Author Archives: Percy Procrastinator

Hell Night by Matt Kincade

What a fun book! Zombies! Running for your life! Necromancers! Oh my! I enjoyed my introduction to Alex Rains, Vampire Killer, even if there were no vampires in sight!

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00021]TitleHell Night
AuthorMatt Kincade
Series: Alex Rains, Vampire Hunter, Book 02
Publish DatePrint – March 15 | Kindle – March 21
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover: J. Caleb Design
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Alex Rains knows all about hunting vampires—after all, that’s his job, and he’s the best at what he does. But when he follows a lead to the tiny desert town of Prosperity, Nevada, Alex quickly learns that vampires aren’t the only things that go bump in the night. He’s just as surprised as the town’s residents when the dead start walking the streets of Prosperity . . . and they’ve got a bit of an appetite.

Together with a ragtag group of survivors, Alex will have to dodge undead horrors and small-town drama as he digs into Prosperity’s darkest secrets and macabre Wild West heritage to figure out why the dead aren’t staying dead, discover what–or who–is responsible, and put a stop to it . . . before the whole mess gets out of hand.

After dealing with the undead in Prosperity, Alex Rains is going to have to update his resume.

It’s sunny with a chance of apocalypse in Hell Night, Matt Kincade’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to The Devil’s Mouth. With Hell Night, Kincade once again delivers fast-paced, gritty pulp action, engaging characters, and delightfully grim humor.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Even though this is book two of Alex’s story, and I don’t prefer to read books out of order, this was still a great introduction to Alex. Alex obviously just had a big adventure, perhaps book one, and is looking to take a break. Quite quickly, I learn Alex is a fan of the 50s, especially of Elvis, and wants to go sight seeing to a place where the King himself visited.

Enter Prosperity.

It’s got all the standard tropes of a dying town. The main business closed down and recently even the national park that it had is closed. The residents know they will have to leave but haven’t been able to do so just yet. Alex comes to town to find out where Elvis was and perhaps flirt with the cute waitress at the diner.

Then the body is found. And gets up and walks again. In a well-handled twist, Alex goes from suspect number one to hero number one as the zombies arrive in Prosperity. The rag-tag group of survivors has to find a way to get across town without being eaten alive. Most make it.

Soon, Alex finds himself trapped in a building, holding off zombies while trying to save as many survivors as he can. And Alex is a vampire slayer, not zombie slayer. He doesn’t really know much about them other than finding that the zombies can be killed permanently and he’s good at that.

Alex has realized that these are not typical zombies. They ambush. They concentrate their attacks at weak points. They even let a few of the group survive. Whoever is controlling them wants something from the group. Alex also knows that when that happens, they won’t be needed anymore.

badge5v5All of this leads up to a fun ending that had me reading as fast as I could. I really enjoyed meeting Alex and Prosperity’s people. The bad guys motive made as much sense as an insane person can. And Prosperity’s history and hidden secrets were all so much fun to read! I’m glad I have a book one I can read and look forward to more. This was a solid five for me.

 

Nervous Nellie says…

Damn, that was good!  I bought this book because it was recommended.  If I would have known it involved zombies, I probably would have declined spending the whole 99 cents.  Zombies are not my thing.

This is an urban fantasy – not apocalyptic, so don’t panic.  There is a tiny bit of sex – not enough to make me blush BUT it’s definitely not sweet either.  There is a zillion bloody scenes – gore, splatter and grossness.  It’s “ew” factor was pretty high, but the quotes in this book nearly broke an all time record.  If I put in this review every quote I highlighted, I could fill a chapter alone.

Alex Rains is a vampire hunter that is refreshing in the fact that he doesn’t know anything else supernatural other than vampires.  He didn’t even know zombies existed until he stumbled into a little offbeat town called Prosperity.  The super villain in this book was pretty easy to see right off, but that’s not the point of the book.  The point of the story was the same goal as all of the evil villains we’ve ever read with the twist of the machinations of an even more evil villain.  That’s the part that set this book apart.

