The Return ★★☆☆☆

thereturn (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 Return
Series: ———-
Author: Joseph Helmreich
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 256
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Andrew Leland was abducted by aliens on national tv. Six years later, he is found wandering in the desert but claims to have no memory of ever being abducted.

College student, and genius, Shawn Ferris practically worshipped Leland for his ideas in whatever science they both are in. But being a Millennial, Shawn doesn’t believe that Leland has any right to keep his experience a secret. So he begins a correspondence under false pretenses and discusses theory and such stuff with Leland. Shawn then hunts Leland down only to be abducted himself by a super secret agency that Leland ran away from.

Shawn is convinced to work for them to help defend Earth against an alien invasion. But when he is chased and shot at by security for not toe’ing the company line, Shawn realizes somethin is off. On the run, Shawn is rescued by Leland and together they try to avoid detection by Ambius. It turns out Leland built a protective barrier for the aliens to keep humans out and Ambius used Shawn to reverse engineer it and figure out how to invade the aliens planet. Meanwhile, the aliens want to invade Earth to put a stop to the threat that humanity poses but they can’t because of the barrier. So when Ambius invades, they’ll be opening Earth up to an invasion as well.

Shawn and Leland kill some people, steal the artifact that it was all about and Shawn destroys the artifact. Leland realizes too late that the artifact is actually the alien he was in love with while on the planet.

The End.

 

My Thoughts:

What a piece of trash this was. While I noticed absolutely nothing wrong with the grammar, etc, both Shawn and Leland are Grade A jackasses. And since they are the supposed good guys, you can imagine what the bad guys are like.

Shawn is a know it all, butt hurt little prick. His insistance that Leland has no “right” to keep what he knows to himself is the epitomy of everything I despise today. Privacy, phhhh. I did not like Shawn at all. Leland was even worse though. He was super powered due to something the aliens had done to him and could almost literally walk through a hail of bullets but all he could think about was his lost alien love back on Planet X. He wouldn’t talk, he wouldn’t even try. He just wanted humanity to die. He made the choice to come back and then does nothing but wish he had stayed.

I enjoyed the idea of the story and if the characters had been more likeable or sympathetic, I probably would have enjoyed this and recommended it. But as it is, I won’t recommend this to anyone and will be staying away from anything that Joseph Helmreich may write in the future.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Advertisements

Saint Bookstooge Gives Answer

st-wolfgang-and-devil

 

As you can see, the Denizens of Hell itself (namely, you all) presented me with a veritable book of questions to answer in my Confessional post. Being of stout heart and sound mind, I will answer such questions to put to rest any rumors that I am a crazy, grumpy nut job. And vote for me when the next election for World Book Czar comes around!

 

1 )  What is something a lot of people don’t know about you?

Good question!  I think the thing most people don’t know is that I’ve never been to Timbuktu. Surprising I know, but very true. The other is that I can never be President of the United States because while I’m a citizen and was born one, I was actually born in Canada. So you all will just have to settle for me as Dictator.

 

2 ) What would be the most offensive question a person could ask you and would you answer it?

I had to think about this one to be honest. A lot of it would have to do with the attitude behind the question. I guess though, it would be someone asking me to deny my faith in Jesus Christ.

On a less serious note, but personally offensive would be if someone asked me if I was a woman. Being bald, goatee’d and rather muscular in the chest and shoulders with a fine tenor voice, I’d have to question their motives in asking. And then probably punch them out for being a dumb git.

 

3 ) When living on the 4th floor of a block of flats, where should I plan to have my bunker installed?

Sadly,  bunkers and urban areas don’t mix real well.  If your building has a flat roof, you could begin surreptitiously building it up there. Of course, when the building is blown to smithereens, your bunker will fall 4 stories and make jelly out of you. So stock up on peanut butter, that way any survivors can have peanut butter and “jelly” sandwiches 😉

 

4 ) Have you ever been in a different country as to where you live and grew up(overseas)? If so where have you visited?

