August 2020 TBR

Hey Everyone, Slick Dungeon here. I just wanted to share with you my August 2020 TBR list as it currently stands. Note that some of this could change as I do tend to be a slower reader and some books may get pushed back a little. There may also be books added if I see one that peaks my interest in ReedsyDiscovery. I do my best to get through, but there’s only so much time. This month I plan to continue some fantasy series, check out a non-fiction book that I have wanted to read for quite some time, and review a book from a blogger that I follow and have had on my back burner for far too long.

1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I predicted last month that I might not get through this one in July and I was right. I am intending to read this one this month but it is long and I need to get it from the library again so we’ll see if I have enough time for it. I have read a few chapters and am pretty into it so far.

This is the first in the Broken Earth series and won the Hugo award. It’s the story of how the world ends, for the final time. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this series but I haven’t ever had the chance to pick it up until now. I’m looking forward to it. The author says she likes to write about ordinary people in extraordinary situations and I really want to see how that is handled because that can either be done extremely well or extremely poorly in fiction. From all the accolades that the series has gotten, I am betting this is done extremely well.

2. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

After my raving review of how good The Eye of the World is, how could I not put this on my list? It’s the sequel and I don’t know much about it other than the fact that I can’t wait to get back to the world that Jordan built. I’m curious to know if this series suffers from the sophomore slump or not but even if this one isn’t the greatest volume I will absolutely keep reading the series.

3. Misericorde by Cynthia A. Morgan

I am reviewing this one for Reedsy Discovery and the review will be out on 8/11/2020. What got me interested in reading it is the first line of the description, “It’s the year 2446, and the first three Horsemen of Revelation’s Apocalypse have ridden.”

Talk about setting the stakes high at the beginning! I’m interested to see where it goes and how this is all handled and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with all of you.

4. Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne

This is a dystopian science fiction novel that I have been meaning to read and review forever. You can actually read a good chunk of this yourself if you check out Kent Wayne’s blog. I’m excited to read this and I know there are more volumes once I finish the first so it should be a fun ride. If you want to read some of this for yourself go here. And while you are there check out Wayne’s other books and his podcast. He has a bunch of great stuff on his blog and I think you will like it as much as I do.

5. A Song for the Void: A Historical Horror Novel by Andrew Piazza

I am a sucker for both horror and history so this is a great combination for me. It’s my horror book for the month and I will be reading it for Reedsy Discovery. The review for it will be out on 8/22/2020. Anything that promises surreal horror fantasy along with a dose of history is right up my alley so I can’t wait to dive into this one.

6. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America by David Hadju

I actually don’t read a lot of non-fiction books. I usually prefer fiction because I tend to want to escape reality. This book is a bit old and has been sitting on my shelves for about eleven years. It’s surprising what you find in the middle of a pandemic. Anyway, I think that the history of comic books is seriously fascinating and I’m hoping this book will add to my knowledge on the subject. Since this is the last one on my list, it is possible it will get pushed until September but we’ll see.

Well, there you have it, that’s my list for the month. I will do my best to get through as much as I can. If the blog goes radio silent for a few days toward the end of August, it’s a signal that I am furiously reading as fast as I can trying to just get one last book in before the month changes.

Let me know what you think of my list and if you have a TBR I should check out, let me know in the comments!

Bookishly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Lies, Inc. – #BookReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here. I’m back to review another book from my July to be read list. I know it’s August but I was close. And boy have I got a weird one for you today.

SUMMARY

When catastrophic overpopulation threatens Earth, one company offers to teleport citizens to Whale’s Mouth, an allegedly pristine new home for happy and industrious émigrés. But there is one problem: the teleportation machine only works in one direction. When Rachmael ben Applebaum discovers that some of the footage of happy settlers may have been faked, he sets out on an eighteen-year journey to see if anyone wants to come back.

REVIEW

2/5 STARS

It is the far future and Earth has become overcrowded. To make matters worse, the planets in the solar system that might have been habitable could not for one reason or another be colonized. But one company has a solution. A satellite found a planet that did have a habitable environment. For years now, people have been stepping through a teleportation gate that will take them to this planet. It seems like a perfect solution and a perfect paradise with plenty of room. At least, that’s what the videos that come back seem to indicate. Not everyone in the world is convinced. One man, Rachmael ben Applebaum is convinced that the videos from this planet are fake. He happens to own a ship and wants to go to the planet and see if anyone there is dissatisfied and if possible bring them home. The problem? It’s an eighteen-year trip to get there.

