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Books Read 2018

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Jeff V
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:21 pm

The Store by James Patterson (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Amazon, meet 1984.

The Store is about an online Amazon-like entity that crafts its own communities to service it's fulfillment centers. With surveillance everywhere, people are just happy little drones as everything they need is silently provided for them. There are, however, those not quite willing to sell out their humanity for a ride down easy street.

Two of these radicals are investigative journalists who come to a Nebraska fulfillment town after their latest book was rejected by both their publisher and The Store. More than just a "if you can't beat them, join them," the husband and wife duo begin work on an expose sure to shock the world. If only The Store would let them.

The pacing is good and the story interesting and easy to put in context. About my only complaint is The Store is seemingly omniscient, except at convenient times when it's not. But still a fun story.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:24 pm

Just finished listening to the audio CD of Armada by Ernest Cline. When I read the synopsis (bastard child of Enders Game and The Forever War) I was a bit skeptical, but it was actually pretty entertaining. The story was elevated by the excellent narration of Wil Wheaton. At the end I kept waiting for a detail that was never cleaned up:
Spoiler:
Naming Milo's high school after him
I give it :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: 1/2
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:03 pm

Finished The Outsider by Stephen King. I really enjoyed this - it felt like vintage, prime King. It starts out as crime novel where we see the police investigating the brutal murder/sexual mutilation of a local boy by a highly respected member of the community and boys baseball and football coach. There are some oddities about the crime for sure, but once we get going into the book a ways, the supernatural kicks in. Very fun read.
Spoiler:
I also liked how King never bothered trying to explain who/what the Outsider was or how he came to be. Too many King books (particularly his later ones, it seems) trip over this type explanation when it's not really necessary. I'm fully OK with not knowing the backstory of this supernatural being - it's enough that it exists and is evil.
Up next is Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, which is the last of the 6 book compilation of the Dresden Files that I have.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:49 pm

Unstoppable Influence: Be You. Be Fearless. Transform Lives by Natasha Hazlett (B) :binky:

If you combined the cultish claptrap of Amway with the vapid meanderings of televangelists and a touch of high school cheerleading, you too can give birth to worthless scree like this book. The author starts out trying to downplay her personal religion, apologizing for the references but insists it's not necessary to believe as she does. Then every damned point is "let god do it!" This is the kind of garbage that turns empty heads into vacuum chambers.

Every time the author gushes "you're an unstoppable influencer" I kept hearing the Pakleds from Star Trek saying "we are smart" while sporting single-digit IQs. It's that bad.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:37 pm

The first book in a new fantasy blockbuster trilogy, set in his renowned and bestselling First Law world, from New York Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie. ... Google Books
Expected on: April 16, 2019
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Of course not something I have read but something I will read.

I saw that on Google today.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:40 pm

Scuzz wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:37 pm
The first book in a new fantasy blockbuster trilogy, set in his renowned and bestselling First Law world, from New York Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie. ... Google Books
Expected on: April 16, 2019
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Of course not something I have read but something I will read.

I saw that on Google today.
I am more interested in this than Winter is Coming or whatever. And if Rothfuss would get off his ass...
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:12 pm

Abercrombie will probably have all 3 books out before the next Fire and Ice book shows up.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:55 pm

Finished All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale PRIME READING

Molly is an art history professor with her 8-year old daughter Cassie. Molly also crafts custom jewelry based on sea glass, and determined to give Cassie a stable home, which Molly never had. But when Cassie was plagued by horrific visions and nightmares, Molly was forced to return to Pacific Grove, the one place she refused to go back to. But to save her daughter, she had to confront what happened twelve years ago that caused her to flee her hometown, where, with help of her aunt, and Owen, the man she left behind, she may yet solve the potential mystery... of her own pending death...

The middle sagged quite a bit. But the multi-layer mystery, with a lot of secrets and a lot of shame, with a bit of supernatural (paranormal capabilities such as compulsion, clairvoyance, auras, etc.) was a lot of fun. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:18 am

Finished A Loop In Time by Clark Graham

A man woke up in Arizona with amnesia. He was found near an advanced aircraft in pieces. The few staff that knew him figured out he's from the future, and chose to conceal his existence after Roswell incident. He ended up being his own grandpa and his own uncle... (eh...)

