The Scarlet Letter ★☆☆☆☆

scarletletter (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 Scarlet Letter
Series: ———-
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback Edition

 

Synopsis:

Hester Prynne, a widow whose husband is presumed lost at sea, is arrested for adultery when she becomes pregnant. She refuses to name the father and has to stay in a jail until she gives birth. Once she is freed, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her clothing. Hester raises her little daughter Pearl on her own and lives in the outskirts of the village. She sews for her living and does good deeds to both rich and poor. Pearl grows up wild and untamed.

At the same time, an Arthur Dimmesdale, a preacher, is rising up in the ranks of the village. He is overcome by a sickness and an itinerant medicine man stays to help him get better. Turns out the medicine man is Hester’s husband, an old sour man who vows he will find out who Hester committed adultery with and destroy that man. Taking care of the minister gives him the excuse to live in the village. Hester agrees to keep Roger Chillingworth’s secret for her own reasons.

Years go by and Reverend Dimmesdale is getting worse. Roger has figured out it was Dimmesdale who committed the sin with Hester and has been slowly destroying his spirit. Dimmesdale meets Hester in the words and they agree to flee the village and start life together back in the Old World. They are going to escape, with Pearl, on a ship after the new governor is sworn in. Roger discovers their plans and orders a berth on the same ship and lets Hester and Dimmesdale know. Dimmesdale gives a sermon and then confesses his sin and acknowledges his lust for Hester and that Pearl is his daughter. He then dies.

Hester and Pearl sail off and many decades later Hester returns to continue her life of good deeds until she dies.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, Hawthorne really hated the Puritans and anything that actually had some moral backbone. Ok, got that out of my system.

This book starts out with some piece of garbage fictional “recollection” from Hawthorne’s working experience (where he had to work a whole 3.5hrs a day, the horror!) which is where he “discovers” the story of the Scarlet Letter. It was boring and rambling and had no impact beyond allowing the author to write long and complicated sentences while still saying nothing.

I don’t know the correct term, but Hawthorne definitely appears to be a Utopian Romanticist. Basically, if it feels good, it is “Good” by definition and therefore the right thing. There are several references to Hester and Arthur’s adultery actually being something from Heaven as their love sanctified their sin. This kind of absolute trash talk is why I didn’t finish the Monstrumologist series. There is nothing holy or sanctified about adultery or other sins. So that was a huge strike against this book.

Then the writing style almost bored me to tears. While I can handle long descriptions from Dickens, what Hawthorne writes is simply convoluted for convoluted’s sake. It became extremely annoying and by the end of the book I was ready to toss this paperback into the garbage. If you want to follow all the permutations of sentence construction then this is the book for you. There are almost no straight lines.

Thankfully, I read this during my lunch breaks at work, so it was broken up over 2 months. If I’d had to sit down and read this in 2 days I would probably have hunted down Hawthorne’s grave, dug him up and urinated all over his corpse. The opposite of Holy Water, as it were.

Needless to say, I won’t be reading anything else by Hawthorne ever again. What a wanker.

★☆☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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Uprising: Ascension (Pacific Rim #2) ★★☆☆½

uprisingascension (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: Uprising: Ascension
Series: Pacific Rim #2
Author: Greg Keyes
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Movie Tie-In
Pages: 320
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Taking place 17’ish years after Pacific Rim, we follow several new recruits into the Ranger program, from which new Jaeger pilots are chosen. With the closing of the portal and threat from the Kaiju vanquished, the Jaegers were re-purposed into peace keeping forces. Nor did technology stand still and the Mark 6 is the latest model.

Jinhai and Viktoriya are both talented candidates with their own issues. Jinhai is the son of a famous pair of Jaiger pilots and has always felt left out of his own family. Vik was raised by her grandparents and told that her parents were the brave Russian Jaeger pilots who went down stopping the Kaiju threat. But from the get-go of everyone’s training, things go seriously wrong. A training jaeger is sabotaged and a technician killed. Suspicion rests on Jinhai or Vik and ties to Kaiju worshippers pop up incriminating both of them.

We also get flashbacks about Jinhai and Vik growing up that show the forces that have shaped them.

Eventually the Kaiju worshippers make their move. They kidnap Jinhai and Vik and plan to sacrifice them as they detonate a bomb drenched in kaiju blook (thus exponentially increasing its power) under an island, thus opening a new portal to the anteverse and the Kaiju. They are stopped in time but it is obvious that Jinhai and Vik weren’t random selections for the sacrifice.

