Book Movies

I know this is kinda off subject but I just watched 'The Girl in the Spiders Web' and I don't remember the book being anything like the movie, just the movie was blah.  Nothing except a different world and nothing like the book.  The Jack Reacher movies I can live with like they are a Jack Reacher from another dimension, just a foot shorter. I realize why it's done but why are some just so inferior? 


Now I gotta read that book again.  It's not like I have a hundred other books I want to read or re-read.

3.5 Stars
Widowmaker by Paul Doiron
Widowmaker: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) - Paul Doiron

I think Paul Doiron has it down now.  This is his 7th book of his Mike Bowditch Series and now each book is getting better and better.  It appears Mike is growing up at the age of 28.


The book starts with a Mike Bowditch pulling over a suspicious woman that keeps asking Mike to take him back to his residence so they can talk.  Naturally, this being a book and also the curiosity of what she might want wins MIke over to the idea of taking her home, but Mike is very cautious. The woman explains that her son is a young man that just got out of prison on a couple of crimes of a sexual nature after being caught being 18 and sleeping with his underage girlfriend from an affluent family. She also tells Mike that her son and mike are step-brothers. Queue the soap opera organ music. She asks Warden Mike Bowditch too help find his long lost brother, which Mike reluctantly does.


The book follows Mike going to the area that the woman, Amber Langston lives and the resort she works at, named Widowmaker.  Between a near death arrest, he has to make at the beginning to this book and a near-death experience his girlfriend Stacey has, the book follows Mike through his investigation of his missing brother.


I still suggest that Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch series is worth the read.  The past couple of books are books hard to put down.


Widowmaker by Paul Doiron

Mike Bowditch series book #7.

3.5 Stars
The Precipice by Paul Doiron
The Precipice: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) - Paul Doiron

I seem to bounce around on my feelings about the books Paul Doiron writes for his Mike Bowditch series. His last book, The Bone Orchard was not as good as some previous books, but The Precipice is his best book yet, in my opinion. Paul did a really good job in all the areas of this book and kept my interest peaked the entire book.


Fact.  The Appalachian Trail goes through Maine, and include a stretch called the Hundred Mile Wilderness.

There is a sign at the southern entrance to the Hundred Mile Wilderness. It is made out of rust brown wood and painted with white letters, and it sends a stern and unmistakable warning to all who enter:

Caution. There are no places to obtain supplies or help until Abol Bridge 100 miles north. Do not attempt this section unless you have a minimum of 10 days’ supplies and are fully equipped. This is the longest wilderness section of the entire Appalachian Trail and its difficulty should not be underestimated.


Now for the review.  Two young women fresh out of college send a picture of themselves at the beginning of the trail and send it to their parents.  They say they should be through this leg of the journey in 10 days and they would contact their parents again when they have completed the Hundred Mile Wilderness trail.  After thirteen days the well to do and well-connected parents contact powerful people in high Maine government offices and the search begins.  Insert Warden Mike Bowditch.


As always Mike Bowditch thinks outside the box and with the help of his new girlfriend he gets started in the search and rescue.  Without giving away spoilers more deaths happen to make matters more urgent, both professionally and personally, Mike Bowditch gets the job done. As with all the books with one exception Mike Bowditch always gets his man or woman person. 


Sit back and read or listen to a very good story.  I've read some people suggest that The Precipice can be read as a stand-alone book but I really suggest that you start the series from the beginning.  I may be critical of a couple of books and have an issue with how he had described his sex scenes in the past books but this still is a good series.


The Precipice by Paul Doiron

Mike Bowditch series, book 6

My blog.

2.5 Stars
The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron
The Bone Orchard - Paul Doiron

The Bone Orchard is the 5th book in the Mike Bowditch series.


I need to give a word or warning in case anybody actually reads my blogs.  This book, along with the first book, The Poacher's Son, is written with sex scenes.  While I'm not a prude and a series I really like is Ann Charles' Deadwood series that seems to have more romance in them as the series continues, I think  Paul Doiron goes a little too far.  He gets into the "insert part A into part B" with his descriptive romance scenes.  If that's your thing fine. I think that's a lot of what my wife reads.  I just want to warn people about this so they don't recommend it to anyone they wouldn't want to read scenes like this.  They are only a couple of pages if that much, but I think it would a little too much for some younger readers that think they are reading about game wardens.  I'm not judging and I'm still reading the series. I'm already in the 6th book, "The Precipice" and while he's implied sex he definitely did not get as descriptive as he has before.


Now for the review.  The book starts out with two wardens answering to a 911 call about a veteran that returned from serving as an MP and losing most of his face when an IEP went off near him.  The wounded warrior had been taking his meds and drinking, locking himself in a barn and basically forced in what is called a police assisted suicide.   One of the officers was Mike's former sergeant and friend.  Within a couple of days, she is shot in an ambush at her home and is near death, with Bowditch showing up to save her life.


