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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Ring for Jeeves (The Jeeves Omnibus #3.1) ★★★☆½

ringforjeeves (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: Ring for Jeeves
Series: The Jeeves Omnibus #3.1
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 256
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

In this novel, Bertie Wooster has gone to school to learn to take care of himself and so Jeeves is on loan to another useless lump of English Aristocracy. Unfortunately for this lump, he’s not rich like Bertie so his life is a bit harder. He wishes to marry the local veterinarian but without the funds, well….

Jeeves suggests he become a bookie and between the 2 of them, they start bringing in the money. Until the Lump (as I shall be calling him from here on out) goes against Jeeves’ advice and covers a bet. The horse wins and suddenly the Lump owes an african hunter 3000 pounds, plus some odd change. At the same time the Lump’s ancestral house is falling to pieces and the only way to save it is to sell it. Hopefully to a rich american widow. Unfortunately for the Lump, the Great White Hunter chases him and Jeeves and tracks him down to his ancestral home. Where it turns out the rich american widow is someone he knows and has loved.

Hijinks ensue, Jeeves gives advice and the Great White Hunter and the Widow marry, the Widow buys the house and ships it to America and the Lump now has the money to marry the Vetinarian. And Jeeves gets a call that Bertie has been kicked out of the school for hiring an old woman on the sly to do his darning of socks for him.

 

My Thoughts:

While this was amusing, Lumpy Aristocrat was no Bertie Wooster. And Jeeves taking an active part in the proceedings seemed a bit out of character for him. Wearing a fake mustache and hoofing it with a fiver when Lumpy welshes on the bet, well, it just didn’t seem like Jeeves.

Lumpy was useless. Bertie isn’t useless because he has money but Lumpy? That guy needs to be cut out of the gene pool. Makes me wonder how long before this starts happening to the nouveau rich here in America in this day and age.

I breezed through this and while I wouldn’t recommend skipping it if you’re reading the omnibus editions, I certainly wouldn’t recommend seeking it out just on its own.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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)

 

 

Despicable Me (2010 Movie)

despicableme (small)Yeah, you probably thought I was going to talk about MYSELF didn’t you? Don’t try to deny it, I can see into your mind and I know your naughty thoughts!  Since I lied to you all in my 2018 in Review post and promised more movies in 2019, I figured I’d start the year off right with a movie that I absolutely love. Thanks to Orangutan Librarian for doing a post on Minions and reminding me to get this ball rolling.

I was late to this party (as is the case with almost all the movies I watch, excepting John Wick) but my goodness, I’m solidly in now.

Basic premise is that Gru is a villain who keeps getting upstaged by another younger villain. Gru decides he’s going to steal the moon but needs the prototype of the Shrink Ray to do so. Of course, Young Villain has already stolen the Shrink Ray. Gru adopts 3 girls who are selling girl scout cookies so he can slip robot cookies into the Fortress and steal the Shrink Ray. Gru ends up fully taking on the roll of the girls’ father and it begins to affect his performance as a villain. His resident mad scientist, Dr Nefario, gets the girls put back in the orphanage so Gru will concentrate on stealing the moon. Gru does steal the moon only to have Young Villain steal it from him. Young Villain also kidnaps the 3 girls to have leverage over Gru. Turns out the Shrink Ray isn’t permanent so Gru has to rescue the girls AND return the Moon so it doesn’t destroy the city. In the end Gru adopts the girls and everyone starts disco dancing at the girls’ performance of Swan Lake. Sigh, those silly minions!

 

The first thing that hooked me was the Minions:

minions

Boatloads of semi-stupid, nearly indestructible minions who talk in indecipherable french and love bananas. They are funny and got enough laughs to get their own movie later on.

They also are the window into who Gru truly is. He cares about his minions and knows all their names and their families. He’s not evil, just a villain. Gru starts off as a real bad ass and I loved him in that role.  How can you not love somebody who walks into a coffee shop, hollers out “FREEZE RAY!” and proceeds to walk up the line freezing everyone, grabbing the coffee and pastry for the first customer and then walking out the door?

freezeray (small)

Freeze Ray!

 

Then the girls come onto the scene and you know that Gru is going to turn into the man with a heart of gold.  Each of the girls is very unique and heartwarming in their own way.

285949c9cfa3ed1a9c4b821cfcc2365e-agnes-despicable-me-despicable-minions

 

 

Vector and his Father, who runs the Bank of Evil,  make for great “real” villains and are so ham handed and over the top and silly that there isn’t a shred of doubt that Gru will prevail. Kind of nice to have the Good vs Evil be so clear cut. Of course, for the target audience of 10 year olds, I’m sure it’s breathtakingly tantalizing if Gru will be The Good Guy or not!

736224_1321519835424_500_269

 

The ending is the perfect blend of silly, sappy and funny all rolled into one. Gru disco dancing with the girls is just priceless and is worth almost the whole movie just for that.

disco

 

 

Overall, this was so much fun. There were a lot of clever ideas and humorous gags and  I’ve been re-watching this regularly several times a year. Not tired of it yet! It also has heart in just the right amount to make me all manly blurry eyed. Completely recommend this. If you have watched Despicable Me, what did you think of it?

Next month I’m thinking of going over either The Transporter with Jason Statham or RED with Bruce Willis. Feel free to let me know your preference if you have one.

