My latest review of fun, but flawed Occultus: Mediterranean Cabal can be found here.
I enjoyed this book despite the fact that it could be a little dry in sections. For the most part, I agree with the author’s take on what transformed us into what we are and where we are likely headed. The fact is that as a species we’ve developed rapidly and that change is now accelerating even faster because of technology. I think Currier gives a good overview of human development and then raises some interesting questions about our future. I enjoy this kind of broad thinking in a book. If you do too, you should check it out.
My niece, Hannah, recently went to Bali, and because she loves me and knows I love coffee, she brought me back a bag of Kopi Luwak. Luwak is what the Indonesians call the wild cat that we refer to as a civet. As it turns out, civets like to eat coffee berries, and after they eat them, they poop them out. The civets only digest the fruit part of the coffee and the bean passes through intact. Indonesian coffee farmers collect the civet coffee-laden turds, put them through six different washings, roast, and package them to sell as some of the most expensive coffee you can buy. The most expensive, fyi, is the coffee pooped out by elephants.
So what does it taste like? It’s fruity, a little sweet, there is nothing that brings to mind it’s origins, but it is odd. The flavor is remarkably consistent. It’s not at all bitter and the initial flavor is exactly the same through to the end, no aftertaste, but also no other notes. It’s one consistent fruity flavor all the way through to the finish. What kind of fruit? I don’t know. Citrusy maybe, but not any kind of citrus I can identify. I thought it was good if a little dull. The wasn’t a lot of complexity to the flavor. It wasn’t good enough for me to pay $12 or more an ounce for it, but if your niece goes to Indonesia, maybe you’ll luck out and she’ll bring you some.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The first and only time I ever saw Hoarders on TV, I was at the beach with my husband and some friends. After the show, I went downstairs to our room and began cleaning. My husband, who was reading in bed, asked what I was doing. I told him what I’d seen and that I needed to clean the room. My husband is a firefighter so he is very familiar with hoarder houses. “But we’re at the beach,” he said. “We hardly have any stuff here.” That didn’t matter to me. I cleaned the room anyway, hanging all the clothes, emptying the bathroom trash. I even did a load of laundry. When Kimberly Rae Miller’s book popped up on BookBub yesterday I almost didn’t get it, but then I opted for the look inside option and I’m glad I did. I bought the book and read the whole thing yesterday. It’s different from what I expected. Despite all the difficulties of living with her parents’ hoarding and growing up in that kind of atmosphere, Miller loves her parents. In many ways, they were great parents and in many ways they were horrifying. This book does a good job of opening a window on that dichotomy. It’s an incredibly quick read and I’m glad I finished it, because frankly parts of it are difficult to get through. It’s enlightening though and worth the read, especially if you know of anyone in that situation and have not been able to fathom how they got there and why they haven’t fixed it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of the things I love about Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series is the ambiguity some of the characters occasionally feel about their jobs. In A Deeper Sleep, this ambiguity is on full display and Stabenow is at her best writing about the murder of a known bad guy and how the community as well ask Kate and Trooper Jim Chopin react. This is so well done and Bernadette Dunne reads it so compellingly that I listened to the whole thing in just a couple of days. I had the book on Overdrive on my phone while I ran errands and did chores around the house. Such a good book. If you haven’t ever read this series, I highly recommend you give it a try.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoy reading James Rollins’ Sigma series, so I thought I’d give this a try. It’s tangential to Sigma, but Wayne is an independent contractor rather than a team member. I liked this book for many of the same reasons I like the Sigma series. Rollins likes to tie his books to actual historical places and events and real science and then he spins a fantastic, action-filled yarn around them. He does that here, but since there isn’t a team involved, I found Wayne getting too battered around for just one guy to reasonably deal with, also I really worried about the dog. I know that’s dumb, since the whole point of the series is Wayne and his dog, but still, I worried. Other than those issues, I enjoyed this book. Scott Aiello did a great job with his performance and it was easy to listen to him for long stretches in the car or just walking around the house doing chores. It’s fast-paced, the locales are great, and because I had just read Churchill’s book on his early life, the references to the Boer War were really interesting. Action fans should check it out.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
At first, I was a bit put off that this Longmire book took place in Philadelphia instead of Wyoming, but I quickly got over it. This one is pretty rough though. Walt takes what seems like a lot of abuse through this book, worse than usual. Perhaps harder for me to read was the subplot about Cady’s brain injury. Nonetheless, this is still a Longmire book with Henry, Dog, and eventually even Vic (and the whole Moretti family) being involved. Johnson has a tendency to both engage in stereotyping and turn it on it’s head. This isn’t my favorite of the three Longmire books I’ve read, but it was still very engrossing and enjoyable. Definitely worth a read.
My latest Star Trek review is for James Swallow’s, The Latter Fire. It’s exactly what you want from an original series novel. Check out the full review here.
I really enjoyed the plot of this book, which is what kept me reading. It was a unique take on spousal murder and had a clever twist. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as fond of the main character as I was of the characters around him, so I doubt I’ll be reading the rest of this series.
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.