Reviews :: Book Rating :: Books that are Mediocre

Review

Midnight Riot

Midnight Riot

So I recently read on social media (that salacious den of way-too-accurate ads and oodles of wasted time), that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost had optioned a book series called Rivers of London by some bloke named Ben Aaronovitch (Official Announcement) for a movie. I’ve absolutely loved all of the movies from Pegg and Frost that I’ve seen, and as the book was listed as being “urban fantasy”, I thought it worth a few ticks of my progressively aging ticker.
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Review

The Silver Scar

Posted: April 25, 2019 by Jane Funk in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Betsy Dornbusch, Urban Fantasy
The Silver Scar

Betsy Dornbusch’s writing in THE SILVER SCAR is spare and lean, which gives the novel an immediacy that works in concert with her grim vision of a post-apocalyptic Colorado. While the book builds steadily, the beginning was rocky enough that I had a hard time getting into it and I bumped it down a ratings category or two.
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Review

Dead Moon

Dead Moon

So, despite what Goodreads might seem to imply, this isn’t the third book in any kind of connected series. It’s a single novel that may or may not be the first in a series, and that might be in the same loosely bound universe as other books that the author has written. But that’s about it. I spent the entirety of my time listening to this one believing that this was the third book in a series and wondering what story might have been told in the first two books. It’s not written like the follow-on to any kind of other story.

Now I guess I know better than to blithely accept the information I’m given on Goodreads.

This is also another one of those books that doesn’t look like it’s going to get a dead-tree release any time soon, if at all. <<sideways glance>> I just don’t get that. Part of the book market, I guess, that doesn’t include me. Still, I was more than happy to give the thing a listen, as I had a hole in my audiobook schedule.
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Review

The Antidote

Posted: February 19, 2019 by Jane Funk in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Shelley Sackier, Fantasy, Young Adult
The Antidote

THE ANTIDOTE by Shelley Sackier reads like a fairytale–and not one that the Brothers Grimm recorded; there is no real peril here in Sackier’s stage-set world building. With a lively protagonist and a plenty of twists, THE ANTIDOTE should be a bubbly little read, but a fumble on some story fundamentals makes it more frustrating than fun.
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Review

Avengers of the Moon

Posted: January 24, 2019 by Jane Funk in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Allen Steele, Science Fiction
Avengers of the Moon

Sherlock. Queer Eye. Sabrina. An endless parade of Spider-Men (is ‘parade’ the right collective noun for spiders? Update: the internet informs me it might more correctly be called a ‘cluster of Spider-Men’).

Anyways.

Reboots are everywhere and Allen Steele’s AVENGERS OF THE MOON is one of them, a reboot of a classic, pulpy sci-fi series called Captain Future. I’m going to date myself by saying it was WELL before my time and that I’ve never read the previous series; regardless, I think the reboot criteria are clear:

A reboot should stand on its own.

A reboot should make characters and story arcs more accessible to modern audiences by updating the piece’s sensibilities.

A reboot should retain some of the essential qualities that made the work popular in the first place.

So does Steele deliver?
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Review

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

Posted: December 11, 2018 by Vanessa in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Alyssa Palombo, , Books for Chicks
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

If you’ve never read the original Washington Irving short “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” you should (it’s easy to find a free version online…but be sure to have a dictionary on hand, it’s not necessarily an easy read). You’ve probably seen the silly Disney cartoon, but the original story has an ambiance and mystery about it that is enhanced by its brevity and style. Alyssa Palombo attempts to re-tell this American classic in her recent THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL, while retaining the setting details and characters, but giving it a modern twist.Read the rest of this review »

Review

Artemis

Posted: November 16, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Andy Weir, Science Fiction
Artemis

I never took the opportunity to read The Martian. Saw the movie, tried to pick up the audio book once but it was a bad CD copy, and I just never got back to trying again. Recently, one of our illustrious fans requested that we read and review Weir’s next book, Artemis. Oddly enough, I also had to wrangle with a bad CD copy of an audiobook for this one (I love my library, but yeesh this seems to happen a lot) but I set my rocket scientist mind to the problem and figured out how to get it to work. And here we are. Interested in what we thought of it? I figured you might be.
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Review

Priest of Bones

Posted: October 2, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Peter McLean, Fantasy
Priest of Bones

I’m always leery about books that tout themselves as dark and gritty. “I’m dark! Read me!” they yell. “And I’m gritty! Read me!” But what is “dark” and what is “gritty”? So many authors, and even publishers, get it dead wrong all the time. You don’t become dark and gritty by including profanity; though such stories usually do contain a bundle of profanity. And stories aren’t dark and gritty because there’s a lot of violence in them either; although they typically contain a lot of the bloody hack-and-slash as well. And yet, there are constantly those that will try to throw a bunch of violence and profanity into a book and call it “dark and gritty”, and then try sliding it in under the noses of you wonderful readers.

<<eye roll>>

When will they ever learn?
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Review

Iron Dragoons

Posted: September 20, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Richard Fox, Science Fiction
Iron Dragoons

Military Science Fiction is a sub-genre that I don’t very often find myself reading. Not that I don’t like it, or even that I think I might not like it, but I just haven’t read much of it. Kind of the same way that I don’t very often find myself singing while riding the city bus. Not that the other patrons on the bus might not like my warbling voice or that I might not enjoy such an experience… I just don’t do it all that much. So this was a bit of a departure for me, but I got a copy of the ebook for free from the author on Facebook, if I remember correctly. Trying to drum up some business and get his name out there, I’d gather, and two cheers for him, I say! I think that more beginning authors should be giving a decent smattering of their stuff away for free. Take note, newbie authors. Especially those that are self-published. Just make sure that what you’re floating in front of people’s noses for FREE is also awesome-sauce, […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Moons of Barsk

Posted: September 5, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Lawrence M. Schoen, Science Fiction
The Moons of Barsk

BARSK: THE ELEPHANTS’ GRAVEYARD (EBR Review) was such a pleasant surprise that I can’t help but smile every time I think about the experience of reading that book. And feel bad, of course, because it took so long to finally make its way to the top of my reading queue. It was fun and engaging and intelligent without feeling like it was pandering in any way. So, when I saw that there was going to be a sequel… I determined that I was going to do right by it. To mention nothing of the fact that I was actually quite excited to hear that we’d be getting more from the world of Barsk. In fact, I can still feel that excitement in the slightest bit, even on this side of my reading experience.

Which is somewhat interesting, because it’s been a long time since I’ve been quite so disappointed with a sequel.
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