Category Archives: Humor

Insanity – Cameron Jace

I’ll be honest, I knew nothing of Cameron Jace…never heard of him, never seen any of his work when one day I received an email from an ebook service that I subscribe to that described one of his books that was on sale (OK free) and the description intrigued me…since the price was right I went and “purchased” it.  I didn’t get around to reading it for quite some time but finally did just before the holidays.

According to Mr. Jace’s web site, he isn’t a professional writer but likes writing stories that he always wanted to read but couldn’t find already done. There’s really not much more I can tell you about the author…which bothers me as I tend to like to know at least something about the author I’m reading so I can get an idea of how their background and experiences have molded their writing.

Insanity is the first book of a series of books that he refers to collectively as Insanity; however, I think a more accurate title would be the Wonderland Wars….but, we’ll see.

Years ago, I purchased and absolutely adored a computer game called American McGee’s Alice.  It tells a very dark tale of Alice (as in Alice in Wonderland) who accidentally set fire to her home as a child which resulted in everything and everyone she loved to be destroyed or killed.  She gets institutionalized in an insane asylum and is eventually called back to a much more dark and twisted Wonderland.

The reason I mention this game is because Mr. Jace’s stories have a striking resemblance to the concept (but not execution).  In Insanity, Alice Wonder is in an institution for having killed her classmates on a school bus.  There she meets Professor Pillar, a serial killer (a-la Hannibal Lector) who believes that she is “THE” Alice and that he is The Caterpiller from Wonderland.  Together they are trying to stop a Wonderland monster that is in the real world who is brutally killing people, leaving a sewn up grin on their faces.

The story is at turns bizarre, humorous, educational and dark…very much like the real Alice In Wonderland books.

Honestly, I could not put the book down (a rarity for me).  Once finished, I actually wrote a review on Amazon.com…which I seldom do and have never done so for a freebie.  I have since purchased the collection for the first 3 ebooks and will likely buy books 4 and 5 (I think that’s as far as it goes so far).   Honestly, I was afraid to start book 2 since often books that may have been intended to be one-off frequently doesn’t translate well into a series, completely changes the characters or changes the sense of wonder…..so far, I’m happy to report that book 2 “Figment” is every bit as much fun as book 1 although perhaps a bit darker.

 

Advertisements

Mort – Terry Pratchett

I’ve previously written about Terry Pratchett, please see my previous reviews of The Colour of Magic and Equal Rites.

In the third (or fourth depending on whether you count the first two books as one or two books), a young man is offered a job he can’t refuse, Death’s apprentice.  While the position has much to offer, free room and board, the use of the company horse, i.e. Binky, and much, much more….but, like many busy professionals, when does one find time for love, particularly when the one you fall in love with is one of your “clients”.

The story is one part comedy, one part romance novel, one part Final Destination and all parts entertaining.  By some, this is considered to be one if not the favorite Discworld novel.  Unfortunately, while I very much enjoyed the novel, it is not my favorite, but, then again there are 20+ novels to choose from.  It is however my favorite of the first 4 novels….in my opinion they just get better and better.

If you enjoy this, read any and all of the Discworld novels.

The Sexphiles: Haunting Melody by Kimberly Zant

I still know next to nothing about Kimberly Zant… if anyone knows anything about her, I’d appreciate some feedback.  I like to know at least a little about the authors I read.

I frankly don’t know where I picked this eBook up at, possibly part of a collection or maybe from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or possibly years ago from Fictionwise.  I never got around to reading it until this week.

The story is an obvious erotic spoof of The X-Files with the main characters working for either the FBI (Florida Bureau of Investigations) or the PIA (Private Investigators Association), Dianne Skelley and Sly Mullien as they investigate strange cases.  In this case, they first meet and investigate and are assigned a case to investigate a old plantation style house that appears to be haunted.  The ghost rapes Dianne while she’s showering at the house the first night they stay to investigate…although frankly, she more enjoys it that is actually physically or emotionally injured.  Roles are reversed and Sly is the skeptic and Dianne is the one more inclined to believe. They are joined early on by Dianne’s identical sister, Dee who is an paranormal investigator.  Soon, Dee is also raped by the the ghost, although she is more “injured” by the ghost, although only emotionally as she was having an orgasm when she realizes it’s a ghost rather than Sly.

