Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Uploaded | Ferret Steinmetz

*Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

In the future, death is not a problem. The human consciousness gets regularly copied onto servers so that, once you die, you can join Upterlife, literally a virtual utopia. Of course, there are rules. You cannot get in to Upterlife if you are a suicide, if you are a criminal or if the dead judge you to be unworthy. You prove your worth by serving the dead, who have the greatest political say since there are many more of them than there are living. The living have to suffer through soul crushing work and being under constant surveillance by the dead. Amichai, however, has other plans for his life.

Review:

For being based in a world where the dead are connected to everything and the living can connect with each other easier than ever, this book is all about disconnection. The dead no longer have to breathe, eat or sleep so in the many years they've been dead, they've lost touch with the needs of the living. The highly educated director of Amichai's orphanage has several degrees in adolescent psychology but has no clue how to deal with actual teenagers. The living care more about their Upterlife demo time than they do connecting with other living humans. The Neo-Christians are divided into more sects than contemporary Christianity and do not communicate openly as a precaution against involuntary brain scan interrogation. It's really hard not to see parallels to today's real world concerns. 

I'll admit, there were a few tropes in this book. It takes a rebellious teenager to really set things in motion. You have one guy who's the leader of dead and who is willing to sacrifice the living to meet his goals. You have a mentor who is actually more invested in the rebellion than the main character thought. You even have a love triangle. 

Where this book diverges, however, is much more important and poignant. I actually made a comment on Twitter about how where most books would have ended and set up for a sequel, this book just keeps on going (in a good way). The end of this book is a true ending and I'm not wanting this to have a sequel, for all the right reasons. I really feel that this story line is complete. There are no loose threads or questions that still need to be resolved. I thank the author for this; plot holes and loose threads are pain. 

Best of all, this was a very engaging book. I accidentally had a couple long lunch hours because I just needed to keep reading. The characters are well thought out in their personalities and philosophies. It was really easy to feel for them. The world of this book is easy to get into and understand. Heck, one of the villains from this book was so good he kept catching me off guard because I kept underestimating him.

I really enjoyed this book and, if you're a fan of dystopian books, a fan of books about society, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this one. 4.5 hoots!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Darkness Upon the Deep | Hristo Goshev | Mini-Review

*Image is from the story's webpage here.

Review:

I was asked by the author, Goshev, to read this short story and provide an honest review. Honestly, this was a good read with a better ending than I thought it would have. The pacing is strong, the twist is kinda predictable, but to be fair, you can only do so much with a short story. The setting made me think of a mix of Lovecraft's alternate dimensions with Sci-Fi technology. Again, the ending was better than I thought it would be. There was a peacefulness to some of those lines that were a compatible contrast (if that makes any sense) to the madness of the earlier part of the story. I give this short story 3.5 hoots and highly encourage you to give it a look. Again, this story can be found at this link.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

WBI: Witches Bureau of Investigation | Richard Capwell


Summary:

Nate and Herman's mom has been gone for several months. The police have given up and their dad is a shadow of his former self. When the boys help an eccentric woman, Mrs. Weatherby, who claims to be a witch, she offers to help them out. Unfortunately the location of their mother is hidden by a Malignancy Shroud which can only be set up by a bad witch with a very powerful relic that was supposed to be locked up. Mrs. Weatherby and the boys must find this bad witch if they are to find the boys' mother.

Review:

This was such a good read. It really reminded me of the adventure books I read when I was a kid and was interesting enough to hold my attention as an adult. I have to agree with some others who have read this book that this would be a good one for grandparents to read to their grandkids. Mrs. Weatherby's personality is a great balance to the 11-year-old twins'. They're each reflective of their generation without it being insulting or overly silly to either party.

The magic of this world was very interesting. It integrated easily with technology and was usually meant more for practical things. I definitely want my own version of Mrs' Weatherby's license plates, "they're very special plates...There's always a parking spot exactly where I need it." And Doris' ability to mix her crystal ball with the Internet was a wonderful blending of science and magic that I'd love to read more about. I also liked that there were different animals as familiars with different strengths of their own. One of them was a giant praying mantis! I'd never heard of a praying mantis as a familiar before!

I really enjoyed this book and will be looking to get the second one. It's a book of clean fun that's good for all ages. If you like light-hearted stories about magic in the real world, pick this up and enjoy! 4 hoots!

