Reviews: June 20

Fearing the Black Body:  The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings
This was a little more on the academic side in terms of readability, but it really showed the change in ideas of fatness from being healthy and a beauty ideal to becoming associated with Blackness (and all the negative things that went along with that for white Europeans) and suddenly becoming something hated and shamed.  As Whiteness became opposed to Blackness, so white Europeans/Americans started getting thinner as an opposite to what they deemed as the “lesser” races.

I really encourage anyone who’s interested in the intersection of race and fatphobia to check this book out.

Origins of the Specious by Patricia O’Conner
This was a fun book on language that I picked up that de-myth-ifies so many of English language myths.  Everything from “posh” to “GI” is included, along with the change British English made from basing their roots on Saxon words to trying to force it to be like Latin and French.  I definitely recommend this if you’re a linguistics nut like me (but especially if you’re a descriptivist and love how language has evolved).

Inferior:  How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini
Not really the prequel to Superior, but more the spiritual ancestor to it, Inferior covers the sexism in biological determinism science.  The idea that there’s something fundamentally different between sexes is an outdated, yet still widely held belief, and some scientists (lbr, mostly men) are still desperate to prove it.  But like in Superior, Saini presents  the science that’s happening and shows those scientists who are happily disproving the old sexist assumptions.

Becoming a Private Investigator by Howie Kahn
This book, while interesting in showing how long some cases might go, wasn’t really what I thought it was considering the category it’s in.  It’s supposed to be along the lines of teaching one how to become whatever job is being written about (also in the series, yoga teacher and venture capitalist), but it didn’t really do that.  I did get something useful out of it for my novel (which is what I checked it out for), but not as much as I’d hoped.  Still, if you want to hear about some real cases being done, check this out.  It’s only about 130+ pages.

The Elementals by Michael McDowell
This was spooky.  With sand getting into places it shouldn’t to sand-filled creatures, this haunted house style horror made my skin crawl.  Which is exactly what I wanted, so yay for that!  I definitely recommend this to fellow horror fans.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
This is a book about racism geared toward white people written by a white person.  But don’t let that turn you off!  It’s actually an incredibly well-written book about the white tendency to shy away or defend oneself from accusations of racism, even (and sometimes especially) when they’re justified.  Racism is more than just Trump and his cronies; it’s everyday microaggressions that bog down the people who hear them.

I super recommend this book to any and all white people who are trying to unlearn their internalized racism and be a better person and friend to people of color.  Challenging racism is our duty, especially because we have all the power in the relationship.

Has the Gay Movement Failed? by Martin Duberman
I checked out this book because, I mean, what a title, but also because I wanted to learn more about where we’d come from as a queer movement.  After reading this, not only am I 100% more radical, but I’m ready to fight about it.  In terms of what GLF (Gay Liberation Front) stood for, we’re so far behind where we need to be.  They were anti-nuclear family, anti-heteronormative, and anti-war.  We’ve assimilated into the institution of marriage and made it so queers can join in to kill people in unjust wars.  Instead of trying to tear down these systems, we’ve joined them.  And then stopped.

There’s also a well-needed, if scathing, retort to HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and its goal of trying to mostly make queer people fit into heteronormative society instead of helping us tear it down and rebuild it.  We can’t just gain marriage rights and then wash our hands and say we’re done.  We have to keep fighting for our trans siblings, our siblings of color, our disabled siblings, and more.  We’re supposed to be working to dismantle the racist, sexist, ableist, heteronormative society we’re stuck in, not try and cut ourselves to fit into its boxes.

Definitely read this book, especially if, like me, you’re more of the “Queer as in fuck you” crowd.

Childfree by Choice by Dr. Amy Blackstone
This was a really interesting and affirming book from a leading childfree specialist.  Not only does she include her own research into this book, but she takes research all the way back from the 1970s when feminism improved the visibility of childfree people.  While she mostly talks to heterosexual childfree couples, she does mention queer folk in there, too, mostly to point out that our societal idea of what makes a family is not the only one there is.

