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review 2019-06-22 15:03
Underdogs - Chris Bonnello

Overall, it was both a fun and an emotional story, with good pacing and an appropriate mix of calm moments and tense ones. Also, since I read it through Pigeonhole, the staves were cut in such a way that they stop just at the right moment: if they hadn't, I sure wouldn't have stopped reading until the next day.

I really liked the cast, and the choice of relying on different people for a change: not your typical teenagers, but clearly the "underdogs", those seen as "problem children", considered from the start as "inferior", "useless", and all other manners of stupid clichés by "normal" people (whatever "normal" means anyway, eh?). Our heroes were clearly much more than their differences: they were human beings, something that should never be forgotten. They were good people, with their positive and negative traits like everyone, with a hefty dose of bravery and a genuine desire to do the right thing. And without being bogged down by "regular" society's demands, they were given the space to grow into themselves as people.

Which is why it pains me not to give more stars to this book, because as much as I liked the characters, I also couldn't overlook the rest. Mainly:
- The plot holes. Because much time is spent with the characters (which is a good thing), too little is spent on the backstory, and the latter in turn looks very simplistic and cliché. Bad guy uses his money to acquire private companies and get the government to trust him, then surprises everybody with an army of clones, seizes power, and stuffs all the population of Great Britain into prison-cities. OK, I get a villain having a desire for power, but it still felt "empty". Also, clones wouldn't prevent another country from simply nuking his factories from above, so... What was the rest of the world doing?
- The bad guys in general were pretty cliché, too, especially Nat and Oliver. They made me laugh and roll my eyes more than thrilled me.
- The last point is one I hate making (although, to be fair, I've noticed this in other stories as well): when the main characters' neuroatypical aspects were mentioned, I most often found it too... didactic, so to speak. I have the same feeling when non-binary characters, for instance, are portrayed the same way: it screams "must show the readers how this character is trans/asexual/non-binary/etc., but surely most readers have no clue and are too lazy to do their own research, so let's spell it for them." Same thing here, only in this case, of course, it was about Asperger's, or Down's syndrome. And I get it, I really do: it's definitely hard to find the right balance, the one where enough is explained for most readers to receive the right information (and not lose them if, indeed, they don't care about doing some research), yet without slamming it in their faces either. Still, the fact remains that it tended to throw me out of my reading here.

Conclusion: 2.5 stars because of the clichés/holes and the explanatory tone. But without that, for the sheer entertaining factor and the very likeable characters, I'd have rated this book higher.

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review 2019-06-14 21:13
Zombie Oasis (Still Alive #4) by Javan Bonds
Zombie Oasis: Still Alive Book Four - Javan Bonds,Monique Happy

Note: This is Book 4 in the series and it really does work best if you’ve read the first 3.

It was fun and had me snort laughing at inappropriate moments. It wasn’t my favorite of the series so far though. I think that is because the first half of the book spends time kind of recapping what other people are doing and also brings in some new characters that I think will be important later in the series. The second half returns us to Mo’s fumbling hands where I felt comfortable just being myself and laughing at his commentary on life.

These stories are full of juvenile humor, true, but also humor that pokes fun at life’s ‘isms’ (racism, sexism, ageism, teratophobia, homophobia, etc.). That makes me laugh because we all know people with hangups and these books show just how silly those hangups are in the face of cannibalistic nudists. Sometimes the grundge talk (how gooey those zombies really are) goes a little far for me so I don’t recommend eating while listening to this book.

Mo’s little Zombie Island (really Guntersville Island) is coming along well and the residents are in such a good place that they want to bring in more survivors. Mo must assemble a crew to take the pirate ship Viva Ancora out on a hunt. The story does leave us on a cliff hanger with the crew selected and the ship ready to sail. The crew includes Mo’s older brother, Easy, who makes me laugh because he’s such a studly dunce. Smokes and the best prepared guy in the wheelchair (with his monkey Mary) will be going as well. Hammer and Crow will also be joining them. Turns out Crow can cook far more than boring fish, proving Mo’s theory that she makes such a disappointing dish just to irritate him.

The ladies get a little more page time, but pretty much they are mothers, wives, and romantic interests. And the story pokes fun at that over used trope too. Still, I think the ladies have more to contribute. Aka (the engineer) and Easy do get married (and Crow made a scrumptious cake for the wedding). Mo gets some time with his love, even if she’s upset that he plans to go out into danger on this new mission. Mo’s mom puts in several appearances, all being motherly (especially about grammar and swearing).