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Code Breakers: Alpha | Colin F. Barnes


Summary:

Gerry has officially won the lottery! He now has seven days to settle his affairs before he is put to death. When he is kicked out of the building he used to work at, he is found by Gabriel who claims that his AIA, the chip in his head that connects him to the entire city's network, is infected. By a demon. And he needs to get it exorcised. What follows is an adventure that combines dystopian futures, Mad Max meets the Matrix. 

Review:

This book made me think of made-for-tv movies that are entertaining enough to keep your attention and are worth putting up with the ads for, but not really something you get really invested in. I put this book down several times because the pacing was kinda off for me. At times it felt like it was going too fast, other times too slow. Yet 90% or so of the book takes course over just a few days, I think. 

The characters were interesting enough, if a little predictable, but I just couldn't bring myself to get invested in their story. Again, this may be a pacing issue. I certainly can't blame the world building. The world of Code Breakers is easy enough to see and understand. I even appreciate the diversity of types of survivors, even if some of them are a bit stereotypical. I do wish more of the technology used was a little bit better explained. As it was, a lot of it felt more like it was magic than technology (and yes, I know the quote). 

The ending was also very reminiscent of a made-for-tv movie. I read and thought "really?" 

The e-book only costs 99 cents and that's a good deal for its entertainment value. I probably won't pick up the second book though. 2.5 hoots.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Paradox Bound | Peter Clines

*Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

Eli Teague is waiting for someone. He's met Harry twice, when Eli was in elementary school, then again when he was 13. Each time, Harry's never aged and has always shown up in a Model A with an engine that runs on water. Each time she's been followed by the Faceless Men. When Eli, all grown up, finds out Harry is in danger, he heads out to warn her and gets caught up in history traveling (not time traveling) quest for the American Dream.

Review:

This book is very different from other Clines books that I've read. He has a reference in it to the world of two of his other books (14 and The Fold) which I appreciated. But other than that, this is a very different book. I'll admit, it's not my kind of book, but I still enjoyed it. I'm not usually one for historical fiction, but this book was kind of like National Treasure but with history travel (again, not time travel). I appreciated that the ending was different enough from what I as predicting. There's also a strong sense of humor throughout and the two main characters don't fall in love by the end of the book. All things I enjoy reading. Overall, it was a nice step outside my usual genre. 3 hoots!

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Science of Monsters | Matt Kaplan


Summary:

This is a non-fiction book of anthropological, psychological, biological and paleontological (and more) theories behind the origins of the various international monsters. Many of the monsters are from western culture (Minotaur, Medusa, Frankenstein's Monster, etc.) But there are a number of global monsters as well.

Review:

I was immediately drawn to this book. Monsters have always fascinated me, even when I was too scared to watch monster movies. Some people may look at this book like a magician revealing his tricks, but I look at it as a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction scenario. The idea that dragon myths may have originated because of pockets of methane triggered by ancient miners is one that thrills me. I genuinely enjoy the scientific explanations of mythological and supernatural ideas. 

The fact that Kaplan presents these theories in an easy-to-read format with a sense of humor and his own sense of wonder is a wonderful bonus. This is a non-fiction but Kaplan does a wonderful job of keeping the book from being dry and boring. His footnotes have good supplementary information and jokes for the reader to enjoy. 

I really feel this book was well researched and well written. There was a lot of intriguing information about how the human perspective of the world has changed throughout the ages and continues to change. The theories on why the roles and histories of monsters have changed through the years make sense and give a new appreciation for the monsters that survived so many generations. Seriously, though the role and history of Medusa has changed, she has survived through millennia to still be part of human culture. That is amazing!

If you're looking for a non-fiction that will appeal to your love of fantasy, this is a great pick. If you're even just mildly curious about some of the monsters you love and where they come from, this is a great book to pick up. I really enjoyed reading this and encourage you to pick it up. 4.5 hoots!

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ten Dead Comedians | Fred Van Lente

*Book received from NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

Nine stand-up comedians are invited to join Dustin Walker, one of the most legendary names in the comedy business, at his island home to partake in a project. When they arrive, however, they are told by Walker's introductory video that he's brought them all to the island to die. Then the video shows him hanging himself. Sure enough, one by one, the remaining comics begin dying off. With no hope of rescue, they must figure out how to survive, if they don't kill each other first.

