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Sean Gursky

Joined 8 months, 1 week ago

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reviewed New Spring by Robert Jordan (The Wheel Of Time, #1)

Robert Jordan: New Spring (EBook, 2004, Orbit) 4 stars

The prequel novel to the globally bestselling Wheel of Time series - a fantasy phenomenon …

Review of 'New Spring (Wheel of Time)' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I am beginning my The Wheel of Time series re-read with a new-to-me book, New Spring. In the decade since I conclude the WoT series I have forgotten more than I remember and while New Spring felt unfamiliar there was comfort being back in this world. Enjoyable read and maybe I will appreciate the story more and rate it higher if I didn't have a decade between re-reads.

Let the mammoth series re-read commence...

Review of 'Final Gambit' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

As the The Inheritance Games series went on my excitement decreased. The twists and turns are fun but at a certain point I got whiplash from being jostled around by the story. And then the family tree became convoluted I started to lose interest in any new character.

The fourth book in the Games was just released but I'm content to end my journey here.

Wesley Chu: Time Siege (2016) 3 stars

Review of 'Time Siege' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

It seemed no matter what he did, he had no place in the universe.

Enjoyable. Plenty of action to keep me entertained but the story isn't complete. I didn't realize a third Time Salvager book is in the works. As the story raced to the conclusion and there were still loose threads in the epilogue I began to wonder what was amiss.

My complaints about the focus on Elfreth in Time Salvager 1 aren't as relevant this time around because the scale of the "savages" and their unification gave a definite David (Earth) vs. Goliath (Co-op) vibe.

At first, it felt great not to have that responsibility, but now, not he felt useless and unwanted.

One of the most interesting parts of Time Siege was how James coped with being obsolete. That fed into his addiction and it really showed the fragility of the character and the eventual redemption arc.

Wesley Chu: Time salvager (2015) 3 stars

Convicted criminal James Griffin-Mars is no one's hero. In his time, Earth is a toxic, …

Review of 'Time salvager' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I enjoy when a book can take a concept and then build a world, religion, science and laws around that concept. Being able to do a deep dive and understand how this world operates with that concept operating at its core is a fun thought experiment.

Wesley Chu did an admirable job of taking the thought experiment of time travel and the implications it would have before, and after, it was invented. There is some fun science fiction elements and warnings about the implications of our technology.

I liked this book, until it deviated away from the concept that got my attention. Once the story settled in a single location and had Little House on the Prairie vibes my enthusiasm decreased. There were still hints of what I found initially appealing but it became second to Elise and the Elfreth.

I was entertained from cover to cover but the book …

Maureen Ryan: Burn It Down (2023, HarperCollins Publishers) 4 stars

Review of 'Burn It Down' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Tony Soprano behaving badly, that's creativity. A woman using her sexuality on her own terms? Disgusting.

Maureen Ryan has delivered a powerful book. Each chapter dove into another form of the unpleasant Hollywood underbelly and kept going.

Another brief but memorable phrase: "Vengeance is a lazy form of grief".

Ryan has such elegance to her writing and ability to go into difficult and sensitive subjects that my simple review won't do it justice.

Ryan explores the trauma and suffering of sexual assault victims, actors who were given inconsequential roles due to the color of their skin, the difficulties of being a female in a male workplace and how this infection in Hollywood can continue to fester because it "gets results".

I read this book as the WGA strike was underway and SAG-AFTRA was considering striking and seeing Ryan's prediction about the union tensions was fascinating as it unfolded in realtime. …

Brandon Sanderson: Yumi and the Nightmare Painter (2023, Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC) 5 stars

Yumi comes from a land of gardens, meditation, and spirits, while Painter lives in a …

Review of 'Yumi and the Nightmare Painter' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The Year of Sanderson has been a treat. A new Sanderson book every three months is truly spoiling us. I appreciate that not all Secret Project books are in the Cosmere, and if they are, Sanderson has the opportunity to try something outside of his typical epic fantasy.

Yumi and Nightmare Painter is my favourite Secret Project to date. I enjoyed Tress of the Emerald Sea but my familiarity with the concepts of the world allowed me to jump in without much resistance.

And mine you, this wasn't normal stacking. No simple largest-to-smallest tower. No, this was expert-level ceremonial, artistic stacking. With a vengeful air.

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter was a bit more concealed in everything. There is a slow reveal to the magic of the world, characters are delicately expanded, everything is a little strange and the conflict isn't immediately known. This deliberate pace allowed Sanderson to play …

Wesley Chu: Rebirths of Tao (2018, Watkins Media Limited) 3 stars

Review of 'Rebirths of Tao' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I had limited reading time the last few weeks and only got to this book in bits and pieces. It took me over three days to get through the Epilogue!

