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Gilroy's 2018 Reading and Life Thread

The Green Dragon

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Edited: Jan 1, 4:42pm Top

I liked how this thread flowed last year, so I'm going to stick with that format again. It's a more open thread, so I can post about things during the year a bit more. (Expect links in May to photos from the Big Event.)

Each book will have a post, followed by a month summary of all reads. The posts about the books will update as I read. I'm a slow reader, so you'll have to forgive me updating backdated posts. The notes also will go into the reviews. If books cross months, they don't get a new post for the new month, but they also don't get counted until finished.

Oh and goals:
Total books to read: 45 -- 30 audio, 12 physical, 3 ebooks
(Count as of December 31 - 31 audio, 7 physical, 7 ebooks)

The current reads:

Audio - Done

Physical book - Done

E-book - (Won't be scrolling to the new year)
(Kindle) Some of the best from Tor.com 2016 (Because the kindle doesn't leave my house right now and because I've got tons to read there, it may be slow reading.)

Edited: Dec 9, 2018, 7:58pm Top

Dud Books - Books I attempted to read and gave up:

Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Bitterwood by James Maxey
Disorganized Mind by Nancy Ratey

Note on how I designate a dud book:
Unless the book is so horrid of prose/story/cliché that I can't get past the first few pages, I feel the need to give the author at least 50 pages or a third of the book, which ever I can make. This allows for initial bad openings and characters to grow enough. At that point, if I continue to struggle and can't get into the book, I'm done and it becomes a dud.

Jan 1, 2018, 9:04am Top

For those who want to play:
Annual book poll for 2017
Google Form
LiveJournal Poll

Jan 1, 2018, 12:08pm Top

Oooh...the Big Event! It will be lovely to see photos. I hope all your planning and preparations run smoothly in the next few months. Best wishes to you and your fiancée!

Jan 1, 2018, 12:43pm Top

Wishing you a wonderful 2018 as I'm sure it will be with so much to look forward to.

Jan 1, 2018, 1:25pm Top

Good luck with the Big Event! Piccies always welcome. And have a wonderful reading year on top of it.

Jan 1, 2018, 1:35pm Top

Starred and following!

Edited: Jan 15, 2018, 7:20am Top

The Guilty by David Baldacci
Started 1/1/18 Finished 1/15/18

-- This feels like an easy read so far. Good character and set up.
-- Ah, this is a family exploration story and working through past issues story. Great thing to read as I prepare to go visit family. *snort*
-- This story is getting more convoluted the more I read it. Still fascinating and keeping me reading but weird...
-- Less than fifty pages from the end, still feeling very convoluted. For that matter, more suspects are appearing with almost none falling away.
-- It's an enjoyable read, easy, though not sure the book is worth the keep shelf.
-- I can't believe the author went there. Just the thought makes me squirm...
-- Okay, that final twist came out of no where. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention, or he didn't telegraph it like other authors. WOW. Who'd a thunk it? Laura Barksdale went nuts, came back and killed all those who knew anything...

Edited: Jan 24, 2018, 1:09pm Top

Until Proven Guilty by J A Jance
Read by Gene Engene
Started 1/2/18 Finished 1/19/18

-- The gruff, blunt detective. The new partner (not a rookie, but might as well be). Feels so cliché it's not even funny.
-- Oh, way to open a series, blame it on a cult. And one who all changed their names to join. Even better, have a character reveal a conflict of interest...
-- I can see partners growing as the book progresses. Okay with that.
-- The reader makes this guy sound so gruff. That may be coloring my opinion of the book.
-- you know, when we first met the Lady in Red (another cliché), I suspected. Now the writer confirms, at least partially. I'm just waiting for the suicide. Based on the book's direction, it would make Beaumont a very rich man...
-- Called it. death by cop. And this felt so cliche, not sure I want to read the rest of the series.

Edited: Jan 13, 2018, 7:12am Top

The Change by Teyla Branton
Started 1/2/18 Ended 1/10/18

-- To date, I've had bad luck with e-books. This one is proving different. Interesting opening, quirky concept (can't say unique, but definitely a different take on the immortal thoughts), and interesting characters. Just hoping it holds up through the whole book.
-- This book has drawn me in better than I thought. The concept held up through the end of the book. Sometimes, it felt like an Unbounded was always right there, all the time. Or right when they needed it.
-- My biggest complaint is the main character using her ability with absolutely no training, so experience, and it working. It never seemed to stumble or fail. She misunderstood it, but didn't fail using it.
-- The romance felt very forced. A guy had animal magnetism? Really? Yeah, too much of a jerk to keep that attracting women.
-- The writing flowed well, almost no chop, which also helped to draw me in. Too many ebooks have chopping writing.
-- I'm debating buying the next in the series now...

Jan 3, 2018, 9:39am Top

Can’t wait to see pics of The Big Event!

>8 gilroy: I find Baldacci’s books fast and easy yet entertaining.

Jan 4, 2018, 2:06am Top

Happy New Year! I hope all the planning and preparations over the next few months go smoothly so you can really enjoy the Big Day when it arrives. And that you read some great books too!

Edited: Feb 4, 2018, 5:57am Top

Architects of Destiny by Amy Duboff
Started 1/10/18 Finished 02/03/2018

-- It's a bad sign when you have seven notes in the ebook software and you've not read more than 10 pages.
-- Some poor word choices, a very definite information dump -- complete with lantern to spotlight it, and bad order of plot points. Starting to question why I chose this book already.
-- I'm thinking the first two and a half chapters could have been dropped, starting the story much later, but it would mean a much better story.
-- I don't care if the family designed the system, why does a 16 year old know how to operate a navsystem?
-- The book seems to improve as I've reached chapter 6 and I've not struggled as much as I had the first two and a half to three chapters. I find less to snark about.
-- The romance story line feels forced and the main character feels rather stiff and stilted.
-- Over five years passes in this book, and too much feels rushed and glazed over. The romance especially. They go from meeting to being engaged in two months, but you get very little details regarding their courtship. Cris's year aboard the Exler is limited to a few chapters. It felt like the author couldn't decide on training school or space opera, so tried to wedge them both in.
-- Why did they include a glossary of terms at the end of the book? Nothing was that strange, if you read close enough...
-- Overall, a solid meh book. Debatable if I get the next.

Jan 13, 2018, 12:02pm Top

So, in architectural terms, a collapsing tower of glass.

Jan 14, 2018, 6:57am Top

I'd say that's accurate. Even for a science fiction piece in space...

Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 5:33am Top

(Mad at myself, as this was the first book I started this year and I didn't create a post for it.)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Started 1/1/18 Ended 3/29/18

-- Really not finding any of the characters worthy of sympathy yet. They annoy me enough I willingly set the book aside instead of reading. Probably a bad sign.
-- Why do writers always make teens either cocky beyond all reason or whiny brats? There are so many different options in between that make for more interesting characters.
-- Continuing to read and finding I'm definitely not the target audience. Though I don't think teen girls should read this either, as the main character is more a damsel in distress than a self rescuing princess type. Whiny and annoying. Reminds me of that woman from Temple of Doom that tags along with Indy...
-- Another love triangle. UGH! Is that really what teen girls want? Indecision between two boys? Seems like every Teen book has a triangle in it. Maybe that's a check box on the checklist they had to hit...
-- Oh NO! That type of twist is NOT the way to break a love triangle! Make one of the love interests, the one the character was leaning toward, the long lost dead brother she didn't know she had? Ugh in an ugly stick!
-- Story told by character is backstory info dump that could have been summed up into a few paragraphs. And the primary details could have been mentioned without having to take a whole chapter.
-- Guess it should be a sign that I am not doing well with a book when it takes me almost 4 months to finish...

Jan 20, 2018, 5:23pm Top

Hey there, gilroy! Hope your year and your big event go smoothly, and none of your books are duds. :o)

Edited: Jul 31, 2018, 8:13am Top

The Conjurer's Riddle by Andrea Cremer
Read by Leslie Bellair
Started 1/22/18 end 01/29/18

-- So this book picks up right where the last one left off. This is good, because it also is filling in some details I'd missed.
-- I've always liked that the main character of this series is a plucky 16 year old girl who belies the times. She's a scout and a fighter, instead of a cook or some other role as would be suggested in the time period this happens.
-- The sense of her uncertainty when leading is well done with this book.
-- GAH! The love triangle is back. I thought this dealt with. Dang it all to hades.
-- And ... we end on a cliff hanger.

Edited: Jan 22, 2018, 8:33am Top

>16 gilroy: I tried reading this once, and it didn't pass the Fifty Page test.

I'm sorry your year started off with a dud, and I hope better books come your way soon!

