Hell Island – Matthew Reilly

Hell Island – Matthew Reilly

Just a quick little read.  The author was asked to write a short 110 page story for an Australian  government reading initiative. pretty much to hand out free  books to encourage  more young people to get into books such a great idea

So this is just a quick adventure  with our hero  Shane Schofield for the scarecrow series. No messing about it gets straight to the action but thats the point, it needs to get peoples attention  right away

Good little story that adds a bit of development  to our character  by a brief talk of his past. Naturally  the story is over quite quickly  but is still good

Secret military  operations, crazy scientists and lots of explosions  yep its got it all.  Sadly only one more book in the scarecrow series left might have to hold of reading it for a bit

Scarecrow – Matthew Reilly

Scarecrow – Matthew Reilly

Really in an action genre mood so i just had to pick up the next  in the scarecrow series.  This one picks up a year after the last novel and we find our hero has got a bounty on his head along with 14 other individuals

A far more meatier and lengthier story this time around even got some main characters being killed off. The author has really tried to step it up a notch in terms of speed and action packed.  The story is non stop, with at times multiple stories  happening in several locations

A highlight for me is that on the cover a quote  is seen comparing scarecrow to James Bond and Dirk Pitt. Two of my favorite action heros.

But as the author has raised the stakes and expectations  with each novel in this series i wonder how long can this happen will he plateau out and just release more of the same novels or will he try something different next time. Well it wont take me long to find out i have already bought the next one in the series and it is sitting  here on my desk staring at me as i type this

This author just keeps going  from strength  to strength and the fact that he is an aussie aswell continues to draw me back

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl

I had picked this book up with a few others based around the holocaust and prison camps.  Wasn’t so much a desire to learn more about what happened in  there, we hear enough about that but it was more an interest into what a man goes through emotionally to deal with and get through it.

Much like my above comment the book doesn’t describe too much about what happens in there as the author states  there is plenty of info out there about that. The author takes us through his mental state of mind and how he deals with and gets through his incarceration

We are led to believe its pure chance on who survives  the camps but it is as much their mental attitude and holding on to hope/a reason to live that gets men through this.

The author presents  his idea that the meaning of life is to help others find meaning in theirs. He then follows up this idea in The second half of the book  which i found a bore and quite a chore to get through as it was dedicated  to explaining  his psychiatric  approach of logotherapy

Quite a powerful read well the first half is anyway.  And does make you think if people in camps with what appear nothing to live for can still help each other and show kindness. Why cant we in the modern world still do the same.

Reboot – Amy Tintera

Reboot – Amy Tintera

For the life of me i can’t  remember  where, but on someones blog i read that 2014 was the year of the female author. Whether  or not that is an official thing or not is irrelevant. As it made me reflect on my reading preferences.
I took one look at my bookcases and of the 300 or so books there (at that time ) only 5 were by female authors.

Probably the main reason is at that time and to some extent still now, I had the perception  that all female authors always have to ruin their stories by adding a love story to it and are too much about emotion and not about drama or action. Also the covers for the books are a big impact. Many female authors have what i term “lovey dovey” covers or covers with femonistic themes (pretty much Flowers)while i’m not 100% sure on how much say an author has on their cover. Doesn’t matter how good a story is if that cover looks too lovey or romancy i wont touch it as i’m scared it will just be filled with love stories. I am not interested  in reading a love story,  i like action,adventure, mystery i don’t want to hear or read about emotions and feelings

And i’m not saying those types of books aren’t good, i’m sure they are but they are just not my cup of tea.That being said i decided  to break with my preconceptions  and go looking for a female author who can write a great story and maybe just maybe she didn’t just fill her story with love.

so when browsing online or in a store, if is see or read a blurb of a book and find it interesting but then see its written by a female author i normally put it down, but no more so i headed out and decided to to break that preconception. which has led me to this book

The premise of this story fascinated  me. People come back alive after dying.  Now i know what your thinking here, oh wait that sounds like every zombie based story ever done but this one isn’t zombies. The longer they stay dead the less emotion and human characteristics  they have. so when they come back they are given a number such as Wren 178 (her name is Wren and she was dead for 178 minutes) and a socially categorized by it. These Reboots as they call become sort of a security force protecting normal citizens from other reboots. Now granted this is a young adult novel but that to some extent doesn’t really matter.

The story was good  i liked the characters  but then the author had to go and throw in a love story in the mix. After awhile the love story became the main theme. After reading  the book i searched out the authors site and she states quite  plainly all her books will have love stories in them gah why didn’t i do my research first.