Review:

I genuinely enjoyed this book. It was a nice change of pace for me. I normally don't read murder mysteries, especially not ones that take place in the "real world". This book, however, was pleasantly entertaining. I had figured out the "who" kinda early on, but the "how" was so much more interesting than I thought. 

The book is a little dark. With so many deaths in so little time, what can you expect? You also get to see the darker side of the comedy show biz life. Despite there being so many comedians, there was quite a bit of drama and very few redeemable traits. And while there was a lot of death, it wasn't as gruesome as it could have been. Though you do get a fair amount of clever and funny dialogue. Heck, I was actually rooting for a couple of the comedians to survive because they were good at what they did and were smart about trying to survive. 

The ingenuity of the killer, however, that was the major selling point of this book. Sure their reasons for doing everything made me think of them as a whiny, overly sensitive, insane person. But I gotta give it to them, they really knew what they were doing. They had everything planned to precision. It was wonderful to get an intelligent villain. 

Despite not liking murder mysteries in general, I really enjoyed reading Ten Dead Comedians. It is intelligent and funny with just the right amount of dark humor. 4 hoots!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

RunLoveKill Vol. 1 | Jon Tsuei, Eric Canete and Leonardo Olea | Mini-Review



Summary:

Rain has been on the run for a couple of years now from an organization called Origami. She has to run again because soon construction of the walls around her current city, Prygat, will be finished and she'll be trapped. 

Review:

For such a small book, RunLoveKill has a lot to offer. This was one of only a few graphic novels that where I found myself studying some of the tiniest details in the panels. This world is incredibly intriguing to me. Despite there being completely sentient and sassy robots, the technology of this world screams biotech to me and I would LOVE the opportunity to learn more about it. I totally agree with the Mature rating on this one. There is a lot of violence and blood. But if you're interested in a lot of action, a runaway from a military style organization and science fiction technology, I highly recommend this book. I really wish there was more to this series. There are so many places this world could have gone! 4.5 hoots!


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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sungrazer | Jay Posey

*Book received from NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

Lincoln Suh leads one of the most secret special forces teams. They get called in to investigate the disappearance of an even more secret government weapon named Sungrazer. Their investigation takes them to Mars where every move they make could either get them killed, start a war between the two planets, or both.

Review:

I don't have the best of luck with "standalone sequels". I often feel like I really needed to read the previous book(s). Sungrazer, however, is one of those wonderful books where, had I not been told it was a sequel, I wouldn't have guessed until at least a third of the way into the book. Definite kudos to Posey for writing this book so that, not only could I easily get into this world, but would also make me want to read the first one. 

Let me tell you, this was a really good read! I loved the characters. I loved the dialogue. I loved the world it took place in. I want to know more about these people and their world. I want there to be a next book just as much as I want to go back and read the first one. This book was incredibly easily to get into and at no point did I feel a disconnect for not having read the first one.

The characters in Sungrazer are all so interesting and dynamic. There were one or two tropes, but overall their interactions felt so natural and real. Doesn't hurt that one of the characters reminded me so much of my husband. Seriously, look for the mischievous one. At the very least, he will make you chuckle. And Elliot's intelligence and ability to think on his feet, without resorting to using a gun, was a phenomenal breath of fresh air. I love it when characters can outsmart their opponents without resorting to force. 

And then there's the technology! The armor that Lincoln's team wears for most of the book fascinates me. Their "drones", their weaponry, their simulators, this is why I read sci-fi books. The technology is so amazing and I want to learn more about it and its applications. 

Overall, I really liked this book and happily give it 4.5 hoots! Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go see about buying the first book.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Jam | Yahtzee Croshaw


Summary:

In Brisbane, Australia, Travis and one of his flatmates, Henry, start to head out of the apartment. As soon as they open the building door, however, Henry gets eaten by a flood of jam. Not covered in jam, literally dissolved into it. The week goes downhill from there. Travis, his other flatmate Tim, the and their neighbors Don and Angela, are faced with an apocalypse. Then they're faced with the other survivors, broken into two camps: the ironic Plastic People and the cubicle workers from Hibatsu. 

Review:

There were a lot of enjoyable elements to this book. An amiable main character. Realistic, and therefore hilarious, dialogue and character actions. A goliath birdeater spider. What's not to enjoy? 

Unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. I'm used to Croshaw giving a different but better ending than the one I think I want, but in this case, the ending was disappointing. I get that, in apocalyptic situations people are going to break in different ways, but I did not like Tim's break. I was genuinely disappointed by that development. I also wasn't a fan of the Plastic People and their constant need to be ironic without fully comprehending what that meant. Then again, that could be a testament to Croshaw's writing that he made them so easy to dislike. 

I did get a number of laughs throughout the book. I found it absolutely hilarious that a character who said he had no fear doing something immediately responded to the situation with "OH JESUS MONSTER TRUCK DRIVING CHRIST THIS WAS A TERRIBLE IDEAAAAAAAAAAA". I also appreciated the references to Mogworld, Croshaw's previous book. Even Travis not being the brightest bulb in the box was kinda funny (though that did get old after a while). 

Overall it's an okay book. It had a lot of good moments, but it ended up leaving me feeling like there could've been more. Maybe it's just me. I still give 3 hoots for all the laughs.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Children of Lovecraft | Ellen Datlow


Summary:

A collection of short stories inspired by, and written in the style of, H.P. Lovecraft. 

Review:

Not surprisingly this is a book without any happy endings. That being said, this book still had a lot of beautiful tragedy. There was plenty of horror and Twilight Zone style unsettled feelings. There were monsters in human and unrecognizable forms. There was one story in the collection that was so inane and difficult to follow that I actually put the book down for a couple weeks. The rest of the stories, however, were very engaging and I've got another list of authors to look up. This is a good book for fans of the horror genre or Lovecraft fans looking for new authors to read. 




Saturday, June 3, 2017

An Oath of Dogs | Wendy N. Wagner

*Book received from NetGalley for an Honest Review

Summary:

Standish has been hired to help out the Communications at Canaan Lake on the moon (not planet, moon) Huginn. When she wakes up from the cryo sleep she was in to make the trip from Earth, she is told that Duncan, the man who hired her, has died. Went missing the forests of Huginn and hasn't been found since. So, she's now head of Communications. When she gets to Canaan Lake with her service dog, Hattie, she finds out the hard way that there are wild dogs in Canaan Lake that dig up corpses and kill those that try to stop them. When she starts asking questions about Duncan's disappearance, however, she finds there's another layer to this small town that she may not like.

Review:

I'm not generally one for mystery novels. All the ones I read just don't surprise me anymore. They're kinda predictable. The overall mystery of this book wasn't too mysterious after a bit, I'll admit. That being said, I didn't put the book down. I happily kept reading more because I found the characters and, more importantly, the world of Huginn to be incredibly interesting. I really think there's a lot more that Wagner can do with this world and I'll be happy to see it.

I greatly enjoyed reading and trying to picture the various flora of Huginn. Seriously, if you are at all interested in botany or ecology, this is a great Sci-Fi book for you. One of the main characters is a botanist who knows what he's talking about. But there are so many parts of the descriptions of the forests and the insects that made me really wish this book had come with illustrations. The naturally multi-colored wood of the coveted, but literally explosive, horsetail trees are something that I really want to see! And Bajowski's (the botanist) observations about the terran insects' adaptations to and with Huginn's insects were fascinating to me.

And I haven't even talked about the religious sect The Believers yet! Think Amish, but way in the future. They were the first colonists in Canaan Lake and we get to find out that their journey was far from easy when Songhauser, the company that practically rules all of space travel, misplaced their main food supply boxes. Yeah, Huginn is not friendly to outsiders and no one knows that better than the Believers. 

Overall, this was an entertaining book. The mysterious parts weren't too difficult to figure out after a while, but it was still a good read. There is certainly plenty room for more stories from Huginn and I do look forward to them! 3.5 hoots!

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How To Read Nature | Tristan Gooley Mini-Review

*Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Review:

I really appreciated reading this book. As someone who lives in an urban area, a lot of the lessons in it cannot be applied on a daily basis. However, I appreciated the reminder to slow down my daily walks and pay attention to the world around me. I also liked the exercises to practice. The author's experiences of even just looking at trees from different angles was a delightful reminder to not take what I see for granted. This is a nice, meditative read that can help your daily awareness of the world around you. 3.5 hoots!