I’ve gone to Israel for 2 weeks back in the early ’00’s. I also did a road trip around Newfoundland (Canada) with an older couple who had always dreamed of doing that. They got a chauffeur and I got to see the sites. Both trips simply confirmed to me that I am a “stay in one place and stick there like mud” kind of guy. I don’t ever plan on travelling outside the US again and even travelling in-country is going to take something like a funeral or family commitments.

 

5 ) What does the Mona Lisa’s smile really signify?

I wish I could say it was something profound, or that it had to do with me, but like much of life, it was a rather petty thing. She had just found out that her sister had been dumped by the football quarterback at the school they were both attending. Jina Lisa had been insufferable up to that point so Mona was happy to see her taken down a peg or two.

 

6 ) It is commonly believed that aliens haven’t invaded Earth because they fear your righteous wrath. But one day you’ll die, and we’ll be defenseless. How can we prepare for the inevitable onslaught?

This is the kind of long range question that shows just how intelligent you all are. I love having followers who can think and extrapolate from that.  So to answer, your best bet is to keep on reading. Aliens hate reading for some reason. It makes it really hard for them to run their spaceships but hey, that’s their problem, right?

 

7 ) I heard you once beat Chuck Norris in an arm-wrestling contest. Is this true?

The only people who know the true answer to that are me, Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee (who was the witness and wouldn’t promise to keep his mouth shut. You know what happened to him!)

 

8 ) When you tell someone the time, do you say, for example, “It’s seven-fifteen” or do you say “It’s a quarter past seven”?

When I’m at work, I use the precise 0715 military time but when at home or talking to friends, I tend to use the quarter of and quarter past.

 

9 ) Why are you in such a good mood when you wrote the Confessional post?

I had just gotten back from date night with Mrs B and we had eaten at a gourmet macaroni and cheese restaurant called Mr Mac’s. I’d had mac and pepperoni with pepperjack cheese and I was feeling full and fine. And I’d snuck in a rockstar on the side, so the caffeine was giving me a bit of a kick too.

 

10A ) What was the most difficult thing to teach Bruce Wayne?

You probably won’t believe this, but that little brat had a cockney accent as thick as the Thames. It was “ello guvna” this and “blimey” that. Personally, I place the blame squarely on Alfred’s shoulders. Teaching him to speak American with that special “upper crust” sneer took a couple of months. But he’s Batman, so he did pretty good considering.

 

10B ) What is something else you taught Batman? I’ve always wanted to be like him.

Without giving secrets that might endanger his mission of justice on this Earth, I can say that any time you see Batman rocking the Batsuit, I showed him the moves.  If you want to be like him, throw yourself around the room, whipping your spine as hard as possible. If you survive, you’re good to go!

 

11 ) Be honest, it was actually you who solved the “Death on the Nile” case but since you pitied Poirot you let him had that one?

He actually DID solve that one by himself, with no hand holding from me. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I might have had something to do with getting things taken care of on the Orient Express. He was pretty much out to lunch on Plambian phruze brandy at the time.

 

12 ) It is believed you faked the moon landing, is this true and if so how was it achieved?

This is probably the easiest question to answer. Yes, I did fake it. It was easy as pie because the truth is, there is no moon. Just a big piece of cheese in low orbit.  Nixon didn’t want to do it, but since most of you know how I feel about Commies, well, I couldn’t pass up the chance to bloody their noses. A camera, some duct tape and some metal was really all we needed. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how much money the Soviets wasted after that trying to get to the “moon”.  One of my finest moments!

 

13 ) What is the most infuriating book you’ve ever read?

Either Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, which I covered in a SaBB post or Walden & Civil Disobedience by Thoreau. Thoreau made me so angry for the entire book with his out of touch thoughts on “Nature” and “The Simple Life”.

 

14 ) What is your absolutely most favorite book (if you have one)?

Besides the Bible, which I’ve read through around 15 times,  Dune and Way-Farer are the two other books that I’ve re-read the most.  Something about those 2 caught my imagination when I was a teen and it just hasn’t let go since.

