Book Bout-Book Review of The Fuller Memorandum


Book– The  Fuller Memorandum

Author– Charles Stross

Voice- Gideon Emery

Book- ~$8

Audiobook- ~$15

TL; DR– Sit down and learn about the Laundry.  93%


Basics-Bob Howard has been pulling a few too many hours at the Laundry.  He makes a rookery mistakes that shouldn’t happen, and now is sent out on personal leave after someone dies.  However, strange cults across the world never take personal leave.  Can Bob survive an attack on the Laundry, keep his sanity, and learn more about some ancient Laundry secrets?


Characters– Bob’s really Bob in this one.  Moe is Moe, and you also get to learn a bunch more about the other characters in the Laundry with this one.  Based on the previous books, every character is well described for the new readers, and every character stays in character all the way through this book.  Excellently done.  5/5


Setting– I have never been to England and much less to London.  But, Stross does a great job of describing the city and making me see places and geography in my head.  It almost makes me want to go and see if I could track Bob through the city and see the hidden sights Bob describes. 5/5


Story-The Laundry is a book series about middle management always screwing with the people who actually get the work done.  However, I can’t see how anyone might get their work done when they have to account for everything even when they know the penalty for such actions is not being able to get fired?  I’m complaining a bit, but I don’t enjoy the amount of possible threats from inside the Landry.  That kinds of gets a bit boring.  What I did enjoy was the amount you get to learn about the history of the laundry.  Stross does an excellent job of telling bits of Landry and character history over the course of the novel.  I loved that even if I didn’t enjoy the internal threats and bureaucracy as much. 4/5


Summary-I really like the Laundry novels.  Stross does an excellent job of bringing Cthulhu mythos to the masses while still being true to its roots.  I do bet a bit bored with the inter-Laundry problems, but this one is a great read.  I got to learn a bunch about the Laundry and its members.  This was done in some text dumps, but it was done in a smart way throughout the book.  If it’s at least as good as this one, I can’t wait to pick up the next one!  93%.


Audiobook Extra- Gideon Emery is Bob.  And, he also does a great female voice with an accent as Moe is in this novel a lot.  Well done! 5/5

Book Bout-Book Review of The Jennifer Morgue

Book– The Jennifer Morgue

Author– Charles Stross

Voice- Gideon Emery

Book- ~$8

Audiobook- ~$15

TL; DR– A twisty turny international affair  95%%


Basics-Bob Howard still works for the laundry.  Now instead of fighting domestic terrorists and interoffice politics, he’s dragged into the world of international super spies by being paired with sexy she sea devil trying to stop a plan that will not only fight a crazy American billionaire but the most devious of evils-POWERPOINT!


Characters– Stross writes some great characters.  The sexy she spy Ramona Random is well done.  She starts off standoffish, but through some show/don’t tell you learn a ton of her background.  The second main character Bob Howard is done well.  There are a few moments where he does some stuff that seem out of his character.  It’s not horrible by any means, but there are a few moments like when Bob and Ramona go swimming together that I feel he doesn’t feel quite right. 4.75/5


Setting– The setting is the Caribbean.  Bob doesn’t spend a ton of time at the office, and that really only helps the setting.  Bob gets to go somewhere without florescent lights, and he takes us with him.  Since this place is new to me, I felt like I was taken on a new and exciting trip. 5/5


Story– The story of this book is a fun one.  It’s full of all kinds of twists and turns following all the old cliché’s of a Bond novel.  Some of these twists you won’t see coming, and that makes it all the more fun.  There are a few dull moments that are not as fun, but overall you will enjoy this one. 4.5 /5


Summary-I love the Laundry books.  Stross does a great job of bringing the Lovecraft and mixing it with the science.  That’s a fun combination.  This story has several different perspectives that all build a great cohesive tale together.  It’s a fun romp that will twist and turn, and you will enjoy every minute of it. 95%.


