The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (book review)….

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful, thought provoking collection of short stories from someone who knows how to write short stories.

Well worth the 5 star rating i gave it.

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Less (book review)…

Less by Andrew Sean Greer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Around the world in 80-ish days with a turning 50, gay, struggling writer, recently dumped by his much younger lover, having a mid life crisis – that about is what is at this book’s heart.

Another Kindle 99 pence book that just drew me to give it a go and while gay fiction is not my normal kind of literature i really enjoyed it.

If i had to compare it to anything i would say it’s like a gay version of ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’, but instead of our protagonist sailing off down the waterways of France, Arthur Less goes on a merry go round trip around the world as an excuse not to go to his ex-lover’s wedding. Well written with a good ending to finish it off nicely.

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CycleOps Distance Challenge…

29th out of 517…

Once again, just stuck with my training plan and watched the miles add up. It’s surprising how quickly they accumulate.


Chasing Excellence (book review)…

Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes by Ben Bergeron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very interesting book for those into achieving extreme levels of performance in their lives.

Although it’s based in the world of Crossfit (which i have no interest in whatsoever) and written by a top Crossfit coach, this book is suitable for all kinds of people who want to achieve excellence in their chosen path.

I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because i feel it could have gone deeper, but then that might just be me wanting more of this kind of thing.

Anyways, a great book for the bookshelves of everyone who doesn’t want to live a mediocre life and is willing to actually put some work into their goals instead of looking for shortcuts and life hacks.

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Dark Matter (book review)…

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! That was a total head trip and a half.

While i’m not a subscriber to the multiverse theory, that didn’t detract from the story at all. I was just totally swept along at an amazing pace, i just didn’t want to stop reading. Every spare moment i had for 2 days had my face glued to my Kindle screen reading this – and that’s quite rare for me as i normally only read at bedtime for an hour or so. Very unputdownable!

Definitely a must read for anyone who likes good sci-fi – even if just a little bit. You won’t be disappointed.

Well worth the 99p i got this for as a Kindle deal. 😀

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Dangerous Gifts (Babylon Steel, #2) (book review)…

Dangerous Gifts by Gaie Sebold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book follows on perfectly from ‘Babylon Steel’, with all the usual characters we were introduced to in that book. And it’s much the same kind of fantasy stuff that really isn’t for children as there’s a fair amount of sex and some quite graphic descriptions of interspecies relationships – Babylon is a whore house madam after all is said an done.

I have to say, Gaie has created a really interesting universe with The Planes and there’s obviously a much bigger story going on in the background concerning the rifts between The Planes, which i seriously hope Gaie is going to slowly uncover in further books in this series.

Please, please, please, Gaie, get writing more about Babylon and Co’.

So if you’re not offended by adult stuff mixed in with your fantasy stories the ‘Babylon Steel’ series is definitely a place to visit on your reading list. Enjoy!

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (book review)…

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s one of those ubiquitous books that’s kept turning up on library shelves, charity shop shelves and bookshop shelves throughout my life and yet i’ve always walked away from it – until now.

I’ve always had quite a deep interest in Zen and it always seemed to me that putting it with motorcycle maintenance just wasn’t something i wanted to know about. But now i have a motorbike that needs some maintenance and this book turned up in Kindle daily deals for 99p i thought the time was right.

But oh, how wrong i’ve been all these years. It’s not a book about Zen or how to fix a motorbike while practising Zen, it’s a wholly different thing altogether.

In fact, it’s a road trip book where our narrator takes his son on a road trip on an old motorbike across the USA. But it’s a road trip with a difference.

At it’s heart, it’s a book about insanity, the condition of society and its relationship to technology, and a fair bit of Greek philosophy as well – and it’s all broken up with the story of the road trip. And it’s simply awesome.

With hindsight i’m happy that i’ve never read it until now as i’m much older and it really blended nicely with my own life experiences – having dropped out of a Philosophy degree course for much the same reasons and now many years later i can look back and see things more clearly.

And the ending in the ‘Afterword’ is what truly completes this book. It really is a masterpiece of writing.

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Rouvy – Berlin Beetzsee…

My current best attempt at Rouvy’s ‘Berlin Beetzsee’ route…

Another nice route i had to ride to complete one of Rouvy’s challenges, this challenge was to ride 100km in one go. And this was a good ride to do it on with plenty to look at along the way and not many hills.


Babylon Steel (Babylon Steel, #1) (book review)…

Babylon Steel by Gaie Sebold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what a great story. I really enjoyed this book. After reading some YA fantasy lately it was definitely time for some grown-up’s fantasy and this really fit the bill.

The only thing i’m unhappy about is that i’m utterly skint until i get paid on Tuesday so i can’t buy the second book until then, but rest assured, as soon as i wake up my computer on Tuesday morning i’ll be on Amazon buying it.

Great writing, great story, great book, what more can a reader ask for?

If you like fantasy that isn’t afraid of getting it’s hands dirty then i’m sure you’ll like this. If, on the other hand, you like the nice fluffy fantasy stuff then just don’t look.

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The First Adventure: Feyland Series Prequel Novella (book review)…

The First Adventure by Anthea Sharp
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m glad i didn’t pay anything for this, the Kindle edition being free, as free is all it’s worth.

I was expecting a lot more about Jennet’s history prior to Feyland #1, which is what this book is supposed to be about. But all it does is gloss over a few things that are already covered in the next 3 books and then when Jennet has her first encounter with the Dark Queen it’s exactly the same, word for word, as the second encounter in Feyland #1. And the bit after that encounter of how she is freed from the Dark Queen by the game’s designer isn’t covered in any depth whatsoever.

I really can’t see the point in Anthea publishing this at all. Total waste of bandwidth and computer memory.

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