Monday, August 14, 2017

Empire of Time (New Pompeii #2) by Daniel Godfrey

Empire of Time (New Pompeii, #2) Fifteen years have passed since the events of New Pompeii, and Nick Houghton/Decimus Pullus (hereafter referred to as Nickimus for brevity's sake) is the only modern man still living a regular Pompeiian life. [...since everyone else was literally crucified.]

Nickimus is having some trouble in the outside world, as he's grown comfortable in a world of slavery, pedophilia, and recreational torture. (Not that he personally engages in the last two, but he's not exactly advocating for civil rights, either.)

He's pretty much banned from everywhere except Naples, where he occasionally goes in his role as ambassador from New Pompeii, which is essentially a colonial economy dependent on imports. Part of the plot occurs here, as scholars outside of New Pompeii are finding more evidence of NovusPart's meddling in time.

The rest of the story happens inside New Pompeii, where Nickimus is helping/hindering/helping/hindering/ad infinitum Calpurnia's efforts to restart the last remaining NovusPart time machine to rescue her husband from the wreckage of Herculaneum, and give New Pompeii more leverage and power to interact with the rest of the world.

I couldn't put this book down, but it was difficult to follow at times. I suppose that's expected from a book about the inherent paradoxes of time travel. We follow Nickimus through separate, seemingly concurrent plots that I can't place on a timeline, even a week after finishing.

I didn't anticipate the ending, and that's always a big win for me.

It's worth the read, and it's even worth buying.

Considering that I read at least a couple books a week, I simply can't afford to buy all of them, so off to the library I go... but this is on my bookshelf at home. Congrats, Mr. Godfrey, on that prime real estate!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

I like... but a bit intimidating.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Imagine you are standing with your face up and your mouth wide open underneath a waterfall of Skittles.

At first, a few Skittles get into your mouth and you can taste them. Awesome, you think. I love Skittles.

Then, the Skittles become overwhelming, as more and more try to force themselves in, and millions and millions puddle around your feet, piling up past your knees.

That's kind of how this was.

I'm all about learning new things, but there were SO MANY FACTS IN SUCH A SMALL SPAN. By the time I hit page twenty, I realized I was mentally absent as my eyes and mind processed words but failed to commit those words to actual thought.

I wanted to love this book. I want you to love this book.

Alas, I just felt overwhelmed.

I recommend this book, but read it slowly and in small sittings. As a person in a hurry, I tried to plow through it all at once and became lost.

received via Netgalley

I Will Love You Forever by Tatsuya Miyanishi

Don't do it.

I Will Love You Forever I generally don't publish negative reviews in the spirit of "If you can't say anything nice..." However, I couldn't let this one sit.

This harsh story is not recommended -- I couldn't imagine a worse message for adopted children. Other books by this author have been delightful and heartwarming, and I can only hope that this is simply a bad translation from the original Japanese.

A female maiasaura dinosaur finds an abandoned tyrannosaurus egg one night, and decides to raise the baby tyrannosaurus as her own. Baby t-rex is never told he's adopted, and is indoctrinated by neighbors that t-rexes are evil brutes. After all, t-rexes have been known to eat maiasauras. Despite this, his childhood appears to be warm and loving, and he has a special relationship with his adoptive mother.

When he inevitably figures out that he is actually a tyrannosaurus, he has a bit of a breakdown as he processes that he is actually the enemy he has been raised to fear. He runs away with another t-rex, presumably his biological parent, never seeing his adopted mother again.

What is the point, here? To tell kids that you are defined by your genetics and choices of your ancestors, that you'll never fit into your adopted family, and that you should live up to other people's prejudices?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. No way, Jose.

In sum: recommended if you want to cause emotional damage to a small adopted child; not recommended otherwise.

received via Netgalley

Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore

It's okay to love the bad boy, sometimes.

Hungry Ghosts (Eric Carter, #3) In the huge world of urban fantasy, Eric Carter stands out. Where Jim Butcher's Dresden is full of humor and goodwill, Eric is incredibly violent and often cruel, and when Kevin Hearne's Atticus shows a drive to make the world a better place, Eric is hellbent on revenge at any cost. Despite our hero being kind of a bad guy, I couldn't help but hope he succeeded.

Departing from books one and two, Hungry Ghosts takes place entirely in Mexico. In a very tight spot involving Santa Muerte following the events of books one and two, Eric hunts down the one woman who knows how he can get his revenge on Santa Muerte and her husband.

The story wraps up nicely, but there is still enough unresolved conflict to hint at the possibility of book four.

I'll now spend the next several months obsessively checking Stephen Blackmoore's website for any updates.

Here's hoping the author Googles himself, finds this, takes pity on my soul, and let's me know the score on book 4.

received via Netgalley

The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell

He doesn't know this, but we just became friends.

The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4
A light, enjoyable read full of short, disconnected chapters containing musings on family, pop culture, and politics as seen through the lens of race in America. Entertaining and engaging. I have added him to my honorary list of celebrities/public figures that would make a great cool uncle.

received via Netgalley

Dustrats by Adria Regordosa

adorable. And I don't even like cats.

Dustrats: Or, the Adventures of Sir Muffin Muffinsson A beautifully imaginative tale of a cat who protects his human during wild and sometimes turbulent dreams. Perfect for reading before bed.

received via Netgalley

Besieged (Iron Druid Chronicles) by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne will always receive every available cup.

Besieged (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4.1, 4.2, 4.6, 4.7, 8.1, 8.2, 8.6, 8.7, 8.9) First off, this made me love Owen even more. Also, fun fact: cover Owen looks like a mashup of my dad and my husband, so he wins even more points.


Oftentimes, short story compilations are sort of a consolation prize while readers wait for the next book -- kind of a greatest hits of cut scenes that don't really move the plot forward. However, Besieged is not one of these books.

While most stories are told from the viewpoint of Atticus, there are stories told by Granuaile and Owen, too. Each of these stores serves to fill in our knowledge of the characters' pasts or set up for the next novel in the series. It's great to see that all three druids are off doing their own thing, keeping multiple plot points open even as their lives frequently intersect.

It would be wrong to skip over this book while waiting for the next in the series. It's a fun visit to the three druids, and will get readers excited for the next full novel.

received via Netgalley