Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Review of "A Higher Loyalty" by James Comey

Brief Summary: In "A Higher Loyalty" former FBI director, James Comey, gives an overview of his life in government service leading up to his firing by President Trump.

Long Sumarry: James Comey, former FBI director, has written an interesting biography of his time in politics. He recounts working with the mob at the beginning of his career and ties the situation into how the White House under Trump is run. The book was easy to listen to and I almost finished in one day I was so interested in what would come next. The Trump presidency is covered in the last few chapters so if you are only interested in this time period you may not enjoy this book. I appreciate learning more about the people in politics and how our country is run and this book deepened my knowledge.

Rating: 4/5


Monday, September 10, 2018

Review of "Hamilton: The Revolution" by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter

Brief Summary: Hamilton is a great way to learn more about the legacy of the production of the greatest musical of a generation.

Long Summary: Overall I enjoyed listening to the details about the production of the musical Hamilton. I was able to better understand the time and effort put into creating a Broadway musical. There were some surprising facts such as the first time a song from the show was debuted was at the White House for the Obama's. Honestly, there isn't much to say other than this was chronological look at the development of the musical and notes Lin-Manuel wrote in the margins. I wasn't particularly grabbed by the story, but I did want to finish to understand more fully the musical. I hope you enjoy as well.

Rating: 3/5

Other works: Gmorning, Gnight!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Review of "Altered Carbon" by Richard Morgan

Brief Summary: Altered Carbon is a novel detailing how an enhanced criminal worse on a supposed murder case for a wealthy and very old man.

Long Review: The universe of Altered Carbon is rich with detail and makes reading very enjoyable. I will only give a brief overview of the characters as spoilers would ruin the book. A criminal from another world who has been in storage has been transported back to Earth to solve a crime. He is employed by a very wealthy and rich individual who supposedly killed himself. Takeshi Kovacs, the criminal, starts to unravel the mystery of the crime and makes several people's lives better in the process. 

I very much enjoyed listening to this book. I picked it up after watching the first season on Netflix and I was still interested in listening. There are a few differences from the show but none that distract from the main plot. The book is written with such detail you feel present. As the first in a series I found it self contained enough that I am not particularly interested in reading the rest of the series. I wouldn't mind but as it isn't available in the library I will probably wait to read them.

Rating: 3/5

Other Works: Broken Angels, Woken Furies, Thirteen

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review of "Artemis" by Andy Weir

Brief Summary: Artemis is a crime novel set on the moon and follows Jazz and her work to repay an old debt.

Long Review: Jazz is a smuggler in Artemis, the city on the moon. Jazz works for everyone as a delivery person which makes her the best to smuggle goods into the city. She is working in the underbelly of the city to try and make a living for herself because of a falling out with her dad when she was in her teens. Her plans start to go awry and she is offered a new job which she can't refuse. The job goes sideways and she has to rely on her network to right the wrong and save the city.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Artemis. The book was in print and I couldn't put the screen down. I set down my crafting to read and that is unusual for me these days. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys crime, space related books and science.

Rating: 4.5/5

Other Work: The Martian

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Review of "No-Drama Discipline" by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Brief Summary: No-Drama Discipline is a quick read on how to change your discipline perspective and have a happier, healthier family life.

Long Summary: In my continuing parenting research I found No-Drama Discipline and learned about how to connect and redirect. The main strategy presented to discipline a child is to first connect and then redirect. There were three points to think about the behavior causing you to consider discipline: why?, what lesson to teach them?, and How can you teach that lesson?. My favorite quote from the book was "when we know better, we do better." The book covers the science behind the brain and the upstairs, reasoning brain versus the downstairs, lizard brain. We want to focus on the 3 brain C's: the brain is changing, the brain is changeable, and the brain is complex. Our children are constantly learning and developing and our discipline approach should change and develop as well. The point why should be looked at by an acronym: HALT, Hungry, angry, lonely, tired. If your kid is one of these things could it be causing the outburst?

The book also presented ways to maintain response flexibility. Turn down the shark music (da da dum), chase the why, and think about the how. Connection strategies were to get down below the child's eye level, validate their feelings, stop talking and listen, and reflect back to them what you are hearing.

Discipline is teaching but you need to wait until the child and possibly you are ready to redirect. Be consistent but not rigid on boundaries. Exceptions are allowed but not the norm. Children and parents need to have insight, empathy, integration and repair ruptures. Strategies to help REDIRECT are: Reduce your words, Embrace the emotions, Describe what you hear, Involve the child, Re-frame a No into a conditional yes, Emphasize the positive, Creatively approach the situation, Teach Mindsight tools.

