Fail Harder (Caverns & Creatures #2) ★☆☆☆½

failharder (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: Fail Harder
Series: Caverns & Creatures #2
Author: Robert Bevan
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 305
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Gang of merry losers runs into some other humans who have been sent to this fantasy world by Mordred. They team up with them and learn of yet another group, of middle graders, who were Mordred’s favorites and are sure to run rampant once they learn of his demise.

Katherine, Tim’s sister, is kidnapped by a vampire who has also been brought here by Mordred. He turns her before the group can rescue her but they do rescue her and kill the vamp. With the loot and stuff they raid from the dead vamp’s castle, they pay a dodgy magician to get Tim back to the real world so he can find Mordred’s dice and figure out how to get everyone back.

Tim makes it back, but still in his halfing body and finds Mordred still alive in the freezer. The dodgy magician, having a glimpse of our world through Tim’s mind, decides he wants to check things out and brings the whole Gang back with him.

 

My Thoughts:

You know, I barely even noticed the profanity this time around. However, the reason I didn’t was because of the crass humor and the complete stupidity of just about ALL the characters involved.

This group of people who got sucked into the fantasy world? They deserve to die. In fact, the United States is a better place if these people really did die. The fact that scum like them get their vote to count as much as mine, it infuriates me.

Yeah, I was pretty pissed off for almost the whole book. That is how pathetic these people were. So I’m done. I knew I was going to be done with this book one way or another, but my goodness, the amount of idiocy the characters packed into a mere 300 pages was astounding.

Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with them being hardcore gamers. I can sit around and play Magic the Gathering for hours on end. But I’m not an idiot who just does whatever he feels like whenever he feels like. I realize I haven’t pointed out specifics for you to judge for yourselves. But just think of someone you know who does what they want, when they want, regardless of consequences and you have this group. I’ve been using the term “stupid” but it is more along the lines of irresponsible in the worst way.

I still would like to thank Swords & Spectres for his very enthusiastic take on this series. For some non-frothing at the mouth reviews, check out his reviews. Maybe he can convince you to read them.

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Love Lost (Kurtherian Gambit #3) ★★★☆☆

lovelost (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: Love Lost
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #3
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 260
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

BA (which abbreviation I shall use from here-on out instead of Bethany Anne), has to start getting a handle on the Empire that Michael has left to her. With hundreds of companies under her control and trillions of dollars at her disposal, BA can coast if she wants to. Obviously, knowing the threat is Out There, coasting isn’t an option. She has to start assembling a larger team that she can trust. A team not only for fighting the Forsaken but a team to start dealing with the spaceship that TOM came in.

So the recruitment begins. The Fighting Force is the easiest, as she starts picking up specialists that have been disillusioned with the military for one reason or another. The kind of people that don’t blink at finding out that vampires are real AND that they are expected to kill such super powerful beings. BA must also recruit information specialists, business specialists, etc, etc, etc. The list is long and she needs to start spreading the responsibility. So she recruits her dad, The General.

The other part of this book was taking the fight to the Forsaken who had attacked her allies here in the United States. Her and her team head to South America and take down one of Michael’s granddaughters. BA gives the children of said granddaughter mercy as long as they don’t hunt humans, thus assuring herself of more potential allies in the future. She also finds out that one of Michael’s First Children was ultimately responsible and BA realizes she has to take care of the Earth’s Forsaken before she can concentrate on any extraterrestrial problems.

 

My Thoughts:

This book had a LOT of character introduction going on. BA is setting up her own personal infrastructure and it is going to take a boatload of people. Trying to make 10+ people memorable and a character on their own is a tough task and Anderle doesn’t really accomplish it in this 260page book. I just don’t care enough about “Avengers, Assemble!!” for that kind of detail to keep my interest. It was half the book and while necessary for the overall series plot, felt very much like getting dumped on so Anderle could continue on in later books. Not cool.

The couple of battle scenes were enjoyable. I was hoping for a bit more in the fight scene between BA and the Forsaken she had to take down, but BA is just so overpowered that there wasn’t much of a fight. Maybe once she moves on to Michael’s First Children things will be a bit more even? Or even if BA’s fighting teams take them on, that might make for more interesting reading.

