Tuesday, 28 July 2015


In Silent Graves: The Cedar Hills SeriesIn Silent Graves: The Cedar Hills Series by Gary A. Braunbeck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: One moment, Robert Londrigan is a rising-star newscaster, devoted husband, and expectant father; the next, he's a widower in a morgue, staring at gaping holes in his daughter’s body where surgeons have harvested every useful scrap of her organs and tissue. The rock-bottom falls out from under his life when a disfigured man knocks Robert out and steals what’s left of her tiny corpse out from under his nose, and leaves a gruesome surprise waiting for him back home.

Robert’s search for the disfigured man leads him through a rapidly-fragmenting reality into a chiaroscuro world and the discovery that neither his wife nor his daughter are who he thought they were.

Gary A. Braunbeck’s work has earned, 7 Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild Award, 3 Shocker Awards, a Black Quill Award, and a World Fantasy Award nomination.

MY REVIEW: I read the first half of this book and skimmed the second half. The writing is good and the author surveys a range of themes, but the pace was just too slow for me to stick with it.

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Monday, 20 July 2015

CHILDREN OF TIME by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of TimeChildren of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A race for survival among the stars... Humanity's last survivors escaped earth's ruins to find a new home. But when they find it, can their desperation overcome it's dangers?


The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind's worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

MY REVIEW: What a fascinating read this was! An intriguing combination of fantasy, sci-fi, thriller. The writing is beautiful, the story is complex and genuinely surprising as it unfolds. And the whole thing is based on what comes across as authentic science - the author had a science advisor, which shows. The complex movement across time and space is epic. Brilliant!

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015


A Manual for Creating AtheistsA Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: For thousands of years, the faithful have honed proselytizing strategies and talked people into believing the truth of one holy book or another. Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith—and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, A Manual for Creating Atheists offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith—but for talking them out of it. Peter Boghossian draws on the tools he has developed and used for more than twenty years as a philosopher and educator to teach how to engage the faithful in conversations that will help them value reason and rationality, cast doubt on their religious beliefs, mistrust their faith, abandon superstition, and irrationality, and ultimately embrace reason.

MY REVIEW: This is a great book for so many reasons. Firstly, it is empathic. Boghassian treats those he is trying to rescue, from what he describes as a "faith virus", with respect, a willingness to listen, and a genuine concern for the welfare of those he writes about and for. Secondly, Boghossian speaks from experience. He clearly has had in-depth conversations with believers, listened to them, and responded to them with targeted "interventions" that fit the person, rather than using blunt instruments to beat people over the head. Thirdly, his approach is philosophically rigorous and rational. So much of what the author says makes sense and resonates with what we know from our own experiences. Fourthly, his suggestion that people move away from discussing conclusions/beliefs to exploring the way we arrive at beliefs, is profound and powerful. Finally (at least for this list - there is so much more that could be said), the book is easy to read. Boghossian is articulate and, despite his expertise in philosophy, speaks in language that is down-to-earth and entirely understandable. Atheists need this book so they can move on from angry rhetoric to respectful conversation.

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Saturday, 11 July 2015


The Facts of Life and DeathThe Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: 'Call your mother.'
'What do I say?'
'Say goodbye.'

This is how it begins.

Lone women terrorised and their helpless families forced to watch - in a sick game where only one player knows the rules. And when those rules change, the new game is Murder.

Living with her parents in the dank beach community of Limeburn, ten-year-old Ruby Trick has her own fears. Bullies on the school bus, the forest crowding her house into the sea, and the threat of divorce.

Helping her Daddy to catch the killer might be the key to keeping him close.

As long as the killer doesn't catch her first...

MY REVIEW: A thoroughly good read! Told through the eyes of Ruby and done with authenticity. The evocation of the community in which Ruby lives is superb. Very atmospheric. There's palpable tension as the story unfolds and the killer is revealed ... With even more tension after that! Well written at a great pace. If you like reading crime fiction, give this one a go. I'll be reading more of this author.

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