But either way on my quest for the non romance female author starts off well (but still technically a fail) Amy has  created an amazing story here and due to the completionist side of me i will naturally buy the next books in this series as well  but i wont be buying any of her other books

So while  this book and to some extent the original blog i read has made me open my parameters for book selection i am now more keen to look out for more female authors surely there are some who don’t fill all their stories with love. My goal will be to find a female Science fiction, action or thriller writer who doesn’t weave a love story into it (not to say male authors don’t do this either) and not just an average writer. i want and i shall call her my elusive female writer.I want this writer to be in my top 5 favorites Authors and have a book in my top 10 books of all time

Area 7 – Matthew Reilly

Area 7 – Matthew Reilly

I am a bit impulsive  when it comes to books. I have a to-read list of about 80 books on my shelf waiting to be read and a  wishlist of about 90 books at the moment. I use bookdepository.com a UK based website which offers free worldwide shipping  and yet it is still cheaper than any Aussie based sites and far cheaper than going into a physical  bookstore. So anytime  i see or hear of a book i might like i add it to my wishlist and each week i buy a few books
So naturally when i find an author i really like their books get pushed through my wish list and get put to the top of my to-read pile.  Such is the case with the Scarecrow series by Matthew Reilly. First encountered him with the Great China Zoo then came across Ice Station after that i bought the entire series of Scarecrow straight  away.
Area 7 is the second book in this series. And follows on after the events of ice station. Here we find our hero stuck essentially  on Marine One. The helicopter for the President of the United States  That way he is out of the way and cant be reached by the media about his adventures in Antarctica (the previous novel Ice Station) A rouge Military General, hijacks a secret base the president is visiting and then sends in troops to try and kill the president.
This author knows what his readers want. For some reason in the back of each of his books there are interviews. Cant say i have ever seen this in other books so i don’t normally read that stuff but i failed to bring a second book for the train ride one day so once i finished this book i read the interview. Anyway in there was a quote from the author saying he doesn’t let character development get in the way of a good story. Man that just made my day. Lets be honest we are all 12 year olds at heart and we love explosions and action and adventure and if the story contains a small enough assortment of characters we can remember them by name so then we don’t need to waste time on character  development  just get to the action
And this book didn’t mess about, very quickly we were thrown  into the action and it didn’t let up till the end. Definitely  a good ride and keen to see where the next book  takes us. Once again Matt has delivered another no holds bar fast paced action story. Don’t think ill be reading much else but Matthew Reilly for anytime soon

How the States Got Their Shapes – Mark Stein

How the States Got Their Shapes – Mark Stein

Boredom and Wikipedia can lead to long nights in front of the PC. Sometimes you can start looking into one subject and proceed to change subjects over the course of a few hours. Ah the Wikipedia wormhole trap. Needless to say one such adventure led me into trying to find why the US State borders are so weird. Much of the research kept referencing this book so I bought it.

This book solely is a reference for how each of the US States got its borders, which to some may sound quite boring but it can be an interesting tale

Naturally starting in alphabetical order we proceed through each of the states. Discussing the reasons for the peculiarities of its borders. For a non us citizen this was quite interesting but most US citizens probably take this info for granted.

Rivers, wars, treaties and charters, these reasons are far more interesting than the reasons behind Australia’s state borders probably because we only have a few of them

A great reference book good for brushing up on some trivia knowledge

If only my own countries state borders were as interesting

2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson

2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson

The books blurb was quite mysterious and didnt reveal too much but it said just enough to grab my attention

We the reader are drawn into a world far into the future and it is so far removed from what we know. The setting is all over the solar system. From a moving city on Mercury that moves on train tracks to keep it ahead of the sunrise to avoid its deadly power. To bases on Mars, Venus, the moons of Jupiter even to hollowed out asteroids. But the one thing tying it all together was Earth we never spent too long away from there but it was quite a different Earth.

Still there were nations and wars but the sea levels had rose massively due to polar ice melt. We had massive animal extinctions but the biggest difference was us. Through genetic modification we could live to 200 had computers in planted into us that we could talk to but the biggest difference was there were essentially now 4 genders.

All these changes aside we are still left with a compelling story. Some of the technological creations that are in this book are beyond a marvel the fact that all of this came from the head of one science fiction author is astounding

Kim has created such a fantastic world for this story to take place in, its shows he had put a tremendous effort into research for this book

I will definitely be looking into more of his works