As someone who is avidly (some might say rabidly) childfree, this was super affirming to read, because not only did it show that there really is a community out there of people like me, but it also gives science-based evidence to rebut so many of the claims that “you’ll be lonely” and “you’ll change your mind” and “who will take care of you in your old age?” and “you’re being selfish”.  (Quick answers:  That’s what cats are for; No, I really fucking won’t; that’s what I’ll have money for; and I’m no more selfish for not wanting kids than you are for wanting them.)

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: June 1

Books

The Pandora Room by Christopher Golden
Ever since I read Ararat, I’ve been waiting for another Golden novel like it, and the fact that this is kind of a sequel to it with the same main characters made me like it even more.  I read this really quickly.  It just grabs you and doesn’t let go.

The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith
This was a change from The Pandora Room because this one is a little bit slower-paced, but still definitely enjoyable.  There’s a little bit of romance that’s handled in a very adult way (read: mature), but it would’ve done fine without it, imo.

The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists by Alexander McCall Smith
This is a short story in the same universe as the book above.  It’s a quick read and had the same level of soft humor that made up the book.

Story Genius by Lisa Cron
This is probably the best book on writing I’ve ever read, and I’m extremely picky.  This really takes you through the process of coming up with your main character and their motivation to lead you through your novel blueprint.  I’ve been using it for a novel of mine, and it’s been amazing.

Queer X Design by Andy Campbell
This was a history of queer icons and signs through the years, from the bars, clubs, and magazines of the early 1900s to the signs and posters and zines of the post-Stonewall world all the way up through today.  It was a really good history and laid out well.  The only problem I had was that the text size is ridiculously small and sometimes was on full pages of saturated hues.

Superior:  The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
Read this, everyone.  If you only read one book I’ve ever recommended, let it be this one.  It will enrage you, baffle you, and motivate you to do some activism wherever you can.  This book is about basically what it says on the tin, the return of race science, which should really be called racist science.  Basically, it’s people trying to show there are biological differences between races, especially in terms of intelligence.

The book is an incredibly easy read and a quick read (I finished it in about two days).  The ideas are presented in a very readable fashion.  It’ll have you incredulous and suspicious of science, but also more capable of recognizing bad science.

Such a Perfect Wife by Kate White
So, this is the next in the Bailey Weggins series, the last of which I read on my way to Vegas last year.  This one, I read in the span of a few hours at home, but it was totally worth doing nothing else.  The murder was twisty in the best way possible, with all the clues needed to solve the mystery there in front of you to find them.

Comics

Batman & Robin Vol. 1-3 by Grant Morrison
So, I finally read Dick’s run as Batman with Damian as research for a fanfic I wrote recently.  Grant Morrison still has the worst mommy issues I’ve ever seen among writers and clearly loves nothing more than making Damian his little self-insert, but Damian is still a good boy and I love him.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: March—May 3

I’ve been reading, I swear, but things have gotten busy and reviews have fallen by the wayside. But! I have books to review so here we go.

Books

Sissy by Jacob Tobia

This…I really thought I’d written a review for this, but I guess I didn’t. This was a great gender book, especially for those of us who are non-binary. There are a lot of trans narratives out there, but few for non-binary people. I really want to find one from a FTM point of view. But this is a great book to explain basic gender stuff and not-so-basic gender stuff.

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

This was a great mystery that I hope starts a series. It’s a solid one-and-done, a good mystery with a twist that feels satisfying. It also stars a queer WOC as the main detective and she’s great. I definitely recommend.

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning

This is a great combination of mystery, fantasy, and humor. Warlock Holmes is no detective. Instead, he gets his information from the demons he controls. John Watson has to do much of the detecting on these cases. I read the first book and had to buy the next three, including pre-ordering the next book.

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

This is an American version of And Then There Were None and it’s perfect. Everyone is flawed and every murder leads to another so smoothly. I finished this book in one sitting and you probably will too.

Comics

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol. 1-3

This actually exceeded my expectations because they did Helena a solid. That’s it, that’s my review.

Forever Evil

I love Lex’s internal monologue and I want more of it. Also, Lex and Bizarro 5ever.

I’ve also read some other comics but they’re both collections of various comics, so….

Anyway! Hopefully I’ll be back sooner with new books!

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 2/6-2/28

The Plotters by Un-Su Kim

This was a great slow-burn Korean crime fiction. It’s a character study with some interesting action. I really loved this one and pan to buy it one day. I’m definitely interested in more by this author.

