Of Mice and Men ★☆☆☆☆

miceandmen (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: Of Mice and Men
Series: ———-
Author: John Steinbeck
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 73
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

George and Lennie are looking for work. George has a dream of owning his own little bit of land some day and all Lennie wants is to have rabbits so he can pet them. George has been looking after Lennie for years and benefits from his lack of intelligence and from his brawn.

On a new farm, they come across an old one handed worker who has half the price saved up to buy the piece that George has his eye on. All George and Lennie need to do is work one month, collect their pay, pool it with the third man and then they can “live on the fat of the land”.

Their new boss has a young son who is recently married. The young man, Curly, has a chip on his shoulder and is always fighting those who are bigger than him. He takes an immediate dislike to Lennie and Lennie simply doesn’t understand what is going on. Curly’s wife has a roving eye and wants socialness, something that she just isn’t getting from Curly or life on a ranch.

She corners Lennie one afternoon to talk to him, since she knows he’s too stupid to go away. Lennie feels her hair, as he has a weak spot for soft things. This frightens Curly’s wife and Lennie freezes up. She starts to scream and Lennie puts his hand over her mouth to stop her and ends up breaking her neck. He runs away to a special spot that George told him to go to if he ever got in trouble.

Curly gets together the men of the ranch to hunt down Lennie and makes sure George is with them. George knows where Lennie is and steals a gun from one of the other ranch hands. He finds Lennie and tells him the wonderful story about the place they are going to own to distract Lennie. George then shoots Lennie, killing him instantly so that he won’t suffer at the hands of a lynching led by Curly.

The book ends with George giving up on his dream of a place of his own and resigning himself to spending his monthly pay on whores and whiskey.

 

My Thoughts:

What a fantastically written horrible book. As much as I wish it weren’t true, Steinbeck can write. His books are considered Classics for a reason. By the end of this little tiny novella, George and Lennie felt as real to me as anyone I know from my work.

That being said, Steinbeck was an asshole in choosing to waste his talents on such horrible subject matters. My take is that Steinbeck wanted to show the worst parts of life, and only the worst parts, and then extrapolate that ALL of life is that bad. Meaningless, hopeless and ultimately completely futile.

I had read the Red Pony back in 7th grade and it so affected me, negatively, that I have never read another book by Steinbeck until now. I wanted to see if growing older and more mature made a difference in how I viewed his writing. Nope,not one jot.

What a waste. A waste of talent, a waste of a life, a waste of such potential. I don’t mourn, but it does sadden me that people can make such choices and do such things.

★☆☆☆☆

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Bite This (Kurtherian Gambit #4) ★★★☆½

bitethis (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: Bite This
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #4
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne and Crew have a lot to do.

One of their smaller companies has created an AI but didn’t tell anyone. They shut it down so there was no chance of it going all Skynet on the world. When BA finds out, she puts her father and some others on the case as they need some super intelligence to help guide them through the coming minefields.

The Company needs a military base as a “Corporate Headquarters” so they can start bringing their own people together, to work and to protect. If any nation state learns what BA is doing or capable of, they’re going to have to protect themselves. They also need a place where scientists can start studying TOM’s spaceship. The spaceship itself needs to be moved from the mountainous area to a secure birth on the super yacht.

BA has given the responsibility of getting Europe back under control to Stephen, another of Michael’s direct children. He has to deal with young vamps on the edge of becoming Forsaken as well as Pack politics. European Were haven’t been dealt with for decades and they are thinking that maybe vamps aren’t tough as all that. Stephen shows them WHY vamps are top of the food chain and Europe starts to settle down.

And if that isn’t enough, one of Michael’s direct children, now a Forsaken in South America, is attacking BA using political connections. BA has to figure out who the politician is and where this Forsaken is actually located. Then she can deal with both of them. Just to complicate things even more, it looks like this Forsaken has a secret formula for making Nosferatu more intelligent and even stronger.

 

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, while reading this, I had the Beach Boys song “Fun, Fun, Fun” running through my head. And BA’s daddy doesn’t take the t-bird away, so yeah, lots and lots of fun.

