Children of Ruin (Children of Time #2) ★✬☆☆☆


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: Children of Ruin
Series: Children of Time #2
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 480
Words: 155K



Synopsis:

A terraforming ship of humans discover 2 worlds and begin terraforming one of them. Then the great catastrophe from Old Earth strikes and they barely survive. One of the scientists plays god with octopi and has them taking over one of the world. The other world ends up being the host of a organism that takes over everything it comes into contact with. It reaches the Octopi world and drives them into space.

Where a spaceship from the Human/Spider coalition find them. And everybody tries to communicate with everybody else and succeed and way in the future everyone is one giant happy family of sentient beings.

My Thoughts:

If this hadn’t been by Adrian Tchaikovsky, I would have DNF’d this at the 50% mark when I made my Currently Reading post. As it is, he is now off my list of “must read” authors.

This was boring. This wasn’t fun. This felt like him playing with himself and his “clever” idea about how sentient octopi might communicate. If you’re into that kind of thing, then have at this book. You go play with yourself, you sicko. But for everyone else, kick this to the curb. I was severely disappointed in this even though I thought I had set my expectations to almost zero. To summarize, this was fething stupid and I hated it.

Children of Time is an excellent standalone book that didn’t need a sequel nor should it have had one. This book, Children of Ruin, was a disgrace and a slap in the face. How could the same guy write this drivel AND the excellent Private Life of Elder Things? It just boggles my mind.

What else boggles my mind is praise and acclaim this seems to have accrued to itself. Doesn’t anyone have standards and principles anymore? I hate the publishers for pushing for a sequel. I hate Tchaikovsky for writing a sequel. I hate the fans for enabling a sequel. I sentence them all to the eternal stygian darkness!

So there.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1) ★☆☆☆☆


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 & Bookype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Rosemary and Rue
Series: October Daye #1
Author: Seanan McGuire
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 287
Words: 106K



Synopsis:

From October-daye.fandom.com/wiki/Rosemary_and_Rue

Prologue: June 9, 1995

Half-fae changeling October Daye is on a stakeout for her private investigator / knight errant job when she gets a call from her human boyfriend Cliff and Gillian. Simon Torquill appears and Toby follows him to the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park in the hopes of locating the missing Luna and Rayseline Torquill. Simon meets up with Oleander, then turns Toby into a fish when he catches her spying. She is kicked into the koi ponds where she and Lily are trapped and forgotten for fourteen years.

Chapter 1-2: December 23, 2009

Toby regains her true form and seeks help from her longtime friend Evening Winterrose to set up a new human identity. She rejects most of Faerie including Sylvester and her changeling friends Mitch, Stacy, and Kerry, choosing instead to work at Safeway and occasionally offer toothpicks as aid in the local pixies’ territory wars. When Mitch visits the store, she pretends not to know him even though Gillian and his daughter Cassandra used to be playmates.

While heading home from a work shift, Toby is caught by the dawn and her human illusions are forcibly stripped away. Tybalt appears while she recovers from the pain of the magic, and they banter before going their separate ways. She arrives home to find a page of Duke Sylvester’s service waiting with a message, but she refuses to hear it as she has refused all the other messages.

Toby dreams about her mother Amandine, who had been married to Toby’s human father until Toby’s Changeling’s Choice, administered by Sylvester, forced mother and daughter back to the Summerlands. She also dreams of the day she escaped the koi pond and sought Evening’s help to get back on her feet, even as Cliff and Gillian rejected her for abandoning them for fourteen years.

Chapter 3-4: Awoken by her cats Cagney and Lacey, Toby listens to several increasingly frantic voicemails from Evening which culminate in Evening binding Toby to find Evening’s killer right before Toby hears Evening get murdered over the line. Toby drives to Evening’s apartment where she magics the human police into believing she belongs there. She finds splatters of Evening’s blood and the human-like corpse left by the night-haunts. She uses her Daoine Sidhe abilities to taste the blood and relive Evening’s final moments, learning that unidentified attackers killed her with iron bullets.

