Join the book club and read our book of the month: This months book is Neuromancer. Live stream discussion will be Sunday, April 18th at 1pm MST please RSVP if you will be attending
By Lasraik in Steve's Book Reviews 1Nocturne was written by H.B. Diaz it's a collection of short stories and was published in December of 2020
A synopsis from Amazon:
Because this is a collection of short stories, this review won't be in my usual format (What I liked, didn't like, rating ect.).
I picked this book up on a whim when I saw a Twitter thread a few weeks ago where authors were promoting their independent books. I grabbed a handful of books and intended to get to them when I could squeeze them in. Thankfully, yesterday I finished a book and before I started Neuromancer (for our group read) I picked this one off the shelf. Being 107 pages I figured it would be a quick read and something to cleanse the palate. Kicked my feet up and started reading. A few minutes later my wife walked into the room and asked what I was reading. I turned the book to her and she asked if it was scary, and if so why do I have a big smile on my face. So here I am reading a horror book, the hairs on the back of my neck sticking up, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you read good horror and I'm smiling because I love the writing.
Lately I've had bad luck with horror books. This book broke my bad luck streak in a big way. Some people may think writing a short story is easy... because it's shorter. Writing a short story effectively is an art form, it takes skill and craft. To squeeze in a plot, characters with enough to leave the reader satisfied and wanting more at the same time is difficult.
Years and years ago I fell in love with short stories. I spent a fair amount of time studying them and reading as many as I could get my hands on. I even made a few feeble attempts at writing my own. As the years passed other things came up and I stopped reading them. This book revived my love of short stories. The stories are all great, some of them read almost as poetry. The metaphors that are used and the writing is wonderful. I was scared, uncomfortable and smiling all at the same time.
If you love horror and or short stories, give this book a try. It's free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription
I enjoyed all of the stories, there were no low points but my standouts were:
The Malady of Mrs. Monroe The Pocket Watch The Ruins It's a short book, but one that I'll read again. Something tells me there are little details I missed in most of the stories that will reshape the way I read them the first and second time.
My rating: 5 Yellow Pills in a Tiny Paper Cup out of 5
By Lasraik in Steve's Book Reviews 0Red Harvest Moon was published in 2021 is the first book in the Wandering Knife series. The book is available on Kindle Unlimited.
I received a digital copy of this book from the author for an honest review. I also purchased a paper copy on my own to support the author.
Synopsis via Goodreads:
What I Liked:
The characters were likable and fun. Their banter back and fourth was hilarious and genuine. The environments are described very well. You always know where you are in a village or in a forest, you always feel as though you're in the world with the characters. The way the environments are described reminded me of walking through a village in an MMO or an RPG like Skyrim. The villain's are great and the backstory was intriguing. I want to know more about them. The action scenes are well done. There are some flashbacks that are well timed and well done. The is enough lore given to you for you to enjoy the story, but not so much that it's a ton of bricks and you are overwhelmed. That said, I'm looking forward to the rest of this series to learn more about this world. Anticipation and that feeling of imminent doom is well done. What I Didn't Like:
Being a reader that enjoys characters, I would have liked a little more character moments and back story. A few times the characters say one thing but shortly thereafter do another. Final Thoughts and Rating:
This is a great first entry for a fantasy series, and a debut for the author. It's long enough that you get a good story but not too long that it takes a lot of time to read. I feel invested in the characters, lore and world enough that I want to come back to this world and know what happens next. There are some hilarious moments between the characters. It does a good job of going from a heartfelt moment, to action and gore without feeling abrupt. Although I would have liked more character moments, with a book this long and the story I received it's not a huge problem. If you're into fantasy it's definitely a book to check into and keep an eye on this series.
Rating: 4 flicking eye flesh out of a spoon like a grape out of 5
By Lasraik in Steve's Book Reviews 0Crackle and Fire is the first book in the Angela Harwicke Mysterys series.
I was provided a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What I liked:
In what feels like a lifetime ago, I was a Private Investigator for a period of time. This story took me back to those days. I wonder if the author either has been a PI at some point or knows someone who has. The environments are vibrant The book is fast paced with lots of twists and turns The universe is interesting and the mixture of science fiction and a mystery was fun There's some genuinely funny moments
What I didn't like:
While the universe is interesting, I had the feeling that I was reading the second novel in a series not having an idea how everything works. From what I understand it's much clearer if you've read the previous books by this author. I'm assuming it speaks to the main characters attitude, but she has sexual tension with almost everyone she meets and makes a sexual reference about herself or other characters constantly. It felt out of place and unnecessary, it didn't serve the story. The chapters end on a cliff hanger, but sometimes are annoying more than cliff hanging.
