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Keep on Reading........



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather


    The Art of Falling by Danielle Mclaughlin

    A kind of book here that I normally would not really read. If you read and follow this log, then this one may seem a bit different! You would be correct as I won this book in a competition! Rarely would I win much but I was delighted to win a book as I love them! This is fairly new and I saw it in the window of Waterstones here in Cork. Nothing better than a free book! :pac:

    From the looks of it and the blurb on the back, I did not expect much. It looked like one of those really light and fluffy books. Nessa McCormack is in charge of a gallery in Cork and there is an upcoming exhibition of a renowned sculptor Robert Locke who is now dead. He has a very famous sculpture called the "Chalk Sculpture" and Nessa is making all the arrangements to show it off.

    Unfortunately we learn that Nessa's husband Philip had cheated on her and they are trying to keep their marriage going. To make things worse, he cheated on Nessa with the parent of one of their daughters friends. Nessa and Philip have a daughter, Jennifer who is 16 so life is very precarious for the family.

    So Nessa is juggling her work life and her professional life while preparing for this important exhibition. While this is happening, along comes a woman who says the sculpture is actually hers! This woman seems a bit crazy but is determined to be recognised as the true owner of it. Then Nessa has to try to deal with the late sculptor's family who have their own issues.

    I thought this was light and fluffy but it proved to have more depth than I thought. Mclaughlin is definitely a good writer and I liked all the references to local places/streets here in Cork. The more I read, the more I got totally invested in the story. This is the sign of a good writer in my view!

    Sadly, I thought the ending was poor as after all the hard work building everything up, it all seemed to just fizzle out with a whimper. Maybe I expected too much but it felt a let down after all that I read. So it is one of those books that had me feeling "What was the point of all that ?" I went from thinking I wouldn't like it, to really liking it and then wondering why I bothered at the end.

    I would still just about recommend this but with the provisos given. Don't expect a great ending and only if you like a family drama will you like this. For a debut novel though I cut it a bit of slack but I think if a bit more thought put into the ending it could have been great. It is only 300 pages so the book isn't too long thankfully.

    2021 - 18 books read so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather


    Awaken Your Power Within by Gerry Hussey

    Another of these self-help style books and this comes from Gerry Hussey who is Irish too and worked with the Irish Olympic boxers and other high profile athletes.It is subtitled "Let Go of Fear. Discover Your Infinite Potential. Become Your True Self."

    I am a big believer in these type of books and feel they are good to read every so often. Changing how I thought about things has made a massive difference in my life and it is all about small changes here and there making a huge difference. Like all these type of books, it depends on how you are going in to them. If you think it is rubbish, it is all a waste of time. Go in with an attitude of this could really help me, then they are a great help.

    As I do martial arts, I subscribe to the Bruce Lee method of training or learning. This means throw out what you think does not work and keep all that you think does. There is a lot in here that you can keep. Stuff such as it is all about how you approach things. Think everything is a hassle and it will be. Look at things as an opportunity to improve and you will do better. Hussey recommends affirmations and W.I.N to improve your life. What is W.I.N? What's Important Now. What matters the most to you at this moment and do this or do everything you can to make it happen.

    I was very like him growing up and he goes into detail about what he was like before he turned it around. I did jettison his talks on spirituality as that is not my thing at all but hey, each to there own!! A tad bit too much and in my view doesn't fit with his overall view of self reliance and only think about how you react and how you approach things. But you can tell its clearly important to him in his life and I respect that too. It may be important to you in your life as well.

    An excellent book that can help you to find your own path in life as it goes through the mind traps we all set up for ourselves. Hussey shows how to break out of these mental prisons that hold us back and works as a practical guide. Highly recommended!

    2021 - 19 books read so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather


    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

    A book that I have been meaning to read for years and only getting around to it now. I should have read it years ago!

    This was originally published as a short story and then made into a sci fi novel in 1966. It concerns a mentally disabled man who works as a janitor in a bakery and his name is Charlie Gordon. He is happy enough but the butt of jokes as he doesn't understand things.2 Professors offer him the chance at intelligence as they have already performed an operation on a laboratory mouse called Algernon. Algernon has made huge improvements in understanding how to complete mazes and now the professors need a human subject. Charlie gets the operation and begins to improve mentally eventually even surpassing his professors! Then Algernon shows signs of deterioration and regression. Will Charlie end up the same way?

    This is an amazing book and I wish I had read it even sooner! It is told entirely from Charlie's point of view and we follow him from where he is at the beginning to where he is now a genius. From not being able to spell words to reading in many languages, we read his progress reports as he goes on this journey.

