(I'm dusting off and resurrecting the ol' "INCOMING" baby...)
Forget it! I'm through with this!
The Wreckers a book with an old timey feel about ship-wr (I'm dusting off and resurrecting the ol' "INCOMING" baby...)
Forget it! I'm through with this!
The Wreckers a book with an old timey feel about ship-wrecking on the coast of England should be right up my alley, and maybe it would've been, but at only about a quarter in, I'm giving it up. I found Iain Lawrence's book amongst the audiobook shelves at my local library and the summary made me think it could provide a pleasant diversion while I was doing yard work or what have you. Oh the promise was there.
But then Ron Keith, the narrator, opened his stupid mouth. I swear this chuckle monkey can't keep a straight face. The dude is reading about a shipwreck and dead bodies floating in the surf and it sounds like he's smiling the whole time. I can actually hear a grin. Seriously, he sounds too damn happy to be reading somber stuff. I know this book is meant for a younger audience. It has a Treasure Island feel to it. Nonetheless, when a freakin' serious scene comes along, Mr. Narrator Ass Man, try to sound a little less like Santy Fuckin' Claus distributing joy to the fucking world!!!
I hate giving up on books, but I knew this one would grate on me the whole way through, so it had to go. Better that than make myself miserable and, by proxy, my wife. She hates it when I force myself to read annoying shit.
Rating: I'm not rating this one, because I didn't finish it and besides, it wouldn't be fair to Lawrence. Lord knows, he's not to blame for the bloody awful narration!...more
In Critical Failures a group of friends meet for a little role playing, inviting a stranger to play with them. The stranger turns out to be strange inIn Critical Failures a group of friends meet for a little role playing, inviting a stranger to play with them. The stranger turns out to be strange indeed. Soon their fantasy game becomes very real.
This is almost the exact same premise as the '80s tv show Dungeons & Dragons, wherein some kids get swooped up into the game and must fend for their lives. More originality would've been nice, but as long as there's excitement and fun in the adventure that's all that matters. Oh, I suppose that since this is a comedy, it's also important that this be funny. Let's see how it pans out...
The Adventure Critical Failures could've been a little more adventurous. The characters didn't get very far and spent much of their time jailed. Still, Bevan squeezed in some low-level fighting in keeping with the way a good old D&D game campaign usually begins. He also kept up the action about as much as he could. After all, wimpy beginners can't be slaying dragons and conquering hordes. There's lots of fun for old school gamers. I got a few nostalgic chuckles as Bevan walked me down memory lane. As a writer he smartly added in a couple characters who were new to it all, so that things could be explained and elementary mistakes could be made that might heighten the tension or hilarity, which brings me to...
The Humor I'm a 12 year-old-boy trapped in a middle-aged man's body [insert "insert" jokes here], so I enjoyed the potty humor...well, at least to a point. I need variety too and there's too much reliance on "your mom" jokes to provide comic relief. It's no relief if it's repeated so often that the humor is drained out of it. But to be fair, this book is meant to be representative of some immature, socially abhorrent young men playing a role playing game. When I played D&D, this is pretty much what it was like. It weren't pretty.
Overall, Bevan did a decent job combining adventure and humor in this fantasy setting. Slaying things and making it funny can't be easy, so I give him props for that.
As a novel for fans of fantasy, who are non-role-players, well, I guess they'd find some enjoyment in Critical Failures. However, all others should steer clear of this one. It's not meant for you, and the author's awkward phrasings and occasionally stilted dialogue would only grate upon your brain, especially if it wasn't receiving the influx of pleasure the rest of us are getting from this otherwise admirable attempt at a mock up of the role playing experience. ...more
*** Images follow which are not safe for the kiddies and work-place viewing! ***
Japanese artist Junko Mizuno creates some psychedelic art that is oft*** Images follow which are not safe for the kiddies and work-place viewing! ***
Japanese artist Junko Mizuno creates some psychedelic art that is often bizarre...
And sometimes a little gross...
The most common subject is a young woman, often partially disrobed, commonly with an intensely cute and petite beastie of some sort, and almost always with massive amounts of hair...
My wife, fresh from a year of teaching English in Japan, indoctrinated me into current Japanese youth culture. I bought into it with a hipster's irony, but eventually I found that I was actually falling in love with some of its aspects. Anime and manga have been with us a while now, but Japanese comic art has been a staple of mainstream illustration and animation for decades. Those old holiday cartoons and the Rankin Bass versions of The Hobbit and Return of the King that I've adored since I was about 5 years-old were all drawn by Japanese artists. So, a seed had already been sewn within me, it just took a guiding hand to lead me back to the new Japanese art-world order.
While being no expert on that subject, I nonetheless feel that Mizuno has contributed something with some importance to the current movement. Her use of color catches the eye, the dreamy quality of the images mesmerizes, and just as you begin to think this is all nothing but nonsensical imagery, something pops (or poops) out at you and, in the very least, raises a smile upon the viewer's absorbed face.
Bought this years ago at a book signing in Hollywood. Nearly silent, bobble-headed Mizuno sat at a table signaturing away with her gaze perpetually lowered. I said something like "Love your stuff. Thank you!" but what I meant to say was "I want to put you on my keychain and take you home with me!".... I think that's why she was avoiding eye-contact with us monstrous pail-skins, fearing the gigantic blue-eyed devils would kidnap her for trinket usage. The following picture of Mizuno (middle) displays her wee-ness...HA! "wee-ness". Why do I feel like she'd be happy to hear someone said she possessed a wee-ness?
And were they secrets in the first place? I guess "technically," but if we're being honest, come on, some of this stuWell, they ain't secrets no more!
And were they secrets in the first place? I guess "technically," but if we're being honest, come on, some of this stuff is just silly. Kessler tosses the FBI some grapefruits right up front in this one, giving the reader little vignettes of instances where the Bureau came away with mud on their face. It's like viewing their blooper reel: Agents foiled by cats and in-and-out jobs gone haywire by zany hijinks. *cue the laugh track!* I didn't have much hope for this one right off the bat.
But eventually it comes around. Kessler hits his stride when he starts in on the pros and cons of each of the Bureau's Directors: Hoover's suspicious denial of the mafia's existence; Freeh's technophobia; Sessions allowing his wife and her friends complete security clearance and access within FBI Headquarters. Many interesting how-to tidbits regarding their techniques are told via entertaining anecdotes. Kessler gives a rundown of how the FBI responded to major national events (Waco, 9/11, etc), not allows showing them in a positive light.
Overall though, The Secrets of the FBI maintains a balance, reporting equally on the good and bad of the FBI's checkered past, and it does so in an engaging manner that may not be as exciting or biting as some wish it to be. However, for those of us with a passing interest, it's a good read for sure!
But if you read one of Robert HoWhen you think of Conan you think of this...
Then you think of the screaming barbarian...
Whoops, sorry, I meant this...
But if you read one of Robert Howard's original Conan the Barbarian stories what you get is something that should be titled Conan the Part-Time Barbarian, Part-Time Diplomat, because there is WAY more talk and politics than expected.
What did I expect? I thought I'd get more fighting, more monsters and just more action in general. What I got was a whole lotta this *makes talking motion with hand*.
I expected bad writing and I got some of that. In fact, it was laughingly bad in places. However, on the whole, it wasn't bad as I feared. And I have to hand it to Howard, who may not go down in the annals as the best historical fiction writer of all time, but it's obvious he did do some research and included some nice little details about mythology, ancient tribes, past strategical war practices, and other old timey crap.
In The Hour of the Dragon (Spoiler/Warning-->) (view spoiler)[There's no goddamned dragon in this (hide spoiler)] Conan is pitted against a trio of power-hungry baddies who elicit the help of an evil sorcerer from the past in order to take over the land. Conan must fight to regain his kingdom.
Here's something I didn't expect: a lot of world-building by Howard. He names this and that, populating the aforementioned "land" with kingdoms and peoples, valleys and rivers, cities and castles, and yet, it somehow all feels false, tossed off somehow. I wasn't buying into it.
Because so much time is wasted with what feels like inconsequential world-building, in exposition, with characters talking about so-and-so and whosits, the story and action bogs down. I was able and willing to put this book down numerous times in order to take up others. That's not a good sign. I'm giving this 3 stars, because I didn't hate it. I just felt let down by it. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more