 

15 ) Why did you burn Rome while playing violin?

This is simply vile slander and calumny.  I was playing the saxophone, for goodness sake!  As for why, well, Billaxus the local grocer wouldn’t stock diet Pepsi but made a side deal with Coke. He also said that only pussies drank diet Pepsi.  Billaxus had to go!  So while things “might” have gotten a little out of control, I think everyone would agree with me that I just didn’t have any other choice. And then to make things even worse, that stinking Nero gets all the credit! What is the world coming to?!?!?

 

16 ) Where is the Rebel Base?

Oh please!  If that wuss Anakin SkycrybabypantsWalker can’t make me tell, you sure don’t stand a chance 😉  Ok, ok, I did say I would answer. It’s on Dagobah. Hahahahahahaa!

 

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) ★★★☆½

beastlybonesThis 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: Beastly Bones
Series: Jackaby #2
Author: William Ritter
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 305
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Jackaby solves a case of a shapeshifting creature and when that creature’s owner is killed, ostensibly by a vampire, Jackaby and Abigal Rook are on it. When another victim turns up in Gads Valley, where Charlie Cane is now living and with the promise of dinosaur bones, both of our main characters are anxious to be off.

Once in Gads Valley, along with 2 competing archeologists and a strong willed journalist, Jackaby reveals that the bones belong to a dragon, not a dinosaur and there appears to be a live dragon as well. Carnage and mayhem ensue as the dragon, really a shapeshifter from the litter that Jackaby solved right at the beginning of the book, runs rampant. It violently explodes when Abigal throws a lit torch down its throat.

Jackaby and Abigal realize everything has been a distraction to keep them from the mastermind of it all. Abigal kisses Charlie at the train station and once back in New Fiddleham, both protagonists come to the conclusion that the death of their ghost Jenny is tied to everything. Solve her case and the mastermind of supernatural evil will be revealed.

 

My Thoughts:

A cracking fun read. Everything was a slow build up and I have to admit, I did not see the whole changling thing coming at all. That completely surprised me, in a good way.

Jenny the ghost does some poltergeist’y stuff near the beginning so I did know that her story was going to be important and sure enough, by the end of the book, her case is going to be the case that reveals who this supernatural meddler is.

The 2 archeologists and the journalist, along with a hunter who is a friend of Jackaby all provide nice background noise and are pretty much perfect side characters who are good for one book. Charlie and Abigal and their whole romance thing played a bigger part in this book, but more for various characters to tell Abigal what she should do or feel and for Abigal to finally decide on her own. Very modern young lady * eye roll * It was laid on a little thick, but considering this is YA bordering on middle grade, that is kind of to be expected.

Abigal is a great narrator and I’m glad the author didn’t try to change things from the first book and make somebody else do that. She’s feisty and smart and yet at the same time can be very human with being clumsy or not understanding something blindingly obvious to everyone else.

In many ways these remind me of Patricia Wrede’s Frontier Magic trilogy. The tone is very similar and while Abigal is a little bit older than Eff, Eff had to grow up fast while Abigal had the protection of money. But after this second Jackaby book, I suspect if you like one, you’ll like the other. I sure know I do.

And I have to end this review talking about the cover. I’ve included a large version if you click the pix by the info block. I’m not sure if it is the colors or the simplicity of it or what, but this is just as gorgeous as the first book.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

July 4th & The Declaration of Independence

flag (Large)
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

 

 

(This post has been copy-n-pasted from http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/)

Red Nails (The Essential Conan #3) ★★★★☆

rednails (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: Red Nails
Series: The Essential Conan #3
Author: Robert Howard
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 295
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Another collection of stories about Conan with the final part of the book being a “history” of the Pre-Cataclysmic world and the post-Cataclysmic world leading up to our own known history.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book the most of all 3 of these Essential Conan books and I think it was a combination of slightly longer stories coupled with not having as many. The final part of the book, the “History” part was boring as all get out but I expected that as History and me are acquaintances by circumstances instead of friends by choice.

