Posts that have been categorized as: "Books We Don’t Like"

The Last Harvest

Posted: August 3, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Tags: Kim Liggett, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

As I’m sitting down to write this review, I’m reminded of a card game that my oldest child taught us one night. It’s very similar to Uno, only played with a deck of face cards, and there are a whole lot of rules that the “director” of the game gets to make up. The rest of the players then spend the rest of the game trying to figure out what those rules are by watching the director abide by them and then trying to decipher what the rule governing the director’s actions might be. And then obviously duplicate all of them in such a way as to win the game before the director does. It is a wholly frustrating and ridiculous game, and I’ve forever banned it from being played at my house if I have to be involved. What can I say? I guess I just like knowing what the rules are when I get involved in something. That goes doubly for my reading experiences.
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The Empty Ones

Posted: July 13, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Tags: Robert Brockway, Urban Fantasy

So I was reading a book with my daughter the other day and she skipped half a line, mid-sentence. There were two “ands” in a single line and she went from one “and” to the other “and” without a beat. Just kept reading without realizing what she’d done. So, I called her on it. “How in the heck do you even do something like that?” I wondered aloud. We both had a good laugh over it. It was only considerably later that I realized while reading the book for this review I felt EXACTLY like I had when my daughter had skipped half the line while reading: like I was missing a ton of story that should have been there, but just wasn’t. No surprise on the rating then, eh? Yeah. This one was kind of a rough go. Okay, maybe not kind of.
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Humanity 2.0

This one comes as yet another in a long line of short-story anthologies that have fallen into my lap. Most of the others up to this point have been fantastical (urban, heroic, horrific), but this one instead is of the science-fictiony variety. More specifically, it tries to deal with how humanity might change when, not if, interstellar travel becomes possible. Was hoping for some goodness out of this bunch of stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much.
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Posted: March 25, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Tags: M.E. Parker, Science Fiction

jonesbridgeBad writing. We all know it’s out there, and unfortunately the odds are that eventually it will end up landing in our lap. When it happens in a book I’m reviewing I have one of two options: can the read, or mention the fact in my review. I really don’t feel like I can do anything else. Sometimes it baffles me how certain levels of writing can make it through the publication gamut. I mean, I expected to find some as I strolled through the SPFBO, and I did, but some of it was also quite good. But when a book has gone through a publication house, it seems to me that there should be some base-minimum level of goodness that applies because if the book doesn’t sell any copies, the publishers don’t make any money. Although, a good friend of mine had her books picked up by a small publication house and she got just about zero editing help. So. What can one really expect?
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Rise of the Automated Aristocrats

autoartisto2It was with a high level of excitement and healthy dose of trepidation that I dove into this book. Another Burton and Swinburne novel for me! But alas, it was the last of its kind. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first read that this would be the end of this amazing series. I’ve had so much fun reading this one, with each story building upon the previous one, and taking me further into the brilliantly detailed chaos of Hodder’s genius. The back of the book promised an explosive conclusion to the Spring-Heeled Jack series, and although I only wanted more! more! more! I still found myself curious how the tale I began a scant five years ago would resolve itself in the end.
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The Leopard

Posted: October 16, 2015 by mtbikemom in Books We Don't Like Tags: Dark Fantasy, K.V. Johansen

Picture 1I wanted to like this book, was ready to love it after reading the intriguing prologue, but the rest of THE LEOPARD did not hold up to its early, fleeting promise. What a mess.Read the rest of this review »


Posted: September 11, 2015 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Tags: James L. Cambias, Science Fiction

corsair2Recently, the dynamic duo of James S. A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) did a Q&A over at reddit. One of the questions that came up along the way was one that I thought was pretty astute and went something along the lines of this: In your books, why are there so many manned spacecraft and a surprising dearth of unmanned, likely more cost-effective, drones doing work in space? Their response was simple: bots are boring, humans are interesting. The story told in this book tries to take a somewhat opposite tack to that and tells a “science fiction” story where all of the space stuff is handled by bots, with the humans acting in the background. And how does it all turn out? Let’s just say that our boys from the Expanse series know what they’re talking about.
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All Those Vanished Engines

Posted: July 24, 2015 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Tags: Paul Park, Science Fiction

vanished2There is a tale written by a chap you might have heard of before (Hans Christian Andersen) about an Emperor that is duped by a couple of swindlers into paying for clothes made out of cloth that is not there. It’s called “The Emperor’s New Clothes” (just in case 😉 ), and it’s a wonderful tale that at its face can be viewed as being about not allowing yourself to be lied to and taken advantage of because you want something so badly, but has deeper meaning about not believing what everyone else does just because everyone else believes it. Once I’d written this review, I realized that a triggered remembrance of this old tale is exactly what I’d need in order to finish up. So let’s get to it.
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The Rise of Ransom City

Posted: April 21, 2015 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Tags: Fantasy, Felix Gilman

ransomcity copyI like surprises. At least, I like some kinds of surprises. Those like finding twenty bucks in an old pair of pants, or running into a long-lost high school friend while on vacation. There are some surprises though that I don’t particularly care for. Say, the sharp end of a tack poking up through my chair *after* hearing my pants rip open. Or that I’ve run out of gas ten minutes after passing the last gas station for fifty miles. So, I suppose it’s surprises I like that…er…I like. 🙂 Go figure. And after having read the first book in this series, I was considerably less than happy at what I found in this second and final book of the series. An unpleasant surprise to be sure.
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The Doctor and the Dinosaurs

drdinoMike Resnick has had a pretty good deal going here with these Weird West tales. Short books released once a year and bought like clockwork by Pyr. From what I understand, he’s moved on from this series to another Science Fiction-based one now, but still has the team from Pyr standing at the front of the queue for the next story he pumps out. In a way, I’m glad to see Resnick move on from this series; it hasn’t been my favorite, to say the least. And yet there’s a part of me that wishes that since this was possibly the last tale torn from the might-have-been lifebook of the man Doc Holliday, that it had gone out with more of a bang.

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