"The Bone Orchard' follows former warden and now civilian Mike Bowditch as he tries to find the attacker of one of his best friend and mentor in Bowditch's usual style, that is going against the grain of authority.  For me, while I enjoyed the book but it was not his best book he's written.  My opinion is Doiron's main character ramble through much of the middle of the book making it not quite as exciting as I hoped it would have been.  If you're reading the series I would definitely read the book.


The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron

Book 5 in the Mike Bowditch series

Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron
Massacre Pond - Paul Doiron

If anybody looks at my shelf, you'll see I read series and start new series and usually, I'll read all the available books in that series. Now I'm on the Mike Bowditch series by Paul Doiron.  Paul Doiron is a writer from Maine that I think does mostly magazines, but I could be wrong about that.  I do know the 1st book in the Mike Bowditch series is his first book, and there was a lot of room for improvement.   He really did a good job on his second book and now I've made it to book 5 in the series, which I'll tell you about when I finish it.  I just started and haven't got through chapter 1 yet.  Mike Bowditch is a Main Game Warden and in Maine, they have the same power as a State Trooper.  Mike Bowditch also stays in hot water with his superiors because he gets his job done and makes his superiors look bad.  I like Mike because he is as human as all of us.  Doiron does a good job bringing his many faults up in the books.  All this and I haven't started my review.

Massacre Pond is based loosely on a real-life story.  A rich hippie woman buys up thousands of acres and cuts off any hunting or lumber farming on her land and now she gets death threats by the dozen.  Somebody breaks onto her land and kills 6 moose and leaves their bodies.  Not poached just murdered for the lack of a better term.  Her term to be correct.  Mike Bowditch answers the call and that's how the book begins.  Bowditch, the whipping boy for his LT starts his work on the case, doing what is asked which is basically stay away from it but keeps getting pulled in more and more.  By the end of the book, Doiron has written a great book.  I am hooked on this series like I am with Craig Johnson's Longmire, C. J. Box's Joe Pickett, and others.  After I catch up I will be reading his new releases as they come out.  For me 3 & 1/2 stars and means its a great book.

Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron
Mike Bowditch series book 4

2.5 Stars
Death and Taxes by J. Zachary Pike
Death and Taxes: An Urban Fantasy Mystery - J. Zachary Pike
J. Zachary Pike's small Kindle novella is hard to describe.  It's about a happy go lucky guy named Arther C. Torr that gets out of college and does whatever he wants.  Until his college loan needs to be paid off. He's practically unhirable but he finds a job working at a doughnut shop.  Not any doughnut shop, but a shop that is run by a former police detective that is now a private detective.  The detective is also familiar with the paranormal.
This is a short, 34 pages and free.  I got hooked on J. Zachary Pike after reading one of the best fantasy series I've read in a long time, the Dark Profit Saga. Pike is a self-published writer and while his 2 novellas were a little above mediocre, his series is fun and hilarious to read.  I can see where if he wanted to do a complete book about Arthur.    I'll try to get a couple of reviews on them out to see if they pique any interest in any of you.
Death and Taxes by J. Zachary Pike
3 Stars
Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron
Bad Little Falls - Paul Doiron

Let me get you up to speed where I am at with this series.  This is the 1st book of the series that I've read since joining BookLikes but it is the 3rd in the Mike Bowditch series.  The reason I chose this series is that I really like the Joe Pickett series by C. J. Box and I wanted to read another series similar to it.  When you chose books to read for this reason you normally get disappointed, and I was.  I take partial blame because when you want a particular writing style and setting you normally won't get it.  The other I blame Doiron because his 1st book in this series is the first book he writes.  His 2nd was better and "Bad Little Falls" is really good.


Maine game warden Mike Bowditch stays in trouble and has just been transferred to Maine's equivalent to Siberia, as he calls it "the hinterland of Washington County".   Even though Washington County is the first place you can see the sunrise in the USA it's poverty-stricken which bring the problems of poverty, one of them being drug abuse.  Because of the poverty people turn to crime to pay for the drugs and sometimes that crime is murder.


Warden Mike Bowditch is again involved in a murder investigation, which is not in his job description and he is constantly reminded of this by his superiors and other law enforcement agencies. Doiron does a great job setting up Mike's troubles, both personal and professional and gives us a great story.


Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron (2012)

Mike Bowditch series, book 3

3.5 Stars
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - Mark Twain;Samuel Clemens

First the book . . .


