Science Fiction and Fantasy book released in October 2015

Source: Science Fiction and Fantasy book released in October 2015

Some one of the blogs I follow, Cyborg Knight, apparently does this…where she goes and lists every single Sci Fi and Fantasy book release for the coming month.

This makes my life so much easier, and I suggest that if you have any passing interest in these genres (and if you are looking at my blog you may) you should check out her very nice and very in depth list.

I know I am going to reference the hell outta it myself!

2 Week Update! Yesterday’s views were ODD.

So yesterday, 9/29/15, I had my best day for views on here. Which was awesome. I got a total of 83 views, but only had 16 unique visitors. So that was both awesome and a tad confusing. Which one of you was wandering around clicking on all the things, I wonder.

I will never figure out how the visitors and views are connected, I think. I know that unique visitors is the more important stat. That shows how many unique people have shown up, while views can really be messed with. I mean, hell, views might even include my own visits when I am messing around editing things.

Also, my blog has been around for 2 whole weeks! I opened it up on 9/17/15 and its been 14 days (counting 9/17 as Day 1) since I started. That’s really cool, and I am really getting somewhere I think with all this.

Since starting, I have gotten a grand total of:

Views: 446
Unique Visitors: 139
Likes: 145
Comments: 103
Followers: 41

Also since starting this whole thing my Twitter followers has increased from the 90ish it was to 113. So that’s a thing that’s occurring.

Other little milestones including the Blogger Awards I have been given, as well as the EGalleys I have been approved for. Hell, I got 2 more approvals yesterday: The Prophecy Con and the Paladin Caper, which are books 2 and 3 of the Rogues of the Republic series, which started with the Palace Job. I requested both and got approved for both so that was awesome (on NetGalley)

I am working on reading A Vanishing Glow by Alexis Radcliff right now, which comes out for sale tomorrow, October 1st. This is the first book I have gotten to review where the author came to me rather then the other way around, so that’s exciting as well!

As of today I have reviewed 10 books/previews as well! And that’s across 36 posts (including this one)

I think I am doing pretty well all things considered! And I feel that things can only get better from here.

Now I just need it to be October 6th so I can get Sword of Summer and Shadows of Self! They will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine….

Non Endings and Sequel-bait

Can I just say how much I hate sequel-bait?

I am of course talking about books with no real ending. I cannot stand it when authors do this. Or really any form of media. TV, movie, video game. If you create something, even if its part of a larger whole like a trilogy or series, each entry should be able to stand on its own. I should be able to pick up a book and read it without fear that I will need to read its sequels to get a fulfilling ending and story.

Truth be told the ending is always the hardest part of writing. How exactly do you wrap things up after the big conflict? Its not the easiest thing to do, in any media.

I have written a little, here and there, short stories and the like and I am never happy with how I have ended things. Its easier for me to figure out how I want things to end when I am writing a D&D adventure because I know how my players (readers) will react.

But a story? Its not the easiest thing in the world.

What’s worse is many times, now a days, authors automatically seem to assume that they need to have a trilogy, or quintet, or series. So often its a forgone conclusion, especially in fantasy. I guess everyone wants to write the next “Lord of the Rings”. And sometimes its fine, because each entry into said series is a standalone book. I can point to say the Death Gate Cycle, which is 7 novels, and I can read any single one of them and enjoy it in any order. Mistborn is in a similar place. The Rook will have a sequel soon and is in a similar spot. The Percy Jackson series is like this. Harry Potter is.

But just as often you can run into things where you have to read or view or play the sequel to have any chance to understand what is going on. Banished of Muirwood was like that. Its literally an entire book that setups its sequel. Its pointless.

You know what is a great example of a long running series with excellent connectivity between books, but at the same time each book being a single stand alone story? The Dresden Files. Or hell, the Xanth series.

I will tell ya this: If your story cannot stand up to scrutiny on its own because of its ending, I am gonna have a problem.

But what about you all, dear readers? How do you feel about sequel-baiting and non-endings?

Hero Engine by Alexander Nader – A Review

A Copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Alright lets get this new review show on the road, with the book blurb, of course!

“Jim Quig has one love, his job as a cop. He has to be fine with the fact that the superheroes get all the credit while he protects the streets. When the director of the Super Hero Initiative (SHI) needs Jim’s help in solving a mystery, he’s not interested. It’s not his problem that an ancient artifact called the Hero Engine has been destroyed and the after effects are causing mass chaos. The director however, doesn’t take no for an answer and soon Jim finds himself trying to solve the mystery. Who destroyed the Engine, and why has one hero in particular gone AWOL? These are just some of the questions Jim needs to uncover the answers to. Follow this cop as he delves into the world of superheroes and finds himself in an adventure of a lifetime.”

So I am gonna level with everyone here: I love me a good super hero romp. I also happen to enjoy a good detective story when its blended with something else, such as said super heroes, supernatural elements, magic, and such.

When I saw the blurb for this I was intrigued. The idea of a human non powered detective investigating supers was an interesting idea to say the least.

However, by the end of the story I was left feeling..ambivalent. Let me be clear, its not a bad book by any means. The story is decent, the characters are well rounded and fleshed out for the most part (some of the side characters and supers are pretty much mentioned or shown once and then never again), and the mystery is well developed. By all accounts I should have enjoyed this more then I did.

But by the end, I was just happy to be done. This book is straight average for me, and the worst part is I cannot point to any single thing that makes it that way. The eponymous Hero Engine is not even really central to the story, an entirely different event is. So the blurb is not even really true in that regard.

I don’t really have a lot to say about this. Technically its decent, but that’s just it. Its decent. Not “must read” and not “avoid at all costs”. Just average in every respect. I don’t regret my time with this book, but I would not read it again either.

