Review: The Peter Grant/Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch

Lies Sleeping

Lies Sleep­ing by Ben Aaronovitch

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars


I just fin­ished Lies Sleep­ing after read­ing the entire series straight through, so this review is about the series as much as about the ulti­mate entry in it.

Wow! I’ve been immersed in the mar­velous world Aaronovitch cre­at­ed for us, and it’s a shock com­ing back. His world lives right next door to ours, changed just a bit so that mag­ic is in use next to cell phones and deities walk and work amongst the “nor­mal” folk. His descrip­tions of Lon­don and its sur­rounds are amaz­ing­ly rich. The slang and British ref­er­ences are occa­sion­al­ly mys­te­ri­ous to this Amer­i­can read­er, but I got enough from con­text to push right on.

I think Lies Sleep­ing might be intend­ed as the last book in the series because it wrapped up pret­ty much all of the plot threads that have been build­ing from Rivers of Lon­don to Lies Sleep­ing. If that’s the case, I’ll miss Peter and the rest of the char­ac­ters. I can hope that Aaronovitch will give us more in the future, though. I will cer­tain­ly be watch­ing to see what he does next!

#LiesSleep­ing #Net­Gal­ley



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Review: The Serrano Legacy Series by Elizabeth Moon

Against the Odds (The Serrano Legacy, #7)

Against the Odds by Eliz­a­beth Moon

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars


I just fin­ished read­ing the entire Ser­ra­no Lega­cy series by Eliz­a­beth Moon, and I’m expe­ri­enc­ing fic­tion let­down syn­drome. You know, when you’ve been total­ly engaged in a mar­velous world that’s so believ­able, and then sud­den­ly, it’s over! It’s hard to come back to this world after­wards.

Moon mix­es space­ships, hors­es, high-tech med­i­cine, fenc­ing, space bat­tles, and reli­gious fanati­cism to cre­ate an amaz­ing­ly believ­able uni­verse. The Famil­ias Reg­nant is a far-flung enti­ty whose cit­i­zens fol­low many dif­fer­ent belief sys­tems. Its plan­ets are tied togeth­er by ansi­bles and FTL ships, and pro­tect­ed by the Reg­u­lar Space Ser­vice (aka the Fleet). Oth­er soci­eties mix more or less peace­ful­ly with the peo­ples of the Famil­ias — Alti­plano, The Benig­ni­ty of the Com­pas­sion­ate Hand, var­i­ous com­pet­ing Tex­an worlds, and more. There are pirates, muti­neers, assas­sins, and more, giv­ing our heroes plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to shine.

Give this series a read. You will not be dis­ap­point­ed!



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Review: Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #26)Ser­pen­tine by Lau­rell K. Hamil­ton
My rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars

I’m hav­ing a lit­tle trou­ble fig­ur­ing out a rat­ing for this, the 26th (!) book in the Ani­ta Blake series.

On the plus side, the book kept me engaged to the point of being a dis­trac­tion when I need­ed to do oth­er things. Also, Hamil­ton dealt with my main com­plaint about the series quite nice­ly. I’ve found that the explic­it sex scenes take up too much of the books now, and they’re not want I read for–if I want­ed explic­it sex I’d go seek out some erot­i­ca or porn. With this book, she’s final­ly fig­ured out how to “fade to black” at the right time.

On the minus side of the equa­tion is the fact that she left out a vital piece of infor­ma­tion about the key mur­der. I can’t explain more with­out spoil­ers, so I’ll just say pre­pare to be dis­ap­point­ed. And once again, her char­ac­ters engage in emo­tion­al pro­cess­ing to the detri­ment of the plot. In fact, one of the key char­ac­ters points out that they’re get­ting into a “ther­a­py ses­sion” instead of deal­ing with the crime at hand. I’ve lived polyamory, and it is com­plex, and it does require loads of com­mu­ni­ca­tion between part­ners at all times. Poly peo­ple do fre­quent­ly end up explain­ing our lives to out­siders when we’d rather get on to oth­er mat­ters. But there are lim­its, and every lit­tle bit of that doesn’t need to be shown up front in the book! Final­ly, she seems to have bought in to the Robert Hein­lein school of end­ing a book. It feels like she went, “Oh crap, I’m approach­ing the num­ber of words I’m con­tract­ed for! Bet­ter wrap all the plot threads up with a bow!” Things are paced well until sud­den­ly, it’s all hurtling toward the fin­ish line.

