Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Z Plan: Blood On The Sand" By Mikhail Lerma

Mikhail Lerma reached out to us about this book since I love zombie stories and gave me an ebook copy to read. 

Summary: Cale is an American soldier stationed in Iraq. He is part of a supply crew that mans and defends convoys as they move shipments around the country. It's not considered a front line unit, but in the messy battlefield that is Iraq, no one is out of danger. Cale and his friends are on base when orders are given to initiate a communications blackout and eventually a total lockdown.

Nervous, the soldiers find themselves defending the base from an unidentified enemy that is intent on killing and eating them. The chain of command falls apart and every soldier is left to make their own decisions. Cale and some others decide they need to get to home and begin moving west.

Cale is a determined survivalist, trying to get home and to help his companions along the way. He is easy to like, and I would definitely choose him as a partner during the apocalypse. 

What I Liked: Lerma started writing this book when he was deployed in Iraq and has the perspective to write how an individual soldier might be introduced to the zombie apocalypse. I really liked the plot of the book, following Cale on  his series of adventures, working toward his ultimate goal.

What I Didn't Like: This book is Lerma's first novel and there is some room for improvement.

Rating: Recommended. I plan to read the next two books in the series.

Also Read by this Author: None.

Reviewed by: Nick

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Fool Moon" by Jim Butcher

I'm not going to lie.... I've been putting off book #2 of the Dresden Files for over a year.  I think it's because I don't want to like the series.  My husband and his band of merry gamers love the Dresden Files and I feel like if I add them to the list of books I enjoy it'll push me over the edge from somewhat cranky loner to full on geek myself.  And I really don't want to fall into that category.  I watch too much reality TV for that.

But pick up "Fool Moon" I did, and I fear there's no going back.

image via goodreads
Summary:   When a series of gruesome unexplained murders occurs in Chicago, Lt. Karrin Murphy knows there's only one wizard to call:  Harry Dresden.  And not just because he's the only self-acknowledged wizard in the United States.  Dresden is pulled onto the scene of a brutal and bloody murder with almost no evidence, except a large wolf paw by the body.  Harry uses his knowledge of the arcane, his talking skull Bob and information from an overly friendly demon to learn who the likely culprit may be...and where they may strike next.

My Thoughts:  The reason I read the Dresden series isn't to think all that much about what I'm reading.  It read them to be entertained, pure and simple, and Fool Moon does the trick.

Fool Moon begins with Harry dining with a younger colleague in the local wizard bar.  She asks him for help on something complex and dangerous, and his inner white knight refuses to help her--what she's asking is dangerous and above her skill level.  Harry's choice ends up in her dismemberment and sets Harry on a path to his inevitable near doom.  (Don't worry, reader, this seems to happen every book and to my knowledge the series is still going strong.)  What follows next is the epitome of entertainment - gruesome murders, hilarious encounters with Bob the skull, more insight into Dresden's own past, and an action packed who-dunnit that keeps the reader guessing til the end.

Rating:  A nice installment in the series.

Also Read By:
     Tami:  Storm Front 
     Nick:  Skin Game

Reviewed By:  Tami

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Ender in Exile" by Orson Scott Card

This book is part of the Ender's Game series and as I have read the first five books plus the parallel Ender's Shadow series, I figured it would be worth my time. I listened to this as an audiobook on my phone.

Summary: At the end of Ender's Game we get something of a denouement in which humans colonize the old bugger worlds and a few satisfying details wrap up the story. In this new volume, the last couple chapters of Ender's Game are expanded greatly. We get to see Ender dealing with his new status as the most honored and most feared human in existence, loved and spurned by the masses. We get to see what life is like on the second wave of colony ships as they rush to their new homes and trail blaze a new political path as people begin to live light years away from each other. This is the first time civilians have had to deal with the realities of relativistic speeds compounded with the technology of cryogenic freezing makes for some interesting problems with ages and seniority.

We also get a glimpse into the world of Peter and Bean who are the stars of Ender's Shadow. If you loved that parallel series, there is some material in this book you might be interested in.

What I Liked: Ender gains some insights as to how he really won the war against the buggers and does a lot of reflection. This book is the denouement readers needed after the intensity of the first book.

What I Didn't Like: Honestly, this book was boring. I listened to it as an audiobook which means I did not have to do anything to keep up a good pace. There is very little action, even non-violent action. What builds the tension is finding out what doesn't happen.

Rating: Not the best of the series, but if you have already read most of them, it answers a lot of questions.

Also Read by this Author: Ender's Game, Speaker For the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadow's in Flight, The Memory of Earth, The Call of Earth, The Ships of Earth, Earthfall.

Reviewed by: Nick

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Great Books for Babies [0 to 12 months]

Reading to babies is important - it provides cuddle time with caregivers, helps expose baby to new vocabulary and maybe, just maybe, encourages them to sit still for a few minutes. (But maybe that's just wishful thinking)

Good Books for babies have engaging pictures, fun stories and are quick enough to pass the wiggle test.  Great books for babies are all of the above, and make the parents laugh.

Check out my favorite five books for babies 0 - 12 months below:

[01] The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee
A satirical (and hilarious) look at the similarities between the new baby and the workplace boss.  Hilarious situations, clever pictures, and short enough to pass the wiggle test.

[02] Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker - Rees
A wise cricket reminds Gerald to be brave and embrace his unique style.  Elegant rhymes, colorful pictures and a great lesson for kids of all ages.

[03] Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
Penguin learns that the love of friendship can survive any distance.  Part of the "Penguin" series.  A bit longer with a heartwarming twist and endearing characters.

[04] Hush Little Monster by Denis Markell
Find out what Papa Monster sings to his fuzzy green headed son as he prepares for bed.  A parody of the classic "Hush Little Baby".

[05] This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
When fish steals a hat, he gets more than he bargained for.  A clever book parents will enjoy reading 80 times in a row.

Note: All book cover images courtesy of Goodreads.com