Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

This has been a good year overall for books.

I read
184 Books/Short Stories/Novellas
10 Unfinished books
69,086 Pages

I also started using my goodreads account reviews as my reviews here. Copy and Paste. So not exactly sure how much longer this blog will last. Of course, non-goodreads people can see this blog, while only my goodreads friends can see me on goodreads.

I think YOU should join [finger point!!!!!]

001: Resident Evil: Umbrella Conspiracy-S.D. Perry-142
002: Resident Evil: Zero Hour-S.D. Perry-141
003: Lady Penitent: Ascendancy of the Last-Lisa Smedman-214
004: Strain: The Fall-G. Del Toro & Chuck Hogan-267
005: Cirque Du Freak: Vampire Mountain-Darren Shan-109
006: Cirque Du Freak: Trials of Death-Darren Shan-83
007: Cirque Du Freak: Vampire Prince-Darren Shan-122
008: Cirque Du Freak: Hunters of the Dusk-Darren Shan-87
009: Mechwarrior: The Sword and the Dagger-Ardath Mayhar-248
010: Shadows of the Apt: Salute the Dark-Adrian Tchaikovsky-392
011: Artemis Fowl: Eternity Code-Eoin Colfer-163
012: Chromosome 6-Robin Cook-457
013: Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens-Brandon Sanderson-292
014: Shadows of the Apt: Scarab Path-Adrian Tchaikovsky-560
015: Mechwarrior: Decision at Thunder Rift-William Keith-298
016: George's Marvelous Medicine-Roald Dahl-89
017: Atlas Shrugged-Ayn Rand-1360
018: Fisherman's Children: Prodigal Mage-Karen Miller-UNFINISHED
019: Polity: Splatterjay: Voyage of the Sable Keech-Neal Asher-412
020: Bartimaeus: Ring of Solomon-Jonathan Stroud-344
021: Otherland: City of Golden Shadow-Tad Williams-770
022: Cirque Du Freak: Allies of the Night-Darren Shan-130
023: Dresden Files: Blood Rites-Jim Butcher-344
024: Mechwarrior: Mercenary's Star-William Keith-371
025: Shadow War: Shadow Moon-Chris Claremont-UNFINISHED
026: The Two Jungle Books-Rudyard Kipling-309
027: Castle Brass: Count Brass-Michael Moorcock-83
028: Ranger's Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan-John Flanagan-195
029: Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief-Rick Riordan-237
030: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters-Rick Riordan-181
031: Mechwarrior: Price of Glory-William Keith-327
032: Arthurian Saga: Crystal Cave-Mary Stewart-338
033: Anne of Green Gables-Lucy Montgomery-309
034: Otherland: River of Blue Fire-Tad Williams-768
035: Percy Jackson: The Titan's Curse-Rick Riordan-196
036: Ranger's Apprentice: The Burning Bridge-John Flanagan-212
037: Castle Brass: Champions of Garathorm-Michael Moorcock-80
038: Shadowmarch: Shadowheart-Tad Williams-738
039: Star Wars: Clone Wars: Gambit: Siege-Karen Miller-UNFINISHED
040: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Allies-Christie Golden-314
041: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex-Troy Denning-360
042: The Wheel of Time: Strike at Shayol Ghul & Ravens-Robert Jordan-35
043: Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Purgatory-John Miller-30
044: Once A Hero-Michael Stackpole-513
045: Percy Jackson: Battle of the Labyrinth-Rick Riordan-243
046: Wheel of Time: New Spring-Robert Jordan-317
047: Malazan Book of the Fallen: The Crippled God-Steven Erikson-953
048: Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land-John Flanagan-222
049: Ranger's Apprentice: Battle for Skandia-John Flanagan-238
050: Wheel of Time: Eye of the World-Robert Jordan-702
051: Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass-Tad Williams-749
052: Discworld: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents-Terry Pratchett-170
