Archive for the ‘My Book Reviews’ category

Amanda Hocking, please hire an editor.

September 16, 2012

I picked up Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland on Amazon because it’s 100% free, and I still feel like I paid too much. I know she’s an indie author (or was at the time) but the sheer amount of errors, mistakes and typos drove me crazy.

It’s hard to follow a book when you have to reread sentences to try and figure out what they mean, due to typos, and literally MISSING words. Sentences where one word is missing, and in its place the word previous to it is repeated by mistake.

More often than not she ends a characters statement with a coma, when it should be a period. I mean literally about 60% of the time.

She uses “and” and “but” extremely frequently and incorrectly. She seems to use them as though they are interchangeable in any sentence. An example of something she would say: “I was really hungry, and it was time to leave.” Instead of “I was really hungry, but it was time to leave.” It might seem like I’m being picky, but this book is absolutely full of the misuse of “and” and “but”. I mean every other page.

What I don’t understand is how someone writes a dozen books, but myself or any member of my family could correct a hundred errors with ease.

In addition to the typos, errors, and misuse of the English language, the story is just “OK”. I mean if you let the little things go, like referring to revolvers using “clips” of ammo, or the “bullets” the shotgun uses. Ignore her completely lack of understanding the things she writes about, and just look at the story itself.

Well, there’s really no attachment to any character. What makes them so important that we don’t want them to die? Uh, they have a name, that’s about it.

With how “simple” this book is written, and how it’s advertised as a “young adult” book, I really got the feeling it was more for teenagers. Young teenagers. I got this feeling about the time they ran into a zombie killing pet lion. This HAS to be a children’s book, with somewhat graphic, though unimaginative zombie slaying. And that would be just fine and everything. heck, my little sister might enjoy it. Oh, except for the GRAPHIC SEX SCENE.

I really don’t understand how this book has nearly 500 Amazon reviews, and the vast majority are positive.

I guess Amanda Hocking just isn’t for me. Maybe if English was my 2nd language, and I didn’t like character development, I’d be able to stand it enough to give the 2nd book in the series a shot. But no. I will never know where the series goes from here. I can’t make myself read another.

And just for the record, I love indie authors. I really do. I can accept that their work will be less polished, and that they may have a weaker vocabulary than I’m use to. But when you sign a book deal for two million dollars, I think you can afford to hire an editor.

In March 2011, Hocking signed her first conventional publishing contract for four books, at a price of two million dollars

Ready Player One

July 19, 2012

I’m so glad I read Janyaa’s review of Ready Player One. There is no way an avid gamer with even the slightest interest in sci-fi can read that review and NOT be compelled to read the book.

Having read that review my expectations were extremely high, and I’m happy to say I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Ernest Cline certainly has a talent for story telling. As his first novel, Ready Player One is quite impressive. Early on I felt like it was a little slow, but I quickly came to appreciate all the little details that immerse you in the world he created, and by the end I was happy with the pace and the amount of detail. Even the little things that help paint a picture of the world.

By now I’m assuming you’ve read Janyaa’s review, because you should, and because I can’t do the book the same justice. So I won’t go into great detail of the plot, because you should have read her review by now, but I will say that as a gamer I absolutely loved the world created in this book, and especially the OASIS. All the gaming references, the combat, the weapons, items, planets. The hunting of kobolds to level up reminded me of playing Ragnarok Online. The space ships and travel between planets reminded me of Entropia Universe, a game where in game money and USD were interchangeable. Where you bought clothes, weapons, gear, even space ships. You could rent out flights, and literally make money in this game by selling goods and services. I really appreciated that aspect of the OASIS, because believe it or not, that actually is based on current trends in gaming. The real money auction houses in games like Diablo 3 for example.

So as a gamer who’s played a dozen games that all come together to remind me of the OASIS, I was fascinated by this book the entire time. I really enjoyed the level of immersion in the OASIS and thought it was masterfully created. And that’s not even to mention the actual plot of the book, and the exciting hunt for the egg.

I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in sci-fi, but especially to any gamer.

If there was one thing that annoyed me though it was the character Art3mis. HOVER OVER FOR SPOILER 
I almost feel like it’s an injustice to have anything negative to say. I don’t want to give the impression that this book is lacking in any way, or that it’s not absolutely fantastic and worth reading, because it is.

