May 07, 2015

How can a book change your state of mind?

My reaction to this book made me think I need to keep a better record of my mental state and what I am reading at the time. Mercy's (Sugar's) story and internal dialogue was actually similar enough to my own at times that the past couple of days reading this have been filled with depression and self hatred. In other word, I need some happier books to read, might try and break out the kids books for a while. On another note, I think once in a while everyone should read something like this, just to understand how hard the habits of depression and self-loathing are to break.

SugarSugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sugar is about a girl who is physically and mentally abused, not only by the typical bullies at school but also by her family. This leads to an emotional response with food. Sugar is beautifully written, heartbreaking and uplifting. It is a brief snapshot into the life of a strong beautiful girl, who has to deal with so much. This in my opinion should be in High school reading lists, it would teach compassion and empathy very effectively. The writing itself is also gripping, its not a book I could easily put down. The only thing I wish is that it didn't grip me as hard as it did, my mental state has suffered while reading this, which only adds to my rating of the book.

May 05, 2015

Harrowing True Story

Terror by Night: The True Story of the Brutal Texas Murder That Destroyed a Family, Restored One Man's Faith, and Shocked a NationTerror by Night: The True Story of the Brutal Texas Murder That Destroyed a Family, Restored One Man's Faith, and Shocked a Nation by Terry Caffey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well written, well portrayed account of what will (I hope) have been the hardest year of the authors life. The telling of his families murders is harrowing, and the events surrounding are so emotive that I couldn't put the book down. In the midst of the chaos that is life, Terry finds God, and God helps him deal with the world.

I am an atheist, I make no secret of that, but the journey that Terry makes is powerful, with or without God. Finding something positive from something so terrible is an amazing thing, he should be congratulated for that.

I will admit to getting very tired of the constant "God is great" theme that runs through the entire book. For me, Terry is an excellent survivor, and a strong compassionate man. He is not at all open-minded though, God did not help him anywhere near as much as he helped himself, or even as much as the lovely people around him helped. Can't help but feel his daughter would have been more well-adjusted had he and his wife been more open-minded and not preached the typical, you must obey your parents and not sleep around spiel.

May 03, 2015

Choose Your Path Mobile Game

Game Image

The Siege of the Necromancer by Tin Man Games

My Rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I had a certain fascination to playing what promised to be an interactive fantasy gamebook. I was hoping for pictures, and moving elements. For instance when you click loot the big chest, I would expect to see a dice roll, then a graphic of you succeeding/failing to open a chest using whatever bonus it is you've just rolled. What I did not expect is essentially an ebook, in which you click a link to the page your path is on, much like when you turn to a page in a physical version. There are other elements which are slightly more interesting, though the combat mechanic seems to be just a dice roll and the option of Attack or Defend.

I think that I'm mostly just dissapointed by how much you have to read. Don't get me wrong, I love reading, but on a mobile platform, audio and video would work so much better. I can't be too disheartened, as I have another 11 or so games to play courtesy of the latest Humble Mobile Bundle, which of course not only allows you to buy great games at great prices, but also allows you to set where your money goes, giving to both developers and worthwhile causes too.

Deaths Keep

I haven't said that much in this review, partly because I didn't want to spoil the story. The other reason is that the more I say the less it feels like I liked the story, which is simply not true. Though I just can't think of anything else to say without describing the story.

The Book of Lokk: Death's KeepThe Book of Lokk: Death's Keep by Sommer Nectarhoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very original concept, with some great storytelling. I think I would have liked a little more gore and a little more urgency and fear through the story. Saying that the story plays out really well, and I loved the idea of Greek style gods and their servants.

April 30, 2015

Controlling Personality

The PageThe Page by M. Jonathan Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, Michael, the main character, is a douche. But he's one that you slowly begin to understand. The amount of sympathy felt for the other characters is really well done. Feelings of sympathy for Jane especially are prominent.