While this sounds like a great setup and could have made for a classic Phillip K. Dick novel full of interesting ideas about the future and the meaning of life and governmental control. Instead, we got a novel full of bizarre images with a plot that just barely holds together and never quite works.

The opening lines are brilliant. “The Sub-Info computers owned by Lies, Incorporated had been caught in an unnatural act by a service mechanic. Sub-Info computer Five had transmitted information which was not a lie.”

This is the type of opening that makes the reader think we are in for an incredible ride. However, by the next page, our main character is hallucinating about rats because of this. It just gets stranger from there. There is a plot that can be followed relating to the planet and the companies that are competing for dominance on it but at least a good third of the book is a bizarre collection of hallucinations including a book that tells the present and the future and strange alien creatures that eat their own eye-stalks for food.

This was a missed opportunity for what could have been a brilliant deconstruction of government, authoritarianism, capitalism, and espionage. Those elements are there but they are not explored nearly as much as the odd hallucinatory monsters that our main character is infected with, creating a dizzying narrative that simply does not make enough sense.

If you like Phillip K. Dick’s books and want to read all of his work, of course, this should be on your reading list. But, if you are a casual science fiction fan and want an introduction to Dick’s incredible work, go with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Also known as Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) It’s a much more engaging read.

Hallucinatingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

“Elves, dwarves, humans… Jödmun; you mortal races are all the same, little more than ants crawling on a round table, oblivious to those sitting around it.”

It has been centuries since the Mountain Birth, a magical calamity that turned the Jödmun from men into… something else.

Part curse, part blessing, the Jödmun need neither food nor shelter, living as veritable stone men. One among them, Ürbon the Wanderer, will emerge from his people’s centuries-long isolation.

A chance encounter with an unusually violent elvish people leaves Ürbon without a ship, without his men, and without direction, changing the course of his life forever.

In a journey across the vast world of Faladon; from the sandy Savarrah desert to the lush Forgotten Isles, the Human Kingdom of Ravenburg to the bustling port-city of Venova, Ürbon will gather to him unlikely friends and dangerous enemies, each seeking a weakness in his stony flesh. This is his tale.

A new fantasy adventure unfolds with it’s first installment – Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide. Faladon is the first Epic Fantasy Universe created by more than 40 co-authors – pushing the limits of collaborative writing and the fantasy genre.

REVIEW

4/5 STARS

Urbon is a stone giant who is on a quest to find his friends and an ancient artifact. As his ship is sailing, it is attacked by elves. This kicks off a series of events that finds him making new friends, exploring unknown places, and making vicious enemies.

Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide is filled with a metric ton of action. It’s non-stop throughout the entire book. There are bloody battles, magical and insane gods who can cast magic spells and hordes of vampires that challenge Urbon and his little party. The battle scenes are fun and exciting and a great joy to read.

This book was created by more than forty co-authors. With that you would think that too many chefs are in the kitchen and sometimes the bouncing back and forth between characters is a little dizzying but overall it works. At times it would have been nice if the action slowed down a little bit so that we could get more character development. Urbon and his lizard man side kick are great fun to read about and it would have been nice to have a little bit more in there about them. The world seems full and lived in and there is some world building done but it would have been nice to have it a little more fleshed out so the reader knew about the world.

While the plot might not be the most complex plot and the characters are mostly engaged in battles the whole time, this is still a great read. This is like a summer blockbuster movie, you come for the action and it’s highly enjoyable, even if it’s not the most intricate movie you have seen.

With so many co-authors one would think it would be easy to lose the plot but the authors keep it together and move the story along at a breakneck pace and it comes to an overall satisfying conclusion which will make the reader look forward to the next volume.

If you are a fan of fantasy adventure full of action and humor, such as the Discworld series this book should be a welcome addition to your shelf.

Adventuringly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1) – #BookReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here. I knocked out another book from my July TBR list and I want to give you my thoughts on it. Okay, actually it was from my June TBR and carried over because I am a slow reader but I finished it and I am now going to review it.

SUMMARY

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs―a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts― five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

REVIEW

5/5 STARS

The Eye of the World is the first in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It’s a fourteen volume sweeping fantasy epic that was decades in the making. It is also poised to become a huge, big budget production on Amazon Prime Video. After finally reading this first volume, I can see why.

If you know me in personal life, you know that I am a huge Tolkien fan. I love his stories and the massive world building he was capable of.

