Brilliant Book Titles #308

nuking the moon

“Compulsively readable laugh out loud history.” Mary Roach

Bomb-carrying bats. Poisoned flower arrangements. Cigars laced with mind-altering drugs. Listening devices implanted into specially-trained cats. A torpedo-proof aircraft carrier made out of ice and sawdust. And a CIA plan to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon … just because.

In Nuking the Moon, Vince Houghton, Historian and Curator at the International Spy Museum, collects the most inspired, implausible and downright bizarre military intelligence schemes that never quite made it off the drawing board. From the grandly ambitious to the truly devious, they illuminate a new side of warfare, revealing how a combination of desperation and innovation led not only to daring missions and brilliant technological advances, but to countless plans and experiments that failed spectacularly.

Alternatively terrifying and hilarious, and combining archival research with newly-conducted interviews, these twenty-six chapters reveal not only what might have happened, but also what each one tells us about the history and people around it. If ‘military intelligence’ makes you think of James Bond and ingenious exploding gadgets … get ready for the true story.

House of Names by Colm Toibin

house of names

One of my favorite Irish writers, and absolutely on form here. He’s often criticised for writing the same story over and over again, a charge to which he has been known to reply, “No one ever said I couldn’t”. Almost always set in Dublin, via Wexford, his protagonists are often the victims of an early parental bereavement, generally manifested by a cruel illness. Years later, we tend to find the same protagonist still marked by a deeply buried emotional trauma, rootless and lonely. If you transplant that framework to ancient Greece, and replace cancer as the cause of death with marital murder, you go some way to describing the plot of House of Names. Toibín takes on the story of the Oresteia, a hugely important play in the dramatic canon and one of the western world’s most famous dramas. Negotiating such a well known story was always going to be a challenge, and Toibín has confessed in interviews to feeling nervous about the task, but he succeeds in putting his own stamp on the narrative, without diluting its power or changing it beyond recognition to suit his purposes. Of course if one is familiar with the story, there won’t be any major surprises but Toibín does the novel’s form affords Toibín space to expand upon the Greece the conquering heroes of Troy return to, amongst them the sinister Aegisthus, lover of Clytemnestra. Split into three sections, the reader can enjoy the narrative from the point of view of all the principle members of Agammemon’s family; Clytemnestra’s rage at Iphigenia’s sacrifice, Electra’s quest for vengeance and the matricidal Orestes. If you’re a fan of Toibín, this is as good as of his previous, and if you’re fan of the classics, this is a wonderful interpretation that is definitely worth a read.


You can reserve online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue online. 

The Middle Man by Jessica Gadziala

middle man


Gemma was always searching for a cause.
She was never afraid to risk something if it meant benefiting the greater good.
But what happens when that risk becomes more than she can handle alone?
Is she willing to risk those around her if it means protecting hundreds of innocent lives?

Lincoln was always searching for Miss Right.
He was never afraid to fall if falling meant he’d land in love.
But what happens when Miss Right turns out to be someone he shouldn’t want?
Is he willing to risk the relationships he has with his friends and family if it means winning the love of a woman he can’t be without?


5 Middle Man Stars

The Middle Man is the 6th book in the Professionals Series by Jessica Gadziala. It tells Lincoln and Gemma’s amazing story. Gemma is this free spirit who looks everyone and just wants to make sure the world her loved ones live in is a good place. She is soft and kind, with a smile forever on her face but when Lincoln finds her in the safe house at work he knows something isn’t right. He has to help get that free spirit smile back on her face if it’s the last thing he does. Lincoln, who is forever seeking his dream relationship and just wants his happy ever after, thinks he’s never going to get it. Every relationship ends with him being bored or he’s taken advantage off. He feels it’s never going to happen for him.

Thrown together unexpectedly, Lincoln is looking out for Gemma so she is staying with him for a while. They fall into a very comfortable routine and it’s not boring and he is benefiting from it as well with Gemma’s wonderful cooking.

Can something so unexpected end up being the happy ever after he was looking for?

