One Good Dragon Deserves Another — Rachel Aaron

Still the same feeling that i was getting with Nice Dragons Finish Last, in that the pacing is still annoying me a bit.   I think it’s totally to do with there being so much going on in these books with so many great characters that sometimes the story takes one away from something that one really doesn’t want to be taken away from, leaving one chomping at the bit to get back to that one character’s story line, thus giving the impression that everything’s suddenly going slow and plodding along when it actually isn’t.   And then, when you find youself back at that one character’s story line you’ve been aching to get to, you’ll more than likely find that you’re now chomping at the bit to get back to another character’s story.

But — guess what — you keep-on-reading-and-a-reading because these books are really, really good with plenty of really, really great characters.

Which, you guessed it, left me chomping at the bit to get started on No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished.

Rachel’s Page

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Mother of the Year — Rachel Aaron

As usual i check the loc points when i open a book on my Kindle.   This one said 800, so was obviously a short, but i was rather disappointed when it suddenly ended after 242 loc points and i find the rest is just a marketing exercise for a future book in the series.   It’s a very short, short masquerading as a normal short.

But, ho hum, it was free for signing up to the mailing list so maybe i shouldn’t moan too much.   But just as you’re getting into Bethesda’s character and you’re really looking forward to the other 3/4’s of the 800 loc points being filled with even more revealing stuff, you realise you’re not getting what you hoped so much for.

So what’s the 242 loc points about?   Bethesda gets interviewed on another dragon’s chat show.

Sadly, only a little bit of background into Bethesda’s character, and her attitude towards her children, before moving onto the rest of the series: i so wished there was more.

Rachel’s Page

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Nice Dragons Finish Last — Rachel Aaron

All mostly very enjoyable.   My only moan is that some passages are a bit tedious: it’s like you just really want the pace to keep going but instead it slows right down to tell you what someone is thinking, or some long winded conversation, right in the middle of a load of fast moving chaos that you want to be enjoying in a fast pace way.   I admit that i only felt like that a few times, so it’s not like the book is like that all the way through, and that’s probably why those few passages stand out so much as the rest of it is really on a good pace throughout.

So, yeah, that’s my only moan.   Other than that, i really enjoyed it and i’m looking forward to more, and there’s certainly plenty more books in this series.   Rachel really has done something wonderful with dragons in this dragon centric story, placing them in a dystopian capitalist environment as totally psychopathic creatures, essentially, the ultimate capitalists.   And the dragon clans’ internal and external politics that get explored are really good.

Basically, everything you wanted to know about dragons but were too afraid to ask.   Now doesn’t that sound like fun?

Rachel’s Page

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Tales from the Cafe — Toshikazu Kawaguchi

I soooo enjoyed Before the Coffee Gets Cold so i was really looking forward to some more tales.

And i wasn’t disappointed.

One thing that really stood out in this book was that all the niggly little questions that the first book raised got answered along the way: i won’t say what as it may spoil things.   So it was rather good that as i started the book and i had questions in my mind that as i went along all the questions got dealt with.   I imagine that Toshikazu had quite a few people asking these questions after reading the first book and it’s good to see that they all got answered.

Other than that, it’s pretty much more of the same as the first book whereby we have four people wanting to travel in time to make something right with someone.   We also get to know the cafe staff and regulars a lot more along the way.

So yeah, great sequel and i really hope that Toshikazu thinks up a few more in the future and keeps the cafe going: it really is a good stage within which to fit stories into.

I continue to add my gripe from the first book, in that, there’s a cat on the cover but no cat in the book whatsoever.   Toshikazu, if you ever read this, please put a cat in the next book.

Toshikazu’s Page

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The Courage to be Disliked — Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

I couldn’t finish it.   Bless me, i tried to, i really did, but i really couldn’t take any more of this tedious mediocrity.

I had to keep on putting it down and going off and reading other things, and each time i came back i came back with good intentions, but each time i just put it down and went and read something else.   After 4 months of this toing and froing, i just had to give up: it really wasn’t doing my happiness any good whatsoever.

To sum it up: there’s someone who claims to be a philosopher who is having a discussion with a young man, but the young man is asking all the wrong questions and failing miserably to point out the flaws in the supposed philosopher’s babble: the ridiculousness of this conversation just makes one feel like banging ones head against the wall.

Seriously people, you could just keep picking random books off library bookshelves for the rest of your life and not read anything as tedious and pointless as this book.

As such, this book has received my website’s great honour of being placed on “The Bookshelf of Infamy”, i’ve also deleted it from my Kindle and Amazon account: yes, it really is that bad.

I certainly won’t be bothering to read the sequel.

Ichiro’s Page Fumitake’s Page

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The Constantine Affliction — T. Aaron Payton

I was hoping for some really good old fashioned Steampunk, but it’s certainly not the usual kind of Steampunk that one is used to.   It’s alright though, i read it to the end and don’t feel disappointed.

