Back to War

by C. G. Cooper

The young man was five feet away and had a look on his face that Shorty wasn’t expecting. Shorty thought the young man would be scared shitless. Instead, his pursuer looked stone cold determined without the smallest trace of fear. What the…? Shorty thought.

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Back to War (Corps Justice, #1)Back to War by C.G. Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Explicit LanguageBack to War is the title of a book about Cal Stokes, a recent honorably discharged Staff Sergeant in the Marines who had been awarded the Navy Cross. Engaged to his beloved Jessica they were attacked while on a date by a local gang.It was an initiation for a new member of the gang and was otherwise meaningless.

The gang intended to do some harm, but not kill the couple. Beating the guy was definitely in the plan, what they would do to the girl wasn’t clear. The gang initiate, “Shorty” was armed with a knife and a mallet. The attack was well planned. Cal and Jessica were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

When the gang member grabbed Jessica and dragged her into the alley, Cal was instantly “Back at War”. The other gang members moved in and blocked the alley so “Shorty” could do some damage to the pursing Cal. Dante West, the gang leader was already in the alley to evaluate the new recruit in action. Continue reading “Back to War”

Patternmaster

by Octavia Butler

A year without a major Clayark attack on any sector of Patternist Territory. A luxury. Rayal had known enough years of fighting to be glad to relax and enjoy the respite. Only Jansee could still find reason for discontent. Her children, as usual.

Patternmaster (Patternmaster, #4)Patternmaster by Octavia E. ButlerMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Patternmaster is after the Octavia Butler’s intentionally “unpublished” Survior book (Patternmaster #4) So you read “Clay’s Ark” (#3) then on to Patternmaster (#5). (Survivor can be obtained… I have it, just didn’t read it. If Octavia hated it and didn’t want it in the series, I figure she would be the best advisor on the series)

Patternmaster is a considerable jump into the future of the series, chronologically. Clay’s Ark, the previous book establishes that time jump. In this conclusion of the series, every character you have connected with previously in the series is “history.” Just back story and not much relevant except YOU would know it.

The “Patternmaster” established in Mind of My Mind has evolved with even more zeal than Doro, (Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind) ever imagined. Doro’s evolved plans, carried on by “Mary” has swept the globe… with the exception of the Clay’s Ark “issue” which has become a war with another segment of the devolved/evolved species of humans. While this “Clay’s Ark Humans” vs “Patternmaster” people is a subplot is it barely worth noticing. Continue reading “Patternmaster”

Clay’s Ark

by Octavia Butler

She was terrified of Ingraham, certain that he was crazy, that he would kill her if she were not careful. If she committed herself to a poorly planned escape attempt and he caught her, he would certainly kill her.

Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)Clay’s Ark by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This seemed a abrupt sideways twist of this series that had spanned a millennia following primarily one of the most interesting villains contrived in my thousands of reads. Since it is a series, including one book Octavia insisted never be published again (Survivor #4) and this being #3 in the series, I wouldn’t normally have anything to say except, “Yep, this series is still good.”

Here’s the deal with this one. If the next book Octavia wants you to read, “Patternmaster” (which I’ve read) wasn’t the book it is, this book could easily be a “Steven King” independent book, noting that King so frequently fails to “conclude” his stories. Continue reading “Clay’s Ark”

Mind of My Mind

by Octavia Butler

Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster, #2)Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is number 2 in the Patternmaster series by Octavia Butler, one of the best all time of Speculative Fiction writers. So what do you say about book 2 in a series that would not be a spoiler?

I gave it 4 stars, probably deserves 5. I recommend it.

The first two books has “Doro” as a primary character and a variety of people are co-primary as you progress through these 2 books (Wild Seed & Mind of My Mind). It is relative to who is the focus of Doro at any given time. Oddly, the person who is the focus of Doro is usually the viewpoint character and the events of the plot are in relation to Doro. While I call Doro “the primary character”, he is definitely the antagonist.

Anyanwu was largely the main character in Wild Seed, and without spoilers I can say, she was very interesting to me. I was able to relate to her and feel like I understood how she felt or why she did the things she did.

Anyanwu is in Mind of My Mind as a very minor character, the focus is now on Mary. The book opens as Doro arrives to find one of his favorite projects, “Mary” bruised and beaten, in bed naked at age 3. Her mother Rina, is drunk and with a bum of guy. Doro arranges to move Rina and Mary next door to Emma (One of Doro’s favored from Wild Seed).

Octavia doesn’t spend a lot of time on the miserable life of Mary growing up, but it is easily imagined. Next scene with Mary, she is 17, nearly kills one of Rina’s John’s and leaves, takes a bus to Los Angeles. There she goes on a stealing spree (which Doro has forbidden).

Looking at my notes of the beginning of the book, then at the end, I see a massive transition of “Mary”, but reading it, the changes happen so gradually and naturally I barely noticed. So often protagonist type characters have an epiphany then a sudden change. I didn’t notice this until I started writing the review.

If you’ve not read the Patternmaster series, start with Wild Seed. You start thinking Anyanwu is the main character, and she is, but Doro shows up and from there forward near everything about Anyanwu is relative to Doro. In Mind of My Mind, even when Doro is not “on stage” you can feel his influence with what ever is going on.

I think it is safe to say that Doro is the antagonist and the primary characters, Anyanwu in Wild Seed, and Mary in Mind of My Mind are the protagonist. With great writers like Octavia Butler, her characters are real, and complex enough that saying “good vs bad” is possible but you’d have to add that phrase that is popular today, “It’s complicated”.

