My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

1st To Die notes; Prologue & Chapters 1 to 2

cover for 1st To Die


Quite a forceful introduction, despite it’s shortness.

The idea that Inspector Lindsay Boxer is on an emotional knife-edge, life on the balance ready to teeter into oblivion coupled with her description of a logical detective while still retaining a level of empathy her male counterpoints lack, makes the character approachable for me. I can immediately identify with her, and already have an empathy for her predicament. I have yet to know who David or Melanie Brandt is but their mention, even in passing, is of violence and death. Murder is the name of the game and the author does not fail to bring the topic directly to reader
I have a feeling (a hope) there will be no pulling of punches in this book. Continue reading

The Gates notes; chapters 1 to 2

The Gates

Chapter 1; In Which the Universe Forms, Which Seems Like a Very Good Place to Start
From the first chapter, it feels like it was written by a young boy rather than John Connolly, a grown man. This in itself is amazing since Mr. Connolly has a reputation for books of a crime & thriller genre and to successfully tap into his inner child is no small feat.
As for my impressions, I have a borderline geeky love of science & any theories concerning the natural world & all universal aspects intrigue me, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed the first chapter. The explanation of the Big Bang theory is written not from the point of view of a physics professor or teacher, but through the understanding of a child, or from a writer of the old Beano or Whizzer & Chips comics (the Dandy being too juvenile obviously, and I apologise to non-British readers of these notes. The “Beano” etc… are British comics with tongue-in-cheek playground humour). Continue reading

Once Bitten Twice Shy notes; Prologue & chapter 1

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin

The prologue is pretty intriguing. Jaz (short for Jasmine) Parks is to be the new partner/bodyguard to a 300 year old vampire by the name of Vayl.
Vayl sounds like a kick-ass cross between Count Dracula, D’Artagnan and Spock. Oh and on top of all that power and skill, he’s a Wraith. An interesting first impression and I haven’t even met him yet.
Vayl’s Wraith ability is described in the text as;

His touch could actually freeze a man to death.

Continue reading

World War Z notes; Goodbyes chapters 1, 2 & 3

World War Z
Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 8, Goodbyes; Chapter 1, “the Whacko”.

Whatever the Whacko’s real name may be (or whomever he is based upon) he isn’t a Whacko as you might think.
This goodbye is merely a case in point.
For America the war is over, at least on paper, and Whacko believes that people have a right to try and reclaim their lives. It’s just the American way, he reckons, but I think it’s more than that. In order to rebuild a way of life you have to start in the home. In the same way that charity starts in the home, lives need to be rebuilt. Children need to be taught & loved. All the while, maintaining constant vigilance over the ever-present threat.

Of course volunteers came forward, they had a choice.
If America hadn’t declared the war over, perhaps more people would have been disgruntled & reluctant to help or join the UN multinational force.
Choice is powerful thing, take it away & people lose hope, worse, they lose their humanity & compassion.
Yep, methinks the Whacko knew what he was doing, knew it was time to celebrate a victory.
It was a long time coming. Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Total War chapter 1

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 7, Total War; Chapter 1, General D’Ambrosia.

General D’Ambrosia, although fictional, must have been based on real person as most of these characters are.
What I have difficulty believing is the amount of common sense that D’Ambrosia relates.
He himself thinks the idea of a General has been totaly warped beyond all reasonable comprehension.

Maybe it was Hollywood, or the civilian press, or maybe we did it to ourselves by allowing those insipid, egocentric clowns—the MacArthurs and Halseys and Curtis E. LeMays—to define our image to the rest of the country.

I’m not sure if this characters statements can be trusted, yet he seems believable & sincere.
The idea that General D’Ambrosia was actually fearful of sending more soldiers to fight a virtually unstoppable force just adds to his credibility.
Is it just that I have come to believe those in power are all out for themselves. Am I tarring them all with the same brush perhaps, if so I will have to become more open-minded when it come to the military & politics. I’m fairly open-minded about most subjects but perhaps I’ve become a little too jaded in regards to these two topics..

His way of thinking is rather practical, he admits the difficulty in visualising two hundred million zombies and that the current way of warring is obviously not the way to tackle such an enemy.
Makes me wonder about his military education & background.
He understands the logistics behind an army and that the undead have no need for these restrictions/resources.
D’Ambrosia’s war beyond the Rocky Mountains would be a long and arduous battle, and if he was as worried about his soldiers as he claims, then his would be the most mentally & emotionally difficult role of all America’s military might.

