The Mating Season (Jeeves Omnibus #3.2) ★★★★½

matingseason (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 Mating Season
Series: Jeeves Omnibus #3.2
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

2 of Bertie Wooster’s friends get in a spot of trouble. To prevent the fiance of one of them finding out, Bertie fills in for Friend One and pretends to be him down in the country. Friend Two pretends to be Bertie’s serving man. Then shenanigans and Friend One shows up pretending to be Bertie. A Country Squire, a local policeman, several young ladies and a gaggle of Aunts are thrown into the mix.

Jeeves stirs everything, bakes it just right and from a gloopy mess comes a beautiful bunt cake complete with happy endings for just about everyone.

 

My Thoughts:

This was very much a situation of “The Right Book at the Right Time”. If I ever re-read this, I highly doubt I’ll rate it this high again. It was pretty much on par with most of the Jeeves books that have come before but this time I just laughed at almost every chapter.

Where does Wodehouse come up with the names he does? Finknoddle, Catsmeat, etc. They fit perfectly with Bertie’s personality and the situations he gets himself into. Jeeves was very much in the background for this book and it allowed Bertie to trample all over the story like a drunken elephant. It was glorious!

And to top it all off, Jeeves koshes a policeman on the back of the head. How great is that?

From the title, you can tell that a lot of young people are falling in and out of love at a moments notice and the story is driven by that force. While I did feel an occasional eye roll coming on, Wodehouse masterfully turned each instance of that into a very humorous situation. So far, I’ve usually been a fan of the short story collections that make up a Jeeves & Wooster book but this time, the novel length story actually worked for me.

★★★★½

 

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Death Wish VS Death Wish VS Death Wish

Since I just recently read Death Wish after having watched the reboot with Bruce Willis and then the original movie with Charles Bronson, I figured I’d do a VERSUS post much like I did for the Bourne Identity.   I’ll be doing them in the order I imbibed them. I don’t think I need to say this, BUT, spoilers? I mean, you won’t “need’ to watch or read after this. You know my style 😀

And this is going to be like 3 reviews all packed into one post, plus commentary, so I expect this will be lengthier than normal.

 

deathwish2018

First up is the 2018 reboot starring Bruce Willis. I’d avoided the original movie because Charles Bronson’s level of violence disturbed even me, from the bits and pieces I’d seen over the years. However, I really like Bruce Willis as an actor, all the way from Die Hard to RED. It was on Prime for free so I figured I’d watch it.

Paul Kersey is a doctor in Chicago. He gets into an altercation with another parent at a soccer game but refuses to get physical with the other guy. This shows how “pacifistic and liberal” he is.  Then one day when he gets his car valeted at an expensive restaurant the valet steals his address and later that week breaks into the house with 2 other men. Only the wife and teen daughter are home. I didn’t know what level of violence or what type of violence was going to be here so I was a bit cringey. Thankfully, while there is some innuendo from one of the creeps, the whole focus was the burglary. The daughter, who has been taking krav maga (the Israeli Defense Force’s official martial art) fights back and it ends with the daughter and mother getting shot. The wife dies and the daughter is in a coma in the hospital. The rest of the movie is about Willis finding a gun and suddenly being willing to use it. He tracks down the 3 killers, executes them and then goes after some drug dealers. He is also going after the boss of the 3 killers. The boss man ends up sending a hit squad to Willis’ house and everything goes down. The police were on the track of the “vigilante” and with this attack Willis pins that on the mob boss guy.  He then gives up on his vigilante attack since the boss man is dead and his daughter is awake and ok.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting. Willis as the Everyman turned Vigilante was decent but I had to roll my eyes in several places. First was the “I won’t fight you so I’m a liberal” scene. That wasn’t being a pussy liberal, just showing self control. I actually found Willis’s willingness to call the other guy out but not to make it physical to be very manly.  The housebreaking scene was cringey, like I said, because I didn’t know where it was going to go. This is a rated R movie and I knew that was for violence. It was almost a relief to me when burglary goes awry and the guns came out. They also did a pull away and only showed bullet flashes through curtains through a window, so nothing graphic. Then the movie went full on action film. John Wick, errr, I mean Paul Kirsey finds a gun from a drug patient who dies and magically finds out one of the guys who killed his wife. He shoots at a signpost at night and over the course of a week or a month magically becomes Mr Marksman. Then he tracks down and kills scumbags. He gets hurt, the police are after him, his brother-in-law thinks he might be the vigilante. There is a lot of tv talk show chatter and the movie gives full reign to the brain dead fluff heads who talk without thinking. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the tip of the hat to the psychological aspect so prevalent in the book. Everything is wrapped up pretty good as Paul gives up being the vigilante and takes his daughter to college. The movie ends with some jerk doing a purse snatch right in front of Willis and Willis making eye  contact with the guy and pointing his hand and finger at him like a gun.