Chapter 5-7: Toby travels to the Court of the Queen of the Mists to announce the death using the fae’s formal customs, but the semi-mad Queen refuses to believe her. Next Toby goes to Home, an underground community of Changelings led by Devin, who had given refuge to Toby as a teenager after she ran away from Amandine and the Summerlands. Toby confronts teenagers Dare and Manuel before they allow her to see Devin. She recalls her own time as Devin’s lover and lackey, and how she and Devin had argued when Toby started dating Cliff and became pregnant with Gillian. In the present, Devin insists that he would have helped Toby after her return from the pond if Toby had allowed it. He explains that Evening was a benefactor for Home, and he pledges Home’s resources to helping Toby find her killer. In exchange, Toby will be in his debt. Devin encourages her to break ties with Sylvester, since although she won’t talk to Sylvester she is still his sworn knight, but she refuses.

Chapter 8-10: On the way home, Toby encounters a rose goblin who gives her an unmarked key. Evening’s binding tells Toby that the key is important, so Toby next heads to Evening’s mortal place of business, Third Road Enterprises. The binding tells her that the key will “open the way into Goldengreen,” Evening’s knowe. Using the key at the mortal business gives Toby access to the offices and leads her to a hidden hope chest. Toby recognizes that she must hide it, so she makes a bargain with Tybalt to keep it safe. He refuses at first, telling her to take it to the Queen or the Tea Gardens, but then accepts it and puts Toby in his debt.

Chapter 11-12: Although she is exhausted, Evening’s binding uses increasingly painful means to urge Toby to keep hunting the truth. Toby visits Shadowed Hills to inform the Torquills of Evening’s death and to ask for help. She recalls that Sylvester went mad when Luna, Raysel, and Toby all disappeared, and only snapped out of it when his wife and daughter returned to him. Toby’s magical abilities are tested by a footman who makes her design a court outfit with her magic, which adds to her magic burn. Quentin, the page who visited her home earlier, announces her to the Torquills. Sylvester is delighted to see her but shocked by the news of Evening, and more shocked by Toby’s binding to find the killer. As the Torquills mourn Evening’s death, Toby flees to the rose gardens and is followed by Connor, who attempts to make small talk with her but is clearly unhappy in his politically arranged marriage to Rayseline.

Chapter 13: Quentin finds Toby after Connor leaves, and she learns that he is in blind fosterage to Shadowed Hills. She tries to relax his pureblood prejudices and formal mannerisms, and they agree to hang out after things calm down. Sylvester and Luna are upset that Toby indebted herself to Home on her quest, and they reiterate her welcome at Shadowed Hills. She promises to stay in touch.

Chapter 14-16: On her way home, Toby realizes someone is in the car with her and she drives manically to keep them off-kilter. The intruder shoots her with iron and she flees the car, escaping on a city bus that takes her to Golden Gate Park. She tricks the Tea Garden’s gate attendant into letting her in and, growing increasingly weaker, she falls into a koi pond only to be rescued by Tybalt, who brings her to Lily. The Undine heals Toby, then chides her for her apparent death wish before sending her off with Julie and Ross as escorts. The trio are attacked en route to the taxi and Ross is killed. Tybalt kills the attacker and claims he helped so he won’t be stuck with the hope chest.

Chapter 17: Toby is driven home by Danny to find Devin waiting on her doorstep. Devin administers to Toby’s latest wounds and they sleep together, Devin trying to convince her to give up her hunt.

Chapter 18: Toby is fired from Safeway for being no call-no show. She can’t make herself care given everything going on. A doppleganger posing as Gillian visits and attacks Toby, who wants to believe her daughter is ready to make amends. Dare and Manuel come to the rescue and Dare kills the doppleganger with her iron knife, but in the attack Toby is yet again injured.

