A Bit More Than Peeved

e35664fbe4bb2f60a341734bb9fd3f76

I’m sure you are all well aware that every wordpress user has been, or will be,  forced over to the new Block Editor. I’m writing this 2 days before that actually happens to me, so there might be some things I say here that don’t apply or have been figured out or whatnot.

I am not a fan of this, at all. In fact, ever since they introduced the block editor back in ’19 I’ve tried it several times and each time gave up in disgust.

I just found out that there is a “classic” block but that I have to go through a hoop or two to use it.
https://wordpress.com/support/wordpress-editor/blocks/classic-block/

That link shows you how to get to the classic block and I figure I’ll be making use of it. Not as as good as starting everything automatically that way, but better than not having it at all.

My issue, however, is that I can no longer see at a glance, what days I have posts scheduled.  When I went to schedule posts in the old editor it brought up a calendar of that particular month and any day with an already scheduled post was highlighted in blue, thus visually, and more importantly, easily (!!!!!!) clueing me in to what days I should avoid posting the new post on. I’ve talked to a so-called expert and been told that ability has been removed. So I’m supposed to either open a second tab and look at my scheduled posts on my site (which doesn’t show a calendar, just a list of posts with dates in very small writing) or better yet, just get a paper calendar and write down when I’m scheduling posts. What a great step forward!!! That is what I call progress. I could swear….

A hobby shouldn’t be this frustrating.

bookstooge (Custom)

Zero Sum Game (Cas Russell #1) ★★★☆☆

zerosumgame (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: Zero Sum Game
Series: Cas Russell #1
Author: Lisa Huang
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 397
Words: 108K

 

Synopsis:

From SLHuang.com & Me

Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she’ll take any job for the right price.

As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower…until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she’s involved. There’s only one problem…

She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

Cas is hired to rescue a drug mule by her older sister Dawna. Once she rescues Jill, she realizes she’s been conned but can’t figure out why or even how. Her friend Rio, a sociopath who has turned his violent tendencies against sinners, tells her to not get involved. So of course Cas goes digging and finds the name Pithica. This gets her Information Broker and his 8 year old daughter killed and brings Cas into conflict with a Private Investigator who is tracking Jill down for murdering his clients husband.

Eventually Cas hooks up with the cop, Arthur, and they begin to realize there is an actual worldwide conspiracy headed by a group of people who can effectively read minds and brainwash anyone they want. Their goal is to reduce the overall misery in the world even if they have to take away peoples’ free will.

Cas, Arthur, and a reluctant Rio, team up and plot and scheme and eventually cut off the financial steams feeding Pithica. They attempt to trap and kill Dawna, as she is one of the Elite mind changers but it is only with Rio’s help that they make it out alive. But not unscathed. Dawna has brainwashed them into never going after Pithica again.

Cas realizes her own powers might have sprung from the same pit as Dawna’s (gene therapy, secret labs, all the usual schlock like that) but gets it all erased at the end. She hooks up with Arthur to help with his PI business.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed the story line for the most part. However, Cass is a filthy mouth jackass and her potty mouth near the beginning of the book almost had me put it down. Also Rio and his “I’m a sociopathic killer with no emotions but I’m going to use the Bible as my moral compass but I’m damned anyway but I’m going to kill badguys anyway for God” schtick was beyond messed up. It made zero sense to me. No, I take that back. It made perfect sense if you don’t believe in an actual God but believe the Bible is a set of rules and nothing more.

The action was pretty good. Lots of fighting, gun battles, grenades, etc. Cas and her mathamagic made for some great scenes and in some ways reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr, where he posits what is going to happen in the near future based on Action X that he takes now. No complaints whatsoever in that department.

The thriller aspect was just as well done. I didn’t even try to figure anything out (I almost never do anyway in these types of books, I’m just not wired that way) but sat back and let Huang tell her story at her own pace. It kept my attention the whole time, the tension factor was just right and I never wished the story “was over already”.

That being said, I don’t plan on reading any more in this series. Cas’s profanity and Rio (who is supposed to be a paragon of reasoning power) and his ethos, are not things I want to subject myself to any further.

