Sunday, March 19, 2017

Al Jaffee's Mad Life by Mary-Lou Weisman

Al Jaffee's Mad LifeAl Jaffee's Mad Life by Mary-Lou Weisman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow.

Combine a riveting story, well presented - almost as a book length interview - with illustrations from a beloved cartoonist (who is the subject of the story) and you have a book that knocks it out of the park.

I burned through this in two days - I was desperate to find "how it turned out."

I picked this up at the library after reading http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/201... and could. not. put. it. down.


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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Home (Binti, #2)Home by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent continuation of what is a great new saga.

Spoiler: this ends with a cliffhanger.
Bonus: this ends with a cliffhanger (iow - there is to come! !)

Okorafor continues Binti's story, returning to earth for a pilgrimage, bringing her Meduse friend/enemy/fellow student. Complications ensue. Binti learns things about herself and her family.

Note: I was fortunate to hear Okorafor speak at a local library. She provided lots of interesting personal history and insights into how she developed (and is developing) the Binti saga. There is going to be a podcast of the talk - I recommend looking for it!

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Panglor by Jeffrey A. Carver

Panglor (Star Rigger, #3)Panglor by Jeffrey A. Carver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twists and turns and interesting adventure!

I really enjoy the Star Rigger stories (especially the Dragon stories!) and this book fits in well with the series. A prequel, of sorts, it had a good arc - from disgraced pilot pressured by, well, space-mobsters, to a castaway, to hero - Panglor goes through a hero's journey of sorts.

Carver's Star Rigger 'verse is a nice change from Star Wars/Trek genre fiction (which I certainly don't eschew). It would be fun to see more - especially in the Dragon realms, though I doubt that is coming.

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Monday, February 06, 2017

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #2)A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent continuation of the adventures of Armand Gamache.

I'm reminded for various reasons of Jane Haddam's mysteries - complex, interesting characters.

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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)Still Life by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent! Suggested by a friend, and glad she did!

This quirky set of characters - and the brilliant Inspector Gamarche - make for a fascinating read! Already deep in the second (and grateful Amazon sold the first two at $2.99 apiece!).

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a CrimeBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If Mark Twain were alive.....

...I think he'd see Trevor Noah as a latter-day Tom Sawyer and/or Huckleberry Finn.

Noah tells an amazing story - and hearing it from his lips means that all the African (and Afrikaner) accents and languages come through crystal clear. He's no saint - in fact he seems like a really bad kid at times. But his life and story (and his mother's amazing life) made this a riveting story.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages by Andrew Fazekas

Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship VoyagesStar Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages by Andrew Fazekas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice balance between science and fiction.

Fazekas does a great job interlacing material from the whole range of Trek history with a wealth of astronomy. Along the way he points out all the ways we have (or haven't) achieved Trek technology.

Even better, amid the wealth of beautiful astronomical images, there are many tutorials on how to discover the wonders of the stars, with careful instruction on how, when and where to look into the glories of the night sky.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly

The Concrete Blonde (Harry Bosch, #3)The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

INTENSE.

A very good read - I pretty much burned through it in a day. A very intense mystery/courtroom drama with Bosch facing a civil trial over his shooting of a serial murderer. The trial begins, and evidence arises that maybe the man shot *wasn't* the perp - or wasn't *alone*.

Fast paced, good action, very gritty. Now I need lighter fare as a chaser - on to "Fluency" a first-contact SF story.....

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory by Stacy Horn

Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena from the Duke Parapsychology LaboratoryUnbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory by Stacy Horn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More than kind of *amazing*.

I came across this because of a piece on Atlas Obscura about the Rhine's and their work.... which 1) pointed me towards this book and 2) my library had a Kindle edition and I burned through it.

This book has everything - both the quixotic quest of the Rhines, ghost stories, poltergeists (even the case that inspired the Exorcist) and much more. On top of that, Albert Einstein, Upton Sinclair, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley and more luminaries put in appearances. A good read, and kind of mind-blowing.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown

Darth Vader and SonDarth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a nice monster! Brown does such a sweet job making Darth into a cuddly guy and a good Dad.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Re-read (listen) Strangers from the Sky by Margaret Wander Bonanno

Strangers from the Sky[On a trip, looking for a quick listen - a revisit to a classic]

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Golden Age Trek

There's a window in time when the Trek novels were more unencumbered by editorial oversight, story arcs and trying to be more canonical - and this is a novel from that era. Really kind of quirky in many ways (there's magic, for one!), but still a fun story. [Not a complaint about the current state of Trek literature - just an observation.]

