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text 2018-01-31 13:43
January wrap-up
Alice Starmore's Glamourie (Calla Editions) - Jade Starmore,Alice Starmore
The Goblin King (A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms) (Volume 1) - Michael Card
Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward - Carl Abrahamsson,Gary Valentine Lachman
Real Quanta: Simplifying Quantum Physics for Einstein and Bohr - Martijn van Calmthout
The Victorian Christmas - Anna Selby
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

I don't see myself finishing any more books before tomorrow so 6 books finished for the month. Half of them were Netgalley, which is now clear, Yay!

 

All were interesting in their own ways but I think the stand-out for the month for me was Occulture, a non-fiction read.

 

My sample supply has stayed fairly stable as I've read as many as I've added. Hopefully I'll reduce the pile again as there are currently 87!

 

Meanwhile I'm having some problems with a slow computer so if I'm a little scarce for a few days, that's why. Must get my local tech expert to work out what's causing it.

 

At least if I spend less time on the Internet, I'll get more reading done!

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-17 07:36
War Robot-Manning Persons, Fighting Dukes, and Bioengineered Religious Soldiers — A Review of The Warriors Anthology Edited by G. R. R. Martin
Warriors - George R. R. Martin (Editor), Gardner Dozois (Editor)

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on January 17, 2018.

 

 

The King of Norway by Cecelia Holland

 

3 Stars

A Viking adventure with all the gore and blood that you could ask for. If only I could have been made to care for the characters…

 

Forever Bound by Joe Haldeman

 

3 Stars

Soldiers learning to maneuver robots in the war have to do as part of a hive mind. Pretty soon, real life cannot compare with the virtual one that they lead with the other members of the hive.

 

The Triumph by Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb

 

 

4 Stars

A retelling of the myth of Marcus Atilius Regulus, a Roman Consul. In the story, he is tortured by Carthaginians before his death. Everything in the story is actually setting up the reader for the way he dies.

 

Clean Slate by Lawrence Block

 

3 Stars

An abused child grows up into a sociopath. You can guess what happens next!

 

And Ministers of Grace by Tad Williams

 

3 Stars

It isn’t that bioengineered soldiers haven’t been done before. Here though the author makes it all about religion.

 

Soldierin’ by Joe R. Lansdale

 

4 Stars

A black man joins the army in the eradication of Native Americans. The story remains localized and makes no claims about the big picture.

 

Dirae by Peter S. Beagle

 

3 Stars

A coma patient becomes an avenging spirit with a special soft place in her heart for kids.

 

The Custom of the Army by Diana Gabaldon

 

4 Stars

I have been wondering if I would like Gabaldon’s writing and I wonder no more. This story is based on a skirmish between the French and English soldiers on Canadian soil.

 

Seven Years from Home by Naomi Novik

 

4 Stars

Nature and “people” come together in this story to save the land. I liked this one because plants featured in it.

 

The Eagle and the Rabbit by Steven Saylor

 

3 Stars

POVs change as we see Carthage fall and a Roman general plays mind games with the Carthaginians he will be selling off to slavery.

 

The Pit by James Clemens/James Rollins

 

4 Stars

Canine gladiators and sibling love made this story one of my faves!

 

Out of the Dark by David Weber

 

4 Stars

An alien race tries to take over the planet and humans band together to stop that from happening. They also have help from the unlikeliest of sources.

 

 

The Girls from Avenger by Carrie Vaughn

 

3 Stars

Women have faced discrimination whenever they have dared to step into a profession. Flying planes during a war isn’t any different.

 

Ancient Ways by S. M. Stirling

 

 

4 Stars

A mercenary is hired to rescue a princess who didn’t really need to be rescued. The princess was a pleasant surprise.

 

Ninieslando by Howard Waldrop

 

3 Stars

A utopian dream to unite the world while a war goes on outside. Didn’t take too long for it to unravel.

 

Recidivist by Gardner Dozois

 

4 Stars

AIs rule the world. Humans don’t stand a chance against them yet they won’t give up fighting back or remembering how life used to be.

