The Human (Polity: Rise of the Jain #3) ★★★★☆


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Title: The Human
Series: Polity: Rise of the Jain #3
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 402
Words: 159.5K



Synopsis:

Publishers Blurb and Me

A Jain warship has risen from the depths of space, emerging with a deadly grudge and a wealth of ancient yet lethal technology. It is determined to hunt down the alien Client, and will annihilate all those who stand in its way. So Orlandine must prepare humanity’s defense.

Both humanity and the Prador thought their ancient foe—the Jain—had perished in a past age. And they resolve to destroy these outliers at any cost. Orlandine wants the Client’s inside knowledge to act, but the Client has her own agenda. Earth Central therefore looks to the Prador for alliance, after the Jain destroy their fleet. However, not everyone is happy with this, and some will do anything to shatter this fragile coalition.

As the Jain warship makes its way across the galaxy, it seems unstoppable. Human and Prador forces alike struggle to withstand its devastating weaponry. Orlandine’s life work is to neutralize Jain technology, so if she can’t triumph, no one can.

Riker, the Hooper with Jain tech, takes on the Jain warship, believing that the only way to conquer the Jain is to subsume the ship. In the process, Riker becomes what he’s trying to subsume and he takes down Orlandine, now a Jain entity infesting an entire world. The Client was prepared for such an eventuality and prepared a weapon that the other Hooper, Cogulus, uses against Riker. It spreads out in a chain reaction, destroying all the jain connections.

The jain entity survives, but only its mostly dead body. It hides and begins building its strength for the millennia when the galaxy will have forgotten about it.

My Thoughts:

This was the longest book in the trilogy but Asher needed every page to wrap things up. I was concerned when I didn’t see a clear solution by the 75% mark. I was afraid he was going to pull some sort of shenanigans like some other authors, but thankfully, I shouldn’t have worried. And what’s more, the jain are still around to be the bogeyman if he ever needs it in the future. I like that.

The main reason this got a 4 star instead of higher, at least this time around, was because of Asher’s penchant to describe all the “stuff”. He really likes getting into the nitty gritty of what a starship looks like or how many and what kind of weapons it has and what they look like. And the techno-babble about communications and upgrades, etc, it was just a bit much for me this time around. I don’t think it was actually any more indepth than in previous books, but this time I just didn’t care.

The battles were awesome, as always. Asher has done a good job of keeping things interesting. There is always the danger of just making things bigger or badder or both but describing it in the same manner and thus losing your audience. I think he’s skirting that line in places but so far, I’m still interested. Part of that is the continued use of the Hoopers and the Spatterjay virus.

Now I have to wait for him to write some more, sigh. He’s written some standalone books before and I wouldn’t mind if he went that route for a couple of books instead of another trilogy. I guess only time will tell.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Jeeves Omnibus #5 (Jeeves Omnibus #5.3) ★★★★☆


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Title: The Jeeves Omnibus #5
Series: Jeeves Omnibus #5.3
Author: PG Wodehouse
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 120
Words: 43K



Synopsis:

A trio of short stories consisting of:

Extricating Young Gussie

Jeeves Makes An Omelette

Jeeves and the Greasy Bird

My Thoughts:

This was a fitting end to the Jeeves and Wooster Omnibus series. While each of the short stories had been published before, they had never been published in one volume.

Nothing spectacular but at the same time I think the short story format works best for the Jeeves and Wooster stories. There’s only so much Bertie Wooster one can stomach in one go and short stories allow one to dash in for a bite, then skip out again until one is hungry for another bite. Whereas a novel forces you to sit down at the monstrously huge mahogany table with the Edwardian chairs and dine on each course as they are served to one. That is great if Chef Anatole is doing the cooking, but if it’s Chef Boyardee, well, that’s a different matter altogether!

I started this Jeeves Omnibus read back in April of 2018 with Thank You, Jeeves. Here I am now, 2 ½ years later, finishing things up. I have loved reading this and looked forward to them each time. Some were definitely better or worse than others but I never regretted my time reading these.

Given the nature of this series, if I ever choose to do a re-read, I suspect I’ll only re-read the stories that got 4stars from me. But who knows? Wodehouse tickles my funny bone and very few authors can do that as consistently as he has done.

So let’s give 3 cheers for Jeeves and Wooster, give a hearty “What Ho” to their antics and then have some tea to cool ourselves off from all that exertion. Pip, pip, cheerio and God save the Queen, govnah!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Riders of the Silences ★★★✬☆


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Title: Riders of the Silences
Series: ———-
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 224
Words: 64K



Synopsis:

Pierre Le Rouge, an orphan, was brought up by Jesuit priests. Not only was his mind trained but his body as well. His instructor meant for him to conquer the Northern Parts of Canada and it would take a tough man to do so. Pierre finds out he isn’t an orphan in a message from his father, saying he’s been shot by McGurk, the legendary gunfighter and the father wants to see Pierre before dying. Pierre is the bastard of this man but quits everything and rides off to see his father. He is given a cross by his Instructor, one that has brought him luck.

Pierre finds his father and ends up wounding McGurk in a card game. McGurk had never been touched before in a gun fight and no man had survived before Pierre. Pierre also killed some other men and went down the road of outlawry. He runs away from the law and in a blizzard finds a young girl trapped beneath a downed tree. A landslide occurs and Pierre thinks the girl is dead. He is rescued by a gang of blood thirsty outlaws and joins their gang.