This was such a lovely read. I loved Lincoln and his sense of humour. I felt for Gemma so badly as she just wanted to do the right thing. The secondary characters like always with Jessica’s books are the bomb. I love this, its makes a book for me. I love that Jessica can suck you into the world of Navesbank.

It was a 5 star Suspense with a sweet romantic twist. A must read from me and can’t wait for the next book in the Professional series.

Brilliant Book Titles #307

the truth will set you free.jpg

A beautifully illustrated collection of Gloria Steinem’s most inspirational and outrageous quotes, with an introduction and essays by the feminist activist herself

For decades–and especially now, in these times of crisis–people around the world have found guidance, humor, and unity in Gloria Steinem’s gift for creating quotes that offer hope and inspire action. From her early days as a journalist and feminist activist, Steinem’s words have helped generations to empower themselves and work together.

Covering topics from relationships (“Many are looking for the right person. Too few are trying to be the right person.”) to the patriarchy (“Men are liked better when they win. Women are liked better when they lose. This is how the patriarchy is enforced every day.”) and activism (“Revolutions, like trees, grow from the bottom up.”), this is the definitive collection of Steinem’s words on what matters most. Steinem sees quotes as “the poetry of everyday life,” so she also has included a few favorites from friends, including bell hooks, Flo Kennedy, and Michelle Obama, in this book that will make you want to laugh, march, and create some quotes of your own. In fact, at the end of the book, there’s a special space for readers to add their own quotes and others they’ve found inspiring.

The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off! is both timeless and timely. It is a gift of hope from Steinem to readers, and a book to share with friends.

Advance praise for The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!

“Gloria has a profound knack for expressing ideas in ways that stick with you. When trying to explain something that I can’t seem to wrap my own words around, I very often reach for one of Gloria’s quotes. This beautiful book of her words will no doubt make one of the most quotable women I know even more eminently quotable.”–Emma Watson

“When the path is dark, Gloria’s words light the way forward. I find myself returning again and again to her words for inspiration, comfort, and wisdom. She has a way of saying things you feel you knew but never knew how to articulate. Other times, she expresses ideas you’ve never encountered, but once you’ve heard them, they are impossible to deny. Her words contain the poetic clarity only truth offers.”–Natalie Portman

Brilliant Book Titles #306


From Wired senior writer Andy Greenberg comes the true story of the desperate hunt to identify and track an elite team of Russian agents bent on digital sabotage

In 2014, the world witnessed the start of a mysterious series of cyberattacks. Targeting American utility companies, NATO, and electric grids in Eastern Europe, the strikes grew ever more brazen. They culminated in the summer of 2017, when the malware known as NotPetya was unleashed, penetrating, disrupting, and paralyzing some of the world’s largest businesses–from drug manufacturers to software developers to shipping companies. At the attack’s epicenter in Ukraine, ATMs froze. The railway and postal systems shut down. Hospitals went dark. NotPetya spread around the world, inflicting an unprecedented ten billion dollars in damage–the largest, most devastating cyberattack the world had ever seen.

The hackers behind these attacks are quickly gaining a reputation as the most dangerous team of cyberwarriors in history: a group known as Sandworm. Working in the service of Russia’s military intelligence agency, they represent a persistent, highly skilled force, one whose talents are matched by their willingness to launch broad, unrestrained attacks on the most critical infrastructure of their adversaries. They target government and private sector, military and civilians alike.

A chilling, globe-spanning detective story, Sandworm considers the danger this force poses to our national security and stability. As the Kremlin’s role in foreign government manipulation comes into greater focus, Sandworm exposes the realities not just of Russia’s global digital offensive, but of an era where warfare ceases to be waged on the battlefield. It reveals how the line between digital and physical conflict, between wartime and peacetime, have begun to blur–with world-shaking implications.

Beard with Me by Penny Reid

beard with me


‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honourable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.



5 Heart-breaking Stars

Beard With Me is the all-new instalment in the Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid. It is the Origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their story.

“She deserved so much better than the hand she’d been dealt. Maybe her struggles had made her strong, resilient, but she didn’t deserve to be burdened with them.”

