Keep on Reading........
20 ) Abaddon's Gate (The Expanse #3) by James S. A. Corey
The Expanse continues on in this third book.
The Alien molecule has worked away and has now made a Gate near Uranus. James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are on the way out to examine it along with a big flotilla of ships. Everyone has their own agenda though and what they want to do with the Gate....
This went the same exact pattern as the first 2 books, Starts off well, slows to boring speed and then picks up for the ending. I found this to be a bit more engaging than the last book so that was a good thing. The first 3 books all have the same issues. As well as starting well, dipping and getting going again, they suffer when Holden isn't the character being followed by the book. When it switches perspectives to other characters, I realised that not much happens and it won't majorly effect things if Holden is not central.
I enjoyed this book but there are a good few issues that I had to fight through. One characters arc from bad to good is almost laughable and makes no sense at all. Its like they suddenly decide to be good at one stage. Then the "bad guy" makes no sense either as they want to destroy the gate. The reason they want this to happen is very flimsy and made no sense. I just went with it and found myself enjoying it anyway.
The other issue with these books is the naming of them. I have no idea what Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War and Abaddons Gate mean. I just looked it up and they are references to Shakespeare and old legends etc. It is like the authors thought of the name first and wrote the story.
I started this series so I shall plough on though!0
21 ) Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) by James S. A. Corey
No, I did not read this in a day. I am actually ahead of the reviews that I put up here but I like to do one at a time.
Cibola Burn is the 4th in the Expanse series and takes place after the events of the last book. Humanity has used the gate to colonise new worlds beyond the gate. On one such planet, there are colonists on the planet who went there straight away but now there is a corporate scientific survey mission to the planet that is technically the property of some corporation. Tensions arise as the colonists view the planet as theirs but the Corporation wants them off it. James Holden and his crew are chosen as mediators to try to sort out this dispute.
So this tale begins in what looks like a story of immigration, evil corporations and land rights. Then it changes to natural disasters but then later changes to killer slugs making people blind. Yes, I am not kidding. To put it bluntly, this book was terrible. It threatens to deal with how the alien race that built the gates existed or died because some of their buildings exist on the planet but it doesn't really get into any detail.
This book made me want to give up this series as it was so bad but I just about limped through it. The evil character is a cardboard cutout company man that would do anything for the "evil" company. Like Paul Reiser's character in the movie Aliens but that was fun. This book is not fun. Killer slugs that burrow into your eyes made me roll mine reading it. It just felt a mess. After reading it, I have no idea what Cibola burn means and I can't be bothered googling it. No doubt some obscure meaning that the authors thought sounded cool and then wrote the book.
I would advise you to skip this one and just know that the gate can now be used for far away travel. Save yourself time and don't bother reading it.0
22 ) Nemesis Games (The Expanse #5) by James S. A. Corey
After what happens in Cibola Burn above, James Holden and his crew all break up and do their own thing while their ship is getting maintenance while a militant group forms called the "Free Navy". This group starts to cause havoc in the system....
I keep saying it but here we are again. The same pattern has developed in this book as the fourth book. A good start. Very boring middle section and things liven up for the ending.
All these books are too long. About 200 pages could be cut out and it would be far tighter. When the focus goes away from James Holden, the books drag every time.
This has a lot of stuff that was very tedious as the crew all go their separate ways. But we know that they are just spinning their wheels until they get back together to save the universe yet again.
Another dull read that was hard to keep my interest in. I just barely get going. With each book things seem to get a bit more boring. Unfortunately I am determined to finish this series out!!0
23 ) Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S. A. Corey
So here I am, plodding on gamely through this series that I don't really love but don't hate either. In this book we find James Holden and the gang in the middle of the action as they are sent to Medina Station as the Free Navy have been causing havoc doing essentially piracy on any ships around the Gate. Can Holden bring about a peace in the area?
With each book, this series has got a little bit worse each time and this book tops it off. It is the worst I have read. The story was very boring and didn't engage me at all. Usually these start out well and then dip but this never gets going at all. Then the end of the book is one of the biggest anticlimaxes I have ever read. It makes we want to atop reading these but as I have them all already, I will go on!!
Massive dip in quality in this book. The first book feels like a long way away at the moment.0
24 ) Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7) by James S. A. Corey
Following on from the events of the previous book, there is a peace in the system with the new Transport Union managing ships going through the gate. Almost 30 years have passed with our merry crew led by James Holden doing contracts for the Union. In an earlier book, a rogue Admiral went through the gate to the Laconia system with a fleet but they have not been heard from since then. Now he is back, using technology from the Protomolecule and he has a huge armada. He is back to do food runs for everyone! No, he is not! He is here to establish a new order and basically take over everything. His navy take over Medina station and begin to attack our Solar System.
