August Reading Log

10 books! I was busy

Robopocalypse – Daniel H. Wilson

I was looking for more books told like World War Z – a sort of oral history of a cataclysmic event. Someone online mentioned Robopocalypse was told in a similar way, so I checked it out. It is similar, but not as good.

It’s set in the future some time, with self driving cars, and domestic robots that help out around the house, run errands, deliver mail, etc. A scientist creates an AI that is self aware, and said AI sets out to preserve life at all costs, even if that means eliminating humans to save other lifeforms.

The book’s okay, but not that great. Each chapter begins and ends with a note from the main character of the book, which pulled me out of the story every time. Also, the book centers mostly around the people in the US, with only a few chapters of a reoccurring character in Britain. I would have liked to have seen how the world handled the robot apocalypse.

The Eden Plague – David VanDyke

I picked up the second book, Reaper’s Run, for free off BookBub. After finishing it, I picked up the first three books in a box set so I could see the origins of the Eden Plague. The book details a guy whose last name is Markis, and what he does after he’s been affected by the Eden Plague. The book is only okay.

The Eden Plague is a easily transmittable virus that makes people pretty much perfect, at least physically. Physical ailments like diabetes or heart disease are eradicated, even amputated limbs are regrown. In several cases, people who are severely injured, or suffering from conditions like MS, have been completely cured by the Eden Plague. The two downsides to the Eden Plague are that Edens have a super high metabolism, and they become pacifists. The government doesn’t like the second part, so Edens are made out to be terrible people.

I don’t know, I just didn’t love the book. It was nice to see the back story of how the Eden Plague came to be, and I loved the hidden bunker, but the rest was only okay. I don’t know how else to describe it. Not bad, just not my kind of book.

Reaper’s Run – David VanDyke

I read this book first, before The Eden Plague. Reaper is the nickname of Jill Repeth, and she’s a combat veteran and double amputee. At the beginning of the book, she’s on a cruise ship that’s been infected with the Eden Plague, but doesn’t know it. The book follows her from the cruise ship through the United States as she heads to find family. Along the way, the Eden Plague heals her amputated limbs, and she comes to see the Eden Plague as a blessing.

Again, the book was okay, but I didn’t love it. There were parts I liked, like her living with a family while her legs grew back. In addition to being interesting (somewhat backwoods people with big hearts), there was also the issue of a local militia of sorts, and the politics of the world. So, I liked that. I just had a lot of trouble relating to Reaper, as I’ve never served in the military.

Skull’s Shadows – David VanDyke

Probably my least favorite of the three books, Skull is a character I just can’t relate to at all. A former military sniper, he doesn’t have much of a conscience, and it’s hard for me to relate. He kills many people throughout the book, and doesn’t really feel remorse, and to me it’s kind of off putting. I realize he’s in situations where he doesn’t get much of a choice, but still.

Also, a lot of this book happens in his head, so it’s kind of a boring read. When there’s action, there’s plenty of it, but when there’s not, it can be several pages of being in Skull’s head.

Apocalypse How: Making the End Times the Best of Times – Rob Kutner

Speaking of the apocalypse in a couple forms, I thought this book would be appropriate to read. I also thought it would be funny.

Turns out I was wrong on both counts.

The book is well written, and the layout of the book, with the graphics and formatting, is well done. But the book isn’t funny. Kutner’s idea of the apocalypse seems to be that everyone will be glowing and have three arms from the nuclear fallout, and we’ll all be eating dirt and rocks to survive. Those jokes are repeated multiple times, and it gets old. I expected a funnier take on the more common “prepper” style books, but instead I get “everyone will be eating rocks, you can have all the stuff you want, here’s a cheesy pickup line for that woman with 3 arms.”

A Brother’s Price – Wen Spencer

I picked this up a while back because it’s mentioned in a number of places on TV Tropes, and I love that site. It’s a world where women outnumber men 10 to 1 (or more), and when a man marries, he marries a woman and all her sisters, sometimes having as many as 30 wives. The “Brother’s Price” of the title is the price paid by a group of sisters for someone else’s brother. That price usually allows the brother’s sisters to be able to afford a husband of their own.

This one was a neat read, and a fairly quick one. I was pretty engrossed in it, and stayed up later than I should. The world was neat, kind of an 1880s era, with guns and cannons and steam powered ships, but nothing more advanced. Also, the way genders were done in the book was interesting. The men in the book are prized and protected, and yes, do the work we associate with women (cooking, raising kids, sewing), but at least Jerin isn’t a timid fainting creature. He has plenty of skills that actually end up saving him and other people, as well as a solid head on his shoulders. Sure, he’s young and inexperienced, and falls for the first woman outside his family that shows any interest in him, but he’s also 15 and sheltered.

