Review: Like A Boss by Adam Rakunas

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Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780857664822

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: In this breathless and hilarious followup to Philip K Dick Award-nominated Windswept, former labor organiser Padma’s worst nightmare comes true: she gets yanked out of early retirement. After buying her favourite rum distillery and settling down, she thought she’d heard the last of her arch nemesis, Evanrute Saarien. But Saarien, fresh out of prison for his misdeeds in Windswept, has just fabricated a new religion, positioning himself as its holy leader. He’s telling his congregation to go on strike, to fight the system. And unfortunately, they’re listening to him.

Review: Is that Padma Longstockings wielding a wrench? Again, the cover art blows.

This chick rocks what with her determined mien coupled with a deep and hidden vulnerability that lashes out with intent and variety. She is at once horny, feisty, reflective and scared shitless. She overcomes her shortcomings to do what she thinks is right and never wavers from her goals even in the face of chronic self-doubt.  She gets help from old Windswept rum when friends are in short supply and her psychosis comes a knockin’. As you move with her through life, you will find yourself rooting for her in hopes that she somehow is elevated to just rewards. 

**Spoiler Alert**

“So why you no give 5 stars!!” At about the 60% mark, Padma turns into this self-made martyr whom traipses around performing acts of self-sacrifice and rallying the masses to better their situation in the face of demagoguery. It really pushed the story line into the donkey-dirt and halted the movement. When other characters tend to echo the obvious with understated adulation and compliments, then you know this is headed into the pisser. Padma declines to recognize that she is so great, so it must be ok…right? Nah, it just turns the story line into a smug rendition of an oft used liberal script.

At times this was an adroit romp through a maze of politics and real world manipulations. Padma is front and center yet fails to capture the essence that left us thrilled in her first adventure. Although there is an attempt to explain the series of events that culminate in a disastrous state, the reasoning is flawed and doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. The logical path is to follow the money which would lead to the big three, but what we are left with is a  personal vendetta and acrimonious behavior. Anywaaaay, still entertaining.  

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Review: Sixteen Sunsets by Mark Gardner

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Publisher: Article 94

Publishing Date: February 2016

ISBN:9781530442607

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.6/5

Publishers Description: Kristof led a simple life with a simple problem: Terminal cancer. The problem is, his life isn’t simple anymore. He’s just discovered he has superpowers, and only has sixteen sunsets left to live. So what will he do with his remaining time? 

Review: There were a lot of good elements to this story. Kristof is a great character but his wife’s antics don’t make much sense. She’s worried sick about him one moment or holding his hand in concern then can’t wait to divorce him. She thinks he’s a gross pig then can’t wait to bang him on the couch.  Conflicted?  Nah, she just doesn’t read as conflicted as the real source of her angst is never revealed. Did he cheat on her? Does she love someone else? Does she want something different in life? Dunno, and you won’t either. Anne is one great character to follow. Her backstory was revealed in elegant simplicity and she captures the movement and builds a better character each time she is revealed. Stunning work. Most of the supporting cast are built very well and enhanced the overall appeal of the novel.

Initially the storyline is easy to follow but trends towards the confusing as logical story line progression is thrown out the door. In this case it works, as it adds a bit of the unknown to the story line which is appropriate to the characterization. The repetitive nature of the scenes which involve Peter is there to drive home a point and any  alternative would not do it justice in describing obsessive behavior. The novel is rife with coincidences where you have to work real hard to suspend your disbelief. To be fair the story line is a bit compressed with fast paced movement so you have to get there in a hurry.

An entertaining read from a new and talented author that leaves room for successive novels.

Review: Assassin Queen by Anna Kashina

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Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN:9780857666079

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publishers Description: Defeated by the Majat forces, Nimos and the other Kaddim Brothers retreat to their secret fortress in the southern mountains. Nimos knows that the Majat’s victory is only temporary: during the flight, he managed to place a mark on Kara, one of the top-ranked Diamond Majat. His mind magic would now allow him to use this mark to confer her fighting skill to the Kaddim warriors and turn her loyalties to their side.

Review: In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Kara is extra super speshul. Not only can she kick anyone’s ass and yearn for that man-stink that smells like a pine forest but go from kaddim possessed doucheling to QUEEN ALJIHARA!!  See, she has a mark on her neck that just happens to signify she is royalty and…. and she got captured by the usurping queenie and she looks like the twin of her assassinated mom queenie and she was stolen at birth and raised by the assassins guild and…. and one time at band camp.