The story is cute, but the initial scenario made absolutely no sense. The premise was basically somehow, air force built some sort of special engine, and they somehow, picked the F117 as a testbed for the special engine, aside from the regular engine. This makes absolutely ZERO sense. F117 is a totally unstable airplane. Without computers it's unflyable. And how do you even mount an 'external' engine on an F117? WTF?! The rest of the story also just feels very... detached, as the main character's fate was kinda... fixed. It was cute, but it's also a bit too... serendipitous, with people acting too... nice around him. 4/8
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:35 pm

Startide Rising by David Brin

This book is really nothing like the first in the series, although you can see how they are connected by the worlds they inhabit. While the first was a sci-fi detective story this one is adventure and action all the way. It is also features some of the more original characters I have ever read about.

This is good old fashioned sci-fi with some interesting twists, and while it has it's slow moments, the last 200 pages are a race to the end.


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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:08 pm

Finished Blood Rites by Jim Butcher. Thus I've gone through the last of the Dresden Files books in my six volume anthology. Good fun, but I'll probably take a break from the series for a while so I don't burn out on it.

Up next is Extinct by RR Haywood. This is the final volume of the Extraction trilogy, which involves time traveling heroes plucked out of their timelines just before their deaths so that they can join a super team of time travelers to save the world. Yeah, it's kind of odd. The first book in the trilogy was actually a Kindle First Read, but I liked it enough to grab the next two as they were released. The author is prone to needlessly long exposition periods in the books, but the characters are good and the action scenes (of which there are plenty) are quite well done. I'm hoping the final volume stacks up to the first two.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:53 am

Finished Son of Justice by Steven L Hawk Military Scifi

Eli Justice is son of Grant Justice, supreme general of the Shaiel Alliance, the human that finally rallied the humans to throw off the conquering Minith, destroyed their planet, and united multiple alien races. He has studied war and combat almost since birth. When it came time to join the military, he chose to prove that he can do it on his own rather than through his name. He took on the name Jason Zero, and joined as a recruit of the Alliance forces. Boot camp is not hard, even when he came up against 3 Minith sergeants who were determined to wash out as many puny humans as they can, but "Jason" is determined to help ALL the recruits pass... not just for himself. But he didn't know that a traitor on the planet has colluded with a foreign power... and it will be up to him and his class to fight off an invasion...

The story was definitely a class up from your typical rookie won great battle, but the "romance" was horribly clumsy. 6/8

-----

Finished Holiday on Ice by David Sedaris

It's humor, delivered in the typical fashion of Sedaris, trying to drawn up the hilarity of Holidays, centered on his short stint as a Macy's elf, but a lot more, like what's other country's Christmas like and so on. Reads like an extended sitcom routine, which is basically what it is. It is quite funny. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Bad Demographic » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:13 pm

I've been re-reading Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May series, detective novels featuring a pair of octogenarian London police detectives. I started reading these books several years ago and quickly got to the point where I had to wait a year for the next book. With many series, reading the books all together works better - it's easier to see where the author is going and also to follow the lives and interactions of the various players. I find this especially true of the Bryant & May series.
I suppose if I were smart I would wait until Fowler stops writing these books and Then read them all, but I enjoy them too much to do that.
Fowler includes a lot of odd and obscure (well, I consider it odd and obscure) London history in these books. Maybe one day I'll get a map of London and see where the places he mentions (both obscure and commonly known) are.

Overall I consider this a very entertaining series - classic detective work (kind of a la Sherlock Holmes sometimes) - and give it 7 tentacles out of 8.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:55 pm

Finished The Midnight Line (A Jack Reacher Novel) by Lee Child

Reacher was strolling through a small town in Wisconsin, went through a pawn shop, and spotted a 2005 West Point ring, that is tiny and obviously belonged to a woman. Reacher wondered what caused her to give up the ring, that cost her four hard years, and more. Reacher chose to return the ring, and steadily going up the chain. In his way is a biker gang, a PI who wears a suit and tie in the wilderness, police bound by their rules but wanted to do their best, and a criminal mastermind that had never been caught... But Reacher doesn't care about all that. He just wanted to return the ring, if she wanted it... Until someone crossed a line. And nobody crosses Reacher...

