Archive for April, 2012

Take the All-Mart!

Take the All-Mart! by JI Graco

3 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Trip’s a post-modern cyborg with a head full of mind-machine interface gear and an ego no head can contain. His brother Rudy’s gut houses a miniature chemical factory constantly pumping THC directly into his bloodstream and yet he still can barely put up with Trip.

They roar into the Wasteland in their two-hundred-year-old mind-controlled Dodge hoping to escape the wrath of a jilted warlord queen — and end up having to take on a sentient, zombie-filled, world-devouring department store for the love of a sexy, orgy-loving cyber-chick. And a reward. Okay, mostly the reward.

The story starts out with Trip and Rudy on the run from the WOLFpack. Basically a gang that is wired into their leader that is sitting in the back seat of the Wound, Trip and Rudy’s vehicle. The plan to run into an All-Mart, a giant store/factory that is continually growing, claims everything in its way, and turns people to zombies. After negotiating with the WOLFpack, they are off on their next adventure.

They decide to go to Shunk. There they find that the main commodity is beer and the locals seem way to honest and friendly. They share everything and don’t even have a bank, just a vault in the beer factory. This looks like the easiest heist that Trip and Rudy have done in a while. But Trip runs into Roxanne, a nun of the No Mercy Order. This delays the heist then they run into complications.

Roxanne ends up running late for the worshipping of the All-Mart! after her night with Trip. The other girls of No Mercy don’t really believe in worshipping the All-Mart! but the mother superior does so they are all out. But something goes wrong and they are all sucked into the All-Mart! Trip steps up and volunteers to save them and get out of being hung for the heist.

This was an interesting read. I admit that when I first started reading it I was wondering if I should continue. This is an interesting story with jacks where people can plug into vehicles, free beer that is more plentiful than water, nuns that practice sex and drug use, a giant super store that takes control of other super stores, and everything in between.

It was a quick read and kept me entertained enough to finish it. But I admit that it is not one of the books I generally read and can’t really recommend this. It wasn’t a horrible story but not one that is really worth wasting any time on.

I received this book for free from Book Rooster in exchange for an honest opinion.

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The Necromancer’s Bargain by Latilya Sivar

3 stars

(Excerpt from Amazon) Any resident of Midgar could tell you the tale of the War of the Dead. The tale tells of a monstrous necromancer that came out from the forsaken forest with an army of the dead to slaughter the world of men. It is a story of ancient villains, and young heros, and the story defines Midgar’s character as a nation.

But is the story true? As Midgar prepares to take the war to the necromancer for the first time in generations, the truth about the ancient conflict becomes even more important. But truth is a slippery thing, lost to the passage of time. Our narrator seeks to detail the conflict from a new angle, after finding some alarming information in his ancestor’s old records.

The Necromancer’s Bargain takes place in the days leading up to the War of the Dead, and follows the story of a woodcutter named Drel, who is about to find himself embroiled in events that will change the course of history.

The story begins with Thorlin’s Point. This is a little village in the forest that’s sole income comes from the wood harvested from the forest and is purchased by the neighboring kingdom of Thelryn. But the lords of Thelryn have stopped buying the wood and Thorlin’s Point is on the verge of economic failure.

Drel is on of the residents of Thorlin’s Point that has a strange encounter with some wolves that lead him to a necromancer. The necromancer tells Drel that there is an army coming to eliminate Thorlin’s Point. But, with Drel’s help, the necromancer is offering to help Thorlin’s Point.

This is the beginning of the War of the Dead series. I felt this was an okay beginning to a series. I admit that I read the synopsis and thought the story was going to be completely different than it was. I think the synopsis is the idea behind the whole series. This story is more of the beginning to the War. I say that because the necromancer seems like he is on the good side when you read this story.

I was also a little confused on the whole character traits, especially with Sveria. There is a reference to her needing blood but no explanation except what is hinted to during battle and I still don’t understand the purpose.

Over all it isn’t too bad of a beginning story. There could have been better development but it was the beginning to the series and those stories are a little rough. Have to say that it was an interesting read, but not one that I’m going to be keeping.

I received this book for free from Book Rooster in exchange for an honest review.

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Puzzlebook: 101 Puzzle Quizzes by The Grabarchuk Family

5 Stars

(Excerpt from Amazon) This is Volume 2 of the Top Rated Puzzlebook: Puzzle Quizzes series. In this brand-new puzzle collection you will find 101 pictorial, hand-crafted puzzle quizzes in different themes: visual, spatial, counting, geometry, matchstick, coins, searching, and much more. Be sure to check Puzzlebook: 100 Puzzle Quizzes, Puzzlebook: 102 Puzzle Quizzes and Puzzlebook: 103 Puzzle Quizzes for more!

This is another collection of puzzles and quizzes from The Grabarchuk Family. There are 101 puzzles that go through every kind of puzzle you can try: word, visual, searching, etc. There is something for everyone. They are in color, which make playing on my phone or with my Kindle for the computer fun. They seem to be easier for me to solve when I’m looking at the color. Don’t get me wrong; the black and white quality on my Kindle is really great too.