One of the gang, young Jack, turns out to be Jacqueline, the leaders daughter. She falls in love with Pierre but he’s too dumb to realize it. Pierre becomes the best of the gang, best of fighting, best of planning, best of shooting. During this time McGurk has disappeared. Pierre, now known as Red Pierre, ends up going to a dance with Jacqueline and there meets the girl he thought had died years ago. Jacqueline is jealous and makes the girl think she is living with Pierre.

The gang, made up of seven, begin to disappear one by one and they realize McGurk has returned to exact his vengeance on them all. The girl chases Pierre into the mountains, Jacqueline chases Pierre into the mountains and Pierre is chasing McGurk. Jacqueline realizes Pierre will never love her and finds the one surviving member of the gang, who had always loved her. Pierre and the girl get together after Pierre faces off against McGurk and strips him of all manhood and dignity, by not killing him.

My Thoughts:

I was ready for a full western novel and I got one! Hurray!!

While this had elements that had me rolling my eyes (the “lucky” cross pendant being the most obvious), I still had a lot of fun reading this. Part of that fun though, was me imagining Red Pierre and McGurk as Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber (see my Currently Reading post to get the images if you missed it). Imagining Bob the Tomato as a Jesuit Priest in Training had me in stitches and Larry as the menacing McGurk just made me slap my hand to my forehead.

You can’t go into this expecting deep world building, complex characterization and intricate plot lines. What you are getting is an action/adventure story in a western setting with bigger than life people and situations. Of course, with what is being put out today, I question whether what is in this book can even be described as bigger than life anymore.

Another thing in this book’s favor is its brevity. At just over 200 pages, I was able to devour it quickly. Sometimes a book needs to be like a bag of chips. Open, eat, done. No 3hours of prep work, no 72 minutes of sticking in the oven at 324degrees, no setting the table and bringing out the cut crystal and good china. Nothing but instant gratification. As long as you don’t live on chips, or their literary equivalent, you’re all set.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Blackwing (Raven’s Mark #1) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@30%

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Title: Blackwing
Series: Raven’s Mark #1
Author: Ed McDonald
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 325/120
Words: 119K/40K



Synopsis:

DNF’d at approximately the 30% mark.

My Thoughts:

Besides the profanity I mentioned in my previous Currently Reading & Quote post, McDonald also crossed one of the lines for what I’ll not accept in my entertainment reading. As such, I am done with this book, this series and this author.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 4 ★★★★★


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Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 4
Series: Yotsuba&! #4
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Challenges

Yotsuba & Fishing

Yotsuba & Dinner

Yotsuba & Bloom of Youth

Yotsuba & Newspapers

Yotsuba & Tsukutsukuboshi

Yotsuba & 4-Panel Manga

My Thoughts:

Last week felt like a cheese grater on my soul kind of week. I went into the weekend with no reserves and not even the ability to process anything emotionally. I was tired and hurting. While I can’t say that reading this miraculously cured all of that, reading this was like putting balm on a hurting wound. It doesn’t heal it, but it makes it feel better and helps with the healing process.

The first chapter is called Yotsuba!& Challenges. In the picture I’ll be showing you can see a fan translated it as “Duels”. Both are correct but I have to admit, I think Duels works better. Yotsuba and her dad are playing rock paper scissors and there is a pot and a rolled up newspaper in between them. Whenever they play rock, paper, scissors, whoever wins has to grab the paper and try to hit the other over the head while the loser has to grab the pot and put it on their head as protection. Yotsuba’s dad cheats outrageously and she gives up in disgust. Then she duels her dad in badminton and eventually her dad and Jumbo duel each other in badminton (hence the racket and birdie in her pocket). It was fantastic.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

King John ★★★★☆


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Title: King John
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play
Pages: 265
Words: 76K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

King John receives an ambassador from France who demands with a threat of war that he renounce his throne in favour of his nephew, Arthur, whom the French King Philip believes to be the rightful heir to the throne.

John adjudicates an inheritance dispute between Robert Faulconbridge and his older brother Philip the Bastard, during which it becomes apparent that Philip is the illegitimate son of King Richard I. Queen Eleanor, mother to both Richard and John, recognises the family resemblance and suggests that he renounce his claim to the Faulconbridge land in exchange for a knighthood. John knights Philip the Bastard under the name Richard.

In France, King Philip and his forces besiege the English-ruled town of Angers, threatening attack unless its citizens support Arthur. Philip is supported by Austria, who is believed to have killed King Richard. The English contingent arrives; and then Eleanor trades insults with Constance, Arthur’s mother. Kings Philip and John stake their claims in front of Angers’ citizens, but to no avail: their representative says that they will support the rightful king, whoever that turns out to be.

The French and English armies clash, but no clear victor emerges. Each army dispatches a herald claiming victory, but Angers’ citizens continue to refuse to recognize either claimant because neither army has proven victorious.

The Bastard proposes that England and France unite to punish the rebellious citizens of Angers, at which point the citizens propose an alternative: Philip’s son, Louis the Dauphin, should marry John’s niece Blanche (a scheme that gives John a stronger claim to the throne) while Louis gains territory for France. Though a furious Constance accuses Philip of abandoning Arthur, Louis and Blanche are married.

Cardinal Pandolf arrives from Rome bearing a formal accusation that John has disobeyed the Pope and appointed an archbishop contrary to his desires. John refuses to recant, whereupon he is excommunicated. Pandolf pledges his support for Louis, though Philip is hesitant, having just established family ties with John. Pandolf brings him round by pointing out that his links to the church are older and firmer.

