Tag Archives: book review

Second and Third Books Reviewed

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Greetings, readers!

As you may recall, I gave the first book review of the year just a few days ago.

I am pleased to report that I have now finished the series, and enjoyed them. As a reminder, the series is the “Riyria Revelations” by Michael J. Sullivan.

As a minor note: Each of the three “books” actually contains two novels. (In terms of length: Combined, each “set of two” is nowhere near as long as a usual Brandon Sanderson novel, but that may not be saying much.)

But onto the review part.

Pros: 1) The characters remain fun to read. The different characters have noticeably different speaking styles, and the banter is droll. 2) The writing style noticeably improves. Whereas the first part of the first book read more like somebody’s D&D adventure, the later books feel more coherent and well written. Furthermore, some of the plot-twists become a bit less predictable. (Some remain fairly obvious, but others are better done.) Furthermore, the author does a reasonable job for some of the twists and surprises of “show, don’t tell”.

Cons: 1) Some of the plot-twists feel as though they were not initially supposed to be there. A term that is relevant is the idea of “retcon“. Granted, it may not be retcon, as some cases simply did not provide the vital piece of information. However, it still felt that way. 2) Some of the writing jerks about. Time-frames in particular are not entirely clear.

Overall, I enjoyed the series, and will likely invest in the prequels (which were written after the originals series) at some point.

Happy Sunday.

First Book of 2018 Read

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Greetings, readers!

In my time this week, I have finished reading my first “new” novel of 2018. By new, naturally, I mean that I had not yet read it. The book was apparently published approximately seven years ago.

The book was called “Theft of Swords”, and it was a set of two rather droll fantasy stories starring a Mercenary duo.

Pros: The characters were amusing. The author (Michael J. Sullivan) particularly did the banter well.

Cons: The plot(s) was (were?) reasonably intuitive. If a book is supposed to be a maze, where you are not sure what is coming next, then this one had a fairly straightforward set of branches, fairly visible ahead of time. Whereas some books have plot twists that are well laid retrospectively, this one makes it clear what the twists are as the author builds towards them.

However, the second part of “Theft of Swords” was (somewhat) better done, and I am looking forward to reading the second volume. The author is telling a fun story, and the characters are amusing with witty banter.

If you find it at a library, or happen to have extra to spend on books and no purpose, it is worth considering for a pleasant piece of fluff.


Book Rec: Howl’s Moving Castle

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!


I recently read, and then re-read, the book Howl’s Moving Castle.

As was probably indicated by the fact that I re-read the book, I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a delightful story that takes place in the land of fairy tales where, and it held up for the re-read. (It was fun seeing all the foreshadowing that actually happened.)

So, yup! Enjoy.

Random Digits- Revisited

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Greetings, readers!

I was once more exploring some of the archives of this site, and found the book review of “A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates” from RAND. I revisited that page, and thought I would share some of my favorite “helpful” reviews:

  • Pretty good, but why 1 million random digits and 100,000 normal deviates? Why not 967,273 random digits and 71,038 normal deviates? Or was the author going for irony? Sometimes I have a hard time picking that up.”
  • Titled Clearly Plagiarised though still an exciting read, “having read it very carefully, I do believe the author plagiarised most of the middle chapters and the climax ending from the 400 million digit calculation of pi by a university in Tokyo. Did they really think we would not notice?”
  • Titled  Not a good idea for a password, “I decided to use all 100,000 as my password only to discover everyone that owns this book now has my password to my bank. BTW, online banking now takes several days to complete a login.”
  • Titled I have to write a report…, “Is there a Cliff’s Notes? I don’t really have the time to finish reading it before my report is due…” 
  • Titled NOT RANDOM!!!, “I purchased 10 of these books because I am in need of 10 million random digits. However, I was extremely disappointed when I opened the books and each one was exactly the same. Random? No, sir. Not by a longshot.”
  • Titled Out of date, “While I’m sure this was a breakthrough in its time, I’d like to see an updated edition with new random digits. Who wants to use random digits from 2001 anymore?”
  • Titled I can’t say I loved it, but . . ., “. . . once you get used to the style, it’s far easier to get through than her prior work, “Atlas Shrugged.” The narrative voice is more humane, too, and ultimately I have found it makes more sense as a coherent philosophy.”
  • Titled Not random!!, “There are a million of them but they are not, alas, random.
    You sheeple need to learn to read between the lines when you purchase books of this type. What is it? Random Numbers. By whom? The RAND Corporation. What was that title again? RANDom Digits.
    This so called “book” is nothing more than a clever advertising ploy. If you plot the “random” numbers on a 600×600 grid, using a simple transformation on the numbers, the result will be a series of images of the CEO of RAND mouthing the words “buy this book. Read The Hidden Persuaders for info on this alarming trend.
    I know, I did it.
    Disappointing and beneath Amazon to carry it.”
  • Titled Beautifully inane and tedious, “After I got over my obsession with the Twilight saga, I didn’t think I would ever come across anything quite like it. Its breathtakingly insipid plot and the witlessness of the characters kept me hooked for the whole four books. Once I finished the series for the fifth time and seen all of the movies, I didn’t know what to do with my life. I slumped into a massive depression and I needed something to fill the gap that was left by Stephenie Meyer’s genius. Miley Cyrus’ autobiography held me over for a couple of weeks, as did the collective works of L. Ron Hubbard, but it just wasn’t the same. I needed something truly entropic! Then I found A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates, and it was like a breath of fresh air. Even it isn’t quite as jumbled and incomprehensible as the story of Edward and Bella, but it has a very unique charm to it. Highly recommended for anyone else who loves pulp romance, cheap science fiction novels, or anything else that is crass or half-baked. Overall, I’d have to give it a 4/5 because the title spoils the plot.”

