Ebook Review – First Song

First Song, Book One (Anthem of Infinity 1)

Wow, just wow. I’ll start off by saying that First Song is my first non-video game related GameLit novel. I was not disappointed by any means. I’ll also try not to give away any unnecessary spoilers because the surprise is what really hooked me into this book.

I will agree with others that the first 25% of the book was tough to read. The main character, Noah, is difficult to sympathize with. He’s portrayed as a really weak, self-deprecating you adult. He doesn’t speak up and allows others to make choices for him. Again, it’s hard to trod through but if you can make it to that 25% mark, you are in for a treat.

At 25% is where the book takes off into fifth gear. I was completely surprised and taken unaware by the shift of perspective. My one hint, reread the book’s blurb. In hindsight, the author brazenly foreshadows the plot twist. That’s all for spoilers. The book is well written and the pacing, post-25%, makes it worth the read.

With book two of Anthem of Infinity, my hope and expectation are more exposure to the Aelves and The Voice. Make it through that first 25%. To quote a fallen movie star, “Just do it!”

Ebook Review – Radioactive Evolution

Radioactive Evolution by Richard Hummel – Review

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Review 1

What happens when the Road Warrior gets a pet dragon?  Let’s find out…

Jared is alone and living in the base of a ruined Statue of Liberty in post-apocalyptic New York City.  Like all remaining people on the ground, his body contains nanites that allow him to stay alive amongst the radiation.  Since his nanites need periodic boosting, he scavenges around NYC to find nanite boosters, guns, ammunition, etc.  While exploring a subway station/tunnel, Jared hits the jackpot and comes across a rock that produces an electric shock, takes it for later study and turns out to be a dragon egg.  Hey, the world has dragons. Who knew?   Well, that’s part of the story.

In short order, his dragon companion Scarlet is born; it turns out that by “bonding” to Scarlet through nanites, Jared can essentially level up and pick up “magical” skills through killing mutated creatures.  Also, Jared gets a quest from Scarlet’s mother to protect the remaining dragons that have been in hiding for thousands of years. Thus, Jared and Scarlet start their adventure to find and defend the new dragons and grow themselves stronger.  There is also a subplot about getting back at the rich folk that live in cities that float in the sky and the water, they are somewhat responsible for the awful conditions on the ground apparently, but that’s only touched on as motivation to push the story along.

The combination of post-apocalyptic survival and dragon story is an interesting fusion of those two sub-genres and is woven together in a way that feels surprisingly logical.  I also give the author credit for introducing a gamelit/RPG system based on nanites and the dragon’s ability to contextualize the nanite’s powers for Jared.  While the justification for this mechanic is not made clear in the book, it wasn’t hard to just go with it.

Jared and Scarlet are solid main characters, and their dialogue is sometimes informative, sometimes funny, and sometimes sickly sweet.  While the mechanic to “bond” the two is artificial through nanites, they seem to take to each other awfully quickly.  I would have appreciated a bit more focus on why and how they get close.  Jared appears to be a capable scavenger with a strong moral center and a good amount of banter centers on Scarlet’s eating habits and Jared’s morality.

The middle of the story tends to drag somewhat, which to be fair often happens in stories like this where the main character will often spend time grinding to get stronger or, in this case, gets into many monster fights that are well done but aren’t interesting enough to warrant that much attention.  The ending has some interesting twists and turns, but as this is clearly part of a much larger story arc, the ending feels abrupt.  On the positive side, I do look forward to completing this story in future instalments.

I think that readers interested in the bleakness of survival stories and those interested in the wonders of dragon stories will enjoy this author’s initial effort.

7/10

Review 2 –

Not crunchy, just delicious! This is the counter to Harem gamelit-a story wholesome enough I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to younger or more romantically adverse readers. The game elements are integrated into this fun, post-post-apocalyptic world. Levelling is fun, more organic than system notifications, which makes it very immersive. The effort he put in to make this book shine is clear, and it makes reading so enjoyable! Definitely, an author to watch! 5/5 stars

Ebook Review – Succubus 5

Review: Succubus 5 – Hardcore Dungeon Core, by A. J. Markam

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Can a man love a crystal?  Let’s find out….

