Saturday 30 December 2017

Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon

Book 78 is Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey.

My last book of 2017 and one of the most moving.

I started fearing dogs and exited trusting what I grew up with. Dogs have rules and signals just like people and I have to respect that.

Tonight (7th of January, 2018), I patted a Rottweiler X who was the sweetest bitch I've ever met. I didn't act afraid of her. I respected her strength and assumed her good will.

This book has made me reconsider my approach to both "aggressive" dogs and all people.

4 puppies out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes please. It is for all the people who love animals.
What did I learn? My fear is manufactured and not based in reality. Don't discriminate.

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Jacob T. Marley

Book 77 is Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett.

A book explaining how Scrooge became the scrooge he is in A Christmas Carol. The premise is good and it starts well but Marley goes from an evil jerk to remorseful soul on his death. The pivot is weak and the story goes down hill from there.

It was a quick read. Maybe someone can take this idea and do it a little better.

3 regrets out of 5.

Should I read this? At Christmas, before re-reading A Christmas Carol.
What did I learn? Yeah, yeah. Death makes you regret a shitty life lived.

Monday 25 December 2017

Golden Son

Book 76 is Golden Son which is book 2 of The Red Rising series by Pierce Brown.

This series continues to challenge what I think is right and what is reality. I'd like to think I'd handle things better but I'm not sure if Darrow does what we all would: A mix of right and what must be done.

Still one of the best series to come true in the last few years. Coloured people, politics and entitlement all mixed in modern relevance.

4 betrayals out of 5.

Should I read this? If you want some philosophically challenging science fiction.
What did I learn? I would never be a revolutionary.

Monday 18 December 2017

Gather 'Round the Sound

Book 75 is Gather 'Round the Sound by Audible.

With the byline "Holiday Stories from Beloved Authors and Great Performers Across the Globe" and a price tag of free, this was an enjoyable listen of just over an hour.

My favourites were An Aussie Night Before Christmas read by Magda Szubanski and The Signal-man by Charles Dickens.

If you have the time then do listen to this.

4 improv carols out of 5.

Should I read this? Read it just for the two I mentioned and everything else is a bonus.
What did I learn? Charles Dickens was scary.

Sunday 17 December 2017

The Hate U Give

Book 74 is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

GoodReads readers voted this book Best Debut GoodReads Author and Best Young Adult Fiction of 2017. That made this a must read.

Everyone has been talking about this book from the day it was release... or maybe even prior. It is a now book in the US with white cops killing black kids more often than you'd imagine and always without warrant.

When told from the mouth of a teenager, this book breaks you heart. Her family makes you smile. Her friends make you cringe. Her inner monologue makes you remember those young years you lived and how little fear you felt in comparison.

There is a reason for the hype around this very easy to read but very hard to accept story. The world shouldn't be like this but it is. Good books make you want to read them again. Great books change your entire world view. This is somewhere in between those two points.

Do read it.

5 dictator black mothers out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes, especially if you live in the racially charged USA.
What did I learn? I had an easy and safe childhood.

Blood Moon

Book 73 is Blood Moon which is book 2 of The Huntress series by Alexandra Sokoloff.

Having enjoyed Huntress Moon, the first book in the series 14 books ago, I was keen to get back to this series. It wasn't as easy as anticipated. I picked this up and then read one other book before picking this up again. The first chapter took me three passes before I could continue. It just didn't grab me to start.

It's good that I kept reading because with this book based mostly around the noir FBI Agent Matthew Roarke was more enjoyable than the first book. The first book is more of an insight in to the rationalised mind of a female serial killer. This was more complimentary maybe then "better" as such. Roarke ponders what made this killer while seeking the monsters he knows are in her head.

It's almost a collaboration between to broken people on opposite sides of a battle between good and evil.

This will be the last in the series that I read. The characters didn't hold on to me enough, although I did enjoy the first two books. It may not be my genre after all.

3 anatomies of a serial killer out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes to the first two books but it is up to you if you continue on through the series.
What did I learn? As we age, we perfect our art.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus

Book 72 is The Autobiography of Santa Claus which is book one of The Christmas Chronicles by Jeff Guinn.

Considering this is the guy who wrote The Road to Jonestown, I was not expecting such positivity but this is fictional. Of course, anything about Santa is fictional but this is told in Guinn's non-fictional tone and that added to the enjoyment of it.

This was an amusing read and one of escapism and nonsense. The historical characters effected by the Forrest-Gump-like Santa Claus were a nice idea... badly executed. This was unfortunate because reading the synopsis had me hoping for something a little more like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure through history with a little Christmas magic. It wasn't.

This could be aimed at children and people with little knowledge of history. The historical figures becoming so subservient to Santa was not convincing or explained well by Christmas magic.

This was a flop. Although it is the first of a series, it will be the only one I read.

2 Huns out of 5.

Should I read this? No. There is little that redeems it. Go for Dickens instead.
What did I learn? The Dutch are the reason for the name Santa Claus.

Sunday 10 December 2017

LEGO: I Love That Minifigure

Book 71 is LEGO: I Love That Minifigure by DK Publishing.

This was a must read for me since I collect female Lego minifigures.

There is so much information about rare minifigures, cool collections and reasons behind why certain characters were chosen.

A great reference book for Lego collectors and fans.

4 Minifigures out of 5.

Should I read this? For the Lego collectors and fans, for sure.
What did I learn? Lego gets very very expensive when rare.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Book 70 is The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn.

After Helter Skelter, I have been seeking similar styles of books which give insights in to famous situations. This is the first I've found that was as interesting. It is not as well written but it is hard to put down.

This book takes you through Jones' life from his childhood with his disturbed delusional mother on to his marriage and building of the church to the final Kool-Aid (it wasn't that brand actually) mass suicide in French Guiana.

The Jonestown Mass Suicide

It was not so hard to see why people followed him. He just wanted to be followed and sold a left leaning charitable view of his church which seemed to help people. He then isolated and controlled his flock.

We look back and wonder why governments would let this happen but I'm sure no one expects Jonestown. I wouldn't have.

4 miraculous fake healings out of 5.

Should I read this? It's interesting. So, yeah.
What did I learn? I always thought the mass suicide took place in the US. Now I know it was South America.


Book 69 is Hunter by Mercedes Lackey.

Another fantasy book with an interesting premise and a strong independent heroin. Her hounds of hell are vicious but kind, a little like she is.

The competition is a little too easy for the main character. She wins everything, with so much power at hand. The Hunger Games balanced the competition a lot better than this book does. It is still enjoyable and I may continue to the series.

3 hell hounds out of 5.

Should I read this? Yeah, it's entertaining and enjoyable if you like fantasy and strong female characters.
What did I learn? I do not want the gates of hell to open... ever.