Audiobook Extra- Gideon Emery does a good job being Bob Howard.  He sounds English enough and as much of a technogeek as Bob is.  Well done. 5/5


Book Bout-Book Review of The Atrocity Archives  

Book-The Atrocity Archives

Author– Charles Stross

TL; DR-90%


Basics-Cthulhu is real, Turing’s death wasn’t a suicide, and the world’s fate rests in the hands of the guy from the IT department.  The Atrocity Archives follows Bob Howard as he deal with monsters from beyond time, creatures summoned from hell, illegal software updates, and a boss who really isn’t from hell because he’s seen what the real hell looks like.  This is the first book in a series called The Laundry Files.


Characters-This book has a large cast, but most of the book focuses on Bob Howard.  He’s as a fun character who is a tech geek who’s dragged into a world he never really wanted to be part of.   However, he makes the most of it all while feeling like he’s a real person.  I never felt like he was unrealistic even as he dealt with unreality.  I felt some of the other characters such as his managers from hell were a bit too much.  The world is going to die, and you’re fighting about flex time?!  That’s good comedic effect, but it does hurt some of the seriousness of the novel. 4.5 /5


Setting-This book takes place in a shadow world of spies, Lovecraftian horror….and IT computer help desks.  It’s an interesting balance as Bob has to split his time fighting internal politics as well as ice giants.   I did feel like I was where Bob was.  I could see the crazy, and I could see the normal.  Everything felt real. 5/5


Story-I liked the story, but some things were a bit much.  Get ready for techno babble.  I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry and some of the finer points of math went over my head.  There maybe a bit too much techno babble for the books own good.  It does establish Bob as a genus, but it also kind of drives the reader away.  The main plot is about Bob fighting either monsters from another dimension trying to get a foot hold here or the misuse of a government program.  Those in broad strokes are fun, but the details get a bit muddled as the Bob has to fight a bit too much with his bosses over time management.  It’s funny, but it’s kind of a bit jarring.  It makes you laugh at its nonsensicalness, but that hurts some of the more dramatic moments.  If you can get past that, it’s an fun, fast-paced ride. 4/5


Summary-This was the most fun I’ve had reading a book in a long time.  The book moves fairly quick, the characters are fun, and the world feels real.  It’s modern Cthulhu mythos, and that always makes me happy.  Especially when you have some snarky characters in way over their heads.  It’s not perfect as I felt a few things were taken too far, but overall, I couldn’t put this one down and can’t recommend this enough.  If you want some modern office madness in your Cthulhu, you can ‘t go wrong with this one. 90 %.


Audiobook Extra- Gideon Emery does an excellent job with this book.   He sounds techy, geeky, and British enough to make an English CS nerd in way over his head come to life.   His voice really helped me picture the main character going through all these actions and emotions.  He was Bob Howard for me.  5 /5

Book Bout-Book Review of The Legend of Drizzit: The Collected Stories  

Book-The Legend of Drizzit: The Collected Stories

Author– R. A. Salvatore

TL; DR-Context hurts an otherwise excellent short story anthology.  85%


Basics-Wizards of the Coast gave everybody a GenCon present with this collection of short stories written by R. A. Salvatore.  Each story is from a different part of Drizzit’s life and the Forgotten Realms in general.  Each story narrated by different famous people ranging from Sean Aston to Weird All Yankovic.


Characters-I’ve never been a huge Drizzit fan, but this collection of short stories featured characters ranging from a young King Battlehammer to dragons is a fun listen.  Each character was well developed in the short period you got to spend with them.  My main complaint is each character was adrift in the sea of the history of the realms.  Everybody was a full character, but there was little context to each character besides what I knew about Drizzit from reading the books previously.  That kind of randomness hurt the overall story of Drizzit and his legacy as the stories range from long before Drizzit to the current day. 4/5


