Friday, April 30, 2021

read: Fugitive Telemetry (4 stars)

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murderbot continues to be a joy to read. The novellas are the perfect length to consume the snarky stream-of-consciousness (does a construct actually have consciousness?) slices of life of the rogue SecUnit. This story is essentially a murder mystery with a delightful twist.

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

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

read: The Four Winds (4 stars)

The Four WindsThe Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Relentless. That's my one word summary of this book.

Elsa, the main character is relentless in her love for her husband and children (but sadly, not herself). She somehow finds the strength, day after day, in circumstances that would crush most of us, to get out of bed and do whatever it takes to take care of her family.

The weather and its impact on the people and the society of the Dust Bowl years is also relentless. The heat. The dust. The simple grind of trying to eek out of living from the land, when it won't cooperate in the slightest.

The story is also relentless. It kept me caring about the main characters and whether or not they would survive the relentless weather and the grind of living through a time of historical destitution. The writing is straightforward and the characters might be perceived as one-dimensional. Or both can be seen as stripped down to the bare essentials of what it takes to survive.

This is not a book to be read for pure enjoyment. But it is well done and satisfying and paints a vivid picture of a time that shares some aspects of our own. Recommended.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

read: In Her Tracks (4 stars)

In Her Tracks (Tracy Crosswhite, #8)In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tracy Crosswhite is a heckuva detective and Robert Dugoni is a heckuva writer. That's why I can't figure out why I didn't love the heck out of this book, like I have the previous volumes in the series. The prose is as solid and true-to-life as ever and the intertwining plots are exceptionally well-done. There are plenty of surprises. In this novel, Detective Crosswhite solves three different cases, two of which had been left unsolved by previous detectives (technically, one case is actually two unrelated victims with similar circumstances).

Upon reflection, I think I see two issues I had during my initial reading. First, there is a lot of dialog and reflection about Tracy's recent transition to being a working mother. While this is indeed an important perspective and does affect how she is dealing with her co-workers and cases, it seemed to really bog down the early chapters of the book. The second factor is that more pages than usual seem to be spent with apparent antagonists, rather than tracking them down. I didn't like spending that much time with these creeps. Scanning through the book again, I don't think these are actually major flaws and probably had more to do with my reactions than the writing itself.

This book is definitely aimed at readers that are already following the adventures of Tracy Crosswhite. That doesn't mean a new reader will be lost. Mr. Dugoni is too talented a writer to let that happen. But I would recommend reading an earlier book in the series before picking up this one. You won't be disappointed either way.

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

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Friday, January 15, 2021

read: Marauder (4 stars)

Marauder (Oregon Files, #15)Marauder by Clive Cussler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another solid story about the valiant crew of the newly replaced spy ship, Oregon. They are facing another seaborne menace that may be too much for them, even with their upgraded (though unfinished) weaponry. Not to mention a crisis that threatens the balance of power in Asia.
Not quite as gripping as other recent entries in the series. This one is still fun and satisfying.

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