The Kaiju will return and humanity must be ready.

 

My Thoughts:

Last time I read a movie prequel book was Terminator: Salvation: Cold War. I had already watched the movie and absolutely loved it. The book was enjoyable as a backstory filler and it led me on to Terminator: Salvation: From the Ashes. That was a direct prequel and I loved it. All of this leads up to say that I had decent expectations for this prequel movie tie-in.

This was the novel prequel to Pacific Rim: Uprising. I have not watched the movie yet but since I enjoyed the first movie so much at some point I know I’ll watch it. So I figured why not read the prequel to get me ready for the movie? Man, what a mistake. The thing with Terminator: Salvation is that I watched the movie first. I should have done the same thing with this book.

There was nothing wrong with this book but I was bored for most of it, as it was almost all setup for the movie. There was way too much “I’m a poor hurt teenager, feel bad for me while I sulk and act like a spoiled brat” and not any jaeger fights. Thankfully, we do get simulated jaeger fights in their training and it was fun to see them work through scenarios that previous pilots had battled through. The kaiju worshipers were the big threat and they were poorly done. Caricatures and barely there.

I had the movie novelization on my tbr, but after this and re-reading my review for the original Pacific Rim, I’m going to pass and just watch the movie “sometime”.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

[Manga Monday] The Shamanic Oracle (Shaman King #17) ★★★☆☆

shamanicoracle (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 Shamanic Oracle
Series: Shaman King #17
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

The Asakura’s and the Tao’s have a meeting to discuss what is happening with the rise of Hao. Yoh’s parents prepare to give the Tao’s their super secret sauce, errrr, special magic moves so that Ren can be powerful enough to fight alongside Yoh as an equal. Mr Tao is an ass and challenges Mr Asakura to prove himself. Mr A says “bring it” and the fight begins.

Yoh admits to his friends that Hao is so powerful that it is impossible for any shaman to overcome him. Yoh is not daunted and won’t let his friends despair. Ren is out walking with his team when Mr A attacks them. Ren is his typical arrogant self and Mr A has to teach him some manners. They end up having a barbeque together. Yoh sure didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree. Mr A reveals that everything is up to the kids because the adults have reached their limits and only the kids can still “grow”.

Hao lets his followers know that he intends a great cleansing once he becomes Shaman King, a global cleansing.

Two Patch officiants show up with a defeated Shaman, who is now Hao’s minion and while not directly attacking Mr A (who it turns out is a member in the Shaman fight), sic the defeated shaman on him to delay him so he can’t participate in his fight, thus automatically losing it. Another defeated shaman group also attack Yoh and Anna.

Team Ren is wiped out and their will broken with knowledge of their own low mana scores. Yoh shows up just as they’re about to be killed and the volume ends.

 

My Thoughts:

Lots and lots and lots of talking. The few bits of fighting were so buried between exposition that it didn’t engage me at all.

BLAH.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

#worldbookczar Candidate: Lex Luthor

crown-globe-golden-white-background-48780599

 

 

lex_luthor_intelligence

Today’s Candidate: Lex Luthor, CEO of LexCorp

 

B: Thank you Mr Luthor for agreeing to this interview. We’re going to get right down to business and start with some hard questions. I hope you’re ok with that.

LL: Not a problem Bookstooge. If I can’t handle hard questions, not only don’t I deserve to cover up for LexCorp, but I would simply step out of the running for World Book Czar. The Eyes of the World are going to be on that person. Imagine the Media Coverage!

 

B: Great. Ok, first question from Mrs Baller.  “Superman has kryptonite as his weakness, what’s yours?”

LL:   *forced jovial laughMy dear madam, what an absolutely enchanting question. While I try to remain humble, the truth is, I don’t have any. No really, it’s true. That is probably the Number One reason I deserve to be World Book Czar. The Media needs someone who they can admire fully and not feel like sellouts when they do so many glamour shots of me and those “A Day in the Life of..” biopic pieces I’m sure they’ll all be clamoring for.

 

B:  Mr Ichabod asks “Are current fashionistas copying your bald look to emulate you or to try to copy some of your natural good looks?”

