is also something that had better not be in the next 3 books or I’ll dnf. One book I can handle, not an entire series.

For some reason I was under the impression that this was going to be funny and comedic. Not so much really. A few quips here and there were really about it. It was dealing with humanity as a whole being used by an alien race for their own ends and some of the horrific things the aliens had caused, like the bubonic plague, Chernobyl, World War I and II, the atomic bomb, etc. Death and Destruction on a scale that is almost unimaginable.

The split of the aliens into factions between the Gengix and the Prophus, I’m not sure why Chu chose to do that except to show that all life is approximately the same the universe over, ie, corrupt and terrible? I repudiate that, but on theological not philosphical grounds.

I was reminded a couple of times of the tv show Chuck. While Tao doesn’t magically allow Roen to become a super karate expert like the Intersect did for Chuck, the whole idea of having a wealth of knowledge in one’s head was almost the same.

The badguys were pretty good badguys. The Gengix and their human hosts were wonderfully despicable and the only thing I love better than a bad badguy is a good goodguy. Since I didn’t get that, I had to settle for the first half of the equation.

I guess why I’m giving this 4stars is that I stayed up past midnight to finish this because I wanted to see how things worked out. That says a lot to me when a book can hook me like that. Hopefully the next 3 in the series can keep that hook in.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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The Holy Thief (Brother Cadfael #19) ★★★☆½

holythief (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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Holy Thief
Series: Brother Cadfael #19
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Medieval Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Two fellow Benedictines from a neighboring enclave come in search of offerings of money, prayers, skilled labor and materials for help in rebuilding their plundered abbey. A great amount of all 4 are raised and sent on back to the abbey while the 2 brothers head to other abbey’s to keep on raising more support. The cart and its inhabitants are waylaid by bandits and while the men escape with their lives, all the materials and money is gone.

At this time, it is discovered that the reliquary supposedly containing the bones of the welsch Saintess has gone missing. Suspicion falls on the younger of the monks from the ruined abbey and a witness is called to prove he did take the reliquary. Said witness ends up dead and discovered by the younger monk. Lots of twistings and turnings later, it all comes out that it was done by the assistant to a travelling musician who had stolen the valuables and then murdered the witness to the stealing of the reliquary on the off chance he had seen the assistant take the gold and jewels.

Said young monk, who has a voice from heaven, runs off to Wales with the slave girl of the travelling musician who also has the gift of singing. The bones of the Saintess are returned safely to Shrewsbury, the murderer is taken and everything works out for the best, with the exception of the murdered shepherd, poor sap.

 

My Thoughts:

It is about phracking time that this series got back to having Cadfael as a main character again. I bumped this up at least half star just for that reason alone!

The other thing I really liked was that brother Jerome, that sniveler, that ass kisser and general sucker upper to Prior Robert, lost control and whacked the shepherd over the head. He thought he killed the guy but sadly, it turned out to be someone else put the finishing kabosh on the poor shepherd. I have to admit, I was hoping it WAS Jerome just so the sheriff, Hugh Beringar, could string him up and hang him dead. Jerome has been a worm since the first book and I want him dead. Oh well.

The whole young love thing is just such a trope in this series at this point that I just shrug my shoulders and think “oh well”. The problem I do have it is that it allows Peters to give voice to her rather ecumenical and unscriptural theology using a monk and so add weight to her thoughts.

I enjoyed this read from start to finish, which is a good change from the last couple of Cadfael books. I only have 2 more to go in this series and I’m really hoping they end strong and not with a whimper.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Code of the Woosters (The Jeeves Omnibus #1.2) ★★★☆½

codeofthewoosters (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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Code of the Woosters
Series: The Jeeves Omnibus #1.2
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 263
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Bertie Wooster is bamboozled into helping out various friends and relatives as they try to get what they want, whether it be a wife, a husband, a policeman’s helmet, a diary, a superb chef or even a silver cow creamer, Bertie is at his best, messing everything up. Since he has ignored Jeeves’ recommendation to take a world tour on a cruise ship, Jeeves is less than completely helpful.

But in the end Jeeves doesn’t let his master down and everything works out ok for everyone except for the Justice of the Peace who once fined Bertie Wooster 5 pounds. Imagine the gall!

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this but it was just a touch too long. If Wodehouse had knocked it back to 200 pages, the humor would have been more palatable. I mean, after a point rich people having problems like not being able to keep their cook just isn’t funny when you’re dealing with 8 other rich people, almost all of whom are so stupid it is surprising they haven’t walked in front of a bus yet, all dealing with similar “problems”. It starts out funny but like a fish, starts to smell after a while.

That being said, up until the 75% mark, there were quite a few instances where I was just chortling to myself at the pure outrageousness of the happenings. I mean, Bertie is such a good hearted idiot that you want him to succeed even while knowing he’s an idiot and is going to flub things up.

I only gave this 3stars back in ’02 even while my review from then leads me to believe I found it funnier back then than this time around. However, I wasn’t actually using a 5star system (that started in ’07 or ’09 with my time at Goodreads) but retconn’ed all my books into the 5star system. I was using some vague and completely subjective 100 point system based on my highschool grading system. Man, how the times they have a’changed!

Despite all my complaining, I did enjoy this quite a bit and laughed out loud enough times so that Mrs B stopped asking me what I was laughing about. I think that says just how good this book actually was.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Motorcycles VERSUS Scooters

Folks, this shouldn’t even be a post that I have to write about. However, it has come to my attention that there are genuine adult males, not men, but adult males,  who think that scooters are cool, more cool than motorcycles.  Before I give my very pointed and genuine opinion on THAT, let’s look at some pictorial evidence.

