Friday, 14 April 2017

Chuckles Mini Reviews Catch Up


I review everything I read, on my blog and on Goodreads. Most reviews are of a decent length but sometimes you don't have much to say about the book because of its length or you DNFed it or various other reasons. In cases like that it makes sense to write a few mini reviews in one post and clear them out your way! 

These mini reviews are all from books I read in February this year.

Kyle Pratt-Through Many Fires 
Terrorists smuggle a nuclear bomb into Washington D.C. and detonate it during the State of the Union Address. Army veteran and congressional staffer Caden Westmore is in nearby Bethesda and watches as a mushroom cloud grows over the capital. The next day, as he drives away from the still burning city, he learns that another city has been destroyed and then another. America is under siege. Panic ensues and society starts to unravel.

Loved the book cover but not much else. It was ok as a story and the writing was decent but I just couldn't care about the characters. Our MC witnesses the death of his journalist fiance' live on TV reporting from Atlanta when the bomb hits yet a few days later he is in love with another woman? Explain to me WHY I should like this guy? We are told of each stage of his journey but it all feels a bit clinical and lacking in real emotion. Caden just doesn't feel like a real person to me and I don't get a sense of his personality or any real emotion in him. It all feels a bit forced. The way the book is written lacks the tension I would have expected in a book like this and I found my attention wandering.
Read February 2017. 
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Kelley Armstrong-Becoming (WOTO #0.09)
Elena Michaels has just been bitten by her boyfriend, werewolf Clay Danvers. As the werewolf curse is slowly taking over her body and mind, she clings to the last shreds of her humanity, scared that her life will never be the same again. As per readers’ request, finally the tale of Elena’s Bite. Becoming covers the darkest part of Elena’s introduction to life as a werewolf, and fills in an important chapter in the Otherworld story.

Elena has just been bitten and is trying to get her head around what Jeremy is telling her about her new werewolf condition. All she wants to do is escape and go home but she soon finds that she can't deal with her new life alone. I love the cover of this book and it was the only early story that I hadn't read so I had to read it. I liked the story and the artwork  but it's a bit too short to get a higher rating.
Read February 2017.
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Kyan Yauchler-Homeostasis Lost 
Jake, Don, and Maggie are three strangers living in the rural Midwest. They each wake early one late spring morning to find that nothing works—phones, cars, clocks. Everything involving electricity is dead. As the reality of what has happened comes to light, they begin to leave their homes, some in search of answers, others in desperate need of help. People around them are dying, planes are crashing, riots are forming, and no one can do anything about it. The three eventually cross paths and head into an uncertain future together in hopes of again finding balance—homeostasis—in this new world without power. That is, if they can survive.

This was so slow that I couldn't continue with it. Three different people are sitting up in the early hours of the morning analysing how miserable their lives are when each realises that the clocks have stopped. Each of them wander aimlessly around their house checking various gadgets then start wandering around outside to see what has happened. Each one talks to various people and tell each other everything they have experienced that night and debate what might have happened then talk to ther people about the same things...it was getting to the mind numbing boredom by this stage and nobody seemed to get that an apocalypse was occuring. After 50 pages of this repetition I'd had enough. Very dull.
Read February 2017.
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Ira Tabankin-The Shelter
The Shelter tells the story of a family who wins $27 million in the lottery, they purchase the three farms and the 7,000 square foot house to hold all of their extended family. 

The book starts with a massive info dump about economic failure that is like a lecture, without any spaces or paragraphs. It goes on about Greek elections, financial bailouts and the thoughts of EU leaders on the financial crisis. It was a bit full on as a way to start a book even if this stuff interested you. The anti-Europe tone of the book is a great way to alienate all non American readers and some of it really annoyed me. It refers to Europeans as 'many in Europe never even try to find work, they're happy living on the government dole'. Nonsense. While every country has the people on welfare who don't want to work, many really are too sick to work and there are tons of hardworking Europeans in each country. Is the author forgeting the welfare claimants in his own country? The dope smoking beer drinkers who sit about all day? It is this superior attitude towards other countries that makes America unpopular overseas.

Then we have the revolting MCs and their snotty attitudes and sneering lectures. The Greeks are 'spoiled children' voting for a Marxist leader. The Greek leader is scum of the Earth for insulting Germans by laying flowers on a war memorial. It seems what he is really doing is reminding the Germans of their war crimes. Jeez. By the time they go on to rant about Russia having proof that NATO forces are fighting them in Ukraine, I had enough of this bile.