053: Percy Jackson: The Last Olympian-Rick Riordan-234
054: Starship: Mutiny-Mike Resnick-163
055: Cirque Du Freak: Killers of the Dawn-Darren Shan-129
056: Cirque Du Freak: Lake of Souls-Darren Shan-161
057: Castle Brass: Quest For Tanelorn-Michael Moorcock-80
058: Wheel of Time: The Great Hunt-Robert Jordan-618
059: Lolita-Vladimir Nabokov-363
060: Otherland: Sea Of Silver Light-Tad Williams-1002
061: Pet Sematatary-Stephen King-411
062: Mechwarrior: Warrior: En Garde-Michael Stackpole-388
063: Moby Dick-Herman Melville-UNFINISHED
064: Hull Zero Three-Greg Bear-256
065: The Magicians-Lev Grossman-390
066: The Day of the Triffids-John Wyndham-196
067: Wheel of Time: The Dragon Reborn-Robert Jordan-595
068: Cirque Du Freak: Lord of the Shadows-Darren Shan-97
069: Cirque Du Freak: Sons of Destiny-Darren Shan-125
070: Dresden Files: Dead Beat-Jim Butcher-386
071: Polity: Splatterjay: Orbus-Neal Asher-361
072: Ranger's Apprentice: Sorcerer of the North-John Flanagan-230
073: Ranger's Apprentice: Siege of Macindaw-John Flanagan-236
074: Memory, Sorrow and Thorn: The Dragonbone Chair-Tad Williams-824
075: Starhammer-Christopher Rowley-277
076: Star Wars: Knight Errant-John Miller-310
077: Memory, Sorrow and Thorn: The Stone of Farewell-Tad Williams-727
078: Resident Evil: Caliban Cove-S.D. Perry-134
079: Asian Saga: Tai-Pan-James Clavell-655
080: Emerald Eyes-Daniel Moran-217
081: Starship: Pirate-Mike Resnick-165
082: Malaz: Bauchelain and Korbal Broach-Steven Erikson-180
083: Malaz: Crack'd Pot Trail-Steven Erikson-154
084: Polity: Prador Moon-Neal Asher-173
085: Abolethic Sovereignty: Plague of Spells-Bruce Cordell-290
086: Wheel of Time: The Shadow Rising-Robert Jordan-907
087: Acacia: The Other Lands-David Durham-504
088: Discworld: Thud!-Terry Pratchett-297
089: 5 Novels-Daniel Pinkwater-648
090: Ranger's Apprentice: Erak's Ransom-John Flanagan-327
091: Memory, Sorrow and Thorn: To Green Angel Tower-Tad Williams-1374
093: Bards of Bone Plain-Patricia McKillip-329
094: Abolethic Sovereignty: City of Torment-Bruce Cordell-UNFINISHED
095: Polity: Hilldigger-Neal Asher-505
096: Cobra War: Cobra Guardian-Timothy Zahn-388
097: Green Rider: Blackveil-Kristen Britain-773
098: Dark Angel: Before the Dawn-Max Collins-291
099: Ranger's Apprentice: Kings of Clonmel-John Flanagan-357
100: Ranger's Apprentice: Halt's Peril-John Flanagan-348
101: The Last Day-Glen Kleier-484
102: Wheel of Time: The Fires of Heaven-Robert Jordan-877
103: Grimm Dragonblaster: A Mage In The Making-Alistair Archibald-264
104: Star Wars: Old Republic: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Sentinel-John Miller-27
105: T2: Infiltrator-S.M. Stirling-513
106: Star Wars: Old Republic: Deceived-Paul Kemp-348
107: Time Traders-Andre Norton-400
108: Starship: Mercenary-Mike Resnick-338
109: WWW: Wake-Robert Sawyer-388
110: Vlad Taltos: Orca-Steven Brust-313
111: Tiffany Aching: The Wee Free Men-Terry Pratchett-289
112: Dresden Files: Proven Guilty-Jim Butcher-557
113: Tiffany Aching: A Hat Full Of Sky-Terry Pratchett-299
114: Wheel of Time: Lord of Chaos-Robert Jordan-1223
115: The Count of Monte Cristo: Unabridged-Alexandre Dumas-1606
116: Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught-Jack Campbell-420
117: Tiffany Aching: Wintersmith-Terry Pratchett-341
118: Night Angel: Perfect Shadow-Brent Weeks-70
119: Dark Angel: Skin Game-Max Collins-UNFINISHED
120: Lyra: Shadow Magic-Patricia Wrede-256
121: Malaz: Stonewielder-Ian Esslemont-640