Overall I loved this book and plan on implementing these parenting strategies in my toolbox.

Rating: 4.5/5

Other works: The Whole Brained Child, The Yes Brain

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review of "Killers of the Flower Moon" by David Grann

Brief Summary: David Grann addresses the birth of the FBI due to the killing of Osage Indians in Oklahoma and the murders which were not prosecuted.

Long Summary: The horrors recounted against Native Americans of the Osage tribe in this work brings to light the disregard for human life in the early part of the 20th century. While I am glad history is being preserved in having a book to read, I found the book hard to listen to due to the deceit and death of innocent human lives. The perpetrators had no regard for Native American lives and almost decimated an entire tribe of people. 

The book is separated into three parts. The first part recounts the story of Molly Burkhart and her family. The second is about investigator White and his work toward bringing the killers to justice. The third part is about further research by the author and his work finding nearly 600 suspicious deaths of Native American of the Osage tribe.

I would recommend this book if you are interested in learning more about Oklahoma history, the Osage tribe, or the birth of the FBI.

Rating: 3/5


Other works: The Devil and Sherlock HolmesThe Lost City of Z,

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Review of "Fire and Fury" by Michael Wolff

Brief Summary: "Fire and Fury" provides a synopsis of the first days in the Trump White House and illuminates the chaos of Donald J. Trump as president.

Long Summary: I will endeavor to keep my political views from influencing this review. The book was extremely well written. Overall, I did not get the impression the author was trying to influence the reader with his depiction of what was observed and reported. The content of this book gives great insight into events reported in popular media. There were a few spots where the book did drag, even at 1.25X speed but this had to do more with my lack of interest in the content at the time.

I would appreciate another book covering more time of DJT in office.

Rating: 3/5

Other Works: The Man Who Owns the NewsBurn Rate: How I survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Review of "The Dark Forest" by

Brief Summary: The Dark Forest expands on the previous novel and a resolution is reach to the problem introduced.


Long Summary: I do not feel I can write this review without spoilers therefore SPOILERS  LIE AHEAD.

The beginning of this book starts out with an ant, a character from the previous book, and a new character in this book. There is a discussion between the two characters that proves pivotal as the book continues. The books is centered around the wall facers who are humanities hope against Trisolaris.  They are supposed to come up with plans only in their minds to keep the sofans from discovering their plans. The book covers many years of the crisis. The wall facers have challengers from the ETO trying to discover their plans. One wall facer  meets his wall breaker. The main character who is being followed in this book is a wall facer and seems to not be planning at all but instead starts an unexpected family. The government in charge of overseeing him puts his family into stasis to get him to work on the project. The plan works and he starts to work on the project and gets put in stasis himself. When he awakes 200 years later he is in a new world where progress has advanced and the wall facer project is no more. Another wall facer meets his wall breaker and the main character is the only wall facer remaining. A tragedy strikes the worlds' space fleets when a probe from Trisolaris reaches the solar system. Luo Ji, the main character, is reinstated as a wall facer and in now humanities only hope. His plan seems to have worked and an agreement is reached between humanities and the Trisolarans.

All in all this book was frustrating, depressing, and fascinating. There is a lot to unpack and I can't wait until I have someone to discuss the book with in person.


Rating: 4/5

Other works by the Author: The Three Body ProblemDeath's EndBall LightningThe Wandering EarthTaking Care of Gods

Monday, July 23, 2018

Review of Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

Brief Summary: Desert Solitaire is a magnificently written book about one of my favorite U.S. Parks.

Long Summary: Arches and Canyonlands national parks have held a special place in my heart since I saw them in college and I was happy to be transported back by this book. Mr. Abbey is very eloquent in his description of the natural world. He seems to be very adventurous and transports us to those places with him through his writing. The narrator for the audio book almost made me think he was the author. I did fall asleep to this book once but only because the reader was so soothing and the descriptions of locations so vivid.
I would recommend this book if you are interested in the natural world and detailed descriptions of adventures in them.

Rating: 4/5

Other Works by the Author: The Monkey Wrench GangFire on the Mountain, etc

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Review of "The Three-Body Problem" by Cixin Liu

Brief Summary: The Three-body problem is a foreign science fiction book with many twists and turns and a not so satisfying ending.