I expect a certain amount of political bias in prepper books as I've read a ton of them but I rarely quit a book because of it. The unpleasant rantings and anti-European bias was not entertaining and I certainly won't be reading this author again. 
Read February 2017.
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Jack Lewis-Fear the Dead 
Kyle Vauss wanders alone across the ruins of England trying to block out his past. Fifteen years ago the world fell apart. By day the zombie infected swarm the streets, and at night the stalkers come out of their nests to kill. Mankind is on the brink of extinction. When a teenager called Justin tricks Kyle into taking him along, Kyle has to learn to trust others, and himself, again. He doesn't want to face his past, but there are some things that you can't turn away from. 

It is always disappointing to start a zombie book fifteen years after the original outbreak, when communities behind walls are already operating. For me reading about the collapse of society as the zombies appear is the real fun of the apocalypse! However that is personal preference and I did know the plot going into the book. What I really didn't like was the MC. He comes across as more of a whiny teenager than a widowed man. I understand that he is reluctant to trust anyone but the way he behaves towards the men who save his life are shocking. He doesn't say thank you despite one man dying for him, instead blaming them for attracting the monster to him! He is rude and obnoxious to everyone he meets and I found myself not caring if he died. It does not entertain me to have morons I hate as MCs and I quit the book. 
Read February 2017.
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Devan Sagliani-Undead LA
On September 20, the zombie virus was released into the dense population of transients on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. It spread like unstoppable wildfire in all directions, decimating everything in its path for six full weeks before outside measures were taken to cleanse the scourge. These stories take place in those final times.  

I find myself being a bit baffled by the way the first story was set out. Half of it features Eddie's flight history as a pilot, life story, seeing a rapper hit a photographer in the airport, bitchy comments about the girlfriend he cheats on his wife with, the girlfriend's sexual partners, checking into the hotel, his married life woes...that was all very boring. It did improve when the zombies finally arrive and he has to escape the airport on his plane, but all the dumb waffle leading up to it wasn't needed. I decided not to read on after other reviews suggested the same format for each short story.
Read February 2017.
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Geoff North-Cryers 
In 3066 the world is a different place. Massive coronal ejections, nuclear fallout, and chemical poisons have reshaped the land. New life forms have evolved at an accelerated rate into creatures God and nature had no hand in playing. A few remaining settlements of mankind struggle to re-establish civilization. They’re failing. But beneath the ground, buried deep in a lost and long-forgotten installation, humanity’s ancestors are about to re-awaken. The freaks, mutants, and horrific monsters roaming the blasted earth above are about to discover what real terror is all about.

This was not what I was expecting when I sat down to read it. We get an opening about a Nazi doctor who owns a cryogenic company who freezes rich clients. We just get a brief mention of the apocalypse and suddenly we are 1000 years into the future where earth is a grim land with no paper, books, writing, numbers or learning. It didn't really have a lot going for it and was so grim that I really couldn't find much interest in it. It feels more like the Wild West and not liking westerns, it failed to hold my interest at all. Not for me.
Read February 2017. 
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6 comments:

  1. Looks like some dreadful reads in there! I have no idea how you managed to get through The Shelter from your review. It sounds like terrible.

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    1. I DNF'd all of these except Becoming. I think I read about 30 pages of The Sheler, maybe less!

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  2. Wow. That's a lot of not so good reads. Thanks for the warnings:)

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    1. There are a ton of these apocalypse books out there for the ereader...sometimes you plough through a lot of poor stuff to get to the gems! January was NOT a great reading month!

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  3. Too bad most of these weren't great but I like the sound of the Armstrong one, especially since I've read a few books by her now and am a fan. I haven't read that particular series but I like a good werewolf tale. :)

    And The Shelter just sounds terrible. I want post apoc action not someone's political views!

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    1. I'd recommend reading these werewolf short stories before reading Bitten (WOTO #1) to give you background to the Pack and its main players.

      The stories 0.02, 0.03, 0.04 are featured in the anthology Men of the Otherworld. The anthology Tales of the Otherworld features 0.07 and 0.08. Becoming is 0.09. Reading these will help you with who everyone is when you read the first novel.

      The Shelter is an example of the bad side of prepper fiction where the story is just an excuse for anti-government rants. Thankfully they aren't all like that!

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