Saturday, 29 March 2014

Destined To Become A Classic

The SIN of Addison Hall is a breath of fresh air in the crowded Dystopian genre. The reader is taken in to a world preoccupied with beauty so much that your looks determine your place in society. The citizens are placed in a caste based on their looks from the cursed to the blessed. Your caste determines every aspect of your life from the food you can eat to the jobs you can undertake.

It is in this world we meet our hero of sorts Addison Hall. Addison is a member of the second lowest caste the Burdened. This Burdened bumbles from day to day suffering the injustices of his caste. One day he learns that his caste is set for extermination, as the leadership blames them and the cursed for the society’s woes. Sound familiar? Well it should as this a leaf out of the Third Reich’s book. As a WWII geek I loved how the author uses mistakes of our past to link us to his created world. It goes so far that the people in power are called Face-ist instead of Fascist, a fact that gave me a great chuckle.

This book does not follow your traditional narrative but this is what gives the book its freshness. The characters are well developed and have many a flaw that ingratiates them to the reader. Never has self-depreciation been used so well in a book. The end of the book is truly amazing and leaves many questions unanswered. Usually this annoys me as a ploy by the author to ensure you buy their next book. But in the SINS of Addison Hall this is a very fitting end to the book and leaves you pondering the question of what entail true happiness. Well done Mr Onorato on a stellar début I see big things in your future, maybe a bit of Botox may smooth the way.
5 Stars

LBR Tick Of Approval

Monday, 24 March 2014

Why Cashews Are Not Sold In Their Shells

Cashews are a member of the same family as poison ivy, Anacardiaceae. Like poison ivy and many other members of the Family, part of the cashew plant contains an oily chemical called urushiol, which is a strong irritant for most people and can even be fatal for some if ingested.

In cashews, the urushiol is found not only in the leaves, but also in a layer of oil between the shell and the cashew seed. Needless to say, shelling cashews is something that needs to be done very carefully and not by consumers.

Despite the need for care in shelling cashews, it’s still often done by hand, much to the chagrin of the workers involved, particularly in poorer nations where safety equipment is often lacking.

From the above, you might be wondering why you can purchase raw cashews. It turns out, even so-called “raw” cashews are not actually raw. Eating true raw, unprocessed cashew seeds would result in you ingesting some of this urushiol, which, as mentioned, can potentially be fatal. Thus, the seeds must either be roasted at high temperatures to destroy the offending oil or, in the case of “raw” cashews, usually steamed and/or boiled in oils.

Sourced at Today I Found Out

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A Fascinating Anthology

Not one to normally read Anthologies I found myself strangely attracted to this collection of stories. The authors have delivered five great tales all based in a world they all had a hand in making. This book is very much a concept driven book in which the authors clearly articulate their goal and theme of the book. Each story builds on and around the others taking the reader on a tour of this new world.

The stories in this book revolve around a future society. It is a society where whole cities survive in of the grid. Where secret worlds live within others cities and some cities can form and disappear within a day. Each story is unique but as pointed out earlier they all entwine together to deliver a vision of our possible future.

Another aspect of the book which I liked was how the project leader John Scalzi gives us insight to the creative process and collaboration behind its creation. Overall I found each read entertaining and hope that some of these stories are followed up into more substantial bodies of work. So do yourself a favour and have a look at what this anthology has to offer.

4.5 Stars

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

An Average Read

Ashes tell a story of the world sent back to the dark ages by a series of Electric Magnetic Pulse (EMP). These pulses have killed off a whole lot of people and for some of those who survived are far from human. Into this new world we follow a teenage girl with a terminal brain tumour, who was hiking by herself at the time of the attacks. The EMP's have a surprising effect on this young lass.

I liked the mechanics used in this book, each chapters read like an episode of a TV show. We have a build up to a cliff-hanger ending to the chapter. What I did not like about this book was that I found it a tad predictable. This might be because I read too many books of this genre. All other aspects of this book such as character development and interaction was engaging and entertaining. Overall this book is well worth a read

3 Stars

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Quick Couple Of Reads

If you a looking for a quick and engaging read you can't go wrong with these two gems.

This book is a very powerful piece of writing packed into only 35 pages. This book takes a first-hand look at the last vestiges of a former Leper colony. It astounded me that people used to be sentenced to the island for having leprosy. Even though only a snapshot the author managers to give the reader a great insight into the people and history oft his last Leprosy colony.

