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Book Reviews in Review: 2018

January 17, 2020 Leave a comment

Here are my favorite five of the books I reviewed in 2019—Keep those hits coming…

Threading together songs with flash fiction riffs and verse in a collection of improvisational literary jazz is a great concept. It gets to the heart of the osmosis of music into our memories. This Petri dish experiment was definitely a success. The one problem I had with this book:  it was too short.  I wanted more. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Fate Fell Short on Amazon

It was as if I opened a Carl Hiaasen novel and fell through a space-time continuum portal to the Emerald Isle where Skink & Company all suddenly have an Irish brogue. As an aficionado of wacky Florida misadventures since Tourist Season, this was a good thing—a very good thing. Parts 2, 3 & 4 of the Dublin Trilogy are definitely in my reading queue. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to A Man with One of Those Faces on Amazon


This is a book of two tales. The first one, the adventure of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur-buccaneer’s no-holds-barred battle to survive and cash out, was fascinating. The second, about life as a Facebook corporate drone…not so much. The Zuckerberg brand of palace intrigue is, really, not so unique and special in the annals of American Corporate Manifest Destiny. I have to say, though, that the author’s Afterward—an update written after Antonio’s “departure” from Facebook and the original publication of Chaos Monkeys—is a great essay on current events involving the social media giant. (4 of 5 stars for the first half; 3 of 5 stars for the second half; 5 of 5 stars for the update)

Link to Chaos Monkeys Faces on Amazon


As a pilot and aviation aficionado, my familiarity with the lives and exploits of Eddie Rickenbacker, Charles Lindbergh and Jimmy Doolittle gave me a case of literary empty field myopia, where at first I did not see and appreciate the story telling craftsmanship of Winston Groom (author of Forest Gump). Like a Bach fugue, The Aviators tells three biographical tales simultaneously, taking the reader from rag wings to aluminum overcast. The result being that these giants of aviation somehow came off as even more larger than life for me. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to The Aviators on Amazon

I have to admit I was sold on the title alone. I’ve been “free range” so long that I had almost forgotten the drone life lived out in the honeycombs of bureaucratic cubicles.  Semegran brought back all the odd camaraderie of office workers and the capricious quirks in the business of pushing paper in a muted Carl Hiaasen style with a tale that leaves you smiling in the warm Texas Hill Country breeze. (4 of 5 Stars)

Damnit! No self-control. None. Whatsoever. Zero-zip-nada. I knew from Volume I: Fate Fell Short that these were rich, tasty truffles to be saved and savored.  But noooooooo.  I had to snarf them all down at once. And here I am with literary chocolate smeared all over my face, staring at an empty box in despair…wishing for more.  (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Anything Other Than on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Practical Demonkeeping (Pine Cove Book 1)

December 27, 2019 Leave a comment

After delightfully devouring Noir, I wasn’t quite sure where to go with Mr. Moore, so I went back to the beginning–as good a place as any. The story was okay, but you gotta love the menagerie of colorful characters on both sides of the Human/Demon equation, with just enough snark to keep me grinning along the way. (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to Practical Demonkeeping on Amazon (Paid Link)

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors

December 20, 2019 Leave a comment

Not much new in the Custer and Crazy Horse showdown. What I particularly like about Stephen Ambrose is his ability to give a sense of the contemporary time. In this particular case, Custer’s fame with the public based on his Civil War exploits, which ended up putting him back in charge of the Seventh Cavalry. Moving back and forth between events in their lives works out plot-wise for the inevitable conclusion. (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to Crazy Horse and Custer  on Amazon (Paid Link)

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: The Monkey Wrench Gang

December 13, 2019 Leave a comment

The Gang itself is a motley enough crew to keep you fairly entertained on their “Mission from God” to make the Southwest right again in the face of commercial onslaught–though they really do seem to hate bulldozers. I don’t buy into their eco-terrorism, but it seems to be a seventies kind of thing that moves the plot along. My favorite character is the scenery. Abbey captures the land in his prose on a par with Hayduke, which kind of makes you pull for the Monkey Wrench Gang. (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to The Monkey Wrench Gang  on Amazon (Paid Link)

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: The Hunters

November 1, 2019 Leave a comment

The Hunters: A Novel by [Salter, James]

In James Salter’s novel fortune favors the bold–and not necessarily the skilled, the just, or the deserving. And is it any wonder that winning is everything, especially to the top brass? Not so much. The Hunters is like the dark underside of my favorite book from childhood, Sabre Jet Ace, Connell vs McConnell? Coincidence? Hmmm… This well crafted presentation of fighter pilot life strays a bit into the predictable. (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to The Hunters  on Amazon (Paid Link)

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Anything Other Than

October 4, 2019 Leave a comment

Damnit! No self-control. None. Whatsoever. Zero-zip-nada. I knew from Volume I: Fate Fell Short that these were rich, tasty truffles to be saved and savored.  But noooooooo.  I had to snarf them all down at once. And here I am with literary chocolate smeared all over my face, staring at an empty box in despair…wishing for more.  (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Anything Other Than on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: To Squeeze a Prairie Dog

August 30, 2019 Leave a comment

I have to admit I was sold on the title alone. I’ve been “free range” so long that I had almost forgotten the drone life lived out in the honeycombs of bureaucratic cubicles.  Semegran brought back all the odd camaraderie of office workers and the capricious quirks in the business of pushing paper in a muted Carl Hiaasen style with a tale that leaves you smiling in the warm Texas Hill Country breeze. (4 of 5 Stars)

Categories: What I've Read
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