Chapter 19-20:They take her to Home, where Devin yells at the kids for slacking on guard duty. He tries to persuade Toby to give up her hunt for Evening’s killer, which she physically cannot do even if she wanted to. Dare asks how Toby met Devin, and Toby recalls how he rescued her from the streets as a teenager. She encourages Dare to break free of Devin, but Dare brushes her off. Devin tells Toby that he will send word to Sylvester that she is safe. Toby learns that Devin called in a favor from the Luidaeg to heal her.

Chapter 21: Toby, Manuel, and Dare head to Goldengreen to investigate further. She runs into Connor, who was sent by Sylvester, and discovers that Devin lied about updating the Duke. She makes Connor cut himself to prove he is not another doppelganger, identifying him by the scent of his blood and magic. Toby suggests that Raysel might be the killer, and they again acknowledge their mutual attraction even though Toby refuses to let Connor cheat on Raysel. They realize they are not alone in Goldengreen, and in fleeing they accidentally jump off a cliff into the ocean. Connor uses his selkie abilities to rescue Toby from panic-drowning as she flashes back to the pond.

Chapter 22: Dare and Manuel find them on the shore and they return to Shadowed Hills. Luna agrees to give the teens sanctuary. She also recognizes that Toby has been healed by the Luidaeg and tells Toby she must visit the Luidaeg to learn how to escape Evening’s binding. The rose goblin shows her the way.

Chapter 23: The Luidaeg introduces herself, shows Toby a vision of Maeve’s Firstborn, and identifies herself as one of them. Toby barters Evening’s key for the answers to her questions. She learns that hope chests can turn changelings fully human and that Devin has future plans for Toby. Toby does not ask her final question, which leaves the Luidaeg furiously in her debt.

Chapter 24: Back at home, Toby names the rose goblin Spike; the cats have warily accepted its presence. Toby asks Cagney and Lacey to bring her to Tybalt, being his subjects, and they grudgingly take her to the Court of Cats. She asks Tybalt for the bloody shirt he had worn at the park, and Julie attacks her because she blames Toby for Ross’s death. Tybalt asserts dominance over Julie, gives Toby the shirt, and tells Toby to leave as Julie continues to struggle.

Chapter 26: Toby seeks Lily’s help to reawaken the blood on Tybalt’s shirt. Lily tries unsuccessfully to dissuade Toby from riding the blood, and Toby learns that Devin is Evening’s killer. The binding nearly lulls Toby into a peaceful death, but Lily snaps her out of it. Danny takes Toby to Home where she confronts Devin. He says he killed Evening so he could use the hope chest to become a pureblood. He wishes Toby had come back to him, then orders Manuel to shoot her. Manuel hesitates and he, Dare, Devin, and Toby fight. Devin kills Dare. Manuel kills Devin.

Chapter 27: Sylvester and Shadowed Hills arrive for cleanup. Dare is buried. The hope chest is returned to the Queen, who is now in Toby’s debt. Toby accepts her place in the world of the fae.

My Thoughts:

I had seen several reviewers who were long time fans of this series (it’s up to book 14 or 15 I think?) and from what they had written, it sounded very interesting. I knew this was Urban Fantasy, a genre I have a VERY mixed relationship with, but was hoping it would stay away from the tropes that have driven me away from the genre in general. Unfortunately, as you can tell from the rating I gave the book, this read didn’t work out as I was hoping it would.

This was the very definition of female urban fantasy as far as I’m concerned. Everything that bugs the living daylights out of me about UF was here, in spades.

  • Spunky, full of attitude woman
  • multiple love interests from the past
  • family drama ramped up to 11
  • poor decisions by the main character leading to drama ramped up to 20
  • main character “taking care of herself” even while being rescued by others over and over and over
  • did I mention attitude coupled with bad decisions?
  • Bad Decisions
  • doing things for the good of others without asking them, talking to them about it or in any way seeing if it actually IS good for them
  • alienating family, friends and pretty much anyone who could help in the name of being spunky and full of attitude

And that’s enough for me. I will not read a main character who acts stupidly, gets away with it because of authorial fiat and then gets to call it “I can take care of myself” bullshit. Toby Daye (the titular character’s named shortened obviously) is exactly the kind of character who I hate. Not the kind of character I love to hate, or love to hate and read about, but simply hate.

