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Short Rambling Reviews

Small, hopefully concise , 300 word max book reviews

Disappointing Assassin Fail

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

There is the same amount of  good with this as there is bad.  It starts out with Calaena Sardothein, only 18 and already the worlds most feared assassin, has been caught and is toiling away in the salt mines, one day captain Westfall drags her before the prince, it seems he has chosen her to be his champion in a competition to become the kings champion and with it her freedom.

I was expecting the story to revolve around the trials she was to compete in.  however this is not the case.  the main bulk of the story revolved around exploring her feelings and a ridiculous love triangle between her and the captain.  It rather destroyed the bad ass assassin image.  therefore assassin fail!!

She came across as a petulant intolerant love sick child, very unattractive, and I had to force myself to finish it.

There are however, a few redeeming features to this book, the fight scenes that made it into the book are great, very well paced and exceptionally well written.  The universe, it is set in has hints of being rich and extensive, but they were never really explored.

The world had been void of magic for a few years as the king banished it through brutal conquest, but the predictable twist is….no it hasn’t. Even though it was predictable I like a world with magic but only if it’s executed properly, and luckily this one incorporated magic in just the right way to spark my interested.

Over all it was OK,  great in some areas but crushingly disappointing in others.

One Ring to rule them all

This Ring Reads Books And Magazines To The Blind

 

This looks like a fantastic idea.  As a library manager, we are always looking at community engagement, and looking at the ability of under represented groups in the geographical area engaging with the community and skills development.

 

This could help a lot!!

I've Fallen and there's a Tentacle in My Butt by Edward Naughty

I've Fallen and there's a Tentacle in My Butt - Edward Naughty

I never knew it would be possible to fall in love with a book tittle. That, of course, was before I came across a book named I've Fallen and there's a Tentacle in My Butt. What can I say? It was love at first eye roll.

 

Will she find the tentacle before it nestles in some unsuspecting person’s warm orifice?

 

If you are looking for a meaningful, deep and insightful story packed with bloody action and tentacles in the butt, look no further. If there would be a story that touches deeply the cores of your body, this would be it. The one. You can't resist the erotic appeal of this story, it simply oozes irresistible hot heat, the kind of that spreads out of your e-reader. 

 

Just kidding.

 

What we have here is 14 pages of typical, science oriented monster porn, written by a man. It has the typical pattern, including the bad way of using the language, plot full with (butt) holes. I mean what plot? The summary really is not what is happening in this story, which too is not much of an surprise. It is quite misleading. The ending suggest there will be an sequel to this wonderfully awful tentacle tale. I will keep my eye on it.

 

Porny that doesn't make you horny.

 

This is available for free at Kindle Store, although I noticed +3 dollar version of it as well. This would not be worth the money but as a free short story, it is readable enough. The title alone is worth the sparkling 2 stars. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 213 out of 406 pages.

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

Reading progress update: I've read 136 out of 406 pages.

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

Great until it wasn't!

The Farm - Emily McKay

This story is about Lily and her autistic sister Mel, their life on a farm and their escape into the wilderness where they have to deal with Ticks, mutated humans who feed on blood straight from the heart. Lily has help from Carter, an old crush from “the before”, and Sebastian a vampire.

 

I will start with what what was good. It has a unique take on vampires, or at least not one that I hadn’t come across before. Some of the characters were interesting, like Sebastian, If i wrote a vampire book I would like to think i would have written a Sebastian into it.

 

The universe this is set in is consistent if there isn’t a vast amount of depth to it, there are hints of a rich environment but they aren’t explored.  each of the chapters is written form either Lily’s, Mel’s or Carter’s point of view which is a good and bad idea.

This is as good as it is bad.  

 

The main character Lily was whiny and emotionally all over the place, I felt there was an unnecessary romantic story line between her and Carter, who she knew in “the before” and hadn’t seen in two years, and magically turns up to “save” her.  The ticks (mutated humans) were essentially beasts, had a tiny brain but for some reason could comprehend that churches were sacred and wouldn’t enter until they did.

 

Carter obviously knew what was going on and it didn’t make sense when the chapters were from his point of view because he shows he knows whats going on but cant tell Lily, and he keeps it to himself, seems like a complete waste of time.

 

Shame, this could have been great except it wasn’t!