The story was exquisitely detailed, with multi-layered with the mystery. The mastermind gave some clues, some of which are red herrings, but there are additional complications, involving classified files, cover-up, injuries that never healed, addiction, huge smuggling operations, and a promised tumble in a commercial dryer. 7.5/8
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:34 pm

Finished Alien War Trilogy by Isaac Hooke

Trilogy of novels for military scifi fans, containing Hoplite, Zeus, and Titan, when UC forces came upon an alien force it doesn't understand...

Hoplite: Rade Gallal and his elite MOTH team needed to investigate why a supercarrier and its escorts vanished while exploring a new system. And things never go right. Soon, they were cut off from the fleet, and stranded on a planet with lifeforms that defies understanding, Rade and his men, wearing the new Hoplite mech armor, will have to defy odds to stay alive to be evacuated...

Zeus: After being rescued, Rade Galaal and his platoon spend only a few weeks before heading back to the front lines. A colony world had been attacked, and the MOTHs have been called to assist a marine division to retake the colony. Now equipped with the Zeus class mechs, the platoon found themselves still outclassed when the enemies brought to bear something far more sinister than ever expected... esp. when one came face to face with Rade himself... and it may completely change the course of the war.

Titan: Rade and his platoon have been summoned for what may be the final battle: the home system of the unnamed enemies. Orbital bombardment has reduced the surface to ruins, and it was thought it would be just a mop-up operation. They couldn't be more wrong. Even the power of the new Titan-class mechsuits is barely keeping them alive when their dropship was hit and all the plans went out the window. Trapped behind enemy lines, Rade will need his best to keep his platoon alive...

Not bad yarn for military adventure, lots of influences from the classics, with a couple unique spins. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:42 am

Finished Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Viv has a blissful marriage with four kids and 20 years with her husband, despite her grueling hours with the counter-intelligence bureau of the CIA. Then one day, her world fell apart. After hacking through a suspected Russian handler's laptop, she found five pictures... One of them was her husband. And her husband, when confronted, admitted to everything: he is indeed a Russian sleeper agent, but he swore that he had not leaked anything important, and his love for his family is real. When Viv impulsively deleted the folder containing the five pictures, she walked down a path with no return... all to protect her family... but is Matt really telling the truth? Had he been manipulating her all along? Who is the other mole in CIA that knew of her treason and passed it to the handler? How will she be able to get out of this with her family intact?

While the book is tense as heck, somehow, whatever the CIA equivalent of internal affairs seems to be REALLY not paying ANY ATTENTION. Sure, an agent or two reported contact to internal security, but don't CIA monitor employees for potential stress points that can be blackmailed? More than a few things don't really make sense in this novel.
Spoiler:
"Peter", Viv's superior, was the mole. He was apparently forced to cooperate when his wife, sick with cancer, couldn't get on the drug trial, but the Russians managed to give them the drugs anyway, only to withhold it for leverage to get access to the ATHENA network in the CIA. But Peter never gave in, and wife died. Peter found nothing to live for any more, took the blame for Viv's hacking to save her husband, took the blame for Yury getting shot, and did a suicide by cop. This made no sense. Russians would have known killing the wife would make Peter feel he had nothing left to lose. And why did security never bothered to check Peter's story?
While I appreciate the spy games being played, with a twist at the end that did make sense when you think about it, the premise that sent the whole thing moving just somehow, didn't quite feel right. And there are little details that made no sense either, like the monitoring of analyst's computer. Nobody accesses the real thing. They find a way to clone the content and work on the clone so the original can be compared to the copy should needs arise. Yet here, we're supposed to believe that Viv can delete files from the original, and somehow, this manipulation was never detected, and when the file was "recovered" later, nobody could tell it had been manipulated... It was just a bit too... Hollywood convenient. 6/8

EDIT: FWIW, the Amazon price for this has dropped from $13 to $3 for the Kindle version.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Rumpy » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:04 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:42 am

While the book is tense as heck, somehow, whatever the CIA equivalent of internal affairs seems to be REALLY not paying ANY ATTENTION. Sure, an agent or two reported contact to internal security, but don't CIA monitor employees for potential stress points that can be blackmailed? More than a few things don't really make sense in this novel.