This story is about Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) meeting a man on a castle tour and the man knew everything about the castle. Later, Twain meets the man and they talk a while about how this man, Hank Morgan new so much about the castle. Hank didn’t tell a story, but left Twain with a book, or better yet a diary of Hank falling asleep and waking thirteen hundred years earlier.


Hank Morgan’s father was a blacksmith and his uncle a horse doctor. Hank ran a gun factory, starting at the bottom and learning everything, to quote:


“ I could make anything a body wanted- anything in the world, it didn’t make a difference what; and if there wasn’t any quick newfangled way to make a thing, I could invent one – and do it as easy as rolling off a log.”


So Hanks diary becomes the book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court”.


Well if you’ve read the book, Clemens attacks a lot of issues of his day, our day too. Religion, not really religion but when it is organized so well that it attacks the way a person lives his life. Slavery. He hated it and it even haunted him. Most of what he wrote about slavery were his own feelings. Other things like monarchy, nepotism, politics, and poverty. He even made fun of ad campaigns like soap ads. He brought up some things that even strikes today, which is when he came across was people that would take things as fact if it was said. No evidence of proof, and if evidence was there, it was forgotten as soon as the words were spoken.  He made fun of himself.


With the inventiveness of Morgan, he tells a story about how he overcomes these obstacles or at least the obstacles he chooses with modern tools and skillfulness he can create. And then he told of he destructing every advancement he made.


About the narrator . . .


Nick Offerman has this mid-western accent that does well with the book. It’s probably not an easy to perform, being as dated as it is but he does a good job of it. To me, he started off slow, not very into it but this could have been by design. By the end of the book, he was really going strong. This could also be to Twain having modernized the language of the book as Hank modernized the culture. Maybe not award worthy but Offerman did a good narrative.


My thoughts on the book . . .


As I said before I started the book, the biggest reason I choose this was the narrator. The book is good, but dated and sometimes hard to keep up with the dated sayings of that time. I am reading the book along with the audio-book and it does give me footnotes to help and some insight on what Clemons/Twain was thinking, or at least what somebody else thought what he was thinking. I would love to see what Clemons would write if he were alive today. I would think he would have a field day mocking both sides of the aisle. With that said, please don’t take this as something I am trying to politicize. I do not participate in political debates of today. It’s like teaching a pig to sing. You will only annoy the pig.

2 Stars
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
The End of All Things - John Scalzi

The End of All Things is aptly named because the last 2 books of this series absolutely ruined it. The books were good and enjoyable but just dragged the series down because it had nothing to do with the original 4. OK, it did, in a way but not the way I was wanting. This like the 5th book, The Human Division was made up mostly of short stories that only had maybe 4 or 5 stories that could have been connected and had a far better outcome for me, anyway.  Me, the armchair writer and storyteller that can sometimes have a rough time putting a sentence together in conversation, not counting writing.


Scalzi basically admitted that he had a lot of material left over after writing The Old Man's War series so he put these into two different books.  I did say I enjoyed them but I love to read series and these last two were not series material for me.


As an armchair writer and storyteller, or call me a Monday morning quarterback, I would have made this a different series, just the same universe as The Old Man's War. But hey, I'm not John Scalzi.  He makes a living writing.  I don't.


The End of All Things are stories of an unrecognized group of races called the Equilibrium, a never heard of secret consortium of races and planets that wanted to end the two most powerful governments in the known universe, the Colonial Union, which is made up of the human race with the exception of Earth and the Conclave, an alliance of 412 races that's technology far exceeds earth. The CU and the Conclave have always been at war and with the unknown Equilibrium always trying to stir up trouble between the 2, peace will never happen. These last two books are about all the worries and woes, politics and battles, and unsuccessful attempts at peace.


The End of All Things by John Scalzi

The 6th and final book in the Old Man's War series


LQLarry's blog

3.5 Stars
The Human Division by John Scalzi
The Human Division - John Scalzi

WOW.  I was not expecting this book to be as good as it was.  This book is made up of 13 episodes plus extras. I'm hoping these episode set up the next book, The End of All Things which I'm starting as soon as I finish writing this. The last few episodes were really good and made this worth the time to read.


I'm not going to do a review, because it would be 13 different reviews, but I can only say that the novellas or short stories or whatever you call them are as good as anything comparable.


I hope after the next book that I can say that this series is worth the read.  So far it has been.


The Human Division by John Scalzi (2013)

The Old Man's War series

Amazon Link


LQLarry's blog

“I have no idea, Jim,” Lowen said. “I’m a doctor, not a private investigator.”
The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads - John Scalzi

From "The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads" Episode 12 - The Human Division


I like modern day trivia thrown into sci-fi books . . .

