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Mark Say

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Difficult Second Book Syndrome

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-20

I got this book after absolutely loving The Lies of Locke Lamora and I suspect if you're reading this that you are considering continuing your journey with Locke and Jean.

This book isn't as good as the first. So you know that going out of the gate, I didn't enjoy it as much but that's not to say it's a bad book. It's like a case of the difficult second album for a band.

Lies was such a good book it was always going to be hard to beat. Scott gave it a good go though!

We rejoin our Gentlemen Bastard heroes after the events of the first book with Locke feeling from what he has lost and Jean trying to bring him out of his funk. The two then begin scheming and keeping us guessing about what they're up to and what their real plans are.

There are several plates spinning in the air at any one time but it's not difficult to keep up with what's going on. There is a bit of a lull in the middle of the book and it does feel a little slow but it's worth sitting through the lull because it does build the story so that when something happens you really feel it.

You'll probably know the part I'm referring to when you get to it but I feel that if the "lull" had been rushed it wouldn't have had quite so much impact.

In comparison to the middle of the book the end seemed rushed, it seemed to all be over in a flash and I would really have liked another couple of hours for everything to get wrapped up.

All in all I did enjoy the book, i still love the characters and I may just put off listening to the third book so that I can listen to it just before the fourth book isbtrleased, which is currently scheduled for release in September.

Quantum: Not really that thrilling

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-02-20

I'm not sure what I expected when I bought this book, but what i got wasn't what I expected either so there we go.

If that last sentence left you confused, then the feeling you're feeling is quite possibly similar to the feeling I was feeling whilst listening to this book.

I read the synopsis when the book was on early release for Prime members, but forgot all about it when it came time to listen. Pro tip, if you get early access to a book through prime you can quite often add Audible narration for a little over £3 which is usually a bargain!

So the book centres around Callie, an identical twin who is if I remember rightly a Nasa scientist type person, but also a cop and also waiting to hear if she's going to be an astronaut, oh and she also helps invent quite possibly billion dollar inventions with her dad which can be used by everyone from the military to Joe public. So it's safe to say she's a busy gal.

Anyhow Callie is gearing to supervise a spacewalk and a shuttle launch which are due to happen at the same time, oh and she has to solve a murder too.

Remember I said Callie had a twin? Well she's hoping to be an astronaut too but she's gone missing, is everything connected? Who knows, I've finished the book and i still don't know.

Interspersed through the book are what I assume to be flashbacks, from either Callie's childhood or recent past but they're not exactly explained, they're just pasted into the narrative with no warning and it can be quite confusing, as soon as they have started then they stop again and the story goes on. This is quite a well used trope but it's not very well executed in this book. Many of the flashbacks had no relevance and added nothing to the story.

The narrator was decent so that's a good point. I'm struggling to find any others.

I don't want to spoil anything but when the book ended I was like "What? That's the end?" I suppose it could qualify as a cliffhanger but it felt like Patricia just thought, "You know what, that's enough for this book, I've reached my word count, the next chapter can be the next book."

I was thoroughly disappointed with the way that it ended and I just don't care enough about the story or the characters to bother picking up the next book when it comes out. If you're a particular fan of Cornwell and her work then you might enjoy it. I would recommend waiting until the series is complete so you don't suffer the letdown that is the end of this book. There really should be a warning about this. It's like going to see a football match and it just ending with no explanation at 78 minutes as the ball goes out for a throw in.

EDIT: the next book in the series "Spin" was advertised for pre order when I submitted this review and it said: "Captain Calli Chase returns in a pause resisting thriller from international bestselling author Patricia Cornwell"

I have no idea what a "pause resisting" thriller is but I assume it is meant to read "page turning", so much attention to detail should tell you all you need to know about this series. Due for release in August 2020 you might want to book a summer holiday so you miss it.

HEAD ON, HEADS OFF

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-02-20

I bought this book a while ago after reading the first book in the series 'Lock In' both with Will Wheaton narrating.

I put off listening because of what, on the face of it seems like a fairly rediculous concept. A sport where Threeps try and cut off each others heads called Helcetta forms the basis for the whole story and I just thought it sounded really gimmicky.

I was wrong. Sorry John, I doubted you.

I started listening and again Will Wheaton is a great narrator and had me hooked straight away, it didn't take me long to get passed the rediculous game concept and feel invested in the story.

