Sunday, January 22, 2017

home again (x2)

Travelers with Eric McCormack, season one.  A Netflix original series.  Another series Netflix spent a while suggesting to me, which made it a real toss-up-- Netflix's track record on suggestions is pretty spotty.  But I needed something else that could be downloaded for the return flight, so I grabbed episodes one and two.  If Netflix doesn't immediately announce a second season, I will be irate.

There are a few whole-season over-arching plot similarities between this and Jodi Taylor's series (or, at least, the portion I've read), but the storyline is interesting and imaginative.  After watching episodes one and two late Saturday on the airplane, I binged the rest of the season Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.  Several coworkers have also finished it and the consensus is a five-star viewing experience.

Right behind you by Lisa Gardner.  I grabbed this eARC from NetGalley-- I have so much great stuff I want to read from my regular orders that I tend to forget about NetGalley and it only comes to mind when I've maxed out my OverDrive checkouts.

This is an author name I recognized immediately and I frequently order her titles.  Based on the sheer number of titles she has published, I was expecting so much more.  The characters were so thin that it telegraphed what was really going on.  The "bad guy" was so one-dimensional that the reader can tell, way in advance, that something else, something more, has to be going on.  Even in recovering-from-vacation mode I ran through all the possible scenarios and figured out the real bad guy pages before the law enforcement characters did.  It wasn't hard, it didn't keep me on my toes.  Not impressed with the mystery-writing-element at all.

Additionally, the only two characters who spoke from first person were both teens of different ages, and that writing also fell completely flat.  No teen is that self-aware.  They both came off as canned, unrealistic.

Apparently, this is actually the most recent of a series, but it felt like a stand-alone.  It certainly doesn't inspire me to follow-up with the series characters.

note to self: when submitting review to NetGalley, include file text problems.

Heat: Adventures in the world's fiery places by Bill Streever.  I have no idea where I got this print ARC, but it's old.  I mostly read this on the island, and several people commented on the appropriateness of the title as I read and basked in the 80-degree sunshine.  I'm always cold.

This is not a must-read, but it is fairly interesting, combining a fair amount of well-explained, well-incorporated science along with history and travel information.  

Apollo's angels: A history of ballet by Jennifer Homans.  This is not a book I can read and retain much from.  It is not for introductory-level ballet historians: readers are required to already know a fair amount about the subject.  In the introduction, the author mentions ballets, music, composers, and the like, in an off-handed manner without describing or explaining them.  If the reader is unfamiliar with the listed item, it means nothing.  White noise.  In the beginning paragraphs, she does the same with historical people.  There is a little more information given, but not enough to make the details memorable.  I must conclude that there is a very specific, very narrow audience for this book.

Touched by an alien by Gini Koch.  Every time this book series comes up on a list-- patron request, damage to replace, other-- I'm kind of morbidly fascinated.  It sounds so crazy, so out-there.

It is.

It's actually a pretty fun read, along the lines of Katie MacAlister's dragon series, just on the sci-fi side.  The prose style is nothing fancy, your typical mass-market romance genre writing.  There is a ton of informtion to convey, since the author was obviously setting up a series, and most of that is given in "bring the new girl up to speed" dialogue; not great but it gets it all out there.  There are several aspects to the aliens that don't really make sense and seem mostly like lazy writing-- there's no real reason for the universe to be that way, but it makes it easier to write the story, and they're aliens so why not?

The only one of these books I mostly read while on vacation was Heat, bringing my week of vacation reading total to about two.  We must have been busier this year; I feel like I got through more last time.  The rest of these I can attribute to my quasi-resolution.  I don't make non-reading-related New Year's Resolutions, but coincidentally around the end of December two things happened:
1.  I accidnetally saw how many hours I had spent on the games on my phone.  I purposefully never look at that number, because it's out of context and seems really big.  (It was really big.)  Fifteen minutes on a work break, half an hour in the car and such really add up.  So I deleted all the games off my phone and have been better about bringing a book or my knitting with me all the time.
2.  I read something online that directed, don't say "I don't have time."  We have time.  We can make time.  Say, "it's not a priority."  I haven't graduated to doing this out loud, but I'm doing it in my head.  It makes a big difference.
I guess only my end-of-the-year count will determine if either of these things has an actual impact on the number of books I read this year, but I sure feel like I'm on a roll.

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