122: T2: Rising Storm-S.M. Stirling-384
123: Ranger's Apprentice: Emperor of Nihon-Ja- John Flanagan-438
124: Riyria Revelations: Wintertide- Michael Sullivan-332
125: Wheel of Time: A Crown of Swords-Robert Jordan-896
126: So You Want To Be A Wizard-Diane Duane-408
127: WWW: Watch-Robert Sawyer-368
128: The New Age Movement and the Illuminati 666-William Josiah Sutton-UNFINISHED
129: The Iron Druid Chronicles: Hounded-Kevin Hearne-239
130: T2: The Future War-S.M. Stirling-368
131: Imperium: Mech-B.V. Larson-328
132: Imperium: Mech 2-B.V. Larson-252
133: Neuromancer-William Gibson-288
134: What It Is Like To Go To War-Karl Malantes-256
135: Book of the Elements: The Legions of Fire-David Drake-368
136: Broken Empire: Prince of Thorns-Mark Lawrence-336
137: Destroyermen: Into the Storm-Taylor Anderson-400
138: Destroyermen: Crusade-Taylor Anderson-400
139: The Hourglass Door-Lisa Mangum-400
140: The Eternal Champion-Michael Moorcock-484
141: Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pantheon-John Miller-34
142: Sandkings-George RR Martin-80
143: Lyra: Daughter of Witches-Patricia Wrede-304
144: Polity: Shadow of the Scorpion-Neal Asher-250
145: Stealing Light-Gary Gibson-441
146: Wheel of Time: Path of Daggers-Robert Jordan-705
147: Videssos: An Emperor for the Legion-Harry Turtledove-336
148: Germline-T.C. McCarthy-UNFINISHED
149: A Room with a View-E.M. Forster-231
150: Star Dragon-Mike Brotherton-352
151: Time Traders II-Andre Norton-384
152: The Hobbit-J.R.R. Tolkien-256
153: Battlestar Galactica-Jeffrey Carver-269
154: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Conviction-Aaron Allston-367
155: Black Magician: Magicians Guild-Trudi Canavan-384
156: The Iron Druid Chronicles: Hexed-Kevin Hearne-246
157: Jumper-Steven Gould-345
158: Asian Saga: Gai-Jin-James Clavell-1248
159: Maze Runner-James Dashner-336
160: Killer-Karl Wagner & David Drake-193
161: Finity-John Barnes-303
162: Ranger's Apprentice: Lost Stories-John Flanagan-352
163: The Viscount & the Witch-Michael Sullivan-28
164: Shadows of the Apt: The Sea Watch-Adrian Tchaikovsky-586
165: Steel and Other Stories-Richard Matheson-320
166: The Story of My Experiments with Truth-Mahatma Gandhi-UNFINISHED
167: Wheel of Time: Winter's Heart-Robert Jordan-560
168: The Heir: Warrior Heir-Cinda Chima-272
169: The Horus Heresy: Horus Rising-Dan Abnett-295
170: The Owner: Departure-Neal Asher-352
171: Star Wars: Choices of One-Timothy Zahn-384
172: Underworld-Greg Cox-302
173: The Walking Drum-Louis L'Amour-480
174: Discworld: Making Money-Terry Pratchett-400
175: Destroyermen: Maelstrom-Taylor Anderson-400
176: Dresden Files: White Night-Jim Butcher-376
177: Timeline-Michael Crichton-436
178: Jumper: Reflex-Steven Gould-310
179: The Walls of the Universe-Paul Melko-301
180: The Onuissance Cells-Steve Jordan-162
181: Polity: The Technician-Neal Asher-391
182: Wardstone: Kings, Queens, Heroes & Fools-M.R. Mathias-500
183: Wheel of Time: Crossroads of Twilight-Robert Jordan-672
184: Seven Realms: The Demon King-Cinda Chima-340
185: Seven Realms: The Exiled Queen-Cinda Chima-402
186: Seven Realms: The Gray Wolf Throne-Cinda Chima-399
187: The Heir: The Wizard Heir-Cinda Chima-315
188: American Gods-Neil Gaiman-560
189: Spice and Wolf Book 1-Isuna Hasekura-UNFINISHED
190: The Dragon and the George-Gordon Dickson-243
191: The Iron Druid Chronicles: Hammered-Kevin Hearne-273
192: Lyra: Harp of Imach Thyssel-Patricia Wrede-308
193: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension-Christie Golden-382
194: Dune-Frank Herbert-535