Long Review: My first foreign book has been an interesting read. First, I do plan on finishing the series even with the dark notes. I am intrigued how the problems will be dealt with and do not like being left hanging as I was at the end of the first book. This book starts with a look into the past and lays the ground work for the end of the book. While I didn't appreciate this in the beginning and thought it made it hard to get into the book, in the end I understood why the details were recounted. There is a large amount of scientific talk in this book. I have not been in physics for many years and find these things interesting but also that they go very in depth. Listening on 1.25x probably did not make it as easy to understand either.

Overall I would recommend this book if you are interesting in sci-fiction from a non-native author and can handle physics jargon and doomsday problems.

Rating: 3/5

Other works by the Author: The Dark ForestDeath's EndBall LightningThe Wandering EarthTaking Care of Gods

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review of "What Happened" by Hillary Clinton

Brief Summary: What Happened is an interesting recounting of the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton's perspective.

Long Review: Disclaimer: I do not want to make this a political review but I am only human so my political leanings may influence my review.

Overall the book was a good review of what Hillary felt happened in the 2016 election. The story recounts details about her she run for president in 2008, her time as Secretary of State, and the election of 2016. Hillary also shares details about her life and childhood which helped me understand her as a person and why she may have made some of the decisions she did in the election.  The one criticism I have of the book is the layout. The book doesn't exactly follow the logical progression from deciding to run until after the election. The book is generally laid out in chronological order but there are a few instances where details are referred to that have been previously covered.

All in all I am glad I read the book and will be looking for more non-fiction political books to listen to in the future from both sides of the aisle.

Rating:4/5

Other works by the Author: Hard ChoicesIt takes a VillageLiving History Stronger TogetherAn Invitation to the White House

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Review of "Hidden Figures" by Margot Lee Shetterly

Brief Summary: "Hidden Figures" is a historical non-fiction documentary retelling the stories of the black women who supported the work done at Langley.

Long Review: Delving into the work of the females computers at Langley was enlightening. While the civil rights movement was going on outside of their workplace the black women inside Langley were fighting to get recognized and evolve in the changing new world of computing. While I listened to the whole book I have to say the book was kind of dry. I would have appreciated if the story was more written as a narrative from beginning to end instead as separate parts. The characters were picked up again throughout the book which made the book hard to follow as well. All in all I am glad I read the book but I found it rather dry.

Rating: 3/5

Other books by Author: none

Monday, July 2, 2018

Review of "You are a Badass" by Jen Sincero

Brief Summary: "You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life" is a self-help book with great points buried underneath positive mindset living.  


Long Review:  Self-help books are easy to listen to but not so easy to implement and this book is no different. The backbone of this book has very good pointers on how to make positive changes in ones life. I appreciate the positive mindset but do not agree with changing your vibration and tapping into the source energy. Meditation and positive thinking can help you to deal with your own trappings getting in the way of where you want to go. In my opinion, I do not feel believing something is going to happen will make it happen. 
All in all an alright self-help book but there is some woo-wooness to get through for the concrete messages.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Review of Dragon Redeemer

Brief Summary: "Dragon Redeemer" is the last magic to be explored in the World of Aluvia and ties the series up.


Long Review:  Nell is the focus of the last and final book in the World of Aluvia. Nell has been the prophetess of Aluvia against her will since the faeries saved her. She has tried to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible and is training as a healer. Nell is not a healer and still practices her sword fighting as she is a fighter at heart. The narrative follows Nell and her quest to find a sword to defeat a rising dark power threatening to return Aluvia to the destruction of magic. Nell undertakes a grand quest with her merry band of friends and the voice she has come to know all too well.

As the last book in the series I found the story compelling but not very satisfying in the ending. I always hope for more information on the characters lives at the conclusion of a series of books. After coming to know and love the characters a  chapter or prologue about their lives after the last battle is appreciated. There is none of that here. All in all a good book but a bad series ending.

Rating: 2.5/5



Review of Mer-Charmer

Brief Summary: "Mer-Charmer"  continues the story of Aluvia exploring the magic of the sea.


Long Review: Mer-Charmer is a good continuation book in the world of Aluvia. In this book we jump right in to Phoebe's life. Phoebe is being left at home as her sister and friends travel around Aluvia spreading the word about saving magic and their world. Danger is growing but Phoebe is sheltered due to the traumatic experience she had in Fairy Keeper. This book explores Phoebe's love of the sea and path to saving the Mer-people. 