For an alternate review that is a bit more enthusiastic, I’d recommend checking out The Irresponsible Reader’s Review from ’18.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

The Burning White (Lightbringer #5) ★★★★★

burningwhite (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 Burning White
Series: Lightbringer #5
Author: Brent Weeks
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 1325
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY

This book has several main Point of View characters. We follow Teia, Kip and the Mighty, Gavin Guile, Andross Guile and his daughter in law Karris the White and also Liv the Ferrilux. With each main viewpoint we also get stuff from minor characters.

Teia has been ordered by the Broken Eye to follow Gavin Guile (now a prisoner) onto a ship and kill him once he completes whatever task the Broken Eye has given him. The Order holds Teia’s father hostage and claims they will exchange his life for Gavin’s. Teia backs out at the last second and decides she will hunt the Order down. She contacts Karris but has a fit of the feelings because of something that Karris did so Teia goes it alone. This leads to her getting captured by her Order mentor, Murder Sharp, and being tortured for information. She tricks Murder into killing himself while he reveals just enough info for her to continue her hunt. She takes some poison and finds a wagon of wine that the entire Order is going to drink from and poisons every barrel, pretending to be the poison tester. Of course, she doesn’t know she is masquerading as the poison tester until after she poisons it all. Then she has to taste test the wine and take the poison herself. Which means when the sun rises the next day that the poison will interact with the light and kill her, along with every other Order member. She succeeds and in killing the Order foils a plot by them to open the city gates to the White King. She misses the Old Man of the Desert however. Kip does what he can to save her and succeeds. By the end of the book she is being re-integrated back into the Mighty.

Kip and the Mighty start out still in Blood Forest, where they have to decide whether to save the town they are currently in or to save another larger town that is a lynchpin in holding the current Satrapy together. If the White King gains either town, the entire Satrapy will fall to him. Tisis, his wife, figures out that Kip is being hemmed in not to prevent him from saving either town but from heading back to the Chromeria, where the White King is going to attack with all his forces and all 7 of the Banes. Kip takes on the mantle of the Lightbringer and takes the best of his forces back to the island of Jasper to fulfill a prophecy about the Lightbringer being on the Island to prevent a world wide disaster. He has also discovered, through a message from Liv, that the mirrors on Jasper are part of a network that are capable of killing the Banes. Kip and the Mighty get to the Island, delay the initial attack by the White King and bring some needed news to Andross Guile, who as the Promachos, is the military leader. Andross is still playing games with his grandson and Kip lets the title of Lightbringer go because he realizes he needs to focus on his people instead of his grandfather. Kip begins killing off the Bane by using the Mirror System but Zyman Guile, his insane half-brother, kills him and proclaims himself the Lightbringer and Prism and Emperor of the Chromeria. Kip’s last actions are to send a stream of White Luxin to some point in space. A wave of Black Luxin returns and turns everything darker than night and then Kip is brought back to life by Orholom’s intervention. He is out of the battle but has done enough to allow others to finish things up. At the end of the book he publicly proclaims Andross as the Lightbringer and he and Tisis will head back to Blood Forest to reign as Satraps, while still investigating more about what Orholom actually meant all the various luxins to do.

Gavin, who is really Dazen, is taken to an mythical Island where Orholam Himself supposedly used to meet with mortals. Grinwoody, the Old Man of the Desert and leader of the Broken Eye, tasks Gavin with ascending the tower on the island and destroying whatever he finds on top with a dagger of black luxin. Grinwoody holds the life of Karas and Kip in his hands as leverage. Gavin, now blind in one eye, crippled in one hand and completely color blind and unable to draft, does as he is bid. He meets up with a former rowing slave, coincidentally nicknamed Orholam for his self-righteous preaching. Gavin makes the journey to the top of the Tower, where he expects to find a nexus of magic (Grinwoody doesn’t believe that Orholam is real) and that by slicing it with the Blinding Knife that he will destroy all magic in the world. What he finds is Lucidonious, the First Lightbringer, who is now immortal and apparently evil. He fights Lucidonious and somehow banishes him back into the mirror world from which he came. The Orholam Himself appears. He is Real. He and Gavin have a long conversation and Gavin gets a lot off of his chest but also realizes just how bad a life he has led to that point. He pledges his life to Orholam and sends a wave of Black Luxin to the Chromeria to stop the White King and his Banes. It isn’t enough however and with his wounds he can’t do any more. Until a massive wave of White Luxin hits him and regenerates him. He then uses all the Black Luxin from the Tower and turns it into White Luxin. He then hitches a ride with Orholam and gets to the Island of Jasper in time to take part in the battle. By the end of the book he and Karris are re-united and Dazen (having given up all false pretenses) decides he is going to go into the color dungeon and kill some immortal Fallens.

