Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles #3) – Book Review

Published Date: April 21, 1976

Publishing Co.: Ace Books          

Pages: 609

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

I did not review the first two books in this series as I read them during my Book Review Boycott of 2020.

That makes attempting a review at this point, all the harder.

I resisted picking up this series for years as I had heard from some avid fantasy/sci-fi fans that it was long and kind of boring. Some people would say it was still worth it and others said you could avoid it and be fine. Such a lukewarm description didn’t exactly pique my interest. Fast forward several years and my aunt and little cousin are shoving the book at me and telling me that I just have to try it. Since it was loaned, I didn’t have much to lose and back in November I finally sat down and gave it the ol’ college try.

Why did I listen to those Negative Nancys?? I’ll never trust them again.

I absolutely loved Dune and Dune Messiah. Apparently, a lot of people had issue with Messiah as you see the dark side to your hero. BUT I LOVE THAT KIND OF THING AND BURNED THROUGH IT.

Children of Dune was a little slower for me and probably my least favorite thus far, but it’s still a great book. I’m trying to avoid spoilers and honestly, so much happens and I did not take notes so I would be garbage at really reviewing it anyway. I just needed to say, if you like a slow burn, political intrigue and beautifully crafted world building, pick up Dune. It’s not boring, YOU’RE BORING!

March’s Mini-Reviews

This month’s mini-reviews weren’t ‘meh’ like February, however, they didn’t quite inspire me to launch into a full fledged review to sing their laurels from the roof tops either. I suppose they qualify as honorable mentions.

4 out of 5 stars – Although this one bills itself as a satire, it doesn’t reach the ridiculous level that others do. It took a minute for me to find my stride in the story but once I did I enjoyed myself. The ending was great and my only hesitancy in continuing the series is that my boss said the second book isn’t quite as good as the first. (He followed his reasoning with, second books are almost never as good as the first.)

4 out of 5 stars – Very easy read. Author describes a movie plot and then follows up with the true crime stories that inspired it. This is also the very reason that makes it difficult to review it. Overall, it’s a very simple template.

Currently reading:

I think that I will complete Children of Dune before the month is up. I didn’t review the first two books last year while I was on my review boycott, which will make reviewing this extra difficult but I think I will at least try.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has actually surprised me with how much fun it is. I’ve been reading it on my work lunches but it might come home with me soon so I can devote more time to proper ladies wielding swords and wooing men with their decapitating abilities.

I recently came this ————————> close to going on a book binge. I resisted. Probably for the best because school books are not cheap.

How did March treat you? Book related or otherwise.

White Fang – Book Review

Published Date: First published in 1906

Publishing Co.: Scholastic Paperbacks for this edition

Pages: 252

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I do this thing now, since Covid hit, where I keep one book at work for reading during my lunches. It lives at my job and doesn’t get to come home until it’s a good little book that’s been finished. When I was done reading this, I went on Goodreads to see what other works London had besides this and Call of the Wild and man, was the section on his white supremacy bigger than his career and I HAD NO IDEA. I mean, now that I’ve read it again after 20+ years, it’s obvious. White people were referred to the superior white gods at one point and Native Americans were heavily stereotyped.

Dogs and wolves really don’t care about the color of anyone’s skin so that whole aspect was unnecessary anyway.

Moving past my mind being semi-blown, this was also clearly written before there was much research about wolves. London provided too much human reasoning to a canine brain. For example, it was against the law of nature for White Fang to attack Collie because she was a female. Anyone who has been around a lot of dogs or what we now know about wolves, knows that domination has no gender lines. (This is just one example.)

Moving past all of THAT, I still enjoyed myself and have no doubt why I was obsessed with this as a kid. It’s still a fun aspect to learn about adapting to the world through the eyes of a canine or any animal. How animals are shaped by both nature and nurture.

I also appreciated the character of Beauty Smith in which, London showed the action of a true degenerate to animals and that it only takes one man to stand up to animal abusers like him. People like Beauty Smith are cowards and don’t deserve to have animals in their lives and have a beat down coming to them one day when they’re caught.

February’s ‘Meh’ Mini-Reviews

If you haven’t followed along from the beginning of the year, I decided not to waste my time on any reviews that didn’t excite me in one way or another. This is the first month however, that I put that to practice. I have a couple of things to say about those books, but just not enough to make it worth my time to do a full blown review.

