Monday, September 30, 2013

Doctor Sleep (the Shining #2) Book Review

Doctor Sleep

By Stephen King

Scribner. September 2013

5/5 Stars

      Wow Mom, look at the Summary…”Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

        On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.”


     If you asked me what I remembered about the Shining.  I would have probably said, “REDRUM.”  Dan Torrance, his crazy father, the Overlook Hotel, and perhaps the topiary animals.  Some of that list comes from watching the movies; the Stanley Kubrick one and then the SyFy one.  This is mostly due to the fact that I read the Shining quite a few years ago and have never picked it up again.  I don’t generally reread books, even if they ARE written by Stephen King.  So I have been exposed to the movies much more recently.  Also, I saw a Ghost Hunters special at the hotel that the Overlook Hotel was based on, so that helped too.  I tell you all this dear reader, not to bore you, but to let you know that there isn’t much reason for you to go back and read the Shining before you read this book.  In fact, good old Stephen King has you covered there as well.  There are lots of call backs to the Shining in this book.  Enough that if you only read the wiki online and had never ACTUALLY read the Shining, I think you would be good.  Now that is out of the way, on to the book.

     I loved this book, not because it was “classic Stephen King,”  whatever the heck that means.  But because it was an interesting and exciting story.  The ending was very good and rather unexpected considering how the foreshadowing seemed to be heading(sneaky Mr. King, very sneaky).  There are a few surprises for the Constant Readers, who have probably all ready finished this book.  I wouldn’t say this is my favorite Stephen King book of all time.  But I would say probably top ten.  Which also means that this probably the best horror book I’ve read in around 5 years.  Sorry Joe Hill, this book IS better.  For a book as long as this one(544 pages), it felt rather short to me.  I probably would have been good with maybe one more adventure from the True Knot crowd, to really get a feeling for who they were individually.  Especially Andi’s story which seems to start and then go completely no where.  I guess it could be just an example of the way the True Knot works, but still it seemed abruptly cut to me.  While the main group was pretty decently fleshed out, at least by the end anyway, I guess I could have just used a little more.  Like icing on the cake.

     As all ways I will be watching for the next thing Stephen King does and if he decides he needs to make a book 3 with the continuing adventures of… Whoever… I would gladly read that too.  Until then, stay away from RVs, rest stops, and Winnebagos you never what you might run into.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Republic of Thieves Book Review

Republic of Thieves

Scott Lynch

Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra

Pub Date: Oct 8 2013

4/5 Stars

      A Summary…”With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.
Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.
Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.”


         With much trepidation did I undertake reading Republic of Thieves.  I was only mildly enamored by Scott Lynch’s previous work and while many people touted the genius of this new work, the reviews were definitely mixed.  I have to say that I truly loved the main story of Republic of Thieves much more than I did the main plot of Lies of Locke Lamora or Red Seas under Red Skies.  The interludes, however, remained the same for me.  I just cannot get into them.  They seem like a wholly waste of time and effort.  I have often thought that these distractions had the sole purpose of the telling exposition but I’m all most always proven wrong in this.  I just can’t understand why Scott Lynch is so addicted to telling two stories at the same time.  I suppose it is that he likes the characters that he killed off in book one and just like the remaining Gentleman Bastards themselves, cannot put their fellows completely to rest.  Which is certainly fine for those who enjoy the interludes.  I do not.

        I have to admit however, that this is, in my opinion the best book Scott Lynch has ever written and while the ending was less than tidy it was incredibly interesting.  I will certainly read the next Gentleman Bastards book whenever it is released.  If you are a fan of the series I would say that you will have a lovely time with this book.  If you are a fan uncertain as to whether to pick this up, let me assure you that you will have fun.  If you haven’t read Scott Lynch before let me point you in the direction of Lies of Locke Lamora.  Because if you don’t read the first book in the series most this book will not mean very much to you.  While the author does an excellent job of trying to make this a standalone novel.  It is really best for most readers to simply read the series in order.  I can only hope subsequent books are as good as this, for the author is truly on a roll.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Love Song for Internet Trolls!


      Recommended by the wonderful John Scalzi on his blog, Whatever.  If you don’t know of him, please head over to and look him up his books are amazing.  And he just won a HUGO!  So there is that.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vicious Book Review




by V.E. Schwab

Tor Books Sept 2013

5/5 Stars


                 A Summary…”A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

                   Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
                   Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.”


