Strange Frequencies by Peter Bebergal

Strange Frequencies by Peter Bebergal

I picked up Strange Frequencies for RIP's Peril of the Real. When it comes to fiction, I stay in the mystery aisles most of the time. Nonfiction, however, can be about anything. I can't say that I was really interested in the intersection of technology and the supernatural, but I can find most topics interesting and learn fascinating bits and pieces, especially when the writer/speaker presents it well. Bebergal covers a wide variety of topics, from golems to seances to electronic voice phenomena and he does it from the view of maybe a hopeful skeptic. He researches, but he also experiments. He talks about the history around certain devices or myths and contacts, when possible, experts. He also goes to the seance, tags along with the photographer, builds a Tesla radio, uses his dad's old tape recorder. My one complaint is that it jumps from topic to topic. I would have liked there to be more to it, not just...
Read More
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

Family drama is not usually my cup of tea, but Last Summer at the Golden Hotel was a perfect summer read. In the 1960s, two Jewish families bought a hotel in the Catskills. Back in those early days, the hotel was the place to be seen and the Catskills was the place to vacation. Sixty years later, the hotel is run-down and the clientele is definitely slipping. The two families' children are grown and have families of their own. They decide to meet at, "The Golden" for one last summer vacation to reminisce and discuss whether it's time to sell and leave the business. I loved the mix of tension and love between and within the families. I loved the touch of nostalgia and wish I could visit The Golden in its heyday. We've got secrets and scandals, money issues and memories. And honestly I liked all the characters, well except the one who was just clearly a bad guy. And...
Read More
Red Widow by Alma Katsu

Red Widow by Alma Katsu

I'm not sure that Red Widow is a spy thriller; it's a spy novel, definitely, but it doesn't have the excitement or suspense you expect from a thriller. It's a smart book, but it's more about reading reports, sifting through computer records, getting access to files than it is about chasing around the globe carrying a gun. I enjoyed it. It's a game of cat and mouse and seeing through others' deceptions. It's also about loyalty, ethics, and the lengths people will go to save the ones they love. We've got two intelligent women as our main characters. They are both strong and determined, but I was disappointed by how each woman's life still revolved around men, whether that man be lover, boss, or husband. The plot is engrossing. Lyndsay has to find her way through a tangle of lies and misdirections. The author does a good job at providing enough detail to make it feel real, but I think...
Read More
The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

The 22 Murders of Madison May has a great concept. A lone killer is stalking one woman through multiple words, killing her every time she doesn't live up to his idea of the perfect Madison. A group of other individuals, including the mysterious Hugo, is also moving across worlds, kind of in search of the perfect world, maybe. The group's motives weren't quite clear to me, but it was obvious that the killer is messing up their plans too. Felicity Staples is a newspaper reporter in New York when she discovers that multiverses exist and that Madison May is a murder target in every one of them. Felicity and Hugo move from world to world to stop the killer. Madison May, depending on which world, is an actress, a real estate agent, a weather girl, a student, etc, but she always ends up dead. And the same man always kills her. But the differences, similarities, and twists in the worlds keep...
Read More
The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich and Peter Evanovich

The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich and Peter Evanovich

The Big Kauna is the 6th in the Fox and O'Hare series, but can totally be read as a stand-alone. And maybe should be. It's a good adventure, just doesn't fit well with the rest of the series. Kate is FBI forced to team up with Nick, a con man/crook. Throughout the series, the relationship between those two has been the draw. They are attracted to each other, and equals in intelligence and toughness, but their different morals cause the tension. Here the chemistry wasn't as charming. It was more Nick makes a pass, Kate blows him off. I didn't buy it. They banter wasn't amusing, it was awkward. And I thought their relationship was a little close after #5 than it appears here, but I could be misremembering. In addition to Nick and Kate, we always have a rag-tag crew. Kate's dad is along to provide all the necessary explosions and big weapons. We've also got an instragram celebrity, her...
Read More
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

The blurb gives a clear idea of what Digital Minimalism is all about. We've become addicted to social media/binge-watching/videogames. And our ever present smartphones are just increasing our dependence. Newport advocates stepping away from all social media for 30 days and then only add things that truly enhance your life, and even those need to be added cautiously and perhaps with rules attached. He makes some really great points although not revolutionary. I actually like the parts about what to do instead of endlessly scrolling and liking most. I already know I need to spend less time on my phone, but I like the suggestions he has. He stresses the importance of solitude. He wants us to learn new skills and make/fix things. We need to actually interact with people, preferably in person, but an actual phone conversation, not texting, is good too. I listened to this, ironically enough, via the Audible App on my phone. I think I need to pick...
Read More