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Book Review: The Walking Dead Search and Destroy

Search and Destroy (The Walking Dead #7)Search and Destroy by Jay Bonansinga

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have been enjoying this series for the most part. When the series focused on Woodbury and the rise of the Governor, it was at about the same time as I was watching the Walking Dead on TV and the Governor was the talk of the Walking Dead fandom.

The series has moved on, surprisingly not so far from Woodbury but the focus has shifted around the trials and tribulations of a woman named Lilly Caul. And it has stayed with Lilly for a while. And it’s dragging on, with no mercy, and it continues with this installment in the series.

This story took a long time to get where it had to get to and it was rather tiresome to read. I almost want to say that this is the most boring book in the whole series, in all of Walking Dead content produced anywhere, but I can’t really say that because I haven’t read it all, but I don’t think I am far off.

The long and short of this story is a mad group of mercenaries who are “working” for a crazy mad chemist kidnap all of Woodbury’s children. “Mother” Lilly is so freaking pissed off about this she goes on a murderous revenge spree in a “get the kids back at all cost” mission.

Well, after much of Lilly’s group is decimated, she’s cornered by the mercenaries, surrounded by Walkers, oh yeah and the mercenaries are all juiced on a drug called NightShade – who would have thought that major drug addiction and drug abuse still exist in the zombie apocalypse? The mercenaries capture her and her ragtag group.

The shorter version of the rest of the story is this: Lilly and Tommy Dupree find and rescue the kids, get caught, Lilly trades herself and her supposedly “pure blood” for the kid’s freedom. The mad chemist harvests Lilly’s blood for six months claiming it’s what he needs for “the cure” but during that time an incursion in the mad chemist’s compound (an abandoned hospital) takes place. Walkers overrun the entire hospital. Lilly escapes with the mad chemist. Chaos ensues. The mad chemist turns out to be exactly that, mad and delusional. He betrays Lilly and she discovers there is no cure, just one old, crazy mad motherfucker who’s going to die from an infected bite and then attack and eat Lilly to produce the “cure.” Lilly miraculously escapes this madness, finds a message Tommy left for her, heads to her old apartment in a Walker infested city and is rescued and brought back to Tommy.

Where we leave off is in a Swedish owned, huge department store that has gone untouched (not believable) for all these years post-plague. Now the conundrum is, stay in this H&M like paradise with plenty of food, water, electric, supplies, etc. or go back to Woodbury?

As is what has become traditional and commonplace in the Walking Dead universe, another group of survivors has emerged, and we are left off there, waiting to see what happens next.
The problem is I’m not sure I care what happens next. This short review of the events explains the story that was dragged out over 304 pages (at least in the Kindle edition). It was a long way to get to dodge.

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Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good LifeThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Incredibly entertaining book and actually has some useful, meaningful, deep notions about living a fuller life. I can completely subscribe to the notion that we only have a limited time in this life and the realization that one’s own death is inevitable is the key to unlock your mind to a meaningful exitance. Using that fact to come to terms with death and actually allowing yourself to live is something I can appreciate. And, yes in that limited time we only have so many fucks to give about shit, why waste your fucks on shit that you shouldn’t give a fuck about. Genius!

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Book Review of Grey by E.L. James

Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, #1)Grey by E.L. James

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Clearly, this is an unneeded book as this story has already been told and captured the attention of millions of people. However, the same curiosity that begged me to read the first book in Anastasia Steele’s viewpoint reared its head and urged me to give this one a shot.

The erotic scenes in this story are not very intriguing or vastly different from any other erotic literature. It’s not the piece that captivated me on the original version of the story and the same goes for this adaptation.

For me, the appeal of this story is in the 1st and 2nd book and it’s all about the chase. Once Anna and Christian eventually marry later in the series, the tale becomes just another love story with its plots and twists. Very uninteresting. Very vanilla.

This specific installment of book one in the series shows us most of the chase through Christian’s eyes. What do we learn about Christian from his own thoughts, words, and actions? Not much that is new, unfortunately.

He’s 27 years old.
He somehow became a billionaire young.
He was born of a crack whore who is now dead.
He has been abused physically and mentally as a child.
He has mental issues and unresolved baggage.
He was taken in by some well-to-do loving, adoptive parents.
He’s anti-social.
He’s a control freak.
He’s into the BSDM lifestyle and a Dominant mainly due to being taken advantage of as a child Submissive.
He’s a workaholic.
He’s not in touch with his own feelings but we know he falls in love with Anna.
He’s a perv (Yes, most of his thoughts revolve around sex.)

