Category Archives: Books

Books I’ve Read…

Books are to film what a whole food plant based diet is to junk food. Films are nothing but highly processed stories, they give the general outline of the story and characters without any of the depth that the book contains. Consuming hours of video each and every night, flooding our brains with thousands and thousands of shallow story lines each week, is not healthy for our minds.

The worse of it is is that most people watch video for several hours in the evening before going to bed. This completely disrupts our brain’s melatonin cycle, which in turn completely disrupts our sleep and dream cycles. This leaves us anxious, tired, depressed, paranoid and ageing far quicker than we should be. Essentially, video before bed is unhealthy on every level.

So take a break from video and read some books instead. Ditch the TV licence and buy some books, or a Kindle, instead. Slow down your brain’s consumption of new characters and story lines and allow yourself to sleep, dream, rest and recover as you need to do for good health, fitness and wellbeing.

Evening should be a time to relax and chill out quietly. If you find yourself falling asleep while reading that’s because you’re tired and need to sleep. So instead of fighting it and flooding your brain with television and film, just go to sleep – even if it is 6pm. You’ll feel so much better in the morning.

Below are some books i’ve really enjoyed reading (and a few i haven’t) to ‘maybe’ get you started on your own reading journey – enjoy…

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (book review)…

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of ConsciousnessOther Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One incredibly interesting book for anyone who enjoys learning about evolution – and cephalopods, of course.

Written by a philosopher, the writing is really accessible and really engages the reader – unlike a lot of scientists’ approach to this subject – and dives deep into the world of the evolution of large brains and intelligence and how they have evolved along completely different evolutionary paths.

It also explores the world and habits of cephalopods, particularly octopuses, but a fair bit about cuttlefish as well. These really are the most incredible creatures.

Well worth a read.

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The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland #3) (book review)…

The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland #3)The Twilight Kingdom by Anthea Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I quite enjoyed that. As i said about the first book in this trilogy, if you can get over the YA thing and just focus on the Faerie mixed up with VR thing then these books are really good.

As i also said, the worse thing about this trilogy was Tam’s back story and family issues that really detracted from the story in book 1, were a much lesser distraction in book 2 and actually worked with the story in book 3. But the annoying thing was that in order for them to work with the story in book 3 there really was no need whatsoever to make it such an annoying part of book 1, or to be so depressing about it all.

I think that in these days of publishers cutting costs, editors are doing a worse job than ever. A good editor would have made sure that Tam’s family stuff was tidied up and tied in better with the overall story. But it is what it is, and the trilogy is still really worth a read if you’re into Faerie stuff and like the idea of the Faerie realm using a super advanced VR system to bridge to our realm.

There is a second trilogy in this series, which i may come back to in the future, but for now i’m having a break and reading some other things.

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The Bright Court (Feyland #2) (book review)…

The Bright Court (Feyland #2)The Bright Court by Anthea Sharp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just like the first book in this series, i had to give it 4 stars, and for similar reasons.

While this book didn’t let Tam’s ridiculous family issues interfere with the story line as much as the first book, i kept finding myself bracing myself for another onslaught of it, which thankfully, this time, was kept to a minimum.

It wasn’t until i finished the book that i felt like i could relax and enjoy the story i had just read. And this was definitely better than the first book.

As i said, Tam’s family issues were kept to a minimum, while the Faerie and VR stuff got turned up a little further with more people entering Feyland.

I’ve just started book 3 and it’s already looking like another great story.

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The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) (book review)…

The Dark Realm (Feyland #1)The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gave this book a go because i got the first 3 books of the series on an Amazon 99p thing and i liked the idea of Faerie being able to bridge through VR.

The good bit was the Faerie and VR stuff, all really well done and really enjoyable.

The not so good bit was the young adult thing, but that is irrelevant if the story is good enough and the young adults protagonists fit well within the story.

The bad bit, and why i only gave this 4 stars, is Tam’s back story. I really can’t see the need in making his life so utterly depressing with such a total chaos of family life. This brought nothing to the story and was, at times, a big distraction from it. It made me think of ‘Ready Player One’ but in that the protagonist’s back story worked with the narrative, whereas in this book it detracts from it as it doesn’t bring anything to the story.

So yeah, 5 out of 5 for the Faerie and VR stuff, but a big 0 out of 5 for the stuff on Tam’s family life.

But well worth a read for anyone interested in folk lore and VR. Tam’s family life has certainly not put me off diving straight into the second book in the series.

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Gulliver’s Travels (book review)…

Gulliver's TravelsGulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I decided to read this after reading ‘The Toymakers’, in which ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ gets more than a passing mention.

I used to think that ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ was a children’s book, but how wrong i was. Maybe that’s the way the establishment wants everyone to think about it, but it really isn’t for children. It’s an incredible critique/satire of the society at the time, but unfortunately it is just as relevant today as it was back then. It’s a shame that society took no notice of what Swift had to say and simply condemned this book to a child’s bookshelf as fantasy nonsense.

