It was an interesting book about how the Right used the traditional populist rhetoric of the Left to get people energized and turn their anger towardIt was an interesting book about how the Right used the traditional populist rhetoric of the Left to get people energized and turn their anger toward things like stopping health care reform rather than focusing on the bailouts. But as with What's the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, I found myself wishing that Frank would take a hard look at the Left, too.
He seems to still believe that there is a populist movement on the Left but I no longer believe that's true of the Democratic establishment. One need only to look at the Progressive Caucuse's budget and how little attention was paid to it to see that. ...more
I enjoyed this one. I'm still more than ready for Carlisle to drop the stupid Minka character who serves absolutely no purpose. She's not a real threaI enjoyed this one. I'm still more than ready for Carlisle to drop the stupid Minka character who serves absolutely no purpose. She's not a real threat, you can't take her even a little bit seriously so why does she keep cropping up? At least her appearances were minimal this time.
Otherwise, favorite characters were back and it was nice to spend more time in Brooklyn's parents' community. ...more
I liked this book, particularly Marci's character.
(view spoiler)[I was really disappointed that Marci died. She seemed much more interesting and a beI liked this book, particularly Marci's character.
(view spoiler)[I was really disappointed that Marci died. She seemed much more interesting and a better match for John than Brooke ever was. Marci felt like a person whereas Brooke has always felt more like a fantasy. (hide spoiler)]
John's relationship with his mother seemed pretty typical, all things considered. He's a teenager so even if he was perfectly normal there would probably be some amount of distancing. Wells did a good job with that.
(view spoiler)[I'm somewhat concerned about the direction the series is going in. I think it could be interesting to see how John functions without his mom but I'm less interested in this new group he's become a part of and Brooke has never been that interesting to me. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The title has absolutely nothing to do with the story. That said, it was a good story. We learn more about world walking and the multiverse which wasThe title has absolutely nothing to do with the story. That said, it was a good story. We learn more about world walking and the multiverse which was interesting.
I'm glad Nola's addressing her eating disorder in part because it's annoying to have people tell her to eat all the time. I assume it's sort of like telling someone who suffers from clinical depression to snap out of it and be happy. ...more
A strong entry in the series. I think it benefited from Kara not being obsessed with sex the entire time. And there are interesting plot hooks for latA strong entry in the series. I think it benefited from Kara not being obsessed with sex the entire time. And there are interesting plot hooks for later in the series. ...more
I'm not sure what I was expecting but more than this. It's a visual catalog of various creations, including some clothes and a section at the back telI'm not sure what I was expecting but more than this. It's a visual catalog of various creations, including some clothes and a section at the back tells you the materials used in each. There's an artist list with information at the back. There's some pretty stuff and a few things I'd love to own....more
It was an interesting book. Anderson's premise seems to be that the Victorians were not as repressed as they're portrayed (which at this poi3.5 stars.
It was an interesting book. Anderson's premise seems to be that the Victorians were not as repressed as they're portrayed (which at this point I think is common knowledge but maybe it wasn't in 1996) but also that passion was a part of sex, which is something we've lost (although she doesn't elaborate on that part as much).
The problem is when she gets to the chapter on porn and edgier play. Her own disapproval is so strong it makes me question why she chose the sources she did which makes me quesiton the choice of the rest of her primary documents. ...more
I should start by saying I can count the number of episodes of "The Office" I've seen on one hand and not use all the fingers. So I didn't really haveI should start by saying I can count the number of episodes of "The Office" I've seen on one hand and not use all the fingers. So I didn't really have an expectations going on. I just thought the title and interior book flap sounded mildly amusing so I picked it up.
Mild amusement remained my dominant feeling while reading the book. That's not a slam against it, I don't think every book by a comedienne has to be laugh out loud funny all the time.
One of the reasons I liked this book was because unlike other autobiographies of comediennes this one wasn't dark and full of tragedy. Our childhoods were pretty similar, a close group of friends, and a good and close relationship with our parents.
