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review 2019-11-13 21:15
The Gap into Madness : Chaos and Order / Stephen R. Donaldson
The Gap Into Madness: Chaos and Order - Stephen R. Donaldson

As the planetoid Thanatos Minor explodes into atoms, a specially-fitted cruiser escapes the mass destruction and hurtles into space only a step ahead of hostile pursuit. On board Trumpet are a handful of bedraggled fugitives from an outlaw world, old enemies suddenly and violently thrown together in a desperate bid for survival.

Among this unlikely crew of allies are Morn Hyland, once a UMC cop, now a prisoner to the electrodes implanted in her brain; her son, Davies, “force-grown” to adulthood by the alien Amnion and struggling to understand his true identity; the amoral space buccaneer Nick Succorso, whose most daring act of piracy could be his last; and Angus Thermopyle, unstoppable cyborg struggling to wrest control of his own mind from his UMC programmers.

Locked in a lethal batter against one another for control of Trumpet, they also find themselves the target of Punisher, a police ship whose human captain, Min Donner, is torn between her duty and her sympathy for the outlaw crew she’s been ordered to capture. Yet as Min races to reach Trumpet in time, Warden Dios, the director of the UMC Police, receives a darker directive from the mysterious, semi-immortal Dragon, ruler of the UMC: Kill everyone aboard Trumpet except for the one person whose blood carries the mutagenic key to ultimate Amnion triumph—the ability to appear perfectly human.

In a final titanic showdown in space, amid uncharted comets, planets, and asteroid swarms, these forces will converge in a contest of skill and survival on which their future—and the future of the galaxy—depends.


The best book so far in this series and the best book by Donaldson that I’ve read. A very high stakes penultimate book. Donaldson plunges the reader right back into the plot without any recaps or explanations. Thankfully, I read The Gap Into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises just back in May and was able to dredge the details from my memory fairly quickly.

The CEO of the United Mining Company (The Dragon) doesn’t appear very often in this installment, but he lurks in the background. Finally, we begin to divine his intentions regarding the fearsome Amnion aliens. (Hint, it may be good for him, but maybe not for the rest of the human race).

I really hope that the final book will reveal a few more details about the threatening aliens--their culture, their relationships to one another, their motivations. They are just too intriguing! Of course I’ll also be reading to see what happens to all the various humans who are integral to the plot line. It will be interesting to see how the author wraps all of this drama up!

Book number 334 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2019-11-13 20:49
The Water Babies / Charles Kingsley
The Water Babies - Charles Kingsley

What a weird little book.  I owned a copy of this book as a child and never read it.  Now I know why--lots of it is just so much babble to a child.  Without the historical notes in this copy of the work, I wouldn’t have had a clue about a lot of the details included in it.  I have to wonder who gave it to me way back when, and whether they had ever read it themselves? I certainly wouldn’t hand it to a contemporary child.


I found it interesting that the clergyman author was so easily able to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Beliefs weren’t quite so cut and dried at that time apparently. I also have to think that Kingsley had read Gulliver’s Travels and may have aspired to produce something similar.  His comments on contemporary events, seemingly scattered at random through the text, suggest those aspirations. It was also a strange mix of mythology, fairy tales, and Christianity.  Very, very odd.

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review 2019-11-10 22:54
The Order War / L.E. Modesitt
The Order War - L.E. Modesitt Jr.

The deadly White Wizards of Fairhaven, wielding the forces of chaos, have completed their great highway through the Westhorns and now threatened the ancient matriarchy of Sarronnyn, the last bastion of order in Candar. The ruler of Sarronnyn appeals to the Black order wizards of Recluce for help.

Justen - a young Black Engineer in the city of Nylan - joins the relief force. Despite their success in destroying more than half the White armies, Sarronnyn falls to the White Wizards, and Justen is chased into the most inhospitable desert in Candar. These trials are but the beginning, for the White Wizards have all Candar in their grasp. Justen must fight both Recluce and Fairhaven, as well as the highest powers of order and the forbidden technology to harness chaos itself in his efforts to halt the conquest of the chaos wizards.


I am hopeful that with this installment done and dusted that the next one will be more to my taste. So far, I have enjoyed book two the most, with my engagement falling during books three and four. These two books have included far too many blacksmithing details and far too many details about gears, clutches, fuel tanks, and wheels. Boring!

The other problem I’m having with this series is that the emotions experienced by the characters feel very wooden to me. I feel like I’m being held away at arms’ length from their emotional lives. For me, that makes it pretty difficult to care about them.

The ending of this volume gives me hope that we may be moving away from all of the engineering details that have dominated the last two books and that we are moving toward more magic and regular fantasy-novel type adventures. If that’s not true, please don’t tell me. I’ve got the next book queued up in my TBR pile and hope to read it before year’s end!