While I appreciate the spy games being played, with a twist at the end that did make sense when you think about it, the premise that sent the whole thing moving just somehow, didn't quite feel right. And there are little details that made no sense either, like the monitoring of analyst's computer. Nobody accesses the real thing.

Thanks for your thoughts on it. I never managed to finish it because while I normally like spy fiction, it bothered me too much that the twists were a bit unreal and too convienent like you point out. Particularly grating were that despite the fact of the author being a former CIA analyst herself, it constantly felt like newbie mistakes were being made where she really should have known better. It was so very disappointing. Like you point out, the premise that sent things moving was shaky, but there are tons of eyeroll moments throughout. None of anything actually felt like something you could believe happening in the CIA as these people would be trained better than that. Was expecting so much more from an Ex-CIA turned author. And in reviews, I'm very suprised to hear people say the CIA angle feeling authentic. Very much the definition of hollywood convenience. I already hear they're making a movie out of it starring Charlize Theron as Viv, and she's also producer.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by El Guapo » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:13 pm

A History of the United States in Five Crashes: Stock Market Meltdowns That Defined a Nation, by Scott Nations

This is basically what the title says - a history of five different U.S. stock market crashes. There's some effort to tie them all together, though it's fairly cursory, so it's basically like five related articles put together. Starts with the stock market crash of 1907, and ends with the financial crisis and the "flash crash" in 2010. It's interesting to see how all of the threads come together at certain points to form a "financial storm" with the resulting stock market crash. Also a pretty good (and concise) summary of how the financial crisis developed, for those who are interested (that's a pretty interesting story in and of itself. The writing is good, but not the best written book I've ever read. Overall I'd say it was good, but not *amazing*. Six out of eight tentacles.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Rumpy » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:11 pm

Finished The Book of M by Peng Shepherd. Ok, wow. That is one of my favourite reads of the year. This is from a first-time novelist and she absolutely nails it. Post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest. Intriguing from beginning to end. In this story, people start to lose their shadows, leading people to forget in droves, an event called The Forgetting. So, when a husband's wife loses her shadow, starts to forget and leaves him as she's afraid of what she could become, they get separated leading her husband to go out in search of her that leads him across the U.S.

This was a refreshingly original read. It's getting compared to The Stand a lot, and for good reason. It is a literary epic. A masterpiece.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:58 am

Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 by Christopher Andrew (Audible)

A detailed history of the service by a privileged historian of the 100+ years from the founding pre-WWI. A substantial tome, clocking in at almost 40 hours. Definitely up my alley, but not for anyone that's not interested in counterintelligence.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Fitzy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:01 am

Kill the Farm Boy: The Tales of Pell by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson. I've enjoyed Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series, and especially Oberon's Meaty Mysteries which is a spin off series in the same universe, so I picked this up on the strength of those works despite not having read Dawson before. The book is filled with puns, juvenile humor and a surprisingly good story underneath the humor.

I enjoyed the story which is a play on the typical fantasy tropes. A farm boy is (possibly) picked as the "chosen one", but given no real directions. So he and his now talking goat take off to save the sleeping princess in a nearby castle. From there the hero gathers a group of adventurers around him to save the day, though not through heroic strength of arms very often.

The characters were excellent plays on typical fantasy tropes. The group ended up with a fighter, a bard, a rogue, and two magic users, plus a talking goat, who I suppose was kind of a fighter. Only the main fighter approached the normal tropes for their classes. The bard was OP, but a lack of experience kept her in check. The wizard and rogue barely deserved the titles. It made for an amusing mixture of fantasy and RPG video game stereotypes, often flipped for comedic effect.

The solutions to the "quests" were seldom as simple as killing stuff which was good since a good portion of the party was inept. Unlike older fantasy, the group was also diverse, though it didn't use stereotypes to get there nor did it feel forced, instead the characters were well written and as believable as possible for the setting.

The humor wasn't as good as Terry Pratchett, but that's a high bar. I'd compare the level to Christopher Moore, if you've read him. It's low-brow, pun-filled, heavily stuffed with adolescent bodily function jokes and sex jokes, while (mostly) avoiding offensiveness.

