Category Archives: Reviews

Kevin J. Anderson’s Eternity’s Mind Brings a Mostly Satisfying Close to The Saga of Shadows

Eternity’s Mind by Kevin J. Anderson is the close of the Saga of Shadows trilogy.

All told, the three books put you through a near 2,200-page adventure that is in itself a sequel to Anderon’s Saga of Seven Suns.

I’ll try not to spoil too much.

In Eternity’s Mind, the Klikiss Robots and the Shana Rei are terrorizing the Spiral Arm.

The Confederation and the Ildiran Empire fight them in every way possible, as Roamers are busy producing ekti-x from what they’ve named bloaters.

However, the bloaters may be the ally that all life needs against the absolute destruction being wrought by the Shana Rei and Klikiss Robots.

Anderon’s amazing writing ability follows more than a dozen main characters through the events that bring a close to this war for survival.

My only complaint was that when the end comes, all of the storylines feel rushed to a conclusion, bringing about a little disenchantment to the otherwise satisfying ending.

I would definitely recommend this trilogy to book lovers who are fans of sci-fi and adventure. Just be sure to start at the beginning of the trilogy, if not at the beginning of the Saga of Suns series, so that you’ll get more back story.

Bill Gates Reviews 5 Books to Read This Summer

Bill Gates has released his list of five books to read this summer.

He has also written a review, for each of them.

Below are the five books, a quick synopsis of them, links to Gate’s full reviews of them, and his video about his 2017 summer reading.

  • A Full Life by Jimmy Carter: An autobiography of the former President’s life.
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: A story of Noah’s growing up in South Africa.
  • The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal: Takes place during a twenty-four hour period surrounding a heart transplant, as the heart is removed from a brain-dead young man and given to a woman who will die without it.
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance: Explores the complex issues behind poverty in what used to be middle class, rural America.
  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari: Takes a look at what could be in humanity’s future.

American Gods: Always Read The Book

For the past three weeks, I have been watching the STARZ adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. They have remained faithful to the book thus far. A few minor changes, but STARZ kept the raw story; sexy, brutal, and esoteric.

This last episode had a scene played out that I was not sure would make it to the small screen. It features a passionate and violent sex scene between a Muslim man and a djinn. The djinn (a wish granter) is portrayed as a Muslim man too. As a result, stories like this one from Breitbart are popping up.

I have a few things to say about that.

Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. American Gods is my favorite book by him. I have read it at least 4 times. The story is so compelling and complex, it can be enjoyed through multiple readings. My point in telling you this is to show that I am well versed with this book.

The human in this scene has a backstory that is touched on, but not expanded on. He is a failure at everything in his life. He works for his brother in law as a salesman for souvenir trinkets. He is ignored, told no, and made to wait all day for an appointment that is eventually cancelled. To make him feel more invisible, the receptionist is genuinely surprised every time he speaks. It’s as if she had no idea he was sitting in the same room as her.

It’s at this moment that he encounters the djinn. Disguised as a taxi driver, the djinn begins talking to the salesman about the old country, the old customs, the artifacts lost. Their connection is made almost immediately. Then the salesman recognizes the driver as a djinn. He pursues a flirtation until the moment they arrive at his hotel.

A decision is made for them to go to the hotel room.

It is here that Neil Gaiman himself realized he was going to have to write a gay sex scene. The scene in the book is far more carnal and forceful than the show, but both describe a full and intimate connection between the man and the djinn. They literally become one!

So the sex isn’t about sexuality. It’s not about love. It’s not about desire. It is about being consumed; having one life changed by taking it over. While the rest of the world is seeing hot, gay, nude, Muslim, sex, I am seeing the complete takeover of a man who wants to be seen. As a result, I get perturbed when people focus on the luridness of the scene and reject the hopelessness and desperation pervasive throughout the intimate act.

I implore people to read the book!!! It is so much deeper than a few sex scenes. It is a great work of fiction that explores our beliefs and worship throughout time. The djinn is merely one story of so many within the text.

Personally, I’d rather focus on the simple brilliance of Mr. Wednesday’s bank robbery scheme. That was far more ingenious, and worthy of discussion, than any sex scene.

Ignore The Critics Luckiest Girl Alive Is Well Worth The Read

Luckiest Girl Alive is the debut novel of Cosmopolitan magazine editor Jessica Knoll and the latest fiction novel with the ability to hold my attention for more than five minutes. This is a glorious find for a busy working mom, that was once upon a time a literature major and self-proclaimed bibliophile. These days when I have more than a few minutes free from someone demanding my attention, there is not much that is capable of competing with a good (okay, semi-decent) night’s sleep.

From the first page, this mystery/thriller is capable of taking an event as mundane as a couple choosing wedding registry items and making it clear that what you are entering into is actually a gritty character study.

The main character here is far from your typical, likable protagonist. In fact, Ani FaNelli is hardly even relatable for most readers. Her language is offensive and her demeanor is sharp and unrelenting. However, Knoll is masterful at slowly revealing Ani’s true character and motivations.

Ani is painstakingly aware of every possible way she is judged by those that surround her glamorously well-constructed life. She carefully chooses her words, handbags, hair color, and future husband in order to create a perfect persona. While she is equally judgmental in return, the author slowly splices in moments that reveal that Ani’s true basis of judgment has much more to do with how those around her treat and respect others.

Knoll also interlaces in scenes from Ani’s backstory, when she was once known as TifAni, a fourteen year old outsider at an affluent private school. The mystery of Ani’s tragic past slowly unravels as it takes multiple sharp twists and turns.

The subjects taken on in this story are both horrifying and thought provoking. The moral implications that occur when the lines between victims and villains become blurry are especially so. Knoll also delves into how different people deal with tragedy and the difference between overcoming your past and simply circumventing it.

Overall, the story is well written, intriguing, and provocative. Despite this, Knoll has received many negative reviews, due to critics’ comparisons to Gillian Flynn’s wildly successful novel Gone Girl. If you go into Luckiest Girl Alive expecting a Gillian Flynn novel you will probably be confused and disappointed. While Jessica Knoll uses less than pristine female characters and plot twists, her voice and theme in this novel is truly her own unique brand. Go into Luckiest Girl Alive without comparison or altered expectation. It can definitely stand on its own. If you are looking for the next Gillian Flynn, I highly suggest you read one of Flynn’s other novels, besides Gone Girl, which are equally excellent.

I am seriously looking forward to reading more from Jessica Knoll in the future and I’m hoping that this is not the only novel she puts out. I have seen some rumors that they are looking to turn Luckiest Girl Alive into a motion picture and it is listed on IMBD. However, there is no information given on the website as far as a cast or production date. Honestly, I don’t know how well it would translate into a movie without losing all of the delicately crafted character analysis. Hopefully, the movie deal falls through and Jessica Knoll goes on to give us more intriguing page turners instead.