After the previous book, I felt like giving up this series as it was so bad. Thankfully, I did not as this book was really good. It has a great story and for once in this series, there was no filler. Like all good books, I am left wanting to read on more after finishing it. It is amazing that this is so good while the last was so bad. This is highly recommended!1
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How long would you spend reading every day?0
I make sure to read every day. At least an hour usually more as I tend to start off slow and then speed up every time. I can get more read these days as I work from home. I like to get ahead of my work and then read a chapter or 2! Then I will usually read again last thing at night in bed. If its quiet at work or I am way ahead in it, I can read away! Last week has been quiet so I read a load.
A while back I was reading very little. I would watch TV in bed and say I will read after the show but then be too tired. Now I will read first then watch TV. You can fit reading in if you want to and use a few tricks. If there is a match on at the weekend, I will try to read at half time for 15 mins. If its a boring match I will read while I pause it. Then when I need to take a break from reading, fast forward up to real time checking for scores then pause again and read. This way I get to see matches and read my books. So at the weekend, I read a load more doing this as I watch a load of sport!!
The more you read the quicker you get which helps too. I literally have a room full of books so I want to clear a load.1
25 ) Tiamat's Wrath (The Expanse #8) by James S. A. Corey
So the Rogue admiral has now taken over everywhere and his name is Duarte. The resistance is fractured and called The Underground while James Holden is now a "guest" of the admiral. Meaning he is really a prisoner! Duarte has a daughter called Teresa that he is grooming to take over from him in time. The crew of the Rocinante are all split up but fighting as best they can...
After the great #7 reviewed above, I was really looking forward to this one. Sadly it is back to the snails pace of the story where nothing much happens and there are no answers in the main plot. James Holden is barely mentioned and as I have said when he is not involved the story really drags. Teresa is talking to someone who is later revealed to be someone else. This "reveal" was so basic it could have been in Scooby Doo. It was that laughingly obvious! To me this was really bad.
The story is so slow with nothing happening again. This was really poor again and I felt like giving up throughout it but just barely kept going. Another filler book that you can skip.0
26 ) Leviathan Falls (The Expanse #9) by James S. A. Corey
Here I am! At the end of the Expanse finally!
The Laconian Empire has been decimated and just is a small power now. Colonel Tanaka is searching for Duartes daughter Teresa who is with James Holden and the crew. Can Tanaka find her and Duarte himself and bring back the full empire? James Holden and the crew are trying to make sure humanity will have a future as a friendly laconian scientist learns more about the secrets of the gate builders.
After reading all the books before this one, I was really ready for the secrets to be revealed and a big ending to all the threads. The finish that would make it all great and tie everything up. Maybe a few heartbreaks with characters dying but hopefully a thrilling climax......
This book was the worst ending to a series that I have ever read. It is like it was written by different people. Loads of questions built up by the other books are not even addressed and some glossed over. It was like the authors did not know how to end it so just ignored things. It is really boring with loads of talking that doesn't lead anywhere and things only happen at the very end of the book. Even then, not much gets explained
Main characters that we know get little time as the focus shifts to Tanaka. In a final book? It is like the authors wanted to do a few more books. There is kind of a resolution that just left me saying "is that it?" and meh.
Most of the book is very dull and way too much yapping and pontificating by the authors. I would definitely have quit this book only that I knew it was the last book and worried that there may be a huge windup to bring it back but it never came.
What a waste after the early promise of the first book. If you want advice just avoid the rest and just read the first book or maybe first 3. The rest go nowhere and they are all too long.
I'm glad to be free of these books now and the blurb on the front says "Interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written" - George R.R. Martin. I've never read his books but that's a real red flag to not read them. These books are definitely not the way interplanetary adventure should be written!! One of these authors worked for him so that's why it has the blurb.
A great start to the Expanse but with each book its like the authors did not know how to keep the good start going. If you think you are the same as me and like the same stuff, just avoid the rest after the first 3. It now fells like I wasted my time.
Now I can finally read other stuff!!0
27 ) Billy Summers by Stephen King
I had this ready to go and was really looking forward to it as I love Kings books usually. It is a bit of a departure for him as there is no horror or anything weird in it! Billy Summers is a hitman for hire as he is an expert sniper with experience of the war in Iraq. He is hired for one last job before he retires...What will happen?!