    We also see how different relationships both develop and fall apart. There are numerous themes in this book such as medical/ethical treatment, happiness, love, sex and how we look and treat the mentally disabled.

    It has a very sad and sobering ending that Keyes was asked to change but he refused. It is more powerful as it is and maybe this way it is a lesson for us all on how we treat people. Highly recommended.

    2021 - 20 books read so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

    This new site update really throws out the way I used to post but I suspect it is the same for everyone! The heat has crippled my reading so I am only getting going now again after a break. So onwards we go!

    A crime thriller that I really looked forward to reading as I has read Blacktop Wasteland already. (It is the 13 review on that page! Don't know how to link to the actual post. grrrrrrrrrr!!! ) I loved that book so I got stuck into this one. Derek and Isiah were the gay sons of Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee and the sons are found brutally murdered. The parents were not very accepting of them when they were alive but now both dads are determined to bring the killers to justice no matter what the cost.

    The action scenes in this are where Cosby really shines. You feel you are really in the thick of it when the bullets go flying!! The story starts off really well but then veers a bit off into what I call Scooby Doo territory. The kind where things are very convenient plot wise and the surprises are not much of a surprise at all.

    Some of the themes get a bit too over cooked where it gets very preachy and I wanted a return to the action rather than monologues. Other than these parts that dragged things down a bit, this is a really fun thriller. The style is very easy to read and I mean that as a compliment as it is very hard to put down!

    All in all, this is well worth a read if you like thrillers. It is predictable but still a lot of fun.

    2021 - 21 books read so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,115 ✭✭✭ eire4

    I reread all my Tintin graphic novels earlier this year again. A great trip down memory lane that was. I actually visited the small town of Louvain in Belgium where the Tintin museum is a few years ago during a holiday I took to Belgium. It is a short train ride from Brussels and well worth the visit if your a Tintin fan.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    I would definitely love to go to that Tintin museum too. There was nothing better than finding a Tintin in the library when I was a kid. They seemed to just have one copy of each and it would take ages to find them!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    Silver by Chris Hammer

    Way back in 2019 I read Scrublands by Hammer and I loved that book. See the review below as that is a great read.

    So I was excited about the follow up called Silver and am only getting around to it now. The same character from the first book, Martin Scarsden, has returned to his home town of Port Silver. He has his partner Mandalay Blonde and baby Liam. His old best friend is found brutally murdered and wouldn't you know it......his partner Mandalay is the chief suspect! Don't you hate it when that happens?!! So, Martin sets out to prove her innocence and get to the bottom of the mystery.

    I started this book out full of hope and excitement but sadly I got ground down with passages of boredom and silly character names as well. Johnson Pear, Mandalay Blonde, Morris Montifore, Amory Ashton and Wellington Smith were a few. The murder is fairly early on but after that I was gradually bored and eventually had to give this up. The writing is good but just was boring where I was waiting for something to happen. Lots of sentences about the baby, landscapes and history of the fictitious Port Silver.

    I found myself not caring at all about the mystery and the font chosen for the book did not help. It didn't seem a very clear font and was not easy on the eyes, The biggest thing is that this book is just way too long at 570 pages. At least 200 from the first half could be cut out and this book really needed an editor who was ruthless. I think there was a good book here but it is just hidden too deep for me to care which is a shame.

    Avoid this at all costs but do go back and read the first book Scrublands if you have not already. Just don't waste your time with this one.

    2021 - 22 books read so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    Trust by Chris Hammer

    This is the third book in the Scarsden series. It follows on from the book above, Silver. Why am I reading it when I hated Silver? I had it bought already! 🤣

    So Martin Scarsden has settled into his new life with his partner Mandalay Blonde (What a silly name!) and baby Liam. All seems well until Martin comes home one day and finds a man unconscious on the floor and Mandalay gone. She has been abducted! Why? Can he get her back? Who is the man? Why do I have so many questions?!!

    This was better than the previous book ,Silver and kept my interest better than that one. We do, however have some of the most silly and stupid character names ever put into print in one book. Here is a list as you might not believe me as they are so bad.......

