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Book Reviews

Review: Borderless by Eliot Peper

I’m absolutely loving this cover artwork. What a blessing.

Blurb:

Information is power, and whoever controls the feed rules the world in this all-too-plausible follow-up to the science fiction thriller Bandwidth.

Exiled from Washington after a covert operation gone wrong, Diana is building a new life as a freelance spy, though her obsessive secrecy is driving away the few friends and allies she can count on. When she’s hired to investigate the world’s leading techno capitalist, she unknowingly accepts an assignment with a dark ulterior purpose. Navigating a labyrinth of cutouts and false fronts, Diana discovers a plot to nationalize the global feed.

As tech and politics speed toward a catastrophic reckoning, Diana must reconcile the sins of her past with her dreams of tomorrow. How she deploys the secrets in her arsenal will shape the future of a planet on the brink of disaster. Doing the right thing means risking everything to change the rules of the game. But how much is freedom really worth?


It literally took me about four pages in this work to realize that I would love this book if it could only keep up with the foundation I had laid eyes on. And it did, filled to the brim with modern affirmations and epiphanies of realization, Borderless moves forward with all the things that wrap our current society with conundrums of . . . how do we move forward in a world where technology is trying to tell us too much?

Diana is an former CIA spy and is wrapped up in a swirling mission to take over a megacorporation called Commonweath that built a system that gives people all their information called the feed and their plan to form a one world government. The feed tells you when your friend is walking toward you down the hallway and that’s just the brunt of it. Every institution is a computer and the feed has all the information about everything. But, is the information being curated in disfavor? Are things being selectively hidden? What will they do to keep America running in this fictional world when this technology is trying to free itself? How will you be free when you are relying on bent, hand fed influences?

“The only way to fight someone that knew your weaknesses was to feign indifference.”

Borderless Pg. 109, Eliot Peper

I learned tons of words and phrases in this book and that makes me excited when they are used properly and put in place like a carefully set stone. While some words were repeated and just fancy names for foreign yogurt ( this was the worst, but still great example of the variety in flavor ), I thought it was great. I have a big long note in my note taking app that has a lot of the words I learned, but here I will pick four of them so that you may get a taste of what Borderless has in store as far as verbiage:

  • in·dom·i·ta·ble
    /inˈdämədəb(ə)l/
    adjective
    impossible to subdue or defeat.
    “a woman of indomitable spirit”
  • key·stone
    /ˈkēˌstōn/
    noun
    a central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together.
  • re·al·po·li·tik
    /rāˈälpōliˌtēk/
    noun
    a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations.
  • feign
    /fān/
    verb
    pretend to be affected by (a feeling, state, or injury).
    ARCHAIC
    invent (a story or excuse).
    ARCHAIC
    indulge in pretense.

Make no mistake, I am no salesman so when I gloat simply for the fact that this is book #2 in the series, it worked so well despite my jumpy list-add clicking fingers, AND the fact that I found it in the first place makes me an extra happy camper today in the reading department.

Recommendation:

Presented with more than plausible real-world problems in a not-too-distant future spanning places all over the world, Borderless not only delivers a solid story, bringing all the moving pieces of international adult playgrounds together together quite nicely, it has style, knowledge, form and continuous breaths of fresh air and a perfect pacing to match. There wasn’t a single page I didn’t highlight something of worth or was tempted, then giving in to research a reference to people, places and things. This story deserves ★★★★★ five stars out of five, all day long.

Music Bonus:

Dub FX with Not Cool – Lyrics @ Genius.com – Get down with the feel good jimmy jams!

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews

DNF @ 37% Review: Quantum by Patricia Cornwell

Very well done cover . . . with space balls of some sort.

Blurb:

International bestselling author Patricia Cornwell delivers pulse-pounding thrills in the first book in a series featuring a brilliant and unusual new heroine, cutting-edge cybertechnology, and stakes that are astronomically high.

On the eve of a top secret space mission, Captain Calli Chase detects a tripped alarm in the tunnels deep below a NASA research center. A NASA pilot, quantum physicist, and cybercrime investigator, Calli knows that a looming blizzard and government shutdown could provide the perfect cover for sabotage, with deadly consequences.

As it turns out, the danger is worse than she thought. A spatter of dried blood, a missing security badge, a suspicious suicide—a series of disturbing clues point to Calli’s twin sister, Carme, who’s been MIA for days.

Desperate to halt the countdown to disaster and to clear her sister’s name, Captain Chase digs deep into her vast cyber security knowledge and her painful past, probing for answers to her twin’s erratic conduct. As time is running out, she realizes that failure means catastrophe—not just for the space program but for the safety of the whole nation.

Brilliantly crafted, gripping, and smart, Patricia Cornwell’s cliffhanger ending will keep readers wondering what’s next for Captain Calli Chase.


Let me start out by saying I have read some Patricia Cornwell books and loved them mucho construto. I started reading this yesterday and made it over a hundred pages in, which I can say this is an easy read, so that’s not the reason I DNF’d this book.

