Jackal of the Mind (Tales of Wyverna #2) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@2%

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Title: Jackal of the Mind DNF@2%
Series: Tales of Wyverna #2
Author: Madolyn Rogers
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 6/287
Words: 2/106K

Sexuality and sexual preferences are important enough that I refuse to allow them to be perverted and to pass it off as “well, it’s only a piece of fiction”.

I was disappointed but it happens enough now that I think I’m to the point where I can just shrug it off and dnf the book without much regret. Ahhh well, on to another book and another author.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Predator: Eyes of the Demon ★✬☆☆☆

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Title: Predator: Eyes of the Demon
Series: ———-
Authors: Bryan Schmidt (Ed)
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 298
Words: 111K

★✬☆☆☆

Totally woke bs. The only reason this didn’t get just a half star was because Scott Sigler wrote the final story and it was awesome and was a REAL Predator story. No pregnant predators bonding emotionally with human mothers and the universal bond of motherhood or some other such bologna.

New Tales of the Yellow Sign (The King in Yellow Anthology #5) ★★✬☆☆

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Title: New Tales of the Yellow Sign
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #5
Editor: Robin Laws
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 143
Words: 51K

★★✬☆☆

Dead Silence ★☆☆☆☆

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Title: Dead Silence
Series: ———-
Authors: Stacey Barnes
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 319
Words: 109.5K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher & Me

Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed―made obsolete―when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.

What they find is shocking: the Aurora, a famous luxury spaceliner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick search of the ship reveals something isn’t right.

Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Messages scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold on to her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.

Turns out everything was caused by a machine put on board the ship by a rival company that was supposed to make everyone feel dread and uneasiness. The ship used a new alloy and the interactions between the machine and ship drove everyone insane.

Claire survives as does her loverboy and they get rich and own their own shipping company. The end.

My Thoughts:

I went into this with very high hopes. Both Mogsy and Maddalena had reviewed it and while there were some little things that niggled at me, what they wrote sounded fantastic.

Things started out really great. I’m talking Event Horizon levels of great in fact. Which is exactly what I wanted and was looking for. Then I find out the main character is insane, so I can’t trust a word coming out of her mouth, then the whole “scary” situation gets “scyenzesplained” to me and THEN romance right at the end where the man knows exactly what to do and what to say like he’d read the main character’s insane mind and was pretty much the perfectest man ever.

It blew my mind. In a bad way. I was pretty angry in fact. To go from people ripping their own eyeballs out to scyenze to romance was more than I could take. Stacey Barnes took a space elevator ride straight to my Authors to Avoid list with this book. What gets me is that it DID start out so fantastic. WHY did she have to go and change things and ruin everything? I could smell the hotdog. I could see the hotdog. Then the author gave me a celery stick and acts like it was that all along. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

So if you want a scary story that is ruined by scyenze and romance, this is definitely the book for you. If I cared more, I’d cross post this review to all sorts of other platforms just to give people fair warning. But in about 10 years nobody will ever remember this book, because it truly is that bad. I’ll step aside and let Time be the author’s executioner.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Feast and Famine ★★✬☆☆

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Title: Feast and Famine
Series: ———-
Authors: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 157
Words: 60.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover and TOC

In Feast and Famine Adrian Tchaikovsky delivers an ambitious and varied collections of stories. Ranging from the deep space hard SF of the title story (originally in Solaris Rising 2) to the high fantasy of “The Sun in the Morning” (a Shadows of the Apt tale originally featured in Deathray magazine), from the Peter S Beagle influenced “The Roar of the Crowd” to the supernatural Holmes-esque intrigue of “The Dissipation Club” the author delivers a dazzling array of quality short stories that traverse genre. Ten stories in all, five of which appear here for the very first time.

Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Feast & Famine

3. The Artificial Man

4. The Roar of the Crowd

5. Good Taste

6. The Dissipation Club

7. Rapture

8. Care

9. 2144 and All That

10. The God Shark

11. The Sun of the Morning

12. About the Author

My Thoughts:

That’s right, there’s a reason I’ve been avoiding Tchaikovsky for the last year or two. While he can tell some good stories, he also really digs the knife into Christianity. Not organized religion, or Buddhism, or Islam, or any other religion, just Christianity. I “think” I could handle it if he were an equal opportunity mocker, but he’s not. He really lets fly with the story “Rapture” and I realized that while the other stories might be interesting that my time with him is done for good now.