Besides the stilted prose, wounded story line and juvenile situations our phrasing friends are back to expedite the scenes. “Shiver”, “shivered” and “shivering” down backs and spines (20x) and bodies was used 40x. Blushed, blushed and blushing – 34x and “chilled”, “chill” or “chilling” 18x. There is still this remnant love triangle but Prince d-bag is ok with it now that he got laid in a tent with a gurl. Mai/Kai (cause all the YA novels use Kai as the man hunk) is always looking stern or his eyes go soft or they turn to steel or his manly chiseled chest/crotch has Kara’s head buried in it.  I could go on but refuse to keep thinking about this book

Review: Dr. Doa by Simon R. Green

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Publisher: Berkley

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN:9780451476937

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.1/5

Publishers Description: The name is Drood, Eddie Drood, also known as Shaman Bond. My family has been safeguarding humanity for generations, facing the hidden horrors of the world so you can sleep at night and remain oblivious to the existence of the monstrous nightmares that walk and stalk among us. 

Review: A romp through a world unlike any other. Griffons, animated attack scarecrows made from the hosts of defeated enemies, flying aircraft carriers with alien technology, magic hot chicks and caged Angels are just a few of the extreme additives in this novel.  A little too over-the-top for me and many scenes morphed into trips down memory lane in order to fulfill some backstory requirement. These shifts into the past halted the movement and stunted the character development. 2 meh’s.

Review: Down and Out in Purgatory by Tim Powers

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Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publishing Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9781596067813

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3 meh’s

Publishers Description: What do you do if the man you’ve vowed to kill dies before you can kill him?
In college, Tom Holbrook worshipped Shasta DiMaio from afar, but she married the arrogant John Atwater—and Atwater eventually murdered her. All that’s left for Tom is revenge. He has devoted the rest of his life to finding Atwater and killing him—but when he finally finds him, Atwater is in a bag in the Los Angeles County morgue.

Review: The cover art is good because of boob, but doesn’t tie into the story.

This was a very short read and thrusts you right into the meat of the story line from the get-go. There is no build up to the characters in terms of a lengthy backstory. Just a truncated look at three people pasts with a heavy dose of emotion to give the relationship substance.  Only you find yourself stretching pretty deep to find any empathy.

***Spoiler Alert***

The idea that some guy would willingly let someone blow his head off to find and punish a college friend in the afterlife, is fookin’ ridiculous. Not only is it many years later but the relevance to maintaining a story line is weak at best.  The writing is really good though and keeps you hanging in there as it flows nicely. Buy/Don’t buy…meh.

Review: Hatter Madigan: Ghosts in the Hatbox by Frank Beddor

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Publisher:  Letter Better Publishing

Publishing Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9780991272921

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.2/5

Publishers Description: Combat training! Secret society initiations! Self-serving rivals! Welcome to Wonderland’s prestigious Millinery Academy: where those born to protect the queendom train to become spies, assassins, and bodyguards. With all that to contend with, not to mention following in his popular older brother’s footsteps, just getting through Imagination Class seems impossible already.

Review: Quite a few online reviews on this already so I won’t take up too much of your time. Pretty entertaining read. Good character development and a story line with plenty of pace. The world building is a bit confusing  as the descriptors lack a bit in explanatory detail but otherwise a great imaginative read.

If you like Harry Potter on acid with a dash of Darth Vader, this books for you.

 

Review: The Siege by Mark Alpert

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Publisher: Sourecebooks Fire

Publishing Date: July 2016

ISBN:9781492631705

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.5/5

Publishers Description: Adam gave up everything for a new chance at life. Now with a cutting-edge digital mind, he is smarter, faster, better than a normal teen. Except Adam is anything but invincible. He’s indebted to the government program that gave him this ability—and freedom comes at a price. 

Review: I had mixed feelings about this novel. The upside was an interesting story line with characters developing tech while residing in constructs of their own design. The downside was the love triangle(s), teen angst and CRASH! BOOM! BANG! fight scenes that went overly long. Throughout this hormonal menagerie no one mentions computer circuit susceptibility to EMP strikes, nor are they utilized in weaponry. I had expected something closer to Asimov’s world but this pales in comparison. However, a good TV series this would make.