Mass Effect: Retribution

Mass Effect: RetributionMass Effect: Retribution by Drew Karpyshyn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Drew Karpyshyn’s Mass Effect series of books that tied into the games. This third book in the series wraps things up and leads into Mass Effect 2. This gives readers more information on The Illusive Man and how Cerberus works. It also provides more information on Kahlee Sanders
and David Anderson and there is even a brief mention of Shepherd. All good stuff for Mass Effect fans. Now that Andromeda is out, it was kind of nice to listen to some of the old school Mass Effect stuff. I highly recommend both the games and the books. Although the fourth book is not written by Karpyshyn, so I don’t know about that. People don’t seem to like it as much as the three he wrote.

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Girl Walks into a Bar

Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife MiracleGirl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this entire book on a plane and it made the flight go by quite pleasantly. Rachel Dratch is very funny and this book was enjoyable to listen to with her reading it. I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed reading it to myself, but I had several laugh-out-loud moments, which as you can imagine, was a little awkward on the plane. Definitely worth a listen.

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Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids: … and Other Small Events That Changed History

Napoleon's Hemorrhoids: ... and Other Small Events That Changed HistoryNapoleon’s Hemorrhoids: … and Other Small Events That Changed History by Phil Mason

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is really a bunch of snippets about interesting little things that possibly had a big impact on history. I’m listening to it, but it would really be better as bathroom reading. The guy reading it sounds like he’s doing a series of 1980s movie trailers, which gets a little tiring after about twenty minutes. It’s not bad for listening in the car for short bursts while running errands, but it’s not something I’d want to listen to on a long car ride.

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Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in NeuroscienceTales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience by Michael S. Gazzaniga

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Michael Gazzaniga is one of leading researchers in cognitive neuroscience and is especially known for his split brain research studying patients who have had their corpus callosum severed leaving the two hemispheres of their brains unable to directly communicate with each other. So that’s really interesting, but it could also be really dry. Luckily, Gazzaniga is a really engaging writer in addition to being a notable scientist. In this book he wraps his personal journey around the science in such a way that the book is surprisingly enjoyable. I listened to it on audio and Johnny Heller does an excellent job reading it. Anyone interested in neuroscience or life in the sciences would enjoy this book. I certainly did.

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Raven Black

Raven Black (Shetland Island, #1)Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It diverged from the TV series just enough to keep me interested. I have to say I like the Perez of the TV show more than I like the Perez of the book, but the book Perez was still interesting. I miss the dynamic of him with his step-daughter that you get in the TV show. Gordon Griffin does a good job narrating. He has a really good voice that’s perfect for the story.

I was particularly struck by a comment at the end of the book. Perez is talking about two 16-year-old girls. He says, “They were drinking, not a lot. They each had a bottle of wine, but it was enough to get them talking.”

Wow. An entire bottle of wine each seems like a lot to me. I don’t know if that says more about me than it does about Ann Cleeves or perhaps just the character of Perez or something she’s trying to say about the Shetland people and their drinking, but it definitely stuck in my head. I enjoyed The Crow Trap, the first of Ann Cleeves Vera books, more but this is still worth a read.

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Hard Choices

Hard ChoicesHard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Madeline Albright’s book about being Secretary of State last year, I became fascinated with how foreign policy is conducted by the United States. Albright is the better writer, but both books are well worth reading. I think I’ll read Condoleezza Rice’s book next to cover all the female Secretaries of State before moving on to the men.

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The Centrist Manifesto

The Centrist ManifestoThe Centrist Manifesto by Charles Wheelan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you feel like our current two party system is too partisan and no longer getting reasonable legislation accomplished, then this book is for you. Charles Wheelan lays out a sensible plan for a third party that would hold the middle ground and bring reasoned governance back to the United States. This is not a plan for a fringe party, but a plan for a party for the way most Americans think and his primary focus is the senate, where gerrymandering and primaries have less influence because the entire state votes. This is a short, concise, and sensible book. If you’re tired of the status quo, read it.

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