So a three-star over­all, and I think I’m being kind.

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Review: Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected SolutionsLost Con­nec­tions: Uncov­er­ing the Real Caus­es of Depres­sion – and the Unex­pect­ed Solu­tions by Johann Hari

I just fin­ished this book, which I lis­tened to while dri­ving. I find myself wish­ing that I’d read it on my Kin­dle, instead, in order to be able to take some notes. It’s a rich read, full of men­tions of peo­ple and stud­ies that I’d like to have been able to look up.

I don’t know that I com­plete­ly agree with Hari, who posits that the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple are depressed with­out any sort of bio­log­i­cal cause, but instead due to var­i­ous types of dis­con­nec­tion. I can see that each of the con­nec­tions he points out are impor­tant, and improv­ing them could cer­tain­ly help depres­sion. How­ev­er, I’m fair­ly cer­tain that we’ve got a chick­en and egg issue here. From what I under­stand, even if you don’t ini­tial­ly become depressed due to a lack of cer­tain neu­ro­trans­mit­ters or what have you, being depressed can lead to the bio­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences that can be treat­ed with anti­de­pres­sants. That’s why those med­ica­tions do work for a fair num­ber of peo­ple who try them. He does talk about neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty, so maybe my quib­bles are seman­tic.

The sev­en ways we are dis­con­nect­ed, accord­ing to Hari, are from:
1) mean­ing­ful work;
2) oth­er peo­ple;
3) mean­ing­ful val­ues;
4) child­hood trau­ma;
5) sta­tus and respect;
6) the nat­ur­al world;
7) a hope­ful or secure future.

He does address how to recon­nect on each of these issues lat­er in the book. He also acknowl­edges that some (most?) of these issues are due to soci­etal rather than indi­vid­ual fail­ings. The fix­es are beyond many peo­ple because of that, but the more we become aware of them the more we can work on fix­ing our soci­ety.

I found the book very good, and cer­tain­ly thought-pro­vok­ing. It isn’t an easy read, but it is put togeth­er quite well. I rec­om­mend it!

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Review: The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)The Anni­hi­la­tion Score by Charles Stross

This is the sixth book of the Laun­dry Files, and the first to be nar­rat­ed by Mo instead of her hus­band. The plot keep me thor­ough­ly engaged, and I enjoyed Mo’s voice — it was a nice change. I fin­ished the book utter­ly wrung out, and I think that is prob­a­bly a com­mon expe­ri­ence due to Stross’ skill at bring­ing the read­er into sym­pa­thy with the speak­er. I think this is the fourth Stross piece I’ve read in the past cou­ple of weeks, and it prob­a­bly isn’t wise to immerse one’s self so deeply in this par­tic­u­lar world! I’m going to have to step back and read some­thing else for a bit as a breather.

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Review: Neogenesis by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Neogenesis (Liaden Universe Book 21)Neo­ge­n­e­sis by Sharon Lee
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

First, let it be known that I am an unabashed fan­girl when it comes to Lee and Miller. That much has long been estab­lished. Should they care to pub­lish their gro­cery lists, I would most like­ly pur­chase and read them.

That said, Neo­ge­n­e­sis is an amaz­ing book, even among their oth­er mar­velous works. I just fin­ished it, and already I am plan­ning a re-read. It isn’t a good entry point for their uni­verse, admit­ted­ly, for it ties togeth­er many dif­fer­ent plot threads that were first spun out in ear­li­er vol­umes. Lee and Miller tie up those loose ends mas­ter­ful­ly.

I am tick­led to have this be my first book pur­chased and read in 2018!

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Review: A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings, #1)A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

This book rep­re­sents a major change from the Iron Druid series, so I worked hard to set aside my expec­ta­tions of Hearne based on lov­ing those. A Plague of Giants is every bit as well-writ­ten as that series, maybe even bet­ter! Still, I didn’t come away tru­ly car­ing about the char­ac­ters. That could have some­thing to do with the way the sto­ry is pre­sent­ed, but I can’t be sure about it.