I would, however like to point out that as far as I can tell she's a healthy weight and not fat so I could have done without those sections.
I don't have the words for how much I love the opening.
This is how the world ends.
A simple but powerful opening sentence anI don't have the words for how much I love the opening.
This is how the world ends.
A simple but powerful opening sentence and it's made even more powerful because it's the entire chapter. Very well done.
I often found myself thinking of Maberry's Zombie CSUand comparing his ideas from that book with what took place in this book. I'd say it's pretty consistent.
(view spoiler)[I do think he gives the US government more credit than I do, though.
I have no trouble believing that anyone who tried to upload information about what was happening would be targeted. Maybe not outright assassinated (hard to do discretely in a Starbucks, after all) but definitely indefinitely detained under the NDAA, which was obviously passed long after the book was written let alone published.
As for the Internet itself, the US government and intelligence services have been very open in recent years about wanting a "kill the Internet" switch they can use just like the one available in more (openly) repressive countries. (For example, this this story). I think they'd use it in a heartbeat in a situation like this and then claim there was some "cyberterror" issue so they had to temporarily take down the Internet in the interest of safeguarding the country and economy. (hide spoiler)]
I liked the idea of the zombies still being aware. It put a new twist on the zombie genre. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A good continuation of the series. The world continues to be interesting and we moved forward with the relationships (romantic and non) between characA good continuation of the series. The world continues to be interesting and we moved forward with the relationships (romantic and non) between characters in good and interesting ways. ...more
**spoiler alert** This is apparently an edited and polished version of a previous release. The writing was tight and flowed well, although the author**spoiler alert** This is apparently an edited and polished version of a previous release. The writing was tight and flowed well, although the author does come off as a little paranoid.
The premise is that the economic collapse of 2008 was much worse than it turned out to be. The country rapidly descends into massive unemployment and homelessness. Basic necessities become scarce. People have to band together in tribes to survive.
Although there are hints of a big bad I was actually glad that for the most part there isn't one in this book. Don't get me wrong, if civil society really did break down I'm sure there would be no shortage of strongmen kingpins. But it's become very formulaic in post-apocalyptic or zombie novels to have the kingpin try and take whatever location and resources the protagonists have.
The ending doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It's not that I don't buy that the government would order troops to fire it's that the government has essentially been absent for the entire book and then suddenly at the end they get their act together enough to distribute basic supplies. Before I realized it was part of a series I though the author just got tired of writing it and threw together a quick ending.
I have some real concerns about the next book based on the reviews but I'll check it out. ...more
**spoiler alert** This time the world is brought down by a sort of Internet cult dedicated to bringing down "the system/the man." It works by getting**spoiler alert** This time the world is brought down by a sort of Internet cult dedicated to bringing down "the system/the man." It works by getting people to focus on the things they don't like and ignore the things they like about civilization and there's some sort of biofeedback thing I wish had been better explained. None of the terrorists seem to really think about the fallout. It's not just indoor plumbing it's being unable to feed the populace and a mass die off of people in hospitals or otherwise dependent on high tech medicine. It's described as a world wide event but I'm not sure what incentives exist in other locations. The focus is mainly on the US.
There's a question as to whether it's a system artifact or whether the group was being directed. While most of the story suggests it is a system artifact we have a couple very brief suggestions that there is a small group of people pulling the strings.
The line of succession stuff is interesting, though you'd think someone who completely collapses when his best friend died wouldn't get to the top of the political heap....more
A strong follow up to Without Warning. It's a few years after the end of the last book and most of the major players are back.
I found the scenes in MeA strong follow up to Without Warning. It's a few years after the end of the last book and most of the major players are back.
I found the scenes in Mexico to be the most interesting but the timeline is confusing. Kipper gets a briefing about events in Mexico that happened 3 months ago but there's no indication in Miguel's sections that they're not occurring in the present. ...more
I once read a book that advocated only keeping things you really love. I found that advice somewhat impractical. I do not think I could find silverwarI once read a book that advocated only keeping things you really love. I found that advice somewhat impractical. I do not think I could find silverware that I really love because frankly, I don't care about silverware all that much but I need it to eat.