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Deaths of Tao | Wesley Chu


Summary:

In the second book of the Lives of Tao series, Roen has been following Tao's instructions, getting essential information on Genjix projects. Unfortunately, these missions are completely off the books and he is seen as a deserter and conspiracy nut by the Prophus. Worst of all, his constant being away has caused his wife, Jill, to kick him out of the house and he is unable to spend time with his son, Cam. Meanwhile, Jill is working in Washington DC to push the Prophus agenda despite the overwhelming Genjix influence. Naturally, where Tao is involved, things turn violent and desperate.

Review:

Because I started reading this series with Rise of Io, the 4th or 5th book, I already kinda knew who was going to live and who was going to die. That being said, HOLY WAH! I still ended up completely emotionally engaged with this book to the point where I was upset with where it ended. You can't help but get sucked into the lives of these characters. Except, maybe, the bad guys. Every time the narrative switched to Enzo's perspective it just made me dislike him even more.

Chu has a wonderful ability to blend action and suspense with humor and sweetness. From Enzo's perspective, we read about the painful deaths of Prophus agents and Quasings at his hands. Meanwhile, from Jill's perspective we read about how all of Roen's passwords and codes are based on his relationship with her. Then, from Roen's perspective, we get to hear his and Tao's witticisms. Seriously, how can you not smile at some of their dialogue?

"There has to be something else we can save on other than transportation."
"Taco Wednesdays at the office were already cut."
"I miss tacos."

I enjoyed this book so much that I've already made significant progress in the next book of the series, just a day after finishing this one. Tao's world is full of interesting characters. Even those whose perspective we don't get to hear from are interesting to see in action. Stephen and his Quasling Camr had me almost crying. Master Lin had me laughing my butt off. Jacob scared me on a few occasions. Every character contributes something. Every character is engaging. 

This is, hands down, a great book to read. I highly recommend you read the first book, The Lives of Tao, first.This whole series has proven to be highly entertaining of 5 hoots!


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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

#COYER Summer Reading Challenge


For the past couple of years I've complained about how many books I have on my Kindle App and on my shelves that I just never seem to get around to reading. This has been recently exacerbated by my discovery of the Story Bundle. I have so many books! I swear I had every intention of reading them when I bought them...

So, to help me out, I'm going to join the COYER Summer Reading Challenge. In another post I'll be writing up my list of 30 books (20 ebooks 10 hardcopy) that I am going to get to choose to read from for the summer. If I actually can finish all 30, I'll be pleasantly surprised. As it is, I'll be posting the occasional update here as well as a link to my book list when I get home and get it all written down.

The most challenging part about all of this is going to be avoiding NetGalley. Seriously, I did the math. About 35% of the 40+ books I've read so far this year have been NetGalley requests. I've still got 3 of them to finish before I can fully dedicate time to COYER. And if you see me on Twitter talking about getting another NetGalley book, feel free to shoot me a reminder (friendly or not is your choice).

If you're at all interested in joining, or want more information, you can check out #COYER@COYERChallenge or visit the COYER website.

*Update: I've created a page with my Challenge List.

The Little Red Fish | James Moffitt & Bizhan Khodabandeh

*Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

This series is an allegory for the Iranian Revolution for adults and an adventure story for kids. The books tell the story of the fish who are under the harsh rule of the egrets. Their only hope is the eagle who is the only one able to take down an egret, but will he be able to do all of it himself?

Review:

Every part of this mini-series was a treasure to read. It was such an enriching experience and gave me some much needed perspective on Iran. The use of an allegory is a smart move to help those of us separated from the events learn about it. This is the kind of series that can kick off an interest into the history of Iran. It also serves as a frightening reminder of the costs and effects of power. This is not a happy story. This is not a heartwarming story. This is a warning from history. And I have cherished every section.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Sea Is Ours | Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng


Summary:

A collection of steampunk stories based in Southeast Asia written by Southeast Asian authors. To quote the editors:

"In our iteration of steampunk, neo-Victorianism and all its attendant issues are optional, even sidelined..."