What I guess I'm trying to say is that, the characters are deep, they're all broken people with their own motivations and character flaws, and that is awesome. the only reason for a non-5 star review is that the ending felt rushed and incomplete. I want to know about the books, and what Jane decides to do. Equally I want to know why Claire is so fascinated with Michael. It's a great story, but I think Lee lost track of where he wanted to go.

This book had a profound effect on my mental state, making me feel more miserable than I have in a while. That I would say is how you can tell a book is engaging, if it makes you feel, with and for the characters involved.

April 28, 2015

The Joy of Data Analysis

Anyone that has ever done a science project that generates a lot of data will understand when I say "you don't want to have to manually analyse your data". Unfortunately, the current status of my analysis coding, (I know not completely manually), will recognise whether a curve fits or not. This, however, does not mean that it will differentiate between a flat line or the curve that it is actually meant to be.It will not even recognise the difference between something that is conductive i.e. has a non zero current; and the noise that appears when this is not the case. Whilst this is a relatively simple thing to code, knowing my luck, it will take longer to debug, than just analyse the data by hand, or eye as the case may be.

In consequence, I have 12 GB of data to manually check.

7 GB down, 5 to go, wish me luck and endless patience.

April 26, 2015

CIA Thriller

The Shadow CartelThe Shadow Cartel by Layton Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very well layered CIA thriller. There's a complexity to both he characters and the story that changes how you read the story. The character's emotional investment is clear, and heightens the reader response. What's more is that all the characters are likeable, they're all flawed people, but their subtleties are compelling. The antagonist characters are less well developed in places, but their motives are nonetheless clear. If you like action-thrillers, this is one for you. The action never stops. My only qualms are: I want to know what happens to Charlie. And I would have liked more graphic histories of Grey and Lana.

April 25, 2015

Jill Kismet Book Review

Jill Kismet: The Complete SeriesJill Kismet: The Complete Series by Lilith Saintcrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Saintcrow writes about a tainted heroin with the weight of the world on her shoulders. There's crimes to solve, hell breed to be stopped and souls to save, most notably Kissmet's own. The action and drama are thoroughly enjoyable in each of these books and though the resemblance to the Dante Valentine stories is striking the story in my opinion reads much better.
Saintcrow needs to work on her repetition. Reading the books back to back brings to light cases where cut and paste seems to be the writing style of choice. Don't get me wrong this doesn't happen too often or in more than a paragraph at a time, but for me it was glaring. I would have also liked to see some of the more emotional topics of Kissmet's life broached on a deeper level. Kissmet doesn't develop as a character she is more a constant of the universe; whilst that fits with the description of a trained hunter the more human aspect is sadly escaped. The over-arcing storyline was subtle but there, though again could have been made more interesting on a character interplay level.
I don't want this review to sound over critical as I hugely enjoyed reading these books, hence the 5 star rating.

This one I read a while ago, probably sometime last year. I wanted to test what this format looks like on my blog. Since I write the reviews anyway, I thought I might as well publish them here as well as just on Goodreads. Hopefully, this will enable me and I guess you, if anyone even reads this, to track changes in writing style. With any luck, these will be changes in the right direction.

April 09, 2015

Random Rant

How are people so messy

First, let me apologize, I didn't take any pictures. Second, seroiusly people, how can you be so messy? Just to clarify, I know that 10 hours on a plane is a long time. I also know that being in one place for that long means that food and drink are consumed. But, when you leave the plane does it have to look like it's had a bunch of messy children have been on it for a week?

Plane journeys, in economy, whilst not that pleasant are not the worst places ever. Food is served and rubbish is collected by the people working there. So why do you have to make such a mess with your food and drink.

Ok, ok I'l stop ranting now sorry.

May 08, 2014

Recent Changes

So, for those people that may one day read this blog, I have decided that I am going to try to be more active. I will admit that the majority that I plan on writing will be book reviews, however i will also try to bore you senseless with my everyday thoughts and opinions. In essence, this will be my public "diary" which with any luck will not be too boring or too empty.

Wish me luck, and we'll talk again soon.

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