Saturday, December 19, 2015

Thinning the Herd | Adrian Phoenix

*This book was provided by NetGalley.


In Eugene, Oregon, Hal Rupert seems like your average, everyday dog catcher. He is, however, the town hero (though no one acknowledges this so that his friends can stay safe from the bad guys). Hal is well known in certain circles of lycans (ruled by the moon) and yokai (ruled by the sun). He's the only human standing between shape-shifters and humans. 


This book was a fun read. It has a lot of elements that I love from my quick reads. There's a strong sense of humor, an oddball hero, a disinterested damsel, a silly puppy and a sassy cat (thought don't tell the puppy I called him that).  The characters in this book are quite interesting and I'd love to read more stories from this world. I found the dialogue to be quite natural and the progression of the story easy to follow. I loved how Hal, Nick (dog) and Galahad (cat) go from one investigation of missing hippies and fortune tellers and land in the middle of something so much bigger.

There were a couple things I didn't like. There were a handful of minor editing errors that took me out of the book. The biggest thing, however, was Hal's interest in Desdemona. I get that he doesn't realize "creep", "loon" and the middle finger are insults and legitimate "go away" signs, but he is genuinely stalking her. Though his intentions are pure, it goes from kinda funny and cute to creepy after just a few paragraphs. Also, I feel that the poor biker got a lot more than he deserved.

Still, I do appreciate that Desdemona is a strong character in her own right. I love that Hal has his own sense of reality when it comes to his work. I especially love Galahad and Nick and their interactions with the one-shapes (humans) in their lives.

This is a good book for a quick read that is almost guaranteed to get you laughing. 4 hoots!

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Challenge for 2016

A while back I calculated that I had over 200 unread ebooks in my kindle. I also have 10-15 unread books on my shelves. I was able to finish 100 books (some of them comics/graphic novels) so I have more than enough books to keep me occupied for a year or two. Also, given my reading habits for the past year I know that if I don't focus on these books that I'm just going to end up letting them continue to sit, unread. And no book deserves to be unread. 

So, I am taking up the challenge set by Estella's Revenge. I will #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks for 2016. I have so many genres and formats left unread that I should always be able to find something I'm in the mood for. The only thing I'm lacking is non-fiction books, so I will allow myself to request one a month from either NetGalley or my local library. I will also not discourage people from buying me books or getting me gift certificates for book stores (wink, wink). 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age | David J. Helfand

*Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


"From dissolving our fear of numbers and demystifying graphs, to elucidating the key concepts of probability and the use of precise language and logic, this book supplies an essential set of apps for the pre-frontal cortex while making science both accessible and entertaining." - NetGalley Summary


This is a book to be taken slowly. I have a relatively strong interest in math and science, but less than average ability, so reading large segments at a time proved quite difficult. My brain wandered significantly while reading.

I appreciate what the author is trying to do. He is using the first several chapters to try to train your brain for the final few where he presents science vs. pseudoscience. It's similar in structure to Portal where the first 13 levels are actually tutorial levels for the final 10% of the game. He's even given several sample problems in the appendix (and their answers) for further mental exercise.

So, if you're looking for a refresher in math, science and/or critical thinking, this is a good exercise. Be prepared to take it slow, though. Helfand says he understands that his audience probably hasn't doesn't these kinds of mental exercises in some time, but I still felt that he was overestimating my abilities. 3 Hoots!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Seventh Bride | T. Kingfisher

*This book was provided by NetGally in exchange for an honest review.


Arranged marriages are nothing new. They're actually the norm for Rhea's village. But when a lord asks for her, a peasant girl, to marry him, it's out of left field. Lords don't marry peasants. No one is really happy with this arrangement, but peasant's don't say "no" to lords. The wrongness of the situation is made worse when Lord Crevan asks her to come to his manor, alone, before they are married. 


This book was a lot more engaging than I thought it would be. It had a very well balanced story. The darker parts were balanced by moments of hope. The frustrating parts were balanced by humorous moments. The characters were well thought out and highly intelligent. 

I genuinely have nothing but praise for this book. It was like a fairy tale that was fully fleshed out. There is plenty of magic, and magical animals. And while the main character needs occasional rescue, it is not a matter of waiting for Prince Charming to show up. Rhea and the other wives are all strong in their own right. They aren't all supportive of each other, but you never feel that outside help is needed. 

Overall, I highly recommend The Seventh Bride. It's a good story with even better characters. 4 Hoots!

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