Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Report #123 - Star Trek: Seekers 2: Point of Divergence by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

Book 47 of 52
Page count - 351

Part two of the new Seekers series, which is itself part two of the Vanguard epic.

This book takes up where Seekers 1 left off.  The Sagittarius is stranded on the surface while the Endeavour has arrived to help in a rescue and to solve the mystery of the Tomol, who are now running amok and making a large nuisance of themselves.

To be honest, this book was a bit of a one-note experience.  The Tomol keep evolving, gaining new powers and generally making things more and more dangerous for the humans.  This goes on for well over 200 pages; just more and more power gains until the Tomol have evolved into X-Men.  It was a bit much, especially considering the Klingons were also in orbit, trying to be menacing but largely being ignored by Ward & Dilmore.

There was something about this book that just fell a bit flat, for me.  The end was satisfying in that Star Trek way and I enjoyed THAT enough to say it was a good read.  But, yea, those middle 200 pages were a bit of a slog.

Dayton Ward (left) & Kevin Dilmore (right)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Report #122 - The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten. by Steve Martin

Book 46 of 52
Page count - 103

What a wonderful little book.  Sometimes these little gems just make reading something special.

This is a collection of "Best Of" Steve Martin tweets.  It starts right from the beginning; when Martin discovered Twitter.  Some of his tweets are laugh-out-loud, it also takes a fun turn when Martin tweets Christmas carol sing-a-longs, getting his followers to finish the verses.

Once he caught the bug of crowd sourcing, the book moves on to tweets that have garnered some of his favourite responses.  The world can be a creative and funny place under the proper direction.

Steve Martin does it again; providing you with a fun and insightful distraction to your day.  Many smiles were prompted by reading this book.


Steve Martin

Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Report #121 - Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein

Book 45 of 52
Page count - 223

Classic SF!  You know, for 1948, the author got much of his speculation right, except for Venus.

This is one of his juvenile books where we follow the adventures of Matt Dodson, a teenager who joins the Space Academy in the hopes of joining the Solar Patrol.

Matt is a very straight laced kid who makes good friends along the way.  The academy is not an easy place to learn and he is challenged continually.

I liked the book quite a lot but I found the ending bogged down and I did not enjoy it as much.  With the explosion of Young Adult fiction these days this book can hold it's own, even though it may read a bit stiff compared to more contemporary works.

Robert A. Heinlein

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review #120 - The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block

Book 44 of 52
Page count - I don't really know; I read it as an e-book and the page count depends on the font size chosen.

This is the first Matthew Scutter novel; a series that is wildly popular with mystery fans.

Scutter is an ex-cop turned "private eye."  He is not a licensed PI but does "favours" for people for money.  By not being a legitimate investigator he is not restricted by the laws and regulations of that profession.  Even though he solves mysteries he is not doing it for the justice system (at least not in this book) but to help his client.

Scutter left the police department after a truly unfortunate accident.  He is an alcoholic; although he was never drunk he was never without a drink.

The novel was set in present day 1975 back when New York was a scary, dirty and dangerous place.  The sense of place was vivid in my imagination.  The story itself moved at a quick pace and was completely engrossing.  I tore through the book in a very short time.

A young woman is brutally murdered by her roommate.  She was estranged from her father and it is he who hires Scutter to discover what her life was like from when he lost contact to the time of her death.  This proved to be an interesting angle since he was not hired to solve the murder; the cops already had the man who was covered in her blood.

As Scutter learns about her life, he keeps bumping against the crime itself, which does not quite fit together neatly.

It's no wonder I like Block so much; his writing flows like water over a smooth rock - it is effortless to read.  I just love it.

Lawrence Block

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Winner Lose All - A Lando Calrissian Tale; Star Wars Legends by Timothy Zahn

Fun story (mine, I mean) I bought Scoundrels in paperback a few months back.  I've been looking over the bookcase, trying to find another book for the Book A Week Challenge.  The new trailer for Star Wars Episode VII was just released and it got me thinking that I'd like to read something in the Star Wars universe.

I went on line to see where Scoundrels fit in the time line when I found Winner Lose All described as a prequel to the book and since it was a short story it was only $1.99 for Kindle, so I bought it.  It was when I was half way through the ebook that I noticed a badge on the cover of Scoundrels that said: "Includes the bonus novella Winner Lose All."

Well, damn; I bought it twice.

No matter, it was a fun story and I enjoyed it very much.

I'm a sucker for a heist story and this one involves Lando Calrissian, high stakes gambling, a valuable work of art and two thieves who are trying to steal it.

Lots of fun.

If this is a taste of the book I bought I think I'll enjoy it very much.

Timothy Zahn

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review #119 - Hector and the Search for Happiness by Rancois Lelord

Book 43 of 52
Page count -164

What a lovely little book.   

Hector was recently made into a movie, which is how I came to know of the novel. 

Hector is a psychiatrist living a good, if dull life.  Like many of his patients he is not feeling particularly happy, so he sets out on a trip around the world to try and discover what makes people happy.

The chapters are short and told in a tone used in childrens' books.  I kept thinking that the book would lend itself to being read out loud.  The target audience is definitely adults even though there is absolutely nothing in it that would offend younger readers.

I found myself smiling throughout and kept looking forward to reading it every time I had to put it down.

Highly recommended.

NOTE - This novel was originally published in French in 2002 and was translated to English and released by Penguin Group USA in 2010.

NOTE 2 - If you enjoyed the movie of Hector you may also like the Bill Murray version of The Razor's Edge.

Francois Lelord

Movie Poster