Ian’s succubus is “dead”.  Nope.  It turns out that she was transferred to a dungeon core and Ian and Alaria both want her back as a succubus.  Ian finds the dungeon’s cave and quickly finds a starter dungeon fairy, Wylla, and the crystal Alaria is stuck in.   Shortly we find out that Alaria’s soul was transferred to a dungeon core in the operation that Soraiya was trying to perform at the end of book 4. Luckily Ian can communicate with the dungeon core if he is touching it.  Ian brings her and the crystal she’s stuck in out of the cave and Alaria mentions that she had an old master named Deek that was a dungeon core and he might be able to help, so they set off to find Deek in the city of Vos.

Ian has to deal with more bounty hunters and gets involved in some court intrigue between church, state and guild that want to control the local Dungeon, Deek.  How this all resolves itself was even more fun than I expected.  Obviously, Ian gets to have a ton of sex and battles throughout, which is a staple of the series.

In truth, I was worried about this book before I started because I didn’t like the way the last one ended, and I thought we would spend a whole book trying to “find” Alaria or find out if she is truly dead.  I was wrong.  How odd is it to find a fifth series entry to be your favorite?  Obviously, I’ve liked the series enough until now to keep going, but this one had a light, fun feel that really worked for me.

I do hope Markam figures out how to get Deek into other stories.  He is a fun character.  Also, the four people he teams up with to go dungeon diving have interesting personalities and the banter amongst them is enjoyable.  These four are also in another Markam book, Dead Man Gaming, which makes this a fun crossover.

Also, I’m glad that even though in the beginning of this book Ian is still doing stupid things driven by his immaturity and anger, we get a long respite from that for the rest of the book.  I wouldn’t mind seeing the Varkus/Bounty Hunter story come to conclusion sooner than later. It was interesting in the last book and passable in this one, but it’s time to move on.   It Looks like we’re heading underwater for the next entry and I’m looking forward to whatever fun comes Ian’s way.

8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Succubus-Hardcore-Dungeon-Core-LitRPG-ebook/dp/B07KSDG8D

AudioBook Review – Prophets of Waaagh

Prophets of Waaagh! The story so far

Written by Guy Healy

 

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Narrated by: Tom Alexander, John Banks, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Matthew Hunt, Jonathan Keeble, David Seddon, Joe Shire

Dis is it boyz! Da Waagh iz ‘ere! Let’s ‘ere it!

WWWAAAAGGGGGGHHHH!!!!!

I’m not one for audio dramas usually, but oh man. This collection of (very) short stories is such an amazing little treat to have in your library. Let me tell you, I have been looking for a good 40k book from the ‘Orky’ perspective. This is no ‘book’ unfortunately, but the three stories so far add up to an hour of total hilarity and nerdy fanboy love.

There is a tremendous amount of individual talent in the grim dark. Guy Healy is definitely one of the more brighter shining stars among this particular universe of work. His literary prowess has been joined by not one, but several class A orator acts. Several already casted for other 40k books.

The story itself follows the view of a couple different Orks. One of which Bosgaz who finds himself stranded with a grok named Frikk. Along the way they find Talker.

“A soddin’ knows what of ’em talky talky.” (God I love Orks).

The intro to each part of the story even has a quick ‘in total Ork speak’ prologue with a ‘Humee’ translation. Not to mention full on Norwegian-metal-band-leadsinger-lower-lip head-nod theme music peppered through the entirety of all three dramas.

Overall, what an amazing hour I spent listening to these, that I had to come on and write a review for it! Check them out. If you are unfamiliar with any of this information and are totally lost, check out Black Library’s audiobooks which are now sold on audible (after 10 years, damn it).

Follow the link below to check out the first book in the series. These are just a straight buy, I think I paid less than five dollars per twenty minute drama. I hope you enjoyed reading this review.

Please like, comment, and share! If you’ve heard of a great book we should check out, let us know! We are always looking for new material to add to the meat grinder. Have a great day. And as always…

live long, and prosper.