What do we learn about Christian that is somewhat new because we hear his inner voice?

His inner voice is that of a 15-year-old adolescent boy.
He uses the word “Baby” far too much.
He is fucking mental, really fucking mental.
Nothing else useful or new.

Basically, his inner voice is not believable and makes me think that James didn’t even consult with any real-life dominant men to see how they would think or react. The persona of the 27-year-old billionaire from Anna’s version of the story is pretty much shattered by Christian’s inner 15-year-old child version of the events.

Getting back to the chase. The ending of this book was the most enjoyable for me as I was most interested in the chase. My enjoyment comes from reading about all the flirtatious events and banter that lead to these two getting together. The emails back and forth are also amusing but nothing really changed with that part of the story except a bit here and there hearing Christian’s anticipation of Anna’s responses.

When Christian comes to realize why Anna leaves and it clicks in his head what he needs to do, well that’s enough for me. I’m good to end off right here knowing the rest of the story from Anna’s viewpoint.

Overall, I gave the book three stars. Two stars for the enjoyment of the chase from Christian’s perspective and one star for boldly bringing a BSDM lifestyle story mainstream as with the original books. I sincerely wonder how many people have given the Dominate/Submissive relationship a try because of these works. That would be an interesting statistic to know. And maybe how many billionaires changed the name of their helicopters to Charlie Tango.

Laters, Baby.

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Book Review: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson

Phasma (Star Wars)Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting tale on the Origins of Phasma. She came from a dying planet and basically betrays everyone she’s ever loved to get inducted as a Stormtrooper in the First Order. Her need to advance and rise above everyone else is portrayed as a Machiavellian concept, specifically “the end justifies the means” and we see exactly how ruthless Phasma is.

One thing that was a bit disappointing with the book is that it was mainly told as a flashback story in what I imagine is third person present tense verse and was a bit peculiar to read at first.

The story unfolds through the eyes of a Resistance member, Vi Moradi. After a brief conversation and new orders of a short mission from General Leia Organa, Vi speeds off in hyperspace to spy on some First Order ships.

Vi’s ship is quickly captured by a tractor beam from a First Order ship called the Absolution. Vi is removed from her ship and detained by the mysterious red armored Stormtrooper, Cardinal.

Cardinal brings Vi to the deepest recesses of the Absolution without orders or permission, goes rogue, interrogates and tortures Vi into giving him information that will reveal some weakness or incriminating evidence that Phasma is not all that she appears to be.

Cardinal has some personal beef with Phasma and feels she is replacing him and making him obsolete. Cardinal was recruited to the First Order by Brendol Hux (father of Armitage Hux) and rose through the ranks of the First Order. Starting out as just another Stormtrooper, Cardinal became a Captain and was given special red Stormtrooper armor to raise his status higher than all the rest of the Stormtroopers.

Cardinal also ran the Stormtrooper training program for all the young children the First Order “rescues” and recruits. When these Stormtroopers are old enough, they are transferred to Phasma’s training program to turn these soldiers into true killers, something Phasma excels at.

Most of the book covers Cardinal’s interrogation of Vi. Vi tells Cardinal the story of Phasma, starting some 10 years ago on Phasma’s home planet of Parnassos. This is the main setting of the book. It covers events that show us how Phasma as a child betrayed her parents and her tribe. In secret she made some pact with the Scyre people to defeat her tribe and kill her parents all so that she could join the ranks of the Scyre.

In doing this, she maimed her brother and shoved him off a precipice where he would be injured but not killed. Phasma must have perceived some value in Keldo because he is the only one she sacrificed when she betrayed her people. Phasma sides with the Scyre people and eventually her and Keldo rise to co-lead the Scyre.

Vi also tells Cardinal how the Scyre people, including Phasma witness a shooting star falling from the sky. This is Brendol Hux’s ship crash landing on Parnassos. This event leads to a split in leadership in the Scyre between Phasma and Keldo, where Phasma branches off with a small contingent of her people to pursue the ship.

These events lead up to Phasma meeting Brendol Hux and the plot then turns toward a race for the different Scyre and other factions on Parnassos to get to Brendol’s ship. Phasma’s goal is to get off world. The other factions see the ship as a way to get supplies and continue their fruitless existence on their dying planet.