My critique of Tao #2 with unfamiliar character perspectives applies here but it seemed less clunky?

I enjoyed reading this book, and the entire series, but it failed to grip me in a way that would want me to prioritize reading over a nap or other weekend activities.

Review of 'The deaths of Tao' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

A few weeks behind on reviews so this will be brief.

I found the additional POV's a negative to the story. The other characters didn't connect with me, which makes sense as Roan/Tao had the benefit of having an entire book to themselves and the new POV's didn't get that benefit.

I was enjoying the book less than Tao #1 so that's why this gets an "it was okay" rating.

Review of 'The lives of Tao' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Brandon Sanderson's name dropping of Wesley Chu lead me to The Lives of Tao and it didn't disappoint. This was an enjoyable read that offered some unique (to me) science fiction aspects, fun banter between the co-leads (Tao and Roan). and over the top non-stop action.

This is a light review, I didn't highlight any passages but am intrigued enough to keep reading the series and will move on to The Deaths of Tao next.

Review of 'The lion in the living room' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Maybe a lion purring in our lap or cavorting in our living room evokes our global mastery, our total control of nature.

Abigail Tucker did a deep dive for The Lion in the Living Room. Tucker made sure the history was thoroughly researched and ensured all topics between past and present were carefully articulated.

Cats, though, are self-contained. They don't need people to complete them. They are the most at home in perfect isolation, whether in nature or the virtual world.

Unfortunately I felt the book to be incredibly dry. I had a difficult time feeling motivated to read the book and found the chapters exhausting. The book is insightful but it felt like an onslaught of information, and sadness.

Cats are ruining ecosystems, cats are poisoning us with toxoplasmosis and cats don't need us. I identify as a cat person but after this book I feel a little …

Mary Roach: Packing for Mars (2011, Norton) 4 stars

Space is devoid of the stuff humans need to live: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh …

Review of 'Packing for Mars' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

It's amazing what sometimes gets accomplished via initially jarring but ultimately harmless shift in thinking.

Packing for Mars is a deep dive on the minutia of what has been considered for space travel. I feel that current technologies and processes can be taken for granted but the effort to take it from a whiteboard to space offers a challenge at every turn.

I once read an Air Force technical report that lists the desired attributes of edible paper: "Tasteless, flexible, and tenacious."

How do you test the first zero gravity toilet? How do you fit the flagpole in the moon lander on the Apollo 11 mission?

Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much normalcy can people forgo? For how long, and what does it do to them?

Packing for Mars was an easy read that allowed me to casually drop …

Review of 'A Shadow in Summer (Long Price Quartet, #1)' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

I'm definitely in a rough patch with what to read and A Shadow in Summer is my latest victim.

I enjoy Daniel Abraham but this book didn't connect for me. I struggled to get through it and I couldn't see myself carrying on for the rest of the series. I'm not sure what my issue was with the story, I wasn't immediately engaged but forced myself to keep reading in hopes of something clicking but it never came.

Blake Crouch: Dark Matter (2016, Crown) 4 stars

One night after an evening out, Jason Dessen, forty-year-old physics professor living with his wife …

Review of 'Dark Matter' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

He did this to me. No. It's way more fucked up than that. I did this to me.

I went in with zero knowledge of what this book was about and it blew my socks off. I was captivated by the book. I disrupted my routine for several days to read more than I typically would. This book could find itself get upgraded to five stars but for now it's a strong 4.5.

If you strip away all the trappings of personality and lifestyle, what are the core components that make me me?

I like playing with the thought of experiment of what would happen if you woke up with a clone. Would you set them to tasks around the house while you enjoyed your free time? Would you duel to be the only one?

My understanding of identity has been shattered...

Multiverse has been popularized in media over the …

Taylor Jenkins Reid: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Hardcover, 2017, Atria Books) 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'

5 stars

I hate Evelyn, but I think I like her very much.

I did not expect to give this book 5 stars. I was looking for a casual read. I wanted a break from my other books. What I received was an incredibly touching, beautiful and sad love story.

I judged The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo incorrectly. Much the same way Monique peels back the layers of Evelyn's life and understands motives and heartache, so did I. This story was extremely well written and it threw several emotional curveballs I hadn't experienced in other books from Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Being wanted meant having to satisfy. At least, that was my view of it back then.

"You loved having a movie star on your arm. You loved getting to be the one who slept in my bed. That's not love. That's possession."

"I have no idea what you're talking about", he …