#WeAreLegion(WeAreBob) (Bobiverse, #1): Heads up… We’ve got some fresh ScyFy here! 

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fresh Scyfy!

Now here’s a nice surprise…space-based science fiction that takes the same old and turns it into brand new.

Bob just sold his software company, and now he’s loaded and looking forward to a life of relaxation and retirement–right up until he is killed crossing the street. Lucky for Bob, the day before he had signed a contract with a cryogenics company…

…so he wakes up 117 years later to find things aren’t quite like he expected. Bob no longer has a body, for example. He’s now the AI part of a computer program designed to pilot space probes, and suddenly Bob finds himself Star Trek-ing through the galaxy in search of strange, new worlds.

Space-probe Bob can replicate himself, and before long there are many space-probe Bob’s, all with the same memories but slightly different personalities. They give themselves different names and take on different roles depending on what interests them. Soon there are scientist Bob’s, Battle Bob’s, Earth-rescuing Bob’s, Explorer Bob’s, all traveling the galaxy and becoming saviors of mankind.

The humor is nice and nerdy, the science is realistic, and the story is engaging. The Bob’s are surprisingly excellent as characters! All that, plus some really great writing, give unexpected and impressive depth to what–on the surface–sounds like a silly concept. There is plenty of fun, but I kept finding myself impressed by the applied science, written in a way that made dumb me feel smart because I could understand what was going on.

One f-bomb, no sex. I green light this one for anyone 14 and older who is nerdy enough to appreciate good Star Trek and Star Wars jokes.

Happy Reading!

#Wonder: How to Change the World

Wonder
Wonder by R.J. Palacio

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My word, this is a wonderful book!

Auggie wasn’t born perfect. He wasn’t even supposed to survive. His head didn’t come together right. His face makes children cry and adults flinch. He doesn’t have ears, his eyes are in the wrong place, and his mouth and teeth make it hard for him to eat normally and keep his saliva in his mouth. The endless surgeries have prevented him from attending school, so he’s been home-schooled. Other than that, Auggie’s perfectly normal.

And it’s time to start the 5th grade. Middle school–Lord of the Flies in real life.

You can probably fill in the rest.

I’ve been telling the people around me about Wonder, and I keep getting the same flabbergasted response: How sad! Why would you read a book like that?

Why? Because this isn’t a book about mean kids who bully. It isn’t a book about not being mean.  This book is about what happens when you act just a little kinder than is necessary.

Oh, my dad heart! What a message this is! My children, do you want to change the world? It’s not enough to not be mean. It’s not even enough to be kind. Change the world for someone by being kinder than needed.

I can’t recommend Wonder enough. There is meaning for all of us, because every single one of us feel different. Fellow parents…we all have Auggies, and this book will give you strength.

My only warning: Don’t read this book in public. Tears will flow.

Recommended for the world. Starting with my kids tonight.

Happy Reading!

#TheHumans: We may be odd, but we make a great story!

The Humans
The Humans by Matt Haig

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Humans. We are odd, aren’t we?

At the very least, we make a good story.

A math professor at Cambridge has proved the Riemann Hypothesis (Google it!), which turns out is the key to setting humans on the fast track…except that an alien race decided we’re not worthy. So they kill the professor on the night of his discovery, replace him with an alien replica, and task him with going Terminator one everyone who might know about the discovery.

Of course, as any visiting alien with preconceived ideas eventually learns…there’s hope for the Human Race after all.

This is a sweet story of learning about love, family, and what it means to be Human.

There was a whole lot of philosophy in there, and it got old. I would have rather had more story and less philosophy. I guess I’m just not smart enough to go that deep.

Watch out for one character’s proficiency in using 4 letter words, and be advised that teen suicide is significant subplot.

Best for discerning 16-year-olds and up.

Happy Reading!

#TheGreatcoats: If the 3 Musketeers, Scooby Doo, and Deadpool had a baby . . .

Traitor's BladeKnight's ShadowSaint's BloodTyrant's Throne

 

 

 

 

Traitor’s Blade

Knight’s Shadow

Saint’s Blood

Tyrant’s Throne

by Sebastien de Castell   My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If the 3 Musketeers, Scooby Doo, and Deadpool had a baby it’d be…weird.

It’d also be called The Greatcoats.

For every bit of awesome I found in these four books, I found something else that drove me crazy.

The brilliant sword fights? The witty banter? The complex relationships? The multi-layered characters?

Awesome.

The same plot over and over? The forced plot resolutions? The out of place f-bombs? The forced plot resolutions? The amazing abilities of the important characters to not die? The forced plot resolutions?

Finger nails on chalkboard. Did I mention that I hated the forced plot resolutions? (I just looked up “deus ex machina” in the dictionary and found a picture of these 4 books in place of a definition.)

Without a doubt, The Greatcoats quintet is great fun. The heroes struggle against all odds, fighting against evil and those who would oppress, motivated purely by their lofty ideals, respect for the law, and their love for their king. These guys know how to fight! Their friendship is enviable, and their witty banter is hilarious. The only thing missing was “All for one, and one for all!”

If only…

…I didn’t hear in my mind “…and I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those pesky Greatcoats!” every time a tricky problem was solved miraculously—over and over and over again. It made Scooby Doo fun. It made The Greatcoats frustrating and unbelievable.

If only…

…I didn’t mind if D’Artagnan only knew one expletive, and it started with F and rhymed with duck. The language works for Deadpool’s brand of heroics. It would not have worked for The Three Musketeers, and it just doesn’t work for these guys. Uncouth. Uncomfortable. Unfortunate.