I'd read this long ago, but picked up the abridged audio version with great voice work from George Takei and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. There's sound effects too! Not your serious full text audio book, almost more of a radio play - but *I* liked it.


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No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of RunningNo Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running by John Bingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good intro to running. As an older novice runner, I'm very glad to discover runners like Bingham who reassure me that running is for *me*, even if I'm slow. Bingham's story, and advice from trainers like Jeff Galloway, along with articles like http://www.runnersworld.com/runners-s... remind me that "I'm the captain of my running ship."

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home by Vonda N. McIntyre

Star Trek IV: The Voyage HomeStar Trek IV: The Voyage Home by Vonda N. McIntyre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once more.....

I really love McIntyre's telling of the Trek - both movies and her own books (Entropy Effect, in particular). I was recently working my way streaming the movies - and was on STIV... until 12/31 and the movies went offline, so... I picked up my e-book copy and finished the story. Next up, The Voyage Home.

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Proxima by Stephen Baxter

ProximaProxima by Stephen Baxter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Accidental prequel - it's good.

So.. I enjoy Baxter's work, and I picked up Ultima at a B&N... couldn't get started/make sense of it... it was the SECOND book, d'oh.

I actually started listening to Proxima... but then picked up a paperback at HPB, and really enjoyed it. So I accidently bought the sequel, then got the first book and liked it - a good mix of some hard science and more... although... it takes some weird parallel universe/altered history twists, which look to really be different in Ultima....

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Beginner's Half-Marathon Trainer: The 14-Week Program to Completing a Half-Marathon in Your Best Time by Jon Ackland

Beginner's Half-Marathon Trainer: The 14-Week Program to Completing a Half-Marathon in Your Best TimeBeginner's Half-Marathon Trainer: The 14-Week Program to Completing a Half-Marathon in Your Best Time by Jon Ackland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good, clear and basic advice.

This is only the start - we're signed up for a half-marathon in September, and this is my first foray into specific instruction. On the way there, there will be 10Ks and 5Ks... all with that half-marathon waiting. We'll see how it turns out.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Entropy Effect (Star Trek, #2)The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent! Complex, thoughtful and unbound Trek.

This early Trek novel (1981!) captures the TOS crew and ship, and is unbound by all the details of film and subsequent novels. McIntyre is free to create excellent characters and situations, a thoughtful puzzle and more. Not the first time I've read this one - and probably won't be the last.


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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Catalyst - A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

Catalyst - A Rogue One NovelCatalyst - A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not required, but an interesting introduction to "Rogue One" ....

Luceno, a dependable author in the Star Wars fold, fleshes out the back story of the creation of the Death Star. The rise of a paranoid, suspicious empire seems a bit foreboding in this time, which tempers my appreciation of this story. Luceno does a good job imagining the day-to-day life in the Republic-then-Empire as the clone wars come to a close.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Doctor Fate, Volume 2: Prisoners of the Past by Paul Levitz

Doctor Fate, Volume 2: Prisoners of the PastDoctor Fate, Volume 2: Prisoners of the Past by Paul Levitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Poor Khalid - he's getting his life just as messed up as Peter Parker. And... interesting, turns out his uncle is Kent Nelson - the former Doctor Fate.



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Dr. Fate: Countdown to Mystery by Steve Gerber

Dr. Fate: Countdown to MysteryDr. Fate: Countdown to Mystery by Steve Gerber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trippy.

I picked this up because I'd read about the current Islam themed Dr Fate - and looked for more after reading the first volume. This is an earlier incarnation of Dr Fate (though not the original) - very interesting and kind of a cliffhanger since the artist Gerber died before continuing. But fabulous art and an interesting story.....

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The Hall of Heroes by John Jackson Miller

The Hall of Heroes (Star Trek: Prey, #3)The Hall of Heroes by John Jackson Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Terrific finish!

