The Stormlight Archives – A Book Series

It’s been a very long time since my last post. It’s not that I haven’t been reading — that never stops — but I guess couldn’t get myself to write. But here I am now to talk about one of my all time favorite series The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson.

In anticipation for the release of the third book, Oathbringer, I have been rereading the first two books of the series for the past couple of months to get ready for the release date… which is today!

 

 

 

I don’t really reread books, but I felt I needed to do so for this series. And I am glad I did. I realized that I missed details in my first read that are vital for the main story line. And above all, I enjoyed them so much!

When I first read these books, I did so in ebook format, but because I didn’t have much time left to read before the release date I decided to get “Words of Radiance” in audio format (to make sure I finish it before today, which I managed just yesterday, yay!). And I have to admit, the audiobook was awesome! The narrators Micheal Kramer and Kate Reading (who I found out were husband and wife) did an amazing job with the characters, they brought the book to life. Which is why I pre-ordered my Oathbringer copy in audio which hasn’t been released yet as of my writing this post (don’t know why, but I’ll keep checking).

If you haven’t checked these books out yet, I can’t express enough and tell you that you should go get them! Each book is 1100+ pages so it’ll be a long and highly entertaining ride. You will get excellent world building, intriguing magical systems, well defined characters and plots that will leave you on the edge of your seats.

Let me go check if it’s downloading!

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -A Book Review

I might have been the last person on earth who didn’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I know if that was true, then there would be no purpose for this book review, but, I am sure there are some of you who still haven’t given it a try and for those of you I say: “if you want a good laugh then go read it”. I am now starting to wonder what took me so long to pick it up.

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Well, I have just finished listening to the audio book “Just One Damned Thing After Another” by Jodi Taylor (which I reviewed on this blog) and was looking for my next audio book when I stumbled, somehow, onto this one.

This book was not what I expected, at all. The story is something you would never imagine, talks about a space journey of Arthur Dent and his alien friend Ford Prefect after the earth is demolished by another alien race to build a galactic freeway. I know it sounds silly, but it’s filled with moments that would make you forget the silliness and just enjoy the ride, and it even has a depressed robot named Marvin, who is perhaps my favorite character in the book.

Even though there was no deep plot to it, it was funny and enjoyable with lines like these:

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.

The book was narrated by Stephen Fry and it was awesome. Great voice acting. You’ll get the shouts, the sighs, the tiredness, all of it. I don’t think I have laughed this much out loud listening to a book like this before.

It turns out that this book is part of a series. I look forward to picking up the next one although it’s unfortunate that Stephen Fry is not narrating it. The next book is narrated by Martin Freeman (the same actor who played the lead role in the movie adaptation of this book, and Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit movies) but I think he would also be a good narrator. We’ll see.

Just One Damned Thing After Another – A Book Review

What a fun ride! My first read of the year. Just One More Damned Thing After Another is a book by Jodi Taylor (book 1 in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s) that has historical facts, time travel, interesting characters and a lot of humor. Yes, you’ll be laughing out loud. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this book and added it to my to read list but when Audible had an offer on it, I didn’t hesitate. 29661618

The book follows the story of a historian named Madeleine Maxwell “Max” in an unknown time period (maybe it’ll be mentioned in later books, but I believe it’s near the current time). Max works in a secret agency called St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, where the historians time travel back to historical events to fill in the gaps or correct any incorrect information they have of the event. Since I read it in audio, my review will reflect my experience listening to the book which could differ from someone else who read it.

This book was fast paced, well, maybe too fast paced. The narrator Zara Ramm read quickly which was good sometimes but didn’t pause at places I believe she should have paused. Some scenes just changed all of a sudden and I had to go back sometimes to make sure I understood what happened. The storyline was entertaining and unpredictable, there wasn’t a dull moment and whenever I think that “oh, this is going to happen” I get completely thrown off by something else. The main character was fun, witty and headstrong, she would do what she wants and without any consideration to the consequences, which worked, some of the times. The dialogs were fun and would make you pause and laugh. And, I loved the historical references — visiting the Cretaceous period, 11th century London and the Great Library of Alexandria — but don’t expect too many historical details.