          I loved Vicious from practically the first two chapters.  It reminded me a lot of the movie Flatliners, but a WHOLE LOT BETTER!  As the book goes on however, it blends elements from movies like Chronicle to more comic book inspired fair.  I was also very much impressed by the way the author handled the great amount of backstory for each character to really show how their motivations drove them to the point they were at in the story.  While the story isn’t some kind of crazy original thing, it is incredible by making a super hero story so much more believable than anything out there right now.  I have to admit this book made me gush.  It was so compelling from beginning to end that I read the entire thing quite quickly every time I picked the book and finished it in only two sittings.  Every time I thought about putting the book down, I thought I would read just more chapter.  Then another, and so on.  Until I was done.  Not that it would be necessary or even a good idea but I would love another story with some of these same characters in this world.  Everything about Vicious is addicting and you would do well to pick up a copy today.  This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Unfed Book Review


Kirsty McKay


2/5 Stars

      Summary Time,”Fresh meat! From a hospital of horrors to a runaway zombie train, it's an all-new onslaught of the slavering undead in the sequel to Kirsty McKay's killer debut!
Just when you think you're's the morning after the night of the return of the living dead. Or something like that. After running/bus-driving/snowboarding for her life alongside rebel Smitty, geeky Pete, and popular Alice, Bobby thought she'd found the antidote to the Carrot Man Veggie Juice that had turned the rest of their classmates into zombies. When Smitty (mmm...nom, nom) got chomped, Bobby pumped a syringe full of it into him herself.
But now Bobby's a prisoner in some hospital of horrors, with no clue how she got there. And Smitty is missing. What if he isn't cured after all? Bobby knows she's got to find him, even if it means facing Scotland's hungry hordes -- plus Alice's buckets of snark -- again. And this time, zombies aren't the only evil stressing her out. The brain-dead are bad enough, but how can Bobby stop the big pharma business behind the epidemic? Especially when her own mom works for the company?”


          I really have to say that you should NEVER judge a book by it’s cover.  I was pretty excited to read what at first looked like a novel version of Lollipop Chainsaw.  Oh well, guess I was wrong.  I was somewhat interested in the story of Unfed, and would have been more interested if it didn’t seem like the author was rather interested in trying to make her female characters into being helpless as possible without killing them off.  Alice, is worthless except for a tongue lashing which can be kind of annoying but that’s about it.  Bobby, the main character tends to flip some where between Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the TV show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the Movie.  Which really got old after a while.  And for pity’s sake Ms.McKay give the girl some pants.

       I definitely understood that the majority of this book wasn’t to be taken seriously;  but on the whole the book just wasn’t very funny.  I thought Smitty was a jerk, Pete a dink, and Russ, the only seemingly normal one in the whole group had a bad end.  What the heck?  The last third of the book is predictable but good and I did enjoy it more than the rest of the novel.  I would have really liked the author to make this book about a girl fighting back and surviving rather than a girl being helped by boys every inch of way and lucking out.  Many of the situations are about as realistic as the Resident Evil movies; which are so apropoly mentioned at one point.  Which isn’t exactly a knock against the book, just an appraisal for anyone who might be interested in the reading the book to know what they are getting into.

        I was not a fan of this book and won’t read any sequels.  I also wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone born in the last 20 years.  Anyone else, have fun…


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

City of Devils Book Review

City of Devils
Justin Robinson

Candlemark & Gleam

Pub Date: Sep 24 2013

4/5 Stars

   A quick summary, “

World War II was only the beginning. When the Night War ravages America, turning it into a country of monsters, humans become a downtrodden minority. Nick Moss is the only human private eye in town, and he’s on the trail of a missing city councilor. With monsters trying to turn him – or, better yet, simply kill him – he’s got to watch his back while trying to find his man. Or mummy, as the case may be.
Once, it was the City of Angels. But now, Los Angeles is the City of Devils…and Nick has a devil of a job to do.”


     Going into this book I had no idea what expect.  I have to say that if City of Devils does nothing else, it does original.  I loved the world, the characters, it was an excellent book.  The idea of using every monster ever in the same book at the same time; to help make your alternative history Raymond Chandler story was a stroke of brilliance.   However, said tale wasn’t very good.  That was my only real problem with City of Devils; great world, great characters, and one long boring story.  Boring is a bit harsh, I suppose; not boring more like uninteresting.  Too much happens that has no real effect on the story as a whole.  Without getting into spoilers, the book spends a REALLY long time just wondering around trying find some plot points to bump into.  There are no side stories or alternative plot lines.  So you are stuck with what you are given.  I suppose this didn’t really bother me all that much until I reached around 2/3 of the way through and things really had formulated very much yet.  The finale, while in a very Raymond Chandler/Columbo style seemed sudden and bit forced.  But this book is really not about this half baked story.  It’s about the incredible characters and world Justin Robinson has created; that is the reason I’m recommending it.  Also, if you really love Raymond Chandler type stories; maybe you will like this.