 

redtransporter

 

bookstooge (Custom)

Hogfather (Discworld) ★★★★★

hogfather (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: Hogfather
Series: Discworld
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

It is Hogwatch Night and the Hogfather is flying across the world in his red suit and white beard and 4 jolly boars delivering gifts to all the children. However, this Hogwatch Night the Hogfather is looking a little different. He’s a bit bony in the face, he has to stuff a pillow up the suit to give him that jolly fat look and his ho ho ho’s are more like HO, HO, HO! Yes, Death has taken over being the Hogfather for the night.

Now, where did this all start? The Auditors. Of Reality. They hired the Assassin’s Guild to kill the Hogfather. The head of the Guild, thinking it an impossible job, assigns it to Mr Teatime, an assassin who has been causing problems lately with how much he’s been killing. He’s got no style, you know? So the HAG (Head of the Assassins Guild) gives the job to Teatime. Either he’ll succeed and the Guild will get a cavern of gold or Teatime will fail and they can let him go and be done with him. Teatime has thought about just this kind of situation and he has answers.

And that is why Death is pretending to be the Hogfather. He can’t interfere with the Auditors directly but he sets his granddaughter Susan on the case. She tracks down Teatime, who has used the power of the Tooth Fairy make children NOT believe in the Hogfather. She and the newly created god of Hangovers, with the help from a tooth fairy helper, take down the insane assassin.

It is revealed that if the Hogfather doesn’t exist, the sun won’t rise. This will destroy all life on Discworld and THAT is the final goal of the Auditors. Life is messy and doesn’t really fit into neat check boxes, so they want to get rid of it. All of it.

Can Death, Susan and sundry others Save the Most Magical Night of the Year? Of course! Not even Pratchett was so full of bilious hatred and vitriol against Christmas that he’d write otherwise. But he gets his revenge on the readers by getting all metaphysical for at least 3 solid pages. What a rotter.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, it has been a bloody decade since I last read this! Still 5stars, still a favorite and still just as good as last time.

This time around I concentrated on the character of Teatime. And you know what? He takes up a VERY small portion of the book even while being a main villain and the killer of the Hogfather. It is like he casts a huge shadow over the whole book while only being a skinny little twig. He has such presence though that I “remembered” him having a much larger role. I think it does say something for Pratchett’s skill that he can make a such a small used character be so big. Of course, him facing down Death himself right at the end does show he had some pretty big cojones.

Death gets a great bit of action and I just laughed and laughed. When Corporal Nobbs, the most venal member of the Watch, gets a super duper assault crossbow from the big red sack and he goes nutso with excitement, I just about died. It also made me remember H.P’s review of the lamest Robin Hood movie ever, complete with “assault crossbows”. Maybe it would have been a good movie if Knobby Nobbs had showed up, hahahahaa. Anyway, I did a lot of laughing.

Susan plays a huge part but unlike Teatime she was so exasperated all the time that she couldn’t be “normal” that it wore a little thin. We get it, she doesn’t want to be Death’s granddaughter. Honey, get over it. You don’t really get to pick your relatives. She started out funny with beating the crap out of monsters under the bed with a poker but became almost grating by the end.

The Unseen Academy and the Wizards are involved, as is HEX the thinking machine. HEX going insane and taking digital frog pills to cure itself was just about the highlight for me.

The only downside to this book was the few pages of metaphysics that Pratchett throws in. All crap about Justice and Mercy and Hope being nothing but lies. Then he took it do a bad place where you can’t believe those things if you don’t believe other lies, like the Tooth Fairy. What a hopeless and utterly futile way to live. He just couldn’t resist allowing his bitter hatred against God, or even the idea of God to peek on through. Thankfully, it wasn’t enough to spoil the whole book. However, I tend to think I’ll have to wait another decade before I try this again.

★★★★★

 

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Joy in the Morning (The Jeeves Omnibus #2.2) ★★★☆½

joyinthemorning (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: Joy in the Morning
Series: The Jeeves Omnibus #2.2
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 272
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Bertie gets roped into going to Bumpleigh in the Country to help his Uncle by marriage close a business deal with an American Magnate. At the same time Bertie is supposed to help his cousin get said Uncle’s blessing to marry a rich novelist who the Uncle dislikes immensely (for good reason). Then Bertie gets engaged to a woman who he was engaged to a year or two ago and who broke off her engagement to a policeman who was one of Bertie’s old classmates. Said Classmate is a sack of man-meat and looking for any excuse to jail Birtie.

Throw in a nephew whose every act of kindness turns into some kind of disaster, a country ball where Bertie wears a stolen police uniform and midnight escapades and you have this novel in a pinch.

 

My Thoughts:

More of the same, more of the same.

At this point, if you’ve made it this far you know you’re going to keep on going with the series. If this wasn’t for you (Yes, I’m looking at you, Miiiiiiister Newton!), you’d have given up sometime during the first omnibus.

Spineless Bertie can’t act like a man for 2 seconds. Which leads to humorous situations that only Jeeves can manipulate him out of for the betterment of everyone involved. The thing is, as a reader you HAVE to accept the stupidity of Bertie to enjoy this series. Not malicious stupidity but plain old genetic dumb-assery. If you can’t get past that, and I don’t blame anyone who can’t, this just isn’t for you.

But if “rich people having problems” can amuse you, you’ll just keep eating these books up. Wodehouse obviously has a limited repertoire of situations he can bother Bertie with (the main one getting married) but they are still of good variety.

Sit back and chuckle and enjoy Bertie being a dumbass. Because Jeeves is the benevolent force of nature behind the scenes making sure that everything turns out alright.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)