I hated almost every page I read and seriously thought about DNF’ing this at the 9% mark. I guess I fell into the trap of thinking that this couldn’t possibly stay this bad and so kept reading. By the end, I was seething on the inside, almost frothing on the outside and felt like I had wasted my time. Even Psychic Grandma rattled her chains at me for being so dumb as to go all the way to the end. Considering I never listen to her about her ironing tips, I wasn’t about to start with “reading advice” from her either though.

The only good thing is that at under 300 pages I didn’t invest much time and I can now get rid of the whole series from my tbr list. 13’ish books gone in one fell swoop and able to add another series to my reading rotation.

If the bullet list of things sound like something you’d like, then go for it and may you find more joy than I did.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Karas: The Prophecy, The Revelation (2007 Anime)

karas (Custom)karasprophecy (Custom)karasrevelation (Custom)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where do I even start? By the time I was done watching this I was scratching my head desperately trying to figure out why I had bought this back in 2007 when it was released on dvd for American audiences.

I have 2 good things to say, so I’m going to get them out of the way. The visuals in this anime (there are 6 total episodes) are absolutely stunning and the fight scenes are so action packed and awesome that it took my breath away. And that was it. Nothing else about this anime is anything I would recommend.

This was a confusing mess that made so little sense that it wasn’t until I went over to the Wikipedia page that it started to get straightened out in my head. The anime opens up with what appear to be 2 jet planes flying over Shinjuku strafing each other and obviously fighting against each other. Then they suddenly transform into old school samurai looking guys (like the armor on the cover) and begin hacking away at each other in front of the moon all the while being a bajillion feet up in the air. Then one guy eventually kills the other and the dead guy turns to black feathers.

1077817-karas
Two Karas with their feet towards each other, preparing for the final confrontation

 

There are robot demons, and a cop who investigates supernatural stuff and Karas is supposed to be a protector or something and one karas went rogue and is trying to take over the city with the demon robots. And there is more stuff that I don’t even remember because I was so bewildered and lost as to what was going on that I didn’t know what to look at or who to pay attention to or anything.

mikuras
A mikuras, ie, a robot demon

By the time these 6 episodes were done, all I knew for certain was that I would never watch this again and if I could get rid of these, I would in a heart beat! It was a waste of my time and I doubt anyone now, 13 years later, is going to spend any time on it, nor should they.

big-thumbs-down

 

It did make me want to go through some of my other anime though, to see just how much my tastes had changed. So in July I think I’m going to be dedicating Sundays to anime.

 

I plan on watching Big O Seasons 1 & 2 (think Batman the Animated Series in Japan with giant robots), The Record of Lodoss War OVA (my manga reading this month inspired that choice!) and to wrap things up, the Tenchi Muyo OVA (scifi romcom) that got me hooked on anime back in the early ’00’s. Prepare yourselves, Bookstooge is going Old School Anime next month!

 

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Entrepreneurship (A Very Short Introduction) ★☆☆☆☆

entrepreneurship (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: Entrepreneurship
Series: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Paul Westhead
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 154
Words: 38K

 

Synopsis:

A book in the A Very Short Introduction series. Paul Westhead discusses what Entrepreneurship has meant through time, what it can mean today and how Entrepreneurship is changing as the world shrinks and “Entrepreneurship” is defined by culture.

 

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, the Quote Post I did last week did a great job of summing up just how this book is. It is written by a professor who studies Entrepreneurship and really appears to be for other professors or people who are already familiar with the Entrepreneurship industry.

Before I read this book, I defined Entrepreneurship as something done by Entrepreneurs, who are people who DO things. After reading this book, my definition has not changed one jot. It should have.