LL:  Wow, you weren’t kidding about getting right to the hard questions! Mr Ichabod, I salute your courage and obvious integrity for cutting through the fluff.  I believe it is a bit of both. Bald is beautiful you know and the media always loves a beautiful candidate. A man can’t just DO the job, he has to look good doing it. Which is why if I am World Book Czar it won’t really be a job for me, but more of a calling.

 

B:  Panda would like to know what you think of your Smallville incarnation in the form of Michael Rosenbaum? I’d like to add a follow up question too. Who do you think played you the best and the worst throughout the movies, tv and cartoons?

LL:  Rosenbaum looked GOOD! That one episode where Cassy has a vision of him in the white suit while standing over a mountain of bones turning red? That was classic.

As for others, hmmmm. My least favorite was the cartoon version from Superman: The Animated series. It seemed very clownish to me.  I know it won’t be a popular opinion, but I actually rather enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal in Batman vs Superman. The whole hair to non-hair took some gravitas and I feel he carried it off without a hitch.

The World Book Czar is going to be in the Public’s Eye all the time, so the image presented is VERY important.

 

B:  Monkey would like to know why you have this ongoing conflict with Superman She’d also like some tips for getting out of jail and employment opportunities.

LL:  *dramatic sigh* Ahh, that old question. The thing is, I do NOT have a problem with Superman, he has a problem with me. I’ve reached out to him time and again to work out our differences but don’t you know, it’s always the same old story. “Truth, Justice, the American Way”, blah, blah and then he gets all morally superior and tosses me in jail. There is just no reasoning with him! When I’m World Book Czar, reasoned discussions amongst warring bloggers is top of my list!

I recommend ♪Lawyers,♪Guns♪and Money♪ for getting out of jail. One of the 3 will always work.

As for employment opportunities I suspect I will need a solid cadre of Yes Monkeys when I become World Book Czar. Contact LexCorp at 555-539-2677 OR email your resume to Lex@Lexcorp.com. Please highlight any super powers you might have and put that at the top.  Thank you for your interest and I hope you’ll become a valued member of Team Lex!

 

B: SavageDave would like to know why you don’t use your brains, wealth and abilities for good?

LL: Oh Bookstooge, this question hurts! It hurts me right here *smacks chest*.  Here I am, the only person concerned about an undocumented alien with unregulated power, ruling the earth. Make no mistake, Superman might have a velvet glove, but we all know he is the Man of Steel, not just a fist of steel!  Bullets can’t hurt him, tanks he laughs at. If Superman decides that YOU, SavageDave, are a bad person, off to jail you go and there is NOTHING you can do about it. I stand up for the little man. My secret underground science labs are churning out new ideas every day to help protect mankind!

As World Book Czar I will continue that protection. As we speak, right now, my scientists are working on the Bookinator 800, the first of its kind mobile book protection unit. It will protect the world from bad books where ever they may be found. Upon my honor, book bloggers will NOT have to deal with bad books ever again.

 

B:  Mizzz Gee asks “Do you read?”  And I’ll add “WHAT do you read?”

LL: Nothing is sexier than  a bald man reading a book. Studies prove it in fact. Supergirl herself told me that her fascination with me began when she saw a candid picture of me reclining at lunch reading War and Peace. And honestly, if one does not read, they shouldn’t even think about running for World Book Czar.

As to what I read, first and foremost is the Art of War.  We live in perilous times and knowing your enemy is the best defense. Plus I look REALLY good in a kimono.

 

B:  A Planetary Scale Arms Dealer would like to know “how do the ASC 606 standards for revenue recognition impact your corporate holdings”?

LL:  A good CEO knows everything about his business.  ASC 606 and IFRS 15 replace almost all current revenue guidance, including industry-specific guidance. The new
standards greatly enhance the related quantitative and qualitative disclosure
requirements. They also introduce concepts that don’t exist under the current
revenue recognition model—including many that involve significant judgment,
such as estimating transaction price. I think our accountants began work on this when it was first introduced, so it’s application to our business model won’t disrupt normal work flow procedures, allowing LexCorpt to concentrate on its core business models, thus insuring stability in our stock while other companies might be a bit adrift.

Short answer, it won’t affect us.

I think this type of thing is a great example of why I am the perfect candidate for World Book Czar. I saw this coming, I prepared for it and when the waves of change hit, LexCorp was a bulwark of stability in an ocean of uncertainty. I plan to bring that same stability to the book world.  I promise!