    Harry Sweetwater

    Clarity Sparkes

    D'arcy Defoe

    Zelda Fordham

    Harry Livingstone

    Flanagan Mort

    Claus Vandenbruk

    Doug Thunkleton

    Winifred Barbicombe

    Taylor Torbett

    Wellington Smith

    Atticus Pons

    So after I was finished laughing at each characters name, the story was quite good. The good thing is that this book is not as long as the previous one. Its only 480 pages and seems to hold together better. I liked the mystery/thriller aspects but there is a tad too much about scenery. Hammer really needs an editor as I would have cut out a lot more. Maybe another 100 pages or more especially from the start. It takes a while to get going but once it does it was great fun.

    I would just about recommend this book but the first book Scrublands is the superior one of the three.

    2021 - 23 books read so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

    Alright, Alright, Alright........

    This is a part memoir,part notes kind of book that is full of stories, wisdom and lessons that McConaughey has learned so far in life. You can see he is a person who likes to travel his own road in life and this book is different to others. He dispenses outlaw wisdom while giving an account of his life so far. I liked the way he encourages the reader to find their own path in life while providing bits of inspiration along the way. Once of my favourite movies is Dazed and Confused so to hear him talk about that movie was great as well as the long list of other great movies that he has done. He comes across as a very easy going kind of guy just like his movies. A very nice read from start to finish so this was a great read. If you are a fan of him then you will love this book. If you don't know him then you will come to really like him through this book too! Highly recommended!

    2021 - 24 books read so far.

    (PS I have been reading away but forgot to update this log! Whoops! I will update it over the next few days! Hopefully people like to read this log)

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    So, what happened?!

    I kind of forgot to update this log but this is due to the Boards update. I don't like the way it is now as it isn't very user friendly anymore.

    I ended up reading far less than I had planned as well because of various things. But onwards and upwards. This year will be my year! Already read a couple of books and determined to clear my backlog of books. I said this before but I have a roomful of books!!

    I will do reviews here from books that I read after October of 2021 as well and get them all up here. I like having the log to look back on if I forget what I said about a book. The way Boards is, is the way we all have to get used to it so no point hoping it will change.

    As always feel free to comment on anything I read here.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    1 ) Luna : New Moon by Ian McDonald

    I was really looking forward to reading this one. A sci fi epic that was the start of a trilogy. I had all 3 books ready to be read! This is supposed to be a sci fi version of Game of Thrones and is meant to be being made for TV.

    It is set on the moon in the future where 5 corporations or families are vying for control of the industry of the moon. I went in knowing that I would love this but sadly I did not. The whole thing just didn't make any sense to me. I kept on thinking that I just needed to read more but gradually I realised that I just didn't like it.

    it turned out to be really bad. A world set in the future where nothing at all made sense. Everything just seemed silly and I couldn't get into it no matter how much I tried. There is no police on the moon and the society wasn't explained at all. You wouldn't even realise it was on the moon sometimes as it doesn't seem to effect the inhabitants in the slightest.

    Then there are families that seem to have all awful people in them. They all had different names but nothing else that really separated each character. The whole thing just didn't work for me at all.

    I had to give up on this half way through and abort my planned reading of the whole series. I felt much happier after I gave up!

    I don't recommend this at all.

    The only plus? 3 books that I could get rid of!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    2 ) In Order to Live : A North Korean Girl's journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park

    I saw an interview on TV with this woman, Yeonm Park, and I was blown away. It was only a snippet but I was immediately saying I have to read her book. This is a non-fiction account of her life growing up in North Korea. It is a real eye opening account as little is known about life there. A truly frightening story about how they think the leader can even read their minds so they think positive thoughts about him all the time. There are actual tiers of society there and basically everyone has nothing but the tier up above has just that little bit extra such as grain for a few days of food. Yeonmi was at one of the lowest tiers just surviving week to week. Her dad got caught making a bit of money on the side and then the family ended up on a lower tier branded as criminals and shunned by former friends. Then they only wished they had grain for the week as they had to beg for scraps etc.

    I felt really sad reading this about how people have to live in this day and age but its also a really heroic story about how she escaped to China which is like a paradise compared to North Korea. When China was helping North Korea, and I mean just giving them supplies cheaply, North Korea was a great place but as soon as China said times are tough you are on your own, North Korea crashed. From the outside, I wondered will they ever rise up but kids are brainwashed and everyone is scrambling to barely survive. Everything is so tightly controlled.

    This is a remarkable story about human spirit and felt like a thriller as I was really invested in Yeonmi and her story. I felt really good at the end as she comes out the other side as she never gave up. A lot of people would have. I have nothing but admiration for her.