Setting– R. A Salvatore does a great job bringing the Forgotten Realms to life.  I enjoyed the different stories and parts of the world that I got to experience.  The each story’s world is well constructed and felt like a real place.  However, like with the characters, you won’t be able to place the setting in time and space with the other stories.  Unless you know where each location and story takes place, you will be somewhat lost as each story will feature a completely random place. 4.5/5


Story-The different stories are all well done.  Each story is a self contained bite-sized story explaining a bit of the history of each character in Drizzit’s legacy.  It was fun to learn so much back story in a quick way.  However, these stories really don’t have a context if you don’t know the world or how they’ve interacted with Drizzit.  Some stories feature connected characters and settings, but unless you’ve been reading Drizzit books for the longest time, you won’t have a clue who is being discussed and why. 4/5


Audiobook Extra but not Extra- This book is free through, so you get an audio anthology.  Each story gets a separate narrator.  Some are there because they are famous.  Ice-T was fun to listen to for about five minutes as he struggled to deal with the “nerd shit” (his words, not mine!), but others were excellent readers.  You know who I really want to hear do more audiobooks?  Wield Al Yankovic!  He has a little bit of the nerd slur to his speech, but honestly he did an excellent job as a narrator being serious when he needed to and an even better job bringing the characters in his story to life!  That was an amazing surprise. 4.5/5


Summary-This was a fun listen.  I think I’m more of a Drizzit fan now that when I went in.  The stories really helped me better understand the people I’ve been listening to for such a long time as well as build up the understanding of the Forgotten Realms.  This book isn’t bad, but what hurt this book a lot was the lack of continuity.  Everything was free in space, and that lack of connections or explanation would leave new realms reader lost in a sea of words.  If Wizards and Audible get a chance, I’d love it if Mr. Salvatore would give a minute or two introduction to each story and explain who the major player is in this story and who they are to Drizzit’s story.  Do that and I’ll revise this to a 100 % easily.  But as it stands it a 85%.

Book Bout-Book Review of The Magician’s Land  

Book-The Magician’s Land

Author– Lev Grossman

TL; DR-A fitting end to The Magicians Series. 97%


Basics– Quinton is unemployed, no longer a king, and now needs money quick.  He’s lost everything, and now is part of some scheme to steal a suitcase belonging to one of the Fillory children.  Oh, and Fillory is ending.  Can Quinton save the day?  Will he end up a wreck like usual?  Is this the end of our favorite world in the wall?


Characters-This book has the most character growth of any of the books in the series.  The strange thing is most of the growth happens off scene.  You get a few stories about how characters have changed, but they have grown into better people over time, realistically.  Quinton isn’t the alcoholic I remember him as, and his friends have all grown to be better people.  Even the bitch is a bitch as a better person!  All the characters are believable and enjoyable with great dialog and well rounded personalities.  5/5


Setting– This book runs between New York, Fillory, other places in-between and out-between.  All of them seem real.  It’s a wild ride as the characters all experience places we’ve never seen before as well as hitting all the highlights from the previous novels. 5/5


Story-Of all the books in this series, this is the happiest book of them all.  It doesn’t even end on a saccharin note; it ends on a realistic note.  The dialog is amazingly fun, and it even had me laugh out loud a few times as I was reading.  It’s a story of growth, of finding what you want, and fighting for it.  It’s a great story.  My only problem is the characters don’t really get enough time to be introduced.  You can’t just hop in with this book in the series.  4.5/5


Summary– I loved this book.  It’s a great ride as you check in with all your favorite characters.  People grow, learn, and become better.  Quinton now is the man you always wanted him to be, and he’s learned what he wants out of life.  I could not put this book down, and I was surprised by how fast the book went.  I loved every minute of this book, but now it’s time for things to end.   I liked this series, but I think it should be over.  Any more books in this series will really spoil this book’s ending. 97%