    Note on availability: Normally when I write one of these reviews I put a link in to Amazon so the reader can buy the book if they desire.  It appears I’m unable to do this with this book.  I also checked Barnes and Noble and they don’t have it either.  So, I hope this book s made more broadly available so people who didn’t get advance copies can read it as well as everyone else.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reign of Blood Book Review

Reign of Blood

Alexia Purdy

Indie Inked

1/5 Stars

    Here’s a summary for you,”"Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I'm just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise..." In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she's willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.”


      I will start by saying to anyone reading this that I know it is a convention in Young Adult Fiction to use slang and other ways of shortening sentences to make them sound more relatable.  I also I understand that sometimes an author tries to create a sense of connection with the audience by using this type of language.  But there are so many instances of such terrible murdering of the English language in this book I could hardly stand it. “One of those ones,” “Katana sword,” “it was truly a battle of fang and sword.”  Really?  Sorry, not buying.  Along with that, so many cliches used SO often.  If she said caress one more time when she just meant touch, I was going to scream.  I could quote more than a half a dozen examples from the beginning of the book alone.

      The story is a typical post-apocalyptic story where vampires have taken over the world and killed everyone.  Except seemingly the hero and her mother and brother.  The problem with this is that she begins by saying it’s a viral out break and then says that crosses and holy water work on the vampires.  That’s illogical, either it’s a viral outbreak or vampires are the result of demons and magic.  Can’t have it both ways, it doesn’t make any sense.

       At one point in the story the main character is worried that the vampires are going to get into her bunker where she and her mother and brother have been living for the totality of the outbreak.  So in the whole time the outbreak had occurred which was seemingly over quite a few months, this had never occurred to her.  Except she keeps saying how protected they are in said bunker, so then what are you worried about?  This seemed like a lame way to try and create tension where there wasn’t any.

       The main character in the story does a lot of things that don’t make sense just from a common sense point of view and the world is painted very illogically.  So I guess they have that in common.  I really would hope no one would read this book.  It is much of the same thing that is all ready out there, except that it executed incredibly poorly.

The Godborn: Sundering Part 2 Review

The Godborn

The Sundering, Book II

Paul S. Kemp

Wizards of the Coast

Oct 1. 2013

5/5 Stars

         A summary for people…”In the 2nd book of the multi-author Sundering series launched by New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, the shadow legacy of Erevis Cale lives on even as his old foe Mephistopheles seeks to stamp it out at any cost. Cale’s son Vasen—unmoored in time by the god Mask—has thus far been shielded from the archdevil’s dark schemes, alone among the servants of the Lord of Light who have raised him since birth.
Living in a remote abbey nestled among the Thunder Peaks of Sembia, Vasen is haunted by dreams of his father, trapped in the frozen hell of Cania. He knows the day will come when he must assume his role in the divine drama unfolding across Faerûn. But Vasen knows not what that role should be . . . or whether he is ready to take it on. He only knows what his father tells him in dreams—that he must not fail.
Enter Drasek Riven, a former compatriot of Erevis Cale, now near divine and haunted by dreams of his own—he too knows the time to act is near. Shar, the great goddess of darkness, looks to cast her shadow on the world forever. Riven has glimpsed the cycle of night she hopes to complete, and he knows she must be stopped.
At the crossroads of divine intrigue and mortal destiny, unlikely heroes unite to thwart the powers of shadow and hell, and the sundering of worlds is set on its course.”


        Most readers coming into The Godborn will probably be coming off reading the Companions, by R.A.Salvatore.  Which, from my perspective, is ideal.  Because you couldn’t have asked for two more different books to read in a series.  Paul S. Kemp does a masterful job of writing this second book in the series.  But he does it in an unexpected way.  I would say this book is dark fantasy bordering on Horror.  And I loved it.  This is not to say it is overly gory or against the tenets of the broader Forgotten Realms flavor.  Rather it is like a Halloween story for the Forgotten Realms which is great, especially as it is coming out in October.  The myriad of characters are richly drawn and while I did mostly see the ending coming I did really enjoy the journey to that ending.  Vasen made a compelling main character.  Which sometimes is a hard feat in the Forgotten Realms where characters like Drizzt and Elminister seem to overshadow everyone else.  But the author did an excellent job making Vasen relatable, cool, and capable.  I really appreciated this in a novel dealing mainly with gods, devils, and Shadovar. 