    So this book is highly recommended !!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    3 ) The Man who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis

    If you follow this log at all, then you will know that I am a huge fan of Walter Tevis and I really like his works. Here we have his famous sci fi novel that was also made into a movie. Thomas Newton is an alien who comes to Earth. He is from a race that are highly intelligent but his planet has a terrible drought so he needs to make a spaceship from scratch here on Earth that can help bring more of hos people here.

    He arrives in Kentucky USA, uses his technology to get Patents and makes millions in money. He meets a woman called Betty Jo and a technician called Nathan Bryce. They become his friends and he learns about Earth such as fashion, religion and alcohol. Unfortunately Newton really likes alcohol and this amplifies his loneliness here on Earth.

    This is an excellent novel that is way more than just as simple sci fi tale. It is more psychological as it is about how Newton enters a downward spiral as he develops a dependence on alcohol, starts to experience major depressive symptoms like loneliness, emotional and social alienation, demotivation, self-doubt, and self-pity. It is incredibly well written by Tevis and one of those books that will stay with you after you have finished.

    Needless to say, I loved this and highly recommend it!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    4 ) Pimp: The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slim

    Iceberg Slim was a pimp back in the late 1930s and for a lot of his life until he started a career as a writer. This is meant to be n honest account of his life as a pimp and I thought it was going to be really interesting. Irvine Welsh did the introduction and really talks him up as an unbelievable writer that is under appreciated. Welsh goes over the top in his praise of a few pages so I was already thinking hang on a minute! He compares him to great writers and my eyebrows were raised in disbelief already. But maybe he is and off I went reading it.

    The book details his life as a pimp but to me a lot of important stuff was left out. It just seemed he went down the local street and found some local prostitutes and he was a pimp. The book just trends to deal with him beating them up or verbally controlling or abusing them. He talks it up like it was some kind of art form but really he was just a thug beating them up with wire hangers etc. The stories are so detailed that it felt made up if you understand me. No doubt some were true but a lot seemed exaggerated. He does a good prison escape which was fun to read but the while pimp thing was get a few down on their luck women, threaten them, they give him a cut and he just relaxes away counting the money. The women eventually run away and he does the same thing with some more women. Its not rocket science. I was expecting mind games as he kept them in control but it is all just don't look weak in front of them kind of thing and beat them up if they don't give enough money.

    I found reading the same thing over and over boring as he beats up women non stop. It would make you sick reading it and then some stuff had me rolling my eyes as I just didn't believe it all happened. Then he just gives up pimping as he is old and now the younger guys can beat him up. He wasn't as strong as he once was so then its all over. I couldn't help but chuckle as he is the one now afraid of getting beaten up like his women or "whores" as he constantly calls them. He has a real hatred of women throughout the book as well.

    I thought this was going to be way better than it was. It turned out just sad and I was glad I finished it in the end. Irvine Welsh and his hero worship of Slim was really silly!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    5 ) The Steps of the Sun by Walter Tevis

    This was the last Science Fiction novel that Tevis wrote and as I have said earlier here, I really like his writing. It was published in 1983 after Tevis was working as a Creative Writing teacher in Ohio University. I can tell you right now that I would have loved to have taken the course that he was teaching!!!!

    As usual for Tevis, this deals with more the sociological side of Science Fiction rather than the technology side. It is set in 2063 and the energy resources of Earth are almost all used up. China is now the powerhouse of the world and the USA has really gone backwards. Everything on the USA is run on wood and coal and they cost a lot for the average person to buy. The USA is almost run by the mafia as everything is on the black market. Buildings like skyscrapers are not used anymore as the elevators are too costly to run. We had gone into space searching for other life and resources but found nothing. Now its illegal to fly off into space and use up precious resources. I really liked this idea because this could happen. If it costs so much to go off into space for years and finding no one and nothing valuable, what's the point of wasting money and fuel like Uranium etc? An interesting take on the future that I had not seen before!

    Ben Belson is a coal tycoon who is incredibly rich and decides that if he can find uranium deep in space, he would be a hero to the world and the USA will be back on top. He builds a spaceship and gets a crew and off he goes. He knows that he will be in trouble when he gets back to earth but hopes to find Uranium and that he will have a new supply source for the world. When he finds some, his troubles seem to be just beginning.....

    This novel reads like a 50s style science fiction. The kind where a guy is in a spaceship and then landing on a planet. This is nothing like the realism of Arthur C Clarke so bear that in mind. Belson is a guy obsessed with sex also! He suffers from impotence though so he has to deal with this. This novel has a bit of everything. Space stuff, sex, political intrigue and a horny old guy!