This book has a related but much better approach. Instead of having only what you really love Blanke recommends getting rid of anything that makes you feel bad. I'm sure most people have some things they've kept because they "should" (it was a gift, it was expensive, whatever) but that gives them negative feelings whenever they look at it. It's hard to put into practice but I think it might be worth it.
I was less impressed with the mental clutter portion of the book. Blanke believes that you can just decide to be a certain way and then you will be. The fake it till you make it approach doesn't always work and it can make truly complex problems seem very simplistic. ...more
If you have any interest in the financial crisis, why gas prices rise, or US politics of the last few years I highly recommend this book.
Taibbi certaIf you have any interest in the financial crisis, why gas prices rise, or US politics of the last few years I highly recommend this book.
Taibbi certainly has a way with words. His explains things clearly and is very open about his opinion on whatever the subject is. He covers a range of topics from Goldman Sachs to the rise in gas prices to why the health care reform bill is fatally flawed.
I find his analysis of the rise of gas prices, Goldman Sachs undeserved reputation for brilliance and Alan Greenspan's failures to be compelling. I'm less convinced by his argument about the health care bill only because he fails to acknowledge that we haven't exactly been enforcing anti-trust rules even in areas where we have the power to do so. Even if Congress removed the insurance company exemption I doubt very much it would ever be enforced. Certainly not in the current political climate.
Although the subtitle says a record of the year of infection it actually only covers 3 months. The book is beautifully illustrated. I don't buy that sAlthough the subtitle says a record of the year of infection it actually only covers 3 months. The book is beautifully illustrated. I don't buy that someone in the middle of a zombie outbreak who is trying to treat patients and determine the cause will take time during the day to write about it or make sketches, but I'm willing to let it go. It's a short but fun read....more
**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous one. (No Nazis).
It starts a few months after the previous novel. Ledger has taken**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous one. (No Nazis).
It starts a few months after the previous novel. Ledger has taken care of Grace's assassin off screen, as it were. I actually didn't mind that. It would have taken away from the main story and just as important we still see Joe struggling with the emotional fallout.
I really liked Ghost but missed Cobbler.
I liked the introduction of Circe, even if she was a little over the top. I figured out her relationship with Church before the reveal. It's an interesting wrinkle. I'd like to see more of her.
It was a well told story with tight pacing.
I'm really looking forward to the next one....more
I'm still not sure what we're supposed to see in Connor. I get that October likes him because of prior history b**spoiler alert** I mostly enjoyed it.
I'm still not sure what we're supposed to see in Connor. I get that October likes him because of prior history but as a reader I don't find him particularly interesting.
I think McGuire needed to lay more groundwork for the crazy changeling because as soon as October started having symptoms I assumed she'd been poisoned. It's like the problem from A Local Habitation, it seemed pretty obvious to me and I wasn't sure why October didn't catch it. Maybe we're supposed to excuse her because she was suffering from the effects of poison. It may have been mentioned in other books but I read them around release time and so it's been a while since I read the last one. If I thought insanity was a real possibility I don't think I would have been so quick to see the poison. The placement of the poison was diabolical.
I was somewhat disappointed to find out October is a heretofore virtually unknown species. There are a ton of those running around in urban fantasy. It's more interesting when she's underpowered and has to rely on intelligence and a small amount of magical talent to get by. I do find it interesting that Tybalt had it figured out though, particularly since he knew something from back when she first appeared. I keep thinking the daughter and her heritage is going to turn up again.
I'll miss Lilly but I think her death was handled well. It was very moving.
I liked the development with Tybalt. I also liked the glimpse into the Court of Cats.
I'm really looking forward to the next book. ...more
This book opens roughly a month after the first book.
