Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Star-Reckoner's Lot | Darrell Drake

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*This book was given by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Ashtadukht is the worlds worst Star-Reckoner. Her attacks have a tendency to be volatile. But she was meant for this life when, from a very young age, she proved her intelligence and integrity before the great king. This book follows Ashtadukht's adventures to find vengeance for her husband while saving people in her kingdom from evil and trickster divs.


This book was an interesting journey. Despite this being a fantasy book, this isn't like my usual reads. The setting is Iran and the culture and references are general unknowns to me. To Drake's credit, it didn't take too long to get into the world and follow the story.

The characters in A Star-Reckoner's Lot are interesting, to say the least. Drake uses his research of divs to create some interesting looking and interesting sounding creatures. Waray was greatly my favorite character and it was easy to visualize her half-human, half-reptilian features. Her jokes and pranks were quite entertaining, then again, I wasn't on the receiving end. Tirdad was an incredibly strong and noble character who goes through quite a bit of growth throughout the book. Heck, even some of the side characters were given good lines: "I'm a whore, not a politician. I'm not heartless."

I will admit the pacing felt a little off to me. I don't know if it's the ebook format or the writing, but there would be a jump forward in time and a realization that a character had had that you, as the reader, just had to accept. The progression of Ashtadukht's character in her quest for revenge  makes sense after you've thought about it, but can be confusing at the time of reading.

Overall, I have to say that this was an entertaining adventure. Not for everyone given some of the sexual references and scenes, but definitely entertaining and interesting. 4 hoots!


                Hoot! Hoot!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spaceman | Mike Massimino

*Image and book provided by NetGalley

This book is an autobiography of Mike Massimino and his journey to become an astronaut.


While most people's introduction to  Mike Massimino (Mass) was The Big Bang Theory, I was first introduced to him via StarTalk Radio. Every episode that he has participated in I enjoyed immensely. His humor, intelligence and even just the sound of his voice are engaging when he speaks. So, when I found this book available on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. I was not disappointed! 

From beginning to end this story is incredible. Whenever you think about the journey to become an astronaut you have ideas about what it's like. While some of Mass's experiences are what we'd consider typical (competing with the best of the best to make the cut) there are several that I never would have thought of. Truth be told, it sounds like Mass never would have thought of them either. 

One of my favorite messages in this book is that, some of the things in our lives that we think are mistakes, may end up being what we actually need to live our dreams. Had any one thing in his life gone differently, Mass may never have made it to the Hubble telescope for his first space walk. And I can speak from my own experience that, when you reach a plateau of happiness, you can look back and see how your mistakes got you there. Something to keep in mind when you're mind is filled with regrets; It's not over. 

I don't read autobiographies often. In fact...I think this may be the only autobiography I've read outside of a literature or history class. I am so glad I made the exception for Spaceman! This is a book that almost had me crying. Twice. In public. For beautiful reasons! The camaraderie of NASA, not just the astronauts, but everyone involved is amazing and heartwarming. 

I'm not sure I've ever said this before but, I feel that this is a good read for anyone. Mass is so relatable, even for those of us not dreaming of going into space. This is one of those books that's going to be at the forefront of my recommendations list for a LONG time! 5 Hoots!


                Hoot! Hoot!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Command Is Forward | Alexander Woollcott

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


A reprint of the Stars and Stripes newsletter written during World War II to build the morale of the AEF (American Expeditionary Forces) in 1918. 


I knew I was reading a different kind of book when I saw the copyright date, 1918. That's the beauty of books and their ability to time travel. The Stars and Stripes was created with purpose of unifying American soldiers spread throughout the battlefront in Europe. It was considered to be a rounding success. After reading these stories, I can see why.

Every story recorded is incredibly inspiring, even those that are less than jovial. There are stories about the different roles that soldiers perform and how each one supports the other. From runners risking life and limb to pass messages to observation pilots getting shot in the air. From engineers building makeshift bridges to gunners forcing the enemy to flee. Almost every story in this collection is about the camaraderie. There are stories about men giving up their rations for the wounded. Stories about men in charge doing dangerous jobs because they wouldn't ask their men to risk their lives.

At the same time, there are also stories about French refugees returning home and rebuilding. About the reception they gave the soldiers who pushed back the German Army. The personal stories were just as moving as the group stories.

This book is not just for fans of history or World War II buffs. This is a book that people of almost all walks of life can be inspired by. Not necessarily inspired to join the armed forces, but inspired to view America in a new way. The way the final installment of The Stars and Stripes says the soldiers did when they were finally able to return home.


                Hoot! Hoot!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Great Mathematicians | Raymond Flood & Robin Wilson

A quick look at some of histories greatest mathematical contributors. From Western to Eastern philosophy, from ancient to contemporary history, these are the people who made mathematics. 


This isn't a book for laymen. I generally enjoy reading about mathematics but I had problems getting through this book. I had to force myself to read a lot of it and other parts I had my husband (a natural with mathematics) explain some of it to me.

That being said, I did appreciate how the book doesn't focus on western or European mathematicians. Influences from around the world are given well deserved representation in this book. Not everyone knows that "zero" was created by India.

I don't recommend this book for everyone. You'd have to be really interested in mathematics and the history of mathematics to really like this book. That said, I give this book 2.5 hoots.