All around, it was a fun addition to the series even if it wasn’t the best. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: S. W. Salzman was a lot of fun as the narrator for this book. I feel like he enjoys giving this series a voice. His voice for Mo is still my favorite, being a heavy Alabama accent. He also does well with all the female voices. I liked his version of the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs, who kinda gets a cameo in this story. The pacing was perfect and there were no tech issues with the recording. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own.

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review 2019-06-13 16:45
Review ~ Decent read
The Walking Dead Book Fifteen - Robert Kirkman

Book source ~ Library


Recent events have thrown Alexandria into turmoil, and now Rick, Dwight, Eugene and Negan all have something to prove. Meanwhile, a new world order awaits...


Collects THE WALKING DEAD #169-180.


Rebuilding time. And Eugene’s radio friend gives them the go ahead to come meet her community, so Rick sends a delegation. POV changes repeatedly as we follow Alexandria, Hilltop, Negan, Jesus & Aaron, and the delegation.


Oh, yeah. There’s no way this is going to end well. I’m getting so tired of this shit. Maybe I’ll read book 16 when it comes out. We’ll see.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-walking-dead-book-fifteen.html
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review 2019-06-12 21:39
Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact
Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact - Matt Mair Lowery,Cassie Anderson

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.]

This comic reads quickly: the story flows from page to page, and there's no lagging behind. After the first few pages of Cleo’s life at school and with her father, with a short insight of what’s been happening behind the scenes, Invasion Day is here, and they both have to run for their lives. All the while, they to maintain a semblance of normalcy, such as when they find shelter at abandoned houses, living in the remnants of another family now gone or dead, or meet other survivors and have to make a quick choice between driving them away or being simply human and welcoming them.

The relationship between Cleo and Alex was a touching one. Very early on, it is obvious that her father won’t be who we met in the first chapter, and Cleo has to fight her distrust while not really having many other choices than either going with him or being all alone. Gradually, she learns to accept this new balance in her life, learn to follow at first, then fight a little, then fight more. And while she is obviously sad and has her small breaking points, she also keeps her smile and courage up, and doesn’t give up.

The downside of this fast pace is that it goes a little too quickly at times—especially when there are several panels without dialogues—and as a result, there isn’t that much room for character development. The latter is partly left to the reader to imagine, by filling in the blanks, but this is a somewhat uneventful process, and leaves a slight feeling of blankness at times.

Nevertheless, I did like this first volume, as well as its ending (both positive and at the same time highlighting the protagonists’ fight as “one against the world”, so to speak). 3 to 3.5 stars.

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review 2019-06-06 12:02
A Post Apocalyptic Lyrical Journey of a Man and His Son
The Road - Cormac McCarthy

Post-apocalyptic stories are predictions of the future of "what ifs" the world is turn upside down and throw in some characters and see what they will do. Cormac McCarthy's take on The Road is so much about a man and his son (nameless) do when they are thrown in a situation that can lead to life or death and their relationship experiences during their journey on... the road. A Pulitzer Prize Winner in 2007, I can't help it when it comes to post-apocalyptic stories that I want to read, but finally, it is now that I had read it... and I do have mix feelings with it.


As the story opens, there was no mention of how this world began. A flash of light, the lost of government control and the world is in chaos. Dark gray skies that reflects the ocean, the world is cold, without warmth, food and water. Two characters were written without any names, as much as it is, are on the road going south in a nameless world, country or even state. Their journey takes them to places of unimaginable horrors (as written inside) that make's the man distrust humanity. And as a whole, the story just writes itself about their simple, and yet it is about hope. And there it ends - no beginnings, and yet no ends.


I can't say this is bad, and I won't say it is good. Its a book without chapters, and with just simple parts of writing that can be read in a day (took me days yes, but we all have other books to read). The thing about reading is some times, I have no idea who is talking first - the man or his son. There are no open close dialogues here. I had to read it to know who is who. While the description of the world building is bleak as it is, its prose is lyrical and beautifully written. Ovefrall I do enjoy the read but I am not sure if this is a favorite. Maybe when I pick it up again and read it one more time, I might change my opinion on this. Its a 3.5 rating out of 5 for me.

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