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Showing posts from 2015

Eleven Twenty-Three: Contains gore. Lots and lots of wonderful gore.

This book is unlikely to become a best-seller but was a decent/fun read. Lots of questions, lots of trash plot line, some amazing prose, a fair amount of nearly putting it down and moving on.

Eleven Twenty-Three (Jason Hornsby) 318 pages
Permuted Press
ISBN-10: 1934861340
ISBN-13: 978-1934861349

Central story

Layne and Tara come home from teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in China for a year, to attend the funeral of Layne's estranged father. Overnight, the sleepy hometown becomes a bloodbath. Beginning at 11:23 am and repeating at each consecutive 11:23, mass portions of the population go apeshit and start mass killing. The government has quarantined them. The outside world believes that smallpox is rampant.

Layne and Tara work to escape the town and ensure their survival as well as the global knowledge of what their town went through.

Zombies? No.. Insanity? Maybe.. Alternate dimensions? Mind control? Ghosts? Petrochemical allergies? God? Cost of tea in china? Who the heck kn…

Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan (Vonda N. McIntyre)

The movie Wrath of Khan has been ruined forever. All hail the Wrath of Khan (book)! Let me explain, because Vonda McIntyre owned this.

For father's day, I do not require much. Give me a hot meal, a warm cuddle, and a chilly blanket covered viewing of StarTrek: The Wrath of Khan. Family time at it's best. Unfortunately, this year my children are of an age where this movie would cause undue stress. Ear-worms, explosions, blind revenge and blood really don't jive too well with toddlers, so it is on pause for a couple years. We watched The Voyage Home instead, yes, the awesome time travel whale movie.

Why are you reading this?
The Lack of Khan meant my wonderful wife felt concern that my father's day would be lackluster. She searched out and located me a copy of the 1982 paperback edition Wrath of Khan. Giddy and sweaty palmed, I jigged in my seat when I opened my gift from her. Also included was a hardback copy of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I can discuss that at a later…

James Potter Fan Novels (G. Norman Lippert)

Harry Potter fans rejoice! Harry's children have adventures as well. 
This book series focuses on G. Norman Lippert's fan homage. From what is intended to be a five part series, this review only references the beginning two books as I have not yet had time to delve further. A follow up review may touch in those, of which I believe are similar quality.
Quick backstory: To my understanding based on varied sources, the series was written by Lippert, purely to please himself, wife, and children. Lippert found very quickly that he has a knack for this sort of thing. His ability to string words together in a pleasing manner and formulate detailed and original plot-lines is pretty stellar. 
Releasing his fanfic in official eBook format, an instant following has organically grown. A couple cease and desist processes later, he has been officially unofficially allowed to continue his work, provided he makes no money from Rowling's IP.
**Several derivative works exist which he can make c…

Some Smug Slug: the letter S to the super surprising summation

Some Smug Slug (Pamela Duncan Edwards | Henry Cole)

Sometimes someone might staunchly assume a simple book shall certainly be simple to read. Such books may serve as evidence supporting the opposite. Some Smug Slug is a single silver straw standing out in a serving of standard yellow straw. Striving to solidify conceptually, it sometimes stumbles. Sneakily, it still suffices to supplant itself as a super-champ of spawn book love.

In all seriousness, SS Slug is like an amazing spectacular sinking ship (see what is did there? Yeah? Yeah??) overflowing with gold and jewels and poor little puppies. You want to look away, but you cannot.

This book requires a read before you start with the kiddos. It is filled to the brim with S words. To. The. Brim. Every page painfully projects alliterative postured prose, perfectly placed. The difficult reading distracts you from the trudging plot line of a slug slowly moving up a hill. The hill that is not a hill, but in fact, impending doom..

Doom doo…

The Dream Team Nightmare (Portia Tung)

Interested in getting your feet wet in the world of Agile project management? 
So was I. My office is dabbling in an Agile migration. We have been a classic waterfall development process since dirt was invented. New blood however brings new process. As my teammates began getting excited, discussion increased and I quickly found myself lost in the mixture of paradigms and language. The last time I used the word Epic was in relation to video game companies. Waterfall? I know you should never chase them and you should stick to the rivers and streams that you are used to. Scrum and Scrum-master? Lets not go down that path. None of this helped me. I felt like an noob, and rightly so, because I was exactly that. Pride kicked me into gear.
I took to the web and found a myriad of resources. Who would have guessed that agile is this thing that helps you be quick and flexible (the least helpful website)... The resources presented were countless, the level of approach-ability in most cases was lac…

Ten Little Ladybugs (Melanie Gerth)

Ten little ladybugs are in an epic eleven page journey home. While traveling they meet several animals in the wild and interact in awesome counting fashion. Filled with colorful images. Not much to say for plot, it was written for three year old's with interactive number memorization in mind.