Overall, I did enjoy this but there was just too much setup that felt like setup. Hoping the rest of the books don’t follow this pattern.

★★★☆☆

 

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Rites of Azathoth ★★☆☆½

rites of azathoth (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: Rites of Azathoth
Series: ———-
Author: Frank Cavallo
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Pages: 420
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Diana Mancuso, FBI agent, is carrying on an affair with her boss, one of the Assistant-Directors of the FBI. She is assigned to a high profile murder case of a potential vice-presidential candidate. The profile indicates a man who up until 24hrs ago, was 1000 miles away in a maximum security prison. He has mysteriously disappeared. It turns out that the VP candidate has ties to all the previous victims, who were ritualistically murdered.

Doctor Carter, former protege of Gamaliel a discredited historian who dwelt on Elder gods as the true history of mankind, has been invited to join a mysterious group headed by a reclusive billionaire. Carter has been recruited to translate an elder language that he was taught by Gamaliel.

The ritualistic murderer is acting as supernatural conduit for Azathoth, who the billionaire is attempting to awaken. Said awakening will grant all knowledge to those involved but might destroy all of creation as well. Luther Vayne is acting on Azathoth’s will to prevent this awakening.

Everything comes together, a gateway is opened by Carter, Mancuso and Vayne prevent Azathoth from awakening, the occultic group is destroyed and Carter is taken into the realm of Chaos and he thinks how wonderful it all is.

 

My Thoughts:

I feel like I am being rather generous in giving this 2 ½ stars. Mancuso was a very unpleasant character. She’s just a jerk to everyone, even her so-called friend. This friend covers for her, breaks the law for her, lies to FBI agents for her and said friend tosses it off as “Oh well, that’s what friends do”. And Mancuso takes it as her due instead of as the huge thing it is. Then comes her affair with her boss. He’s married and trying to fix his marriage AND keep Mancuso on the side. She’s pissed off that she’s the side woman and is always put out that he won’t toss his rich, beautiful, young wife for her. She’s the very definition of an angry bitch. It was NOT amusing or enjoyable.

Carter was an arrogant ass who was divorced and failing at pretty much everything, including being a dad. He stays arrogant, assuming and overbearing during the whole book and his little “Oh, how wonderful the other side is” comment at the end was completely out of character and had NO place in a horror story about eldrich horrors beyond mortal ken.

The horror side of things worked pretty well. Demon children adopted by a cabal of women, hunted down by a supernatural blind killer, a half demon billionaire who sacrifices the blood of virgins to his own mother, it was fantastic. It was what you’d expect from an HP Lovecraft themed story. So the whole thing about Azathoth using Vayne to prevent the end of everything didn’t fit. Elder gods don’t care. And Carter saying how beautiful the chaos of the other realm was? That was complete bollux. The other realm drives men mad, period.

So unlikeable characters and an ending that didn’t fit with the theme made for a rather bleh read. There was also a lot of profanity.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Critical Failures (Caverns & Creatures #1) ★★☆☆☆

criticalfailures (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: Critical Failures
Series: Caverns & Creatures #1
Author: Robert Bevan
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 284
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A group of RPG gamers have put an ad out to a Cavern Master, as none of them want to do the hard work. A man shows up at the Chicken Shack, in cape and with all the other accoutrements a Cavern Master could need.

These gamers are jackasses. So they hassle the guy for wearing a cape and take their game playing very casually. This enrages the Cavern Master and has each of the players roll his special dice. This transports them into the game as their characters. The Cavern Master is interrupted by the sister of one of the players and her boyfriend. They too are transported into the game.

Shit happens and the gang gets separated, some in jail, some in the forest, more hijinks, mixups, etc. They all eventually get together, find out that the Cavern Master has done this to other people and trick him into a situation where he has to release them or die. Unfortunately for them, he dies and they’re stuck in the game world with no way to get out.

The end.