Miller spun out many threads (Klingons, Breen, Kinshaya, the illusionists) not to mention all our friends from the Federation, and brings them together nicely in a colorful tapestry. I liked his flashbacks and back stories (Cross, Shift) and the twists and turns all the way to the end. A nice addition to the Trek-verse, and I hope the launchpad to new stories.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Prey: Book Two: The Jackal's Trick by John Jackson Miller

Prey: Book Two: The Jackal's Trick (Star Trek 2)Prey: Book Two: The Jackal's Trick by John Jackson Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfect.

That is, Miller did a perfect job blending TOS/TNG and film Trek into a well paced story. Enough twists and turns to keep the action moving and unpredictable. And the story builds to the right kind of cliffhanger that I'm eager to get may hands on the conclusion.

With the massive legacy of Trek - from TV to Film to books - there is a lot to keep track of. I love the books, but there are so many that I have yet to read, and sometimes the current books assume you know more than I do - Miller (and I'll guess his editors) handle this well. I knew enough and the exposition covered the extras so well I never had a problem understanding the story.

The story moves well, and has plenty of settings (Titan, Enterprise, the Unsung, Qo'noS, and more) - this kept things interesting and complex. A very good Trek indeed!

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Doctor Fate (2015-) #1 by Paul Levitz

Doctor Fate (2015-) #1Doctor Fate (2015-) #1 by Paul Levitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Terrific - a hero about whom.. I guess I know nothing, but I read about this new excursion into Super Hero diversity and had to take a look. Very nice, and compelling. Time to hit the library and find the next installments!


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Hell's Heart by John Jackson Miller

Hell's Heart (Star Trek: Prey #1)Hell's Heart by John Jackson Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun mix for the 50th anniversary of Trek!

With TNG, TOS and more mixed together - and Klingons! - Miller does a great job of starting this trilogy. Just enough skullduggery, and call outs both to the shows/movies AND books, this is a great celebration of Star Trek. On to the next volume!

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Down the Stream of Stars by Jeffrey A. Carver

Down the Stream of Stars (Starstream, #2)Down the Stream of Stars by Jeffrey A. Carver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mystery and wonder among the stars!

I'd read Carver in years past, but picked him up recently thanks to some e- and audio book promotions. His books are intriguing and refreshing - I'm glad to have them in my library!

This is space opera, of a sort - a very different from the action of Starstream #1 - I enjoyed this (and the rigger universe stories) simply because they are so different than other stories and series (from Vorkosigan to Star Trek/Wars). He's created a vast history and universe to explore, and I'm enjoying all of them. Will there be a #3?

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Donut Cry For Me by Liv Augusta

Donut Cry For MeDonut Cry For Me by Liv Augusta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the benefits of reading on a Kindle is being able to carry a library in my hand wherever I go (the downside is that sometimes having soooo many books means you don't finish them as quickly as you might if you were only carrying one book around). That library-in-hand has meant that I can carry all sorts of books from SF to mystery to reference to... poetry! For some reason I've especially enjoyed (even memorizing) Emily Dickinson. So I was happy to add this volume to my portable library, both because it was more poetry *and* because it was by my daughter.

This was a particularly poignant entry - a perfect word picture and memory:

“Pictures old photographs hang on the wall of loved ones: far away, long since moved or recently deceased. i dread each new picture that joins, the clips and my heart already sagging from the weight of loss. Mac & Cheese gathered around the kitchen counter, we share dinner of macaroni and cheese. we share dinner, my parents and i, as though no time had passed, the same plates holding the noodles as when i was just learning to hold a fork.”
― Liv Augusta, Donut Cry For Me

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Monday, October 31, 2016

All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

All the Little Liars (Aurora Teagarden, #9)All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another engaging story with Aurora Teagarden. I was surprised how quickly I got into her story again (it had been a while since I read the last book). Harris is adept - she's certainly had practice with her many sets of characters and novel series - at moving a story along.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

The Vampire in the Church Choir by Matt Mikalatos

The Vampire in the Church ChoirThe Vampire in the Church Choir by Matt Mikalatos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nicely done - a bit of a parable, plenty of humor, and thoughtful insights into how churches may manipulate and demonize folk:

"As scared as I was, another part of me was having fun. Pastor Nate’s message was funny and entertaining. It was spiritual-ish, and the main message wasn’t threatening, wasn’t convicting or guilt-inducing. It was this: keep being who you are. Mainstream, white, upper middle class, conservative and family-centered. You’re doing it right. Don’t worry about becoming a better person, you’re already better than plenty of other people. Apart from the fact that I was a vampire, it sounded good."