For example… hypertension, and its complications, is one of the human race’s biggest killers globally, and it is simply caused by consuming sodium chloride (salt). Swift knew back when he wrote this book that salt was a luxury of no use to humans and that you soon adjust to not using it and realise that you actually don’t need it. Yet here we are today stuffing our faces with this debilitating substance that our bodies simply don’t need making ourselves sicker than ever…

I was at first at a great loss for salt, but custom soon reconciled me to the want of it; and I am confident that the frequent use of salt among us is an effect of luxury, and was first introduced only as a provocative to drink, except where it is necessary for preserving flesh in long voyages, or in places remote from great markets; for we observe no animal to be fond of it but man, and as to myself, when I left this country, it was a great while before I could endure the taste of it in anything that I ate.

So if you are one of those people who thought that this was a children’s book, then go and read ‘The Toymakers’ and then read ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, you may just get a different view of it.

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The Toymakers (book review)…

The ToymakersThe Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When this book came up on Bookbub as a 99p deal i was immediately attracted to it. Yes, i do judge books by their covers, and also by their titles. So i went to Amazon to check it out and it stated that it would suit those who enjoyed reading ‘The Night Circus’.

So as i’d very much enjoyed ‘The Night Circus’ and it being only 99p i went ahead and bought it.

But to be quite honest, it’s nothing like ‘The Night Circus’. They’re 2 very different books, IMHO.

‘The Toymakers’ is, at the end of the day, a story very much about unrequited love, and sibling envy, whereas ‘The Night Circus’ is neither of those things.

While both are set in magical worlds, there are no other real similarities whatsoever.

But having said all that, i did very much enjoy reading this book. It is a fantastic journey through decades of 20th century London, including WW1 and WW2. It also delves well into PTSD and it’s affects on those who come back from the horrors of war and have to fit back into the lives they left behind.

And the ending…

…well, i never expected that. What a wonderful twist in the tale.

If you’re looking for a really decent read, then look no further than ‘The Toymakers’. I doubt many will be left disappointed.

Supurb!

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Red Queen (book review)…

Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice 2)Red Queen by Christina Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading ‘Alice’ and was expecting a bit more of the same, but this book feels quite different.

Whereas Alice had me feeling like i was reading the adventure of an escaped patient from a max security mental hospital who hasn’t had her meds and has gone into full blown psychosis, ‘Red Queen’ read far more like normal fantasy, probably due to Alice finding her magical abilities in this book.

Both books have been great in their own way and i’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful new take on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Red Queen’ is a good ending to Alice and Hatcher’s tale.

I look forward to reading more from Christina in the future.

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Alice (book review)…

AliceAlice by Christina Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This was awesome.

This can pretty much be read as the story of a paranoid schizophrenic who has escaped from a max security mental hospital and is rapidly withdrawing after being heavily medicated for years on anti-psychotics. It truly has the hall marks of full blown psychosis.

Of course, you can read it as a fantasy novel that bears no relevance to the real world if you don’t want to think about why people in full blown psychosis due to rapid withdrawal of anti-psychotic meds go around killing people.

Whichever way you want to read this, it’s a fantastic re-telling of the Alice in Wonderland story.

Straight onto Red Queen now. So looking forward to more of Alice and Hatcher.

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Septimania (book review)…

SeptimaniaSeptimania by Jonathan Levi
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Have you ever found yourself in a dream that is just totally fucked up and makes no sense, but you’re dreaming, you have no choice, and the dream just goes on until you finally wake up in a cold sweaty bed needing a change of sheets, a hot shower and mug of cocoa?

Well this is the literary version, and it’s someone else’s fucked up dream you’re stuck in.

I say ‘you’re stuck in’, like you couldn’t just delete it from your Kindle if you wanted to, but that’s the thing, you just don’t want to. Like the fucked up dream, you just seem to be stuck in it and you have to wait until the end when it releases you back to reality.

I won’t say more as i wouldn’t want to spoil it for any literary masochists out there, other than buyer beware. It will seriously disturb you that you wasted your time reading it, but once you start reading it you’ll be in it until the end – you have been warned!

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Lotus Blue (book review)…

Lotus BlueLotus Blue by Cat Sparks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the book right up until the end, which just didn’t seem to come up to the standard of the rest of the book. After a really enthralling adventure it really felt like the ending was rushed to its conclusion – hence only 4 stars.

It’s not too far fetched to imagine a future like the one depicted within this book, or the causes for it. The more we begin to rely on drones and augmented soldiers to fight wars, slowly but surely handing over more and more control to computer intelligence, the closer we get to the characters in the book and ultimately entities like ‘Lotus Blue’.

I’m hoping the ending in this book isn’t the end and that there’ll be more books in this dystopian future.

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