-Gerbil

https://www.audible.com/…/Prophets-of-Waaagh-The…/B07FXRX9J9

AudioBook Review – The undying mercenaries saga

The undying mercenaries saga

By B. V. Larson

Narrated by Mark Boyett

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The Undying Mercenaries saga follows the life of James McGill. A young college dropout (due to inability to pay rather than life choice) who is forced to join the world’s largest export service: Galactic Federation Marines. According to B.V. Larson, the world as we know it might someday be visited by aliens who come, not to show us a better way of life; they come to tell us we need to offer up something unique or be destroyed.

The Galactic Federation runs a group called Hegemony which regulates the enterprises of each planet to ensure only one planet is responsible for producing each resource. Earth’s are marines, well mercenaries really. Alien planets hire Earthling mercenaries to arrive and do battle for them against another alien race or as protection, whatever you can think of hiring a mercenary for pretty much.

Earth’s forces are able to provide the galaxy with an unlimited number of troops by using an alien made “birthing chamber” to continually spit out frontline troops. Bored yet? I know, welcome to the world of B
V. Larson. Amazing stories, very long-winded lectures on why they exist.

The first book in the series (Steel World) and the 4th in the series (Machine World) are my personal favorites. In the first book, you meet James McGill, his sidekick Carlos, and his on-again-off-again girlfriend named Natasha. James meets all of them during the Legion Veris boot camp where they are all trained, suited and booted for their first mission….against Dinosaurs!

No joke, space-age, laser beam rifle-wielding battalions of Dinosaur infantry. What a total badass way to start a series. It is then immediately followed by the worst book in the series (Dust World), I suggest you avoid it and jump to book three. You’ll thank me later.

Machine World, or book 4 finds James McGill not only survived the other three. He is on his way to Promotion! (Read that like Neebs, if you don’t know who that is shame on you) Legion Veris is dispatched to a gas giant planet which is systematically covered in ice. The troops are trained on massive mech-warrior style battle rigs that can devastate the enemy on a whole new level. As with anything else from Larson the story only gets better as you go on.

If any of this sounds appealing, do yourself the favor and check out the series. What an amazing story and just enough politics to put you to sleep (if you have any trouble that is).

If you enjoyed reading this review please comment and let us know! Even if you didn’t like it, let us know. Believe me, I have to read stuff I don’t like sometimes either and you all hear about it!

As always, live long and prosper.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FCXPC94

AudioBook Review – Threadbare: Stuff and Nonsense

Stuff and Nonsense

 

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Written by – Andrew Seiple
Narrated by – Tim Gerard Reynolds

“Too many hours grinding nap and not grinding hunt.”

This quote sums up the majority of the book for me. I am one to dive into a TGR book above mostly anything else. This one, however, was interesting. That’s about it for now.

The story starts inside of a workshop hut for a tailor turned animist. His goal is to take inanimate objects and turn them into sentient golems for a particular pact made with some nefarious creatures. This introduces the main character of Threadbear. Starting life as a magically turned stuffed teddy bear, Threadbear has plenty to deal with. One threat of which deserves immediate attention by him is that of Clawsifer the cat.

This book is very tongue and cheek, well written and about as page-turningly interesting as you can expect a book about a magical stuffed teddy bear to be. That’s not to say it is without its own shining moments. Steiple does a great job of incorporating the stat modifiers and explanations of exactly what ‘1 point in strength’ or ‘2 points more in wisdom’ will do as far as a correlation to real-world views.

The rest of the novel is filled with quirky characters and interesting devices used to push the plot forward. Pro tip: if you’re ever in need of a drink in the wilderness, just soak your teddy bear in water and ring it out. I enjoyed the storytelling and the actual writing of the story. Overall, however, it is a LITRPG book about a stuffed teddy bear. If you’re short on a list of things to read then check this out. Otherwise, there are more adult themed stories that can accomplish the same thing without the need of reliving a twisted Winnie the pooh version of childhood…unless you’re looking for that sort of thing.

Overall score 5/10

If you enjoyed reading this review, let us know! Even if you didn’t enjoy it, let us know so everyone else can point and laugh. There is no bad news, after all, just news!

Thank you and have a great day!

https://www.amazon.com/Threadbare-Stuff-Nonsen…/…/B078KGS4V4

AudioBook Review – Dragon of Ash and Stars

Dragon of Ash and Stars

 

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Written by – Leighton Dickson

Narrated by – John Lee

Dragons! Like, real dragons! Not just characters of someone dressed up as a dragon or having a dragon as a pet. No. This is real-deal Holifield dragons!