 

My Thoughts:

Swords and Spectres has been reviewing this series and I thought I’d try it. He did warn me about the profanity and folks, he was NOT kidding. These are 20 something losers with the accompanying attitude. Self-absorbed, filthy mouthed, caring about no one or anything but themselves. I was actually rather glad that they got theirs by being pushed into the game. Unfortunately, they are just as horrible in game as they are out of the game.

The humor was right up my alley and I kept snorting and laughing out loud but honestly, it was wicked crass and relied on a juvenile humor about death and body functions.

Even with that, I’l be reading the next book. However, since I’m pretty sure it is just more of the same, I expect to stop the series then.

★★☆☆☆

 

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Queen Bitch (Kurtherian Gambit #2) ★★★★☆

queenbitch (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: Queen Bitch
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #2
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 258
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne must begin cleaning up the mess left behind by Michael. She has to start cleaning up the Forsaken who are starting to make inroads in North America due to Michael’s absence. She has to start putting Michael’s “good” children back on the straight and narrow and have them go back to their duties of keeping the supernatural outside of the purview of the normal world. She also has to put the Council of the Were in their place, as several members are thinking that without Michael around they can begin shoving the humans around, perhaps even ruling them.

While ALL this is going on, Bethany Anne also has to keep in mind that the overall threat is so much greater and her final goal must be to get humanity into space and ready to fight off potential hordes of ravening aliens.

Sometimes, being Queen Bitch just isn’t worth the hassle.

 

My Thoughts:

This was F-U-N!! Nothing deep, nothing worth a re-read but my goodness, Bethany Anne kicks some serious butt. She is pretty much a Mary Sue, but only if Mary Sue was a psycho violent vampire who was trying to protect the planet. I can handle that.

Even through all of this, Bethany Anne is still planning on just how she is going to save the planet. She might be violent but she’s not at all stupid. She’s beginning to make more and more use of TOM and she’s already thinking about how she can use its knowledge to grow humanity’s knowledge AND give her the funds necessary to build the space stuff that will be needed.

Thinking about this book, I would compare it to the earlier MHI books in terms of action and violence. I’d compare it quality-wise to the first MHI book as well. The thing that gives me pause is that Anderle has a bajillion books while Correia has a steady output of steadily increasing quality. I’m kind of afraid to find out where Anderle plateaus or even nosedives. That’s the only problem and that is all in my head.

I almost started in on the next book right away but thank goodness my inner core of self control kept me safe. Nothing is worse than having too much of a good time all at once.

★★★★☆

 

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Death Becomes Her (Kurtherian Gambit #1) ★★★☆½

deathbecomesher (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 Becomes Her
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #1
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 271
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Michael, the Father of All Vampires, is awoken after one of his children is killed. He sets out to find a replacement but there is only 1 candidate that fits Michaels very exacting standards. He contacts General Reynolds to setup the interview.

Bethany Anne Reynolds, a black ops of black ops agent, has been diagnosed with an incurable blood disease that will kill her in less than 6months. She has only told 2 people, neither of them being her father. So when she is summoned to her father’s base, she assumes one of the two spilled the beans.

Bethany Anne is recruited by Michael. She is now officially dead and her record of existence has been closed. However, Bethany Anne was not recruited to simply be a new child of Michael’s, but Michael’s own replacement as he realized that events in the world were moving faster than his 1000 year old brain could handle. New blood was needed (I think I made that pun all by myself!).

It turns out that what turned Michael into a sunwalking alpha vampire a millenia ago was an alien scout sent to change any sentient races it found into beings capable of fighting an enemy that the aliens, the Kurtherians, were no longer able to fight. Now with an alien computer in her head, Michael disappeared and the kickass attitude that has gotten her through life so far, Bethany Anne must face down all of Michael’s children plus all the residents of the Unknown World (what the supernaturals refer to themselves as collectively).

The book ends with Bethany Anne forming a new proto-team of her own and taking down of Michael’s grandchildren who had gotten out of line. But with the Forsaken, children of Michael who have rejected all his strictures, life, or death, isn’t going to be easy for Bethany Anne.