If I need any more fixes of Tchaikovsky, I’ll just go and re-read the Shadows of the Apt decology.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Gathering Flame ★☆☆☆☆

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Title: The Gathering Flame
Series: Mageworlds #4
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 371
Words: 136K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

The Mageworlds are plundering the civilized galaxy. One planet at a time. First, their scoutships appeared above the outplanets. Raiding parties followed, then whole armadas bent on loot and conquest. The Mages break the warfleets that oppose them. They take entire planets. Who can stop them?

Not Perada Rosselin, Domina of Entibor. She’s the absolute ruler of a rich world and all its colonies, but Entibor’s space fleet is too small to mount a defense. And Perada herself, just back from school on distant Galcen, is almost an outworlder in her own court.

Not Jod Metadi, the most famous – or notorious – of the privateers of Innish-Kyl. Jos can fight the Mages and he can best them one on one, but his preferred targets are cargo vessels, not the dangerous and unprofitable ships of war. Metadi stays clear of the Mageworlds’ battle fleet – when he can.

Not Errec Ransome. He understands the Magelords better than anyone. But there are some things he’ll never tell – and some things he’s sworn to himself that he’ll never do again.

Now, the Mages have attacked Entibor. That was their first mistake…

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this prequel about the parents of the characters in the previous three books. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much and in some ways I was very disappointed.

Perada’s two sons aren’t Joss Metadi’s. They were conceived for political reasons. In fact, one of them is Eric Ransome’s and Metadi just shrugs it off. I REAAAAALLLLY disliked both parts of that.

By the end of the book Entibor is a slag heap and the mages did it by using hundreds of mage circles on Entibor to move the tectonic plates and thus destroy the surface of the planet. It was pretty cool if you think about it.

Then there were the 2 women who I thought were just friends. So that line got crossed and put the authors on my to avoid list. Honestly, I’m almost glad that happened so I didn’t have to muster up some fake enthusiasm to continue on with the rest of the series.

While this series started really strong for me, it has gone downhill with each successive book and with this one stepped right off the cliff face. Well, time to go find another series to try.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

And On the Eighth Day ★★☆☆☆

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Title: And On the Eighth Day
Series: Ellery Queen
Authors: Ellery Queen
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 128
Words: 55.5K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

It’s April 1944 and Ellery Queen has been working for the military making films in Hollywood. Driving through Death Valley on his way home, his car breaks down. Stumbling over a rise in the desert, he encounters an odd man who seems to come from an earlier time, and is welcomed into his community as a sort of prophet. Queen must root out a growing corruption while operating within the limits of an alien world and comes to the realization that evil can invade the most guarded of people’s hearts and societies.

My Thoughts:

Really? Ellery is an idiot, gets lost in the desert, comes across a cultic commune and solves a murder mystery that would destroy the commune if the cult leader had let it and then he just leaves? And once the murder took place, even “I” knew what had really happened (the cult leader covering for his protege so as to not leave the commune without a leader in the coming years) but good ol’ (c)elery for brains couldn’t? Sure, he’s supposed to be exhausted from writing propaganda during WWII, but come on!

This was a real mix bag of Christian aphorisms mixed with actual Scripture from the Bible mixed with pagan philosophy while referencing such people as Josephus and Pliny (the Elder or the Younger not being specified).

I did not enjoy this. I’ve decided that unless the next Queen book is a 4.5star read and completely blows me out of the water, that I’ll be done with this series.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

ps,

I have NO idea what that cover is supposed to convey. I didn’t like this book and so I chose the most unappealing cover I could find for it. If you like this cover, please drop me a comment telling me why and giving me your doctor’s name and number so I can get you some emergency psychiatric care.

Jim Henson: The Biography ★☆☆☆☆

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Title: Jim Henson: The Biography
Series: ———-
Authors: Brian Jones
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 591
Words: 215K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson

He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.

This extraordinary biography—written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family—covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in America, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson’s family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives, Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson’s non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth—as well as fascinating misfires like Henson’s dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub.

An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original: the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose dealmaking prowess won him a reputation as “the new Walt Disney,” and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing, his love of fast cars and expensive art, and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life—a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well founded.

An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.