What can I say I love Paul Ham’s books; he has a great talent in making history dance of the pages. While 1913 is only a small offering running at 81 pages he still manages to engage the reader from the very first page. This book is a lead in to his much more substantial body of work 1914 ,and on the eve of the 100th year since World War I broke out it is a very pertinent read.

What we get in 1913 as you would expect is the lead up to the war. He looks at the social and political landscape of the era. He goes along away in getting the reader to see how numerous societies across had a glorified and romantic view on War. I came away from this book with a new view on the pre-cursors to WWI and with the appetite to delve into his next book. For those of you yet to experience the brilliance of Paul Ham this is a great introduction.

5 Stars

Friday, 14 March 2014


I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The dead outnumber the living a hundred thousand to one. In order to maintain higher brain function, they need in ingest human stem cells. Tankbread are human clones rich with those very stem cells, and farmed by the humans to serve their zombie masters. Zombies are known as “extremely violent lucid organisms”; Evols for short. When it’s discovered that the Tankbread aren’t just mindless clones, a courier is given the perilous task of saving humanity.

Tankbread delivers no shortage of gore and graphic content. Intended for a mature audience, the squeamish may find Tankbread uncomfortable. I, however, am far from squeamish (unless there are spiders), and I tip my proverbial hat to Mannering for laying it all out there for readers to devour.

The book started out a bit rocky for me, and I had difficulty keeping up with it’s momentum. The book paces extremely fast, with very few lulls in the action to catch your breath. However, the writing is excellent and the story is 100% original. The concept is sci-fi meets horror, and I realized early on that I had to really open my mind up and throw away my preconceived notions of the zombie apocalypse in order to invest in the outside the box story delivered by Mannering. It started out as a three star read, but somewhere along the way, I became invested in the story and the book ended with my four star stamp of approval. I firmly believe Tankbread is a must read for hardcore horror fanatics.

4 Stars

Saturday, 8 March 2014

So What Do You Think Of The New Logo

In case you have not noticed the new Lazy Book Reviewer new logo is up and live. There are still some minor tweaks to be made. The main change is putting a dude in the Hammock so I do not confuse you to my gender. He might even have grey hair all depends on how realistic I want to go.  I am also thinking about getting an atomic mushroom cloud in the background. I would love to hear back and what you think about the logo and the proposed changes.

Friday, 7 March 2014

End of the World in Paradise Anyone?

This book starts off with the end of the world already in the past, ripped asunder by a killer solar storm. It focuses on the last remnants of civilisation living in the Maldives. We find our hero drowning in drink and self-pity waiting to die. This is where our story begins and from there we are catapulted into a story of intrigue, action, survival and a tad of Sci-Fi. 

Yet again another début has impressed me and I find myself thanking the skies for the new indie author movement. If you are looking for an end of the world book that packs a punch then this is your book.

4.5 Stars

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Origins of Nothing to Sneeze At

NOT TO BE SNEEZED AT – “…People in older times imagined that a sneeze cleared the mind. It certainly gave them a feeling of exhilaration. Suddenly, 17th century Europe caught a craze for sneezing. It was considered the right thing to do in good society. Indeed, the more you sneezed, the more you proved yourself a member of the privileged class. To build up this new status symbol, all kinds of devices were used. It was soon realized that snuff caused sneezing. Therefore everyone who was someone carried with him a little box, containing a mixture of sneeze-producing herbs or tobacco. By drawing an ample pinch of it into the nostrils, a hearty sneeze resulted in no time.

Of course only the rich and idle had time to sneeze or could afford snuff. Hence the self-induced sneeze became synonymous with aristocratic living. If you were able to sneeze ‘on call,' you showed audibly your status in society. But one matter had still to be decided. Just to sneeze haphazardly was not good enough. There had to be a special occasion. Soon sneezing became part of men's conversation. You indulged in it whenever you wanted to show your disapproval of anything said or, even more so, your lack of interest in the matter discussed. A sneeze was an unmistakable way of saying politely ‘you bore me.' Consequently and logically, anything ‘not to be sneezed at' was something really worthwhile.” From “How Did It Begin?” by R. Brasch (Pocket Books, New York, 1969).

Sourced at All Experts

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A Hit & Miss Read

I went into this book with high expectations but what I got was an average WWII memoir. I found that the story did not flow freely and was very laborious in areas. The author repeated himself often in the story and I wonder if that is due to translation issues or poor editing. The book does have some intense battle scenes and it goes some way to give a good sense of what it is like to be a leader of men during wartime. Why it is refreshing to read a World War II book from a Japanese view it was not enough to raise the book above mediocrity for me.

3 Stars