The author admits that his father was a failed entrepreneur and that is why he is a professor of Entrepreneurship instead of an Entrepreneur himself. He is someone who talks from their ivory tower (hello Saruman?) instead of doing anything. This was not written for someone completely unfamiliar with the subject and all its industry terms. As a field tech in the Land Survey Industry, I am quite familiar with “industry terms”. They have exact, specific meanings and convey a wealth of information to those who have learned what those terms mean. You don’t use those terms as an Introduction however.

The only thing that really didn’t rub me the wrong way was that at the end of the book was an extensive Bibliography of other books to read if this book hadn’t killed your interest in the subject.

I have a bunch of these VSI books in my Non-Fiction line up and I am desperately hoping the rest are not written like this. If they are, they are useless, a waste of time and a complete failure in being an “Introduction”. Paul Westhead should be ashamed of himself.

★☆☆☆☆

 

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AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004 Movie)

51vm6677rflAnyone with the reading skills of a 3rd grader could figure out the basic premise of this movie. But just in case there are any first or second graders who read my blog…..

This is a matchup that fans have wanted for years and years. Aliens fighting Predators, who will come out on top? And will Earth survive?

Quick and dirty synopsis. Weyland Industries finds a hidden pyramid in Antarctica and sends in a team to grab all they can before other corporations make their move. Unknown to anyone, the pyramid is a nesting ground for Aliens and a testing ground for young Predators. If the Predators kill the aliens, they get Predator Cred and Big Boy, err Predator, Pants. If they lose, the whole area gets nuked.  Everyone but one woman gets killed and she teams up with the lone surviving Predator to take down the Alien Queen. Predator dies, Alien dies, Human survives. The movie ends with a chest burster Alien coming out of the dead Predator’s chest, with a Predator set of mandibles, so some sort of Predator/Alien hybrid.

For the record, and to my everlasting shame, I own this on dvd. I really enjoyed it the first time I watched back in the day, as the action was almost non-stop. On this re-watch though, every glaring weakness shone as bright as the sun to me.  I don’t even want to get into specifics, as there are just too many and I don’t want to relive them 😦

This was an Action Movie, but even Action Movies don’t have to be brainless fluff. This wasn’t even fluff though, more like dryer lint. Dryer lint after running a whole load of jock straps through the dryer. Just gross. I’m actually tempted to throw this movie into the trash as I am NEVER going to watch it again.

I realize I haven’t said much, but my goodness, this movie just doesn’t deserve having anything being said about it. Except that there was a sequel, which even I acknowledged upon my first watch that it was one of the worst movies I’d ever watched. It made this movie look like an Oscar Nominee.

Next I’m planning on watching UP. Lashaan mentioned it in his Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020 post. I need a movie that will make me feel all the feelz.

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Superman IV: The Quest for Peas, errr, Peace

Superman_IV_(1987)

 

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released in 1987 and was co-written by Reeve’s. That should have been enough of a warning to anyone. Of course, Matt warned me that it was a stinker, so I knew going in that I was in for rough weather. And indeed, this movie was bad. It was bad enough that another Superman movie wasn’t made again until 2006. Almost 20 years of stinkitude!

The basic premise is that “everyone” is concerned that Nuclear weapons are going to destroy the world but Superman won’t do anything about it because of his instructions from Krypton not to change the fate of his adopted world. Then a school boy writes to him asking him to save everyone.  At the same time a greedy capitalist buys the Daily Planet and starts turning it into a tabloid while he gives it to his daughter to run.  The daughter falls in love with Clark Kent while Lois is still in love with Superman. Hijinks ensue as Big Blue has to switch from one to the other on a double date.

Supes gets permission from the UN to take all the nuclear weapons from everyone and throw them into the sun. There is where Lex Luthor gets involved. He steals a hair of Superman’s and creates a genetic package that needs the sun’s power to give it life. Luthor installs it on one of the nuclear weapons and when Supes throws it into the sun Nuclear Man is born, quite literally. Luthor reveals him and he and Supes fight, in the city, on the moon and in space. Supes gets scratched by nuclear nails and gets sick and everyone thinks he’s dead.  He comes back and throws Nuclear Man into a nuclear power plant and lights up a whole city while Nuclear Man is consumed.