 

My Thoughts:

My first impression of Bethany Anne (you have NO idea how sick to death I became of that two name nomeclature by the time this book was done) was that I hated her guts. She was piss and vinegar with a bad attitude. Thankfully, once she is made over by the alien machine, and starts acting like an alpha vampire, it’s more palatable. I still don’t particularly care for her, but I stopped actively disliking her by the end.

There was a lot of setup in this book, what with introducing vampires, the shape changers and then the whole “alien” thing. That took this from a “so stereotypical urban fantasy that I want to gag” to a much wider scope of story that could be, and will be, told. Also, Bethany Anne didn’t have any love interest in this book at all, so that was nice.

The action scene where she destroys the werewolves and then goes after the vampire that set them on her was nice and I wish there had been more of that. But at under 300 pages, Anderle had to really choose what to include in this and honestly, I think he did a good job of balancing everything.

This was another book that came across my radar because of PG’s Ramblings. He was dead on about the profanity too, so be aware of that. It only took me a year to get around to reading this. So take that into consideration if I ever tell you that your review has inspired me to read Book X. It’ll be a while

* grin *

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Princess of Blood (The God Fragments #2) ★★★★☆

princess of blood (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: Princess of Blood
Series: The God Fragments #2
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 545
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Cards head to another independent city state ostensibly as bodyguards for the Ambassador, but with Toil telling them to “be prepared”.

Some fool scholar has opened a mystery in the city of Jarrazir that leads down into a duegar maze of mythic proportions. Legends hint of a stash of god fragments, but that is odd as the duegar pre-date the fall of the gods.

Sotorian Bade, working for the Knight Charnel in his role as relic hunter, leads a force of knights underground to recover the fragments. General Faril is leading a very visible attack against the city to distract everyone from Bade.

But Toil isn’t distracted. She has a vendetta against Bade since he left her to die in the Underdark all those years ago. With the very reluctant blessing of the Nobility of Jarrazir, Toil and some of the Cards head underground, along with the surviving student of the aforementioned fool scholar. Now in a race with Bade, both groups will be tested to the utmost in all areas: magic, brains and brawn.

Bade successfully carries off the god fragments but Toil realizes there is a greater treasure and the 7 survivors are imbued with some sort of magic that ties them together. Once upon the surface, they must work together, with the remaining Cards and other mercenary groups to throw back the Knights Charnel. This they successfully do.

Now Anatim must figure out just what his Cards are becoming and if it’s something he still wants to be in charge of.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this as much as the first book. On the plus, there were no “slow” times like I experienced previously. On the minus side, Lloyd goes into perverse immorality here. Sadly, I am letting my enjoyment dictate the outcome instead of dnf’ing this like I’ve done other books with such content. I’m sure it will happen again so I’m already preparing myself for stopping this series at the next such instance.

Lloyd likes to write a lot of setup. While the Maze opens in the first pages, neither the Cards or Bade actually go underground until after the 50% mark. It worked this time but there were times I felt like telling him to “get on with the story”. The maze reminded me of the movie Cube, just not quite so spectacularly violent and grotesque. I’m ok with that though. Sadly, the whole time in the maze felt a bit rushed. I do wish there had been more fighting or traps or monsters or something. Less backstory for that wretched Toil and more Maze death.

Lynx didn’t feel nearly as much the main character as he did in the first book. It seemed like Toil kind of bulled her way in and tried to take over. I don’t mind her as Lynx’s love interest or as a side character, but I don’t care for her as a main character. She’s simply “too much”. Lynx is a bit more believable. In a world where pieces of gods are used to make bullets I mean * rolls eyes at self *

We do find out a little bit of the history of this world and the fact that the gods might have been duegar. My initial thought on learning this was “what is this going to do to the psyche of the people if they learn their gods were nothing but jumped up dwarves?”. I have a feeling Lloyd is simply going to ignore that aspect of things. Just like he’s pretty much not written how the gods being dead and their carcasses being used affects people.

This does continue to get the profanity tag as well. F-bombs are used like mage bullets it seems.

★★★★☆

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