Friday, 21 August 2015

HOLY COW!!!!!



With a title like Apocalypse Cow how can you not want to read this book. It doesn't hurt also that this has won the Terry Pratchett Prize. So what do you get in a book with such a title? You get some great all round entertainment it will make you laugh, excite you, disturb you and have you think twice about that burger you eating.

My main concern coming into this book was how this was going to work. I mean Zombie Cows does smack of absolute absurdness how could this be a great read. Well let me tell you Michael Logan nails this narratives and produces a story that rips through the countryside of the good old motherland.

I love all the characters in this book their collective personality  issues gel very well together to create a great sense of purpose. What is that purpose, well it's simple not to be eaten by their pets, livestock or anything else on four legs. I will never be able to look at hemp clothing again without wanting
to itch myself silly.

5 Stars

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Gamer Geeks Heaven


 

Armada is Ernest Clines much anticipated second novel. Like his book Ready Player One, this one is a computer gamers dream. Lucky for me I am a avid gamer and therefore thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Early reviews of this book is split with some calling it rip off of "Enders Game". For me this is like comparing apples and oranges, yes they are both fruit but that is where the resemblance ends.

Armada delivers a fast paced story based around a fictional PC gaming series that is not what all it seems. As before Cline shows us why he is the Gaming Geeks pinup Idol. He seamlessly meshes together a fantastic story mixed with gaming mythology and lore. Here is a man that has raised story telling and gaming to a whole new level.
 
4 Stars

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A Great Read & Interview

Lazy Book Reviewers resident reviewer Pamellia delivers a great review an Author Interview. So sit back, read on and enjoy.



An action thriller that keeps on giving is a good phrase to describe the soon to be published, The Alo Release, by Geoffrey Robert. It is a fun read with a lot of action. Three main characters have bonded to fight the evils of genetic engineering, each with unique personalities that are different as night and day.

The story opens in California but soon moves to New Zealand. I've never read a novel set in New Zealand and I enjoyed taking this little trip there. We are introduced to several characters in this new country with many being quite colorful! The protagonists and other characters are well developed and we learn a lot about keeping our planet safe. There are twist and turns that I did not see coming. Some victorious and some rather sad. The ending was well thought out and written.

The rivers, mountains, beaches, and scenery in general are described with such beautiful prose that I could almost imagine myself there. We are taken to huts in the bush to snow in the mountains. Rivers and oceans must be lovely in this country. I'm not so sure about the cuisine of some of these out of the way places, but I might sacrifice to be part of this country's beauty for just once in my life. I was not familiar with some of the New Zealand words, but this did not take away from the book for me.

I recommend this book to those of us who enjoy a fast paced thriller set in a country with exotic beauty.

5 stars

Author Interview

Geoffrey Robert is a first time novelist of The Alo Release, A Genetic Modification Thriller. I was asked to read a per-published edition of this novel for an honest review. While reading the book, I thought it would be interesting to interview this author.

PS: Good morning, Geoffrey. Thank you for participating in our author interview program. I have a few questions for you about your writing and personal life. What was your original inspiration for writing your first novel, The Alo Release? 

GR: A hike in the Whitcombe Valley on New Zealand’s rugged West Coast. I remember standing in the bush above this unbelievably wild river in the middle of nowhere, and thinking this is as good as it gets. Exquisite birdsong, jagged peaks of the Alps beckoning like the spires of mystical cathedrals, the smell of moisture in the beech forest like an elixir. Nature in its raw, unpredictable state – at an entirely different end of the spectrum from the confines of a test tube or comfort of a biotech lab. I wanted to tackle an important international issue from a uniquely New Zealand perspective, giving readers insights into the environment, the culture, language, attitudes – warts and all. 

PS: After reading this book, I must say that you met your goals! However, what were some of the challenges, such as research, literary, political, psychological, logistical, in bringing this story to life? 

GR: The biggest challenge for me was logistical -- making the time to complete the manuscript. It has been a long project that I’ve gone back to as time has allowed, juggling writing with the demands of my job as a newspaper editor. In March this year my wife and I made the decision to uproot and follow our dream to volunteer in a developing country. It has given me the time and creative space to complete the novel – and a thirst to write more. I’ve drawn on more than 30 years experience as a journalist and communications adviser. Journalists, whether in Detroit, New York or Auckland, come under constant pressure from businesses and other organizations with large budgets to spend on manipulating public opinion to boost profits or advance their agendas. The Alo Release highlights how vulnerable citizens and governments are to manipulation on a grand scale during an international crisis. The issue is timely, given widespread concern in many countries about the safety and labeling of genetically modified food, and alarm over the level of influence multinational corporations are having on trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership. 

PS: I'm certainly pleased that you did find the time to complete this project. The three protagonists of the book, Matthew, Cat and Jay, have such different personalities. Which character do you most identify with and why?   