As a classic counting book, ten becomes one and repetition rules. Accomplishes the task well.

What makes this counting book stand out is the three dimensional ladybugs. Firmly placed in a wide base within each page, they cannot be dislodged without serious physical damage to the book. They are baby friendly and make the counting feel more real.

Kid Perspective:

Both of my children, really like this book. The elder spawn believes that the frog is amazing, the grasshopper, the .. Well everything..

This is one of many counting books that he owns, so he could never advise if it is superior to any other, but it is obvious that he digs it. He has physically beaten this book up, folding it in half …

Mousetronaut (Mark Kelly | C.F. Payne)

My son and daughter received a book in the mail recently, sent to them by a friend and co-worker of my wife (Thanks Scott!). It was presented as a current 'family favorite' in their house hold. After several reads cover to cover, I can see why.

Mousetronaut is the story of a trip to orbit which included six lab mice tagalongs. Comet, the smallest of the bunch is picked to join the team because of his tenacity and drive to achieve. Once in space, his size does not stop him from adopting new skills and adapting quickly. When the Astronauts get in a pinch, only Comet can find a solution that will save the day. An important key gets lost and only Comet is small enough to save the day.

Written by Mark Kelly, retired Commander/Astronaut on the Spaceshuttle Endeavor, he describes this as a 'partially true' story. Based off a spunky mouse on one of his shuttle flights, though the heroic actions are fictional.

Mousetronaut is primarily a picture book, with no greater than a hu…

Children sponge brain etc

I find it frightening how fast my spawn learn. The level of knowledge they glean on a daily basis, the fastness with which they are able to implement the data. the fact that sometimes, it appears as if they are spacing out, when in fact they are computing in the background.
Example: My wife Jenn was driving our children to daycare on our way to work the other morning. I was in the passenger seat and we were just cruising. The radio is playing music and per the norm, I turn to my son in the rear seat and ask him a question. He is 2.5 years old, and his sponginess is at a critical high point.
I ask the spawn 'Who sings this song?'He responds in a 2-year old growl 'META-ICA!' 'No, this is not Metallica, it's Journey..'
He had thrown his hand in the air, but was unable to properly form the horns. I was tearful with pride.
On previous days, listening to Portishead, he was heard signing along to the lyrics, and his favorite band is Beastie Boys (pronounced BeaBos …

Tarantula Woman: Gritty flesh filled drunken Mexican word fest

Donald O'Donovan... I owe you an apology.. On March 2nd 2011, you sent me a copy of your novel Tarantula Woman. It was an interesting title and the story sounded very interesting, but at the time, the description of it just didn't jive to start reading it. I never sat down and got involved with it. Other books took precedence and eventually it was shuffled to the bottom of a tall tall 'To Be Read' (TBR) pile.Tarantula Woman (Donald ODonovan)172 pagesOpen BooksISBN-10: 0615722849ISBN-13: 978-0615722849
4 years and change later I ran across it in my Kindle library. I don't know what caused me to start reading it. Some universal churn pushed it from the underside if the TBR, and placed it in my view. I did not reread the blurb for it, nor did I look up the topic matter. I just blindly opened it and began reading.I owe you an apology because this novel was freaking excellent. It was a gritty flesh filled drunken Mexican word fest, I read and re-read passages. I forced t…

Annihilation: Awesomely consumable fictional world

The borders of Area-X are ever expanding, inch by inch, millimeters, how much is unknown. Does it extend into the ocean? How did it come into existence? What exactly is It and is it a threat to humanity? The Southern Reach recruits volunteers to enter the secret confines of Area-X to search out answers to these very concerns.
Annihilation - Southern Reach: Book 1 (Jeff VanderMeer)208 pagesFourth Estate LtdISBN-10: 0007550715ISBN-13: 978-0007550715
None of the volunteers have names, just designation of skill. Names are for people who do not come to this place, they are left behind at the shimmering ethereal border, along with the rest of the worlds distractions. The volunteers in this research team include the Psychiatrist, the Engineer, the Biologist, and the Anthropologist. Within hours of setting up base camp, it is clear that Area-X is not an untouched Muir wonderland of nature and joy. The underground Tower of endless stairs and cryptic writing on the walls made of organic materia…

DC Super Heroes Storybook Collection

My household is slowly becoming a friendly zone for children's books with real paper. My son is growing out of board books while my daughter is starting to gain an interest. This book turned out to be a good find (thanks mama!), showing classic super heroes in easy to understand battles of good vs evil. Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman.... Throw in some cameos and you are set.

