Tag Archive for 'Book Review'

Hmp

Ender’s Game was a pretty cool book.

Ramblings

So! You wanted book reviews? You get book reviews!

Books!

Wise Man’s Fear

Over 900 pages and totally awesome, if rather heavy. I think he’s improved his writing style since The Name of the Wind, he doesn’t foreshadow as much and the characters didn’t feel quite as one-dimensional, it kept me reading and I finished it in around a week. Now I just have to wait four years for the third book. :(

It was worth the wait and is worth picking up if you liked the first one! Also a good substitute for weights and/or coffee tables. Maybe wait for a paperback if you’re not 100% sure…

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Got the first book a while back but never felt compelled to pick up the other two, but I saw them in a charity shop the other day and grabbed them and read them in a day each. Not bad, better than I was expecting, they kept me reading, but I don’t think I’ll end up reading them again.

Inside Out

Reminded me a lot of The City of Ember. I liked it, the twist at the end was interesting, but I don’t feel compelled to pick up the second book (unhelpfully named Outside In), I’m happy to leave it where it is. But if I saw it in a charity shop I would grab and read it.

Black Book of Secrets

Grabbed this one for 99p because I liked the cover, and because it’d been there over a week. Not what I was expecting but pretty good, the author kept changing tenses though and it often got difficult to tell who was talking about who.

(Got distracted browsing Amazon at this point, and huh, there’s a new Terry Pratchett coming out? I thought he was done… How is he anyway?)

The Fire Eaters

Picked this up along with The Black Book of Secrets. Jesus. It’s all about waiting for the nuclear bombs to wipe us all out, a cheery book. I read to the end and it wasn’t terrible, but I don’t think I’ll end up reading it again.

The Vatta’s War books.

Waiting for book 3 to arrive, awesomeness, but damn I wanna watch Firefly again now. Maybe I’ll go downstairs and do that…

TV
Game of Thrones

Whee, watched this last night and it’s making me wanna read the books again, next one is on tonight in the US, so tomorrow here! Gives me a reason to sit downstairs and watch it on the big telly.

Doctor Who

First ep of the new series was last night, not bad, but damn that was a cruel cliffhanger.

 

Games
Portal 2

whee awesomeness!

Also recently got back into Defense Grid, which is also awesome!

Lots of things today

30 Day Song Challenge

day 01 – my favourite song
day 02 – favorite cover version
day 03 – a song that makes me happy
day 04 – a song that makes me sad
day 05 – a song that reminds me of someone
day 06 – a song that reminds me of somewhere
day 07 – a song that reminds me of a certain event
day 08 – a song that you know all the words to
day 09 – a song that I can dance to
day 10 – favourite music video
day 11 – a song from my favorite band
day 12 – favourite song from a movie
day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 – a song that no one would expect me to love
day 15 – a song that describes me
day 16 – a song that Iused to love but now hate
day 17 – a song that I hear often on the radio that I love
day 18 – my  romantic song
day 19 – a song from my favorite album
day 20 – a song that I listen to when I’m angry
day 21 – a song that I listen to when I’m happy
day 22 – a song that I listen to when I’m sad
day 23 – a song that I want to play at my wedding
day 24 – a song that I want to play at my funeral
day 25 – Most played song on my itunes
day 26 – Favourite collaboration
day 27 – Song that reminds of drunk/party times
day 28 – Favourite should have been a single song
day 29 – a song from my childhood
day 30 – my favorite song at this time last year

Could be interesting. I don’t think I have a favorite song, it changes depending on my mood, but I guess at the moment these two are vying for top spot: The Butthole Surfers: Pepper and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Today’s Lesson.

I tidied up the garden today, dug over the two beds, picked up the plastic greenhouse from where the winds a few weeks ago had left it. Spent about two hours on it I guess, it looks better now. The apple tree has buds on! While I was digging the two beds Emmy decided to help, she started off by digging with me, but then ended up just rolling in it. I had to hose her down before I could even take her into the house to shower her. When the plastic greenhouse fell over it left mud everywhere, to the point you could probably grow plants on the patio without pots, so I hosed all that away into the beds and Emmy helped there too by drinking it and rolling in the mush whenever she got the chance.

Sophie stood in the kitchen and barked.