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

This is the sequel and second book in the Truly Devious trilogy. I think I enjoyed this as much as the first book. I was bored by the romantic subplot, but I’m pretty much always bored with them, so. Still, I’m gonna read the last book when it comes out.

Elevate by Joseph Deitch

An interesting self-help type book that’s mostly about how one can elevate their life and relationships and businesses. Although it was definitely very obviously written by a rich white man, there were some good points about opening yourself to yourself.

Hong Kong Noir by Various Authors

This was an outstanding collection of short stories set in Hong Kong. Not only were they all very entertaining (and sometimes spooky), but they were also very informative. I definitely recommend this one to anyone who likes short stories, learning about different cultures, or ghosts.

The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun

This is a kind of wild ride. There’s not much that happens, yet so much happens! I definitely recommend this if you like psychological thrillers that are slow-burns and character driven.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Review: The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient started out amazingly. We have a very violent murder, a woman who won’t (or can’t) speak, and a therapist who is dying to find out what happened, to make Alicia talk. Where the book fails for me is in its twist.

We’re told things aren’t as they appear from the start, and the promotional copy makes sure we know there is a “most shocking, mind-blowing twist”. Unfortunately, for the genre-savvy reader, this twist is easy to predict. In fact, it was such an obvious twist, it made reading the rest of the book almost dull.

The writing is sound, and the author does manage to make his main character feel like the type of person you can’t always trust. I’m just not sure the writing is strong enough to hold out for as long as the book is. Still, it’s a fairly original idea and maybe if it’s the first mystery you’ve picked up in a while, you’re probably good to go.

Posted in Books Fleet Refuses, Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 2/1/19

The Culture of Fear by Barry Glassner

This was an interesting book, written about 20 years ago, updated after 9/11, which is the edition I read. It covers the fears that society had through the ’90s, including teen pregnancies, cybercrime, gangs, plane wrecks, and other things. His theory is that the media plays up smaller threats to distract from larger, more uncomfortable threats like poverty, racism, sexism.

It was the last book I read in January. I definitely recommend it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reviews: 1/1-1/22

Calm the Fuck Down by Sarah Knight

This book is a sort of self-help guide for anxiety that occurs around everyday life.  It’s a testament to her previous books and my own mental state that I didn’t need these lessons right off the bat.  It was definitely a worthy read and I recommend it to anyone who goes through anxiety about anything.

Secret Hero Society:  Fort Solitude by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

This book was super cute.  I loved the first one, and I’m always a sucker for a good “heroes are kids” story.  The art was perfect, of course, with Dustin drawing it, and the story was fun.  I loved seeing Clark come into his own.

Secret Hero Society:  Detention of Doom by same above

The third (and maybe last?? *sobs*) installment, had our heroes visit the Phantom Detention Zone.  This was just as fun as the others, with our heroes able to see each other’s powers and abilities.

Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon

This should be required reading for everyone.  In this fatphobic culture we live in, there’s nothing more insidious than the constant messages about losing weight.  But this doesn’t do that.  This book is about learning how to tune out society’s messages that you’re worthless if you weigh “too much” and learning to be healthy and love the body you have, without the goal of losing weight.  It’s important and necessary for everyone.

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen McManus

This was a very solid mystery, with a good few twists that never felt out of place.  The pace was just right (I read it in one sitting), the writing was good, and this second novel by McManus didn’t disappoint.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This was another one I devoured in one sitting.  The chapters are short and the writing is great.  I definitely look forward to more from Braithwaite.  There’s a level of dark humor running through this that’s genuinely fun.

Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor

This should also be required reading.  This goes more into depth about the falseness of the obesity myth that fat is harmful and shameful.  Through loving your body for what it does for you now, you can shake off the negative messages from society that you’re not good enough because you’re not thin (and there is never a “thin enough’).

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I listened to the audiobook of this and it was very inspiring.  I’ve been tidying my room since listening to this and it’s been a very rewarding experience.  She gives you plenty of advice and relates her own experiences to what she tells you.  I definitely like her methods.

