Thursday, 27 February 2014

One Of The Best Debuts I Have Read

How can a book with a recommendation from the authors mum on the front cover be anything but good? Strobes début novel hits the ball out of the park. Our world is full of technology, driven by social media and the desire to be connected at all time. Strobe with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, takes aim and fires an intelligent and insightful satirical broadside at the world today and what it might become.

The story is set in the distant future where the American internet company Furtl, which has integrated itself into every aspect of Americans life, is starting to lose the battle against the Chinese alternative Holospace machines. Without giving the story away lets just say this is a tale of private business taking over the country by using politicians as their puppets. The few control the masses through fear thus increasing their profit lines. It is a story of one man trying to make amends and give power back to the people.

As a techno-freak I had a big grin on my face through most of this book. There is one frightening aspect of this book, and that is the story is not that much of a stretch of the imagination. I believe the author has given birth to a new genre, Dystopian Militant Buddhism Political Satire.

5 Stars LBR Big Tick Of Approval

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Cold War Terror

Written in the midst of the fear and turmoil of the Cold war Alas Babylon is a fantastic tale of mutual destruction. To truly enjoy all this book has to offer one has to try and get in the mindset of the era. Once you do that you can truly appreciate how frightening this story would have been in its day. It would have scared the crap out of me and kept wondering when the end was coming.

Alas Babylon is a story of survival and hope after the USSR and USA take turns in trying to wipe each other off the face of the earth. The story focuses on a small town and the hero of the story that tries to keep a sense of civility in their lives. As in all good survival stories this book highlight the good and bad in society and individuals.

I love reading books like this because through the story it gives a snapshot into the social and political landscape of the era. I look forward to digging around and finding some more classics like this one.

5 Stars and this years first LBR Big Tick Of Approval

About the Author:

"Pat Frank" was the lifelong nickname adopted by the American writer, newspaperman, and government consultant, who was born Harry Hart Frank (1908-1964), and who is remembered today almost exclusively for his post-apocalyptic novel Alas, Babylon. Before the publication of his first novel Mr. Adam launched his second career as novelist and independent writer, Frank spent many years as a journalist and information handler for several newspapers, agencies, and government bureaus. His fiction and nonfiction books, stories, and articles made good use of his years of experience observing government and military bureaucracy and its malfunctions, and the threat of nuclear proliferation and annihilation. After the success of Alas, Babylon, Frank concentrated on writing for magazines and journals, putting his beliefs and concerns to political use, and advising various government bodies. In 1960 he served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. In 1961, the year in which he received an American Heritage Foundation Award, he was consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Council. From 1963 through 1964 the Department of Defense made use of Frank's expertise and advice, and this consultancy turned out to be his last response to his country's call. His other books include Mr. Adam and Forbidden Area.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Hell 1.0

Hell 1.0 by William JacobsHere is the next review from the  Bookie Monster

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When William Jacobs contacted me to review Hell 1.0, I was intrigued by the thought of a book that readers could influence. I kept thinking of the end of that movie Clue when they gave us the “This is what could have happened”. Creating a book by version, and allowing for alternate endings based on reader feedback is genius and quite frankly like nothing I have read before.

In an ever changing landscape, where if you lose sight of your party you risk drifting and never finding them again, Hell 1.0 is an unsettling read. The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking “oh $hit, if there really is a Hell, I really need to make sure I don’t end up in it”. There are no levels to Jacobs Hell. It’s simple…you do bad things, you end up there, it doesn’t matter if you’re a murderer, a cheater, or a two bit thief.

There are no zombies, hell-hounds or monsters in the traditional sense. Jacob’s monsters are the people themselves. When Recent car crash victim Paul arrives in Hell he joins up with a not so merry band of men. Grey, his mentor for lack of a better word, takes him under his wing and decides to make a change in Hell. While Paul may be the main character, it becomes quickly evident that Grey has the most depth and complexity. Time is irrelevant, as the years just seem to pass. Grey no longer wants to be bound by the rules of Hell and wants to create a better place to live out his eternity. Breaking the cycle, he tries to show his followers a better way to exist, at the same time warring with his internal demons.

Using sexual prowess is a role we have seen female characters play out over and over again, but in Hell women have the ultimate power. I both despise and admire Sheila for her ingenuity at surviving, and thriving, in this wasteland. She wields power over each man and they wait on her hand and foot vying for her small attentions.

Food? Forget it! All there is to eat is bugs unless you turn to cannibalism, which is the norm rather than the exception. And all dead things die and come back to life, unless eaten. Coming back to life is excruciating, as your body weaves itself back together. And when you do, you’re usually someone bitch. There are no tools, homes, cars. Not even any clothes other than what someone is wearing when they die.

