Crash / From the Wreckage (books 60 and 61)

Crash / Michael Robertson

Synopsis – After the European economy completely crashes, electricity and water are shut off, jobs become nonexistent, the police and government are dismantled, and the 99% rise against the 1%. Or so it seems. As in any mass crisis situation, a specific demographic jumps at the chance to loot, pillage, rape, torture, and murder with impunity. From a window in his once posh home, a (former) 1%-er watches a gang of brutal thugs destroy his neighbors’ homes, torture and murder the males and the pets, and imprison the females as rape slaves in a cage in the back of their truck. With his young son at his side, and his wife and daughter mysteriously gone, the 1%-er must make a series of decisions which will have the lowest high chance of fulfilling the unimaginable suffering he and his son face. Not easy to do when you’ve slowly watched your family fall apart, you’re trapped in a freezing cold house, slowly starving, and the bad guys are strolling up your driveway…

Reaction – This is a very violent book. Yes, it can easily be classified as torture porn, but the violence and gore are broken into manageable (in my opinion) chunks by the interspersion of ridiculously humorous pre-crash flashbacks. Robertson knows my brand of humor. Stereotypical characters and no satisfying character arcs in this one. Not for the easily queasy. For ironed-lined stomachs only.

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

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Crash-Book-One-Michael-Robertson-ebook/dp/B00DJBJVY8

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From the Wreckage / Stacy Stanford

Synopsis – Head Cheerleader Buffy can’t wait to start her senior year of high school with her two besties and cheerleadin’ side-kicks. Together, The Three MuskeCheers will rule the school! Yea-Rah! But who knew a tornado would rip through town, destroying the high school and killing one of Buffy’s besties? What’s a Head Cheerleader to do‽ She’s got to keep on keepin’ on in her super cute and sexy cheerleading outfit with the short skirt that flips up in the back when a breeze or a tornado blows by. Not only that, she’s got to break up with her wealthy and handsome golden boy captain of the football team boyfriend, and make a play for the mysterious and broody motorcycle-riding loner (but not totally creepy because he was once part of the popular clique) handsome bad boy. Yeah-Rah!

Reaction – An eye-rolling-ly ditzy book. Lots of teen hormone-fueled leering and groping, and lots of intertwining fingers and skirt flipping. Lots of texting. The characters are stereotypes, but they’re fun. The storyline held my interest for its bubble gum-popping teen angst entertainment. A fun fluff book for YA fans.

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

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Wreckage-Michele-G-Miller-ebook/dp/B00KXIJ4H4

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A Thousand Bridges / Lost Girl of the Lake (books 58 and 59)

A Thousand Bridges / Michael McKinney

Synopsis – Florida Man, not having learned his lesson, gets in over his head again in the Floridian labyrinth of corrupt politics. But it’s not his fault (this time). Florida Woman and Florida Girl are to blame with their tales of shootout and rape survival at the tentacles of a burgeoning band of power-hungry politicos. Can Florida Man bury the memory of his dead girlfriend long enough to (temporarily) save Florida and the USA from the latest batch of rich and rogue Florida Rebels? Will any of this knock http://bit.ly/1vzjEoP off the front page of Florida News?

Reaction – I’m a big fan of Florida Man, and all things Florida (from a safe distance), so this tale of wild and wacky Floridian crime and corruption easily held my interest. The characters – though larger-than-life (I expect as much from Florida) – were palpable, and I ended up caring about the fate of every one of them, even the sick and sleazy slimeballs. I also appreciated the vivid descriptions of the varied Florida landscape as a counterbalance to the alternating rage, wrath and carefree cluelessness of the Florida People. Read this Florida Book if you’re a Florida Man fan, or simply if you’re Florida-curious.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Thousand-Bridges-Michael-McKinney-ebook/dp/B0061YAU5Y

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Lost Girl of the Lake / Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty

Synopsis – A rich and privileged teen goes on a country club summer vacation with his family. After enduring the glorified boredom of idle childhood wealth, he finally cuts loose and meets a mysterious girl skinny dipping at night in the lake. His joins her, but you know how teen boys are. She has to put him in his place. After the requisite period of teen angst and brooding, she finally shows up again to give him another chance. Only this time she has a posse of snakes. Or maybe she’s a snake and she wants him to meet her snake family. Or maybe the boy has a snake fetish, and he’s imagining all this. In any case, this is the summer he comes of age via the serpent… somehow.

Reaction – A charming tale of coming of age told in a personable, friendly voice. The main character was likeable in a “sympathetic underdog” kind of way. The story was clear and solid for most of the book, but at the conclusion it got a bit tangled up the arcane and esoteric. Did the boy lose his virginity? Did he have a bad acid trip? Was he psychologically disabled? I have no idea. Read this if you like the mystery of the serpent and you don’t mind an open-ended… ending.

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

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Girl-Lake-Michael-McCarty-ebook/dp/B00BODKYOY

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First Contact (book 57)

Synopsis – Humans on a survey starship finally make first contact with technologically advanced alien life forms. Will these strange aliens be friendly? Hostile? Indifferent? Turns out they’re violent psychopaths bent on human destruction… according to human standards. And now the sole survivor of the starship – mysteriously spared by the alien warriors – must warn his species that their worst alien nightmare is about to come true. But are these alien freaks really so bad? Maybe they’re just misunderstood in their bloodlust. Plus they’re even giving their human prey some prep time…

Reaction – This book did not give me cancer.*An excellent supposition with a long, drawn-out execution. I appreciated the jettisoning of philosophical anthropomorphism, but this story of alien life with alien motivation could’ve been told in half as much space. The characters started out sketchy, and by the middle of the book, were further described only in their emotional engagement in life-and-death battle. Read this if you enjoy long, drawn-out battle scene after long, drawn-out battle scene…

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

Get it herehttp://www.amazon.com/First-Contact-Last-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B004IPQE0I

*To my knowledge.