Audiobook Extra-The narrator of this book does an excellent job as always. Mark Bramhall does an excellent job.  His tone matches what I would expect from Quinton, and he has read for all three books.  At in the first book, his tone conveys the sense of just going along with the flow because Quinton isn’t a strong character.  Then, he conveys a sense of strength and resolution as Quinton has become stronger and wiser.  He even does excellent reads for the other characters really helping to bring them to life. 5/5

Book Bout- Book Review of Skin Game: A novel of the Dresden Files (Book 11)

Book– Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files (Book 11)

Author-Jim Butcher

Buy It Here– ~$16

TL;DR-Good, but don’t start with Dresden’s 11. 93%


Basics-Dresden’s at it again!  Once again, Dresden is behind the eight ball as Mab has loaned the Winter Knight out to Nicodemus to pull a heist job with some of his oldest worst enemies.  Can Dresden be the Winter Knight, somehow not be a monster, complete the heist, and do all this before the psychic parasite in his mind kills him in three days?


Characters– This book is all about the different characters Dresden has meet in all of the previous books.  The characters feel like they belong and are written properly compared to the previous books, but do manage to grow and change in this book.  That’s no easy feat itself.  No one feel out of place, and you get enough of an introduction to each character that even if you did something as foolish as read this as your first Dresden Files novel, you wouldn’t be completely lost. 5/5


Setting-The Dresden Files have taken place less and less in Chicago over time.  While that is not horrible in any way, the original premise of the books was that Dresden was a modern wizard in Chicago.  The other places he goes are well described, and I had no problems visualizing them.  But, I think things need to go back to the source a bit. 4.5/5


Story-I liked this story, but you can tell it’s mostly there to get all the old gang back together.  With the exception of only a few major characters, all the boys are back.  Not horrible, but the book feels like it has to check in with everyone to hit all the fan favorites.  Again, not horrible, but as book series get longer it’s a problem that tends to creep into the series.  What is here is a fun ride that doesn’t feel stupid or stupid for a fantasy book at any turn.  The book even has built in “breathing sections” where the readers and characters get to live for a few minutes instead of just run/fight all the time, so the pacing is awesome.  Also, the idea of characters questioning if they are evil or good is another well done part of this story.  Overall, I like what I see in this book.  4.5/5


Summary-Here’s the straight deal-don’t just start reading this book.  Go read Storm Front if you want to start reading the Dresden Files.  It’s the first book, so start there.  If you like that one, odds are you will like this one, but please work your way up from there.  If you loved the previous ones, like me, you will love this one.  This book continues a lot of the last book’s themes which I enjoy while still delivering the action too.  It stands on its own, but don’t start here if you can avoid it.  As for the book itself, it a great book, but suffers from some of the same problems that most large series do. 93%


Audiobook EXTRA–  I’ve listened to every single Dresden Files book as an audiobook.  James Marsters is amazing as a narrator making every single character come to life, so that in and of itself is a reason to get this as an audiobook. 5/5

Book Bout- Book Review of The Herald


Book– The Herald: The Sundering, Book VI

Author– Ed Greenwood

Buy It Here

TL;DR– I need more background-66%


Basics– Magic is wild in Faerun.  Elminster is working frantically with the bard of Shadowdale and his too many great grand niece to fix the remainder of the magic weave.  However, new threats to Candlekeep and Myth Drannor call him to save the world once again.  Can he stop evil liches, an army, and the combined force of the Princes of Shade all at once?  Will he save magic once again or is the goddess of magic lost forever?


