What did you just read?

Blitz

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Old Man's War by Scalzi - First foray into Scalzi, so I figured I'd jump into his most famous book. Actually ended up listening to all of it on a drive to visit some family. Really enjoyed it, was simply a fun book to read/listen to. Deepest, most evolved book I have ever read? No, not at all. Just purely fun. Hoping Ghost Brigades and the rest are solid. I also have Redshirts & Fuzzy Nation of his waiting.
 
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Campbell1oo4

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The Norman Invasion by Marc Morris - I read another book by Marc Morris called A Great and Terrible King which was very good, and so I picked this one up. Definitely a great 'story.' It is filled with great 'characters,' political backstabbing, battles, Vikings and extensive castle building. Marc Morris is an amazing writer of history, and the story of William the Conqueror is a compelling one, but I liked A Great and Terrible King more. I believe the main reason for this is because there is just more historical evidence with which Morris could flush out the 'story.'

Sharpe's Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell - I read this book last summer, when I was in Belgium to see the battlefield of Waterloo, but I think I appreciated it more this second time around. It is a super straightforward adventure novel with lots of sword-fighting and shooting, revenge, and fragile women. Just as Napoleon intended.
 

Void

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Troll Nation (Book 3 of Rogue Dungeon) by James A Hunter - Worth the read if you're invested in the previous two books, but pretty mediocre and uninspiring. I gave it 3/5, but it is barely a 2.5 really. It was way more interesting to have him level up and evolve and get more skills in the previous books. Now, I honestly didn't care about most of it.

Raze (Book 4 of The Completionist Chronicles) by Dakota Krout - Slightly more interesting than Troll Nation, but again pretty mediocre and uninspiring. Maybe I'm getting litrpg burnout, but I honestly think it is much more the fact that the authors are trying to make them more "real" books and not just litrpg, and honestly they aren't interesting enough to qualify when you have so many truly great "real" authors out there. I mean, there is still leveling up and skills advancing and such, but none of it seems very important. Truthfully, the "Everyone Loves Large Chests" stuff is vastly more entertaining to me because I'm interested in the leveling up aspect there still. 2.5/5.

Super Powereds Year 1 and Year 2 (two different books) by Drew Hayes - There are two more after these, because it is basically the four years of college at a school that also has a "Superhero Academy" or whatever you want to call it. I didn't hate them, but I'm not sure I care enough to read any more. It just isn't what I expected it to be. While some of the stuff related to powers is fun and interesting, 80% of the books could have literally been shoved into a standard "non-powered" teen "coming of age" story and no one would notice. The vast majority of the books is about teen drama, with a little bit of super powers sprinkled in. I might not be describing it very well, but I feel like this is what Sweet Valley High would be like if that author decided to include super powers. Most of the plot points revolve around typical teen/college relationship drama, just with a backdrop of maybe your girlfriend can read minds. I want it to get better, and I feel it might as they get further into school...but am I willing to take that risk? Not sure. 3/5 but only for potential. And I actually like some of the characters.

One Word Kill (Book 1 of Impossible Times) by Mark Lawrence - Yes, the Mark Lawrence who wrote The Broken Empire series (and more) which was awesome. That, and the supposed Dungeons & Dragons link, is why I was super-excited to pick this series up. I came away from the first book kind of disappointed, to be honest. Maybe most of it is my false expectations. I expected it to be somehow tied into D&D, like maybe they went into the D&D world, or I'm not really sure what, but none of that even came close to happening. I feel like someone said, "Mark, have you watched Stranger Things? I bet you could write a WAY better Stranger Things, man!" And Mark Lawrence said that yes, yes he could. Because I feel like the D&D connection is simply there to grab that Stranger Things audience, and to give him a reason to set it in the 80s. Don't get me wrong, it is miles better than the other books I've listed above; it has real skill and plot and intrigue and all that shit, because this dude can clearly write. And maybe it is my fault for having totally wrong expectations (maybe due to all this litrpg shit I've been reading). So I'm going to give it a 4/5, but I'm honestly not sure if I want to read the other two books. I know that sounds pretty strange, but I can't really explain it. My friend that read it absolutely loved it, but he doesn't read any of the litrpg stuff, and he had no predispositions of what the book was about when he started it.

God Touched (Demon Accords #1) by John Conroe - First in a series of urban fantasy that has at least ten books already out. Follows a guy that hunts demons, who saves a chick being attacked by one right at the beginning of the book, and she turns out to be the prodigal vampire Jesus basically. And she almost instantly falls in love with him, and since vampires pick one mate and then never waver, she's immediately his, no questions asked. Oh, and she's literally the most beautiful woman you've ever seen. And can absolutely destroy any other vampire in combat, despite being only 22 years old (vampires get stronger as they get older), and every other vampire either fears her or worships her. And since he got some of her blood, he transformed into some sort of super-duper demon-killing machine...oh, and he's super hot now too. I mean, to be fair, it is far more interesting than the litrpg shit I listed above, but it is one of those books where everything is super easy for the main character. I don't know if it is Harry Stu or just terrible writing, maybe a bit of both. But it is a super fast read, and it is somewhat compelling and interesting, so I've already started the second book, where it looks like the main dude has even MORE awesome abilities none of us knew about. I'd give it a 3/5 I guess, because I actually sort of enjoyed it compared to the other ones. What books like this really do, though, is piss me off that people like Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar /Richard Raley write books (The King Henry Tapes) that are vastly vastly better than this shit, but he doesn't get anywhere near the recognition. Maybe this Demon Accords stuff gets better as he writes more, but I can't see him approaching King Henry levels of entertaining.
 