Source: http://shortramblingreviews.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-farm

The Farm

The Farm - Emily McKay Originally reviewed on shortramblingreviews.wordpress.com

the story is about Lily and her autistic sister Mel, their life on a farm and their escape into the wilderness where they have to deal with Ticks, mutated humans who feed on blood straight from the heart. Lily has help from Carter, an old crush from “the before”, and Sebastian a vampire.

I will start with what what was good. It has a unique take on vampires, or at least not one that I hadn’t come across before. Some of the characters were interesting, like Sebastian, If i wrote a vampire book I would like to think i would have written a Sebastian into it.

The universe this is set in is consistent if there isn’t a vast amount of depth to it, there are hints of a rich environment but they aren’t explored. each of the chapters is written form either Lily’s, Mel’s or Carter’s point of view which is a good and bad idea.

This is as good as it is bad. The main character Lily was whiny and emotionally all over the place, I felt there was an unnecessary romantic story line between her and Carter, who she knew in “the before” and hadn’t seen in two years, and magically turns up to “save” her. The ticks (mutated humans) were essentially beasts, had a tiny brain but for some reason could comprehend that churches were sacred and wouldn’t enter until they did. Carter obviously knew what was going on and it didn’t make sense when the chapters were from his point of view because he shows he knows whats going on but cant tell Lily, and he keeps it to himself, seems like a complete waste of time.

Shame, this could have been great except it wasn’t!

Mass Effect: Revelation

Mass Effect: Revelation - Drew Karpyshyn Originally reviewed at garethlewry.wordpress.com

This is the first novel in the mass effect universe, set before the first game in the series. the story takes place just after the rapid exploration of the galaxy, and briefly covers how humans managed this feet in such a short period of time. Human exploration and integration in to the galactic community is in its infancy.

Drew wrote the original games so as you would expect there is no issue with consistency in the universe. It also introduces some of the characters from the first game, a nice touch I thought. I’m always one for wanting to know more about a universe, especially after I had sunk 100+hours into the games.

there were a few disappointing elements. I felt there was an unnecessary romantic story line, if you can call it that, between a couple of the main characters, I didn’t think this had any relevance to the overall story and didn’t add anything to it. most of the characters other than the Spectre came across as a bit wooden and other than the knowledge that Anderson got divorced they were all a bit bland.

This story is definitely geared towards fans of the game, as a stand alone Sci-Fi piece it is OK but as a Mass Effect fan I can categorically say it means so much more!!

Divergent

Divergent  - Veronica Roth Originally reviewed at garethlewry.wordpress.com

I have never read any “Teen” fiction before, and I have never read a book before I watch the film, so this was two firsts for me
The book is mostly from Beatrice’s point of view. The world is a dystopian brutal landscape for extremes designed to make humanity work together cohesively. The majority of the book is a coming of age finding yourself title, where Beatrice has to choose which of the 5 factions she will join and it will determine her path for the rest of her life. Each of the factions is dedicated to pursuing a particular virtue, each of the virtues lends itself to particular jobs in society. The choice is either Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless) Amity (peaceful), Erudite (intelligence – knowledge) or Dauntless (the brave)

When children become 16 they take a test that shows them which of the factions they are most suited to, the majority of the time the faction they grew up in is the faction they stay with because parents obviously instil their values to their children. Changing of factions is seen as quite taboo, and there are always questions and judging if a child leaves their parents faction.

The story covers Beatrice’s test and decisions she makes around her future, the consequences of these decisions & her facing her deepest fears. It’s also about discovery, and a truth not only about her but society which could have dire consequences for the future.

The setting comes across as a prejudicial, segregated landscape, where humans are herded and expected to follow a certain sometimes brutal path all for the greater good and peace in society. However, as always with human nature it isn’t long before there is infighting and accusations about other factions being thrown around.

All in all I thought this was a great read, it was engaging throughout and the world is realised in incredible detail and was over way too soon for my liking. I was paced to perfection and characters had a depth I didn’t expect to see in a “teen” novel. As people have told me in the past, books are always better than the films. I will have to discover that one for myself & will definitely be reading the fallowing instalments very soon.

