Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

34928122I finished reading this book this morning and have been pondering what I would write about it. I really enjoyed the book. It only took me two days to read it. My first time reading this author too. It was actually a little amusing when I finished the book and started reading the author blurb. I could not remember why I chose to read the book, but I think it had to do something with an article or announcement about it and how good it should be. I always like taking a chance on a finding a new author I can read, and it was available to check out at my local library, so I decided to give it a go. So when I get to the end and discover it was the author that wrote the Martian, I had to chuckle that I managed to read a book by Andy Weir without realizing it. The Martian is a book I’ve been meaning to read, but never got around to it.

I’m not sure how close the writing or storytelling is from this book to Andy’s first book, so I have nothing to compare it on. I liked Artemis specifically for a handful of reasons. First, I liked the main character. Jazz’s personality, quick wit, and offhanded remarks made me actually laugh out loud. The book was a very entertaining read. I’m also a fan of science fiction, so a story set in the near future on the moon was a perfect setting for the story. I didn’t know what kind of story I was getting because I also never read the book blurb. Next, Jazz wasn’t the only character I enjoyed. The whole cast of characters really helped tell quite the story. The Ukrainian guy (I can’t remember his name) was quite the character too.

So how would I sum up this story if I were telling it to someone else? I would say it is a sci-fi mystery and partial coming of age story. Jazz is a screw up and screws up which sets off a chain of events that she ends up solving. What made the story interesting is that it doesn’t start out being the type of story you think it will become. After about 25% into the book, I thought it was going to be one of those “I’m a screw up but can change” type stories. While it does have that aspect to it, I was surprised with all the other stuff that happened. Lots of action too, and I do love me some action!

You may have noticed a trend in my reviews. If the book can make me laugh and provide a good amount of action, I’m going to like it. If you enjoy a book that makes you laugh with plenty of action, then I think you will enjoy this book as much as I did. +1 for it being a science fiction book. That used to be one of my favorite genres, and I have strayed from it for awhile now. Glad to be reading that genre again.

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Review: Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation

B38822718onnie and Clyde: Dam Nation is book two in a series from Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays that explores a what-if scenario where Bonnie and Clyde didn’t die in 1934. Instead, the famous duo’s death was staged, and they were forced into helping a secret part of the government with stopping an assassination attempt on the President Roosevelt’s life. Book two picks up after the events of the first book. Sal, their boss, appears again in their lives to send them on another dangerous mission. This time they must figure out who wants to blow up the Hoover Dam and stop it from happening.

Dam Nation follows the same format of the first book. You get an alternating story. The first being Bonnie talking to a reporter, Royce, and the investigation he works on to figure out if the story she is telling is true. You then get the story Bonnie is telling about the life she and Clyde lived after being pulled into working for the government. I did enjoy more of the interview side of the story this time around because it started to have more action this time around than a reporter being surprised at what he hears.

I really enjoyed the book, and I easily recommend it. I like the Bonnie and Clyde characters in this book quite a bit. Their back-and-forth banter amuses me, and I like the comments they make to others, especially Clyde. I’ve always been a fan of dry humor, and I feel the book has a good amount. I actually found myself laughing out loud at Clyde’s attempts at waking up with an alarm clock after he and Bonnie start their assignment.

The book has a good amount of action too. I found it hard to put the book down because I wanted to know what would happen next. I think that is a big part of what appeals to me in these books is the chases, fights, and suspense. Knowing that someone was there to blow up a dam, but not knowing who it might be added to my intrigued. There were enough “bad” characters in the book to make me keep guessing at who would be the ones to want to blow up the dam. Any book that can hold my attention like that is a definite winner.

I can see one part of the book that some people might have issues with since people are so politically aggravated these days. The book does have a very pro-union approach to the story. Not in a bad way, but I know how people seem to react to things these days and thought it fair to bring up. It does play into the story considering most of the book takes place on a massive construction project during the same year the National Labor Relations Act was passed.

I do like little throwbacks to other things in books. If you look into what other books Kathleen and Clark have written you will find a book series called The Cowboy and the Vampire. I first found these authors reading and following that series, and I really loved it, so imagine my delight when there is a little comment in this book to someone looking like a cowboy that had been attacked by a vampire.

So there you have it. Another great book by these two. If you haven’t read the first book in this series, I highly recommend it before you dive into this one. Dam Nation does hold up fairly well on it’s own, though, so you could just jump right into this one too, but you would be missing out.

Pick up a copy:

Amazon
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Back to Reading

I’ve had an interesting year when it comes to reading. I decided I was going to read a book a week. Seemed like a good goal, and I started off the year with a bang. In fact, I ended up reading 21 books by the middle of March, which was well ahead of my goal. I had found a couple of really good book bundles on Humble Bundle, and I decided to start going to the library again.

I was having fun reading like crazy until I wasn’t. Around the middle of March, I kind of burned myself out. I had three books from the library and four more e-books that I was planning on reading, but I lost interest and just pushed it off. I figured I needed a break. I decided to wait a week or two and then jump back into it again, but I didn’t. I started doing other things and completely forgot the stuff I wanted to read.

To make matters worse, I ended up misplacing my Kindle, which is one of my favorite ways to read. I usually use my Kindle as a small reminder to read something by placing it next to my computer or my bed. It always helped to have that physical reminder there to read. So without that reminder, I just went about my days doing other things. You would think this weird as someone who enjoys reading, but I have these moments where I start focusing on other things and then and entire month or two goes by without me reading anything.