John Dies at the End

June 26, 2012

I must be the only person on the internet that did not like this book at all. What am I missing?

 

It had its silly comical moments, but those were few and far between, mixed in with an endless supply of dick jokes.

 

Sure, the author has some creativity, but for the most part, for me, it was a chore to read. It started out weird, then got mildly interesting, only in that I thought it had potential and was really going to get good, but it never made it there.

 

I thought it was bizarre, when normally that kind of book would be right up my alley. It went from one time and place to another, seemingly with no segue.

 

Maybe the book had just lost my interest too much by this point, but *MASSIVE SPOILER AHEAD* the story was being told as an interview, to a reported. David Wong relating events to the reporting. When the reporter DIED, David continued to tell the story, but to whom? Did I completely miss something? It annoyed me the entire rest of the way. The ENTIRE book was a story being told to the reporter, and after he died, the story continued being told, as if still giving the interview to the dead man.

 

I also thought most of the conversation was relayed in a very annoying fashion. It made sense, I guess, because it was events being recounted in an interview. It wasn’t mean to read like a book, but rather like a story being retold to a person. I understood that, and it made sense, except, once again, for the part where the person being spoken to DIED and the story continued being told.

 

I was waiting the entire book for it to get interesting, or to climax at some point, but it never came. It just ended in a very boring and weird way.

 

I must just not get it. So many people highly recommend this point. It has fantastic reviews, yet to me, it’s garbage. Maybe I just don’t get it.

 

Strangely enough, the movie trailer actually looks like it could be good. Go figure.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

April 27, 2012

I had my doubts about this book. to be honest I thought it sounded stupid. That seems to be the general consensus of my friends that haven’t read it. And that’s the point, they haven’t read it, and I hadn’t either at the time.

 

This book turned out to be fantastic. It’s told as a biography in a very interesting way. A mix of the author’s telling of Abe’s biography, with parts of Abe’s secret journal throughout the book, documenting his life long pursuit of vampires.

 

*SPOILERS* This book masterfully mixes real events and people from Abe’s life with fiction. Real deaths of loved ones attributed to vampires in very clever ways. Real life acquaintances turned ally in his vampire hunting. Ultimately his fight to abolish slavery is an attempt to drive vampires out of America. */SPOILERS*

 

Ultimately it’s a very cleverly written and satisfying book. I highly recommend it, and I’m not a big fan of vampires.

 

Overall: 8.5/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character progression: 8/10

 

Wool omnibus

April 27, 2012

This is a unique series, since it started as about a 45 page short story that has spawned 6 books and counting. (hopefully many more to come). That’s about 45 pages according to my tablet I read it on, minus the table of contents and things like that. It may not be a completely accurate number, but close enough to give you the idea.

 

My mother thought the 1st book was somewhat slow moving. perhaps because I read it to her around 11pm and she was tired, but I find the book to be very intriguing from the opening sentence. I don’t think it’s fair to call it slow moving. I’d say it’s just the right amount of slow (if you can call masterfully building up to the end, “slow”) for a book that short, before it quickly becomes the most gripping story I’ve ever read, and in only 45 or so pages. The end itself left an impression on me few books of 400+ pages are capable of. I cannot recommend the 1st book enough. I single out the first book because once you read it, you WILL read the rest.

 

I can’t explain how the story changes from the 1st book to the 2nd without giving massive spoilers, so suffice to say, the story, as it progresses from book to book tells an amazing and mysterious story, with fantastic plot and character development.  An interesting and unique world, best summed up by the author’s description on amazon.com:

“This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.”  -Book description from Amazon.com

 

The 4th book was fantastic. So many mixed feelings, so many intense moments. My curiosity constantly tormented, my attachment to characters constantly threatened.

 

I just recently finished the 5th book, and it was fantastic. Perfect in length (though I always want more, and wish they never ended). Perfect in plot progression. It’s not over the top, and it’s not too slow. It’s a perfect spacing out of a wonderful story that keeps you entertained throughout, without resorting to cheap thrills or useless filler. This book is not 1 page too short nor 1 page too long. It’s the perfect amount of story, with a fantastic ending that leaves me hoping for more to Juliette’s story, and the future of the Silo.

