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October 19, 2017, 09:55:17 AM
585518 Posts in 45122 Topics by 5971 Members
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Author Topic: Reading anything?  (Read 287325 times)
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1920 on: September 03, 2017, 02:04:49 PM »

Andrew Shvarts
ex-pat Russian
1st novel
Royal Bastards
1st in what is reported to be a trilogy.

Royal Bastards
a mix of . . .

Heroes
a pampered princess and magic user, 15
a noble's conflicted daughter, 16
her half brother, the muscle bound stable boy, 18
her old boyfriend, a chubby scholar, 16
her new boyfriend, a tribal warrior, 16
Except for the 1st, all are illegitimate.

Misunderstandings
among the heroes
among the readers about the heroes
among the heroes about the villains.

Victims
you care about, for here, their deaths truly hurt, which is made worst by the humor in the book.
brother vs. brother
friend vs. friend
parent vs. child
the innocent, who are only trying to do their job.
the young: both the innocent and the guilty.

Villains
the viciously stupid and the smartly vicious
villains you love to hate, but are yet likable.
some so bad that they are good.
villains no older than the heroes, and for once, this concept works.

This is not rated PG.
the violence
just brutal.
which is made more so by the fact, that here you have 15- 16- 17- and 18-year olds killing and trying to kill each other.

Fact of the day
The 1st title of the book was Bastards' Table, but when the author took it to someone, who is an arm of the House of Mouse, they objected to the title. Not for the reason you may think, but because they found the word Table too mundane. Which is why the title was changed to Royal Bastards.

Next time: villains continue



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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #1921 on: September 09, 2017, 01:38:28 PM »



1978 memoir from a former British film censor (who's firmly anti-censorship). The issues are outdated but it's still fun, and its nice running across familiar titles and hearing contemporary opinions of them (she thought BAY OF BLOOD was boring, MANSON was a near-masterpiece, and she makes THE SEX LIFE OF THE THREE MUSKETEERS sound like a promising bad movie).
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"Clive [Barker]'s idea of a great time is to have a nightmare about a woman with three heads and no skin who flays your body with a pitchfork. To give you some idea, NIGHTBREED has over 200 pus monsters, including one guy with a crescent moonhead like the McDonald's commercial and a fat guy with snakes that pop out of his stomach and eat your face off, and these are the GOOD GUYS. These are the people we're supposed to LIKE."-Joe Bob on NIGHTBREED
FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #1922 on: September 09, 2017, 08:09:29 PM »

A summer's worth of reads:

Batman: The Long Halloween graphic novel by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale

Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll by Ann and Nancy Wilson

DC Showcase Presents: Batman (500 pages of vintage Batman/Detective Comics issues from the late 60s)

Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out by Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield

Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption, From South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T and Douglas Century

Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker
(this bio was published a year or so before the recent scandal involving Cos' extra-curricular activities became public knowledge -- I can't help but think that if it were released now, it would read quite differently)

Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives Vol. I by Bob Kane and others

Star Wars Rebellion Vol. I: My Brother, My Enemy by Brandon Badeaux, Michael Williams, and Michel Lacombe
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indianasmith
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« Reply #1923 on: September 10, 2017, 06:22:00 AM »

I've been re-reading Colleen McCullough's massive saga, THE MASTERS OF ROME.
I have finished FIRST MAN IN ROME and THE GRASS CROWN and am over halfway through FORTUNE'S FAVORITES.
She brings the ancient world to life with great accuracy and colorful storytelling; it's like taking a bath in the late Roman Republic.
The brilliant general Gaius Marius, the charming sociopath Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the arrogant young Pompey Magnus, and the star that would eventually outshine them all, Julius Caesar, stride through these pages larger than life, surrounded by a supporting cast of hundreds of Romans, Greeks, and barbarians. This is ancient Rome done right; my own humble efforts, set about a half century after McCullough's tales draw to a close, pale by comparison.
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ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #1924 on: September 10, 2017, 01:29:53 PM »

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane

The gathering together of Robert E. Howard's stories into these collections, not only the one I am reviewing here but the others in the series as well, is not only an obvious labor of love to those who undertook the project, but an exercise in the preservation of some really worthy fiction that might easily have been lost to time.

I truly enjoyed every story in this book, which served to introduce me to Howard's Kane tales. I'd unreservedly recommend this anthology to anyone who is a fan of R.E.H., who appreciates a good old fashioned sort of adventure yarn, or who knows anyone who does.

A project like presenting high quality 1920s and 1930s pulp fiction material to today's market deserves support!
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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #1925 on: September 10, 2017, 01:34:53 PM »

A Dark Matter, by literary genius Peter Straub, a living legend and a fine gentleman of the craft of wordsmithing, is sadly a book that left me feeling cheated of my time and money.

I love Peter Straub, though. Seriously, I do. He is the writer of "fine, fine novels" (anyone ID that quote for 10 points?....No? Okay, take the bamboo outa my nails, it's from The Sandman.) and on top of that he is a nice man who shows generosity toward his fans, has a delightful sense of humor, and for the clencher, he seems to be looking younger today than he did ten years ago, no mean feat! Still, I was livid with him when I came away after spending six hours and twenty-whatever dollars on a book that has its head stuck where the sun doth rarely shine.

Yes, I was disappointed in this book because it never really fulfilled its early promise but just kept going from character to character re-telling the story of the same 1960s event over and over without answering the questions I wanted to know. A Dark Matter sounds much better in its dust jacket description than it ever gets to be in execution, largely because the living treasure who is Mr. Straub delivers a puzzlingly timid tale that is never allowed to flourish. I was rapt early on in the book, bored by the mid-point, infuriated at the end. So many unanswered questions, namely who the hell was the guy in the airport who gave the warning about the flight?

