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.

The Golem and the Jinni -A Book Review

I bought this e-book on sale last year and after failed attempts to read Lirael (I know it’s a great book, but it seems I picked it up at the wrong time, I plan to get back at it later on), looking at the books I already have on my Kindle I found The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

15819028Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

The details in this book were impeccable. I read somewhere that it took the author nearly 7 years to write this book. I would say that the amount of research done is clearly shown in her writing, the author described the various cultures referenced in this book clearly and based on many reviews I’ve read they were also described accurately.

The first half of this character driven book was a little bit slow but not to the point where you would lose interest. It focused on introducing the characters — at first I thought I would get lost with all the characters and who they are, but I didn’t— they were all clearly defined and interesting. After getting familiar with the main story line and characters the book starts to pick up pace and by the last 25% I couldn’t let it go.

Without giving any spoilers away I just want to say I loved the ending. It was perfect. Even though the book has violence, sadness and action, it left a peaceful feeling that resonated with me for a while after finishing it — I need to find more books like that.

I highly recommend checking this book out, the author announced that a sequel to the book could be out by 2018 so I look forward to that.

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.

                               ember        torch

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?

The Thorn of Emberlain Book Release Date Delayed… Again

Yes, unfortunately we have another delay in the book release of one of my favorites series “The Gentleman Bastard Series” by Scott Lynch. The author posted an official statement through the Gollancz website indicating that the September 2016 release of the fourth book will not happen due to personal matters. I like the fact that this author communicates with the us as honestly as he does and keeps us well informed. I was really excited about getting the book next month, but I understand.

So far, no new official release date has been announced, but I noticed on Goodreads that it is expected sometime in April 2017. I hope the official date will be sooner than that!

Thorn of Emberlain

 

I’m Still Here – A Follow Up

Yeap, I’m still here although it’s been two months since my last post on the blog. Two Months! I never thought I would get into a writing slump like this, but I guess summer hasn’t been a good season for me to write.

I have been reading though, that has never stopped and I finished a couple of books that I plan to write reviews about and I am currently reading The Assassin’s Apprentice (book 1 of the Farseer Trilogy) by Robin Hobb. This is my first read for this author and I have very high expectations because of the good reviews, my husband’s recommendation and the cover (I confess I bought the paperback version just for this awesome cover!).

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I miss writing, that I can say and I’ll be back very soon this time :)

 

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.