Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The X-Files: Goblins (The X-Files #1) by Charles L. Grant

Meet Mulder and Scully, FBI. The agency maverick and the female agent assigned to keep him in line.

Their job: investigate the eeriest unsolved mysteries in modern America, from pyro-psychics to death row demonics, from rampaging Sasquatches to alien invasions. The cases the Bureau wants handled quietly, but quickly, before the public finds out what’s really out there. And panics. The cases filed under “X.”

Something out there is killing people, remaining invisible and unseen by human eyes until it strikes with deadly force.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The X-Files is a show I’ve been admiring for several years now. I binged season 1 and waiting for the right mood to start on season 2. Now, the thing I think has made this show such a big hit was the dynamic between Mulder and Scully. Aliens and UFOs aside, most people love chemistry between two characters. There’s that sexual tension of “will they/won’t they?” and the fact that Scully admires Mulder’s deduction skills. She just feels it’s being wasted on these kinds of cases.

This case opens like any other X-File does. Murders happen, FBI/government in high and unknown places get a whiff of it and send Mulder and Scully out to investigate. Most of the time the unreachable government is trying to run interference by cleaning up the mess that was made or trying to scare Mulder and Scully off of the case.

In this story, Scully and Mulder were joined by two more FBI agents who were secretly moles for the head of the FBI to keep tabs on whether Mulder and Scully were likely to blow to the lid on any government ops that were either “off the record” or “still in development”.

One of the witnesses to these murders was an older lady who carried around a can of neon orange spray paint to “tag the goblins”. Since this case takes place in small town USA, the sheriff thinks she’s a crazy drunk. I liked how the author not only made her a likable character, but also had the town doctor defend her honor by explaining why she spent so much time in the local tavern.

Overall, I liked this story. It read like an episode, but in book form. The characters were relatable and memorable, so if you’re already an X-Files fan this story is a great place to start with the novelizations. Even for new fans, Goblins is a great place to start on your X-Files adventure.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: Guardian of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Galaxy! by Dan Abnett

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*No Spoilers*

These are not the Avengers or the Fantastic Four – in fact, they’re barely even famous – but Rocket Raccoon and the faithful Groot are the baddest heroes in the cosmos, and they’re on the run across the Marvel Universe! During a spaceport brawl, the infamous pair rescues an android Recorder from a pack of alien Badoons. Everyone in the galaxy, however, including the ruthless Kree Empire and the stalwart Nova Corps, seems to want that Recorder, who’s about as sane as a sandwich with no mustard. Join Rocket and Groot on a free-for-all across the stars while they try to save all of existence-again!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ever since the MCU introduced The Guardians of the Galaxy to old and new fans alike, I have been reading their comics every chance I can get. Like most fans, I fell in love with Groot and his best friend Rocket. Seeing how this story features the dynamic duo, I was excited to listen to this audio adventure.

The Recorder that is rescued by Rocket and Groot is the main narrator of the story. He is a likable character overall, except when he feels the need to stop the story to explain why he used an “Human-like expression” or when “additional exposition” is needed. It becomes a bit jarring at times.

Over the course of the story, the Recorder keeps commenting on Rocket’s “disconcerting human-like hands” and if I never hear that phrase again, it’ll be too soon. There are other ways to describe Rocket’s hands/paws without repeating yourself.

The overall plot is convoluted and gets a little complicated at points, but Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Universe is an enjoyable ride full of action, adventure, and space battles. If you are looking for a fun sci-fi adventure then I would recommend this story.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Guest Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: His Robot Wife: Patience Under Fire by Wesley Allison

Good afternoon everyone, my name is Alex Dickson, I’m Elisha’s fiance and I’m doing a guest review of a book out of one of my favorite book series. His Robot Wife: Patience Under Fire is an excellent book let’s just start there. I’ll tell you why as we get into the review. Please note there may be some spoilers.

Okay to start off this is a continuation of the story of Mike Smith and his family from the last 5 books in the series. This book continues on starting off with Mike’s son, Lucas in the military out on the front lines. With it starting following Lucas through his battle in Russia just him and his Robot soldiers around him, he’s having it rough out there.

