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review 2018-05-28 11:20
“Terminal Alliance – Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse #1” by Jim C Hines – highly recommended.
Terminal Alliance (Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse) - Jim C. Hines

I'd never read Jim Hines before but I was in a mood for something light, so I picked this up expecting some kind of zany, "Guardians of the Galaxy" witty space romp.


What I got was a five star SF read. This is a funny, fast-paced, witty and original novel that also has a clever and quite serious plot.


The story takes place in a universe where most humans have been turned feral by a zombie plague from which 10,000 or so have been rescued by an alien race who now use them as a military force. The post-plague humans are hard to kill, aggressive and loyal. For the aliens, it's a great deal.


The janitors of the title humans who keep the warship clean and plumbing functioning, albeit that their leader, nicknamed mops, is occasionally consulted by the humans in battle command because she has good strategic insights and keeps a cool head.


When the warship gets caught in a trap that kills the alien officers and turns most of the humans feral again, it's left to Mops and her crew to find out what happened and save the universe, or at least humanity.


The pace is fast. The humour is irresistible. Yet this is not a shallow book. The universe-building is robust and complex. The characters, including the alien characters, are believable and engaging. The plot stands up against more mainstream SF and contains a big, skillfully revealed, secret.  Best of all, Mops turns out to be a giant amongst humans: a natural leader, a shrewd tactician, an insatiable reader (Jane Austin's and Mary Shelley's works have survived the holocaust), quietly brave and always witty.


What more could I want?


The book works as a standalone novel but sets up the sequel, "Terminal Uprising" beautifully. It comes out in February 2019 and I'd have already pre-ordered it except Amazon want to gouge me for a you-cannot-be-serious $18.42 for the privilege. I figure time is on my side.


Amazon pricing policy to one side, I highly recommend this book to anyone with who loves SF and has a sense of humour.


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review 2018-05-20 17:41
A Mile in My Shoes by ADeedWithoutaName
A Mile in My Shoes - ADeedWithoutaName A Mile in My Shoes - ADeedWithoutaName

A humourous fanfic in which Dean and Sam exchange eating and exercise habits for six weeks. Dean becomes attracted to Sam's increasing girth. Meh, not my kink.

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/13555566
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review 2018-05-18 18:11
Book Review of A Case of the I Love You's by Micah Lorenc, illustrated by Jesse Leyva
A Case of the I Love Yous - Micah Lorenc

You'll never guess what happens when a mother's love reaches its limit and simply can't be contained. Follow an unsuspecting family as they take on an uncommon challenge. A brother and sister duo must use their wits and creativity to save their parents from a rare and mysterious illness.


Review 5*


This is a fantastic children's book! I loved it!


The story is a mix of fun rhyme and beautifully drawn illustrations. The illustrations follow the story perfectly, so a child who cannot read properly yet can understand what is going on. I love the way the artist has drawn this fictitious family, and their facial expressions and antics made me smile.


The story is told through the eyes of the children as their parents become infected by a virus. This mysterious virus is rather contagious and makes people blurt out "I love you" at odd moments. The family try their best to cure this virus, but there's no stopping it. By the time the book ends, all the members of the family are affected by this "I love you" virus. By reading this book the reader becomes infected too. It is such a sweet story that by the time I finished it, I wanted to shout "I love you" to my family too. In fact, I still may just do that. *wink*


"I LOVE YOU!" There, I feel a lot better! *grin*


Micah Lorenc has written a lovely children's book that made me smile. He uses simple language for the most part, so children should be able to read this on their own (depending on reading ability, of course). However, there was a sentence that I read that I found a little jarring even though it rhymed with the previous one. It's where the mother first becomes infected and she is rather apologetic about her outburst. My editing hat reared it's head and made me think that the sentence could have been written differently and still rhyme somehow. However, that is my only grammar niggle and other readers may not have the same reaction. The children may not even notice, to be honest. As I said, it could just be me being pedantic, so I'll leave it to the readers to decide for themselves. This is the author's debut children's book and I am looking forward to seeing what else he comes up with in the future.


I highly recommend this book to children from the age of 3 (as a bedtime story) and up to 8 as a young reader. I also recommend this book to adults looking for a fun and entertaining read for their children. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-05-10 17:30
” A Red Herring Without Mustard – Flavia De Luce #3″ by Alan Bradley
A Red Herring Without Mustard - Alan Bradley

"A Red Herring Without Mustard" is a third strong offering in the Flavia De Luce series.


Like it's predecessors, "The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie" and "The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag"it follows eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce as she uses chemistry, her insatiable curiosity and her almost sociopathic determination to solve the crimes associated with the dead bodies that turn up with frightening regularity at her Father's country house before the police can.


In this case, Flavia is one a hunt that includes a gipsy fortune-teller, an unscrupulous remittance man, the remnants of a local Dissenter sect and some truly eccentric water features.

The plots are twisty enough to be satisfying and honest enough not to be annoying but the true power of the book continues to come from seeing the world through the eyes of the inimitable and irrepressible Flavia De Luce.


Flavia has always been a recklessly brave, brilliantly but disturbingly analytical loner with a grief-stricken father, abusive older sisters, and hole in her life where her mother should be. Her only positive relationships seem to be with Dogger, the war-damaged family retainer, Gladys, her bicycle on whom she projects a personality and the local Police Inspector with whom she enters into a mutually respectful rivalry.


What I like most about this book was that I saw Flavia grow. She and her father reach a deeply-felt but barely expressed mutual respect. She learns more about her mother and starts to feel some of her mother's spirit in herself. Her relationship with her sisters remains twisted and sometimes hateful but Flavia is aware of the mutual love beneath the sandpaper surface. Flavia also makes a friend, albeit a rather enigmatic, sometimes violent and often absent friend who is socially completely inappropriate but that is perhaps how it should be.


I find myself caring more for Flavia with each book. We see her whole world through her eyes and sometimes what we see touches home. I understand exactly the feeling Flavia refers to when she says:



Whenever I’m with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company."

The way she and Dogger deal with each other shows a great deal of compassion and affection. It tells us a lot about Flavia's character and her experience of intimacy that she likes sitting with Dogger because he supports her without demanding more information from her than she is willing to give. She says,

"The very best people are like that. They don’t entangle you like flypaper."

Flavia's new friend, Porcelain gives Flavia someone to talk to and a chance to understand how she is seen by others. I liked Porcelain's comments on familial love. She says,

“Love’s not some big river that flows on and on forever, and if you believe it is, you’re a bloody fool. It can be dammed up until nothing’s left but a trickle …”

I would read the books just to spend time with Flavia Alan Bradley delivers more than a fan-fest. His plots are strong. All of his characters feel real and form a richly detailed ensemble cast. His sense of period and of Englishness never seems to stumble, which is all the more impressive given that he is a contemporary Canadian writing about 1950s English rural gentry.


I've already ordered the next book in the series.

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review 2018-05-03 09:09
You Be the Prom Queen, , I'll Be the Malcontent by Chash
You Be the Prom Queen, , I'll Be the Mal... You Be the Prom Queen, , I'll Be the Malcontent - Chash

A competent amusing fanfic in which construction worker Jared falls for violinist Jensen.

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/259184
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