Review:

This book has so many elements that I enjoy. I love anthologies. I enjoy steampunk stories. I love finding new authors to read more of. And I love learning more about other cultures. This book takes me to several worlds where my American bias has no firm footing. Things that were mentioned by some authors as matter-of-fact comments caught me completely off guard because they weren't such a strong part of my life. I also ended up highlight a bunch of words or phrases throughout the book because I just had no frame of reference for them and wanted to know. (By the way, definitely looking up a recipe for tsokolate now!)

I also really appreciated that, out of 12 stories, only one didn't work for me (there's always one, it seems). The rest of the stories, though, were so engaging and I'm so glad they were included in this anthology. I have added a few new authors to look up. The only problem I'm having with that is they're so underrepresented in the book avenues that I use. If you have any suggestions for better access to books from Southeast Asia please let me know!

I happily give this book 4 hoots and encourage you to get a copy!

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Rebellion's Last Traitor | Nik Korpon


*Book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

It's been many years since the resources wars. It's also been many years since anyone has seen the sun. The Tathadann Party runs the show with an iron fist, even adjusting it's people's memories so they forget what life was like. As a result, memories have become their own form of currency but are also more addictive and destructive than heroin. The only attempt at a rebellion failed and this book goes back and forth between the two former leaders of that rebellion, Henraek and Walleus, and their lives as workers for the Tathadann.

Review:

I'll be honest, I've got some mixed feelings about this book. It had a lot of interesting story elements and characters. The world was a little difficult to process, but that could be because I'm not used to the egregious dichotomy between the rich and the poor in post-apocalyptic worlds (you'd think I would be by now). Overall this really felt like a thriller or mystery book way more than it was a post-apocalyptic sci-fi.

I appreciate that we're given the viewpoints of Walleus, the willing traitor to the cause, and Henraek, the man who had to be broken first. From this we get the viewpoint of the backstabbing and politics going on within the Tathadann Party and the struggle to hold onto anything worthwhile in the slums. We get to see one man continue on with what family he has while the other has nothing left of his family but memories he's harvested from others who used to know him. One person only has "friends" that will take any opportunity to throw him under the bus while the other has a single friend who is trying to get him to move on. It's quite an interesting way to give the reader different clues about what happened in the rebellion and what is happening now.

The ending was what really gave me pause. In a way it really felt like the main characters got what they deserved, but it wasn't very satisfying. And maybe that's the point. The notion that revenge, social upheaval and justice have repercussions and innocent people lose out. There is, certainly, a lot of that in this book. Parents losing their children. Husbands and wives losing each other. People even losing their sense of self because they either lose their memories or get addicted to the memories of others.

I did enjoy the book. I'm not usually one for mystery/thrillers but this was, overall, a good read. If you like thirllers or dystopian settings this is a good book for you. As for me, I give it 3.5 hoots.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Waffle Sandwiches | Recipe


Ingredients (for 6 sandwiches):

12 waffle squares
6 sausage patties 
6 slices of cheese
3 hash browns, deep fried
6 eggs, scrambled

Process:

I make all of my waffle from scratch. It's actually the first page of my own, handwritten recipe book. if you would like me cover the recipe, please let me know and I will post the recipe later. For now, the important thing is getting the waffle squares we need.


I actually only started making these sandwiches after getting a square shaped waffle iron. My previous, round shaped one, would've been okay for sandwiches, but not nearly as well.


While the waffles are cooking, I start warming up the deep fryer to around 350. It takes a while to heat up, but is always quicker than I'm expecting, so I try to start it up soon after I've started making the waffles. Be sure to fill the deep fryer enough to cover the bottom half of the bowl.


Next up is the sausage. I like to cook these before I cook the eggs because it's easier to keep it warm than it is other ingredients.

When the deep fryer is ready, I prep the pan for cooking the eggs. It only takes 3 minutes to deep fry the hash browns and that's about the same as it takes to cook up the eggs. So I prep the eggs by scrambling them together with a small amount of milk. Then, I put the hash browns into the basket. 
Then I "drop" the basket into the hot oil, cover it with the lid, and set the timer for 3 minutes. Then I start up the stove and constantly stir the eggs until they're cooked. Generally the two get done around the same time.

Finally, it's time to assemble the pieces.

 Naturally, you start with a square waffle. 

On top of that you place the scrambled eggs.

Then the slice of cheese to keep the eggs in place.

After that, add the sausage patty. 

Then you add half a hash brown and top it all off with the second waffle square.


