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Narilka reads in 2017 - Part 2

This is a continuation of the topic Narilka reads in 2017.

This topic was continued by Narilka reads in 2018.

The Green Dragon

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Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 5:01pm Top

Continuing from my old thread...

2017 has been a great year of reading so far! Let's see what the second half of the year brings :)

A Little Background
I tend to read a lot of fantasy. I do read and enjoy other genres, it's just that fantasy is my favorite. I am fairly forgiving so I expect to have many 3.5 star and up books.

2017 Part 1: https://www.librarything.com/topic/245150
2016 reading log: https://www.librarything.com/topic/210794

My Rating System
- Absolutely horrible, don't bother

- Meh, I finished the book somehow but would not recommend it

- An entertaining read

- Very good, I would probably recommend this book

- Excellent! A new favorite and one I could read again.

A half star is given for a book that falls between those categories.

Currently Reading

Listening To

Books Read in 2017
1. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
2. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
3. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
4. All My Patients Have Tales by Jeff Wells, DVM
5. Clariel by Garth Nix
6. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
7. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
8. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
9. Awaken Online: Catharsis by Travis Bagwell
10. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
11. The Cat, the Lady and the Liar by Leann Sweeney
12. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
13. Lock In by John Scalzi
14. Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome by John Scalzi
15. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
16. We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor
17. Windwitch by Susan Dennard
18. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
19. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
20. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
21. Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
22. Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf
23. Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson
24. This Time Together by Carol Burnett
25. The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky
26. Awaken Online: Precipice by Travis Bagwell
27. The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon
28. Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
29. The Hollow Queen by Elizabeth Haydon
30. For We Are Many by Dennis E. Taylor
31. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
32. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
33. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
34. The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon by Leann Sweeney
35. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
36. Sleeping Giants by Sylvian Neuvel
37. The Last Star Rick Yancey
38. Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
39. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
40. The Weaver's Lament by Elizabeth Haydon
41. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
42. One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
43. One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron
44. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
45. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
46. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
47. Arthur: The dog who crossed the jungle to find a home by Mikael Lindnord
48. All These Worlds by Dennis E. Taylor
49. Weekend Warriors by Fern Michaels
50. Redshirts by John Scalzi
51. The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham
52. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
53. Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli
54. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
55. No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron
56. The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
57. A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron
58. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
59. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
60. Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
61. Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
62. City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
63. Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb
64. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
65. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
66. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
67. Hounded by Kevin Hearne
68. The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman
69. Artemis by Andy Weir
70. The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman
71. Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany
72. Guardians of the West by David Eddings
73. Hexed by Kevin Hearne
74. King of the Murgos by David Eddings

Fun Stats
Books Read: 74
Total Pages Read: 21421
Audio Book Hours: 165h 42m
Rereads: 4
TBR Challenge: 13/12
2017 Category Challenge: 39/52

Edited: Nov 22, 2017, 8:35pm Top

TBR Challenge
This is a challenge to read more from my TBR pile this year. Pick 12 books that I've been meaning to read and add them to the list. Try to finish one a month. I've done Primary and Secondary lists in case something in the Primary list just isn't working for me. This year I've added a personal challenge to mix in more non-fantasy books so I can pretend I'm a well rounded reader ;)


1. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (fantasy - humor) Completed 1/4/17
2. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (scifi - space opera) Completed 3/21/17
3. Clariel by Garth Nix (fantasy - adventure) Completed 2/2/17
4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown (scifi - dystopia)
5. This Time Together by Carol Burnett (memoir - celebrity) Completed 4/30/17
6. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (fantasy - humor) Completed 8/20/17
7. Killing Reagan by Bill O'Reilly (history - USA)
8. Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb (fantasy - epic) Completed 10/27/17
9. All My Patients Have Tales by Jeff Wells (memoir - animal) Completed 1/24/17
10. The Cat, the Lady and the Liar by Leann Sweeney (mystery - cozy) Completed 3/11/17
11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher (fantasy - urban) Completed 2/15/17
12. The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas (classics)

1. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (fantasy)
2. Black Ships by Jo Graham (fantasy - historical)
3. Wool by Hugh Howey (scifi - dystopia)
4. Weekend Warriors by Fern Michaels (mystery) Completed 8/31/17
5. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld (fantasy - superheroes)
6. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (scifi - mystery) Completed 10/16/17
7. Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (fantasy - epic)*
8. The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon (fantasy - epic)* Completed 5/23/17
9. Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh (scifi - first contact)*
10. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (classics) Completed 11/22/17
11. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (science-ish?)
12. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown (thriller)*

*Carried over from a prior TBR challenge.

Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 8:12pm Top

2017 Category Reading Challenge
This is a challenge I'm participating in a group on Good Reads. Looks like it may be interesting. If anyone else thinks this would be fun feel free to copy/paste this into your own thread and see how you do!

- Books must be started and finished in 2017
- One book can count for a maximum of two categories
- You can join in at any point in the year and the books you have already read can count towards the challenge
- Graphic novels count
- No minimum page count (unless the category states)


( ) A book recommended by a librarian
(X) A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long The Emperor's Soul
(X) A book of letters Sleeping Giants
(X) An audiobook Awaken Online: Catharsis
(X) A book by a person of color Born a Crime
(X) A book with one of the four seasons in the title Summer Knight
(X) A book that is a story within a story Redshirts
(X) A book with multiple authors Good Omens
( ) An espionage thriller
(X) A book with a cat on the cover All My Patients Have Tales
(X) A book by an author who uses a pseudonym Dragon Keeper
(X) A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read The Girl With All the Gifts
(X) A book by or about a person who has a disability Lock In
(X) A book involving travel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
(X) A book with a subtitle Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome
(X) A book that's published in 2017 Windwitch
(X) A book involving a mythical creature Nice Dragons Finish Last
(X) A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
( ) A book about food
( ) A book with career advice
(X) A book from a nonhuman perspective We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
(X) A steampunk novel The Rithmatist
(X) A book with a red spine His Majesty's Dragon
(X) A book set in the wilderness Arthur: The dog who crossed the jungle to find a home
(X) A book you loved as a child Guardians of the West
(X) A book by an author from a country you've never visited Born a Crime
(X) A book with a title that's a character's name Clariel
(X) A novel set during wartime His Majesty's Dragon
( ) A book with an unreliable narrator
(X) A book with pictures The Rithmatist
(X) A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you Artemis
(X) A book about an interesting woman This Time Together
(X) A book set in two different time periods Red Sister
( ) A book with a month or day of the week in the title
(X) A book set in a hotel Sweep in Peace
( ) A book written by someone you admire
( ) A book that's becoming a movie in 2017
( ) A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
(X) The first book in a series you haven't read before Truthwitch
(X) A book you bought on a trip Windwitch

( ) A book recommended by an author you love
(X) A bestseller from 2016 Truthwitch
(X) A book with a family member term in the title Red Sister
( ) A book that takes place over a character's life span
(X) A book about an immigrant or refugee Children of Time
(X) A book from a genre/subgenre you've never heard of Awaken Online: Catharsis
(X) A book with an eccentric character Calamity
( ) A book that's more than 800 pages
(X) A book you got from a used book sale All My Patients Have Tales
( ) A book that's been mentioned in another book
(X) A book about a difficult topic Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account
(X) A book based on mythology The Immortals

Jul 29, 2017, 5:22pm Top

Glad you started a new one. I was having "scrolling" issues :-(

Jul 29, 2017, 6:30pm Top

Me too!

Jul 29, 2017, 6:30pm Top

42. One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

"You're up early, Your Grace."

"It's a lovely day and we're under siege. People are trying to murder us." Her eyes shone with excitement. "Isn’t it marvelous?"

She would think so, wouldn’t she?

One Fell Sweep is the third book in the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. So much for Dina's relatively quiet life. First, she receives an urgent call for help from her sister to come rescue her and her family from the planet they've been exiled on, a lawless and desolate place that is used as a penal colony. Then Dina agrees to help a guest with his last chance to save his dying species. Now the inn is under siege by a family of assassins putting the Gertrude Hunt and everyone's lives at risk. How will Dina keep everyone safe while also continuing to search for her missing parents?

This one has a slightly more complicated plot than the first two installments, weaving together three main story lines along with a couple side threads. One thing is quite certain: Dina takes her role as Innkeeper seriously and cares deeply for her family and the guests staying at the inn. She will stop at nothing, putting her own life on the line, to live up to her duties. If it wasn't obvious before the depth of power Dina has when she's on the inn's grounds is enormous. She is one bad ass, highly capable heroine!

All the regular characters are back along with are some great additions. Dina's sister and niece, Maud and Helen, are delightful. They provide insight into another layer of vampire society and family structure, giving that species more depth. My heart broke a little for the Hiru, an alien race that is being hunted into extinction for all the wrong reasons. They have been scattered across the universe in an attempt to stay alive. All they want is a place where they can live quietly and their delicate physiology requires them to constantly wear repulsive space suits in order to live anywhere off their home planet. The romantic thread that has been hinted at in the first two books comes to fruition and, a word of warning, there is one very steamy scene as a result. The humor is well done. The conversation where one alien tries to explain Christmas to anther based on his viewing of A Christmas Story is laugh out loud funny. This book should also get an award for best use of a fart gun.

I'm so glad the author has decided to continue the series as the book ends on a bit of a bombshell. With this story wrapped up it leaves us with a nice hook for what is to come. I look forward to it.


Jul 30, 2017, 6:00pm Top

It's a happy/sad day. The last local used book store that was minutes away from my house is going out of business so the owners can retire. Now the closest one I know of is an hour away. On the bright side I scored all the books in Ilona Andrews' The Edge series at a nice discount :) Ilona Andrews has become my favorite urban fantasy writer lately, as if you couldn't tell from my recent reviews.

Jul 30, 2017, 6:04pm Top

>7 Narilka: I am sorry to hear about the closing.

Jul 31, 2017, 7:57am Top

>7 Narilka: That is very sad news. Of course, if you are anything like me, it will be a relief to your bank balance!

Aug 3, 2017, 9:58pm Top

>7 Narilka: Oh, that is sad news indeed. :o( Seems very common these days, though.

Aug 4, 2017, 3:14pm Top

Life is strange. Yesterday my current employer just purchased the division I worked in at my last job. I will likely be seeing a lot of my old coworkers again soon. Today the first of what I assume will be many reorgs started to make room for all the people we'll be absorbing. No idea how this will impact me personally. My boss has assured me no one on our side is being let go though all our roles will be changing. I was told to just hang tight for a bit. My work life is going to be interesting over the next year.

Aug 11, 2017, 4:55pm Top

43 One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another is the second in Rachel Aaron's Heartstriker series. It has been a month since Julius escaped his mother's plot and foiled the plans of a rival clan. He and Marci have a nice little supernatural pest control business that has been gradually gaining clients. Unfortunately it seems that no good deed goes unpunished. Now that Julius has proven himself useful, Bethesda has set him as center to her next plot when she sends out party invitations in his name to lure some clan enemies into the open. As if that's not bad enough two seers are battling for the fate of Heartstriker clan. How do you save your clan when your rival can see the future and knows every move you'll make?

This second installment takes the foundation laid by the first book and builds upon it. There is deeper world building as we're treated to more knowledge behind the return of magic, just how magic works in the world, what makes up spirits in particular and a better understanding of seer magic. We're given a glimpse into Algonquin's domain at the heart of the DFZ as well as finally meeting one of the famed dragon slayers. Further insight into the nature of dragons is revealed as are dragon family dynamics.