There’s violence, swearing, and a graphic rape scene in book two. Can you handle that? Can you overlook the easy outs? I say go for it. I bet you’ll love The Greatcoats.

Adults only.

Happy Reading!

#TheIronDruidChronicles: I said I wouldn’t do it, but…

I said I wasn’t going to binge read them…but I just couldn’t help myself.

Here’s what I’ve been doing for the last month:

HoundedHammeredTricked

 

 

 

 

TrappedHuntedShatteredStaked

 

 

 

 

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to good friends who give great books as birthday gifts, I’ve discovered this fun series.

What if the Gods and Mythologies from every age, religion, and culture were real and lived among us?

I’m talking druids, fairies, witches, werewolves, vampires, demons. (Watch out for the witches and demons, they’re nasty. The werewolves and vampires are okay, though–they’re lawyers.)

Meddling Irish Gods. Meddling Greek Gods. Meddling Norse Gods. (Oh, hello Thor. Apparently you’re a jerk.) Meddling Roman Gods. Meddling Native American Gods. Meddling Earth Gods.

What if they were all alive and continuing their eons old arguments with each other right under our noses?

What if they used magic to fight each other? What if they had magic swords?

What if you could talk to your dog using a mental link, and your dog was hilarious?

What if all this was true?

Then you’d have the Iron Druid Chronicles.

Lots of fun. Great action. Laugh-out-loud dialogue.

The swearing content is moderately high, and there is some sexual content as well. I wish there weren’t, because I know a lot of young people who would enjoy this story. Instead I’ll recommend it to adults who like to have fun when they read.

Happy Reading!

#Hounded: Demons smell like butt.

Hounded
Hounded by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Thanks to good friends who give great books as birthday gifts, I’ve discovered this fun series.

What if the Gods and Mythologies from every age, religion, and culture were real and lived among us? What if there were some that lived in Tempe, Arizona?

I’m talking druids, fairies, witches, werewolves, vampires, demons. (Watch out for the witches and demons, they’re nasty.  Witches are mean and demons smell like butt. The werewolves and vampires are okay, though–they’re lawyers.)

Meddling Irish Gods. Meddling Greek Gods. Meddling Norse Gods. (Oh, hello Thor. Apparently you’re a jerk.) Meddling Roman Gods. Meddling Native American Gods. Meddling Earth Gods.

What if they were all alive and continuing their eons old arguments with each other right under our noses?

What if they used magic to fight each other? What if they had magic swords?

What if you could talk to your dog using a mental link, and your dog was hilarious?

What if all this was true?

Then you’d have this book.

Lots of fun, cool action, laugh-out-loud moments.

The swearing content is moderately high, and there is some sexual content as well. I wish there weren’t, because I know a lot of young people who would enjoy this story. Instead I’ll recommend it to adults who like to have fun when they read.

Happy Reading!

#ChildrenoftheMind (Ender’s Saga, #4): My thinker needs a break…

Children of the Mind
Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

There’s a lot of thinking going on here…

It took me a decade to read the rest of Ender’s story after he unwittingly destroyed the Buggers. In the end, I’m glad I finally did. I’m probably done with OSC for a long while though…he writes in the deep end, but I’m more comfortable splashing in the shallows.

Children of the Mind is a wonderful send off to a character as great as Ender. If you’ve gotten this far, you’re going to want to read it. I expect you’ll be pleased.

I’m happy to be finished. After 4 books heavy with ethical dilemma, studies of emotion, discourses on the responsibility of humans in the universe, and determining the value of life, I’m ready to read something that allows me to put my thinker on autopilot.

Happy reading!

#Xenocide (Ender’s Saga, #3): Troubled Soul…

Xenocide
Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Ahhh, Ender. You troubled soul. Will you ever treat yourself with the greatness you deserve?

The third book in the Ender Saga spends as much time being philosophical as it does telling a story…which made this dimwitted reader feel frustrated at times. Generally, I prefer my books with less talk, more action.

Luckily, I know Ender well enough at this point I didn’t expect an action hero.

I expected an emotional hero.

That’s what I got.

If you’ve gotten this far into Ender’s story, you don’t really need a book review. Don’t stop now.
Read Xenocide. It’s good. It’s worth it.

If you haven’t started Ender’s story, read Ender’s Game.

If you read it and feel empathy for Ender and want to see his heart heal, start on the book path that begins with Speaker for the Dead.

If you read it and cheered because of a great surprise ending, loved the story, the battle room, and the fighting, skip Speaker for the Dead and go read the Shadow series, starting with Ender’s Shadow.

Either way, enjoy. This is book royalty we’re talking about here.

Happy reading.

#SpeakerfortheDead (Ender’s Saga, #2): I used to be an idiot.

Speaker for the Dead
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

In 2011 I bought this book and and started reading it.

I hadn’t even finished the first chapter before deciding it wasn’t worth my time.

I returned it and got my money back.

Apparently, I used to be an idiot.

After re-reading Ender’s Game and discovering layers of meaning that I’d missed the first two times I read it, I thought I’d better give the rest of the Ender’s saga another look.

I’m so glad I did.

Ender’s story continues in this touching book about the definition of family, the healing of broken lives, the power of the truth, and the capacity we have to love despite differences.

Of course, that’s woven into a cool science fiction mystery about aliens and humans colonizing space.

Don’t be an idiot.

Read Ender’s Game. Then read Speaker for the Dead.

Happy Reading!