Story-This story was kind of hard to get into.  A major problem of this story is the lack of background and some daus ex machina.  Stories are continued from previous novels without really giving a introduction of what happened before.  The Sundering was ment to be a great introduction to the realms, but this didn’t really introduce me to what happened before or during.  The ending of the book kind of came out of nowhere and was completely fuled by daus ex machina.  I’m fine with some of that, but I never really felt all that interested in what was going on.  So, I wasn’t really interested in the ending. I’m happy to have learned more about the realms, but I’m equally happy to be done with the book.  I listened to the audiobook, but I never really felt pulled into the book.  I was mostly moving through to finish the book. 2.5/5


Setting– Ed Greenwood invented the Forgotten Realms, so he’s great at sending you to a place that he’s invented.  I would like a bit more introduction of what some things are though (that will be a common complaint through this review).  Aside from any minor problems I had with the setting, I did feel like I was in the realms when I read this book. 4.5/5


Characters-I know who NONE of these characters are.  I’ve read several Forgotten Realms books, so this isn’t my first rodeo.  Most of the other Forgotten Realms/Sundering books have done a fare to good job introducing who any of these characters are and why they matter.  This book brought in random people who, if you’ve followed all of Ed Greenwood’s books before, are important, but I had no idea who they were even at the end of the book.  I learned a bit about some of the characters, but not enough to judge if some of the main characters were written against type.  Elminster is Elminster, so that’s done well, but the rest I was kind of lost on. 3/5


Summary-The main problem I had with this book is background.  Ed Greenwood made my favorite fantasy setting, and he carved out a section of it for himself to write in.  However, I didn’t feel like he tried to include me in his world.  I didn’t know who anybody was for the longest time, so I didn’t feel engaged.  I finished this one mostly because I wanted to know about the Realms and the Sundering.  I’m glad I read this, but I’m kind of equally glad it’s done.  66%


Book Bout- Book Review of Night of the Hunter Companions Codex, I

Story-Night of the Hunter Companions Codex, I

Author– R. A. Salvatore

Buy It Here


TL; DR– Almost TL; DR! 57%

Audiobook Extra– Well done performance. 4/5


Basics– Drizzit’s back!  With all his friends back from the void, Drizzit embarks on an epic quest to save his one time friend turned vampire.  Along the way, drow scheme to take over the world and kill one another.  What are the drow up to now, can Drizzit stop it, and what is Drizzit’s place in the world?


Story- I suffered through this because I love the realms.  There is just way too much going on at any given time to make me really interested in one thing.  Too many plots with too many moving parts made me not care about any one in particular.  Unlike the Game of Thrones, I didn’t care about any one of the plots to make me want to see them juggled.  Also, since every main character is bad ass, I never was worried about any one character in particular.  Drizzit will survive and be as self absorbed as ever as he battles monsters but still wonders if HE is the monster…like every other Drizzit book.  Honestly, the most exciting thing will happen in the last moment of the book, and even that is pulling a punch.  1.5/5


Characters- No one here is consistent.  All the characters want to be the good guys, but they are acting pretty neutral to evil!  Also, all the work that the characters did before is being undone (no surprise), but the actions seem massively out of place for the characters.  Most of them worship a nature god of good, but all of them are moving toward an ork genocide.  (Don’t worry; events behind the scenes are making that genocide ok!)  I felt things were just off. But, Drizzit is as much a stable rock as ever, and he gets the most screen time, so it’s a wash. 3/5


Setting– This is the Forgotten Realms.  People, places, and things all feel like a FR DnD Game.  I was pretty happy living in this world, but then again, I’m also a veteran of the realms.  I think your average person will need a bit more introduction to know all the background the author is playing with though. 4/5


Summary– This was kind of painful.  I alternated between podcasts and this story to get through it.  Nothing hooked me and the characters seemed off, but I did like the setting.  To me it seems that the author is working to dismantle his own work piecewise, and given Mr. Salvatore thoughts on 4e DnD, I believe that’s what he’s doing right now.  Will I read the next book?  Yes, but keep in mind that I also will sit and play a boss battle for four hours straight to get to the end of a video game to the point where this is now a job and no longer fun.  I want to know what’s going on in the realms, so I’ll endure the next book.  If that’s not for you, then choose accordingly. 57%


Audiobook Extra– The reader of the audiobook does a good job.  I’d like a bit more emotion, but he does do a decent job of making the characters come to life. 4/5

Book Bout-Short Story Review of Sail Away, Sweet Sister

Story- Sail Away, Sweet Sister

Author- Patrick Goodman

TL;DR- Great Shadowrun story, but not a great introduction to Shadowrun story. 83%


Basics– Thomas McCallister is back!  This is a direct sequel to “Another Rainy Night”. In this story, a picture of Lenore, Thomas’ vampiric sister, is found as she is running across the fractured America of Shadowrun.  Can Thomas save his sister before she falls to the monster that lives insider her?  Who else is manipulating things behind the scenes….


