Hmmm, where to start. I grabbed So Not a Hero by SJ Delos because I’m going through a bit of a superhero kick at the moment and the story sounded interesting.
It is, don’t get me wrong. The story and world-building is solid and enjoyable. The main character has a ton of back-story and issues she needs to work through and you begin rooting for her pretty much straight away.
A reformed villain.
After serving two years in a Federal prison, Karen Hashimoto is out on parole and eager to put her criminal past behind her. No easy task, since she’s also the former supervillain known as Crushette. A chance encounter leads to an unexpected opportunity, and she is recruited as the newest member of the city’s premier team of superheroes: The Good Guys.
A new hero.
Now Karen has new teammates, a new code name, and the daunting responsibility of trying to be the hero everyone thinks she can be. Becoming a champion for Truth and Justice is going to be rough, especially for the ex-girlfriend of the notorious Doctor Maniac. Karen will have to do everything in her powers to keep her past from ruining her future.
It was so much simpler being the bad guy.
Some of the support characters seemed a little cookie-cutter though. The story could have done without a lot of the deep-seated misogyny inherent to many of the male characters. The way the author treats the main characters made me a little uncomfortable. Sure, I get there are arseholes out there that treat people like this, but it came across as a little gratuitous at times.
There are a couple of sex scenes, one at the beginning which establishes Karen hitting rock bottom, and one multi-page effort midway through. About mid-way through the second one I found I just wanted the story to skip ahead.
I’m not averse to reading sex scenes, however this one did drag on a little. Plus, I couldn’t help but think it was maybe a little bit of wish-fulfilment for the author. A thought that occurred to me a few times while reading. A sexy, do-anything superhero who madly wants to make love… I’ll let you make your own mind up.
Will I read the next one? Sure. The story arc got me engaged enough to care about the characters and what happens next. The points I take issue with don’t put me off enough to not want to read the next one.
Great story with some hard-to-like characters. I recommend checking out the sample on Amazon first before jumping into the whole novel.
I had the distinct pleasure of
indoctrinating… er, I mean introducing my kids (6 and 3) to the world of Ghostbusters on the weekend. Completely unintentional, mind you. I hadn’t meant on them watching it, but they wandered out when it started, saw the librarian ghost (thought she was fantastic) and sat and watched the whole thing.
Their favourite part? The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man of course. Once we’d finished the first one they saw the picture of the “Lady Ghostbusters” (as they’ve dubbed them) as we had to watch that too.
So over the weekend we’ve watched the original twice, the remake once, and a heap of the cartoon Ghostbusters on YouTube. Plus, today I’ve printed out a heap of colouring pages to keep them busy.
I always held out hope that one day my nerdier interests would influence their tastes. When my eldest was a baby and I’d be nursing her and watching Doctor Who, I used to tell my wife that we were enjoying our favourite show together.
Neither of my kids have so far shown an interest in the Doctor, but it seems as though I’m at least on the right track.
As for the Ghostbusters reboot (the Lady Ghostbusters according to my kids), I really enjoyed it. Had a heap of great moments that had me laughing out loud, and the whole sequence at the end when they’re sort of back in time was fantastic.
It’s a shame the mysogonerds had to go and ruin its chances (and the chances of any sequels) at the box office by spreading their hate before even stopping to consider that it might, in fact, be good for the franchise. So they’ve successfully robbed us of any chance of seeing more Ghostbusters any time soon.
Of course now the same thing is happening with the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor in Doctor Who. I’m sure the BBC will stick to their guns, and we’ll see a few seasons with Ms Whittaker at the helm of the TARDIS. I believe this will be the shot-in-the-arm the Doctor Who franchise needs to keep it going strong.
I’ve been a fan of the Doctor since I used to watch the original series as a kid, and again with the rebooted continuation. Since the (seemingly at the time) throwaway line during “The Doctor’s Wife” episode about the Corsair being a bad girl during some of his/her regenerations.
That planted the seed in my mind that one day we might see a Time Lady. Then following up with The Master / Missy regeneration, and the on-screen regeneration during Hell Bent, it seemed like an almost certainty.
Personally I can’t wait to see Ms Whittaker’s take on the Doctor. My personal preference for the role was admittedly Richard Ayoade, who I’d still like to see as the Doctor one day. But until then, I’m eager to see a Time Lady in the role. I think it’ll give a unique depth to the character we’ve not seen before, and I for one can’t wait.
I love technology. I love all the new clever things that people way smarter than me invent and put out.
Even my Kindle isn’t immune. New versions keep coming out: back lit, no buttons touchscreen, etc… but my Kindle is one thing I refuse to update.
It’s got one job to do and it does it well. Yes, I need a light to see the screen. Yes, I have to press buttons to navigate… but damn it if this humble piece of tech doesn’t hold a special place in my heart.
It looks worn out, well used and loved to death I prefer to think. I hope it never dies. 😀
Got one in worse condition than mine?