The best part was - it isn't a screed, or veiled attack on the sad examples of Christian homophobia. There was more nuance to the story and something for just about any person of faith to reflect on.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sky Lantern: The Story of a Father’s Love for His Children and the Healing Power of the Smallest Act of Kindness by Matt Mikalatos

Sky Lantern: The Story of a Father’s Love for His Children and the Healing Power of the Smallest Act of KindnessSky Lantern: The Story of a Father’s Love for His Children and the Healing Power of the Smallest Act of Kindness by Matt Mikalatos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Uplifting!*

A simple story, well told, of a chance discovery, a thoughtful reply and all that flowed from it.

I appreciated how well the author shared his life and family, and how he models a grace filled response to all that life brings.

*that was sort of a pun. The book is inspiring - that sort of "uplifting," but his tips and suggestions on how to do your own sky lantern party helped me add this to the "how-to" category - you, too, can be uplifted on the wings of a sky lantern!

Highly recommended

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Friday, October 07, 2016

Legacies: Book #3: Purgatory's Key by Dayton Ward

Legacies: Book #3: Purgatory's KeyLegacies: Book #3: Purgatory's Key by Dayton Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mind spinning.

Here I thought this was a simple story of rescue. With an alternate universe. And Romulan spies. And Klingon diplomats and warriors.

*That* would have been simple. But noooooo.... Star Trek can't be simple....

This rollercoaster turned into a mind bending back-and-forth from our Universe, to the other one, which turned out to be very complicated and less (or is that more?) than it seemed...

I enjoyed Dr. McCoy and his daughter, along with the collaboration of Joanna and Sarek - it was a nice way to play with McCoy's history, and fill it out. Now, on to the 50th anniversary Klingon trilogy....

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Monday, October 03, 2016

The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster by Tim Crothers

The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a GrandmasterThe Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster by Tim Crothers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm going to steal from A.O. Scott's review of the movie (I have yet to see):

“Irresistible” is one of those adjectives that critics should handle with utmost care. No matter how universally charming or winning a movie or a performance might seem to be, there is always a chance that somebody, somewhere, will be able to resist it. For all I know that may be the case with “Queen of Katwe,” but if there is anyone out there capable of remaining unmoved by this true-life triumph-of-the-underdog sports story, I don’t think I want to meet that person.


This is a terrific story - inspiring and amazing.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron

Buddhism for BeginnersBuddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting overview for someone who knows nothing about Buddhism.

Thanks again to Audible for Prime - an interesting opportunity to get an overview of Buddhism.
In many ways it's an extended FAQ about Buddhism - many questions answered (ones I'd never thought of) in a simple matter-of-fact manner. This isn't my faith, but it was an interesting introduction to give an outsider a good idea of the scope of Buddhism.


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Legacies #2: Best Defense by David Mack

Legacies #2: Best Defense (Star Trek: The Original Series)Legacies #2: Best Defense by David Mack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cliffhanger again! Happily the next and last installment is waiting at my local branch library....

Mack continues this 50th anniversary trilogy (to be distinguished from the Klingon one) with lots of action, betrayal and various skullduggery aimed at scuttling a Federation-Klingon peace conference. Dr. McCoy's daughter Joanna figures in the plot as well - not to mention a Human-Romulan spy and agents of the Orion syndicate. There is a nice blending of details from the television shows and novels to present a complex story. Oh, and there are those exiles in that other dimension...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton

The Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin, #1)The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very nice entry and beginning - thank you Audible Prime content!

I dashed through this book - the first Agatha Raisin, and the first of the series I've sampled, and liked it very much, thank you!

Agatha is an unlikely sleuth - a newly retired, high powered PR flack from London, settling down for a quiet retirement, except it wasn't quite so quiet. Death, atttacks and more plague her. Plus, she is more than a bit prickly, and lacks much in the way of social graces. I'm looking forward to more from her.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair by Anne Lamott

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and RepairStitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair by Anne Lamott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Amazon's new Prime Audible content, I was able to enjoy this book again - though I can't find when I read it before - I certainly recognized the stories, and they're worth reading again.

