Reading List 2023


Fugitive Telemetry  by Martha Wells 
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
This book in the series was an interesting “murder mystery”, in which Murderbot must help to unravel a mysterious murder within Preservation. The problem is no one really trusts him, which makes it interesting to see how he helps solve the mystery. 
  


Exit Strategy by Martha Wells 
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit. Another fun and quick read from the same series.    


Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells 
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
I’m getting to like Murderbot more and more. This was another fast-paced book, where Murderbot must try to hide his true identify while at the same time helping out his “clients”. This particular book had some great fight and action scenes. Another quick and fun read.  


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 
Rating: 5.0 Stars * * * * *
This is the second time I’ve read Neverwhere, and I liked it even better the second time. I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan, and this is one of my favorite books by him. Imagine another world living in the London Underground, full of interesting and magical characters and one accidental “London Above” character, Richard Mayhew. Let the fun begin! I won’t give away the story, but this book has some of my favorite literary characters, including Door, Mr. Croup, Mr. Vandemar, and the infamous Marquis de Carabas. What a great book!   


Artificial Condition by Martha Wells 
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
Okay, after reading this second book, I started to get into it a lot more, and decided I really liked the format and main character. It took a while, but I’m glad I stuck with the series. Murderbot leaves his “owner” to find out the truth behind a secret that has been haunting him, and in doing so get’s into all sorts of trouble. A fun read.  


All Systems Red by Martha Wells 
Rating: 3.5 Stars * * * 
A friend gave me this 4 book series to read, and this is the first in that series. I’m not sure what I thought about it. It’s written in the first person in the form of a diary narrative, and maybe that’s the part I wasn’t sure of. The story was interesting enough to keep reading it, and I liked the main character (who is a SecUnit Murderbot). I’ll keep reading the series to see how it goes.  


Dead Mountain by Preston and Child 
Rating: 4.5 Stars * * * * 
This book stars out like most other Preston and Child books—a chilling supernatural-like mystery that captures you right away, just like a ghost story. Interestingly enough, the mystery is somewhat revealed early, unlike many of their books. I enjoyed and appreciated the mystery part of this story as opposed to the supernatural hints most of their books take. Another great Nora Kelly book.   


The Raft by S.A Bodeen 
Rating: Currently Reading 
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
I watched a movie called Nowhere about a woman trying to escape a dystopian society and ended up in a container on a ship. The ship got caught in a storm and the container fell into the ocean, and she had to survive. The movie reminded me of this book which I read many, many years ago, so I decided to reread it. It was just as good as I remembered it. This book is similar—a 15yo girl is in a plane crash and survives, only to find herself in the middle of the Pacific ocean on a leaking life raft. The problem? No one knew she was on the cargo plane. A trilling and intense read.  


The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy 
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
I love Cormac McCarthy’s writing, but this book was just a little too abstract for me. It was hard to follow at times, and, while I think I understand why the title is “The Passenger” (it’s not what you think), it left me wanting more things revealed. Basically, this is a book about death, dying, and the suffering and torment of the human soul. One thing I did really like about the book were the other characters and the conversations they had with Western (the main character). At first I didn’t like Alicia’s conversations with “The Kid”, but they sort of grew on me and I found myself looking forward to those chapters. I am planning on reading the sequel “Stella Maris”, but I need to take a little break and read something a little lighter first. Very dark book.   


Horse by Geraldine Brooks
Rating: 5.0 Stars * * * * * 
What an amazing book! Even though I’m not much into horses, I was so drawn into this book I just couldn’t put it down. There were so many things I liked about the book; I liked the short chapters; I liked the switching back and forth from the 1850’s to the 1950’s to current time; I loved the characters.Without giving away spoilers, I wasn’t so sure I liked the Jess and Theo part of the story, but when the book ended I decided it was beautifully done and one of my favorite parts—one I’ll likely go back and reread. The main character, Jarret, is absolutely amazing. Brooks made Jarret truly come alive. This book will likely go down as one of the best books I read in 2023. 


A Brief History of Silverton 
by Duane A. Smith
Rating: 4.5 Stars * * * * 
This short but great book was the perfect introduction to the history of Silverton, CO, a place I recently stayed at and fell in love with. The book starts with Silverton’s beginnings as a mining camp tucked away in the San Juan mountains, follows the boom of mining and the railroads, the busts during the depression and decline of mining, and finishes with how Silverton redefined itself after mining stopped altogether in 1991. The author talks a lot about the people of Silverton, and how they helped make the town what it is today.  