William Jacobs has succeeded in sending my mind reeling. I’ll admit, I’m not usually a deep thinker. Hell 1.0 will force even the most superficial mind to question their morality and take stock of their lives. This book will challenge readers. Seriously, I’m trying to sift through my thoughts on it and it’s got me going nuts.

So, my little hell minions, next time you think about cheating on your wife or committing those bad deeds, think about the final repercussions of those actions. I for one do not want to end up in this Hell.

Review by Shana Festa

3 Stars

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Great Study In Leadership

A very interesting read if not a slightly misleading title. What you get in this book is a look at Franklin D Roosevelt’s leadership of the USA into war. Pearl Harbour is the catalyst for this but if you are looking for a history of the Pearl Harbour incident look elsewhere.

The author gives us great insight on the high level of leadership required to take a nation to a war footing and rally a nation. This is my first book on FDR and I found this book gives a great understanding of the man and how he came to lead a nation. It is amazing to think that the public and many politicians had no idea how incapacitated the man was from polio. The lengths he went to hide his disability is truly amazing, and shows his strength of character when put into context regarding the time he lived.

The old saying that it is lonely on top is highlighted in this book as FDR moves to protect the nation from the shock of Pearl Harbour and to soothe their nerves. It also shows the obstacles he faced from a nation wanting to remain neutral. His vision and leadership should be studied be all with an interest in this area. Overall a great study into leadership and strength of character.

3.5 Stars

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Betrayal Is A Step Away

The final book in the Kamas trilogy delivers a story that can stand on its own feet. We are taken another journey into the dystopian world where the US is ran by a President for Life and freedom is just a word. Once again we go inside the labour camps where enemy of the state or sent to rot and die.

This time we follow the story of an agent of the state who has spent his life tracking down the enemies of the state in the European safe havens. He soon comes caught up in a deadly game of betrayal and greed that finds him in a labour camp abandoned by the state and fighting to survive. Without giving away the story this book has all the ingredients for a top class thriller. There are twists mixed with adventure and betrayal and good helping of redemption. I can only hope the author decided to return to the world of Kamas one day as there is so much to explore.

4 Stars

* This book is yet to be published links will provided after its release. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Murder In The Yoga Store

How can you not read a book with a title like that? What we get is a short story that is a to the point investigation into a shocking murder that rocked the quite suburb of Bethesda. That's right I learned that Bethesda is more than the studio behind the popular Fallout games.

But on a serious note this book follows the shocking murder of young 20 something female in an upmarket Yoga clothes store. The brutality of the murder defies belief. We follow the investigation as it progresses through to the shocking finding that solves the crime. This book takes the reader on a short ride into depravity an highlights the short comings of modern society.

3 Stars

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A Prequel Well Worth The Read

This short story nestles itself between book 3 and 4 of the Zombie Fallout series and is a prequel to the series. As a reader I find that prequels can be fraught with risk and I often find myself asking questions like:

Is this just a grab for some cash?
If it is so important to the story the why not include it in the first book?
Will it add any value to the story and series?
Is this a result of lazy story development?

What I got in this prequel was a valued pack story that not only added to the series but stood alone as a separate story. Mark Tufo has nodded his cap to his readership by adding some great tongue in cheek references to the series. The book tells the tale of the discovery of the virus that will one day bring the world to its knees and adds a tantalizing link and teaser to what is to come in the series. I for one want to know what the hell is in that suitcase.

I always come away from Mr Tufo's books feeling greatly entertained and for some reason craving pop tarts. For those of you yet to sample what this author has to offer it's time you jump in with both feet and immerse yourself in his world.

4 Stars

Monday, 10 February 2014

What Could Have Been

Colony delivers an old fashion haunting story with a demonic twist. The story centres on an island whose bleak landscape hides a mystery. A team lands on the island to try and explain the Islands dark past. Equipped with all that technology can offer the team comes up against the evil that dwells upon its shores. An evil that doesn’t give a dam if you can get a phone signal or not.

The book goes along at a steady rate and the mystery is slowly revealed to the reader.  The characters are a tad cliché and I felt more time could have been given to their development. What really disappointed me with this book was the end. It finished way to quick and abruptly for me and I was left feeling cheated. All the elements where there for a titanic end but what I got was a fizzer and yes I was not happy. This book has so much potential but at the end it fell way short of the mark.

2.5 Stars

Friday, 7 February 2014

The Bookie Monster Has Arrived

Well here it is the first Bookie Monster Review!!!!!!!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the book.

"If you've never done anything dumb, screw you because you're a liar."

This book comes with a disclaimer of what readers should expect. It promises "a gruesome, repugnant tale featuring horrific acts of violence sure to warp young minds". Considering I'm far from young and my mind is already warped, I buckled my seat belt and got ready for the ride.