Lamott reflects on life, how we find meaning and how, thanks to the stitches we use to hold things together, find a good life.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Ghost TalkersGhost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal


Excellent alt-history dive into WWI - what if spirit's were the wireless communications for military intelligence.

Kowal does a fantastic job with a big "what-if": what if mediums were used to get fallen soldiers to report on the circumstances of their death? She takes that and builds a team of "Spirit Corps" members, all mediums, who wait to take the final reports of soldiers, giving the Allies insight into enemy actions. And then... what if the Germans have a clue and start taking action neutralize this?

This was a clever and thoughtful look at war (and it's horror) wrapped in an engaging mystery and spirited (sorry) romance - recommended!

(There's even a guest appearance by JRR Tolkien!)

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Thursday, September 08, 2016

Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

Life Debt (Star Wars: Aftermath, #2)Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More blanks filled in for the Galaxy Far, Far Away.....

Wendig does a nice job moving the story of Star Wars from "Return of the Jedi" toward the far off "Force Awakens," making connections and setting the background for the world we saw in Episode VII. Yes, it smashes the history of the "Legends" left and right, but he's still plugged into the details and background of the GFFA that fans know and love.

I *listened* to this one (I read Wendig's first one in print) and really enjoyed (as always) Marc Thompson's vocal work. Honed over the years (his Thrawn trilogy is excellent) Thompson has the ability to present a full cast audio experience with only one voice - it's amazing and turns the book into a virtual movie - highly, highly recommended.... in fact, I just bumped my rating of the book (four stars) up to five stars when I reflected on the fantastic work Thompson did.


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Thursday, September 01, 2016

Tor browser: Guide on how to Use The Tor Network, Ensure Internet Privacy, and Access The Deep Web by Ross Roberts

Tor browser: Guide on how to Use The Tor Network, Ensure Internet Privacy, and Access The Deep Web (Ensure Internet Privacy, Access The Deep Web, Hide ... anonymity, hidden services Book 1)Tor browser: Guide on how to Use The Tor Network, Ensure Internet Privacy, and Access The Deep Web by Ross Roberts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(note: I received a review copy of this book.)

The world can be a scary place, particularly the cyber part of it, and any tool that helps you armor yourself invasions of your privacy are worth considering - TOR is definitely that kind of tool

I should note that, for my work I use TOR almost every day - but it's easy for anyone to use! Roberts's book is a decent introduction to how to get TOR, how to use it and what the pitfalls or weaknesses might be. It's not system specific - there are explanations for Windows, Macs and Linux - and he does a good job explaining how to get the needed tools (they're FREE!) and how to get started.

If you're interested in learning how and why to use TOR, this guide will start you on your way!

[Looking for more? I'd recommend Julia Angwin's Dragnet Nation, or check out EFF's Surveillance Self-Defense: https://ssd.eff.org. ]



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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti (Binti, #1)Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Impressive.

I picked this up some time ago and never got around to reading it - I spotted it in the latest Hugo awards and pulled it up, and couldn't stop reading it.

Fascinating and mysterious. I'm reminded of a Heinlein juvenile narrator, say Podkayne or Kip. An engaging voice, and a mystery with all kinds of unexplained details that you slowly learn as you read the story. Now I'm inspired to read more by Okorafor (which my phone wanted to correct to "Colorado").


(Bonus! There's a sequel in the works for 2017!)

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Star Trek Insurrection by J.M. Dillard

Star Trek Insurrection (Star Trek: The Next Generation)Star Trek Insurrection by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Again, not to everyone's taste, but I enjoyed Dillard's fleshing out of the story and the interactions to the characters as they encountered the "metaphasic radiation."

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Small Catechism with Explanation by Martin Luther

Small Catechism with ExplanationSmall Catechism with Explanation by Martin Luther
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can't be beat. It's always a good one to re-read, just for self reflection and orientation.

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An Open Letter on Translating by Martin Luther

An Open Letter on TranslatingAn Open Letter on Translating by Martin Luther
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bold, argumentative, but pithy comments about his translation of the Bible - and tart answers to his critics.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

The Practice of the Presence of GodThe Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A spiritual classic - now to re-read it!

