Friday, January 12, 2018

Ninefox Gambit

Vocabulary. After reading a favorable review of the second novel in the Machineries of Empire trilogy by Yoon Ha Lee, I had a choice to make: read the first, or plunge into the middle book as a standalone. Since I don’t read much science fiction, I decided to start at the beginning with a novel titled, Ninefox Gambit, and I’m glad I did. It took me fifty or more pages to get comfortable with the vocabulary and in trying to understand the world Lee was creating. Protagonist Kel Cheris is an unconventional math whiz warrior working for an entity called the hexarchate and is sent to a star fortress to quell a heretical rebellion that’s using an unconventional calendar. Cheris teams up with a disgraced general named Shuos Jedao and carries out a complicated mission that ends with a cliffhanger to set up the second book in the series. If any of this appeals to you, leap right in. While I started reading this novel I was skeptical and ready to give up after a few dozen pages. I pushed through and now look forward to the rest of the trilogy. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Ninefox Gambit from

Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales

Luscious. Mystery lovers are those readers most likely to enjoy the six succinct and luscious short stories in a collection by P. D. James titled, Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales. James wrote with great skill, and in each of these stories, she explores criminality and evil with precision. I savored each of these stories, separating them by a day or two to prolong the experience. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Sleep No More from

What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism

Optimism. Dan Rather has written a book of reflective essays titled, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism. Often sentimental in tone, Rather reminds readers of what makes us strong. Any reader looking for a primer on good citizenship can look to this book for hope and guidance. Despite all the expressed concerns about divisions in American society, Rather expresses optimism that we continue to share common values and our patriotism can draw us together. Rating: Three-star (It’s ok) Click here to purchase What Unites Us from

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

Authenticity. Most readers will pick up a copy of the book titled, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, because the author, former Vice President Joe Biden, is a familiar figure. Those readers who finish the book are likely to feel that they spent this reading time in a fruitful way, coming away with a deeper understanding of character, courage, family and the optimism that leads us to hope. Joe Biden is one of the most genuine and authentic individuals in public life, and his emotions appear unvarnished on every page of this book about the last year in the life of his son, Beau, who died of brain cancer. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Promise Me Dad from

Her Body and Other Parties

Pick. Pick any reason to read Carmen Maria Machado’s collection of short stories titled, Her Body and Other Parties, but read it. If you’re a man, Machado considers us a different species, and she may well be right. If you’re a woman, Machado articulates a variety of topics relating to women that will either resonate or clash with your views and experiences. If you enjoy finely written prose, Machado provides that in every story. If you are comfortable with post-modern literature, Machado’s experiments here will interest you. I added this book to my reading list because it was a National Book Award finalist. Having read it, I understand why. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Her Body and Other Parties from

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Progress. The second novel by Joe Ide to feature private investigator Isaiah Quintabe is titled, Righteous. As expected, there’s progress in IQ’s personal and professional life and an interesting case that leads IQ and Dodson from East Long Beach to Las Vegas. The gangsters are well developed in this installment, and fans of Ide’s debut novel are those readers most likely to enjoy this installment as we look forward to the next. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Righteous from

Racing the Devil

Complex. Readers who enjoy crime fiction are those most likely to enjoy reading the 19th Ian Rutledge novel by Charles Todd titled, Racing the Devil. Slow and steady exposition takes the action from a promise made by English officers to meet again if they survive World War I to accidents and murder back home in England. As Inspector Rutledge delves into the complex case, secrets are revealed and the truth is uncovered. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Racing the Devil from