The story is really more of a short story than a novel at only around 125 pages and while Kimberly writes very well and has some of the most approachable, if unrealistic, sex scenes of any modern erotica, what she does lack is convincing closure in her stories.  Admittedly, this appears to be an intended recurring series of stories, the ending was, much like others I’ve read of hers, ends rather abruptly.  Never the less, it’s an enjoyable romp, if short.

If you enjoy this, try:

  • Surrender and dozens of others.

 

Equal Rites – Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one if not my favorite author of all time. His books are witty, intelligent, funny yet with serious undertones, pure fantasy….yet, very much grounding in reality.  He can turn phrase that is at once hilarious but poignant at the same time.  This is the third (or second if you count The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic as one book) of collection of books (at the time of this writing number around 40 books and comics) based on a fictional world known only as the Discworld.  The Discworld is a flat micro-planet which rests on the back of four massive elephants which stand on the great world turtle, A’Tuin (whose sex is unknown…but that’s another story).

Pratchett was born in 1948 in Buckinghamshire, England.  Growing up, he wanted to be an astronomer and collected Brooke Bond Tea cards on astronomy. This eventually led him to space-based science fiction.  At 13, he published his first story in the school magazine which was later published commercially at age 15.  At age 17, he began his first job in writing working for the Bucks Free Press writing, among other things, children’s stories published under the name Uncle Jim.  One of these stories eventually led to the characterizations in his story, The Carpet People (not a Discworld novel).

In the 1980’s, Pratchett became the press writer for the Central Electricity Generating Board covering the nuclear power stations all the while writing his first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic which was published in 1983 and gave up working for the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1987 shortly after his fourth Discworld novel was published Mort.

He has been extremely proficient writing not only the many Discworld novels, which in itself contain several childrens or young adult stories, several children/young adult books not related to Discworld and several other fiction and non-fiction books.

In 2007, Pratchett was misdiagnosed as having had a stroke.  It was later discovered that he has a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, posterior cortical atrophy in which parts of the back of his brain began to shrink.  While his speech and motor skills have been affected, his cognitive abilities have not been impacted and he continues to write by dictation to his wife.

Having given so much joy to many lives including mine, I continue to wish him well.

Equal Rites, being the third (or second) novel in the Discworld stories and being an early work unfortunately show.  Don’t get me wrong, Pratchett’s wit and shear joy are present; however, the characters are slightly different than they are in the later stories.

The story begins by the death of a wizard who, upon passing, transfers his powers to the newborn child of a rural blacksmith. The wizard made a mistake though, he had thought the child was a boy…it was a girl!  On the Discworld, girls become Witches, boys become Wizards…girls do NOT become Wizards, it just doesn’t happen.

Granny Weatherwax, the local Witch, realizes that there’s not much she can do to help this young female Wizard, Esk.  Granny knows what she must do….well, she always knows, even when she doesn’t, that’s part of being a Witch, and takes Esk on a long journey to the seat of all wizardry on the Discworld, Ank-Morpork and the Wizards at Unseen University.

This story is a great introduction into what a Wizard is and what a Witch is in the world of Discworld and what it means to be one or the other.  In this story, Equal Rites is both an allusion to Women’s rights  and to the commonality of rites between the Wizard and Witches on Discworld.

If you enjoy this story, by all means read the rest of the Discworld novels, too many to list individually here.  I will likely review them over time.

 

 

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers – Grant/Naylor

Grant Naylor is the collective writing name of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor.  They gained quite a bit of notoriety for writing the hilarious long running BBC SCI-FI/comedy series  Red Dwarf.  This collaboration, unfortunately ended in the 1990s, when Rob Grant left due to the age old euphemism “creative differences”, although the series continue(s) on through series VII, VIII, IX and X.

The Red Dwarf series had it’s ups and downs, sometimes side split-tingly hilarious and sometimes just OK with series X airing in 2012 with a much aged cast, but closer to how some of the previous seasons were.