War breaks out; Austria is beheaded by the Bastard in revenge for his father’s death; and both Angers and Arthur are captured by the English. Eleanor is left in charge of English possessions in France, while the Bastard is sent to collect funds from English monasteries. John orders Hubert to kill Arthur. Pandolf suggests to Louis that he now has as strong a claim to the English throne as Arthur (and indeed John), and Louis agrees to invade England.

Hubert finds himself unable to kill Arthur. John’s nobles urge Arthur’s release. John agrees, but is wrong-footed[clarification needed] by Hubert’s announcement that Arthur is dead. The nobles, believing he was murdered, defect to Louis’ side. Equally upsetting, and more heartbreaking to John, is the news of his mother’s death, along with that of Lady Constance. The Bastard reports that the monasteries are unhappy about John’s attempt to seize their gold. Hubert has a furious argument with John, during which he reveals that Arthur is still alive. John, delighted, sends him to report the news to the nobles.

Arthur dies jumping from a castle wall. (It is open to interpretation whether he deliberately kills himself or just makes a risky escape attempt.) The nobles believe he was murdered by John, and refuse to believe Hubert’s entreaties. John attempts to make a deal with Pandolf, swearing allegiance to the Pope in exchange for Pandolf’s negotiating with the French on his behalf. John orders the Bastard, one of his few remaining loyal subjects, to lead the English army against France.

While John’s former noblemen swear allegiance to Louis, Pandolf explains John’s scheme, but Louis refuses to be taken in by it. The Bastard arrives with the English army and threatens Louis, but to no avail. War breaks out with substantial losses on each side, including Louis’ reinforcements, who are drowned during the sea crossing. Many English nobles return to John’s side after a dying French nobleman, Melun, warns them that Louis plans to kill them after his victory.

John is poisoned by a disgruntled monk. His nobles gather around him as he dies. The Bastard plans the final assault on Louis’ forces, until he is told that Pandolf has arrived with a peace treaty. The English nobles swear allegiance to John’s son Prince Henry, and the Bastard reflects that this episode has taught that internal bickering could be as perilous to England’s fortunes as foreign invasion.

My Thoughts:

FINALLY! A Shakespeare play that I fully enjoyed and didn’t feel like pee’ing on after I was done reading it. I don’t know if it was the actual play, the fact that we’ve moved into “recent” history (as opposed to ancient history of Greece, Rome, etc), or what, but I had zero quibbles while reading this.

Lots of drama and people being jerks and lying and backstabbing, but I still understood the context. I guess that was what was missing for a lot of the other plays I read? I couldn’t understand why the characters would do what they did, but here I could completely understand things, even if I thought it was stupid or wrong.

My only hesitation now is that if I liked this so much, perhaps I’m setting the bar too high for the rest of the Histories? Of course, with works like Henry V coming down the pipeline, that shouldn’t be a concern of mine. But I’m a worrier, so I’m going to worry about something that doesn’t matter one whit.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time #6) ★★★☆☆


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Title: Lord of Chaos
Series: The Wheel of Time #6
Author: Robert Jordan
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 976
Words: 405K



Synopsis:

From Tarvalon.net & authored by Toral Delvar

Trying to find a way to cure stilling, Nynaeve probes Siuan with the Power. She senses something cut. They learn Siuan can sense Moghedien through an a’dam, but she can’t make her feel anything or touch saidar. Elayne has made an a’dam without the chain, which they can use on Moghedien in her Marigan disguise without arousing suspicion. An embassy is sent to Caemlyn to deal with Rand. Min goes with the embassy. Perrin senses Rand needing him and sets off to find him, with two hundred Two Rivers men. While arranging a meeting with the Aiel, a peddler tells Gawyn that Morgase is dead, killed by the Dragon Reborn. Aginor and Balthamel wake with new bodies and are told by Shaidar Haran that they are now called Osan’gar and Aran’gar. Aran’gar is female, which does not please her. Demandred receives instructions from the the Dark One in Shayol Ghul. Demandred, Graendal, Semirhage and Mesaana make plans. Sammael and Graendal taunt each other. Semirhage tortures an Aes Sedai.

In Amador, Morgase tries to get help from King Ailron. Pedron Niall says she should use the Whitecloaks. She sees Paitr Conel, an Andoran who was helping her escape, hanged for being a Darkfriend. She believes that this was just an excuse and the help he was giving her was the real reason. She gives in and signs a treaty allowing the Whitecloaks access to Andor.

Elayne has been making new dream ter’angreal and teaching Sheriam’s circle about Tel’aran’rhiod. They go to the White Tower to read reports on what Elaida is doing. The Aes Sedai fall into a nightmare, from which Elayne and Siuan are forced to rescue them, though no one believes Elayne went in deliberately. Elayne visits Andor, where she is seen by Demandred.

An ambassador from the White Tower arrives. To put her off, she is told more time is needed before a decision can be made. Nynaeve overhears this and, using need, she and Elayne look in the World of Dreams for an object to force them to help Rand. After first been taken to the Tower, they go to Ebou Dar, where they find a bowl-shaped ter’angreal that Elayne believes will fix the weather.

