Mini book series reviews

Hunters of Dune: After reading several reviews, and hearing a lot of word-of-mouth opinions in general, I was expecting this novel to be really awful. But I thought the transition from Frank Herbert’s (one of the authors, Brian Herbert’s, father) Chapterhouse: Dune was pretty smooth. I didn’t feel there was a big shift in tone or style going from one book to the other, considering that the new books were written by entirely different authors. I quit about halfway through, though, because I was getting burned-out, having just binged the six original novels in a few months. (I listened to the audiobooks, which take longer to listen to than to read the actual novels.)

Malazan Book of the Fallen, The Black Company, The Dagger and the Coin, The First Law, The Age of Madness series: I like the sort of dry and bleak socioeconomic/political landscapes, gray morality, etc. of these series. They are a lot like A Song of Ice and Fire. I am looking forward to future titles being released in the series that so far remain unfinished.

The Murderbot Diaries, The Wayfarers, Binti, Imperial Radch, The Vorkosigan Saga series: I really like the characters in these novels. They really give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I like that these are Space Opera, but that the emphasis is not on tech, and that the characters are relatable on a personal level. (When compared to a lot of science fiction.)

The Scholomance, The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead, Borne series: The first two are YA series in the vein of “Wizard School” novels like Harry Potter, except deadlier. The latter is a very strange, weird series reminiscent of China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station and The Scar, except with bioluminescent fish-fungi hybrids instead of flying monsters or living trains. I actually prefer VanderMeer’s Borne to Miéville’s Bas-Lag, but both series are enjoyable.

The Book of the New Sun series: I’m reading these for the third time, now. I’m not quite as blown away as I was the first two times (as well by as the Long Sun and Short Sun series), but they are still pretty great.

The Fall, Agency: I’m getting kind of… tired of reading about how awesome tech entrepreneurs are. I am starting to also get tired of listening to TED Talks. I increasingly would rather read about topics that are (relatively speaking) more mundane, and that don’t involve the newest and latest real-world digital gadgets. (They are not bad books, however. It’s just my current preference. Young “hip” people might prefer these books.)

Goodreads widget

I’m not sure where I can squeeze this onto my site/blog since there’s so little room, but I stumbled across this widget on Goodreads that I really like a lot. It shows a list of the twenty-four most recently published books you’ve read, in reverse order of publication. If I kept reliable records on the order in which I read the books, I could use that data instead; but this is still a pretty good alternative. (And maybe more useful to visitors wanting to go out and buy books.) If you have JavaScript disabled in your browser you will see a static list that is current as of the initial date of this post.

Michael’s books

Leviathan Falls
The Trouble with Peace
Interlibrary Loan
Network Effect
A Little Hatred
To Be Taught, If Fortunate
Tiamat's Wrath
The Raven Tower
The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction
The Winter of the Witch
The Book of Magic
Exit Strategy
The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London
Rogue Protocol
Record of a Spaceborn Few
Spinning Silver
The Flowers of Vashnoi
Artificial Condition

Michael Horvath’s favorite books »

The book covers are centered with respect to one another, and are separated by 2 pixels. I added a black background and a hover effect that changes the cover graphics to appear lighter and grayer when your mouse is on top of them. I couldn’t figure out how to style the extra link Goodreads places at the bottom of the grid, so I hid/disabled it using the associated URL parameter provided by Goodreads. I had to manually add Flexbox styling to the widget since it did not include any by default, and the default styling conflicts with my blog. The grid should be responsive, though I haven’t tested the widget on my phone yet.

Here is the custom CSS code:

div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 {
  background-color: #000000;
  max-width: 600px;
  margin: auto;
div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 h2 {
  display: inline-block;
  padding: 4px;
  margin: 0px;
div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 h2 a {
  color: #ffffff;
div.gr_grid_container {
  /* customize grid container div here. eg: width: 500px; */
  display: flex;
  flex-wrap: wrap;
  align-items: center;
  justify-content: space-around;
  padding: 0px;
  margin: 0px;
div.gr_grid_container a {
div.gr_grid_book_container {
  /* customize book cover container div here */
  width: 98px;
  height: 160px;
  padding: 0px;
  margin: 0px;
  overflow: hidden;
div.gr_grid_book_container:hover {
  filter: grayscale(1) brightness(1.5);

The actual widget code can be gotten from the Goodreads website under your personal Account Settings.

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