Sci-Fi & Scary

Just a girl who reads and reviews science fiction and horror novels. Reviews are flavored with snark, bawdy humor, and the occasional firm dressing down over bad writing.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) Review

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse) (Volume 1) - Dennis E. Taylor

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is a book that’s hard to describe.  Bob is an interesting character in that he seems like a nobody. I don’t mean that in a bad way. He’s just ‘that guy’. Yes, he got rich by selling off his software company, but he doesn’t even really have time to enjoy it before crap starts. He’s a snarky atheist nerd whom you probably wouldn’t look twice at on the street. But he’s a good guy. Amusing in that way that makes you regret overlooking him initially. I hesitated on getting this book for a while. The synopsis didn’t really catch my attention, and the cover was your basic science fiction one. Really, the only reason I got it was because Ray Porter narrated it.

 

The tone of We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is overall light, but this is not necessarily a light book. The author uses Bob’s predicament to examine ever-green topics in the world of science fiction. What defines life? Is Bob still ‘human’? What might life look like if we did indeed find it somewhere? What might the habitable planets out there be like? Why can’t we all just flippin’ get along?? And how is this cloning thing going to work out? Can you really clone everything that makes a person a person? Bob’s point of view is a unique one, and watching him puzzle his way through many of these questions is truly fascinating. I don’t think the synopsis does it justice, at all. I mean, in the vaguest of terms, that’s what the book is about, yes. But…not really.

 

If you are religiously inclined, you need to stay away from We Are Legion (We Are Bob). While it’s not as full of derision as some other books I’ve read Lately, it’s not religion-friendly at all. Fun will be poked at beliefs. I thought it was absolutely hilarious, of course, even as I shuddered because it seemed disturbingly realistic. Religion has been the cause of way too much fighting throughout the ages, and some of the politics are a believable extrapolation of what might happen if religion gained a foothold in the United States government. With the current state of politics in America, it’s enough to make you want to duck and cover.

 

I debated over this but eventually decided that We Are Legion (We Are Bob) qualifies as a hard science fiction book. From frame rates to the velocities of ship busters, it’s all thought out and included. It’s not even close to being on the info-dump / wall-of-impenetrable-text level, though, so no worries if you’re the type of reader that’s a bit intimidated by that thing. The only reason I even debated over it is because the science is worked so well into the fiction that it never really seemed to be something that I consciously recognized. It was all just a good part of the story.

 

Overall, We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is a great read made even better by the fantastic narration I’ve come to expect from Ray Porter. If you can get the book in this form, I highly recommend you do so. I’m definitely eagerly awaiting the release of the next book from Dennis E. Taylor.

Source: http://www.scifiandscary.com/we-are-legion-review

Unexpected Graphic Sex in Books

Mini-rant that I won't post on my site:

 

I just finished this book - Mutationem - well, by finished I mean, *I* was finished with the book, even if it wasn't finished.

 

I DNF'ed at 57% for a variety of reasons.

 

One of those reasons was the XXX adult sex in it. I mean, if you Goodreads the cover and description for Mutationem, you are given NO indication that this book is going to have a ridiculous amount over-the-top sex scenes in it. (The fact that they're lesbian sex scenes might make it even worse for some people. I didn't care.)

 

I swear I think the author put in this one character JUST for the chance to have a plethora of graphic sex scenes in it.

 

This bugged the crap out of me!

 

I don't mind reading erotica. One of the few anthologies I own is a best erotica anthology... but I DO mind when graphic sex pops up in books multiple times with no indication at all that it is that type of book.

 

Argh.

 

 

Just One Damned Thing After Another Review

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's) - Jodi Taylor

Just One Damned Thing After Another is the first book in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor.  It is AWESOME. There’s no other word I can think of to describe it. This book had me laughing so hard at various points that my sides hurt. Of course, laughter wasn’t the only strong emotion it evoked in me. It is not an easy book to describe. Taylor has a talent for sending you into hysterics one minute, and then making you catch your breath and wince in the next. The characters are memorable, something is always happening, and you never know what you’re going to read/hear next.

 

The main character, Max, describes herself at one point as “a small grey ginger sack”. She’s a bit on the curvy side, a lot on the mouthy side, and absolutely brilliant. She’s also a klutz with an absolute inability to hold her alcohol, and aware that she’s not very self-aware. She’s bold and rowdy and pulls some bafflingly stupid crap at times. But it all works so well together. She’s not perfect. She doesn’t make sense. And you want her as your best friend. She works for St. Mary’s, where they “investigate major historical events in contemporary time”And we don’t call it time-travel! 

St. Mary’s isn’t just where she works though. It opens with her having her interview for the site, and by the end of it, you know she hasn’t just found a job. She’s found a home. They bicker, pull pranks, get in over their head, save each other’s lives, destroy property, and get plastered regularly. In between all that,  they put their lives on the line getting first hand accounts of all sorts of historical events for the university they are associated with.