1342 Quite Interesting Facts by John Lloyd

This was a collection of, as it says on the tin, facts about all kinds of things.  If you love trivia, definitely check this out.  It’s Britain-focused, but it’s still interesting.

The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos

This should be required reading for everyone.  I mean it.  These three books I’ve mentioned are ideal starting points on the road to fat acceptance.  This gives you so much information about the so-called “obesity epidemic” and how, not only is it false and fear-mongering, it is also entirely made up of bad science and outright lies.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 12/11-12/31

The Body in the Library
Agatha Christie

This isn’t the first Agatha Christie I’ve read, or the first Miss Marple story, but it was crucial to me writing a fic this past year, so I thank it very much for that. The Body in the Library is a great example of a classic mystery that I definitely recommend to Christie fans who haven’t read Marple yet.

The Pun Also Rises
John Pollack

This was a very interesting book about puns, where they come from, what their history is, and why we make them. Though they’ve still not been studied with the depth of so many other things, they seem to be part of our language makeup no matter what language you speak. I’d definitely give this one a read if you love puns, and if you don’t, maybe you should read this too, and gain an appreciation for them.

One Who Saw
A. M. Burrage

This was a very short ghost story that I read on Christmas Eve (as was the old custom). It’s short, but it packs a wonderful little punch. I recommend it to anyone who likes old school spooky stories.

Planet Funny
Ken Jennings

I have some mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it’s written by a Gen-Xer who doesn’t understand Millennial humor. On the other, it’s a good history of modern comedy and how the comedy culture has changed itself and mainstream culture.

The Borrowed
Chan Ho-Kei

Oh my god, this book is everything. As one reviewer on Goodreads said, it’s not set in Hong Kong, it IS Hong Kong. Ostensibly, the stories here are about a particular policeman, but overall, they’re stories about Hong Kong during some of its most formative and important years. The mysteries are clever, the writing is brilliant, and the way the story is told (backwards in time) reveals some very interesting things in our characters’ lives.

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves mysteries. I’m buying this for my collection as soon as I’m able.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 12/1-12/10

Blood Water Paint
Joy McCullough

This was an interesting novel in verse that told the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian painter. It gets very heavy, dealing with her rape and the trial that follows it, but in the end it’s a story of resilience. Throughout her story, the stories of Susanna and Judith from the Bible, the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings, and spiritual guides who help her carry on through the trial and its aftermath. It’s a very strong read, but a good one, and I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re trying verse for the first time.

Finding Baba Yaga
Jane Yolen

This was another story told in verse, albeit much shorter than the one above. It’s about a modern girl who runs away from home only to find Baba Yaga in the forest. She makes her home with Baba Yaga, promising to become a Yaga after her. During this time, she meets another girl who eventually leaves off with a prince. It’s a very fast read, which was nice for me at the end of the year, but it was solid.

Go to My Grave
Catriona McPherson

This was a wild ride. Though I figured out the mystery well before the end (not sure if it was meant to be that way, or I’m just really that attuned to mysteries; I do read a lot of them, so twists don’t usually surprise me), the writing was strong enough to keep me interested in the Why of the crime, even if I already knew the Who. The dialogue was very strong, very naturalistic, with people talking over and sideways around each other. It can be a little difficult to get used to, with the large cast (once again, I find I have trouble distinguishing white men apart, even in book form), but overall it’s a good effect. I really enjoyed this one and sped through it in two days, so I definitely recommend it.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 11/2-11/30

Rough Justice
Alex Ross

This was a good art book, especially if you’re interested in sketch art and process work. There are some beautiful sketches in there that aren’t just Kingdom Come. It’s definitely worth a look if you like Alex Ross’ art.

Cover Run
Adam Hughes

This was a showcase of Adam Hughes’ covers. A big interest for me was his Catwoman covers, because his face reference for her is Audrey Hepburn. I have to admit, I’m not really a big Hughes fan. I find his art a little too cheesecakey for my tastes. There’s one Catwoman cover he did that I swear I’ve seen in porn fanart done better. Still, it was an interesting look through.

