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.

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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.

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.

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  • 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.

The Prince of Thorns – A Book Review

This is the first book in The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. It has been on my to-read list for a long time. I tried to read it a while back but after the first couple of chapters I left it. It was too gruesome for me at the time. But after reading The Prince of Fools (my review) by the same author and checking out many reviews by fellow bloggers and friends who highly recommended it, I thought I’d give it another try. Glad I did. The book was still too gruesome and quite dark but as you read further you get to know more about the characters and their reasons. I’m not saying that the reasons justify their actions, I’m only saying you understand them. [No spoilers in this review].9579634

The book follows the journey of Prince Jorg Ancrath, aka the Prince of Thorns, to take revenge on his mother and brother’s brutal murder that happened when he was 10 years old. At 13, he leads a group of bandits to find and kill the person who ordered their deaths. Jorg and his bandits, whom he calls Brothers, attack villages and torture and burn everyone in their way. He is not your average teenager, he’s brutal and has no remorse for his actions. This doesn’t sound like a book that could appeal to everyone nor make you feel any empathy towards the main character but there is a lot more to this book than that.

What I liked about it

  • The author’s writing style: I don’t usually read dark fantasy like this one, but the author did a great job with the writing and after getting past the first chapters it kinds gets easier to go through once you get into the story more. The book easily flows back and forth in time describing Jorg’s past and showing the reader how he ended up the way he did.
  • Humor and wit: As dark as it was, the book also had humor and wit which are two things I really like in a book.
  • The story line: it will keep you intrigued. After reading The Prince of Fools I am already a bit familiar with the setting of the book and some of the characters mentioned so it was easy to get engaged in the world of the broken empire.
  • The magic: there is no specific magic system, but the magic in this book was more of characters who posses magic and the existence of magical creatures and the way they were portrayed was interesting.
  • The cover: what can I say I like good covers.
  • Memorable Quotes: from the many here is one

         “Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you’ll find an edge to cut you.”

There wasn’t anything specific that I didn’t like. I did get a bit mixed up with the secondary characters, Jorg’s Brothers. I couldn’t get a clear vision of who they are besides two characters; Nuban and Makin.

Jorg is a character who is confident and arrogant and has been leading a group of grown men but while I was reading there was a question that kept popping up in my head: why did the author make Jorg so young and how did he realize that this age will be appropriate for the story?

If you’re looking for a typical hero that everyone will root for, this is not that book. But even so, you’ll find yourself following Jorg’s journey, wanting to know what he will do next and maybe rooting for him just to see him reach his destination.

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”

Crimson Peak – A Book Review

I’m still in a reading slump, kinda. I still can’t seem to find a book to read on my Kindle. But I did find a couple of interesting audiobooks. One of them is Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization by Nancy Holder.

25241995.jpgI have never read a ghost story before (maybe as a kid but I don’t remember). I was intrigued by the movie trailer but have not watched the movie yet. I got the audiobook a couple of days ago so I decided to read (listen to) the book first and at the same time try a genre I haven’t read before.

The blurb from goodreads “When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay: a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak

The book was well written, fast paced and I’m sure gives more detail on what goes on in the minds of the characters and how they feel. Having watched the trailer before I kind of had an idea of what the setting, characters and the ghosts looked like. The narrator, Imogen Church, did a good job with all the character voices and expressions, even the ghosts! I enjoyed listening to it and me being someone who does not like horror books, I thought it was good as the book was more focused on the main story line and the characters. And as my first ghost story, this was a good book to start with.