Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Book 30 of 2017 is Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik.

My American friends have spoken about her so many times that I had to read something about this kick-ass female Supreme Court justice.

This was not what I expected. It wasn't a biased biography saying everything about her is perfect but instead a lot of facts, quotes and citations about a very smart woman.

It is great to have another strong, brilliant role model.

4 dissents out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. Yes. Yes. She's a strong woman who lived a challenging life as she paved the way for women.
What did I learn? Times, they are a changin'.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Dwarves

This book does not count towards my Read Books for 2017 because after 427 of 733 pages (or 59%) and 7 months elapsed in which I read 30 other books, I am throwing in the towel. This is not a book that I can finish.

As a typical Tolkien fan, the blurb for this book appealed greatly. Reviews were good and even the D&D community were stoked at the series. I kept wanting to buy it but refused to pay the $40ish price tag that is the norm for 7-800 pagers.

I plowed through about 200 pages before it became monotonous and predictable. Chapter after chapter was the same and nothing made me want to persist other than my insistence on finishing what I start.

Alas, not this time.

This is not a good book and is one I will give one star too. I do not recommend it.

Hopeless Magic

Book 30 of 2017 is Hopeless Magic from the Star-Crossed series the by Rachel Higginson.

I read the first book from this series a month ago and enjoyed it enough to want to read the second book.

After finishing this arduous read with a whining teenage girl and her band of merry teenage men chasing her along with the "once you have sex you are bonded for life" message, I was glad it ended. There will be no more reading from this conservative non-subtle instruction on how young women cause trouble by speaking their minds and should think carefully of who they will marry because he owns you forever.

It. Was. Painful.

This had to have been written by a middle aged suburban housewife who wished she had never married her boring muggle husband.

1 spoilt Omaha teenage victim out of 5.

Should I read this? No. The first book ends implying more lies ahead in this book but nothing does.
What did I learn? First books in a series should be standalone.


Book 29 of 2017 is Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly.

Reilly's book are my go to light, no challenge travel books that are available in airport book stores.

Having enjoyed Ice Station from the Scarecrow series and Temple (not in a series AFAIK) for being adventurous and having aliens or magic, I was hoping Scarecrow would be in the same vein. Unfortunately, this is all military fighting mercenaries all for a crazed evil genius with sharks with fricken LASER beams.

It was an easy read which is good for 38 horrid hours of travel but it had no aliens and magic. This was a little like the time I went to see the movie Lincoln when I thought I was going to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I was 30 minutes in to the movie when I asked my friend when the vampires were going to come in. He of course laughed hysterically in a full cinema.

This book was a little like that.

If you are in to fast cars, helicopters, gun, ammunition and faster than sound airplanes then this is the book for you. If not, it's an easy enough read with some twists.

3 escapes from the jaws of death out of 5.

Should I read this? Only if you're taking a long plane flight and you don't need to use your brain.
What did I learn? Everything this taught me about military weapons, I have already forgotten.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Waiter to the Rich and Shameless: Confessions of a Five-Star Beverly Hills Server

Book 28 of 2017 is Waiter to the Rich and Shameless: Confessions of a Five-Star Beverly Hills Server by Paul Hartford.

I enjoyed the dirt on celebrities but couldn't find a way to like the main character.

It felt like he knew his wife would be reading it so he didn't tell the whole truth about everything - especially the sex, drugs and whatever else he'd roll.

This was not the book I was hoping for and although I did recommend it to a friend of mine who may enjoy the elitist food and drink attitudes, it isn't one I'd say anyone should read.

One thing I did enjoy was his attitude towards service and the pride he initially took in his job. It is an ethos I share so it was enjoyable to work through as he articulated his learning.

2 Grey Goose and sodas out of 5.

Should I read this? Maybe if you'd worked in the industry in that part of the world but otherwise, no.
What did I learn? I'm too grown up to be impressed with how much someone spends on a bottle of wine.

Glass Sword

Book 27 of 2017 is Glass Sword. It is the second book in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard.

It took me so long to read the second book in this series because the first book didn't do much for me. Everyone was raving about it but it felt too much like a young teen girl-in-love bore. The second book improves greatly though. This has ensured that I will read the next one.

One thing I would like authors to stop doing is writing middle books like the 0.5 or 1.5 books in a series. It's just money making and waters down the quality of the series to me.

4 dead silver bloods out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. Read it directly after the first to improve the first book and continue the series.
What did I learn? I enjoy female protagonists who aren't concerned with their many love interests and instead fight for their cause. Need more books like that.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Reckless Magic

Book 26 of 2017 is Reckless Magic from the Star Crossed series by Rachel Higginson.

This is another young adult fantasy series but it stands alone. Someone horrible said it was a cross between Twilight and Harry Potter. I want to slap that idiot. This is quite original in many ways. Being written by a woman means the female characters are not weak pathetic girly girls in love but more like Katniss in her strength and kindness.

There are irritating teenage girl moments but that soon is done with as the characters grow.

This is a series that I will continue when my brain is tired and I want a little read. Absolutely one I will enjoy.

3 magical talents out of 5.

Should I read this? Only for young adult book fans.
What did I learn? I love easy to read series and that's why I like Young Adult literature.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Book 25 of 2017 is The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet from the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers.

Everyone I know is reading this and loving it so I could not avoid it much longer. Only reason for avoidance is to stop starting new series when I have so many on the go.

This is a brilliant series about race, ethics and space. There is nothing I did not enjoy about this book so yeah, I recommend it to any sci-fi fan.

There are a lot of characters introduced in this first book. This can be done badly with too much to take in while adjusting to a new Universe and mythology. Chambers does it brilliantly.

The affection is not just boy and girl falling in love but many different kinds of friendship and interaction. All of it executed brilliantly. I put this down to a female author. My quest to read more female authors has paid off well.

This is Blade Runner crossed with Fifth Element and Star Trek with very few creases.

4 races out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes to absolutely everyone. This is sci-fi for the masses since it is written so well.

What did I learn? In the spirit of Pride, love is love.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Bat: The First Inspector Harry Hole Novel

Book 24 of 2017 is The Bat: The First Inspector Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbo.

In my quest to start reading some Nordic Noir, I started with the second most famous series after The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

With great surprise and matching glee, I found this book was set in Sydney and was very well placed in situation and time. It was a good adjustment to this genre. The only thing that did annoy me was the slow part towards the end where the detective goes on an alcoholic bender. It bored me and then all of a sudden wound up. I may read the next book just to see if it isn't all sex, drugs and violence.

3 Darlinghurst whores out of 5.

Should I read this? Maybe. I wouldn't go out of my way too. Let me read another book before I recommend the series.
What did I learn? Blondes have all the fun.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


Book 23 of 2017 is Zodiac by Stan Lee.

This is the kind of thing I'd usually prefer in movie form but it was not too bad. The most unfortunate part is the Skywalker like whiney young male protagonist. He gets less annoying but his inner voice might best be left internal.

The series isn't off my To Read list yet. Let's see how the characters grow over time.

3 tigers out of 5.

Should I read this? If you like comic book style stories.
What did I learn? Young males can be a little fragile.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Book 22 of 2017 is Dust by Hugh Howey.

This is the third and final book in the Silo series. It is a very good sci-fi series and one I'd recommend to anyone looking for a good spread of ideas and characters. The writing is good. The plot is well structured. The tone is mature. I was glad this was not a young adult style tale.

This book is the weakest in the series but it does end well. Overall, I would give the series 4 out of 5 stars and this book that as well. It might be that it was the more predictable of the books.

4 silos out of 5.

Should I read this? Absolutely!
What did I learn? Long sci-fi series do not have to be a tedious chore. They can be very enjoyable.