Stormfall is a midnight black scaled dragon. In a world where dragons appear to be a summer or autumn. Starfall is a pitch, perpetual black. Often referred to in the book as a ‘Night Dragon’, these colors are highly sought after for a variety of human (called Sticks in the novel) jobs. Beginning his life on a stoney outcropping in the middle of the ocean, Stormfall eventually finds his way to a Sticks settlement after a terrible storm. Hence his name.

The hard life of this dragon follows around the continent as he starts as a fishing drake, then is bought and sold several times to become: a farmer, a gladiator, a carriage puller, and so much more. I really loved this story. It was a fantastic opportunity to see the world perhaps through the eyes of a noble and strong dragon-ling. What really hammered the story home was the incredible voice acting by John Lee. Having been one of my favorite voice actors since I heard him first in Dune. I am always on the lookout for the next ‘Dune quality John Lee book’. Suffice it to say, this one will do for now.

Unfortunately, the story itself is so straightforward that the replayability is low unless you’re like me where you rotate all of your books every week and ‘somehow’ wind up re-reading the same ones over and over. This will be on that list. Perhaps somewhere down at the bottom, however.

Overall 4/10

If you enjoyed this review and would like to see more, SEND US BOOKS! I mean we all tell all of you all the time. You think it’s for our health! Well, it kind of is since we want to hear all the amazing stories you guys have written! Send them in!

https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Ash-Stars-Autobi…/…/B01J4ZD684

AudioBook Review – Bill the Vampire

Bill the Vampire/The Tome of Bill – Audiobook

By – Rick Gualtieri

Narrated by – Christopher John Fetherolf

Holy crap, talk about a wild ride. I half expected Mr. Toad to show up, completely kitted out in a driving outfit to join me for the second half of this book. I loved this story. Long-winded explanations and terrible one-liner jokes aside, this was a very fresh read.

Taking on the role of a big bad vampire, computer programmer Bill is catfished into joining a group of vampires for the evening under the guise of “a wild party in Soho”. For anyone not of the tri-state area (having grown up in cape may county myself) Soho, is such a trashy gentrified neighborhood. Or as Bill would call it “where the hipsters go to die”. That’s a pretty good summary actually.

Bill and his two roommates; Ed and Tom eventually start to find out the limits in both strengths and weaknesses for Bill’s new abilities, which generally lead to a mishap and some crazy pop-culture reference. Just wait until you find out about “acts of faith” that one made me laugh.

The real kicker to this story for both positive and negatives are the narration. At first, it took me a while to get into Fetherolf’s voice. It is distinct, to say the least. Eventually, I just put the book on, went to make a sandwich and came back. During that couple of minutes, the whole thing exploded and clicked for me. What a brilliant narrator. There were a couple word trip-ups and mispronunciation which I’ll dock points for. That’s about it for the negatives, however.

One thing I love about this series is the fact that Gualtieri has decided to chop up books 1-4 then 5-8 as an omnibus. That means you get the whole story for two small payments. With the first collection running over 35 hours and the second over 55 you’re getting your money’s worth. Not to mention that’s almost 100 hours of Seinfeld meets True Blood. Who couldn’t watch 100 episodes of that?

Overall 7/10

Thank you for reading this review, come back and read more! Take care and as always, live long and prosper.

If you enjoyed this review and know of an author or narrator or you in-fact are one/both. Please send us a message to review your work also!

https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B00H8P60NQ

Audio and E-book Review – Somnia Online – Anomaly

Anomaly (Somnia Online 2) AudioBook and ebook.

 

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Somnia Online is developing and so are the AI! *Insert AI Overlords joke here*

With the cliffhanger Initializing left us at, Anomaly picks up right where we left off. We soon see the fallout from what was kept from Wren and how it affects everyone, in-game and real life.

Real life:
Hanna gives us more perspective to the game developers and Wren’s family’s reaction to “the event.” We see more real life interactions with the AI servers as they start developing more human characteristics. Probably the most intriguing thing to happen is Murmur being able to hear her mom, Laria, in-game while Laria is by her bedside talking to her.

