TBR: Planet Lazy (Funny Sci Fi) by Ryan Davis

What is Planet Lazy? None of the scientists have heard of it, and there’s no record of it ever existing. Yet people swear that they’ve been there. One day, they vanished from Earth and wound up in a place where they could have anything they’d ever wanted without having to, you know, do anything.

Join the fat, socially awkward, will-probably-die-a-virgin Karturian as he navigates our strange universe of starving giants, nit-picky zombies, talking cats, a whole planet of women who have never seen a man before, and much much more on his voyage to the mythical Planet Lazy.

– What is the answer to 7 + 7 ÷ 7 + 7 x 7 – 7 = ?
– How do you hide cigarette smoke from your parents?
– Does Cheese Whiz go better with pancakes or waffles?
– What are cats really thinking?
– How do you become the richest being in the universe by doing half of the work most people do and utilizing Facebook likes?
– What do you do if you’re out in space and really have to use the bathroom?

…just a few of life’s more pertinent questions that Karturian hopes to answer on his journey.

Hilarious, surreal, unpredictable, fun, and strangely moving at times, this social satire is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Kilgore Trout and Venus on the Half-ShellPlanet Lazy throws modern-day issues and news topics into a comedic food processor and spits them out into a scrumptious sci-fi pâté. The topics include eating disorders, low birthrate, cell cryopreservation, patriarchal and matriarchal societies, intercultural relationships, global warming, unethical technological and medical advancements, volunteering in impoverished nations, free-range farming, the robot apocalypse, lazy entrepreneurship, and everyone’s obsession with cats!

 

No record of it ever existing? But there’s a whole book about it!

View more on Goodreads.

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TBR: From Nothing by Ken Goldstein

Victor Selo had blown up his life. A wannabe rock star turned tech savant, he’d wagered his Silicon Valley executive position on a corporate inside straight and lost. Having security escort him out of the building was the best thing that happened to him that day. The rest left him in the hospital, broken, broke, and with no prospects. That’s when a shadowy stranger with questionable motives came with an offer: a chance to get his life back – and better – if he simply cooperates. It would require becoming invisible for a while, but he would be hiding in the spotlight, playing guitar in a Vegas cover band. Reluctantly, Victor accepts and begins an odyssey he never could have imagined. One that involves a charismatic lead singer who owns the stage but aspires to own an Elvis wedding chapel, a mesmerizing woman who can play anything on her keyboards and can really play with Victor’s head, and two specters from his old life offering competing devil’s bargains. Suddenly, multiple futures are opening up in front of Victor. All of them offer opportunity – and each comes with potentially catastrophic risk. Populated with a wide array of colorful characters, brimming with reflections on everything from love to God to the price of commitment, and backed by a great soundtrack, From Nothing is an endlessly engaging work of fiction that will resonate like your favorite song.

What if I don’t have a favorite song?

View on Goodreads. 

TBR: Maharishi & Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles’ Guru by Susan Shumsky

Susan Shumsky is a successful author in the human potential field. But in the 1970s, in India, the Swiss Alps, and elsewhere, she served on the personal staff of the most famous guru of the 20th century―Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Maharishi died in 2008 at age ninety, but his influence endures through the spiritual movement he founded: TM (Transcendental Meditation). Other books have been written about him, but this spellbinding page-turner offers a rare insider’s view of life with the guru, including the time the Beatles studied at his feet in Rishikesh, India, and wrote dozens of songs under his influence.

Both inspirational and disturbing, Maharishi & Me illuminates Susan’s two decades living in Maharishi’s ashrams, where she grew from a painfully shy teenage seeker into a spiritually aware teacher and author. It features behind-the-scenes, myth-busting stories, and over 100 photos of Maharishi and his celebrity disciples (the Beatles, Deepak Chopra, Mia Farrow, Beach Boys, and many more).

Susan’s candid, honest portrayal draws back the curtain on her shattering, extreme emotional seesaws of heaven and hell at her guru’s hands. This compelling, haunting memoir will continue to challenge readers long after they turn its last page. It dismantles all previous beliefs about the spiritual path and how spiritual masters are supposed to behave.