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend – Box Brown

I didn’t realize this would be a graphic novel. I saw it was a Young Adult novel when I reserved it from the library, but I didn’t think about the graphic novel aspect until I picked it up. Still, it’s a solid read about Andre’s life, especially his time wrestling.

I remember Andre the Giant wrestling when I was a kid. I loved him in The Princess Bride. I know he didn’t have an easy life, and his drinking exploits were legendary. The book added enough to detail to what I already knew that I enjoyed it, although I didn’t love it.

School for Sidekicks – Kelly McCullough

Found this one on a whim because I’ve read other McCullough books and liked this. This is certainly not an adults book, the main character is 13, but it’s a fun read anyway.

Evan Quick wants to have metahuman powers (his world’s version of the superhero), and he lives in the town where the “Hero Bomb” had gone off some 30 years before, creating the world’s first metahumans, dubbed Masks for the heroes, and Hoods for the villains. He checks for metahuman powers every day, until one day it happens: he has super powers!

He’s taken to the school where metahumans are trained, which the student call “the school for sidekicks.” Like anything else, there’s a lot of red tape and bureaucracy, and so most of the students spend their lives as sidekicks While he’s there he makes friends with some students, and has an instant enemy in the daughter of Captain Commanding, who also hates him.

I enjoyed the book immensely, despite it being for kids. McCullough has a way with the genre that makes it fun and reasonable believable. Well, as a believable as metahumans can be. Also, he incorporates today’s younger generation’s ideas of gender and sexuality without making it a big deal, or see unusual. There’s one character that can blur because appearances of all kinds, when they are in guy forms, they stay in Evan’s dorm. When they are in gal forms, they stay with the girls. No one cares. Evan chances a kiss with a girl; later on, another girl chances a kiss with the same girl. Neither of them get a positive reaction, but it’s made out to be no big deal. I mean, the kids are 13, so it’s probably not a big deal at that point. But I love the kids are all accepting that things aren’t black and white, or cut and dried.

52 Reasons to Hate My Father – Jessica Brody

Came across by BookBub on a discount and I thought the premise looked interesting. It wasn’t great, but I don’t regret spending $3 on the quick, easy read.

Lexington Larrabee is a heiress to a media empire, and at 17, crashes an expensive car into a convenience store while drunk. Her father, while not the type to publicly flip out over another of Lexi’s stunts, is still put out, and puts down an ultimatum: she has to work a different job every week for 52 weeks, or she’ll lose out on her 25 million dollar trust fund. She’s understandably upset, and even more pissed that her father is putting Luke, an intern, on the task of shuttling her to her jobs.

The book’s cute. Lexi goes from selfish spoiled rotten brat to mostly nice person over the course of 27 weeks, or thereabouts. We don’t see all the jobs she does, but there’s messages she leaves catching Luke up on her jobs, as well as a few chapters with her at her jobs. For example, she’s working fast food at a Taco Jose’s, and meets a guy there who takes her home to see the family and have dinner. She starts to realize just because people are poor doesn’t mean they’re lacking, and that the guy’s family has more in terms of love and relationships that she’s ever had.

Lexi grows up a little too quickly, and there’s a few spots that are pretty contrived (like a climax reminding me of the movie version of The Devil Wears Prada), but it was cute and an easy read.

Bergdorf Blondes – Plum Sykes

I am a glutton for punishment. That’s about the only reason I can think of that explains why I finished this book. It’s a good thing I bought a used copy of the book with the gift card I got from the ebook pricing lawsuit, or I would seriously be kicking myself.

The book is described as chick lit, but I’ve read chick lit, and this isn’t it. This is brainless fluff masquerading as chick lit so unsuspecting women will buy it. It’s like a worse version of The Devil Wears Prada, and that’s one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

The main character of the book doesn’t have a name, she’s only known as “Moi” in the 2 or 3 spots she references herself. She’s a blogger about Park Avenue Princesses, fashion, and why you should wear expensive clothes. Her best friend, Julie, is the heiress to Bergdorf, and Moi goes along with pretty much everything Julie wants. Julie decides she needs a potential husband, because nothing gives the face a glow like being engaged. Moi dutifully goes along, getting herself a potential husband

Shenanigans ensue.

Stupid, boring, useless shenanigans. I don’t know how this woman manages to live, she’s that dumb. Like, she should have an iPod in her pocket and earbuds in her ears, just so she can listen to “breathe in, breathe out” and continue living. Really though, she’s an oxygen thief. She does nothing of merit in the entire book. She’s vain, she’s superficial, and she’s a waste of space.