A decent action flick if you like amateurs doing violent things. Willis has presence and is competent without being a Gary Stu. His brother-in-law, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, does a great job of showing just how messed up Paul Kersey becomes during the movie. Glad I watched it for free on Prime but probably won’t ever re-watch it.

 

deathwish1980

Next we have the 1974 movie starring Charles Bronson. Bronson was a 70’s and early 80’s staple actor in a lot of violent movies. He was a tough guy and his craggy, creased face showed a tired, careworn visage that went well with most of his characters.

In this movie Paul Kersey is an architect in New York City. He works for a big firm that specializes in high price, low rent tenement buildings. Paul has vocally stated he’s against such projects and wants to build affordable, decent buildings, thus establishing his liberal credentials. His wife and married daughter are out grocery shopping and have the groceries delivered. Some drug addicts pretend to be the delivery guy and break in, looking for money for drugs. When they don’t find anything, the prepare to take payment in other ways. The mother fights back and one of the thugs shoves her away. She hits her head on a table and dies. The thugs get scared and run away. Paul is called by his son-in-law and meets him at the hospital. His wife is pronounced dead on arrival and his daughter, while alive and unhurt is experiencing shock. She eventually goes to therapy, where she doesn’t respond and ends up in a sanatorium for the insane. Paul is distraught but eventually goes back to work to get back “to normal”. One of the clients is from Arizona and Paul has to talk a trip out west to go over their books. He becomes friendly with the client and the client gives him a pistol which he takes back to New York City. He ends up killing a druggy who tries to rob him and two young men on a subway. He gets wounded and the cops are on his trail.  Eventually the cops make him a deal, to leave New York City and they’ll make sure his run as a vigilante never becomes public. He goes to work in Chicago and the movie ends with him helping a young woman who was being harassed by some thugs. Paul points his fingers at the thugs like a gun and the movie ends.

After the 2018 movie, I was expecting a Charles Bronson version. The home breaking scene was a bit more violent than the 2018 version and the sexual assault, while not concluded or graphic, was definitely there. I was a bit more prepared for it so I wasn’t feeling cringey like I was with the first movie. Definitely something to be aware of though if you do watch it.

This was not an action/adventure movie. It was a lot more psychological than the reboot and Charles Bronson was great as the tortured husband and father realizing how blindly he’d been going through life. Of course, being Charles Bronson, he really brings the anger and the rage to the screen. He’s really good at showing an amateur doing his best to go against his very own nature.  The ending with him relocating to Chicago and finger gunning the punks was great. I can see why the reboot copied that to a tee.

Where Bruce Willis was a man on a mission of revenge, in this Charles Bronson is just lashing out against the helplessness that a man in a city like New York is destined to feel. Several of the side characters do a lot of talking and it’s all about the rights and responsibility that a man must take hold of in a free country. I felt like I was watching a movie on The Rights of Man. And not some social justice warrior crap but just what those rights actually require of someone to take a hold of them.  Now I was ready to read the book.

 

deathwish (Custom)

Then we had this little masterpiece. My review, with all of it’s attendant thoughts can be found HERE.

Basically, this was a psychological book. It was at one end of the spectrum, the 2018 movie was on the action/adventure side and the 1974 bridged the gap. I’m glad to have seen and read all 3 different versions. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses but I found the book to be the most solid and the only one I’d re-visit in several years. The movies I don’t ever plan on re-watching, that is for sure.

 

 

 

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Dark Intelligence (Polity: Transformation #1) ★★★★½

f5c20b1147913d15c73b181229ed7c8cThis 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: Dark Intelligence
Series: Polity: Transformation #1
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 416
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Thorvald Spear wakes up in a hospital. Which is odd, because he remembers being killed by a Polity AI named Penny Royal, almost 100 years ago, an AI that was supposed to be rescuing him and his men on a Prador occupied world. With his memory still a bit glitchy, Spear does know one thing for certain, Penny Royal must die.

