Reading List 2017-Part 6

51. Cusp—Robert A. Metzger

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An interesting sci-fi book, but as it is written by an actual scientist, it had several parts where I thought that perhaps I would enjoy the book more if I had more of a background in the science that makes sci-fi work. And it seems to be so detailed, to show that the science actually works, that it was an extremely long book.
I definitely liked the story. It was intriguing, with some flavours of Firefly, if you’re a fan of that. But I would have preferred to have it stick to the story and have less of the why. If you are interested in science though, you would most likely disagree with me, and would enjoy the detail into which it goes.

52. One Second After—William R. Forstchen

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Dystopian, but much closer in the future than most dystopian books. Instead of looking at what the world would be like fifty or a hundred years after nuclear holocaust, this looks at what would happen one second after an EMP attack over the US. No immediate fatalities, no fallout, but more of a “look out for #1”, Lord of the Flies sort of thing.
When I first read Lord of the Flies, I didn’t think it was very realistic. But this book, I think is. Especially seeing the violence in the country even when we’re not on the brink of death, and seeing our dependence on electronics and luxuries.
Reading this book will make you want to stock your root cellar or basement with necessities, and put a bug-out bag in your car.
It’s probably one of the more realistic dystopian novels I’ve read recently. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see this actually happening.

53. Mortal Engines—Philip Reeve

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I thought I should go ahead and read this before the movie comes out. It’s set in the future, where most cities are “traction cities”, built on moving platforms. When they run out of resources in one area, they move onto another, “eating” smaller cities along the way, and stripping useful resources from them.
There are also some “static” cities where the inhabitants stay put their whole lives. People in each type of city think that the others are unintelligent barbarians.
An apprentice from London starts to learn that things may not be as he’s always thought. His city may not be as honourable as he believed, and his hero may not be a hero in any sense of the word.
But is it too late for him to do anything?

54. The Falconer—Elizabeth May

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Fantasy/celtic lore/steampunk…Not a half bad book :~)
I got this book as a gift from my library when I entered the summer reading program (finally, summer reading programs for adults…). I’d never heard of the author or the book, and didn’t want to read too much on the back cover, because those give too much away anymore.
It was a good choice.
It’s fantasy, and will be enjoyed by many fans of any fantasy genre. But it is different enough to keep you wondering and guessing at what will come next. It borrows from Celtic lore, but changes things enough that you don’t know where it is going.

55. The Dressmaker—Rosalie Ham

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I actually got the right version of The Dressmaker this time…
This has several differences from the film version, and I actually must say that I enjoyed the movie more. That does not happen very often.
The book is set in a small town in Australia, where a woman returns to care for her aging Mother after traveling the world for several years. The townspeople don’t accept her. It’s fairly typical to small town life, where everyone thinks they know everyone’s business, but everyone is hiding something.
Some of it is a little over the top, in a “Series of Unfortunate Events” way, where things just get worse and worse. But it remains believable.

56. Calling on Dragons—Patricia C. Wrede (audiobook)

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A floating blue donkey, a heap of a cats, a witch, a dragon, and a princess.
Wizards who are melted with soapy water (with a little lemon), and a witch who lives such a clean life that soapy water has no effect on her other than to keep her house looking nice.
I absolutely love this whole series, and have read them over and over again. The author pokes fun at a lot of the old faerie tale stand-bys, and weaves them gracefully into her own stories. You never know what is going to come next, but it will be memorable.

57. The Handmaid’s Tale—Margaret Atwood (audiobook)

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Another book I thought I should read before I have the story spoiled…
I needn’t have bothered.
I must really be in a minority, because I did not enjoy this book. I actually didn’t realize that this was a dystopian novel. I thought it would be more of a fantasy or historical fiction story.
The book was just so focused on sex. Even in a dystopian world, where people are used as brood mares basically, I would think there would be a lot more to life. And the thought processes of the main character made me ready for her to be killed off so the book would be more interesting.
I don’t think I went into it with any expectations other than that it would be a good book (since I didn’t even know the genre…), but even that expectation was dashed.

58. Jurassic Park—Michael Crichton (audiobook)

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No, I wasn’t just listening to audiobooks for a month straight…I listen to them while I’m working on projects that do not lend themselves to reading with my eyes.  And I am often listening to a couple at a time. As well as listening to music and episodes of The Twilight Zone radio theatre, and the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. It just so happened that I finished three audiobooks at about the same time.
It’s funny, because there are 2 on this list where I prefer the movie. This is the other.
I did like some of the backstory that was in the book. They explain why the dino embryos are being stolen, and they go into a lot of science and background. I also like when they’re looking at the Triceratops’ crop stones instead of digging through piles of crap.
But it kind of lost me when they threw a baby Velociraptor to the pack of raptors, and they tear it apart. The violence in some parts were just too much. Especially while listening. You can’t skim or look away while you’re listening to an audiobook.
Also, with the audiobook, the reader made Lex super whiny and annoying. I had to keep reminding myself that she was not really that annoying if you just listened to her words, and not the tone the reader said them in.
I would say that if you like the movie, you should read the book. It gives enough interesting extra info that it is totally worth it.

59. Hekla’s Children—James Brogden

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This was just weird.
Some kids are hiking as part of a school outing, and their teacher decides not to go with them. They disappear, and only one comes back, though she refuses to talk about what happened.
Years later, in that same area, a body from the stone age is dug up. He is pieced together from several bodies, and when he is on the news, Olivia, the girl who came back, insists that he needs to be returned so that evil can’t enter the world.
The teacher starts to try to work things out, and the story unfolds of another world that butts up to this one, and the evil that is trying to get through to consume everything. They have removed the only one protecting the barrier, and they have to find a way to fix things.
It was a good concept, and mostly a good story. There were some parts that felt like padding to meet a word count, but for the most part, it was a good book. It’s classed as horror, but I’d say more suspense. It really wasn’t scary.

60. The Ghosts of Lakeforth Hotel—Amy Cross

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I discovered Amy Cross on Amazon, and have been quite enjoying her books. This one starts with a woman on a road trip with her sister and boyfriend. The boyfriend wants to go back to the hotel where he went with his family when he was young.
But weird things start happening when they arrive. The ghost of a young girl begins to appear to them, and the boyfriend is acting a little wonky.
The story goes back to the start of the hotel, and the story of the founders, and the little girl who is haunting it.
Amy Cross’ stories are both scary, and sadly haunting. The books I have read so far would fit into the horror genre. They give you chills, but it’s not all violence and gore. They make you think as well, about what your actions do to others.

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