Tag Archives: humor

Vikings at Dino’s: A Novel of Lunch and Mayhem (Travels with Michael #1)

Title: Vikings at Dino’s: A Novel of Lunch and Mayhem

Author: William Duquette

Series: Travels with Michael #1

Michael just wants to eat lunch in peace. But when every attempt to go out to his favorite diners is met by pillaging Vikings, it’s hard to see lunch as a break. Between Vikings, Mongol hordes and a Roman legion, his small town is getting way too interesting . . .

This was AMAZING. Michael is a software designer who works from home and likes to indulge in going out for lunch. But soon that turns into an absurdist nightmare as various inexplicable raiders show up to loot and pillage those establishments. Michael has no interest in getting caught up with any of this, but he can’t seem to escape always being in the middle of things.

Basically, go read the sample on Amazon. The first chapter lays everything out beautifully. I love this kind of surreal comedy, where the events playing out could almost be a dream except real people are stuck trying to deal with the consequences.

And the rest of the book is just as funny, with unexpected bouts of seriousness (well, people ARE in real danger).

It was also interesting because Michael has a condition where he stopped growing at ten years old, so he has the body of a child and people tend to treat him that way. It’s soured his view on a number of things. Being an “eternal child” isn’t as much fun as it sounds. It does, however, make for some really funny scenes.

Overall, this was highly entertaining, and absolutely one I will read again. I rate this Highly Recommended.

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Epitaphs (Echoverse #2)

Title: Epitaphs

Author: TherinĀ  Knite

Series: Echoverse #2

Adem’s switched jobs to the EDPA, but in some respects, the new job isn’t any better than the old one. His new boss treats him like crap. He’s stuck in endless newbie training hell. And then a college student who died an impossible death crops up, and life is about to get interesting again . . .

I think the reason these books are so amazing is the depth of all the characters involved. Adem and Jin have a complex relationship—which I was glad to see was clarified as being really tight friends, bound by tragedy (although we still don’t have the full story behind Jericho). Unhealthy, perhaps, in that either one of them is willing to do just about anything for the other. And Jin gets some really good moments this book. Some really funny ones too.

I also really liked the reveals about Dynara, which cleared up some practical questions from last book, and continues building the mystery of who she is beneath all the masks she wears.

And I definitely appreciated Adem being taken down a peg. His arrogance was often grating for me in the previous book, as I really dislike those kinds of characters. In this one his pride is getting ground down, both from his own mistakes and from Dynara no longer treating him like he’s special.

For all that, the story still mostly focuses on a single crime and the bigger conspiracies radiating out from it. Like the first book, the murder is not all it appears to be. Gaining some answers only leads to more questions. The whirlwind pacing means the story never drags, and because dreams are involved, the abilities on display are like magic. And the humor keeps the horror aspect in check, because even though this can get pretty dark, it can also get really funny.

Given the way this ended, I cannot wait for a sequel. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

Radiation (Of Cats and Dragons #2)

Title: Radiation

Author: Carol E. Leever and Camilla Ochlan

Series: Of Cats and Dragons #2

Omen tried to stay out of trouble. Really. But when he and Tormy get the chance, he begs for a quest–and not just any quest, but something huge and important that only he can complete. So Etar, his divine brother, gives him one. Now Omen must hunt down another divine sibling in a world utterly desolate . . .

I liked the second book even better than the first. We get a lot more backstory on Omen, Omen’s family, and Templar. I love how the history is so rich that every story brings questions about a dozen more details. I never thought there was a reason behind the names in Omen’s family, and now I want to see a story about his parents since their lives were at least as interesting as his. And ouch, poor Templar. No wonder he’s always a bit on edge. Although it hasn’t stopped his sense of humor.

The friendship between Omen and Templar continues to be one of my favorite parts, even though in this book it took something of a backseat to Omen’s “epic quest” and an extended adventure for Lilyth, Omen’s sister. Templar and Omen arguing about who exactly is the bad influence on whom was hysterical, as was Templar’s succinct summation of Omen’s quest (quote below review for those wanting to avoid spoilers).

And the new characters were all compelling. I really liked Etar, a younger god that is more or less Omen’s brother. Kyr is just adorable despite his circumstances (and I have to wonder how much Tyrin will be able to influence him, since Tyrin is basically Trouble-capital-T). Tyrin is of course hysterical, especially the “identical twins” routine, or the way he takes things too literally.

Overall this series continues to improve everything I liked about the first book, and I can’t wait for a third. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

Templar’s take on the quest:

“So basically what you’re saying is,” Templar stated when Omen had finished, “you wandered into an empty wasteland, got rained on, and came home. And that’s what you call epic?”

Night’s Gift (Of Cats and Dragons #1)

Title: Night’s Gift

Author: Carol E. Leever and Camilla Ochlan

Series: Of Cats and Dragons #1

Omen Daenoth just wanted to explore the city of Hex, free of guards or responsibilities. But when a pickpocket steals the bracelet that damps his psionic powers, Omen must race against the clock to get it back before his tenuous control slips.

I was intrigued enough by the sample to get the full book, and am so glad I did. I loved this. The banter between Omen and Templar (and later Tormy), the high octane adventure, and the solid worldbuilding made for an excellent read. There’s a lot of history that isn’t explained but only hinted at—like the city of Hex, which makes me curious to see more in this world. I wish Omen’s background got a little more attention (five bloodlines?) but since I read the second book before writing this I know some of it gets covered there.