 

*swoosh* *zounds!* *biff* *pow* *whammo* *fwoooooosh*

 

B: And apparently, we are done here. Superman just flew in, arrested Luthor and took him off to jail. Sorry folks but the Wheels of Justice do grind on.

 

The Rest of the Story

Lex Luthor has a lot of experience running things from within prisons, so this little incident does not cut him out of the running.  Remember, a vote for Luthor is a vote for Gillette stock options!

 

Next Month on Meet the Candidate

Next month, I’ll be interviewing Ildico. Most of us know her better as Mrs Attila the Hun. In a completely candid tell-all, Mrs Hun reveals what REALLY happened that final night and why it makes her the only deserving candidate to be World Book Czar.

ildico

 

 

So please, feel free to comment here on Luthor’s Interview, but also, if you have questions for Mrs Hun, now is the time and here is the place.

Remember, you can always click on the “Meet the Candidate” tag to see all the candidates as they are revealed or the #worldbookczar one. I hope you enjoyed this. Until next time, Bookstooge Out.

 

bookstooge

Carry On, Jeeves (The Jeeves Omnibus #2.3) ★★★★☆

carryonjeeves (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: Carry On, Jeeves
Series: The Jeeves Omnibus #2.3
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 260
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories which starts with the introduction of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster and ends with a story from Jeeves’ point of view.

At least half of the stories also revolved around various family (immediate and extended) members of Jeeves, usually in an ancillary way.

 

My Thoughts:

I have given up trying to understand any reason or logical thinking in the way these books are put together in these Omnibus editions. This is the book where Jeeves and Bertie meet because Bertie’s last gentleman’s gentleman was a kleptomaniac. I believe that Wodehouse wrote this 3rd but with the advantage of hindsight, wouldn’t you order this first in an omnibus instead of as the sixth book? It makes me want to punch somebody (and no Miiiiiiiiister Newton, you got yours the other day. I pick on Mr Newton because he loves these books so much! Just say Bertie, Martini and Engagement to him and he’s rolling on the laughing so hard he’s in danger of suffocating.)

The return to a short story form worked well. Little snippets of Bertie and his bumbling friends is probably a good way to ease people into the world that Wodehouse portrays. Myself, I read this one Saturday while lying on the couch. I was chortling away and after the second time of asking “What’s so funny?”, Mrs B just let me be. She’s pretty much on Miiiiiister Newton’s side when it comes to the humor in these books. I on the other hand am entertained greatly.

The thing with Jeeves and Bertie is either you like these kind of stories or you don’t. Heck, read 2 of the short stories within one book and you’ll know by the end if Wodehouse is an author for you or not.

On a side note, I just finished up watching “The Blandings” on Prime the other day. It is a tv series based on a series by Wodehouse in this same vein. Once I’m done with Bertie and Jeeves, I plan on adding all 12+ books to my tbr. So buckle up folks, you’ve got at least 2 more years of Wodehouse offerings coming your way

* evil laughter *

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Cold Copper Tears (Garrett, PI #3) ★★★☆½

coldcoppertears (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: Cold Copper Tears
Series: Garrett, PI #3
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 249
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Garrett is taking it easy, what with all the success from previous cases. However, a sultry blonde perks his interest, especially when it is obvious she is hiding the real reason for coming to him. Then the Grand High Inquisitor of the Church comes to Garrett, wanting to hire him. After accepting these two curious cases, Garrett is suddenly assaulted. For no reason that he can tell.

He gets some help from the major Crime Boss, who is then assaulted by a godlike being. Garrett, with some help from some potions from an earlier client, drives it off, thus continuing the debt of gratitude the Crime Boss owes him.

After lots of action, and a street girl suddenly becoming his understudy and claiming she’s going to marry him, Garrett puts it all together. A long dead, malevolent loghyr, has been masquerading as a god of destruction so long that it has come into being. Garrett tracks down the loghyr, informs the Crime Boss, and let’s nature take its course. A loghyr body might not decompose but it sure can be eaten by hungry rats!

Garrett is richer than ever. But now he has to figure out what do with the street girl and with Tinnie. Garrett isn’t the marrying kind.

 

My Thoughts:

I had fun reading this. I didn’t bother to try to figure out anything ahead of time. I just sat back, let Garrett get the crap beat out of him, watched him beat the crap out some others and generally had a fantastic old time.