Theodrin gets Nynaeve drunk to try and clear her block. Angry about this and other things, Nynaeve accidentally Heals Logain of his gentling. She repeats the process on Siuan and Leane, though they are only partly Healed. The Yellows are surprised by her use of all Five Powers. They grab her and make her demonstrate it repeatedly. Leane and Siuan visit her later to ask her to try again because their low strength means they will not be very influential. Aran’gar arrives and stays with Delana.

In Caemlyn, Rand practices the sword in front of sycophantic nobles, with anyone willing to fight him. Bashere tries to stab him, to make the point that Rand doesn’t need to use a sword, and is stopped only by Rand’s quick actions.

Mazrim Taim arrives in Caemlyn and claims to want a compact between them, but agrees to merely serve when Rand refuses. Rand wonders about his sanity and realizes he doesn’t like him. Taim gives Rand one of the seals, which Lews Therin’s voice insists he must destroy. They travel to a nearby farm where there are candidates to learn channeling. The first one tested, Damer Flinn, is capable. Rand learns that several of the High Lords of Tear are now rebelling against him.

Mat sees two men attacking a small boy. He beats them and takes the boy, Olver. He starts preparations to go to Illian.

Bael and Bashere take Rand to an inn, where Verin and Alanna are staying with several Two Rivers girls on their way to be Aes Sedai. Alanna bonds him as her Warder. She tries to use this to make him obey her, but is unable and he shields both of them. He frightens the girls when he tells them he is the Dragon Reborn. He gives Taim permission to go looking for new recruits.

Egwene gets drawn into Gawyn’s dream while supposedly keeping away from the World of Dreams. She learns this can only happen with emotion so strong it leaves no room for much else. She realizes that she loves Gawyn.

The higher ranked Andoran lords visit Rand. Dyelin tells him about Tigraine, and he finally realizes Tigraine was his mother. The lords threaten to rise against him if he tries to keep the throne. Sammael offers a truce, which Rand refuses. Sammael claims Rand accepts it, using this to gain some control over Graendal. Rand Travels to Cairhien.

Rand sets Berelain to running the city. The Wise Ones take to her, much to Egwene’s confusion. Berelain is allowing noblewomen to form societies based on the Maidens. Rand visits a school he has set up, where people are inventing all sorts of things. He talks to Herid Fel about Warders and the seals. On his return, Egwene asks for help with the Wise Ones. He refuses.

Ogier arrive and ask about Loial. Rand convinces them to tell him where the Waygates are. They go to Shadar Logoth to place a trap for Shadowspawn around the Waygate there. Sulin talks to one of the gai’shain as though she is still a Maiden. To make up for this, she becomes a servant. One of the Maidens, Liah, disappears. They spend the rest of the day looking for her before Rand Travels to the Two Rivers, where he leaves the Ogier.

Vanin finds murdered Tinkers. That night, one of the Forsaken drops Aiel into Mat’s camp, but they are killed before they can seriously harm him. Mat gives Olver a job carrying messages, mostly as an excuse to keep him around and ensure he is fed and looked after.

Egwene goes into Cairhien and sees the Tower embassy. She also meets Gawyn, who is convinced Rand murdered Morgase. She makes him promise not to harm Rand. They reveal that they love each other, and Egwene says she’ll bond him as her Warder.

Whitecloaks try to kill Rand, killing one of the Maidens instead. Rand hangs them, but sends one to Pedron Niall, to tell him that he will hang for it. Egwene goes to Rand to try and tell him how to behave with the Aes Sedai. They arrive while she is still there, so he hides her. He tells them he can feel when they embrace saidar, though Galina doesn’t believe he can sense it. Later, Rand senses a Gray Man and holds him in Air. Taim arrives and kills it. He tells Rand that a student, Narishma, has the spark, and would channel without being taught. Rand is sent a letter from Queen Alliandre, which is very friendly.

In Tel’aran’rhiod, Egwene is summoned to Salidar while Rand watches secretly. She enters in the flesh and goes in one night, after first having the Wise Ones beat her for lying to them. When she arrives, she is told she is to be Amyrlin. After a little opposition, mostly formalities and Sitters trying to show they won’t be pushovers, the Hall agrees. As her first decree, she raises Nynaeve, Elayne, Faolain and Theodrin to full Aes Sedai. Rand sends Mat and the Band to Salidar to fetch Elayne. Aviendha goes with them to make up toh to Elayne. Lan arrives in Salidar in secret.

Egwene is told about Moghedien and agrees that they can learn from her. She says there will be no more putting people out of the Tower and that anyone will be allowed to enter if she can. Egwene learns from Moghedien how to Travel, though she had already figured it out herself.

Mat arrives and Egwene uses the presence of the Band to force the rebels to move towards Tar Valon. Elayne and Nynaeve go to Ebou Dar with Mat, who has promised Rand that he will stay with Elayne. Aviendha tells Elayne of what happened between her and Rand and offers to let Elayne beat or stab her. Elayne decides that she doesn’t want to. On the way, Elayne goes out of her way to irritate Mat. The girls move into the palace, while Mat moves into an inn run by Setalle Anan.

Min and the Salidar embassy arrive in Caemlyn and she goes straight to Rand. She sees Melaine and reveals that she is to have twin daughters. Min gives her opinions on the Aes Sedai that came with her. Rand goes to warn Taim away from them. He tells the students that they are to be known as Asha’man.