3 out of 5 stars – I honestly feel bad for not liking this more since it’s from two authors whom I normally enjoy very much. There are a ton of poop, fart and sex jokes here. Which don’t get me wrong, I enjoy immaturity greatly. A fart will never NOT be funny. However, there just wasn’t enough investment in characters to make me care much what happened. To anyone. This was meant to be a satire about fantasy tropes, it is that. It just fell a bit flat and I will not be continuing the series.

3 out of 5 stars – This was so forgettable that I had to check my goodreads to remember which was my other ‘meh’ book of the month. It might even deserve less stars than I gave it. I’m not sure how you make a gunslinger in a weird west setting boring, but Harris achieved that here. There wasn’t much to like about the main character but the rest of the world building was kind of cool. Another series I will not be continuing.

Currently reading:

I’m not very far into this one yet and it took me a minute to feel like I was going to enjoy myself so we’ll see what happens with this one.

What did you read recently that you didn’t feel much one way or the other about?

Men Explain Things to Me – Book Review

Published Date: April 14, 2014

Publishing Co.: Haymarket Books

Pages: 130

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The men who get it also understand that feminism is not a scheme to deprive men but a campaign to liberate us all.”

This collection of essays would be brilliant if the title and blurb portrayed what it was really about. Feminism, how far we’ve come and why there is still work to do. If that had been the entire intention, this would have been 5 out of 5 stars.

Unfortunately, what was billed to me was not what was received. I went into this looking for funny anecdotes of men with no clue, saying dumb things to women in their quest to seem intelligent. Every woman can relate and has her own stories about this exact subject. That happened twice in the beginning, while the rest dived into fighting the patriarchy. Which, do not get me wrong, I am down for, but I was looking for something more humorous.

“Finding ways to appreciate advances without embracing complacency is a delicate task.”

If I ignore what is lacking in humor, it is rich in information and it is a topic that should never leave anyone’s mind until there is equality. Therefore, I think this is an important read. However, I have a feeling that more people will pick this up for the same reason that I did and those people probably already understand that there is still work to be done. Meaning, the people that need to be reading it to get the message, most likely are not.

“Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don’t.”

Pestilence (The Four Horsemen #1) – Book Review

Published Date: September 14, 2018

Publishing Co.: CreateSpace

Pages: 381

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I honestly thought that I would not like this book. I thought that if I didn’t hate it, I would at least not finish it. I mean, the cover is cheesy and the premise is not one of my usual choices. However, much to my surprise, it sucked me in.

Sara Burns drew the short stick. The apocalypse has begun and this firefighter drew the stick that decided she would be the one to die trying to kill one of the Four Horsemen. That’s right folks, God has unleashed his wrath because well, humans suck. Or a lot of them do at least. Four or five years ago, the horsemen rode the Earth and destroyed the human way of life. Then, three of them went back to sleep while Pestilence spread his terror upon the planet.

Now Pestilence has come to Sara’s neck of the Canadian woods and she has been chosen to try to take him out. I’m not entirely sure why humanity would think a divine creature could be killed by guns or any other means but as a desperate species, I guess we’ll try anything.

So obviously, she fails.

Pestilence takes her hostage and forces her to come along for his ride of horror and doom. DOOM I SAY. He doesn’t unleash the plague on her but tortures her just the same because, “to live is to suffer” or something along those lines. Plus, he would like a little vengeance since he may not be able to die, but he can feel pain all the same. And she lit him on fire.

As they travel spreading disease and death, Sara forces Pestilence to see that there are some redeeming qualities to humans. Kindness, compassion and LOVE. That’s right, this is a love story. A story of falling in love with one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. That’s why folks, I didn’t think I would enjoy this all that much. It is a weird love story plot. However, the characters were great. There is some obvious Stockholm syndrome issues for a little bit, but the divine bad boy redemption is really what brings it home.

I would label this as probably not for everyone but I for one, enjoyed myself.

I am undecided whether I will continue the series. The second book, War, has an even better rating that the first one. It will probably come down to what my mood is, as usual.

Coffee & a Chat – Bookstores and Dog Beds

The Prince of Barkness gets a new bed. (Ozzy)

Good snowy morning ladies and germs! What a way to round out the first month of 2021 but with a little chat over the morning’s caffeine intake.