Andross’s point of view begins with a split timeline. It starts many years ago when he is trying to court his wife. Even back then he thought he was the prophesied Lightbringer and he married his wife because of her scholarly knowledge and ability to read and interpret so many foreign prophecies. Each new chapter brings the timeline closer to the present and we see all the terrible things that Andross does to fulfill what he thinks the prophecy means, all the way up to killing his youngest son. We see how his obsession drives his wife away, his family away and how despicable a person he becomes. By the end of the book he begins to redeem himself and both Kip and Dazen are reaching out to him to prevent him from going down that path again. Of course, he proclaims himself the Lightbringer and the new Emperor of the Chromaeia and the new Prism. He is still a jackass.

Liv, Kip’s friend from the first book, now a godling herself, is under the thrall of one of the Fallen and doesn’t even realize it. She provides insight into what the White King is doing and his eventual goal to proclaim himself the God of gods and to become one of the Immortals himself. He obviously fails and is obliterated.

 

My Thoughts:

First off, just a warning. As you can tell by the synopsis, this is going to be a long review. I don’t know how long this section will be, but it will definitely NOT be my typical 3-5 paragraphs.

This final book in the Lightbringer series was released at the end of October and I was desperately hoping someone else would have written up a synopsis by now over at the wiki page. No such luck so I had to do it myself. I left out a lot of detail, even major detail because this book was just that big. My kindle page count was just over 1300 pages. That number comes from a character count (letters, not words) with X characters per page, not how many page clicks I had to do on my Oasis (which would change if I changed the font size). I sped through it though. I’d read 25% at one go and then go read another book just so I didn’t over do it. That formula worked out perfectly for keeping me interested but not burning out.

So lets start with the negative and potential negative. The only truly negative for me was that it had been long enough between books that I was lost at sea a couple of times. Weeks does provide a short synopsis of each of the previous books at the beginning and I read them. I’d have been even more lost without them. 5 books over nine years is just a lot to deal with. There were a couple of times that something was referred to that I had NO idea about simply because I’d forgotten about it from a previous book. The “potential” negative is the very long talk between Dazen and Orholom at the tower. I say “potential” because it wasn’t a negative for me at all (it probably was the best part) but I don’t know how other readers are going to react to a theological talk between an Omniscient God and a powerful but broken and hurting man.

I liked the almost continual revelations about the history of the Chromeria and the Lightbringers and the 1000 Worlds and the Immortals, etc. Just when I felt like I was getting my feet under me Weeks would bring in another wave and knock me right over. The revelations about Lucidonious was enough to really rock me.

The action was top-notch and was just as good, if not better, than anything that came before in the series. From the Mighty fighting against the corrupt Light Guard, to civilians fighting against the White King’s forces to Cruxer fighting against Ironfist to Teia and Murder Sharp’s fight, even down to the card game between Kip and Andross, it all had the proper amount of tension. All the scenes were what I wanted in my action. I was satisfied with them, completely.

The ending is a pretty happing ending too. The bad guys are defeated, the good guys win and even the despicable scum get a shot at redemption. I didn’t find it sappy or over the top or too much. I have to admit that I wished that Andross Guile had been killed. He was one of the major despicable scum and while it was in keeping with what Weeks was writing, I wanted to see Andross get some Justice from Orholam instead of mercy.

Speaking of Orholam, the reason this got a full 5 stars from me is because of the conversation between Orholam and Dazen. Weeks doesn’t shy away from having Dazen ask some of the hard questions, questions that I struggle with in real life. There were a couple of times during this part of the book where I just cried. I cried with relief knowing that other people ask the same questions and feel the same way I do, I cried because of the pain that causes such questions to even be asked and I cried because I’m sure that Weeks himself struggles with these issues. He couldn’t have written like he did if he hadn’t fought these things out. Weeks is obviously a Christian but much like CS Lewis and Narnia, he doesn’t shy away from exploring the “What If” in regards to theology and fantasy. He’s not quite as explicit as Lewis, as there is no Aslan/Christ figure, but Dazen and Kip definitely play out the Father/ Son role of God the Father and God the Son at the crucifixion. All of these reasons are also why I am giving this the “Best Book of the Year” tag. It has some stiff competition from the other books I gave this tag to this year, so we’ll see what book actually wins at Year’s End.