I hope, readers, that you enjoyed that little foray into Amazon’s comment section.

An old friend, but a nice friend to have around- Tacky

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Hi, Fluffsters!

Today I’m going way, way back in my discussion of “old friend” books, back to my early childhood before I could read.

Even though I couldn’t read, my parents were avid readers and made sure to read a lot to me.

One of my favorite young-person serieses was Tacky the Penguin.

This absolutely adorable children’s story tells the tale of Tacky the penguin and his fellow companions. His companions (Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly, and Perfect) are “normal” penguins. He’s an odd bird.

The story is a typical children’s picture-book- one picture per sentence, basically. The art is delightfully done, and the story is sweet.

I don’t remember the first time my Dad read it out loud to me, but I’m fairly sure it was right around my birthday. From the first reading, I fell in love with it. It’s cute, sweet, humorous, and has a good message. What more can you ask for?

Even now, the book is a beloved one of mine. Yes, it’s an “old friend” primarily because I’ve known it for a long time. But it is also simply endearing, and well worth a read. Even by adults.

If you can, I highly encourage you to find this book. It’s a friendly, five minute read, and worthy of becoming an “old friend.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- yet another “Old Friend”

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Hi Fluffsters!

What kind of Fantasy Nerd would I be if I didn’t post about at least one of the Harry Potter books in a series on “old friends”?

How do you expect me to answer that?

Oh. You’re not actually supposed to. That was supposed to be a rhetorical question to lead into the topic of this post.

Ah. Well, how about instead of that, you explain the odd specifics of your title?

I was actually just about to. But you interrupted me.

…By answering your question.


As I was saying, I really needed to include at least one of the Harry Potter books in this list. However, the problem is that there’s actually a little bit of, well, depth in this series. And it’s got some slightly stress-inducing points, even in the earlier ones. So I decided to go with my favorite- Prisoner of Azkaban.

For those of you who don’t know, this is probably one of the two lightest books in the series, with number one being the other. Number three is basically an adventure story, and it’s longer than number one, and it’s the one I would go to more frequently than Sorcerer’s Stone when I wanted to reread something.

Rowling puts forth some fun ideas in this one, including some ideas concerning time travel. And actual real plot development for the rest of the series.

So I guess I chose this book as the “old friend” because it’s my favorite insofar as lack of trauma but wealth of content are concerned. It’s a comfortable book to just pick up and reread. And it’s got some great, humorous scenes. (Anything with the Marauder’s Map, for example…)

So that’s why it’s the one I chose to be an “old friend.”

I hope you enjoy! And have a great day.

“Old Friends” Books- Ella Enchanted

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Hiya, Fluffsters!

Today’s post deals with a book that is far, FAR superior to the movie “roughly inspired” by it: Ella Enchanted.

If you have not seen the move, GOOD. DO NOT EVER. If you have seen the movie, don’t judge the book on it! The book’s actually good, honest!

The book Ella Enchanted is a delightfully charming story. It deals with a girl who has been given a “gift” by a fairy- the gift of obedience. If she’s ordered to do something, she will do it.

Now, this sounds like it might be a little dark, but it’s not. It’s really not. Gail Carson Levine, the author, is wonderful at writing the books. She keeps the atmosphere of the book light and charming, and very much a children’s story.

This is one that can easily become an “old friend” quality of book. The writing style is easy to follow, the story is familiar, yet fresh, and the characters are endearing. It is definitely a comforting one to read when one needs an “old friend” book.

Personally, I don’t even remember when I first read it. It seems like forever ago. But it’s one of my favorites of its type, and well worth the read.

I hope you enjoy it!

“Old Friend” Books – Enchanted Forest Chronicles

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Hi, Fluffsters!

I’m continuing the series on books that are “old friends”. This time I’m going to talk about one of my favorite authors: Patricia C. Wrede. I’ve loved everything of hers that I’ve read, but I’m especially talking today about The Enchanted Forest Chronicles.

These books are just simply delightful. They’re pure joy to read. The series lightly parodies traditional fantasy books and fairy tales, and is just all around charming. Seriously.

The chronicles take place in the world of The Enchanted Forest, where princesses are taught etiquette of exactly how loud one is permitted to scream when being abducted by a giant and it is customary for characters to do traditional fairy-tale like things. The main character of the first book (Dealing with Dragons), though, does not like being stuck in the princess stereotype. So she runs away and volunteers to be a dragon’s princess. It continues on from there.

