Archive for the ‘ Books ’ Category

Heroes Die by Matthew Stover

So I already cheated a little this year with my reading goal of reading 30 books by finishing a book I was 85 % done on January 1st. The book I’m talking about is Heroes Die by Mathew Stover. What made this book stand out for me was that it’s not a straight up fantasy book. It’s partial science-fiction and mostly fantasy. It’s also very dark and violent. Actors are sent to a parallel world to the land of Ankhana where swords and sorcery are common. These actors have adventures that viewers back on Earth not only watch but immerse themselves in, thus living the adventure like they were actually in a movie. I know is sounds crazy but it works in this book. Hari Michaelson plays the character of Caine, the greatest warrior of Ankhana who goes on his final adventure to rescue his estranged wife who is trapped in Ankhana and only has days to live. That doesn’t sound too hard but no one knows where she is and Hari’s handlers back home are only interested in ratings, so Caine is sent to assassinate Emperor Ma’elKoth before he do any rescuing. Even though I usually lean towards  science-fiction books more than fantasy, I really enjoyed reading Heroes Die.

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Reading update

I’m half way through Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson on audiobook and still not really enjoying it. Good thing I’m working alone today, I can hopefully get a good chunk of this book done so I can move on to something more enjoyable. I think I will listen to Them or Us by David Moody next.

I’m 3/4 through Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon on my Kindle and it’s ok for a super-hero novel but it seems to be missing something. In think there is just not enough action for my taste. I should be done today or tomorrow so I can start reading something else.

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I finished reading Lev Grossman’s  The Magicians and The Magician King. These books have been described as Harry Potter for adults and follow Quentin Coldwater’s best water softener life as he discovers magic is real when he gets invited to a college for magic in upstate New York. Quentin is obsessed with the books of Fillory, Grossman’s version of Narnia and after graduating from college Quentin and his friends discover Fillory is real when they find a way into other worlds. Quentin and his friends continue to adventure between Earth and Fillory as they eventually end up fighting to stop magic from disappearing forever. Even though these two books are a little dark I enjoyed them greatly. The characters are easy to get attached to and leave you wanting to find out more and more about them, making the books easy and fun to read.

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I finished reading Stephen King’s new book 11/22/63: A Novel the other day and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  Stephen King is hit or miss with me, I enjoyed The Stand and The Dark Tower Series but aside from them have not had much luck with Stephen King stories. 11/22/63: A Novel is a little different from most other Stephen King books because it deals with time travel.  The date 11/22/63 was the day President Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas. 11/22/63: A Novel explores what might happen is someone had the opportunity to go back in time and change that event and the repercussions of it.  Being a fan of Sci-Fi stories, Stephen King handled time travel in his own unique way and he handled it very well. I especially enjoyed how he knit  into some of the other stories he has written into 11/22/63: A Novel without letting the story get out of hand. The time travel aspect is handled very well  and the story focuses more on what the repercussions of time time travel are more than the actual act of time travel. I recommend 11/22/63: A Novel to anyone that likes Stephen King books or is a fan of just a good story.

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New Hunger Games Trailer

The Hunger Games was such an enjoyable book. I’m looking forward to the movie but, I hope they keep it faithful to the book.

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Because of my love of comic books I’m a sucker for novels based on comic books. The The Last Days of Krypton is the story of what happens on Krypton before it is destroyed and baby Superman escapes to Earth and is written by Kevin J. Anderson. Kevin J. Anderson has written many books and a good amount of these books take existing franchises and expand them. He’s done this with Star Wars, Dune, and now Superman. Unfortunately The The Last Days of Krypton was not as good as the they books Anderson has written. The book follows the rise of General Zod as he rises to power from a series of catastrophic events and the life of Jor-El.  These catastrophic events happen so frequently that it becomes ridiculous and Jor-El becomes the boy who cried wolf by the end of the book. If you are comic fan and feel you must read this book do yourself a favor and get it from the library.

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I do not usually enjoy fantasy books, but after hearing about Joe Abercrombie on the Sword and Laser podcast I decided to give his books a try. The First Law trilogy is a series three books that take place in an epic fantasy world that somewhat resembles medieval/renaissance Europe.  Within this world are three major nations: The Union, a large kingdom that is very similar to Europe; The Gurkish Empire that is south of the Union and resemble the large Middle-Eastern empires of antiquity; and the Northmen, an alliance of several tribes that lay to the north of the Union led by the warrior king Bethod. The books in the The First Law trilogy are [amazon_link id="159102594X" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]The Blade Itself[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id="1591026415" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Before They Are hanged[/amazon_link], and [amazon_link id="0575084162" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]The Last Argument of Kings[/amazon_link].  Within these books readers follow characters that are flawed through adventures that are somewhat violent and unlike some other fantasy novels do not end happily for everyone.  My favorite character is Sand dan Glokta, a torturer in the Union’s Inquisition that just happens to be crippled from being tortured as a prisoner of war himself.  Glotka has internal dialogs that are entertaining and even though Glotka does some very nasty things to people, his character leaves you wanting more and more. Logen Ninefingers is another character that a good amount of the story deals with that.  Logen essentially is a barbarian, but not as you would expect. Logen has the name Ninefingers because during a battle he lost one of his middle fingers. There are twos sides to Logan, usually he is a wise and cunning warrior with a reputation throughout the north, while during times of certain death he sort of blacks out and become another person.  This other person is better know as the Bloody Nine.  The Bloody Nine tends to go berserk and kill everyone around him and while Logen understands there are two sides to his personality, others do not and thinks they are both the same person all the time. Abercrombie takes a different approach to describing things within his books that seems to make his characters more real.  Things such as smells and the need to urinate at strange times are just a couple of these these descriptions. I am about a third of the way through The Last Argument of Kings and I am already disappointment that there is not a fourth book with these characters I have been enjoying so much.  There are two additional books that take place in the same world as these books, [amazon_link id="0316044954" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Best Served Cold[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id="0316044989" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]The Heroes[/amazon_link], but take place several years after the events in The First Law series.

