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review 2017-12-26 18:45
Wrestle Maniacs by Various Authors
Wrestle Maniacs - Duncan P. Bradshaw,Jeff Strand,Werner Leins,Eryk Pruitt,Jason Parent,Gabino Iglesias,Adam Howe,David James Keaton,James R. Newman,Katherine Kurtz

 

An anthology featuring stories about wrestling? Okay. To be honest, I'm not that big a fan, though I did love to watch it as a teenager and all the way up into my 20's. Thing is, you don't have to be a big fan of wrestling to enjoy these stories. That said, these are the ones that stood out for me:

 

GLASSJAW by Duncan Bradshaw. This story is told to Mickey by Ronny, an aging pro, who now helps newer wrestlers learn the ropes, so to speak. This was my first Bradshaw story and I was impressed!

 

EL NEUVO SANTO'S LAST FIGHT by Gabino Iglesias. I keep seeing this author's name around and I follow him on Twitter, but I think this is my first story by him. LOVED it! Even mobsters aren't safe from a wrestler's fury. It's best for you not to EVER threaten a man's family, be you "connected" or not.

 

A FRIEND IN NEED...A NICK BULLMAN STORY by James Newman. Nick Bullman is the main character from UGLY AS SIN, also written by James Newman. Nick had an accident with his face many years ago and as such, no longer wrestles. But he's always there when a friend needs him. In this case, though, his friend is no longer sane.

 

RASSLE HASSLE by Adam Howe. The return of Reggie Levine! If you've read any of Adam Howe's stories in the past, then you are already familiar with Reggie. The good news is you don't have to have read Howe's other stories to "get" this one. Reggie always gets himself caught up in some crazy stuff while trying to do the right thing and this tale is no exception.

 

DULUTH by Ed Kurtz. This collection was my first exposure to the word "kayfabe" which is "the portrayal of staged events as real or true." The invention of film/movies gave a whole new dimension to the world of wrestling. For some wrestlers though, it brought home what was really important-and it wasn't wrestling.

 

I enjoyed almost all of the stories in this anthology and I surprised myself by being kind of sad when this book was over. I think Hulk Hogan would be pleased with me.

 

 

Highly recommended for fans of excellent short stories, and most especially to fans of professional wrestling!

 

 

You can rastle up your copy here: Wrestle Maniacs

 

*I was provided with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-12-08 12:45
Artemis by Andy Weir
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

 

Jasmine Bashara is pretty much a female Mark Watney. I liked her, but she quickly got on my nerves. Luckily, the author kept things moving and I didn't have a lot of time to focus on her personality.

 

Jazz has been living on the moon with her father since she was 6. She's a trouble maker, she likes sex and she can weld the heck out of anything. Her relationship with her father is rather strained as he is a devout Muslim and she's a smuggler. It's expensive to live in Artemis, the moon's only city, so Jazz is always looking for opportunities to make more money. She's offered a chance to pull in the haul of a lifetime and she takes it, even though it's extremely dangerous. Will she be successful? You'll have to read this and see for yourself!

 

I loved the world building and the city of Artemis. I loved how the author created the economy of it as well as how different races from earth took over certain industries in the city. I didn't even mind how much I learned about welding. In fact, I liked that Jazz had a job that here on earth, would mostly be filled by men.

 

What I didn't like were her constant quips and smart-ass remarks. In The Martian, I didn't mind them as much, (as I said Jazz and Mark Watney have the same sense of humor), because Watney was alone on Mars and was attempting to keep the dark away. Jazz, who has a photographic memory, by the way, didn't need this humor to get by and as such, I found it annoying at times. There were some portions where the dialogue was clunky and also, how does the daughter of a Muslim grow up to love sex, drinking and smuggling? To me, there wasn't enough information there to explain those things. That bothered me, not enough to stop me from reading, but enough to prevent me from giving Artemis all the stars.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this science fiction/action novel. I especially liked the character of the moon's mayor and I wouldn't mind reading more stories taking place in Artemis. I just wouldn't mind less of the quips and maybe just a little less welding.