One caveat: this is most certainly not for children, so don’t go giving them a copy or you may be answering some rather awkward questions.

So yeah, an alcoholic private-detective meets his soul mate, a cis-woman, but he’s already married to a trans-woman who has been changed by the Constantine Affliction; then there’s a Frankenstein monster scientist looking for his soul mate, or rather trying to create her from corpses; a mad crazy megalomaniac inventor, Queen Victoria, dark and dingy Victorian London streets and tunnels, criminals and monsters, to name but a few: all designed to keep you thoroughly entertained.

So yeah, have at it.

Aaron’s Page

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How To Rule An Empire and Get Away With It — K. J. Parker

The follow-up to Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City: which is a really good book.   If you haven’t read that already then you really should before embarking upon this quest as this follows immediately on from that story.

And, seriously, once you’ve read and totally enjoyed Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City you’ll be very pleased to know that this is just as good as that was.   K.J. is as brilliantly absurd in his story telling in this as the previous book.

Yes, the siege is still going on and nothing much has changed but, instead of our story being told by a disgruntled military engineer, we’re now treated to a story told by a disgruntled playwright who does some acting on the side — who is obviously much better at telling stories and also pretending to be people who he isn’t: now what could be better than that, eh?

So if you haven’t tried K.J.’s writing yet, these two books are a great place to begin.   You’d have to be a proper grump not to enjoy them.

K. J. Parker’s Page Tom Holt’s Page

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Nasty: My Family And Other Glamorous Varmints — Simon Doonan

The book that spawned the TV sit com Beautiful People.   I don’t watch hardly any TV shows as 99% are utter crap: Beautiful People was well in the 1%.

So how did the book compare to the TV show?

Superbly.

I would definitely suggest to anyone thinking about reading this book to watch the TV show first, as i can’t see it being as good watching it afterwards.   The book has so much more of Simon’s life in it and there are so many more characters and escapades from his childhood that were left out of the TV show and if you read the book first you’ll probably end up getting grumpy that some of the characters and escapades in the book aren’t in the TV show.

That’s not to say the TV show is bad, it’s not, it’s superb, but in order to make a good sit-com out of this book there had to be a few characters left out and certain characters that were left in have been changed somewhat.

Anyways, enough of that, just go watch the TV show and have a good laugh knowing you’ve got a lot more to read about afterwards for desert.

My first Simon Doonan book, and it certainly won’t be my last.   He’s a really good writer.   Thanks for the giggles and laughs, Simon.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Shortly after i wrote the above review i received James Clear’s The 3-2-1 Newsletter which had the following quote in it:

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler Ross on how beautiful people are made:

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.   These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.   Beautiful people do not just happen.

Source: Death: The Final Stage of Growth

PS.   Do consider signing up for The 3-2-1 Newsletter — it’s really good — and don’t forget to read James’ book, Atomic Habits.

Simon’s Page

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — Ian Fleming

One of my favourite films, so favourite that i never bothered to read the book before.   I know, putting the cart before the horse is so unlike me.

Anyways, i’ve finally put things right and read the book, and guess what?   I totally enjoyed it.

Like the film, it’s aimed directly for young children, i’d say around 7 or 8 years old, but it’s also good for us Boomers who loved the film.

How do they compare?   Well the book only has some glimpses of the James Bond theme coming through, whereas the film, which was made well after Ian’s death, has all the Bond tropes shoehorned into it somewhere and is much more the James Bond for children thing.   Example would be that in the book Caractacus is married to Mimsie, but in the film they needed to work in the Bond girl trope somehow, so they killed off Mimsie and created Truly Scrumptious.   They also made the arch villain much more Bond like with the big castle, and all that, and gave him the Bond henchman in the Kiddy Catcher.

But the book is still good and well worth getting if you have young children to give them a good reading to before you make them sit and watch the film: i’m sure they’ll love it because Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is, without a doubt, the best James Bond film ever.

Enjoy.

Ian’s Page

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Galactic North — Alastair Reynolds

Galactic North, written by Alastair Reynolds.This is bizarre.   After three trilogy length novels — two spanning decades and one a few centuries — going into glorious detail and getting the reader really involved with the characters and their situations, we now have a story spanning tens of millennia that’s only a short: WTF?

It all feels extremely rushed, utterly lacking in depth and just seems like Alastair threw it together before breakfast to meet some publisher’s needs before he went on holiday.

Ho hum, we can’t really expect all of Alastair’s books to be excellent.   This one’s very disappointing.

Anyways, this is the last story in the whole series for now.   Just a bit of a wait until Inhibitor Phase is released on 26th August 2021.

It’s certainly been a blast reading the whole series in one go, it was just under 3 months ago when i began Great Wall of Mars.   And no inbetweenies due to boredom: this is one of those series that you just want to keep on reading without any other books getting involved.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

Alastair’s Page

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