There are plenty of people out there who love Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, I however am not among them. This one popped up on a few lists I was trawling through for my next read. Lists like “Funniest books of all time” and “Best books of all time”, and so on… so I admit my hopes were high for this one.
But I found myself fighting not to give up on the book many times. There was just so much waffling I found myself skipping ahead as I pushed further into this novel.
The whole made up religion thing, Bokononism and the various paragraphs devoted to it throughout the novel, I just didn’t find funny at all though it was clear that was their intention. A religion founded on the believe that everything is founded on lies, including Bokononism.
Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he’s the inventor of ‘ice-nine’, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker’s three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker’s Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh…
So what sounds like an interesting premise and something that should appeal directly to me failed to do so. This book that was pegged in a “Funniest books of all time” list failed to raise even a smirk.
Disjointed and rambling are two words that first come to mind when thinking how to summarise the book. Maybe had I been around at the end of World War 2 or experienced the Cuban Missile Crisis first hand I might find more humour in this book, but alas for me it just fell flat.
Struggled to finish this one, but others seem to enjoy it. Check out the sample on Amazon and make up your own mind. At least you can’t say I didn’t try to warn you. 🙂
“Bizarro fiction? What’s that?” I thought to myself when I first heard the term. Of course, I needed to look up this previously unheard of genre, landing on suggestions. Most of them fall into the NSFW category, and I guess this one – The Haunted Vagina – does too, to a degree. Depends on how prudish your IT department is about the word ‘Vagina’.
Most examples I found looked as if they were trying to outdo each other with outlandish book titles. There are certainly some interesting ones out there…
Anyway, after a bit of a crawl through GoodReads I landed on this one that sounded less disturbing than others I’d seen, and sounded funny enough that it might be a good introduction to the genre.
What’s it about? The blurb:
It’s difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead…
Steve is madly in love with his eccentric girlfriend, Stacy. Unfortunately, their sex life has been suffering as of late, because Steve is worried about the odd noises that have been coming from Stacy’s pubic region. She says that her vagina is haunted. She doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal. Steve, on the other hand, completely disagrees.
When a living corpse climbs out of her during an awkward night of sex, Stacy learns that her vagina is actually a doorway to another world. She persuades Steve to climb inside of her to explore this strange new place. But once inside, Steve finds it difficult to return… especially once he meets an oddly attractive woman named Fig, who lives within the lonely haunted world between Stacy’s legs.
So that sets the scene. Stacy’s been hearing strange noises from down below for most of her life. One night after an adult-sized skeleton crawls its way out of her, she talks her boyfriend Steve into a mission to investigate.
Armed with walkie talkies and greased up like a Scotsman in an air duct, he ventures forth and finds Stacy is a doorway to an alternate reality.
It’s a short story, novella I guess at around 100 pages, but Mister Mellick packs quite a lot into those pages. The world he describes his both warped yet made vibrant and interesting by his words, and what happens once Steve gets trapped there kept me reading to the end.
Will I read more bizarre? I’m not saying no at this point, but it was a bit of an eye opener as a genre. I’ll see what GoodReads suggests as “also reads” once I’ve marked it as “Read”.
Certainly an eye-opener. An enjoyable short read. Check out the sample at Amazon.
I thought I might like this given the sample read similar to Douglas Adams, but it quickly became apparent that the book was basically trying to copy everything of the Hitchhikers Guide. Almost as if the author had read it, forgot parts of it, then had a go at writing the exact same book.
Just the things I noticed before giving up:
- The Guide-like asides,
- “Pan Universal Kumquat Juice” – I mean that’s not even trying to hide being a direct copy of “Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters”,
- Losers sitting around in tatty bathrobes,
- Spontaneous transformation into potted plants,
- The Big Bang Bar featuring a show of the universe exploding.
If I wanted to read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then I wouldn’t settle for a knock off. I just couldn’t get into this and just found I was more distracted looking for similarities to Hitchhikers than reading the story.
That said, over on GoodReads there are plenty of people who enjoyed it, so maybe it’s just not my cup of tea. I guess you could say this is more like a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
Robert Bevan is an author I’ve been reading for years now. His Critical Failures books in the Caverns and Creatures series are some of the most re-read books on my Kindle.
Between each Critical Failures books he puts out 6 short stories which eventually get bundled into their own six-pack. These are the most recent two which I read one after another (I was behind a little since it took a few weeks for them to get onto Kindle Unlimited).
While the title seems somewhat literal, you need to understand the short stories Mister Bevan puts out are always puns or jokes on whatever the theme is. Cornholed for example, isn’t about what you might think. Probing the Annis is another.
Anyway, a subset of our usual heroes are tricked into following a sorcerer through a portal where their doom awaits them. Not an uncommon occurrence for the hapless heroes, but Bevan always manages new and disgusting lows in which to take the story.
Tricked into becoming slaves / target practice for stone giants, the boys must escape. Through a series of misunderstandings they’re not sure which fate they’d prefer.