Review:

This recipe has, at Fluxxdog's request, become a weekly staple at my home, especially now that I've got the order of the layers correct. We've tried making this with turkey bacon and it just wasn't as good. Canadian bacon, however, worked really well. Additionally, you can make this without the breakfast meat if you need to.

With all of the ingredients listed above, and my waffles being homemade, the calorie count on two sandwiches is a whopping 1000 calories (give or take). I'm not sure how that would change with frozen waffles or with bacon instead of sausage. 

Overall, we really like the recipe and it's one where you can play around with some of the ingredients. One of these days I'll trade out the scrambled eggs for omelet style eggs. Or maybe just fried eggs.If you need a sauce for it, you can always add ketchup or maple syrup. It's a lot more playful of a recipe than it may seem to be at first. Definitely keeping this one.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Clockwork Dynasty | Daniel H. Wilson

*Image and book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

June has been studying ancient mechanics ever since her Grandfather showed her a relic he'd picked up from an "Angel of Vengeance" who'd saved him on the Russian battlefront in the war. She's spent her entire career trying to figure out the mystery of this relic. When she finds, and "revives", an old mechanical doll given to the Pope from the Tsar of Russia, the doll writes the word avtomat and June gets thrown into the middle of a war that is ages old.

Review:

This was quite the enjoyable, engaging book. A little bit of an alternate history, but mostly a "they've been here the whole time" kind of thing. I greatly appreciated the cutting back and forth between June's present perspective and Peter's past perspective. This allowed me to build up on clues from both time periods to figure out what was going on. 

I do wish there had been a little more world building. I'm quite curious to know who The First Men are or were. Of course, given that each avtomat loses a big chunk of their memory every time their anima shifts or shuts down for a while, I can see why that information would be left to the reader's interpretation. The anima themselves have left me with several questions. If Wilson writes a sequel to this book, I will be looking for answers. 

Probably my favorite part of this book was the character development. As I read more and learned more about the characters, I grew to appreciate them. Though June is a human in an avtomat war, she is still very resourceful, clever and strong. Though Peter is torn about how to properly serve his anima of Truth and Justice, he is willing to learn from his mistakes and admit when he's wrong, especially to protect those he cares about. 

If/when Wilson writes a sequel, I will be expecting some more information about the technology used to create the avtomat and keep them held together. I appreciated what information I could get. That an avtomat can be forced to "hibernate" when they've endured too much damage and repair. That the remaining energy of one anima can be used to refuel another. It's a good start, but it's set my curiosity on edge. And that ending gave Wilson plenty of room to write a sequel. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, this was an interesting and engaging book and I need to know more about this world. 4 hoots!

               Hoot!Hoot!

               Hoot! Hoot!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Readathon Mini-Challenge

 

I'll always be a bookworm first, but I've also really enjoyed getting into games and gaming over the past few years. Not just video games, but also small phone games, board games and just a touch of D&D. It got me thinking about my books from a gaming perspective.


Gamer Luna - By: John Joseco by *Bernd01 on deviantART

I came up with a basic outline for a Pride, Prejudice & Zombies RPG (not the Freeverse game) where you have to balance your social standing with your ability to kill zombies. For example, if you choose to train in China instead of Japan, you'd start out with greater killing skill, but a lower social standing. At the same time, if you choose to spend time gossiping or dancing, instead of reading or practicing, your social standing increases, but your killing skills decrease. Sounds rough,I know, but it's just a basic outline.



This makes me wonder, which book or series do you think would make a good game? It doesn't even have to be a video game or RPG. It can be a board game inspired by or straight out of a book. Even a card game. Just tell me the book/series, the name of the game, the type of game, and some of its rules. You don't have to flesh out the whole thing.


I do have one restriction in all of this: you cannot pick a book or series that already has a game. This means no Harry Potter, no Lord of the Rings, no Dragonriders of Pern, etc. Yes, this disqualifies my own idea, but so be it, I'm hosting. For what it's worth, I'm not going to research if the book/series you selected actually is a game.

Image result for dragonriders of pern sega dreamcast

My favorite idea will win a $15 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Nobles (your choice). To enter, all you need to do is tell me your idea in the comments below. You will need to leave some way (twitter handle, email address) to get a hold of you, should you win. I will leave this challenge open for the rest of the Read-A-Thon. Good luck and GAME ON!