Also this has one of the best reasons I’ve seen for not accepting consumables from elves: they’re insatiable druggies and have a tendency to lace narcotics into the food/drinks. At least one particular branch of elves.

I like Omen and Templar a lot. They’re both more than human, which leads to some interesting fights. Omen’s psionics and Templar’s magic can put on a flashy show, and their ability to heal damage means they can get into the middle of some intense situations. And it’s not just power—Omen’s clever use of song against the Mer or the way they get the box shows they can approach situations with brain in addition to brawn.

All in all this is a real treat, and I’m certainly going to read it again. From the sample clip I listened to, the audiobook also looks like a worthwhile investment. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

The Monster’s Daughter (Ministry of SUITs #2)

Title: The Monster’s Daughter

Author: Paul Gamble

Series: Ministry of SUITs #2

Jack and Trudy return, in an adventure just as insane as the original. This time, Jack is struggling to figure out the meaning behind a sinister new fracking operation, a weird aquarium, a bath and body shop with curiously powerful products, and more. He also stumbles across the reasons why there’s always a spider in the bathtub and learns a new superpower. But he’ll need every bit of twisted thinking to escape this nefarious plot . . .

I had a lot of fun with this volume too, although it didn’t grab me quite as much as the original (possibly because I was expecting the daughter of the title to be Trudy, as the book was heavily focusing on her relationship with her mother, and then it turned out to be something else).

It’s fun to see even the “normal” people in Jack’s life, like a classmate convinced he’s a superhero because he managed to harness static electricity, are going off the rails. It would be amusing if Jack really is responsible for upping the weird quotient in his general vicinity.

Also, like the last book, this features plenty of perfectly logical explanations for various oddities in everyday life, and plenty of footnotes to expound on them. (“This is 100 percent true. Or at least it will be in about ten minutes after I’ve finished editing the right section in Wikipedia.”)

I was disappointed that the mystery of Trudy’s mom doesn’t really resolve. They get so close, too. Other than that, though, the story wraps up nicely. You could probably start here but I’d recommend reading the first book to catch up on the background. I rate this book Recommended.

Thief of Time (Discworld #26)

Title: Thief of Time

Author: Terry Pratchett

Series: Discworld #26

Once, a man named Wen sought enlightenment, and found Time. Once, Time fell in love with a mortal.

Lobsang Ludd is an apprentice to the History Monks, the order founded by Wen to keep Time more or less in order. But the Monks are facing their biggest crisis yet. Someone is reconstructing a clock that can stop time itself. And it may be up to Lobsang and his eccentric mentor, the famous Lu-tze (who seems to be nothing more than a crazy old sweeper) to stop it.

This is my favorite Discworld book. There’s an order of warrior monks who mix old kung-fu movies with quantum physics. There’s the madness of someone like Jeremy, who is so sane he’s gone out the other side (with attendant Igor to help him build a most unusual doomsday device). There’s Death, preparing for the latest Apocalypse, and finding that his fellow Horsemen have rather lost their touch. And of course Death’s granddaughter Susan, a ruthlessly sensible grade school teacher who applies the skills gained battling elementary school students against forces that will end the world.

And it all WORKS. Beautifully.

This is Pratchett at his best—loaded with common sense as well as the humor, willing to say the obvious things no one says out loud, and pointing out that sometimes the most highest and secret wisdom was right in front of us all along. He’s got a way of peeling back the foibles of humanity, but underneath it all there’s a fierce love of what makes humans human. Like Lady Myria LeJean, who is discovering all the things that can’t be measured or explained.

It’s also interesting because Time had a son, we learn early on, but there are two strong candidates for who it might be: Lobsang Ludd, the apprentice with amazing skills slicing Time, or Jeremy Clockson, the only clockmaker attenuated to Time well enough to build a truly accurate clock. And the actual answer is a nice surprise.

Also, the climatic battle is basically a chocolate war, which is another thing I love about the book. Fine chocolates ARE deadly weapons.

Overall, this book works on so many different levels. I keep meaning to pull quotes for my file but I’d end up pulling most of the book, as it only seems to take a few sentences to get to something else that cracks me up.

If you’ve never read anything by Terry Pratchett, or just missed this one, give this book a try. The Discworld books are all basically standalone novels that loosely hook into the larger Discworld universe. I rate this Highly Recommended.

The Ministry of S.U.I.T.S (Ministry of S.U.I.T.S #1)

Title: The Ministry of S.U.I.T.S

Author: Paul Gamble

Series: Ministry of S.U.I.T.S #1

Jack has too much curiosity and a tendency to think about the world around him. Unsurprisingly, that leads to him getting mixed up with an agency devoted to taking care of the unusual things that normal people think don’t exist (or don’t exist anymore, like dinosaurs and pirates). When the sinister Mr. Teach sponsors his school, he knows there’s got to be more going on. But it’s going to take all his wits, the power to slow down time, and the help of the scariest girl in school to get to the bottom of this . . .

This reminds me so much of Terry Pratchett’s work. From the abundant footnotes to the cheerfully logical absurdities, it was always throwing out something that made me laugh. Like the ongoing thread about the aspirations of scarecrows to become store mannequins. Or the various digressions on pirates, or the origin of ninjas, or why dolphins are the most educated aquatic mammals.

Overall this was a light but funny read, and I’m eager to see where the series goes from here. I rate this book Recommended.