It was frosty this morning, all the water was frozen and there was about a 10ft visibility due to heavy fog, but by the time I got home a couple of hours later I could work in the garden without a coat on, it’s improving fast!

Been playing the SpaceChem demo today and watching s05 of Dexter, went into college but only had one lesson, CAD, which is pretty fun. Got to play with PLCs on Tuesday, making lights go on and off and stuff, fun fun. I wouldn’t mind doing more of that. Ink cartridges arrived so I can use my fountain pen again! I think when these run out I might move onto bottled ink but we’ll see. Apparently they’ve discontinued making that pen, shame, I was considering buying another one.

I finished the Kethani book Kirrus sent me, not bad although I kept waiting for a twist or revelation that never appeared. (Which I suppose is a twist in itself)  it says at the end they were mostly short stories published at different times, and that makes it make a bit more sense. I liked it.

Also finished Oath of Gold (Thankyou :D) it got more interesting towards the end even if it did make me a bit uncomfortable reading it on the bus, considering buying the next one and I will read more of her stuff.

I never did finish the second Dwarves book, I think that’s up next.

I likes it

New blog theme is go! Wondering if I can work out a rotation thing so it can have different header images, but I like it. It feels clean, and having more column width feels a lot better, screw anyone with smaller screens.

Joined a new town on die2nite with a group of people from IRC and forums, this one should be pretty awesome but also might just be a drama filled mess, so far it’s looking great.

Almost up to date on House, then I guess I’ve just gotta catch up on Dexter. Watched Misfits the other day and that was pretty shiny.

Book review time!

The set of books I’m reading (Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Divided Allegiance, Oath of Gold) I like em, but I think I liked the first book the most. I’m halfway through the third now, the second book made me cry (Just a bit!)

First book : A lot of building, it was interesting to see where it was going, even if it did remind me of a lot of other books. (The “Protector of the Small” series by Tamora Pierce and “The Forging of the Sword” by Mark Robson both are similar, although they’re both more aimed at kids)

Second book : Still reminded me of the Tamora Pierce, even down to the “abused horse nobody can touch but me” but I enjoyed it even if the whole village started to drag a bit. The end threw everything into a loop and made me sad but in a good way.

Third book : I’m about halfway through. The end of book 2 is quickly righted and suddenly the character is all knowing and awesome and **ON A MISSION FROM GOD**, it’s still good, but I don’t think it’s as good as the last couple of books. I’ll finish it and buy some of her other stuff, but yeah.

Books I have also read recently : City of Ember and The Hunger Games. Both good and both apparently have sequels. I have the second City of Ember on audio, just have to get round to listening to it. I decided against buying the second Hunger Games book, maybe I should, it was a fun read but I didn’t want a sequel, I was happy to just leave it there, if that makes sense. Don’t get that often…

Picked up “The Left Hand of God” Don’t bother with it, I got about halfway through and just couldn’t be bothered with it, enough so that I’ve given it away. Some guy writing his violent fantasies, which doesn’t mean terrible, but just didn’t grab me, but then again, neither did The Blade Itself and everyone raves over that.

Also took an hour or so to read all the Hatchet books again, since there’s apparently 5, not 3. Damn that guy’s written a lot of stuff.

I’m done!

I miss my computer :(

Being stuck on a laptop is a right pain.

Computer still hasn’t arrived, graphics card is still out of stock. I sent them a shirty email and will see how it all is on Monday, if it’s still not in stock I might phone and complain.

Walked the dogs… Eight miles in two days, probably double that for Emmy because she does so much running in circles. Picked two sandwich bags of blackberries and one of elderberries, so I might be able to make something of those later. Either jam or a crumble.

Not having a computer is so boring.

Watched Shutter Island on BoxOffice the other day, good film, bit of a mindfuck but still well worth watching. Twice. Watched half of Pulp Fiction with Chinese subs, good film, couldn’t get the second half to stream properly but I’ve seen it before. Gonna watch Avatar later, or maybe Up, Watchmen is lying around somewhere too.