December '11

TimelineTimeline by Michael Crichton

Dtb, 436 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read May 2001
Reread December 2011

While this was no Jurassic Park, I certainly enjoyed this much more than Congo, Prey and definitely a lot more than that horrible State of Fear.

Time travel, medieval settings, modern wussies getting some culture shock, kickass fighting, it all came together to entertain me.

Now I want to watch the movie, even though that was a real bastardization of this novel...

ReflexReflex by Steven Gould

Ebook, 310 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A more mature Davy and his wife go through a horrifying ordeal.

This was a fully thought out novel, with the consequences mapped out for someone who is a teleport like Davy.

It rang true, not over the top comic book style, and held my attention. Definitely be reading the third book.

The Walls of the Universe (Universe, #1)The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko

Ebook, 301 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One John was a complete dickhead at the beginning and ended up maturing into a better man.

Another John was a naive farmboy who grew into a very smart and capable man.

Both stories are a side of a multisided coin and it is quite the coin!

The Onuissance CellsThe Onuissance Cells by Steve Jordan

Ebook, 162 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blah, blah, blah.

A bunch of preachy short stories. Given, my view of the author is biased by my passing acquaintance with him on some online forums, but this just seemed very heavy handed.

The TechnicianThe Technician by Neal Asher

Ebook, 391 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blood, guts, Jain tech and Atheters!

Another excellent addition to the Polity Universe.

Kings, Queens, Heroes, & FoolsKings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools by M.R. Mathias

Ebook, 500 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some crude humor, some very unpolished writing [I am almost tempted to ask my cousin, who is a professional editor to go over this for my own enjoyment. I just can't afford her] but a really good follow up story to The Sword and the Dragon.

I did not see the death of one of the characters near the end coming. While it simplifies and cleans up the plot for the next book, it kind of seemed like an easy out.

But I really did enjoy this story. A good solid fantasy novel and I am looking forward to the final book in this trilogy.

Crossroads of Twilight (Wheel of Time, #10)Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan

Ebook, 672 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have to admit, I am enjoying seeing Perrin pushed to the edge, and a little beyond. He really needs to "grow" but the only way is to force him along certain paths.

I find Matt's acceptance of his fate, in regards to the daughter of the nine moons, very unlike him. He always seems to have fought being forced to do anything, and now he is just going along with it?

The Demon King (Seven Realms Series #1)The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 340 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this. More than Chima's "Heir" series.

Medieval settings always help though. And the idea of magic being like any other "tool", ie it can be totally misused and have long term bad consequences for the world, was interesting.

She definitely has a "thing" against magic users.

The Exiled Queen (The Seven Realms Series)The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 402 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story continues.

Action, intrigue, character growth, good writing, clean writing, all combine to make a good series.

The Gray Wolf ThroneThe Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 399 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series gets better and better!
And all this time I was under the impression it was a trilogy so imagine my surprise when I get to the end of the book and realize it isn't the end!
I certainly don't see Chima wrapping up everything in 1 book, but she could just leave certain things undone, or for possible future series.
Either way, I am looking forward to the next book.

The Wizard Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #2)The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 315 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did not enjoy this as much as The Warrior Heir. Mainly because the protagonist had to do a lot more hiding, less "actiony" stuff than in Warrior Heir.

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

Ebook, 560 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this on a mental level, but had so many issues with Gaiman's world philosophy that I had to completely compartmentalize while reading this.

Well written, very interesting ideas and quite the con game. I can see why many people would like this book. It tells a dramatic, gripping story and looks at American through non-American eyes, but without all the anti-imperial bullshit so common in many modern European writings [which is SO hypocritical that I want to puke sometimes].

Now, the quick philosophical look. This is philosophy 101 for the lazy. which is why it is so popular. Take an idea that has been around for 1000's of years, modernize it, streamline it, rub off all the hard edges, everything that actually makes you think, and voila, you have a wonderful philosophical "idea".

Which is great for your a-typical modern human in a first world country who refuses to look at logic and philosophy as a logical school of thought.

All these slams are not slams on the book, but on the intended audience. I think Gaiman wrote a perfect piece for his audience. Pseudo-psychology, some darkness to scare us, some big warm fuzzies to warm us up.

Spice & Wolf, Book 1Spice & Wolf, Book 1 by Isuna Hasekura

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Boring! Could not finish.

The Dragon and the GeorgeThe Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson

Ebook, 243 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually read a scanned copy on my ereader.

This reminded me, a lot, of the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenburg. But this was SO much better.
We only have to deal with 1 coward/douchebag and by the end he's not a douchebag anymore, just a dummie.[unlike the Guardian series, where there is a group and they are still pretty much complete jerks even after several books]
This was a nice fun read that went quickly and gave me an hours enjoyment. I have high hopes that the rest of the series will be as fun.

Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3)Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Ebook, 273 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This will be the final book I read in this series; it just pushed the irreligious button too hard for me to ignore anymore.

Anyway, w1z3 0l dru1d g3ts tog3th3r with palz and goez aftuh Th0000r!

and they kill Thor and a whole ton of the viking pantheon.

this struck me as odd. If they could do this, why hadn't other groups assembled and there been war "in the heavens", as it were? And using Thor as an example of a "killer" god who ruined countless lives? What about some of those hindu gods? It just seemed capricious on the part of the author to pick Thor, like he wanted to use the title and wrote a story around that.

Anyway, done with this series. No more interest even when other books do come out.