This starts off well as Billy is hired but the implausibilities begin to mount up and the whole books takes off in an entirely different direction that it started. He heads down to the area waiting for the target to show up and settles down to "normal" life with a cover as a writer. Meets the neighbours and gets friendly with everyone as well as the kids. Emmmm Ok. Why do this ? He is there to shoot someone but meets and greets everybody around while waiting. I can let slide him waiting in the area as its unknown when the target will show up. But why meet everyone and have witnesses all over to what he looks like? Ok I went with it still as Billy says he has a foolproof plan to escape and it doesn't matter. Emmm ok I will let this go even though a hitman would just come in, shoot and leave.
Of course this is the last-job-before-he-retires trope as well. Emmm ok. After what happens with the job, he is lying low in a house. Then he sees a woman being dumped nearby outside. What do you do when you are an on the run hitman? You go out and help her of course. You see, Billy is a nice guy hitman. I forgot to tell you that he will only kill "bad" people. Come on! Jeez!
So he helps her and she is after being gang raped by a bunch of guys. Imagine if you are her for a min. Horrific what happened to her but you wake up after being raped and are in a strange house. The guy there with you, is the guy you saw on the news that the police are looking for and he says he didn't rape you. Would you believe him? She does and then eventually Billy says he will make the people pay who did this to her. Remember, he is the Mother Teresa of hitmen!
Added to this is the fact that he didn't get paid his full money from the hit that he was hired to do and was double crossed. So Billy has to sort that out too!
This book was so bad that I was amazed. Within the book, Billy writes a book based on his experiences so we have to read this too. The book within the book is clearly padding and this is really boring. We also have to sit through plentiful Donald Trump references non stop as King obviously hates him. Covid references too even though this is set before covid. The characters all feel very two dimensional and to be honest this just felt very bland and dull.
Avoid this at all costs. I usually love Kings books but we have to be honest in calling this book out for being one of his worst ever. They can't all be great!!1
28 ) Through the Keyhole by Louis Theroux
I am a huge fan of Louis Theroux and if you do not know who he is, he is a documentary filmmaker. All of his docs are very interesting and he is really good at asking the right questions at the right time. This book was bought by me without even reading about what is was about! I has a book voucher and I had to use it up! I assumed it was talking about the people he has met in the course of making his documentaries....
Sadly, I could not have been more wrong. This is basically just a diary of his life during lockdown when Covid was rampant. I read as much as I could but then had to call a halt to it! We all lived through the lockdown and I don't really want to read about his family life and his following workout videos online. Louis is basically a rich guy so the whole book feels a bit tone deaf as he laments how hard he has it with his kids and boozing a lot.
This book felt like a simple online blog that someone would write not a an actual book. I could not finish this book as it just didn't feel very interesting. I would not recommend this to anyone unless you love reading about mundane family life and his kids.
Onto the next book quickly!!0
29 ) A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke
I have been reading away and just kept meaning to log them in here but forgot. So I will start catching up in the next few days. This is another book by the actor Ethan Hawke. I have read one of his before and didn't really love it but here I am again.
This is about an actor about to debut on Broadway and his marriage is breaking down as he cheated. Is it somewhat autobiographical? Who knows!!
This is a well written novel but one of those that goes nowhere and becomes tedious and boring the more you read. I should have learned after reading his other book as this one went the exact same way. He is a good writer but the story is boring so it negates the whole book. I finished it barely and only because it is only around 250 pages.
Avoid at all costs!0
30 ) Ordinary Men by Christopher F. Browning
This is a book that I have wanted to read for a long time, It is subtitled Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution. It is about an ordinary bunch of men who were too old to fight in the war and were used to kill and manage the Jews found in the newly conquered areas. The question the author poses, is how they were ordinary men but ended up gleefully carrying out the duties such as gassing or shooting Jews.
I really enjoyed this book as it deals with how we as humans have an unbelievable capacity to do things even when we know its wrong. I enjoyed the way the author tempers things by saying the battalion members were interviewed but would always not want to make themselves look bad. We all would do this too as its human nature so I felt Browning was realistic in his analysis etc.
This is an important book that you should read for insights into the Holocaust.0
31 ) Since we fell by Dennis Lehane
I normally like Dennis Lehane and this is a psychological thriller about a woman who goes through a breakdown. I am not even going to bother talking more about the plot as it felt like just one thing after each other and doesn't really go anywhere interesting.