velk

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God Touched (Demon Accords #1) by John Conroe - I'd give it a 3/5 I guess, because I actually sort of enjoyed it compared to the other ones. What books like this really do, though, is piss me off that people like Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar /Richard Raley write books (The King Henry Tapes) that are vastly vastly better than this shit, but he doesn't get anywhere near the recognition. Maybe this Demon Accords stuff gets better as he writes more, but I can't see him approaching King Henry levels of entertaining.
The first book is pretty bad, but they do improve, although IMO never above a 3.5 or so. Still decent popcorn action stuff. Despite the urban fantasy setup, I think the narrative arc of these is much closer to a superhero origin story. They certainly make a lot more sense that way.

From your comment on One Word Kill, I'd suggest skipping Limited Wish, as it has pretty much nothing to do with DND other than the title. I thought it was great, but it's certainly nothing like what you are after.
 
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Void

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From your comment on One Word Kill, I'd suggest skipping Limited Wish, as it has pretty much nothing to do with DND other than the title. I thought it was great, but it's certainly nothing like what you are after.
I will most likely finish the other two books, I just need to get my false expectations out of the way. As I said, it is a very good book, I was just expecting something totally different. No fault but my own there, really, because none of the descriptions or summaries say it is anything like what I was expecting, I just pre-supposed due to the title. And since I purposely don't read teasers and such if I already know I want to read something (as they often give away too much), I didn't even get those false notions wiped away before I started.

I do stand by my theory that he was influenced by Stranger Things somehow, though. Although I'm sure that now I'll find he actually wrote it 20 years ago or something, to make me doubly wrong about this whole series :p
 

chaos

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On my to-read-if-I-ever-manage-it pile (that still has like 30 books before)
So I am just finishing up Children of Time... imo, this is a badass book. Like, really really badass, some of the best sci fi I've read. Kind of riding that line between entertaining and realistic and pure wtf techno magic. Very excited for the sequel.
 

slippery

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So I am just finishing up Children of Time... imo, this is a badass book. Like, really really badass, some of the best sci fi I've read. Kind of riding that line between entertaining and realistic and pure wtf techno magic. Very excited for the sequel.
First book way better than the second imo
 
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Kovaks

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I will most likely finish the other two books, I just need to get my false expectations out of the way. As I said, it is a very good book, I was just expecting something totally different. No fault but my own there, really, because none of the descriptions or summaries say it is anything like what I was expecting, I just pre-supposed due to the title. And since I purposely don't read teasers and such if I already know I want to read something (as they often give away too much), I didn't even get those false notions wiped away before I started.

I do stand by my theory that he was influenced by Stranger Things somehow, though. Although I'm sure that now I'll find he actually wrote it 20 years ago or something, to make me doubly wrong about this whole series :p
I felt the same, first one wasn't bad but just not "great" for some reason I couldn't place. I love everything else he has done so far, book of the ancestor is how you do bad ass women without any SJW feel and I cant wait for the girl and the stars but have been sitting on the last 2 of these.
 
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LachiusTZ

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x post from Coronachan.

"one diskette"

damn that dean koontz guy been writing that long? i remember getting a few recent bestsellers of his for a plane
Since the 70s? Early 80s at the latest, maybe late 60s.

Dude is fucking old now, and got caught with TDS about 3 or 4 years ago. Now all his books are single black women struggling against corrupt magic cities of not black women etc.

By far my favorite author prior to 2015 or 2010.
 

Whidon

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A Great and Terrible King by Marc Morris

Details the life of Edward I also known as Longshanks, or the Hammer of the Scots. An amazing history book for two reasons; it is easy to follow, and the author tells a great story. I also enjoyed the concise way in which he describes English feudalism in the 1200s. I had no idea how complicated and decentralized it was. For example, there is one part in the book where Edward rides off to Wales to put down a rebellion. It takes about a year, and when he is done he returns to his court at Windsor. As soon as he is gone his borderlords start bickering with each other. How do they do this? They send armed gangs of men to the house of the other with the intention of burning it down. The book is filled with these little scenes and tidbits that make it such a fascinating read. I felt like I was visiting another world.

I found this book to be absolutely amazing and when I finished I went to amazon and bought another one by this fellow, this one about the Norman conquest.