The movie ends with Superman giving a speech about everyone getting along and realizing we all live on the same planet. Also, Perry White takes out a loan from the bank and buys back the Daily Planet.

 

I actually watched this 3 times to make sure it was as bad as I thought it was. There was no mistake, this was a B-A-A-A-A-D movie.

Hollywood politics dominated the storyline to the point where it wasn’t much of a storyline but a piece of propaganda. Superman taking nuclear weapons away from everyone, though glossed over, made him the worst of tyrants and excusing it by putting the responsibility on the UN’s shoulders was just as bad. That corrupt body of filth has NO power to make such decisions.  (As an aside, just so you know where I stand about the UN, if UN Peacekeepers EVER set foot on American soil on a mission, it is my duty and right as a Citizen of this country to destroy them. No Blue Hats in America!!!!) Ahem….

Helmets belonging to soldiers of the Nigerian army are seen as part of preparations for deployment to Mali, at the Nigerian Army peacekeeping centre in Jaji
Any American wearing one of these on U.S. soil is a TRAITOR and will be treated as such

 

The plot line about the capitalist’s daughter & Clark and Lois & Superman was just ridiculous in the worst way.  It was stupid and silly. Those two words describe most of the movie though.

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I felt bad for this woman, on so many levels

 

Superman and Nuclear Man, oh where do I even start? Nuclear Man goes around the world destroying things, like the Great Wall of China. Superman comes after him and makes video game bleeep noises and undoes all the damage. It was like Superman had Control Z (keyboard shortcut for undo) Vision. Then Superman figures out Nukes is powered by the sun and traps him in an elevator where Nukes immediately curls up in the fetal position. So Superman releases him on the Moon, in the sun. Come on!!!! Then the end where Nuclear Man gets all his energy sucked up by the power plant? I can’t even begin to count how many things are wrong with that, even from just the story point side of things, much less any other point of things.

nuclear_man
Nuclear Man could have been awesome. But he wasn’t

 

By the end of my 3rd watch, I was simply listening to the movie and even then I was rolling my eyes. I really don’t have anything good to say about this and I don’t know whose fault that even is. Was it the directors, the story writers? I don’t know.  Honestly, it was bad enough that I could see this getting the Rifftrax treatment.

Don’t waste your time, period.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Next month I’ve got a choice between Peter Jackson’s extended edition of King Kong or Alien vs Predator.  Feel free to give voice to your choice in the comments or feel free to mock Superman IV. It deserves it!

 

Torchship Captain (Torchship #3) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF@10% w/ Extreme Prejudice

torchshipcaptain (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: Torchship Captain
Series: Torchship #3
Author: Karl Gallagher
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 354 DNF@10’ish%
Format: Digital Edition

 

My Thoughts:

THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN ADULT CONTENT.

Things were going along really well. The Fusion was starting to fall apart and that threatened the union between the Fusion and the Disconnect against the AI threat. Michigan Long is now captain and running her own ship. She has a friendship with one of the Fusion leaders, the young girl they rescued back in the first book. When the capital world of the Fusion falls to revolution, the young girl becomes part of it to save her life, as she was one of the ruling class.

Then the girl comes aboard the ship to touch base with Michigan and her husband. She’s helping run the new council, as she has some experience, but she’s definitely just staying ahead of mob rule. So she’s complaining about how inexperienced she feels and her biggest complaint is that she is sexually inexperienced. Seriously. Trying to run a world on a council that is just as likely to kill her as take her ideas into consideration and she is thinking about how her sex life is zero.

So Michigan offers to teach her and right there, kneels before her husband and starts sucking him off. She then tells him to show the girl what sex is like and watches as her husband has sexual intercourse with the young woman. I believe I literally said out loud “what the fuck” and closed my kindle in complete and utter disgust.