Like a warm and comforting bath, The Eye of the World starts out much the same that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings does. There is a small town, with regular, common folk, who just go about their lives and would be happy if the troubles of the outside world never came to them. Like in Tolkien’s story, trouble comes knocking. Trollocs (think sort of beast men although I had trouble not thinking of them as Trolls tbh) come to the small town of Two Rivers, right at the time of an annual festival.

These Trollocs attack Rand al’Thor, who goes by Rand and several of his friends get involved either by defending themselves or helping Rand in some way. It seems that there was more to this attack than any of them thought.

A small party of people band together, including Rand’s good friends Mat and Perrin and the girl he has always loved, Egwene. They are not entirely defenseless, as there is a Gleeman (think a bard), a warder (think a ranger from LOTR) and an Aes Sedai (think a female Gandalf) who help the people from Two Rivers along the way.

I don’t want to give too much more away because I don’t want to give spoilers but this is definitely a “hero’s journey” tale. That being said, there are still plenty of twists and turns that you will not see coming.

The world that Jordan builds is impressive. It’s enormous and full of memorable characters. I haven’t read more than the first volume but I get the impression that small details given in this book are going to matter greatly in the future tales.

Reading this book, I was fully engaged the whole time. I know that there were sections where the reader was given a little too much exposition in the form of an info dump but I didn’t care. I found the information involved so fascinating that I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. In some ways, I don’t want to see the show because I doubt anything put down in reality will quite match what I have in my imagination.

If you are a lover of fantasy, this book is for you. Especially if you love epic quests, valiant heroes and villains that are completely villainous. This book is by far the best fantasy book I have read this year and I have read a lot of great fantasy. I suspect this might be the best book I read all year, although I do plan to read the sequels so that remains to be determined.

For more years than I can remember, any time I would pick up a fantasy book, someone at the book store would ask me if I had read The Wheel of Time series. I was never sure if that was because there was just a rabid fan base for Jordan or if the story was really worthwhile. Well, let me tell you, I will always love Tolkien but I think Jordan may have a shot at being equal in my heart. I do not say that lightly at all. I’ve never read any other fantasy book and thought that it was as good as Lord of the Rings. Sure, many are similar but as good as? I’m not sure yet since I have not read all the volumes but if any series is ever going to be that good, it is hands down The Wheel of Time series. So, if you are like me and you have spent too many years not getting around to reading these books, stop what you are doing, get your hands on a copy and get reading. I promise you this is worth the time.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

P.S. Have you read The Eye of the World? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below, just don’t spoil anything in the next volumes. 🙂

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

The Invasion of Aeronbed – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

Eirwen and Fridis, the first of the seven-volume Ravenstones series, began the tale of an unlikely friendship between an unassuming polar bear and an intrepid eider duck. Their travels took the pair to Vigmar, a mountainous Empire at war with its neighbor, the Kingdom of Aeronbed. Fate has placed the inexperienced bear in command of Vigmar’s quarrelsome forces, and he is immediately beset by the demands of leadership. Fridis, meanwhile, overcoming misfortune, seeks to unravel the many mysteries of the Empire’s capital, Blakfel, and confront its scheming rulers.

Volume 2, The Invasion of Aeronbed, continues the story. Eirwen has decided that Vigmar must invade its neighbor to bring an end to the long-standing conflict. The decision on his own role in this invasion will lead to unintended consequences. Fridis, meanwhile, ill-equipped for such violent confrontations, must stay behind to fend for herself. Although she discovers a satisfying role in Blakfel, danger lurks for her in the capital’s byways and castle towers as much as on any battlefield.

REVIEW

4/5 Stars

The first of the Revenstones books had the reader meet Eirwen, a polar bear, and Fridis, an eider duck, who were destined to become good friends and intrepid adventurers. The second volume picks up where the first book left off, with Eirwen in charge of the forces of Vigmar, while Fridis is becoming ever more popular in the city of Blakfel. The pressures of war, the politics of a kingdom, and the danger lurking around every corner don’t let up in The Invasion of Aeronbed.

The book is a well thought out sequel that, if anything, improves upon the original. The stakes are higher, the danger more personal, and the reader is easily engrossed in the tale. While Eirwen is out dealing with the ramifications of war, Fridis is left alone to deal with the forces of palace intrigue that wish to do her harm. The mysteries go deeper, while the action intensifies. The likable polar bear and duck are separated but their stories remain intertwined and it was satisfying reading both accounts.

One thing that might improve the book a little is more back story on some of the characters we meet in Vigmar and what their purposes are. However, the cast is large enough that there might not be enough time to delve into that with too much depth.

