Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force #1) by Craig Alanson

36335767._SX318_

*No Major Spoilers*

We were fighting on the wrong side of the war; we couldn’t win. And that was the good news.
The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits.
When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar, wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria, to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn’t even be fighting the Ruhar; they aren’t our enemy, our allies are.
I’d better start at the beginning…

~

I have been looking for a sci-fi novel that involved first alien contact that didn’t leave the reader with their nose stuck in a military dictionary trying to figure out what was going on. I don’t usually read military fiction because the author can forget that not everyone reading their books may not know all of the military terminologies. Luckily Columbus Day explains all of the jargon and military slang. I like how the main character is telling his story like he’s talking to ordinary people, all of the lingoes is explained, and he explains various types of strategies and the pros and cons of each.

Another thing I enjoyed about Columbus Day is how the main character relates to the enemy as well as their allies. When the Ruhar first attack, Bishop and a ragtag team of military friends abduct one of the enemy soldiers to get intel on the enemy, and one of the other enemy soldiers got hurt by debris. Later, we learn Bishop felt guilty for not being able to check for injuries on the enemy.

“Soldiers are soldiers, whether they have fur, skin or scales. So, logically, the Ruhar lobbed a missile at the most imposing structure in the area, the potato warehouse, and took it out in impressive fashion. I mean, they blew the hell out of it, those soldiers must have had something against potatoes.” – Columbus Day

However, my opinion of the story took a dip when the author introduced Skippy, an all-powerful AI built by ancient beings many millennia ago. I feel like the author hit a roadblock in the story and created Skippy as a way to get the story going again. The author then forces us to read a game of “Pete and Repeat” about everything we had learned up to this point. I felt this dialogue was unnecessary to the overall plot.

I have since gotten used to Skippy helping Bishop and other human soldiers. Once you get over that significant speedbump, the story smooths back out into military space action. Even with Skippy doing a lot of the critical technical aspects of the operation, this doesn’t slow the momentum down.

Overall, if you are looking for a sci-fi space adventure, then I would recommend Columbus Day. I would also recommend this novel if you are a fan of military fiction, space adventures, and just looking for an overall good story. Columbus Day will leave you binging the whole series before the day is over.

~

Ways to help the Blog:

Donate or subscribe, and you will receive exclusive blog posts only for supporters of the blog!

This blog post was proofread by Grammarly. Click the link to download Grammarly for free and get help proofreading your blog posts and tweets.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

REVIEW: Modo: Ember’s End by Arthur Slade

71BwXjzBymL

*No Major Spoilers*

Based on the world of Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments, Modo: Ember’s End follows the titular character on a new adventure. Modo has been trained by the British to be a secret agent and is about to find more action than he can handle in the wild-west town of Ember’s End.

~

I was browsing the virtual library, and the cover of Modo: Ember’s End caught my eye. I thought it would make for a fun and entertaining read. Now that I’m finished reading the novel let’s look at this graphic novel.

First off, I am a fan of westerns with a sci-fi twist; steampunk. I have reviewed other novels of this subgenre, which you can check out here when you’re finished reading this review. Modo: Ember’s End makes it’s way to a family-friendly subgenre with plenty of western hijinks and adventure.

One nitpick I had was how Octavia was portrayed as a dumb brutish blonde. I am not familiar with the Hunchback Assignments series, so I don’t know if Octavia is a returning character or if she only appears in this spinoff. However, either way, it’s nothing major that takes away from this story.

Overall I had fun with the story. I loved the humor the author put into this story, and I think this graphic will be fun for the whole family. I’d recommend Modo: Ember’s End if you’re looking for a family-friendly western for all ages.

~

Ways to help the blog:

Click Here to donate to help support my blog and what I do.

This blog post was proofread by Grammarly. Try it for free today!

Posted in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Novels

REVIEW: Beyond the Fray: Bigfoot by Shannon LeGro and G. Michael Hopf

51zG7D2BBTL

It’s argued that the recent search for Bigfoot officially began on September 21, 1958, when journalist, Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times, featured a letter from a reader about loggers in Northern California concerning large footprints they’d found at a worksite. What began as a fun article turned into an almost instant national sensation, and since stories of the elusive creature have poured in, not just from California and the Pacific Northwest, but from around the world.

BEYOND THE FRAY: BIGFOOT features some of these personal eyewitness accounts and terrifying encounters, most taken from the transcripts of the popular podcast, “iNTO THE FRAY.”  These stories are unique and scary. They will leave you wondering what this creature is and will no doubt give you pause before you cross the wood line and enter the woods.

~

This novel is an anthology of people who have had encounters with the legendary Bigfoot. I have a casual interest in Cryptozoology, and I’ve been looking for a good Bigfoot book to read for a while. I am also a bit embarrassed by my casual interest in things like Cryptozoology, UFOs, and other supernatural experiences.

This anthology is an excellent quick read. Each chapter starts with the host’s thoughts about the upcoming encounter, just like I was listening to a podcast in the same niche. I always enjoy hearing thoughts from a third party. I feel the most credible witnesses to these creatures, in my opinion, are those who aren’t going into the deep woods looking for Bigfoot.