The Quarry

The Quarry - Iain Banks Originally reviewed at almightylewry.wordpress.com

I have recently been trying different authors and picked this one up, I wanted to try Iain Banks but didn’t fancy giving Matter a go, I wanted something more ………manageable. I found some great quotes in it and there was a definitely LOL moment during a few of them:

“I’m not arguing there are no decent people in the Tory party but their like sweetcorn in a turd; technically they kept their integrity but they ‘re still embedded in shit” Pg 25

This was laced with humour throughout. however the humour for me became a little uncomfortable after a while, when one of the characters was joking about his cancer, its not that it wasn’t funny and well written, I just didn’t feel comfortable laughing about the subject.

The story takes place over a long weekend, friends are gathered at a dilapidated house as a kind of last gathering for the inevitable. They are all intrigued and nervous about a tape from all of their past resurfacing, it would, as numerous characters stated have a detrimental effect on their lives in one form or another.

Told from an 18 year old sons perspective, father dying of cancer and he has Aspergers. I imagine it shows a lot of the thought processes someone displays with Aspergers, and Kit was very well developed and thoroughly interesting. All the characters were well developed and had their own quirk’s which played to the humour.

This is a fantastic portrayal of the decline cancer causes (if there is such a thing), and the emotions felt by everyone close to the situation came across as candid and varied. Thoroughly enjoyed this and will definitely be pursuing more of Banks’ work in the future.

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes - Brian Talbot, Mary Talbot Originally reviewed on almightylewry.wordpress.com


This is a great mix between storytelling, biography, graphic novel and history lesson. I came across this at work, thought I would give it a try, I'm glad I did. It switches between Mary and Lucia and various poignant points during each of their lives and draws uncanny parallels between then. From reading this, I have learned something new today, I learned about James Joyce and his family struggles in the 1920's and on. I also learned about Mary's upbringing with a Joycean scholar, who was exceptionally hard and most of the time unpredictable towards her.

It shows how both Lucia and Mary's lives turned out and I wonder if there was a point that they could have both turned out exactly the same - except from the whole Nazi thing.

The illustrations were for the most part stark in their portrayal of Mary and Lucia, however with the overall tone of the novel they fit very well together. This is essentially a tale of lost dreams and rebellion in two very different era's, with two very different results.
This has definitely sparked my interest in Joyce, and will look to read some of his works in the future.

Clouded Vision

Clouded Vision - Linwood Barclay Originally reviewed at almightylewry.wordpress.com

This is an engaging little quick read, I haven’t read Linwood Barclay’s work before, and I’m not really one for thriller writers, but I was surprised by this title and really enjoyed it. It was perfectly paced, the story covers 3 separate perspectives around a single incident and the aftermath.

Suspense oozes from the story and Linwood’s writing is descriptive and illusive in the same respect. It does a great job showing you the mind of a “psychic”. I put “psychic” in quotation marks because in my opinion there are no such thing, this book – is written as though Linwood’s and my opinion are the same.

The book takes place over roughly a three day period with most of the story happening over what could be an afternoon. The characters were all engaging and there was an equal focus on all the main characters throughout the book, which I found in this context a great way of presenting the story.

Even though I haven’t read any of Linwood Barclay’s titles before, he is definitely an author i would consider going back to in the future. Solid effort.

The Narrows

The Narrows - James Brogden Originally reviewed at almightylewry.wordpress.com


I have to say I was very impressed with this book, the characters were well realised and engaging, the story itself was brilliant, I did find in places that there was a little too much going on but generally thought it was great, it had total worlds domination, delusions of grandeur and the inevitable arrogance that comes with it.

the author delved into the earths energy and chi philosophy brilliantly, together with the energy meridians of the body which are connected and the immeasurable power that comes from it, shapes the universe. He also explored the idea of other realities as well, and energy connecting to them all linked to the summer and winter solstice.
In my opinion Oliver twist had definitely had an influence on the narrowfolk, in that they were essentially urchins and the fagin-esque character ran the house they stayed - sent them out on "jobs".

I find it quite fascinating that with the majority of the fantasy novels I have read, the universe that is created, there is sometimes on some small level a slight inconsistency with some of the details. However, this is a slightly different beast, it is set in modern day Britain, and the universe had been created around it, and in all honesty couldn't find any inconsistency within the detail....not that I am on the hunt for inconsistencies, but sometimes something small jumps out at me and I question it, and try to put it in context of the universe I am reading. I can honestly say this universe and they way it was written didn't have me questioning anything.