I feel kind of ambivalent about the book. I want to like it more than I actually do. Part of theThis book opens roughly a month after the first book.
I feel kind of ambivalent about the book. I want to like it more than I actually do. Part of the problem is that while I liked Michael, I also really liked Wright and I found the resolution of his problem unsatisfying.
I figured out almost immediately that Zoe was involved in what was going on. I also figured out what happened as soon as Bella revived.
I also think I just needed something more interesting than standard magic. The hand of glory isn't new and Benedict didn't really offer a different take on it. ...more
This is a set of four novella length stories that deal in some way with tattoos.
Skin Deep by Karen Chance - Every time I read a story about Lia I thiThis is a set of four novella length stories that deal in some way with tattoos.
Skin Deep by Karen Chance - Every time I read a story about Lia I think I'd like to read about her in a series but it seems that so far she's destined only to appear in anthologies like these. For some reason, the Cassandra Palmer series never really did it for me. Anyway, it's a good story although the tattoo aspect seems tangential to the story.
Armor of Roses by Marjorie M. Liu - This was probably my favorite story, but I already read the series so I think I'm biased. It's a self contained story wherein Maxine travels back in time to WWII to once again meet her grandmother and prevent something from happening in the future.
Etched in Silver by Yasmine Galenorn - Galenorn's style didn't bother me as much as it often does but I still think she had the weakest story. Part of the problem is that it doesn't feel like a self contained story. It feels like it belongs as part of a larger book and so it feels like there's not a real resolution.
Human Nature by Eileen Wilks - I liked this story as well. In fact, I liked it enough that I think I'll pick up the first book in the series. ...more
This is a first novel, but I would not have guessed that if I hadn't read the book jacket. The writing is polished with a niceThree and a half stars.
This is a first novel, but I would not have guessed that if I hadn't read the book jacket. The writing is polished with a nice flow.
The book is really snapshots of the main character's life as the world goes to hell (and maybe rebuilds?). The first chapter takes place when the main character is 10 years old and his father is convinced that Y2K will destroy civilization as we know it so he bundles up his family and drives them to his wife's parents' farm in the country on New Year's Eve. I actually thought that was a terrific start and I would love to see that premise made into a book on its own, or at least a longer short story.
The book then jumps ahead about 5 years and the landscape of the world has changed dramatically. Why? We don't know. We just know that it has. That's the frustration I had with much of the book. There are all these changes in civilization, government, environment, infrastructure, etc. and we're never really given an explanation for why that is. Did Y2K really happen? If so that sort of explains this next story with the character at 15, but why would it cause monsoon like weather which happens in a later chapter. And how are they making all these pills/medicines by the end of the book?
Anyway. The chapter where the main character is 15 is a beautifully told story that actually focuses more on the relationship between the grandparents he stayed with on New Year's Eve. That by itself would have made a wonderful short story.
The chapter with all the rain would also have made a wonderful short story.
The problem is that many of the chapters aren't quite long enough to be a short story and various characters appear and disappear without cause or explanation. The only way you know they're gone is that the narrator no longer mentions them in subsequent chapters.
I can't help feeling that Amsterdam took this disjointed approach so he wouldn't really have to explain how the world went to hell, the reader is just supposed to accept that it has. Nor does he really have to explore relationships if characters don't really stick around.
Still, it was an enjoyable read and aside from the fact that the chapters felt disjointed, the writing, pacing, and dialog were all very well done. ...more
I picked up the book because of this discussion with the author.
This is a deeply fascinating book, but it's also very one sided. This is a book aboutI picked up the book because of this discussion with the author.
This is a deeply fascinating book, but it's also very one sided. This is a book about and from the perspective of the people at the top in the intelligence community, particularly John Poindexter and the NSA. For a while it felt almost insidious, everything seemed perfectly logical and reasonable and I had to take a step back and remember all the egregious abuses of power (some of them are mentioned, but not until the last 1/3 - 1/4 of the book which in some ways makes sense since it's a chronological narrative).