The Kindle edition has media embedded in it, which was neato-torpedo, displaying some animated images at the start of some chapters. This is apart from the fact that I couldn’t change the background color for this book on my Kindle Fire, assumably caused from the embedded media which was all-together absent from Kindle cloud reader.

This book started out well for me. It was quick, punchy and intelligent. However, Captain Chase turned into a squirrel on assumable hallucinogens and coke, ( not the kind in the bottle ) feeding me every detail that ran through her mind whether it was relevant or not . . . and, it’s filled with ADHD-ish ( coupled with my own ADHD tendencies, it proves to be a bad mix ), panicky inner-dialog that I’m assuming is suppose to be thrilling, but just gives me more anxiety than I already have and a need to know what to pay attention to and what not to, which does become decipherable as you read. I comprehended and processed, but not in a way that I prefer.

A word I learned in this book was:

This is a rambling book, which I didn’t mind in itself, but even rambles need to be organized to become coherent to the reader. There’s not much abstract thoughts of the protagonist’s mind other than “what the hell is happening to me and NASA” and “OMG, something is happening to me that someone else just referring to in passing” ( quotes are sarcastic, summarized version of Captain Chase’s thoughts, not actual quotes from the book ), at least of what I read. Sentence structure could use more variation, at least for me – it felt like I was being pelted with little thought-darts. However, the book does give some background to NASA, which I didn’t fact check and won’t.

I don’t have anymore to say about it other than the people at NASA should have given Captain Chase a sedative or two, in order to counter-act those over-stimulated thoughts way, way earlier in the book.

★★☆☆☆ Two stars out of five and a big-fat DNF for Captain Chase’s first book titled Quantum by Patricia Cornwell.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Massive One Book Haul: Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City

Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City: Sitting under my Christmas haul, for scale.

How do you have a massive one book haul? With Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City, that’s how. I didn’t realize how big this book was until I had it in perspective. It’s ridiculous! A weapon, even, at that. With 1300 some odd pages and weighing in at around 12 pounds. This thing is mad heavy. I won’t be digging into this one quite yet, but it will be posted about at some point.

I ordered this along with the Bluray movie, extended cut ( extended cut is mandatory for this movie ) because I love the movie so much, I figured I would delve into where the inspiration for the film came from.

This is not for kids! First thing I noticed is that there’s quite of bit of illustrated-partial nudity in this thing, which is NOT why I’m reading it. I had no idea? Moving along, when I get around to this thing, you’ll get to see a couple of bits of the lovely black and white art style along with what I think about the story and art.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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What I’m Reading: Flow My Tears, the Police Man Said by Philip K. Dick

It’s no secret, Colin ( from Tales From the Neon Beach blog ) and I are working on a duel review of Flow My Tears, the Police Man Said by Philip K. Dick and I just got a chance to dig my claws into the story, in which an acclaimed TV star wakes up in a different reality where he is a normal person. Like most other books by Philip K. Dick, it reads easy, but presents complex problems which fits my reading bill just great, at least so far. I won’t go into any more details about the book ( in which it seems like there is a lot of things to talk about ), so be on the look out for that duel review, on Tales from the Neon Beach, coming ( not very ) soon.

“Fear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you’re afraid you don’t commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back. You shouldn’t be alone. It’s killing you; it’s undermining you. All the time, every day, you should be somewhere with people.”
― Philip K. Dick, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

I’m also reading 10 Years of Darkness by Kristen Chambers and Viktor H. Strangewayes, in which I started on the eBook, but that won’t last long because I gratefully received a hard copy with a nice, signed note attached, then I will feature this book next week on What I’m Reading, so you may get a good look at it, the formatting, etc.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews

Review: Gridlinked by Neal Asher

Gridlinked by Neal Asher

Blurb:

The runcible buffers on Samarkand have been mysteriously sabotaged, killing many thousands and destroying a terraforming project. Agent Cormac must reach it by ship to begin an investigation. But Cormac has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Pelter, who is prepared to follow him across the galaxy with a terrifying android in tow.

Despite the sub-zero temperature of Samarkand, Cormac discovers signs of life: they are two ‘dracomen’, alien beasts contrived by an extra-galactic entity calling itself ‘Dragon’, which is a huge creature consisting of four conjoined spheres of flesh each a kilometre in diameter. Caught between the byzantine wiles of the Dragon and the lethal fury of Pelter, Cormac needs to skip very nimbly indeed to rescue the Samarkand project and protect his own life.

Gridlinked is the first sci-fi thriller in Neal Asher’s compelling Agent Cormac series.