I’ve read so many books in the last week, at least 10. I should update my libarything profile with them now that I think about it. The only thing is, most of them are the first in sets, and most of them are aimed at children aged around ten, so I can’t convince myself that buying the next in the sets is a good idea. Faerie Wars was ok, I liked the idea that demons and aliens were the same thing. Midnight for Charlie Bone was was obviously working off Harry Potter vibe and I’d buy the next book if there weren’t eight of them. I read The Windsinger this morning and am now halfway through The Slaves of the Mastery, which is alright I suppose, but the first book only lasted me a couple of hours. Then once I’ve read all those 3 I’ve got THE DIVIDE, whatever that is, and then the next Dwarves book which I never finished, and then the rest of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I also read some books about a family of rag dolls who are living people and I found a copy of Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh in a box set of “classic kids books”, so maybe I’ll go through that again. There’s a few Diana Wynne Jones lying around but I really can’t be bothered with them.

Hmm, I have the book after The Dragonbone Chair somewhere, should find that.

By the time I’m done with that lot, the three books I ordered off Amazon should have arrived! (Neil Gaimen – Stardust, Paul Gallico – Some book about cats and Robert Stroud – Digest on the Diseases of Birds) The bird one is coming all the way from the US though so that might take longer. Tempted to pick up The Painted Tent and a book about mushrooms. Maybe one about bees and one about gardening too. And maybe the rest of the Artemis Fowl series, in hardcover so they look nice on the shelves. (I have.. Four, but I’ve lost the first in the set so I can’t read them!)

Sigh. This is driving me nuts. Send help. :(

Update!

Bought 3 Buddlea off eBay, 6 arrived. Planted two in the garden and shoved the other 4 in a pot until I can think of somewhere to put them, I think I’ll put one in the front with a fushia. My new tomatos are coming up, as are the free pack of Sweet Alyson he sent with them. Must be something about plant growers, they send you free shit…

The spinach is starting to flower (The other day we had spinach pie, spinach salad and pasta with spinach, and that barely dented it) and the cabbages I planted in the bed are huge and perfect, even if there’s no actual cabbage yet. The cabbages I planted in the growbag are still the same size they were when I put them in, and very slug-eaten. I’ve given them up for dead now and I just rolled a wheeliebin over the top of them. I found another two lavender plants clinging to life in random pots, I don’t think they’d even had water since last year, everything else in there was dead except for these two tiny but healthy little lavender plants, I put one in the greenhouse and one in with some hollyhock seeds I found in a drawer and they both seem thankful for it.

The round melon cucumbers are coming up, as are some marigolds and sunflowers. The apple tree flowered and is now thinking about producing apples and the strawberry plants have little green strawberries on. The pear tree hasn’t really done much yet but so long as it’s alive that’s all that matters for now.

Also, if you’re gonna buy a plastic greenhouse, be wary of the zips. They break. I wish we had the money for a real greenhouse but the lad next door would probably throw rocks at it, like he threw rocks at and managed to smash up the one 5 gardens away. (The woman who owned it came and knocked on the door, he opening line was “I hear you have a garden full of wild children, and they’ve smashed up my greenhouse” she wouldn’t believe that it wasn’t us and eventually stormed off looking annoyed.)

Whee!

The second ASOIAF book is awesome. I have the second Dragonbone chair one sitting around somewhere but I can’t be bothered to start it. Unseen Academicals has been sitting on my shelf untouched since Christmas. I might order the third ASOIAF book now so it’s there when I finish this one, it’s split into two parts for the UK market so I’m not sure how that works but oh well.

The chickens are happy and healthy. Emmy jumped into the run yesterday with them but all she did was hump them until I removed her. It wound Lucy up a bit though. Really should get a couple more and they’re still not laying eggs. Eventually I suppose, it must be a surprise for them the first time they do it.

I think I’ll play Altitude for a bit now, I’ve alloted up around 12 hours since the free weekend and I’m really getting way too good at it.

Yawn

Went to the Victorian thing in St.Helens, it was kinda fun. Apparently most of the interesting stuff happened on Saturday, but there was still a table selling good cakes and a room showing a film from 1897 and 1900. All the old horse-drawn and steam-trams. Tera, I woulda bought you a copy if it’d been for sale. ;p It was really interesting, all being narrated by a guy in a wheelchair. Bits of Manchester and Liverpool from 1900 too, all the sailboats and other interesting stuff. I liked how all the trams were sponsered by people like OXO and Hovis, and how it was mad-dangerous to cross a road, even back then. xD

I didn’t win anything in the raffle and we didn’t get to do the tour of the Mayors Parlour because some woman in a big hat shouted at us.