This book gets a 3/5 for me, an average rating. If you have an interest in a super hero detective story give it a try. Its a quick read and short for sure. Now, I will mention that the EPub I got was REALLY terribly formatted. Like, page headings mid point in paragraphs instead of the bottoms of pages, and paragraphs just broken up in weird ways. I am not sure if any other eBook version will have the same issue, but be aware of that.

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Banned Book Week – Sept 27 to Oct 3rd 2015: We still ban books? (RANT)

Seriously. This was news to me. Now, first, the article I found thanks to Sci-Fi and Scary, which explains whats going on best is found here. Click the image please for the original article.

So this is a thing. I figured, I hoped, that we had been past this point, as a society. But apparently I was wrong. There are still people out there who think they know, better then us, what we should and should not consume or read or view.

So I decided to take a gander at the Top 10 Challenged Booklist for 2014 and some of the reasons for books being challenged honestly had me laughing.

So first I wanna say that #3, And Tango Makes Three has the stupidest reason I have ever seen. “Promotes the Homosexual Agenda”. SERIOUSLY?! I have no words. None.

Or how about #5, “Its Perfectly Normal”. Sex Education is listed as a reason as is Nudity. Nudity in words folks. Yes, you can’t let me read about breasts or dicks cause heaven forbid it might let my imagination wander wild! Better though is why #4, The Bluest Eye is challenged. Its because “it contains controversial issues”. What. WHAT?! THAT IS SO VAGUE AS TO BE POINTLESS!

How bout “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” at #8? I could have sworn that actually got made into a movie. Oh, wait, I WAS RIGHT. But here we are, the book being challenged because of drugs, smoking, alcohol, homosexuality, offensive language, date rape and masturbation. Hey guys, guess what? That shit happens in the real world! HELL! ITS REFERENCED ON TV BUT I DONT HEAR YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT CRAP! I mean hell THEY MADE IT INTO A MOVIE AND ITS NOT FUCKING BANNED YOU TARDMUFFINS!

One complaint that is nearly constantly referenced is “unsuited for age group”. Who decided that you, whoever you are, are the warden for what is and is not suited for a particular age group. Last I checked the parents of said children should decide what their child can and cannot handle.

I should not have looked at this list. It made me freaking ANGRY.

Frivolous Pursuits by DC Farmer – A Review

A Copy of this Book was given to me in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley

So let me start, right here, by saying this. If you read nothing else about my review, if you want to go in with just my recommendation: Go read this book. If you have any interest in Urban Fantasy you need to read this.

Lets start of course, with the blurb:

“Darren Trott has a job, a feisty girlfriend (with plans) and a house with potential. Oh yes, he’s living the dream. It just isn’t the dream he applied for.

You see, Darren likes taking photos of plastic models in real world settings. He calls it art. His girlfriend Amanda calls it a frivolous pursuit. She wants him to give it all up and turn his garage studio into a nail bar. Trouble is, his ‘art’ won’t let him. Every time Darren takes a picture, something very peculiar happens. Something amazing, and weird, and genuinely out of this world.

Psychopathic relatives, aboriginal demons, warrior queens, and a Brownie called George (with claws, a pork-pie hat and an attitude bigger than a banker’s wage), all want a piece of Darren. But they’ll have to form an orderly queue because there’s the small matter of an impending apocalypse to sort out first…

DC Farmer cordially invites you to join him in exploring the next white-knuckle case report from the Hipposync archives, following on from the highly received, The 400Lb Gorilla.”

So that blurb does not do this story justice. First, and foremost, this book is exceedingly well written. It has a dry British styled humor throughout for one. Every word has its place and nothing is wasted.

Further, the story is just plain engrossing. I could not stop reading, and after a certain point I had to finish. I just had to. I needed to see where things went.

Next, I wanted to talk about the characters. Our protagonist, nay our hero, is Darren. A man in his late 20’s, he has a boring but easy job, an inheritance from his dead mother, a hot girlfriend, and very little motivation other then to take pictures of what basically amount to Dioramas. Kinda like this one here only less fantasy oriented and more realistic. He finds it almost zen like to get the perfect image with a combination of figures and sets that he has hand crafted.

Of course, his girlfriend Amanda does not like this at all, this Frivolous Pursuit, and does her level best to have him trash his stuff so she can turn the garage into a nail salon.

But that’s only part of the whole story. You see, when poor Darren was a child, at age 9…an event happened that caused him to basically have a breakdown. Doctors, psychiatrists, and constant bullying followed him along with a nickname.

This made him VERY human to me, and I could not help but feel empathy towards him. I was, growing up, very much like him, minus the strange supernatural event. I was the loner, the fat kid, the one bullied and made fun of. I retreated into books and video games, personally. He went into diorama making. Creating fictional stories and worlds in his head.

The rest of the cast consisted of Amanda the superficial celebrity obsessed girlfriend, Sanjay his stalwart and really only friend, and Amanda’s family the Crays. I won’t go into too much about any one of these other then the fact that Amanda is a prime example of the superficial celebrity obsessed culture we have, and Sanjay is a sheltered nerd who just wants to love what he loves, like Darren. Which is building a complete recreation of Mesopotamia just as an fyi.

What threw me off however are some of the tonal changes. Be aware that the story starts rather lighthearted and humorous…and then gets dark, and then depressing, and then violent, and then hopeful. My emotions, my feels, the roller-coaster they were on, just damn.

And the ending was perfect.

I give this a solid 4/5. If you have any interest in Urban Fantasy, you should check this book out in a heartbeat.

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