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Frank Burns Locked account

Joined 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Mostly Sci-Fi with some fantasy and non-fiction thrown in. I would describe my tastes as eclectic.

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Children of Memory (2022, Macmillan Publishers Limited) 4 stars

The unmissable follow-up to the highly acclaimed Children of Time and Children of Ruin.

Earth …

Review of 'Children of Memory' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I am afraid I am going to have to be a little hard here and say this barely scraped 4 stars for me. The middle really dragged. I can't really explain why without going into spoilers (which I am not a fan of doing in reviews). I will say that there wasn't the same sense of progress that you got from the first two books. A sense of something new developing. The middle third is very focused on a (to all appearances) regressive setting, thus the sense of the new wasn't there for me for a good chunk of this read.
The ideas are still top tier. The book started well and the ending was satisfying. Maybe it needed a tighter edit, maybe I was just not in the right place for this.
Still, it is Tchaikovsky and my reservations could just be a me thing. It's still at least …

Wayward (2022, Random House Publishing Group) 3 stars

Review of 'Wayward' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

2 stars as this was a did not finish at around 30pc. Strange, because I really enjoyed the first book in this series but I bounced off this one hard.
I usually feel compelled to wax lyrical in defense of books I don't finish but to be honest, with this one, I just wasn't enjoying it. I had a feeling it was going to get somewhere interesting but I just wasn't interested in the journey to get there.
Sorry Chuck, cannot recommend.

The Brexit Tapes (EBook) 4 stars

Review of 'The Brexit Tapes' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The genesis of this book was a bunch of Twitter threads that were delivered right as the events were happening 3 to 4 years ago. They had an immediacy and impact then that was the making of this book.
I found the impact somewhat diluted in reading the book in 2023 but I still giggled along, remembering just how shit that particular incarnation of Tory uselessness was (ofc the next incarnation just said 'hold my beer').
The framing device used to structure the Twitter threads into a book worked pretty well and created opportunities for extra snark.
A definite recommended read if you possess an ounce of common sense.

Review of 'Meow' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Yes, yes. Lots of reviews coming in at once but I did mention I was sick.
First five star of the year, here. Funnily enough I was scrabbling about trying to find a reason not to give this 5 stars, mostly because I feel I should be stingier with that rating. Couldn't find one.
And yes, this is 5 stars for a fantasy. Not like me at all. I have definitely had enough of gods, dragons, interminable hero's journeys and the chosen one hidden in a dungheap or something. This book had none of that tosh. It was a book about making a place, not smashing it up. As such its probably the most adult thing I have read in that genre for decades.
There was a lovely, light touch about this. A hint of steel too, when needed, but mostly this was about growth and making a new home …

Review of 'August Kitko and the Mechas from Space' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was metal, jazz, pop and big ass robots.
The set-up here was straight from Mass Effect and the intention was to deliver a 'big screen' experience. I was thoroughly entertained.
Whilst there were some minor key moments this was mostly power cords to the face and it all pulled together very well.
I am giving it a recommend and will definitely look at the sequel.

Station Eternity (2022, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Amateur detective Mallory Viridian’s talent for solving murders ruined her life on Earth and drove …

Review of 'Station Eternity' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was first contact meets reluctant girl detective and was highly entertaining.
Only 4 stars because I do feel the ending got away from the author a little but that would be my only quibble with this book. I don't really have much more to say about it apart from that I do recommend and I did enjoy.

Ocean's Echo (2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Review of "Ocean's Echo" on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

So, nearly a 5 star! This was delightful. The only reason I am not going with a five star is because the basic set up is nearly identical to the first book (young tearaway forced into a relationship with someone by their powerful aunt/mother) so it may lack a little originality.
That being said, what a book. This author has some serious chops and the journey through this book was as strong as the first. I was hooked from the out and as you can see the book was finished in the same day. TBF, I am currently ill so there was not much else to do (there were also two re-reads between the book I last reviewed and this one that I am not going to count on here) but this fair took my mind off that.
This is a strong recommend and this author is now on my …

Review of 'Deploying Dragons' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I had actually thought the first book in this was a 'one and done' so when I saw this one was out it was a pleasant surprise.
I wanted something light and entertaining to read and this definitely ticked that box. There is a little spike in it here and there but this is mostly a gentle romp, with dragons.
It ends kind of abruptly, which is the classic issue with (what I assume) is a middle book. However, I think that's a minor quibble.
Nice, gentle, brain in neutral entertainment. A recommend.