The book manages to expand upon both the war that rages between Vigmar and Aeronbed while keeping perspective on the personal stakes for the characters we met in the first volume. It’s been an interesting ride so far and I am looking forward to seeing where the author will take us next. If the title of the next volume is any indication, it looks like we may get a fresh perspective which will be interesting to see.

If you love fantasy books full of huge battles, nefarious political maneuvering, and long-lasting friendship, you are going to love this volume. This is only the second in a seven-volume set, so there is plenty of story to come and I look forward to reading more.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Eirwen and Fridis – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

On an isolated ice floe, a young polar bear wakes up from a long sleep, only to discover he is utterly alone. Seemingly overnight, all his friends have vanished. What to do? Thus begins the bear’s self-examination and life-altering quest. His ensuing search will take him to a strange and unpredictable world, where he must confront danger and embrace adventure at every turn.

The first volume of the seven-part Ravenstones series introduces the reader to Eirwen, a lonely polar bear, and Fridis, a spirited duck, as they face mystery and intrigue, testing their mettle and ambition. The Ravenstones deals with good and evil, friendship and loyalty, overcoming doubt and obstacles, reinventing oneself – and in so doing discovering one’s true life purpose. Here the well-meaning and the wicked play out their roles in the midst of prophecy and wizardry, politics and spectacle, peace and war, and betrayal and sacrifice.

REVIEW

4/5 Stars

Like the polar bear that this story is about, it starts a little slow and hesitant. Eirwen has awoken to find that his friends are missing. He is a bear who is a little slow to take action and takes some time thinking through things before making a decision. Once he has decided to take action, he is determined to see it through to the conclusion. Eirwen decides to go look for his friends. Along the way, he meets a raven and a duck. The trio team up together to find the bear’s friends. It’s not long after that when Eirwen, the polar bear, and Fridis, the duck, find themselves in a kingdom at war.

The two friends must make their way in this new world while never forgetting the original goal of Eirwen’s quest. That’s no easy feat as there are animals everywhere with their own agendas, positions of power, and determinations to gain power.

The book really gets going once Eirwen and Fridis make it into the land of Vigmar and soon find themselves involved in the complicated politics of a land at war. Fridis is energetic and feisty while Eirwen finds himself becoming more confident and decisive as time goes on.

The adventure is quite enjoyable and the reader is pulled along in the fantasy. There is a bit of head-hopping where we go from one character’s point of view to another abruptly but otherwise, it’s an intriguing read.

This book is about talking animals so it’s easy to think of it as having comparisons to Watership Down or The Wind in the Willows. While those comparisons make sense, the political intrigue and epic battles are better compared to the likes of Lord of the Rings or similar epic fantasy books. If you love fantasy books with magical happenings, political maneuvering, and high stakes, you are going to love Eirwen and Fridis.

Tomorrow I will be back with the review of the second volume in the series so be sure to check back for that.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Petr – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

After years of living in his grandfather’s shadow Petr Drexel, a member of the space-faring nomadic Star Folk, is on a quest to prove his worth to himself and his family. On his first job, Petr’s shuttle is shot out of the sky in the middle of a Martian civil war. Ship repairs put Petr in debt to Alfred Zwinger, who offers Petr a deal he can’t refuse: pay off the debt by completing jobs for a powerful Martian noble named Rickard d’Helion.

During his first job for d’Helion Petr’s shuttle is stolen by Henrietta, a Star Folk Navigator on the run. Petr retrieves his shuttle only to discover the work he was hired for isn’t as simple as it seems. Deliver mining equipment – and fight off an army to protect the site; capture a rogue Star Folk mech pilot – only to discover it’s Henrietta’s brother, and that Henrietta isn’t who she appears to be. Petr and his motley crew quickly become entangled in solar system spanning intrigue, and now Petr’s problem is no longer just paying off his debt, but whether he will survive at all.

REVIEW

3/5 Stars

Petr Drexel needs to prove himself worthy of his tribe and his family name. He is a space pilot and on his very first job, his shuttle is shot out of the sky, making it a whole lot more difficult for him to earn a living, let alone a name for himself. Repairing his ship puts him in debt to a wealthy merchant named Alred Zwinger. Petr finds three mercenaries and a navigator who may be hiding secrets to accompany him. Together the team travels throughout the galaxy, performing jobs big and small, from recovering lost goods to stopping highly skilled thieves. As the jobs play out, it becomes more obvious that there is something going on behind the scenes and Petr is determined to find out what that is.