Perrin arrives and talks to Bashere, who is very much annoyed about Faile’s marriage. He threatens to take her away, and Perrin threatens him in turn. He stands up to Deira, Bashere’s wife, and they decide that Faile is old enough to marry. Perrin makes Faile promise not to spy on Rand. One of the Aes Sedai in the embassy is attacked by Aiel. They go to tell Rand that it is unacceptable and that they will do as they wish from then on. He has no idea what they are talking about and tells them things will remain and they are to show respect. He dismisses them. Bera and Kiruna arrive and take control. This takes the number to thirteen, the number traditionally used to gentle men. Rand flees to Cairhien, taking Min, Perrin and Loial. He tells Merana to follow with no more than five others. Bera and Kiruna ignore this, taking nine.

In Cairhien, Rand tries to put the Tower embassy off while Berelain stalks Perrin. Eventually they grow tired and kidnap Rand, claiming that Rand has gone and they are fed up of waiting. When Dobraine reveals Meilan and Maringil have been murdered, probably on Colavaere’s orders, and Berelain reveals Rand has left his sword, Perrin realizes that the Aes Sedai have taken him and resolves to get him back. Sulin stops acting as a servant.

The Aes Sedai punish Rand for trying to escape and killing Warders when he saw Min being beaten. Sevanna visits to discuss her arrangement with the Aes Sedai. She has her Wise Ones kill one of their own, who is against her, and blames the Aes Sedai to get the Shaido to fight them. Perrin takes Maidens, siswai’aman and Wise Ones with him. On the way, he talks to wolves, who are furious to learn of Rand’s capture. They are also joined by the Two Rivers men and the Aes Sedai from Caemlyn. Sulin and another Maiden, Nandera, fight for leadership of the Maidens. Sorilea and Amys talk to discuss leadership of the Wise Ones.

They catch up with the Tower Aes Sedai, who are besieged by the Shaido. Led by Perrin, they charge. Taim and the Asha’man arrive through gateways. In the confusion, Rand breaks through the shield on him, stilling the three still holding it. He wanders around, shielding and knocking unconscious any Aes Sedai he sees. Gawyn escapes. The area is secured and the Shaido dispersed by the Asha’man who simply butcher them. Taim forces the Salidar Aes Sedai to swear fealty to Rand as punishment for bringing more than six.

Egwene releases Logain, who goes to join Rand. Moghedien is rescued by Aran’gar and goes to Shayol Ghul. Herid Fel is killed by a gholam.

My Thoughts:

Thank goodness for good ol’ Toral. He has saved me years of work (at least it feels that way) AND if I ever get the itch to re-read this series, I can just read his synopses and be done.

This book is where I start to struggle with the series overall. It also appears to be the same book that I struggled with in the past. Back in ’11 I only gave this 3 stars. I didn’t rate it in 2000, but that is because I wasn’t rating anything back then. In fact, as I type this, I still don’t know what I’m going to rate this. I guess I’m going to write what I write and then add the star rating after the fact.

I was really torn about this book. There were times where I was almost jumping up and screaming “Yes! AWESOME!!!!!” and other times where I just stopped reading because I was so angry/annoyed/disgusted. This was a big book, at over 400K words. In fact, it is the longest book in the series so far.

The best part of the book, for me, was the battle at the end where everyone comes together to rescue Rand from the Aes Sedai and the Shado Aiel. The ashaman, the male version of Aes Sedai that Rand is gathering, just rip apart the Shado. Jordan aptly describes it like a meat grinder and I completely got that vibe from how he describes it. It was horrifying and yet perfect for the situation.

The bad parts though? Just ugh. The quote I did from my Currently Reading post really expressed it well. Unfortunately. Egwene was about the only woman who didn’t act like a complete bitch for the entire book. It was beyond aggravating to read such characters. Then the guys were just stupidly “take charge and protect” and ignoring just what the girls were turning into (powerful Aes Sedai able to take care of themselves). Nobody actually talked to each other, they just told and did and commanded. Everybody. And of course, it didn’t turn out well for anyone. You can’t tell the Dragon Reborn what to do. You can’t tell the Amyrlin Seat what to do. I think what really got me though was the little bit about Perrin and Faile. They are married but Berelain, a woman who is a queen of a small country is chasing Perrin. Perrin is doing his best to avoid her but somehow pisses off Faile in the process. But neither Perrin nor Faile will talk to the other about what is going on and it gets worse and worse. Stubbornness, pride and stupidity were on display at all times.

I don’t want to read that. There is no need for it. It also reinforces my decision to not re-read this series again. I will finish this series this time, but never again. Which means that I’m going to give this 3 stars again.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Tier One Wild (Delta Force #2) ★★★✬☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookhype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Tier One Wild
Series: Delta Force #2
Author: Dalton Fury
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 344
Words: 124K



Synopsis:

From Devilreads & Me

Former disgraced Delta Force commander Kolt “Racer” Raynor has earned his way back into The Unit after redeeming himself during an explosive operation at a black site in Pakistan. But he is about to face his deadliest challenge yet.

The most wanted man in the world, American al Qaeda commander Daoud al Amriki, and his handpicked team of terrorist operatives, have acquired stores of Russian-built, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (SAM’s) from ex-Libyan spies in Cairo. Their mission: infiltrate the United States and take down American aircraft. The country’s best are tasked with stopping them. But when a SEAL Team Six mission to take down al Amriki goes wrong, Major Raynor and his Delta Force team find themselves front and center as Amriki and his terrorists work their way closer to America. And time is running out.