I complained about the last book introducing a ton of characters really quickly. Thankfully, it pays off here. The book cycles through quite a few POV’s which is only possible because of all the new people. I still say Anderle could have done it a bit slower but it isn’t something I can complain about in this book. Gabby the vampire ends up in the medical box and becomes an alpha vamp probably on the level with Michael. I’m surprised that BA isn’t running some of her own crew through the box to build up a small army of loyal alpha vamps. I consider BA to be Vamp Zero and maybe she doesn’t want any alphas going wild and blowing her cover and destroying her chance to bring the world up to readiness to deal the the enemy aliens. I don’t know. I do know that I would be biting my loyal guards until they were all vamps, especially since they would be daywalkers.

The whole AI storyline is just getting going. There is lot of relocation and talking and plans but the switch hasn’t been thrown yet to bring it back online. I’m definitely interested to see where this plot line goes.

There is a battle scene where Gabby saves a german shepherd by giving it her blood. BA also gives it her blood. So we’re going to end up with vampire dogs. I’m guessing Anderle will use them as Nosferatu detectors and such. I really didn’t care for this inclusion, as I’m not an animal person.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this. At under 300 pages, I felt like I just raced through it. I know Anderle has this series in omnibus editions with 3 books in each and I’m tempted to go that route just so I can get a big long draft of BA kicking butt. I know I won’t though, as I’d rather stretch things out and stay a little hungry than burn out. Nothing worse than burnout.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Darkside War (Icarus Corps #1) ★★☆☆½

darksidewar (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 Darkside War
Series: Icarus Corps #1
Author: Zachary Brown
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA SF
Pages: 241
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The aliens have conquered us. They destroyed Washington, DC, made examples of other capitals of the world and now occupy Earth. And they are the good aliens.

Devlin’s parents are the leaders of the Protest Movement. After millions died in violent protest, it was thought that only non-violent protesting was the way to go. Unfortunately for humanity, “protesting” is a 4 letter word for the aliens. Devlin is caught in a sweep and unless he joins the aliens new hybrid armed forces, his parents will be executed on world wide television.

Devlin goes to military academy on the darkside of the moon. The bad aliens make a sneak attack and it is up to the recruits to get a message to Earth to warn them. They succeed but find out that there are what appear to be humans working for the bad aliens and that the bad aliens have blockaded Earth’s system and we’re on our own.

The book ends with Humanity swinging into a full time war footing alongside the good aliens instead of under their boot.

 

My Thoughts:

This was everything I was afraid Red Rising was going to be. (RR turned into a good, fun book thankfully). Imagine that the Millennials now run the world and aliens invade.

I just kept shaking my head in disgust at what was being written. This was deliberately Young Adult (but with a boatload of profanity) in tone but even still, the whole mindset of the characters were so “today” that it hurt. I was thinking, Robert Heinlein wrote a lot of juvenile books with young protaganists but they were still competent human beings. These kids in this book? Bunch of special snowflakes. I mean, the main character punches a girl while wearing power armor because she steps between him and another guy who hate each other. I don’t care what anyone says, unless your life is in danger, you don’t hit women, period. A man is so much physically stronger and as such needs to keep himself under control. The profanity level is also another indicator of just how out of control these characters are. If you as an author are going to write simplified SF, then that type of language has no place in it. These weren’t military recruits swearing because that was the mythos but because they were selfish, stupid kids who couldn’t control themselves for 1 minute.

Then the whole “Peaceful Protest” thing. This assumes that the people/aliens you are protesting against actually care about what you think. Once again, it is a completely modern YA idea that everybody cares about ME because I’m so special, blah, blah, blah. I realize that Earth was completely bent over by the aliens and that millions died in the occupation, but my goodness, where is the Underground military? You’d think they’d have their young people infiltrate the alien/human army and learn about the aliens and their weaponry, etc. But nooooooooo.

The final issue I had was how much Devlin simply “changes”. He’s a spoiled kid at the beginning and now is some sort of leader in the new army at the end. He goes through a LOT during the bad aliens attack and in warning the Earth has chances to really grow up, but it wasn’t written in such a way that I believed he did grow up.

The idea for this book is great. Even when I was done reading, I was really tempted to keep on going with the series. ( Reading Over The Shoulder reviewed this last year but never reviewed the later books. Considering they haven’t posted since September, I’m also wondering if they’re just done with blogging.) After writing the above though, I realized this is a book that simply contains too many things that rub me the wrong way.

Not recommended and I won’t be reading any more by “Zachary Brown”, whoever that cowardly piece of excrement is. If you’re going to use a fake name, don’t bloody advertise that you’re using a fake name and that you’re actually a really good writer with awards under your belt. Especially if you’re going to write such a sub-par piece of simplified puff.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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)

 

 

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.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)