Thursday, February 12, 2015

The length of this post is getting a little out of hand...

it's only been two weeks!

Primeval, series 5, with Andrew Lee Potts.  I'm glad it's over.  The incursion story lines were getting a bit samey, depending on the conspiracy plots to add variety.  I was never sold on that story arc.

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elus MacNeal.  This was a bit different from the other series books, in that the story was more about the character, less about a spy adventure.  
There was a big editing problem between this one and the 2nd book, but it might go unnoticed by people who don't read the books immediately back-to-back: towards the end of His Majesty's Hope, the main character's romantic interest tells her about a situation that got him fired, but in this installment a minor character relates the incident to the main character and she acts as if she's never heard it before.  Why could no one catch this?  I want to read the next one-- due out in the fall-- but I'm also rather dreading it.  Step it up, MacNeal!

Exiles at the Well of Souls by Jack K. Chalker.  On the one hand, this has been enjoyable to read because it's fun to suddenly remember what's going to happen after the page turn.  It's also been interesting to read scenes and descriptions which I remember surprisingly clearly from my first read circa 1999, but which, at that initial read, I skipped over or ignored a descriptor which has a pretty big impact on the scene.
What has not been so fun-- and this does apply to some extent to the first book, although it's way more pronounced in this one-- is that the author appears to be brash and gross on purpose.  It strikes me as a very boy-child thing to do.  Why describe a scene or person with tact and gentle care when you can be crass, brazen, or disgusting?  (Bonus points if you can be two-- or even three!-- out of three!)
I have the others in the series on hold (well, waiting for ILLs to arrive, I should say), including two books which are very late editions to the series, and which I'm pretty sure I haven't actually read yet.

Just for fun, my original review, or, probably not original since I first read the books pre-2001, which is when I actually started writing these things down, but certainly closer-to-original than today's reviews are here:
Midnight at the Well of Souls: Although this series presents an interesting idea and takes a grand amount of imagination-- from both the author and the reader-- i don't appreciate the author's writing style.  His characters tend to spend a large portion of time naked, and for no apparant purpose.  He also feels it necessary to comment on their... anatomy.  Every single time.  All females have either "small, rock hard" or "gargantuan" breasts, and all males are pleased, to say the least, with endowments "the biggest he'd ever seen."  And the first thing they always wonder, and sometimes ask out loud, is, how do I have sex?
Exiles at the Well of Souls: already transcribed here.

Also, after reading these two, I've sorted out the various remembered snippets enough to know that the series I was thinking of and kind of looking for is a different series by this author, which I originally read all mixed up and smooshed together and out of order, and which I will inflict upon myself after finishing these next few.

The Burning Men by Christopher Farnsworth.  I wasn't sure where in the series line-up this was quite supposed to go.  Other than that, and enjoyable mini-outing.

Masked Ball at Broxkey Manor by Rhys Bowen.  This short story series-insert had a nice mini-story, but not even the author could tell when you were supposed to read it.  There was so much introductory-type information that it made it seem like new readers should read the short story first, in the chronological order of events.  But there were so many reference to events in published books that maybe the reader should read all the books in publication order, coming to the short story at the end.  Either way, there was too much space wasted on reminders and introductions.  Not worth the $2.99 for the download.

The Darwin Awards: Next Evolution: Chlorinating the Gene Pool by Wendy Northcutt.  (081).  I decided to take another stab at my Nonfiction Survey and grabbed a small stack of books that would fill in some of the gaps.  I figured, correctly, that this book would go very quickly and be mildly entertaining.  I have nothing further to add to my review, and now I can cross another Dewey Decade off my list.

The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen.  Putting in the author names into the tag feature on my post settings, blogger prompted me that I had at some point in the past 9 years (!) used Mullen as a tag.  I went and found the 2007 post-- usually it's a different author, and I end up adding first names to both surname tags.  Not only is it the same author, but I read this book in 2007.  Knock me over with a feather.  I must have been so stressed and sleep deprived-- that 2007 post would be winter break after my first semester in grad school-- that I didn't remember a single thing.  I read this entire book without the foggiest idea.

Well, I guess it says something for the book that, slightly better-rested and at a different point in my life, I still enjoyed the book.  I don't think I would say, like my sleep-deprived self, that it's one of my top-five, but still good.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson.  This was actually recommended by a friend, which now makes me doubt my friend a bit.  There is indeed interesting information on psychopaths and related psychology, which is what I was hoping for.  The information confirms for me that I know a few people who may very well be not alright in the head.
However, most of the book is not about that.  It is about the author.  It is about his concerns over his anxiety disorder, and becoming interested in psychological testing, and then psychopaths, and then psychopaths in industry and psychopaths in government... it isn't a book about an interesting topic, it's a boring book about him and his interest in an interesting topic.  Did not finish.

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