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Friday, July 17, 2015

FIVE BOOK REVIEWS

MORE AUDIO BOOK REVIEWS

Plovdiv is a quiet town.  No invasions, earthquakes or revolutions - unlike some countries I've lived in...  I'm stuck here for two more weeks.  It's nice and relaxing but after over a month in a place I chafe to move on.  Plus, walking about ten kilometers a day (with many rest breaks and  pain) I've seen pretty much all of this town.

Hence, not a lot else going on but listening to books



"Necromancing the Stone" by Lish McBride

Oh no, not this asshole again.  I thought I'd had enough of this bad guy last book.  Guess you can't keep a good necromancer down...

"You can't keep a good necromancer down" might be a good title for a book.

I enjoyed this book as much as the first.  The only frustrating thing is that the publisher wanted to wait and see how these books did before the author got commissioned to make more of them.  Instead, she went into another series.  So, Sam, the main character of this book and the previous one "Hold Me Closer, Necromancer" (see previous blog entry for review) will have to wait a bit (or indefinitely if sales are 'soft') before doing more with the story.  That was irritating.

6/10.



"No Easy Day" by Mark Owen

The firsthand account of the mission that killed Bin Laden.  It was OK but honestly I liked his second book a little better.

5/10



William Lee Gordon - "Here Comes Earth 01 - Emergence"

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi books.

Movies, great.  As everything is often resolved in ninety minutes you don't get so bogged down as in a book.

The books break down to one of two camps.  The techno babble crowd or the blaster crowd.   The technobabble crowd will often go on and on with this crap for pages like anyone is following (or cares to follow) their made up futuristic gobbledygook.   The blaster books are pretty much ones that could be set just as easily in pirate times but instead of a blaster, they've got a one shot flintlock.

This book is quite a bit different.  It covers ground that has been covered in many other books but I've never seen this approach to it.  The basic plot is "Aliens come to earth and want to take some earthlings back to their planet to get a look around and see if they want to be part of their team."

Anyone who actually reads (or listens to) this book will say "Yes, that is the non-spoiler plot".

My only complaint is the varying point of view.  The author rotates between about five different people.  I'm not sure of the exact number because hey, I've lost track.  To me it is interesting as you get to see the events through different filters but the jumping around happens often enough (say every short chapter) that I've given up trying to keep track of who the fuck is who.  Really.

But the writing - and perhaps even more importantly - the big questions brought up during the course of the book is fascinating.  These are things that a lot of people wouldn't consider.

To put it in Star Trek terms to simplify it a lot, "Hey, you want to join the Federation?  Yes?  Boom!  You're in and now everything is wonderful."

Would that honestly really ever happen with humans?  Oh hell no.

The author explores why emotional humans getting hold of advanced tech may not be the best thing initially for the humans.  And a whole lot of other questions.  Like "what kind of idiot aliens would want to get humans involved with the rest of the galaxy?"  Seriously - you'd have to not know human nature very well to want to get humans as a whole involved.  Even a small group of humans would be quite  a disruption.

Honestly, this is one of the more interesting science fiction books I've read in years.  I know there is suppose to be a second book but it doesn't seem to be around yet.  That makes me sad.  And hungry.  Hungry for more of the sciencey words to get stuffed into my melon.  So I will have to wait.  It appears this could be a large series.

And yes, given the chance I would expand my tourism to the rest of the universe.

7/10



"Critical Failures" by Bevan

The beginning of this book is much like some we've seen in the past with the "Guardians of the Flame" series.  Shitty GM with shitty players all playing a shitty game system (yeah, I'm talking to you, D&D) send the players into a fantasy world.  The stereotype that they are all losers with serious anger, maturity and social issues is in full swing.

The first book of Guardians of the Flame was pretty good and (IMO) quickly went to shit in subsequent books.

Thus far, it is not possible for me to tell if this book series will go to shit or not.  Despite there being three books which have been out for awhile, only the first comes in audio format.  No idea why.  Tweeted the author but these people fail to instantly answer every random question I put to them.  Odd, I know.

If more audio books are made (the reader did a pretty good job) I will listen to them.  There were some good humor moments in the book but they were only now and then.  An average book.

5/10.



SEAL TEAM SIX

Some professions have much better stories than others.  From my days of being a cubical monkey, very few interesting stories have arisen.

Cops have good stories which usually revolve around the stupidity of 'perps'.   And, sadly, paperwork.

Special forces also have interesting stories.

The book kept me entertained.  It was a mix of a few different factors - wanting to complete the mission, getting dicked over by politicians, getting entangled in emotions, etc.

5/10



REPOSTING OF THE LOGAN SCALE

As I've done a bunch of reviews and some people may be too lazy to read the previous blog entry, here is the scale I use again.

Logan's movie (and other media) scale:

1 - Logan has many, many interests and this didn't trip any of them. Normally though I don't send hate mail to the director or writers for making such a piece of shit. Normally.

2 - It's a shitty movie I might have stood for over a half hour of but I'm glad to have escaped it.

3 - Here is the turning point. I either watched about 75% of this trash before turning it off or perhaps made it all the way through and feel disgust for having gone that far.

4 - The movie was watched in it's entirety but was just 'bad'.

5 - It's a movie. While not especially good or bad it did manage to suck an hour and a half out of my time and kept me entertained enough. It did it's job but no more.

6 - Generally enjoyed the film, book, etc.

7 - A very good movie, book, etc.

8 - This can be re-watched now and again.

9 - Very rewatchable. Undeniably a great movie. To me, at least.

10 - I will probably be seeing a lot of this movie. If I kept stuff, it would definitely be in some sort of collection.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois | Colorado |

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