GR: Probably Jay, as the Kiwi among the three. We share a passion for keeping things natural, the importance of social justice, backing the underdog. Both of us have reasonably laid-back, understated approaches to life, but I only abseil down buildings to unfurl banners, steer kayaks into the path of ships carrying nuclear waste, or ride zodiacs under the bows of whaling ships in my dreams.

PS: Jay's personality was proactive. His character seemed to be able to do whatever was necessary to win the day. As I read the book several different colorful characters came to life. I wondered if you based some of them on actual people you have known in New Zealand. For example: were Auntie Fay, Auntie Joan, Detective Inspector Hansen, The Plucker (actually too many to name them all) based on people living in New Zealand?

GR: Some of them were. Others were amalgams of people I know or have come across. I have had aunties called Joan and Fay, who share some of the heart-of-gold no-nonsense traits of the aunties in the book. The Possum Plucker is based on a real person I met in one of the backcountry huts in the Whitcombe Valley. Colorful is an understatement for that bloke. The SwordPhish character is based on an IT expert I once knew, and Jay’s hiking buddy Andrew is loosely based on a friend who accompanied me on many excursions into the New Zealand bush. 

PS: Those characters gave the book a down-home realism. This is the first novel I have read set in New Zealand. Can you tell us about your life in New Zealand including growing up? 

GR: Many New Zealanders don’t realize how lucky they are to live in a peaceful, stable country in the South Pacific, with a deep-rooted commitment to social justice and easy access to a relatively unspoilt environment. A line in the novel about the most dangerous creature in the New Zealand bush being the sandfly is true! No snakes, bears, lions or anything that will give you more than an irritating itch for a few hours. It only took one trip to the mountains of the Southern Alps as a teenager to get me hooked, despite suffering mild hypothermia crossing an icy river. I headed into the bush and mountains every opportunity I had during my teenage years and early working life. Career and family eventually intervened, but I still managed many trips into the wild places – in New Zealand and abroad -- to recharge. When parts of the body started complaining about the more arduous hikes, I turned to mountain-biking. I grew up in a working class family in a fiercely independent little country with a proud history of standing up to the bullies – whether it was America over its demand to bring nuclear ships into New Zealand harbors or France wanting to test nuclear bombs in the Pacific. 

PS: No snakes!? I'm there!! It sounds just lovely. Have you explored the areas you describe in your book? 

GR; Many of them. I’ve spent numerous days hiking in the Whitcombe and Rakaia Valleys, and other places off the beaten track. I grew up in Christchurch, so am familiar with several of the areas where the novel approaches its climax. I’ve lived in the capital city of Wellington for seven years – including working for five years in Parliament -- and have been a regular visitor to Auckland, where my brother lives. I’ve spent time in most of the other New Zealand locations mentioned in the novel, such as Rotorua, Coromandel, Napier, Wairarapa and the West Coast of the South Island, at various times in my life. Many scenes in The Alo Release are set in locations outside New Zealand. I don’t claim to have visited them all, though have traveled widely, witnessing first hand the swelling disparities in wealth and influence at the root of many of the world’s problems. From the dazzle of Times Square to the clogged alleyways of India, the orderly streets of London to the chaotic bus stations of Kenya, the bountiful swagger of Sydney to the dirt floor poverty of Timor Leste 

PS: Your travels are interesting. What message would you like for your readers to grasp after reading The Alo Release? GR: Question and challenge what you read, see and hear in the media – whether it be newspapers, television or social media. I’ve always been a great believer in the power of common sense and the ability of people to see through propaganda. Public opinion surveys consistently show the majority of Americans don’t think GMOs are safe, want their food labelled so they can make informed choices, and don’t trust big business, which they know has far too much influence over government decision-making. Social media has many strengths. It has brought the world closer together. I’d like to think genocide on the scale of the holocaust wouldn’t happen again because someone will upload a video to Youtube and the world will have to react. But the proliferation of social media has also blurred the lines of media ownership and influence, opening the field to greater manipulation by vested interests, which is one of the underlying themes of The Alo Release. Many of the techniques of corporate manipulation featured in the novel are happening now to a degree. The book explores what could happen on a grand scale – and what a ruthless corporation could get away with -- during an international crisis. ‘She’s scary stuff’, as Jay would say. I also hope international readers will get an insight into New Zealand and what makes Kiwis tick. If it encourages some of them to venture Down Under for a look-see, even better. PS: With every thing going on in our world today, that is some good advise. What writing projects are you working on now? Will we seen another novel from you in the next year? GR: I am in the early stages of my next novel, which I’m aiming to finish in the next 12 months. It is likely to be another social justice thriller about little guys standing up to a multinational corporation. I’m thinking of focusing my microscope on the pharmaceutical industry. I’m also interested in exploring the links between the clothing industry and child slavery, but that might have to wait for novel number three. 