I loved the narrator’s British accent, it was fun listening to it, but I had a hard time following up on which character was talking and there was a lot of characters. I couldn’t memorize all their names and because it’s an audio book, it was hard to go back and check who the character is, so I had to try to figure that out through the context.  I also noticed some discrepancies with the author’s time travel rules. Without spoilers, some things that should have been prohibited when a person travels back in time were somehow happening. I am not sure what the author’s intentions were but as a reader, it was obvious that something was inconsistent.

Overall, I still enjoyed this book a lot and highly recommend it if you are looking to have a good time.

My Book Year in Review – 2016

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Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s December again and time to reflect on what I have read this past year. It was an interesting reading year for me. I read around 25 books, and some of them from authors and genres that were new to me. I also became more addicted to listening to audio books and noticed that I couldn’t get myself to read ebooks as much as I use to. Also, the number of books I couldn’t finish this year were high, so I guess I need to amend my book selection methods.

Last January I made a book reading plan — which you can check out here. And as I anticipated, I didn’t follow the list much. I read only 4 of the books in the list and one of them I couldn’t finish. What was new this year was my discovery of The Great Courses series on Audible — they offer many courses in many topics which I highly recommend checking out. I also started learning the German Language through courses offered by Pimsleur also on Audible. This year I decided not make a reading plan, as it’s obvious I will not stick to it.

Here are some of my favorites books of this year:

This was one of my top favorite reads this year. I was very surprised of how much I loved them. The writing style and story line was engaging and intriguing. It was very fast paced, filled with events and action so you won’t get a dull moment. The characters were well defined and interesting and the author did a good job making the reader intrigued to what happens to them next. I got these books in audio format and the narrators did an excellent job. Definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

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Another surprisingly interesting book. Here is my full review. As much as I liked this book, the sequel didn’t match up to it unfortunately.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

  • Magic 2.0 Series –  Scott Meyer

I cannot recommend this series enough. I loved it. Here is my full review of the books. If you do plan to get it, get it in audio, Luke Daniels is one of the best narrators out there.

 

This was my first read from this author. Here is my full review. I loved his writing style and after reading this one I also read the first book from his first series The Broken Empire: The Prince of Thorns.

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This was one of the intetesting autobiographies I listened to this year. The book talks about the actor Alan Cumming’s relationship with his father. Here is my full review .

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This was one of the courses I listened to this year. If you’re interested in learning about the universe, I highly recommend you check this one out.

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If I make a plan for next year it’ll only be that I want to read more books than my average 20-25. I have about 200 books in my to read list (and increasing faster than I can read) and with this pace I will never get to them. So this year I’m planning to read 30 books and see how it goes.

How was your year? Any surprises or disappointments?

Elon Musk: Inventing the Future – A Book Review

I am sure you’ve heard the name Elon Musk somewhere during the past couple of years. It’s not a name you would easily forget. He’s been attributed to many things such as PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX and some even call him the Tony Stark of our world. You might have seen the launches and landings of SpaceX’s rockets recently in the news, such as Falcon 9 and Dragon, and Tesla’s car Model S and its autopilot feature and the soon to be released the Model 3 car, that has also been making news recently. Well, Elon Musk owns all of this and how he got here is what this book is all about.

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This book was written by the author Ashlee Vance. I listened to it in audio read by Fred Sanders. To gather the information presented in this book, the author conducted interviews with Elon and many of his acquaintances. I thought the information provided was thorough and insightful. I am usually fascinated by smart successful people and this book presented Elon in this way. He is one of those people who started out small and used his unique ideas and drive to build the empire he has now.

The book starts out with his early years in South Africa and his interest in writing computer code. He moved to Canada and then the United States where he and his brother started their first company Zip2; a web software company. After selling it, he started a series of acquisitions and co-founding other companies which led him to making more money. His success enabled him to build his vision towards developing electric cars and rockets. He is an entrepreneur who is very ambitious, dedicated to his work and very involved in the businesses he owns. One of his current ambitions and plans is to go to Mars within the next couple of years.