I did come away from this with a very different take on John Poindexter. He was the person who introduced e-mail to the White House. He's clearly a man with a great vision and he gets high marks for appearing to actually care about privacy. He did think about it, and was still working on a way to make it happen when TIA was made public and everything went to hell. Not surprisingly, when TIA was folded into the NSA the attempt to keep American's privacy while still collecting data was left behind. I got the impression that Poindexter wasn't just paying lip service to the notion of privacy and it wasn't entirely motivated by trying to stay within the law.
It was also interesting and a bit sad to hear about how Raegan's Alzheimer's disease was affecting him while he was still in office.
I take comfort from the fact that at least some people at the top seem to realize that the problem is not getting more information, it's filtering the information and connecting the dots in a timely manner. That's long been my take on the situation and I'm just a regular person. (I, however, thought at least part of the problem was that the agencies continued to be stingy with information sharing but that's not the impression I got from this book). The book ultimately suggests that there may not be a good technological solution to connecting the dots. On a small scale it seems to work, but on a larger scale every system chokes on the amount of data and becomes useless. No doubt there are bright people still working on that problem.
The book also highlighted how incestuous and hidebound much of the intelligence community is. Contracts go to former people who were formerly in government intelligence and are now at private firms. The same people pop up over and over. Just because a person left in disgrace doesn't mean he can't reappear years later.
I also want to say something about John Ashcroft. I'm not a huge fan of the man, I think he helped the Bush administration do a lot of harm to this country. However, something Liberals seem to forget is that when Ashcroft thought that the warrantless wiretapping was illegal he refused to sign the order, even when the Bush administration sent people to pressure him while he was in his sickbed in the hospital recovering from a major illness. If memory serves, he would go on to resign in protest over the policy. He deserves credit for that.
As I've mentioned, the problem is that the book does feel one sided. Yes, there is mention of the public outrage that eventually forced TIA underground and then its merger with the NSA. But what isn't mentioned is that the government almost immediately after 9/11 handed over private data to private industry, there's no mention of the No-Fly List and how completely screwed up it is (really, a book about surveillance and the No-Fly list isn't covered?), the fact that the FBI has really been pulled from it's former duties to focus on terrorism (there's a few mentions that the FBI wastes a lot of time chasing down terrorism leads from the NSA but no real mention of how all the crimes the FBI used to pursue are falling through the cracks). What really surprised me is that there's no mention of the fact that the privacy advocates were right. Most of the warantless wiretapping has been used for garden variety non-terrorist criminals.
It's a very interesting book and a good read, just remember it's not the whole story. ...more
**spoiler alert** It was a first time novel and it definitely read like it. The dialog was extremely awkward and often felt forced. The narrative defi**spoiler alert** It was a first time novel and it definitely read like it. The dialog was extremely awkward and often felt forced. The narrative definitely did not flow and the descriptions were often clunky. It needed a couple more rounds of revision, I think.
I knew as soon as Beth talked about the weight for the tractor that would be how she would die. I know it's like mentioning a gun in a story, eventually it has to come into play, but it would have been better if it were more subtle.
Lou, Patti and I think even Will kept saying that if Janet kept digging she'd find out all sorts of horrible things about Beth and I kept waiting for whatever the horrible secret was and it never materialized. Was it supposed to be that she was depressed? I was waiting for something like she was sleeping with her brother or killed her father.
I'm really unhappy about the suicide angle. Yeah, Patti and Lou did really awful things, but A) she could have left, she had resources B) she told Will if it solved the problem she'd give him the entire inheritance and his main concern seemed to be that he couldn't pay Patti back and C) they were obviously shitty human beings but that's not deserving of a prison sentence.
The suicide thing doesn't ring true for me. Okay, so she would have felt the difference with the weights. So, how did she get the box open and remove the weights without leaving any traces? Even gloves leave evidence, and Lou's prints were still on them so she didn't wipe them down. If it were just the wrench, okay, she used a different wrench and ditched it somewhere, maybe even drove it to the dump, and left the one that Beth had used where it was, but that still doesn't explain the prints on the weights.