Book number 333 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2019-11-10 12:14
Monthly Wrap Up - October 2019

Well...  I've been severely absent from the blogosphere for at least two or three weeks now, and I think I'm feeling up to blogging again.  The past couple weeks have just been a muddle of me not wanting to do anything but be lazy, read occasionally, and mindlessly watching YouTube videos about bullet journaling and cake decorating.

Sometimes you just need a hiatus, and unfortunately my hiatus came right at the end of Halloween Bingo 2019.  I think I just kind of lost steam and gave up on trying to read Halloween Bingo books altogether, which is probably the first time this has happened since the game's conception in 2016.  Even last year when I was going through on and off reading slumps, I managed to get myself a last moment burst and finished all the books I'd chosen for Halloween Bingo 2018--though that last book I'd finished after the bingo game duration.

Ah well, the reading still goes on.  I had originally planned to finish reading all of my chosen Halloween Bingo books for 2019... but after making no more progress in the past three weeks, I think I'm ready to just move on.  Of course, I'll still be pushing out a wrap up for Halloween Bingo 2019, if only just to put a proper closing on our previous reading game... maybe.  Don't be surprised if that doesn't actually happen though.  I'm still in lazy mode.

Meanwhile, I'm just going move onto the next reading game, The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season for 2019.  Of course, at the pace that I'm going, and with my sporadic absences from the blogging world this year, I have no doubt that I'll disappear randomly throughout these next two months.  But I'd like to do my part in collecting points for 24 Festive Tasks to add to the charitable donations.

I've already started with listening to the audio book version of The Lost World by Michael Crichton to fill in the book task for the first opened door, Dia de los Muertos--rereading a favorite from a now deceased author.

I'm also seeing a couple food tasks that I'd be more than happy to complete sometime these next two months.  Yay, food!  And then there's a crane folding task that I can totally do easily.



October Reads




Books Dropped/Put On Hold


None this month!  Yay!



Currently Reading




October Reading Stats


Total works read: 7

  • 6 print/e-book novels
  • 1 audio book / short story


Average rating: 3.50 Stars


  • Highest Rated:  4 books // 4.0 Stars
    • (1) Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
    • (2) The Visitor by Amanda Stevens
    • (3) A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle
    • (4) Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
  • Lowest Rated:  Brazen Virtue by Nora Roberts // 2.0 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • Blackthorn & Grim by Juliet Marillier


Series I completed:

  • D.C. Detectives by Nora Roberts


Series I have made progress on:

  • InCryptids by Seanan McGuire
  • The Graveyard Queen by Amanda Stevens
  • Finishing School by Gail Carriger



Reviews & Notable Posts


Reviews Written



  • Did not meme this month.


Other Posts



Coming Up In November


Tentative TBR




Other Stuff

So it looks like I'm going to be winding down on progress for the last two months of the year.  I've already kind of lost interest in anything blogging or reading (gasp! blasphemy!), but I'm not going to force myself to do anything I'm not interested in.

But if I DO read anything, it'll be to finish some of the series I'm interested in finishing.  I'd like to put a well-rounded close to the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger and the Blackthorn & Grim series by Juliet Marillier.  These books can all easily fit into the 24 Festive Tasks games, so I'll at least be participating, too. Meanwhile, Pamela Clare will have a third Cobra Elite book coming out in December and I've yet to read her previous one, so I'm going to try to insert that one as well.

Meanwhile, I'll work on update posts for the 24 Festive Tasks as I think of them, so random updates may happen.

Otherwise, I'm not going to stick to any other really strict schedule or anything.  We'll just see how live plays out these next two months.



2019 Wrap-Ups 

Past Monthly Reading Wrap Ups (2016 / 2017 / 2018)
See Also: 2015 Reading Wrap-Up posts (scroll to bottom of page)

(updated as year progresses by month)
January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/11/monthly-wrap-up-october-2019.html
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review 2019-11-07 21:17
Labyrinth / Lois McMaster Bujold
Labyrinth - Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles and his Dendarii mercenaries are on a mission in Jackson's Hole to retrieve a geneticist, who unexpectedly says he won't leave until a certain "monster" is neutralized and a tissue sample is taken from it. What Miles finds is something vastly different from what he was led to expect…


Miles Vorkosigan, you charmer!  I think this short fiction piece reveals a great deal about Lois McMaster Bujold’s view of humanity--that society should be based on treating everyone decently, establishing common goals and desires, being loyal, and truly caring about other people.


Who but Miles could be thrown into prison with a being that others have labelled as a monster and come out with a loyal friend?  This is Miles at his compassionate best. Having felt like a freak and an outsider for all of his life, he is perfectly placed to provide friendship and advice to this young female prisoner.


A very feel-good story from one of my favourite authors.


Book number 332 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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