To those who have read the whole series. I have a question. Octavia hated Survivor, forbid it being reissued, and obtaining a copy isn’t the easiest thing… but I have it. It is supposed to be the 3rd book in the Patternmaster series, but in newer Omnibus editions of the series, Survivor is “gone”. My question to those who know… should I read Survivor?

These days, a large portion of my reading any book is in audiobook form. Survivor, I do not have an audiobook so it isn’t one I can “listen to” while doing other mindless tasks. Your comment or recommendation is appreciated.

View all my reviews

At a Crossroads

by Norm Davis aka Aegiswiz

And believe I’ll just sit here a bit.

Some time ago I was struggling to catch up with book reviews having at least 30 I wanted to write.  I put a lot of time into the reviews and actually worked rather hard at it.

I never really expected anything to come of it except I liked that I could do more, be more creative on WordPress than on Goodreads. So I was excited about that.

I do have 30+ years experience in the writing field, mostly doing critiques on unpublished manuscripts and helping people improve their writing.  That’s a uniquely difficult avocation as critiques by their nature are criticism and even when folks are asking for you to be honest with them, when you are, they are usually very unhappy about it. Not always, there are some wonderful folks who love to improve their craft and know how to take what they can use and leave the rest, remaining grateful that you’ve shared your experience with them.

I’ve done my own writing over the years as well. Oddly it is fiction I enjoy writing, editing, and critiquing, and non-fiction is what I was routinely paid for writing.

I burned out with editing and critiques some years ago.  I’ve never stopped reading so thought I would enjoy writing book reviews. I enjoyed what I did and then the wonderful folks among WordPress bloggers “liked” some of my reviews and even had ONE comment over the last year or so.

So recently I decided to take it more seriously and posted a review every Monday and Thursday for a month or two and it was as if my blog had dropped off the internet.

This gave me cause to think about this. While I began doing this blogging believing I didn’t care much what anyone thought, I was just doing it for myself. I was working hard and a lot of hours and the results were going backwards. I believe the one or two folks who always liked my reviews and made my day each time I posted had unsubscribed or stopped following.

I get that and have no ill will or hard feelings towards anyone, but after working so hard and having things go backward as a result I had to admit to myself that I do care.

It wasn’t just the blog and reviews, I had a bout of health issues and found myself struggling to keep up with daily chores let alone sharing anything online.

I don’t want to be rash and just delete the blog entirely, but these recent series of events have left me in a place where I know care more about the blog and the reviews, but have lost the will to do much about it.

I want to thank you wonder folks who have encouraged me and who have been so kind towards this blog. It meant a lot to me. Perhaps when or if things make a turn toward the better in my personal life I’ll find myself wanting to share book reviews or other opinion and commentary. Until then, thanks again for all the love. You’ve all been wonderful.

Keep up your beautiful efforts.  I’ve visited each blogger who liked any post I made and there are a lot of talented people out there and some beautiful souls whose blogs are like a beacon of light upon a hill.  A lot of characters who are just a joy to behold.  You’ve enriched my life and I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to run across a great number of you.

Suck My Cosmos

by Steven Campbell

I did not consider myself a great lover. In fact, epic poems had been composed about how bad at intercourse I was.

I knew my strengths and I knew myweaknesses. I prided myself on that.

When I spent the night with Malla, it was clear something was wrong based on my prowess in the bedroom. Throwing around cars, sprinting across the city screaming, that was nothing compared to my acrobatics and stamina in bed that night. I started to believe that Malla had been sorely regretful about seducing me.

Stephen_Campbel_Suck_comboIts_the_best_Skm_CosSuck My Cosmos by Steven Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars. Recommend to Sci Fi Humor fans. I believe everyone would enjoy Steven Campbell’s wonderful creation “Hank” and the wonderful sense of humor that comes from Hank’s point of view.

Suck_My_Cosmos_Rate_ChartFolks who make honest attempts to review a “later” book in a series of books and do not want to include spoilers are stuck with saying little more than, “Wow, this is another good Hank book.” There’s little to say that won’t spoil it for other Hank fans. It’s pretty much “more of the same” but different, like Steven Campbell has proven he can do expertly.
Continue reading “Suck My Cosmos”

Behemoth

by Scott Westerfeld

Alek clenched his fists. “I can’t do this without you! Not any of it!”

“I’m afraid you must.” Volger saluted with his saber. “Good-bye, Alek. Make your father proud.”

But my father is dead … and you’re not.

BehemothI_get_it_BehemothScott_WesterfeldBehemoth, by Scott Westerfeld
Book 2 of the Leviathan Trilogy
Rating 3 of 5 Stars

I like it. It’s a young adult fantasy of an alternate world war one history.

It is evident Mr. Westerfeld did a great deal of research into the “story” or “trilogy” if you like. I would be critical of “historical” parallels in this story but it would be like debating if Superman is from Krypton. It’s an imaginary alternate history. Mr. Westerfeld has based some of his story on some of the popular beliefs about world war one. In that way I recommend this to young people more than I might otherwise. Perhaps it may spur some youngster to investigate the real facts of history.Behemoth_Rating_Chart

I dread the fact our current actual “history” is too often transformed into fictional stories presented as true as the fictional histories of Dune, The World of Tiers, or Ringworld. So it is at this point I pray all young people ache to attend Hillsdale College. One of the last lights upon a hill that refuses to teach nonsense when it comes to history.

I digress… I liked Mr. Westerfeld’s story. Let’s get started… Continue reading “Behemoth”