Category: Books

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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Black Panther #1

Black Panther #1Black Panther #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, but fair warning to comic fans, it’s densely written text for a comic. Obviously Ta-Nehisi Coates is a gifted writer and that’s on full display here, but he also clearly has never written a comic before, and that also shows. Parts of this read more like a novel, but he’s clearly finding his way and I’m looking forward to reading the second one. His take on Black Panther and the crisis in Wakanda is excellent and speaks strongly of someone deeply aware of central African politics as well as having a clear love of the character. Somewhat amusingly, this volume also contains the first appearance of Black Panther in Fantastic Four. Comics have really come a long way. Thank goodness.

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Death Without Company

Death Without Company (Walt Longmire, #2)Death Without Company by Craig Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came to this series of books via the televisions series, which I love. Now, I’m loving the books just as much, if not more, than the TV show. Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire is a complex character without many of the tropes that mysteries get trapped in with the lone, usually alcoholic, lawman. Walt is a man with deep roots in his community, close friends, a daughter. He’s a man who feels his responsibilities are part of his honor and duty and sometimes those responsibilities are at cross purposes. The people around him are just as interesting and just as appealing as he is. They aren’t cardboard cut outs, they feel like real people with real foibles. In short, these are high quality mysteries, well worth your time.

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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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Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Guts

Wonder Woman, Volume 2: GutsWonder Woman, Volume 2: Guts by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve really enjoyed this series by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. I haven’t been reading it very quickly, and I know I’m late to the table, but it’s an enjoyable reboot for the New 52. I know not everyone likes it when they change an iconic character’s origin story, but I’ve been reading comics long enough to know that they’re likely to change it back, so it doesn’t bother me. Changing a comic character’s origin is like someone on a soap opera dying. They’re never really dead.

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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 an 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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