These books qualify as “old friends” for a few reasons.

First, they are very lighthearted, friendly, and welcoming. Wrede’s style in general is easy to read, but these books especially are just charming– rather like what you’d expect of a long-term human friend of yours.

Second, I’ve been reading these for a long time. I think probably since I was about seven or eight years old. So, once more, they’re old favorites of mine. Whenever I was too sick for school when I was younger, I would read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. (I may possibly have feigned illness a time or two in order to read these books…)

These were the type of books that I made sure to purchase my own set of when I left for college, because I wanted to make sure I had the comforting world of the Enchanted Forest to retreat to if I ever had time to take a decompress break.

If you ever have the opportunity, you should read these. The charm and humor of these books is delightful.

Have a great day!

Book Review: Ready Player One

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Hello, Fluffsters! Happy Monday!

Huh. It’s the last Monday of 2013. Odd, isn’t it? But that’s not important.

What is important is that I just finished another book. A book that I’m going to write a review on, for your reading pleasure!

Or lack thereof…

Hush. It’s not as though I’m forcing you to read my posts… But yeah.

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Non-Spoiler Section

I really enjoyed this book. It’s written from the first-person perspective, is about 370 pages long, and is quite gripping. Even if it might take a chapter or two to set up the setting and plot. I think I would give it about a 9/10. (Ten being OMG BEST BOOK EVAH!1! of course. And 1, by extension, being BLECH! THAT’S HORRIBLEFYING!)


…You already knew I invent words.

Still, “horriblefying” seems like a much more egregious word-crime than a non-word like “fluffster”.

At least it gets my point across, which is the purpose of language? True?

…I think I shall refrain from answering that particular question.

I shall therefore declare victory, and continue to the next section:

Spoiler Alert! Plot & Premise & Summary & Such.

This book is set in the year 2044, in a post-apocalyptic Earth era. What makes this particular plot unique, however, is the means of “escape” from real life. There is a virtual reality system, OASIS, which is completely immersive. It’s free to access. And it’s huge.

However, the creator of this system (who of course got a huge fortune from it by selling stuff in-game, or something like that) has created an Easter Egg for people to find after he died. The first person to find his Easter Egg will receive his entire fortune, and a controlling portion of his company.

Needless to say, this is a major competition.

The story starts abut 5 years after the competition is announced. (The competition was announced upon the inventor’s death. Just in case that wasn’t clear.) Our hero goes through and tries to solve the clues that lead to the Easter Egg. Throughout the plot, he also needs to deal with friends, potential romances, and evil corporations out to kill him. I’m not going to provide more info about the plot than that. If you really want spoilers, you can probably go to wikipedia. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing they have info. You should really read the book, though.

Fun Things

One of the great parts of this book is the references. The inventor of the game was really into 1980s Geeky stuff. The main character, therefore, studies that piece of American history. There are references to all sorts of things from the 1980s. Star Wars, Monty Python, Last Starfighter, Star Trek… you name it, it’s probably there.

Another of the best parts of this book is the setting. OASIS makes me very technology-jealous. Seriously. It’s a virtual reality where, depending on how much participants can afford, all the senses can be immersed. The main character, for example, eventually gets to the point of getting a “hamster-ball” like system for moving around- he actually walks. Further, the graphics are apparently amazing, and, one of the best parts, there are touch sensors on a suit he can wear. The gloves that have touch sensors & emulators are a part of every kit- the players can actually feel items they interact with.

And, of course, the players can get cool items, including magic swords.

Downsides (end spoilers)

Basically, the only downsides are a couple of “not quite pg or pg-13 language” moments. In other words, there’s a touch of fowl language, and a few references. It’s nowhere near as bad as a lot of fiction- even some supposedly “young adult” fiction I’ve read recently. *cough*Graceling*cough*

If language doesn’t bother you, don’t worry about it. If it does, you might enjoy it less, but I’d still highly recommend giving it a try. It’s a lot tamer than any high school I’m aware of.

Concluding Remarks

As I said before, I really enjoyed the book. I definitely wish that the technology described actually existed- it sounds pretty darn cool. It’s also fun he number of references there were! I know I didn’t get them all, but any that I did get just added to the story. (It’s still a fun story without understanding the references.)

In other words, I highly recommend this book.

Enjoy the rest of 2013!

Book Recommendation: Scarlet Pimpernel

Note: If this is your first time to TotalFluff, please visit this brief explanation. Thanks!

Greetings, readers! I hope you are in excellent health.

As I was once again perusing this new world, I came across a wonderful place called “Project Gutenberg.” It is devoted to books that are out of print, and are therefore free to read.

One of the books I discovered is “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

I do not want to give any spoilers. I will say this, however: I really enjoyed it. It had a touch of melodrama, it was set in a bloody era of your history, and there were cunning characters, and a fair bit of humor as well.

If you have time, I highly recommend reading it.