In-game:
I’ll agree with most other reviews that Anomaly is much heavier on the female emotions. Yes, it may be a drawback. However, I’d like to point out that most female leads are written by male authors. It’s rare to see a strong female lead written by a strong female author.

On a plus-side, the game world is becoming more intricate and evolving. We see Murmur and her guild acquire their secondary classes and starting growing their crafting roster. Two amazing supporting characters come out of all that, Snowy and Neva. The AIs really do take into account what Murmur will do now when guildies log out. They answered with Snowy! Murmur’s secondary Druid class really is a compliment to her Psion main class. We also have more interaction with the city fountains. That’s a topic I can’t want to come to fruition further into the story.

At times it was a little hard to read, but in the end, it was an enjoyable book. Yes, Anomaly is heavier on the emotions but the story and supporting cast makes up for that. Aside from that though, the game world, characters, and story intrigue are progressing amazingly. For book three I have the hope that there will be more action and named mobs, similar to Initializing.

7/10

Review 2 –

From listening to Andrea Parsnau narrate the first book I was totally hooked in this world created by K.T. Hanna

There are several things I love about this book and more so than the first. Mostly it’s that it doesn’t go with what most writers would consider the norm. This is a deep look at the character Murmer is, and what makes her tick. Some of these insights won’t and haven’t sat well with male readers/listeners and that’s because they don’t get it and I really think they should take a long hard look as to those reasons.

The real hard-hitting books in this genre are going to be carved out by authors who really know how to not only created believable worlds but those that can and do understand characters on that level. So far there are few and far between in authors that actually do this, and I place K.T. amongst those.

What makes this book special for me, is both what goes on inside the game and out of it, and I hope I can see where K.T is taking this… I think I do, but I’m guessing at best.

This is a really good series, one that I’m really waiting for the next one on.

Narration –

As usual, Andrea is amazing with her character voices, tone and all-round performance. I can’t wait for the next book, which is soon i believe and even more so for the audio.

8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Anomaly-Somnia-Online-B…/…/B07HXBFV49

AudioBook Review – Stainless Steel Rat

The Stainless Steel Rat Series
By Harry Harrison
Narrated by Phil Gigante

I must say, I have loved this entire series, ever since I first started reading them. I was drawn to the auspicious cover art of a Hawaiian T-shirt-wearing James DiGriz and some nefarious nemesis nearby. This book, A Stainless Steel Rat is Born is #6 in the series and starts you in the middle of the story. This outlines the beginnings of “Slippery Jim” and his burgeoning crime career. Honestly, any book you pick up is pretty stand alone, with the exception being the first three or four. In those Jim gets married and has baby spies who, yes, all follow him around the universe playing Robin Hood and thwarting the plots of would-be evil-doers. Oh, did I not mention Jim is recruited directly into service among an association of fellow thieves who are placed around the galaxy just for the purposes of stopping any major criminal mastermind? Well, I did now.

Just in those two brief descriptions of books 6 and 1 respectively, you can see my pure fascination with this series. That hasn’t even scratched the surface on what is going on elsewhere in this epic saga of space-age piracy. My favorite characteristic of Jim DiGriz and his penchant for passivity. He does protect himself via martial arts if need be, but his goal is to only rob and steal – never to kill. This seems a mite bit tricky sometimes for Harry Harrison to have written into his stories; the workarounds are so incredible they boarder into the fantastic.

My favorite part of this series is just the pure written language of it. The way Harrison wrote in general was akin to reading beautiful music. This work of his outshines the rest like a bleak star collapsing unto itself; short as it may be, it remains the most glorious of spectacles. If you have need of a great sci-fi book, written and performed by two of the greatest artists this line of work has produced. I beg you, look no further.

Thank you for reading, and as always, Live Long and Prosper.

If you enjoyed this review, let us know! Even if you didn’t enjoy it, we take criticism as well. In fact, that’s exactly what we do! If you have any works in need of a review or know someone who does, let us know! We are always looking for a good time waster!

Stainless Steel Rat – Book 1

https://www.audible.com/…/The-Stainless-Steel-Ra…/B0041M5MRE?

A Stainless Steel Rat is Born – Book 6

https://www.audible.com/…/A-Stainless-Steel-Rat-…/B004LY2GLC?