Book: PJ Skinner’s ‘Fool’s Gold’

I am feeling conflicted, if I read a book that is dire and rubbish and badly written I want to have a record that I need to avoid it again – and possibly a record of an author to avoid like the plague

However I’ve never written a book so perhaps I shouldn’t condemn someone for doing something badly that I’ve never done… although I’m not condemning them personally, just their book

Sam Harris is a barely qualified geologist trying to make it in a man’s world and blah blah lost treasure, jungle, attempted rape, stereotypes abound and general dull stupid things

I skipped a chunk in the middle and got to the end, it didn’t make it any better

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Book: Shannon Mayer’s ‘Witch’s Reign’ – “I didn’t run, but I did pick up my pace”

Zamira is cursed, nearly the last of her kind and her ex-husband is an awful person, happily she is also stubborn, sarcastic and fundamentally a nice person

These details alone should have made me realise that ‘Witch’s Reign’ was by the same author as ‘Venom and Vanilla’, plus the wall and Merlin. However it was the use of the word “super-duper” that made the connection for me, it’s an odd phrase even for a fantasy book and there couldn’t be two authors who would use it!

Whereas ‘Venom and Vanilla’ was set in a very contemporary and recognisable world – admittedly one with super-dupers in it, contrastingly ‘Witch’s Reign’ is pared back sword and sorcery: lots of horses and knives in freezing bleak wastelands

The plot was predictable, the characters not fully developed – although mildly intriguing due to their blank spots

It was a pretty decent quiet weekend read, not sure I rush to read the next one in the series, however it will make my free Amazon kindle book rental list so maybe next month!

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Book : Kelley Armstrong’s ‘This Fallen Prey’ – “I’m saying it doesn’t matter who did. Not really”

‘This Fallen Prey’ is the third book in Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton series and it really is an interesting premise for a series; Rockton is a completed isolated, unknown and off the grid community populated by people who have left their pasts behind – for good reason

Casey Duncan is the main female lead of the three books to date, like seemingly all of Kelley Armstrong’s female leads she’s strong, a tiny bit damaged and determined to do the right thing regardless of the personal cost

As a high level description: Book one set the scene, book two was kidnapping and rape themed, book three is outside interference posing a problem. I like book one, book two is ok – personally I dislike the use of rape as a plot device, and book three seems to spend a lot of time wandering around the wood and putting Casey’s dog in various perilous situations

It’s an ok story and sort of flows, despite a rushed reveal ‘twist’ and ending on a weird semi-cliff hanger. However the remote setting of the books does limit their potential plots and my gut feel is at some point Casey and her friends will have to start their own community, which would probably be a slightly more adult version of ‘The 100’ , which I can honestly live without

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Book: Lisa Shearin’s Myth Manifestation – “Are congratulations or condolences in order?”

‘Myth Manifestation’ is book five in the SPI Files series and I was a little concerned about reading it because the previous books were pretty good and the premise for this book seemed a little risky – so I went for the Kindle version.

This transpired to be prudent for me as there are limits to how interesting a book set almost entirely in one location can be as it limits what characters and scenarios can occur whilst simultaneously hoping that the audience heavily invests in the characters that they do have access to

myth manifestation

Lisa Shearin actually managed that challenge well, what didn’t work for me was bringing in characters and details from her Raine Benares series. I like the books I’ve read of that series and was happy that they were loosely connected, I just personally didn’t feel they needed connecting so directly.

This is totally my problem and I can see why overlapping the series could be a fun idea – personally I think they are so different in terms of technology and culture that mixing the two could result in a bad buddy cop film-style scenario.

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Book: Orlando A Sanchez’s ‘Silver Clouds Dirty Sky’ – “I looked liked a flailing ragdoll about to become pulped by a tree”

‘Silver Clouds Dirty Sky’  is book 4 in the Montague and Strong series, it also sees a change of location as they end up in London – via teleportation circle as oppose to a more mundane method of transport.

Happily the Hellhound Peaches also made it to London and they are all vaguely poking the investigation into the murder of a leading demonologist, but mostly they are causing chaos and racking up enemies.

silver clouds dirty sky

This is enjoyable enough, however it’s not anything new – we’ve had three books and several short stories of this. I think I was looking for something more and felt a little disappointed that there wasn’t much character growth; although to be fair Peaches does grow.

I do like the series premise and I will continue reading for at least one other book, however I might be less excited about the next one

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Book: ‘Questionable Content’

Questionable Content is a webcomic, however having read most of their back catalogue in just over a week it felt like a book!

A friend had sent me a couple of their strips and I’d found them funny – for example

(Strip from Questionable Content)

It turns out that this isn’t what the comic is normally about, disappointedly, it’s more like Armistead Maupin’s ‘Tales of the City’ – including the LGBT aspects which Questionable Content has cheerfully expanded to include the more recent expansions of defining sexuality and gender identity-based cultures for example LGBTQI

At times it seemed that a number of interacting characters had the exact same haircut, this didn’t encourage me to read properly and instead I found myself skimming and clicking ‘next’

To be perfectly honest I don’t feel the time spent reading all the comics was necessarily time well spent, there were a few strips that I found funny (most of which involved Pintsize – the little round-headed robot above who is usually more sex obsessed) and a whole lot of romantic angst (of various flavours) and mental health awareness pieces – which is important however not my idea of fun

However now it will be quicker to check just the new strips to see if they have Pintsize in so that’s sort of a win…

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Book: John P. Logsdon and Christopher P. Young’s The Merging – “…walking around with his shirt open because he looks like a Chippendale’s model”

Ian Dex is a genetically-enhanced individual – as are most of the team of the paranormal police in Las Vegas. These enhancements also make him- and the rest of his team, very horny – which is frankly a weird thing to make a core part of your world building, but whatever it’s different I guess…

In terms of plot the book is largely about how Ian has slept with most of his team and pretty much anything female with a pulse, although there is a number of super-sized and super-strong vampires, werewolves and succubus picking fights all over town

the merging

Apparently this book is meant to be action and comedy – urban fantasy with a bit of police procedural and a sense of  humour, I noticed the action and it was ok however the comedy aspect passed me by almost completely. I’m wondering if I just wasn’t in the mood for it as the Amazon reviews for ‘The Merging’ seem really positive and I was totally indifferent to it

The only real impact this book had was to generate a thought-chain about why HR hadn’t got involved over what was very clearly appropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace

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