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review 2017-06-29 01:15
Free-Wrench by Joseph R Lallo
Free-Wrench - Joseph Lallo

Series: Free-Wrench #1

 

Some cataclysmic event created a toxic gas that covers the globe (but not the oceans?) killing off a bunch of people and driving the survivors to mountain ranges and so on and forcing people to travel by airship between clear areas. Nita Graus is from Caldera, named from the volcanic caldera that somehow protected her people from the toxic fug. The Calderans broke off contact with the rest of the world and so there’s pretty much only blackmarket trade with outsiders. Nita’s mother has a deadly degenerative disease so she’s driven to go off in an airship to try to find a cure or a treatment.

 

The author admitted in his author’s note that this novella only took about 3 months to write and publish and I’d say it shows. Some of the ideas could have been neat but a lot of them didn’t seem all that well thought through. Enemy airships immediately succumb to the same type of projectiles that barely scratched their own airship (there was some handwaving about strengthening the shell, I think, but it was pretty patchy to begin with) and a lot of the fight sequences were hard to visualize. I called the big “twist” almost immediately and found it to be extremely telegraphed. And it was weird and abrupt to see the captain go from “no, we cannot possibly jeopardize our trading position” to “yes, let’s attempt a heist”.

 

It was pretty well wrapped up so I’m not sure whether I’ll read the next one. I picked them both up in a bundle at some point, so I’m glad I finally got around to reading this one. It wasn’t terrible, but due to the issues mentioned above, I didn’t feel like I could rate it more than “okay” or two stars. Oh, I forgot to mention that a lot of the viewpoints or philosophies felt kind of preachy which bugged me even though I didn’t necessarily disagree with them. They just felt over the top, I guess, and Nita’s “I know better” attitude was grating.

 

I read this for booklikes-opoly square #29 The Monorail “Read a book that involves travel by air, has an airplane on the cover or is set in a city with a subway”. Nita joins the crew of an airship which travels around, so I think that covers the “travel by air” part, and there’s also an image of the airship (dirigible) on the cover (not an airplane, but close enough it probably counts). I’ve seen page counts of 152 (paperback) and 178 (Kindle) but either one adds another $4 to my bank, bringing my total to $160.

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review 2017-06-24 00:20
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart

This was a quaint old mystery, and the writing was suffused with a surprising amount of humour (it helped birth the “character sets pocket on fire with pipe” shelf). Originally published in 1908, the narrator is an elderly spinster who gets mired in a murder investigation when she leases a house in the country for the summer. The mystery had a lot of twisty bits but I got tired of the endless foreshadowing. That said, it was still a fun read, and I might seek out more of Rinehart’s books in the future.

 

I read this for booklikes-opoly Free Friday #1. I’ve seen different page numbers (I actually read the Gutenberg version), so I’m going with 192, which seems reasonable and nets me $4 for my bank (new total: $136).

 

Previous updates:

20 %

8 %

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review 2017-06-23 21:15
The Concrete Grove - DNF
The Concrete Grove - Gary McMahon

Unfortunately, this one is a “nope”. I’m far enough in to know that the writing style will not work for me, but not far enough in to be able give it any kind of a rating. Ordinarily, I’d persist until at least 50 pages before making a decision about the book one way or another, and to feel comfortable assigning a rating, but as I’m going out of town this weekend, I just don’t want to deal with it.

 

So, DNF, no rating. I was reading this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly square Cars Land 18: Read a book that was published in 2006, 2011, 2013, or 2014, the years of Cars and its sequels, or that has a car on the cover, but will choose another book instead.

 

eBook version on Kindle app. 

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review 2017-06-23 03:32
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters

Series: Amelia Peabody #1

 

I didn’t like the tone this book started off with, and I found Amelia really annoying, at least at the start. She grew on me once she picked up Evelyn as a companion, however. I did like their interactions. Amelia, a rich Englishwoman, has travelled to Rome from where she plans to sail on to Egypt to winter voyaging up the Nile when she encounters Evelyn, who seems a suitable replacement for the paid companion who had recently become ill and had to be sent back home. So Amelia and Evelyn both set off for Egypt where they do some sightseeing and hire a boat to take them up the Nile. Partway through their voyage they fetch up at an archaeological dig where strange happenings occur and a mummy seems to have come back from the dead. Maybe. That’s the mystery.

 

I had guessed a lot about the resolution of the mystery although I’ll admit I hadn’t quite worked out every detail. I ended up enjoying the book despite the rough beginning, so I may look into whether my library has the next one. Eventually.

 

I read this for booklikes-opoly square New Orleans Station #14 “Read a book that involves overseas travel”. Since Amelia has travelled first to Rome and then travels on to Egypt, I think the book fits. At 226 pages, with the new rules in effect, this nets me $6 for my bank, bringing my total balance to $132. Yay!

 

Previous update:

72 %

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text 2017-06-22 01:59
Reading progress update: I've read 72%.
Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters

So, this happens:

As he spoke, in an insufferably sarcastic tone, I thought I detected a faint smell of singeing cloth.

...

The smell of singeing cloth grew stronger. I have a very keen sense of smell.

...

There was definitely a small curl of smoke issuing from the pocket in which Emerson had placed his pipe.

...

Emerson did not reply. A most peculiar expression had come over his face. I watched him for a moment, relishing the situation with, I fear, a malice most unbecoming a Christian woman.
“Your pocket is on fire,” I added. “I thought when you put your pipe away that it was not quite out, but you dislike advice so much…. Good night.”
I went away, leaving Emerson dancing up and down in the moonlight, beating at his pocket with both hands.

Remember that scene in The Circular Staircase? This is a thing! A definite thing! Also possibly known as a trope.

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