The amount of feelings reading this book was out of this world. Penny has done me in with this one. My heart hurt for Scarlet. She survived through so much yet she is standing strong and fighting for what she wants. I was in awe of her throughout. The fact she never gave up hope, mind-blowing!

This is a story of pain, fear, hope, Strength and falling madly in love. Feeling like you are not good enough for anyone to love because of awful parents who have never shown you love.

“Will you sing for me again, so I can find you?”

I loved this series from the very beginning and will be sad to see it finish. However I can’t wait for Beard Necessities! No one deserves a Happy Ever After more than these two do.

Praying for Rain by B.B. Easton

praying for rain


“None of this matters, and we’re all going to die.”

With only three days left until the predicted apocalypse, the small town of Franklin Springs, Georgia, has become a wasteland of abandoned cars, abandoned homes, abandoned businesses, and abandoned people. People like Rainbow Williams.

Rain isn’t afraid of dying. In fact, she’s looking forward to it. If she can just outrun her pain until April 23, she’ll never have to feel it at all.

“Supplies. Shelter. Self-defence.”

Wes Parker has survived every horrible thing this life has thrown at him with nothing more than his resourcefulness and disarming good looks. Why should the end of the world be any different? All he needs are some basic supplies, shelter, and a sucker willing to help him out, which is exactly what he finds when he returns to his hometown of Franklin Springs.

As society crumbles, dangers mount, and secrets refuse to stay buried, two lost souls are thrust together in a twist of fate—one who will do anything to survive and one who can’t wait to die.

Perhaps, together, they can learn how to live.

Before their time runs out.


5 horseman of the apocalypse Stars

Praying For Rain is the first book in B.B. Easton’s, The Rain Trilogy. With the end of the world days away, Rain has no idea that meeting Wes will change her life forever, or what’s left of it! But the end of the world is fast approaching, so the question is, will they be able to avoid death?

”I devour that smile. I chew it up and swallow it. And I feel it burn like fire inside of me, illuminating things I thought we’re gone forever.”

I loved Rain, she has a tormented soul with good heart and all she wants to really do is help. With the world falling apart around her she is she is just trying to find herself. Wes has had a life full of hardship and pain, but he is determined to survive the upcoming end of the world! I love dystonia stories with passion and Praying for Rain was jam packed full of the good, the bad and the ugly.

I loved Wes and Rain and I couldn’t help but route for them both throughout this book. Is the world really coming to an end or is it all a hoax to see if mankind can survive under extreme circumstances. Whatever it is I can’t wait to see what happens next in their story!


Brilliant Book Titles #305

you look like a thing


‘I can’t think of a better way to learn about artificial intelligence, and I’ve never had so much fun along the way’ Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Option B

AI is everywhere. It powers the autocorrect function of your iPhone, helps Google Translate understand the complexity of language, and interprets your behaviour to decide which of your friends’ Facebook posts you most want to see. In the coming years, it’ll perform medical diagnoses and drive your car – and maybe even help our authors write the first lines of their novels. But how does it actually work?

Scientist and engineer, Janelle Shane, is the go-to contributor about computer science for the New York Times, Slate, and the New Yorker. Through her hilarious experiments, real-world examples, and illuminating cartoons, she explains how AI understands our world, and what it gets wrong. More than just a working knowledge of AI, she hands readers the tools to be skeptical about claims of a smarter future.

A comprehensive study of the cutting-edge technology that will soon power our world, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is an accessible and hilarious exploration of the future of technology and society. It’s Astrophysics for People In a Hurry meets Thing Explainer: an approachable guide to a fascinating scientific topic, presented with clarity, levity, and brevity by an expert in the field with a powerful and growing platform.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here. 

Brilliant Book Titles #304



Tricky is one of the most original music artists to emerge from the UK in the past 30 years. His signature sound, coupled with deep, questioning lyrics, took the UK by storm in the early 1990s and was part of the soundtrack that defined the post-rave generation.

This unique, no-holds barred autobiography is not only a portrait of an incredible artist – it is also a gripping slice of social history packed with extraordinary anecdotes and voices from the margins of society.