We have Chris the FBI agent with Hayden's who uses what is essentially a human controlled robot to get around in the world. I didn't realise this until the second book but it's never mentioned in the book if Chris is a man or a woman and as such there are two versions of the book, one where you would assume Chris is a man narrated by Will and one where you would assume Chris is female narrated by Amber Benson. Great concept but I would definitely recommend Wheaton's version.

The story as is expands and unravels really does feel like a futuristic Agatha Christie novel, with a wide cast of secondary characters that will keep you guessing about how things will play out and whodunnit!

I really hope theres going to be a next book and that it's not long before it comes out!

Trippy book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-02-20

If the film the Hangover had a drunken romantic liaison with Superbad without using any contraception and nine months later after a particularly morning sickness heavy pregnancy the progeny may turn out to be this book!

It starts out not too crazy where we meet Charlie a functionally alcoholic writer suffering from a case of writer's block but having done quite well from his previous work.

Charlie's long suffering agent tries to get him on TV to discuss his book and take part in some casting decisions regarding a film adaptation of his books, things decline into madness probably well before then but not before we meet Keep the barkeeper.

There's no easy way to describe this book that doesn't really know what it is, it's a murder mystery at heart but the murder and the solving of the murder seems almost secondary to the other crazy stuff that's going on.

Keep is also a bit of an amateur scientist designing amongst other things a new mind bending drug called Merlin which features heavily.

The story is told by I think Charlie but it could just as easily be a 'narrator' and this is one other facet of the book which confused me. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the book, it was easy to listen to, entertaining and short enough for a quick read over the course of a couple of days commuting.

The narrator took about 30 minutes to get used to and I wasn't sure that the voices would stick throughout the book but they did and they grew on me, as they will grow on you!

The very end of the book left me thinking there may be a sequel which could go in an entirely new yet no less bizzare direction.

If you at all enjoy crazy, drink and drug fueled adventures that don't take themselves too seriously then you will enjoy this.

Dogs of War

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-01-20

This is the final part of the Ixan Legacies trilogy and it is a fitting end to the series. I flew through this listening to it much quicker than I normally would have because I couldn't wait to find out what happened!

I can't really remember where the last book Pride of the Fleet ended and this one began. Because I don't want to get into spoiler territory all I will say is that this is the best book of the three, the other two were merely setting the scene so that things could be wrapped up for better or worse here.

We have space battles, mech wars and finally an ending to the frustration of intergalactic politics which wound me up so much in the first two books. Don't let the fact that I got wound up about it put you off, I'm more than certain that it was supposed to.

The ending wraps things up and doesn't leave is with a massive cliffhanger like some of Bartlett's previous book!

I really enjoyed the series and would thoroughly recommend.

Pride of the fleet<br />

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-01-20



Pride of the fleet is the second book in the Ixan Legacies trilogy so if you haven't read the first yet go back and pick up Capital Starship or this book won't make much sense.

Right at the end of the last book we learnt that Jake Price would be returning to the story with his team of mech pilots, I was really looking forward to seeing how the mechs would fit into the story and how and if Price and Husher would cross paths.

I really can't go into much detail about this book without giving away some minor spoilers, so before I do let me say that I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to fans of the series it's got action as well as space politics and the characters we know and love feature in plenty of arcs which will come to a conclusion in the next book.

*** Spoilers ahead, turn back now ***



Last chance....


So Price and Jake's paths do cross and as we all hoped begin to work together, there are many challenges that the crew have to face including some of the political tensions which came to light in the last book. These parts frustrated me as I was listening as it really seemed like whatever Husher did he couldn't win.

There is more of the same infighting in this book including quite a large battle against an unexpected enemy which I really thought was very downplayed in the book and needed much more significance placed upon it. It may come back around in the next but for some reason I think we have heard the last of it.

I've already got the next book queued up and ready to go, looking forward to seeing how it ends.

Easy listen, fun story, great narrator

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-01-20

ABR - The Accidental Scoundrel

I began this book with the expectation that it would be a light-hearted easy to listen to and humourous book. I wasn't wrong.

It is very silly, silly in a good way. There is a scene with a golf ball which really gave me a clue as to how silly this book would turn out to be.

The story centres around Richard who is set to marry into the family of a land owning Lord of the Manor type named Rochdale. Rochdale is not your typical member of the aristocracy but a scoundrel and quite possibly a psychopath and it would seem that membership of this particular family comes with some conditions. This book explains those conditions and Richard tells the story about he became an accidental scoundrel.