The book just ends, very abrupt­ly, with the nota­tion, “Con­tin­ued in vol­ume two, A Blight of Black­wings.” That put me off some­what. I like read­ing series, but with each vol­ume I want a large­ly self-con­tained sto­ry, one with a begin­ning, mid­dle, and end­ing. I under­stand leav­ing some plot threads unre­solved, so as to build inter­est for the next book, but there’s just too much left unre­solved here. Will I read Blight when it’s released? Maybe — but I’m unlike­ly to rush right out and buy it.

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What I’ve Been Up To

Lots of knit­ting. Lots and lots of knit­ting. (If you’re on Rav­el­ry, you can see my fin­ished projects.) My hands ache from the knit­ting, par­tic­u­lar­ly the left, because I knit Con­ti­nen­tal. I think I may have to learn to knit Eng­lish just to swap off on occa­sion.

We’ve been going out to hear more live music — three house con­certs this fall. I love me some house con­certs! In fact, I need to write some music reviews. I’m also in a cou­ple of RPGs each week, one Dres­den Files and anoth­er 5th edi­tion D&D. And I’ve been doing a lit­tle con­sult­ing on the side.

I haven’t found any­thing I’ve enjoyed read­ing enough to write about recent­ly. That takes love for the sub­ject mat­ter. I am still read­ing (it’s like breath­ing for me), there are just more arti­cles, and lis­ten­ing to more pod­casts and few­er books. I’m miss­ing the fic­tion I usu­al­ly con­sume, but I’m sure I’ll be back to it soon enough.

The need to re-do my web sites is present again. Know any­one who does good cus­tom Word­Press themes?

I’ve been look back on my web con­tent, want­i­ng to update it. Much of it was writ­ten when I wasn’t work­ing. I mean, I had plen­ty of work to do, because I was a SAHM to three kids and we enter­tained fre­quent­ly. But I wasn’t work­ing for any­one out­side the fam­i­ly. I love work­ing, but it takes up most of my ener­gy, so I just don’t have it to put into the web any­more. I don’t want to give up the site, though — there’s a lot of his­to­ry in technomom.com, going all the way back to 1995.

Book Review: The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

The Gathering Edge (Liaden Universe Book 20)The Gath­er­ing Edge by Sharon Lee
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

A must sat­is­fy­ing entry in the Liaden Uni­verse series, num­ber 20 begins and ends with plen­ty of action. Indeed, the read­er hard­ly has time to take a breath for all the action! The char­ac­ters them­selves must be exhaust­ed — I feel so in their behalf.

I enjoyed this part of Theo’s sto­ry rather more than pre­vi­ous books about her, per­haps because oth­ers played a larg­er part in the sto­ry. She isn’t my favorite of the series’ pro­tag­o­nists, to be hon­est, but then I still hope for more of Priscil­la Delacroix y Men­doza.

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Book Review: Less Than A Treason by Dana Stabenow

Less Than a Treason (Kate Shugak, # 21)Less Than a Trea­son by Dana Stabenow
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

FINALLY! The cliffhang­er at the end of Bad Blood is resolved, or of course there would not be a #21. It’s been so long (over four years!) since I read #20, though, that I had to go back and re-read the last bit of it to under­stand the begin­ning of this nov­el. That wasn’t hap­py-mak­ing, and it had a neg­a­tive effect on my abil­i­ty to just dive in and enjoy the book.

Once things got going, though, every­thing was good — it’s still a five-star read. Kate is in fine form, although as usu­al she is def­i­nite­ly affect­ed by recent events. We see a lot of Jim Chopin here — in fact, he fig­ures as large­ly as Kate does. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Stabenow has always done a good job of show­ing us a Ninilt­na that grows and changes with the times, with peo­ple com­ing and going, being born and dying, which is real­is­tic. That hurts at times when you’re attached to the char­ac­ters. I don’t want to get into spoil­ers, but you’ll see when you read it. And you should def­i­nite­ly read it!

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