I really don’t know what to say. It wasn’t erotic, it wasn’t smutty. Gallagher made sure to write in such a way that it wasn’t explicit but that the reader still knew exactly what he meant. But it was revolting. It had no place in this story and it completely destroyed everything. I don’t know if Gallagher has ever written anything else but I abandoned this with Extreme Prejudice and I’ll never read another word by him, or even CONSIDER reading anything by him.

☆☆☆☆½

 

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Betty Zane (Ohio River #1) ★☆☆☆½

bettyzane (Custom).jpgThis 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: Betty Zane
Series: Ohio River #1
Author: Zane Grey
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western?
Pages: 263
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Betty Zane has come to the frontier to live with her brother and his family. Pretty, head strong and used to getting her way, Betty lives life her way.

A young man comes to the settlement and because he doesn’t immediately bow to Betty’s beauty she “hates” him. Of course, they fall in love with each other but between both of them being young, full of pride and just generally stupid, things don’t go easy.

Then Indians and some damn British Red Coats attack the fort. The brave men and women and children hold them off and win a great victory.

Betty Zane and her fella done get hitched and produce a heap ‘o chillens.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, after I was done with the Sacketts, I figured Zane Grey was next. This is NOT an auspicious start, that is for sure.

This isn’t what I’d think of as a Western, but more of Frontier Fiction. There are no cowboys, no West, it’s all East of the Mississippi river and it is sappy as a Janette Oke book. I was NOT expecting that.

I also wasn’t expecting deeply insightful characters either but almost everyone portrayed came across as a cardboard cutout slapped with a coat of brightly colored paint. I felt like I was watching clowns at a circus.

The story telling itself was tedious. First Zane would do a chapter of “history” where he just spells everything out. Then we’d jump into the story where he would then tell that exact same history but using the characters and making a story of it. He bleeding spoils his own thing and pretty much just puffs up his word count. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

I have an omnibus edition of Grey’s works and I’ll be skipping the next Ohio River book. Of course, without an actual index I’ll have to flip through 200’ish pages to do that. This is why you shouldn’t buy $2 omnibus books on Amazon.

★☆☆☆½

 

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Dance of the Dead (Ravenloft #3) ★☆☆☆½

danceofthedead (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: Dance of the Dead
Series: Ravenloft #3
Author: Christie Golden
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Franchise Fiction
Pages: 310
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Raoul Dumont, captain of a paddle boat, steams up and down the rivers of Ravenloft bringing cheer and entertainment to all the small towns he visits. His troupe of actors regular perform a play he has written and Dumont’s young ward, Larissa Snowmane, is growing into her role as the villain of the piece.

However, while staying at an elven town, the main starlet of the show turns up dead and Dumont suspects the Elven Lord. He and the Crew make a run for it and pass through the mists. They come to a small town that Larissa recognizes as the one she grew up in many years ago before her father abandoned her to Dumont’s care.

Dumont begins to show his true colors and tries to take advantage of Larissa. She escapes, meets a young man named Willen and finds out that Dumont has a group of magical creatures as slaves in the hold of his boat. Dumont’s goal is to find a magical creature in this small town and in this he is aided by a Necromancer named Lond. Lond begins turning the crew into zombies that are directly controlled by Dumont. Lond wants out of the town, as he has made an enemy of the Lord of the Manor, a vampiric necromancer of immense power.

Larissa escapes into the swamp, finds out her white hair (hence the name Snowmane) gives her a special connection and is taught by the Swamp Witch. However, before they can attack Dumont or Lond, they must get permission from the Lord of the Manor, as nothing occurs without his personal approval. He teaches Larissa the Dance of the Dead and sends her on her way.