The biggest issue, assuming you like puns and bad jokes (if you don't, skip this one), is that it ran on too long for the humor and too short for the story. I normally like longer books for the their in depth story, but humor novels need to know when to end and this one didn't. At the same time, the story was sparse in some parts and there were too many PoV characters to get to know them as much as I'd have liked in the space. So about 3/4 of the way through the humor started bogging down while at the end of the book I felt I wanted to know more of what happened and more about the characters.

Good: Amusingly silly story, excellent characters and personal stories, funny, even laugh out loud funny in places.
Bad: Too long for the humor, probably too short for the story

I'd say 6 out of 8 tentacles, but maybe wait for the paperback if purchasing.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:05 pm

Finished Extinct by RR Haywood. This is the final book of the Extraction trilogy, and it was great. The premise of the first book (which I got through the Kindle First program, or whatever it's called) is that a genius has created a time machine in the basement of his parents' house. He goes forward to 2111, and everything is fine. He goes back again, and the world is more or less destroyed. He assumes that something he did has changed the timeline. He has a hard time functioning in the world due to autism, and he knows he can't fix this on his own. He also knows that his father committed suicide by walking into the ocean some time back, so he uses the time machine to go to the point where his father killed himself to "extract" him from the timeline so that he can try to fix things. They then work on extracting famous (fictional) British heroes from the points just before they were killed. (They figure that doing so will minimize any impact on the timeline, since the people would have been dead anyway.)

The first book focuses on getting the team together. The second book focuses on securing the time machine technology and preventing any government from controlling it (since it would be deemed an existential threat if one government had this technology, since it's so powerful). The third book is . . . hard to explain without spoiling too much.

Each of the first two books had sections that seemed to go on too long without any major character or plot development. A stronger editor could have helped here. Still, the characters were well written, the action was exciting and easy to keep track of (no simple task given the scope of many of the action scenes), and the writing had enough humor that it kept things from getting too dark.

The final book dispensed of the issue of boring stretches - it doesn't have any wasted sections. It also maintains the strengths of the characters (particularly their dialog), plotting, and action. Much of the time travel paradoxes are left minimally explained, which I was fine with. Most of the characters were confused by the time travel, too. Bottom line, I really enjoyed the trilogy, and the third book was the best of the three.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:47 pm

What if just go straight to the third book?
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:33 am

The boring answer is that I think you'd be lost without knowing the characters and how they interact, as the books are very character driven.

The more fun answer involves using a time machine to somehow learn the events of the first two books without having to actually read them, but it's too late on a Sunday night for me to fully flesh out that answer.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jolor » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:34 pm

Fitzy wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:01 am
Kill the Farm Boy: The Tales of Pell by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson. I've enjoyed Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series, and especially Oberon's Meaty Mysteries which is a spin off series in the same universe, so I picked this up on the strength of those works despite not having read Dawson before. The book is filled with puns, juvenile humor and a surprisingly good story underneath the humor.
Just finished this, as well. I wouldn't be quite as kind as you (4 o' 8, imo). I felt it was jangled and, while turning some tropes upside down, just adopted new ones.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:03 pm

What can I say, I'm a sucker for time travel books. Just finished the audio version of The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell.
Say you're a time traveler and you've already toured the entirety of human history. After a while, the outside world might lose a little of its luster. That's why this time traveler celebrates his birthday partying with himself. Every year, he travels to an abandoned hotel in New York City in 2071, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, and drinks twelve-year-old Scotch...
The book avoids most time travel historical paradoxes by ignoring them. It's all fun and games until one of the versions of himself turns up dead. Then a woman crashes the party...

Plays out more like a mystery than science fiction, but the first person narrative was perfect for the audio format.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:53 pm

Before the Storm by Rick Perlstein

This is the first in a trilogy of books Perlstein wrote about the change in the republican party to the far right. It is subtitled the end of consensus in America.

I had already read the 2nd and 3rd book. The second book being about the Nixon era and the third being about the rise of Reagan. This book is about the Goldwater run for the presidency. I had skipped past it previously because I didn't have that much interest in Goldwater. The other two books, Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge are very good.

