Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Book Reviews – the August Edition


I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’ve made the process so complicated for myself. I think I’ll go ahead & do it the same way this month (and maybe next), but I will hopefully change things up for the October book review post. We shall see.
 
1. Terraform: Building a Better World, by Propaganda. ★★★★★ In this debut collection of essays and poetry, musician, speaker, and activist Propaganda inspires us to create a better, more equitable world.  “If we get to make the very cultures that shape who we are, then let us remake them in the best way possible.” In this deep, challenging, and thoughtful book, Propaganda looks at the ways in which our world is broken. Using the metaphor of terraforming—creating a livable world out of an inhospitable one—he shows how we can begin to reshape our homes, friendships, communities, and politics
 
The Bug SaysI struggled with how to describe this & its impact on me. First of all, you need to listen to it. It’s performance art, music, poetry, call to action… He says that if we have basically already created our cultures, why can’t we remake them into something better? Let’s terraform our world into what it could have been all along. I’ll be listening to this one again!
 
2. The Consequences of Fear (Maisie Dobbs #16), by Jacqueline Winspear. ★★★★  
September 1941: As Europe buckles under Nazi occupation, Maisie Dobbs investigates a possible murder that threatens devastating repercussions for Britain's war efforts. While on a delivery, young Freddie Hackett, a message runner for a government office, witnesses an argument that ends in murder. Crouching in the doorway of a bombed-out house, Freddie waits until the coast is clear. But when he arrives at the delivery address, he’s shocked to come face to face with the killer. Dismissed by the police when he attempts to report the crime, Freddie goes in search of a woman he once met when delivering a message: Maisie Dobbs. While Maisie believes the boy and wants to help, she must maintain extreme caution: she’s working secretly for the Special Operations Executive, assessing candidates for crucial work with the French resistance. Her two worlds collide when she spots the killer in a place she least expects. She soon realizes she’s been pulled into the orbit of a man who has his own reasons to kill—reasons that go back to the last war.
 
The Bug Says: This series is so well written, and I love the audio narration. It’s like revisiting an old friend when I read the latest installment.
 
3. Magical Midlife Madness (Leveling Up #1), by K.F. Breene. ★★★★ A woman starting over. A new house with an unexpected twist. A cape wearing butler acting as the world's worst life coach.  When Jessie’s husband of twenty years packs up and heads for greener pastures and her son leaves for college, she decides it’s time for a do-over. Eager for a fresh start, she makes a somewhat unorthodox decision to move to a tiny town in the Sierra foothills. She’ll be taking care of a centuries old house that called to her when she was a kid. It's just temporary, she tells herself. It'll just be for a while. That is, until she learns what the house really is, something she never could've imagined. Thankfully forty isn't too old to start an adventure, because that's exactly what she does. A very dangerous adventure that will change her life forever. She has a chance to start again, and this time, she makes the rules.
 
The Bug Says: This was an excellent light-hearted romp. Jessie’s character was refreshing because she’s forty, is done with doing what other people thinks she should, speaks her mind, and makes decisions about her own life – against a backdrop of a spooky house, vampires, werewolves, witches, and other interesting beings. It was a lot of fun! Unfortunately the reviews for the next book in the series don’t look as good, so I’m not sure if I’ll read it. If I do, you know you’ll hear about it here!
 
4. Long Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine #1), by David Baldacci. ★★★ Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat . . . and an old nightmare. Three decades after her twin sister Mercy is kidnaped from their bedroom, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She's the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon. So when one of the Grand Canyon's mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she's abruptly called off the case. If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it...
 
The Bug Says: The story was excellent – I love the very strong lead character and that she had an equally strong female sidekick. The three stars are for two reasons: 1. There were a couple of times when Atlee seemed reduced to the “little lady” when there was a “strong man” around (I might be a little too sensitive to this kind of thing, so maybe ignore this one). 2. I listened to the audiobook and as is so often the case with Baldacci books, they had a female narrator and a male one. The female narrator was EXCELLENT and thank goodness because she was the main narrator. But the male sounded like a porn star in a studio – the sound was totally different (it was jarring!) and he sounded the exact same no matter which character he was being. Just terrible. This won’t stop me from listening to the next one though.
 
I’ve already finished four books in September (although one was pretty much a short story so it only sort of counts). I’ve started re-reading another Nora Roberts series, so maybe the four will be all that get finished. We shall see. Now, tell me something good that you’ve read lately!

4 comments:

  1. An interesting assortment! That "Terraform" book sounds intriguing. Right now I'm reading the third volume of the Heartstopper graphic novel series. I can usually buzz through a volume in a day -- and then it's back to the Newbery awards!

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  2. something so familiar about Long Road To Mercy that I did a word search of my posts but nothing came up so I guess I've read the book description at the library but didn't borrow it. I tend mostly to female authors because I prefer they way they write about female characters than the way male authors do but maybe I'll check this one out.

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  3. I cannot say I have ever heard of these, except for the Long Road to Mercy.

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  4. Sounds like some great book! Since you read Project Hail Mary, I've got to recommend Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Children of Time isn't written like Hail Mary, but it's incredibly complex and engaging in its own way.
    Haven't even finished it yet and I've already ordered the sequel.

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Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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