The humor continues to work for me, Garrett hasn’t annoyed me yet and his womanizing hasn’t crossed the line yet either. I do have to say, that is what caused this book to stay at 3  1/2 stars instead of moving up to 4. Poor Garrett gets ambushed in his own bed by the street girl (well, she’s 18…). I’m getting the feeling that Female X will show up for a book or three and then shove off. I was kind of hoping that Tinnie would move into friendship territory and become a regular part of the cast. Not looking too promising at the moment.

My other gripe is the tired old cliché about gods taking their power from their believers, etc, etc. This story is dealing with gods and churches and what not, so while I was kind of expecting it, it just really hit me wrong this time. As I was reading through I had ask myself what kind of person worships a god that they themselves have created? What’s the point? Made me glad I’m a Christian who serves the One True God. He’s said He’s the only God. So either it is true and I’m all set, or it is a lie and I’ve got nothing to fear from a being that can lie about Reality itself. Despair, yes, but not Fear.

Cook writes well here and as long as he doesn’t start recycling story lines (something I can see happening with 14’ish books in the series) I don’t foresee any problems with continuing on until the end. Of course, the series did kind of peter out in ’13, so I’m only getting closer and closer to landmine territory with each new book.

My goodness, for a book I thoroughly enjoyed, I certainly rained on it enough didn’t I?

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Merchant of Venice ★★★☆½

merchantofvenice (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 Merchant of Venice
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 140
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A merchant of Venice, Merchantio has all his funds tied up in ships out at sea. His friend, Romancio, needs to borrow money to woo a rich woman from another town. Merchantio allows Romancio to stretch his credit to the limit with a moneylender named Shylock. Shylock hates Merchantio and makes part of the credit deal that if Merchantio defaults Shylock gets to cut off a pound of flesh.

Shylock’s daughter runs off with a friend of Merchantio’s and takes a small fortune with her. Shylock doesn’t know which he misses more.

Things go well for Romancio. The woman’s father had setup a riddle to win her hand. If a suitor guessed wrong, he couldn’t tell anyone what he had guessed AND he had to remain single for the rest of his life. Romancio guesses right and marries the woman. His friend, Friendo, then marries the maid servant.

Things go bad for Merchantio and all his ships are sunk, pirated or go missing. Shylock claims the Law and says he’ll sue Venice and ruin her international reputation of Law Abidingness if the Duke of Venice won’t fulfill the law.

Romancio and Friendio run back to Venice with treble the amount owed so buy back Merchantio’s life. Unknown to them, their wives follow, dressed up as young men and claiming to be the friends of a very important Judge. The Duke of Venice brings the case before them. Shylock turns down the treble payment and wants his pound of flesh.

Romancio’s wife decides in his favor and Shylock rejoices. Then she drops the bombshell that he can only take a pound of flesh, no blood, nothing. If he does so and Merchantio dies, then Shylock will die and all his estates go to the City of Venice. The Duke rules that if Shylock won’t take his pound of flesh, the only way to avoid the punishment is to convert to Christianity and give half his estates away and lots of it to his estranged daughter. Everyone but Shylock is happy.

Then the wives decide to be clever and cause problems for their husbands. They beg, as the young men, to have some rings from Romancio and Friendio, who cave like $3 bills. Then the wives meet their husbands at home and demand to see the rings. Upon not seeing them, the wives claim they will sleep with whoever has the rings and follow that up immediately that it has already happened. Romancio and Friendio moan about being cuckolds and then the wives reveal the truth, everyone laughs and goes into a feast.

 

My Thoughts:

I was really enjoying this up until the end. I don’t think I’m going to ever find amusing made up drama between husbands and wives. Also, the names completely eluded me 5minutes after I finished the book, hence my little nicknames there.

There were boatloads of quotes that lots of people today know. When people here them, they know they’re from Shakespeare even if they have no idea which play. It made me wonder why certain quotes have attained that status and not others. Not all of them are epic, or particularly wise or stand out above other bits, as far as I can see. Just rather random.

I did laugh when Shylock’s daughter ran off and became a “Christian”. Shylock is bemoaning his loss of ducats and jewels and is complaining to a non-Jew about it. The non-jew starts complaining about how the price of pork is now going to rise because there is another pork eater (because obviously it follows that to show one is a Christian one must eat pork). It was so silly and ridiculous that I was just grinning through the whole back and forth.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)