In the House in the Dark of the Woods
Laird Hunt

This book is like having someone tell you a dream that they had. Like, it’s interesting in a sort of WTF way, but at the same time, trying to follow along with it is like being on a winding path in the fog. You never learn the name of the main character you follow. But you follow her through getting lost in the woods, meeting the inhabitants of the woods, and watching a cycle go on that apparently goes on forever.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
John Carreyrou

I desperately need every one of you to read this, because this is the most fascinating book I’ve read in a long time. A Wall Street Journalist’s investigation of the sham company Theranos (which you might remember being big news in the last years of the Obama presidency), this book delves deep into the corruption, mismanagement, and outright lies the company spread in its quest to raise money for a non-functional blood testing machine.

Run by a college dropout whose life goal was to be a billionaire, Theranos claimed it was going to take the medical field by storm with its new single-drop finger-pricking blood tests. None of its machines worked, none of them even reached past raw prototype stage (certainly none of them were functional enough to work without crashing, breaking, or malfunctioning), and even though they had no product, they managed to get the non-functional machines into a few Walgreens and almost into Safeway.

This book reads like a novel. It’s fast-paced, invigorating, and desperately makes you want to learn what’s going to happen next. Watching Theranos rise and fall is especially interesting if you even vaguely followed it in the news in 2015-2017. The leaders of Theranos are now facing criminal charges, as well as a host of lawsuits.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 10/15-11/1

The House With Chicken Legs
Sophie Anderson

This was a really cute book about the granddaughter of a Baba Yaga. She doesn’t want to be a Yaga, even though it’s her destiny. So when her Baba goes through the veil, it’s up to her to save her, however she can. It’s really great about the boundaries between life and death, and the relationship between the granddaughter and the house. I definitely recommend it if you like Baba Yaga myths.

Guess Who
Chris McGeorge

This was a good crime thriller, even though you couldn’t figure out who the ultimate villain was because he wasn’t introduced until late in the book. Still, the mystery was intriguing and the main characters was like a train wreck you couldn’t look away from. I’d still recommend it, if only so people will talk about it with me.

Pedro Paramo
Juan Rulfo

This was a very interesting book, full of ghosts and kind of stream of consciousness writing. We follow a young man searching for his father as he travels to a literal ghost town. His father, it turns out, is dead, but so is everyone else he meets. It’s a very short book, but definitely one I’d recommend.

Mythology: The DC Comics Art by Alex Ross
Alex Ross

This was an artbook showcasing Alex Ross’ work on DC superheroes, with a major focus on how his work began and Kingdom Come. I won’t lie, I didn’t much read it so much as look at the art, because that’s what I was really there for.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 8/21-10/14

I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to over these last few month, whether because of other projects, vacations, or general depression.  Finally, I’ve pulled these reviews together to give you an idea of what I have been reading.  Hopefully the next series will come much quicker.

A Princess in Theory
Alyssa Cole

This is my very first romance read, and I have to say, it was probably the perfect one to pick up as a first-timer. Ledi is a very relatable protagonist and a joy to read and follow. The romance was measured and steady, with enough bumps to make you root for it to last. Overall, I’m enjoying this series (I’m in the middle of A Duke By Default) and I’m looking forward to the next book.

Jell-o Girls
Allie Rowbottom

This was quite the book to get through. Part memoir, part history of Jell-o, blended together excellently, it was a fascinating look into the lives of the owners of Jell-o and how the world took hold of this family. It’s definitely worth a read, and it’s a fairly easy flow, even when the subject material can be a bit heavy. It deals quite a lot with death, so be aware if that’s not something you’re into.

The Boy at the Keyhole
Stephan Giles

This was a pretty good mystery, even though I saw the biggest twist coming. It was well-paced and an easy read, each chapter leading you to read the next one and so forth. I actually like the ending twist, although it may not be to everyone’s liking. I do love writers who explore the dark side of children.

Sweet Little Lies
Caz Frear

This was a pretty solid mystery with a really big twist of an ending. I liked the style and the story was easy to follow. The text, however, is small in the hardcover, so be forewarned if you, like me, have some trouble with that. The main characters were all fairly likable and I enjoyed following them along in the story.

My Brother’s Husband Vol. 2
Gengoroh Tagame

Volume two made me cry, not just because it was a volume of partings, but because the heart of it is so earnest and sweet. The brother slowly comes to change his mind about mike and how he feels about knowing gay people in his life and there’s a real honesty to it how sometimes he worries about screwing up, but ultimately knows it’s something he can talk about.