World War Z notes; Around The World And Above chapter 1

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 6, Around The World And Above; Chapter 1, David Allen Forbes

Here, we step away from the USA. David is an Englishman, but because of his heritage and the manner in which his life was spared, he knows a great deal about battles fought elsewhere and specially about the castles & fortresses dotted around the world. He even mentions the Mayan & Aztec strongholds & the Battle of Kukulan against the “Zed Heads”. Another curious nickname for the plague stricken.
He mentions the differences between a castle & a palace, I’ve frequented enough of both in my home country to know exactly what he is talking about. Any tourist could go to Buckingham Palace or Warwick Castle & immediately notice the differences in both style & purpose. Makes me wonder what the details are for Versailles.

That was a first-rate cock-up.

A very English phrase, Max Brooks must know some “real” British folk, as opposed to some of the forced, contrived so-called British accents these American actors try to perform (& very rarely succeed at).

David, probably as part of his own book research & from his own experiences, notes the dramatic pros & cons to living in such fortified bastions. Mainly the cons.

The journals written by some of the dying tell of people going mad with desperation, leaping into that moat choked with Zed Heads.

When you take into the account of maintaining your defences, supplies of food & medicines, making sure people behave responsibly within their safe walls, keeping sickness at bay (the list seems endless), it’s a wonder some people managed to make these places a safe haven. There’s just so much that can go wrong & Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Home Front USA chapter 1

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part5, Home Front USA; Chapter 1, Arthur Sinclair, Junior

During the war, Mister Sinclair was director of the U.S. government’s newly formed DeStRes, or Department of Strategic Resources.

DeStRes, it’s job was to find those people who had the skills and talent to help maintain the survival of the refugees. Stock brokers, politicians, bankers; all these kinds of job descriptions were of little use any more. Arthur had to find people who were plumbers, bricklayers, bicycle menders. Practical skills. Those people who had been fixing their own household appliances to save what little money they had, rather than getting someone in to do it for them like the rich, power-playing folk do. Used to do, they are the ones learning these essential life-skills now. Even if they don’t want to.
Some of these former power-players have found new job satisfaction in their new average employment. There’s a lot to be said for the “I did that” factor. A natural rush, a self-satisfied pride that is deserved.

Arthur’s job was not made very easy though. He explains about his father and how he wished he had listened to him while he was living. His father, having lived through the FDR period of World War II, had these life-skills. Knowledge is the real power in this world but so few seek to attain it, it’s easier to just rest on one’s laurels, so to speak. One of my favourite phrases – “Knowledge is like manure, it’s of little value unless you spread it around”. Most of the world’s knowledge is also aimed at the left brain way of thinking. The right brain of thinking is when we get creative with out problems.
Creativeness, inventiveness; these are skills that most have forgotten how to use.

“Necessity, who is the mother of invention” – Plato, Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 BC – 347 BC).

For Arthur this phrase is most true, he pools his human resources with relative intelligence. Deals with people who are stubborn & short-sighted with insight & patience.
Even he is surprised from where some of those great ideas have come from. For example, old myths about the jar-head marines; dispelled by some smart recycling & creativity.

Not that I’m saying his new job role was easy. Easy couldn’t be further from the truth. He also had to deal with sorting these people into different categories, depending on their level of usable skills & create a re-training program for those with, essentially, no skills. Deal with the millions of refugees in camps spread all over the mountains and coastline, the inherent problems that accompany such mass camps, like disease & starvation. Despair.
Then there is the racial & social bigotry to contend with,
in most countries there is at least some class-ism. High class, middle class, lower class who are sometimes referred to as working class. A high-ranking stock broker would probably never even talk to the person who cleans his/her office, it’s just not done. Now imagine this cleaning person being your new teacher, there’s bound to be a few people who feel degraded by this role reversal. Or even contempt, fury even.

All of this had to be accomplished quickly or the refugees would be doomed. Arthur had the fun job of having to learn new skills himself, since he did not listen to his father, he relied on the written word. A new book under his pillow every night. Must have been rough going on him, but it seems he relished his new vocation and even though he admits to making mistakes, he has learned from them. An important lesson in itself.
He mentions the time when Travis D’Ambrosia became chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He had in Travis, someone whom he could trust, someone whose opinion was thoughtful. Who could provide an insight Arthur himself could not see. I hope there are many people like that, with the re-training programme there ought to be more Travis’s and Arthur’s walking around.