This is a simple format to use. There is a puzzle presented and you choose the answer. If you choose the wrong one, you are given the option to go back to the puzzle and try again. This will happen until you select the correct answer, then it will explain how that is the correct answer before you go on to the next puzzle.

I love puzzles, if you couldn’t tell from my other reviews on the different Puzzlebooks. They are the perfect way to spend my time waiting for appointments and such. I also like how it keeps my mind sharp and thinking outside the box.

If you like puzzles, you will really enjoy this book. It is a great price and will keep you busy trying to solve the puzzles.

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Sliding Tiles

Sliding Tiles by The Grabarchuk Family

5 stars

(Expert from Amazon) Here is one of the most original collection of sliders, comprising 100 hand-crafted puzzles with unique and fun gameplay.

Sliders (aka sliding block puzzles) are dynamic and compact puzzles first popularized in the 19th century. We have constantly been creating this collection of sliders during the past 20 years as physical and interactive toys.

I remember as a kid getting a plastic party favor puzzle that had 15 squares with numbers on them and the idea was to get them lined up in order. This always seemed to be easier said than done. This is the same game but for a new generation.

The Grabarchuk’s have taken a classic puzzle and made it for the Kindle. There are a variety of puzzles so you are not just putting numbers in order. You can make pictures or switch tiles to a certain location. If you are like me, easy looks way too easy but proves it will still make you think. If that is not a challenge, you can always choose one of the other difficulty levels. Then there are 100 puzzles that you can work through. Needless to say, you will not be bored any time soon.

I love these puzzles. I have found that I am better with images than letter and numbers so these puzzles fit me that best out of everything the Grabarchuk’s have come up with. But I still can’t wait to see what they pull out of their bag of puzzles and quizzes next.

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Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Haunted-house parties and ghostly galas…grinning pumpkins, mayhem and murder. It’s going to be one heck of a Halloween for Lucy Stone and Tinker’s Cove…

It’s October in Maine, and everyone in Tinker’s Cove is preparing for the annual Halloween festival. While Lucy Stone is whipping up orange-frosted cupcakes, recycling tutus for her daughters’ Halloween costumes, helping her son with his pre-teen rebellion, and breast-feeding her brand-new bay, an arsonist is loose in Tinker’s Cove. When the latest fire claims the life of the owner of the town’s oldest house, arson turns into murder…

While the townsfolk work to transform a dilapidated mansion into a haunted house for the All-Ghouls festival, the hunt for the culprit heats up. Trick-or-treat turns deadly as a little digging in all the wrong places puts Lucy too close to a shocking discovery that could send all her best-laid plans up in smoke…

Lucy is busy with the new baby, her three other kids, and her husband. But when she learns that a client and good friend’s body has been discovered in the burned remains of her pet project house, Lucy is devastated. But this is not the only fire that has been started. Several historical buildings have been burned down.

Then Lucy’s husband, Bill, a historic carpenter, is asked to join the local historic committee by former librarian Miss Tilley. Miss Tilley has had an iron control on the committee, but things are changing and not the way she likes. She thinks Bill will bring that control back to her. But when they are asked about renovating a local gas station, things start getting dicey when Lucy gets a threatening call in the middle of the night and paint on her car.

I though this was a cute cozy mystery. The historic factor about the houses and such was well described. I admit that I didn’t know who was the arson until the last moment. I did feel for Lucy juggling her family and other tasks.

This was a good story, but I hate to admit that is was not one that I just have to go out and buy the next one in the series. I was cute but nothing super special. If you like cozy mysteries, I think you will like this one.

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The Zombie Autopsies by Steven C. Schlozman, MD

2 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) As the walking dead rise up throughout the world, a few brave doctors attempt to find a cure by applying forensic techniques to captured zombies.

On a remote island a crack medical team has been sent to explore a radical theory that could uncover a cure for the epidemic. Based on the team’s research and the observations of renowned zombie expert Dr. Stanley Blum, THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES documents for the first time the unique biology of zombie organisms.

Detailed drawings of the internal organs of actual zombies provide an accurate anatomy of these horrifying creatures. Zombie brains, hearts, lungs, skin, and digestive system are shown, while Dr. Blum’s notes reveal shocking insights into how they function–even as Blum and his colleagues themselves begin to succumb to the plague.

No one knows the ultimate fate of Dr. Blum or his researchers. But now that his notebook, THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES, has been made available to the UN, the World Health Organization, and the general public, his scientific discoveries may be the last hope for humans on earth.

The zombie apocalypse has happened. One third of all humans have become zombies or NLH (No Longer Humans). Scientists have been selected to go to an island in the south pacific call the Crypt. There, they are to find out how humans are being turned into zombies and to find a vaccine for those humans left.

This is based on the journal of scientist Dr. Stanley Blum. Stanley was part of a three party group planned to go to the Crypt. But two of the three helicopters went down in transit to the Crypt. When they land, conditions are worse then they feared. Only three people survive the landing and getting into the Crypt; Stanley, James Pittman, and Anita Gupta. But James and Anita have become infected. They are on a race to find out as much as they can about the zombies before turning into one themselves.