Marengo and Hohenlinden: Napoleon's Rise to Power by James R. Arnold

Whenever you read about the Napoleon's coup it's always described as, "And then he took power." You rarely hear about the other two guys who selected Napoleon to be the poster boy of the coup, but were then pushed aside by his strong personality. This book helps elucidate some of those foggier moments of the end of first republic. All in all, I think it does an amazing job of outlining how Napoleon rose from a popular general to the First Consul of a republic that was no longer a republic. A dictator all but in name. Where this book fails is in the battle scenes. The author does a good job of leading you up to the very field of the battle, but then gets lost in the minutes. The names of both unit commanders and the specific geographically over which they fought all blended together. But as soon as the battle is over we're back into the good stuff; personality conflicts between the different generals (on both the French and Austrian side).

I have to say that I learned some very interesting things about 18-19th century warfare from this book. I'll try to be concise; Napoleonic warfare was less about destroying the enemy, than it was about scaring the enemy into running away before you got too scared and had to run away. It was, in effect, all a game of intimidation. In order to win this game soldiers were often dressed in gallant uniforms with tall hats or plumes. They would march with banners decorated with battle honors. Infantry would fire in mass to create a thunderous atmosphere, cavalry would threaten from the flanks as cannonballs whistled overhead. All together it created a frightening atmosphere for the common foot-soldier. With that in mind it makes sense that in the beginning of the book Napoleon stresses that marksmanship is not an important quality for a soldier, only discipline.

Another interesting thing I learned was the difference between the French and Austrian armies of this time. Kaiser Franz was a real paranoid guy, and routinely dismissed charismatic and successful generals from his service. This led the Austrian Army to be stocked with a bunch of old men who never made waves. On the other side, the French Army had been purged by the Terror. Many of the officers were young guys (almost all of them were in their twenties, I believe the oldest in the Italian campaign was 35 or 37). This led to a meeting of two different armies; one led by young guys who could think on their feet and the other being led by old men who had been trained to await orders whenever something on the battlefield changed. Seeing the results of Marengo and Hohenlinden, you can come to the conclusion of which system turned out to be the most effective.
Man you really seem to enjoy Napoleonic era histories. There's so many out there, but especially in English we have this romantic, yet terrifying view of the Revolution and Empire period thats based on a few book written nearly 200 years ago. Personally i really enjoy that sort of "old encyclopedia Britannica" type bias in histories. it's better the fraudulent Neutrality you often see in modern history.


A still great book on the French Revolution is Carlyle's 19th century classic. The French Revolution

I find myself trolling older 19th and 20th century histories all the time. but this one is of course timeless for a few reasons. Dickens used it for all the background and scene details set in Revolutionary paris in a "Tale of two Cities" Secondly because for about a century or so it was shockingly popular and basically the basis for most 19-20th century educated people's view of the revolutionary and Napoleonic period.

A modern reader might feel it's a bit archaic. but you can really feel how dickens took so much from this book. At it's best It's like that fake Woodrow Wilson quote about writing History with lightning and at times i can't help notice my sinus welling up a bit as i can't read many pages without thinking of the last scene and monologue from "Tale of Two Cities" that final few peoples always choke me up whenever i think of them. If like me you really enjoyed "A Tale do Two Cities" this book is basically the history bookend fit and you need to read it.

There's so many great old histories. often as good, or better then modern day ones. Written by the absolute giants of their times just wasting around on the internet and often readable for free. Whats even better is these are "Histories" in the classical sense. Modern History has become so safe and drool it's slowly killing itself.
 
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Campbell1oo4

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The Exploits of Baron de Marbot by Jean-Baptiste de Marbot

This book follows the military career of Jean-Baptiste de Marbot, who is referred to as Marcellin because everyone in France has 12 different names.

He starts off as a 16 or 17 year old kid on his way to Italy. Typical of France during the First Republic, he begins his military career as a common trooper, despite the fact his father is a baron of the ancien regime. During the first couple of chapters he is thrown under the wing of an ancient Alsatian sergeant named Pertelay, a man who spends most of his free time drinking, telling people to fuck off, and getting into fist fights with them when they don't fuck off.

I won't spoil the entire book, but Marbot sees some of the worst aspects of the Napoleonic Wars. He also undertakes some very brave actions such as saving a wounded enemy from drowning, protecting a general's son during a cavalry battle, and delivering a war declaration into the heart of Prussia.

I liked this book quite a bit, though it was an abridged version with notes. Sometimes I felt like the editor (a man named Christopher Summerville) failed to focus on the things that I really wanted to read about. He focused too much on the blood and guts of fighting, and not enough on the more human elements. If I wanted to see fighting I'd rent a war film. I'm trying to understand how these people lived their lives.

Also the last couple of chapters - covering the years 1814 and 1815 - felt really rushed. I felt like Mr. Summerville found these events tedious, and assumed the reader would as well.
 

Kharzette

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Finished a cool collection of short stories from a bunch of authors:


My friend David Benem did a story in it, so I got it for that reason, but some of the stories are really good. There's a few that are subpar but overall really great reading.
 
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Void

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Finished a cool collection of short stories from a bunch of authors:


My friend David Benem did a story in it, so I got it for that reason, but some of the stories are really good. There's a few that are subpar but overall really great reading.
Well for $0 I think it is worth a purchase, thanks!