The story is more complex as it tracks three distinct plot threads and switches between at least five points of view. Julius and Marci both go on strong character arcs and it was great having both of their points of view. Both characters step up to the challenges in front of them and grow in surprising ways, beginning to live up to their potential. Marci begins developing deeper magical skills that she had barely scratched the surface of before. Julius is discovering that being "nice" is not the weakness his family thinks it is and gains some much needed confidence. In addition to the main stars, the story gives us dragons galore. Justin is back, though with a lesser role to play than in the first book. Bob is also back, pulling strings in the background as always. New to us is Amelia (yes A-melia), the eldest surviving child of Heartstriker clan. She is loads of fun! She would rather walk alternate planes and drink booze than have to deal with family politics. Can't say I blame her given how horrid Bethesda is to her children. Chelsie, mentioned in the first book, is given significantly more page time which was also great fun. The Shade of Heartstriker clan is fascinating with her preternatural fighting abilities. It all comes together for one big bang of a finale that was very satisfying.

I enjoyed the hell out of this book. Deeper world building, a more complicated plot, dragon family dynamics, heroics, action, a little romance - it was quite a page turner! I don't need a dragon seer to know that book three is in my near future.


Aug 11, 2017, 5:09pm Top

>7 Narilka: That's been happening around here too. I have to drive over to Raleigh to visit a used book store. The remaining stores have also become a bit less interested in taking my books, even in trade. They actually want me to spend money!

>11 Narilka: I hope things go well!

Aug 13, 2017, 6:51pm Top

>13 Jim53: Thanks Jim.

Aug 14, 2017, 11:44am Top

44. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Several years have passed since Themis was discovered and reassembled. These actions have not gone unnoticed. A second robot, more massive than the first, appears in the middle of London and lashes out with deadly force. More robots begin to appear around the globe making the nightmare invasion scenario a reality. Dr. Rose Franklin and her team have uncovered a lot of knowledge about how their machine works but will it be enough to handle the threat?

Waking Gods is the second book in the Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel. It is definitely a sequel to Sleeping Giants and yet feels quite different as the story takes on a whole new tone. Things get much, much darker as the stakes for humanity and our characters are raised quite high. Fair warning, not everyone makes it out of this book alive. I was saddened by a couple of the deaths.

Many of the questions from the first book are answered, even the big one from the epilogue, and the answers come fast. I was impressed by that. Rose in particular has a lot to deal with given her plot twist from the first book. Not only does she question her own identity but now she has the guilt of knowing that her discovery may be what ends the world. The romance plot between Kara and Vincent grows and becomes quite tangled when they discover they have a daughter and that the daughter may be able to pilot Themis due to her unique genetics. It sounds a little strange but it all makes sense in the story.

The epistolary format continues in this book. It gives the story a sense of urgency as the interviews are shorter. Or maybe they just felt that way given the situation. Then, just as everything is about to be wrapped up, Neuvel throws another curve ball in his epilogue! The third book has a lot of promise to take us for a wild ride.

As with the first installment I listened to the audio book which was performed by the same full cast. The voice actors did a superb job yet again. It was a wonderful listening experience. I will definitely do book three on audio also when it releases.


Edited: Aug 16, 2017, 3:22pm Top

45. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews is the third in the Kate Daniels series. Yet again we're in for one action packed adventure through Atlanta. The Pack is being hunted. Derek is discovered nearly dead and trapped in his human form, unable to heal. Kate's investigation leads her to something called the Midnight Games -- an invitation only, last man standing, highly illegal, ultimate fighting tournament. The prize for the winning team is called the Wolf Diamond, a fist sized mystic Topaz with unknown powers. And there's something off about the rival gladiator team, the Reapers. They look human, scan as human, but... Kate must discover the stone's secret and unravel this latest plot if she is to save Atlanta's shapeshifter community.

This time around Andrews leans heavily on Hindu mythology, specifically around Rakshasas. Everything I know about Rakshasas came straight from D&D so my prior knowledge was mostly wrong. They are a lot more than vicious human/tiger hybrids! I like that Andrews seems to be theming the Kate Daniels books around various world myths as I get to learn small snippets about each one as I go. One of these days I really should expand my horizons beyond Greco-Roman and Celtic mythology.

Ilona Andrews has amazing talent to pack these short books full of just about everything. In a little over 300 pages there is tons of action, weird monsters, magic, expanding the world, character growth and an interesting plot. Kate is even more bad ass which I didn't think was possible. And she has just the right amount of smart ass mixed in. A couple of the side characters are fleshed out more. I think Andrea and Raphael are my favorites so I was happy to see they have a spin off short story. The romance between Kate and Curran is starting to heat up. I'm not sure how much longer the tension between the two of them can be dragged out.


Aug 16, 2017, 11:47am Top

>16 Narilka: - Strikes is the 3rd in the series, Bites then Burns, then Strikes - Just in case you've missed one. I had to check because I know I'd started the series, but didn't think I'd read that one. They are fun, but a bit too much action and not enough detail for me.

Edited: Aug 16, 2017, 3:23pm Top

>17 reading_fox: Thanks! Rather big typo that one :)

Edit: Fixed my reviews.

Aug 20, 2017, 10:29pm Top

46. Good Omens By Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

As a huge Discworld fan I am disappointed I didn't like Good Omens more. This is my first experience with Neil Gaiman so maybe it was just the mesh of styles that didn't work for me? It took me a while to get into this one. Initially the jokes felt forced and it wasn't very funny. I even set the book aside twice just to see if it was my mood. After about the 60% point things picked up I began to enjoy the story.

A demon named Crowley and an angel named Aziraphale have spent all of human existence on earth. They were sent there by their respective parties to keep an eye on things and usher in the Apocalypse. When the day finally arrives they both realize that someone has misplaced the Antichrist. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are running amok on their motorcycles. Also Crowley and Aziraphale have decided that they've grown rather fond of humans and the Earth and don't want to see everything destroyed.

The authors have some interesting things to say about society and humanity that is still very relevant today. I quite enjoyed Crowley and Aziraphael's odd couple relationship. For creatures who are supposed to be on opposite sides of this whole mess they sure had a lot in common and a nice friendship. The Horsemen were also fun and I liked how Death made a very Discworld style appearance. Adam and his friends I found highly annoying and a lot of their early dialog was inane. They did not work for me at all.

I'm glad I pushed through and finished the book. The overall premise is brilliant as are many of the comments on society. I just wish I had enjoyed it more.


Edited: Aug 21, 2017, 6:12am Top

>19 Narilka: American Gods put me off of Gaiman. At least now I know what this book is kind of about so I don't have to wonder if I should read it :-)

Aug 21, 2017, 10:41am Top

>20 BookstoogeLT: I have American Gods on my TBR shelf. I think I'm going to avoid it for a while.

Aug 21, 2017, 6:11pm Top

My favorite Gaimans are The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Graveyard Book. The tone of these is much more enjoyable (to me) than American Gods. As always, YMMV.

Aug 21, 2017, 9:43pm Top

>21 Narilka: If you like philosophy-lite and no substance, then you might enjoy this more. I just don't enjoy when an author tries to get all philosophical with their words but doesn't get at the root of things. I don't know if that will help or hinder :-)

Aug 23, 2017, 6:07pm Top

I'm with >22 Jim53:, Narilka. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of my favorite Gaiman books. The others would be Neverwhere and Stardust. American Gods is at the very bottom of the pile.

Aug 25, 2017, 9:51am Top

47. Arthur: The dog who crossed the jungle to find a home by Mikael Lindnord

Arthur is a heart warming memoir of a dog rescue. Mikael Lindnord is an adventure racer. He and his team are on a grueling, 400+ mile race through the jungles of Ecuador when they encounter a stray dog at one of the race's rest stops. In a small act of kindness Mikael shares his food with the dog and the rest, as they say, is history. The dog follows the team along for the rest of the race. What starts as a cute quirk quickly changes as a deep bond forms between Mikael and the dog. They struggle through some tough terrain together, battling injury and illness and cross the finish line. It is then that Mikael decides he will save Arthur and bring him home to Sweden, whatever it takes.

I've never heard of adventure racing before. Those people are nuts! What was amazing is that Arthur was able to keep up with them throughout the second half of the race. He had some pretty severe back wounds when he meets up with Mikael's team. The paperwork and red tape involved to bring an animal from one country to another was intimidating. The story also highlights how animal rights are non-existent in some parts of the world. Mikael has started a foundation to try and change the laws in these countries to give animals more protection. It's going to be a long, slow process but I think his team is up for the challenge.


Aug 26, 2017, 6:15pm Top

48. All These Worlds by Dennis E. Taylor

Wasn't being a sentient spaceship was supposed to be more fun and less work? A hostile alien species "consuming" their way through the universe, political unrest on some of the colonies, more Medieros probes and resource bottlenecks are certainly NOT what the Bobs need if they are to finish evacuating the Earth and save humanity. It's going to take more Bobs in order to keep the schedule and get through the next several years in one piece.

All these Worlds is the final book in Dennis E. Taylor's Bobiverse trilogy. All of the story lines in book two are carried through and reach a satisfying conclusion. There still are some fun SFF pop culture references though they are fewer than previous books. While there is a more serious tone over all, the humor and wit are still great.

Of all the story threads, Howard and Bridget's story really helps capture the running theme of what it means to be human. The Bobs are not just intelligent AI. They are essentially inorganic humans with all of the capacity for emotion as organic humans only worse as this makes the price of immortality especially hard as you constantly outlive friends and loved ones.

There are so many Bobs now! They are up to their eighth generation. You start to see more deviance from Original Bob's personality. This is where Ray Porter's narration of the audio book really shines as he made distinct yet subtle differences with each Bob, it's impressive.

I've enjoyed this series immensely. I read on the author's blog that he is planning future books in this world as there are many stories still to tell. I'm looking forward to it.


Aug 27, 2017, 1:54pm Top

>26 Narilka: I intend to buy that one for my husband at Christmas. He's really enjoyed them.

Sep 1, 2017, 1:13pm Top

49. Weekend Warriors by Fern Michaels

Nikki and her best friend Barbara are meeting Barbara's mother, Myra Rutledge, for lunch when Barbara is killed in a hit and run accident. The driver of the car has diplomatic immunity and is protected from prosecution. Myra descends into a period of deep mourning bordering on severe depression. Sixteen months later Myra is watching a news broadcast about a woman who lost her child and took matters into her own hands. Feeling inspired Myra gathers together a group of women who have all suffered and the legal system did not bring any of them justice. They form the Sisterhood and vow to right all the wrongs done against them. Drawing a name from a hat the Sisterhood begins to work on Kathryn Lucas's case first.

This book is not about romance. These women are out for revenge and nothing is going to stand in their way. There are seven ladies in total: Myra Rutledge (billionaire), Nikki French (lawyer), Kathryn Lucas (long-haul truck driver), Alexis Thorne (securities broker), Julia Webster (plastic surgeon), Isabelle Flanders (architect) and Yoko Akia (florist). They are assisted by Charles Martin, an ex-MI6 agent and Myra's current head of security. It is the combination of their backgrounds and skills that turns them into a successful team. Unlimited funding doesn't hurt either.

This was an entertaining, light and engaging read. The story is very fast paced. Main characters are given just enough background to understand their basic persona but no real depth. The revenge they enact is something I think many women in Kathryn's position wish they could do. It is a bit of a fantasy in that money is no object, they have access to any resource they could need and obstacles are relatively easy to over come. I read this on my mom's recommendation and can see why she liked it.


Sep 7, 2017, 10:43am Top

50. Redshirts by John Scalzi

You know those unlucky crew members in Star Trek who wear red shirts and join away missions for the sole purpose of dying dramatically? This book is for them!

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, current flagship of the Universal Union. Their mission: to boldly go where no one has gone before! Dahl couldn't be happier until he notices that there is something wrong with away missions: they have an abnormally high mortality rate; the captain and his high level officers always survive the mission; and the science doesn't make any sense at all. How is this even possible?

Redshirts is a stand alone science fiction novel by John Scalzi and is a brilliant parody of/homage to Star Trek. The book is subtitled "a novel with three codas" which are three separate but related short stories after the main novel ends that deal with the consequences of the actions in the novel. It's an interesting concept and works nicely to round things out. It also answers those lingering questions of "what happened after?" that sometimes occur after reading a book.

For fear of spoilers, I'm going to be fairly brief. Let's just say that Scalzi takes the concept and runs with it and the result is downright hilarious. This one had me laughing out loud quite often from beginning to end. It also has a surprisingly touching ending.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Wil Wheaton. His delivery nails it! Wheaton's comedic timing fits this book perfectly. He was well cast and a lot of fun to listen to. The fact that Wheaton played an ensign that didn't die dramatically on a popular Star Trek show... draw your own conclusions.


Sep 7, 2017, 6:01pm Top

>29 Narilka: I’m glad you enjoyed it! I read it early this year and enjoyed it myself, although I didn’t listen to the audio.

Even though I’m not much of an audio listener, it sounds like this would be a fun one. I do usually prefer audios of books I’ve read in print before because there’s less pressure if my attention wanders, so maybe I’ll keep this in mind the next time I’m looking for an audiobook.

Sep 8, 2017, 9:11am Top

>29 Narilka: I read that several years ago, purchased it for my son as a gift. So I don't have a copy. I've put the audio on my wishlist, that sounds like one I would enjoy walking to. I loved listening to Wheaton read Fuzzy Nation not too long ago.

Sep 8, 2017, 9:26am Top

>30 YouKneeK: I grew fond of audio books two years ago when my commute went from 20 minutes to over an hour. You know how Atlanta traffic can be! Now I love them.

>31 MrsLee: I need to pull up your review of Fuzzy Nation. I seem to be slowly working my way through Scalzi's works. And Wheaton is a fun narrator in general so maybe that's another good one for my audio list :)

Sep 8, 2017, 9:31am Top

>32 Narilka: I loved it, some folks, more die-hard scifi folks, didn't love it as much as the original story written by I can't remember who. Since I had never read the original, and enjoy Scalzi, I thought it was a fun romp.

Sep 8, 2017, 9:34am Top

>29 Narilka: I don't remember any short stories following the novel when I read it a few years ago. I wonder if those are new, or only on the audio version?

Sep 8, 2017, 10:03am Top

>33 MrsLee: I've not heard of the original so no worries there :)

>34 jjwilson61: No idea. They dealt with after effects in our world once the main story for the characters of the Intrepid was done. Don't know if that helps.

Sep 8, 2017, 10:07am Top

I'm sure there was a bit of discussion on someone's reading thread about this - several GDers have read it. I enjoyed the humour of the concept, but wasn't totally impressed with the fanfic references.

Sep 8, 2017, 4:25pm Top

>32 Narilka: I put a renewed effort into audio books not long after moving here. :)

I listened to the first two books in a favorite trilogy over the course of several months recently, and they worked really well for me, but I stalled out on the third for some reason. I need to try starting it again.

My commute is sort of an awkward length for audiobooks. I live 9 miles away from work and lately my commute has only been taking about 25 minutes on a normal day. Between pausing to focus on driving in certain spots, plus my attention wandering periodically, my progress was really slow. An hour would work much better, I think… not that I want to move further away from work! :)

Sep 10, 2017, 6:01pm Top

So I was wondering why my kindle copy of The Dragon's Path only showed me 27% complete when I'm almost 75% done with the book. Turns out it this ebook includes copy of Leviathan Wakes!! No idea if that's normal or if I just got lucky :)

Edited: Sep 10, 2017, 6:30pm Top

>38 Narilka: Mine was the same way and caused a moment of confusion for me as well. I enjoyed that series a lot, although not everybody I know liked it as much as I did. I’ll be interested to read your thoughts!

Make sure you don’t miss the entre’acte at the end of the book. It sounds like you have the same edition I do, and it’s an important part of the story, but for some reason it got buried after an author interview and after a preview for the next book where it would be easy to miss instead of putting it at, you know, the end of the book where it belonged. They did that in a few of the other books in the series also.

Edited to clarify that by “that series”, I’m referring to the Daniel Abraham series. I haven’t actually read Leviathan Wakes yet as I’m waiting for the authors to finish the series first. :)

Sep 10, 2017, 9:03pm Top

>39 YouKneeK: Thanks for the heads up on that. I'll be sure to keep reading after the interview so I don't miss out. I like the book so far and happy to see that the series is completely written. I admit I enjoy the Cithrin/Marcus chapters more than the Geder/Dawson ones so far. I likely won't move straight on to book two though I like book one enough to continue. I have a vague plan of what I'd like my next few books to be to check off a couple of book challenge items. We'll see if that happens lol

I really need to go back through and jot down all series that I've started and intend to finish. Right now I've been keeping it all in my head and the list is getting long :D Heck, that could be a good 2018 goal. Hmmm!

I keep hearing good things about Leviathan Wakes and just hadn't pulled the trigger yet for no particular reason so pretty happy to get it as a freebie :) And a quick search makes it look like it's going to be a 9 book series. Woah. Yep, I'm not in a rush now lol

Sep 10, 2017, 10:29pm Top

>40 Narilka: I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far! I thought the series got better and better as it progressed. The first book was kind of like a really long but interesting introduction. I also enjoyed the Cithrin/Marcus chapters more than the Geder or Dawson chapters in that book.

I've also heard a lot of good things about Leviathan Wakes and the entire Expanse series.

Sep 12, 2017, 3:17pm Top

>41 YouKneeK: Finished the book today. I'll write up a full review once I've gathered my thoughts. You're right, that epilogue is very important since it's the hook for the next book and what I think will be possibly the main story for the rest of the series. I was wondering if Master Kit would be able to feel or sense that others of his order were starting to move in the world and that was answered nicely.

Sep 12, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>42 Narilka: I look forward to your review! I remember the epilogue made me very happy by confirming some things I had suspected but which hadn’t been explicitly stated up to that point. Was it buried in the wrong spot in your edition? I reported it as a content error when I saw it, but I have no idea if those reports ever actually get fixed and, if they do, whether or not they get pushed out into existing digital editions people have on the cloud or just show up in later editions.

Did you have any issues with Irma by the time it reached us? It was pretty uneventful from my home. I was hoping, if it had to come this way anyway, that it would at least give me a few hours' power outage to give me a forced break from work, but no such luck. :)

Sep 12, 2017, 6:57pm Top

>43 YouKneeK: Yes, the epilogue was out of order. Even the page numbers jumped around like an error with publishing. I'm surprised it hasn't been fixed yet.

No issues with Irma. A lot of wind and rain but no damage in my neighborhood. Not even any downed trees. We kept power and, amazingly, satellite tv throughout. I was kinda hoping the same thing since a work break would be nice lol But I'm more happy to have kept power.

Sep 12, 2017, 8:47pm Top

>44 Narilka: I guess that proves (or at least builds the beginning of a proof) that there’s not much point in reporting content errors. :)

I’m glad you didn’t have any issues with Irma!

Sep 12, 2017, 9:02pm Top

51. The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham

The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham is the first in The Dagger and the Coin series. This is definitely one of those books that feels like it is a set up for something much bigger to come. The world and the story are slowly revealed through the point of view chapters of four main characters.

Marcus Wester is a hero of past battles and has had enough of fighting. As it looks like another war is about to start in the Free Cities, Wester takes a job as guard captain for a caravan in hopes of escaping the area before the situation escalates. This means he will need men to lead and, unfortunately, his own crew was just arrested. Where to find another crew? Cithrin bel Sarcour is a ward of the Medean Bank in Vanai. When the bank's original caravan driver dies Cithrin is assigned the task and must move the bank's assets out of the city before the invaders arrive. How can an inexperienced young girl be expected to survive such responsibility? Sir Geder Palliako is the only son of a minor noble house in Antea. He is a poor excuse for a soldier, more interested in speculative essays than swordplay. Yet he finds himself assigned to the company that has been tasked with capturing Vanai. Little more than a pawn for other nobles, will he end up hero or villain in the conflict to come? Sir Dawson Kalliam is a noble member of the Antean Court and childhood friend of King Simeon. Kallaim enjoys his politics and has uncovered a plot against the throne. Will he be able to save the King?

The Dragon's Path touches on a lot of the things I love in epic fantasy. There are several factions at play, political intrigue, the beginnings of an interesting world and a strong cast of both main and supporting characters. Master Kit and his troupe were so much fun to read that I couldn't wait for them to come up in Cithrin and Marcus's points of view. What is missing is the action. There is very little action for a story set during wartime. The story is mostly character driven which works, though it does make for a much slower paced novel.

My favorite thing about the book is how it portrays choice and consequences. It is the choices of the main characters that make something that should've been fairly simple to cause events to spiral out of control and is the concept that connects all the points of view when characters are in different parts of the world. Along with that goes the idea of how we're always the hero in our own story. Geder's story takes this idea and runs with it.

My main complaint is with the world building. It could have used more depth. I enjoyed the hints of history but it definitely needed more. There are 13 distinct races of humans that were "created" in the past for various reasons and purposes, none of which is very well explained and sometimes it's hard differentiate between each. I hope the author goes into this with more detail in the next book.

Overall The Dragon's Path is a solid start to a series. I'm looking forward to reading more in this world.


Sep 12, 2017, 9:25pm Top

>45 YouKneeK: Sounds like you had the same experience with Irma too :)

So that's as non-spoilery as I could make that review. I'm happy to go into a spoiler tagged discussion. Maybe I missed something with the world building? I ended up looking up the races in a wiki when I'd forget something. I don't normally have this problem so I'm not sure why they just weren't sticking in my head.

Sep 12, 2017, 10:09pm Top

>46 Narilka: Great review! The parts you mentioned liking best were the parts I liked best also, including the characters and your comments about choices, consequences, and self-perception.

I don’t think you missed anything with the world building. From what I remember, the author focused more heavily on the character building in the first book than anything else, and I think the political situation also. The history is gradually given much more depth with interesting revelations throughout the series. I remember really enjoying how the history was revealed. The individual races, on the other hand, were never that memorable for me. Some of them get more focus in later books, so you do get to know some of them better, but I don’t think I ever felt like I could describe them in great detail and I barely remember them now, about a year and a half later.

The action steadily increases throughout the series, but there definitely wasn’t much in the first book! I enjoyed the books more and more as I kept reading. Looking back over my review for the 2nd book, I see I mentioned enjoying all of the different characters’ chapters a lot more evenly in that book than I did in this first one.

Sep 13, 2017, 9:01am Top

>48 YouKneeK: Sounds like I'll enjoy this series even more as it goes. Time to see about acquiring the remaining 4 books :D

Sep 13, 2017, 7:54pm Top

>49 Narilka: I hope you do enjoy them!

Sep 14, 2017, 8:32am Top

I have the omnibus editions that make up the Long Price quartet by Daniel Abraham so it's good to see positive reviews for his work. I've started in on the Expanse series but as that's a collaboration with someone else then it's hard to judge who does what.

Sep 14, 2017, 3:03pm Top

52. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Shai has been betrayed. Her partner left her high and dry while they attempted to steal and replace the Moon Scepter with a forgery. Now she finds herself locked in jail awaiting her fate. Instead of being executed Shai is offered an opportunity. The emperor has been attacked by assassins and while his body survived his mind did not. His government has hidden this from the Empire and will allow Shai to avoid being executed if she will create a Forgery of the Emperor's soul, making it as if the assassination attempt never happened. Forgery is the ability to rewrite the past of objects in order to change their present. This is a very difficult task with an impossible deadline as Shai only has one hundred days to both save herself and the Emperor.

How does Brandon Sanderson do it? I mean seriously! In 175 pages he's written yet another unique magic system, a glimpse into a different part of the world of Elantris, characters I care about and a great plot. This story stands well on it's own and is only loosely related to Elantris so you won't miss out on much but a couple references if you haven't read it. It is also one of the best fantasy novellas I've read in a while. My only complaint is it's too short. I hope Sanderson returns to write more in this world some day.


Sep 14, 2017, 6:06pm Top

>51 AHS-Wolfy: I’m not sure if we’ve talked about this in another thread (if so, sorry for the repeat!), but I really enjoyed the Long Price Quartet. I read it several years ago and that experience was what led to me reading his The Dagger and the Coin series. From the moment I heard about it, I kept checking on its status until the last book was published and then I pounced.

Sep 15, 2017, 8:00am Top

>53 YouKneeK: Possibly. I think I've seen his name mentioned favourably a few times now so I should try and read some of his solo stuff at some point. Always nice to get more confirmation though.

Sep 17, 2017, 2:56pm Top

>52 Narilka: It's nice, isn't it? I agree with your review completely. I liked the discussions about whether objects care what they are and such...

Sep 19, 2017, 10:01am Top

53. Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account Miklos Nyiszli

Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was sent to Auschwitz when the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944. As a Jew he was a condemned man. As a medical doctor he was useful so was spared from death and assigned a worse fate: to assist in performing "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the direct supervision of Dr. Mengele himself. Somehow Dr. Miklos survived Auschwitz and wrote this short memoir of his time there.

This was an interesting read about a difficult subject. The writing is surprisingly accessible and Dr. Nyiszli's story engaging, though I found I had to read it in small chunks due to the subject matter. Dr. Nyiszli explains at the beginning of the book that he writes this as a doctor from a doctor's perspective so there is a bit of a clinical feel to it which lessens the emotional impact to a degree. I wonder if this is how the doctor protected himself to keep his own sanity while relating his story of the horrors he lived through. Dr. Nyiszli was a pathologist and performed many autopsies after the prisoners were killed. While he does describe some of the methods of death at the Nazi's the bulk of the atrocities committed are absent from this text. Still it's an important book and worth reading for a different perspective of someone's time at Auschwitz.


Sep 19, 2017, 5:54pm Top

>52 Narilka: Nicely done write-up! It really is amazing what he was able to do with the short-form in developing a world we've not encountered elsewhere in his work.

Sep 19, 2017, 8:16pm Top

>55 zjakkelien: and >57 jillmwo: He is truly talented. I really hope he writes in this world again though after he finishes writing the Mistborn 2.0 series ;)

Sep 24, 2017, 8:30pm Top

I just had a "who's on first" type moment here at home.

The situation: we're going to be vacationing on Catalina island soon.

The conversation...

Him (while standing in the kitchen talking to his mom on the phone): "What hotel are we staying at?"

Me: "The info's on the island."

Him: "I know we're staying on the island but where?"

Me: "No, literally the brochure is on the kitchen island!"

Him: "Oh!" and reads the info off to his mom lol

It's the small things :)

Work has absolutely sucked this week. I'm so glad we're taking a trip soon.

Sep 24, 2017, 8:47pm Top

Have fun! Mrs B and I went to catalina for a week in '08. What a snazzy little place...

Sep 25, 2017, 6:23am Top

>59 Narilka: LOL, I hope you have a great trip! I've never been to Catalina island, but I have been to a kitchen island or two. :)

Sep 25, 2017, 9:59am Top

Thanks! We've been before, it's a neat little place.

Sep 26, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>59 Narilka: Ha! I know which island I'd rather go to ... hope your break allows you to rest and recharge after the bad work week.

Oct 2, 2017, 10:21pm Top

Just got back. OMG so many threads to catch up on!

Oct 3, 2017, 9:06pm Top

54. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Someone out there was about to find that their worst nightmare was a maddened Librarian. With a badge.

It's no secret I'm a huge Discworld fan and have a particular fondness for the Night Watch books. So I was quite excited when Guards! Guards! was chosen for my book club's September read. This reread did not disappoint! It was just as enjoyable as I remembered.

The Supreme Grand Master of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night has an idea: to overthrown the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork and install a puppet ruler while he not-so-secretly rules the city from behind the throne. How to acheive such a feat? Locate the long lost heir to the throne, have him defeat a dragon and install him as king. Using a book he stole from Unseen University the Supreme Grand Master goes about setting his plot in motion. What could possibly go wrong?

Guards! Guards! is the 8th Discworld novel and the start of the Watch sub-series. As with most Discworld books it takes several familiar concepts from mythology and common fantasy tropes, shakes them up, adds a twist and gives the story it's own unique Discworld flavor. This time around it's secret societies, the origins of dragons and their nature, a by-the-book cop, ritual magic, the danger of libraries (knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass), how to make a king, humans being the real monsters, million-to-one chances and more.

It is also the first book that is set entirely within Ankh-Morpork. The city comes to life in such detail that in some ways almost becoming a character itself. In Vimes's words:
The city wasa, wasa, wasa wossname. Thing. Woman. That's what it was. Woman. Roaring, ancient, centuries old. Strung you along, let you fall in thingy, love, then kicked you inna, inna, thingy. Thingy, in your mouth. Tongue. Tonsils. Teeth. That's what it, she, did. She wasa ... thing, you know, lady dog. Puppy. Hen. Bitch. And then you hated her and, and just when you thought you'd got her, it, out of your whatever, then she opened her great booming rotten heart to you, caught you off bal, bal, bal, thing. Ance. Yeah. Thassit. Never knew where where you stood. Lay. Only one thing you were sure of, you couldn't let her go. Because, because she was yours, all you had, even in her gutters...

Speaking of Vimes, this is our first introduction to him and the other members of the Watch. Vimes goes on one heck of a character arc in this book and throughout the series. He starts as a down in the gutter drunk to being quite the detective and able leader of the Watch. It is great fun to read. The remaining members of Watch are: Lance Constable Carrot, a 6'6" dwarf (he's adopted) and very literal minded when it comes to the Book of Law; Corporal Nobby Nobs; and Sargent Colon. The imposing and advocate for swamp dragons, Lady Sybil Ramkin makes her first appearance. Lord Vetinari, the enigmatic Patrician and ruler of Ankh-Morpork character is fleshed out into who he will be for the remainder of the series. His relationship with Vimes and how he rules the city in general is fascinating.

For anyone looking for a good place to start their Discworld adventure I highly recommend Guards! Guards!. It's a great introduction to the world, Pratchett's style of humor and it's cast of recurring characters. This one is a favorite of mine.


Oct 4, 2017, 9:19am Top

>65 Narilka: I haven’t found that one yet to add to my budding collection. Discworld books are remarkably scarce at book sales and used bookstores!

Oct 4, 2017, 2:25pm Top

>66 SylviaC: I've noticed that too.

Oct 4, 2017, 5:18pm Top

>65 Narilka: I've read most of the discworld books and I have to say, I was never a fan of Vimes or the Guards. The Patrician, on the other hand, I couldn't get enough of :-)

Oct 4, 2017, 5:25pm Top

>65 Narilka:, >68 BookstoogeLT: Vimes grew on me later in the series as his character grew and improved, and the entire subseries grew on me as it progressed, but I tend to be easily annoyed by the self-destructive drunken mess character type, so I didn’t have a proper appreciation for this book when I read it. :)

I’m definitely with you on the Patrician, Bookstooge. He was one of my favorites, maybe my very favorite.

Oct 4, 2017, 9:10pm Top

>68 BookstoogeLT: & >69 YouKneeK: The Watch and Witches books are my favorite sub-series. So hard to pick a single favorite character though :)

Oct 4, 2017, 9:10pm Top

I love Vimes. Classic noir detective with his heart in the right place, a very clear view of humanity, and somehow he still does the right thing.

A used bookstore owner once told me they rarely get books by Pratchett and some of my other favorite mystery authors because people don't want to get rid of them!

Oct 4, 2017, 9:10pm Top

55. No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished is the third in Rachel Aaron's Heartstriker series. The book picks up immediately where book two left off. At this point I can't give a synopsis without spoilers.

Julius has done what no other dragon has dared to do: he has overthrown Bethesda, taken over the clan and did it all without killing her! His idea is to have the clan ruled by a council so every dragon has a voice. But sharing power isn't part of a dragon's vocabulary. Also near impossible is getting the entire clan together to vote on filling the last council seat without killing each other. Julius definitely has his work cut out for him. And the clock is ticking. Algonquin, the spirit of the lakes, has declared war on dragon-kind and the clan is sitting ducks until they can fill that final council seat.

While there are only two plot threads, the story takes a lot of twists and turns and is quite an emotional ride. The first thread is from Julius's point of view as he takes on the impossible task of getting his family in line. He is quite unprepared for just how treacherous, plotting and literally backstabbing his family is. All the Heartstrikers assembled in one place is the ultimate recipe for chaos and insanity is the main course! It's a good thing he has a few family members on his side to help keep him safe and maintain a semblance of order. This leaves Marci alone to fend for herself in the mountain, which is the other plot thread. Marci is finally learning about what the nature of her spirit and just what his appearance means to the world so she sets out to acheive her full potential as the first possible Merlin since magic returned. Marci's bond with Ghost grows and it's a fascinating.

Given that the entire Heartstriker clan has been called to the mountain, there are dragons everywhere. All the favorites from the previous books are back. Bob, Chelsie, Amelia and Justin all play important roles in the story. Especially Chelsie. Chelsie's backstory is finally filled in and we're given a fairly large bombshell that the reader is able to figure out though Julius stays naively clueless as to what it all means. I'm pretty sure this will be very important in book 4. There are some great new additions too. I particularly loved and had my heart go out to F-Clutch and their horrible situation. There are also plenty of dragons who disagree with Julius and a few that attempt to seize the apparent opportunity during the chaos. Dragon family politics are vicious!

I continue to enjoy the heck out of this little self published series. I'll be moving on to book 4 very soon. The book has a dramatic ending that, while not quite a cliff hanger, definitely left me wanting more immediately.


Oct 6, 2017, 7:56pm Top

56. The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

I'm not a horror aficionado nor am I really a zombie movie/story fan. Still, I had been hearing great things about this book and decided it give it a shot. I am so glad I did. It blew away all my expectations.

The story revolves around a little girl named Melanie. She is a special girl, called "my little genius" by Dr. Caldwell. She is wheeled to school each day where she learns fascinating things. History. Algebra. And especially Greek myths. Melanie loves school. School and the cell she lives in are her whole world. Suddenly that world is turned upside down when the school is attacked. Melanie finds herself thrust out into the real world and things not at all as she imagined.

My synopsis really doesn't do the book justice. That's probably ok though otherwise it might be too spoilery.

I found the writing engaging, the descriptions direct and emotional, the action fast paced and gory. This almost made it more like a character driven thriller with some horrific elements than a normal horror story for me. The tale switches between five points of view. This is important as it is gradually changes how we see the world and the characters like slowly rotating a kaleidoscope. This then turns the story into a much deeper and philosophical experience, something I never expected from a horror novel.

There is some real science behind this fictional tale. The cause of the apocalypse is based on a real world occurrence, which gives the story a slightly plausible edge. Scientific American even did an article on this phenomenon, unrelated to the book. You can find it here. Don't read it if you don't want serious story spoilers!

Overall a surprisingly great read. If you can put up with some gore, I'd recommend giving it a shot. Even if you don't normally like horror stories.


Oct 6, 2017, 8:36pm Top

>73 Narilka: How much "zombie" is there? The biggest issue I have with PA fiction and/or horror is zombies. I can't stand the things. Not scared, just an active dislike of the whole idea of them. At least vampires can think while being undead.

Oct 6, 2017, 8:39pm Top

>73 Narilka: I’m glad you liked this! I read it a while back. I loved the first part of the book, and I liked the ending, but I occasionally thought it got a little tedious in the middle parts. Overall, though, it was one of the more unique books of this type in my limited experiences.

Oct 6, 2017, 9:00pm Top

>74 BookstoogeLT: There is some "zombie" but it is far but it's a very small part of the book. Maybe 2%? I'm a bit jaded by horrible zombie movies in recent years and this book is not like those at all. Your last sentence is a lot closer. Carey does something new IMO.

>75 YouKneeK: I am still conflicted about that ending! I do think it fits with the story so it's not disappointing but talk about being both hopeful and horrific at the same time. Did you check out the prequel that came out earlier this year, The Boy on the Bridge?

Oct 6, 2017, 9:28pm Top

>76 Narilka: I haven’t decided for sure yet about reading the prequel, but it isn’t very high on my list. I’ve been keeping an eye out for reviews on it from people I follow on various sites, and I’ve seen a few, but not as many as I expected to see. Do you plan to read it?

Oct 6, 2017, 10:59pm Top

>77 YouKneeK: I'm not entirely sure yet myself. It seems to be getting fairly good reviews based on a scan through Good Reads. Maybe I'll wait and let it be my Halloween read for next year.

Oct 7, 2017, 8:06am Top

>73 Narilka: Glad you enjoyed it. I haven't got around to picking up the prequel as yet but will do when it's out in paperback. There is an epilogue chapter (maybe included in the prequel but just in case it's not) and is available to read here.

Oct 7, 2017, 9:06pm Top

>79 AHS-Wolfy: Cool! Thanks for the link.

Oct 10, 2017, 5:07pm Top

57. A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

A Dragon of a Different Color is the fourth in Rachel Aaron's Heartstriker series. Again the story picks up immediately were the last book left off. Which is good because that book ended on quite the bombshell. Mild spoilers for the previous book.

Just when Julius thought things couldn't get any worse. Given no time at all to grieve his losses, family mistakes from six centuries ago are coming back to haunt the Heartstrikers. Dragons live long lives and the Chinese clans have not forgotten the crimes committed by Bethesda's brood all those long years ago. The Golden Emperor himself has come to make them pay and he will accept nothing less than the full surrender of Heartstriker clan. In the meantime Algonquin has set her plans in motion to make it so land spirits will have ultimate supremacy as the magical force in the world. It's time for her rogue mage to make good on his promises to help out or die trying. As if that's not enough Bob has gone missing!

This is the book of big reveals and a lot of info dumping as a result. Good thing it's all fascinating! Again the story continues along the two plot threads from book 3. The chapters consistently alternate between Julius and Marcy's situations. While there are a couple of extra points of view thrown in they are mostly to bring everyone up to speed on all the information needed so our heroes can get on with saving the world. The Chinese dragons feel sufficiently different and I quite enjoyed the spin on the Emperor's mythos and magic. It's so hard not to go into spoilers. I'm also extremely happy where some of the story threads ended up, especially regarding Chelsie and F-clutch. Their stories tug on the heart strings.

I continue to admire the layered world building that Rachel Aaron has achieved. Each book brings something new that enhances what we've learned before. The information comes fast and furious, adding more urgency to a situation that's already spinning wildly out of control.

Given everything that's happened and all the set up, the final book is going to be one heck of a wild ride. I can't wait! And yet I must. The author posted on her blog that she's hoping to publish the fifth and final book early next year. Fingers crossed she's able to keep to that schedule.


Oct 10, 2017, 5:45pm Top

>81 Narilka: Just as an fyi, the book version you have linked has 0 reviews.

Oct 10, 2017, 9:57pm Top

>82 BookstoogeLT: Fixed it. I had to combine several editions.

Oct 10, 2017, 11:06pm Top

>83 Narilka: Ahhh, I'm still not used to non-librarians being able to do things like that. I'll get it one day!

Oct 11, 2017, 6:16am Top

>73 Narilka: - I was also very surprised by this, and enjoyable and well told story that makes you think. Even if it does feature zombies.

Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 5:16pm Top

58. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

We solve the whole crime
We find the whole person
Phone today for the whole solution to your problem
(Missing cats and messy divorces a specialty)

Dirk may be one of the most unique detectives of all time. He believes in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. This allows him not to do any work to solve his crimes, you know such things like using fingerprint powder or collecting actual evidence, because everything leads to everything else. Yeah, let that idea sink in for a minute. And somehow Adams makes it all work. There are some genuinely brilliant bits about mathematics and the nature of space-time in this short little novel. I particularly enjoyed the solution to the problem of the immovable sofa.

So why only three stars? I think this is one of those instances where the book was spoiled by seeing the tv show first. I absolutely love the new series starting Samuel Barnett and Elija Woods and I can definitely see how the writers were influenced by Adams' work. At the end of the first season I had one of those moments where the light-bulb went off and "OMG it's all connected!" that was so cool. Since I kind of knew what to expect I think the book's ending was robbed of its impact. But it does all work, everything really is connected. Adams is a mad genius.


Oct 16, 2017, 5:21pm Top

>86 Narilka: I was a little curious about the TV series after reading these books so I looked it up to see if it was free on Amazon Prime. (It’s not.) While I was there, I read the descriptions for some of the episodes and they sounded completely different. Does it actually follow along with the books pretty closely then?

Oct 16, 2017, 5:34pm Top

>87 YouKneeK: It doesn't follow the book at all. It's takes the concept and some plot inspiration and runs with it. Dirk is still a holistic detective and uses the interconnectedness of all things to solve the various problems. If you give it a shot I think you'll see what I mean. The first episode is very weird but was intriguing enough for me to give it a second and third episode which eventually hooked me.

Oct 16, 2017, 5:43pm Top

>88 Narilka: Ah, ok, thanks! When I first read the episode descriptions I was really confused. I may try it down the road if they add it to Prime. I think I'd actually rather watch something like that, where the general concepts are there but the story is different, as opposed to a retelling of the same story.

Oct 27, 2017, 10:36pm Top

59. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time is a stand alone science fiction novel by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The story alternates between two plot threads. The first thread is about the last survivors of earth roaming the universe in a colony ship in an attempt to save what's left of humanity and yet seemingly unable to escape what caused their downfall in the first place. The second thread follows the inhabitants of a terraformed planet. The humans that were terraforming the planet released a nano-virus intended to speed up evolution for a group of monkeys that intended to be delivered to the planet and something went wrong so the monkeys never arrived. Instead the nano-virus uplifts the insects on the planet and their species grow as a civilization. Eventually the two plots converge and this leads to a fairly exciting ending.

Tchaikovsky has a quite a vision. Events unfold gradually across a couple thousand years of time. This is great for those who love some hard science in their fiction as plenty of time is given to show just how insects evolve from a fairly mindless species into a civilization that includes both religion and a form of biological sciences that was absolutely fascinating. Fair warning: if you have arachnophobia you may want to stay away from this story as it goes into quite a bit of descriptive detail about the bugs. As much as I enjoyed the insects story, the human story just didn't do it for me. I think Tchaikovsky painted too good a picture of the darker side of human nature and unfortunately those chapters left me feeling slightly depressed and made it slower for me to get through.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Mel Hudson. She does a great job with the material. I particularly loved how she portrayed Dr. Kern.

In a complete surprise.... Insects: 5 Stars. Humans: 1 Star.


Oct 27, 2017, 11:01pm Top

>90 Narilka: Was this your first Tchaikovsky?

Oct 27, 2017, 11:08pm Top

Oct 27, 2017, 11:36pm Top

>92 Narilka: Well, I hope you continue. I'm pretty biased though, as I'm right in the middle of re-reading his Shadows of the Apt decalogy :-)

Oct 28, 2017, 2:32pm Top

>93 BookstoogeLT: Anything is possible though I don't have any plans currently. It was very well written. Maybe I'll try more next year. My vague idea for wrapping up this year is to finish off some of the series I have in progress.

Oct 28, 2017, 7:38pm Top

60. Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Dragon Keeper is the first in the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb and tenth in her greater Realm of the Elderlings series. While you can probably enjoy the story regardless, I recommend to have read the Liveship Traders prior to starting this book as this series is a direct follow up to those events and many things from those books are referenced with the idea that the reader is already in the know. So far there is no impact from the Farseer Trilogy at all and only one minor relation to the very end of the Tawny Man series which you can probably skip too and still understand the whole story no problem. Without further ado...

It has been many years since Tintaglia saved Bingtown and struck a deal with the Traders to protect the newly hatched dragons. Tintaglia has vanished and the Traders are having trouble with keeping up their end of the bargain. The new dragons were too old when they cocooned as serpents and born too early, hatching weak and deformed. Many did not survive their first year. Those who did are becoming a menace, hampering efforts to excavate a buried Elderling city and costing a fortune to upkeep. There is only one solution: the dragons must be relocated somewhere else. Anywhere else. A crew of keepers are hired to help herd the dragons upriver to the mythical city of Kelsingra. Legends say Kelsingra was the home of dragons and Elderlings in ages past. Does it still exist? Can dragons and keepers survive such a journey?

This book is all about setting the stage for remainder of the series. The first two thirds of the book are spent in character building and Robin Hobb is an expert at it. We are introduced to a large cast though the story is told primarily from four points of view. Alise Finbok is in a marriage of convenience with Trader Hest Finbok. Their relationship leaves a lot to be desired. She's a self proclaimed dragon expert and has dedicated herself to learning everything she can about the creatures. She negotiates a trip to visit the hatchlings to learn about dragons directly from the source. Sent with her as her secretary/guardian is Hest's right hand man, Sedrec Meldar. To say that Sedrec is unhappy about this arrangement is an understatement. While grudgingly accepting this horrible duty he decides to put the trip to good use and has a nefarious plan of his own to try and gather dragon parts as they're worth a fortune. Leftrin is captain of the oldest known liveship, Tarman. He and his crew are hired to assist with the dragon's relocation and will be loaded down with supplies for the keepers and hunters that have signed on for the journey. Sintara, also known as Skymaw, is one of the new dragons. She is frustrated by her and her kin's malformed bodies and taunted by ancestral memories of what a dragon is supposed to be. She is paired with Thymara as a keeper. Thymara is heavily touched by the Rain Wilds. Thymara grew up knowing she should not have existed, being born with claws instead of fingers and toes, and jumps at the chance to join the expedition to make her own way in the world. Great care is taken to flesh out everyone's perspectives, backgrounds, motivations and dark little secrets. In addition to the main points of view, there are around 16 dragons total, 14 keepers, the rest of Tarman's crew and a few hunters hired on to help provide food for the dragons on their trip. It seems like a lot but ended up not being that bad to keep up with.

Again, the feeling of setting the stage is greatly apparent. The pacing is very slow. Just as the plot really gets going, it ends on a small bombshell that I imagine will have great impact to the rest of the series. It was great learning more about the Rain Wilds, an area hinted at but not really encountered in depth before. My heart really went out to the dragons and their keepers. Both groups are the rejects of society. I hope this journey helps them to rise above their circumstances. But it's a Robin Hobb book so there will definitely be more hardships ahead. It's a good set up and an interesting read. On to book two!


Oct 29, 2017, 4:49am Top

FWIW, I read the Rain wilds chronicles in the order 4, 1, 2, 3 -- as I found them in local libraries. They made enough sense to be enjoyable as sort-of standalones.

Oct 29, 2017, 3:58pm Top

I think reading the ending first would drive me nuts :)

Oct 30, 2017, 9:07am Top

I enjoyed the Rain Wilds chronicles but they are a total soap opera. Of course, that's not a bad thing when it includes dragons!

Oct 30, 2017, 11:45am Top

Oh yeah, soap opera is a pretty good description. I'm going to roll my eyes if someone ends up in a coma :)

Nov 2, 2017, 3:15pm Top

61. Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb

Dragon Haven is the second in the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb. Events pick up immediately where the first book leaves off. This makes a whole lot of since as apparently they were meant to be one larger novel and split in two due to size. This was definitely a step up for me as if feels like this is where the story really takes off.

With the liveship Tarman and its crew in tow, the dragons and their keepers continue the long journey upriver. Their destination: Kelsingra. If it even exists. Some of the dragons have ancestral memories of the place but these memories are incomplete and are in doubt. The journey treacherous and the dangers of the Rain Wilds are not to be taken lightly. And when the price for dragon parts is so high, there are those among them who will cave to temptation and do anything to make their fortune.

As anyone who is a Robin Hobb fan knows, one of her main strengths are her characters. She creates some of the most fully fleshed, believable characters around. Each point of view character goes on a fairly significant arc, as do some of the secondary characters, leaving them in completely different places than when they started this journey. Sedrec went on one of the best arcs for me. Hobb worked her magic taking this highly unlikable guy and turning him into a person of integrity through the various hardships he endures. I was proud of Alise for finding her courage and determination to make herself more than a useless, spoiled Bingtown lady. The Dragons change too, though differently as they work to patch together their missing memories and learn what it means to be true dragons. I am absolutely in love with little Relpda. Her simple view of the world is changing as her bond with her keeper grows. I will be heartbroken if anything happens to her before this series is done.

On the downside, this book almost has a YA feel to it with all the romance plots. It seems like there's someone for everyone. And many of the characters agonize internally about "should I or shouldn't I" with regards to sex. I liked how as part of Thymeria's arc she realizes that all the other keepers have been having sex, making the world not so innocent after all, kind of like that realization you get in high school. That did lend a nice coming of age slant to the story. But it just went on for too much of the book and I felt the point became belabored by the end.

I was quite surprised at all the reveals in this book. Everyone's dirty laundry is aired and worked through. The bad guys get their comeuppance. Answers are given for relationship between Dragons and Elderlings as well as why Rain Wilders are so heavily marked, both mysteries which were started in the Liveship books. Almost all the story threads started in book one reach a form of resolution. Normally these are things that I would expect to be gradually revealed through the whole series if they were going to be revealed at all. It makes me wonder what is set in store for the second half of the series.


Nov 11, 2017, 11:39am Top

62 City of Dragons by Robin Hobb

After a long, hard journey, Kelsingra is within sight. Separated from their goal by a raging river that's too wide, too deep and too swiftly moving for the Tarman to safely cross, the dragons and their keepers make camp on the far shore as best they can. There is only one for everyone to reach the city: the dragons must learn to fly. Meanwhile, Captain Leftrin returns downriver to report on the expeditions success and stock up on much needed supplies. Rumors of the city's discovery traveled ahead of the ship. There is much speculation as to what treasures await to be uncovered in Kelsingra and how much profit can be made. In Chalced, the Duke's illness progresses and he grows more desperate for a cure. It is believed that dragon blood is what the Duke needs and he will stop at nothing to get it.

City of Dragons is the third in the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb. I'm starting to see a pattern. Just as book one was the set up for book two, book three also feels like a setup for book four. Page time is split between the dragons and their keepers and catching us up on players in the rest of the world: Hest, Malta, Reyn, Seldin and the Duke of Chalced. This change put me off the story somewhat and slowed down my reading pace dramatically. Given the level of character building I expect from Robin Hobb the fact that this book clocks in at just under 400 pages is not much space for her to work with and I found the backgrounds for Hest and the Duke to be on the disappointing side. Yes the Duke is evil and we already knew Hest was a selfish ass based on mentions from Alise and Sedrec but we never really deep dive into their characters the way we did for the others. Malta, Reyn and Seldin are all characters we've known from the Liveship books so it was nice to see them again, if briefly. The chapters for the dragons and keepers I found myself devouring. Their story is what I'm most interested in and the parts we were given did not disappoint.

There is no big climax or any sort of resolution to the story. The plot plods along. There are new threats to the keepers, their dragons and the city but none of it feels particularly urgent. Perhaps that's what this book was missing for me. It was still well written and an interesting read, just needed that little extra something that I missed from the last book.


Nov 19, 2017, 10:13am Top

63. Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Blood of Dragons is the fourth and final book in the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb. It's getting hard to write a spoiler free review so I'm not going to try. The keepers and their dragons have finally made their way across to the city of Kelsingra. Memories return as both groups explore the city, filling in the puzzle of what it means to be both Dragon and Elderling. Yet one final mystery remains. What is the Silver and where has it gone? All anyone knows is it must be found quickly as it is the key to the survival of both species. Leftrin returns to the city with much needed supplies and some unwanted guests. Meanwhile tensions with Chalced continue to escalate as the Duke becomes desperate to escape his fate.

The dragons and their keepers have come a long way. I love that we spend a great portion of the book continuing to explore their relationships and the depth of how much each group needs the others. All of this while continuing to learn more about Kelsingra were my favorite parts of the book. While I think she has farther to go, I quite enjoyed how Thymara stayed true to herself and didn't cave to peer pressure around pairing up with another keeper. She also shows great courage when she faces down her fear and climbs into the well, an act that just may save everyone. She really comes into her own. Rapskal has a surprising change in character. His continued use of the memory stone alters his personality drastically. I was sad to see the carefree boy replaced with Elderling warrior. It is both tragic and turns out necessary later on given how events end up. Alise, after some soul searching, also finds a place for herself and embraces her new life fully. I was very proud of both her and Sedric when they finally faced down Hest. And while I think it was a tad unbelievable, I have to say I loved Hest's ending. Thank you Kalo for doing everyone a huge favor!

And then there's the Chalced story line. After all the wonderful build up, the ending felt rushed. I definitely wanted more time with the final confrontation in Chalced instead of most of it being done off screen. It was anticlimactic to say the least.

That major disappointment aside, it was a nice ending. The story lines are wrapped up just enough, the bad guys get what they deserve and there are Dragons and Elderlings in the world again. While I think this was the weakest series in the Realm of the Elderlings it was still an enjoyable read that adds some extra detail to the world and many memorable characters.


Nov 22, 2017, 8:34pm Top

64. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth is the grand adventure story of Professor Lidenbrock's quest to follow a the instructions in a cryptic text that describe how one can descend to the very center of the planet via volcanic tubes originating in an Icelandic volcano. He sets out with his nephew Axel and their hired guide Hans on an extraordinary journey through the bowels of the earth that has them encountering strange phenomena and many dangers. The story is told entirely from Axel's point of view as he writes journal of the trip.

This is my first time reading Jules Verne. It was a lot of fun and reminded me very much of the 1959 movie. The story starts off slow and spends a bit more time in the preparation than on the journey than I'd like. I wish there had been more time spent deep within the earth and the discoveries there. Axel is quite over dramatic and probably should never have gone along with his uncle. The science in the story is incredibly out dated so you have to unplug that part of the brain to enjoy the adventure.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Tim Curry. His performance is top notch and fits the work beautifully. I love the emotion he's able to give the characters.


Edited: Nov 22, 2017, 9:37pm Top

>103 Narilka: Tim Curry's got an incredible voice, doesn't he? I was introduced to him as an actor in the short lived tv series Earth2 but he really made an impression on me and I've enjoyed just about everything I watched that he's starred in.

Do you have any plans for future Verne novels?

Nov 22, 2017, 10:02pm Top

>104 BookstoogeLT: His voice is amazing. Tim could read straight from the dictionary and make it sound dramatic :) I agree on his regular acting as well, he's great to watch.

I am interested in reading Around the World in 80 Days and The Mysterious Island in the future. No idea when I'll get to them though.

Nov 23, 2017, 2:36pm Top

>103 Narilka: My husband and I just listened to that on a road trip. It was perfect. Glad you enjoyed it, and I think you saying Axel is "quite over dramatic" is the understatement of the year. ;)

I read Around the World in 80 Days to my children when they were in school. They loved it. We plotted the course on a big map and did some side studies of the cultures which they traveled through, culminating the read with a big international dinner. Fun times!

Nov 23, 2017, 6:11pm Top

>106 MrsLee: That sounds like great fun!

Nov 23, 2017, 7:30pm Top

65. Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is having one hell of a day. A high ranking member of the Red Court of Vampires has challenged Harry to a duel to the death. Several of Marcone's thugs are gunning for him. A horribly mutilated corpse has turned up that the Chicago PD need assistance identifying. The Shroud of Turn has been stolen. Plus Susan is back in town and slowly losing control over her new vampiric nature. Never has there been a better recipe for disaster.

Death Masks is the fifth in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Harry is back and he has a lot on his plate. Too much I'd say. There were so many plot lines that none of them were given the time they deserved. The two main plots could have easily filled out its own book and still been great. I almost forgot about the vampire duel I was so caught up with the Denarians and the Shroud. I will say that Butcher really knows his myths and legends, giving us a nice taste of the Fallen. Can't wait to see what theses guys have in store for Harry in the future.

This was another action filled entry to the series. And Butcher really knows how to write action! I'm glad to see Harry placing his trust in Murphy and the two of them working more as a team. Just wish she'd been in the story more.

Unfortunately I'm not jiving with Harry's sense of humor. It was more eye roll than funny for me this time around. It almost makes me root for the bad guys. Almost.

The ending is both wrapped up and open ended, a tough trick to pull. Harry has his work cut out for him in the books to come.


Nov 24, 2017, 6:28am Top

>108 Narilka: I read quite a few of these desperately trying to like them. But I just never got into them so I gave up. Your reaction to the humor was kind of my reaction to the whole series.

I'm guessing from the last sentence that you'll keep on reading?

Nov 24, 2017, 9:36am Top

>108 Narilka: / >109 BookstoogeLT: they've been a bit hit and miss within the GD, and I find also along the series some are better than others. This only got 3.5* from me, because as you say the plots aren't complex, and Harry's in no moral quandary at any point. I liked his 1 liners though. I rate the series between 3 and 4.5, with Turn coat proven guilty and the shocking changes being the highlights and this one plus the 1st two the low points.

Nov 24, 2017, 10:14am Top

>109 BookstoogeLT: I already own book 6 so I'll continue the series that far at least. After that, we'll see. I really enjoyed book 3 so I keep hoping that whatever it was from that book will be carried forward. Otherwise I may keep my urban fantasy reading to Ilona Andrews for a while. Hounded is proving an entertaining audio book 2 hours in so maybe there's hope for Kevin Hearne too.

>110 reading_fox: Sounds like his later books are better than the early ones for you. That's good to know too.

Nov 24, 2017, 10:50am Top

>111 Narilka: Hard for me to be neutral on the subject, I love the Dresden series. Yes, I do feel the later books are better than the beginning, and I do see the negative things others have seen, such as repetitive words and such, but it is hopeless. I love them and that is that. :)

Nov 29, 2017, 5:08pm Top

66. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

There is a curse.

They say:
May you live in interesting times.

The Agatean empire is sliding into chaos. The old Emperor is dying. Five noble families, the Hongs, the Sungs, the Tangs, the McSweeneys (very old established family) and the Fangs, gather their armies around the capital city of Hunghung in preparation for a war of succession. A revolutionary movement has begun by the peasants based on the mysterios text What I Did On My Holidays written about a place called Ank-More-Pork. There is also a barbarian invasion by the Silver Horde on it's way. A message has arrived at Unseen University requesting the "Great Wizzard" be sent to the Counterweight Continent immediately. In the interests of international relations the UU senior staff elect to send Rincewind to sort it all out since he has quite a knack for surviving adventures.

Interesting Times is the 17th Discworld novel and the 5th in the Rincewind sub-series. It is a direct sequel to the first two Discworld novels and, while it can be read out of order, I recommend having read those two first in order to have a good background on the major characters. I ended up enjoying this one a lot more than I expected. While there are no truly bad Discworld books, the Rincewind sub-series have been hit or miss for me. This one was a hit.

Many familiar faces make appearances. Rincewind is his cowardly self, trying to run away from pretty much everything. Cohen the Barbarian has renamed himself Ghengis Cohen. He and his Silver Horde are all set to pillage and plunder while Mr. Saveloy tries to show them a more civilized way of conquering. The Luggage is still there, though to a lesser extent. Twoflowers is back and he has daughters! Even Dibbler has his own Agatean counterpart, Disembowl-Myself-Honorably Dibblah.

The Counterweight Continent is the Discworld mashup of ancient China and Japan. Pratchett has fun playing with a lot of stereotypes, such as all Asians know martial arts, the great wall keeping everyone in, ninja and samurai, ancestral ghosts, sumo wrestlers, the caste society. This is also its downside as it makes the Agatean characters feel very one dimensional.

While it lacks the introspective depth of other Discworld novels, this installment is down right funny. It's culturally insensitive, idiotic, full of puns and there are parts that shouldn't be funny at all and yet they are. I would find myself chuckling out loud and just have to read off a line or two to my husband.


Nov 29, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>113 Narilka: I'm glad you enjoyed this! I will always remember this book as the one that had me sitting in a hotel room barely able to breathe while I tried to contain my laughter so I didn’t scare any neighbors with my hysterical laughter. :)

Nov 29, 2017, 8:31pm Top

>114 YouKneeK: I completely understand :) While i was wrapping up the book last night I was asked "you're really enjoying that aren't you". I didn't realize I was giggling so much.

Dec 3, 2017, 10:01pm Top

67. Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O'Sullivan is the last of the ancient druids. He's done a good job of staying off the radar of other supernatural beings for the last two thousand years and is now living in in Tempe, Arizona, as far away from the Fae as he can get. It's a place were many other paranormals have taken refuge from the Old World, everyone from an Icelandic vampire holding a grudge against Thor to a coven of Polish witches who ran from the German Blitzkrieg. Things are going pretty well for Atticus until an old Celtic god tracks him down who wants the sword back that Atticus "stole" centuries ago. Atticus will need all his power and a little help from his friends if he is to survive the ancient God's plots.

Hounded by Kevin Hearne is the first in the Iron Druid Chronicles. This book was pure fun and very light hearted. Living for 2100 years will give a person a different perspective on life. Atticus has made some interesting friends and even more interesting enemies. Living in Arizona with his Irish wolfhound Oberon, Atticus keeps busy by running an apothecary/book store. His lawyer is literally a blood sucking vampire that has ghouls available on call just in case some bodies need clearing up. He has an understanding with the local werewolf pack and has been burned by witches so many times he no longer trusts them. Widow MacDonagh is Atticus's neighbor who is originally from Ireland and so much fun. I wish I had a neighbor like her in real life!

The book spends a lot of time world building to give us a background on the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fae that Atticus is trying to avoid. While this includes a lot of info dumping, I thought this part is really great and I love the world that Hearne has created using Irish mythology as the backdrop. We are introduced to several members of the pantheon, some of whom I suspect will feature prominently in later installments. The magic system is also based on this mythology and well done.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Luke Daniels. Luke gives an excellent performance. His accents are wonderful as are his female character voices. I was highly impressed. I will definitely be continuing this series on audio since I enjoyed Luke's performance so much.


Dec 4, 2017, 7:41am Top

>116 Narilka: I keep hearing good things about this series. I wish the books were easier to get hold of in the UK - I never seem to find the early books anywhere.

Dec 4, 2017, 8:43am Top

>117 Sakerfalcon: Maybe they're available as ebooks for your region? The Kindle edition in the US is reasonably priced at $2.99 to entice you to try the series.

Dec 4, 2017, 10:26am Top

>118 Narilka: Thanks for the tip! The first book is indeed available on kindle, at £2.99, so I'll give it a go!

Dec 4, 2017, 10:48am Top

I tired the first three (ebooks) from a bullet on here, can no longer remember who. Somehow they never quite clicked for me, books 1 and 3 weren't bad by any means, but Atticus just seems too powerful perhaps, trying too hard to be one of the lads. I could never put my finger on it, but didn't feel the need to read the rest of them.

Dec 6, 2017, 5:49pm Top

68. The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman

Strange men have been harassing Will Parry's mother for years about his missing father, even going so far as to break into their house searching for documents! Will knows he must keep his mother safe entrusts her care with a friend. Then Will flees from the men and begins a frantic quest to find his father. Just as he's getting started Will stumbles through an unseen window and into another world inhabited only by wild children telling stories of "specters" that have chased away all the adults. It is here that Will meets a young girl named Lyra Silvertongue. Quickly it becomes apparent that her and Will's meeting is no accident and that both their fates will be tied to something called the Subtle Knife.

The Subtle Knife is the second in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. It felt a little like starting over with a whole new protagonist and the story being told primarily from Will's point of view. Lyra and Pan are definitely important and have some great moments. This is just more Will's story than Lyra's. Similar to the first book it wasn't until about half way through again that I felt really engaged in their adventure.

I ended up liking Will & Lyra as a team. Their introduction was funny and awkward, just as it should be. Once they grow to trust each other Will provides a good balance to Lyra and helps her character grow into a more mature direction. I found it interesting when Pan takes it upon himself to comfort Will in his time of need because will didn't have his own daemon even though this is something strictly not done. Makes me wish I had my own daemon even more.

The religious overtones are starting to show and it sticks out badly from what is otherwise fast paced, if a bit dark, adventure. I'm still not sure I have made the correct connection between Dust, the specters and consciousness. Maybe I'm overthinking it? Hopefully it becomes clearer in the third book. It also felt kind of weird to suddenly throw angels into the mix along with the Adam/Eve myth and what appears to be a literal attack on The Authority (aka God). I'm definitely getting an idea as to why this series caused so much controversy.

The book ends on quite a cliff hanger that is obviously a set up for the final book. I feel invested enough at this point that I want to see how it all ends.


Dec 16, 2017, 2:48pm Top

69. Artemis by Andy Weir

I feel I should start this review with a disclaimer. I am one of the 2% of people on Earth that has NOT read The Martian. I noticed while scanning reviews that this may make a difference in your enjoyment of the book as Weir fans can't seem to help but compare both works, particularly the main characters. So if you have read The Martian your reading experience may vary.

Jazz Bashara is a petty criminal, one that has set up a small but profitable smuggling operation on Artemis, the first and only colony on the moon. Life on Artemis is hard if you aren't a wealthy tourist or eccentric billionaire. So there really is no harm in smuggling a little contraband to make ends meet, right? When one of Jazz's regular customers offers her the deal of a lifetime, one that will set her up with enough money to live in comfort for the rest of her life, she can hardly refuse and so begins to mastermind the perfect crime. Pulling off the impossible comes with it's own set of problems, ones that Jazz doesn't discover until her plot is well underway. It's not long before Jazz finds her life on the line and her only way out is to pull off a caper even more impossible than the original job.

Long story short, Artemis is a caper/heist novel set on the Moon's only colony. I loved this setting! Weir has so much fun showing off his mad science skills and his creativity as he explains how the city of Artemis exists along with the unique challenges/benefits it faces with a gravity much less than that on Earth as well as the risks of being up in the vacuum of space with no friendly atmosphere to keep you safe. Since it is a fairly young city with the next closest neighbor being several weeks away by space ship it has it's own form of starter economy with very obvious differences between the haves and have nots. In some ways that lends itself to a wild west feel while still having the futuristic space vibe. The setting plays a huge role in how Jazz sets up her heist and it is this uniqueness is what wreaks havoc on many of her plans.

Jazz is an interesting character. I'm not entirely sure if we're really supposed to like her or not. She's in her twenties with a sarcastic sense humor and crappy way of interacting with others that makes her feel very immature. While I did enjoy her humor for the most part, I started to get tired of her constant need to be an ass to basically everyone with little or no provocation which at times made me think of her as more teenaged. I'd like to say that this changes by the end but no, not really. Jazz is also on a genius intelligence level in regards to her knowledge of science. It was both enjoyable to read her reasoning for solutions but also made it seem like the obstacles weren't very difficult for her to overcome which ended up removing some of the immediately from the danger she gets herself into. I was never very worried that Jazz wouldn't be able to get herself out of the mess she had created.

As to the heist itself, that part was great fun. So many unique challenges to being on the moon makes the final solution to the original job quite "messy" as each solution causes more problems needing to be solved.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Rosario Dawson. I think she was a great choice. She gives voice to a multicultural cast of characters, switching between accents and tones of voice flawlessly. It was always easy to tell which character was speaking.


Dec 18, 2017, 4:51pm Top

70. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass is the third and final book in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. This was a frustrating read. Buried under all the religious ranting is a decent, if confusing, adventure/coming of age story set across multiple worlds. I understand why the church was so upset over this series now. There were some genuinely enjoyable parts to read though there was a lot to wade through to get there. Will, Lyra and their daemons continue to be my favorite parts. I'm glad I finished the series even if I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped.


Dec 21, 2017, 6:33pm Top

I am having a serious fan girl squee moment. There's going to be a third era Mistborn series!!!!!!!!

https://brandonsanderson.com/state-of-the-sanderson-2017/ - you'll have to scroll down, it's a long post.

Dec 21, 2017, 7:22pm Top

>124 Narilka: Actually, there will be 4. At least if he holds out for hte SF future one. He was initially going to do Mistborn, then a modern version, then a future science fiction trilogy. I'm still not sure how Wax and Wayne got roped into being :-)

Dec 21, 2017, 8:01pm Top

>125 BookstoogeLT: I was so irritated when he pushed back Wax and Wayne 4 by a year for that YA project. Waiting for them all to be written so I can binge them in one sitting has been hard :)

Dec 22, 2017, 4:24pm Top

71. Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicky Delany

Rudolf, New York, is America's Christmas town. Christmas is celebrated year-round but the festivities really take off in December with the lead up to Christmas proper. The Santa Claus parade kicks things off with the town's various shop owners competing for the best float. Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus's Treasures, thinks she's a sure to win this year until she discovers the tractor pulling her float is sabotaged and her float is disqualified from the competition. Chalking it up to a mean prank, Merry puts her bad luck out of her mind until she stumbles across the body of an out of town reporter while taking a late night walk. There's a Scrooge in Christmastown! The police think the reporter was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie specially made by Merry's friend Vicky. With the police investigation going no where Merry takes matters into her own hands determined to clear her friend's name and bring the spirit of Christmas back before events scare off all the tourists.

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen is the first in A Year-Round Christmas Mystery series by Vicki Delany. This was a great little cozy mystery. It was especially nice to read about all the Christmas festivities as we head into the holiday in the real world too. The author had a lot of fun with some of her character's names, making them fit with the holiday theme. Merry is a likable protagonist. Her shop sits in the middle of Main Street so its easy for her to keep on top of everything going on and yet manages to make her concern feel natural instead of just being a nosy neighbor. Some of the descriptions of her shop make me wish I could visit it in real life.

The mystery moves at a good pace. Strange events continue to happen, each one seemingly disparate from the others until there are just too many for it to be mere coincidence. My guesses about the murderer were completely wrong to the very end.

This is a promising start to a series. I think I'll pick up the next book and see how things go for Merry and the residents of Rudolph in the future.


Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 8:31pm Top

72. Guardians of the West by David Eddings

Guardians of the West is the first book in The Malloreon by David Eddings. This is the sequel series to The Belgariad so as long as you've read that, you'll know all the players involved and basically what to expect from the series since the story follows the same formula.

Several years have passed since the Child of Light and Child of Dark met to decide the fate of the world. A time of peace and prosperity has come to the Kingdoms of the West. The child Errand finally knows what it is to have a family when he goes to live with Polgara and Durnik in the Vale of Aldur. Garion and Ce'Nedra have settled into married life and their roles of ruling the island nation of Riva and work to produce an heir. The Prophecy has been fulfilled. Or so everyone thought. One fateful night the Orb burns red and the Voice gives warning: "Beware Zandramas!" No one is sure who or what Zandramas is though it quickly becomes apparent that the Prophecy is not done yet. Garion once again finds himself in the middle of the struggle between Light and Dark with the fate of the world, and his family, resting on his shoulders.

This was a wonderful comfort reread. I have read these books so many times that it is like returning to old friends, even all these years later. I remember how much the first half of this book used to bother me with how slow it is. This time I found I didn't mind it at all going through the background information, catching up on everyone's lives in the years that have passed. I was a little sad to see some favorite side characters pass away. I am also reminded of just how annoying I find Ce'Nedra now. Thankfully she doesn't feature as prominently as in past installments. The story is still quite enjoyable and almost as much fun as it was when I first read it.


Dec 25, 2017, 8:13pm Top

>128 Narilka: I'm not sure what's different, but I liked the Mallorean as well. Whereas his sequel to the Elenium, the Tamuli, was where I pretty much got off the Eddings Fanboy Train.

Are you planning on reading all 5 books in a row, or spacing them out?

Dec 25, 2017, 8:31pm Top

>129 BookstoogeLT: The current plan is to do them all in a row, though I reserve the right to change my mind :) In general I liked the Sparhawk books less than the Garion books though they are still enjoyable. I liked the Tamuli well enough but the repetition of themes and characters was blatantly obvious. His Redemption of Althalus is where I gave up - it was so horrible I never could give his Dreamers series a try.

Dec 25, 2017, 8:41pm Top

>128 Narilka: I have The Belgariad on my list, although it’s at a lower priority for now so I doubt I’ll get to it before the next year or more. I’ve never been quite sure if I should follow that up with The Mallorean once I get to it. I’ve seen a couple comments from people I follow over on GR that the story is almost identical to The Belgariad with just small detail changes. Do you think that’s true, or are they overstating it?

Dec 25, 2017, 8:49pm Top

>131 YouKneeK: They are NOT overstating it. Eddings made it a point to write the same exact story as many times as possible and see how many times people would swallow it.

That being said, those 2 series and the Elenium trilogy are all ones I own in hardcover...

Dec 25, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>132 BookstoogeLT: LOL, I think I’ll probably only read the first series then. And if I really, really enjoy it so much that I want to read it again, I’ll read the second series. :)

Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 8:56pm Top

>133 YouKneeK: For me, like Narilka, it is a comfort read. I first read them all when I was 14-16. Books like that sink their barbs in and stay for the rest of your life. Now, hardened as I am, they would have simply bounced off of me.

Sorry Narilka for intruding so much on your thread...

Dec 25, 2017, 9:03pm Top

>131 YouKneeK: I'd call them similar with enough differences to make the adventure fun both times. There's even a point in the second series when the characters point out the repetition of events in a conversation. For whatever reason, it doesn't bother me with these two series.

Dec 25, 2017, 9:06pm Top

>134 BookstoogeLT: No problem at all. Actually you have a very good point. I read the series for the first time at a similar age and they are definitely comfort reads. I can't say that for most books I read in my teens.

Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 9:52pm Top

>135 Narilka: Thanks! Since I won't have the nostalgia factor going, and repetition tends to drive me bonkers, I'll probably plan on just the first series with the option to change my mind if I get really addicted.

Edited to add: I'm probably more likely to get to it if I'm looking at it as 5 books instead of 10, anyway. :)

Dec 26, 2017, 8:53am Top

>137 YouKneeK: I hope you try them at some point. I'm curious how the experience will be for you. I just hope you don't hate them :) I also pretty much never read both series back to back and instead leave a good year or more between them.

Dec 26, 2017, 10:09am Top

>130 Narilka: That's pretty much exactly how it went for me! They used to be comfort reads for me too, but I re-read them so often, that at some point they started losing their charm.

Dec 27, 2017, 8:50pm Top

73. Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Hexed by Kevin Hearne is the second in the Iron Druid Chronicles. It was another highly entertaining read. And so funny! Events pick up just days after the big show down at the end of book one. Atticus has had time to mostly heal and is now dealing with the fallout of those events. There's the matter of cleaning up the few demons that escaped and a group of Bacchants from Las Vegas has come to town to (literally) tear up the local club scene. Plus a new group of witches is in town, ones Atticus has run into before on the German side of WWII. He's decided to do something he never thought he would - sign an nonaggression treaty with the local coven of witches. Perhaps with a little help from his friends he can get it all taken care of and start healing the land.

Oberon is hands down my favorite character. He gets some of the best lines. The conversations between Oberon and Atticus had me laughing out loud. The fact that he speaks telepathically making it so that almost no one else can hear which causes Atticus to attempt to keep a straight face during conversations adds to the fun. It's also neat that the author gives Oberon a "theme" for each book.

Hearne is starting to branch out and mix in other mythologies. The Native American god Coyote makes an appearance and lives up to his trickster ways. Eastern European witchcraft lore is further explained. He even manages to work in the Virgin Mary and some Kabbalah. Everyone from all the pantheons hates Thor which I'm pretty sure is a set up for book 3 since it's titled Hammered. My least favorite part is when the two Celtic goddesses make their appearance. They just didn't fit very well into this book's plot for me so I'm sure that's also a set up for something in the future.

Again I listened to the audio book narrated by Luke Daniels. His performance continues to be top notch. As long as they keep Daniels as the voice actor I'll be continuing this series on audio.


Dec 30, 2017, 1:39pm Top

>140 Narilka: Are you going to continue in number 3?

Dec 30, 2017, 4:05pm Top

>141 zjakkelien: Yes. It will likely be my next audio book after You Die When You Die which I just downloaded and clocks in at just over 14 hours. Best guess is that will put Hammered somewhere around mid to end of January.

Dec 30, 2017, 4:27pm Top

>140 Narilka: I love the audios. Luke Daniels does such a great job I'm sticking with audios for the series.

Dec 30, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>143 majkia: That is my plan too :)

Dec 30, 2017, 4:54pm Top

74. King of the Murgos by David Eddings

King of the Murgos is the second book in The Malloreon by David Eddings. The quest is under way! The Prophecy has clearly given everyone their instructions. Garion's task is to track down Zandramas and rescue his son while Belgarath must seek the final meeting place where the choice will be made in the various Mysteries. Guided by the Orb, the party heads south first through the swamps of Nyssa and then on into the lands of the Murgos. The trip is quite perilous as the party must travel through a war zone as well as dodging traps set by the enemy.

This is a slightly slower installment, though due more to all the travel involved rather than the need to set the stage. There are two big highlights in this book for me. The first is when the party finally makes it to Cthol Murgos. I quite enjoyed going through an area of the world not visited before. It adds nicely to the world building and I wish there was more of it. And the Murgo King is such a fun character! The second part is the character banter. Especially between Silk and Liselle. I think it's become an unspoken contest to see which can best eachother's cleverness.

This reread is reminding me how I've missed reading medieval-based fantasy. I read a lot of other sub-genres this year. It feels good to go back to my fantasy reading roots.


Dec 30, 2017, 5:07pm Top

>145 Narilka: * thumbs up *

Dec 30, 2017, 5:09pm Top

>145 Narilka: I’m glad to read the author writes good character banter. I usually love that kind of thing. :)

Dec 30, 2017, 5:25pm Top

>147 YouKneeK: Me too :) There is good banter in the first series as well.

Dec 30, 2017, 5:59pm Top

And that's it for 2017! I can't believe I read 74 books!!! That is a new record for me since I started tracking my reading :) Here's a quick breakdown...

Total read: 74
Physical: 40 (54%)
Electronic: 17 (23%)
Audio: 17 (23%)
Total Pages Read: 21421
Audio Book Hours: 165h 42m
New to me authors: 19
Rereads: 4
Average Star Rating: 3.9

Discovering Audible last year has really given my book count a boost. I also expect to read more books electronically since receiving a Kindle for my birthday this year. The convenience and back lighting can't be beat.

I participated in two challenges this year and am happy with the results.
TBR Challenge: 13/12(24)
2017 Category Challenge: 39/52

It was pointed out in the TBR group that apparently I'm quite the series juggler. So I did a quick count. I read from 28 different series this year. Some I completed, some I read as far as they've been published and some I don't intend to continue. Yet there are still some unfinished series I'd like to read more of so maybe that's another 2018 goal I'll set myself. Being a mood reader sometimes makes this difficult :)

I'm looking forward to another great year of reading in 2018.

Dec 30, 2017, 9:08pm Top

>149 Narilka: Congrats on your record year! :) I must have missed (or forgot) that you received a Kindle this year. This was your first one? I’m really glad you’re enjoying it.

I look forward to continuing to follow along with what you’re reading in 2018.

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 9:54pm Top

>149 Narilka: Average rating of 3.9? Really? That is phracking awesome. You have to really read some good books, or avoid the really bad ones, to get that high!
And congrats on the other numbers as well. I like the page numbers because it's so much more honest than "X" books, where a tome by Sanderson really skews things up.
Any idea how the audio time translates into pages?

And I fully support your Series Juggling. In fact, I'd back you 110% on that! Too long in one world and I really start noticing nit picky flaws that I could otherwise ignore...

Dec 30, 2017, 10:09pm Top

>150 YouKneeK: Yes, it's my first Kindle, an Oasis. I used the Kindle app on my tablet before this but it's like reading on a computer screen so didn't help with eye strain after a long day of work the way a proper Kindle does.

>151 BookstoogeLT: I think I got lucky in avoiding the really bad ones :) I'll go look at the page counts for my more recent audio books, choosing the paperback version where available and report back since I'm not really sure how hours compare. It probably varies by narrator since different people read aloud at different speeds.

Dec 30, 2017, 10:25pm Top

>152 Narilka: I got curious so I started poking around. Roughly, and we're talking really rough, an hour of audio comes to 37pages.
Google came up with 100,000 words is about 11hrs of time. 100,000 words is about 400 pages.

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 10:37pm Top

>151 BookstoogeLT: Here's some info for you.

Hexed is 296 pages, 8h 52m
Artemis is 305 pages, 8h 59m
Hounded is 292 pages, 8h 11m
Children of Time is 600 pages, 16h 30m
Redshirts is 320 pages, 7h 41m

Edit: Page counts pulled from Goodreads due to ease of looking them up there. Audio hours pulled straight from the app on my phone.

Dec 30, 2017, 10:39pm Top

>154 Narilka: Yep, running those numbers roughly corresponds to the google data. Excellent! One more bit of trivia to fill my head with :-)
Thanks for the hard data to confirm...

Dec 30, 2017, 10:53pm Top

>155 BookstoogeLT: You bet! And it's interesting. That would add nicely to my page count after doing the math.

Dec 31, 2017, 1:15pm Top

This topic was continued by Narilka reads in 2018.

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