Posts Tagged ‘Reviews by Dan Smyth’

God’s Last Breath

Posted: January 18, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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I’ve never really gotten into comic books — Ahem. Excuse me — “Graphic novels”. Hey, gimme a break. I’m a child of the 80s and old habits die hard. Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes. I’ve never really been that into graphic novels. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve read a few. And ElfQuest was one series that I voraciously devoured when I first stumbled upon it. Still, despite my very meagre affair with this medium, I can’t help but feel like I need to make a comparison between this book and a graphic novel. I’m fairly certain it’s the fact that the author’s writing style is so visual and visceral that does it for me. It’s what makes this book read like a really detailed graphic novel. The simplicity of his words to imagery. The strong dependence on character to relay the story. I’m not sure exactly. Whatever it is though, no one else does it quite like Sam Sykes.
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Romance isn’t exactly a genre that we here at EBR dip our toes into very often. In point of fact, I just looked up how many reviews of books we have that are labeled as being tagged as “romance”. Want to know how many there were? Two. And one of those, I was tricked into reading. Seeing as how having only one review in a given genre is kind of silly, and having two seems more like an excuse to remove the genre than even one did, I thought I’d add to that total and provide the third review in this oft-forgotten genre here at EBR. I know. I’m too much. You can thank me later for my generosity. No, in all seriousness I also kind of wanted to review this book because then I could mention the fact that the author of this book is none other than Sam Sykes’s mother, and if you don’t know who Sam Sykes is, then you should watch out for my next review. Until then, there’s this one, and it ain’t too shabby either.
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Steak and potatoes. These two foods comprise the epitome of a hearty American dinner. So if I wanted to make an apropos comparison of such an eating experience to reading a book, then that reading experience would be: full of goodness, tender and tasty, and most of all filling. At the end of such a read, I would expect to be satisfied, and if not necessarily ready to dive into the next book, at least ready to move on to something new. One could easily make other such comparisons between food and reading. And if I had to make a food-based comparison to reading this book, it’d be a bowl full of popcorn: easy to keep reading, exciting enough to keep my interest, and regardless of how it ends, finding that I have a bit of a belly-ache afterward. As with reading many of these kinds of books, once in a while they can be fun, but too many in a row? No thank you, sir. But it had been a while since I’d read a popcorn novel. So.
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Persepolis Rising

Posted: December 5, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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…and so here I am, writing a review for a book that I haven’t even received in the mail yet, and I realize just how upside-down the world has turned. I mean, YES, I was uber-excited to get the story early, but there’s just something that I miss about being able to turn the actual pages of a real book. The feel of the paper in my fingers, the visual cue of the turning of the page, the smell of it. It all just seems a bit MORE when I get the physical book. When I can see it on my shelf, sitting there staring back at me. For some reason, ebooks just make a story seem somehow…easier than they should. Less substantive. So am I over-exaggerating at all when I tell you I’m even more excited to get my actual book in the mail later tonight, on the date of “publication”, than I was to get the eARC I actually read? Not in the slightest. In fact, I may just have to start reading this one again. When I get home from work tonight. Just…you know…don’t tell my boss or anything. Cause I really should be reading the next book in my queue. 🙂
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Less than an hour before I sat down to write this review, I pulled my youngest daughter’s loose front tooth from her mouth and thought what an amazingly apt comparison I might make between that act and this effort. Writing this review is a concept that I’ve done no small amount of pondering upon.

If you’ve had the pleasure of reading my previous reviews on the books in this series, you’ll know I’ve not been much of a fan. And yet, they also contain within them some of the most amazing “fantastical stuff” (highly technical term) that I’ve read in literally any other fantasy book/series. So, much like my moments-earlier tooth extraction, I’ve decided to pull the painful review that I might otherwise have written, and instead put together a review that addresses everything I’ve been thinking about this book. Taking it, holding it aloft, and examining it from every angle, so to speak, now that it will no longer be paining me.

Granted, such a review is going to be considerably longer than my regular fare, so I feel as if I need to give a small qualifier to all you readers. If you’re up for a bit more of my blabbering blatherskyte than usual, by all means sally forth and tally ho. I’ll begin in short measure. If, however, you’re just looking for the Cliff’s Notes version, well, here you are: TL;DR Nearly identical in every aspect to the previous books in the series. If you liked them, you’ll like this one. If you didn’t, you won’t.
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Strange Dogs

Posted: November 9, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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When originally planning out my review for this one, I thought about beginning with a strongly-worded letter to the publisher about ebooks in general, but decided against it. Instead, I’m going to opt for writing a strongly-worded letter to all publishers of ebooks with the purpose of letting them know about my little beef with the way they’re doing things. So, here we go. “To Whom It May Concern: I am a huge fan of reading awesome books, and I read many of them on the e-reader of my choice. At the bottom of every page of every story I receive for my e-reader is a little percentage scale, which I quite frequently reference while reading, that let’s me know just how far I am into the story and how much goodness I have left to go. This tool has become a staple for me when reading books for the purpose of reviewing them. While reading this book, however, I came to a point that my e-reader’s scale said was about 65% of the way through the book when I found these unexpected words on the next page: THE END. I was incredibly perturbed by finding that the story I was reading was inexplicably over, and that the remaining 35% of the file was filled with sample chapters I had no interest in reading whatsoever. Hrm. How to say this nicely? Please do not do this to me again. There. If you want to give me sample chapters, which I am usually quite amenable to receiving, please instead include a link to said sample chapters on your website or other online location so that I do not feel cheated when suddenly finishing the awesome stories I expected to get in the first place. Thank you. Sincerely Yours, Your Somewhat-Disgruntled Yet Still Mostly-Friendly Neighborhood Team of Elitists”
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Luna: Wolf Moon

Posted: October 12, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Hate
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You may have already noticed, but there’s this little fever burning through the public at large right now concerning a certain speculative fiction series. Its novels are door-stoppers, its HBO episodes are reportedly hitting $15M a piece to produce, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (heh-heh) to realize that hitching your ride to such a wagon might not be the worst idea in the world if you’re looking to make a few bucks. It’s also available for attaching parallels that can instantly make a connection to the minds of many readers. So, seeing this book’s predecessor described as “A Game of Moons”, is sure to pull in more than a few readers, yeah? You’d think. But the difficult part in all of that would be the actual story, and whether it can stand up to such a comparison to a story that is loved by, literally, millions. Maybe you all can see where I’m going with this, and if you happen to remember my review of that last book, it’ll probably even be an easier line to pick up.
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