4 Stars
The Observers by John Scalzi
The Observers - John Scalzi

If you look at my bookshelf it would look like a scoreboard for John Scalzi.  The reason is that I started reading the Old Man's War series by Scalzi and the 5th book is The Human Division, which consists of 13 short stories.  I cheated a little and read the liner notes of the 6th book, The End of All Things and all these short stories from The Human Division seem to set the background for book 6.  I see some short stories or novellas after the 6th book so I don't know if there are to be any books after this.  I guess I'll find out later.


The Observers is about a group of Earthers that come aboard the ancient Clarke, a Corvette series ship over 50 years old that is also very small for a CU ship.  While observing, the death of the lead observer happens and now it is up to the 'B Team', introduced in the 1st story of the Human Division, to solve. Lieutenant Harry Wilson, a CDF technical advisor comes o the conclusion that somebody is setting the Colonial Union up for murdering the observer and saves the day.


Harry Wilson is one of the original old farts, a group of 75-year-olds that came from Earth to join the CDF and has been in 3(?) of the books so far and it looks like he will be one of the main protagonists in book 6.


The main reason for this review is if you have read my review this much, then you should know that you should not assume like I did and just think of The Human Division as just a collection of short stories. While you could probably skip this book, a lot of back stories and questions will probably be answered.  But then again, I haven't even started reading the 6th book, The End of All Things.


The Observers by John Scalzi

Book 9 in The Human Division Series

Episode9 in book 5 of the Old Man's War

1st Impressions - The Human Division by John Scalzi
The B-Team - John Scalzi

I'm not a short story guy. I'll read some of the short stories in my favorites like Reacher, Bosch, Dresden, Iron Druid, The Expanse and others.  I thought about shutting down on reading this because there is only one book left in the series and after reading a brief description of the book, the next book contains a character that has been in a couple of earlier books, and also in the B-Team, a story in The Human Division.


I just made it through the second novella 'Walk the Plank' and the stories seem pretty good. I guess I'll read it. The complete Human Division series, that is.


As long as I am entertained, then I will read it.  I just prefer book series.


Also, thank God for Grammarly.




The Human Division by John Scalzi

Book 5 of the Old Man's War series.

4.5 Stars
Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi

A funny thing happened while I was reading a series about a science fiction military space opera book.  A YA book magically appeared in my reader.  Now I'm not against YA books and YA series, I've read quite a few.  I've even read books and series for whatever would be a, for a lack of a better term because I don't know what to call them, but a pre-YA.  This turned out to be a pretty doggone good book.


Zoe's Tale is a retelling of The Last Colony without it being a retelling of The Last Colony.  As John Scalzi puts it:

"Writing a parallel time novel does not, in fact, just lazily retell the story in a previous book is hard"

I guess Scalzi got a lot of heat after The Last Colony and left some unanswered questions about werewolves and what Zoe did when she was off-world and what she brought back with her when she came back to Roanoke.  To me Scalzi excellently wrote a book through a teenager's eyes about being uprooted from her home, starting a new colony, and seeing her family and friends being put through many dangers.  Since this is a YA book it also has her go through her first love and heartache.


As I mentioned in an earlier post that this has been done before, Scalzi really did the parallel story and even changed the genre of the book. Kinda, sorta in a way.


I'll rate this 4.5 stars and a solid 8 on my grading. Great book in the middle of an average series.


Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi (2008)

Book 4 in the Old Man's War series

Amazon's link

Super Dave: The Adventures of the World's Most Dangerous Man

Yesterday we lost one of the most prolific writers of our time. Well if you asked him that's what he would tell you.  Even if he wrote just one book.  Bob "Super Dave Osborne" Einstien died on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.  He was a writer of many TV shows going back to the '60s and of late writing for and playing a part in "Curb Your Enthusiasm.' I remember him mostly from the Johnny Carson Show where Super Dave would come out and then they would show a sketch of him getting blown up or something like that.


As of late, he would show up where I worked and when I would help him he would ask me if I knew a joke and I would tell him the best I could remember and then he would start chewing me out for wasting his time and telling me how crappy my delivery was and anything to humiliate me.  I loved it and he loved doing that to people.  I haven't heard how he died but I learned of his death from all the tributes to him. Super Dave Osborne finally did his last stunt.


And no, I did not read the book.



Super Dave: The Adventures of the World's Most Dangerous Man

Amazon Link



1st Impressions on Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi

I just started Zoe's Tale, the 4th book in John Scalzi's Old Man's War series.

This book is basically the third book, 'The Last Colony' as seen through the eyes of Zoe (Boutin?), the adopted daughter of John Perry and Jand Sagan.

I didn't read any other different point of view books like Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game so I'm sure this will be hit or miss for me, but after the prologue, I am enjoying it. Zoe's not your typical teenager.