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2023 Reading Goal

75% complete! AndySoc1al has read 15 of 20 books.

The Great Gods (EBook, 2023, Morangeles) No rating

The long-awaited first volume in the Time Wars series, The Great Gods find young Camber …

Great Addition to the Continuing Time

No rating

no spoilers, so forgive the vagueness

Moran's latest, the LONG awaited new book in the Continuing Time series, is another phenomenally good read. His talent for explaining the world/universe without feeling like an infodump remains, and if anything his dialog has become sharper over the decades. The reader wishes they were half as clever or as confident as any DKM protagonist.

This short novel offers a great glimpse into the K'Aillae society and their mixed support of the humans in their fight against the Sleem. We will have to wait for some future story to explore the war with the Sleem, which is just how Moran builds his audience.

We also get a bit of detail about how the Tremodian clan began, and some hints of where it's going. He also explains why there was a planet named Tin Woodman.

But that's just worldbuilding. The action, the story, the interpersonal …

Everybody Wins (2022, Asmodee Editions, Aconyte) 5 stars

Review of 'Everybody Wins' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

It's a "coffee table book," so it's filled with photos and sideboxes of facts and insights. For all that it is a genre leaning toward the lighter end of narrative, Wallis was able to fit a lot of interesting insights into Everybody Wins. If you're interested at all in tabletop gaming over the past forty years, this is a great overview of the places we've been and recent trends.

Review of 'Colleen Hoover Ebook Boxed Set Slammed Series' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

This was chosen by my book club, and it is fine for what it is. I think it may appeal more to angtsy teen girls than to jaded middle-aged men, but the club spoke!

Plotting is good, the italics and bold in the text made the slam poetry appropriately hipster, and there were some tear-jerking moments, but overall the story was predictable YA romance.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2018) 4 stars

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth …

Review of 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Reid performs a fun balancing act of switching viewpoint characters, as well as sprinkling in ephemera from the history of the fictional protagonist. It's a very smooth and easy read, a real page-turner. While there are surprises and twists, they all feel very well-earned. It's a story of love, a story of devotion, a story of ruthlessness and of generosity.

By the end of the book, I really wished that Evelyn Hugo had been a real person, such is Reid's ability to create real characters. Monique and Harry and Celia all feel fully-realized as well, and even the characters who barely get any "screen time" act like people. The dialog is snappy and I'd love to have a snarky conversation with Evelyn.

Recommended to anyone who likes books about people and social norms.

Overnight Guest (2022, Harlequin Enterprises ULC) 4 stars

Review of 'Overnight Guest' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

While certainly a page-turner, the book stumbled a bit towards the end. I don't think the final revelations are truly earned by the previous text. Certainly, a thriller should throw a surprise at the reader, but upon looking back at the previous chapters, it should feel like the answer was there and we didn't see it. I don't believe that is the case here. There are also a number of grammatical choices that are counter to what we all learned in school (sentence fragments, comma splices, etc.) which pulled me from the story at times.

Review of 'Craft of Wargaming' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

For practitioners of wargaming, this is a great companion book to Peter Perla's classic "The Art of Wargaming." Arts and crafts...

It is only about 200 pages of main text, with an additional 150+ pages of appendices and bibliography.

The insights from a trio of writers who are currently working in the DoD wargaming world should not be ignored. The authors include some short anecdotes to illustrate the importance of each "best practice" they espouse, and also show the pitfalls of succumbing to "worst practices."

Good book for what it is, but it won't substitute for experience - good thing it has several practical exercises!

The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists (1990, United States Naval Institute) 4 stars

Review of 'The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

The gold standard of wargaming, Perla's book may be the most-referenced tome in the field. There's good reason for that - his insights and historical context information are very thorough and relevant. Some of the "contemporary" context is dated, since the book was released in 1990.

Review of 'Juicy Ghosts' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Let's be clear, Rucker has always been an acquired taste. I acquired the taste for his hoopy frood style decades ago, and he continues to deliver. This latest novel is another great example of his distinctive Santa Cruz wetware fiction, written during the Trump presidency and COVID-19 pandemic - these are definitely food for his story. If you want to see a little piece of an alternate world where cars have been replaced by biomechanical beasts of burden, tele-operated by living or (mostly) dead disembodied humans from a literal and metaphorical cloud computing system - well, you're weird, and you'll love this book.

The Kaiju Preservation Society (Hardcover, 2022, Tor Books) 4 stars

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver …

Review of 'The Kaiju Preservation Society' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

If snarky, self-aware dialog and giant alien monsters in alternate dimensions are your thing, this is your book. It's got humor (of course), adventure, and bad guys you really want to punch in the face.

It's nice to have some moral clarity in a story, and also giant monsters who breath nuclear fire.