As if to return myself to the sea 
by Kristen Richards 
Rating: 5.0 Stars * * * * * 
Written by my daughter, this collection of poems reflect on self, belonging, and the constant pull between the Rocky Mountains of the West and the seas of the Northeast coast. Beautifully written, these poems dive into the reflection of memories and how they become a way to redefine an ever-shifting perspective of home and belonging.    


The Last Colony by John Scalzi 
Rating: 4.5 Stars * * * *
This book was almost as good as the first book in this series, and much better than the second book The Ghost Brigades. After reading this book I understood the necessity for the second book. I really liked the plot twists in this book, and the main character (Perry) was his usual fun and interesting self once again. Asked to lead a new colony, Perry and his wife Jane Sagan find difficulties at every turn. This was a fast-paced book that moved well and was really interesting, particularly the challenges of starting a new colony on an unknown planet.   

The Way of a Ship by Derek Lundy
Rating: 5.0 Stars * * * * * 
Imagine being on a 4-masted sailing ship in the 1880’s, heading from the U.K. around Cape Horn to the southern coast of Chile to deliver a load of coal. Welcome to this fantasic book, which does exactly that. There’s so much detail in this book, and all of the characters come alive. One of the things I really liked about this book was the interleaving of narration about certain topics interleaved with the actual story. I learned so much about the old days of sailing ships from this book that I didn’t know before (and I’ve read a lot of nautical history). A great read!  


The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin 
Rating: 4.5 Stars * * * * 
I really enjoyed this book. It took a while to get what was happening, but I’ve read enough N.K. Jemisin books to know to be patient, and I’m glad I did. New York City has just been “reborn”, and people representing each borough in NYC have just become avitars, charged with protecting the city from the “Enemy”, an alien force that tries to stop cities from being born. A little strange, I know, but it really worked. I loved the characters, and I loved the action. Can’t wait to start the second book in the series.  


The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi 
Rating: 3.5 Stars * * * 
While I found the sub-topic of this book on what is a “soul” and “consciousness”, it dragged quite a bit. This book was about the Ghost Brigades, special forces soldiers with extra-human powers that are created from people who have dies on Earth. Somewhat morbid, but fastinating as well. This book just didn’t catch my attention as well as the first book did.  

Old Mans War by John Scalzi 
Rating: Currently Reading 
Rating: 4.5 Stars * * * * 
This was such a fun book. Imagine, when turning 75, that you could join the Colonial Defense Forces to help battle the universe with a new 20 year old body. The only conditions? You have to serve a 2 year minimum term in the military, and you can never return back to Earth. This book was whitty, fun, and full of interesting twists. I’m now going to continue to put my two prior reads on hold to read the second book in the series. 


Diablo Mesa by Preston and Child
Rating: 4.5 Stars * * * * 
I really enjoyed this book. Like most Preston and Child books, this book really moved and kept me interested the entire time. This is one of the books in the Nora Kelly series, one of my favorites in the Preston and Child lineup. It’s about the Roswell site, where an assumed UFO had crashed. I won’t tell you what happened but it was a really good story.  


The Book of Jhereg by Steven Brust
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
A friend of mine recommended this book (and the whole series for that matter), and I wasn’t disappointed. It was rather refreshing delving back into the science fiction / fantasy realm again. This book contains the first three books in the adventure of Vlad Taltos, an assassin and an adventurer. I really enjoyed the main character (Vlad), as well as the other characters in the book. Looking forward to other books in the series.   


Being Wagner by Simon Callow
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * *   
I always have trouble rating a non-finction book, and in particular a biography. However, I really enjoyed this book. It was full of great anecdotes and stories, and Simon did a great job of describing the troubled life of Wagner. You might think a book like this would be boring, but think again—it was such a good read that I put down The Passenger (see above) that I was reading at the same time to finish this one.   

Circe by Madeline Miller
Rating: 4.5 Stars * * * *
This turned out to be an amazing book. Following a large part of Homer’s epic story The Odyssey, it tells the detailed story of the witch Circe (daughter of the god Helios) who was set to exile on an island (the one Odysseus spend some time on). It was so well written, and captivated me all the way to the end. I was anxious to read this book after reading her other book, The Song of Achilles, and I was not disappointed! 

Crush The King by Jennifer Estep
Rating: 4.0 Stars * * * * 
I reread the prior Crown of Shards books so that I could enjoy this one, but I was a little bit disappointed. I so much enjoyed the first book in the series (Kill the Queen), and while I enjoyed this book, it wasn’t quite the same experience. Evie (the main character) was very well portrayed in this book (as with the other books) but the other characters fell a little flat. I loved the setting - the Regalia, a fierce competition among all the neighboring nations—what a great setting to have the last and final battle to crush the King of Morta. Or was it the last battle?  



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