The book is action packed and a fun ride. It’s the story of nomadic viking tribes in space which makes for some entertaining situations. Petr is a charismatic leader and his band of mercenaries provide for not only enjoyable action but humorous scenes as well. The problems in the book stack up for Petr as not only is he indebted to a ruthless loan shark, his shuttle is stole right from under his nose.

At times the politics of the space galaxy could get confusing in the story and it wasn’t always clear what those politics meant for Petr. However, the rest of the book makes up for it with plenty of space fights, power armor, and intrigue. The story of how the mercenaries come to respect and trust Petr is interesting and plays out naturally. There is even a romantic entanglement to deal with. The combination provides for a story that is well worth reading.

If you enjoy military space fiction or books that deal with explorers and mercenaries traversing new territory while trying to survive, then Petr is for you.

Space-ily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

The Institute – #BookReview

Hello out there all you horror fans, it’s me Slick Dungeon, back with a review of a book from the master of horror, Stephen King. This time I am reviewing The Institute, a novel about kids with psychic abilities and what happens to them after they are kidnapped and taken to the eponymous Institute.

SYNOPSIS

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

REVIEW

5/5 Stars

To say that the book is gripping would be an understatement. King hooks the reader in with threads of people who seem to have nothing to do with each other but in as the reader we know there must be a reason we are introduced to these characters. By the end the reader is fully invested and the action never slows or disappoints.

Luke Ellis is a child genius. He’s able to ace the SAT with hardly breaking a sweat, he is able to get accepted into two Ivy League schools, and sometimes, just occasionally, he can knock and empty pizza platter off of a table with his mind. He’s twelve years old. To him, the least interesting thing about him is his mild telekinetic ability.

Meanwhile we meet Tim Jamieson who makes a sudden and possibly irrational decision to get off of a flight to New York and go wandering for a while. He ends up in DuPray, South Carolina, where he becomes what is known as a night knocker. This is sort of like a police officer, but it’s more like a security guard who walks around town, making sure nothing terrible is happening to disturb the peace of the quiet town. Little does he know it, but eventually, Tim and Luke’s fate will collide.

Luke wakes one day to find himself in a room that is almost his, but not quite. It turns out he has been kidnapped and he is in what is known as the Front Half of “The Institute”. Here kids are kept and fed and experimented on. The people who took Luke don’t care that he is a genius, they only care about his psychic abilities. That’s an unfortunate mistake for them because if anyone can get out of the place and expose what is going on, it’s Luke with his genius level intellect. Only, he will need to do it before he is taken to Back Half. The kids who go there, never are seen again.

Of course, since this is a King book, there are moments that are truly and genuinely terrifying and might just give you nightmares. The book reminds me very much of Firestarter or even Carrie when it comes to kids and psychic abilities but it has it’s own flavor to it. In my opinion it’s one of the better recent Stephen King books and doesn’t suffer from a poor ending the way some of his work can. It left me wanting more and hoping that there might be a sequel. Psychic abilities is a subject that King likes to delve into a lot, from Danny Torrence in The Shining to The Institute and I feel like they all intersect in one way or another. I kept imagining what would happen if little Danny had been taken to the Institute instead of to the Overlook hotel or if the kids in the Institute had gone to that haunted hotel. Whatever the case, if King writes about these psychic abilities, I am all in because it always delivers a great story.

If you like Stephen King at all, pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed.

Institutionally yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

July 2020 TBR

Hey Everyone, Slick Dungeon here. I just wanted to share with you my July 2020 TBR list as it currently stands. Note that some of this could change as I do tend to be a slower reader and some books may get pushed back a little. For that reason, you’ll see two books that were on my June TBR showing up on my July TBR. I do my best to get through, but there’s only so much time. This month I plan to go through everything from horrific government experiments to science fiction classics to animal adventures. Check out my list and let me know what you think.

  1. The Institute by Stephen King

I’m a little more than half way through this one and I am loving it so far. Expect a review up on my site soon. This is about a secret “Institute” where kids with psychic abilities are basically being used as lab rats and weapons. As you might imagine with Stephen King there is plenty of horror included, as well as plenty of heart.

2. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

This my next read after The Institute. It’s the first in the Wheel of Time series and I am really looking forward to reading it, especially with the Amazon show on the horizon. It’s the first in a series of epic fantasy books that I am ready to take my first real dive into.