And that is exactly what happened. Two months after finishing my last book, I found my Kindle and remembered my goal of reading. Luckily for me, I read enough books in the first three months that I’m still on track. Goodreads even tells me I’m still two books ahead, so I got that going for me.

So, I’m back to reading again. I started reading a book I meant to read back in March two days ago, and I’m having a great time with it. I’ll be posting a review of it soon.

The Two Monitor Shuffle

I’d love to know if other people do this:

Around three or four years ago, I decided to make the leap into using two monitors on my desktop computer. I loved it. I would find something to keep on my other screen like Twitter or some reference material when I was working on a project. It was great. I loved it, and I was happy I made the decision.

Six months would go by, and I would find myself no longer utilizing the second monitor. At that point, I would drop down to a single monitor again since I wasn’t really using the extra space like I had. I figured there was no point in running the second monitor when I wasn’t really putting anything on it. It made sense to me to drop down to one. My desk looked a little cleaner, and I was happy.

But I was happy with two earlier in the year, and now I’m happy with one? The problem with this is the cycle would continue. Roughly every six to eight months I would find myself putting my second monitor back on my desk only to take it off again later on. I’m currently in the cycle of having two with the itch to go back to a single monitor. I have no idea why I do this or why I think it is a good idea every time I do it.

It dawned on me today how silly it really is, so I decided to write about it.

Self-Driving Shutdown

I saw the below tweet on Twitter recently. It’s a letter from the Governor of Arizona asking Uber to suspend their self-driving car program indefinitely because of the death that happened recently by one of Uber’s cars.

While I understand the reaction, I believe it is the wrong reaction to this. New technology is bound to have its hiccups, and we don’t want any deaths because of it. However, traffic deaths occur every day here in the United States, and I’m sure there have been some traffic-related deaths in Arizona since the Uber accident. We don’t want someone to die in the name of advancement, but if we shut down technology, which could save more lives in the long run than normal drivers, I think it is a step in the wrong direction.

Here is the tweet with the letter:

My First Thriller

I can’t remember a lot of the books that I read early on. I’m actually grateful for websites like Goodreads that allows me to record what I’ve read because I can’t remember sometimes. I do remember being a big fantasy reader when I was a teenager. I loved books by Terry Brooks especially the Magic Kingdom of Landover series. I also enjoyed a good mystery. Thrillers wasn’t something that I primarily read early on until I decided to pick up The Da Vinci Code.

I decided to read The Da Vinci Code because of how popular the book was. I remembered when it was released in 2003 and how much talk there was of the book. I was so intrigued by all the stories about it that I had to give it a try, and it quickly became a favorite of mine. I loved the Robert Langdon character and the deeply woven religious mysteries. I had entered college a few years earlier and one of the more fascinating classes that I took was religions of the world, and I found myself looking into all sorts of religious stuff following that, so the story woven throughout The Da Vinci Code was right up my alley.

It was that book that started my drift from fantasy to thrillers. I still enjoy a good fantasy every now and then, but I find myself drawn towards thrillers more since reading that book. I think I like the suspense more. So, it amuses me that I never really went back to Dan Brown and read any of his other books. I didn’t focus on book series as much when I read The Da Vinci Code, and it wasn’t until years later that I discovered the book was actually the second in the Robert Langdon series. You would think I would jump on the chance to read the first book, Angels and Demons, after learning of that, but I never did. I always had plans to read it, and it never happened.

Today, I picked up a copy of Angels and Demons. I’m finally going to read the first book in the Robert Langdon series. Reading a Dan Brown book is kind of bringing back some nostalgia considering it has been 15 years since I read one of his books. I actually plan to continue with the series too and read the other books that came after The Da Vinci Code. I think it will be a good change of pace. Hopefully, the other books by Dan Brown are just as good. Time will tell for me, but I’m excited.

LitePay

Yesterday, I wrote that Bitcoin disappointed me because it has become something other than a payment system for the Internet, which I had looked forward too. I wrote the article because it was on my mind with discussions I had throughout the week with others about cryptocurrencies. I’m apparently in small minority (at least in the circles I travel in) when it comes to wanting a cryptocurrency that I can use to make payments on the Internet, but I still hold out for something like that.

Imagine my surprise when I came across an article on Reddit about LitePay from the developers of Litecoin. Litepay will be Lightcoin’s payment processor allowing retailers an easy way to accept Litecoin as a form of payment. This was exactly what I was thinking about when I wrote my post on Bitcoin, but it sounds like they are going to take it a step further: they plan on having a Litecoin Visa debit card. That came as a surprise because it sounds like they are attempting to normalize the idea of a cryptocurrency as a form of payment, and I’m curious to see how this plays out.

If Lightcoin is successful, this means they will be able to pull off what Bitcoin was supposed to be originally, or at least what I thought Bitcoin was supposed to become. I don’t know if Litepay will work or if it will take off and become a real thing, but I’m willing to see what happens, and I plan to give it a try myself if I can. From reading a few articles on it, the transaction fees sound like they will be more reasonable than what Bitpay, Bitcoin’s transaction processor, charges.

If you are interested, you can read more here: https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/914244/Litepay-launch-release-date-Litecoin-news-cryptocurrency-announcement-latest-news