Story-The story is pretty good.  It’s an ensemble cast with the story being told from the sister, Thomas, his friends, and several other’s points of view.  Each character has a different, well defined view of things, and, that variety makes the story come off the page.  Some of the story elements are kind of brushed over, but in a short fiction, that is a necessary evil. 4/5


Characters– The characters are also well defined.  Each one has their own goals and motivations, and that comes through in the story.  I felt the characters were real, not one dimensional caricatures.  You won’t get all the pieces as this is part of a trilogy, but where there were gaps, I felt that was mysteries for later, not poor writing. 4.5/5


Setting-Here things are interesting.  If you know Shadowrun, the story is an good story in the Shadowrun World.  Lots of locations and idea live and breathe as you know they should.  However, if you don’t know Shadowrun, you will be completely lost.  Terms are thrown around that your average read off the street won’t know.  A little bit of introduction to the more Shadowrun-esque element of the story would make things a bit better for all the readers out there. 4/5


Summary-This is a good short story.  It’s pretty long for the price you pay as it’s over 30 pages.  AND, you get some Shadowrun 5e/4a stats for your games.  That right there is worth the price alone for how starved for Shadowrun content I and most of the community are.  I haven’t read “Another Rainy Night”, but if the same writer wrote that one as well, I feel that I would be in good hands for that one.  Also, as soon as the sequel to this story comes out, I plan to buy it.  I like how this story turned out and I can’t wait for more! 83%

Book Bout-Book review of The Sentinel: The Sundering, Book V

Book– The Sentinel: The Sundering, Book V

Author – Troy Denning

Price- $8

TL;DR– Not bad, but Sundering formulaic 80%

Basics– How faithful are you?  Kleef stands as the last worshiper of Helm, the dead god of law and service in Toril.  As a watchman he is dragged into a struggle to save two chosen of two different gods have stolen a power artifact of a third god to inspire a divine love triangle with two other gods.  Along the way, a third chosen is dragged into service to try to save Toril.  Can Kleef stand firm in the Forgotten Realms as even his god has seemed to abandon him as he travels to world to save it?

Setting– This is a fairly standard Forgotten Realms story.  The world and story feel like it’s in the Realms as lots of the high notes that have been going through the world are mentioned.  The story does go to some specific Realms spots so it is a Realms story.  As this is primarily a traveling story, the pace makes set building a bit hard and that makes the setting and story suffers a little. 4.5/5

Characters– I felt that characters were a bit off.  Nothing horrible, but the seemed somewhat wishy-washy.  The most fleshed out and stable character was the chosen of the death god.  I felt sometimes the choices the characters made were not the real choice or action the characters should have made.   It’s not story ending, but it did affect my enjoyment a bit. 3.5 /5

Story– The story isn’t bad.  It’s basically the Lord of the Rings in a single book.  That’s not bad as most Dungeons and Dragons quests are like that, but having more time to build sets would help a traveling story.  This book is one of the shorter Sundering books which is good as some stories have dragged on a bit longer then they should.  But, it’s also bad as this book could have used a bit of padding in some places.  4/5

Summary– This isn’t a bad book.  If you’re reading the Sundering like me, then this is one of the better ones.  If you want an introduction to the Realms, then this might not be the best book for you.  The book follows the standard Sundering formula, but don’t let that distract you.  If you want to learn about the return of some of the more important Toril gods, then this is right up you alley.  80%