However, this novel isn’t full of stories about Sasquash. There’s Dogmen, Dire Wolves, and other creepy crawlies that go bump in the night. I find the idea of Dogmen and other creatures to be more interesting than Bigfoot. I might go into more detail on my thoughts on Cryptozoology and other paranormal things in a later blog post.

Overall, I would highly recommend Beyond the Fray: Bigfoot if you’re itching to dip your toes into the weird world of what goes on deep in the woods in the middle of the night.

~

Ways to Help Support My Blog:

Buy Me A Coffee

This post was proofread by Grammarly. TRY IT FREE!

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Zodiac P.I. Vol. 1 (Zodiac P.I. #1) by Natsumi Andō

img_7187

*No Major Spoilers*

Lili is just like any other girl — except she can foretell the future! This ‘Zodiac PI’ relies on horoscopes and astrology to help her solve crimes and track down criminals. When there’s trouble brewing, she transforms herself into the magic Detective Spica and looks to the stars to guide her way. Before long, she is joined by her childhood friend, Hiromi, who dreams of becoming a detective as skilled as Detective Spica. Soon, no astral investigation is too arduous for this dynamic duo!

~

I initially found this manga at a convention I attended a couple of years ago. It caught my eye because the subject matter was something I think everyone becomes interested in at some point in their lives. Combining this with the mystery genre was something I thought would be interesting. Now let’s see if the stars align for Zodiac P.I. 

I found the two mysteries featured in this manga to be intriguing, the first mystery surrounds the death of one of Lili’s classmates. The other is Lili going undercover to investigate this piano school rumored to be haunted. However, ghosts are the least of Lili’s worries once one of the teachers turns up dead in his own classroom.

Lili uses the magical power of a Zodiac ring her mother gave her before she disappeared. This ring brings forth the entities of the Zodiac to provide her with the victim’s horoscope for the day that they died, and the ominous messages help Lili solve the case as Detective Spica.

After the piano school case, Hiromi discovers Lili is actually Detective Spica. We then learn that Lili’s mom was the original Detective Spica before her disappearance. Now that her secret identity has been revealed, Hiromi promises to not reveal Lili’s secret and help her out with future cases.

As much as I want to nitpick this manga to death, I know it’s meant for a younger audience. I still had fun reading this story. The use of the Zodiac and the victim’s horoscope add a new element to old fashioned sleuthing. I would recommend this manga series for lovers of mysteries, Zodiac, and female heroines. This is a series I hope to be revisiting in the future.

~

I know times are difficult right now, but if you’d like to help support this blog, please click here. Every penny goes towards keeping my blog going! Thanks!

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: BEASTARS: Vol. 1 by Paru Itagaki

81LQBd62YSL

*No Major Spoilers*

At this high school, instead of jocks and nerds, the students are divided into predators and prey.

At a high school where the students are literally divided into predators and prey, it’s personal relationships that maintain the fragile peace. Who among them is a Beastar—an academic and social role model destined to become a leader in a society naturally rife with mistrust?

Last night at Cherryton Academy, an herbivore student was killed and eaten. Among the members of the drama club, the herbivores’ suspicions naturally turn to their carnivore classmates… The prime suspect? Legosi, a large wolf. But he wouldn’t hurt a fly—or would he? And will dwarf rabbit Haru bring out the beast in him? Or are his feelings for her…something else?

BEASTARS has been a series I’ve been wanting to get into, however, since the world has ADHD it’s taken me a bit longer than it should have to give this manga a chance. Now with season one of BEASTARS on Netflix, I feel like now is the time to check this exciting series out.

First off, the art style is interesting. It looks like it was painted in watercolors (but of course it’s in black and white). There’s so much detail in each and every character I found it beautiful even though I’m not a fan of watercolor-like styles. The artist definitely took his time to study each animal the characters are based on.

This story touches similar themes that Zootopia touches on, racism in the fact that the carnivores are segregated from the herbivores. Now in Zootopia, they put this in an easy to understand way for children to follow and understand. BEASTARS discusses this in a more grown-up and blatant way. There’s even segregation amongst the carnivores themselves. I like stories that take on social issues, without it taking over the entire story.

Legosi is a character I can relate to an extent. He’s awkward and introverted. He is mourning the loss of his friend while everyone is secretly suspecting him of the crime because he is a wolf. This affects his emotions throughout the story.

The title Beastar is something that is given to one of the animals, much like a class president except it encompasses a whole generation of students. So there’s this popular student, Louis, and everyone is expecting him to become the Beastar. Watching him struggle to rehearse for the play that the drama club is about to put on after an injury makes you realize just how much is at stake in his world.

Overall, I really enjoyed BEASTARS. The story is well written, the art is beautiful to look at, and I can’t wait to continue this series in the future. I will also be reviewing BEASTARS on Netflix soon, so stay tuned for that!

I would recommend this series who love animals, societal issues, low-key mysteries, a slice of life, and looking for something new to read.

~

If you would like to support me CLICK HERE to become a member and receive exclusive blog posts only members will get to read!