The storybook collection covers eight individual stories, each taking no more than 10-18 pages to tell. It's like a superhero primer. The details of the stories are limited, not going into back story. It mainly keeps to the high points, just right for new reads who may know some characters visually, but not yet understand why they are so interesting as to warrant a big person page book. We all know big person page books mean important things are with in. In case your kiddo has questions and you yourself are not aware that Starro is a villain from space shaped like a starfish (go figure), check the handy h…

Under a Velvet Cloak: Dirty dieties doing it dirt cheap

Twenty years ago I read one of the most influential book series of my lifetime. In recent years, I learned that a new chapter had been created. The original Incarnations of Immortality, written by Piers Anthony, was a seven book package of awesomeness. In 2007, an eighth book was written. Created entirely due to readership demand and some amazing collaborative efforts by the author and a handful of dedicated fans, the final book in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality left me satisfied though a little ambivalent.

Under a Velvet Cloak (Piers Anthony)324 pagesMundania Press LLCISBN-10: 1606594443ISBN-13: 978-1606594445 Readers who are fanatical for the Incarnations of Immortality should investigate this immediately. It's worth reading in my opinion, though mixed reviews are to be had. This is a highly sexualized novel, and is dissimilar to the other novels in much the same way as the others differed in style and presentation. The full cast of characters is there and you …

Sand, Omnibus: Remain hydrated while you read this.

This is a standalone novel, which I think is important to point out as the author has a bias toward single word titles which can get confusing. I had to use Wikipedia as a primer.

My wallet is a temple cow which few are allowed unfettered access to the milking teats of. Subscriptions and the like are just not part of my world if alternatives exist. I do not allow bills to auto-debit, only a handful of services have that honor (I love you Netflix).. An exception may be ready to occur however. Writing books in a serial format seems to the standard MO for Mr Hugh Howie, and if all of his work holds true to the quality of Sand, then I am going to have to be monitoring RSS for new releases or auto purchase items as they become available. I loved loved loved this novel. I bought the omnibus forms of another serial series of his (wool). If it is just as good, then he will get my cash in a small trickling gush as he releases installments on future work. I despise him for gaining this much powe…

Einstein's Beach House: Pleasurable off kilter stories

Somehow Jacob Appel managed to provide stories in his collection that kept me from fashioning a shiv out of office supplies and taking out my frustration on office mates.
Einstein's Beach House (Jacob Appel)
188 pages
ISBN-10: 0984940588
ISBN-13: 978-0984940585

Short stories drive me nuts. I do not care for them, as a rule. Between 5 and 40 pages of character development, I get invested and find myself totally involved. I want to learn the deep history and horrible details of the character lives. I often find myself frustrated, throwing down a book in disappointment when it leaves me hanging. I always pick them back up and finish them, but there is a grudging nature to their completion.

Einstein's Beach House is a pleasurable collection of stories. Each of them are a little off kilter. Whether it be about an extramarital affair with one's daughter's imaginary friend's father, or breaking into the basement of your local sex offender's home to locate dirt on t…

Sadie the Sadist (Zane Sachs)

SPOILERS. This review will spoil plot and appetite in some places. This book is not for all readers. Enough said.

Do you see the corn in the cover art? Keep it in mind. Corn plays a big part in this book, though I will only mention it twice.

Sadie the Sadist was a completely fucked up book with a seemingly lackluster, yet surprisingly satisfying ending after I let it marinate for a bit.. Would I recommend this to others to read? I am not sure. Much like when I read American Psycho, I have to question my judgement at times. This was very well written though, and I find myself hard pressed to put down a book that can make me want to vomit, but keeps me interested. This is the same way I made it through Poppy Brite's Exquisite Corpse which is one of the most beautiful books i would never suggest to people.

