Having a family and a full time job doesn't leave much time for reading, let alone writing.  One cannot exist in a vacuum, however, nor can one write in one.  I can't promise this section will be updated very often, but nonetheless this is a list of some books I have read or am reading, and my general thoughts and impressions.

Saturday
Apr142012

aNESthetized (Doug McCoy)

Snazzy Retro Cover, Too!aNESthetized

by Doug McCoy

Approx. 24,8730 words

Independent eBook - Free for Download from Smashwords!

I'm not sure how or where I stumbled onto this book, but I had bookmarked it for later because it was only available on Amazon for about $1.99 or thereabouts.  Once I cleared enough space on my Visa (yes, it is that difficult when you have kids) I downloaded it with the intention of converting it from MOBI to EPUB for my Kobo.  Well the book got assimilated into my netbook's Kindle reader program and I couldn't find the source file!  Fast forward a month or two and it's now available for free on Smashwords.  Oh well, I don't begrudge an independent author the sale, as small as the cost may have been.

So to the review!

This book had quite a few positive reviews, which made me eager to check it out.  After the (sorta) long wait I was a bit disapopinted.  The book is touted as "A memoir of the Nintendo Entertainment System and what it meant to one child of the '80s", but instead it came off as just a blow-by-blow description of the launch titles for the system.  And if you were there in that era, you already know how the Legend of Zelda plays.  Ultimately I found myself reading things I already knew.

The book started with a recollection of a conversation the author had in the sixth grade, where he said he was thinking about asking for an NES for Christmas.  He then described unboxing the system and all its components.  This could have been interesting if it was relayed with some characterization from a sixth-grader's point of view, including the paradigm-shift to that child's perception of video games, but instead it seemed like a generic un-emotional run-down of the system in needless detail.  And I'm not talking about specifications and performance, but the minute detail of the buttons and shape.

I'm not putting the book down...even though it was very easy to literally put down.  If you're a young'un and wasn't 'there' in that era then this may interest you.  If you were 'there' then it may serve as a reminder of what you once experienced.  However if you're like me and you are still 'there' and still have an NES, a SNES, and an N64 (and I don't even consider myself a Nintendo fan!) then this book is just a long list of details that you already knew and you could have served as a SME (subject matter expert) for in its research and development.

So I'm not saying it wasn't a good book.  I'm just saying it didn't do anything for me.  Sound fair?  ;p

Score - 5 out of 10

See the author's Smashwords profile for other books.  There's a similar memoir on the age of arcades...as well as a couple of religious books.

 

Saturday
Apr142012

Bob Moore: No Hero (by Tom Andry)

Love the comic-style cover!Bob Moore: No Hero

by Tom Andry

Approx. 43,000 words

Independent eBook - Free for Download from the Author's Site - www.tomandry.com

Bob Moore is a private investigator in a world where superheroes are commonplace, as is the spandex they wear.  A mere 'tippy' (human with no powers), Bob Moore has created a name for himself if not for his skills as an investigator then at least for his brazen and fearless approach to the supers - the first chapter involves his escape from an enraged pyromantic superhero trying to stop him from sharing the photos he had just captured.

The story introduces many interesting characters along the way - an assistant with defective super powers, a reclusive super-genius associate fond of appearing in the body of a Scandinavian supermodel, a super-powered ex-girlfriend...all very well developed characters that you instantly take a liking to - getting a feel for their positive and negative traits and somehow understanding both.

The story escalates when Bob is asked to take a job from an old arch-nemesis-turned-do-gooder, who Bob would rather see dead than work for.  Upon naming an insanely high price to deter the working relationship it is nonetheless met, so he begrudgingly begins to investigate why so many of the former-evil-genius' patients are going missing.

There are a number of great characters introduced, however their involvement in the greater plot is almost non-existent.  I wouldn't call this character development wasted however, as there is another installment and hopefully more coming in the future.  As for the main character, he truly is 'No Hero' - while not altogether self-centred, he's not exactly out to save the world either.  Ultimately he's out to make a profit, but may discover along the way that he may have a few morals worthy of calling 'noble', or at least not completely obnoxious.

The book felt too short, with a lot of build-up to a sudden end, but that can be forgiven with the knowledge that there are more Bob Moore stories to come.  It is highly recommended.

Score - 8 out of 10

Side Note - When I bought the second book via the Kobo site it konked out my Kobo and appeared as gibbering on my desktop.  I emailed the author to see if he was aware of such a problem and he sent me a gift code for a free download from Smashwords.  Awesome!  So yeah, thanks Tom -  I'm now working on reading 'Bob Moore: Desperate Times", and at just over 100,000 words I won't be complaining about the length of this instalment!