Huh, “Residents from local care homes will be offered transport to join in the activities and share their early Christmas reminiscences with local historians. That explains a lot. There were old people in wheelchairs EVERYWHERE. The room with the tea and cake was worst affected.

That was most of today, anyway. Brother went home at 8 and I got distracted by a book. “Spindle’s End” I found it in the bookcase, it’s a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, a kids book that’s been lying around for years and I’ve never bothered to read. (I think Grandma bought it for me) but it’s quite fun. I like the idea of magic it presents. Something chaotic that people just try and work around, to be avoided if at all possible. Interesting that it hasn’t gotten any ratings above 4 stars, but taking it for what it is, it’s not bad. It filled an evening, started it at around 7pm, it’s 11pm now and I’m about 3/4 of the way through it.

– Go AFK for 5 mins and make yourself a cup of tea!

Now I has mint tea and a gingerbread man! Well, had a gingerbread man. Nom nom :D Half tempted to pay my WoW account again but eh. It doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Left4Dead2 is down to around £18 now. Mysterious commenter, you tried L4D? What did you think of it? I should play it more but I lack motivation and get distracted so easily. I want the new Dwarf Fortress release already… I’m not whining… I want it finished already. xD All the new stuff he’s adding sounds like it’s gonna be shiny awesome. Battle is currently one of the weak points of DF, I’ve found. You encase yourself, lock all the doors, problem solved.

I’ve prodded myself into wanting to play DF again now… Damnit. Think Dragon age, think Dragon Age, think Dragon Age… I’ve gotten pretty far, for me, but I keep putting it down and forgetting to play again. ;D

Full review of book.

Full review of Teen Valour, I’ll get to the end of the book before posting this on the librarything website and I’ll try and post a proper blog post later tonight.

I received this as a review copy but to be honest, this book wasn’t all I thought it was going to be. It started off fine but quickly started to feel very slow. Around 100 pages in I found myself putting it down, overcome by sudden urges to do something, anything else! (On another note, this book has tidied my bedroom and made a wonderful lemon-sponge cake)

At that point I started to get the feeling that the book had stopped moving. Fine, he’d taken charge of a scout troop (And at this point, that’s still all it seems to be, a scout troop with some good resources) but he could have done that at the start of the book just fine, I didn’t feel that he’d grown as a character at all. He’s also got no faults. He’s kind, he’s caring, he does all his homework on time, he humiliates bullies with ease and never loses his temper, all at the same time as managing to come up with amazing plans nobody ever would have thought of and always saving the day. He gets humiliated once or twice but it always feels forced and out-of-character.

Coupled with that, the dialogue is very robotic, it’s rare that a character will say “I’m going out” It’s nearly always “I am going out” “I am feeling better” “She is not going to be happy that she has to have braces.” It feels like all the effort was poured into Adam and all the rest of the characters are being played by the same couple of cheap actors.

My final gripes are that a lot of the sentences sound redundant and names get a bit overused. 120~ pages in you get “Back at home in the cottage Adam’s mother and his sister Gilly insisted that he sat with them-” This is halfway through the book! We know everyone’s names already, you don’t need to keep repeating them. The next few paragraphs (Bottom of Page 135 and top of 136) both contain “No way Adam.” (Sister) and “You must be tired Adam. Do you have any homework that needs completing?” (Mother) This is a conversation between the three of them and it just feels slightly contrived, as if the author feels you’ll forget his name the moment it stops being mentioned in every other sentence and as if he wants to rush past the dialogue and onto the next exciting bit. This doesn’t improve as the book goes on either, sometimes it got so bad I just had to put the book down and take a break out of frustration.

“I know you must be tired, but have you done your homework?”
“Are you tired, Adam? If you haven’t done your homework then maybe you should do it now”
“Did you do your homework while you were away? You’ve had a very long weekend”
“Have you caught up on your homework, Adam? You look exhausted/wrecked/tired/sleepy/just like your great aunt Mary”
– (nearly) all of those would have conveyed the same message but in a much more casual way. I tried to finish the book, I really did, but I just found the speech too distracting. Maybe if I’d read further I would have discovered a plot-twist where it turns out his entire life is a simulation, he’s living in the Matrix and everyone surrounding him is an NPC, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Somewhere under all the faults, with a little more detail of scenery, the dialogue cleaned up by a good editor and the pacing sped up, there’s a good story, but I don’t think it’s entirely there yet. Some younger readers may enjoy it, but I think most adults will expect more.