 

 

My Name is Legion by David Morrell

 

3 Stars

Sometimes, the enemy on the other side of the border is your friend. In this story, soldiers who trained together are forced to fight against each other when France daren’t go against Germany.

 

Defenders of the Frontier by Robert Silverberg

 

3 Stars

Soldiers have been manning an entry point into their empire for years now. No reinforcements have arrived for some time. The absence of enemies starts to make them think. Does the empire they have been defending even exist anymore?

 

The Scroll by David Ball

 

3 Stars

A bully of an emperor keeps an architect alive just to torture him. The ending was a letdown.

 

The Mystery Knight: A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin

 

3 Stars

A tale of Egg, the squire who isn’t a squire, and the knight he serves.

 

I’d say, you won’t be missing much if you didn’t read this anthology. But that’s just me…

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review 2018-01-07 10:22
Uprooted
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

by Naomi Novik

 

After enjoying one of the author's other books and hearing this one was good from many sources, I had to try it despite having little idea what it was about. As it turns out, I really enjoyed most of it!

 

Every ten years a girl is chosen by the local wizard to come live in his tower and rumors about what happens there are rife, though the girls always come back and insist the magician didn't lay a hand on them. They always end up leaving the village and finding a life for themselves elsewhere afterwards.

 

Meanwhile, the villagers live in the shadow of a forest that contains some sort of evil, with creatures who capture those who come too close and take them into the forest never to return.

 

This is one of the most original Fantasy stories I've read for a while. The magic is very well done and the characters are also done well, each of them distinctive in their own way. The challenges that face the main character, Agnieszka, range from trying to keep safe from the hazards of the forest to trying to help her best friend who is up against dangers from all sides, to dealing with the royal family and the pitfalls of murderous politics and the court wizards who see village girls as expendable at best.

 

It was a fascinating story and one that I kept going back to ahead of my other reads up until about the last third. Then it seemed to lose its way and become a little too surreal to hold attention. Many of the plot points were left unexplained, including why the magician specifically took a girl every ten years, although there was a reference to it with inadequate explanation.

 

It also hit one of my pet peeves with a single graphic sex scene. Why this has become a thing with recent books that wouldn't even be described as Romance much less Erotica I can't imagine. Yes the nature of the relationship was relevant but a move by move about who did what to which body part is completely unnecessary and ruins an otherwise good story! It also makes it unsuitable for young readers, who might have been a primary target audience for this story.

 

There was an end, but with too much left unexplained.

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review 2017-12-30 22:05
It Started Out Fun and Bendy Then Turned Wooden and Hard
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

Audiobook
2.5 star story for me
The narration was a 5 star
The first half was amazing I was completely lost in the woods, the tower, the village. There was a beauty and the beast feeling to it. There was a difficult man, a young witch, a world steeped in mystery and possibilities. I was excited to explore this new world. Then things stoped changing and developing in the story and it got stale for me. I felt like I was wooden, and was being repeatedly beaten in the woods with a gnarled branch. I heard, in the woods, from the woods, of the woods, woods, woods, woods, ARGUH ! Enough of the woods ! I never wished for a chainsaw before but I was driven to it. The girl, she was strong-ish, independent in a cold way, and thought about everything far to much, inner dialog drag on. It dragged on in another area that droned on, success. So many dramatic struggles, so many sacrifices, far too many failures. I was tried of reading this wooded loser story that just wouldn't end. Oh that is a terrible way to feel about a book, I know. I should have dropped it, but I expected a moment to happen and felt I'd worked hard to read it finally. Fizzle, fizzle, what that's why ?, the woods still, the end. It wasn't worth the hours nearly 18 hours of listening.
I own her dragon series but after this touch of her writing style I'll not read it. She is the author for me.

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text 2017-12-18 19:29
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

So far I am loving this audiobook, fantastic narration, Great story, wonderful characters with a mystery to solve. I have had this for over a year why did I wait so long ?

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