The Personality Brokers
Merve Emre

This was a lot to get through, not because it’s necessarily a hard read, but there’s just so much information packed into it. It’s a biography both of Katharine and Isabel Briggs and a story of how their combined efforts made the Meyers-Briggs Personality test that we know today, even though it’s only loosely based on an interpretation of Jungian theory and not really based in anything solid or even repeatable.

And the Ocean Was Our Sky
Patrick Ness

A whale’s version of Moby Dick, don’t go in thinking this is going to be the whale’s side of the story. This is Moby Dick as written by whales searching for their own “white whale” as it were (a man named Toby Wick, get it?) The illustrations are beautiful and the prose is spare and neat. It’s a beautiful book that will most likely move you to tears by the end of it. It’s also a meditation on war and why we wage it.

The Chrysalis
Brendan Deneen

This is a great horror book for Halloween if you’re looking for a good old fashioned monster story. Something is growing down in the basement of this old house our couple buy, and it needs to feed. It takes hold of the husband and soon he is consumed in his effort to feed and take care of the thing. It has great personality shifts and subtle horror until the last chapter when all hell breaks loose. Really, it would make an excellent movie. I definitely recommend it.

The Retreat
Mark Edwards

This is a nice kind of spooky read where there might be a ghost or there might not, but either way, there’s something very mysterious going on. A girl goes missing in the woods, snatched from beside a river where everyone believes she drowned. Her mother turns her home into a writer’s retreat, and strange things begin happening to the people staying there, leading up to murder. There’s a mystery from 35 years before that needs solving as well, and the key to all of it just might lie in a dead man’s past. It’s very engrossing and easy to read. I definitely recommend it.

The Forbidden Place
Susanne Jansson

The bog in a small town in Sweden holds many mysteries and just as many bodies. When a man is found unconscious in the mire, the police are called out to see where he was attacked. Soon, they find other bodies, people who have gone missing who have been sacrificed to the bog. The question is who is doing it and why. There’s elements of a ghost story in here as well, including a very spooky epilogue. It’s a solid mystery only occasionally dragged down by philosophical musings from the main characters. Overall, it’s a very Swedish mystery.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 8/6-8/20

Hangman
by Daniel Cole

This was the sequel to Ragdoll, last year’s debut. It was just as intense and page-turning as the first one. I actually read it about the end of July, but I forgot to log it then. It’s well-paced and takes you on a wild adventure of bodies and terrorist attacks.

Diary of a Haunting
by M. Verano

This was interestingly done. It was written in an online diary format. I wasn’t really a fan of the “twist” ending. Still, it was eerie enough, especially with duplicating entries and slight changes in text.

Campfire
by Shawn Sarles

This started a bit slow, then went balls to the wall hectic in a matter of chapters. After two days of relatively peaceful camping, bodies start dropping. I liked how this one ended a lot.

The Mere Wife
by Maria Dahvana Headley

This was an interesting one.  It actually took me a long time to finish reading it, because the switching between Gren’s mom and Dylan’s mom gets dizzying.  Like Beowulf, it doesn’t have a happy ending (if, like me, you were especially rooting for Grendel and his Mom), but it’s sort of satisfying?  I just wish Gren and Dylan had had their happy ending, because it’s just another novel where queer people get dead.  Spoiler. Alert.

An Unwanted Guest
by Shari Lapena

I finished this in one afternoon. It definitely harks back to the old school mysteries where everyone’s trapped in one place with a murderer. I really enjoyed it. The ending reveal was a bit typical for Lapena (you might remember me not being a fan of her first book The Couple Next Door and it’s bullshit ending). But on the whole, the mystery was solid and the journey through the book was good enough I recommend it as a quick read.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 8/1-8/5

The Outsider
by Stephen King

I was really impressed at how good this book was. It’s probably the closest thing to a standard police procedural King has ever written, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. It’s a very typical mystery with some very untypical supernatural elements in it. This is also the longest book I’ve read in a while (560 pages), but I devoured it in one day, so you know that’s a fast-paced book. I don’t want to spoil too much, but let me say, the first part of the book went by so fast you wondered just how he was gonna fill out the rest of it.