Overall, I enjoyed the series enough that I wasn’t crying “foul” over the 2 year wait between books. It did show me though that my semi-recent plan to only read completed series is the right way to go. Whatever Brent Weeks writes next I’ll be reading, but I won’t be reading it as it comes out. If you read the first book, I think whatever you feel about that will guide how you feel about the rest of the series.

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Kneel or Die (Kurtherian Gambit #7) ★★☆☆½

kneelordie (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: Kneel or Die
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #7
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 336
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

There is one son of Michael left, one final Forsaken, who is defying Bethany Anne. He begins the process of a multi-prong attack based on what he learned from the last attack in the previous book. However, BA and Michael teleport in and Michael simply kills him. Bam, Forsaken are no longer a problem.

BA has been pushing for space worthy vehicles and her crew is really pushing themselves to get this project off the ground. BA needs a moon base to get out of the control of Terrestrial Powers. The team uses the new and improved vehicles on several missions and being able to get from one point on the Earth to another in a matter of minutes makes them even more deadly.

ADAM continues to grow and confronts a group of chinese government hackers. Now some part of the world knows it exists.

At the same time, the Team begins going after some terrorists that had struck in France. They begin hooking one member after another and working their way up the food chain. BA simply disappears each victim into the Etheric. No body, no mess, no evidence. This does lead to a lowly analyst at a small government agency discovering the disappearances and she begins tracking them. She realizes that “somebody” is making raids into foreign countries and killing people. So she sets out to track down this mysterious group of blacker than black operatives.

The clock is now ticking. BA must get her defenses in order: militarily, politically and technologically, as she is about to be discovered by the world at large.

 

My Thoughts:

The profanity has reached stupid levels now. It’s not all the time. It’s almost like Anderle has a checklist and there is one scene or two exclusively written so BA or one of her teams can simply swear in the ridiculous manner that Anderle has plotted. It simply is annoying and trying to figure out how I can just skip over it in future books.

I felt like the whole Forsaken problem was wrapped up way too easily. It was like the Forsaken were setup as bowling pins and then between BA and Michael, the author knocks them all down with a spare. It was rather anti-climactic. Hard to believe the Forsaken were such a problem if they were taken care of so easily.

Unfortunately, at the end of the book the author felt the need to include pages and pages and PAGES of reviews of previous books. Even more tactless and stupid was the fact that he RESPONDED to those reviews in the book. I believe most of them came from Amazon, so I’m not sure how he legally did that(Anderle being an indie I suspect he just did whatever he felt like without giving 2 figs for anyone else). Who the feth does he think he is doing something like that? If I found out he’d done something like that with one of my reviews without permission I’d buy a plane ticket to the nearest metro area, gear up and hunt him down for being the sick son of a bitch he is. This was completely inappropriate to be included in a book, without even going into the legal side of things. I knocked off a whole star for this section. Things like this are why I detest indies in general.

Other than those 2 major items, this was fun, just like all the previous books. There are some real kick butt action scenes and the little bit we get to read about TOM and ADAM and their interactions are fun. Anderle also pulls no punches about terrorists and what religious group they mainly come from. Of course, he soft peddles it with some pretty Politically Correct appeasement language but considering how blinded the West is to Islam, that really isn’t surprising, even if just a bit disappointing.

I really liked the whole Analyst figuring stuff out. It wasn’t that she was a super character but the implications are pretty important. Of course, Anderle will probably deal with that in the same way he dealt with the Forsaken. He seems to be much better at setting up cool scenarios than in writing them out with the right balance of tension and “the good guys win”ness.

There are 15 or 18 books in this particular series. I was sure I was going to be able to work my way through them all when I started but after this one, I don’t know. Him including and responding to reviews really undermined the enjoyment I had experienced. It tainted everything.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Under My Heel (Kurtherian Gambit #6) ★★★☆½

undermyheel (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: Under My Heel
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #6
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 306
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

BA and Michael and the rest of the Queen Bitch’s Guard must take down the Forsaken so that they can begin dealing with the potential threat from space. At the same time the military has begun sniffing around the AI project. BA is going to have to accelerate her plans in acquiring a secure military base where she can move the AI and begin producing prototype starships.

