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« January, 2022 »
The Consequences of Fear

A WWII-era mystery that focuses on a lot of spycraft and London during The Blitz. Decent storylines that all kind of fit together, not too twee, good to see familiar characters again. There’s an awful lot of kind of up and down Maisie and her latest guy as well as a pretty big helping of Patricia Is Dramatic (for good reasons but still) so if you’re looking for more of Maisie-the-Detective, this book doesn’t have as much of that.

The Big Activity Book for Anxious People

Found this in a free box at the library. Can’t tell if it’s not funny, I have no sense of humor, the authors are way younger than me, or the pandemic rendered any pre-pandemic discussions of anxiety moot. Some things seemed to be making fun of anxiety and some seemed to act like it’s the most serious big deal thing in the world. In any case, not my jam.

Best American Science and Nature Writing 2021

As you might imagine, this collection by Ed Yong is terrific, encompassing the urgency of COVID and global warming, among other science and nature-y things. It felt like the authors were mostly female writers, with a thread of hopefulness not typical of these books. I did get the vibe that many of the essays were from the Atlantic which was the only real “sameyness” about the collection. Compared to last year’s collection which was notable in the absence of COVID coverage, this was a nice return to the types of collections I am used to finding in this series.

The Cruel Stars

An interesting premise about a galaxy-wide war between “modified humans” (neural nets, DNA mods &c) and what’s become a cult of non-modded humans who want to destroy anyone with mods. The beginning of this book was a few unlinked story lines that were much more interesting once you figured out how they all fit together. Overall there’s a good story arc, a bit slow to get going but with a “pink mist” level of violence that probably wouldn’t lead me to pick up a sequel.

The Cellist

This is the most recent in Silva’s Israeli-assassin series. The enemies this time are “the Russians” which was better than many other books which seem to have some Islamophobia issues. The story has an interesting main plot about money laundering and Swiss banks with a very bolted-on Jan 6th denouement and dramaz at the end which I did not at all enjoy. Clearly the author working out some stuff and he says as much in the afterword. A good but not great book in this series.

Rosewater Redemption

I checked reviews for this one before I read it because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t another all out civil war type book the way the second book was. It wasn’t. It wrapped the series up really nicely and was a lot more interesting to me than Book Two. You do lose some main characters but you understand a lot more about everyone and about the xenosphere in general.

Rosewater Insurrection

This book was the sequel to Rosewater. It took a path kind of like the novel The Outside where the first book sets up the human vs. alien struggle which is pretty interesting and raises a lot of questions, but then the second book is a lot of All Out War. And, I’m just less into the all-out-war stuff even though it continues to be interesting and the story lines continue. It wasn’t bad, it was quite good really, but there was an awful lot of trauma and I’m hoping the last book won’t be more of the same.

While Justice Sleeps

This was a fun political thriller even though it laid out who the bad and good guys were pretty early on and didn’t vary much from that course. Stock bad people, fairly interesting good people, not so many in-between people which I often think of when I read thriller type books, like you never know who is good or bad, or who the good person can trust. This was a book with good legal intrigue but didn’t get bogged down in it. If you wished Grisham were better, or had decent female characters, read Abrams book.


Another winner by Thompson about a strange alien thing that crops up in Nigeria and the people who try to make sense of it. I’m not sure if Thompson embraces the Afrofuturism moniker but this feels like it to me even though except for the alien thing, this is a modern day story. The protagonist is a slightly unreliable narrator and you’re not sure if he’s smart or stupid in several pivotal points in this book. The sequencing is a bit herky-jerky in the chronology--it goes back and forth between modern day and events in the past and sometimes it’s tough to tell where you are since the protagonist basically seems like the same person--but not a major issue. It’s the first book in a trilogy and I’ll definitely be picking up the next installment.