This book is a prime example where it’s just not possible for a blurb to sell the book like it was ever intended to do in the first place. In fact, a long synopsis would even be sinful. Agent Cormac thinks whoever came up with these downright nasty ideas should eat a sharp beetle. Sometimes while reading . . . I wanted to tear this book in half. However, great care was taken not even to dog ear this bad boy. I absolutely fell in love with the story of Agent Cormac and the punchy, humorous way the words are laid down on each page. With break neck speed through space with spaceships, atmospheric re-entry and sadistic androids are some of the wettest, pulpy slap-stick environmental constraints of being in the future where things aren’t always as they seem. Your first inclination about why this is, is most definitely wrong, with a tag line of “The Hunter Becomes the Hunted” and things like chameleonware all the way to the neat little lore-type-blurbs at the start of many chapters that explain the human condition in relation to this beautiful, far-out space world.

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Book Reviews

Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

With the cover, I’m catching a Studio Ghibli vibe, which is great and the minimalistic combined with the illustration makes for all-around, excellent cover.

Blurb:

Egypt, 1912. In Cairo, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine.

What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and a plot that could unravel time itself.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


Things are turning around for me with historical fiction. Anytime you put “saucy assassins” in the blurb, you got me. I’m not referring to the type of historical fiction that covers what might have happened surrounding a semi-real event, I’m talking about this lovely short story, here ( 45 pages in length ), titled A Dead Djinn in Cairo ( ← you may read the whole thing online @ tor.com, in previous link. I suggest you give the .99c if you like it and can suitably afford it ) by P. Djèlí Clark, which takes place in 1912, has an explicit Indiana Jones / steam punk type-feel to it and lore galore. Some of Clark’s other work looks to be worth checking out as well and are being adapted for TV.

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Book Reviews Other Reviews

Graphic Novel Review: Paris 2119

Paris 2119 by Zep ( story ) and Dominique Bertail ( illustration ). Yep, we have an optical illusion with the line curvatures on the cover, here. I had to triple check to make sure this image didn’t become amorphous. If my checks had failed, I would have beat it into submission. Is that a pane of glass, separating the light from darkness? Interesting . . .

I received this graphic novel as an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.com

Blurb:

Celebrated author Zep (A Story of Men, A Strange and Beautiful Sound) weaves a mystery borne from humanity’s addiction to convenience and technology, and the dangers such addiction can propose. This gorgeously illustrated, poignant sci-fi tale aims a spotlight on current social trends such as over-consumption, climate change, identity theft, and transhumanism. Painted in detailed watercolors by Dominique Bertail, this book evokes the classic science fiction styles of Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Enki Bilal, and Jean-Claude Mézières.


Since the creators opted to list the social trends covered, I will make a quick one-liner note about their relation to this story:

  • Over-consumption: a letting caused pollution leading up to a teleportation device that is problematic in it’s deceitful nature. All in attempt to fix a problem that just ends in more problems.
  • Climate change: atmospheric disinfection program that causes it to rain non-stop.
  • Identity theft: What happens after attempting to contain a man after you erase his identity? Trouble.
  • Transhumanism: digital clones, teleportation, privacy concerns potentially all leading to mental and physical problems.

The choice of art style here is interesting, as the extended description on Amazon says, “[…]in a classic style reminiscent of legendary French graphic novelists such as Bilal, Moebius, and Mezieres.” The art style isn’t futuristic, but rather archaic:

Inside art style for Paris 2119.
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Memories On Art Opinion Resources

Bookshelf #1 and Beef with Potatoes

Welcome to the post for Bookshelf #1, where I’ll show you the top row of my book shelf just after some tidying up. Then, later I will continue onto the next shelf. There’s several different places to store the books, here, there, everywhere. Things make it onto the bookshelf, of course that aren’t books. 🙂 This is something of a natural order.

Speaking of natural: You ever try to eat a raw potato? It might make sense, right? You can get a whole sack of potatoes for five dollars and then your hunger is raging for nice, nutritious treat to fill your stomach, but then, it doesn’t agree. Something similar to birch bark. It never does settle.

The potato shall be cooked. It is written.

Instead, I’m vouching for some Pepperidge Farm toast with butter and year old Christmas jelly that settles greatly:

It’s a little shaky standing up in the chair, where the tripod won’t reach, something of wariness.
Left Side, continuing to the right . . .
And, the right side.
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MiniBook Haul 12.5.2020

These two books were recommended by the thrift store. I have no idea when I will get around to reading them. My main reason for posting the books is simply to see if someone has something to say regarding the content. I know nothing about them and have neither seen the books before or heard of the authors. Just a little randomosity while waiting for food. 😃

Guys, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews On Art Other Reviews

Graphic Novel Review: Rogue Planet

[ Image Source: ComiXology.com ] Just amazing artwork. If you click this picture, it takes you to a source to buy the individual comics that are available for release now, unlike this graphic novel, that will release on 02 Mar 2021.

I completed this as an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.com.

Have you ever seen a comic running through a tablet that looks 3D? Holy Cannoli. Nonstop, dropkick, knock your face off, extra-pulpy SciFi monster-butter on top of SciFi bread with space jelly of whatever flavor you want, here with Rogue Planet. I really enjoyed this one! 🤨