Matt Kincade is a brand new author to me – like I said – recommended.  I enjoyed this book a lot and I’m looking forward to the next one.  I would say that this book is better than the first, so I can’t imagine how blown away I will be with the next.  Oh, and by the way, for those of you that may have read my review of The Devil’s Mouth?  No, Carmen isn’t in this book.  I said I’d hunt down the author for not including her, but this story was so good, I’ll give him a pass this time.  😉

 

Our reviews in this series…

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Saturday Short: Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels. Both kids and adults will love today’s illustrated book that’s got a twist on the most famous science fiction movie series: Star Wars.

darth-vader-and-sonTitleDarth Vader and Son
AuthorJeffrey Brown
SeriesStar Wars: Darth Vader and Kids
Publish Date: Jan 1, 2012
Genre: Humor
Source: Purchased/Received as gift

Publisher’s DescriptionWhat if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if “Luke, I am your father” was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad? In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown’s delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. Life lessons include lightsaber batting practice, using the Force to raid the cookie jar, Take Your Child to Work Day on the Death Star (“Er, he looks just like you, Lord Vader!”), and the special bond shared between any father and son.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

Though I’m not a crazy fan about Star Wars (shock and awe, I know, but p.s. it’s not that I dislike it, I’m just not a super fan!) I adored this book. It takes a cute spin on what it’s like to be a parent by giving common dad vs kid moments a Star Wars theme. Like for example, “are we there yet?” and “where do babies come from?”

badge4v5Each page is full of sweet illustrations that will appeal to both the child reader and the adult one. Cheers Star Wars parents, this book is for you!

Rating: four stars.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

This is a fun book! It takes many of the iconic scenes from the six movies and asks, what would have happened if Luke was a kid being raised by Darth Vader? For Star Wars fans, there are then fun scenes using the Catina, sarlacc, Cloud City, and many others. For parents, it’s a look at how kids can ask the really tough questions without realizing it. Or how they don’t understand your job and just want to spend time with you.

badge4v5All in all very humorous and a quick little read.

Four stars.

Wild Card by Jim Butcher

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels. Today we’re reviewing the fifth original story in the Dresden files graphic novels, Wild Card. Dresden is back! It’s a quick adventure and makes me want more new books to come out or to re-read old ones! I will take what I can get and this only slightly disappoints!

wild-cardTitleWild Card, Book 9.2
AuthorJim Butcher
SeriesJim Butcher’s Dresden Files
Publish Date: October 26, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files saga continues in this original and in-continuity graphic novel, featuring a never-before-told story set after the bestselling novel White Night and graphic novel Down Town! A bizarre double murder draws the interest of Chicago’s only wizard-for-hire. But as Harry Dresden begins his investigation, the clues lead to troubling conclusions about the possible perpetrator, and set him on a path that will place him in the middle of a conflict between the city’s three most powerful factions—a conflict that could engulf all of Chicago!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

I seriously could not read this fast enough. I love the adventures of Harry Dresden, and anything new is like an oasis in the long desert between book releases. The art is top notch and gives us a great take on the characters from the book. The bad guy is fun and works well as an agent of chaos. He’s out to amuse himself and doesn’t care what mortals get hurt in that pursuit. The fact that he could end the peace in Chicago of the main powers only heightens the bad guys fun! Of course, Harry can’t stand for that and works with Molly, Murphy, Butters, Thomas, and even Lara and Gentleman Johnny Marcone to rid his city of the menace.

badge4v5In the end, though, as much as I enjoyed it, I can only give the book a four. Maybe it was a four and a half but it is rounded down. The ending let me down. It fit the villain well, and I can see him being fine with putting everything online to the roll of the dice, but it misses the mark for me with Harry. I wanted to see that he had an edge, a trick, or something that pushed the odds into his favor because there was too much at stake to leave it up to as much chance as he did. I’m sure I will read it again and again, as I do with the rest of Dresden, but the ending will remain the weak point for me.

Our reviews in this series…

Revisionary by Jim C. Hines

2016-standout-award-badge-smallIt has been a long trip for Isaac and now it all comes full circle.  Magic is out in the open and he is in charge of a research group to figure out if magic is safe to use.  Isaac is starting to understand the problems Gutenberg had and went through when Gutenberg created the Porters.  On top of that, politics and schemes are in play to make sure that Isaac’s dreams are stopped once and for all.

Revisionary coverTitle: Revisionary
Author: Jim C. Hines
Series: Magic Ex Libris 04
Publish Date: February 2, 2016, DAW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover: Gene Mollica
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe fourth installment in the popular Magic Ex Libris series.