My back aches

Thing about being allowed to sleep, is that it makes me lazy. That and I don’t have time at 5am to just churn out blog posts. Well, apart from that awesome dream I had, which I had to get up at 3am to write down.

Went shopping today, bought some christmas stuff, stocking fillers for brother. Got Grandma a little digital photoframe for her keyring, she might not be able to see it, but it was cheap, and I will try and find something else for her.

Bought some nice tea too. Ginger root, something else, Turmeric and liquorice root, it’s nice… (Oh look, here it is) Been into ginger tea the last few days, bought it to see if it’d help mum with her feeling sick all the time due to a fucked up stomach, which it does seem to do. That and I need something caffine free and hot to drink. Ginger tea does have a nice kick to it. Oh I bought a new bottle of Lavender oil too, the one I got when I got my nose pierced is finally almost gone.

There was a craft fair on in St.Helens, I bought two very pretty rocks but mum is insisting on wrapping them up for christmas, so no pictures. :p

Mum, Grandma, Granddad, Terence, Tera, Chibi, Johnty (For some reason, the “strike” option won’t stick)

I dunno what mum or granddad want for Christmas, I guess I’ll get him some novelty present, those amuse him and I bought mum a bracelet today but I’ll have to get her some other bits too.

Spoke to Grandma earlier, the stroke left her totally blind in one eye, and mostly blind in the other, and screwed up her short-term memory a bit. Doesn’t look like she’ll ever be allowed to drive again, they’ve given her a white stick and everything. Must be rough on her, she hates having downtime. When her first kid was born, she stayed at home for 3 months then went and begged for her job back, she was so bored, and she’s never really changed from that. Now it looks like she’s gonna be stuck at home for good. She sounded depressed on the phone, and is apparently buying me driving lessons for christmas… Wonder how auntie Jenny is coping on her own now she’s worn Grandma out.

Last note, I started, and finished, Nation last night. It was good. You might wanna look into getting hold of a copy of “Island of the Blue Dolphins“, if you liked it. Not sure if it’s still in print or not, but it’s a sort-of similar story.

Nation was interesting though, just from reading it I probably wouldn’t have known it was a Terry Pratchett book, it was better than that. Not that his stuff is bad, but it’s always very jokey and you know everyone’s gonna pull through in the end and everything’s gonna go back to (sort of) normal. This was different I guess. I liked it.

Bought a book today named “Rise of the Iron Moon” by Stephen Hunt, lets see how that fares.

Your brain has a reset button.

I pressed my reset button. Tonight I’ll go to bed at midnight, get up at 7am tomorrow, do the same for a couple of days before starting again, maybe the sleep dep will kick in properly this time, and I’ll actually stick to the schedule instead of just taking it as a rough guide. ;p As it is, I slept from 9am-5pm today before actually feeling awake.

That book’s ok, it’s fairly interesting, more-so than some things I’ve read, but he’s one of the cases of oversimplification I think, that and he puts way too accurate measurements. His characters would only very rarely say “I’m going to the shop” they always say “I am going to the shop” instead, “It is cold in here” “I have got one of those at home” and “This bit of wood is 4.2 meters long by 2 inches wide”

That and characters always refer to other characters by name, because they’re all robots I guess. “I am going to the shop ALAN” “It is cold in here ALAN” “I have one of those at home ALAN” “This bit of wood is 4.2 meters long ALAN” He’s the main character, you’re his best friend, we know his name, you don’t need to keep repeating it! They do this even when there’s only the two of them in the conversation.

Interestingly, on top of that there’s very little description, he’ll introduce a new character as in “The man walked into the room, he was wearing a suit.” He won’t say what the man or the room looked like unless pushed, at which point he’ll go into OCD detail of stupid little things.

It just doesn’t feel well enough edited, I guess. I’ll stick with it though, see how it goes. If I post a proper review then I get the second book free, maybe it’s better. ;D