    I didn't love this novel but didn't hate it. It is really well written like all Tevis books but the story kind of goes everywhere. Starts on Earth, then spaceship, then alien planets and then back on Earth again. It has a bit of all kinds of things from sci fi to sex! It is one of those books that is not riveting but I wanted to read until the end. The themes are all over the place too from loneliness to an identity crisis to politics. Felt like a bit of a mish mash and almost like Tevis wrote a bit then stopped for a while then wrote again and stopped etc It is like he wasn't sure what part to focus on.

    If you want to read Tevis, I would read his other books first as this would probably be the weakest I have read. Still OK but not a patch on his other stuff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    6 ) Far From Home by Walter Tevis

    This is a short story collection from Tevis and after this I will have read everything that he ever he wrote. This is the only collection that he put out and was published in 1981. As I loved most of his novels, I was really looking forward to reading this.

    Tevis has the usual really well written stuff and by that I mean its put together really well. This collection is a real mixed bag though in terms of entertainment. Some stories are bizarre and surreal while others a regular story. It is choc full of the usual Tevis themes such as chess, disease and loneliness etc. There are also incest themes which was really weird to read.

    Some stories felt like instant classics while others are complete rubbish to put it bluntly. One called "The Other End of the Line" was probably my favourite. A man receives a phone call from himself from the future and uses the information he gets to become rich but what will happen in two months time if he fails to call himself back? Another story called "Rent Control" is about a couple who can stop time when they are physically touching in a certain place in their apartment. Then "The Apotheosis of Myra" is about a guy on another planet who murders his wife but ends up worse off than before! "The Big Bounce" is about a ball that won't stop bouncing and keeps getting faster.

    The rest are poor though. "A Visit From Mother" is about a guys dead mother visiting him again. "Daddy" is another story but now just his father visiting him. These stories really seem autobiographical as Tevis was left in a convalescent hospital on his own for a year when he was young. He eventually left and traveled on his own to his home. I found the stories boring though. Then there are even weirder stories about a gold brick and the fifth dimension.

    Other than the first few ones that I mentioned, there isn't much else to recommend. The good thing is that the stories are very short and makes for a very quick read. I would have liked more quality stuff as half of these were very boring and too weird. The few that are good are very good though so its the real mixed bag that I said earlier.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    As I have read all of Walter Tevis, I thought that I would put all my reviews of him together in case anyone wants to read any of his work. I think he is well worth a read if you have not already. Just wish that he had written more stuff!


    The Hustler (1959)

    The Man Who Fell to Earth (1963)

    Mockingbird (1980)

    The Steps of the Sun (1983)

    The Queen's Gambit (1983)

    The Color of Money (1984)

    Short Story Collection

    Far From Home (1981)

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    7 ) The Gutter Prayer (Black Iron Legacy #1) by Gareth Hanrahan

    I return here to fantasy epics and here is the first one in a trilogy. Hanrahan is actually from Cork like I am but I had never heard of him before. Haven't seem many people online talk about him either but I said I would give it a try.

    The Gutter Prayer reminded me of Perdido Street Station that I have read. It is not exactly like it but it might give you a frame of reference. This is fantasy but it really focuses on Religion and politics. There are loads of gods and they can appear and give powers to their Saints. Saints are regular humans who can channel their gods powers. Then there are alchemists and Sorcerers. Then there are monsters such as Ghouls who eat the dead. There are undead called Vigilants also. Hanrahan comes from a games designing background and you can really see it.

    The problem with all this stuff is that you are thrown into the deep end from the start. It is set in a city called Guerdon where there are all these factions. There is a war elsewhere in this world called the Godswar but Guerdon is kept neutral as it makes weapons for both sides. For the first 200 pages there seemed to be a load of exposition and information dumps about the world and yet I was still struggling to make sense of everything.

    There is a Thieves Guild in the city too (as if there were not enough groups!) and in all this chaos we meet 3 different characters. An orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man are betrayed by the Guild and this sets off a chain of events as they try to find out what happened. The Cursed man has an illness that turns him slowly into Stone and he has to take a herb to keep it at bay. Eventually he will turn fully to stone as this is an illness well known to the city and a lot of people have it.

    There are so many ideas in this book that it is incredibly creative but I was mostly confused for a lot of this book. Something in it kept me going though as there is a lot of good here. It needed a better editor though as it is too long. The end of the book is very exciting and this is what redeemed things for me. To go through the plot here would be very hard so I am not even going to try. Basically a lot of intrigue type stuff.

