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…

Bypass Gemini (Big Sigma #1) (book review)…

Bypass Gemini by Joseph R. Lallo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now this is a writer who is obviously having fun.

Admittedly there’s a thin line between a writer having a lot of fun with a story and the story becoming a little ridiculous and this book does seem to skim a little close to that line on occasion, and then it’s just up to the reader whether they might feel that line has been crossed. For me, at least, i just enjoyed this as a totally fun read. And right about now in my life i really needed a good fun read.

While my normal taste in sci-fi is rather highbrow – Le Guin, etc. – this book came like a refreshing breath of fresh air in it’s nothing but a full on romp around the galaxy with broad array of characters and shenangians. Yes, there’s a serious side to it, millions are going to die unless our protagonist can sort his shit out, but that doesn’t hold Joseph back from having fun with it along the way.

As in all of Joseph’s books, the characters are wonderful, widely varied and really brought to life, leaving you wanting further appearances in future books.

You can find this book for free on Amazon and then if you like it you can buy the rest of the series – so it’s a proper ‘try before you buy’. And i think that’s another great thing about Joseph, in that he gives away the first books in his 3 series as tasters and then let’s the reader make their own minds up freely as to whether they want more or not. I got hooked in this way on ‘Book of Deacon’ then ‘Free Wrench’ and now this. And that for me is the mark of a good book, do you buy the rest of the series or walk away and never come back? The answer to all 3 of Joseph’s series is yes, yes and yes again for me. I bought the rest of the books to this series straight away and can’t wait to read more.

So get yourselves over to Amazon and give Joseph’s writing a try if you haven’t already done so. For fantasy you want ‘Book of Deacon’, for steampunk ‘Free Wrench’ and sci-fi it’s this book ‘Bypass Gemini’.

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Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy (book review)…

Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy by Miyamoto Musashi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another book that’s sat on my Kindle for years unread. But having just finished David Kirks’ books it really felt like the right time to read this.

It’s hard to judge this book in any real contemporary terms because it simply has no place in the contemporary world. It’s an anachronism from a time and place that is no more and will never be again.

It is aimed solely at the samurai warrior, but maybe there are those who are ultra competitive who do contact sports, and also military personnel, that could still gain a lot from reading it – which doesn’t apply to me.

It is, however, an incredible view into the mind of one of the greatest strategists (swordsmen) from Japanese history, and it really gives you the genuine thoughts and attitude of a Samurai in regards to fighting and killing with swords. It’s probably the most amoral thing i’ve ever read, and in that aspect alone it’s quite wonderful because it is so genuine.

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Cipher Hill (Free-Wrench #5) (book review)…

Cipher Hill by Joseph Lallo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More wonderful, shenaniganic fun aboard ‘Wind Breaker’.

Sadly, for now, this is the last book in Joseph’s ‘Free Wrench’ series, but i certainly hope he’ll be adding some more at some point. Captain Mack and the crew are just too much fun to leave them here forever.

I really can’t say enough about Joseph’s writing, it’s perfect in every way. His ‘Book of Deacon’ series is just the same quality of writing and so far he has never left me disappointed at buying any of his books.

If you enjoyed watching ‘Firefly’ then i would totally recommend a look at this series of books – i really can’t see you being disappointed.

Once i’ve cleared my Kindle backlog a little more i’ll definitely be diving in Joseph’s ‘Big Sigma’ series next before coming back to re-read the whole of ‘Book of Deacon’ adding in the new stories that Joseph has added since i last read it all. Writers like Joseph is why i love books.

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Sword of Honour (book review)..

Sword of Honour by David Kirk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Far better than the first – which i gave 4 stars.

Looking back over the 2 books it felt to me like David gained in confidence writing tales about Musashi and also that he has come to know him better – like he’s beginning to get inside his head more.

But then i suppose the first book was more about Musashi the youth, just beginning to find himself, and this book is more of Musashi as a young man puzzling over what he’s found and finding more – and this reflects well in the writing of both books.

Once again, David’s writing is superbly descriptive without overdoing it. The story just keeps on moving and i just didn’t want to put it down – like the first book, no pregnant pauses await within, it’s just full gas all the way.

I do hope #3 won’t be too long, i’m hooked!

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The Unwanted (book review)…

The Unwanted by Steam Punk
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For a give away short story one maybe shouldn’t complain, but it takes time to read stories and i feel this was a waste of it.

We are given characters who were raised and trained from childhood to fulfil their adult roles, who are apparently the best at what they do, but who then come across as incredibly flawed and weak.

Then there’s the editing, seriously, did someone just type this down and run it through a spell checker before publishing it?

I do feel there’s a good story hiding behind the faults, which kind of adds to the annoyance.