Rating: 2.5 dRops out of 5
By Lasraik in Steve's Book Reviews 0Kings of Paradise is the first installment in the Ash and Sand trilogy
What I Liked:
The plot moves smoothly from one POV to the other, each character has it's own distinct voice and background. The characters make both heroic and horrific decisions though the story, but because you feel as though you've been on this journey with them you have a little bit of sympathy when you probably shouldn't. You care for the characters in the world even when they make awful decisions. The world is dark and unforgiving. There are a few moments in this book when you see disaster and death being set in motion but because we are used to something coming in at the last minute and saving characters you start to care about you dismiss it and think something will come and save them. Not in this world. There are some deaths that took me by surprise and it establishes early on that this isn't that type of story. Nobody is safe and none of the characters are perfect. This is that kind of book. There are some characters that you begin to despise because of what they do to our main characters, but with the rules being setup in this world you realize they may continue their treachery because they are so good at it. This is a testament to the author for making us care about the main characters and hating those who want to harm them. There were several moments in this book that I had to stop and say "What the... no way this is going to happen." and most of the time it does happen. The characters have a nice arc, through the book their journey weighs on you and you feel the weight of each decision they make. We've all been through those moments when we thought something or someone was the world to us, but later we realize it or they weren't. You grow and learn, that was well represented here. The story goes from violence to character history to love story and back to violence and treachery seamlessly. There is a subtle mention of a scent described in this book that perfectly describes how scents can bring back memories of the past or people from the past. What I Didn't Like:
There were a few moments in the book that you wonder where the plot is going or what this means in the big picture. Something I struggle with in lots of fantasy books is keeping track of all the names when they are similar. It's a minor negative, but I found myself going back and trying to remember who was who when names were similar. I would have liked a little bit more world building, but with the characters being so strong it didn't bother me too much. One of the characters learns a skill a little faster then I expected, but it's another minor complaint. Conclusion and Rating:
I don't like coming of age stories. They aren't for me. Because I like to go into books blind, I didn't realize this was a coming of age story. What appealed to me about this book is I heard it was dark and unforgiving. What surprised me is how much I loved the coming of age aspects of the story, how the characters grew and evolved was so well done. We can all relate to how we change though our lives and as the characters grow and reflect, and that was masterfully done. The book is 599 pages long, but it felt like half that. The world is a violent, dark and dangerous place - you get the feeling there may not be a happy ending. Because we get to know these characters when they were young and know what they've been through, you begin to care for them and instead of hating them when they do awful things you wonder why. There aren't many pulled punches, this isn't that kind of story. This is easily one of my top two or three books I've read and is already a contender for book of the year. It's not for everyone because of some of the themes and violence, but if that doesn't bother you it's definitely a book you should check out. I think it goes without saying that I'm continuing this series and my books are already on their way from Amazon. It's also currently free on Kindle Unlimited.
4.5 boys playing in a grown up world out of 5
If some of the plot threads and characters from this book are smoothed out over the next two, my score will be a perfect 5 out of 5
By Lasraik in Steve's Book Reviews 0Vicious is a fantasy and science fiction novel written by V.E. Schwab and was published in 2013. It's the first book in the Villains series.
What I Liked:
Strong character development. This isn't a good vs. evil kind of book. At a point in the book one of the characters says "There are no good men in this game" and that sums up the characters. I've heard other reviewers say they couldn't enjoy this book because none of the characters are "good". That's true, but that's also what makes them interesting. They may all be bad, but they all have their motivations and at one point or another they are all sympathetic. You care about the characters and you understand their positions, because they have reasons to behave the way they do, whether you agree or not. The classic good vs. evil stories are boring and uninspired. The characters walk in this grey area, but it's closer to what people in these positions would do and that makes them relatable. The bond between the two main characters was intriguing, I was picking up some series "Interview with the Vampire" vibes. The writing is very... cinematic. It jumps off the page and into your mind in bright colors. The story unravels at a decent pace and there aren't really any slow points. It is a bit of a slow burn at times but never uninteresting. What I Didn't Like:
The story has a nice pace, but there aren't that many major story moments that are memorable. I could probably spend 2 or 3 minutes telling you what the book was about, there aren't many major events. One of the side characters has an ability that changes everything in story and you almost stop worrying about what will happen to everyone else. Conclusion and rating:
I liked the characters and the positions they took were thought provoking. Should people with these abilities even exist? Who gets to decide? The world they live in is enthralling and the characters are all strong with their own backstories. The writing is bright and vivid. I like anti-heroes and characters that aren't perfect, they live in the middle and struggle with being put in a category and that makes them relatable. The abilities and how they are acquired was really neat. The story unraveled at a nice pace, but I would have liked more major events to have taken place. The climax makes sense but it was a little bit of a bummer, but the last line put a smile on my face.
Rating: 3.5 near death experiences out of 5
How cool is this?
Damn. Well, you have talked about burnout for awhile now. I kinda of felt the same way when I was writing/blogging about hockey... eventually, the fire goes out and the passion wanes. That said, don't be a total stranger.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who despises social media. There are definitely cliques and if you aren't in one of them or align yourself with what they think like a lemming, it will make it much harder to get your content out there.
Lots of the bigger creators talk about 'muh community' but it's all lip service. With one click to share a link or a post from another creator would expose that content to thousands of people. They don't owe anyone anything, of course. They don't have to do anything to help anyone else, but don't talk about how much you love the community and how much you want to help and do next to nothing to help new creators or creators who have been grinding for years but just need that one click to push them over the edge.
Twitter especially is such a cesspool of negativity and drama.
Creating content is tough, and I have the utmost respect for those of you who put in the time, money and energy to create content that most of the time goes unnoticed by most players. It's too bad, because theres so much great stuff out there that doesn't get the attention it deserves. I'm glad some of you still create content because I enjoy it and know there are others out there who do too.
43 minutes ago, Lasraik said:
If you don't decide on a guild and spread out a little, does it spread you too thin?
Well, like any draft, if you can't decide on a path early enough, you end up thin on playables. It hurts a bit more in a multicolour set because if you draft Orzhov or Simic cards and end up Azorius, you may have dead cards you can't play without good fixing, even worse if I had picked up Gruul. The lack of 5 guildgates (from the other set) means splashing only works for certain combos
I also probably ended up passing good Azorius cards. I was the only true Azorius player, but the guy who went 4-colour gates had a few of the cards I would have loved to have.