 

I don’t think it’s ever detailed exactly how far in the future Just One Damned Thing After Another takes place in, but I got the feeling it isn’t terribly far ahead. Obviously, there’s time travel, but that’s a thing unique to St. Mary’s. America has closed its borders. Technology has advanced to the point where information can be compiled into holographic data stacks. But there’s no blasters, spaceships, etc. Well, at least not that we’re aware of. Things are either happening in the past, or on the campus for the most part.

 

There’s always something happening in this book. Always. In fact, that’s actually one of my few complaints about it. Jodi Taylor packs so much into one book (without it being ridiculously long) that it’s really hard to appreciate how much time has passed. I believe Just One Damn Thing After Another covers Max’s first five years with the company, though the events only the first and last are really talked about. The rest is mentioned in passing to give you an idea of how relationships are developing.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s are a mix of science fiction, historical fiction, and comedy. (Though, fair warning, it’s definitely ‘British’ humor. I thought it was ridiculously funny. But one of my fellow readers couldn’t understand why I was laughing my rear off about it because she didn’t get the humor.) Below are a few of my favorite quotes that might illustrate the point for you.

“If this was one of those books, there would now be three pages of head-banging s*x. The reality was that he pulled me close, whispered, ‘Mfhbnnntx,’ and I pulled his arm over me like a cover and muttered, ‘Trout,’ and that was pretty much it.”
Jodi Taylor, Just One Damned Thing After Another

“He had fallen for Cal like a sperm-whale failing to clear the Grand Canyon on a bicycle.”
Jodi Taylor, Just One Damned Thing After Another

 

Jodi Taylor creates a world that you just don’t want to leave. Max quickly became dear to my heart as did most of the crew at St. Mary’s. It takes a special kind of writer to create a world that you so instantly feel at home in. It is not heavy on the science part of science fiction, nor does it delve into the nitty-gritty of the historical side of things. It’s not something to read if you’re expecting a serious examination of the past or the tech. But if you like adventure stories and love memorable characters, you’ll definitely want to to give Just One Damn Thing After Another a go.

 

I would highly recommend the audio book version. Zara Ramm does an outright amazing job as Max.

Source: http://www.scifiandscary.com/just-one-damned-thing-review

Caresaway Review

Caresaway - DJ Cockburn

  Wouldn’t it be great if we could cure depression? The automatic answer to that is yes for basically anyone that’s suffered from it. Depression is a soul-blackening, mind-numbing, emotion-pummeling destroyer of happiness. No one ever wants to be depressed. There are no positives that can be found in it. So the idea of being able to cure depression is fantastic, right? Well, in Caresaway, D.J. Cockburn takes a slightly different view on it.

 

What if one of the side effects from the pill that could cure depression was that it turned you into a psychopath? Well, first off, let’s be clear about what a psychopath is. Psychopaths aren’t necessarily mass murderers.  Key traits of psychopathy are a lack of empathy, not feeling guilt, selfishness, and the ability to charm the pants off other people to get what you want. (Did that make anyone in particular pop to mind? People with psychopathic tendencies aren’t as rare as you think they are.)  Look at who currently holds the highest electable office in the United States, and think about it for a second.

 

People with psychopathic tendencies make great businessmen, don’t they?  When you’re willing to do whatever you need to get ahead, no matter what the fallout is, you can go far in business. There are definitely people with psychopathic tendencies running companies around the world today. But, as in Caresaway, what if the secret got out? What if everyone who wanted to get ahead was willing to turn into a psychopath if it meant getting ahead in business?

 

Caresaway is an intriguing speculative fiction novel because it examines what this would mean on both a personal and worldwide level. It is told from the viewpoint of the man who created the drug. The creator suffered from depression himself. It’s interesting to watch his arc in this novelette and consider what decisions you might make if you were him.

 

Overall, Caresaway is a good read if you enjoy speculative fiction. It definitely made me sit back in my seat and think about the situation for a bit afterward.

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review consideration.

Source: http://www.scifiandscary.com/caresaway-review

The Girl's Guide to the Apocalypse Review

The Girl's Guide to the Apocalypse - Daphne Lamb

Oh…dear. I…The… cover was pretty?

 

The blurb sounded awesome. The idea/premise was awesome. The cover promised good things. Good things! ....the book sucked. I tried really, REALLY hard to come up with at least a handful of things I liked about this book. I mean, I wanted to like this book. I really did!

 

There’s spelling and editing errors (you’re instead of your, missing words, etc - an excess amount even for an ARC), the pacing is ridiculous. It took the main character 4 chapters to… go to the bathroom? Here’s the thing, too, about snark. Snark can be funny. Snark, in small doses, IS funny. However, when basically all your characters/caricatures do IS snark… it falls uncomfortably, awkwardly flat. Aside from snark, funnies, too, are best served in small doses. Not forcefully crammed into every other sentence as if crying “Look at me! Look at me! See how funny I am? Hahahahahaha.”

 

Every time the writing gets close to being serious for a moment, another supposedly funny remark is crammed in. Its…depressing, actually.

 

I get it. I do. Its supposed to be a funny/silly take on all the apocalypse stories out there. Its just not. Satire or not, it just falls depressingly, horribly flat. This book desperately needs worked over by a firm editor, and large portions revised before this will even begin to approach what it was meant to be.