Jan 23, 2018, 7:17pm Top

It's amazing the difference 3 mm makes when it comes to eye glasses, especially when your eye sight is so pitiable like mine.

Edited: Feb 2, 2018, 1:18pm Top

Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Read by Cassandra Campbell
Start 1/30/18 End 2/2/18

-- I'm having trouble classifying this book (which is a mixed positive for me.) It starts sounding like it's a literary fiction type book, then offers a thriller/suspense/mystery type, then suggests it's a science fiction type thing. It's all very confusing.
-- The whole thing with not looking is not well done, as the author doesn't do as well just describing sounds.
-- AND the writer proves they've never actually been IN a rowboat. She places the girl in back. The boy sits up front. Yet when she stops rowing, she leans forward to touch the boy then backward to touch the girl. Which would be wrong.
-- I don't mind frame stories, but this jumping back and forth between memories and present day is just annoying to me. It breaks up the time line too much.
-- I'm more than half way through the book and there's nothing happening. It's not moving. The characters are stuck in a time loop. I think I'm going to give up and label it a dud.

Jan 30, 2018, 5:47am Top

>16 gilroy: I rather liked this and the next, although the third in the trilogy was very poor in comparison and I haven't bothered to read further.

May's a good choice! Best wishes for smooth planning.

Feb 1, 2018, 5:14am Top

January Round up:
The guilty by David Baldacci
Until Proven Guilty by J A Jance
The Change by Teyla Branton
Storm Front by Jim Butcher (reread/listen to audio)
The Conjurer's Riddle by Andrea Cremer

(Towards goals - 3 audio, 1 physical, 1 ebook)

Feb 2, 2018, 4:00pm Top

Well, there you are! Thanks for coming to find me and pointing the way. Starring your thread. (Here's where I've parked myself this year. I hope you'll stop by whenever you have a chance, though it's looking like you're going to be a bit busy, at least through May!)

>21 gilroy: I read Bird Box last year and did not catch that rowboat mistake. lol I haven't been in one for more decades than I care to remember, but I have rowed them, fished out of them, drowsed in them, and been rowed in them many times in my younger days, and you are so right. I finished the book and didn't hate it, but I don't really remember much about it. Not my fave dystopian/apocalyptic/alien invasion novel.

Edited: Feb 13, 2018, 10:38am Top

Slouch Witch by Helen Harper
Read by Tanya Eby
Started 2/5/18 Ended 2/13/18

-- Sigh. Starts with a cliché of someone having been kicked out of the major magic organization. This is old and tired.
-- The main character drives a cab. Huh. But she's also mouthy, stubborn, whiny, and lazy. Her co lead is pompous, arrogant, and just as much annoying. Somehow, this doesn't bode well for the book.
-- At the half way point, even with as even tempered as I am, I'd have smacked the main character by now. Heck, I'd have found a way to deflate Mr. Pompous too.
-- I'm seeing a lot of red herrings right now, but I'm not seeing where this story is going. It's all over the place. And not in a good way.
-- Okay, so you have a stolen jeweled scepter that never leaves the building, but is set up as a trap in the sewer. You have a witch sent out on assignment, only to have two other witches break into her place so they could track her. And you have a third witch who's a slimy speck of a human being trying to rise the ranks with any trick possible. None of which makes sense to have together in one book, but one plot solved, two to go...
-- I pushed to the end, was notably surprised when the culprits turned out to be ones I didn't expect. The characters, however, didn't ingratiate me to their sides. So I'm afraid this book goes into the "nope" category of continuing the series.

Edited: May 2, 2018, 7:44pm Top

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Started 2/5/18 Ended 4/29/18

-- Not sure what to make of this book yet. I want to like it. I'm reading it so I can see the movie...
-- I'm feeling like the first two chapters could have been reduced to one, or a prologue, since the backstory doesn't hold a lot of draw right now. That may change as I get deeper into the book. The book just got us to Wales and the Island...
-- Kindle says I'm 20% done with the book. I feel like it can't decide what it wants to be. A thriller, a kids book exploring his past, or just a kids adventure. Writing is good. Just very much wobbly.
-- One of the first big reveals has appeared. Jacob is the rarity that can see the bad guys. And the family struggles combined with his indecision. Maybe I'll be finished before the trip. Kindle says I'm at 65% now.
-- Definitely a complete story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I could stop with this story and feel like I'd read enough...

Edited: Sep 1, 2018, 7:13am Top

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Started 1/15/18 End 8/31/18

-- I'm failing to see the reason everyone loves this book so far. If it had been just Mr. Pratchett's work, the underlying humor would be stronger, the chapters longer, the characters better built. Maybe my eyes are colored by the writer I can't stand. Don't know. I'm only on chapter two so I'll give it time.
-- I'm feeling more of the Pratchett influence that I'd admit, so it's allowing me to read it more. It's slow going, though, because I have other things pulling my attention... Who knew it took so much to decide on a cake or a center piece?
-- Okay, improvement is happening. Humor is definitely happening finally. Oh and +1/4 star for musical reference. :)
-- Now that I'm past the set up and the drawn out stuff, the book is starting to improve.
-- The fact that I can put the book down and walk away for weeks at a time is NOT a good sign. I really should just give up, but I keep forcing myself forward to see if I can find something redeemable.
-- Finished it, only 8 months after starting, because I kept hoping for improvement. The activity picked up, the story seemed to start to move. Probably about the point that Terry Pratchett took over finishing the manuscript. Sadly, it didn't fix the problems I found in the book.

Feb 8, 2018, 6:14am Top

>27 gilroy: I have that book slated for next month. I hope it picks up for you.

Feb 8, 2018, 9:04am Top

>27 gilroy: Are you familiar with the Biblical story of the end times? Revelations and such? There are many subtle tie-ins to that which, if you are not familiar, might not read quite as funny. Also The Omen. Give it a couple more chapters, but you know, each of us is different, so perhaps it won't appeal to you. I got a big kick out of it. Loved the subtly of the angel's characters.

Feb 8, 2018, 9:45am Top

>29 MrsLee: I'm aware of those stories and parts of the bible. Some of those can be made funny, with the right touch. There are certain authors I've had an issue with that most people adore (Kevin J Anderson and Neil Gaiman are two big ones) so I have to temper my dislike of them to work through join projects like this. To keep me from just giving up too early.

Feb 8, 2018, 9:53am Top

>27 gilroy: Ironically, I was getting ready to post in my own thread -- am (re)reading Good Omens for a book group and finding it as delightful this time as it was on first encounter. I know what you mean, though, about not liking some authors or books that the majority praise: on more than one occasion, I've tried a popular work and thought, "What are other people seeing in this that I'm missing?" Hope the book improves for you.

Feb 10, 2018, 9:31am Top

>30 gilroy: I am curious about whether it would be bothering you so much if you hadn't known it was Gaiman's writing. I found the book side-splittingly hilarious. (But I'm a product of an old style Catholic school and I loved shitty 70s movies like The Omen.)

Feb 10, 2018, 10:07am Top

I thought I could see more Pratchett than Gaiman in it, but it wasn't as funny as the best of the Discworld books.

Edited: Feb 10, 2018, 12:11pm Top

>33 jjwilson61: I haven't read them all, but I agree. A few of those Discworld books are among the funniest things I've ever read.

Edited: Feb 23, 2018, 8:52pm Top

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Read by Alan Cumming
Started 2/15/18 Ended 2/23/18

-- Interesting read so far. I admit, Alan Cumming is a unique voice to listen to this, as I keep wanting to laugh more than the story is actually presenting.
-- It's a unique take on a steam punk-esk world. Two different takes on what direction science could go: genetic manipulation or mechanical expansion Two protagonists right now, both intriguing with their story lines, enough that I want to know more.
-- The two protagonists meet and ... things get a little more mixed up. I actually like how Deryn calls all the creatures beastie. With it coming from Alan Cumming, in a true Brit accent, that's just so cool.
-- I'm not usually a historical fiction fan, still learning to enjoy some of the steam punk that's out there. But this one felt quite enjoyable. I got a little dizzy with the shifting POV, but it worked out in the end.

Feb 15, 2018, 8:28am Top

>35 gilroy: ooo! I will be interested to see what you think of this - I have read most of his others but not this one.

Feb 15, 2018, 6:03pm Top

>35 gilroy: I have this on my list, and I even have it on Kindle aready, but somehow I’ve never gotten to it. I’ll also be interested to read what you think about it.

Feb 19, 2018, 8:16am Top

So yesterday, the next big purchase for the BIG day was made. I got (well, ordered cause I'm all sorts of weird sizes) my suit and shoes. And since the Barnes and Noble was just three doors down from the suit place, we HAD to make the stop. Plus, I had gift card to use. :)

I can now live up to the line from Weird Al's song "White and Nerdy":
Stephen Hawking's in my library.


Feb 19, 2018, 10:12am Top

>38 gilroy: You had to. There was no other option.

Feb 19, 2018, 2:39pm Top

>35 gilroy: Loved that series!

Feb 21, 2018, 9:17am Top

>38 gilroy: You must begin this new adventure in life as you mean to go on, so, of course you had to get a book!

Edited: Mar 10, 2018, 9:44am Top

Dungeon Born by Dakota Krout
Read by Vikas Adam
Started 2/26/18 ended 3/9/18

-- This is a unique angle on dungeon adventuring and dungeon creation. A human thief is caught, so a necromancer traps his soul in a soul gem and that gem becomes the heart of a dungeon.
-- I'm far enough in that the author is now alternating between a group of adventurers delving into the dungeon and the mind at the heart of the dungeon. It's adding an additional twist I'd not considered, but it makes for some fun reading.
-- This read with a very interesting take on dungeon creation, dungeon diving, and (my first time encountering it in fiction) personal energy.
-- And then the story just ... ends. No conclusion, no real ending, just stops. It's like the trilogy was one LONG book and the editor just picked spots to break it up. Hate when they do that. Worth going to the next book, though.

Edited: Apr 1, 2018, 10:10am Top

February Round up:
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Slouch Witch by Helen Harper
Architects of Destiny by Amy Duboff
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

(Toward goal - 3 audio, 1 ebook)

Mar 3, 2018, 4:31am Top

How is Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children going? I found it a curious beast - I got to the end of the first book, but didn't really have any inclination to continue the series or to go and see the movie. I didn't find the book anywhere near as unusual and original as the hype at the time seemed to imply and the use of the pictures was quirky. I didn't dislike it, but I wasn't as enraptured with it as the hype seemed to suggest I should be. I still haven't seen the movie.

Edited: Mar 3, 2018, 7:19am Top

>44 Peace2: Kindle says I'm 20% done with the book. I feel like it can't decide what it wants to be. A thriller, a kids book exploring his past, or just a kids adventure. Writing is good. Just very much wobbly.

Mar 5, 2018, 9:56am Top

>44 Peace2: My reaction was pretty much the same as yours. I'm also not continuing with the series or seeing the movie.

Edited: Mar 21, 2018, 11:35am Top

Blade Bound by Chloe Neill
Read by Sophie Eastlake
Started 3/12/18 End 3/21/18

- I has a sad, because this is the last of the Chicagoland Vampire series, so this is the last of Merit and Ethan. It's been a fun read for the series.
- Forgot this was the wedding novel. Fitting considering what direction my life is heading.
- Glad she broke this trope No major event interrupted the wedding. While I understand the drama behind it, it'd become so overdone... Spoke too soon the major interruption happened as they left the wedding.
- Okay, so big bad from previous book has decided her grudge is bigger than Chicago. Why does that NOT bode well for the big bad? :)
- Huh, that's two twists in a row I didn't expect. Big Bad makes Bigger Bad to wreak havoc. Bigger Bad kills Big Bad. Still waiting for something to click with one of the characters...
- Very good book. The series grew at she wrote it. I enjoyed the characters and the snark, the food descriptions. I think I'll keep reading this author's stuff.

Mar 20, 2018, 10:37am Top

Latest school shooting is too close to home. The school is just miles from my house. These kids and families are my friends and neighbors. One parent is freaking out because she can't get her kids...

Mar 20, 2018, 9:52pm Top

Oh, gilroy, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what the parents are going through.

Mar 21, 2018, 8:26am Top

>49 catzteach: Yeah, I'm offering help to those who need it, but so far, they're good. School Resource Officer did the job asked of him, but I know he's going to be fighting mental and emotional demons the rest of his life now.

But to lighten the mood, I'll go to the other side of the spectrum. (Don't mind me, my geek flag is flying for this.)

Oh My GOD AND GODDESS! Fiance loves me enough to indulge me with this and even tagged along. Such a great show. This wasn't his usual costume and parody show. This one he dug deep into the catalog of songs and pulled out ones that most people skip. Just him, the band, and a stool. And musical instruments. LOL

I think the fiance had more fun laughing as I sang along with all but two (newer album I've not fully absorbed yet) but still laughed and bopped to the music anyway.

Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 8:26am Top

The Witch's Curse by Jenna Wolfhart
Read by Piper Goodeve
Started 3/22/18 End 3/29/18

-- Huh, unique opening, I must say. She's a real witch, but conning normals because they don't know any better. Then gets arrested for a magical murder she didn't commit. I'm drawn in. The character reminds me a touch of Merit from Chicagoland Vampires...
-- Things I'm finding I dislike about UF books: if you have one supernatural creature, you HAVE to have all of them. But the author doesn't always flesh out all the different supers powers so they can shift from book to book or even chapter to chapter. Mrph.
-- Well, that's not good. Author didn't pay attention to her description of the hallway or the character's thoughts. She's describing a battle the character claimed she couldn't see. There's no mention of a balcony or if this goes straight into the room.
-- Character feels so skittish, so unsure of life. Okay, yes, her world just got upended because they drew her into coven politics. However, that doesn't mean she should sound so wishy washy. Her grandmother gave her a fricking grimoire for the Shadow clan. She had all the knowledge she needs in that book. Why won't she use it?
-- Oh the phraseology is making me laugh. "Threw my feet up the stairs." "Relief whooshed through me." The first does not give the image the writer thinks. The second could be better written, for a better illustration, as it's more tell than show...
-- Ugh. The writer is TRYING to build tension, both emotional and "physical" between the main characters, but her writing style and characterization of the two main characters instead make it awkward and horribly forced. It just isn't working.
-- So we build, we build, we build... We fall off a cliff for a swift resolution and just END.

Mar 23, 2018, 9:01am Top

>48 gilroy: May your community find ways to heal.

>50 gilroy: My husband and sons were able to see Weird Al live. They loved it. Glad you could go!

Mar 23, 2018, 2:33pm Top

>48 gilroy: - so sad, for all concerned

>50 gilroy: - I'd love to see Weird Al live, what an opportunity!

Mar 23, 2018, 9:54pm Top

>50 gilroy: The Husband and I saw Weird Al a few years ago. It was his usual costume show and I loved it!

Mar 25, 2018, 8:38pm Top

So mildly frustrated now. Thought I was doing this great thing of getting headphones to work with my game system so as to save Fiance the pain of listening to me play. Tested them on the computer, worked fine.

But when I hook them into the game system... static. Turns out I got headphones for the chat portion of the system, that I don't use. If I wanted sound rerouted, I needed a different, more expensive set, that would hook wirelessly to the game system as well as the chat feature.

So no funds for the fancier headphones, but since these work, I'm going hunting for adapters and such.

Apr 1, 2018, 10:10am Top

March book roundup:
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Witch's Curse by Jenna Wolfhart
Blade Bound by Chloe Neill
Dungeon Born by Dakota Krout

(Toward goal - 3 audio, 1 physical)

Edited: Jul 27, 2018, 8:21pm Top

The Source of Magic by Piers Anthony
Begin 4/1/18 End 7/27/18

-- Returning to the second novel in the world of Xanth. Picks up about 1 year after the first book ends. Still has a chauvinistic feel to it. Mostly because the character of Chameleon is written in a rather chauvinistic mindset.
-- Some of this I mildly agree with. Talents must be used or they atrophy. Some of it is just stupid. Men go on an adventure to get away from difficult mates? They've not learned to communicate? REALLY? *sigh* How did I like this book before?
-- Still pushing to finish this book. It is starting to show more of the puns that the rest of the series is known for, but that isn't helping the over the top ridiculous story.
-- The last third of the book felt like one giant cliff dive. Like the author really didn't know where he was going then just took a gamble. Even the last chapter could be seen as a giant deus ex machina. Still trying to find the humor that the later books had, as these early books really didn't have that much.

Apr 3, 2018, 8:45pm Top

>48 gilroy: I'm so sorry I missed being supportive when you actually needed it. *hugs*

Apr 6, 2018, 5:35am Top

>58 clamairy: I appreciate the thoughts!

So another late night, but another awesome event.

Last night, future SIL wanted to celebrate her birthday because my fiance is having her bridal shower on the actual birthday. For that, we went to this nice local restaurant with interesting, natural foods. Follow that by a quick walk to the Kennedy Center to see a group called Black Violin in the Concert Hall. Amazing work of two men melding Hip Hop, classical, and (to me anyway) Celtic violin playing. I've already added a new album to my purchase queue on Amazon. LOL

Edited: Apr 25, 2018, 7:49am Top

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Read by Todd McLaren
Started 4/9/18 Finished 4/25/18

-- I'm still early into the book (It's 17 hours long. Yikes!) so very loose thoughts right now. I'm confused if Kovac is a detective, a criminal, or what. Hard to tell based on the prologue and the way he's being treated.
-- Getting a better sense of the main character. Bad guy, turned good guy, turned bad guy, now drawing back to the side of good for the sake of an investigation. Convoluted, but okay, I think I got it.
-- I again fail to see the need for the graphic descriptions some of these authors insist on including. the whole pheromone induced pleasure ride between the employer's wife and the main character could definitely been reduced down, as it's more distraction than pushing the story forward. Some of the psychological torture could probably have been tamped down too, but I'm still trying to see where that leads.
-- I keep feeling like they are pointing to the wrong character for the culprit. I feel like they are giving many distractions, asides, and such, to keep you from paying close enough attention.
-- So now we're given the true evil of the book. Always knew the wife was a distraction. And yet she's not, and complicit...
-- This is one of those books where you REALLY need to pay attention. Things shift so rapidly, yet they stand still at the same time. The villain to the entire book is named in the first chapter! Seriously! It's such a simple, innocuous line that you write it off as backstory.
-- More violent, more adult scene, more bloody mess than I expected, especially with it turned into a TV show. I suppose since it's Netflix, they can get away with it.

Apr 11, 2018, 11:53am Top

>60 gilroy: "I'm confused if Kovack is a detective, a criminal, or what. Hard to tell based on the prologue and the way he's being treated."


He's a criminal who's been offered work as a detective using his prior contacts. As much as I remember anyway.

Apr 14, 2018, 7:22am Top

Friends of the Library book sale this weekend and I've already gone and gotten my haul. :) Relatively small as Fiance and I work to merge households still. Not a bad finding though. Mostly Fiction:

The Innocent and The Hit by David Baldacci
Dragons of Darkness by Antonia Michaelis
Phaze Doubt by Piers Anthony
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence (Fancy edition from Chatham River Press)

Then one nonfiction:
The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells by Ben Bova

Overall, not bad. Just have to get rid of six books now, donated back to the library.

Apr 18, 2018, 9:23am Top

So we're trying to decide on readings (with just a little over a week until the event. Yes, I know, we stalled on the hard stuff. :) )

Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton has come up as a possible...
I think one is also called A Science Fiction Romance (I'll update this when I get the actual title.)

Humor for the readings would fit us.

Apr 29, 2018, 11:23am Top

Okay, so since it's Facebook official but I've not got photos yet, I'll do this here:

As of 11:30 am on 4/28/2018, I'm a Mister with a Misses!

Pass the cheese and wine, we can celebrate!
Once the photographer sends photos, I'll share the link!

Apr 29, 2018, 12:10pm Top

Congratulations! Wishing you many years of happiness together.

Apr 29, 2018, 2:03pm Top

Loads of happiness.

Apr 29, 2018, 3:31pm Top


Apr 29, 2018, 3:43pm Top

Congratulations! I hope you have very many happy years together!

Apr 29, 2018, 4:08pm Top

Hurray! May you enjoy making memories to share with each other in your old age.

Apr 29, 2018, 5:26pm Top

>64 gilroy: Congratulations!

Apr 29, 2018, 8:28pm Top

Congrats! All the best to both of you!

Apr 30, 2018, 7:31am Top

Congratulations! Wishing you many years of happiness together!

Apr 30, 2018, 8:37am Top

>64 gilroy: May you be a source of light and comfort to each other for all your years together.

How were the festivities? Did everything go as planned?

Edited: May 4, 2018, 5:32am Top

>64 gilroy: My congratulations and best wishes to you both.

May 2, 2018, 7:46pm Top

April Round up:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

(1 ebook and 1 audio book for the challenge count)

Edited: Jun 2, 2018, 10:44am Top

Bitterwood by James Maxey
Start 4/29/18 End 6/1/18

-- Trying to decide if this is an allegory for the bible or someone bible thumping in fantasy. That's just based on the prologue. (At least it interrupted the possible rape scene.)
-- I'm semi confused, as the dragons are described like they are in a human form. Or perhaps they are anthropomorphic in set up. The story has yet to become compelling to me.
-- By page 66, I've determined that the prologue has no bearing on the rest of the book. Other than to create a legend of a character, which lacks the details to truly make it a legend.
-- Thought I'd try the audio to see if it improved any... Even the audio book reader shows little inflection to his voice and sounds bored as he reads.
-- I pushed to page 81, got thoroughly done with the whole waste of text and gave up. Dud.

Edited: May 21, 2018, 8:00am Top

Dungeon Madness by Dakota Krout
Read by Vikas Adam
Started 5/8/18 End 5/18/18

-- Back to the world of Cal and Dale. The ever expanding world. And what happens...
-- Okay, different twists and turns through the book with what is going on. Cal continues to learn and grow. Dale seems to mirror him.
-- What Cal can do to creatures and things is downright eerie. Remake goblins? EW!
-- The author has developed this bad habit in this book with a lot of conversations extended with "plus" or "also." I might have missed it in the first book, but it's becoming ANNOYING in this book. Especially when it's every time there's a conversation.
-- Mushroom spore zombies? Uh, right. Cal's experimenting comes back to haunt him. Got it.
-- While I like the growth of Dani ... Not sure I like the thought of the Amazon Goblin Creature Then again, maybe not. Whoa!
-- Okay, epilogue note. I so expected Nick to die at the hands of the evil lord.
-- And we have cliff hanger! Drat!

May 10, 2018, 1:45pm Top

Congrats! Much happiness to both of you! :o)

May 19, 2018, 7:50am Top

Thank you for all the congratulations! Sorry I've been slacking on the thanks, just been a busy few weeks.

Right now, trying to decide which is worse, leaking basement or leaking SUV...

Edited: Jun 2, 2018, 11:00am Top

Split the Party by Drew Hayes
Read by Roger Wayne
Started 5/21/18 End 6/1/18

-- And we're back with Thistle, Gabriel, Eric, and Grumph. It's fun to return to this world, as it does feel like a unique concept. Even as they work in the Table Geeks(tm) as parts of the book.
-- Ah the paladin's fallacy of must fight evil. So our hearty NPCs are in a town, and unable to leave. While the PCs are elsewhere and possibly going to head toward the NPCs. Could be ... interesting. :)
-- I'm not sure how much I trust a few characters that have been introduced. Especially that trader.
-- Broke her axe. well without care, that was expected. Now Gabby has to go shopping.
-- I'd forgotten about Timiscor when I started on this book series again. Wonder what happens when the two meet... Doesn't happen this book. Drat
-- Well, there's an unexpected twist. Grumble had a previous paladin who stole from a dark god. That explains some of the earlier parts of the book.

May 21, 2018, 1:30pm Top

>50 gilroy: I saw that Weird Al show last week and it was awesome! I really enjoyed Emo Phillips as well and wasn't expecting that.

Congrats on the nuptials!

Edited: Jul 15, 2018, 1:58pm Top

Some of the best of Tor.com 2016
Start 6/2/18 End

-- The first story is Clover by Charlie Jane Anders. I hadn't realized that Anwar was a guy until well into the story. That was my own bad, as my personal experiences overrode just reading the story. Though this is a story of cats. That means good things to come. I'd definitely list this as a unique feel, unique story, going directions I'd never expect.
-- Second story is The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan. This story is very much backstory to whatever is actually happening. Not sure why it was published, other than it's following the daughter of an old scientist. Dry. Some bad word choices (scoffed for scarfed, for example.)
-- Third story is The Destroyer by Tara Isabella Burton. Another story that's just navel gazing and backstory.
-- Next story is Traumphysik by Monica Byrne.

Jun 2, 2018, 11:34am Top

May Round up:
Dungeon Madness by Dakota Krout

(1 audio book)

Edited: Jun 15, 2018, 5:26pm Top

Red, White, and Blood by Christopher Farnsworth
Read by Bronson Pinchot
Start 6/5/18 End 6/15/18

--I enjoyed the first book of the series. The second took a step back. But I want to get the third, and right now last, book of the series done. I like Cade. He makes for some fun.
-- One of the things I enjoy about this series is there is just the right mix of horror, humor, and commentary to make the book fun. This one has some infinitely awesome quotable material in the first 15 chapters. Though some of the back story chapters I'd probably drop to make the story flow better.
-- While the storyline has the usual fun, I'm feeling like someone told the author he needed more sex in his books. Some of this writing is feeling forced and not where the author wanted to be.
-- Much as I don't like to or believe in celebrating death, Cade just killed off Megan Rourk, the most annoying character in the book to date. I am kinda hoping for another character to die, but I doubt I'll be so fortunate.
-- Wait. What? Cade didn't react to a GD comment? Oh, he's going down a dark path now.
-- This book doesn't hold up as well as the last two. It felt forced, too much like the editors were hip deep, rather than simply suggesting changes. Some of the story felt squished, like this could have been two or three books, rather than one.

Edited: Jun 24, 2018, 3:43pm Top

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Read by Phoebe Strole and Ben Yannette
Start 6/18/18 End 6/24/18

-- Going into the world of the 5th wave again.
-- This book has a ton more navel gazing than the last, or has the feel of it. It's making it hard to want to keep listening.
-- I kept thinking this is a dream. Wake up, Ringer! Don't you kill Teacup!
-- So more than two thirds of the book deal with Cassie, Evan, and the cluster outside. The last third deals with Ringer and what's been done to her, for her, and about her. There's more action and interesting advance of plot in the last third of the book than the first two thirds combined. I grew to LIKE Ringer. Sadly, the book has not improved enough for me to finish the series.

Edited: Jul 4, 2018, 5:15am Top

Loose Ends by D D Vandyke
Start 6/20/18 End 7/3/18

-- Why are private detectives almost always kicked off the force in these noir type detective novels? Why can't they have left willingly or come from a different line of work to the PI trade? It seems so cliché. And Cal Corwin is no different in that respect.
-- Okay, so the writer is starting to place red herrings in to the path. The mother and father of the kidnapped girl. The drug runners of the Tenderloin (what is it with writers insisting on using THIS part of San Francisco?).
-- Mickey as a character is a bit of an annoyance. So are all the guys hitting on the female PI. Ugh.
-- Well so much for that suspect. The author just killed off my primary suspect, but she did drop a hint for a second one.
-- Suspect the writer was really anxious to write about car chases and show their knowledge of how vehicles handle...
-- The name definitely fit the title. Lot of loose ends left open by the end that leave you with questions. The prime case, the missing girl, does get solved. But this felt too ... open ended of an ending. Like many of these lost characters will be back again.

Jun 21, 2018, 12:18pm Top

>85 gilroy: Was the first one in that series any good? I bought the Kindle version when it was $1.99 but when I tried reading it I found it extremely juvenile. It seemed to be much more of a YA book than say The Hunger Games or Divergent were. So I set it aside after just a few pages. I plan to go back and try again, because often it's just the mood I'm in that puts me off something.

Jun 21, 2018, 12:35pm Top

>87 clamairy: Honestly, it was a 3 star work for me, so good enough to look at the sequel, not good enough to own. I'd list it more as an older teen book, but not an adult by many means. I'd also say the entire series suffers from navel gazing and not enough forward action.

Emo teen angst, probably the best way to describe it.

When there's action, it's decently enough written, just far apart...

Jun 21, 2018, 1:32pm Top

Well then... I wish I could get my $1.99 back. LOL

Edited: Jul 5, 2018, 10:31am Top

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Read by Gretchen Rubin
Start 6/25/18 End 7/5/18

-- Listen to the podcast, it's time to read the book finally.
-- I'm liking some of her revelations, her commandments, and her Splendid Realizations. They are all enlightening.
-- The four stages of happiness offsets the five stages of grief? Okay...
-- Sometimes, listening to someone else's struggles does help another. But If you're not in the frame of mind to take the advice given, even through anecdotes, then the book won't be a help.
-- This proved informative to me, even if all I take away are her Splendid Truths, her commandments, and a deeper commitment to her podcast.

Jun 25, 2018, 9:40am Top

>90 gilroy: Very curious to hear your thoughts on this one. It was a DNF for me.

Jul 1, 2018, 8:21am Top

June Round up:

Bitterwood by James Maxey (Dud)
Split the Party by Drew Hayes
Red White and Blood by Christopher Farnsworth
Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

(For the to read count - 1 ebook, 3 audio)

Edited: Jul 5, 2018, 10:30am Top

Mid year review of reading goals

I didn't do this last year but thought it helpful to do something this year.

Goals: 30 audio books, 12 physical books, 3 e-books

Total Count to date:14 audio books, 2 physical books, 4 e-books (1 audio dud and 1 e-book dud)
Which makes finished count to date:13 audio, 2 physical, 3 e-book

It seems I'm trending okay on audio. April and May slowed me down (can't imagine why :-) ) but I'm still on pace to reach my goal, though not surpass it.

I'm a big behind with the physical book reading. Just not taking the time to sit and read them like I could. Want to do more for the end of the year.

I've reached my goal for the e-book count, but I'm continuing to read them. I suspect I'll change that count for next year. The new Kindle is helping, as is a new listing I've made of the e-books I own and order of purchase. Forcing myself to read older ones first.

Jul 4, 2018, 9:28am Top

For all you Firefly fans out there:

Happy In'i'penence DaY!

Edited: Jul 5, 2018, 5:36am Top

A friend of mine has been helping me with my writing and said she thinks a few of my stories would be good for her daughter to hear. This means I've started toying with Audacity for the sake of recording my short stories.

It's a stated fact that you don't like your own recorded voice. I'm trying to ignore that problem.

Instead, I'm trying to do something silly with this. I've decided to call my audio company (cause all these recorded books and such have a company putting them out) Lost Squirrel Audio. Just cause it seems like fun to do.

Working on my first story in the next few minutes. It has a temporary title of Chloe's Wolf and is about standing your ground, even against insurmountable odds.

Interestingly, it fits what I just went through with a punk teen in my neighborhood who'd been cutting through my yard. I got sick of it and confronted him. (Yes, I cursed at him, to get his attention. It was a bad way to start.) The punk demanded respect. I laughed and said he'd not earned any respect. He threatened to beat me. Twice. Said I had three days to move before he returned with his crew. Wanted to punch the glasses from my face. I told him go ahead. He said I'd just call the cops. No kidding.

I stood my ground.
And I contacted the police as soon as I got in my house. They couldn't do anything because he was long gone before they could get here. But they'd start a file about things happening at my house. IF I could get some picture or name of the perpetrator, it might help things along. But they can't do a lot until he does something.

Time to go read my story...

Jul 4, 2018, 9:41pm Top

>95 gilroy: Might be time for a security camera aimed at where he cuts through your yard. How exciting about the audio book though!

Jul 5, 2018, 9:01am Top

>95 gilroy: Love the name for your audio company.

I can empathize for your other issue. We have a lot of "urban campers" in a wilderness tract behind our house. They don't usually come into our yard, but the other day one of the women was standing on our lawn. When my husband told her it was private property, she said she was "lost." Yes, in more ways than one. She was lost about 20 feet from the trail they use daily behind our yard.

Edited: Jul 6, 2018, 2:05pm Top

>96 clamairy: The type of camera I need, is a touch out of price range for a while. At least until I can sell some writing and get that meager payment from them.

>97 MrsLee: Thanks! My other options were taken. Who knew someone had Shiny Squirrel Publishing already?

Frustrating when it's not done on purpose. But forgivable.
Mine, not so much.

Oh, for 2 hours of work, I got 33 minutes of usable audio. So much respect for those who read full novels!

Edited: Jul 20, 2018, 9:13am Top

On Basilisk Station by David Weber
Read by Allyson Johnson
Start 7/6/18 End 7/20/18

-- This is technically a reread for me, but it's been over 20 years since I first read it. I wanted to go back to the beginning and remember WHY I loved this series so much. Before the editors gave up and the author took the modern books with too much extraneous material.
-- When I know I'm starting a series, I'm always a little more forgiving on the authors who give details on how the world works. Because if they can establish it here, there's less description required later, unless something changes.
- We've gotten some of Honor's tactical know how displayed, her overly analytical mind trying to solve the crew, and the reassignment to Basilisk.
-- And then there's Lord Pavel Young...
-- I'm loving the shock of people when someone comes in to actually do their job instead of futz around.
-- The established pattern of who Honor is has been complete. Now it's time to start the full series arc of her growing list of enemies, challenges, and things, as we complete her first major expedition.
-- I've always said Weber has a good knack for describing naval battles. The spacial descriptions always give a good feel for what's happening.
-- I'd actually forgotten that the early books had some of the political/side chapters, but they are fewer and farther between than the more recent books. You'd get four or five chapters with Just Honor and Her Crew before you got another political aside. Maybe it's that the early books felt more edited/more compressed than the later books. Not sure.

Jul 6, 2018, 9:22am Top

>95 gilroy: love the name of your company! 2 hour’s recording and only 33 minutes are usable? Yikes! I still think it’d be fun to record a book. I love reading aloud to my students!

Jul 6, 2018, 2:04pm Top

>100 catzteach: Thanks!

Honestly, I was tired, punchy, and had a cat who wanted to read along with me. The noise cancelling microphone still picked up the cat's meow and purr as he sat on my shoulder. Which didn't fit the type or portion of the story where he interjected his opinion. Another cat was talking to the wildlife outside the window, also picked up by the microphone...

Then there was just the phrases that a tired brain didn't want my mouth to say clearly.

I should have saved some of the sound effects each time I screwed up. :)

Jul 8, 2018, 9:40am Top

Kitties are pretty helpful like that. ;)

Eventually you will probably have to get a sound booth.

Jul 8, 2018, 1:59pm Top

>101 gilroy: I am laughing at the problems encountered with the cat! That's wonderful although I imagine the outdoor cat in the midst of hunting was emitting less charming noises.

Edited: Jul 13, 2018, 11:37am Top

Scary Mary by S A Hunter
Start 7/5/18 End 7/13/18

-- So far, normal Teen book, start with first day of school. Main character is an outcast, against the most popular girl. (Expected tropes.) New kid thrust into path of main character. Outcast MC can hear and talk to ghosts. Parents dead. Best Friend is more outgoing than MC. Yet has a daddy that protects he right to be weird. Three chapters for a set up. No plot movement yet.
-- Here's where the author starts to lose me. We've already established that the MC can hear ghosts. She doesn't like it, but can hear them. Also doesn't necessarily see them. So why WHY when she hears a strange voice, does she not automatically assume it's a ghost until proven wrong? Why is she freaking out when she realizes that She hears a voice and her new MMC interest doesn't?
-- The ghost thing finally comes forward in the plot. It feels like the romance angle is interfering with the rest of the story, like the book started as a romance but couldn't create a full story so added the ghost side of things.
-- MC is a little dense. I spotted the ghost's anchor and the possession as soon as the author showed it.
-- Interesting ending. I'm trying to decide how I'd rate this book. It's not horrible. There's a few editing errors, but nothing that the big houses wouldn't also suffer.

(Why does my Google Play Books app say 88 pages, yet the Google Play site and the Kindle purchase site says 194?)

Edited: Dec 8, 2018, 7:34am Top

Invasion by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant
Start 7/13/18 End 12/7/18

--Not sure why I chose to march into this one. Just the next on the list I guess.
-- The start with human panic due to approaching aliens. Normal trope.
-- Sometimes, it's painfully obvious when a man writes a woman. Her "reactions" are really all that the man assumes a woman would say and do. Piper's desired reaction to Meyer hanging up on her is a very strong indicator I'm not going to like their personification of her.
-- Really hope something starts to happen soon. These long, endless chapters of car travel where it's mostly navel gazing aren't encouraging.
-- Something finally happens... and it's done from the wrong POV! Why are we having to experience that from 3000 miles away?!? That should be HER POV not HIS!
-- I continue to feel like we're following the wrong batch of POV characters. It's too bland, too boring. Too planned. Sometimes, the kid's POV brings more out of the story, but the father is just too bland a character. I'd almost call him a Mary Sue.
-- FINALLY! we get the character back that had a more interesting storyline, only to merge with the slower cluster storyline. I'm feeling like this book is about to just END rather than have any major conclusion...
-- Well, it didn't just END, which is a good thing. The inclusive plot for the book did conclude. Then they tacked on a cliff hanger to get you to the next book. This was a meh book to me. Not really worth moving to the next book in the series.

Jul 22, 2018, 12:27pm Top

>101 gilroy: I'm sorry, but the situation as you describe it is hilarious. :o)

Edited: Aug 15, 2018, 7:28pm Top

The Honor of the Queen by David Weber
Read by Allyson Johnson
Start 7/23/18 End 8/7/18

-- Continuing the review of the old of this series. Really considering getting book 3 in ebook and audio format, since they are $9 combined...
-- This one picks up about 3 years after the end of On Basilisk Station. Honor's already had the heavy cruiser out and brought it back for its first refit and new orders.
-- This feels like a commentary book, as it talks about conservatism and its staunch beliefs versus the more progressive views of the world.
-- I'd forgotten that this book was where Nimitz shows his true ferocity against enemies of Honor and her friends. Also that this was the novel where Honor gets knighted, tapped as Steadholder, and made a Countess. Lots of stuff happens earlier in the series than I remembered.
-- I feel like this person is guessing at pronunciations. Mac-a be-us instead of Ma-cab-e-us. LACKS instead of reading the letters out. It's a bit nerve wrenching for me.

Jul 31, 2018, 8:16am Top

I've had the link for a while and kinda stalled on posting it, just cause we needed to make decisions and such. BUT!

The pictures from the big day are here!

(This starts with about 12 photos from the rehearsal and has lots of family photos mixed through the end batch.)

Jul 31, 2018, 8:27am Top

>108 gilroy: thanks for sharing these! your photographer did a lovely job of capturing some great moments.

the 'mawwiage' shirts are AWESOME!

I love the book card box; how lovely! That makes a great keepsake for your mementos.

the kids corner is an excellent idea - i might have to steal that.

i love the lego cake top- my goddaughter had a different one on hers. so cute.

the best thing is all the happy smiles. congrats on a lovely start to your married life!

Jul 31, 2018, 8:38am Top

>109 Darth-Heather: We got some customization to the cake topper. The cats weren't part of the original set.
We also joked that it said ages 7 and up to assemble and we might need to borrow a nephew to help assemble. It only took me an hour. :)

Jul 31, 2018, 8:51am Top

Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing your big day with us! So many pictures of happy, smiling people - I especially like the rehearsal one of you two and the priest roaring with laughter together!

Jul 31, 2018, 9:01am Top

>108 gilroy: lovely pictures! I loved her purple tennies. The Mawwaige shirts were great! Looks like it was a beautiful, fun day!

Jul 31, 2018, 9:53am Top

>108 gilroy: Ah, lovely!

Aug 1, 2018, 9:17pm Top

Looks like a wonderful day - congratulations again.

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 8:13am Top

July Round up:
Loose Ends by D D Vandyke
The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin
Scary Mary by S A Hunter
On Basilisk Station by David Weber
The Source of Magic by Piers Anthony

(Count toward goal: 2 audio, 2 ebook, and 1 physical)

Edited: Aug 16, 2018, 8:02am Top

The Eternal World By Christopher Farnsworth
Read by Tom Perkins
Start 8/7/18 End 8/16/18

-- I've enjoyed his other works with the President's Vampire, so figured I'd investigate his other works.
-- I'm not finding this one as enjoyable as the other series. The premise doesn't lend itself to the snark that the vampire concept does.
-- So the overall premise is Spaniards find the fountain of youth. They are trying to find a way to extend it now that the original fountain is dead. They find a Biology PhD to help create a new version for modern times.
-- Lots of flashbacks as we review some of the main antagonist's memories and past. This goes back almost 4 centuries, so a lot to review.
-- I like the twist of who the hunter is. Though seems logical overall, when one thinks on it.
-- Okay, I spoke of twists, but that end one I didn't expect. Probably should have, but not so much.
-- The whole end of the book seems anticlimactic after the confrontation in the hangar then in the casino.
-- Definitely a meh type book.

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 8:12am Top

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
Read by Jonathan Davis
Start 8/17/18 End 8/30/18

-- I saw the movie, decided to see how much better the novelization might be.
-- So far, the novel is filling in details, like thoughts and feels, that cameras and actors don't always portray. It does add some, change some motivations, when you learn what's in their head.
-- Listening to the audio book, they added sound effects to the background. So you'll get the hum of the engines, the blasters as they're shooting, alert beacons. At times, it can get annoying and distracting. Other times (because I listen in my car while traveling to and from work) I've had to stop the book to see if the noise was the book or my car!
-- I definitely like how the book filled in details. Thoughts from Jyn, Orson, and Cassian helped a lot. Having more details about Chirrut and Baz that couldn't be translated in the movie well. I had to rewatch the movie about half way through the book, because I wanted to see where I missed lines and such.

Aug 18, 2018, 1:33am Top

>109 Darth-Heather: wonderful pictures, looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing.

Edited: Sep 12, 2018, 6:23pm Top

The Short Victorious War by David Weber
Read by Allyson Johnson
Start 8/30/18 End 9/11/18

-- Going back to this series. Guess I'm rereading (listening?) until I get back to the last book I read so I can feel caught up to read that one.
-- Ah right. This is the book that we meet Michelle Henke, who ends up getting her own spin off series of books.
-- This book does move, but you have to keep up with all the military and other political moves being made. I feel like this has been expanded since I read it, because I don't remember so many chapters that were asides as I'm hearing now. Do they really hurt the plot? Not really because you still have a focused line on the heroine. Is she a touch of a Mary Sue? Mayhaps. But she's fun to read and Nimitz is an awesome character.

Edited: Sep 27, 2018, 1:39pm Top

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Started 8/31/18 End 9/20/18

-- I'm two chapters in and I already have an issue. The book is in first person present tense, which is fine. But she's alternating points of view each chapter between Tris and Four. But remaining in first person. So you have to pay CLOSE attention to the chapter heading to see who the I refers to. That isn't sitting well with me.
-- This series got steadily worse as the books went on. I finished this one but I kept finding reasons to put it down.
-- Some of the story line reminds me of a Hitler - esk mentality. Genetic purity and a purity war. It wasn't what I expected, but it changed the color of all three books.
-- When they started into revealing how base that story line was like that Tris is a Genetic Pure (or GP) but Four is a Genetic Damaged (GD) and they're desire to fight it just brought too much about what's going on now to mind.
-- I hated that they referred to Chicago as an experiment for more than two thirds of the book. and that the experiment was created for genetic repairs. It felt like the Divergent from the first book or two got caught in the middle of something that made no sense with the rest of the series.
-- Then we have the end of the book. While I understand the why, the plot point leading to it, I didn't like that Tris died. To be perfectly honest, after the build up in books 1 and 2, this was a very anti climactic ending to a series. Then again, the series went steadily down hill after the first book.
-- I'd love to see years later who Tobias ends up with.

Sep 1, 2018, 7:21am Top

August Round up:
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
The Eternal World by Christopher Farnsworth
The Honor of the Queen by David Weber

(Count toward goal: 1 physical, 3 audio)

Sep 8, 2018, 7:16pm Top

Deep thought:
Who will be our harbinger of doom when Jim Cantore retires?

Sep 9, 2018, 9:14pm Top

>108 gilroy: Finally had some time to sit and look through your photos. What a wonderful day!

>122 gilroy: I don't want to know. I adore that man...

Sep 11, 2018, 5:25am Top

I have a lot on my mind and a lot that needs a help with positive thoughts and prayers.

Positive vibes and protections to all those in the path of Hurricane Florence. May they remain safe.

I have a friend going in for a very serious surgery today. Positive and healing vibes to her.

Protections and positive vibes to all those working out in the mess that is the storm, including Linemen, First Responders, and the weather folks crazy enough to stand out in it. This is especially true for my co-workers and friends in those jobs.

May we all get through this and arrive home alive, safe, and in one piece!

Sep 11, 2018, 5:45am Top

Strength to you, the Lady and all others mentioned in your post. May you all be blessed as I have been by the members of the GD.

Sep 11, 2018, 9:06am Top

>124 gilroy: You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers.

Sep 11, 2018, 1:04pm Top

>124 gilroy: Sending good thoughts for your friend and those in the path of Florence.

Sep 12, 2018, 8:37am Top

Keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well for your friend, and praying for safety for all in the path of the hurricane.

Sep 12, 2018, 6:24pm Top

Good news: Friend came through surgery well. She'll be coming home soon.
Mixed news: I have friends in downtown Myrtle Beach who are hunkering down to ride it out and family that is evacuating... only a half hour inland from where they live. So still concerned. But they are grown ups.

So still watching the storm closely.

Edited: Sep 29, 2018, 9:16pm Top

Field of Dishonor by David Weber
Read by Allyson Johnson
Start 9/12/18 End 9/28/18

-- So we begin where we left off in The Short Victorious War With the establishment of Pavel Young's cowardice, the political backwash that's expected from his court marshal, and the honors heaped on Honor. Again, I'm feeling like chapters have been added to this, adding more of the political intrigue that wasn't there in first print run.

Edited: Oct 27, 2018, 7:01am Top

Camino Island by John Grisham
Start 9/21/18 End 10/26/18

-- So the book is split into "chapters" which are then split into subsections. It reads okay so far. The first section covers the heist of the famous Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton and the aftermath. I just got into Chapter 2 where we meet the two main characters.
-- It's amazing how writing one scene about a character can make or break one's trust of said character. I've lost trust in Bruce Cable. Which might be the point. Mercer seems rather wishy washy.
-- I want to attend a dinner of writers like Mercer did. Where they all talk and snipe, yet get along. Won't ever happen here, but I'd love to take part.
-- As I near the end of the book, I find myself disappointed. There's no build, no excitement, nothing. Just a steady plod from one plot point to the next. It's like Grisham lost his way when it comes to telling a good story. Mercer is moving too easily through her challenges. The only thing holding her back... is herself.
-- Yeah, no real climax, no real explosive ending. Nothing. Just another day. Meh.

Edited: Oct 17, 2018, 1:34pm Top

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Read by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
Start 10/1/18 End 10/17/18

-- So far the book is meh. Don't see what the big deal is, but then I've only gotten one section from each point of view. He's very self centered and selfish. The way he's written, I get the sense you're not supposed to like him, which is good because I don't. She's ... well, not real sure. The initial POV of her was about her meeting him, which did little to expand on who she is.
-- Only one olive, though...
-- At the half way point, and I've got some opinions. Amy is a scorned sociopath. Spoiled rotten, only child, sociopath. Nick is an idiot, a disappointment of a man, who seems to want his sister as much as he wants any other woman. Desi is another sociopath, more stalker and malcontent momma's boy. Not sure why a book this ... meh... is on so many to be read lists.
-- Okay, wait. In one paragraph, the author says Desi should be dazed. In the next paragraph, the bastard is DEAD. Something got missed in editing there...
-- Very anticlimactic ending. Seemingly pointless story. I was expecting an epilogue or something. Epilogue: Kid determines both parents crazy as loons, shoots both in self defense.

Edited: Nov 1, 2018, 6:56am Top

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Read by Nadia May
Start 10/18/18 End 11/1/18

-- Interesting how the difference of a few decades makes a difference in how one views a book. The first ten chapters details horrid child abuse and labor abuse. Just horrible treatment of human beings.
-- So the more I read, the more I've determined this is a long series of vignettes connected loosely by Oliver himself. He factors into each character's life somehow, but we have many chapters where Oliver is not involved. I'm rather taken aback at how uninteresting some of this is. Truly, Oliver is a timid, underwhelming character. The Dodger and Mr. Bates had more personality. Heck, even Rose could possibly move a book on her own.
-- Wow. Such an ending. The wrap up in the last few chapters came out of no where. None of this was hinted at. I'm... flabbergasted. Even if I wanted, I couldn't find all the related clues.

Oct 20, 2018, 2:58pm Top

>132 gilroy: I did not enjoy Gone Girl both characters were idiots and unlikable (is that a word?). I felt that they deserved each other. I agree with your last spoiler.

Oct 26, 2018, 7:43pm Top

>134 catzteach: Very much so, unlikable all around. I didn't see a single redeemable trait among the whole of the book. Normally I find one character to root for, but just couldn't with that one. I honestly expected through the first half of the book that his dad had walked up in killed her in a demented fit.

Edited: Dec 31, 2018, 9:27pm Top

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Start 10/27/18 End 12/31/18

-- Interesting start. While having Death act as the narrator is not a new factor, the way portions of the story are broken down does show something different. My difficulty is they keep knocking me from the story. They're too frequent.
-- This is not the story I was expecting when I heard this was a very popular book. I'm glad the abuse isn't detailed, as I'd have to drop the book for something else if it were.
-- This has been a strange, meandering story, with a good limited point of view. At least until we add this latest twist. I admit the first two books are stolen at this point, though I also note that I'm on page 170 of 550. So there's a lot still to go. I suspect I'll get through more of this as I recover from dental surgery.
-- This story is more depressing than the Water for Elephants book. Wow. But it is true to the time period it was written about.

Nov 1, 2018, 7:03am Top

September Round up:
The Short Victorious War by David Weber
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Field of Dishonor by David Weber

(2 Audio and 1 physical to count)

October Round up:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Camino Island by John Grisham

(1 audio and 1 physical)

Nov 1, 2018, 9:23am Top

>132 gilroy: & >134 catzteach:

I did not find a single likeable person in Gone Girl. I got the impression the author has had a terrible life and has never met any nice people.

Edited: Nov 15, 2018, 6:49pm Top

The moon is a harsh mistress by Robert A Heinlein
Read by Lloyd James
Start 11/2 End 11/15/18

-- This classic has been on my list for a bit, so I figured it was a good time to give it a go.
-- Very interesting read. The reader makes Manny sound like a cross between an old fashion Russian and a Latinx person. Which fits, since he's as much genetic mutt as most US citizens.
-- I loved the growth of Mike through the first two parts of the book. I even enjoyed his definition of orgasm and how he experienced it.
-- The more I read the book, the more I SWEAR I've seen this story line before. Obviously, whoever wrote it that I read before followed Heinlein's plot but changed the characters. For some reason, I keep going back to a Orson Scott Card book, The Worthing Saga but I know that's not right.
-- The professor reminds me of someone in life that I don't much care for. Maybe that was why when we reach the end, his story line didn't catch me as much.
-- Manny definitely reminds me a lot of myself. He doesn't really want to be in charge, just wants to do his job, yet people keep forcing him to the front to lead. He keeps dropping back, they keep shoving him forward.
-- Aw man! they killed off Mike. Adam Seline.
-- Very good book. I'm tempted to buy it in all its forms now...

Edited: Nov 19, 2018, 7:54pm Top

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Read by Ralph Cosham
Start 11/16 End 11/19

-- Another classic to read (listen to) as I work toward the books I really want.
-- The first part of this audio is actually an article written about Orwell and the writing of this book. As it was read, I fuzzed at my set "Get to the story already."
-- Subtle this book is not. It hits you over the head with the concept and keeps it up until the book's end.

Edited: Dec 8, 2018, 8:46am Top

The Disorganized Mind by Nancy Ratey and John Ratey
Read by Virginia Wolf
Borrowed from Library 11/20/18
Start 12/1/18 End 12/8/18

-- This book has a great focus on dealing with things with ADHD plotting and planning. I'm hoping it helps just normal focus issues, but so far, it's still dealing with the writer's past stories and how she worked through her ADHD struggles. Still waiting for the strategies to begin.
-- Normally, when books like this are written, even a person with a more normal brain can take things away. I don't know if it's the reader, the subject, or what, but I just can NOT get into this book. They talk coaching for getting through ADHD, but it just sounds like babble. I'm marking this a dud. Moving on.

Nov 20, 2018, 6:35am Top

>141 gilroy: Is the reader really who I think it is? If so, the recording must be ancient!

Nov 20, 2018, 7:34am Top

>142 hfglen: Maybe a relative? Not the author that I know of

Edited: Nov 30, 2018, 7:20pm Top

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Read by Rebecca Soler
Start 11/20/18 End 11/30/18

-- So this one came in and overrode my other option, because I'd been on a deep hold for it. (#28 for 4 copies) Interesting opening so far.
-- I feel like two or three story lines got lumped together into one book. There's the obvious - the retelling of Cinderella. Then there's the Lunies or Lunar Colony people and their affect on humanity and the pandemic plague that's taking everyone to quarantine. Until I get deeper into the book, it's hard to judge, but I feel like too much is being done at once.
-- Yeah, the whole wicked step mother, the handsome prince everyone drools over except the Main Character, all there.
-- Yeah, once the author started releasing the details, things became too obvious. The ending is very anticlimactic. Like there should be more but isn't. (Then I read into the descriptions of the rest of the series and just sigh)
-- Not sure I want to continue the series. It will ponder.

Dec 1, 2018, 10:35am Top

November Round Up:
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

(4 Audio books)

Also a big writing milestone reached: 1,000,000 words written (and tracked)
That's a big step, as they say your style has started to solidify by that point...

Dec 4, 2018, 9:06pm Top

Happy to hear you enjoyed the Heinlein. That's been on my personal Mount Toobey for three and a half decades now.

Dec 9, 2018, 8:09pm Top

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Read by Rob Reiner
Started 12/6/18 End 12/8/18

-- In essence, the novelization of the movie.
-- Very good story, enjoyable.
-- Very surprised that the audio was only 3 and a half hours long. Expected longer, but since it was an abridged of the original S. Morganstern story, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
-- Fezik and Inigo have more details to who they are, which is fun.
-- Oh, differences from the movie but still making it fun: The zoo of death instead of the pit of despair.

Edited: Dec 18, 2018, 7:35pm Top

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Read by David Ledoux
Start 12/10/18 End 12/18/18

-- Originally a National Novel Writing Month novel, I had to get this and see what it was about. I also have it showing up on so many Books to Read to be Well Read lists, that I wanted to see why the hub bub.
-- Interesting style, alternating between present and past.
-- Someone who worked the circus definitely has grounds to object to someone saying they did something that a circus doesn't do.
-- All the characters are holding my interest, such that I don't want to stop listening when I get to work or when I get home. I may pull this out to listen to while at home for a bit...
-- Mrph. Domestic Violence, a man trying to sweep it under the rug (for the good of the circus), and an excuse of mental illness. So good... Until this point. I agree with the MC who beats the crap out of the abuser. A shame he got as good as he gave.
-- Good ending, fitting.

Edited: Dec 9, 2018, 9:37pm Top

>147 gilroy: I loved that book! And I hate to break it to you, but there really was no S. Morgenstern. And the book you heard was not a novelization of the film. The novel was written by William Goldman first, and adapted for the screen by Goldman & Rob Reiner.

Dec 9, 2018, 10:32pm Top

>149 clamairy: In fact the novel was written 14 years before the movie was made.

Dec 10, 2018, 5:13am Top

>149 clamairy: Okay, so I have an actual abridged copy of a fake abridged book.

Edited: Dec 10, 2018, 8:36pm Top

>150 jjwilson61: Yes. And when Goldman passed away last month I was kicking myself for not having read any of his other books.

>148 gilroy: I hope you enjoy this one. (I really loved it.)

Edited: Dec 26, 2018, 1:06pm Top

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke
Read by Peter Ganim, Robert J Sawyer
Start 12/19/18 End 12/26/18

-- Again, I go back to a classic, because I had slacked on reading this big name in Science Fiction
-- Listening to the description of Rama, I'm thinking of the reports of the long piece of space debris that flowed through the solar system last year.
-- This to me is a very dry read. It's a recitation of actions, with little to no emotion behind it. Yes, you get thoughts, but the characters all seem so ... stiff. RAMA is described, but it feels dead, overall, even as biots begin to appear. Even the RAMA committee, which you'd think would be more hot headed and grumbly, feels very low key if not lacking any emotion.
-- I'm wondering how much of my feelings of lacking emotion has to do with the dry reading that the narrators of the audio book are doing.
-- This felt very meh when it comes to plot. Yes, the world was as much a character as the humans exploring, but the entire thing was a recitation of what happened. Plodding along, lacking depth. No real climax to speak of, and it just kinda ended. For such a big name book... I'm disappointed.

Dec 25, 2018, 6:14am Top

A Blessed Holiday (whichever you celebrate, or just blessings if you don't) to everyone and may the new year bring more travels and surprises within the pages of books!

Edited: Dec 27, 2018, 2:24pm Top

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Read by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Start 12/26/18 End

-- Figured I'd try to end the year on a non-fiction book. This will, hopefully, help inform my writing with better astrophysics details, even if just the basics.
-- This really is more a primer type book, skimming the surface of many topics, and directing you toward the deeper explorations if that is what you seek. It gives enough to inform, but not an in depth education of what's being discussed.
-- I saw a review that complained it didn't talk about physics. I wanted to reply with "Duh, this is about ASTROphysics. There's a difference." I also noted complaints of him dropping tons of words and not explaining what they were. Some reviews even wonder if this is meant for people already versed in the subject. As I stated, this is a primer meant to point you deeper into the field, not a science textbook.

Edited: Jan 1, 4:53pm Top

December Round Up
Invasion by Sean Platt and Johnny Truant
The Disorganized Mind by Nancy Ratey
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

(For count: 5 audio, 1 e-book, and 1 physical)

Jan 1, 5:03pm Top

Year End review of reading goals

Last year, I just did a numbers break down, so I thought I'd put more thought into it this year.

Goals: 30 audio books, 12 physical books, 3 e-books

Total Count to date: 31 audio books, 7 physical books, 7 e-books (2 audio dud and 1 e-book dud)
Which makes finished count:29 audio, 7 physical, 6 e-book

I really did squeak in there, just barely with the audio books at the end of the year. If I wanted to pick on myself, I could say I came up one short, since the duds take me below my desired numbers. I'm going to let that slide, however, because I'm happy I at least got to those numbers.

With the physical book reading, however, I just fell apart. I'd originally planned to read a book a month, either because I was taking it to work, or reading just before bed. The work thing fell apart as work changed and a new job became my new paradigm. Not to mention I've been doing a lot of writing at lunch. As for the reading just before bed... That didn't happen every night. Then there were the delays due to trips, family, and well, the Event. I managed to finish 7, which dented the TBR physical pile. Can't complain there...

I doubled my goal for the e-book count. The new Kindle is helping, as is a new listing I've made of the e-books I own and order of purchase. I'm finding it easier to dud the e-book list, which feels weird, but I guess the feel of just not opening the electronic file is like giving up on a written story. Make up the mind and just push it aside. I'm increasing my expectations on this goal for 2019.

Jan 1, 5:04pm Top

For those who want to play:
Annual book poll for 2018
Google Form
(Only one this year for ease of number crunching)

Group: The Green Dragon

3,984 members

390,790 messages


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