Spear tracks down Penny Royal’s old spaceship. With the help of a powerful gangster named Isabel Satomi, who made a deal of her own with Penny Royal and is now regretting it, Spear plans on tracking Penny Royal down to whatever hidden lair it’s hiding in. With Satomi’s transformation having gone a bit further than anticipated (she’s turning into a hooder), Spear abandons her and sets out on his own.

Satomi wanted revenge on Penny Royal for the changes it started in her. But with Spear’s betrayal, she’ll happily kill him too. She heads to a world in the Graveyard (an area of space between the Polity and the Prador Kingdom where neither has an official presence) where she can gather her forces and pursue Spear and then Penny Royal. While on The Rock Pool, a world ruled by a prador named Sverl who also made a deal with Penny Royal, the other Prador revolt against Sverl and he is forced to help Satomi if either of them want to survive.

All during this time Penny Royal has been dancing around and through everything, apparently orchestrating “something”. It shows up at Masada, an apparent guest of the newly sentient Atheter. Both Spear and Satomi also show up at Masada. Satomi is now a complete biomech warmachine, like the Technician before its demise. With such a weapon, the Atheter can now claim full control of Masada and kick the Polity out.

Satomi’s consciousness is pulled from the hooder into a crystal memplant. Spear realizes he has been manipulated this whole time so Penny Royal can begin making good on all the bad things it did while a Black AI.

 

My Thoughts:

The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars this time around was because there was a very awkward, unnecessary and completely gratuitous sex scene ¾ of the way through the book. Other than that, I loved this book, again.

It has only been about 4 years since I initially read this but that is something like 600 books ago, so this was a good refresher. I remembered some of the larger details but that didn’t in anyway detract from my enjoyment.

The first time I read this Penny Royal kind of came out of leftfield because I hadn’t been paying any attention to mentions of it in previous Polity books. On my re-read of the Polity, I paid more attention to that and now it is paying dividends.

Asher is not telling disconnected stories all set in his Polity universe. Each series builds on the previous ones but without turning into a Never Ending Series. Each series has a definite beginning and a definite end, as does each book. You have no idea how much I appreciate an author that still writes that way.

I would not recommend starting Asher’s Polity with this book. While you could, I guess, there is just too much in the background that you need to have read in his previous book for this to make sense.

★★★★½

 

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Death Wish ★★★★★

deathwish (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: Death Wish
Series: ———-
Author: Brian Garfield
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Psychological Fiction
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Paul Benjamin is a successful accountant in New York City. One afternoon his wife and married daughter are attacked in Paul’s apartment and savagely beaten. His wife dies and his daughter ends up in a sanitarium, insane for all intents and purposes.

Paul has always been a good guy. He’s done charity work for prison reform, contributes to causes left and right and thinks that if he obeys the rules that Society will protect him. With the attack on his family this delusion is ripped away and Paul must confront what living in a big city really means.

As he mulls these thoughts over, he begins to change. He realizes he has been afraid and he is now going to stop being afraid. But how does one stop being afraid? By taking responsibility for ones self is the conclusion Paul comes to.

On a business trip to the Mid-West Paul has a one night stand with some stranger at his hotel. When she leaves he realizes how empty his life is. How empty those hoodlums have made his life. He buys a small calibre pistol at a fishing shop and takes it back to New York with him hidden in his carry on baggage.

Paul begins roaming the city at night, exposing himself to danger so as to kill the perpetrators of violence and crime. After several kills the papers pick up on the fact that there is a vigilante on the loose. The book ends with Paul having just shot 4 teenagers who were throwing 50lb rocks onto a train to kill people inside and a cop seeing him. The cop raises his hat and deliberately turns his back and Paul walks home.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, another fantastic book for this year. Definitely gets the “Best Book of the Year” tag.

So, this review might be long and rambly, please bear with me or just skip it. Either way, it’s all good.

I had heard about this through the 1974 film starring Charles Bronson. Knowing the type of movie Bronson usually starred in, I never got around to watching it. Then in 2018 a remake with Bruce Willis was made and it eventually came to Amazon Prime. I watched the reboot, as I really like Willis. That led me to watching the original with Bronson and then to hunting down the book. I plan on talking about the movies in a Versus post later this month. Death Wish vs Death Wish vs Death Wish!

