Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review. Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

I won a free copy of Scourge of the Betrayer from Melanie Meadors’ blog site, and being a fan of Melanie R. Meadors, Night Shade Books, and of Mr. Salyards…I couldn’t wait to start reading Book 1 of the Bloodsounder Arc.

Night Shade Books put together a nice looking book with a great cover art by J.K. Woodward and a fantastic back cover blurb by the Late Great Jay Lake (rest in peace dear warrior).

Mr. Salyards’ writing style is beautiful, almost lyrical at some points, which is what kept me going…as far as I could go in this book.

The book, being first person limited, is going to have a narrow worldview being brought to life, but Mr. Salyards did this wonderfully through Arki the scribe, our eyes. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of first person, for the most part, and this story seemed to be chugging up hill to get from one point to another. And after 80 pages, I still had no feel for Arki (Killcoin & Lloi on the other hand, have a history just waiting to be revealed). The descriptive writing was good but seemed to go on far too long at some points.

I’ll take the brunt of this here (for me struggling), but I’m a fan of maps, which would have been a plus in my eyes…and I’m also a fan of Chapters. The rhythm of this book is fine, but just keeps going on with barely a break. Too much of a good thing, maybe? But I needed more breaks, which is odd in a book under 300 pages (Trade Paperback mind you). Again, the writing was heavy at times.

Summertime activities, my scattered slow reading habits (a book to my liking will grab me and take a few weeks to finish), has taken its toll in Me vs. SotB, and it is going into the TBR library. I will keep this one in wait, knowing that as the Winter Snows come, I will have some companions that will get me through isolation.

Fans of Military Fiction/Fantasy (Glenn Cook, Chris Bunch) will enjoy this, and for them, I recommend it.

3/5*

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Review: Prince of Thorns

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Dark, & filled with bloody acts of revenge & painful truths.  I would/will read the tales of Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath, but I would never befriend him.  THE anti-hero.
Extremely well written & brilliantly paced.
Recommended for the dark fantasy types…with shades of post-apocolyptic tastes.
5/5* for sure.

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The Life

Three books to review (super-late, my bad), another one on the way.  Working on plotting my own work and trying put some word down. And the normal 24/7 husband/dad/boss routine. I shall arise. #amtrying  

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Weather (life) vs. Writing

I’ve been on a minor setback this season as the cold Winter blues and Wet Spring have lost their grip and Summer has claimed my vision with much greenery and birds-a-singing.

I journal, I keep track of my mental comings and goings, and yes, this cycle is right on course. Wintertime, I’m feeling cozy and protected inside. With the only real outdoor activity being shoveling and surviving the drive to and fro, the free time is then on the upswing. My mind ventures forth and reminisces about the times in my teens, when winter meant Holidays, snow days and gatherings of friends and family. Those were great times of reading and roleplaying. AD&D, JRRT, Grenadier figures, bags of dices…paper and pencil, graph paper, late nights. Creating, adventuring, fellowshipping with my friends unto the wee hours of the morn.

Those are the Winter Days of yore though, but I still crave the RPGs, work on them, and read much more in the winter time. It’s how I was raised.

Summertime though, calls me outside to plant, get in the dirt work, on the outdoor stuff (98 Chevy Silverado stuff), garden, cut grass, and embrace the sun. Become Pagan again after months of Christian-based media…settle down with Buddha again, taming the cravings…feeling one with nature, taming the monkeys…feeling one with all, taming Hanuman. With all that pent up get- yo-ass outside energy, my creativity, born in memories and cold isolation, fade.

It is a battle, especially in this beautiful 3-coast state, to set down at the keyboard and type. A battle to sit down and read. A battle to review. Outside calls to damn near 2200 hrs. Bonfires, being by the water, walking trails….ugh, it’s all such innocent temptation.

But soon, I realize that I should not cop-out on my dreams and passions and blame it on everything, including the seasons (I did this about 2 weeks ago). When I create, write, even something as shitty as this, I feel like my real self. You must turn in, struggle a bit and do what will give you a smile in the aftermath, not what gives you instant gratification. We all know how quick that fades.

Struggle. Be. Smile.