     I was also impressed at the reconstruction of events dealing with Mask.  Giving even the casual reader of the Forgotten Realms books a good place to start.  I would recommend for ANYONE who is a returning reader to the Forgotten Realms or even someone with no experience with them to start reading the Companions and then this book as a follow up to get you situated to what will be going on further down the line.  Basically, because I can see these masterful authors weaving a perfect foundation for MANY books to come.  I cannot wait for what the future has in store.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Incrementalists Book Review


By Steven Brust, Skyler White


Sept 24,2013

3/5 Stars


          A Summary if you find you need one,”

"Secret societies, immortality, murder mysteries and Las Vegas all in one book? Shut up and take my money." —John Scalzi

The Incrementalists—a secret society of two hundred people with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories.
Phil, whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has loved Celeste—and argued with her—for most of the last four hundred years. But now Celeste, recently dead, embittered, and very unstable, has changed the rules—not incrementally, and not for the better. Now the heart of the group must gather in Las Vegas to save the Incrementalists, and maybe the world.
"Watch Steven Brust. He's good. He moves fast. He surprises you. Watching him untangle the diverse threads of intrigue, honor, character and mayhem from amid the gears of a world as intricately constructed as a Swiss watch is a rare pleasure." —Roger Zelazny”


         I have to admit that this book is unlike anything I’ve read recently.  But that, is not entirely a good thing.  The concept in this book, sorry for the spoilers.  Is that a select group of people are able to live forever by transplanting their consciousness from one body to the next and in essence, live forever.  The other has to do with “meddling” which is kind of like mentalism.  Where a person can be persuaded to do something if you know what kinds of things will most affect them to do these things.  It’s kind of like very targeted, very aggressive advertising.  If you feel that this may be a little badly explained and vague.  Sorry I tried, the book DOES explain these concepts better.  But having both of them in the same book along with the idea that some secret society of 200 people has been pushing the world along for better or worse for 40,000 years(?) is a bit hard to swallow no matter how much suspension of disbelief I might manage.

         This is all explained with half explanations and a kind of short hand that may or may not be easily absorbed by the average reader.  Is this book fantasy or science fiction?  Well, if this kind of thing matters to you; I’d say it is trying to be fantasy even if it is more science fiction than fantasy.  But considering most of the concepts in the book are NEVER explained in any real terms other than, this is what happens when we do this.  I guess the jury is still out.  This is mostly my problem with the book.  Not my inability to put it into a genre, no, my problem was the book’s inability to explain to the reader in any kind of reasonable why things were happening and how they were being made to happen.  Even if at some point someone said, “Because magic!”  I would have been happier.  Most of this is just ignored and the reader is left to wonder if it will ever be explained.  It isn’t…

           The characters are descent, and the dialog engaging.  But without a descent believable set of rules to run this new fanciful world by, the reader is just going along wondering what will happen next.  It’s a relatively interesting if far too long story.  The resolution is good and intact, but I have to admit the fourth wall breaking at the end was pretty unnecessary and for a writer like Steven Burst seems a bit amateurish.  Overall, I was relatively happy with the story and interested mostly remotely by the characters.  But really, for all the running around and talking theoreticals, past lives, and such the characters do; they could have ACTUALLY explained things a little more.  They certainly had the time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

All is Fair Book Review

All is Fair

The Split Worlds - Book 3

Emma Newman


Sept 24, 2013

5/5 Stars



  A summary for those who need them,

        “In love and war nothing is safe.

William Iris struggles to keep the throne of Londinium whilst hated by his own court and beset by outsiders, while Cathy discovers the legacy of her former governess. But those who dare to speak out about Society are always silenced. Sometimes for good.
While trying to avoid further torments from the mercurial fae, Sam finds himself getting tangled in the affairs of the Elemental Court. But an unexpected offer from the powerful and enigmatic Lord Iron turns out to be far more than Sam bargained for.
Max and the gargoyle are getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter and the corruption in London and Max finds the gargoyle's controversial ideas harder to ignore. Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all?”


        At this point, it is probably no secret that I am a HUGE fan of the Split Worlds books.  I believe every single one may be better than the last one.  From the very first book, Emma Newman has put together some of the most interesting characters that could fill such an amazing world while keeping them all relatively believable.  This is incredibly difficult to do in such a fantastical setting as the Nether.  But she has handily achieved this and even made most of her more villainous characters interesting.  I was most impressed in All is Fair by the last half of the book where things truly change dramatically.  It is all most like it is the pay off for the entire series.  And she ends the book on a kind of cliff hanger that must be read to be appreciated.  As many of my peers have observed, the Split Worlds books MUST be read in order and it is not impossible but not recommended to miss one book in the series.  Considering there are only currently three books this shouldn’t be hard for anyone to achieve.  The depth of the characters and the reader’s love for them really depends on reading the entire series.  I have to say, that I truly feel 100% invested in this world and all it’s characters I would love for this series to go on indefinitely.  There is little more to say about this book other than it is another fabulous entry in a fabulous series that anyone who likes fantasy will truly love.  I certainly can’t wait for the next book.