The History definitely showed up Howard’s racial bias more than anything in the stories. Purity of blood and the continual references to racial superiority or inferiority really began to grate.

The titular story, Red Nails, was probably the best Conan story of all I’ve read with these. From the killing of a monstrous lizard to an enclosed city with near insane inhabitants to a sorceress who feasts on live sacrifices, it just had it all. You could probably read that story alone and get enough of everything to decide if more Conan was for you or not.

I’m pretty pleased with this Essential omnibus that I read. I felt like I got a real taste of who and what Conan is about, what kind of author Howard was and it was just the right size so I’ve had enough without having too much. There are more Conan stories by Howard, and tons by other authors, but this has sated me so I feel no need to seek out more. I’d highly recommend this if you wanted to try out Conan or even simply wanted a better understanding of Fantasy from the early 1900’s. You are never going to go wrong by reading works that are foundational to the genres we have today.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

Mid-Year 2018 Roundup

midyear-report-graphic

I know I just did the Monthly Roundup & Rambling yesterday but I’ve seen the Mid-Year Freak Out tag going on all through June and I like the idea of a Mid-Year look at how things are proceeding

Now that the year is ACTUALLY half way over (yes, that is a jab), let’s look at some numbers shall we?

 

Books Read:

98 – On track for passing 150, check!

 

Pages Read:

31,190 – On track for 50K, which is my unofficial goal each year now.

 

Average Star Rating:

3.25

 

Most Viewed Post so far:

Algorithm of Power is so far ahead, almost triple the views of any other post, that I doubt anything I write for the rest of the year is going to surpass that.

 

Most Liked Post of so far: 

I can’t figure out how to see this data. I can see Top Liked overall using the sidebar widget, but can’t seem to drill down on just 2018 stuff. If you know how, would you let me know?

 

General Info:

3300+ visitors

3000+ comments – to be accurate, half of those are me 🙂

130 Posts

78K words written -that’s a 300 page novel! (Just call me the next Brandon Sanderson, hahhaaha)

 

Best Book so far:

I have given no book the coveted “Best Book of the Year” tag yet. I guess I better get cracking! Or I’ll have to ret-con some of my high rated, favorite books. I suspect that is what is going to happen.

 

Worst Book so far:

Gods of the Mountain. Not that the book is actually the worst, but the author’s demanding attitude where he began acting like he paid me to be his editor, definitely rubbed me the wrong way.

Sandworms of Dune was horrible in the worst of ways by being so mediocre that vanilla pudding was exciting in comparison and Curse of the Wendigo had some horrible moral content.

 

Cover Love:

I am torn between Jackaby and Stranger of Tempest. They are very different from each other and so trying to choose between is rather hard. So I’m going with both!

cover

 

 

stranger-of-tempest-final

June ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

06June - 647381

 

Raw Data:

12 Books

4575 Pages

3.13 Average Star Rating

 

The Bad:

Toll the Hounds – 1 Star

 

The Good:

Mere Christianity – 5 Stars

 

Graphic Novels & Manga:

Read a couple more Silver Sable comics and realized that my time with this medium is pretty much done.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Bailed on Survival Saturday. Work has been exhausting this month and experimenting with some food was just more than I could handle on my day off.  Thankfully, W.C. Bombfunk is making me some chicken potpie later today, so I’m still getting some kind of food!

Surviving a Bad Book went well. I announced I’m putting it on  a break since I’m going to start a new series about the Good books I’ve read.

Didn’t do to many more non-review posts. Did a VERSUS post and ended the month with a Confessional, where I admitted I was open to questions that I would answer next week.

Tomorrow I’ve got a Mid-Year Roundup scheduled, so that should have lots of numbers as well.

 

Cover Love:

Princess of Blood wins the cover love award this time. Whoever Tom Lloyd got to do these covers, he really hit a home run.

I just did some google’ing and it turns out the guy’s name is Jon McCoy.

princess_of_blood_tom_lloyd_gollancz_cover-628x977

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)