 

Recommended, especially for fans of science fiction and Mark Watney.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-10-12 18:45
The Trials of Solomon Parker by Eric Scott Fischl
The Trials of Solomon Parker - Eric Scott Fischl

 

The Trials of Solomon Parker is a difficult novel to define, other than awesome!  Set in Butte, Montana in the early 1900's, it features Native Americans, deep ugly coal mines, mob bosses, boxing, lots and lots of drinking and, oh yeah, second chances.

 

Solomon Parker is a hard working man who has fallen on some hard times. His wife seems to be suffering from postpartum depression, his infant son is colicky and never stops crying, and Sol just wants to gamble and drink it all away. Add to that a fire in the coal mine and an ugly scene between mine owners and union organizers, and things only get worse. Then, Sol meets Marked Face and has the opportunity to gamble for a second chance. Will he do it, and more importantly, will he win? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I requested this book from NetGalley, solely based on the description and the cover. I ended up seriously impressed-most especially with the quality of writing. There were scenes during that mine fire where I felt like I had trouble breathing-they were so smoky, claustrophobic and scary. I felt like I was there.

 

Interspersed with the main narrative was a bit of Native American back story. This wasn't tribe specific, but it did involve a number of traditional stories that rang true to me, (and really weren't all that different than stories from other religions and belief systems.) The skill with which this was all woven together was admirable, easy to follow, and hard to break away from.

 

Thinking about this story overnight, I raised my rating a little. This book captured and kept my imagination. It brought Butte, Montana to life, and showed real prowess depicting what the day to day was like for people back then. And that's before all the really cool stuff is taken into account!

 

So however one wants to label this book, be it historical fiction, a western, a native American fable, or a story about second chances and fate, you can be sure to label it DAMN ENTERTAINING and unique. I highly recommend it!

 

*Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the free e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-18 12:45
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

 

Atlanta in 1950 was a crowded place. The war was over and housing was scarce. Racial tensions were brewing, neighborhood lines were being redrawn,  and not everyone was happy about that. Even the fact that black policemen now served in the Negro areas of Atlanta didn't mean these officers had the respect of white officers nor that of the residents. When a white man gets beaten down by the Klan and then a Negro beaten down a few days later, tensions threaten to erupt. What happens next? You'll have to read Lightning Men to find out!

 

I was excited when I discovered there was a sequel to last year's Darktown. I was surprised at what I learned from that novel and I learned a lot from this one as well. For instance, I'd never heard of the Columbians before. Apparently, this group of neo-Nazis formed, (and so soon after the war in what must have felt like a direct insult to the soldiers and survivors now living in Atlanta), to unite their hatred of both Jews and Negroes. They even dressed similarly to the SS officers in Germany, hence their nickname: lightning men. 

 

I also learned a lot about how the neighborhoods changed during that less than peaceful time in American history. It's often painful to read about, but it's interesting to see events from several different points of view. Rake, Boggs, Smith and MacInnis are well rounded characters and even now, after a second novel, I think they all still have some secrets in reserve. None of them are perfect and they are all struggling to find their place in this new world, their new police station, (even if it is in the basement of the YMCA), and in their new neighborhoods. Social change doesn't come easy and I think all of these characters recognize and respect that in their behavior, which made them believable to me and maybe a little lovable too.

 

Lightning Men is scary in a way, because it's easy to recognize some of the behaviors from this story on the nightly news today. It's also sad that so much good can begin to be undone by just a few hateful people in high places. Not only is this story a good one, but it reminded me that America always has to remain vigilant,  so that everything we have worked so hard for as a people, is not undone by only a powerful few. 

 

Highly recommended! You can get your copy here: Lightning Men

 

*Thank you to NetGalley & Atria for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-08-26 00:00
Corruption: A Bureau Story
Corruption: A Bureau Story - Kim Fielding short and very to the point. Demon is caught and displayed and made into an act in a freak show/traveling carnival. Individuals get to spend money to buy time to do whatever they want. A special bureau officer who just happens to have angel blood running through his veins is sent out to investigate and destroy said demon....

I won't go any further but readers can probably imagine a few scenarios of how such things can go. I wish it was fleshed out and had more time to develop. Overall not a bad story but I went away unsatisfied and wanting more.

Note: I read the story out of the Wayward Ink anthology "Of Heaven and Hell". The story has been self published since the anthology release and I do not know if there have been changes.
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