This could have been one of this writer's best novels in years, and for a while I thought it was going to be just that, but in the end...

I think I'll stick to vintage Peter Straub, because for the moment my interest in reading another of his more recent books is as dead as my one-time role model Stony Baxter Friedgood.
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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #1926 on: September 21, 2017, 08:27:04 PM »

Batman: Eternal Vols. 1 & 2 by Scott Snyder/Tim Seeley

Wally's World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World's 2nd Best Comic Book Artist by Steve Sanger and J. David Spurlock
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #1927 on: September 22, 2017, 08:34:55 AM »

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"Clive [Barker]'s idea of a great time is to have a nightmare about a woman with three heads and no skin who flays your body with a pitchfork. To give you some idea, NIGHTBREED has over 200 pus monsters, including one guy with a crescent moonhead like the McDonald's commercial and a fat guy with snakes that pop out of his stomach and eat your face off, and these are the GOOD GUYS. These are the people we're supposed to LIKE."-Joe Bob on NIGHTBREED
pennywise37
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« Reply #1928 on: September 23, 2017, 12:41:50 AM »

it's been awhile since i last was on here. but i am currently reading Mr. Mercedes i'm 162 pages into it which isn't that far. it's decent so far but than nothing really has happend just yet. i have not seen the show yet.. how did you folks like it for those who have read it?
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1929 on: September 23, 2017, 04:17:52 PM »

Ye-es!
Continuing with Andrew Shvarts' Royal Bastards

The villains
the human element and the leader.
--the one most likely to be conflicted.

the brains
--mother maternal till she turns out to be a cold-hearted b***h, like the one here, which makes her a better villain than most men.

the brawn

the sadistic s.o.b.
--Razz. a great villain from his name to . . .
--his "Jaws-like" teeth to . . .
--fact that he likely grins when he hurts you.

and the rarest villain of them all
--"Pretty Boy" the teen villain, whose number can be counted on both hands with fingers leftover, since they have not been steeped in villainy long enough to be credible, except here.

This is not rated PG
Sexuality
only a couple of sex scenes, though one involves teens, the rest they say is off-stage or off camera.
Homosexuality
Not one of the main heroes, but one of the characters is depicted as being gay. Which you see more often in books, as people become more comfortable with non-heterosexuality in books.

Fact
Most of these--YAs--are written by women and feature a female protagonist. Those that do not have a female protagonist have a male protagonist. Then those written by men normally have a male protagonist. Thus, you have a rarity here, one written by a man, but with a female protagonist.

To be continued . . .

Next time: more on the books villains
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ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #1930 on: September 29, 2017, 01:41:29 PM »

I finished A Column of Fire, by Ken Follett and while it gives me no joy to write this, I found it a tedious, inaccurate, dull book filled with modern-minded people shoved into a politically correct 16th century as Follett imagined it to be. Its one saving grace may have come had it really been, as advertised, the third Kingsbridge novel, because I was interested in seeing what was new in the town Follett first gave us in The Pillars of the Earth, as the scene shifted yet again, but that locale played almost no role in a plot I couldn't get into. I can name a stack of books that'd give you a better read in the same amount of time it'd take to yawn and frown through the trite and predictable A Column of Fire and would honestly advise anyone to skip this one.

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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
Dark Alex
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« Reply #1931 on: September 29, 2017, 01:50:36 PM »

Finished reading Conan's Brethren (REH's non Conan stories, many set during the Crusades) and now I get to plough through The Chimp Paradox, which is a less fun read.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1932 on: October 01, 2017, 02:47:55 PM »

Ye-es!
Continuing with . . .

Andrew Shvarts'
Royal Bastards

The best villains (IMHO) are those that are, as here, mirror images of the heroes.

the villain - the hero

the leader
Lord Kent - Tilla

the brains
Lady Hampstedt - Miles

the brawn
Grezza Gaul - Jaxx

the killer
Razz - Zell

the good looking one
Pretty Boy - Princess Lyriana

And the heroes have their own distinctive traits.
Zell the Mysterious One
Miles the Unlikable One
Lyriana the Surprising One
Jaxx the Un(der)appreciated One
Tilla None of these

This is not rated PG.
Nudity
Except for some teen co-ed nude bathing in the tub, only mentions of nude wrestling and skinnydipping.

Fact of the Day
It's a race war out there, but, instead of the non-white natives revolting against their white masters, here we have the white subjects revolting against their non-white rulers.

To be continued . . .

Next time: continuation of the villain
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1933 on: October 08, 2017, 04:19:20 PM »

Ye-es!
Continuing with . . .

Andrew Shvarts'
Royal Bastards

As in Spider-man : Homecoming, a villain is only as good as the hired help he or she has, and there are some good ones in this book.

The Old Man
The oldest one
The one with the Santa Claus beard, but you do not want any of his presents.

The short, husky one.
The one with the braided beard

The tall, thin one with the spiky hair.
The one who is turned into a flambeau in the book.

The scrawny one.
The one who is tough as old shoe leather.

Pretty Boy
The youngest one.
Someone has to watch the horses.

And the bald one.
There is always a bald one.

This is not rated PG.
Language
That requires a topic of its own, so we'll take that up later.

Fact of the Day
To kill a child in a book. You just don't do it. Not unless you want to alienate your reading audience, but, this writer does it and more than once, and he gets away with it, too. Which speaks to his skill as a writer.

To be continued . . .
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ER
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The world becomes a dream....


« Reply #1934 on: October 12, 2017, 08:06:10 AM »

Anyone have anything good to say about a writer named Tad Williams? I got gifted one of his books and I'd never heard of him.
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"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
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