    Hanrahan is a very good writer but the middle of the book really dragged and I nearly gave up. Just managed to plow on. He does too many information dumps where I still was confused to whats going on. I ended the book only understanding the main stuff. So in the end, I enjoyed it but it felt like a tightrope in places where I nearly fell off and gave up!!

    If you really like different fantasy then give this a try. This is the first in a trilogy called the Black Iron Trilogy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    8 ) The Shadow Saint (Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Hanrahan

    This book continues on from the previous book and is set 6 months later. The events at the end of the first book has changed the city of Guerdon. It is now a haven for a lot of criminals and refugees from the Godswar. It is still struggling to stay neutral in that war and enemies are gathering at its border. There are rumours that buried in Guerdon is a weapon that can destroy a God so elements of the warring factions send agents to find it. What will happen when the weapon is found and the who will use it?

    Probably as I was into the story by now, I found this book better than the first book. Both books are too long though as they are around 600 pages. 200 pages could have been cut from each and this dragged a bit in the middle like the first book. The constant need to make every book an epic is annoying and detracts from books such as this one.

    It is very similar to the first book in that there are a good bit of exposition and not enough dialogue. Hanrahan has a habit of telling what happened rather than describing what happened in real time. What I mean is that at one stage a character has to do a speech to win others over. He is gearing up for it and then it cuts to us being told that he gave a great speech and it worked. Simple as that. The actual speech is not done at all and detracts from the book. This is done a lot and I found it very annoying.

    I still enjoyed this book though as it is very different to other books. The world created is very unique but this trilogy is a very dense type of read. Everytime I read a bit, I had to really concentrate. Some bits even after finishing the book I still don't understand so it requires a lot of attention. It can be very frustrating to read as it feels like you are being bamboozled all the time but I just about made it through the book again. It did feel easier having read the first but this book has the same problems.

    Both books having very entertaining finishes so that is a good thing. At least I ended on a high but the middle part was a bit boring again. If you are going to read this trilogy then read them back to back like I am doing. I found it hard enough and that was without a gap! Now I am onto the last book in the trilogy....

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    9 ) The Broken God (Black Iron Legacy #3) by Gareth Hanrahan

    This is the third in the trilogy and the city of Guerdon is now occupied by 3 powers in a fragile peace. It is like Berlin after WWII!!! They are all vying for full control and one faction has Dragons as it leader. There were no dragons in this trilogy until this book. Meanwhile one character is on a trek like Frodo in Lord of the Rings. She is going to a city that is meant to not allow anyone in.

    This started off OK but then I gradually lost interest. There are a lot of new characters and the side story of the character on the journey was incredibly dull. This book just felt different to the first two and was just too depressing. The bad guys are really bad and there wasn't really anyone to cheer on.

    Most annoying is Hanrahan's habit of switching point of views. He does this in each book but I think here I just had enough. This whole book just felt a book too far. Again it is too long and I wound up just wanting to get to the end. The series does have its merits though as it was unique. The first 2 books seemed way more enjoyable though. As usual there is a good climax and all 3 books have one.

    If you like weird fantasy or stuff that is different then this series is for you. I am glad to be moving on from it now though!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    10 ) Batman : Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

    I didn't plan it this way, but exactly 2 years ago, I read Batman : The Long Halloween and click on the title to go to that review if you are interested. Batman : Dark Victory is it's sequel. It is criminal that it took me 2 years to get to the sequel but here we are! I loved the first one and I am happy to say that I loved this one as well. It takes up where the first finished and we have Two-Face causing mayhem in Gotham. It seems like the serial killer Holiday is back as there are numerous people being killed. They all seem connected to Harvey Dent in some way. Then there are Poison Ivy, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and the Joker all creating chaos too in Gotham. The city needs a hero to sort everything out!

    Meanwhile Batman is as always troubled by his parents death and feels very alone in the world. He has to take everyone on alone and this is a recurring theme throughout the story. The crime families in Gotham are causing trouble too. One of the families kills a couple who works in the circus. The poor son is left an orphan and alone too. Maybe the two people who are alone might become a duo? Maybe even a Dynamic Duo of some sort?!!!

    This comic has everything. Great storytelling and great drawings. I think this whole story could be taken as is and made into a movie right now. It is that good. I had no idea who the serial killer was until the reveal near the end! It is Batman exactly as it should be. If you are interested in him then read the first then this one too. Can't recommend these enough!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    11 ) Batman : Haunted Knight by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

    This is actually the first one that was done by Loeb and Sale but it doesn't really matter that I am reading it now after the others above. This is different to the others in that there are 3 stories within this and I would call it a bit more "basic" than the others. As this was the first maybe it is to be expected!