The Harp of Imach ThysselThe Harp of Imach Thyssel by Patricia C. Wrede

Ebook, 308 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Best book in the Lyra series so far. I actually found myself wanting to read more, unlike the previous books where I just kind of slogged through.

I am not sure why the change in attitude for me. On the surface, this was in the EXACT same vein as the others. It strikes me more as an Andre Norton book than a Wrede book.

I enjoyed it and now have a slightly better outlook for the final books in the series.

Ascension (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, #8)Ascension by Christie Golden

Ebook, 382 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So many different threads being woven. I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster. As soon as one crisis is over, another one IMMEDIATELY pops up and then whammo, time for our heroes to jump into action again.

I like Luke, Leia and Han and the host of the original characters. Some of the newer people are ok, ie, Jaina, Jag, Tahiri, but most of the characters seem to be there as props.

The Sith. What a joke. What a phracking joke! Where are the ysalamari [excuse the spelling]? Why aren't they blanketing Coruscant? They are a HUGE tool to use against force users and you would think that the non-force users would have realized this by now.

Abeloth-it morphs once again into the perfect boogeyman for the writers to use without having to think very much. I am resigned to it sticking around to the end.

Overall, this series is my last I'm buying in the Starwars EU. While I enjoy parts and bits, the overall isn't as fun or as good as say, Zahn, Stackpole or Allston.

Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)Dune by Frank Herbert

Dtb, 535 Pages
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first time that I have read Dune in short chunks. I usually read the whole book over a weekend and gorge myself on it.

I had a completely deeper reading by going slow. I don't think I'll ever read this way again, because it wasn't nearly as an enjoyable action story as when read in one chunk.

Herbert tones down his usually dense cryptic philosophical psycho-babble and gives us a story that almost anyone can enjoy.

Freewill, prophecy, love, genetics, time/space, guiding forces, pre-destination, all collide together on a single planet to tell a story about a young man who must face his destiny while averting a horrible future all the while being manipulated by forces outside his immediate control[at the beginning of the book].

There are books that I might enjoy more than Dune, but I have yet to find one that holds up to so many rereads or to find a book that still resonates with me even as I change because of life experiences. This would be a book I would choose to take with me to a deserted island.

Monthly Summary
17 Novels
1 Unfinished Novel
6529 Pages

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November '11

The Lost StoriesThe Lost Stories by John Flanagan

Ebook, 352 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Flanagan did a great job with this book. Sometimes a collection of short stories will just fall flat and leave you feeling bleh. Not this one though.

Flanagan packed each story chock full of what I've come to expect from the RA Series-adventure, fun, a tiny bit of mystery and suspense and a good ending.

I was a little confused at the first, with the whole archeological thing, but it quickly made sense. Just the first couple of pages made me wonder if I'd gotten a bad ebook or something.

The Viscount and the Witch (The Riyria Chronicles Short #1)The Viscount and the Witch by Michael J. Sullivan

Ebook, 28 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story was over before I even got my head around that it was starting. That was my only complaint-too short :D

Really neat intro to Royce and Hadrian and "their" noble. Now I REALLY want the final book, sigh...

The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt, #6)The Sea Watch by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Ebook, 586 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seems like it is Stenwold Maker against the entire Kinden world. I feel pretty bad for the poor guy. Everything seems to go wrong for him.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Not quite as much as the previous books, but I think the Wasp Empire makes a fantastic antagonist, and the underwater kinden made me feel kind of creepy/crawly and Tchaikovsky's descriptions made ME feel claustrophobic.

I have to say, it sure would be nice if somebody besides Stenwold became the major character. I just have this image of an 80 year old tottering around. I know that isn't accurate, but from the descriptions in previous books, that is how I see him.

Looking forward, with great anticipation, to the next book, Heirs to the Blade[I think that is the name].

Steel: And Other StoriesSteel: And Other Stories by Richard Matheson

Dtb, 320 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Matheson seems to see the worst in humanity and to spray that about.
I think every story was about a human being being irrational in one form or another.

I enjoyed these,[there was comic relief, even if in a bitter form] but would not want to read lots of books like this one right after the other. It would be too much.

The Story of My Experiments With TruthThe Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I simply gave up around page 300.

I didn't know much about Gandhi except that he was a pacifist and helped free India. So I wanted to find out more about him. What better way than to read the man's own words about his life? So I went in with vim and vigor, ready to learn.

I got bogged down in details that didn't mean anything to me [he wrote about current Indian authority figures like I might toss off a comment about Britney Spears].

