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Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

“Let everyone else call your idea crazy.. just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

In other words, Just Do It!

Nike is the ultimate American dream. And it all started when a twenty-four-year-old Oregonian suddenly had this Crazy Idea of bringing Japanese running shoes, specifically the Onitsuka Tigers, into the country way back in 1962, just less than two decades after the United States of America bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

There had been some unauthorised biographies or stories about how Nike came to be, but this is the first time we have been graced with the words from the creator himself, Philip H. Knight. Shoe Dog is a well-written, captivating and candid account of how Knight’s Crazy Idea came into fruition and eventually metamorphosized into the most recognizable name in the athletic shoe and apparel industry.

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Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox, #1)

Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox, #1)

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

This is a full trilogy review for Paradox including the 2nd and 3rd titles, Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen.  

The one thing I’ll always credit Rachel Bach/Aaron with is her ability to thoroughly entertain me with her stories, and the Paradox trilogy is yet another proof of that.

By now, most of you will already know that I swear by Rachel Aaron’s books. They are go-to comfort reads; I’ve never picked up one of her books and not found it enjoyable. Her knack of creating great characters is matched by her ability to create worlds which at first glance seemed familiar but is packed with imagination. It’s as if her love of all things geeky brought together some pretty cool influences in her worldbuilding.

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The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

One word. INCREDIBLE.

The Winnowing Flame Trilogy has earned a perfect 5-star rating from me and deserved ALL of it. The Poison Song not only lived up to its astoundingly good prequels, but it also delivered an exquisitely emotional and satisfying conclusion.

I’ve always refrained from mentioning plot points in my reviews for concluding books to avoid inadvertent spoilers.  Instead, I will explain why I believed that Jen Williams’ sophomore trilogy is absolutely worth your time and money.

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Kingshold (The Wildfire Cycle, #1)

Kingshold (The Wildfire Cycle, #1)

I received a copy of the audiobook from Tantor Media in exchange for an honest review.

Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.

An enjoyable classic fantasy romp with some modern touches, Kingshold is a commendable debut by D.P. Woolliscroft.

This first book of The Wildfire Cycle is heavy on politics as its major plotline is centred around the election of a new Lord Protector to the Kingdom of Edland. With the current King dead and after many generations of useless monarchs, the ancient wizard, Jyuth, who founded the kingdom refused to take any further responsibility in choosing the next one. Instead, an election was proposed and the story ensued with political scheming and assassinations (which are perfectly legal if performed under a contract).

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The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

The Bitter Twins is a stunning sequel of staggering inventiveness and imagination.

I am in awe with the direction the story took after the unexpected turn of events at the end of The Ninth Rain. Instead of suffering from the middle book syndrome, The Bitter Twins continued to captivate me with its eldritch worldbuilding and engaging characterisation. I had to keep this review a bit shorter than usual, as there’s simply too much potential to accidentally spoil the numerous surprises that I kept encountering during my read.

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Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

I received an advanced reading copy from Tor.com in exchange for an honest review.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

I wish to echo Ann Leckie and simply say “I love Murderbot!”

With Rogue Protocol, The Murderbot Diaries is indeed shaping up to be a fantastic series of novellas that tick all the right boxes, albeit in a smaller-sized package of excellent science fiction action and empathetic character development.

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Age of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire, #4)

Age of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire, #4)

Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A brilliant sequel which fulfilled both my eager anticipation and high expectations, Age of Legend takes the First Empire series to another level of greatness with the promise of a showstopper by its finale.

Age of Legend is structurally different from the continuous narrative in the preceding three volumes. This book has three sections; the first part is the shortest which deals with the immediate aftermath of the battle at Alon Rhist. The second section takes place one year after that, and there will be another five years’ time leap for the third and largest part of the book. Without needing to go into too much detail and dragging the narrative, the three-part story enabled the reader to appreciate how protracted the war was between the Rhunes and the Fhreys, before going into the more portentous events.

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Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)

I received an advanced reading copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

An awesome sequel to All Systems Red, Artificial Condition pumps up the fun and action.

Before I continue, I maintain that our genderless robotic main protagonist sounded female in my mind and hence, I will refer to it as she. Our sardonic SecUnit decided to return to the mining planet where a prior incident culminated in her self-christening as Murderbot, with the intention to investigate the real cause of the said incident. In the course of attempting to hitch a ride there without being caught, she managed to bribe her way through by offering the transport bots her treasure trove of media, books, serials, and music downloads. I don’t know about other readers, but this cracks me up so much!

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Last Bastion (FFO, #2)

Last Bastion (FFO, #2)

I received an advanced reading copy from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

Last Bastion by Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Bastion was supposed to mean safety.”

It seemed, however, that Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach decided that safety will be a bit boring for the fictional characters and the readers. Hence, they gave us a heart-pounding, fast-paced, action-packed and dangerously addictive MMORPG-style adventure in the world of Forever Fantasy Online with a great cast of characters.

The story picked up immediately from the ending of the first book. Our main characters, James and Tina, arrived at the city of Bastion to seek refuge and find some answers after the world of FFO was suddenly released from the Nightmare. A term used by the NPCs who are supposedly real people to describe their entrapment in the game environmen, the Nightmare is so named for the dreadful never-ending cycle ofreliving the quests the players undertake, oftentimes dying a painful death over and over again. What greeted the player characters, however, was a city on fire and laden with corpses. Not exactly their idea of a safe haven from the constant danger and fighting they’ve encountered in the past few days.

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Fate Lashed (Ethereal Earth, #2)

Fate Lashed (Ethereal Earth, #2)

I received a copy of the audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Fate Lashed by Josh Erikson
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Josh Erikson does it again with his stellar narration in Fate Lashed, and this time with a faster-paced, action-packed and riveting plotline.

In the previous book, we got the origins story of Gabriel Delling – how he became intertwined with supernatural entities and ended up as a human with the ability to use magic (well, just somewhat at this stage). After losing the evil God from his head and spending time hiding out in a remote cabin to ruminate, he returned to civilization and in no time landed himself into trouble again. As fate would have it, the powerful inner circles of the Umbras are now contending to seek a ‘Key to the Universe’ which has revealed its existence just about the same time that Gabe got himself unwittingly embroiled in the affairs of these creatures from the Ether. That he survived what he did in Hero Forged, Gabe became a wildcard that fate has neither a read nor a hold on. In other words,  he is now the key much sought-after player in this quest for the Key, for better or for worse.

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