Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

I don't really have much to say about Consider Phlebas. It's fun and the plot keeps moving forward. At the same time, the story is rather small for the length of the book, Yeah, there are sidequests that fill out time and give interesting peeks into the world, but the basic race to find the Mind is a lot of lead up to a bit of a letdown. The characters are morally grey, a bit of good and bad and a lot of violence. But don't get too attached to any of them. I guess I want a happy ending, even in my space operas, and this didn't provide one. I guess the Culture novels each pretty much work as stand alones. I'll probably read The Player of Games, #2, but I don't know that Banks will become a favorite author. ...
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Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Set in the near future in Nigeria, Rosewater shows us a world where not much has changed. There are still the rough edges, violence, greed, poverty and prejudices. There are also aliens. Well, an alien. In 2012, a giant alien lifeform, known as “Wormwood,” landed in London and began moving through the Earth’s crust. America went "dark”, and in Nigeria a giant alien biodome popped up in 2055. It occasionally radiates healing rays that are also capable of raising the dead. A city, Rosewater, has grown up around the dome. The story unfolds in three separate timelines that can get a bit confusing. It's told throughout in the first person by Kaaro. He's a psychic, a former thief who now works for a secret arm of the government. He can read minds, replay past events, and even manipulate people. Kaaro and few others like him can connect to the xenosphere - a psychic link to what appears to be the...
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The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Christmas Train has just about everything: romance, adventure, mystery and holiday cheer. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a great seasonal read, maybe a little cheesy in parts, but that's okay for a Christmas read. Our main character is Tom Langdon. Tom used to be a war correspondent but he had had enough of war. He now was doing fluff pieces but is still always on the move, going her and there to research stories. Tom has been dating a Hollywood voice over actress for about 3 years off and on in a long distance sort of relationship. So, it was almost Christmas and he needed to get from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles to spend the Holiday with his girlfriend. He wasn’t allowed to fly due to a slight “misunderstanding” with airport security. Tom was distantly related to Mark Twain and it was Tom’s father’s dying wish for Tom to write a piece about train travel, something Mark Twain had attempted...
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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is an amazing book. It's set on a post-apocalyptic earth that's plagued by constant seismic activity. This leads to frequent near-extinction events called "Fifth Seasons" that keep people always on alert. The evidence of past civilizations litters the planet -- ruined cities, incomplete 'stonelore' handed down from earlier generations, and strange obelisks that float through the atmosphere. The Sanze Empire has survived for centuries by harnessing the power of orogenes -- people born the ability to control their environment. The orogenes can stop earthquakes or start them. They can save cities, or draw power from living creatures and "ice" them. Their powers are terrifying but essential such a volatile world, so the empire develops a caste of Guardians who have the power to neutralize the orogenes when necessary. The orogenes are held in contempt and called "roggas" by ordinary humans. Despite all their power, they cannot control their own lives. They are either hunted down and destroyed...
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Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

The above track is the theme song for the book. The production of the Talking to Strangers audiobook is well-done. We hear the actual voices of people he interviews, it includes reenactments of court scenes and the audio from actual videos of events. I am glad I chose the audio instead of print version. Gladwell present some really interesting ideas. Strangers are more complicated and harder to truly understand than we imagine. Liars can seem honest, spies can seem loyal, nervous people can seem guilty. People’s facial expressions are not a reliable guide to what they are thinking. And a lot of it is really interesting. We tend to default to truth, believing that people are being honest unless there are a lot of red flags that lead us to believe they're not. I know I do, and I'm okay with that. I think Gladwell has a point when he says that's what makes society work. We can't all always suspect...
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Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

It's funny, when I saw Lethal White was out, I had to pick it up. I remember loving Cormoran Strike, the detective, and really enjoying the novels. I apparently had absolutely erased Career of Evil (#3) from my mind. Looking back at my review for that one, I almost DNF'ed it, but finished only because, well, I love Cormoran Strike. That's fine, because Lethal White was a return to the series I enjoy. The mystery begins, as the blurb states, with a young man's visit to Strike's office. The young man, Billy, clearly has mental health issues, but he also clearly believes he saw a child strangled years earlier. Separately, Strike is hired by Jasper Chiswell, the Minister of Culture, who is being blackmailed by Jimmy Knight, Billy's older brother, and Geraint Winn, the husband of the Minister for Sport. Chiswell wants Strike to get dirt on Winn and Knight that he can use against them, but won't tell Strike what information...
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