My Thoughts:

This is getting a 1star instead of the dreaded 1/2star & the tag “worst book of the year” simply because I learned a LOT about Jim Henson. Having seen what I have of Muppets, Fraggle Rock, etc, I can clearly see Henson’s fingerprints now that I know what to look for. That part was quite interesting and I think it will make my viewing of future movies and shows that much richer.

However, my main problem with this book wasn’t about or with Jim Henson, per se, but more with the author, Brian Jones. This was technically a biography but more than that, it was a puff piece, a love letter, a psalm of worship from an acolyte to his god. When somebody tells the life story of someone else, they have a duty to tell ALL of that life story, not just the good parts.

Any bad parts of Henson’s life was mentioned in one sentence when it occurred and then glossed over or ignored for the rest of the book. When interviewing people about Henson, only the most positive things were included, even from his wife, who he had separated from and was sleeping with other women. Every statement about Henson was positive and every statement by other people was positive. While I could have accepted that Henson led a charmed life and was charismatic and talented enough to draw everyone into his wake, people are people and have bad things to say. I’m not saying Jones should have been a muckraker or that I was looking for a smear campaign, but what I read wasn’t real in the sense that it simply didn’t present reality as we know it. Henson’s brother died. It got maybe 2 sentences then and maybe 4 out of the entire book and Jones never showed it affecting Henson.

Jones was given access to the Henson life in terms of private journals, etc and I suspect part of the deal was that he would only write good things. It was like reading cotton candy by the end of the book. Even Henson’s swift death by a virulent strain of pneumonia shows him as a giant teddy bear having his back rubbed by his ex-wife (technically not ex as they never divorced) and his death being some big “oopsie”. The tone of the entire book is fluff. While I learned a lot about Henson, and like I said before I think it will make my watching of his works that much more informed, I did not like being “handled” by the author as I was.

To end, if you want to learn about Henson, you can read this book and you’ll learn a lot. If you don’t mind literary cotton candy, this will work perfectly for you. If you want a full picture of Henson, try some other book because this author point blank refuses to give you that picture. I am very disappointed with how this turned out.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Twice in Time ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Twice in Time
Series: ———-
Authors: Manly Wade Wellman
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 168
Words: 47K



Synopsis:

From FictionDB.com

While vacationing in Italy, 19-year-old Leo Thrasher rashly experiments with a radical new science. The result: he “reflects” himself 500 years back in time and must deal with life in the middle ages as he strives to return to the present. And in the 20th century, the memoirs of Leonardo da Vinci are unearthed.

My Thoughts:

This was my third foray into the works of Manly Wade Wellman and I have to admit, I’ve been nothing but disappointed. Unless I can get my hands on the Silver John series or the John Thunstone series, I’ll not be reading anything else by Wellman.

This book was stupid. The main character, Leo Thrasher, goes back in time, without giving it any thought and turns into Leo da Vinci. Makes me wonder if Tim Powers read this story and if it influenced his Anubis Gates any? If not, it’s a remarkable coincidence.

So, Leo. He descibes his time mirror and goes into detail of what went into the making of it (super rare elements, machined metal parts measured down to the micrometer, etc, etc) and he somehow expects to be able to make one to return, in Italy in the 1500’s? What kind of idiot is he? A big ultra-stupid idiot, that’s what kind. It was just one ridiculous situation after another that either had me rolling my eyes or shaking my fist. I realized what Wellman was doing (ie, Leo was Da Vinci) about halfway through and I probably should have seen it much sooner. But I was distracted by all the stupid idiotic stuff going on.

I had higher hopes from Wellman. But the three books I’ve read by him have all been juvenile, simplistic, stooooopid and not entertaining. Adios amigo and don’t let my lightsaber hit you where the Good Lord split you.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The King of Plagues (Joe Ledger #3) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@30%

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Title: The King of Plagues
Series: Joe Ledger #3
Editor: Jonathan Maberry
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 492 / 160
Words: 151K / 50K



Synopsis:

DNF@30%

My Thoughts:

By the 30% mark Maberry had used the term “hate crime” 15 times. I quit reading when he used the term to justify a muslim special forces guy beating people so badly that they ended up in the Emergency Room because they used words he didn’t like. It’s called Free Speech, for good AND bad. When you start telling people what words they can and cannot say or use, you have entered the Deep State.

So adios Maberry, you confirmed my fears about you and I’ll be avoiding you like the plague from now on.

Rating: 1 out of 5.