Monthly Archives: June 2015

Review: Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

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Title: Game of Thrones

Author: George R. R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (#1)

Publisher: Bantam

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Okay, so I finally did it. After far too many fellow fantasy readers and friends cajoling and pestering me, I finally opened up the first book in GRRM’s monster series, “A Game of Thrones,” and began reading it. “It’s so great!” they said. “Don’t grow attached to any of the characters!” they said.

My reaction?  Meh. It’s okay. Just okay.

The writing quality overall is good. I can’t find any fault with GRRM on that, and that’s why I gave the book four stars. And so far I like the world that he’s built. But the characters…yeah, I’m not feeling them. Which I guess is just as well.

I think there was only one character that I felt much of anything for, and I’ll keep in mind that this writer likes to kill off his characters. I think GRRM may have shot himself in the foot on that one. It’s one thing to kill off a lot of characters (like Stephen King, for example). But even horror writers know when to keep certain ones alive in order to keep their fans loyal. GRRM has made such a reputation now of being a ruthless killer that I think it puts off a lot of readers from even picking up one of his books. I know it did me, and I’m still not convinced I want to read Book 2. I don’t get what the fuss is about, and at the moment, I think I might enjoy the HBO series more. At least then I can ogle Sean Bean.

As far as the plot itself . . . this is where it felt more like same old same old fantasy. I see the potential with the dragons and the wild things and winter coming, but it felt like it was taking forever for things to get going. Maybe just me? It very well could be the classic issue that books with large casts spread over the world struggle with, as readers of Robert Jordan would know. At least in this case, I saw subplots being wrapped up before the end of the book, leaving only the larger arcs to be dealt with in later books. This to me was a strength.

So now I’m left with the question. Should I actually take time to read the next book? It’s like you have to take a serious commitment to these things at over 1000 pages apiece. I’m not sure I’m feeling that dedicated.

For now, I’ll probably move on to other projects. And maybe I’ll check out an episode on HBO Go or something.

Book Review: Line of Descent

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Title: Line of Descent

Author: James Derry

Publisher: Self

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I thought this was an okay book, but the ending didn’t really satisfy me. I think it was because the book was labeled as a “fantasy” novel when it was delivered to me; I see now that on Amazon the main category is now horror/occult. If I had approached this novel as a horror, I think I would have been better prepared. The book was well written and the plot drew me along. I think it was an interesting premise: an ancient (and possibly alien) intelligence has been replicating itself through a single bloodline, being passed down from generation to generation and gaining power all the while.

There are a lot of dreams in the book and even the waking moments have a dreamlike quality to them, giving the entire book a sort of surreal feel to it. Something about the style of writing put distance between me and the characters, but I couldn’t point to exactly what. I think one of the best scenes was Elise teaching Mallory sign language via the pipes in separate bathrooms.

If you like Kurt Vonnegut type stories, or films like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” you’ll probably enjoy this book.

Ogres at Alcatraz Isle has gone wide!

Today I’d like to announce that the urban fantasy short fiction “Ogres at Alcatraz Isle” is now available for wide distribution! That means you can now find it at Barnes and Noble, Google Books, iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo and more.

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Some links to share:

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Judy_Goodwin_Ogres_at_Alcatraz_Isle?id=edbpCQAAQBAJ

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1122158552?ean=2940151978347

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/ogres-at-alcatraz-isle

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/551417

Enjoy!

Description:

The Fae are at it again! All over the world, deforestation has caused the barriers between world to breakdown. Now monsters are invading the city. Cathy Pembroke, a member of the Bay Area’s new Fae Enforcement Division, must deal with everything from trolls to fairies to goblins knocking up the local Circle K. Only this time, it’s much worse.  Ogres have taken over the popular tourist attraction at Alcatraz Isle, and worse, they’ve taken hostages. Cathy and her team must find a way to rescue the humans and the landmark. It’s their greatest challenge yet.

Middle Age and Death

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My partner and I like to go out to eat sushi once a month. We’ve been going to the same place for years, and we know the owner like family. This last time, we were chatting with the woman, and my partner mentioned a funeral she had to attend last month when her uncle passed. The restaurant owner came back with some wise words, “I hate when you get to that part of life when it’s no more weddings and babies but all sickness and funerals.”

I feel like I’m at the threshold of that life. I’ve hit middle age.

I don’t know if middle age is really a number. I’m 44, which isn’t really that old, or at least so I like to think. Maybe it’s more of a life experience kind of thing. I still like to go to kids movies and rock out to punk and alternative music. In my head I’m still just out of college. But my body? Errgh. I had to have foot surgery in March because the pain of a fallen arch had grown too much. Even now that I’m fully recovered, I still have pain, which means I’ll probably have pain now for the rest of my life. That sucks!

And then on top of that, I had to put down one of our pet cats yesterday. She was fairly old for a cat (12 years) and had cancer in her throat, poor thing. Looking at the rest of our pets (we have 6 others), they’re all heading into that “senior” period for animals, so there will likely be more deaths in the future. The oldest is a Shiba Inu who is 14. She has skin issues but is otherwise quite lively.

I’m grateful that I have a kid, who will be heading off to college in a few years. I see how it is for friends who don’t have children or are single. Life really does seem to climb an apex and start heading down after that nebulous midpoint.

Not sure what I think about it yet. But yeah, it definitely sucks to get older.

RIP, Dokuritsushin. (“Doku” for short).