Identity / The God Killers (books 5 and 6)

Identity / Mark Hosack

Synopsis – Mild-mannered businessman is approached by unscrupulous business colleague about a get-rich-quick coup. Businessman attempts to expose coup, but in the process gets caught up in a vortex of hostile takeovers, espionage, fraud, hitmen, and double and tripling wheeling and dealing. This corporate thriller has more twists and turns than San Fran’s Lombard and Vermont streets put together.

Reaction – The book quickly drew me in with an engaging, “aw shucks” conversational tone, which fit the main character and theme. But the further I got into the storyline, the more confusing – and implausible – the web of deceit, crossing, and double crossing got. I decided to attribute this to my brain not being wired for politi-business. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this timely, fast paced tale of corporate greed. Read this if you enjoy complicated thrillers with lots of action and surprise endings.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Identity-Mark-Hosack-ebook/dp/B007BP3K18

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The God Killers / David Simpson

Synopsis – Two God-hating guys can see zombie ghosts. This enrages the zombie ghosts. So the guys and the zombie ghosts battle it out. Along the way, the guys cure diseased prostitutes, exorcise demons, and team up with Satan. Oh yeah – the two guys are trying to kill God.

Reaction – The zombie ghosts were interestingly creepy. Other than that – confusing, disjointed descriptions. Sketchy motivations. Long, drawn-out, rambling sentences and fight scenes. Not a lot of explaining the “why” of specific events, but lots of spiritual, third-eye-type stuff which flew over my head (much like the zombie ghosts flying over the guys’ heads). Implausible storyline, even in the supernatural realm. Cursing throughout – the f-bomb seems to be the favorite.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/God-Killers-David-Simpson-ebook/dp/B006CB1O74

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Blindsight / Dreamlander (books 3 and 4)

Blindsight / Peter Watts

Synopsis – Future transhumans chase after a signal through outer space, find a planet, capture some of its inhabitants, and torture them to learn sciency stuff.* In the process, the planet does a number on their perceptions, and they freak out about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, but mostly about the definitions of “humanity” and “consciousness.”

Reaction – A hard sci fi story with hard sci hypothesis formulation. I’m already one to seek out and twist my mind with the deepest of the deep questions, and this book twisted my mind to the point of shearing. Along the sheared edges, new crystals grew. Lucky for me, I’m fond of fractals. Read this book if you’re ready to think about the meanings of perception, evolution, and morality unconventionally and logically. Hal lives.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Blindsight-Peter-Watts-ebook/dp/B003K15EKM

*Of course, the storyline is much more sophisticated than my synopsis, but in the interest of omitting a multitude of spoilers, I kept it unsophisticated.

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Dreamlander / K.M. Weiland

Synopsis – Future Hero gradually discovers his nightmares are actually real life in an Other Dimension. Future Hero crosses over into the Other Dimension and becomes Reluctant Hero, falls in love with Ice Princess, and leads an Epic War, via fate. Then Reluctant Hero becomes Fabled Hero when his continued presence in the Other Dimension causes Both Dimensions to plunge into Catastrophic Global Climate Change.

Reaction – The “real life” scenes were peppy and punchy. The transitions and the “dream life” scenes were full of contradictory descriptions and disjointed cause and effect, even for a dream world. Choppy, shuffled sequence of events within many scenes. The “dream life” scenes summoned an army of halting proper nouns, as often found in fantasy novels, and long, drawn-out political, tactical, and battle descriptions. It’s rare that I enjoy the historomantasy genre, and this proved no exception. A chore to get through. I did, however, slog through to the end, just to give it a full chance.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Dreamlander-K-M-Weiland-ebook/dp/B00A9WU99Q

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Do you have the reading and reviewing madness yet? Unleash your reading and reviewing wrath on these.

Something Wicked This Way Comes / Hard Winter The Novel (books 1 and 2)

Something Wicked This Way Comes / Ray Bradbury

Synopsis – A stormy carnival blows into town. Two boys witness the creeptastic goings-on, and at the same time are witnessed by the carnival villains. The boys alternately hide from and do battle with the carnival villains with the assistance of a boy’s dad.

Reaction – A true “story for boys.” I felt like a stereotypical Bradbury boy reading it – bold, defiant, full of youthful self-assurance and endless possibilities… Is there anything freer than a pre-pubescent mid-western boy in the 1950s, living in a rural town with a mystery to solve and a best friend to help solve it? Lots of physical, sweaty, action imagery in this poetic tale of youth versus age, will versus fear, and good versus evil. A delightful mix of soft horror and supernatural fantasy. A book for all ages.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Something-Wicked-This-Comes-Greentown-ebook/dp/B00C2C637I

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Hard Winter The Novel / Neil Davies

Synopsis – Modern global warfare triggers an ice-pocalypse. A heartbroken survivor journeys away from the encroaching glacier, mythical monsters, and savage cannibal rapists towards an uncertain fate. Along the way, the survivor is wracked with unimaginable hardships, guilt, self-loathing, and loneliness. And cold. So much cold.

Reaction – Poor guy. I doubt I would have chosen to “keep on keeping on” as he did. I’m cold-blooded to begin with, and I need to eat on a regular basis. At the first sign of gangrene I probably would have fed myself to a monster. But this guy, for all his self-doubt, had pluck and luck. Some of his decisions were questionable, but who’s to judge when it’s the end of the world and you’ve lost everything? I’m even willing to forgive his odd habit of marking distance with the English system in England. A chilling post-apocalypse survival story full of snow and ice and bitter-cold bones.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Winter-Novel-Neil-Davies-ebook/dp/B00BFKOBFO

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I’m Not Just Crazy, I’m Mad!

the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-button

10 days into the new year, and still reeling from last month’s Infinite Jest of December, I have decided to embark on another book reading marathon. Only this time, it’s a year-long marathon, and it requires I also review the books I read. The Mad Reviewer Reading (Sunburned Nose*) Challenge 2014 comes courtesy of The Mad Reviewer Carrie Slager of The Mad Reviewer blog. The challenge has 4 reviewer levels for the year:

1.  Mad – 104 books

2.  Crazy – 52 books

3.  Slightly Sane – 26 books

4.  Sane – 12 books

I signed up for Mad… grrr…

Once a week on this blog I’ll post the reviews of 2 books I’ve read. (I’ll wedge in a few extra readings / reviews by the end of the year to get up to 104.) For this challenge, a “book” is either a novel or novella, fiction or non-fiction, in any genre / non-genre. Printed or ebooks only, audiobooks are outside the scope of this challenge. Each double review will be a separate blog post. I won’t be addressing any editing or formatting issues in any of the books, I will focus soley on the story. How the heck am I gonna read 104 books AND review them this year?! I have a secret weapon – I’m a fast reader. As long as the book is interesting, I’m able to read and retain the storyline quickly. Disclaimer: I’m not a professional reviewer, and I tend to rate books highly.

Here’s how I will structure my reviews:

1. Book title / author.

2. Oh-so-brief, non-spoiler synopsis.

3. A paragraph of my reaction to the story.

4. My recommendation. (I guess some people would find this book worthwhile in some universe somewhere; You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book; This book renewed my will to live).

5. Where to find a copy of the book.

Wanna be a Mad / Crazy / Slightly Sane / Sane Reviewer? There’s still time, sign up here!

*I’m opting out of the “Sunburned Nose” part.