Review: Morgan Kane – Without Mercy by Louis Masterson

Morgan Kane- Without Mercy
allegedly by Louis Masterson, but I doubt it
Rating: HATE
Read 8/25/2013

First: The version I read is a recent reprint from WR Films. They contacted me through my blog and asked if I would read and review this book as they are planning to re-release them all as eBooks and have movies to tie the books into. I said yes but Westerns aren’t my thing, and they sent me a free copy anyway. I won’t enter this version into the Goodreads database ’cause I don’t work for Amazon for free. Also, there’s no ISBN.

Second: The book is riddled with typos, misspellings, mispunctuations, and general careless editing. I wasn’t reading for editing, just turning down corners whenever I found a mistake on a page. 14 pages (out of 124) are dog-eared.

Third: The cover claims that the series was an international bestseller for Mr. Louis Masterson (a pseudonym of Norwegian writer Kjell Hallbing).

So, Westerns aren’t my thing, but I’ve read a few. Enough, say, to recognize a good Western written by a good writer. This reads as if it had been translated using Google, and I find it significant that there is no translator credited anywhere in the colophon. Actually, it sounds like it was translated by Google and then rewritten by a screenwriter. The publisher has Films in their name, leaving me to suspect all sorts of dark things. Primarily, that they don’t give a good rat’s ass about the book, but are just trying to drum up publicity for the next blockbuster. I care about books too much to approve of this shoddy effort.

There are a lot of breasts in this book, all belonging to very young vixens and temptresses who are forever arching their backs so their nipples strain against the fabric. The hero is steely-eyed, a quick draw, and a helluva card player. Sometimes he drinks. Sometimes he kills bad guys. He never, never falls in love. But those nipples, boy howdy, they haunt him. He can ride a horse, and climb silently into windows. Every woman he talks to falls in love with him for no apparent reason. He can sew up his own gunshot wounds by puncturing his own skin and tying it up with bits of his shirt.

I can sort of see the ghost of what might have been a book that, even if it wasn’t for me, might have been worth reading when it was new in 1971. But this version? No. Oh, HELL NO.

Review: Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Dad Is Fat
by Jim Gaffigan
Rating: *
Read 8/21/2013
I can’t remember why I put this on hold. I know that I was number six hundred and something when I did, and in the intervening months I’ve forgotten what made me think I’d like this. It’s entirely not my thing. It’s warm, fuzzy, cute (goodness gracious, the CUTE) and good. It’s about a man with a million children (maybe it’s actually five) and his long-suffering wife. It made me want to gouge my eyes out with a dull instrument.


Review: Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature
by Robin Brande
Rating *
Read 7/23/2013


I didn’t like this book even a little bit. I found the Christian science teacher unlikely, and her willingness to engage a student in discussion, even outside of school, about her religious convictions even more unlikely. There was an awful lot of telling in the book, and I didn’t resonate with any of the characters. I didn’t get what the love interest saw in the protagonist, I didn’t get why the parents were such meany-pantses, I didn’t get why anyone would ever, in a million years, go to a church like that. Mostly, I just don’t get organized religion, so this was probably not the book for me. I think, given the title, I was expecting a conversion from strict Biblical literalist interpretation to something more in line with accepted scientific thinking. What I got was[the tearful scene in the car, where nothing really changes for anyone and the parents are still hateful and the kid is still made to feel guilty.  I suppose there must be people like this abusive, cruel family out there somewhere. I don’t want to have to read about them.

Review: How To Look Expensive by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig

How to look Expensive
by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig
Rating: **
Read 07/03/2013
A few interesting tips but mostly what I should have expected from a Glamour columnist. I keep thinking I should care more about how I look, and I buy clothes that look nice and makeup that looks nice and then I wear my yoga pants and barely bother to wash my face, let alone add a layer of anti-wrinkle cream, a layer of moisturizer, a layer of sunscreen, a layer of foundation, some eye cream, some powder. I lose interest before I even get the fancy facial cleanser put back in the shower caddy. This book, for me, was not the triumph of hope over experience, but yet another exercise in over-reaching my natural inclination.

Review: The Boy by Lara Santoro

The Boy
by Lara Santoro
Rating: *
Read 6/5/2013
I hated the protagonist, but I suspect I was meant to. I didn’t like the writing style, I didn’t like any of the characters, I didn’t like the message. I couldn’t care about anyone in the story, which was about how lust can ruin your life and your motherhood and your kid. Blah. My free review copy came from ALA Midwinter.

Review: Fiend by Peter Stenson

by Peter Stenson
Rating: zero stars
Read 5/25/2013
Oh my god I hated this book so, so, so much. I thought it was going to be dystopia with drug addicts, and I was thrilled. Then I found out it was dystopia with drug addicts AND ZOMBIES and I was annoyed. As I kept reading I was repelled and horrified and oh let me count the ways this book was not for me. Ewww. No one here to like, no one here to identify with, no one here to be redeemed. Also? Zombies. Ptui! My free review copy came from ALA Midwinter.

Review: Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien


Wesley the Owl

by Stacey O’Brien

Rating: *

Read 4/19/2013

I loved the premise inherent in the subtitle, “The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl” and the blurb sucked me in. I checked out the audio version from my library and found the narrator’s voice to be pleasant enough. I was immediately sucked in to the story, only to be spat out again in relatively short order. For someone who works in a lab full of owls, the author seemed unduly surprised about some of the basic facts regarding their characteristics. I have never lived with an owl, so everything I say about this book is from a standpoint of profound ignorance. I really felt like O’Brien anthropomorphized Wesley- not so much when she ascribed reason  to him, but more when she talked about his feelings and emotions. Also, the fact that she called herself ‘Mommy’ when talking to him was nausea-inducing. The writing was not even unexceptional, it was flat out bad. The story meandered all over and was full of discursive asides (which, to be fair, were for me the most interesting bits). I wanted to like this. I expected to like this. I hated it, from about the 3rd chapter on.


Review: Martha Stuart’s Excruciatingly Perfect Weddings by Tom Connor

Martha Stuart’s Excruciatingly Perfect Weddings

by Tom Connor

Rating: *

Read 4/9/2013

It says PARODY right on the cover. I picked it up by accident in a pile of magazines at a rummage sale, and it’s languished around the house on seemingly every horizontal surface. I finally picked it up tonight and I didn’t think it was very funny. Maybe it was funny when it came out and the real Martha was gaining traction but not yet a byword in K-Mart linens. My advice: always shake down your pile of beading magazines at a yard sale for stray hitchhiking parody books.