Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars: ThrawnStar Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And I finally finished the series, by reading the first one.

I’m not sure if I enjoyed this book more because I had read the others first, or because I was so enjoying watching the set ups that I knew flowed into the series.

I can say I very much like Eli Vanto’s character dearly, which did help bring a few things to light that I didn’t quite get when read the third book.

I highly recommend the series completely (though I would recommend starting with the first book!). The whole series is worth a few weekends. If there was one thing this book did highlight, is how much I loved Thrawn from when I first met him back from Heir To the Empire, and how much I love his character even more now.

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Book Review: Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, this book isn’t very long, at just 198 pages on my digital copy from the library. It has, however, consumed most of my day.

It reads like Stephen King and the writers of ‘Lost’ had a child adept at fits of existential angst.

That there are two more books in this series doesn’t exactly thrill me into rushing out to read the rest of it, as I can’t help thinking it won’t satisfy me if I do.

It’s rather challenging on a level that’s hard to place, and forces the reader to question their own existential angst. This is not exactly a pleasant process even at the best of times and so trying to do it in midst of a pandemic and rampant, raging, uncontrolled stupidity everywhere, just seems to have added to the layers of this book I would rather leave well alone now.

Beautifully crafted work. But approach this book with caution.

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Book Review: The Gondola Maker (Venetian Artisans #2) by Laura Morelli

The Gondola Maker (Venetian Artisans #2)The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful! Meticulously researched, written with humanity and passion, this story leapt at me and refused to let go.

Such honest, humble characterization was powerfully written, and none of the twists and turns were even remotely as I’d imagined they might be.

I highly recommend this book!

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Book Review: The Fourth Estate by Jeffrey Archer

The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate by Jeffrey Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Entertaining, amusing, horrifying, informative, and page turning – this book is everything I enjoy about Jeffrey Archer’s writing.

I have to admit it took me a while to realise that I was reading a fictionalized ‘take’ on the lives of Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell – their scheming and their rivalry – but what this book left me with is the overwhelming recognition that some people will do anything, climb over anyone, lie, cheat, deceive in every single way they can, to get what they want, and to out do the next person.

It is also a wake up call for today, reminding me that when I am reading ‘the media’ I’m more than likely to be eating from someone else’s menu.

Townsend (Murdoch) and Armstrong (Maxwell) are as bad as each other in this story, right to the very end of it.

Fabulous stuff. I really couldn’t put it down for long!

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Book Review: Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars: Thrawn #3) by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars: Thrawn, #3)Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m kinda reading this series backwards!

Thrawn: Treason is all about politics. The nuances, the intrigue and the eye-rolling, cape tossing ‘I’m a Director! You must respect me!’

Seeing Krennic pop up in this book, made me squee in a way that wasn’t likely healthy for someone of my age. Watching the political plays between Krennic and Tarkin, with Thrawn in the middle made the story fascinating and kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed this book more than Thrawn: Alliances, it was a smoother read and the characters much more intriguing.

Now just need to go back to read the first one!

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Book Review: Defending Jacob by William Landay

Defending JacobDefending Jacob by William Landay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Managed to grab this on a ‘skip the waiting line’ plan at the library, and was curious about it because of Chris Evans’ role in the dramatization.

These things usually disappoint me, but for once I was absolutely floored by how much this book grabbed me and refused to let go.

Wow! This was a phenomenal book I could not put down.

Not everyone can successfully write in first person perspective, but this was so smooth, and so well crafted, it was exceptional.

William Landay has a fantastic way of making you turn the page, and is certainly an author I now want to read a lot more of.

Brilliant stuff that I highly recommend.

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Book Review: Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars)Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was first introduced to Thrawn back ‘a long time ago in a galaxy far far away’ when Timothy Zahn wrote the first Expanded Universe Star Wars Book – Heir to the Empire. When these stories was relabeled Star Wars Legend and no longer canon, I was happy to hear Thrawn was saved and pulled into the newer storylines.

Thrawn: Alliances had a nice balance of Vader and Anakin Skywalker. The story between the two timelines was fascinating and kept me flipping the pages to find how it all tied together.

I admit the only thing that threw me through the whole story was the ‘Double Vision’ which was when Anakin or Vader was using the force. It was jarring to me each time I saw it, and as an avid Assassins Creed fan, all I kept seeing was Eagle Vision. It wasn’t enough to ruin the story, but at times it was a definite jolt to the flow of the words.

If you enjoy reading inside the Star Wars Universe this is a delight to read.

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Book Review: The Column of Burning Spices (Hildegard of Bingen #2) by P.K. Adams

The Column of Burning Spices (Hildegard of Bingen #2)The Column of Burning Spices by P.K. Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After thoroughly enjoying the first installment of this story, I was eager for the second.

It doesn’t disappoint. The author has done an outstanding job of research and writing throughout.

For a moment however, I thought dear Hildegard was about to turn into Ellis Peter’s infamous Cadfael!

But that aside, I have to confess I got so caught up in the characters written about so very well here, that I suffered some serious demolition of the upper lip by the time I reached the end.

Very well done. Exceptional work.

Entertaining and informative.

Highly recommended.

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Book Review: One Shot (Jack Reacher, #9) by Lee Child

One Shot (Jack Reacher, #9)One Shot by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first time reading one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, having been somewhat fascinated by the film staring Tom Cruise.

This is the book the movie was based on, and I have to say the adaptation was very good. Mostly these things tend to suck between books and films, but this one didn’t.

My problem is that having read this now, I certainly don’t ‘see’ Tom Cruise in my head as Jack Reacher any more. I absolutely see another actor – Jim Caviezel – who could been far better in the role.

But, back to the book…

It was very good. Not hard to follow or digest. The writing broke up into strange small fragmentary sentences that were sometimes jarring and hard to flow through, but not in a debilitating way as far as reading itself goes.

I’m moving on to the book the second film was based on, and though I didn’t start this series at book 1, I feel that was in no way an impairment to enjoyment either.

I like Reacher. I like his attitude and his bluntness.

This makes for a good hearty distracting read on a quiet afternoon.

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Book Review: A Murder on the Appian Way by Steven Saylor

A Murder on the Appian Way (Roma Sub Rosa, #5)A Murder on the Appian Way by Steven Saylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was very hard trying to put this book down!

I do love how Steven Saylor weaves Gordianus into history, and makes dramatic sense of what were desperately dramatic times.

Great reading. Awesome research. Brilliantly enthralling.

Highly recommended!

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