I've had this in my queue forever - even before I had a Kindle, since I have a paper copy that belonged to my father. I've read at this over the years and have finally completed it.

It's a simple text, one which boils down simply to:
"we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD'S Presence, by continually conversing with Him."

Not hard, but not easy always to remember. The most marvelous takeaway I find in it is simply saying the title as a self-command: practice the presence of God! It's a tremendously centering meditation.

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First Contact by J.M. Dillard

First Contact (Star Trek: The Next Generation)First Contact by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another enjoyable step through cinematic Trek history!

As noted, I'm enjoying reading these books - reliving the movies with my own imagination and that of the author. The fact Dillard did the final movies - from V onward, including all the TNG movies, works so well - she maintains themes from one book to the next, while she fleshes out the story. I've also appreciated the afterwords that discuss the decision-making process behind the movie development.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Star Trek Generations by J.M. Dillard

Star Trek Generations (Star Trek: The Next Generation)Star Trek Generations by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

VHS tape is on my shelf, but the *book* is best..... Working my way through Trek History.....

I'm enjoying my summer survey of all things Cinematic Trek - I've got all the books in hand and it's very enjoyable. With a summer of dystopian news, I need some Trek Utopian visions!

There is a continuity and depth when the author can draw on *all* of Trek history for the narrative, not just relying on visuals. When one author like Dillard gets to handle multiple books, you get an even tighter connection across the stories! I look forward to working my way through "First Contact" next (in fact, I've already started....)


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Monday, July 11, 2016

The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein

The World According to Star WarsThe World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charming,challenging and all over the map.

Sunstein is no light weight, and he turns considerable thought here to .... Star Wars. And from the depths of philosophy, psychology, history and constitutional law, he draws quite a lot of interesting angles from the Galaxy Far, Far Away. For as slim a book as this is, it's quite thought provoking and actually kind of daunting.

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Friday, July 08, 2016

Legacies: Book 1: Captain to Captain by Greg Cox

Legacies: Book 1: Captain to CaptainLegacies: Book 1: Captain to Captain by Greg Cox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting, fun survey going back to Captain April, and looking to go forward through all the eras of Trek.

The first entry in a trilogy celebrating 50 years of Star Trek, this hits some classic characters and has a fun premise anchored in TOS Trek. Referring to mirror Universe and other highlights of Trek History, it's a promising beginning - it will be fun to ride this trilogy to its conclusion!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Spock's WorldSpock's World by Diane Duane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Classic Trek. And a better outcome than the "brexit."

I pulled this out for some pleasant listening - though I have paper and e- book copies, I also have this abridged (by Diane Duane) audio*TAPE* version, read by George Takei and Leonard Nimoy. With some music and effects, it's a very satisfying version (though lacking Duane's Micheneresque forays into Vulcan prehistory from the full book). My only complaint is that Takei's voice for the computer... just doesn't match the way I hear her when I read the book. Other than that though, he does a terrific job on all the characters. And having Spock's thoughts voiced by Nimoy - excellent! This is one (both audio and print) I re-read on a regular basis.

And it was serendipitous to read of a Vulcan vote to exit the Federation just when Britain, sadly, had a similar vote.



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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #6)Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Turns into Science Fiction for reals.....

I'm now on a quest to read the novelizations through Nemesis at least. I've always liked these because the author has the liberty to fill in the cracks, provide motivations and even add details not in the movie. I've got the movie (at least in my head) for the visuals, but the characters and story are better served by putting it in print. For me, the general rule "the book was better," applies not ONLY for book-into-movie, but movie-into book. Thanks, Ms. Dillard!



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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier by J.M. Dillard

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #5)Star Trek V: The Final Frontier by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Adventure Improved! The right way to see this movie....

I always enjoy the novelizations of the Trek movies - often they are the better version, certainly the case here. Dillard does a good job tightening up the story, polishing off the characters and blurring the rough parts.



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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life by Paul Davies

Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial LifeAre We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life by Paul Davies
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let's Go!

Davies presents a good survey of the science, theology and philosophy involved in considering the question, "are we alone in the universe."

And there is all sorts of value in exploring, with rockets and radios, to answer the question. Even when our results are unclear, the tools and techniques we created extend our capabilities.

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