A new realization this month: This pandemic has made me realize many things over the last almost year, and my dears, the general public made me question whether I want to be a pharmacy technician the rest of my life. After a bit of consideration, I discovered that the answer had become a solid, no. Then, Mr. C&M gave me another idea; to one day open my own bookstore.

So that’s the new life plan, in the next 5 to 10 years, open my own bookstore. Pharmacy is still fine for now but if someone is rude, I want to be able to throw them out of my own store. (I may also be falsely envisioning that book patrons are a less rude bunch, but let me have my dream.) I helped open one small business, after lots of research, I think I can do it on my own one day.

As for the rest of January, I did pretty good with keeping up on content.

I reviewed two books –

Magic Triumps by Ilona Andrews (5 stars)

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews (5 stars)

I also reread Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my BFF and started another book;

I posted 3 new recipes –

Eggnog Bread

Applebutter Cookies

Soft Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

I also received my first dose of the Covid Vaccine almost 3 weeks ago. My second dose is this Tuesday. I didn’t have too many side effects with the first dose. Just muscle soreness for 24 hours and was ravenously hungry the next day. We’ll see what the second dose has in store as we’ve heard that’s usually where you see more side effects.

This may become my new format, Coffee & a Chat’s for the end of the month to recap progress and various happenings.

How was your January??

Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder #1) – Book Review

Publishing Date: January 12, 2021

Publishing Co.: NYLA

Pages: 359

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Eight years after the end of the Kate Daniels saga, we return to a much different Atlanta under the disguise of a stranger. Or least, that’s how it appears. Really the person with a different face, different voice, different scent, different name, is Julie, Kate’s adopted daughter. She gallops into town on her carnivorous horse, Tulip. A prophecy has been foretold of Kate’s death at the hands of a newly resurrected god and if Kate knows that Julie is in Atlanta, the future becomes more certain, Kate will die.

Julie has spent the last eight years becoming as powerful as she possibly can to protect those she loves and those who need it most. She has spent the last four of those eight years doing everything she can to change the results of the prophecy. This is her last chance. If she fails, the woman who saved her from the streets will perish from this world forever.

Trying to stop a god, in your hometown, without being noticed, has it’s problems. Not everyone can be fooled by her disguise no matter the precautions she takes, and those people threaten to blow her cover. The last person she needs to find out about her return home is the man she loved, but it’s harder than hell to hide things from a werewolf.

I am not disappointed. Kate Daniels left big shoes to fill and her predecessor jumped into both boots, ax swinging and power words on her lips. Where’s book two?

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) – Book Review

Published Date: August 28, 2018

Publishing Co.: ACE

Pages: 336

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The triumphant (see what I did there) conclusion to one of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time.

As if it’s not bad enough that you’re about to go to war with your own father, another heavy hitter with a personal vendetta against your family shows up and demands his very own war on your world. Plus, your thirteen month old son is beginning to express his potential magic. Such is the life of Kate and her soulmate Curran.

These two separate but equally deadly wars will take everything they have in their arsenal to keep their son alive and save the people they love, but the opposing armies are massive and Atlanta is going to have to come together if it wants to survive. Enemies must become allies or face certain annihilation.

It has been a long, exciting journey to this ending and I was so pleased that it finished on a great note. I don’t expect that it will be the very last we’ll see of Kate and Curran as their world is expanding to other series and for that I’m grateful. This has been some of the best world building I’ve seen in any urban fantasy universe. The characters were addicting and the magic system equally enticing. Ilona Andrews are a dynamite writing couple. They have yet to fail me and I suspect I’ll be running off to purchase their latest release that continues Julie’s narrative.

Best Books of 2020

If nothing else, this year was decent for reading. Even though I took time off of reviewing, I remained a pretty strict rater. Not a lot of books made 5 stars for me this past year. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading more by not forcing myself to do any challenges, not pushing myself to review anything, and just going with whatever my mood called for. I am a mood reader and I must accept that and stop forcing myself to into any reading boxes.

In no particular order, here are my favorites from 2020:

I’m almost done with Dune Messiah, I plan to finish it tomorrow night, and I am just going to go ahead and name my top two books of 2020 as such:

What were some of your top reads of 2020?