Sadie started out pretty mellow. A snarky, likable every girl works at a grocery store where she is overworked and emotionally pooped on by management. New Seasons in PDX? whole F…

Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type (Doreen Cronin | Betsy Lewin)

Moo moo moo moo moooooo moo moo momomooo moo moo.. Don't speak Moo? Neither did Farmer brown. Thus the cows are forced to open discussions via written form. It is cold in the barn and Farmer Brown must be made aware of their plight. The cows are on strike, providing written demands of electric blankets. Will Farmer Brown, break under the pressure of unionized farm animals?

Click Clack Moo has been around for enough years and well loved enough that in googling, there were several mentions of an online stage play based after this children's literature masterpiece. Pretty cool stuff. I may have to search that out

Highly suggested book!

Kiddo perspective:
So I bought this book for my Daughter. My male spawn has many books, but she is very young and is just starting her library. I placed the book in my office, and read it to both of them one time only.

What followed the next day was a newness I had never experienced. My son repeatedly would walk over to me and say "Dada. Mu&qu…

Turing Evolved (David Kitson)

According to the author's note, Turing Evolved has gone through several independent grass roots edits before becoming the polished and shiny titanium beast that it is. This is the beginning of a streak of finely crafted self published novels available for suuuper cheap. Highly recommended for any scifi nerds, mech geeks, MMORPG players, and housewife romance fans. This is an equal opportunity read.

The Alan Turing namesake should be enough to give a semi knowledgable reader insight into the core to this. Turing Evolved is an in depth look into the world of Artificial Intelligence and it's affect on our world in a fictionalized non specific future.
Jon has been kicked from the military for actions that put them in a poor light. As a Demon Pilot, his fully haptic implants allowed him to run his mech as if it were his own body, preparing for future conflicts with the Asian Union or otherworld  powers. Now, he doesn't know what he is, besides a displaced fool who should have k…

Life, Inc. (Kevin George)

They shave a small spot on the back of your head and insert a needle. They sample matter found deep inside you, delicate and evaporative. They run the tests, and with in a short time, Life Inc can tell you the precise time and date you will die. As it turns out, along side the creation of highly pollutive freeways in the sky, leaking gasses and forcing the public into oxygen masks, Life Inc has been able to analyze and validate your life force.

In the opening, the mastermind and genius who built Life Inc is dying. He travels to his lab, knowing his death clock is running. He knows that his life force has dwindled. He has a plan, to capture the final grain of life as it leaves his body, and follow it 'home'. He has proven life force, now he will prove the human soul.

10 short years later, Life Inc airs a commercial that offers the ultimate gift to humanity. At the cost of one year of life energy, you can spend 24 hours alone in open physical contact and communication with a dead…

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret (Bob Shea)

Ballet Cat and Sparkle Pony need something to do. They discuss the various crafts and activities they could work on, games they could play but Ballet Cat is of a single mind. At every turn, she finds ways to wiggle out and bring focus back on Ballet.

So ballet is what it will be! When Sparkle Pony appears down in the dumps, he tells her about his Secret Secret and his fear that she will no longer want to be friends if she learns it. The two realize what a special friendship they share as they work through this conundrum.

Kids who like the Dinosaur vs. books will quickly gel with this kids book. Readers of the Mo Willems Pigeon books will also jive with this very quickly. At approx 30 pages, with lots of bright colors, it will hold their attention just long enough to put a smile on their faces.

Kiddo Perspective:
In our household, Ballet Cat sounds like a clone of Foofa on Yo Gabba Gabba, Sparkle Pony sounds like Eyore's cousin. It was a ton of fun to read and Bob Shea packed s…

Nippon 2357 (Alex Shishin)

Nippon 2357: A Utopian Ecological Tale
This was not the easiest book to get behind and cheer. It was start and stop, start and stop. When it clicked however, holy shit did it click.

Nippon 2357 follows Thomas Redburn. Tom is an American expatriate, Japanese citizen, married man, photographer, bicyclist drunkard who is riding in the pitch black of the Japanese countryside totally sloshed. After wrecking his bike in a ditch, he finds himself aboard a vessel manned by several bizarre individuals, each with a modgepodge name (example, Kropotikin Tsuda, aka Kro-chan). The craft is named Doug, and Doug is a Time Machine, Doug is flying through time space to 24th century Japan. Tom was historically found as ready to die, and minimally impacting on history, so they grabbed him and brought him to the future, an ambassador from the past. Drunken Redburn begins the long and confusing journey to sobriety and grief over his now dead and long buried family.

Do we have your attention? Because we are pa…