#BookReview: Lair Of The Swamp Witch by David Wood

Another Fun And Hilarious Bones Adventure. Yet again we find Bones getting called off in search of some cryptid and getting sucked into some minor-ish mystery, with all of the usual tracking, fighting, wisecracking, and bone cracking this generally entails with this character. Another short tale at barely 120 pages (in the Kindle edition anyway), this is an easy read perfect for when you need a quick break from reality. As it does heavily reference characters from previous Bones adventures, those at minimum are recommended reading before this one, even if you don’t want to get into the larger Maddock universe quite yet (which is also very much recommended and more tangentially referenced, as in nothing there plays a truly essential role here the way characters from prior Bones stories do). As always here, very much looking forward to the next one and this one is very much recommended.

This review of Lair Of The Swamp Witch by David Wood was originally written on January 28, 2023.

#BookReview: Swamp Story by Dave Barry

WTF – Welcome To Florida. This is one of those sprawling South Florida/ Everglades “Florida Man” stories that are so extremely entertaining even in the real life versions, and here comedic story master Dave Barry pulls no punches. Similar in tone and style to Jimmy Buffet’s A Salty Piece Of Land, there *is* some social/ societal commentary here – but it is buried in a tale that is so “unrealistically real” (as another reviewer noted) that it is one of those “jokes with a point” that are freaking hilarious – yet also perhaps a touch too real. Specifically, much of the commentary in this particular tale revolves around social media and “fame”/ “celebrity”, and Barry’s observations here – baked into the overall narrative of the tale – are quite biting. And yet… the over the top insanity humor is never far away, and is ultimately the driving force of the tale. If you’ve been experiencing too much seriousness in your “real” life or in your reading and you need a break from all the death, drama, and destruction… this is the perfect getaway, no matter where you may physically be or what time of year it may be where you are. Very much recommended.

This review of Swamp Story by Dave Barry was originally written on December 31, 2022.

#BookReview: Improbably Yours by Kerry Anne King

Get Lost In The Wonder. This is another Kerry Anne King book where she manages to take a delightfully flawed protagonist and spin a tale of wonder (and wander) around her. Set in the apparently lovely (if all the house buying shows I’ve watched on Discovery+ are to be believed, I’ve never been within 1,000 miles of the location) San Juan Islands of Washington State, this book shows off a small island town bound to its tourism cycle remarkably well. Along the way we get a touch of a pair of romances, some mysterious-yet-light happenings, a pair of tragedies, and a treasure hunt to end all treasure hunts. Truly a great tale of adventure and finding yourself in unexpected places. Very much recommended.

This review of Improbably Yours by Kerry Anne King was originally written on October 15, 2022.

#BookReview: Emerald Dragon by David Wood

Solid And Short Maddock Adventure Perfect For Longtime Fans And People New To The Universe. Much like Golden Dragon a couple of books prior to this one, this is another short adventure – though at 120 pages, it is nearly double the length of Golden Dragon. It also has seemingly slightly fewer connections and references to other pars of the Maddock universe, though it has several connections to Golden Dragon – which is why readers should make sure they read that book first. (Seriously, buy both and you’ll likely finish both while waiting at the doctor’s office. :D) Here, we’re in Ireland and when you’re studying cryptids and ancient mysteries in Ireland… you get St. Patrick. And dragons. And lots of green stuff. And pagans. And old libraries and castles and crypts. When you’re *Maddock and Bones* virtually anywhere, you know there are going to be fun chase and hand to hand combat sequences, with a few guns going off here and there to boot and maybe some interesting mystical objects that turn out to be weapons of various forms. So pick this book up, have a couple of hours of relaxation and fun… and then go back to whatever awaits you in the “real” world, happier now that you’ve had the break. Very much recommended.

This review of Emerald Dragon by David Wood was originally written on September 2, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Extremophile by Rick Chesler

This week we’re looking at arguably the closest Rick Chesler has come to date of telling a tale one would nearly swear could have been written by the late great Michael Crichton. This week, we’re looking at Extremophile by Rick Chesler.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Welcome To Our Ool. Notice There Is No “P” In It. Seriously though, after reading this book you’re never going to look at getting into a pool the same again – and certainly will be particularly careful about any sudden urges to just urinate in one. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Overall a very fun, nearly Crichton-esque, adventure tale of a biotech CEO desperate to save his company and willing to go literally anywhere in the world to do so. And that ending. It won’t be for everyone, but dayum I loved it. Great, fun near future scifi adventure and a relatively short read at 230 ish pages. Perfect for a bit of summer thrills and escapism. Very much recommended.

