Tuesday, January 30, 2024

read: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ★★★★

And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
My rating: ★★★★

A very classic whodunit story almost worthy of 5 stars. But knock off a star for a somewhat convoluted setup and undeniably outdated and clunky style (lots of head-hopping). Knock off another star for the overly long and talky appendices. But add another star because this is a classic story and she kept this reader guessing until the very last page.

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 30, 2023

read: Malibu Burning by Lee Goldberg ★★★★

Malibu Burning (Sharpe & Walker #1)Malibu Burning by Lee Goldberg
My rating: ★★★★

Engaging heist story with a little Backdraft and Fugitive thrown in.

View all my reviews

Monday, December 25, 2023

read: The Women by Kristin Hannah ★★★★★

The WomenThe Women by Kristin Hannah
My rating: ★★★★★

I am so glad I read this book. The historical subject matter appealed to me and I knew Kristin Hannah could write a good story. But I was a little apprehensive that a story set during the Vietnam War years might be as crushing as I found The Four Winds made the Great Depression. This turns out not to be the case.

Frankie, the protagonist of this book, isn't without her faults and challenges. She goes through some very dark times. But her story contains enough spirit, comradery and joy to help the reader power through the challenging sections. And it contains enough grit and realism to keep everything grounded. This book is a powerful statement about the Viet Nam War, the women and men that served there and the horrible way they were treated when they returned. Recommended.

Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing a free copy of this book for review.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 6, 2023

read: Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond by Henry Winkler ★★★★

Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and BeyondBeing Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond by Henry Winkler
My rating: ★★★★
I remember Henry Winkler as Fonzie. I remember Henry as a competent actor trying to grow beyond Fonzie, with mixed success. I've recently learned more about Henry as he's discussed his dyslexia and promoted his books and was finally recognized for his acting chops in Barry. Now with this book, I feel like I not only know about Henry. But I kind of know him in a more personal way.

This autobiography comes across as very personal. Henry might leave a few things out. Probably because he's so nice and doesn't want to hurt any feelings. But he still lets us get very close and see some of his pain and struggles over the years. We also see his great support network of colleagues and family (other than his parents). And we see him grow and succeed and find the joy in life. His story is worth reading.

I knocked off a star for a bit of repetitiveness and a tendency to keep things a bit briefer than I wanted. Henry has hobnobbed with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. I don't expect him to get down and dirty about them. But I would have liked him to expand on more of those stories.

Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Celadon Books for providing a free copy of this book for review.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 5, 2023

read: System Collapse by Martha Wells ★★★★

System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries, #7)System Collapse by Martha Wells

I've been consuming these as fast as they come out. But it's not fast enough. A full three years of my real time has transpired since I read Network Effect. And much has happened in those years. On the other hand, almost no time has transpired for Murderbot, since this story picks up immediately after the events of the previous novel. And Murderbot is not in a good place. Why? The current story will reveal this. But since I didn't reread the previous story before jumping into this one, my mind was spinning trying to recall the previous events and make the current events make sense.

Then I gave up and simply enjoyed the ride. The story unfolds at the usual fast pace and is still filled with quick humor and Murderbot's sweet, innocent, logical feelings for its human clients. It's fun to tag along as it evaluates and compensates for the various tactical situations, always trying for the least destructive outcome.

I wound up enjoying this story as much as the earlier ones. I have a feeling the story in the next novel in the series might again be closely tied to this one. I will definitely carve out the time to read and enjoy all three sequentially.

Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Tordotcom for providing a free copy of this book for review.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 18, 2023

read: The Defector by Chris Hadfield ★★★★★

The Defector (Apollo Murders, #2)The Defector by Chris Hadfield

I fully enjoyed Chris Hadfield's first foray into thriller fiction and am glad to see it was no fluke. He's followed it up with a crackerjack spy thriller that is stuffed with technological details a la Tom Clancy and nuanced double-dealing inspired by John Le Carre. I was thoroughly entranced by ex-test pilot Kaz's naïve, yet eyes-wide-open, plunge into the cold waters of Cold War spying, along with his quick-witted, realistic and gritty response. Recommended for fans of old-school NASA and espionage stories.

Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for providing a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Devil's Gun by Cat Rambo ★★★★

Devil's Gun (Disco Space Opera #2)Devil's Gun by Cat Rambo

The sub-title of this could easily be "The Continuing Adventures of the Crew of 'You Sexy Thing'". The thin thread of a plot is supposedly a search for someone Captain Niko cares a lot about, although she spends much time fretting about her motives and her ability to lead the crew. The crew, for their part, are also wrestling with fallout from the adventures of the previous book and their own motivations and desires. A few new characters are introduced in the middle of the book to amp up the tension a little and create a worthy side quest or two. And then a few subplots are resolved before we fade to 'To Be Continued."

The characters and situations are fun and easy to read about. Like the first volume, the story plays fast and loose with science fiction and fantasy tropes, not bothering to have anything rely on actual physics or comprehendible magic. It's all just for giggles and grins and could easily be a graphic novel. I liked the first book of the series more. The plot had more drive. But I'm still on board and enjoying the ride on this sentient spaceship and look forward to the next volume.

Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Books for providing a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.

View all my reviews