The writing style was good and easy to follow. It gives a lot of technical details about how the Tesla electric cars and rockets are built which I thought dragged a bit and wasn’t that interesting to me. The book also touched on his personal life which didn’t interest me much either. His personality or how likable he is as a person or a boss is also described in the book, and from what I see, he is not always very likable and can be tough at times. But that didn’t stop him or stop anyone from wanting to work with him, if it was as a business partner or employee.

This book is motivational and a good listen and I can’t wait to see when he actually makes it to Mars.

Wizard 2.0 – A Book Series Review

I convinced a friend of mine to read the book Off to be the Wizard, the first book in the Wizard 2.0 series by Scott Meyer. He’s enjoying it a lot and asked me if I wrote a review about it, I thought I did but it turned out that I didn’t. So, last week I finished listening to the third and final book An Unwelcomed Quest and decided that a full review of the series should be done. [No spoilers below].

First off, I loved this series. The books were well written, engaging, humorous and easy to follow. All the characters were interesting and well defined. If you are into computers and time travel and a little bit of history then I’m sure you’ll find these books entertaining. You might be faced with a couple of computer terms from the earlier decades that are currently obsolete but that won’t matter. I listened to all 3 in audio and they were all so much fun to listen to. The narrator Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators. He made each character very unique, and there were a lot of characters. He portrayed them and their emotions with excellence and I was able to know who was talking just from the accent and tone of his voice. Now that I have finished the series I feel that I am going to miss those characters. That’s how good the books were and how the narrator gave each character their own unique identity.

Off to be the Wizard

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The first book was my favorite. It introduces the reader to one of the main characters named Martin and how he ends up being a wizard after finding a certain computer file. The concept of the book is very different from what I have read before and it has computer and software terms so appeals to my geeky side and is filled with humor and time travel. I was hooked from the first chapter. This book introduces most of the characters that will appear in the following books.

Spell or High Water 

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The second book was interesting. Without spoiling the series, I loved the imagination used in this book, and I would love to see it depicted on a TV show or movie. I found one concept in this book a bit confusing and up till now I still can’t grasp the idea but it doesn’t change or effect the understanding the story line. This book follows the journey of 3 of the main characters from the first book in addition to a lot of new ones.

An Unwelcomed Quest 

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This book was my least favorite. The idea for it was interesting and the imagination was good but it dragged a bit during the middle part, some of the scenes were a bit redundant. I thought it could have been reduced or have less dialogues. However, I did like the ending. It was a bit predictable but none the less better than I expected. Mainly all of the main characters from the first and second books are present with no new ones in this book.

I highly recommend you check these books out. They’re perfect for when you just want a fun, light read or listen and enjoy your time. If you decide to check it out don’t forget to get it in audio :). Trust me it’s worth it.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends – A Book Review

This is a book about the actor Rob Lowe, written by Rob Lowe and narrated by Rob Lowe. I’ve known this actor from the series Brothers and Sisters and now my favorite comedy Parks and Recreation (just started to watch it and loving it) and from his good looks, but I didn’t know much about his personal life other than he started acting in the 80’s and acted in St. Elmo’s Fire (which I haven’t seen).

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The book is about his life growing up in Ohio and LA and his relationships with his parents, brothers and friends and later when he meets his wife and becomes a father. It also talks about how he started and pursued his acting career and his interactions with various directors, producers and other actors.

Lately, I’ve really started to enjoy listening to autobiographies on Audible and this one was no exception. The stories were interesting and engaging and some of them were quite surprising. From his roles in the series I’ve seen, I wouldn’t have assumed he had such a wild youth. What I liked about his story telling was the fact that he seemed humble and very honest. There are some things in the book that I am sure some people would have wanted to forget, but he goes on and talks about it candidly.

I highly recommend this book especially to those who like autobiographies and if you’re a fan of Rob Lowe, you’ll get a glimpse of his life behind the cameras. The writing style was good and easy to follow. The narration was excellent and he did good imitations of other actors he mentioned in the book. He has also written another autobiography called Love Life which I’ve added to to my to read list.

The book has a couple of memorable quotes, the one I liked most is:

“So I came to the realization: Nothing in life is unfair. It’s just life. To the extent that I had any inner turmoil, I had only myself to blame”