Overall it's a great read. After I had finished it, I was driving along a country lane near where I live and I swear I saw something out of the corner of my eye, just for a split second, and there it was, a glimmer of hope that there could have been some truth to the story.......can you imagine!!

Proxima

Proxima - Stephen Baxter Origninally reviewed on almightylewry.wordpress.com

This is Stephen Baxter at his best. this is a novel about colonisation of our closest star. the Sci-Fi in this book as is is with the majority of Stephens titles is based loosely on Science and theoretical physics of today and is always a plausible future. It covers a range of humanitarian issues, like children being held accountable for the crimes of their parents.

The story follows Yuri, a child who was frozen by his parents who were part of the “heroic generation”, him adjusting to new environments and worlds. The UN have a prominent role in the future society and their “peacekeepers” are supposed to be used as their title suggests but, as with every organisation, there are some within the ranks that dislike those they are sent to protect and take it out on them….brutally.

The human condition shines through, whether it is a disgruntled nation throwing it’s toys out of the pram or the disdain humanity shows to the natives. This novel shows what we can achieve and how quickly we can lose it through our own greed.

The plan to colonise Proxima C was well thought out, placing genetically diverse groups in strategic locations around the planet, giving humanity the best possible chance of succeeding in the harsh new environment, however not all goes to plan, as humans are curious creatures and like to explore.

I really enjoyed this book, if I were to write a Sci-Fi novel, this is how I would like to write it. It was hard going and you have to pay attention to all the little details, with Stephens writing, all the little details are as significant as each other and help build a well realised future, with a level of concentration on the finer details, I personally haven’t found anywhere else.

The Tannery

The Tannery - Sherrie Hewson originally reviewed at almightylewry.wordpress.com


This starts out to be a lovely little story about dolly and growing up in a village in Northern England before the war. Everything is right with the world in Dolly’s eyes. She has a loving family and wants nothing more to grow up to be like her mother. However there are hints that her mother and father don’t have an equal relationship and her mild mannered father puts up with her mother.

Things deteriorate rapidly when the war comes and her father quits his job in the Tannery and goes to war. Dolly and her mother have to make ends meet and they soon start taking in laundry from the local neighbourhoood. However as time passes and there is no word from her father and no money being sent back like they see from other families in the area dolly’s mother becomes increasingly depressed, before long she has turned to other deviant trades to make ends meet.

“Men and drink seemed to be the only thing that could blot out the reality of her life”

With Dolly’s mother slipping evermore into depression and turning to booze e.tc. this brings on an abusive side to her mother, while they never had the perfect relationship, her situation seems to enhance the ever growing separation between mother and daughter.

While this is all going on Dolly is trying to keep the house going as normal as possible.

The story is told from Dolly’s perspective, from a six year old who doesn’t understand much of the outside world and why things are the way they are when the war starts, to a teenager who is grownup before her time.

The end of the war brings her father home and Dolly finally has a glimmer of hope – however fleeting it may be, that the family can return to normal. However, this book highlights in a very real way that war damages everyone in very different ways. It becomes apparent quickly things will not return to normal very soon…if ever.

Dolly finds comfort in a local boy she grew up with and both share their disturbing home life with each other. Maybe there can be a happy ending for Dolly!!

This is a great tale of loss, depression and the possibility of salvation all the while reinforcing the undertone of cost and sacrifice!! Well worth a read if you get the chance and enjoy historical fiction.

The Escape (Quick Read 2014)

The Escape (Quick Read 2014) - Lynda La Plante originally reviewed at mightylewry.wordpress.com

core 3.5 out of 5

This is a quick read that will happily fill your lunch hour. It shows the story of actually a good man other than the burglary thing, hatch a plot with his cellmate who has mental health issues for him to escape and be there with his wife for the birth of their first child.

The story is well written and the characters believable and fully realised. As this was based on a true story I would expect nothing less. However I find it exceptionally hard to believe the actual events happened this way. However Lynda mentions in the foreword that this happened sometime ago and prison systems have since been upgraded. this is a distinct relief as I cannot believe there wouldn’t be a wide media charged scandal if these events happened today.

The story focuses primarily on the relationships and there isn’t much about prison life, this is a plus for me I have seen and read enough about prison life and it was a nice change to focus on the mindset of inmates rather than the surroundings. This is a great read and if there is artistic licence used it works well.