After many more story elements, everything leads up to a battle at the crash site of Brendol’s ship. (Which, incidentally happens to be Palpatine’s old Naboo Cruiser). In the ensuing events, we learn how ultimately Phasma betrays the Scyre people too, murdering her brother Keldo and leaving the planet to start a new life in the First Order with Brendol Hux as her benefactor.

The events that shape Phasma into what she becomes in the First Order are somewhat long and drawn out in the story, but it does it in a way that makes you either love or hate Phasma in the end.

The story eventually comes back to the present where we see Cardinal confront Armitage Hux and eventually Phasma.

The story leaves some loose ends, so I’m curious to hear about the fate of certain characters, including Cardinal.

Overall this was a fine Star Wars story. If you are into origin stories and you really like the character Phasma, then this book is one you must read.

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Book Review: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White HouseFire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Meh. At the very least it’s an entertaining book.

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Book Review: Star Wars Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp

Lords of the SithLords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars!

Lords of the Sith is an excellent place to learn more of the relationship between Darth Vader and The Emperor. The setting and time-line of the story makes me feel like I just left the theater in 1977 on a geek-high from watching Star Wars and picks up where the original tale left off. Seeds of Rebellion are growing with Cham and Isval leading the Free Ryloth movement and striking a blow to the Empire! A downed Star Destroyer, a crash landing for Darth Vader and The Emperor which places them in the middle of the Ryloth wilds which happens to be full of blaster-resistant fierce Lyleks on the hunt! And not to mention the Ryloth Rebels, lead by Cham and Isval,  hot on the heels of Vader and The Emperor. Who’s hunting who? It was great fun reading more Canon about that Galaxy far, far away! I give it 5 stars and declare it a must read for any Star Wars Fan!

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Book Review: A Clash of Honor by Morgan Rice

A Clash of Honor (The Sorcerer's Ring, #4)A Clash of Honor by Morgan Rice

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What can I say…I want to love this series, after all it has all the ingredients and makings of an epic fantasy; magic, swords, kings, dragons and all that sort of stuff that I love. However, it’s likable at best, not great, and not fantastic. This is probably an example of having good ideas but having poor execution. Thor and Gwen, Thor’s Legion Brothers, Erik and so on and so on all have flaws in execution. There is a ton of repetition in this book too, not only in use of the same words, but the same actions (as previously mentioned in a ton of prior reviews) from characters kissing style (OMG! every kiss was “held for a long time”) to Thor’s legion brothers getting into insane situations that have no possible basis in reality of actually coming out in a positive way, to always having the “legion brothers who Thor did not know” in his band getting killed or injured in an outing. Ugh! It’s so frustrating and distracting. The scene where Erik “solo” infiltrates a castle, kills the Lord and all the attackers he encounters, throwing knives, axes, short spears, every shot hitting on mark and perfectly until he rescues his lady love..all great concepts..but no way in hell is it even plausible to think that they way that scene was executed, that Erik stood a chance in succeeding as he ultimately did. Thor and Gwen “Held the kiss for a long time” was how they kissed every time! Thor beaten down, attacked, facing ENTIRE enemy armies (not once, but TWICE), but suddenly manifesting a new power and saving himself and his close special legion friends (while the “add-on legion friends” all perish and die. Then on to having Thor being saved by Gwen whose “aim is true” only after picking up a bow and arrow for only a few minutes since not practicing archery since she was a child. There are just tons of examples of conflict being resolved where things work out perfectly. Yes, there is conflict and resolution, but when it’s predictable, its plainly obvious and when it’s not predictable, it’s plainly implausible. Like when the two legion boys (yes, boys, teens) went up the sides of a canyon and both were perfectly able to move boulders (without any special talents or strength) and cause an avalanche at just the right time to wipe out almost an army of giant-size humanoids, on horse back. It could be comical in a sense, but no, it’s not meant to. Hey who am I to criticize like this? I’ve never written a full length book, let alone an entire series spanning over seventeen volumes (all self-published I believe) but I think this might be the first epic fantasy series that I just don’t care to finish and not because I don’t like it (the story, the basic plot and fantasy aspects), but because it’s down right annoying to read with all the issues mentioned above. Ugh!!!!!

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