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Kindle Update 3.1 Availible

An early preview release of the update for the Kindle V3 is available. The major updated feature include:

  • Public Notes — This feature lets Kindle users choose to make their book notes and highlights available for others to see
  • Real Page Numbers You can view the page number that coincides with the paper version of the book.
  • Before You Go … — When you reach the end of the book, you can immediately rate the book, share a message about the book with your social network, get personalized recommendations for what to read next, and see more books by the same author
  • New Newspaper and Magazine Layout — An improved layout for newspapers and magazines.

Page numbers are a great improvement to the Kindle, but the need to be part of they book file for this feature to work.  Page numbers show when you press menu while reading.  Before you go seems like a nice feature as well, it seems Amazon is trying to make the Kindle more of social tool by integrating the Kindle with kindle.amazon.com.  Of course this is aimed at sales, but still a nice idea.

The 3.1 update is available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_rel_topic?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200529700

Check out what I’m reading at my kindle.amazon.com page: http://kindle.amazon.com/profile/Robert-Shacklock/189201

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Books This Week

I’m still tearing through books on my Kindle and this week I finished two pretty good books.  First was [amazon_link id="1934861286" target="_blank" ]Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines[/amazon_link] a story where super-heroes are real and now live in a post zombie-apocalyptic world.  Zombies have destroyed most of the human population and a small group of super-heroes have set up a safe haven called The Mount in Hollywood California. The Mount is actually just short for Paramount Studios where stages and sets have been converted to safe housing and facilities for the remaining humans to live and survive.  The Mount’s population are not alone in the Hollywood hills, a street gang know as the Seventeens rule a large portion of Hollywood and have figured out how to control the zombies.  Now they want to take the Mount for themselves by using an army of zombies and Seventeen soldiers to do it. The book itself does a good job of telling a super-hero story complete with flashbacks where readers learn the histories of the heroes and how the zombie outbreak destroyed the world. [amazon_link id="1934861286" target="_blank" ]Ex-Heroes[/amazon_link] is a good recommendation for anyone that enjoys super-hero stories or zombie books.

[amazon_link id="1934861286" target="_blank" ]Ex-Heroes[/amazon_link]

The second book I finished this week was [amazon_link id="0312532881" target="_blank" ]Dog Blood by David Moody,[/amazon_link] the second book in the Hater Series.  In the first book, [amazon_link id="B003F76IFQ" target="_blank" ]Hater[/amazon_link] the world is ripped in two when people start attacking each other for no apparent reason.  One second a person is fine and then all of a sudden he or she just lashes out and tries to kill the other people around them.  As these attacks become more and more frequent people become more and more distrusting of each other in fear of the person next to them being a possible hater.  [amazon_link id="B003F76IFQ" target="_blank" ]Hater[/amazon_link] follows the main character Danny McCoyne from an average person all the way to a full blown hater.  In the second book [amazon_link id="0312532881" target="_blank" ]Dog Blood,[/amazon_link] the story continues to follow Danny as he searches for his youngest daughter Ellis who at the end of the first book Danny realizes is also a hater.  With no idea where to start looking for his daughter Danny gets caught up with others of his kind who are searching for more haters to build an army.  After getting separated from his fellow haters Danny gets captured and taught how to control the hate within him.  With his new found control Danny is sent deep into an unchanged city to attack it from within.   Right before the attacks begin Danny leaves to search out his daughter Ellis once more.  When he finally finds Ellis she is a feral killing machine that is being held captive by her mother and uncle.  As the fighting around the city starts Danny and Ellis try to escape the city before everyone is killed and the city is destroyed.

[amazon_link id="0312532881" target="_blank" ]Dog Blood[/amazon_link]

I started reading [amazon_link id="0446563080" target="_blank" ]Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith[/amazon_link] this week.  A story that follows the secret life of Abraham Lincoln  from childhood to adult as he becomes the worlds greatest vampire hunter.   I know it sounds crazy but the book is presented in such a way that it could almost be true.  More to come after I finish the book.

[amazon_link id="0446563080" target="_blank" ]Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter[/amazon_link]

 

 

 

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Started Reading Ex-Heroes

Started Reading Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines a book about world where super-heroes are real and now live in a post zombie-apocalyptic world.  Not literary masterpiece but enjoyable so far.


[amazon_link id="1934861286" target="_blank" ]Ex-Heroes[/amazon_link]

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