This was fairly boring and I felt like giving up on it until the last 100 pages where suddenly things livened up. It was then enjoyable for the last part but a case of too little too late! I would avoid this book as it just isn't worth reading. Disappointing.0
OK, I have been neglecting this log way too much but the good news is that I have been reading away non stop. I have a load of reviews to do so I will start catching up as of now. Apologies if anyone actually reads this log!1
32 ) The Ninja (Linnear #1)by Eric Van Lustbader
This series has been on my bucket list for years. I had started this book years ago but lost track as I left a long time in between reads so I had moved on. Always wanted to come back and tackle it properly.
It is about Nicholas Linnear who is half Caucasian and half Asian and he knows both worlds. It deals with his upbringing in Japan after World War II. He learns the art of being a Ninja while there. Later he moves to America and is brought in by the police as he is an expert and there is a murder with a ninja weapon.
This book is fairly long but overall interesting enough. It is a slow burner and to be honest I expected a bit more action. Lots of intrigue until the climax where the action breaks out!
A fun read. The middle drags a little bit though.1
33 ) The Miko (Linnear #2) by Eric Van Lustbader
This continues on from The Ninja above with Nicholas Linnear. Basically there is someone new out to get him.....The Miko! The Miko is a female who is almost like a female ninja and she can use the dark arts!! This was first published in 1984 and there are are a lot of outdated political intrigue involving Japan and especially the Soviet Union. Lustbader does the intrigue really well if you like that kind of thing but I prefer a bit more action rather than constant talking.
It is 700 pages and far too long for my liking. The template is the same as the first book. Starts off strong then gets tedious in the middle and then a strong climax. I came close to giving up but as I owned the series already, I ploughed on!!0
34 ) White Ninja (Linnear #3) by Eric Van Lustbader
Nicholas Linnear is back again once more! Here he gets a tumour removed and wouldn't you know it? He loses all his Ninja powers! Hate when that happens! But there may be a more nefarious reason as yet again, there is someone out to get him!
I should have said that in this series, Lustbader really loves his sex scenes! He goes into details and there are long passages as well as long.....well you get the idea! But in seriousness, even I found it a bit much as it seems they were put in a lot. So just in case you hate that kind of thing, be aware of it.
This is around 500 pages but still again we have the same pattern. Strong start, tedious middle and good ending. But in this one there is a good clomax and then the book keeps going! It should have ended but kept going for another boring bit. Again intrigue is the order of the day so if you like it you will love this series. I would rather a bit more happening.0
35 ) The Kaisho (Linnear #4) by Eric Van Lustbader
Nicholas Linnear is back in the 4th in the series and here he owes a debt of honour to his fathers old friend. What he doesn't know is that the old friend is the Kaisho. The Kaisho is the Boss of Bosses of the Japanese underworld. The American Mafia has targeted him for execution though!
This one is almost 600 pages in length and goes the exact same way as the other books. Great start and then gets bogged down with a lot of characters and gets complex.Then a good finish if you can stay the course!
Well written but they could do with being shorter in length.0
36 ) Floating City (Linnear #5) by Eric Van Lustbader
So here is Linnear again, back for the 5th time around. Of course, he has another enemy wanting to take him down as usual. Not going to give this a long review as its the same pattern as the above books. Here he goes to Vietnam
Its about 400 pages so not as long as the previous books.Post edited by The White Feather on0
37 ) Second Skin (Linnear #6) by Eric Van Lustbader
The final book in this series that I am at this stage just wanting to be over! After the events of Floating City, Linnear's enemies are regrouping for one attack to get rid of Linnear. Linnear and his allies will need to be ready to face off!
This is about 450 pages so not too bad in length. All these books have the same pattern and it felt great on the first book but by now, I was a bit numbed to it all. As I have said previously, I prefer a bit more action and less talking in circles. The books are just about enjoyable enough though so I don't want it to look like I was bored reading them. Its more like I just wasn't thrilled all the time reading them!0
38 ) Falling by T.J. Newman
I picked this up on a whim for a few reasons. It was a first time author, didn't seem very long and most of all the premise seemed interesting. TJ Newman is a female author who was a flight attendant as well. By the way female authors tend to use first initials as people tend to buy more from male authors which is a bit sad to see but the way life is.
On a flight to New York, the pilot gets contacted saying his family has been kidnapped and if he doesn't crash the flight then his family will be killed.....
So the premise had me hooked and I was thinking of a Die Hard type story! The writing was fairly ok and Newman does have some talent but sadly the numerous clichés and plot holes began to pile up early. The bad guys can get stuff on the plane no problem but didn't seem to think of just putting a bomb on the plane. Newman does try to address it and give reasons but they just didn't cut it. I was reading it thinking "Come on....!"