Based on the synopsis and the movies, I was expecting a book about a vigilante getting his revenge. A soft, pasty, weakminded fool seeing reality for the first time in his life and going all gung-ho to the other extreme. What I got was a psychological book that impressed me over and over and over. Paul never finds the hoodlums who killed his wife and he never expects to. What I read was the mind of a man pushed beyond its self-imposed limits. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t always easy to read about but it was good.

I’ve always considered Crime & Punishment to be THE book on what a criminal mind goes through after a murder. Death Wish is entering the same territory in my mind but from the other end. What does a man go through when he truly realizes how broken, destructive and unsafe his world is? This book shows the answer to that.

Given the fact that I already agree with most of the statements made in this book (see my Quote post from the other day) it is no surprise that I liked this. The only part I struggled with was Paul taking the role of Executioner into his own hands, not lightly, but so determinedly. I believe that every human has the God given right to defend themselves. I believe that laws like the Stand Your Ground laws are essential to a free society. However, when defense of Self moves into the defense of Society then I cannot blindly accept or promote it. But neither do I blindly negate it. Evil, and people who commit acts of Evil ARE evil, must be resisted not only by the dutifully elected officials of Law and Order but by every conscientious citizen as well. The flip side of the Right to Self-defense is the Responsibility of Self-defense. This book was written in 1972 and is pretty dated but the battle that Paul goes through in his mind is as relevant today as it was then.

I don’t know what someone who is in staunch opposition to the right of self-defense would make of this book. I don’t think it would change their mind. It is not meant to however. This was a book written to all of those people who sit on the fence and think they are safe because “of the police” or that “it couldn’t happen here in Safe Safe Happy Funland.” Brian Garfield also NEVER ridicules those who think like Paul at the beginning of the book. I really appreciated that.

I would love to unreservedly recommend this book but honestly, I can’t. For me, it was the right book at the right time. People can have their minds changed and responsibility can grow from even the stinkiest compost heap.

To end, this was not an action/adventure novel of revenge and over the top violence. This was the story of a man finally growing up.

★★★★★

 

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The Hobbit (The Lord of the Rings Prequel) ★★★★★

hobbit (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 Hobbit
Series: The Lord of the Rings Prequel
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 235
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit. Who ends up with a wizard and 13 dwarves for dinner. And somehow gets finagled into going on an adventure to recover the dwarves lost treasure, that is guarded by the dragon Smaug.

Along the way Bilbo meets elves, runs away from goblins, plays a riddle game in the dark with Gollum for his life, finds a ring of invisibility, flies on eagles’ wings, fights giant spiders and is almost eaten by 3 trolls.

Eventually he and the dwarves reach the Lonely Mountain and Laketown. They rouse the dragon and Bard of Laketown kills Smaug and then elves, humans and dwarves prepare to fight over the treasure. Until a huge goblin army shows up and everybody fights them. The good guys win, the treasure is shared and Bilbo returns home a better, wiser and more eccentric hobbit than ever.

 

My Thoughts:

What a book. I’ve read this enough times that nothing is a surprise. And yet… I am still in awe at how Tolkien weaves such a children’s tale so as to keep me intrigued, for the umpteenth time.

What do I say? A simple tale of adventure that is the prequel to one of the worlds most renowned fantasy series? A tale of bravery, generosity and kindness overcoming perils, greed and hatred? A stout heart being greater than a dragon? I just don’t know what to say beyond the fact that I enjoyed the heck out of this just like I have all the previous times and I don’t have any issues with it.

Well, except maybe all the singing. I wouldn’t have minded if there hadn’t been any singing. In regards to the singing though, the only thing I can say positively about the horrific movie trilogy is that the song by the dwarves in Bilbo’s house is absolutely haunting and enchanting. Who knows how long this link will exist, but here’s a youtube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ymgFyzbDo

If only the Silmarillion had been this interesting. Well, at least I’ve got the rest of the Trilogy to look forward too!