Sengoku Jidai. Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu (Paperback, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) 4 stars

Review of 'Sengoku Jidai. Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Wow, a long time between reviews for me. This book did take me a while to get through but there were also other distractions keeping me away from reading in the last month or so.
A strong 4 here as I pick up another history book to try and clear away some gaps in my knowledge. All I had for this period in Japanese history was references to it from 'Lone Wolf and Cub', not really a comprehensive understanding. This book fair delivered on that ambition.
I particularly enjoyed how clear eyed this book was about the people it was chronicling. These were vicious, thuggish warlords whose motivations were as much about their own aggrandizement as any lofty goals of national unity. The book never shied away from that or tried to 'redeem' them in any way. It also pointed out how adept these guys were at adopting new technology …

Review of 'Flood Circle' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Another excellent installment in this series.
This one was a fast paced ride toward a cliff. It had all the signature motifs of the series but Connolly is definitely pulling it towards a conclusion. In this book we are firmly in the modern day so our magical monster hunters have to deal with a world where social media, idiot techbros and internet infamy are a thing.
I thoroughly enjoyed this so don't read anything into a short review. Recommended.

Nona the Ninth (EBook, 2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Her city is under siege. The zombies are coming back. And all Nona wants is …

Review of 'Nona the Ninth' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Ok, confession time. I have given all the books in this series 5 stars without entirely being sure what is going on. I see this as a selling point, not a detraction.
Things become a little clearer in this book. A little.
At first it just seems a simple coming of age tale set in a dystopian city. However, the child concerned is a revenant of someone of great importance from the previous books (it's honestly not who you would think) and despite being adolescent has only actually been around for 6 months.
There is a fair bit of backstory reveal. It all started on Earth, slowly dying in the climate apocalypse and that sets the tone for all that comes after.
The prose is delivered in a style that always (to me) brings to mind REM lyrics, where the intent sometimes is to make meaning appear from random, unconnected …

Once upon a Tome (2023, Norton & Company Limited, W. W.) 5 stars

Review of 'Once upon a Tome' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This was a bit left field for me. I had been following Sotheran's Twitter account for a while. Not because of an interest in rare, antique books but because it is pretty funny and random. When it popped up that the guy who does Twitter for them had also written a memoir I pre-ordered it on a whim. I am very glad I did, this was a delight.
This is a collection of funny vignette's that roughly follow the arc of the author's development from a scruffy apprentice to a, well, scruffy rare bookseller. It is funny, droll and told with a very light touch. It kind of jumps about in time but that works because of the somewhat timeless nature of a bookshop itself (this one has been going since the 1700's).
It is a very British book, a lot of of the humour comes from that Britishness. This …

Review of 'Hate Machine' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

So, so good.
Not quite 5 stars, like the previous installment in the series. A book I said was 'the purest distillation of 'tough guy urban fantasy' I have ever seen'. This installment, while excellent and entertaining, just didn't hit me with the same impact. It's definitely a me thing though.
Blackmoore is for me like Harry Connolly, authors at the top of their game. Pushing out book after book of very high quality urban fantasy and just not seeing the audience they deserve.
This book was the 'Vegas' book and like any visit to Vegas it ends up not working out like you would expect and tinged with all kinds of regret. Lots of backstory reveal and entertaining characters to roll along with Eric Carter's 'tough guy with a heart' vibe. In fact it strikes me that the intent of these books now is to reign things in slightly. …

Review of 'The Spare Man' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Ahh, this was lovely. The bones of this are Agatha Christie, its a locked room mystery on an interstellar cruise liner. The twist is that it is structured like Hammet's the Thin Man and uses that as the character templates for the protagonists.
It sailed along with brim and vigor and no small amount of wit. A vastly entertaining romp with some science fictional elements. Given this is Kowal, the space and speculative tech elements are spot on as well.
It wasn't 5 stars for me because I felt some plot elements didn't come together at the end but that's probably more a me thing. I inhaled this in like 2 sittings while away for the weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Definite recommend.

Review of 'Iron Gate' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I have waxed lyrical about this series before. To see that, unexpectedly, Connolly was about to drop another 2 installments this year before finishing it up with a final novel next year-ish was very welcome news.
Connolly epitomises the struggle of small to mid-list authors these days. They just can't get any traction, sales wise. This series (not so much the fantasy he turned to in a fit of almost pique after the sales of the first three novels just weren't there) should have been a shoo in for decent sales. Critically acclaimed, universally rated highly by those of us who have read the books, it's sales should grow. That they don't is a great shame.
I punched this out in 2 days as a palate cleanser after some hefty re-reads. My previous views of this series stand. The set-up is nicely skewed from the urban fantasy norm, the characters …