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review 2017-01-20 19:07
The Incrementalists by Steven Brust & Skylar White - My Thoughts
The Incrementalists - Skyler White,Steven Brust

The Incrementalists - Book 1

What the HELL did I just read?

The premise sounded really cool - as writer John Scalzi said "Secret societies, immortality, murder mysteries and Las Vegas all in one book? Shut up and take my money." But the execution... oh, the execution...

The story is told from the first person POV of two characters, Phil and Renée 'Ren', and they alternate, one character taking up the tale in just about the next line from the other. And that's okay, I'm fine with multiple points of view in either 3rd or 1st person.

But what they did for the most part was prattle on about their 'mind powers', their histories, their concerns, their lies, their questionable emotions... dear God, it was like a huge circle jerk!

I honestly don't really know what's going on - it's all rather vague and confused in my brain and I don't think I'm an especially dense person. This book left me feeling rather dumb. What was the point? I have to say, I was left with a lack of desire to run out and get book 2, that's for sure.

Usually I enjoy Steven Brust - his Phoenix Guard books are among my favourites - but this one? Just felt like he and his friend were postulating their philosophical and political thoughts disguised as dialogue - inner and outer - of their characters. And it was confusing and quite often boring.

So, sadly, this book was a disappointment.

 

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review 2016-12-26 09:21
Great Fun
Bigfoot Hunters in Love - Jamie Fessenden This book was so much fun. As an uncomplicated, angst free story filled with fun and humour, it kept me entertained from start to finish. I have to be honest and admit that my first reaction when I looked at the cover was: ‘that’s a bit over the top’. And then I read the book and realised the cover is as perfect for this story as a cover could possibly be. Not only because it perfectly conveys the light-hearted tone of this novella but also because poor Stuart ends up flashing his bits in all sorts of awkward (for him) and fun (for the reader and Jake) situations. Yes, we are most definitely dealing with a case of insta-lust, insta-infatuation, or even insta-love but hey, there’s nothing like a stressful situation to bring strong feelings to the forefront. And if finding yourself face to face with Bigfoot isn’t stressful, I don’t know what is. And besides, both men in the story are well aware of the fact that they’ve only just met and can’t really put any expectations on the other, even if it doesn’t stop them from hoping that maybe the other man shares their hopes. I read this book with a huge smile on my face from start to finish. I adored Stuart’s dog, Thor who loyally tries to protect his human from the big-footed intruders and in the process causes Stuart a lot of trouble, but also brings him in contact with Jake. And Stuart and Jake were nice characters; the sort of men I would love to be friends with. And yes, the two of them are rather hot together too. I liked that even the characters in the book aren’t prepared to make definitive statements with regards to Bigfoot, despite the fact that they’ve been up close and way too personal with creatures that closely resemble the descriptions of this myth. And I liked the fact that they decide they’d rather keep the creatures safe than make a name for themselves by revealing what they’ve discovered even more. Overall this was a fun and fast read — perfect for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. “If you get me killed before I deliver these samples to a lab, my ghost will stand at the foot of your bed every night and stare at you, moaning.” - “Kinky.”
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review 2016-12-25 19:47
Very Cute
Into You - Jay Northcote

If I had to describe Into You in one word, I’d say ‘cute’. This story and the characters in it are adorable, charming and a joy to spend time with.

 

Olly and Scott have been friends for years when a combination of teenage curiosity and teenage angst pull them apart. Four years later they still live across the street from each other and their friendship is still a thing of the past.

 

Also in their street lives an older lady who they’ve never felt completely comfortable around. One day, when the lads are 18, she’s clearly upset when she sees them having an argument on the street. Olly and Scott don’t pay her a lot of attention when she states that fate might need a push in the right direction, but maybe they should have because the morning after they wake up to discover they’ve swapped bodies. In order to function as each other they have to work together; a process that allows them to reconnect and discover things about themselves and each other they’d been previously unaware off.

 

As I said, this is a super cute story. While the situation Olly and Scott find themselves in certainly leads to introspection and soul searching for both of them, there’s very little angst in this story. In fact, even though they are confused and trying to figure out what is going on and how to fix the situation again, the whole swap is nowhere near as fraught with trouble and danger of being exposed as you might expect. For two young men who haven’t really interacted for four years, Ollie and Scott have remarkably little problems living each other’s lives. Ollie takes to football as if he’s been training for years and Scott, who doesn’t understand Shakespeare and isn’t into drama, takes to the role of Romeo like a fish to water. Because the story isn’t so much about the difficulties associated with a body-swap as it is about two young men reconnecting and finding each other and their joined destiny, that lack of tension makes sense, but it did leave me feeling it was all a bit too easy.

 

There are relatively few sexy times in this story. Having said that, watching the two boys figure out whether or not it would be appropriate to indulge in a handjob while in the others body, was both intriguing and great fun, not to mention enticing once they give in to their needs.