He routinely came across as a complete prick, ie, he would almost scold the reader to do, or not do, some particular line of action simply because he, Gandhi, recommended it.[this is/was a time period thing. I've read several other pieces of non-fiction by like people from that time and it is just how they write. Still pisses me off though]. He also had no problems denying people the same benefits that he had had[college, job opportunities, etc] if the alternative was an "experiential" growing thing-ie, he denied formal education to his children because he thought they would be better off simply "knowing" people and how life worked.

He routinely acted like an authority on a subject that he had an interest in, based upon 1 or 2 instances-ie, he decries doctors, and then goes on to talk about a plague that he helped deal with and how he used some alternative medicine [doctors and him were both ineffective in that case]. It was not a case of "I found X to work for me and if you feel like it, you can try it", it really came across more as "I like X, you should use X too. It might work, it might not, but it is better than anything else".

False humility? This one I'm not sure of to be honest. He comes across as very humble in many instances, but there are flashes of extreme arrogance or ignoring certain facts that made me really wonder just how much his writing hid. Given, we all self-deceive to one degree or another [and in most cases, it isn't purposeful, we humans are simply blind to our own faults], but for a self-professed "seeker of truth" to say some of the things he did, it did not jive with humility.
But that is the kind of thing you cannot accurately judge unless you've met the person.

His wife. His poor, poor, wife. I don't know if she should be considered a saint for putting up with Gandhi, or what. Abandoned for months or years at a time while he pursues social equality in South Africa [for Indians], constantly told that material possessions are meaningless, that sex has no part in love, and in a nutshell, told that anything she wants must be subsumed to the greater good of the Indian Cause.

And that is the main reason I stopped reading. Gandhi seems to advocate the collective over the individual. And he was a prick and wicked boring. Now I am completely disillusioned with him.

I predict it will be years before I attempt another autobiography of anyone after this.

Winter's Heart (Wheel of Time, #9)Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan

Ebook, 560 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read June 2001
Re-read November 2011.

What a difference 10 years makes. First off, I've got the final book in my hands in the next couple of months. Second, I'm reading a WoT book a month instead of a year[or 2 or 3] and I think that is just about the right amount of time.

Most of this was completely new to me because I think I stopped the first time when I realized the series wasn't at its end. I enjoyed this. Same compliments, same complaints as the previous books.
And the cleansing of Saidin was pretty cool. It did make me wonder just how strong/weak the Forsaken actually are. And if they couldn't deal with Rand and Co, why did the original Aes Sedai have such trouble?

The Warrior Heir (Heir Series #1)The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 272 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this.

Not much of a review, I know, but it was fun, with just the right amount of danger and uncertainty to spice it up.

And no ***** werewolves or vamps [sparkly or otherwise]...

Horus Rising (Warhammer 40,000) (The Horus Heresy, #1)Horus Rising (Warhammer 40,000) by Dan Abnett

Ebook, 295 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While a very action packed, gruesome story, I kept waiting for the "Heresy" to show itself, and it never did.

Also, logistics. A space force that is dealing with at least 3 different forms of humanity would not have integrated walkways/doorways/whatever for all 3 subspecies, it simply would be cost prohibitive.

And every bloody "hero" is always godlike, or nearly godlike. I felt like I was reading the Iliad or something. Frack that...

The DepartureThe Departure by Neal Asher

Ebook, 352 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Non-polity universe.

But blood and guts GALORE! I kind of found it over the top. And the whole mental "aha, I found a new trick that I can use until you figure out how to counter it" was used enough that it detracted from my enjoyment.

Would certainly not recommend as a first Neal Asher book. hardcore fans only.

Star Wars: Choices of OneStar Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn

Ebook, 384 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zahn brings some much needed polished writing to the Star Wars universe. I actually put the book down when I got tired so that I would be able to understand what he was writing.[and yes, that is a good thing]

I had fun reading this, a bit more than I had reading Star Wars Allegiance, not sure why though. Seemed to have more action than I remember in Allegiance.

Glad I bought this one...

Underworld (Underworld, #1)Underworld by Greg Cox

Ebook, 302 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you really liked the movie, you'll probably enjoy this.

I thought the movie was a good action romp, but the book was just plain dull.

I had all three books on tap to read, but after this, I'm not going to waste my time, it is just mediocre pablum.

The Walking DrumThe Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour

Dtb, 480 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Instead of stereotyping westerns here, Louis L'Amour does medieval Europe.

It was fun, but it got kind of tiring having the hero bash Europe, praise the Middle East, learn EVERYTHING in about 2 days, and get into a new kind of danger at the end of every chapter.