When Isaac Vainio helped to reveal magic to the world, he dreamed of a new millennium of magical prosperity. One year later, things aren’t going quite as he’d hoped. A newly-formed magical organization wants open war with the mundane world. Isaac’s own government is incarcerating “potential supernatural enemies” in prisons and internment camps.

Surrounded by betrayal and political intrigue, Isaac and a ragtag group of allies must evade pursuit both magical and mundane, expose a conspiracy by some of the most powerful people in the world, and find a path to a better future. But the key to victory may lie with Isaac himself, as he struggles to incorporate everything he’s learned into a new, more powerful form of libriomancy.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

This whole series has been a solid read for me and the only thing bad about this book is that it ends the series.  I could read another four books about Isaac and his friends.

This book is written a bit differently, The book starts in Washington with Isaac and his friends testifying before Congress.  Chapters then begin with a snippet of the transcript that gives some good details about what happened.  Chapters themselves start with conversations between Isaac and Gutenberg about what Isaac is doing and what he hopes to do.  These work so well together.  I got just enough of the hearing transcripts to know what Isaac is fighting and why it’s so tough for him.  The discussions with Gutenberg have to be kept in mind as they come together toward the end.

In the end, Isaac is just too curious and too much a good person to let things go.  When attacks start happening and the magic community is blamed, Isaac needs to know what happened and stop any more from happening if he can.  What I can’t tell is if Isaac is the only one who can figure it out, if no one else can do it, or if people know he’s going to look into it and so support him as they can rather than trying to do it themselves.  That would be an interesting follow-up only because these events have been on a world level, not a lone wizard protecting his city.

badge5v4I particularly liked all of the books used and how they are used as magic.  We enter as the main compound is up and running but I think learning about how they lay down spells to protect the building or implement security would have been interesting, perhaps a prologue of them finishing up a few things before getting to the main story.  I also appreciate that the author lists the books he used and if they were made up by him or not.

I give this book a five and the series overall a five.  It’s just strange enough that it took a bit to pull me into it but once it did, it had me until it was over.

Our reviews in this series…

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

2016-standout-award-badge-smallLibriomancer is an excellent book, even the second time around.  There are some spoilers here.  However, I’m of the firm opinion that if spoilers ruin a book, then the book must not have been built on much in the first place.

LibriomancerTitle: Libriomancer
Author: Jim C. Hines
Series: Magic Ex Libris Book 1
Publish Date: August 7, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Description: Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Things I Liked:  This is my type of book.  The author establishes the characters quickly and brings them to life.  I enjoyed reading about Isaac’s adventure as well as his past and what got him exiled from magic.  Along the way, Hines crafts magic into a fun character to read and learn about as well.  The rules of magic make sense.  I know why Isaac doesn’t just “use magic” to get out of a jam, because he needs the correct book to do so. Reading the main character reach into the Star Wars novel and pull out a lightsaber was so fun!  Further, there are so many fun fantasy and SciFi references that made me like Isaac more and understand him.  That really helps me enjoy his adventure more.  I like the supporting cast of Lena and Smudge.  They do a great job of helping Isaac out in a way that fits those characters.

Things I Didn’t Like:  I really had to nitpick to find something I didn’t like, as I enjoyed the book that much.  As much as I enjoy the magic of the book, it leaves too many questions.  I don’t understand the connection between sorcerer and libriomancy.  It seems as if there should be a hierarchy between the two, with sorcery coming out on top.  Gutenberg seems to be too powerful as a libriomancer to do all of the things he has done.  Indeed, his iron grip on the organization seems strange to me as he comes off as a bully, although that is Isaac’s point of view.  Further, I don’t understand how Gutenberg made the automatons when that doesn’t fit libriomancy.  These are nitpicks, though, as it is only in thinking about it that I have these questions.

badge5v4Conclusion:  This is a solid start to a series.  It has a self-contained adventure while setting up the next one as well.  Even if there wasn’t a next book, I got good closure on the story and a good idea of what the characters were going to do next.  I do have questions, lots of questions, about the nature of magic, about Gutenburg and the setup, and what will happen next.  It leaves me wanting more and that’s a good thing.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

I think anyone who likes the geeky humor here would definitely want to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and the Allie Beckstrom novels by Devon Monk would also be good choices to delve into urban fantasy where the magic is consistent and important to the story.