 

Of course this story is very well written and smoothly told; I’d be surprised if a book by Jay Northcote was anything else. I’m not quite sure how to label this book. Coming of age fits, as do friends to lovers and enemies to lovers, but there’s also a dose of paranormal / magical realism to be found here.

 

If you enjoy a fun, sweet, very cute and somewhat magical feel good story, I highly recommend Into You by Jay Northcote.

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review 2016-10-18 20:04
Myriad Universes #2
Star Trek: Myriad Universes #2: Echoes and Refractions (Bk. 2) - Keith R.A. DeCandido,Geoff Trowbridge,Chris Roberson

I was mostly unfamiliar with Andorians except beyond knowing they were blue, hairy, and had antennae. The Chimes at Midnight by Geoff Trowbridge gave a most thorough background into this alien race. The reader follows two separate characters: Thelin (an Andorian) and David Marcus (James T. Kirk's estranged son). Thelin is Kirk's closest friend and First Officer of the Enterprise. David is a scientist who creates the Genesis Project in the hopes of making uninhabitable worlds fertile and livable for those looking to colonize new areas of space. When the secret of this innovation is leaked to the Klingons war is threatened. (Note: There's a rather explicit scene of torture in this book so if you're squeamish be aware.) Most troubling of all in this universe, Spock never lived beyond childhood. :'-(  7/10

War, war, war. A Gutted World by Keith R.A. DeCandido is chock full of violence and destruction as war rages across the galaxy. The Cardassians still occupy Terok Nor (DS9 reference for the uninitiated) and the Klingons and Romulans are at each other's throats. The Federation is pulled into the fray and devastating losses are piling up on all sides. Kira Nerys with the aid of Garak and Odo are trying to convince the Federation that all is not as it seems. I don't want to give too much away because it's pretty spoiler-y for Deep Space Nine even though it's an alternate reality timeline. 7/10

Brave New World written by Chris Roberson was absolutely brilliant. In this iteration, Data is not the only Soong-type android in existence. In fact, he's one of the earliest of many. When the Federation decides to limit their rights to full citizenship Data and many of his fellows resign their Starfleet commissions and drop off of the grid entirely. The story picks up 10 years later when Data inexplicably returns with a request for assistance from the Enterprise. Many familiar faces are still onboard including Chief Engineer Wesley Crusher and First Officer Geordi La Forge. (They've also perfected brain uploads in this universe which is frankly terrifying.) I so badly want to tell you the big shocker of this book but that would really kill it for you. Just read it! 10/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-10-18 19:59
Myriad Universes #1
Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Infinity's Prism (Bk. 1) - William Leisner,Christopher L. Bennett,James Swallow

A Less Perfect Union by William Leisner explores a world where Christopher Pike remains the captain of the Enterprise while James T. Kirk is at his side as First Officer. Where's Spock? Well, Vulcans are not a member of the Federation of Planets...in fact, Earth is at odds with the Vulcans due to an incident many years earlier which devastated San Francisco. Kirk has his own bone to pick with the Vulcan people and it all comes to a head when the Enterprise picks up T'Pol for a diplomatic mission to try to repair relations with their alien neighbors. Stranger still, McCoy has joined the crew and he and Kirk immediately butt heads over what McCoy perceives is Kirk's racist feelings toward the Vulcans. Of course, longtime fans of TOS will find this humorously ironic. It's politically and racially charged with tons of action just like all the great Trek episodes. 9/10

 

Maybe my favorite of the entire lot was Places of Exile by Christopher L. Bennett. I've never seen any episodes of Voyager (I know, I know) so I found this one extremely easy to accept as canon. I guess it might have been harder if you already knew the "real" events of this universe. For those unfamiliar, the crew of Voyager is stranded in the Delta Quadrant and are trying to find their way back to planet Earth while navigating the unknown (and dangerous) stretch of space in-between. In this version, their ship is crippled and they must make an emergency landing on a planet where they are essentially refugees forced to make new lives for themselves. It delves into how each member of the crew reacts to the knowledge that they will most likely never reach their homes in their lifetimes. I love character studies so this one was right up my alley. 10/10

 

What would happen if Khan had actually succeeded in his quest to rule Earth and create a dominant race of superhumans? Well, Seeds of Dissent by James Swallow has a truly terrifying answer. After Khan's victory, augmented humans become the norm and Khan is viewed as a deity. Princeps Julian Bashir (from Deep Space Nine) is in command of the Defiant and he comes across a most unusual ship named Botany Bay. (If you're a Trekkie, then you most certainly heard ominous music playing just then.) When fictionalized history clashes with the harsh truth of reality the world crafted under Khan's descendants begins to fragment. (This book was the push I needed to continue my Trek tutelage by beginning DS9 by the way.) 9/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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