Review: Shards of Honour

Shards of Honour
Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To be honest, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to. This is the first of Bujold’s “Vorkosigan” books, and I believe the first novel she wrote, but there is a maturity and a flair in the writing that surprised me. The universe in which the book is set has a slight feel of original Star Trek about it – and I mean that in the best way – but with more literary flair and subtlety. And. Less. Obvious. Tension. This is a novel first and a science fiction novel second, and it’s all the better for it.

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Review: Just a Geek

Just a Geek
Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wil Wheaton’s own account of his struggle to deal with the ghost of Wesley Crusher, to define a career path, and just get on with life. Partly drawn from his blog, but mostly consisting of fresh writing, this is an interesting and amusing birography. It’s a few years old now, but still worth reading.

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Review: The Evernote Bible – Guide to Everything Evernote, Including: Tips, Uses, and Evernote Essentials

The Evernote Bible - Guide to Everything Evernote, Including: Tips, Uses, and Evernote Essentials
The Evernote Bible – Guide to Everything Evernote, Including: Tips, Uses, and Evernote Essentials by Brandon Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good, short book on getting the best out of Evernote. Concentrates on what you’re trying to achieve, rather than how to do it in the software, which improves the book’s longevity, given the ever-changing nature of Evernote. As a long standing Evernote user, this book still gave me a few tips. I did notice one or two technical inaccuracies while I was reading, however, and the proof reading of the book is not brilliant in places.

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Review: Misspent Youth

Misspent Youth
Misspent Youth by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was not one of Peter F Hamilton’s best, though I did still enjoy it. Shame, because some of the themes it addresses (particularly the differences between the generations) are fascinating. What’s nice about this book is that it explores the genesis of some pieces of technology that Hamilton frequently uses in other books, most obviously that of regeneration of the human body. Having read several of his books in which such technology is taken for granted, it was nice to read a story that dealt with its roots. Also nice to see him write a near-future story, and be so on the mark with some of his predictions for future technology. His vision of an “always published, always on, always available” lifestyle has turned out to be pretty accurate – don’t forget this was written over a decade ago, before Facebook, Twitter, and carrying the internet around in your pocket.

Ultimately, what lets this book down most is the sex. There’s too much of it, the story relies on it too much, and it’s between people who are too obviously beautiful (always a flaw of Hamilton’s IMO). If it wasn’t for that, this would be a great book. As it is, it’s just a good book.

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Review: Boneshaker

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A steampunk novel set in 19th Century America, with zombies to boot? That sounds like a riot. And it is! Obviously, with a premise like that, this book was never going to be a challenging read. In fact it’s probably just about in YA territory. But it was a lot of fun to blast through, and even the zombie plotline hangs together better than you might think. So if you’re in the mood for a story with lots of action, incredible machines and over the top characters, you could do worse than this.

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Review: The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know this book is very highly regarded, and I read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and thought it was wonderful, but I just couldn’t get into this book. It’s a tale of middle class Americana, much in the style of Ira Levin or even Tom Wolfe, but I just couldn’t buy into the “reportage” style in which the book is written. To me it grated, and I ended up feeling that Eugenides had only used such an unusual writing style to conceal the fact that there wasn’t a lot to the story itself. I’m probably doing the book a great disservice by saying that, but it wasn’t really for me.

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