Saturday, July 27, 2019

Too Much Is Not EnoughToo Much Is Not Enough by Andrew  Rannells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've enjoyed Andrew Rannells' work on TV and the stage. Most recently, we saw him on Broadway in The Boys in the Band, and I was very impressed with his performance. He's clearly very talented.

Having enjoyed his acting, I was hoping to enjoy this book. Happily, I wasn't disappointed! So many memoirs by people I've liked on stage or screen turn out to be either boring or way too self-absorbed. Not so in this case. Rather, Mr. Rannells shows a lot of introspection and honesty as he takes us from his childhood up to his first time in a Broadway show.

I liked his insights on what it means to struggle to find your way in the acting world, as well as his discussion about growing up gay and trying to find his way to some semblance of sanity in dating. Many of us know these struggles, and his memories ring true, even if some are sad to relive with him.

My respect for Andrew Rannells grew with the reading of this book, and the book itself was interesting and enjoyable to read!

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Total Mayhem (Jonathan Grave #11)Total Mayhem by John Gilstrap
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Total Mayhem certainly kept me riveted, and that's the main point with a book read for entertainment. I went through its over 400 pages in a day and a half. I started reading Saturday evening and finished at 3am Monday morning. That's another sign--that I stayed up way too late reading.

I was just a little disappointed in this particular book. I've read plenty of Mr. Gilstrap's work before, so I pretty well know what to expect, but authors in this genre can get a little too cavalier with human life and I feel like he turned that corner here. That may sound silly, since the whole concept is that Jonathan Grave runs a company that, among other things, deals with violent criminals bent on hurting innocent people. It just felt like this particular installment was looking for ways to take innocents and bring them to horrible ends, whereas the other installments generally had a feel, at least as I remember them, of saving innocents from wanton destruction.

That disappointment aside, I tore through this book. So if you want a good guys versus bad guys type of novel, go for it.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ship of the Line (Star Trek: The Next Generation)Ship of the Line by Diane Carey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, there are some harsh reviews of this book, and I really think they're uncalled for. Was this the best Star Trek novel I've ever read? No. It wasn't even the best Diane Carey Star Trek novel I've ever read. There were some little pieces that were strangely out of place and personal to the author--you'll see if you read it--and parts could have fit together better, but those weren't fatal flaws.

This book followed the interactions of the crew of the Enterprise after the destruction of the Enterprise-D, as seen in the movie Star Trek Generations, as well as a major part of the book following Captain Morgan Bateson, first encountered in the ST:TNG episode Cause and Effect.

Granted, it's hard not to read the book and be hearing and picturing Captain Frasier Crane--not the author's doing, of course--but I actually found the character rather well developed. He's a man out of place and time, trying to take his experience as a Starfleet captain and make it work decades after his time. He's dealing with a difficult situation largely of his own creation, but he's also a man of integrity who admits his mistakes and respects those around him, even those who disagree with him strongly. I actually found his character admirable if frustrating at times.

We also have a crossover between other characters from the different generations of Star Trek, and that was enjoyable, too. With that said, I saw two major flaws to this book. One is that it rehashed too much of the original series, literally reciting some scenes word for word. Most people who would read a Star Trek novel are serious fans, so I'd think most, like me, know those scenes intimately. No need to rehash them line by line to make the connection to other, relevant observations being made by Captain Picard.

The second thing is that the biggest turning points of the novel, including the final big battle, felt rushed as compared to the rest of the book. This key part got short shrift and was resolved a bit too easily.

For all of that, I enjoyed this book. Not perfect, but it was an enjoyable read. I was tempted to give it a higher star rating, because I think some of those 1-star rants of prior reviewers are borderline malicious. But that's not what this site is supposed to be about, so I won't weight my rating. Goodreads says 3 stars means I "Liked It" so that's what I selected, because I liked it!

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Friday, July 05, 2019

Swift Vengeance (Roland Ford #2)Swift Vengeance by T. Jefferson Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So many crime procedural/detective novels have twists that might make a reader roll his/her eyes. The bad guys magically escape a well-planned effort to corner them and take them into custody--or take them out--or the real bad guy would turn out to be someone you never suspected. That can build suspense or provide an interesting surprise, but it rarely looks like real life.

Happily, Swift Vengeance unwinds logically and without any silly twists. I won't say too much, so you can enjoy the book, but I found the reality of it refreshing. I'll definitely be looking for the next novel in the series!

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