Source: http://www.scifiandscary.com/book-review-the-girls-guide-to-the-apocalypse-by-daphne-lamb

I Came to Find a Girl Review

I Came to Find a Girl - Jaq Hazell

This book bothered me. It put me on edge, made me uncomfortable. I hated Flood with a passion almost instantly (though for some reason in my head he looked like Benedict Cumberbatch) and was hoping throughout the book to see him get his comeuppance, but not because I believed he was guilty of the crimes that he was convicted for. More simply because he was an asshat. He seemed too, well, pathetic to be capable of killing one girl, let alone as many as he was convicted of.

 

I’ve never been drugged the way Mia has, but I have been sexually assaulted. Seeing Mia struggle to cope with what happened – or didn’t happen – to her, the desperation to escape his presence, his reminders, brought back memories of things I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Jaq Hazell does a very good job with this. She doesn’t handle Mia’s trauma delicately. She tosses you directly into her psyche, and spins you around until you’re staggering when you finally stop.

 

When Flood died, I was angry. I won’t say why, but I think you’ll understand when you read the book.

 

Overall, I Came to Find a Girl is a whirlwind of anger and friendship, fear and creativity, disgust and despair spattered throughout with flashes of insight and sparks of the creative muse. It isn’t the type of book you can rave about. Its the type of book that makes you sit back, quietly unsettled, as you struggle to examine your feelings about it. So, I think in conclusion the best thing I can say about this book is: Words have power, and books like this showcase that power to a disturbing degree.

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author free in exchange for an honest review. 

Source: http://www.scifiandscary.com/book-review-i-came-to-find-a-girl-by-jaq-hazell

Alive Review

Alive: Book One of the Generations Trilogy by Scott Sigler (2015-07-14) - Scott Sigler;

Well, the author specifically requests, at the end of the book, that when we blog about this, we give no spoilers.  So, lets see how I do…

 

Scott Sigler’s Alive is definitely a departure from the style I remember in Infected. Better? Maybe yes, Maybe no. Worse? Maybe yes, Maybe no. I think its safe to say that there are assholes, idiots, jiggly bits and bacon involved. Monsters, confusion, and gruesome sights abound.

 

Confession: I generally write reviews as I read. It enables me to jot down my thoughts at key moments, and 99 percent of the time, that review does not change at the end. What I’ve written matches up perfectly from beginning to end with what I felt when the book was finished. 99 percent of the time. Occasionally, though, the author will throw a twist in there that means I have to go back and delete a good portion of what I wrote, and re-do my review. Such was the case with this book.

 

Sigler is good. Just when you think you know exactly how everything is planned out, and are disappointed with what is going on, he throws a spanner into the works that has you gaping and… almost insulted that you weren’t expecting it. Oh, you’ll be right on some things, and so full of yourself for guessing them, but on the most important bits? Horribly wrong. At least I was.

I highly recommend it, and hope it gets a lot more attention in the upcoming weeks. In fact, this book made #9 on my Top 10 “Scifi and Scary Reads of 2015”!

Source: http://www.scifiandscary.com/stocking-stuffer-book-alive-by-scott-sigler

Apocalypse Cow - A Moooo-st Read

Apocalypse Cow - Michael   Logan

There have been many novels about the end of the world, but there’s only been one Apocalypse Cow. Okay, so technically there’s 2 because there’s  a sequel called World War Moo, but still. The beef (and pork? and chicken? Awwww, crap!)  has a, uh, beef it needs to settle with us. Hang on to your britches, folks, this book was moo-stly fun and udder madness! 

 

This is going to be one of those books that you either love or hate. I absolutely loved it. I’m almost as hard to please with Comedy as I am with Fantasy books, but Apocalypse Cow hit the nail on the head. I did everything from snicker to guffaw, to choke on my food while I was reading.

“But good looks counted for nothing when you smelled of intestines.”

“Colin threw his head back to let out a laugh so loud and brazen in its bum-lickery it resonated through the office window”

 

“Behind wire -rimmed glasses, he had the eyes of a man who would strangle his own mother in order to get his inheritance early. Had Terry met him under different circumstances,he would have assumed he was a banker.”

 

“Let me get this straight. Your plan is to sit here and hope the good vegan vibes you’re sending out will protect us?”

-Michael Logan, Apocalypse Cow

Basically, the government screws up, and this virus gets released. The food chain gets fried. At first its just the cows that are infected, but it soon spreads, and its a rip-roaring read with some shockingly gory and also sad moments acting as a balance to the hilarious zingers Logan casually tosses about during the udder madness of Apocalypse Cow. Its beefed up with enough action to keep the pace feeling almost frenetic, even when there’s really not that much going on. The characters are disturbingly believable, though the representation of the vegan might offend other vegans.

 

I was surprised to find that I actually ended up caring about Geldof, the youngest of the crew, and even Lesley and Terry. The rest of them were take or leave (primarily because they were bull-headed toe-rags.) It was ridiculous, hilarious, disturbing and odd, and definitely supplants Year Zero as the best comedy book I read in 2015.

Source: http://www.scifiandscary.com/book-review-apocalypse-cow-by-michael-logan