This was a hard book for me to get into. Goldwater comes across as a pretty dull guy who really never wanted to be president anyway. In fact, one of the biggest take aways from the book is how much Goldwater's run reminds you of Trump. Goldwater was more idealogue in his beliefs than Trump, but you really get the feeling he never thought out the real long term effects of things he believed or said. He thought saying them was enough.

What I do enjoy about this book, as with the other two, is how it takes a snapshot of the history of the time. The people, places and things. The names that appear in this book only to reappear in the other two. The background on the Nixon and Reagan years. The cultural and social events of the day.

The book is mixed on LBJ, giving him credit for the Civil Rights Act while basically calling him out on his paranoia during the election. It also doesn't paint Bill Moyers in a very good light. I had never known his background as a hatchet man for LBJ. He was basically LBJ's director or dirty tricks, and some of them were very unethical.

I would give this a 2.5 stars out of 5. You probably should read this before the other two, but I think in recommending the trilogy I would also tell you to just start with Nixonland.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:06 am

Finished The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper

The generation ship "Creative Fire" is supposed to be heading home, but for those on board, in a deep class divide, life is basically hell, with most of the ship crew being the grays, with some reds as security... and blue as officer class. And Ruby Martin is a gray robot greasemonkey. When a ship-wide accident gave her a taste of freedom, she decided she wanted more, but as a 16-yr old, she only has a fabulous voice, a quick mind, and mule-headedness. But circumstances will put a chance in her path... if she chose to take it... But she will need to transform quickly, from a rebellious teen into a revolutionary leader... Or the grays may lose more than freedom...

Ruby was roughly modeled after Evita Peron of Argentina, and while I never read Evita's story (only heard of it, not the details), the generation ship idea was interesting, as is the power dynamics of the different classes, and how the revolution will play out. The AI seems to be quite lame, but the way a generation ship had to be run, i.e. how a society stagnates and runs counter to how a ship had to be run, is interesting. The characters, however, seem to be somewhat less interesting than the world itself. 6/8

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Finished Battle Harem by Isaac Hooke

Jason was short on creds, so he licensed a copy of his mind scan to the military. // His mind woke up in a 10-meter tall mech body, in the midst of a radioactive wasteland where alien nano-machines and bio-weapons have destroyed half of Earth in an invasion 50 years ago. Unfortunately, he has no mission, no support, and no idea what the **** he was supposed to do... other than survive. He traveled the wasteland, and found other warmachines similar to himself, but not the same, while hunted by alien bio-weapons. Then they discovered their real mission... and what they REALLY can do... and everything changed...

Imagine someone with sci-fi war background writing a Power Rangers story, and you may end up with something like this. Yes, Jason's the commander and the other war machines, all powered by female AI, can combine into a giant mech. Except, enemies got mechs just as big... and more of them. And there are two more books in the series. Fun adventure, esp. when they conference via VR. 6/8 at least.

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Finished Lady Law by Ken Farmer Historical Western

There is ONE female Deputy US Marshal in the Indian Territories... Fiona Mae Miller, and she's determined to bring a Cherokee renegade, Cal Mankiller to justice. She thought she killed him once already, but he apparently survived and went on a rampage across the west, killing men, women, and children... and Fiona has a personal score to settle with this psychopathic killer...

Nice western tale of revenge and redemption. LOTS of dead bodies and dead innocents though. It's like serial killer story set in the old West. 7/8

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Finished The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer NONFIC SELF-HELP

saw this book was in Prime Reading and someone else recommended it for self-help, seems to be a condensation of a lot of life lessons from Taoism and Buddhism. Not bad, with plain spoken language and all that. But helpful? I dunno. 5/8
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:47 am

Finished A Killer's Mind by Mike Omer. Sometimes I don't know why I bother with these types of books. Oh, yeah. I'm cheap, and it was a free monthly Amazon Prime selection.

This is a bit of a low rent Silence of the Lambs. From the annoying names of the main protagonists (Zoe Bentley and Tatum Gray) to the sadistic serial killer(s), it doesn't add much to the genre. Zoe is the brilliant but troubled forensic psychologist (she doesn't like the term profiler) working as a consultant with the FBI. Tatum is the talented agent who gets results but doesn't always follow the rules. Together, they go to Chicago consult with the Chicago PD in trying to find a serial killer who embalms his female victims and leaves them posed in public spaces. They screw things up, and then they have to break the rules to get results.