A battle ensues between the gang on the boat and denizens of the swamp. Things aren’t looking good for Larissa’s friends as Lond is just resurrecting them and using them for his side. Larissa dances the Dance of the Dead (which she was told would allow her to control all zombies) only to find out that not only can she control all zombies but she makes zombies of anyone who watches the dance. Willen gets zombified and Lond kills Dumont to try to escape. Lond ends up dying in a contest of wills and Larissa’s group wins.

The book ends with the remaining non-zombies asking Larissa to be the Captain of the Boat and she begins making eyes at one of the men.

 

My Thoughts:

What an utter piece of tripe. This had every cliché and trope possible for “Young Heroine Comes Into Her Own”.

Also, nothing about this seems to actually be in the Realm of Ravenloft. If Dumont could travel willy-nilly through the mists, he could have made himself king. This was just a Grl Power fantasy book with the name “Ravenloft” stamped on it.

A stinker of a book. If the next Ravenloft book is anything close to this I’m done with the series. I always knew this would happen but I have to admit I was hoping it wouldn’t happen until later in the series.

C’est la Vie!

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Scarlet Letter ★☆☆☆☆

scarletletter (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 Scarlet Letter
Series: ———-
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback Edition

 

Synopsis:

Hester Prynne, a widow whose husband is presumed lost at sea, is arrested for adultery when she becomes pregnant. She refuses to name the father and has to stay in a jail until she gives birth. Once she is freed, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her clothing. Hester raises her little daughter Pearl on her own and lives in the outskirts of the village. She sews for her living and does good deeds to both rich and poor. Pearl grows up wild and untamed.

At the same time, an Arthur Dimmesdale, a preacher, is rising up in the ranks of the village. He is overcome by a sickness and an itinerant medicine man stays to help him get better. Turns out the medicine man is Hester’s husband, an old sour man who vows he will find out who Hester committed adultery with and destroy that man. Taking care of the minister gives him the excuse to live in the village. Hester agrees to keep Roger Chillingworth’s secret for her own reasons.

Years go by and Reverend Dimmesdale is getting worse. Roger has figured out it was Dimmesdale who committed the sin with Hester and has been slowly destroying his spirit. Dimmesdale meets Hester in the words and they agree to flee the village and start life together back in the Old World. They are going to escape, with Pearl, on a ship after the new governor is sworn in. Roger discovers their plans and orders a berth on the same ship and lets Hester and Dimmesdale know. Dimmesdale gives a sermon and then confesses his sin and acknowledges his lust for Hester and that Pearl is his daughter. He then dies.

Hester and Pearl sail off and many decades later Hester returns to continue her life of good deeds until she dies.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, Hawthorne really hated the Puritans and anything that actually had some moral backbone. Ok, got that out of my system.

This book starts out with some piece of garbage fictional “recollection” from Hawthorne’s working experience (where he had to work a whole 3.5hrs a day, the horror!) which is where he “discovers” the story of the Scarlet Letter. It was boring and rambling and had no impact beyond allowing the author to write long and complicated sentences while still saying nothing.

I don’t know the correct term, but Hawthorne definitely appears to be a Utopian Romanticist. Basically, if it feels good, it is “Good” by definition and therefore the right thing. There are several references to Hester and Arthur’s adultery actually being something from Heaven as their love sanctified their sin. This kind of absolute trash talk is why I didn’t finish the Monstrumologist series. There is nothing holy or sanctified about adultery or other sins. So that was a huge strike against this book.

Then the writing style almost bored me to tears. While I can handle long descriptions from Dickens, what Hawthorne writes is simply convoluted for convoluted’s sake. It became extremely annoying and by the end of the book I was ready to toss this paperback into the garbage. If you want to follow all the permutations of sentence construction then this is the book for you. There are almost no straight lines.

Thankfully, I read this during my lunch breaks at work, so it was broken up over 2 months. If I’d had to sit down and read this in 2 days I would probably have hunted down Hawthorne’s grave, dug him up and urinated all over his corpse. The opposite of Holy Water, as it were.

Needless to say, I won’t be reading anything else by Hawthorne ever again. What a wanker.

★☆☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)