Monday, July 10, 2017

Stuff I actually read

Flashmob by Christopher Farnsworth.  If you liked the first one, the second is just as good; if you didn't like it, there's nothing new here.

The end of the world running club by Adrian J. Walker.  This was a good book.  As I was describing the sequence of events to my spouse, he commented that it seemed pretty predictable, and he's kind of right.  There are only so many ways an end-of-the-world story can go and if you've read more than a few, there is going to be some kind of repetition.  His comment did make me notice just how often a chapter ends on a cliff-hanger, which seems pretty unnecessary: the reader isn't in this book for the action; we're in it because the main character is a lousy but redeemable guy.  He's not terrible because he's heartless, it's because he's lazy.  We can understand him.

Maybe it's silly, but the most unbelievable thing isn't that all the international space programs miss the asteroids, or that society collapses, or that a middle-aged paragon of flab manages to un marathons daily, or that there is a new illness of unknown origin medicine can't treat; it's how patient the wife is.  She doesn't have much on-screen time, but we hear from the main character how patient she is, a stay-at-home mom of a toddler and a baby, she does all the housework and doesn't say anything to her tubby, uninvolved, frequently-drunk husband.  Doesn't give him a hard time, rarely makes demands, is organized and clear-headed in emergencies, and is unquestionably in love with him, even when he has spent years trying to escape the life he has made for himself.  She stands out as thinly-painted and poorly-planned.

The sword of summer by Rick Riordan.  My kid has run through the original "Percy Jackson" series, and is finishing up the various sub-series ("Heroes of Olympus" and "Trials of Apollo") and is getting ready to start the "Kane Chronicles."  It's no longer possible for me to pre-read everything he picks up (and does it count as a parental pre-read if my first run-through was before he was born? I certainly wasn't looking at these as a parent-- looking out for boy-girl stuff; the boy informs me there is more swearing than I remember).

Although the character is 16, this is more appropriate for younger readers-- I'd estimate average readership would be about 12, but really whoever finds the language accessible.  No kissing, no super-bad language, nice incorporation of a new mythology (fascinating for the detail-oriented reader) and a tiny tie-in to the original and sub-series-- in this book, it only requires that the reader have a passing understanding that the original series exists; it doesn't require the reader to have read and remember all of them.

Noble intentions by Katie Macalister. I downloaded this from OverDrive to my Nook, which took me directly to the last page.  At least my device thought it memorable, even if I didn't.  I'm guessing I read this in the last 6-12 months?  As I paged ("paged") through it, I remembered most of the details, so it can't have been too long ago that I first read it, but OverDrive doesn't have anything helpful on the public page like when it was added to the collection or anything.  I'll have to use my powers for evil.

Hmm, my powers used for evil only tell me that this title has checked out 194 times since purchase-- 2 of those to me, obviously.  That doesn't really help.  Well, I'll blog it here and count it for this year.

For a romance novel, this is pretty good.  It is rather silly and tends to strain-- or ignore-- credulity.  I think I'd rather have romance that tends toward silliness than relies on ridiculous melodrama.  The characters' tensions come primarily from the guy's tragic past and a current outside source, rather than from baseless assumptions and cross-talk.Only recommended for people looking for light romance; in that case, highly recommended.  Since I was looking for just such a thing to take on a long weekend upcoming, I'll be downloading the loosely-connected "second" in the series.  (I read the description *very* carefully; I definitely haven't read the book yet.)

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