Tag Archives: NetGalley

Matcher Rules – It’s like Pern with Polyamory (4/5)

As usual I received this book for free so I’d review it; this time from NetGalley. Also as usual I give my scrupulously honest opinions below.

For the purposes of categorization, this book falls into the same basic premise as the Dragonriders of Pern. Human colonists found a colony on an alien planet and find “thing” that completely changes their way of life. Saying much of anything else will constitute a spoiler so I leave it at that.

To the positive side of assessing this novel, the author’s crafting of location is exceptionally intriguing. It’s the sort of book that makes you want another 47 set in the same world just to wrap up various nuances of this alien society. Holland has created a world filled with endless possibilities that this book only begins to touch on. From a writing perspective the style is easily, accessible almost juvenile; I’d recommend it to my own children except for some references to sex which I am far too cowardly to explain to a teenager.

On the negative side, like all books of this sort, the beginning 10 pages or thereabouts were a bit of a struggle. This is somewhat unavoidable as the book is busy giving new and alien names to things but it could have been a bit less compressed. Those first pages are a bit daunting but worth getting through to get to the rest. Additionally, the ending seemed far too tidy and wrapped up with a too nice, too neat bow. Perhaps my reaction is at least in part because I want the other 47 books but the ending here is too pristine to even tease a sequel. In general the start and end seemed rushed endcaps to a beautiful middle.

In summary, this is a wonderful little concept for a society and I merely wish fervently that there were more of it. Given proper treatment there is so much of human nature to explore here but as a single stand-alone novel this came up a bit wanting. Again though, that may be at least in part my opinion because I wanted 47 more books.


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Big Fat Beautiful Head – Funny and full of insight but surprisingly short (4/5)

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As usual I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review; this time from NetGalley. Also as usual I give my scrupulously honest opinion below.

This book is in a fairly unique position in that it’s a book of cartoons but also a book about cartoons. It contains 50 of the author’s choicest offerings and each comes accompanied by a 100-word blurb about the cartoon which usually describes the situation portrayed in more detail or the background of what made the author pen this particular work in the first place.

On the positive side, I’m a tough sell when it comes to humor and many of these caused me to actually laugh. I’m amused by much but don’t typically let it out. Heinecke is a surprisingly funny guy even by my standards for the term. The book is also unique in that it does what I always want books about comics to do which is to describe in more detail the background of what’s being drawn. The comic form is so terse by its nature that often I think we all want a few more words than the 10 we typically get and this book gives us that missing detail.

To the negative, this is really short. As I said above it’s 50 comics and at its current Amazon selling price that’s 20 cents per comic. it would be more cost effective to actually subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and just read the comics (which I’m sure happens more than people will admit). The inherent terseness of the comic writer is still evident in the short, large-font blurbs as well. There’s more description but there’s still not everything you would hope for.

In summary, this is a nice offering from a funny author but it’s probably one to pick up on the clearance rack. Its all of a 20-minute read and you should determine the price you would pay based on that.


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Book Reviews: The Martian – Andy Weir

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As usual I received this book free of charge in exchange for a review, this time from NetGalley. Also as usual I will give my candid thoughts below.

The plot of this one is basically Castaway plus any movie you’ve ever seen set on Mars. Guy’s marooned on Mars and only has his wits to survive the situation.

On the positive side the level of detail here is amazingly intricate and the author tells you every single detail of every cliff-hanging situation and its eventual resolution. Also, the main character is one of those rare individuals who responds to stress with humor so the book manages to be quite funny in its way despite the rather grim situation being faced.

To the negative, the science in this book is OK but at times left me scratching my head in perplexity. It’s obvious the author has done his homework but there were more than a few holes. For the most part I managed to ignore them but anyone who is hyper-technical will likely be inflamed at the whole thing. Finally, after a while the meticulous detail tended to be rather draining. I started and finished this book in a single 5-hour sitting and by the end I was just exhausted and ready for it to end. I highly recommend that you do NOT attempt that.

In summary, this book has a great premise and pretty good execution for a book so intimately tied to science content. I also have absolute confidence that this will become a movie (if it hasn’t already) so look for it in the theatre eventually.

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