PS: From your internet biography I see you are a long time writer. Would you give us some examples of the articles you have written and for what purpose? 

GR: Before becoming a newspaper editor, much of my career as a journalist was spent in news, covering the field from politics, science, the environment, law enforcement, the courts/justice and defence. My introduction to the profession included a few baptisms of fire -- nationwide anti-apartheid protests that divided New Zealand in the 1980s, and the bombing by French terrorists of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbor. I spent several stints as a freelancer during extended travels through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and my writing was published by newspapers in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. Africa made a big – and lasting – impression on me. Particularly the disparities of wealth and the disgraceful aftermath of colonialism. The developed world has a lot to answer for. 

PS: I had not thought about the aftermath of colonialism in this way. I appreciate your openest. Kindly comment on the volunteer work you and your wife are providing in Timor Leste.

GR: We always intended doing volunteer work but assumed it would be when we were closer to the age of retirement. Various stars have aligned for us this year, and the opportunity to volunteer in Timor Leste presented itself. The country, one of the poorest in South East Asia, is struggling to develop its economy after hundreds of years of exploitation as a Portuguese colony and a quarter of a century of ruthless occupation by Indonesia. My wife is volunteering for a non-government organisation working in the education and peace building sectors. I’m juggling my time between writing and helping young Timorese eager to improve their English – at university and at a remote school in the south-west of the country.

PS: Geoffrey, I wish to thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. We at The Lazy Book Reviewer strive to select well written and interesting book to review. The Alo Release certainly fits this criteria. The interesting life you have lived certainly assisted the branching out we are beginning with author interviews. We hope to read another of your novels in the future and wish you the best of luck in your future writing endeavors. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

No Sir I Do Not Like It!!!



American Psycho is another book that has been on my reading list for many a year gathering dust. I have heard nothing but praise for this book; mind you a lot of this praise does come with a warning of disturbing conduct. So it was with great gusto I delved into its pages ready to be entertained and shocked.

To say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly. This book is nothing but a running commentary of all that was cool, hip and swanky during the 80’s in the upper echelon of New York Society. This was boring inane diatribe was interspersed with acts of sadistic violence that to me added nothing to the story.


I know that this was meant to be a reflection of the rampant consumerism and selfishness of this era and somehow this is reflected in Mr Batemans Sociopathic and homicidal behaviour. But I for one “DO NOT GET IT”. 

This book is already considered by many a modern day classic. But I for one am not a fan and feel that I have wasted some of my valuable reading time.

2 Stars

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

This Author Can Do No Wrong









Nicholas Sansbury Smith once again takes us on a trip to a world where mankind is on the brink of extinction, and like the books preceding it this one does not disappoint. Extinction Cycle ranks up near the top as one of my favorite series of all times right alongside his other series Orbs.



Well that's enough of my gushing about this author it’s time to take a look at what makes this series so good. Fresh is one of the first things that pop in my mind. Post-Apocalyptic novels have seen a resurgence in popular culture. I mean everyman and his dog seems to be writing about the end of the world at the moment. Into this crowded genre strode Mr. Sansbury Smith to deliver a series that grabbed me by my shirt collar from the very beginning and demanded my attention.



Extinction Age delivers another fantastic installment in which the reader is rewarded with excellent plot and character development. Add to this mix action, suspense and sheer terror and you have a cracker of a read that like Oliver has me asking, "please sir may I have some more."

5 Stars

Saturday, 11 July 2015

A Timely Read

 
This book gave me some great insight into ISIS on a historical and organisational level. The author uses a great array of sources to give the reader a well-researched overview.

I found the historical part of this book very engaging and the authors do a solid job in putting together all the complicated pieces in a manner that is easy to read. Another aspect of this book that I found riveting was the high level of organisation and planning that ISIS use in its campaigns. They appear to be functioning at an extremely high level and this is what is contributing to its ability to punch way above its weight. It is also a very terrifying realisation to come to.

Overall this book gives the reader a good overview of ISIS and the related issues. It is a timely book and as given me a new perspective on the subject.
 
3 Stars

Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Book That Makes You Work For It


Towards the Flames examines Europe's headlong plunge towards World War I from the view of Russia. This presents some new and fresh views on this much examined and analysed period of History.

It is a book though that makes you work for this information. It is written in a dry factual matter that you as the reader have to really concentrate on to take in. It is more akin to a piece of scholarly writing which may limit its audience base.

As a history buff I got a lot out of this book. As I read the last page I was overcome with a great sense of achievement and felt that my knowledge on this period of time is a lot more rounded and full. This book will best suit those who have a real thirst for history.


 From an audiobook production perspective Sean Barrett does a masterful job in bringing a bit of zest into the book. He also does a masterful job on those tricky Russian words and names.
 
 
3.5 Headphones