Category Archives: Book review

Review of Gardens of the Moon by S Erikson

Review of ‘Gardens of the Moon’

from the Malazan Book of the Fallen

By Steven Erikson

This is a interesting book, written in the modern style of multiple view points with no  outline of the story or characters early on. It is part of a big series however I am not sure I would read any more.

The general outline is a war between the Malazan Empire and various cities with various other groups involved as well. It took a while before I could work out who I was supposed to be cheering for and even then I had doubts. At one point I thought it would be a military book then a political based one then a small group based one down to an individuals story. However it is all and none of these, the reason I say all and none is that each of those story lines drew me in and then left me flat.

I wanted a story I could hold on to in the mix, but the story kept moving and leaving the line it was on. The end does make sense even if it only uses up the last 20 pages of a other 700 page book. As a person who likes detail in weapons, spells ect I was disappointed. Some mages unleashed terrific power which would, apparently level  cities, but nothing much happened. We had a division which seems to consist of only 6 or so men and a girl, a civil war within the empire which is hinted at only. Swords which dampen magic so a mages city destroying power has no effect and so on. I found it all quite strange and with no explanations it was difficult to work out what was going on at time. Gods which seemed to be all powerful at one point and nearly useless at others.

This book has good reviews however I would only rate it average. It tries to be like Lord of the Rings but fails to explain background and context.




Review of ‘How to be a Tudor’ by Ruth Goodman

‘How to be a Tudor’  A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Everyday Life    by Ruth Goodman

This turned out to be one of the best books I have read on daily life in the late medieval early Renaissance period. Ruth has many years of living and researching this period, you might have seen some of her TV shows about life in different periods.

Although she only deals with one day the depth of information is massive.  From getting up and wither to wash or not and how to dress to breakfast, education, dinner, work, play, supper and then to bed. It covers so many things, from brewing, sex, faith, dancing and games.

This has to be a must read for anyone wanting to understand the mindset of the people living in the Tudor age. How they thought, their daily concerns ect. This is a good source book for all fantasy Role Playing games set in this type of period.

I have really enjoyed reading this book and collecting new information on Tudor people. Finding out that people washed more often that is often thought and that clean under clothes was very important to them. Why men spent so much time ploughing the fields leaving the women to do so much else around the home and farm. How important it was to have a wife and family to help with the work on the fields and around the home.

Well worth getting and reading, a classic.

Review of ‘Conclave’ by R Harris

CONCLAVE by Robert Harris

A interesting if strange idea for a book, my friend Mat gave it to me for Christmas.

It is about the Conclave in the Vatican to elect a new Pope, as I said a odd idea for a book. However Harris does a good job with it, mind you I had worked out the twist before getting halfway, however I will be careful not to give anything away. It has some tension and drama in it but most of all it gives a interesting insight to a hidden organ of power.

Now as a Christian if not Catholic I am not particularly interested in how things go in the Vatican, but I was impressed at the detail Harris put in, I did like that he understood how the Holy Spirit works and that some Catholics do experience it.

A good easy read it took me a bit longer than the afternoon I had in hospital to read it. A good read.

Review of ‘A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity’

‘A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity’

Being a history of 2000 years of Saints, Sinners, Idiots and Divinely-inspired Troublemakers

by Nick Page

I have not really been one to read church history, even though I do love history. However this was one I saw and got for Christmas I also got other Nick Page books review of another one I have read here.

I must say I did enjoy this book it is full of humor as well as facts, it confirmed some of my own views and made me think about others. It is a brief history, over 400 pages, of the rise of the Christian church and its long journey to today. I enjoyed the small block insets about a particular person, in particular the Could you have a drink with him down the pub? line each had.

It was interesting to see how different ideas came and sometimes went for Christians. How a lot of what we do in church now has had a very odd journey. How we came to have bibles in our own language and why some clergy dress as they do.

However mainly for me it shows that no matter how mixed up the people might get and the leaders in particular God always is talking to enough people to keep the church on some sort of path. People might try to make the church their own, trying to use it for there own benifit but God always seems to raise up Troublemakers to shake it up again.

I was reassured from reading this of my own path with Jesus and for the future of His people.

A humorous easy read taking you on a 2000 year journey.

Review of ‘To Kill the President’ by Sam Bourne

To Kill the President, a thriller which drew me in and intrigued me. The bases is that the USA has elected a sexist, racist demagogue as president. It never says it but the implication is that it is  D Trump. When he losses it and nearly blows up the world with a nuclear attack people start to take action.

It is this action that fills the book, the whys and wherefores and the web that is being weaved in Washington by both sides and a neutral third party.

I really enjoyed this book, given to me by a fellow patient in the hospital. I do not read many thrillers and not sure I would have come across this by myself. It gives a interesting insight into power politics and one persons idea of what a slightly deranged president and his deranged  staff might do.  Worth a read.

Review of “The Wrong Messiah” by Nick Page

‘The Wrong Messiah’ The real story of Jesus of Nazareth by Nick page

A Christmas present, also a very interesting read. This book looks at the expectations of the Jews for a messiah and how Jesus was the wrong one. He didn’t fit any of the boxes people expected of their messiah. However he did tick all the boxes God had given in prophecy.

“Jesus had no time for the minutiae of religious observance if it got in the way of real repentance and real relationship.” [p94] This is not what was expected, and still isn’t if truth be told, people expected a messiah who would enforce the rules and punish the wicked. That is not what they got or what we get.

I found that reading this book opened my eyes to some things I had just not thought about or had just picked up culturally. Other parts reinforced my own views. Whether you believe in Jesus or not this book will help you see who the locals at the time expected and who they got. It might change your mind about him.

A short easy to read book which will challenge your view of Jesus. Well worth the read.

Review of ‘Journeys of Hope’

Journeys of Hope is a book from CAP [Christians Against Poverty]

This book looks at the stories of 12 lives/families changed by God as they engaged with dealing with debt.

The stories are very personal and deep, some are hard to read and other bring you to tears. Yet in each God working through His people reaches out and touches the hurting. From the simple note saying God loves you to others understanding and helping with impossible debt.

CAP responds to calls by sending a helper to work through a families or individuals debt working it out with the lenders and giving the person just one payment to make to CAP who then pay to the different creditors. Along with this each story also shows hoe God is also in all of this as people receive ongoing help from a local church support worker.

A good read, if sad at times, wonderful to see how God works in peoples lives and how His people are bring hope and light into very dark areas of peoples lives.

I love how it shows a living caring creator God touching people who have lost all hope and how that touch of the Spirit brings them new life.

CAP website is here

Father I thank you for CAP and all the work they do, Bless their workers and volunteers. Bring new hope to those in debt through its work in your name.