Sunday, April 29, 2018

read: The Collapsing Empire (4 stars)

The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Scalzi opens the epic story of the collapse of The Interdependency with a not-so-epic story of politics, family, lust, science and academia all centered around the discovery that the natural phenomenon that society depends on to keep the far-flung empire connected is collapsing. The writing is crisp and fast moving, full of smart-ass characters and ribald humor.

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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.

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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.

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