★★★★★

 

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Target Rich Environment (TRE #1) ★★★★★

targetrichenvironment (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: Target Rich Environment
Series: TRE #1
Author: Larry Correia
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Short Story Collection
Pages: 359
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of many of Correia’s short stories that have only been published in magazines throughout the years. 2 Audible Exclusives were also turned into text, one taking place in the Grimnoir Universe and one about an Interdimensional Insurance Agent.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a rollicking good time. I was reading along, having a blast, figuring I’d give it 4 stars and then I read the final piece about Tom Stranger the Interdimensional Insurance Agent and this rocketed up to a 5 Star lickety-split! The humor in Tom Stranger might not appeal to everyone but it was certainly right up my alley.

I’d read a couple of these before, namely Tanya, Princess of the Elves that takes place in the MHI universe and is about how Tanya and Edward the Urk meet. Just as good the second time around. There were 2 Grimnoir Chronicles stories, one a prequel, Christmas in Detroit and a sequel, Murder on the Orient Elite. Jake Sullivan is a fantastic protagonist as he’s smart, capable and not just a Gary Stu.

The rest of the new stuff was a lot of fun to read too. Several of the stories took place in pre-existing franchise universes (mainly games) and while good, didn’t stand out to me. The one that really did stand out was a Cthulhu horror’esque story about a planet where humanity accidentally awakens an old one of that world which ripples out and the story ends with the Old One on Earth beginning to stir, so you know Humanity is DOOMED! If you’ve ever read much Lovecraft, this story would have fit in perfectly.

I don’t know what else to say. I never review each story in a collection, as that would make a review of a short story collection about 10,000 words and that would kill any joy for me. I am giving this the “Best Book of the Year” tag not for any richness or deep insights but because it kicked ass in every single story and I had so much fun reading it. After the debacle of Valor, this was needed to restore my faith in authors as a whole. If you ever do read this, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Highly Recommended

★★★★★

 

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The Changeling Sea ★★★★☆

changelingsea (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 Changeling Sea
Series: ———-
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 142
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Peri’s father went to sea in his rowboat and only his boat returned. Her mother has retreated inside herself and Peri is angry at life itself. She leaves her mother’s house and lives in a shack by the sea where an old woman taught her the fine art of hexing. Peri creates as many hexes as she can think of and one day throws them all into the sea and hexes the sea for stealing her father.

The King of the Island and his son Kir come into their summer residence and Peri meets Kir one night on the beach. He confesses that he has found out he is a changeling and part sea creature. He desires to go to the sea but can’t find the way. Peri is interested against her will. Then a monstrous sea creature is seen with a golden chain around its neck. The villagers hire a magician, Lyo, to tame the sea monster and take the golden chain for them. Lyo gets Peri to help him and accidentally turns the golden chain into a rain of periwinkle flowers. Nobody is very happy with Lyo, who disappears.

The next night Peri is at her shack when she sees the sea monster approaching the shore. It comes onto the shore and turns into a young man, very like Kir in appearance but golden where Kir is dark. This young man can only repeat words he has heard and so Peri begins to teach him words. But each night before the sun rises this golden prince returns to the sea and his monstrous form. Peri is bewildered and Lyo reveals himself to her. They figure out that the golden boy is the prince by the King’s dead wife who was taken by the Queen of the Sea, who was the lover of the King. She substituted her own son, Kir. Now each son is yearning to return to their native element but neither can figure out how.

Peri, with help from Lyo, solves the mystery. Her hex worked and it was so powerful that it hexed the whole sea. Peri unhexes the sea and that allows them to commune with the Sea Queen and Kir can return to the sea while the golden prince can return to the land. Peri realizes how powerful she is and Lyo says he’ll stick around to help her out.

 

My Thoughts:

Very enjoyable, very short and one of the most “romance’y” of McKillip’s books. While not Harlequin Romance or even most Paranormal Romance level, this was on the edge of what I’d be willing to read. That is about the only caveat I have for this book.

The shortness of this book really struck me this time. I started it one evening during the week and I was done the next night. It was kind of nice actually. I felt like I had gotten a small personal pan pizza instead of some huge buffet. Just enough to get a good taste but not enough to satiate or make you sick of it. Gluttony of words by authors is as much a sin, as far as I’m concerned, as is actual gluttony.

This lacked something, a richness I guess, that I’m used to in McKillip’s writing and that is why I’m only giving it 4 stars. Still, that is a Star upgrade from 2007. If you like McKillip’s other books, you’ll like this. Whether you’ll like it more, less or the same as her other books will depend on your personal tastes.

★★★★☆

 

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