This wasn't bad, and it read pretty quickly, but I just can't take much more of sexually sadistic serial killers and the troubled but brilliant members of law enforcement who try to stop them.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:33 pm

But did it have a hooker with a heart of gold?
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:39 pm

I believe having a heart made of gold would have interfered with the embalming process, so I doubt it.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:04 pm

Freja's Daughter by Rachel Pudelek (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

The book starts with fast action - a female bounty hunter turns in a wanted man then banters a bit with the local cop who seems to know her well. The bounty hunter is not an actual woman, however, but a tree nymph known as a huldra. The huldra (Nordic origin) are one species of "wild women" which include succubi, mermaids, harpies, and rusalki (Slavic myth). Each of these "wild women" groups have their own communities, and for hundreds of years have been kept in check by Hunters - males who believe their are doing their gods bidding. The wild women all have unusual powers, some suppressed to the point of them being vestigial at best. Others have full command of their abilities, and can be devastating. Hunters, when incited to battle with their charges, grow massive in size (think Hulk) and can go on a rampage.

Nymphs operating in plain sight during modern times is an interesting concept for a story (or series of stories as this appears to be the first of many). The author is certainly capable of creating great action scenes, but in the middle of story loses focus. The strong-willed women of great power are often reduced to sniveling, sex-starved pathetic caricatures that seem to emerge from an adolescent teen diary. The story doesn't stay on top of their mission, and the end becomes predictable. The only question was which of the story lines would remain unresolved to act as lead-in to the next book.

I think the author has it in her to harden things up quite a bit unless she really intends on writing for the preteen crowd. If the latter is the case, then I'm out.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Pyperkub » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:15 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:I'll try this year. I really only read in 20 minute stretches on the train to and from work, and almost exclusively on the Kindle app on my phone. I just finished a book I started last year, though, so I can contribute:

Read
Storm Front - Jim Butcher Sounds like I'm pretty late to this series, but someone pointed out the first six or so books were on sale for a crazy low price for Kindle, so I grabbed them. It was fun. Will read more.
The Lost Temple of Ssis'sythyss - Jeffrey Russell (aka Gryndyl)
Fool Moon - Jim Butcher
Bone Music - Christopher Rice
Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
Punishment - Scott J. Holliday
Summer Knight - Jim Butcher
Bandwidth - Eliot Peper
Death Masks - Jim Butcher
The Outsider - Stephen King
Blood Rites - Jim Butcher
Extinct - RR Haywood
A Killer's Mind - Mike Omer

Reading
John Adams - David McCullough
Some female authors you may like:

Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, especially if you didn't see the movie, or know anything about it)
JK Rowling; ) (including detective fiction starting with the cuckoo's calling)
Uprooted by Naomi Novi (fantasy)
I really liked Liane Moriarty's Big little lies
Deborah Harkness All Souls Trilogy was pretty good too, if you liked old Anne Rice
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:52 pm

By the Light of Camelot by J.R. Campbell (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

If you've ever read Le Mort d' Arthur by Thomas Malory; then the concept of this book will be familiar to you. Just like the numerous stories by Malory that are tangentially connected to Arthur; this is a book of short stories ranging from the period of Arthur to modern times in which the Once and Future King rarely makes even a cameo appearance. Each story in itself is fine...nothing exceptional but there doesn't seem to be a really strong sense of theme in this collection. If you like Malory (and I have the same criticism of the original material) you would probably like this just fine.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:05 pm

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobbs

This is the second book in The Farseer Trilogy. While I think it is too long and probably suffers from the curse of being the second book in a trilogy I do have to say I enjoyed it and the new things it brings to the table. The continued education and adventures of FitzChivalry are fun to read.

I wonder if Rothfuss read these before writing the Name of the Wind. Those books seem to be influenced by what Hobbs has done with the Farseer Trilogy.