    The first story is about the Scarecrow and there is also a love interest for Bruce Wayne. Maybe he can find happiness at last?! The second story is about the Mad Hatter and there are numerous connections and references to the story Alice in Wonderland. The final story is like A Christmas Carol where Batman is visited by spirits. The Joker, the Penguin and Poison Ivy all show up in this.

    As these stories are shorter, there is less mystery and more introspection as we get more about Batman's psyche and his place in Gotham. So its is kind of basic as I said but adds more to the relationships of Batman.

    This is a really quick read too and perfect as a taster if you want to see what the series is like. Another one that is thoroughly recommended.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    12 ) The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone

    I picked this book up on a whim. Not a huge fan but not a hater of her either! Didn't really know much about her other than the Basic Instinct movie as well as the Total Recall one. Here is a kind of autobiography/memoir of sorts. An interesting book but it really needed someone to put all the pieces together into a coherent flow. As it is, it a good memoir but full of time jumps and a few boring meanders down memory lane about when she was a kid. She goes from being young to old and back within a few lines on every page. It has a lot of interesting things but then even more interesting subjects are glossed over in a throwaway comment. I was left saying, hang on, I need to know more about that!!

    It is a fun read but there isn't much that Stone says she did wrong. It just seemed to be I was somewhat a child prodigy, got into acting, I got sick, came through it, championed rights for homeless and aids and women. There was nothing at all that she made a mistake in so I wondered if she was being totally honest.

    That said, it is still and enjoyable read and I didn't know anything about her health issues before reading this. If it had went in a linear fashion this book would have been far better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    13 ) Trojan War by Roy Thomas and Miguel Angel Sepulveda

    Picked this up as it seemed short but could be fun. It is a graphic novel/comic condensing the tales of Troy. The panels are beautifully drawn and really catch the eye but the story is just a complete mash up of stories. It focuses on stuff like the trojan horse, siege of Troy and Helen of Troy and etc.

    This just doesn't make and sense as there is so much stuff being crammed into this comic. One panel is one thing then it cuts to another and then another non stop. There isn't any real story as everything is thrown together. I found it boring as all you are getting is a quick snapshot of everything and then it moves on each time.

    The drawings are very nice but it doesn't hold together as a story. It felt like such a missed opportunity for this comic. I would not recommend this at all sadly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    14 ) Catwoman: When In Rome by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

    This graphic novel chronicles Catwoman's mysterious trip to Italy and her dealings with the deadly Falcone crime family. Catwoman leaving was highlighted in the other stories that I reviewed above so this details how she got on with Batman. Selina Kyle is holidaying in Rome and is looking for answers about her father. Who was he?

    She has the Riddler with her while she is in Rome and she ends up in a load of chaos and mystery. This takes place during Batman :Dark Victory that I reviewed previously. Riddler is some great comic relief and may even wind up providing an answer to an important riddle of Catwomans...

    This is great fun and I love the story and the artwork just like all the others of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. It is shorter than the others but very much recommended.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    15 ) The Eternaut by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and drawn by Francisco Lopez

    I picked this up and had no idea what it was. I thought it was a book with a cartoon cover! Turns out it is a really, really famous comic from Argentina! I had never heard of it before so its great to find something like this. Felt like finding a hidden gem! It actually is a great comic written in 1957 to 1959.

    Juan Salvo is playing cards at his house with friends in Buenos Aires. His wife and daughter are in the house also when suddenly it starts snowing outside. The snow is really heavy and then they notice that people are dying from it! They seal up the house as contact with the snow means they die. One of Juans friends, Favalli, is very resourceful and builds suits to enable them leave the house to get supplies. Then other people are fighting them over dwindling resources. Then they learn that the snowfall is the precursor to an alien invasion!!! Can humanity fight back? Juan Salvo and his friends certainly will!

    This is a comic that had me gripped throughout and I have read up on it that it is very famous in Argentina. It uses a load of famous places from there and Juan Salvo in the suit is a famous figure there. You can see him on the cover above. It is a symbol of fighting back and was used against the military dictatorships of Argentina. The author, Héctor Germán Oesterheld, was kidnapped and disappeared by the regime so he was presumed killed along with members of his family.

    It is meant to be being made into a Netflix series and I was surprised it hasn't been made already. This is due to the Authors estate wanting any thing made, has to be based in Argentina as the story is critically based there.