I have to admit that I have slight mixed feeling about this book. I liked the concept behind the story and how it was expressed. It was a new twist to zombies. But for the most part I’m disappointed that I wasted $15 on this book. The background to the story is a quick catch up memo that has been sent out. The story from the journal is only half of the book. There is reference to nukes being set off to try and kill the zombies and how that has messed up the atmosphere so anything electronic can’t be trusted, that is why there is a written journal and James does the illustrations.

Beyond that, there was nothing else. There were appendix that were suppose to explain statistic information and memos talking about how Stanley was probably the last person they should have sent to the Crypt.

I gave this book two stars because it is a nice little read about zombies. But beyond that, don’t waste the money for this book, especially $15. This could have been a great story with a little work but doesn’t make the cut.

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The Key

The Key by Felicia Rogers

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) A teenage girl suffering from a family tragedy, Maddie Clevenger is oblivious to the ancient mystery surrounding her. She’s young and incredibly unlucky, in life and in love. She should be enjoying her senior year of high school, but instead she is tormented by a reoccurring nightmare and a very real stalker. But all that changes when Chase Donovan, an Air Force brat with a protective streak, shows up at school. Will Chase be the key to helping her solve her stalker problem? Will he be the key to solving the mystery surrounding her family’s past?

The last several months of Maddie’s life has been terrible. She has lost her parents and has moved in with her great grandmother Draoi and starts the middle of her senior year in a new high school. She is not popular and has become a loner. Then she discovers a new guy sitting in her seat. Dougal is in every class with her, always ends up in her seat, then stares at her through the class. She also meets another new student, Chase. She is drawn to him with is electric touch and he can’t seem to get her out of his mind.

Chase then learns that he can shift into a griffin and has the desire to do so whenever he is around Maddie. Chase’s family are from a line of grey griffins that are to protect the key, a person that can open the tower that the evil black griffins. Maddie is the key, although she doesn’t realize it. There is going to be a battle between the griffins that want to keep the tower locked and those that want it opened. Maddie and Chase are going to be caught in the middle.

I really liked this book. I can’t believe that I waited so long to read it. I was sucked in and couldn’t wait to find out what happens next. I felt for poor Maddie being all alone after losing her parents and being the social outcast in school. I’m very excited to read more of Felicia’s stories. If you enjoy YA paranormal stories, this is one that you should not miss.

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Puzzlebook: 20 Easter Puzzle Quizzes by The Grabarchuk Family

5 stars

(Excerpt from Amazon) Here is a special Easter present for all lovers of the Top Rated Puzzlebook series. In this new puzzle collection you will find 20 holiday themed, pictorial, hand-crafted puzzle quizzes. Be sure to check Puzzlebook: 100 Puzzle Quizzes, Puzzlebook: 101 Puzzle Quizzes, and Puzzlebook: 102 Puzzle Quizzes for more!

The Grabarchuk’s have done it again. The makers if so many wonderful puzzles and quizzes for the Kindle have come out with a special Easter themed puzzle book. This book has the standard index with icons representing each puzzle, the different answers, either a wrong answer, and being redirected back to the puzzle or the correct answer with an explanation to why that was the correct answer.

I love the variety of the puzzles and how they get harder has you progress. There are only 20 puzzles so this will be a semi quick to get through all of the puzzles. But don’t let that stop you, they are still engrossing and will leave you wanting more. If you like puzzles, you will want to get this book. Make sure to check out other puzzles from The Grabarchuk Family.

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The Saints Go Dying by Erik Hanberg

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) The Saints Go Dying starts with a familiar tread: a serial killer loose in Los Angeles–in this case, the victims are modern-day saints. But it takes a unique twist, as the detective on the case must battle an unscrupulous reality TV show in order to catch the killer. It becomes a cat-and-mouse game between the killer and the detective played out right in front of the Hollywood cameras.

Arthur Beautyman is a detective trying to find the Babylon murder. Fourteen months ago, the first victim was found shaved and drained of her blood. On the second victim, there was a card with a quote about the Whore of Babylon. It seems that the murder is targeting saints, those people that donate their money and time in one-way or another.

The general public is getting scared. There has not been a break on the case and the television program Watchdog is making sure they know that the police are incompetent fools. Trying to find away around this roadblock, Beautyman is elected to appear on Watchdog to portray himself in the special on the Babylon murder.

Beautyman knows that it is only time before he takes the fall for not getting results sooner. He is called into the station in the early morning hours for someone that fits the description of the murderer, he discovers that Gregory Raphael, the guy that plays the murderer on Watchdog. An odd details stands out and Beautyman thinks he has the murderer, but now he has to try and prove it.

I really liked this story. You didn’t know for sure whom the murderer is and even though Beautyman thinks he has found the answer, it’s not going to be that easy to prove. This is a quick read but well worth the time. If you like quick little mysteries, you will really enjoy this story.

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