Anyway, I already own book three, and while it won’t be my next read I figure to read it before the year is out.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:37 pm

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan

After probably seeing the movie based on the book a dozen times (it is one of those that if I turn on the TV and it is on I must watch it), I finally broke down and got the book. The book itself is very interesting, containing more characters than the movie which combined several of the stories into fewer characters. There are also things in the movie which are not in the book, which leads one to assume that some movie characters were created to give some actors roles in the movie. The Richard Burton character is one that kind of bothers me, as the tory surrounding him actually veers from the facts in the book.
It is also easy to see parts of Saving Private Ryan in the book. At least the Omaha Beach segment.
Overall it is a good read and probably a must for anyone who studies WW2. I would give the book one dark mark though, there is no map of the battle field anywhere in the book. How can you have a book like this and not have a map?

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:00 pm

Finished Call Sign Reaper by Thomas Wright

Benjamin Jamison is a superb fighter and honorable soldier, but rescuing the superior who can't admit his own fault means he got railroaded out and became a civilian on a backwater ag planet. Until a barfight ended that... A special operations major asked him to return to military... Except this time, he's only joining as a civilian, and he'll only go by a callsign: Reaper. And no human or alien will stand in his way. The military knew there are problems coming. Alien raiders are invading this sector, pirates raiding colonies, and Reaper's attitude rubbed some brass up the wrong way, but he will unleash his fury only on his enemies... and you do not want to see him as an enemy...

Space opera with influence by ninja movies, aliens, Star Trek, Star Wars, and more. One of the scenes have him stab THROUGH a wall and killing an attacker threatening his adopted family. The problem is this is all action, and at the end, he had basically most of the female characters pining after him (but he only took on the major as a lover). Good action, character's a bit flat though. 6/8

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Finished / Re-Read Kutherian Gambit books 1-4 by Michael Anderle

I believe I reviewed Book 1 "Death Becomes Her" a while back. This series is up to 13 books, and has spawned a couple co-authored spin-off series as well. And they are good action adventures.

Excellent action adventures, with semi-alien-tech in there to explain the vampiric powers. (Kutherians are aliens that wanted to modify Earthlings to make them soldiers in the upcoming galactic war, except the ship crashed and kinda spent the last thousand years buried deep in mountains of Romania, until the first, Michael, stumbled upon it...) Each book managed to contain good plots, 3D characters, yet has an arc that leads are ever bigger confrontations. 6.5-7.5/8

I think I'll wishlist the rest of the series.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:42 pm

Finished John Adams by David McCullough. I don't read much non-fiction, but I'm glad I picked this up. I remembered a lot of stuff about US history that I had forgotten, and learned even more that I never knew about in the first place. John Adams never seemed like one of the sexy founding fathers (not like that hottie Jefferson), but the country definitely doesn't exist in the way it does today without him. It's also kind of interesting to read about the hyperpartisanship that started almost immediately after Washington took office and all of the dire predictions of the end of the American experiment because of it. It gave me some hope that we can still move beyond today (although the book did end before anyone like our current president took office).

And now I'm trying to broaden my horizons in both author (African American woman Octavia E. Butler) and genre (sci-fi) with Dawn, which is the first book of something called the Xenogenesis Trilogy.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Rumpy » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:15 am

I haven't read John Adams, but his Wright Brothers book was pretty awesome. Kind of wish HBO would make a miniseries out of that at some point.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:58 am

ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:42 pm
Finished John Adams by David McCullough. I don't read much non-fiction, but I'm glad I picked this up. I remembered a lot of stuff about US history that I had forgotten, and learned even more that I never knew about in the first place. John Adams never seemed like one of the sexy founding fathers (not like that hottie Jefferson), but the country definitely doesn't exist in the way it does today without him. It's also kind of interesting to read about the hyperpartisanship that started almost immediately after Washington took office and all of the dire predictions of the end of the American experiment because of it. It gave me some hope that we can still move beyond today (although the book did end before anyone like our current president took office).

And now I'm trying to broaden my horizons in both author (African American woman Octavia E. Butler) and genre (sci-fi) with Dawn, which is the first book of something called the Xenogenesis Trilogy.

I forget who it was but I heard someone on one of the news talking heads shows mention this weekend how ugly and partisan Washington DC seems now, but how most of the people in congress are still friends away from the capital. I think it has always been like that, sure there are some who hate and are hated, but it has always seemed like a good old boys club once you get off the senate or house floors.

As for McCullough, I have read several of his books. The one on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge was interesting. I currently have but have not read his book about American ex-pats in Paris during the 1900's (+/-).

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