Susan shares: “Merely by being in his presence, we disciples entered an utterly timeless place and rapturous feeling, and, at the same time, realized the utter futility and insanity of the mundane world.”

Susan’s heartfelt masterwork blends her experiences, exacting research, artistically descriptive and humorous writing, emotional intelligence, and intensely personal inner exploration into a feast for thought and contemplation. Neither starry-eyed nor antagonistic, it captures, from a balanced viewpoint, the essence of life in an ashram.

 

“Human potential field.” Groovy.

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TBR: A Grave Mistake by Alexander Tarler & Erika Andersson Porath

This is a story about raising a family – from their graves. Thun Timorium, a very young and naïve necromancer, only wanted to get his aunt back to the realm of the living. This resulted in the whole Timorium family rising from their graves, confused but excited. Thun and his undead family must find a way to be left alone from the judging and angered might of the magocracy, which has outlawed necromancy.

 

Fun for the whole family!

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TBR: Pendulum Heroes: Pendulum Heroes Book One by James Beamon

Melvin Morrow has become a barbarian warrior maiden. Will he be able to escape this new, dangerous world and the chainmail bikini he foolishly chose as his armor or will he and his friends be stuck living their lives as their game avatars?

Melvin’s a teenage boy not used to being ogled or the real world consequences of wearing a steel bikini. But the real world has shifted… him, his friends Jason and Rich, and his big brother Mike are stuck in character, in a place where danger doesn’t lurk because it prefers to boldly stride out in the open.

Mages import game players like Melvin via the Rift Pendulum. The reason: the work’s suicidal and pendulum heroes are insanely powerful. Usually. Melvin and his friends can be, too, if they’re in the right emotional state to trigger into character. Melvin’s a one-man, uh, one warrior maiden army when he’s angry but anger’s hard to find with all

that mortal danger striding around everywhere.

The road back home’s at the end of a suicidal quest. Melvin better find something to rage about… because being genre-savvy only gets you so far.

Pendulum Heroes, James Beamon’s debut novel, is an adrenaline fueled adventure for anyone who’s spent a little too much time on the character creation screen instead of playing the game, those of us who have thought just how godmode we’d be with mage power, but mostly it’s for all of us who have wondered who the heck installs a portal to another world in a wardrobe. Fans of Ernest Cline and Scott Meyer better be prepared to fall in love with a new series.

 

Sounds a little like Sword Art Online.

View on Amazon.

TBR: Bright Blood by Aariel Portera

Don’t go into the woods…

Soleil is about to turn eighteen and enter society, but that is the last thing on her mind right now. She has been having terrifying visions that point her again and again to the woods and the evil creatures that live there.

Meanwhile, her first experience with romance has her head spinning. At first, she can’t stand Taras and his shameless flirting, but when she realizes there is more to him than meets the eye, she can’t help but be drawn to him, even though it is forbidden.

As her aristocratic world comes crashing down around her with death and tragedy, Soleil must find the strength to fight for those she loves or lose everything.

Filled with coming of age romance and gothic horror, this suspenseful Young Adult novel is set in 1870s France keeps a fast-paced and seductive rhythm that pulls the reader to a terrifying and satisfying ending.

I wanna know why Taras is forbidden.

View more on Goodreads. 

TBR: The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren

Came out of the closet by accident? Check.
Sent off to a pray-away-the-gay school? Miserable check.
Shenanigans ensued? Mega-quadruple check.

Blaize Trales’s world falls apart when he’s dragged to Sanctuary Preparatory Academy, a boarding school that claims to fix gay teens. The place sucks so much they even serve food like “Cleansing Corn.” Blaize’s misguided parents eat it up and hand him over for brainwashing.

But things at Sanctuary aren’t what they appear. Blaize soon discovers the school’s antics are all a lie. They’re also at war with an ancient enemy. Between surviving bullies, rescuing students from mysterious attacks, and passing algebra, Blaize’s life is going to get out-of-control crazy.

