Book Review: The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Title: The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Published: May 1, 2008 (English translation)

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Final Rating: 5/5

The Witcher video game series is one of my favorite games to play. I’ll admit that I haven’t finished them yet, but I love the play style and storyline. When I found out that it was originally based on a fantasy series that was actually a New York Times bestseller, my book-loving heart had to read them! The books were originally written in Polish, and the first two books in the series (seven in total) are written as short story collections. All books, except for the last one, have officially-released translations, and they are all available on Kindle or Audible.

I loved The Last Wish. It was simply a straightforward, uncluttered, and action-packed collection of stories about Geralt of Rivia. There wasn’t a lot of unnecessary time spent on world-crafting or conlangs or lore or exposition. The world, lore, and character development fell into place as I read, and there wasn’t a dull moment of plowing through attempts to match Tolkien in high fantasy or history. It is a book written for fantasy lovers and people who like action and swordfights. I wasn’t lost in trying to keep up with a hundred characters or trying to figure out the geography or political setting. I simply could enjoy the series as a well-written, uniquely creative, and continuously-moving tale of monsters, fairy tales, and Geralt, who kills those monsters and somehow woos women while he’s at it.

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Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Published: 1985

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Final Rating: 5/5

It is rare that I have the attention span to focus on a book until it is completely finished, but I began reading The Handmaid’s Tale as part of a Goodreads group’s book discussion around 11am Tuesday morning on the plane and finished it later that night in the hotel room. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and I was reading it every chance I could get, completely immersed in the experience. My thoughts on this are still abstract, so this review will read a little abruptly and harshly at times.

I had tried reading the book before a few months ago (coincidentally on another plane trip) but didn’t get very far because I found the writing style disjointed and tough to follow. This time, I viewed the jumpy writing style as a stream of consciousness (my own internal monologue is never linear or predictable), and it felt like I personally was Offred. I was invested in her responses and dreams and actions, and perhaps because she never stated her real name, it made me identify with her even more.

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Book Review: Dead Man Hand by T.M. Simmons

Title: Dead Man Hand (Dead Man Mysteries Book 3)

Author: T.M. Simmons

Published: September 1, 2012

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Final Rating: 1/5

This is the third book in the Dead Man Mysteries series. I remember reading the first book, Dead Man Talking, because it is free for the Kindle. It is a paranormal murder mystery series, and I enjoyed the first two books as far as “fluff” novels go. A “fluff” novel is anything that I would consider a light read or something that isn’t particularly complex or dense. It’s a nice mental shift from keeping Middle-earth history straight with Tolkien or processing a non-fiction science book. Plus they’re easy to read and help me get to my 2016 book goal.

514wxi68nclBut back to the book, this is the third book in the series, and the first two were decent reads. Each book features a new mystery with the same characters who have been requested to help out with a ghost that refuses to move on and wants to stay in the area and keep haunting their old homes. Alice Carpenter is a writer with a Rottweiler and Siamese (who are impossibly well-behaved and are smarter than most humans, which requires the biggest suspension of disbelief on my part). She is close friends with Granny, a fiery old lady with quite the accent (reflected in the writing); her Aunt Twila, who is experienced at this whole ghost-hunting thing; and Jack, her ex-husband that Alice still has the hots for but since he doesn’t believe in ghosts, that complicates her lovemaking desires. Each book takes them to a new location with new ghosts, a new murder they have to solve, and new smoldering looks from Jack.

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Book Review: God Hates You, Hate Him Back by C.J. Werleman

Title: God Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of the Bible

Author: C.J. Werleman

Published: November 16, 2009

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Final Rating: 3/5

Last night, I finally finished a book I have been working through for several months: “God Hates You, Hate Him Back” by CJ Werleman. I purchased the book in December for my Kindle (after enjoying the sample I had received from another atheistic Kindle purchase) and finally finished it up last night. It was published in November 2009, but I couldn’t find a lot of information about the author besides a now-deleted Wikipedia page, his social media profiles, and a few articles accusing him of plagiarism as well as copies of an email exchange between him and Sam Harris. I always like to understand the perspective of the author and how that affects his writings and worldview, but in this case, I think it’s probably better to skip over the allegations and go straight to the book.

51jqbf53mbl-_sx331_bo1204203200_For people who know me, it is no secret that I am one of those “militant atheists,” meaning that I occasionally get quite ranty about it on Facebook, and I would like to not be portrayed as evil by media, politicians, or whoever else thinks I’ll burn in hell for eternity. What that really means is that I quite often read books written by atheists because the subject matter is a priority to me (I usually describe myself as a “childfree liberal vegan atheist,” which tends to describe my most important values fairly well). Ironically, in my quest to continue to educate myself and masochistic urge to continue to read more of religion and its followers, I think it’s safe to say that I spend more time in the study of religion as an incredulous outsider than those who claim to be devout to the faith. I suppose it goes hand in hand with my fascination for cryptozoology and occasionally a good paranormal read; a little suspension of disbelief can go a long way.

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