Amriki and his group make it into American and bring down several planes. One cell is caught, which was Amriki’s plan to distract everyone from his real plan to shoot down the President of the United States who is going to be traveling by helicopter. With the laws of the land forbidding them to act, Delta Force is left on the sidelines as an official agency. But when Raynor and his friend TJ (who was captured by Amriki in the previous book and knows him like a second brother) strike out on their own, they know they are doing the right thing.

TJ gives his life to stop Amriki and Raynor kills the son of a monkey, thus saving the President.

My Thoughts:

While I’m giving this the same rating as the previous book, I enjoyed my time reading this more. Raynor isn’t so much of a jerkface due to his returning officially to Delta Force, but he doesn’t let the reader forget for one instance that he’s the new and improved version of Kolt Raynor. I think most of my enjoyment sprang from the fact that Raynor isn’t as much a solo character as in the first book. Usually, I’m a big fan of the Lone Cowboy (in whatever setting) against the world, but Raynor just works better as part of a team and Delta Force is ALL about the Team.

The action starts out hot and heavy with Delta Force taking down a hijacked 747 WHILE IT IS TAKING OFF! That was just cool. It felt like the author started out with a sprint and then we eased into a long, loping run to go the distance. The rest of the book was us getting to the scene where Raynor and Amriki face off and the President of the United States is in danger.

The one issue I did have was with there being a female in Delta Force. Given, she’s not supposed to be on the Action Team but she’s part of an initiative to broaden the scope of what Delta can do (ie, married couple’s are a lot less suspicious than a group of four men). I’ve google’d women in the special forces and most of the articles are by publications that I don’t trust, not one iota. So while they report that there are women in the various branches of the Special Forces, nothing has been said/written if the regulations for entering have changed (ie, the physical side of things). Aside from that, I am not in favor of women serving in combat positions in the military anyway. I realize that is yesterday’s fight though and have pretty much moved on.

That does bring me to something that I did like about a modern military, the psychology of the people who can operate as Special Forces. The author shows how the various teams are rotated so that they can not only get some R&R but also be examined by Shrinks. People can’t go around killing people (even ones who really do deserve to die) without there being consequences to the mind and emotions. While Fury doesn’t do a full on “Headology 101”, he does acknowledge it is a real factor and needs to be addressed. I talked about this briefly in my Whose Body? review earlier this month but it feels like this generation of soldiers is the first where their mental space is as of much concern as the physical side of things. I for one find that encouraging.

To end, this was much more enjoyable than book one and I’m looking forward to what Kolt Raynor and his team has to deal with in the next book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1) ★☆☆☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Rosemary and Rue
Series: October Daye #1
Author: Seanan McGuire
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 287
Words: 106K



Synopsis:

From October-daye.fandom.com/wiki/Rosemary_and_Rue

Prologue: June 9, 1995

Half-fae changeling October Daye is on a stakeout for her private investigator / knight errant job when she gets a call from her human boyfriend Cliff and Gillian. Simon Torquill appears and Toby follows him to the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park in the hopes of locating the missing Luna and Rayseline Torquill. Simon meets up with Oleander, then turns Toby into a fish when he catches her spying. She is kicked into the koi ponds where she and Lily are trapped and forgotten for fourteen years.

Chapter 1-2: December 23, 2009

Toby regains her true form and seeks help from her longtime friend Evening Winterrose to set up a new human identity. She rejects most of Faerie including Sylvester and her changeling friends Mitch, Stacy, and Kerry, choosing instead to work at Safeway and occasionally offer toothpicks as aid in the local pixies’ territory wars. When Mitch visits the store, she pretends not to know him even though Gillian and his daughter Cassandra used to be playmates.

While heading home from a work shift, Toby is caught by the dawn and her human illusions are forcibly stripped away. Tybalt appears while she recovers from the pain of the magic, and they banter before going their separate ways. She arrives home to find a page of Duke Sylvester’s service waiting with a message, but she refuses to hear it as she has refused all the other messages.

Toby dreams about her mother Amandine, who had been married to Toby’s human father until Toby’s Changeling’s Choice, administered by Sylvester, forced mother and daughter back to the Summerlands. She also dreams of the day she escaped the koi pond and sought Evening’s help to get back on her feet, even as Cliff and Gillian rejected her for abandoning them for fourteen years.

Chapter 3-4: Awoken by her cats Cagney and Lacey, Toby listens to several increasingly frantic voicemails from Evening which culminate in Evening binding Toby to find Evening’s killer right before Toby hears Evening get murdered over the line. Toby drives to Evening’s apartment where she magics the human police into believing she belongs there. She finds splatters of Evening’s blood and the human-like corpse left by the night-haunts. She uses her Daoine Sidhe abilities to taste the blood and relive Evening’s final moments, learning that unidentified attackers killed her with iron bullets.

Chapter 5-7: Toby travels to the Court of the Queen of the Mists to announce the death using the fae’s formal customs, but the semi-mad Queen refuses to believe her. Next Toby goes to Home, an underground community of Changelings led by Devin, who had given refuge to Toby as a teenager after she ran away from Amandine and the Summerlands. Toby confronts teenagers Dare and Manuel before they allow her to see Devin. She recalls her own time as Devin’s lover and lackey, and how she and Devin had argued when Toby started dating Cliff and became pregnant with Gillian. In the present, Devin insists that he would have helped Toby after her return from the pond if Toby had allowed it. He explains that Evening was a benefactor for Home, and he pledges Home’s resources to helping Toby find her killer. In exchange, Toby will be in his debt. Devin encourages her to break ties with Sylvester, since although she won’t talk to Sylvester she is still his sworn knight, but she refuses.