So it was a typical L'Amour :D

Making Money (Discworld, #36)Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Ebook, 400 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe the "Occupy Wallstreet" people should have read this before camping out and pooping in the parks ;)

Anyway, a very humorous look at the banking system, Anhk-Morpork style. We get good old Moist Von Lipwig[who I am enjoying immensely] and some more Vetinari stuff. He's the best kind of tyrant :D

And I actually found the little annoying dog funny too! Which means Pratchett wrote this well, cause I NEVER find annoying little dogs funny...

Maelstrom (Destroyermen Series #3)Maelstrom by Taylor Anderson

Ebook, 400 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, with it's very large battle at the end, but it wasn't as riveting as the previous book nor did I feel the excitement.

Taylor Anderson opens up enough extra cans that we know this could be a lengthy series[thankfully book 6!!! came out just as I was getting into this. Better not be as long as the Wheel of Time series though!]

I am not a big fan of alt/whatever, but this is keeping my interest. I do wish Anderson wouldn't speechify so much though. Sometimes I feel like I'm re-reading the previous book as characters "remember" scads of info.

White Night (The Dresden Files, #9)White Night by Jim Butcher

Ebook, 376 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Harry is stronger, badder and more kickass than he has ever been.

And we still get to hear lots of whining. But I do like that there are now more bad guy options.

13 Novels
1 Short Story
1 Unfinished Novel
5107 Pages

Monday, October 31, 2011

October '11

SandkingsSandkings by George R.R. Martin

Ebook, 80 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually only read the short story "Sandkings", not the entire book of short stories.

Anyway, what a deliciously gruesome story. It made me shiver with macabre delight :D

Daughter of WitchesDaughter of Witches by Patricia C. Wrede

Ebook, 304 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Way, way, way, way to slow. I felt like I was wading through molasses to get the story. It was there, but barely.

Shadow of the ScorpionShadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher

Ebook, 250 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoy Asher's Polity universe, this particular Agent Cormac prequel had enough graphic sexual content that I couldn't recommend it or truly enjoy it.

Lots of bloody action though.

Stealing LightStealing Light by Gary Gibson

Ebook, 441 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Didn't work for me at all. Came across as a mix of cyberpunk and wannabe Neal Asher, and failed.

The Path of Daggers (Wheel of Time, #8)The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

Ebook, 704 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read September 2000

Re-read October 2011

Oct 2011 Review:

My initial remembrance of Path of Daggers is nothing happens and everyone is a bitch.

My reread confirms that, but with some very serious upgrades in like-ability. This was a setup book. Not a good book to read when first released, but when you've got the books after, you don't feel the pressure.

So many different storylines, lots of things happen but without resolving anything while introducing more questions. I had to make myself not immediately read the next book and wait until November.

An Emperor for the LegionAn Emperor for the Legion by Harry Turtledove

Ebook, 336 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am now convinced Turtledove is a closet homosexual and afraid to say so.

I mean, two guys with "magic swords" "cross blades" and they are transported to another world? And in this book, they are afraid to "fight near each other" because they don't know "what might happen if their blades cross again?". Yeah, you don't need to be a board certified Psychologist to figure that one out. Harry, just say you want some sweet manlove and be done with it.

Other than that, this series so far has bored me to death. Very little magic, domestic troubles, etc, etc. Why no just read Roman Homemakers Monthly?

GermlineGermline by T.C. McCarthy

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I got through 38% of this book and then just gave up in despair. It never got better.

If you like a reject of a human who can't be a responsible adult OD'ing on drugs and describing in detail his vomiting/withdrawal sessions, then you have got to read this book.

A Room with a ViewA Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Ebook, 231 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good book showing the complete and utter hypocrisy of an age.

The way time shifted around took some getting used to, and I'd want to read this again, so as to figure out what went on in the "blank" spaces between chapters or breaks.

Glad that it went against the grain and turned out ok in the end.

Star DragonStar Dragon by Mike Brotherton

Ebook, 352 Pages
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I am SO sick of women hating, irresponsible men and women who are either complete bitches or rugs.

And we get them all in spades here. Plus tons of boring info dumps that do not advance the story but simply seem to be there so the author can wax eloquent on his pet hobby.

Time Traders II: The Defiant Agents & Key Out of TimeTime Traders II: The Defiant Agents & Key Out of Time by Andre Norton

Ebook, 384 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First story bordered on the "ignorant rascism" for me, but maybe that is because I'm a product of the times and am overly sensitive [I suspect that is true].

Second story was more in the vein of the Time Traders I was used to. Enjoyed it very much.

The Hobbit or There and Back AgainThe Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien

Dtb, 256 Pages
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read June 2000

Re-read October 2011


I grew up on the Hobbit. I read it on trips, wrote a lengthy [for a highschooler] paper on the Hobbit and Tolkien, had it read to our class by a college professor and just generally loved it.