Grant Naylor wrote several Red Dwarf novels that, in some ways, were better written and “acted” than the actual series since some things just could not be done on the meager budget and technologies available.

This is the first of the novels and is very, very funny and an excellent way to get to know the series.  It takes elements of much of the first few series and combines them into a novel that is one part SCI-FI, one part comedic masterpiece and all parts entertaining.

If you’ve never seen the series is about one human, Dave Lister, who due to an infraction on board the Jupiter Mining Corporation ship Red Dwarf is put into suspended animation as punishment. During his hibernation, the ship had a radiation leak and all of people on board died.  Holly, the ship’s intelligent computer, sped the ship into the deep outer space for millions of years to prevent others from dying from the radiation and finally woke Dave after the radiation levels were acceptable.  Sounds funny?  Well, oddly it is….Dave’s infraction was bringing aboard a cat, named Frankenstein, which escaped into the holds and survived the radiation and somehow bred and over the millions of years evolved into a humanoid race which has many cat tendencies…they all left except for the dying and the “terminally stupid”.  This leaves Dave with a companion, aptly named “Cat”.  Holly, who has pretty much gone insane over the millions of years, creates a hologram of Dave’s cabin mate, Arnold Rimmer, an officious but completely inept career Space Corp member who’s main job before death was as a food dispenser cleaner and who now is supposed to keep Dave sane.  Finally, a “nanny” type android that was near the end of the first season named Kryten who cooks, cleans, etc…

These are their bizarre, hilarious adventures, hurtling though space in a ship piloted by an mixed up computer, manned by a lager, curry, and chili sauce consuming Human, a creature evolved from his pet cat, a hologram of the Humans long dead roommate and a vaguely human shaped android.

If you enjoy this, read:

  • Better than Life
  • Backward
  • Last Human

Treat Her Right – Lori Foster

Lori Foster lives in Ohio with her husband and three sons…she’s written 70 plus romance novels in her career as a writer but started out in various jobs in sales and handling material for Proctor & Gamble, but, quit becoming a stay at home mom.  She gained an interest in romance novels when stuck at home with pneumonia which was followed by her interest in writing them herself.  Within five years, she had completed then manuscripts but sold only one of them.  Harlequin published her first in 1996.

I became interested in her novels after reading Caught in the Act, which I’ve written about already, this is the fourth in the Men to Rescue series (Caught in the Act is the third). The story is well written and quite funny.  Zack Grange, an EMT with a young daughter has lost his wife several years earlier is rudely woken after a late shift by the noise of someone moving into the empty house next door and is taken aback by the stunning beauty who appears to be the new neighbor.  As is a common theme in many romance novels, hate turns into shear lust which turns into a strong bond and love; however, in this case, it’s the journey that is so fascinating here not to mention the intense sexual energy between these characters and the adorable as anything daughter.

I quite enjoyed this and look forward to reading the others in the series.  If your enjoy this, try some of her other novels which are too numerous to even list here.

 

The Big Over Easy – Jasper FForde

I’ve already written about Jasper Fforde, so I won’t explain what I know of him again.

I’ll admit, I’m a big fan of his Thursday Next novels and as a new series based on some comments made in the Thursday Next novels…but, don’t be mistaken, this isn’t the same series, although perhaps in the same world.  Never the less, I quite enjoyed the story.

This story is based on the Nursery Crime Division staring detective and family man Jack Spratt who is investigating what may or may not be a crime, a certain ovoid minor celebrity has been found in pieces…literally.  Did he fall to his death off a wall, or was he murdered?  Yes, the down and out Humpty Dumpty has been found dead and the investigation, much like all of Fforde’s novels, takes some seriously twisted and humorous  turns.  Written in much the same manner as Dashel Hammett and others in the genre, this hilarious noir crime novel is one entertaining gem of a story.  Despite the bizarre premise, the pace is fast and consistent with believable characters that you genuinely care for….a talent that, perhaps not uniquely his, is a particular talent of Ffordes.

If you enjoy this, read:

  • The Fourth Bear
  • Or any of Fforde’s other novels