Chapter 8-10: On the way home, Toby encounters a rose goblin who gives her an unmarked key. Evening’s binding tells Toby that the key is important, so Toby next heads to Evening’s mortal place of business, Third Road Enterprises. The binding tells her that the key will “open the way into Goldengreen,” Evening’s knowe. Using the key at the mortal business gives Toby access to the offices and leads her to a hidden hope chest. Toby recognizes that she must hide it, so she makes a bargain with Tybalt to keep it safe. He refuses at first, telling her to take it to the Queen or the Tea Gardens, but then accepts it and puts Toby in his debt.

Chapter 11-12: Although she is exhausted, Evening’s binding uses increasingly painful means to urge Toby to keep hunting the truth. Toby visits Shadowed Hills to inform the Torquills of Evening’s death and to ask for help. She recalls that Sylvester went mad when Luna, Raysel, and Toby all disappeared, and only snapped out of it when his wife and daughter returned to him. Toby’s magical abilities are tested by a footman who makes her design a court outfit with her magic, which adds to her magic burn. Quentin, the page who visited her home earlier, announces her to the Torquills. Sylvester is delighted to see her but shocked by the news of Evening, and more shocked by Toby’s binding to find the killer. As the Torquills mourn Evening’s death, Toby flees to the rose gardens and is followed by Connor, who attempts to make small talk with her but is clearly unhappy in his politically arranged marriage to Rayseline.

Chapter 13: Quentin finds Toby after Connor leaves, and she learns that he is in blind fosterage to Shadowed Hills. She tries to relax his pureblood prejudices and formal mannerisms, and they agree to hang out after things calm down. Sylvester and Luna are upset that Toby indebted herself to Home on her quest, and they reiterate her welcome at Shadowed Hills. She promises to stay in touch.

Chapter 14-16: On her way home, Toby realizes someone is in the car with her and she drives manically to keep them off-kilter. The intruder shoots her with iron and she flees the car, escaping on a city bus that takes her to Golden Gate Park. She tricks the Tea Garden’s gate attendant into letting her in and, growing increasingly weaker, she falls into a koi pond only to be rescued by Tybalt, who brings her to Lily. The Undine heals Toby, then chides her for her apparent death wish before sending her off with Julie and Ross as escorts. The trio are attacked en route to the taxi and Ross is killed. Tybalt kills the attacker and claims he helped so he won’t be stuck with the hope chest.

Chapter 17: Toby is driven home by Danny to find Devin waiting on her doorstep. Devin administers to Toby’s latest wounds and they sleep together, Devin trying to convince her to give up her hunt.

Chapter 18: Toby is fired from Safeway for being no call-no show. She can’t make herself care given everything going on. A doppleganger posing as Gillian visits and attacks Toby, who wants to believe her daughter is ready to make amends. Dare and Manuel come to the rescue and Dare kills the doppleganger with her iron knife, but in the attack Toby is yet again injured.

Chapter 19-20:They take her to Home, where Devin yells at the kids for slacking on guard duty. He tries to persuade Toby to give up her hunt for Evening’s killer, which she physically cannot do even if she wanted to. Dare asks how Toby met Devin, and Toby recalls how he rescued her from the streets as a teenager. She encourages Dare to break free of Devin, but Dare brushes her off. Devin tells Toby that he will send word to Sylvester that she is safe. Toby learns that Devin called in a favor from the Luidaeg to heal her.

Chapter 21: Toby, Manuel, and Dare head to Goldengreen to investigate further. She runs into Connor, who was sent by Sylvester, and discovers that Devin lied about updating the Duke. She makes Connor cut himself to prove he is not another doppelganger, identifying him by the scent of his blood and magic. Toby suggests that Raysel might be the killer, and they again acknowledge their mutual attraction even though Toby refuses to let Connor cheat on Raysel. They realize they are not alone in Goldengreen, and in fleeing they accidentally jump off a cliff into the ocean. Connor uses his selkie abilities to rescue Toby from panic-drowning as she flashes back to the pond.

Chapter 22: Dare and Manuel find them on the shore and they return to Shadowed Hills. Luna agrees to give the teens sanctuary. She also recognizes that Toby has been healed by the Luidaeg and tells Toby she must visit the Luidaeg to learn how to escape Evening’s binding. The rose goblin shows her the way.

Chapter 23: The Luidaeg introduces herself, shows Toby a vision of Maeve’s Firstborn, and identifies herself as one of them. Toby barters Evening’s key for the answers to her questions. She learns that hope chests can turn changelings fully human and that Devin has future plans for Toby. Toby does not ask her final question, which leaves the Luidaeg furiously in her debt.

Chapter 24: Back at home, Toby names the rose goblin Spike; the cats have warily accepted its presence. Toby asks Cagney and Lacey to bring her to Tybalt, being his subjects, and they grudgingly take her to the Court of Cats. She asks Tybalt for the bloody shirt he had worn at the park, and Julie attacks her because she blames Toby for Ross’s death. Tybalt asserts dominance over Julie, gives Toby the shirt, and tells Toby to leave as Julie continues to struggle.

