Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beneath the Skin: The Sam Hunter Case Files, by Jonathan Maberry (author), Ray Porter (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, December 2016

Sam Hunter used to be a police detective, but he got kicked off the force for excessive force. Bad things tended to happen to child molesters and others who preyed on the truly innocent. Their injuries were strange, too--as if they'd gotten mauled by a dog.

Now Sam is a private detective in Philadelphia, and he attracts an interesting clientele with interesting problems. Problems they can't even explain to the police.

Problems better addressed by a werewolf.

Sam is a monster who protects people from other monsters.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken (author, narrator)

Hachette Audio, May 2017

Al Franken grew up a Jewish kid in suburban Minnesota, went to Harvard, and became a comedian. That's vastly oversimplified, and he tells the story much more entertainingly as well as much more completely.

His career as a comedian, though, including being one of the original writers, and eventually a performer, on Saturday Night Live. It was never a timid show, though they also tried to avoid leaning too much to either side politically. They were entertainers, not political pundits.

Franken, though, had very definite political views, and this book is, mainly, about how he moved from comedy to politics, became a Senator, and what he's done since.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Words on the Move:Why English Won't--and Can't--Sit Still (Like, Literally), by John McWhorter (author, narrator)

Audible Studios, September 2016

English is a wonderfully weird and strange language, having gotten that way from a a wholesale theft of vocabulary from other languages, and wearing down the parts of speech due to the mingling of populations that included speakers of the North Germanic language called English, Norse, Celtic tongues, and French.

This book isn't about our weirdly varied vocabulary and wholesale theft of words, though. It's about the changes in words, their shapes, sounds, and meanings. It's about why the use of "literally" to mean "figuratively," along with apparently useless interjections like "like" sprinkled through our sentences are in fact completely normal, appropriate changes in the language.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Presidents Club:Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity, by Nancy Gibbs (author), Michael Duffy (author), Bob Walter (narrator)

Simon & Schuster Audio, ISBN 9781442350311, April 2012

The Presidents Club is real. It had an official founding (after Eisenhower's inauguration, when Truman and Hoover agreed on it), and over the years has acquired a newsletter, a clubhouse, and a variety of perks as well as the responsibility of being there when the sitting President needs them. Only other people who've held the office truly understand its pressures and demands; in that sense they are sometimes the only source of truly informed advice.

And sometimes, a former President is the best or the only appropriate emissary for a trip the President can't make himself.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Door into Ocean (Elysium Cycle), by Joan Slonczewski

Blackstone Audiobooks, ISBN 9781433253171, January 2012 (original publication February 1986)

This is a book that, in my opinion, does not show its age. It could have been published last week,

Two inhabited moons with very different cultures are part of a larger galactic empire, and increasing contact with the empire is causing its own strains. The more industrialized, military-inclined culture of Valendon wants to exploit the resources of Shora, a world virtually without land.

The Shorans have different ideas.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pop Gun War Volume II:Chain Letter, by Farel Dalrymple

Image Comics, ISBN 9781534301924, June 2017

Emily is a young girl living in a small town, and currently her family's van is broken, so she's kind of trapped.

Her brother has wings, and can fly. If there is a backstory that explains this, it's in the previous volume.

Emily, in search of distraction, follows some shady characters into a series of tunnels, and comes upon three video monitors. The monitors show the past, the present, and a surreal future.

I'm sorry to say the story didn't do much, or really, anything for me. I like the art, in a laid-back sort of way. It's pleasant and interesting. If the characters have any clear motivations for anything they do, other than Emily's search for distraction, it's not apparent to me.

I'm sorry I can't say anything more positive about it.

Not recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Loose Ends (Loose Ends #1-4), by Jason Latour (writer), Chris Brunner (illustrator), Rico Renzi (illustrator)

Image Comics, ISBN 9781534302150, July 2017

Sonny Gibson already has a tough past when he turns up at his old favorite honky-tonk, "The Hideaway." He spent time in Iraq during the war, and he's had some shady connections both over there and since he's been back.

But he's been out of sight for a while.

Now he's turned up again, and some old connections have some old business they want to discuss. A gunfight and a death start a crime spree that runs from the Carolinas down to Florida.

The art is good. I believe in these people physically, how they look and how they move. I also believe in them as people; there are certainly people like them, making up a good part of the crime-committing population. They're violent, impulsive, not overly smart, not much inclined to think things through even after the fact.

Some of them are veterans, too. The military doesn't make everyone stronger and more disciplined; some people are wrecked by it, and not just physically.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Evangeline (A Joseon Fairy Tale), by Erica Laurie

Createspace, ISBN 9781543286953, May 2017

Evangeline Lane is grieving, confused, and alone.

Her mother has died of cancer, and her father has become distant and apparently completely wrapped up in his work--for which he travels frequently. She loves the Korean dramas of her mother's heritage, and was previously an excellent student in high school, but she finds it increasingly hard to focus. Her grades are slipping.

She feels that her father doesn't love her, and fears that perhaps he never loved her mother, either.

Then one day, in a bookstore, she finds a marvelous book. The bookseller says that it's a book that finds its reader, something which makes no sense to her. But he lets her borrow it, and she is soon wrapped up in the book.

And then she is inside the story.