Archive | February, 2017

Space Tripping: Channeling Douglas Adams

5 Feb

Crash-landing aliens, space truckers, sci fi adventures and quippy dialogue…Space Tripping reads like a pale version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide. Mildly enjoyable.

I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair & honest review.

Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak

5 Feb

This non-fiction book by Glenn Dixon reads like a novel – a smooth and engaging story about how a high school teacher travels to Verona to volunteer for a group that answers letters sent to Shakespeare’s Juliet. Just as the love-lorn are seeking advice from Juliet, Dixon is seeking insight into a failed relationship.

Dixon adeptly cuts back & forth between his time in Verona and scenes from his classroom, where high school students are grappling with the play Romeo & Juliet.

Never straying too deeply into conflict or emotion, this charming but light book could easily be a Hallmark Valentine’s Day movie.

I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair & honest review.

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

5 Feb

“Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson uncovers the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and reveals the economics of cultural markets that invisibly shape our lives.”

Thompson walks us through what makes people like things – whether those things are songs or movies or pet rocks, or even so-called politicians. A central thesis is that hit makers nail that tension between familiarity and surprise – at providing their audiences with what he calls an “aesthetic aha!” He explores the idea of “fluency” – that our minds like things that feel familiar and that feeling reinforces for us that such things are “right” or “true.” And apropos of these times, he finds that “less thinking leads to more liking” and that “when something becomes hard to think about, people transfer the discomfort of the thought to the object of their thinking.”

As you may deduce from my quotes above, I found real value in this book, and highlighted sections for later review. I’ve shared concepts from this book with others, and have even gotten into discussions with strangers on airplanes about the ideas in this book.

Really interesting & thought provoking. Highly recommend.

I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair & honest review.

My Last Lament

5 Feb

Aliki is one of the last of her kind, a lamenter who mourns and celebrates the passing of life. Told in flashbacks, we experience Greece during and after WWII, through the eyes of Aliki as a child, a young woman, and an old woman. Lyrically written, this book evocatively shares a time and place with its readers. Reminiscent a bit of All the Light We Cannot See, in that the book shares a deeply personal and unusual look at the devastation of war. Definitely recommend, especially for those interested in history.

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair & honest review.

 

Crown Spire

5 Feb

I’m a little bummed to report that this book was a ‘meh’ for me. Lots of time was spent on minute details of the characters’ time but with not much energy or drive. One of the co-authors is a historian in this time period, and so that might be the reason why it is detailed…but ultimately, I didn’t care. The title of the book itself encapsulates the book’s problem – the title is historic and seemingly about something but winds up not really being relevant to the plot.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Cardwell’s Christmas Crime Scene

5 Feb

Apparently, there’s a whole bunch of books by B.J. Daniels that take place at Cardwell’s – this was my first and I’d be happy to go back! If you are a regular reader of the series, then jump on in to this latest installment. The characters are warm and the action is nicely plotted, with suspense scaled just right for a cozy read with a glass of wine.

I received a free Advance Readers Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Good Behavior

5 Feb

This book is a fun introduction to the world of Letty Dobesh and the series, Good Behavior, airing on TNT. Blake Crouch is a novelist and screenwriter and in this book, he gives you a little look at how he adapted three novellas (combined in this book) for the television series. Letty is a delicious bad girl! I enjoyed this book and then got a kick out of seeing them on the TV screen. If you haven’t watched the show yet, do yourself a favor.