Tricky examines how his creativity has helped him find a different path to that of his relatives, some of whom were bare-knuckle fighters and gangsters, and how his mother’s suicide has had a lifelong effect on him, both creatively and psychologically. With his unique heritage and experience, his story will be one of the most talked-about music autobiographies of the decade.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here. 

5 New Science Fiction Books to Watch Out For

Body Tourists by Jane Rogers (14 Nov 2019) 
body tourists
Her observation of our species is tender, precise, illuminating -Hilary Mantel

In this version of London, there is a small, private clinic. Behind its layers of security, procedures are taking place on poor, robust teenagers from northern Estates in exchange for thousands of pounds – procedures that will bring the wealthy dead back to life in these young supple bodies for fourteen days.

It’s an opportunity for wrongs to be righted, for fathers to meet grandsons, for scientists to see their work completed. Old wine in new bottles.

But at what cost?

Dead Astronauts by Jeff Vandermeer (3 Dec 2019) 
dead astronauts.jpg

A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own. Three ragtag rebels waging an endless war for the fate of the world against an all-powerful corporation. A raving madman who wanders the desert lost in the past, haunted by his own creation: an invisible monster whose name he has forgotten and whose purpose remains hidden.

Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts presents a City with no name of its own where, in the shadow of the all-powerful Company, lives human and otherwise converge in terrifying and miraculous ways. At stake: the fate of the future, the fate of Earth–all the Earths.

Agency by William Gibson (23 Jan 2020) 


‘Dazzling, astoundingly inventive‘ The Times

Wild, richly satisfying’ Guardian

‘Terrific’ Spectator

San Francisco, 2017. Clinton’s in the White House, Brexit never happened – and Verity Jane’s got herself a new job.

They call Verity ‘the app-whisperer’, and she’s just been hired by a shadowy start-up to evaluate a pair-of-glasses-cum-digital-assistant called Eunice. Only Eunice has other ideas.

Pretty soon, Verity knows that Eunice is smarter than anyone she’s ever met, conceals some serious capabilities and is profoundly paranoid  which is just as well since suddenly some bad people are after Verity.

Meanwhile, in a post-apocalyptic London a century from now, PR fixer Wilf Netherton is tasked by all-seeing policewoman Ainsley Lowbeer with interfering in the alternative past in which Verity and Eunice exist. It appears something nasty is about to happen there – and fixing it will require not only Eunice’s unique human-AI skillset but also a little help from the future.

A future which Verity soon fears may never be . . .

‘One of our greatest science-fiction writers’ New York Times

‘Big-screen, popcorn-chewing thrills. What a glorious ride’ Guardian

‘Gibson is a prophet and a satirist, a black comedian and an astounding architect of cool’ Spectator

‘One of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working’ Boston Globe

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu (27 Jan 2020) 
hidden girl.jpg
From award-winning author Ken Liu comes his much anticipated second volume of short stories.

Ken Liu is one of the most lauded short story writers of our time. This collection includes a selection of his science fiction and fantasy stories from the last five years–sixteen of his best–plus a new novelette.

In addition to these seventeen selections, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories also features an excerpt from book three in the Dandelion Dynasty series, The Veiled Throne.

Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred (6 Feb 2020) 
at childhood's end
Past or future, which path do you choose?

Past, present and future collide as the Thirteenth Doctor meets classic Doctor Who companion Ace – in the first epic novel from the woman who played her, Sophie Aldred.

Once, a girl called Ace travelled the universe with the Doctor – until, in the wake of a terrible tragedy they parted company. Decades later, she is known as Dorothy McShane, the reclusive millionaire philanthropist who heads global organisation A Charitable Earth.

And Dorothy is haunted by terrible nightmares, vivid dreams that begin just as scores of young runaways are vanishing from the dark alleyways of London. Could the disappearances be linked to sightings of sinister creatures lurking in the city shadows? Why has an alien satellite entered a secret orbit around the Moon?

Investigating the satellite with Ryan, Graham and Yaz, the Doctor is thrown together with Ace once more. Together they must unravel a malevolent plot that will cost thousands of lives. But can the Doctor atone for her past incarnation’s behaviour – and how much must Ace sacrifice to win victory not only for herself, but for the Earth?