There are some spoilers for his Bill Hodges trilogy in this book, so if you care about that and you haven’t read them yet, I suggest you do before you get into this one. On the other hand, if spoilers don’t bother you or you have no plans to read them (as I don’t), go for it and dive into The Outsider full on. I promise it won’t disappoint.

The Book of Leon
by Leon Black (JB Smoove)

I listened to the audio book of this, because the library doesn’t have a copy and I bought the audio book on sale one time, so I thought, why not?, and went ahead on. It was hilarious. If you aren’t familiar with Leon Black the character, he’s from Curb Your Enthusiasm. However, you don’t really need to know his character from that to enjoy this book. It’s 90 short chapters, the average coming in at about 3 minutes long, so it covers a lot of topics. It’s definitely not safe for work or for children, but it’s funny as hell. I recommend it if you need a laugh and don’t mind copious swearing or sexual references.

How Not to Get Shot
by D. L. Hughley

Pitch black satire about taking advice from White people about how not to get shot by police. It’s funny as hell, but in a very darkly comedic way. It contains advice from such pinnacles of wisdom like Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly, suggesting such great advice like, “Comply with police” and “Don’t wear hoodies”, or, what it basically comes down to, “Don’t be Black”. It’s so worth a read, especially in the current political climate, and it might help White people understand exactly what your Black friends, neighbors, and strangers are going through right now.

Barracoon
by Zora Neale Hurston

Wow, this book was powerful. Told pretty much verbatim by Kossula Cudjo Lewis (and in dialect, so if you have trouble with that, be prepared), the story of his life back in Africa and being brought here as a slave at the end of the slave trade in America, and his life here. It’s a tragic tale, but one told willingly and fully. Hurston spent a lot of time getting the full story of Kossula’s life and it’s such an important read to hear first-hand what the slave trade was like from the point of view of a former slave, unlike so much of the history we learned from the slave traders.

 

One book I DNF, Hope Never Dies, the really promising Obama Biden team up fanfic that got published. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the hype. I’m glad I just borrowed it from the library instead of ordering it, because that would’ve been an extreme disappointment. It starts, unbelievably, with Biden whining that Obama never writes, calls, or sees him anymore, which is hilarious coming off of a week where they were both spotted happily having lunch together. It tries too hard to be something dark and edgy when neither of the people involved are dark and edgy types. Believe me, I’ve written better fanfic than this, but I didn’t have the gall to have it published.

Posted in Books Fleet Refuses, Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reviews: 7/16-7/31

Bone Game
by Louis Owens

I read Bone Game after seeing it on a indigenous reading list. It’s about a centuries-old mystery, prophetic dreams, and new murders. The author himself is Cherokee-Choctaw-Irish and his lead character is Choctaw-Irish. It’s an odd sort of rambling tale, with frequent flashes to the past, to dreams, and later to other characters. Each chapter follows its own path, all of which wind up together for a rather startling climax.

Over all, I recommend it. Don’t go into it expecting it to be a traditional murder mystery, but let it flow around you and flow with it. You’ll find it’s a very good read.

Stay Hidden
by Paul Doiron

This is a more classic mystery, with a twist I can give away because it’s given away on the blurb, so nyah. Ariel Evans has been found murdered by person or persons unknown on a small Maine island. Except the next day, Ariel turns up alive and well. It’s a small mystery to figure out who the victim is, but finding the killer is the real challenge, especially on an island where no one is willing to talk.

I really love the Mike Bowditch series. The writing style is very natural, impressive for being in first-person imo, and flows easily. Every book is a unique mystery and you learn quite a lot about Maine, the wildlife, and some Maine slang. The voices are distinct and the characters are all pretty well fleshed out.
Currently, I’m in the middle (OK, first third) of The Outsider by Stephen King. It’s the closest to a typical detective story I think he’s ever written, which is what made me pick it up, but I already know we’re about to get into some kind of strange Stephen King twist. More on that next week.

Also!  If you like what I do here, check out my Patreon here or sign up for my brand new Facebook page Fleet’s Reviews.  That’s where all my reviews will be going from now on.

Posted in Fleet Reads, Fleet Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment