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review 2017-08-12 18:21
Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovksy
Dragonfly Falling - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Series: Shadows of the Apt #2

 

Adrian Tchaikovsky's earlier books aren't quite as good as his later books, but they're still entertaining. This one took me quite a while to get through for a variety of reasons, but in my defence, it's a good 700 pages.

 

This installment brings war to the Lowlands in the form of battles for ant cities and a siege of Collegium. Each city battle doesn't actually take all that long, so I'm not sure they quite qualify as sieges, but I'm not sure what other word would be more appropriate. The plot was interesting and the battles were handled well, but I think the sheer amount of war in this one became a bit of a grind. Part of that was the subplot with Totho, which I wasn't sure I really liked at first.

 

I'll admit that I was starting to doubt whether I really wanted to continue with this series partway through the book because of the aforementioned sensation of the machinery of war just grinding along, but the ending and resolution helped rekindle my interest so I'll definitely slot the next one into my reading schedule at some point. This is most definitely not a series I'd want to read all ten books of at once though.

 

My copy had the newer cover:

 

 

I like it better, so I'm adding it here.

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text 2017-08-08 08:20
The Status of Project Frankenstein & Other Updates

 

Reading Goal

 

I have completed the goal that I set for myself this year on Goodreads. Really happy that I’m getting some reading done even with life being as crazy as it is.

 

 

Project Frankenstein

 

 

I have finished 11 out of the 14 books that I originally included in the post. My opinion about Frankenstein & Philosophy has yet to change!


    1. Parent Material: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    2. Others’ Take: The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein by Stephen Jones
    3. Historical Retakes: Anno Frankenstein by Jonathan Green
    4. Genre Spins: Steampunk: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Zdenko Basic
    5. Young Adult Forays: Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn
    6. Sci-Fi Pastiche: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
    7. Philosophical Entree: Frankenstein and Philosophy by Nicholas Michaud
    8. Series Picker-Uppers: The Second Birth of Frankenstein by Will Hill
    9. PrequelsThis Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
    10. Precipitating Conditions: The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo
    11. Character Spotlight: My Frankenstein by Michael J. Lee
    12. Technological Difficulties: Frankenstein’s Cat by Emily Anthes
    13. Changed Perspectives: Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
    14. Graphic Detail: Monster Of Frankenstein by Dick Briefer, David Jacobs, Alicia Jo Rabins Edwards

 

Book Bingo

Besides this, I am also playing Book Bingo with my workmates. At the moment, I’m reading a book for the Female Protagonist shelf. My love for dinosaurs is no secret and this book is packed with facts and speculations equally, which makes it juicier. More on this in my review!

 

To see how I fared in the previous round, click here!

 

 

I am also a part of buddy reads going on here for Jane Yellowrock seriesMidnight Texas series, and sciency books on The Flat Book Society!

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text 2017-08-04 13:54
#3 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Tigus

Say Hello to Tigus in #FFWithBookBloggers session!

 

Follow Tigus on BookLikes: http://tigus.booklikes.com/

 

Tell us how did your book love begin?

 

I was about eight years old, and I remember reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, outside and tucked into corners of the schoolyard, while other kids ran around and played. Just before that, I had had a Grade 2 teacher, Mrs. Rainsborough who would read Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary to the class, and that's probably the earliest I remember loving stories and figuring out that there was a lot more where that came from. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Judy Blume  

 

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Translated by F. P. Walter and Illustrated by Milo Winter) - Jules Verne,Milo Winter,F. P. WalterThe Mouse and the Motorcycle - Beverly Cleary,Louis Darling,Tracy Dockray

 

I was into comic books around then, chiefly Spider-Man at first; Amazing Spider-Man #s 147, 149-50 (the culmination of the Jackal storyline) was a great lure...and since it functioned as a pretty cool Murder Mystery, that fit in well with my first Hardy Boys book, a good one, The Disappearing Floor. As I was growing out of that series for young readers, I jumped to one of two Agatha Christie books lying around the house--And Then There Were None --and that really hooked me on Mystery novels.

 

The Disappearing Floor - Franklin W. Dixon And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

 

Science Fiction movies and TV shows were a big deal in the late 1970s, and my earliest SF reading commitments were Jack Williamson, and the Perry Rhodan English translations.

 

Death Waits in Semispace - Kurt Mahr Action: Division 3 - Kurt Mahr

 

Your BookLikes Shelf is packed with different genres: mysteries, biographies, sci-fi and fantasy, graphic novels, horrors. What makes you pick the book in a given genre?

 

I have these lists of recommended reading, mainly "100 Best" Lists, in book form, many of them out of date now, which became a bit of a publishing trend, let's say from about 1985-1990. Of course, the internet provides this sort of thing now--and my old lists have become a way to select books that have aged somewhat as the years go by and I acquire the titles.

 

Recently, there was this British mag, Crime Scene Magazine, that has kind of got me sweeping up just about everything they positively review; sadly, I think the mag is cancelled as of issue 7, so it the issues will serve as a finite list that I can actually finish up with someday!

 

All of this List reliance, though, probably takes a back seat to simply going to a big bookstore and browsing around for an hour or so; if I've been buying too many "List" choices, I make the trip about picking books out of the blue, based mainly on a back-cover synopsis, and certainly if I already know and love the writer's work.

 

What made you start writing about books/book blogging?

 

Well I don't actually write that many reviews, or do lengthy blogs, do I? I give updates each day, with some kind of quick reaction to what I just read, which at least keeps me around as an active, reliably present member. I like making my own Lists at BookLikes; that's fun!

 

Anyway, as for how all that started, it was after really committing to the internet around 1998 (I was kind of a holdout), and then discovering some forums and chatrooms and meeting people. Now it's kind of second nature, and my chief aim, as I get older, is to pick a few BookLikes friends who make their own updates that keep me interested in what they're reading...and not fight with anyone or insult anyone's taste.

 

via

 

Your profile picture on BookLikes blog - why Walter Matthau?

 

Is there any other reasonable choice? Actually, that particular image is sort of a classic one, even amongst his various mugshots, because it ends the film The Taking Of Pelham One-Two-Three (original version), and he's overdoing the hangdog look as he gives a gaze of shame to a villain who has just slipped up and given himself away. This was one of the first fairly violent movies I remember watching to the end on late-night TV as a kid...although I discovered later that it had been drastically edited, and was much more violent and cussword-ridden than I could have guessed. Displaced from the film, that Matthau face does reflect my inherent cynicism, though I try to keep even a cynical sense of humor, so I don't have to go the whole nine yards and just put up an Eeyore picture.

 

Did blogging have an impact on your reading life?

 

I would say not much, in any concrete sense. Getting feedback from friends will alert me to a book that looks interesting, now and then. My little bitty blogs don't affect much of anything, but give me a bit of pleasure. I would say that when I really love a book, it becomes a mission to spread the word a bit, and it's neat to see it up on someone's Planning To Read postings shortly after that (That was ME! I did that! They may not ever read it, but...I did that!).

 

When you write a book review - do you have a scheduled plan what to include or is it a spontaneous reaction to what you’ve just read?

 

If I'm writing a review, I've probably been inspired to not be lazy and get it done because three or four points about the book have crystallized in my mind. If I've walked home from the coffee shop, or for any other reason not had access to a computer right after finishing a fabulous book (I do not own a cellphone), that's actually a good thing, because I'll fill time analyzing the book in my head, sorting ideas and thoughts, and getting to a point where this light goes on and won't go off: "I think we've got a review here...so write it before you forget everything!" Still, I confess I don't write many reviews. I do love commenting on books as I go through them, though!

 

What are your three favorite book covers?

 

I love the cover on my old copy of Orbitsville, a novel by Bob Shaw; the cover art is by Tim White. I love the "stars as the ground' reversal, and just the way the trees and buildings are rendered--softly--with no sharp edges and an air of peace and gentleness, which is what Orbitsville is all about when you read the book. I would give anything to live in Orbitsville, and Tim White's version is especially appealing.

 

Meanwhile, the Agatha Christie novel I rudely passed on when I was a kid at home--in favor of And Then There Were None (which oddly did not have the better cover) was a Fontana (I think) paperback edition with this nifty skull/candy-apple image as the main attraction; I love the stark effectiveness of it: evil melds with childhood innocence; terror merging with fondly-remembered fun and games. I especially like how the image actually seems to be really wet, gooey, ooze dripping down--the eyes having almost a tactile response, maybe even a smell unwittingly imagined. I remember now...I think I wanted to save what looked like the better Christie choice for later; that was the thinking.

 

Lastly, I'll mention a Baen paperback edition of a Retief collection by Keith Laumer... Retief of the CDT. So arrogant and cocky is Retief--but then he does look like he's earned a bit of a swelled head, given the state of the giant beastie lying behind him.

 

Retief of the CDT - Keith Laumer

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?

 

I'm not sure how to answer this. If the point is not for me to just list my all-time favorites, then I would say as an alternative to that kind of excitement, it's most fun when someone reads something I loved not long after I read it, so that if conversation breaks out--even healthy disagreement on just how good the book is (or not)--I never have go to "Well, I read it a long time ago...".

 

What’s your reading spot? We’d love to see the photos :)

 

Well you're not gonna get photos, because I avoid cellphones, and what you would see is your standard coffee shop, with perhaps a focus on a favored table near the window and far from talkers and people who make strange noises. Go to a Starbucks and figure out which table the bookworm would sit at, and take a picture of it, because that's where I'd be. It would be a boring, underwhelming picture, but it's heaven for me with a book and a beverage.

 

via Tigus blog Shelf

 

A paper book or an e-book?

 

Just paper books, so far. Maybe e-books sometime up in the future.

 

Three title for a dessert island?

 

I'm not going to stew over this painful question for very long, because it can become very frustrating to make choices. I'll pick The Count of Monte Christo, amongst books that I have not read yet, because it's long, and I have faith that I will enjoy it. Then, I'll change gears, and pick two books I have already read: I'll take my favorite book of all time (so far): The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers. And I'll bring my favorite Wodehouse's Quick Service.

 

The Count of Monte Christo - Alexandre DumasThe Anubis Gates (Ace Science Fiction) - Tim PowersQuick Service - P.G. Wodehouse

 

A book that changed your life?

 

Why Men Are The Way They Are, by Warren Farrell. 

 

Favorite quote?

 

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.

William Shakespeare, Measure For Measure

 

If you could meet one author, who would it be?

 

PG. Wodehouse, no contest. I did get to meet Robert Silverberg, briefly, at TorCon 3 in 2003, and he signed my copy of Up the Line. That was cool!

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)

 

That's just not going to happen, but can we compromise with a photo taken of me today at work, with a cellphone (not mine)?

 

 

Missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links:

 

 

See you next Friday!

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text 2017-08-03 14:55
What did you read in July, and how to find reading challenge posts?

 

Seven months checked, five still to go. Have a look at BookLikes bloggers July reads and let us know how are you doing in your 2017 reading challenge. Click the blogs' headings to visit the blog pages and follow the reviewers.

 

Scroll down to view more June reading reviews from book bloggers. Happy reading!

 

I'm super excited that I was able to read 7 books this month. I've been struggling for a long while. My health and not having a good system in place has affected me greatly, but now I think I have a good one. I talked about it in a previous post. I will listen up to 5% of each book for the month and... continue reading
 
Gork, the Teenage Dragon - Gabe Hudson In The Still - Jacqueline Chadwick Dark and Stars (Serengeti, #2) - J.B. Rockwell The Late Show - Michael Connelly
I didn't finish nearly as much as I'd intended to this month -- every book I've read over the last couple of weeks has taken me at least 1 more day than I'd estimated/planned. There are two books I was supposed to read and write about in July that I haven't started yet -- whoops. Still, I read a lot of pretty good stuff this month, and that's the important thing, right?... continue reading

 

Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle  Lumberjanes Vol. 1 - Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen  Thor, Vol. 1 - Coipel Olivier, J. Michael Straczynski Wilde Like Me - Louise Pentland

Favorite book(s) of the month: every single one of them

THIS HAS BEEN SUCH A GOOD READING MONTH.

I didn't expect it. I felt a bit of a reading slump coming but I powered through it... continue reading

 

Bone White - Ronald Malfi A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska, Steve Upham, Charles Black, Reggie Oliver, Reggie Oliver Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

In July I read 19 books! ... continue reading

 

The Doctor's Undoing (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson Licensed for Trouble - Susan May Warren

Two things helped push the number of books I read this month higher than usual: 24in48 Read-a-thon and binge reading series via COYER. Since the start of COYER, I have managed to read through 4 series (1 was a duet, the others were longer). I will not be adding any more books to the list in August because I want to finish off the list. I am finding myself to be a definite mood reader (see binge reading a series) rather than a list follower... continue reading

 

 

If you've missed June wrap ups by other BookLikes bloggers, have a look at the following posts, and feel invited to read and join :) If we haven't included your post link, let us know in the comment section below.

 

 

To check what other readers are reading in 2017 reading challenge click the tag underneath this post:

 

 

OR type the tag in the book search box above and select TAGS:

 

 

And you'll see a collection of posts WITH this tag. Only posts with a tag will be presented.

 

 

If you haven't used the tags yet, we do highly recommend using them in your BookLikes posts.Type in a tag and press comma to insert it OR use your most recent tags OR search an accurate tag in your tag list and select.

Tags are great and they will organize your blog posts and improve deliverability of your writings among community.

Let's tag! :-)

 

Happy writing and tagging!

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review 2017-08-02 01:09
Dies the Fire
Dies the Fire - S.M. Stirling

On March 17, 1998 there was a brilliant flash of light, and afterwards explosives (including gunpowder), internal combustion, and electricity no longer work.  Dies the Fire follows two small bands trying to stay alive during the first months immediately after The Change.  Clan MacKenzie, led by Ren Fair singer and Wiccan High Priestess Juniper MacKenzie, quickly bolts to her cabin in the foothills and settles into a communal kibbutz-like agrarian lifestyle in the Willamette Valley.  Clan Bear, led by ex-marine pilot Mike Havel with his deputies an African American horse trainer and a female live-steel sword fighting veterinarian, develop into a wandering militia as they wend their way from Idaho back to the Willamette.

 

Other reviewers appear to love Dies the Fire or hate it (Reviews are either 1 star or 4 stars).  I do agree that in many way’s Dies the Fire is an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and Renaissance Fair fan’s wet dream – folks who play Middle Ages have an advantage on the fighting and crafting skills to survive.  Similarly, the villain, the so-called Protector of Portland, is a lawful evil stereotype with medieval history background who tries to start a Feudal setup with him as kingpin and the local gangs as levies.

 

The writing is a bit more polished than that of S.M. Stirling’s earlier Nantucket Trilogy, but still descends into detailed inventory and infodump from time to time.  On this re-read, I’m also painfully aware of some of the odd tokenization of certain characters – Will Dutton, Mike Havel’s African American 2nd and his Mexican wife are the primary non-Caucasians except for the Nez Perce.  Is that because there just aren’t many people of color in that part of the world, or it is because Stirling is consciously trying to be diverse? He’s not quite succeeding at avoiding the magical Negro stereotype.  Juniper’s daughter, Eilir is congenitally deaf due to measles but preternaturally good at reading lips and unusually Juniper’s inner circle appear to all be fluent in sign and a potential best friend picks up signing effortlessly.  Is that because Stirling is indulging in building the world he wishes, or because he feels the need to include someone with disabilities and then doesn’t quite make it realistic? And despite these criticisms, of all the post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction I've read, Dies the Fire is the one that haunts me and that I dream about.  

 

The Emberverse, as this series is now known, is up to 13 volumes with the 14th, which follows the grandchildren of the original characters, expected out later in 2017. I read the first few books when they were originally released, but lost interest. I got back into the series because the audiobook is available on Hoopla from my library. Taking the time that an audiobook enforces, I’m more aware of the number of times that certain descriptions and concepts are repeated than I was the first time I read Dies the Fire.  I was talking to my husband about this and we came to the conclusion that S.M. Stirling, much like L.E. Modesitt, comes up with interesting premises and is a reasonable wordsmith but they both have favorite set pieces and conceits that they reach for just a bit too often – they can become their own cliché.

 

I wasn’t impressed with the Tantor Audiobook.  While Todd McLaren had a reasonably pleasant voice, the frequent mispronunciations were annoying and point to a lack of research and sloppy preparation.  (He mispronounces Chuchulian, Samhain, Lunasadh, Athame, céilidh, and ballista, among other things).

 

Audiobook started during #24in48.  Prorated portion of 431 of 1319* minutes or 187 of the 573 page paperback used as my last Free Friday selection for Booklikes-opoly. I finished it up while listening in the car on the way to camp to pick up my son and while sitting with Ozzie last night.

 

*I’d been calculating based on 1380 minutes since the downloaded file said 23 hours, but the book actually finished in 21 hours and 59 minutes

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