As she was a flight attendant, the ones in the book are very heroic but cliché ridden. We have plucky flight attendants turning the tables on the bad guys in a moment that made me laugh out loud as it was so stupid. There is the big huge male flight attendant that is meek as a mouse but you know his size will come in very handy! The bad guys are brain dead and the cops are complete bunglers. Of course there is that one cop who realises what is going on and very handy too that he will break every law and not follow orders!
This felt like a bad TV movie and what is amazing is this is being made into a movie! It has been bought by Universal Pictures. Honestly, I feel like I could write a better story than this. Avoid this book unless you want a laugh !!2
39 ) Death of the Black Haired Girl by Robert Stone
Another thriller that is only around 300 pages so I said here we go again!
In an elite New England college, Professor Steven Brookman embarks upon a careless affair with a brilliant but reckless student, Maud Stack....
This is advertised as a Psychological Thriller as you can see on the cover above so I expected something tense and exciting. Sadly this is incredibly boring. The Professor decides to end his relationship with the student and soon after she is found dead. I thought it was going to be a whodunnit type book or did he or didn't he kill her. However, this book heads off into morality/ spirituality. It focuses on other characters a lot too later on and by the end I didn't care who killed her. I wanted to just finish the book and move on. Came close to giving up but it is short enough.
Another one to avoid!!0
40 ) Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
After the last two poor books I decided to go for a sci fi thriller. Have you ever thought about that path you didn't take? That big fork in the road where you made a decision and went off in life in one direction? What would have happened if you took it? Well this book is about that other path. And all the infinite others!
Jason Dessen is a former quantum mechanics physicist and now just a college professor. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son. One day he is kidnapped, drugged and wakes up in an alternate Chicago. He doesn't have a wife and son anymore. What is going on??
I don't want to say too much about the story as it will spoil things but it is a sci fi book about alternate realities. This has a blurb on the book from Andy Weir who wrote The Martian. Dark Matter reminds me of that in that it is very easy to read and the story flies along. Characterisation is minimal as we focus on the story. It felt like Crouch came up with the concept first and added on the rest later. I really enjoyed this book but you do have to park your brain a bit and go with the flow. The writing isn't the best but its all on the story and things fly along.
It is just over 300 pages so not too long and a very easy read. If you like Sci Fi then you should definitely check it out.0
41 ) Recursion by Blake Crouch
As I had bought both these books from Crouch when they came out, I went straight from Dark Matter above to this one called Recursion. Finally reading them!
In 2018, meaning present day, an NYPD Detective Barry Sutton tries to talk a suicide jumper out of jumping. The jumper says she is suffering from False Memory Syndrome. It is an illness that is spreading among the population where people have vivid memories of a life they have not lived. Sadly the jumper does jump and Barry begins to look deeper into this mystery illness. Then we flash back to 2007 where Scientist Helena Smith is approached by the worlds richest man and he offers to fully fund her research into memory care and Alzheimer's. The man takes her to an Island where he promises to her that they will change the world. They go on to definitely change the world but if I was to tell you how, it would give away plot details!
Maybe reading this book straight after Dark Matter wasn't a great idea as it felt like Crouch had an idea left over from it and used it here. It is quite similar to the concept of Dark Matter in alternate realities type of deal. Now, it definitely is different but reading it straight after meant it felt like a rethread even though it is not.
It is very clever and Crouch does explain the "rules" of this world he created but the main idea felt like a gimmick. I feel like in both books Crouch thinks of the idea and writes around it type of thing. It is a very easy read and is almost too easy as Crouch does a load of one word paragraphs that in this second book, I found very irritating. Again it could be because I "overdosed" on him!!
With all the trouble Crouch does to explain the "rules", I still felt there were a few plot holes in the whole idea and I still don't think Crouch is a great writer but it is still entertaining if you just go with the flow. Again if you like Sci Fi, its worth checking out only its not a classic by any means. It is all idea and a bit of substance if you understand me!!0
42 ) Ronan O'Gara : My Autobiography by Ronan O'Gara
As a change of pace, I switched to non fiction and an autobiography. I like rugby but am no expert on it but wanted to read O'Gara's story. He was such a great player that nearly everyone admired!
Unfortunately though, this book isn't great. It felt like more of a log of matches.
"On this day we played such and such. I played well scoring xyz points. Then we went to the next game"
It felt very dry and there wasn't much personality coming through at all. I didn't really learn anything about him. He briefly touches on rumours that he was cheating on his girlfriend/wife and how hurtful it was. Other than that there was not much interesting stuff. I'm not saying to talk about nasty stuff but the book felt very matter of fact.
Only read this book if you are a real hardcore fan. Otherwise there isn't any need to read it really.0