Ho hum…

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Child of Vengeance (book review)…

Child of Vengence by David Kirk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just couldn’t quite bring myself to give this 5 stars.

David has taken the tales of Miyamoto Musashi and created his own story from these, so some of this is loosely based in what is told of the real man and some of this is based entirely from David’s imagination.

All told, it works really well, but there just seems a step too far here and there, which, for me at least, was distracting a little. While it has been compared to Shogun by some, for me, it just doesn’t have that same level of believability to it.

But then, if i want the real tales of Musashi then i could, of course, go and read them.

It certainly keeps you reading. It’s pretty much non stop without the annoying pregnant pauses of most stories and David really does portray the period very well.

All in all, i got this book and the next in the series for 99p each on Kindle – which is an absolute bargain for this kind of story telling – and i’ll be diving back into Musashi’s world in the second book later today after finishing a little short story i picked up – i’m looking forward to it very much.

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The Calderan Problem (Free-Wrench #4) (book review)…

The Calderan Problem by Joseph R. Lallo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It struck me while reading this book that the ‘Free-Wrench’ saga is pretty much a Steampunk version of ‘Firefly’. If you liked ‘Firefly’ then you’ll love this saga.

Brilliant!

All our favourite characters are back from the first three books and a few more new ones besides, the shenanigans get more complex as each book builds upon the last one – the saga keeps getting better.

Joseph’s writing is it’s usual, wonderfully imaginative stuff expressed in nice easy flowing prose.

All a really good, fun, read with a loveable set of characters.

Read my review on the first three books by clicking here.

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Free-Wrench Collection: Volume 1 (book review)…

Free-Wrench Collection: Volume 1 by Joseph R. Lallo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Totally enjoyable!

Having become a fan of Joseph’s writing with his ‘Book of Deacon’ saga i was pleasantly surprised when this turned up in my Bookbub alerts at 99p, and curious as to how he would get on in the Steampunk genre – i simply couldn’t resist.

And i’m glad i didn’t resist. Joseph’s writing is as good in this series as it is in the Book of Deacon series, the characters are excellent, nothing is ever too far fetched, etc..

And i simply had no choice but to buy the 4th book in the series and jump straight into that.

Anyways, for anyone into Steampunk or even anyone who is Steampunk curious or even you’ve never heard of Steampunk, you can’t really go wrong with this trilogy in one cover. Start reading today!

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BUSHIDO:The Soul of Japan, An Exposition of Japanese Thought (book review)…

BUSHIDO:The Soul of Japan, An Exposition of Japanese ThoughtBUSHIDO:The Soul of Japan, An Exposition of Japanese Thought by Inazo Nitobe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always found Japanese history, particularly that of the Samurai, fascinating. But living on the other side of the world in a completely different time in a completely different culture one can never truly know what these people and the time and place they lived in was really like.

What we can do is simply enjoy these snap shots from the past about a culture long gone that we may still have something to learn from.

Originally published in 1900 the setting for this book is between the end of feudalism and the beginning of modern Japan and is, to my mind at least, a wonderful view of the past and what that can possibly mean for the future.

A very interesting book for anyone who enjoys reading and learning about Japan, especially the historical influences of Bushido on modern Japan.

I gave it 4 stars as it does use some very long words and i did find myself using look-up on my Kindle a great deal which does detract from the flow of the book. But it’s definitely worth the effort and you do learn a few things along the way.

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Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel (book review)…

Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel by Pascal Mercier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As someone who totally enjoys their philosophy Huxley style, i found this book absolutely wonderful and incredibly thought provoking.

I really do love good philosophers who are able to place deep philosophical discourse into novels that can either be read just as stories and/or as works of philosophy. Aldous Huxley was a master at this after becoming annoyed that only academia would ever read his philosophy papers and wishing for a far further reaching demographic than academia – which Huxley certainly achieved. Peter Bieri, AKA Pascal Mercier, while not having written as much as Huxley certainly matches him, IMHO, for depth of thinking and skill of writing.

What i really enjoy about the philosophical novel is that, to my mind, it frees up the thinking of the philosopher to say much much more than if they were simply writing an academic paper. In the novel form the philosopher can ascribe thoughts and ideas to fictional characters and not then have to carry any burden for holding such a view point themselves, whether they do or not, they can simply blame it upon the character and distance themselves from it entirely. While in academic philosophy what is written is pretty much always blamed on the philosopher and history has shown that philosophers have expressed certain views while muting others in order to appease and placate the ruling powers of their societies, peers and academia. The philosophical novel, is in my opinion, far more honest than the academic paper.

Anyways, get your thinking cap on if you want to read this one. It’ll certainly get the neurons fired up.

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