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Drinking Quest (The Comic) Review

Drinking Quest Comic #1 Review.

 

Let’s set the stage, Drinking Quest (The Game) is….Well…we will let the Drinking Quest web page explain;

 

 

Drinking Quest 1 (2011)

 

It’s a Drinking Game and a Table Top RPG! Drinking Quest: The Original Drinking RPG is the first chapter in the Drinking Quest series. You’ll recognize many RPG staples like dice, character sheets and saving throws but there are new stakes to this adventure: having to chug your drink in real life! Game night just gained a level.

 

Drinking Quest: The Original Drinking RPG features these four quests:

 

Lolevel Forest: A forest full of low level goblins that seem to be in every game. Good for EASY EXPERIENCE POINTS!

 

Mount Icefist: The snow level features colder beer, more fearsome foes and the introduction of yeti eggs to the DQniverse.

 

Booze Cruise: Pirates! Grog! Throwing up over the side of the ship! All that and a traveling gambler named Chad.

 

Zombie Attack: Your home town of Tippler’s Hollow has been taken over by zombies! Fight a horde of zombified creatures that you fought in the earlier quests! Spoiler Alert: Chad comes back as a zombie.

 

 

And yes, there is now a Drinking Quest 2, Drinking Quest 3, and a Kickstarter for a Trilogy set!

 

OK, back to the Comic Review….


 

If you are new to the game and concept…the story may seem a little meh and lackluster. But, for those familiar with the game itself, or at least RPG’s & Drinking…well even the S&S genre and drinking…or Conan and drinking…or drinking, it does offer a chuckle or two.

 

The art has it’s ups and downs. When the characters are in the forefront, it’s spot on…placed more in the background and you get a blur (that could be the whiskey though).

 

A nice prologue with a combo of game rules and story history, would help this comic out, especially since it’s issue 1. Let’s lay it all out Baby! Then all systems for go, launch it, stand back and let it run free!

 

I could do without the comic, unless it makes some big strides, but I can’t do without this game, and it’s on my radar for a soon to be purchase.

 

Skol!

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Filed under Beer, Book Review, Comics, D&D, Friendship, Fun, Gaming, R.P.G., Review, Whiskey

Forward Ahead!

No kidding!  With the long weekend coming up, I hope to put down some serious word to paper, draft a review, and align some social media.  All, while remembering our Veterans on this Memorial Day Weekend.   Be safe everyone.

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Book Review; American Nightmare

The Book: American Nightmare (Edited by George Cotronis) Kraken Press
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The Blurb: It’s the 1950s. There’s always something good on the radio, cherry red Cadillacs cruise the streets and everything is always perfect. Marilyn is still alive and the War is over. America goes to bed, nuclear annihilation postponed another day. Welcome to the American Nightmare.

 

The Review:

Continue reading

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Book Review. Nobody Gets the Girl: A Superhero Novel

Nobody Gets the Girl: A Superhero Novel by James Maxey

 

 


 

Being a retired fan of comic books (haven’t collected in years), I’ve always had a soft spot for the world of caped-crusading, crime-fighting, four-color fantasy that embraced my escapism for decades. My first job was at a comic book store. I got paid in trade, and couldn’t have been happier. But adult life steps in, kids sprout up, and responsibilities rear their ugly head in this sometimes paycheck to paycheck world. Comic spending money lost out to Book spending money, and that summary, is a story in itself.

 

But back to the book review.

 

James Maxey does a wonderful job of creating a helluva page turner featuring four-color badassery. Nobody Gets the Girl hooks you from the start with a brilliantly believable protagonist. My usual fear of the impending shallow characters and flat world were soon put to rest as Mr. Maxey fleshed out the Heroes, Villains and their environment(s).

 

Colorful characters and splendid descriptive scenes abound and are held together with plenty of well-placed dialogue. Every character has not only their own superpowers, but their own voice! The Big 5 publish many a book with flat scenes and lifeless characters, this indie shows how to do it the right way.

 

I thought for sure I figured out the plot and where the story was headed a couple of times, and was pleasantly proven wrong. For a novel of this length, this was a great feat.

