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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: 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: 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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Book Review: Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan

Lord of Chaos
Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So when I did research on the Wheel of Time I had expected for the story to slow down based off other readers comments. I mentally prepared for the slowdown. But even that is tough to deal with. I really, really love this story as it began in the first few books. I like the character development too, some characters have a lot of depth and the inter-relationships are fascinating. The world building is superb, rich, well described and triggers your imagination. All well and good. Here is where it’s stressing me out.

There is infinite marching. Right from the start in the Two Rivers in book one to even now on book six. Everyone is marching somewhere and it takes bloody long to get there. Blood and bloody ashes. And bloody ashes Light illumine the Lord Dragon the Lord Dragon this and the Lord Dragon that and Nynaeve is tugging on her braid and Mat is marching again or Rand is marching again and Egwene and all of the Aes Sedai are condescending toward men mostly Rand and no one wants to work together and some other army or group is marching form place to place and Nynaeve is tugging on her braid and folding her arms under her breasts and blood and bloody ashes Light illumine the Lord Dragon Nynaeve is tugging her braid and blah blah blah.

What I am showing here is a rather poor attempt and illustrating the slowness and repetition of this part of the series. The story moves along at a snails pace. Jordan, may he rest in piece, keeps repeating sections in the text as if I never read any of the prior books and in some cases as if I never read some of the prior chapters. The tension built between the characters is very slow. It is somewhat effective as of course I still want to read on and read the next chapter and the next book, but some of character, setting and storyline minutiae is too much for my brain to care and in come cases pay attention what I am reading.

So I endure, hoping to find the real meat and potatoes that are in this Wheel of Time stew. Please, tell me it gets better in book 7 or 8. I’ve invested so much time thus far, and I really want to see this one to the end. I am told that struggling through the middle of this series is worth it and I hope that the last few Jordan books get better and I have read that Brandon Sanderson takes the lead post-Jordan’s death and does supreme justice to the body of work and finishes off in a huge way that the fan base cheers him for, I just hope I can make it through the ride.

Well I didn’t really want to come off negative. I really do love the Wheel of Time Series and I absolutely admire and appreciate the work that Robert Jordan put into this and also what Brandon Sanderson did with the finish. I just want to get past the middle, and more to the end without walking in a snail’s shoe.

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Addendum to my review; – A blog reader (atoasttodragons) reminded me of the end of the book so I am updating my review to include my insight on the last chapter…. Thank you atoasttodragons!!

Chapter 55 ( The Last Chapter ) is the major battle scene for the book and in my humble opinion makes up for the “slowness” of the chapters 1-54. The battle between the Tower Aes Sedai, The Shaido, The Asha’man and the Salidar Aes Sedai is epic. Mazrim Taim really save’s Rand’s ass and I can’t wait to see how this character interaction builds in the coming books. I was in awe of the Asha’man. It was very satisfying. It was especially satisfying to see the male wielder’s of the true source kick some Aes Sedai ass. Throughout the entire series, there is a sense of female superiority from the Aes Sedai, to an extreme at some points. It was nice to see some balance come to the equation (Yin/Yang) – not that I think that the male half should dominate or anything, but that there should be more of an equality. Seeing  the nine Aes Sedai from Saldaea swearing fealty and bending the knee to the Dragon Reborn was epic in my opinion!

Overall, from when you stick with this one from start to finish, it was just another masterful installment of adventures in the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan .


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Book Review: Bone Dressing

Bone Dressing
Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michelle Brooks has created an interesting, fantastical and mysterious world in Bone Dressing, centered on a young lady named Syd Roberdeau. Syd, just shy of 18, has already received some pretty hard knocks out of life for someone so young. It’s turned her into a troubled teen, trying to discover who and what she is to become in this world. The book starts off inside Syd’s head and we begin to understand her character—she’s quite a firecracker! Syd is amazingly smart, witty, loud spoken and free with the mouth. Syd tells it like it is, she has strong character and isn’t afraid to show it.

Syd, lives at home with her step-parents—or at least until her 18th birthday. She has plans to be on her own. Although, those plans come a bit sooner than later, as the troubled teen flees from her house after getting grounded, and not liking that one damn bit! Setting her school on fire also has a bit to do with it too! Syd finds herself in the place where she feels most at home, where she actually spends most of her time—the cemetery.

In the cemetery she meets a mysterious trio, Sarah, a “young-old” little girl, who speaks like a “curly sue”, but has the wisdom of ages! Syd also encounters TJ, a black panther with special powers to help Syd’s soul occupy the past lives of the dead who inhabit the cemetery. Then there is Remy, a.k.a. Beau—a handsome young man who is also a stabilizing force for Syd.

After the troubles at school, Syd begins to understand a little more about the trio she met in the cemetery. Syd slowly discovers her new friends can help her correct the wrongs of her past lives. TJ’s purpose is to temporarily transfer Syd’s soul to those corpses in the cemetery, where Syd can re-animate these bodies, “dressing in their bones” and right the wrongs of these past lives. As if Syd did not have enough to worry about! Beau plays a role similar to a guardian angel for Syd and he is able to calm her, protect her, and bring her to her senses when she’s over the edge. And little Sarah is on a diplomatic mission to keep the peace between all of them.

Syd’s first “bone dressing” experience transforms this book from a story about strange paranormal forces into a wonderful love story about two soul mates. The story inside the first corpse Syd re-animates is incredible, highly visual and inspiring. It’s a tale about childhood love growing into a soul mate connection with opposing forces trying to thwart this young couple’s happiness. Mix that in with passion, love, lust, devotion and…shape-shifting and what you have is one captivating, young adult, paranormal, and romantic story!

Once Syd met the trio of Beau, Sarah and TJ, I was unable to put this book down until I finished. Ms. Brooks is hard at work on the second installment in the series, The Dreaming, and I for one am counting the days down until her release date! If you are a fan of young adult, romance and paranormal genre’s I highly recommend this series. I honestly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the rest of the series. I rate this one a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

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Michelle I Brooks

Michelle I Brooks


Michelle I. Brooks  – her web site is located here:
Bone Dressing is available on Amazon.com or Smashwords
Michelle is also listed as a goodreads author!


Teaser about the next book in the Bone Dressing Series– The Dreaming

“As Syd faces the dangerous mysteries waiting for her in the mistakes of her past, she must leave the comforts of her world behind her in book two, Bone Dressing: The Dreaming. The time for best friends and midnight escapes to her hiding place, the cemetery she calls home, is over. Now she must find a way to embrace her destiny, her future … and her past.”

Read more about The Dreaming on Michelle’s website…also take a peek at an excerpt from the book as well!

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Book Review: Devil’s Kiss

Devil's Kiss
Devil’s Kiss by Zoe Archer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raising the Devil, making a pact, getting a gift in the form of a power and dealing with the consequences of it, and then there is the relationship with Zora and Whit, the primary heroine/hero. It is all building up to a steamy romance and an epic battle resulting in eternal damnation or salvation complete with ghosts, demons and hellish, devilish creatures. It’s a classic good/light vs evil/dark battle! It’s a great story and I think you’ll enjoy it.

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