 

The books range in size from about 45 pages to 250 pages of pure story, not counting the forward, table of contents, things like that. Very unique I think, for a series, and yet, it’s perfect. Very easy, light reading, streamlined perfectly across all 5 books.

 

I feel like what I’m about to say seems as ridiculous as saying that a Bazooka Joe comic was more poetic than Hamlet, or that a 1 liner on a Popsicle stick was more insightful than Sun Tzu’s Art of War, but I have to say that the Wool series is the best I’ve ever read, period. Better than The Hunger Games (a trilogy I loved) by a country mile. better Than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. As ridiculous as it seems to say, better than The Wheel of Time series which I idolize. Such an unfair, unjust thing to say, that these few short books are better than some of the greatest works of fantasy ever created, but in my opinion, it’s true for the simple fact that no other series has truly piqued my interest this much, from the very beginning, and to this moment and counting.

 

It’s not fair to compare it to The Wheel of Time, Hunger Games, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, or any other book, because they’re so very different, but the bottom line remains: If I could only read one, it would be Wool.

 

Do yourself a favor and head on over to Amazon and pick up the Kindle version of the omnibus for a ridiculously low $5.99. And while you’re at it, head over to author Hugh C. Howey’s  website and check out his other works.

 

I have never been more excited to read a book in my life, and I cannot do this series justice. Read the first book for yourself, and you won’t put it down. It’s so short, it requires minimal time and effort on your part to read one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

 

Rather than break it down from book to book, or various aspects from plot to character development, I will keep this simple.

Overall rating of all 5 books: 10/10

The Hunger Games

April 26, 2012

I very much enjoyed this trilogy. I thought the writing was good, the story was great, and the characters were very interesting.

 

I was worried early on that the love interest was going to ruin the books for me. I had Twilight like concerns, but those would turn out to be unfounded. I found myself not only enjoying that aspect of the books, but actually unsure of how I wanted it to end.

 

The first book was really entertaining. Just enough drama, plot and story to build up excitement and attachment to the characters, before the action starts. Very well told, and a very good blend of action/drama/plot throughout.

 

The 2nd book was weaker, but it was really laying the groundwork for the 3rd. The 2nd was by no means disappointing.

 

The 3rd was fascinating, if a little rushed. But I very much enjoyed it, and I was happy with the ending. Overall it was as exciting and interesting as the 1st, even though they’re completely different, if that makes sense.

 

Overall I would give the trilogy a very respectable 7/10

Writing 7/10

Character development 8/10

I would definitely recommend this series.

 

World War Z

April 26, 2012

I LOVE zombies, and I really had my heart set on this “amazing” book I’ve heard so much about. It sounded like a one of a kind exciting, gritty story. It was none of the above.

 

It tells the story of the world wide zombie epidemic, that apparently takes place over the course of 20 years or so (though throughout this book written as a documentation of the events, it’s surprisingly vague)

 

It jumps back and forth from one year to another. First you start at the beginning, then you’re 5 years in, then 10 then back to 2 or 3 years in, then back to the beginning, then back to the end, etc etc. There is no continuity, and no real sense of what’s going on anywhere at the time, except for the one little story you happen to be reading at that moment, which focuses on one person or one town, and basically gives you a brief synopsis of events. You have absolutely no attachment to any character in the book, because you only hear one little story about them, so vague, so short. And that’s what this book is. a collection of vague short stories mixed together.

 

I think of the stories in this book like little teasers for a story that never comes. Imagine seeing a trailer for a movie and thinking “That looks awesome, I wanna see that!”.  That’s exactly how I felt reading this book. “That story sounds awesome, i wanna read all that”. Nope, it’s 10 pages long, on to the next story.

 

Now again imagine seeing a couple trailers for a movie, then going to see it, and discovering that the movie itself is a collection of 30 trailers for a movie that doesn’t really exist. That sums up how I felt reading this book. It’s like a whole bunch of stories that would be great if there was any detail to them, or any attachment to the characters.

 

Lastly, one thing I found very irritating: The book is written as interviews with people after the events. Every single person talks exactly the same. The Chinese guys, the Russian woman, the Australian. Coincidentally, they all talk like a white guy :/

 

My opinion of this book:

Overall 2/10

Writing style 3/10

Character development/attachment 1/10