    This is a great comic and I was just annoyed that I never heard anything about it before! You really have to go out and get this now if you have never read it. Highly recommended!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    16 ) The North Water by Ian McGuire

    There was a mini series on RTE recently and it was based on this book. I didn't watch the show but thought I would like it when I flicked it on one day. Looked it up and saw it was based on this book so then I got the book! I want to read the book before seeing the tv Show always if I can help it.

    This is set in the last days of 19th century whaling and is set on a ship called the "Volunteer" that sets sail for the Arctic Circle that is full of whales. On board is the usual mix of people and one of them is Henry Drax. He is a bloodthirsty fella and a harpooner. He likes to get drunk a lot. Joining the boat for the first time, is Patrick Sumner. An ex army surgeon who had his reputation ruined. Sumner joins as the ships medic but both men seem to be destined for a deadly collision when good meets evil.

    I really enjoyed this book as you really feel that you are on board in that time period. McGuire has done his research about life in that time and it all feels very authentic. It is just over 325 pages so it isn't too long. It felt just about right in length. I would definitely recommend this book.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    17 ) Harrow The Boys by Paul Whyte

    This is a short Sci Fi novel from an Irish writer that I thought I would take a chance on. It is set here in the mid west of Ireland in the future where there is numerous flooding. At the start this feels like some environmental tale that I was thinking may be boring but then I was pleasantly surprised!

    Ram and his buddies spend their time looking for scrap metal that they can sell. They go to areas formerly lived in looking for anything they can salvage to sell. They are going through flooded farmland one day when they find an old estate that seems to be a goldmine for them! They cannot believe their luck as it seems like a huge pay day when all of a sudden a group of highly armed men appear and it seems that this estate holds a few secrets. The armed men are not going to leave Ram get out alive with them. What's going on and will Ram and his friends survive?

    This has a slow start setting up the world that Ram and his friends live in. Sea levels have risen so the world is entirely different now in Ireland. Then the group of men arrive and things really get going! I really loved this Sci Fi actioner and you can really see this being made into a short movie or a full movie here. I really liked the way it was done when the lads are inside the estate looking around and then armed guys appear outside saying kill everyone inside. All the action was really good and made sense and I loved the use of drones which is what would happen nowadays and of course in the future. A really exciting climax too.

    Its not a very long book and its more like a novella type but you should definitely buy this and support a new Irish author. The only gripe is that I have no idea what Harrow the boys means. The boys probably mean Ram and his friends but no idea what Harrow means. I would have picked a better title but that's just my opinion. This book is highly recommended if you like an action story set in the future

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    18 ) Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S. A. Corey

    I bought this new when it came out new 10 years ago and only reading it now! It is a sci fi book set in the future where mankind has colonised most of the solar system. This book is the first in a series called The Expanse. An ice hauling ship called The Canterbury and its crew come across a ship that is now empty and while there, take a beacon with them in a shuttle. As they are returning to the Canterbury they see an unknown ship arrive and destroy the Canterbury. What will they do and where will they go now? This sets off a chain of events that could affect all the inhabitants of our Solar System......

    There is a lot to love about this book as I loved the world created. There is a feel of mystery about things as we don't know the full picture and there are parts horror and adventure also. It has a load of good things packed into it. Sadly there are also a few things that are bad. it really lags in the middle where nothing much is happening and some of the characters seem like cardboard cutouts. Especially some in the crew of the good guys ship. We have engineer guy, medic guy and sassy female chief engineer. We really don't learn much about them and there seems to be a minor love story thrown in too that doesn't seem to go anywhere.

    When things get back on track near the end, there is a great finish thankfully! Always leave the reader wanting more and this does not disappoint. Whereas in the middle, I was wondering should I continue but the last third made me glad I did. All in all, a fun read if a bit too long!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,094 ✭✭✭ The White Feather

    19 ) Caliban's War (The Expanse #2) by James S. A. Corey

    Caliban's War continues on from Leviathan Wakes and is the second book in the Expanse series. James Holden and his crew agree to help a scientist find his daughter as a politician struggles to prevent an interplanetary war. Meanwhile the alien protomolecule has overrun Venus and threatens to spread out.

    This book followed the same pattern as the first. Starts off well, setting things up but then grinds to an almost stop where nothing much is happening. Then the book gets going at the end again for the finish. So its not great but still enjoyable enough.

    These books need to be edited down as out of around 600 pages, about 200 could be snipped out to make it more interesting in the middle. Not every book written needs to be an epic!

    Still though, there is enough here to be enjoyed so I would recommend for fans of Sci Fi