The remaining son of Michael, the most powerful of the Forsaken, sets a trap for the Guard and eventually BA herself. BA and her crew get to test themselves against a whole host of nosferatu and have a test run of their new attack ships.

Of course BA and Co are successful, in just about all their endeavors. The ambush is unsuccessful, the military base is procured, the prototype ships a success and the AI is moved into the Ether and begins learning with TOM as a (rather unsuccessful) gatekeeper.

 

My Thoughts:

The profanity is just stupid. It’s not amusing, it’s not actually profane, it’s just an ignorant stringing together of as many curse words as possible. It felt like a teenager trying to show how tough he was by saying everything he knows he’s not supposed to.

I had fun reading this even while knowing the outcome. BA is just so powerful. But that is ok because I’m not reading these for dramatic tension but for butt kicking action, which is delivered in spades.

Sorry, I just don’t feel like writing and I really don’t have anything else to say. These are popcorn books. So if you like that, great. If you want epic fantasy or {L}iterature, then this won’t do it for you. It really is that simple.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Hatching (The Hatching #1) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF@20%

hatching (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 Hatching
Series: The Hatching #1
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 353/ DNF@20%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

DNF’d at roughly 20%

 

My Thoughts:

I dnf’d this for the usual reason of the inclusion of homosexuality. That being said, before that I was “this” close to pulling the trigger and dnf’ing it anyway. This was laced with profanity, the majority of the characters were either having affairs, had affairs or were considering affairs and generally speaking, everyone involved was a scumbag. If killer spiders were about to consume the entire world, I wouldn’t shed a tear for a single one of these people.

It got me thinking though. I am tired of dnf’ing books because of objectionable content as it simply wears down my soul and I feel tired and worn out from just trying to simply believe what is true. Books like this degrade that and I’ve come to realize that it is not enough to simply dnf a book or avoid an author that espouses perversions as normal.

Reading non-fiction has always been one of the hardest things for me. But to combat the constant degradation of my spirit I will be starting to rotate in non-fiction into my regular reading schedule. It probably means that the months I read a non-fiction book my overall book numbers will go down as I won’t be racing through them. Which will mean less overall posts. I doubt that these non-fiction books will appeal to the majority of those who follow me, which is why I’m giving you all the heads up.

Right now I’ve got several books by Ellen White (the un-official founder of 7th Day Adventism), C.S. Lewis (a lay, ie, non-ordained, theologian) and the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, in 3 parts. These three authors will be a test run for the next 2 years to see if I can handle a steady diet of non-fiction every couple of months.

I realize this “review” has pretty much turned into more of an announcement post and I thank you for your time and understanding.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Never Forsaken (Kurtherian Gambit #5) ★★★☆☆

neverforsaken (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: Never Forsaken
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #5
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 328
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne (henceforth BA), must deal with bringing the Were into her elite Guardian Group. Pete takes on that chore and he and another recruit slug it out at the end of the training for Alpha status. Pete takes it and BA finds out from TOM that the Were are actually another line of nano-tech from a competing Kurtherian clan. BA and Tom experiment with Pete to give him a man-beast form. They are successful

BA also deals with having a dog be in the medical pod and having TOM messing with it. It seems to be a battery for the Etheric and allow BA to travel 1000’s of km at once instead of just mere kilometers.

BA also tracks down two of the top Forsaken in South America and deals with them. She rescues Michael in the process and as penance for not dealing with the Forsaken centuries earlier puts him in charge of South America.

The 2 scientists awake their AI. Bobcat begins working with a rocket scientist to develop a strike craft for both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial purposes.

 

My Thoughts:

Once again, I had a blast reading this. It still does feel like Anderle is putting too much of various characters into the books, hence cutting down the time we get with them. The balance isn’t right.

Also, while I enjoyed this as much as the previous books, if not more due to BA taking out the 2 top Forsaken, the rushed nature of this volume really stood out. Several spelling errors, sentences that weren’t cleaned up or had had 2 ways to go and weren’t completed properly, little grammar things here and there. I’ll keep reading as long as I enjoy the story but these little things make me leery of recommending the books because it screams “unprofessional”.

Lots of fun and excitement as long as you don’t mind the indie lack of concern.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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.

★☆☆☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

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)