It really is an easy book to listen to and I popped in and out of it whilst driving and doing housework in a few days; it's short enough to get through in a day if you would like and Thomas Cassidy does a fantastic job at narrating, not taking himself too seriously with the voices and accents and there was one point in the book which just happened to be a sex scene that literally brought tears of laughter to my eyes.

** Potential spoiler ahead, if you don't want a spoiler just go and buy it, it's worth the listen **




I do like myself a heist story and ideally I would have liked more time dedicated to the actual heist part of the book. I was imagining a bumbling posh English version of Oceans 11, I don't suppose it was far off, but it was a very short heist.

There's the slightest inkling of a sequel and I hope that there is one, a stag do which is also a heist perhaps!?

If this is ever made into a film I would like more emphasis placed on the robbery itself. Perhaps if it is televised Rochdale could be played by John Cleese and Richard by Darren Boyd.

Overall I really enjoyed this and will be giving Chapman's 'Tripping the Night Fantastic' a go next.

Capital Starship and intergalactic politics

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-01-20

Continuing the Ixan series of books this book brings us back to Captain Vin Husher about 20 years after we last saw him for another set of galaxy threatening problems.

It's very hard to not give spoilers (I've tried my best) but there are the return of a few characters we know and it's interesting to see who is still hanging around 20 years after the last book in the series.

The book is set aboard a 'Capital Starship' which is a city based within a huge spaceship with an entire non military population living there full time.

Quite a lot of this book is Vin dealing with the struggles of politics and leading a ship meeting pushback from politicians and the general public and honestly the way that this pushback was written got me so frustrated because it's so true, the way that Vin is practically forced to jump through some hoops to try and placate the public is so true to life I was really wound up by it.. That said when Vin overcomes the odds (and you know he will!) it is that much sweeter.

This is the first book of a trilogy and sets up the next book right at the end. I'm looking forward to the next past which will reunite us with another of the characters from the universe.

I definitely recommend going back and starting with the Ixan Prophecies if you haven't read those books yet as you'll miss a lot of background otherwise and go from there.

How to be uncommon

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-01-20

This book came highly recommended by a friend and I can see why, it's a totally different book to what I was expecting.

First off it's a biography, ghostwritten by Adam Skolnick and also read by him, but there's a twist, David Goggins is right there in the studio with him and every now and then and at the end of chapters Goggins chimes in with extra information and commentary that the paper book readers don't get.

It's part biography detailing Goggins challenges growing up and throughout his life. He's had a tough life, some of it clearly self imposed but aside from that he has had a tough time with issues touched upon such as child abuse, racism and bullying, this book outlines the strategies David used to not only endure the issues he faces in his life but how he uses them as fuel to thrive.

Another part of the book is self help and motivation, although David doesn't like the word motivation. There are several challenges to set yourself as you go along with the book and you're encouraged to interact with the challenges in social media using hastags.

I had heard of Goggins briefly before I listened to the book but I don't think it was required, I would have enjoyed his story with no previous information as it's a heroes journey of someone who has done more in his lifetime to date than most people can even dream of.

This is like a blueprint of how to be uncommon and I highly recommend it.

The narration style is really good and is almost like a podcast at times.

Great as a holiday read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-12-19

I was lucky enough to be offered a free copy of this book for an honest impartial review, so here it is.

I might just have picked this up anyway as I have seen a few adverts for it and it has been on the Audible front page and the story is right up my street.

The premise without giving too much away is that our protagonist Colin gets sick and sells up his house and life to be put in stasis for a few years until medical science has found a cure for his illness. Unfortunately he's asleep for a little longer than that and this book focuses on the afterwards part and Colin's journey from being woken up to try and get his cure.

I must admit from the point of Colin waking up I thought the book would go in a very different way to what it did. He meets a sort of Interstellar female Indiana Jones type Dr Tyeresa Jack (have I spelled that right? Hard to know when you're listening!) And the book follows their journey along with some other very likable characters for what is a very light-hearted and enjoyable story.

This is definitely what I would describe as a "holiday read" being not too long, funny and easy to dive in and out of and not get lost.

Steve West the narrator does a good job and I find him best suited to humorous books with his deep bassy voice, he can take a little getting used to but really grows on you as listen.

The book is set up for the sequel which is already out and already on my wishlist. I have a feeling that now the origin story is out of the way the real adventures can begin!