Chapter 26: Toby seeks Lily’s help to reawaken the blood on Tybalt’s shirt. Lily tries unsuccessfully to dissuade Toby from riding the blood, and Toby learns that Devin is Evening’s killer. The binding nearly lulls Toby into a peaceful death, but Lily snaps her out of it. Danny takes Toby to Home where she confronts Devin. He says he killed Evening so he could use the hope chest to become a pureblood. He wishes Toby had come back to him, then orders Manuel to shoot her. Manuel hesitates and he, Dare, Devin, and Toby fight. Devin kills Dare. Manuel kills Devin.

Chapter 27: Sylvester and Shadowed Hills arrive for cleanup. Dare is buried. The hope chest is returned to the Queen, who is now in Toby’s debt. Toby accepts her place in the world of the fae.

My Thoughts:

I had seen several reviewers who were long time fans of this series (it’s up to book 14 or 15 I think?) and from what they had written, it sounded very interesting. I knew this was Urban Fantasy, a genre I have a VERY mixed relationship with, but was hoping it would stay away from the tropes that have driven me away from the genre in general. Unfortunately, as you can tell from the rating I gave the book, this read didn’t work out as I was hoping it would.

This was the very definition of female urban fantasy as far as I’m concerned. Everything that bugs the living daylights out of me about UF was here, in spades.

  • Spunky, full of attitude woman
  • multiple love interests from the past
  • family drama ramped up to 11
  • poor decisions by the main character leading to drama ramped up to 20
  • main character “taking care of herself” even while being rescued by others over and over and over
  • did I mention attitude coupled with bad decisions?
  • Bad Decisions
  • doing things for the good of others without asking them, talking to them about it or in any way seeing if it actually IS good for them
  • alienating family, friends and pretty much anyone who could help in the name of being spunky and full of attitude

And that’s enough for me. I will not read a main character who acts stupidly, gets away with it because of authorial fiat and then gets to call it “I can take care of myself” bullshit. Toby Daye (the titular character’s named shortened obviously) is exactly the kind of character who I hate. Not the kind of character I love to hate, or love to hate and read about, but simply hate.

I hated almost every page I read and seriously thought about DNF’ing this at the 9% mark. I guess I fell into the trap of thinking that this couldn’t possibly stay this bad and so kept reading. By the end, I was seething on the inside, almost frothing on the outside and felt like I had wasted my time. Even Psychic Grandma rattled her chains at me for being so dumb as to go all the way to the end. Considering I never listen to her about her ironing tips, I wasn’t about to start with “reading advice” from her either though.

The only good thing is that at under 300 pages I didn’t invest much time and I can now get rid of the whole series from my tbr list. 13’ish books gone in one fell swoop and able to add another series to my reading rotation.

If the bullet list of things sound like something you’d like, then go for it and may you find more joy than I did.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The Bible: The One Year Chronological New Living Translation

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Bible: The One Year Chronological New Living Translation
Author: Jehovah
Pages: 1720
Words: 789K



Synopsis:

This takes the Bible, all 66 books, and chunks them up by Chapter and Verse into what this set of scholars believe is chronological order. This is translated in the New Living Translation which really isn’t a translation but an “interpretation”. It’s intent is to be an easy to read and understand version without worrying about literal interpretation.

My Thoughts:

I’m obviously not rating this but that is because I’m not putting the Word of God on the same level as some book written by men. This review is more about the translation, the chronology and the setup of this version of the Bible itself.

I’ve been reading my Bible through each year since I was 12 or 13. I slacked off for a decade in my mid-20’s until my mid-30’s and have started again. Mrs B and I read each section each morning or evening and then we talk about what we read, what we thought about it and what we got from it. As such, the One Year line of Bibles have been wonderful, as they’re internally divided up by date and we don’t have to refer to a external reading chart. Another thing that is important to us is having wide margins to write in, as we don’t want notebooks either. We always look for extra wide margins when choosing which Bible to read through for the next year. This had those and we wrote in them a lot. The only downside is that they would sometimes take up an entire margin with one verse from that day’s reading and have lots of cutesy little pictures around it. It was extremely frustrating to want to write something and not have the room because some artsy fartsy jackass decided that the margins needed to be filled up by them instead of leaving them open for the reader.

This NLT version was also a nice change up in the version we read. We tend to read as literally as possible and as such use the New King James, the New American Standard and the English Standard Version with a smattering of others as needed. While neither of us would ever study with a version like this, it was good for trying to get something in a new perspective. If you’ve never read a Bible before, this might be the version to introduce you but it should never be the one you stick with. Just like baby food is perfect for babies and adults CAN eat it, adults need adult food eventually.

Reading chronologically was also a bit different. There are times where histories are repeated throughout the Bible in different books. It is much easier to read them separated than one after another. There were times when we read the same instance 3 times (some of the histories recorded in Kings, Chronicle and either Isaiah or Jeremiah for example) and our eyes kind of glazed over. Speaking of eyes glazing over, the amount they put into each day really seemed to vary. Sometimes you’d read 1 ½ pages and other days you’d read 5 or 6. I found it extremely frustrating to never know how much time I was going to need. There were times Mrs B had to warn me “Long one today. Be prepared” and I would groan deep within myself.

I realize I’m complaining here but it is about issues that are specific to this particular Bible, not the Bible itself. Please don’t think I’m complaining about the Bible itself.

We finished this up in September and it has taken a little bit to find our next one. For this time through we’re going with the New International Version Journal the Word edition. It is not a One Year Bible so we’re going to be using one of the traditional charts for that. It does however have very wide margins and I didn’t see one artsy-fartsy drawing in the whole thing. That should balance out it being the NIV (which is another “interpretation” instead of a true translation).