3. Eirwen and Fridis by C.S. Watts

This is book one in a fantasy series starting animals, akin to Watership Down or Wind in the Willows. I have begun this book and so far it has started to grow on me, so I am really curious to see where it goes. I will also be reviewing this for the website Reedsy so you can expect a review, but not until this one goes public on that site. It should still happen in July though.

4. The Invasion of Aeronbed by C.S. Watts

This is the sequel to Eirwen and Fridis and is the second part in a seven book series called The Ravenstones. I can’t really pre-judge this one since I haven’t finished the first book but the review for it will appear about a week after I review Eirwen and Fridis both here and on Reedsy.

5. Lies, Inc. by Phillip K. Dick

Phillip K. Dick is my favorite science fiction writer that a lot of people have never heard of but most of us have seen a story by. If you loved the film Bladerunner or Total Recall, you can thank Phillip K. Dick. Total Recall is based on a short story called We Can Remember It for You Wholesale while Bladerunner is based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Okay, so maybe Dick is not the best at good titles for his stories, but they are always odd and interesting and tend to influence a ton of science fiction storytelling both in literature and film. Lies Inc. is about an overpopulated Earth where people get teleported to Whale’s Mouth, an allegedly pristine new home for happy and industrious emigres. It’s supposed to be an examination of totalitarianism, reality and hallucination. To me it sounds highly relevant to our time period and I am very curious to find out.

6. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Honestly, I am not sure if I will make it to this one in the month of July but I am going to try. If I don’t make it, this will be at the top of the August TBR list for me.

This is the first in the Broken Earth series and won the Hugo award. It’s the story of how the world ends, for the final time. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this series but I haven’t ever had the chance to pick it up until now. I’m looking forward to it. The author says she likes to write about ordinary people in extraordinary situations and I really want to see how that is handled because that can either be done extremely well or extremely poorly in fiction. From all the accolades that the series has gotten, I am betting this is done extremely well.

Well, there you have it, that’s my list for the month. I am unfortunately one of those people who absolutely loves long books, long series, and is also a slow reader. It makes for a hard life but a lot of time spent enjoying good books.

Let me know what you think of my list and if you have a TBR I should check out, let me know in the comments!

Bookishly yours,

Slick Dungeon

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The Garden and Other Stories – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

With The Garden and other stories, his first exciting collection, author Aaron Ramos skilfully weaves tales of powerful human emotion, modern scientific concepts, and ancient myths and legends within eight beautifully diverse stories.

In Elevated, a young man living in a dystopian future struggles with personal development and romance. In Zero, an elderly woman is confronted with a robotic visitation in small town America. By the Light of the Fire is one woman’s journey to peace with her father in the mountains of ancient Norway. Knocking on Heaven’s door sees a man come face to face with both the Devil and God in an effort to question what it means to be human. In the title story, a father and daughter try to make sense of prejudice, love and what it means to be truly happy in a post apocalyptic universe.

Ramos’ detailed and sensitive imagining of both future and past is an invitation to readers to consider who they are against the vast backdrop of multiple universes.

REVIEW

3/5 Stars

The Garden and Other Stories is eight different short stories, varying in both length and subject matter. Most of the stories have some element of love, be it romantic, parental or even societal. While some stories might be stronger than others in terms of tale weaving, there is certainly something here to satisfy any reader who enjoys science fiction or fantasy stories.

At times the stories focusing on myth and fantasy felt a little more contrived in my opinion, but the stories dealing with technology were fascinating. Other readers might find the opposite is true, as it all depends upon one’s taste. Again in my opinion, the strongest stories of the bunch were Zero and Knocking on Heaven’s Door. Both dealt with futuristic technology and what that means to humankind. Zero is a more serious tale about artificial intelligence while Knocking on Heaven’s Door takes on the very idea of creation in a humorous and thoroughly entertaining light. The centerpiece of the book, The Garden is able to blend technological advances with the love a father has for his daughter. An unconditional love that is refreshing to see in a short story.

A nice through line in the stories was how most of them did have to do with love in some way. Even in the stories that were not the strongest, Ramos is able to pull the reader in emotionally. We can all relate to longing or yearning, or familial love and this is what makes this collection stand out. Even inside of fantastical settings full of monsters, myths and technological wonders, the protagonists are decidedly human. The one drawback to this book is that it would have been nice to have more stories in the collection. For that reason, I am looking forward to more from this author.

This is an impressive debut collection from a new author. If you enjoy short story collections such as Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman or the short story collections of Isaac Asimov, then at least one of these stories is sure to entertain.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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