 

 

 

The above is a Suzuki Boulevard S40. That is the motorcycle I owned from ’05 til ’08 when I had to sell it to buy a car for Mrs B when we got married and she moved cross country to the Free’est State in the Union. It is a little bike. I’m only 5’3″ (160cm for you Illuminati types) and I could flat foot it with both feet. However, it was a 650cc engine, so when I was on the highway, I could give that baby the throttle and BAM, I was going 80mph (about 130kph) in seconds.  Motorcycles only get bigger and more powerful from there. This cost me about 5 G’s back in the day.

 

 

 

This is a Vespa GTS 300, a brand name scooter. You can’t ride this on the highway legally here. You do need a MOTORCYCLE license though. It is about a 280cc.  It costs about 7 G’s.

 

 

 

Dwayne Johnson, better known as the Rock, on his motorcycle. Definitely not wearing Bookstooge approved footwear for riding, but we’re working on that.

 

 

 

 

An attractive young lady on a scooter. Well, except for those shoes.  I never have, and never will, understand the fascination with high heels.

 

Scooters have their place and virile, strong and manly men CAN ride them. Gregory Peck showed us all the truth of that in Roman Holiday.  So, if you are ever in Rome and secretly dating a princess, you ride that scooter!

Roman Holiday 3 (Medium)

 

But other than that, if you have any of the sense that God gave you and you just have to get on 2 wheels, get a phracking motorcycle! A motorcycle will show just what kind of man you actually are.  A motorcycle is dangerous and thrilling and you HAVE to be in control of that bike at all times, aware of everything around you, or you’ll end up dead, a hood ornament on some oversized SUV and be a byline on the 6 o’clock news. You will never be more alive though than when you are driving around on it.

So who wins in this VERSUS post? Need you even ask?

motorcycle1

Motorcycles for the Win!

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Man with One Name (The God Fragments 2.5) ★★★★☆

manwithonename (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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Man with One Name
Series: The God Fragments 2.5
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 68
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Lynx is wandering and comes into a small town. He accidentally kills an employee of the local warlord. He is then made Reeve by an enterprising old woman and has to survive the wrath of Therien, the man he has bucked.

After killing half of Therien’s crew, Lynx proposes a duel of mage pistols at dawn and Therien agrees, knowing that if he kills Lynx, he will then be the legitimate authority in the town. Lynx simply snipes him and heads out of town.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a story of Lynx before he joined up with the Cards. Honestly, I was expecting a prequel novella to book 3, much like Honour Under Moonlight leads up to Princess of Blood. Seeing what Lynx dealt with as an ex-Hanese soldier wandering around was enlightening and it definitely made him a slighter fuller figure (ha, yes, that is a pun on him being fat).

Knowing Lynx from the previous books and novella, I suspected that the ending would go the way it did. Lynx is pragmatic until it runs counter to his set of morals. Sniping a warlord who had used his underlings to try to kill him presented no moral qualms for Lynx.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

PSA: Blogging Mano A Mano Style

PSA

 

Sometimes blogging as a man, I wish there was a core set of Man Blogs (Dibs! I’m trademarking that! ) that I could subscribe to. No offense to ANY of you ladies who I follow or who follow me. But just what is the ratio of Male to Female when it comes to blogging for fun? I don’t care to clutter up this post with cold hard facts, so I’m going with a ratio of Less to More.

Bossy guy pointing at you.

Actually, 1 to 4 does sound about right

 

The problem I have found with following more men is that it can, and for me usually does,  end up like this:

assault-lawyer-two-guys-fighting

Man 1: “Swiss Cheese is the best!”  Man 2: “I’ll KILL you!”

 

Strong opinions get thrown around willy-nilly and before you know it one of the two is getting their butt kicked. Like this poor guy:

maxresdefault-4

Bookstooge-senpai schools Punk-san in proper fighting etiquette

 

Butt-kicking gets really tiring after a while.  I don’t want to hang out with jocks, mind you. I want articulate, reasoned thinking men. But those very same qualities can turn around and bite you in the butt.

I guess this is one of those situations where I want to be Alpha Man and every other man to be Beta Man, maybe Beta-Plus occasionally. But another Alpha?  Ha, kill that sucker!

997abb719f1650b1ce853afd44d1ad70

Backoff buddy, this whole thing is MINE!

 

This is where what I want simply isn’t possible.  One thing I have learned is to really rein in my opinions when commenting on others’ blogs.  I have also learned that when I get a desire to be part of a pack, I just need to wait a day or two and then I’m back to my desire for solitude.  This is more of a vent than anything else.

So to you guys who I do follow and haven’t fought with, I’d like to thank you. For being patient with me, for letting me air my strong opinions on your blogs without biting my head off.  I don’t take it for granted, really.

And to end on slightly more humorous note…

psvigrb

I used a gif, so shoot me. Oh wait, my dinosaur already shot you!

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

The Comedy of Errors ★★☆☆½

comedyoferrors (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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Comedy of Errors
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 272
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

20+ years ago, a family with twin sons and a servant with twin sons, were separated at sea. Now they all come together in the city of Ephesus and mistaken identity comedy errors ensue. With a lot of beatings for the servant twins, who both can’t seem to keep their mouths shut.

The error is realized and everyone ends up happy. The End.

 

My Thoughts:

This completely did not work for me as a read. The humor was not funny on the page nor did the situational humor do a thing for me. I kept wanting to shout “Somebody USE YOUR BRAIN!”

I can see this being very funny if acted out, much like a 3 Stooges scenario. But those wouldn’t be funny either on paper. The actors are what make the situations funny, not just the situations themselves.

I also don’t find humor about marriage funny. Me and Willy have very different outlooks, that is for sure. That doesn’t stop me from being glad to read this or to appreciate it. I just don’t like it * grin *

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)