 

I would of liked to have seen the character’s names, aliases and nicknames reigned in a little bit, instead of being bounced around from name to alias within a few pages or scene. And I would love the main character to have “Mr.” put in front of his secret identity name…sometimes I wasn’t sure if a room was empty or…

 

The previews for Burn Baby Burn (the 2nd novel of this series by James Maxey), and other authors version of superhero novels was a definite hook and bonus.

The new retro-cover, was also too cool.

 

Superpowers, blood and guts, sex and plenty of fun await you in Nobody Gets the Girl.

 

*Free copy of this book was received from author for review.

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Book Review The Ten Thousand Things


 

 

The Ten Thousand Things (Dead West Book 2) by Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin, and Kenny Soward. Published by Ragnarok Publications.

With Book 1 of the series, Those Poor Poor Bastards, being touted as Hell on Wheels meets The Walking Dead, we can evolve the assemblage with Hell on Wheels meets The Walking Dead, in the mind of Lovecraft, if he listened to Motorhead and Slayer. And that, dear reader, is a splendid recipe!

The Ten Thousands Things takes the baton from Those Poor Poor Bastards and runs smooth and steady. The pacing has calmed down into a nice rhythm of action, dialogue, and description. The writing has matured (less profanity, and less forced Old West slang) and is blended together nicely, considering we are looking at three authors here.

Not only did this bring the action and gore of Book 1 to a higher level of tendon-snapping goodness, but a good portion of these paragraphs and chapters really brought forth a solid horrific tension, something that I do not usually get from a book. I was actually looking over my shoulder at one point I was so wrapped up (Mind you, I was also drinking a Red Eye and listening to some industrial doom stations).

As the series progresses, I hope the writing continues to blossom, and that maybe we get to see more character’s backgrounds, which is the only thing I find lacking as we giddy-up into the sunset of the apocalypse.

Highly recommended for those who love Zombie, Horror and Gore Splattered Westerns.

ARC received for review.

 

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The Paper Plate, is Full!

Put much on my plate the last couple of weeks, and now I’m dealing with an over-indulged to-to list. Not to mention I went to a birthday party yesterday and over ate…ugh. But with that, I am enjoying a couple of aspects of what’s on my plate. I am doing 3 book reviews…which I am really enjoying, and I’m looking into running some War Gaming with plastic army men (no giggling please).

I’ve always been a big fan of Pulps and have just recently discovered the “New Pulp” movement. This pleases me as punch. Back in the day I was a huge The Shadow fan, had a couple of the original pulps in small collection of Detective/Crime pulps, this of course gave birth to my love of Noir and comics…and reading of course (well, it lead to the world of D&D and RPGs with reading-list suggestions). Life goes on, passions get shelved, put in boxes in the attic. Just like all those memories put away in the attic, they always get rediscovered.

Flipping through the many New Pulp fan sites, I came across this one, and was in love with the covers. The premise of the stories intrigued me and I’m now enjoying the process of reviewing these two books by James Maxey.

Another part of the plate is covered with a reading/review of the latest The Dead West series (Book 2. The Ten Thousand Things). A continuation of the great undead Western gore-romp started in Book 1.

Being a paycheck to paycheck blue-collar guy, I’ve been bummed at the price and greed of some of the major table top corps. I like gaming, and when I get into a game, my fault is that I want everything for that game…all the books, figures, dice, limited edition shot glasses, etc…But, I know I can’t do that anymore. When my friend brought over Xwing a couple weekends ago, I had a blast. But when I looked into the prices for the basic set, while not too expensive, looking at the ships and extras I would be pining for lead me to think about other, cheaper versions War Gaming. Which led to…

Plastic Army Men!!!!

I actually went to a Dollar Store and bought a $1 package of tan/green army men, along with my can of Monster, of course. I was thinking, why couldn’t these be used in a cheap table top game. I started going over the typical War Gaming rules in my head intent on making my own game. Hello, internet calling…I looked up and found a few games that had the basic rules and that could easily be adopted to other scenarios. I’m already looking at a couple of zombie or Kaiju concepts.

 

This is all, right up my alley!

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Filed under Blue Collared, Book Review, Books, Friendship, Gaming, R.P.G., Ragnarok Publishing, Uncategorized, Western