Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Audiobook Review - Medieval Myths & Mysteries by Dorsey Armstrong

 
I love history. I love mythology and folk tales. I love learning new things. And I love to find books that bring all of these interests together

Medieval Myths & Mysteries by Dorsey Armstrong is a series of lectures about British history, King Arthur, Robin Hood, mythical creatures, and their connections. It is available as an audio book from Audible.

The Good


Lots of Information Packed into a Brief Read. Reading the description and seeing the runtime of this audio book, I wasn't expecting all that much. Boy was I wrong! This book covers so many topics and covers it in an amazing amount of depth and detail I couldn't stop listening.

Conversational Tone. While this book is very scholarly and informative from a content point of view, the presentation feels like a casual conversation with a friend. It's very easy to follow and understand, and very enjoyable.

Relevant Information. I really appreciated how the author picked the most interesting topics to cover and answered common questions that haven't been satisfactorily answered.

The Bad


...

What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


Medieval Myths & Mysteries by Dorsey Armstrong is a fascinating series of lectures about British history, King Arthur, Robin Hood, the Holy Grail, mythical creatures, and the connections between them. This book covers so many topics and covers it in a surprising amount of depth. While this book is very scholarly and informative from a content point of view, the presentation feels like a casual conversation with a friend. It's very easy to follow and understand, and very enjoyable. I highly recommend this audio book and give it 5 out of 5 eReaders.


    

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Audiobook Review - Listen To The Signal: Short Stories Volume 1 by

I love short stories and radio dramas! And I love stories that focus on concepts. And I love original stories that take a different angle on stories.

Listen To The Signal: Short Stories Volume 1 by Rob Dircks is a science fiction short story anthology. It is available as an eBook, audio book, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good




Today I Invented Time Travel. 3.5/5 This was a fun idea that needed more development.

End Game. 5/5 Video game addiction and its effects on society. Even without this twist, the story is really entertaining and fun.

November 8, 2016. 4/5 A look at people's inherent worth vs. the perception of their worth.


Horatio Breathed His Last. 4/5 An author and his creator. A story I've heard before, but well told.

Purgatory. 5/5 Suicide and alien abductions that don't go how you think they'll go.

Out of the Blue. 4/5 Reality is a giant computer simulation which explains why things that have happen happened.


Rose. 2/5 Miracle plant that can bring the dead back to life and a disappointing romance.

Red Parka. 4.5/5 A new take on psychics that can see the future. Fun story.

Mister Personality. 4/5 This is a story about AI. It takes a different twist on what it means to be human.

Christmas in Silver Peak. 4/5 This is a first contact story at Christmas. While the ending isn't original, I didn't expect that twist with this particular story.

The Bad


DakĊ. 1/5 One person looks for a deceased loved one. The "twist" is obvious and been done too often.

Quick Fix. 2/5 Science opera engineering that had potential but didn't go far enough with it.

Tick Tick Tick. 2/5 Man gets a tick which transform him. Okay, unoriginal, and doesn't really go anywhere.

Bloop. 2/5 An alien contact gone wrong, almost as wrong as this story went. Clever approach.

Their DNA Was No Longer the Same. 2/5 This is an exploration of a recent discovery about time in space changing DNA.

The Last One. 2/5 The apocalypse and inborn talent that goes nowhere interesting.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I loved the originality of the stories, but I wish they had been more developed and thought out.

Overall


Listen To The Signal: Short Stories Volume 1 by Rob Dircks is a great science fiction short story anthology. I loved the originality of the stories, but I wish they had been more developed and thought out. This collection has more good than bad and covers a wide range of science fiction and science fantasy with several commenting on society. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


     

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Friday, April 17, 2020

Book Review - The Unknown by Brett Battles (Jonathan Quinn, Book 14)

I accidentally stumbled upon the Jonathan Quinn series and have loved each and every one of them. The past few books seemed to have lost a little magic with so many major characters having been killed in previous books, that I was afraid the series was on an unchangeable path downward. Then the 14th book was published.

The Unknown (Jonathan Quinn, Book 14) by Brett Battles is a spy thriller. It is available as an eBook, audio book, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Shift of Direction. The main ideas of this series is Jonathan Quinn is hired to clean up bodies after an assassination. That was interesting for about three books, and then the author realized he needed to go in a different direction. The last few books have focused on dealing with the aftermath of several main characters dying. While those deaths made for shocking endings, the series didn't seem to know where to go from there. But this book put it back on a great path with a different type of mission that fits in the world Brett Battles created.

Story. The story is solid. The characters are well developed. The adventure is well constructed. Nothing felt like it was coming out of left field or was a cheat. It is well paced and held my attention the whole time. I'm excited to read the next book.

Action. The action was really exciting and didn't feel like a repeat of what's come before.

SciFi Element. These stories are fairly grounded and realistic. The scifi element introduced is something very far into the future, and yet the way it was introduced and handled made it feel like it fit.

The Bad


...

What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


The Unknown (Jonathan Quinn, Book 14) by Brett Battles is a spy thriller that pulls you in from the first page and doesn't let go until the last. All my favorite characters (minus the ones who've died in previous books) were back as was The Office, the black ops government agency involved in questionable cloak and dagger required for every spy thriller. The action is exciting, the scifi element was used in a believable way for this otherwise realistic world, and the story was very enjoyable and well structured. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 eReaders.


     

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Monday, April 6, 2020

Audible Original Review - The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel by Erin Macdonald

One of the many fun things about science fiction is its ability to explore and inspire. So many of the common, everyday technologies we use today were dreamt of and explored in science fiction of the past.

The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel by Erin Macdonald is a look at the science behind popular science fiction. It is available as an Audible exclusive Audiobook and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good


Explanations. The author does a great job breaking down concepts in an understandable way without sacrificing the science.

Scope. This book covers some of the more useful and popular subjects of science fiction such as transporters, warp drive, and time travel. She uses more up-to-date scientific theories than most books on this topic and covers several experiments that have actually been performed that may lead to making this science fiction science reality.

The Bad


...

What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel by Erin Macdonald is a great look at the science behind science fiction: what fits current theories and what doesn't; where science is in its progress to achieve science fiction dreams; and what science fiction shows provide the best examples of new and old theories. The author also narrates this book and does a really good job. She's fun to listen to and breaks down concepts in an understandable way without sacrificing the science. She uses more up-to-date scientific theories than most books on this topic and covers several experiments that have actually been performed that may lead to making this science fiction science reality. I highly recommend this audiobook and give it 5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Book Review - Good Intentions by J. D. Trafford

While I'm not a fan of legal shows and movies, I really enjoy legal thriller books. Most are about lawyers and their criminal cases. To read one about a judge and family law was refreshing.

Good Intentions by J. D. Trafford is a legal thriller about a judge and family law. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Concept. The idea of exploring family law and the way it is handled in the courts is something not usually done in fiction without a lot of heavy handiness. This book treated it as a fact of life acknowledging both good and bad and not trying to force a certain position down the readers' throats. Also dealing with it from a judge's perspective and the twist about innocence and guilt made for a story I haven't read or heard a dozen times.

Story. The story is very solid. The characters are well developed. The mystery is well constructed. Nothing felt like it was coming out of left field or was a cheat. It is well paced and held my attention the whole time. I'm excited to read more by this author.

Twists. This book took several twists I wasn't expecting but that made perfect sense. It was nice not knowing the ending of the book before I even reached the middle.

The Bad

Consequences. The author made several unusual choices about plot points taking unexpected turns, people not being as clear cut as TV tends to make them, and being more honest about situations, that the resolution at the very end where the judge learns the consequences of his actions seemed untrue to the tone of the rest of the book.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish the very end where the judge learns the consequences for his actions was handled with as much thought and realism as the rest of the story.

Overall


Good Intentions by J. D. Trafford is a legal thriller about a judge and family law, something really unusual for a legal thriller. The story is very solid. The characters are well developed. The mystery is well constructed. Nothing feels like it was coming out of left field or is a cheat. It is well paced and held my attention the whole time. This book took several twists I wasn't expecting but that made perfect sense. It was nice not knowing the ending of the book before I even reached the middle.
I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


   

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Monday, March 30, 2020

Audible Original Review - Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw

I love science fiction, but it's really hard to find something you haven't read a dozen times before.

Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw is a science fiction, space opera, comedy about how starship pilots deal with the introduction of new technology and find a new future for themselves. It is available as an Audible exclusive Audiobook and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good


Concept & Execution. While the disruption of technology has been explored in many fiction and non-fiction books, it's rarely been explored so personally and without a political agenda.

Comedy. This is a comedy more in tone than laugh-out-loud jokes. It takes itself very seriously, and the characters face serious situations with consequences, but there is a tone of humor that makes this story really enjoyable.

The Bad


Convenient Resolutions. All the problems in this story are resolved quite easily and cleanly. While that fits with the humorous tone of the book, it doesn't fit with the realistic world with realistic consequences the author has established.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


The world set-up was great, but the author didn't always follow thru in the story.

Overall


Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw is a fun science fiction space opera comedy. While the disruption of technology has been explored in many fiction and non-fiction books, it's rarely been explored so personally and without a political agenda. This is a comedy more in tone than laugh-out-loud jokes. It takes itself very seriously, and the characters face serious situations with consequences, but there is a tone of humor that makes this story really enjoyable. I recommend this audiobook and give it 4 out of 5 eReaders.


  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/


Friday, March 27, 2020

Comic Book Review - Robin 80th Anniversary 100-page Spectacular

I've been a fan of Robin since I first saw him star with Batman in their Saturday Morning Cartoon adventures. I collected the issues with Tim Drake becoming the third Robin and followed his three mini-series and solo series for several years. And now he's 80. He still looks like he's in his 20s. Why can't I age as well?

Robin 80th Anniversary 100-page Spectacular is a one-shot comic featuring several Robins over the years with stories by many different teams. It is available as a comic with several variant covers and as an eBook. It is appropriate for most ages.

The Good


A Little Nudge. This story explores Robin as he literally leaves the nest of Wayne Manor to go out on his own. Marv Wolfman and Tom Grummett write and draw a very classic tale in a very classic style. There's nothing stand out here as it plays out exactly as you expect it too, but for those who like their classic Robin, this is your cup of tea.

Aftershocks. This story is a brief incident during the Cataclysm story line that preceded No Man's Land. Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel write and draw like they're still on the original Nightwing title in 90s, so for those who were reading comics then, this will be a nice trip back to the past.

Team Building. This story features Nightwing leading The Titains fighting bad guys and makes a pretty obvious statement about team building and leadership. The art is very stiff.

The Lesson Plan. This story features Dick Grayson as Agent 37 during his Grayson faze. It's basically a long fight scene where Dick shares the lessons he learned from Bruce with his newest partner. The contrast and parallels are well done. The art is not the best.
 
More Time. This story features Jason Todd as Red Hood remembering a time when he was Robin and finishes something he started back then. The art is scratchy, but it fits the tone of the story.

Extra Credit. This story features Tim Drake in High School speaking with a guidance counselor about his future while contrasting it with his nighttime activities as Robin. This was my favorite story, because it does the best job of getting inside Robin's head and exploring him as a character in an everyday situation. The art was not my favorite style, but well done.

My Best Friend. This story features Damian writing a report about his friendship with Superman's son. The art and fight scene that make up the story are very weak and uninspired, but the narration and exploration of the Super Sons' friendship is really good and what saves this yarn.

The Bad


Boy Wonders. This story takes place in the present and features Tim Drake as Red Robin talking to each of the other past and current Robins for advice about what path his live should take. While the idea was good, the art and execution were very poor.

Fitting In. This story features Stephanie Brown, the least interesting of the Robins and is the weakest of the stories in concept, art, and storytelling. It basically shows her struggles to fit in as Robin and the problems she has with the suit and the legacy. Very prosaic, obvious, and disappointing.

Bat and Mouse. This story features Damian Wayne, Batman's son. The story basically shows the conflict between father and son and that there are secrets between the two. The art is weak. The writing tries too hard. The story doesn't succeed very well.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


Where was Carrie, the Robin from Dark Knight?

Overall


Robin 80th Anniversary 100-page Spectacular collects several stories from several different teams about several different Robins over the years. Being an anthology, there are some real gems and a few misses. The best stories are the ones that explore Robin as a person in an everyday situation. The art isn't the best, but there are a few stories that shine. I  recommend this book and give it 4 out of 5 eReaders.


   

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/