Fifteen year-old Ricky and his soon to be stepsister, Michelle, traverse Harrington, Indiana with Ricky's six year old brother, Chuck, in tow. Unfortunately for Chuck, he's not so much traveling with the group as much as following a meal...because Chuck is dead. The duo embark on a mission to get to the Kirkman Soda Plant owned by Michelle's father, and ultimately find a cure for the infection waiting for them.

From the day Chuck was born, Ricky looked out for him, kept him safe, and provided a role model for Chuck to look up to. He is tormented by his inability to keep his brother safe and refuses to let go of the hope of finding the cure, assuming one even exists. Ricky's father worked in the Soda plant owned by the Kirkmans. Michelle's mother, having died three years ago from Cancer, left her father alone. Ricky's mother was lonely, and the handsome, wealthy businessman provided her with someone to talk to while her husband worked long hours. That friendship developed into more, and eventually Ricky's parents split. During one of Ricky's visits to the plant, he met Michelle. The two were oil and vinegar and it took no time for Ricky to label her a snob.

The manner in which the author introduces the infection is interesting; no radioactive spills, meteors or tainted flu shots. Instead, a new sports drink created by Michelle's father leaves consumers with the unexpected side effect of zombie-ism. Not only does conversion occur in those that partake in abundant quantities of the drink, but those who drink it and die of natural causes also reanimate.

The group is taken in by a family looting Wal-Mart and accompany them back to the New Life Christian Church. The intensity of the residents' devotion sounds warning bells for both Ricky and Michelle, but relieved to be safe, they don't listen to their inner voices until it's too late. The subtext of The Reverend's intent shines through his words like a beacon to readers, the Kool-Aid cometh. The word predictable flashed in my mind. But like any good writer, Kent put thought into how to surprise his readers. It's almost as if he intentionally leads the reader to anticipate a specific outcome, but goes beyond. All Together Now surprised me with interesting twists and an unexpected bit of pizazz.

The plot was intriguing, which kept me entertained enough to keep reading. The story is told using first person narration in the form of Ricky's journal. The narrator's use of a journal to jump between the past and present transitioned abruptly, making it sometimes difficult to identify there had been a shift in time.

A common issue I find with first person narration is that readers are limited to the accounts of a single person. Sometimes a single point of view is enough, and sometimes a good story can become a great one by showing the forest beyond the trees. All Together Now had some great story arcs, and if we weren't limited to only Ricky's perspective, it would have packed more oomph.

All Together Now struggled with characterization in both depth and development. Where I did find moments of intrigue was the resentment Ricky felt for his mother and Michelle's father. His reactions and inner dialogue added a level of humanization to the character.

While the characters and timeline could have been fleshed out a bit more, I enjoyed reading All Together Now and felt satisfied upon closing the book. At the end of the last chapter the author gives readers a choice to stop with everything wrapped up in a shiny bow or to continue on for the "whole truth". There was no way I wasn't pressing on and I must say, it was completely unexpected. I still can't decide if I should have stopped or kept going. Sometimes I like shiny bows. You'll need to make that choice should you decide to purchase and read for yourself.

All Together Now resulted in a light and easy read. It kept up a consistent pace, and while not bursting at the seems with non-stop action, I didn't find myself zoning out or becoming disinterested. Intended for a young adult audience; there was no vulgar language or sexual content. Gore and graphic scenes are minimal, but enough that consideration should be given to younger readers, which is also included in the author's disclaimer.

3 Stars

Monday, 3 February 2014

Busted an Advanced Review

I was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy of this book by the publisher for review. This book is due for release on March the 11th 2014. So read on for my thoughts on this book it may be one you will want to put on your calender to read this year.

I went into this book not quite knowing what to expect. Was it going to be a compendium of the newspaper articles that won the authors a Pulitzer or was it going to be the story behind the story? I was happy to find out that it was the latter.

The book starts off with a great first chapter that introduces us to all the main players in this real life thriller and sets the tone for the rest of the book. What we get from this book is a journalist view of the pressure and danger they put themselves in to chase the truth, a truth that gets scarier the deeper they dig. What start off as an investigation into a narcotics cop inappropriate relationship with his informant and the falsifying of information for search warrants. Soon expands into an investigation of a police squad out of control robbing and sexually harassing citizens to scared to report them.

This book tells the story of the lengths that the authors go to expose police corruption and the danger they put themselves in to do so. This story reads like an action thriller and leaves the reader breathless as it tears through the pages.

4.5 Stars

The Lazy Book Reviewer Expands

The Lazy Book Reviewer is about to enter an exciting new phase that will provide you the reader with more book reviews to ponder over. I am very happy to announce a partnership with the very successful blog the Bookie Monster.

This partnership will allow both blogs to share more book reviews with it's readers and hopefully help grow our respective audience. So keep your eye out as the first Bookie Monster review will appear very soon. Also I would love to get some feedback on what you guys and girls think about this partnership.