As we go along with the story this book kind of flip-flops between different sections of different characters’ lives. It kind of does it like a movie where it’s written like scenes, multiple scenes in each chapter.

As we continue through the book we learn various things about what’s going on with Patience, Mike, his daughter Harriet, Lucas and his wife as well as a couple of the other cast of the series. When we move over the story of Patience and Mike supposedly the ATF&R (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Robots) are wanting to question Mike and Patience. Patience is the robot wife to Mike and if you’ve ever read the previous books in the series you will have learned Patience was able to reprogram herself to make herself “Free”. When Patience learns of this she takes off without telling Mike where she’s going, but leaves in place, without anyone’s knowledge an exact copy of Patience to take care of Mike.

The story eventually flips to Harriet finally getting out to start dating again and she ends up going out with a tattoo artist, he’s a nice guy and she really likes him, they have a lot of fun together for about the first 3 dates, she eventually drops him off and she forgets to tell him something so she runs back up to his apartment and catches him getting blown by his robot maid. So he tries to explain his way out of it and so far she’s having none of it.

At another point in the story Lucas gets pulled from deployment and sent home with commendations and he finally gets to see his wife, Haruka once again and the rest of his family. Everyone was so delighted to see him and he was especially delighted to see his wife once again.

There’s a critical plot point that I’m about to discuss without going into too much detail just because it’d be a major spoiler, but there’s a point where this robot under a different name takes a trip to Canada for an at first unspecified reason, but she takes a trip to a hub station where the various Daffodil robots’ software is distributed around North America. It’s a really interesting part to the story, but I’m sure it will tie in more into the next book.

I know my thoughts here feel incomplete, but I’m trying to tell about the book without giving too much away and I know my thoughts seem random because I don’t want to give away the order of everything. This is an excellent book and I think any sci-fi/fantasy nerd with an interest in a bit of romance and adventure may like.

But yeah, there’s a lot to this book series and not just this book alone, if you start at the beginning of the series with His Robot Girlfriend you’ll learn how everything begins to lead from one place to the next.

Anyway this series has kept me entertained for the last 6-7 years and I always look forward to the next book in the series. I don’t know if this series will ever conclude, but it’s always a fun read. Like I said I recommend this to anyone that’s into a sci-fi/fantasy style romance adventure. There’s a lot of adventure and different scenes to be had in this series. I like the writing and how it all plays out like a movie, I personally think this entire series could be turned into at least 2-3 feature length films with the amount of story as there is right now.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

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

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*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.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Humans by Matt Haig

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*No Major Spoilers*

Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man–as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son–who has no idea he’s not the real Andrew–the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth.

I discovered this novel on a booklist that I receive in my email every other day. I only read the lists if the theme seems interesting to me, and that’s how I discovered this novel.

When this novel started, the commentary by the alien disguised as Andrew Martin was pointing out how alien humans looked to him. It kind of reminded me of Roger from American Dad. Roger has to dress up in various outfits to try and disguise himself so he can leave the house.

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Roger from American Dad 

I found this novel to be fascinating the way of character development from the alien’s point of view. Even though throughout the novel he remains fascinated with how us humans act, behave and believe, his overall opinion changes by the end of the novel.

Even though this isn’t a fully philosophical story, there is an over-arching plot. However, the challenges the alien faces on top of trying to stay under the radar in order to complete his mission makes for beautiful character development.

My favorite part of the story is when the alien gets sent into the mental hospital at one point, and the observations and people he meets there is fascinating for someone who has been in a mental hospital.

Humans, as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead. But the definition of mad, on Earth, seems to be very unclear and inconsistent. What is perfectly sane in one era turns out to be insane in another. The earliest humans walked around naked with no problem. Certain humans, in humid rainforests mainly, still do so. So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode.

Basically, the key rule is, if you want to appear sane on Earth you have to be in the right place, wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and only stepping on the right kind of grass. – The Humans

I’ve got to say I really enjoyed this story on a variety of levels, everything from the character development to the philosophical approach the story had on the narrative. This story held my interest from beginning to end, the first letter to the final punctuation. This story is definitely recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi, aliens, a good overall story along with some thought-provoking undertones.