#BookReview: Deep Green by Rick Chesler

Breathless Adventure With A Ripped-From-The-Headlines Hook. This is one of those adventure tales that doesn’t sound like it would be an adventure tale… until you read it and realize it is an adventure tale. ๐Ÿ˜€ Ostensibly, this is a near-future tale of the race to find a full-on *cure* for COVID-19. Not just a drug or vaccine to alleviate some symptoms, but an actual cure for the disease. Along the way, we get quite a bit of real-world commentary smoothly rolled into the overall plot so that even while it really *is* kind of preachy… it doesn’t actually *feel* like it is kind of preachy. There is quite a bit within these sections that some readers will be more familiar with than others, but which anyone outside of academia generally and Big Pharma specifically will likely learn a touch about how things actually work. Which is always interesting to see in fiction. Ultimately the single star deduction here was not for the quality of the tale – it really was excellent – but instead because Chesler uses the race for a *COVID-19* cure, rather than literally any other disease. It is an excellent attempt to tap into the current zeitgeist (though one might argue a race for a cure would have been even more buzzworthy in 2021, prior to full vaccine rollouts), but I am waging a personal war against any book that mentions COVID for any reason at all, and the automatic one star deduction is really the only tool at my disposal in this war. Very much recommended.

This review of Deep Green by Rick Chesler was originally written on May 6, 2022.

#BookReview: Eden Quest by David Wood

Tropical Adventure Turns Mystical / Fantasy. This is one of the rare books from Wood (in this series, he does have a pen name that is more pure fantasy) that has any level of actual fantasy in it, and even here it is more of a mystical bent that *could* be read as more scifi – though it is certainly on that boundary, in a similar place as roughly half of Ted Dekker’s Circle Quadrilogy.

What starts out as a tropical vacation quickly turns into a race to find and obtain priceless artifacts which leads to the mystical/ fantasy payoff – meaning that prior to the fantasy section, this is a pretty standard Maddock Adventures book, with the usual elements – various people showing up from prior adventures, Bones showing up where he isn’t “supposed” to be, Bones wise cracking and cracking bones, Maddock outsmarting most everyone and being all chivalrous while doing so, etc. The things that long time fans know and love, but done in a way such that newer readers won’t be lost – but will be enticed to go back and read about these prior adventures with the various connections.

Overall a fun and quick – just under 200 page – read, and thus a good actual beach read. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of Eden Quest by David Wood was originally written on May 16, 2022.

#BookReview: Golden Dragon by David Wood

Another Great (And Short) Maddock Adventure Perfect For Longtime Fans And People New To The Universe. This book is pretty much exactly what I said in the title here – long time fans are going to enjoy this new Maddock tale, and at not quite 70 pages it is about as minimal an investment as it gets for people looking for a new world to explore. And if you do like it… there are a LOT of books to read after this one, including several adventures referenced within this tale with varying degrees of spoilers (for those concerned with such things). Fun, satisfying, and quick ride -the literary equivalent of a theme park rollercoaster, in other words. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very much recommended.

This review of Golden Dragon by David Wood was originally written on February 18, 2022.

#BookReview: The Anomaly by John Sneeden

Fun Read That Veers Close To Christian Fiction. This is another quick and fun adventure/ scifi read that long time fans of this series will enjoy, and yet still works on an “episode” basis for even new readers to come into the series. (Fairly minimal connective tissue here to prior books. This is mostly a Zane tale with a couple of appearances from Carmen.) The action mostly revolves around a possible mole in the mission, with a bit of creature feature thrown in to pay off the build up to that very event – and the ending seems to set the next book in the series directly in motion. A couple of characters in particular have conversations almost never seen outside of a church, weekly church attendee gatherings, or Christian Fiction books, but those are generally no more than a page or two, and likely barely 5 pages – of the 308 here – contain these discussions. So if you’re someone who is hyper-opposed to such talk for whatever reason, know up front that it is here… but also know up front that it is nowhere near a main focus of the story, and can be fairly easily glossed over the few times it does come up. Overall a great new episode in a truly excellent series. Very much recommended.

This review of The Anomaly by John Sneeden was originally written on November 11, 2021.

#BookReview: Alamo Gold by David Wood

Another Fun Bonebrake Conspiracy / Action Tale. Secret societies. Texas history. Haunted graveyards. A Knight’s Tale reference. Battle inside a Duck Boat. And even some cave diving to boot. Seriously… what more do you want in 120 pages of fun action/ adventure? This one has it all, including a couple of hot/ steamy scenes… both in the naked sense and the literal one. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Another wild romp, this time through a fair swath of Texas, and featuring Bones’ usual witty banter and bone-shattering physicality. Very much recommended.

This review of Alamo Gold by David Wood was originally written on August 27, 2021.