Continuing the tradition and possibly one of the grossest covers yet, From the Bowels of Hell Hounds finds our heroes as escorts of a wagon filled with magical goodies on its way to an interesting character I really wouldn’t mind seeing more of, maybe in the canonical series.
Count Fabulazzo welcomes them, calling off his hell hounds just after they’ve barbequed the groups horses. PS – If you’re a horse lover then this series (not just this book) isn’t for you. They meet their demise in a startling array of horrors.
Tricked, of course, into accepting the mission which is really a ruse for them to become the fall guys for the real mission, they’ve no alternative to accept the quest set to them by the Count to retrieve what was stolen.
Fans of the podcast Authors and Dragons will enjoy the appearance of a religious zealot by the name of Sinas, who I couldn’t help but read in the voice of Rick Gualtieri’s “Silas Kane” voice.
Both of these were lots of fun to read. They’re non-canonical to the overall series so can be enjoyed as individual reads. What happens in these has no impact at all to the main story, but knowing the background of the characters helps understand their motives so if you haven’t yet, go read Critical Failures.
The last month has been hectic. My pay-the-bills job has been keeping me busy, plus other things outside of work have got me to the point of not wanting to do any writing when I finally have spare time.
I know that’s not the attitude to have, but it’s just been exhausting. That said, I think things are finally easing up a little which is giving me time to think about my next project.
I’ve decided to work on a new idea that’s been floating around in my head rather than the other story I got part of the way through before stopping to write Badlands and The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior.
It’s still a little too early in the game to give away too much, other than to say it may make me a target for religious nut-bags. It’s a humorous tale of God and the Devil, Christ and few other family members and the havoc they cause.
Other than that I’ve been spending a lot of time over on Reddit as a way of not doing any writing. The Writing Prompts subreddit is one of my favourite places to hang out, reading all the prompt-inspired responses. I’ve posted a few of my own over the time, none that have really taken off until the one I posted the other day.
The prompt I submitted was: You accidentally summon a demon by trying to pronounce IKEA product names. I honestly didn’t expect it to get any traction, much like the ones that I posted before. But to my utter astonishment it took off, trending as high as top spot in the subreddit and garnering over 7,800 up-votes and even a gold star.
If you’ve got a bit of time, go over to Reddit and check out the awesome responses people have posted. It’s great to see how people interpret the response in different ways.
In The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior related news, it’s now been a little over a month since I released this book and I can honestly say it’s by a wide margin the best-selling book I’ve ever put out there.
It’s been snapped up by people all over the world, including countries I’ve never reached before. Sales have slowed a little since its initial release but I’m still seeing lots of people grabbing copies through Kindle Unlimited, and even the odd paperback copy being sold. Having people read and enjoy something I’ve written really makes my day.
That’s all for now. Back to
procrastinating …er… working on my next book. 🙂
This was a funny and entertaining book to read. So Gary, our “hero” of the story leads a dull life where he wants nothing more than to be a supervillain. Of course this wish is fulfilled when the magical cloak of the foremost (and newly deceased) hero of the city turns up on his doorstep.
Suddenly he gets everything he wants and becomes Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy. The tautology alone should give you an idea what this book is going to be like.
Gary Karkofsky is an ordinary guy with an ordinary life living in an extraordinary world. Supervillains, heroes, and monsters are a common part of the world he inhabits. Yet, after the death of his hometown’s resident superhero, he gains the amazing gift of the late champion’s magical cloak. Deciding he prefers to be rich rather than good, Gary embarks on a career as Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy.
But is he evil enough to be a villain in America’s most crime-ridden city?
Gary soon finds himself surrounded by a host of the worst of Falconcrest City’s toughest criminals. Supported by his long-suffering wife, his ex-girlfriend turned professional henchwoman, and a has-been evil mastermind, Gary may end up being not the hero they want but the villain they need.
Yes, I know you’re not supposed to judge books by their covers but I’m talking about my own here so I think I’m okay.
I’ve never been 100% happy with the covers of Boneyards or Badlands – the two books of the FTW series, so over the last week or so I’ve been busy reworking them into something I’m happier with.
This time I’ve tried to incorporate something that feels more like the world described in the book.
Boneyards takes place (mostly) inside the Boneyards where piles of scrap are picked over by the people living there. Check out the Boneyards page for more on this book.
I think the new cover shows this much better than the concrete wall of the previous cover. The good news out of all of this is if you previously purchased a copy with the old cover it’s now a collector’s item! 🙂
The cover of Badlands has also been updated to look more like the environment our heroines are exposed to.
The book takes place outside the walls of the city, in the baron wastelands beyond, the imagery which I’ve tried to inspire on the cover. Check out the Badlands page for more about this book.
I’ve also made the two covers similar in both colour scheme and title area to help join the two together when seen as a set.
If you’ve not yet read the series, what are you waiting for? Check out the sample of Boneyards over at Amazon!
Both books as well as the combined edition are available on Kindle Unlimited as well if you’ve got that.
Check out my Author Profile at Amazon for everything I’ve published.