All in all I enjoyed this book. I appreciated seeing the world develop further. I would have to say there were times when I got confused about the Mer-people's traditions. I wish those would have been explained further. The villain in the book was enrapturing and I enjoyed the conclusion immensely.  

Rating: 3/5


Other works by the author: Dragon Redeemer

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review of "Fairy Keeper: by Amy Bearce

Brief Summary: Fairy Keeper thrusts the reader into the world of Aluvia and explores how people and magic are tied together.

Long Review: Sierra's life is hard but most people's lives in Aluvia are hard. Sierra and her sister, Phoebe, are under the care of their father, who is a dark alchemist. Sierra is a fairy keeper and must collect nectar from her faeries to give to her father for his dark purposes. Sierra dislikes her faeries and fate because she did not get to a choice. Sierra will do anything to protect her sister and when her faeries go missing she must set out on an epic quest to find them before it's too late and her sister is sold into the hands of an evil man. The book outlines the struggles of her quest to find her fairy and her growth into accepting her fate.

Overall the book was slow and did not grab my attention in the beginning. I almost stopped reading. There were several issues that were berated causing me to almost lose interest. I pushed through and am glad I did. The story picked up and I am interested in the world building and where the author will take the characters next. This book would be good for young adults or adults who are interested in stories with magic and love. 

Rating: 3/5


Other works by the author: Mer-CharmerDragon Reedemer

Monday, June 18, 2018

Review of "Homo Deus: A brief history of tomorrow"

Brief Summary: "Homo Deus: A brief history of tomorrow" by Yuval Harari brought up many issues that may affect the future and thoughts on how we might need to change in order to adapt. 

Long Review: My husband and I listened to the audio book version Homo Deus over the last several months. The book delved into the depths of our humanity and where we are headed in the future. Points were raised in the book which made me question how I will parent my daughter and whether I will send her to school. Will she need a college degree? Will we even have jobs when she will be ready to enter what today is known as the workforce? Would she be better served at learning life skills others do not know so as to be ahead of them?  

Overall this book was an interesting delve into what may be to come in our future. 

Rating: 3.5/5


Other works by the author: Sapiens

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review of "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Brief Summary: "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" is a quick and fun way to gain passing knowledge about the field of astrophysics.


Long Review: After a long break from reading I managed to get signed into Overdrive and the first book I came across was "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry". I quickly checked out the Audio book as having a little one now I need to spend time wisely and listening while she is napping is the fastest and best way to read right now. 
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Neil talk about astrophysics. I did listen to the book on 1.2X speed to get through it faster(cause I have a child) and found it still very understandable. The book is a brief overview but I am interested in delving deeper into the mysteries of the universe after reading this book.

Rating: 4/5


Other works by the author: Death by Black Hole

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Brief Summary: "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" recounts the life of a bookstore owner on a small island town. 


Long Review: A.J. Fikry is a lonely man running the Alice island bookstores after just losing his wife. The story begins with a publishing agent visiting for the first time after taking over her predecessors accounts. A.J. is not very nice to the agent and we proceed through the story. In a twist of fate A.J. ends up with his brothers illegitimate child and adopts the little girl. A.J. eventually falls in love and marries. The story takes a sad but final conclusion. 

As an avid book reader I really enjoyed this story. Elements of the literary side of things were introduced and held my interest. The love story was sweet and not too sappy. The relationship between A.J. and his adopted daughter was refreshing. There is a bit of mystery in the book as well. Overall I enjoyed reading this book and may read others by the author to see if they are as good.

Rating: 4.5/5


Other works by the author: Young Jane Young, Elsewhere and others

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review of Extracted by RR Haywood

Brief Summary: Extracted is the first in a trilogy about the discovery of time travel and an effort to save a future devastated by changes cause to the timeline. 


Long Review: Consumerism is driving advances in technology as companies look for faster ways to get their products to consumers. Whispers are heard about time travel and the hunt is on to find the device and/or creator. Two devices are made and a change to the timeline causes the end of humanity. In an effort to restore the timeline a computer program is used to find soldiers to enlist to help restore the timeline. Extracted details the extraction of these people from their timelines and the training and development of the team to save humanities future. 

I found this book very entertaining. I am even considering purchasing the other two books. This book ends in a good spot so the reader could be satisfied but still leaves the problem of saving the future as unknown. The middle is a little slow as there is a lot of focus on one character. This book would be good for those looking for a time travel fantasy to become engrossed in. 

Rating:4.5/5


Other works by the author: ExecutedExtinct