**spoiler alert** I didn't like this book as much as the last one.
I initially liked Karen even though I thought her explanations for things were too**spoiler alert** I didn't like this book as much as the last one.
I initially liked Karen even though I thought her explanations for things were too convenient. I had hoped that Jayne and Karen would get together after the club, but alas, no.
Aubrey still doesn't really do anything for me. I guess since several months have passed there was time for Aubrey and Janyne to fall in love, but it would have felt more real if we'd actually seen it happen.
I'm not a fan of Ex being in love with Jayne, too. He seemed more fatherly or big brother than a romantic interest. He also seems to run away when he can't deal with things, which is irritating.
Chogyi Jake remains by far the most interesting character to me.
I really wish they'd just get to the part where she's part Black Sun (whatever that means). I thought she was going to get to that when she found out about her mother's affair. It wouldn't be so irritating if the reader didn't already know about it. I don't understand why, if Hanover was going to drag it out so long, she didn't do like most urban fantasy authors and name the series after the protagonist.
I did like the idea of Jayne taking over her uncle's business. I don't understand why he charged so much unless it was on a sliding scale. I liked the group going to various properties and trying to do an inventory/wiki.
I also like the setting of New Orleans and I think it would be really interesting if Hanover explored the idea that some riders were beneficial and how that might change the way Jayne and co. deal with them.
I do like the series, I just wish she'd get to the point. And dump Aubry.
**spoiler alert** I didn't like this one as much as the first book. I felt like there was too much going on and the plot was confusing.
I'm not versed**spoiler alert** I didn't like this one as much as the first book. I felt like there was too much going on and the plot was confusing.
I'm not versed in comic books, so I had to learn not only about certain comic book characters, but also various iterations of those same characters, the difference between periods in comic book history, and learn about some of the authors who may or may not have crossed over into the world Jace is currently in.
Then there were people who had appeared in the comic book in the world Jace is in which meant keeping their real names and characters straight along with their various powers and items.
On top of that there's the introduction of an Illuminati like secret society.
I'm still not sure I understand the order of events in the crime Jace had to solve. At one point she offers a theory which requires time travel and Cassius tells her that the time sword thing doesn't allow time travel. But I'm almost sure the final explanation involved some kind of time travel. (Time travel usually makes my head hurt, YMMV).
I don't understand why putting the sword through Jace's hand made her hand phase out of time but made Peter disappear and be replaced with a version of him that had made a different choice. Was it intent? Where the sword struck? And why did Tair show up before Peter was actually stabbed but long after that decision was actually made? It's possible Tair showed up at the time the decision was made but I didn't get that sense. I thought it was more recent that than because Dr. Pete had been with the NSA for a number of years. I'm going to miss Dr. Pete.
I'm not sure why Jace can't make more gunpowder or have it made. Surely they have the technology to figure out the ingredients and the percentages in the forensics lab. And they understand combustion. Can't Jace just get through the spell in the tech's head and then put him on the project?
It seems to me that without firearms the humans never really had a chance. As I understand it, not all humans can use magic and physically they can't hope to beat pires, weres, or lems. With firearms if they could get the distance to use them they might have a chance.
I still like the characters and the world I just think this particular plot was too convoluted.
It feels a little simplistic though. For example, in my state, Washington, Western Washington isn't**spoiler alert** A mostly satisfying conclusion.
It feels a little simplistic though. For example, in my state, Washington, Western Washington isn't really agricultural, but Eastern Washington is. However, Eastern Washington couldn't grow crops without the irrigation from Western Washington. To say nothing of the fact that California hasn't been able to supply it's own water for a long, long time. So what's the remedy? Everyone moves to the grain belt?
And what about all the people not on the Darknet?
How many people have to give you a low rating at the same time to have levels stripped?
What happens when the SS officer completes his tasks and is freed? ...more