So when I saw a goodreads friend doing his annual LotR read, I thought to myself, "Derrick, it has been over a decade and you need to read Tolkien again".

This was aimed at children, and the little authorial asides reflect that, but with such gentle wit and clever wording, that it didn't feel "little kid'ish", or even young adult. But those groups, and adults, could both fully get into the story and love it.

There was adventure, action, thrills, quiet reflective moments, moralizing and a happy ending. And it was well written. At no time did I have to reread a sentence or a paragraph to try to figure out what the author was saying. It was clear, concise and straight-forward.

Completely and highly recommended to anyone who likes fantasy.

Battlestar GalacticaBattlestar Galactica by Jeffrey A. Carver

Ebook, 269 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A blanket word for word, action for action novelization of the miniseries and first couple of episodes [I think...].
Don't bother reading this. Just go watch the series, it is better on the screen.

Conviction (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, #7)Star Wars Fate of the Jedi #7: Conviction by Aaron Allston

Ebook, 367 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was tempted to give this book 4 stars, but then I realized it was because the previous books [by Denning and Golden] were so mediocre.However, Allston does a good job of writing an action novel here. I enjoyed almost every chapter.

My only gripe was when Boba Fett rescues Daala. It just didn't seem to make sense. Mando's rescuing her, I could see. She had sent them a lot of work recently. But Fett personally rescuing her just smacked of Name Dropping

The idea of Abeloth hasn't gotten any more palatable. It is still a big made up boojum that is a dumb literary device employed by Lucas Books. I still think a WHOLE FRAKKING PLANET FULL of Sith is more than enough for a series of this length [but I've said that in earlier reviews, so I'll try to not say it anymore]

Magicians' GuildMagicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

Ebook, 384 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this. Not sure it actually deserves a 4 star rating, because everything was a bit simplistic as far as I was concerned and the 'badguy' wasn't so bad, at least until you realize he truly is small potatoes compared to the reveal at the end. Now that was cool!

Definitely going to be reading the whole trilogy...

Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #2)Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Ebook, 246 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know, while I enjoyed this overall, several things made me glad I'm not paying hardcover prices for these.

Kinky sex. Why is it everytime Atticus jumps in the sack with some goddess who can destroy him, that it is abnormal? Either the actual act [sex magic to fix his ear? anyone?] or it is just a ruse by one deity on another? And then the apprentice. Atticus has sex, lots and lots it seems, with immortal beings of unearthly appeal.
AND HE CAN'T EVEN LOOK AT HIS APPRENTICE? Geez, what exactly is in his tea, stupid?

Along with that, I understand that the author is trying to make him relevant by giving him 21st century lingo and attitude. But just like in the first book, it doesn't work for me because it is outside the normal parameters of the human psyche. People DO NOT CHANGE on demand. Just look at an older relative [or yourself as the case may be] to see how humans adjust to change. Some do better than others, given, but 2100 years of constant change will destroy a human unless they have an inner core identity [and most people don't have a strong enough core to stand up to 2100 years.]

Thirdly, pop culture references. Pop culture changes to fast and to often to make so many references. Some went over my head. In 5-10 years[barely an eyeblink in literary terms], the target audience of this book will have little to no clue to at least half of the references. They are amusing to you and me, but will be a killer for anyone down the road. I know these are not meant to be ageless tomes alongside of Dickens and Dostoyevsky, but still, show a little longterm pride.

Ok, now that I've written everything I didn't like, here's my like.

Vampires trying to swear/talk slang. I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

Overall, a good action story. Lose the sex and faked "will he or won't he" romance angle and you have an enjoyable man story.

JumperJumper by Steven Gould

Ebook, 345 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I went into this expecting a simple ya scifi oriented story. This is so much more!

It is more of a coming of age than an adventure story. Davy goes from a young man scared for his life to a man dealing with love, hatred, fear, revenge and duty.

Very well done.

Gai-JinGai-Jin by James Clavell

Ebook, 1248 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a sprawling book. Not sure what to say.

I guess it will be interesting to see what the next book is like, since I couldn't see where the Noble House is going...

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Ebook, 336 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The not knowing, the non-omniscience of the narrator, it all worked together to keep me interested.

I kept wanting to KNOW what was happening, what had happened and what was going to happen.

KillerKiller by David Drake

Ebook, 193 Pages
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Could really have been predator. But the main protagonist, the hunter, I wished he had died.

Shallow and boring.

FinityFinity by John Barnes

Dtb, 303 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Monthly Summary
18 Novels
1 Short Story
1 Unfinished Novel
7029 Pages