Saturday, July 14, 2018

read: Blood Orbit (3.5 stars)

Blood Orbit (Gattis File #1)Blood Orbit by K.R. Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really looking forward to this book. I'm two volumes in to the author's (Kat Richardson) Greywalker series and starting to like it a lot. Science fiction is more up my alley, which made this an easy choice for me. After the first couple of chapters, I was hooked. A heavy-duty, noir, police procedural set in the future on a far away planet.

And then she lost me. The characters were still doing some interesting things. But they were sure doing a lot more talking than doing. The setting seemed like it should be interesting - terraformed future planet and all that. But the picture never came into focus for me. And all the complex background of the characters and corporate corruption was alluded to. But somehow I didn't really care until about the last 25-30% of the book. I was actually considering giving up about 1/3 of the way in. But there was too much positive vibe to be a quitter. Things did get better. I did finish. And I will pick up the next one (and continue working my way through Greywalker).

4 stars only because it's more than 3 stars.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Monday, June 25, 2018

read: Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor (4 stars)

Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie ActorHail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bruce's earnest and irreverent voice comes through in this amusing memoir that just about brings his story up-to-date. It's all here: life in rural Oregon, making B movies for SciFi channel, making Burn Notice, remaking Evil Dead. Bruce is that guy with dozens of funny stories that will keep you entertained for hours and still want more.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

read: The Color of Magic (3 stars)

The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1)The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Discworld, The Beginning. I give it 3 stars for uniqueness of vision and giving me a few smirks. Mostly I found it jumbled and confusing.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

read: House Justice (3 stars)

House Justice (Joe DeMarco, #5)House Justice by Mike Lawson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A spy is dead because a newspaper story leaked her identity. The leak probably came from someone in Congress. Speaker of the House, John Mahoney, needs the leaked plugged and calls in his go-to-guy, Joe DeMarco. And we're off to the races. Except, we're not.

This is the second book I've read in the DeMarco series and it does the same slow burn that I found in the first one, The Inside Ring. It's more suspense than thriller. This time around we spend more time with the other characters in this intricate plot than with DeMarco. That's mostly okay because these other characters are the ones that are making things happen. Joe is just fumbling along, trying to make sense of it. It's a little amazing that he's able to keep up at all with the few resources he has at his disposal.

Eventually, the story picks up steam and we start getting answers. But we also start racking up dead bodies. And then we're finished with a reasonably satisfying ending. It's not a bad read. It touches on some interesting points about politics and morality and spies. I just think it could have been tighter and stronger.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Friday, April 6, 2018

read: Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches (4 stars)

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful BeachesVacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's obviously not about vacations, though the author does 'summer' in New Hampshire and Maine and Maine's official motto is 'Vacationland'. Rather, these are the author's amusing anecdotes and deep thinking about those summers, along with childhood, growing up, adulting and death. I don't recall any LOL moments, but most stories are amusing and John Hodgman does a bang-up job on the audiobook as his own narrator, rendering them with a goodly amount of humor and pathos, as necessary.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

read: Grumpy Old Rock Star: and Other Wondrous Stories by Rick Wakeman (4 stars)

Grumpy Old Rock Star: and Other Wondrous StoriesGrumpy Old Rock Star: and Other Wondrous Stories by Rick Wakeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love getting autobiographies and memoirs read to me by their author-subjects. Rick does not disappoint. His enthusiasm is evident and his stories are often hilarious. If you're interested in Rick or Yes or progrock from the 70s, this book is for you. One unintended bit of humor for me is that Rick's speaking voice sounds an awful lot like Peter Jones, another Brit and narrator of the television version of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I started having HHGttG flashbacks.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Thursday, March 15, 2018

read: True Blue Murder (2 stars)

True Blue Murder (African Violet Club Mysteries #1)True Blue Murder by Elise M. Stone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this goofy little cozy mystery set in a senior citizens' residence in a small town near Tuscon, Arizona. My beloved Arizona settings came across as true to life. The descriptions and interactions of the wide variety of distinct characters seemed spot on. But the overall story was disappointing and fell flat.

The best word I can find to describe most of the prose is pedestrian. The action and relationships came across as stiff and clumsy. Then there's the uncompelling mystery, with an unlikable victim and a complete lack of suspects capable or inclined to have done it. This forced the author to end the story with a completely invented perpetrator and what amounts to a fanciful motive. The 'clues' that were supposed to support these inventions were unconvincing.

View all my reviews on Goodreads