And freaking dangerous.

Lucky for Blaize, he wields the ultimate weapon—being gay. And he’s pretty good at it.

Sounds like Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters but with real, attainable powers. I really want to read this book.

Book Review: Saga Vol. 8

 

This volume centers around the theme of abortion. My boyfriend thinks it is heavily preachy in parts, but I think it is well rounded, showing the reasoning behind both stances and using aliens to do it. This allows the reader to detach from the concepts from our world, I think, and reminds us how the “Other Side” thinks. It’s not so black and white sometimes.

Still pro-choice, though.

Book Review: Women Who Fly: Goddesses, Witches, Mystics, and Other Airborne Females by Serenity Young

I felt like many of this book’s Campbellian claims for some version of a monomyth (read: unified theme) were thrown in without much expounding to make me truly believe there’s a strong thread there. There’s definitely a thread — a theme of flight. But I don’t think it means they’re woven together. They’re just similar threads — one here and one there — and it’s the book itself tying them together. A lot of times you have to take Young at her word or look at her endnotes to connect the dots yourself to work out the claims she mentions in passing. I’m not saying she doesn’t do a good job at explaining things, but she isn’t always clear. For example she states this passage with an endnote, rather than detailing how they’re interpreted as male:

“The angel who drives Adam and Eve out of paradise, the one with whom Jacob wrestles, and those that appear to Hagar, Daniel, Abraham, the Virgin Mary, the women at Jesus’s tomb, anand Muhammad are all male.[2]”

She states a lot of things as fact without a proper lead-in. She does eventually explain this passage with examples after a tangent or two, but up until that point you have to take her at her word until she arrives there and you’re just better off having looked at the endnote. This isn’t the best example of that, but hopefully you get the idea. You can guess what she is getting at until she makes a full circle, but all the while you have to suspend your skepticism. She makes her arguments out of order, making her chain of thought hard to follow. But that keeps you on your toes. The topic is never boring, even if you have to do a lot of the work.

This work seems like a conglomeration of her musings and observations of patterns — ideas she is justifying by fitting into her frame. What also stood out is her highlighting of stories that don’t fit the pattern she’s selling; she also talks about men who fly. Of course you can’t talk about women without contrasting them to men, but the titular subject(s) are otherwise misleading for the broad area this book covers. It’s broad because so many higher beings can fly regardless of their association with wings or flight to the point that it feels like she arbitrarily chose the beings she put into the book, possibly overlooking some and shoving in others. She even talks about Amelia Earhart, so flying mortals are under this umbrella. Like I said, arbitrary.

Here’s some interesting passages from the book:

“Princess Diana captured the world’s attention and imagination to a degree almost unprecedented by any other royal figure in history. The media was excessive in describing — and thus defining — her ‘fairytale’ romance, wedding, and happily-ever-after life. They just never got which fairy tale it was. On the one hand, she was the modern ‘wonder woman,’ having and doing it all…the fairy tale she really lived out, though, was that of the captured bride…”

“For all the detailed testimony elicited by the inquisitors, Hans Peter Duerr is struck by their apparent lack of interest in the actual contents of the ointment, beyond the fat of unbaptized babies and other repellent ingredients. He concludes that the influence of mind-altering plants was actually suppressed because it would have led to a natural explanation for reports of flying, and therefore would not have provided evidence for the existence of devils and their ability to physically interact with human beings.”

“But Elizabeth goes further. In perhaps her most astonishing vision, received during Mass on Christmas Eve, Christ appears to her in the body of a young female virgin, crowned and sitting on a throne. When questioned, her angel explains to her that hte virgin ‘is the sacred humanity of the Lord Jesus.’ In this vision, Elisabeth then questions St. John the Evangelist, asking why Christ has appeared in a woman’s, rather than a man’s, form. He answers that Christ has chosen the female form ‘to signify his blessed mother as well,’ because it is she who intercedes with her son to forgive the sins of humanity.’ Hildegard got it right; Christianity had entered an effeminate age.”